Low-Cost Staging Tips and Why They Work

Untitled.png

First impressions are everything–especially in real estate. When buyers tour a home it better look its best, or buyers will quickly move on to the next.

Furnishing the space helps potential buyers visualize their life within the walls. And, bonus points, staged properties sell on average 73% faster than non staged homes.To help you out, we rounded up a list of successfully staged homes that have used price-conscious or zero-cost strategies to make your listing look great without breaking the bank.

1. Clutter-Free

The last thing you want when you’re showing a home is for personal items (ahem, toothbrushes) to distract your clients. You want potential buyers to envision their own belongings in the space, not fixate on the current owner’s hair filled hairbrush.

In occupied homes it is crucial that sellers are on board with hiding clutter and personal belongings when it’s time for photography and showings.

 2. Furniture That Fits the Space

It’s probably common sense that a 600 sq ft condo shouldn’t be furnished with the same living room furniture as a 2,500 sq ft family home. When working with a smaller space, consider the appropriate size of furniture for the space. Oversized furniture makes rooms feel crowded and  well sized furniture creates the illusion of a larger space.

If your client already has a living room set, think about splitting up the sofa and loveseat into two seperate rooms to maximize resources and space. Also discuss rearranging furniture in order to create the best flow of the space.

3. Minimalistic Decor

Less really is more when it comes to staging. You want to keep the focus on the bones of the house, not the superficial  decorations. You want the space to appeal to a larger group of potential buyers.

4. Real House Plants

There are many benefits to real plants versus fake ones. For starters, fake plants are actually more expensive than their living counterparts. You can buy real house plants at your local stores for under $20. Also, live house plants won’t become dusty over time (not cute!).

Plants are perfect for vacant and non vacant houses, they add life to any space. You can even give them to the buyer as a congratulatory gift once the deal is closed.

5. Neutral Rooms

It’s difficult to envision how you are going to style the guest bedroom when it’s painted bubblegum pink with ‘Princess’ hanging over the bed. Moral of the story: Buyers want to be able to walk into a room and not have to worry about all of the things they will have to change later on.

Your clients might resist painting before listing, but it is best practice to prepare a neutral space.  White walls might seem dull, but they act as a metaphorical blank canvas for buyers to paint their life onto.

6. A Lived-In Feel

There is a fine line between a house that feels over-staged (cue the giant bowl of 20 lemons in the dining room), and a well curated home. Adding thoughtful accessories makes the house feel lived in and more attractive to buyers.

The key is to be authentic. Think of what you would actually use in the space, like beautiful utensils or local magazines (pictured above). It is a good idea to keep a stash of staging items handy for final touches–A stack of books or a lit candle goes a long way.

7. Natural Light

Do not underestimate the power of ambient lighting. Place furniture around windows so sunlight can shine through and brighten up the room. Sunlight in a home can physiologically influence our happiness without us even knowing. If you have a killer view, be sure to show it off by positioning furniture so it is the focal point of the room.

If your client has dark window treatments, switch to a sheer white option or remove them altogether. Letting in daylight will immediately elevate the space.

8. Mirror, Mirror

Mirrors create the illusion of a larger space, making even the smallest rooms feel open and inviting. Mirrors reflect the light in the room and intensifies its design power. Plus, they are useful!

Oversized mirrors can be expensive but overstock stores like Homegoods have great options at serious discounts. Plus, they can be reused for future staging.

9. Al Fresco Approved

Residential architects have ranked outdoor living spaces as the no. 1 “special function” room amongst consumers. Potential buyers see outdoor areas as an extension of living space and should be staged accordingly.

Investing in a small patio set for staging purposes if your client doesn’t own one might get the listing sold even faster. Extra points if you add a nice bouquet of fresh flowers.

Staging a home can be hard work, and it can take some creativity to get results without breaking the bank. Investing time upfront will get you a better results in the end.

 

Bumping Up Curb Appeal on a Budget

When it comes to selling your home, first impressions matter. The outside of your home should draw prospective buyers in and make them want to see more. If you’re going to put your home on the market this spring, one of the first things you need to do is take a step back and turn a critical eye to the front of your home. Even if you’re not contemplating a move, a beautiful façade will make your home a joy to, well, come home to.

