Monday, February 25, 2019

The Importance of Staging - Part II

Last week I talked about Staging and how it can help with selling your home. Today, I have put together some questions and answers for you regarding staging and why it is a good idea. 

What is home staging?
Home staging is the process of decluttering and de-personalizing your home. This allows your home to showcase at its best. Sometimes this requires adding props and furniture. Yet, the goal is always to work with what the client already has.
Why should I stage my house or condo?

Most times, home owners don't view their home objectively. Often they don’t even see things in their home any more.  A professional home stager has a trained set of eyes that can see your home as a buyer would.  They are able to provide ideas on how to best showcase your home. This can include:
  • Furniture placement (for proper flow or functionality of the home),
  • suggestions on perceptive changes,
  • decluttering advice
  • and advice on what to add (when needed)
These ideas can and will wow potential buyers.  You want the buyers to love the property and put an offer on it.
Why should I put money into the home I’m selling?
One of the biggest investments you will ever have, is your home. It is important to get the value for your home that it deserves. Investing in staging can sell your home faster and maximize your selling price. By staging, your home may also have many potential offers. This is because staging creates an emotional connection between buyers and your house. Usually the average price reduction is 5-10% of the list price. Staging your home is a fraction of the average price reduction.
My house will sell, why should I stage?
Studies show staged homes sold within the first month on the market. It also shows those homes sold for more money than those that sold after its first month. The cost to stage your home will always be less than the first price reduction. So, it's a good idea to stage your home before it hits the market.
Do I have to stage the whole house?
No. If you are still living in your home, a home stager will look at every room and help you with the following:
  • declutter
  • re-arrange furniture
  • work with pieces and accessories you already have
  • make suggestions for some extra accessories (if needed) or furniture rental.
No need to stage every room if your home is vacant.  The key rooms are the kitchen, living room, dining room, master bedroom and bathrooms. It is not necessary to stage every room, it can become expensive.
Who pays, me or the realtor?
Usually, the real estate agent will pay for the initial staging consultation. If you need rental furniture or other accessories the home owners will pay for those.
I want to list NOW, should I stage before it goes on the market?
You should always stage your home before your list it.  You are hitting MLS as a new listing and you want people looking!
Why hire a Professional Home Stager when I can decorate myself?
Professional home stagers know how to present your home when it is for sale. Decorating your home, is not the same as staging your home. Your home is one of your biggest investments so you want to make sure you get the best value for it. You may save the cost for staging your home by decorating yourself, but it may cost you a price reduction in the end.
Why should I stage my vacant home?
Vacant homes can be hard to sell. A vacant home feels cold and echos. It has little to no character or charm and the rooms are empty. Some emotion needs to be in the home, and staging it will make it feel like a home again. Vacant homes usually stay on the market longer than unstaged homes. This could mean you are carrying more than one mortgage, not to mention other costs such as insurance etc.
How do I choose the right professional stager?
I offer home staging in my price but you can also do your own research. You want a stager who has furniture inventory to stage your home. Who helps declutter and offer suggestions as well as stage your home.  I can do all that for you. Should you use accessories or furniture I do not have, you pay that fee.
What is the difference between a home stager and a decorator?
Staging is depersonalizing the home to make it more appealing to the buyer. So the buyer can picture themselves and their things in the space. Decorating is personalizing the home according to the homeowners tastes and likes. When you're selling your home, you want to catch the attention of potential buyers. A home stager knows how to do that.
Can I take my own photos?
You can, but it isn't recommended. A professional photographer should always take the real estate photos. They should also have experience with real estate photography. They know the proper angles and lighting to present each room at it’s best.  Believe it or not, photos are also what brings in buyers.  Most buyers are searching on-line for homes so your photos need to be flawless. That means staging and professional photos. Buyers look for space. Professional photographers know how to capture the space. Save yourself the trouble in the long run with false angles in your own photos. Have a professional take them who know how to showcase the home accurately.

I hope this was helpful. Thanks for reading and until next time...Keep It "REAL".


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Importance of Staging - Part 1

Let's talk a little about Staging!

When you list your home for sale, it becomes a product rather than your personal retreat. You want potential homebuyers to be able to envision themselves living in the home. This can be difficult if your family's personality is still evident. Before going on market, your agent will recommend decluttering and depersonalizing. may want to bring in a professional stager to help as well. This will help guide you through showing your home in its most marketable light.

Staging can set the right emotional tone for buyers. It can also help highlight the most attractive features of the home. Staging can also make you money. 77% of listing agents said a staged home increases the dollar value. Which means...yes, buyers are willing to pay more for a well-staged environment. 
Staging can also shorten the length of time your home is on the market. Agents report that their staged homes go under contract faster than those without.

A professional stager will sometimes begin with an in-home consultation. This is where they will walk through your home with you. They will review the property, and provide a report with their advice for the home. The report will include advice on decluttering, storing items, and reorganizing furniture. It may also include changing out paint colors in different rooms. The stager may also give tips for improving curb appeal. The living room, kitchen, master bedroom and dining room are the most common rooms to be staged.

