As stagers, we have the opportunity of seeing a vast variety of homes for sale in various states of condition. That stated, we at BlueGrape are often asked by Sellers what they might be able to do aesthetically to make their home appeal to more buyers and sell it faster. The amount of information on the web concerning this very subject can be contradictory and confusing, often suggesting major a major investment. To sum it up, in our experience working with sellers, unless the home is in almost inhabitable condition, these three items are worth the time and money spent on home improvements to sell:
You can expect to recoup anywhere from 60% to 120% of your investment by remodeling your kitchen. However, although buyers prefer an updated kitchen, don’t go overboard. Be sure not to make your kitchen more elaborate than the rest of the house, or too fancy for the neighborhood. Often merely a coat of paint on old, stained cabinets or upgrading the countertops can make a dated kitchen look updated and on trend.
As is the case with the kitchen, your bathroom remodel should be at the top of the list. Once again, use common sense and keep the bathroom remodel restrained and aesthetically in harmony with the style of your home. If your home has only one bathroom and you have room for an addition, definitely invest in adding one. Paint or replace old cabinetry, removed tired shelving and clean the tile. If you have an outdated or colored toilet and vanity, definitely replace them with standard white. It is an inexpensive alteration that can pay you back greatly. On average sellers recoup anywhere from 80% to 130% of cost by adding a bathroom.
Backyard Deck, Adding or Upgrading
If your backyard and deck is appealing, the entire house generally will be more appealing to buyers. Staging with beautiful outdoor seating can help, but if your existing deck is in poor or outdated shape, definitely make the small investment to either have it repaired or replaced. If you don’t have a deck but have space to add one, you can plan to recoup from 65% to 90% of your investment. A simple trick to upgrade a bland deck and make it more upscale is to add a pergola. That little subtle sophistication will appeal to buyers and help make your home that much more desirable.
These few simple tricks that you can often do yourself if you’re handy won’t break the bank and will pay you back in the long run. In fact, in many cases the home will actually go over the asking price. Now, get to work!
The time has come to sell your home. Now begins the process of cleaning, sorting, primping and staging to create a picture-perfect environment for your prospective buyers. Along with taking advantage of the other marketing tools your real estate agent has in his arsenal such as staging, at some point you may have considered the age-old tradition of holding an open house.
Although an open house might heighten exposure to your home, there are varying schools of thought as to whether an open house actually increases the overall chances of making a sale. While some agents who have never landed a sale through an open house might counsel you against it, there are just as many agents who have made sales that insist an open house is an ideal (and even necessary) way to find buyers. While the increased exposure to your home could possibly benefit you, here are several other considerations that might influence your decision as to whether or not an open house is right for you:
Staying Picture Perfect
Maintaining a show-ready house can be hard work, definitely if you have small children and/or pets. Drawing in numerous prospective buyers by holding an open house that lasts just a few hours could lead to fewer private showings, resulting in less time spent prepping and restaging.
Browsing in Real Time
The Web may be the fastest way to find homes for sale, but there’s nothing better than actually walking through a house and seeing it firsthand. Prospective buyers can’t get the full experience online, and don’t necessarily want to feel rushed by an agent. Open houses are leisurely.
The Learning Curve
There’s nothing better than getting live feedback from visitors, or for your agent to get a feel for the amount of interest based on the traffic at the open house. By talking with buyers you or your agent can elicit feedback so you can make changes accordingly, if necessary. This could mean adjusting your asking price, or making any key repairs that could increase the overall appeal of your home.
Open House Addicts
There is some justifiable concern that an open house will draw in casual shoppers that have no intention of buying, such as curious browsers or chatty and distracting nosey neighbors. There are even those who frequent open houses every weekend as an unusual pastime. Unquestionably some (or all) of these visitors may drop in, but to put it in a more positive light, remember that more eyes on your property equals more buzz around town.
The idea of having virtual strangers traipsing through your home unsupervised is unsettling at best. The best method to alleviate any concern is to make certain that all valuables and personal items are locked away or, better still, removed from the property altogether. It’s important to remember that any time a stranger enters your home, there is a risk of theft.