 

In its 2018 Remodeling Impact Survey, 99% of members of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) said that curb appeal is important when attracting homebuyers.[1] So you know you need to give the front of your home a freshen-up — but uh-oh, you’re also trying to save money to move once your house is sold. Fear not! Many tasks that enhance curb appeal can be done for little or no cost. Here are a few budget-friendly ways to boost your home’s looks. 

 

When prospective buyers pull up to the front of your home and take in their first view, they want to see a clean, pretty building that they can imagine as their own. Washing the front of your home and the walkway will refresh the façade, and may even make repainting the front unnecessary. 

Concrete driveways can look refreshed after a power wash too!

 

Your windows should sparkle. They should be so clean that you can’t even tell there’s glass in them! Be sure to clean them inside and out. While you’re at it, giving your blinds and curtains a wash is a great idea too. 

A freshly painted door in a bold color with shiny new hardware can make a bright change for less than $75. New house numbers in a modern style add appeal, and a new doormat can send a welcoming message to all who approach. Finish off the rehab with a stylish letterbox that just shouts Buy me! 

Your front yard should be green and neatly trimmed, with no bald patches or brown grass. Trees and shrubs should be pruned and shaped. Clean up your flower garden and put down some fresh, dark mulch for a rich-looking bed. No flowers? Fill large tubs halfway with pebbles or wood chips, add soil on top, and plant bunches of bright flora that will bloom for at least a month. 

Turn on your sprinklers before viewings. The sparkle on your greenery and the fresh scent of water on plants will enhance your home’s attractiveness. 

 

It’s something you might not think about, but it’s the least expensive job on this list: Ensuring convenient parking for real estate agents and their clients — and having open space in front of your home — can make your property seem more accessible and slightly bigger. Can’t guarantee a front-row parking space in your neighborhood? At least be sure to remove toys, lawn tools, and any other unnecessary items from your front yard. A buyer needs to see your home with nothing blocking the view. 

Once you have your home looking great from the street, the challenge is to keep it looking wonderful through all of the upcoming showings. Make a schedule to stay on top of mowing, weeding, watering, and other lawn and plant maintenance, plus keeping the driveway clean and the porch swept. And be sure to include pulling weeds from between stepping stones or bricks on your list. All of those little details mean a lot when it comes to curb appeal.

 

 

Sources:
[1] National Association of REALTORS®, 2018 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features.
[2] Houselogic, “8 Tips for Adding Curb Appeal and Value to Your Home.”

6 Expenses to Include in Your Homebuying Budget

First-time homebuyers are sometimes caught off guard by overlooked expenses, which can create an uncomfortable financial pinch. Be sure you consider these one-time and ongoing expenses.
8ecb8b5c10a19ccbe1daba7bc38ec77cw-c327365xd-w685_h860_q80
1. Home Inspection
For a few hundred dollars, an inspection can uncover potential trouble such as structural problems or asbestos.

2. Home Maintenance
Experts recommend setting aside 1 to 3%* of the home’s purchase price for annual maintenance. For example, you may need to buy lawn care equipment or replace the roof, furnace, or water heater.

3. Taxes And Insurance
Property taxes and homeowners insurance aren’t always included in mortgage payment calculators.

4. Extra Cash At Closing
Your lender should give you a detailed estimate of closing costs. But beyond those, you may have to pay additional expenses, such as a prorated portion of property taxes or homeowners association fees that the seller has already paid.

5. The Move
Whether you hire professional movers for a few thousand dollars or rent a truck, buy boxes and recruit friends to help, moving costs money.

6. Settling In
You may have to pay utility connection fees when you move in, plus utility costs may be higher than you were used to as a renter. Other costs include lock replacements and decorating expenses.

Home Maintenance Reminders

Show your dryer some love

Most people know to clean the lint screen after every load of laundry. Keeping that filter clear will shorten the drying cycle, save you money, and prevent any potential fire hazards.

It is also good practice to regularly, but at least twice a year, remove the lint that accumulates at the bottom of the housing that holds your lint screen.

 

What 
Dryers require regular simple maintenance to keep working safely & efficiently.