Your home may need some repairs and touch-ups. You can do that yourself or hire a helping hand. 
If its little things your home needs, your stager could handle that. You stager could bring in supplementary furniture and decor items. They could also manage painting. can hire other contractors to come to your home. Like the saying goes, many hands make light work. This will get your home ready to go on the market quicker. The cost of services will depend on how much work your home will need. But if staged properly, your market value may it's a win/win for you as a seller.

Thanks for reading and come back in a few days when I have a Q & A about staging.

Until then - Keep it "Real"


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Everlasting First Impression - Curb Appeal

Today's post talks about Curb Appeal. Did you know buying a home is the biggest investment most people make in their lifetime? So, it only makes sense to keep your house looking great and functioning well...right? Seeing a beautiful, well kept home from the street increases its property value. Even for homeowners not planning to move. The increase in property value of one home can also extend to the rest of the neighbourhood. Keeping your property well-kept improves your street-wide value. Not only that, but your neighbor relationships too (which is a good thing).

Most buyers form their first impression of your home before they even get out of the car. Curb appeal is the view of your home from the street. This gives potential buyers the first chance to fall in love with your home. So make your home the talk of the neighbourhood...for the right reasons!
The exterior of your home should be impeccable. Clean it, clear it of clutter, with no visible repairs needed. So...fix that broken step. Cut down those overgrown bushes. Put away those scattered toys in the yard. That clutter can spoil the home's appearance and the potential buyer's first impression.
Here's a simple cleanup and spruce up checklist. Tips to make sure your home leaves a lasting first impression:
  • Clear driveways and walkways of snow, weeds, and debris. Repair or replace cracked steps or pavers. Whenever possible, driveways should be clear of vehicles.
  • Keep your lawn mowed, edged, and watered. Prune dead branches and plants. Weed flower beds and replace leggy, thin landscaping with fresh plants and flowers.
  • Replace loose or damaged roof shingles. Clean the gutters. Paint and caulk window trim and doors.
  • Make the front door area shine. Consider repainting your front door and placing a new welcome mat. Polish the door hardware and make sure all front facing windows are clean.
  • Pressure wash siding, brick, windows, and porches.
  • Replace light fixtures. If possible, pick new fixtures with the same mounting system to save time and hassle.
  • Install new house numbers that match the finish of your light fixtures.
  • Consider upgrading your mailbox. It's an inexpensive fix and the first thing that buyers will see when they pull up to your home.
  • Install flower boxes or pots of blooming flowers for a pop of color.
  • Hang a seasonal wreath from your front door.

Curb appeal is the first step in creating interest in a home for sale. In today's world of internet and photography, pictures of property have a major impact. It is well worth the time and money spent to have your home looking its best when a potential buyer drives up to the curb.
 Thanks for reading. Until next time...Keep It "REAL"

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Why Do You Need A Real Estate Professional and What Does One Cost?

Many people believe hiring a real estate professional is a waste of time. They believe they can sell their home on their own without any help from an agent. And, sometimes...that's true! Not all homes that sell, is through a real estate agent. BUT, there is no substitute for an experienced professional. Taking on all the responsibility yourself could be costlier than an agent's commission.

Here, think about this for a second. According to 2017 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, only 8% of home sales were for sale by owner. Of those, 40% knew their buyer in person. Not only that, but for sale by owner homes had an average sale price of $190,000 in 2017. Real estate agents who assisted in home sales average list price was $250,000. That's $60,000 lost because the home owner didn't want to hire an agent. The average commission on a $250,000 home is $12,500. That will pay both the buying agent AND the selling agents commission. Food for thought eh?!

Beyond the price advantage, homes listed by real estate professionals get more exposure. Their sellers also get more support! Take a look at the following list. Real estate professionals are:

  • Trained, licensed professionals
  • Experienced in your neighborhood & your market
  • Able to give you oversight from brokers & licensing officials
  • Able to help you reach your goals in the best way
  • Able to present your home and deal with buyers
  • Able to market properties
  • Able to overcome typical issues that occur in real estate transactions and closings
  • Able to look out for your best interests
  • Understand personal safety and security for your belongings during showings
  • Able to make transactions go smoothly with knowing lawyers, bankers and mortgage specialists
  • Able to get access to the most accurate and up to date comprehensive data through MLS
  • Able to negotiate
  • Able to make real estate transactions successful
  • Kept up to date with continuing education on housing issues
You can never go wrong with a real estate professional in your corner. You will have a partner by your side to advocate for you and help you through the entire home selling/buying process.

Well...this brings me to my next point. What is the cost of hiring an agent?

In most cases, it costs you NOTHING! Let me flip the tables for a minute. As YOUR agent, I am here to educate you. I will take you through the buying process, market conditions and neighborhoods. I spend many hours researching properties to find the one that meets your needs. I will also be by your side to check off every bullet in the list above. In most cases, this and more will be in the sellers cost. There are possible situations when some fees may apply. Those situations will NEVER take place without your prior understanding and consent.

Here we are again at the end of another blog post. I hope this clarifies the reasons why it is good to have a real estate professional in your corner.

Thanks for reading and until next time...Keep it "REAL"!