When allowing anyone into your home be they friends or strangers, there’s always a possibility of something getting damaged. It’s safe to say visitors can often get a little too cozy with your possessions or items placed by the stagers. The resulting damage may be as minimal as having dirt tracked onto your previously spotless floors or something more serious, like a treasured crystal vase being smashed to bits. This is another reason for stashing valuables away or stowing them in a secure place.
In the end, the choice whether to hold an open house or forego it completely rests ultimately on the seller. There’s no “yes or no” answer for every homeowner who’s putting their home on the market, but your real estate agent will be able to help you in choosing the best strategies to market your home.
Take a look in the dictionary and you’ll find that the synonym for white is 'colorless.' Dare it to say that some people consider white as being boring or lacking in creativity. Decidedly not! We here at BlueGrape Staging know there is nothing more beautiful than a pristine white room, and painting your walls white is one of the most underestimated ideas in home design.
Far from being colorless, the many hues found within white paint can help you create a space that is cool, minimalist and modern to one that is warm, romantic and inviting. Also, as previously discussed in past blogs, when preparing your home to sell white is an excellent option. But make no mistake - despite what some might think, pulling off a white room is not a simple task by any means.
Visually, what your eyes perceive when looking at a white wall is a whole palette of colors that produce a variety of effects depending on how it is used and how the room is furnished. Warm whites typically have a yellow, pink/peach or even a magenta undertone which can be soft and romantic. However, depending on the brightness of the room and the tones of your furniture and textiles, warm whites can turn dingy or dirty-looking. Cool whites have a blue, grey or slightly green undertone which can look clean and crisp, or sterile and lifeless for the very same reasons. To alleviate some of the confusion and help you choose the perfect white for your home, the following may help streamline the process:
In the minimalistic bedroom below the palette of monochromatic whites and greys were used to highlight the floors and the high ceilings with the white paint backdrop.
Minimalistic Modern - Cool Whites
Cool whites with blue or grey undertones set the stage for the ideal modern palette. The trick to pulling off cool white room is by the use of texture. A cool backdrop throws any texture into high relief, bringing to life what otherwise can come off as uninviting. Natural textures including wood and stone coupled with rich textiles such as rope, wools and natural linens will look particularly lavish. For a sleeker design, the use of glass, mirror and metallics will naturally add depth and reflection, creating a look that is clean and contemporary. But be warned - basic accessories simply won’t work in an environment that is all white. Instead, opt for items that are particularly striking such as sculpture, larger pieces of artwork, and furniture with clean, straight lines
Recommended White: Great White, No. 2006 Farrow & Ball
Great White is anything but sterile - in fact, it’s a white with character. This white works best in rooms with a lot of natural light, particularly in the morning when fresh, warm tones peek in. Throughout the day it slightly changes its tone from all-white to not-quite-gray. Great White is the perfect backdrop for calming neutrals and dynamic pieces of art.
In the room below at a beautiful mic century modern home at La Jolla the BlueGrape designers used a blend of textures on a white palette, balancing delicately with the warm floors and cabinets..
Soothingly Restoring - Warm Whites
A color often found in our beach communities, warm whites will create a look that is naturally inviting, calming and relaxing. Generally better suited for rooms that receive a generous amount of sunlight, warm whites come to life when combined with natural textures including woolens, unglazed porcelains and marble. Vintage furnishings blend beautifully against a warm white backdrop, from eclectic mid-century modern to distressed or glazed pieces. Over-bleached pine or light oak floors will play upon the warmth of the white backdrop, creating an environment that exudes a sense of calmness and relaxation.
In the project below, we maintained the serenity and calmness the white backdrop provided to the living area.
Recommended White: Lily of the Valley, 905, Benjamin Moore
Lily of the Valley works beautifully in rooms that get a lot of light, but offers just enough lightness for rooms that need it. This white is also great for kitchens because it is slightly warmer than your standard kitchen white.