 

Why 
To avoid potential fire hazards and having to do costly repairs to your appliances.

 

How 
It goes without saying that you should clean your lint screen after every load of laundry. Keeping the filter clear will shorten the drying cycle, save you money, and prevent any potential fire hazards. It is also a good practice to regularly, but at least twice a year, remove the lint that accumulates at the bottom of the housing that holds your lint screen. You can generally use a vacuum cleaner’s flat attachment to reach down in the housing to suck out anything that has accumulated in there. Finally, you should be cleaning out your dryer’s exhaust duct using a dryer duct cleaning brush (it’s a stiff bristled circular brush with a flexible handle that you can buy at most hardware stores) at least twice a year. The exhaust duct vents your dryers exhaust to the outside of your house and can become a fire hazard if not kept clear. Consider doing this more often (say monthly) if you do heavy amounts of laundry on a consistent basis. Many service providers sell regular service plans to handle this for you, so consider signing up for one.

It certainly feels like spring today!

Spring is certainly right around the corner and even though the flowers aren’t quite blooming just yet, this is a great time to prepare your home for the spring market! 434_large_image

If you are a prospective seller, it is important to use this time to start getting your home ready:

 
Start Interviewing Prospective Realtors
One of the most important thing to do when selling your home is to find a great agent to represent you. If you don’t have one already, then get recommendations from friends and interview different agents to find one who will be the best fit for you. A good listing agent should have a great marketing plan, experience, and deep knowledge of the area and market. Don’t simply go with the one who tells you they can sell your home at the highest price – choose someone who can present you with a detailed and realistic market analysis to back up their numbers.

 

Make a Plan
A big mistake a lot of sellers make is not having a plan. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself:

Are you planning on buying another home once your home sells?
Do you have the option to move in with family?
Can you rent?
Can you buy non-contingent?
Think about these things and discuss your financing options with a local lender before you list. If you can get pre-approved to buy a home non-contingent it will give you a huge advantage over another seller selling their home subject to finding a suitable property to purchase.

Clear the Clutter
This may seem like a no-brainer but its really important! Be proactive and start the cleaning process now.

Wash your windows, Dust your blinds, Dust baseboard trims, Clean appliances, Clean showers and toilets, Clean inside cabinets. When you’re selling your home, it’s important to de-clutter too. Plus it will give you a head start on moving packing. Clean out your closets and pack away anything that’s not a necessity. Your home will look so much better and most likely sell a lot faster if its organized and de-cluttered.

Prospective buyers are going to want to step into your home and see a place they can visualize living in and making their own. The best way to do that is to create a blank slate. Keep it neat, reduce the amount of clutter you have on shelves and surfaces, and depersonalize as much as you can. The idea is to showcase your home without distracting from it.

 

Make Repairs and Improvements
The last thing anyone wants to do before they sell their home is to dump a bunch of money into it for an extensive renovation; however, there are minor repairs and improvements that can be made to make a home look fresher for potential buyers. Here are a few worthwhile improvements that can be made without spending a fortune:

Freshen Up Paint, Front Door and Hardware, Applying a coat of paint to walls and trim, or even touching up certain areas, can make a world of difference in the appearance of your home. If painting isn’t an option, you can give the walls and trim a thorough cleaning to improve the overall space. It’s also a good idea to spruce up your front door, since that’s the first thing a buyer will see when they walk in.

 

Spruce up the Curb Appeal
You want to impress potential buyers as soon as they step onto the property or take a drive by, which means making the outside of your home look as appealing as possible. Make the extra effort to rake leaves, weed the garden, and mow the lawn. Clean and put out your outdoor furniture, and even consider adding some colorful plants to the front of the house.

 

Know Your Local Spring Market
Every market is different. The best way to be informed about yours is to connect with your realtor. They should advise you on current, past and projected market conditions as well as give you advice on when to list.

The time you list is critical! Wait too long and you could miss the prime selling time frame. There are some realtors who suggest listing earlier and not waiting till spring in order to beat the spring market competition. However, as stated above, it all depends on your local market. This is another reason having a good realtor is of key importance.

 

The Most Cost Effective Ways to Save on Heating Your Home This Winter

Tips To Make Spring Cleaning A Breeze