From refined modern to inviting warm rooms, white remains far from being boring or lacking in creativity. When used correctly and in the right setting, there really are no limits as to how you can use white. Easy to work with as it goes with every color imaginable, by combining the right textures and tones white can be the perfect backdrop for a sophisticated environment you maybe wouldn’t have thought possible.
Many of us have fond memories of holidays spent gathered around a decked out table in the formal dining room. More recently, in many of BlueGrape Staging's client’s households, the dining room is used significantly less than it was in years past, if at all. We attribute this to today’s changing social trends that have significantly altered the way we dine and entertain in our homes, leaving the dining room a ‘dead’ space for most of the year.
Partly out of necessity and partly by choice, the kitchen has become the central gathering place for family and friends alike. This previously off-limits area for guests has evolved into being the heart of the home and the choice of rooms for living, dining and entertaining. In fact, builders are creating larger kitchen and living room combinations, eliminating formal dining rooms entirely. However, if your home does have a dining room that isn’t getting as much use as you’d like, why not transform it into a space that fits your lifestyle? The following are just a few ideas to optimize the square footage of your home by repurposing the dining room.
Enlarging the Kitchen
Enlarging the kitchen will take some minor remodeling but is well worth the effort when the time comes to sell. By removing the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, you will gain extra square footage for the most used space in the house, the kitchen. Extending the cabinetry into what was the dining room will create an architecturally balanced and functional environment. Finally, furnish the room with a built-in banquette or, if the room is large enough, a comfortable seating area and media center and you’ve got the perfect open kitchen and family room combination.
Instead of using up all that space with a mahogany table that seats eight, picture it with a handsome desk placed near the center of the room, flanked with stylish office chairs. A room once frequently passed by can now be functional, but remain attractive. Adding built-in shelving will complete the picture, and when selling, the built-ins can easily be converted into china cabinets should the new owners want a dining room. For the few holidays that you do host large dinners, simply clear off the office supplies from the desk, add a table cloth and chairs and you are ready for a more formal affair.
In-Home Game Room
Encourage your kids to play board games as a family, or give into your partner’s long-standing desire for a pool table. Turning the dining room into a game room isn't all that impractical, and it’s easy to keep the room as dual purpose. When you're not entertaining, you can cover the dining table with a pad and it becomes a useful working and playing ground for a variety of activities. If you do purchase a pool table, there are inserts available that will turn your pool table into a true dining table for those special occasions.
Add a Library
Many of us have collections of books tucked away in boxes simply because there’s no place to display them. Repurposing your dining room as an in-home library is an easy yet elegant conversion. Start by having floor to ceiling bookshelves installed along several (or all four) walls, and add comfortable seating and lighting. For a more intimate retreat to indulge in your literary pursuits, consider closing off the room with doors. Since built-in shelving makes for a somewhat neutral backdrop, when the time comes to sell the room can easily be transformed back into a formal dining room should the new owners choose to do so.
Simply stated, home staging isn’t about concealing flaws but about showing a property in its best possible light. According to a recent survey from the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), professionally staged homes spent 72% less time on the market. One reason as to why the property typically sells faster is that buyers can almost effortlessly imagine themselves at „home” rather than merely in a cold, empty space. Buyers can see what a room really looks like, how it lives, and for challenging floor plans, as to how furniture can be arranged.
Yet another reason as to why home staging is worth the investment is that fact that 95% of home buyers look online either independently or with a licensed Real Estate agent. Online is where you make your first impression and where buyers make the decision whether to view the property or simply give it a pass. Your home will photograph better and will stand out among the listings to generate more buyer interest.
But what exactly does a certified home stager do? The following is only part of what we at BlueGrape Staging do to get your property ready to market:
The stager will inspect your home from top to bottom and detail what needs to be done to get it ready to sell. After discussing the possibilities during an initial consultation, thereafter you will be presented with a proposal outlining these recommendations and associated costs in order to come up with a plan of action.
Point out distinct ways to highlight your home’s best features and to overcome any challenging architectural shortcomings (angled or curved walls, odd window placement, etc.)
Once the contract is approved, you will set a date with the stager to get the property ready for the move-in. Generally taking anywhere from approximately 4-6 hours, the staging team will bring in on-trend furniture, artwork, rug(s), greenery, pillows, beds and sumptuous bedding, along with appropriate accessories.
Once the job is completed, your home will have been transformed from merely another empty space into a fashionable, stylish space in which buyers can see themselves living.
Although your home may already be decorated beautifully, note that interior design and home staging are completely different fields. Undoubtedly you love the way your decorating has turned out, it may not be the taste of all buyers. It takes the experience and objectivity of a stager to prepare the property for mass appeal, no matter their personal style, to engage as many buyers as possible.
The ultimate decision is yours, yet when it comes down to helping your home sell faster and, quite often, at a higher price, then what do you have to lose?
Pablo Picasso once said “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
There is so much more to artwork than just „pretty pictures.” It takes talent, imagination and vision to create a piece of art, no matter the medium. The finished result for us is the superb opportunity to behold a work of art that can foster the human spirit and bring forth untapped emotions and inner thoughts. Art, in short, brings people together, no matter their background or beliefs, and brings us in touch with our very selves.
Regrettably, the conventional image of the „starving artist” still takes hold to this very day. It is easy to overlook the exceptional talent that can be found in the not-yet-famous works of our San Diego based artists as we pass by their stalls at various events around town. Perhaps it seems easier to go the conventional route and buy pre-packaged, cookie-cutter retail art? One thing we should keep in mind though is that without local support, the art our regional talents create would cease to make the profound impact that is right before our eyes. By supporting them, we are actually supporting our very own creative freedoms. And on a personal level, what better way to update that troublesome spot over a fireplace or truly any room in your home than to have a beautiful, one of a kind piece?
My focus today is on a brilliant painter I had the pleasure of meeting last week, Sarah Roberson. Sarah hails from Oceanside and after having enjoyed a successful career in photography, in order to tap other creative talents, she enrolled in a painting course with her young son. It wasn’t long before Sarah realized she had found a new passion as well as a hidden talent. What I don’t think Sarah recognized right off is the impression her works make on us as viewers. Fluid, graceful, intense and complex, the colours and tones blend seamlessly, creating an image that often speaks to your very soul.
We here at BlueGrape Staging have had the pleasure of installing several of Sarah’s works in our staging projects and the feedback has been astounding. The pieces take on a new life when put in a beautiful room and in the end is the „jewelry” that makes a room complete.
For more information on Sarah and how you, too, can own one of her spectacular pieces, please visit:
Putting your home up for sale can be an emotional experience no matter if you’ve lived there for 20 years or just a short while. It almost goes without saying that you want your home to sell quickly and for the highest price possible and, as you probably know, staging is key. By making your property more appealing, studies show that buyers spend as much as 3 times more on a staged home. In addition, over 81% of buyers can visualize a staged home as their future home.
However, although an accredited and licensed stager can create that essential emotional draw for buyers, there is much you as the homeowner can do to prepare for staging. So, set the stage for success with these 4 tips and see fast results!
Get your House Sparkling Clean
One would think this to be a no-brainer, but you may be surprised how many properties we see that are far from clean. From sparkling windows to spotless, shiny floors, every surface should be as pristine as possible. If you have a large home, you may consider a professional service to tackle some of the tough areas as you prepare for your move. Secondly, don’t skimp on having carpets cleaned! There is no bigger drawback for a potential buyer than sullied carpets and you could easily lose that perfect offer.
Remove Draperies and Valences
Unless your curtains are tailored and completely neutral in color, let in the light and remove them! A bright, cheery room looks larger and is definitely more inviting.
Paint - A Neutral Palette
There’s no doubt those colorful walls looked great with your own furnishings, but now is not the time to experiment with fun hues! One of the biggest keys to getting your property sold and sold fast is by creating a neutral backdrop. However, you don’t have to go all white - choose sophisticated, mid-tone neutrals or soft, light grays to create freshness and a visual flow between rooms.
Boost the Curb Appeal, Including Balconies and Patios
From our experience, many buyers will refuse to enter a home based on drive-up, so make sure the exterior of your property is equally as inviting as your interior. Weed flower beds, remove dead foliage, and repair any stains or peeling paint. Adding a few potted plants or filling up flower boxes will make a huge difference and can even help you get a higher price. This also holds true for balconies and patios, so don’t neglect your other outside areas!
Do you perhaps have any helpful tips that have proven successful for you? Please let us know in the comments below!
Designer and Project Head, BlueGrape
When a vacant home is sitting on the market it could be one of many reasons. The primary ones are usually price, condition of the home including the presentation and the marketing.
Some of these factors are not in one's control, however many are and can be dealt with suitably. These include setting the right price, working with the right real estate agent who can market the home well, ensuring it reaches all potential buyers online and presenting the home to it's "full potential".
With 81% of buyers being able to visualize themselves in a staged home as per this NAR Survey, staging has direct benefits affecting a home sale.
For a vacant, empty home on the market here are FIVE SIGNS which imply it may be time to call in a professional stager or discuss staging with your agent.
When one lists a home, it is immediately competing with the other homes in the neighborhood. The home which stands out as the most well maintained, beautifully presented and priced right sells faster. If your empty vacant home hasn't sold but the competing ones are selling its time to re-evaluate your plan.
Sometimes, competing homes which are staged or owner occupied with fabulous inventory, showcasing how potential buyers can live, sell faster. Even an owner occupied home when presented well, kept clean, has an edge over an empty vacant home. This is because when buyers walk in to a vacant home they often spend only one third of the time they would in a furnished or staged home. The more time a buyer invests in your home more is the likelihood they will put it in their consideration set.
90% of buyers search online as they start their home buying process. If they see a vacant, empty room versus a room which shows the lifestyle the buyer aspires for, color and emotion which house will they choose to visit? Buyers work on emotion - which pictures will drive emotion?
Let's face it - showing empty, vacant rooms in pictures dramatically reduces the power of the Internet marketing plan. Your home pictures are the starting point of a home buyer's journey and determine whether he chooses to visit your home first or another or not visit it at all. Give a good look to your empty rooms pictures and imagine them all beautifully staged - then figure where showings could be maximized,
When a home has multiple showings it indicates buyers are putting it deeper in their serious consideration set. As I mentioned earlier It is easy for 81% of buyers to visualize a staged home as a future home. As they fall in love with the home first showings are followed by second. If your vacant empty property is having 'single showings' you can be rest assured buyers may be going back disappointed or your home is not getting on their shortlist.
Ask your real estate agent what is the feedback from buyers on the home. This is a starting point to see if there are flaws which the buyers sees but can be addressed. This is not the time to be emotional about whether they exist or not. Simply be objective and wear the "buyer's hat" while evaluating one's own home.
Here are some of the top problems, our team at BlueGrape Staging has often solved successfully with staging. A professional staging firm can help solve some of these:
1. Small Rooms - Staging makes rooms look bigger if done right by professional experienced stagers. Completing a bedroom with the bed, nightstands, lamps and art can miraculously make a bedroom look larger. In this one case, where the recurrent feedback the seller was getting was the bedroom was small, disappeared the minute buyers actually saw how well the bed fitted and still left so much space in the room.
"Buyers find it hard to visualize, staging does a "show and tell"
2. Dark rooms - Brightness and bringing in a fresh look, bringing in furniture, artwork, rugs and accents can help transform a dark room to a bright spread. Empty homes often look darker and lack perspective.
3. Layout and Flow - Experienced stagers create a natural flow of traffic and show how one can layout their rooms thus sometimes solving feedback on, 'I don't like the layout'
You may be trying to save money by keeping your home listed 'as is' but your carrying costs could be adding up and worrying you. From HOA fees to mortgage payments, taxes, utility bills, maintenance of a home on the market all these carrying costs add up each month. Sometimes sellers shy from an investment to present their home well staged. However in the long run this does not avoid the ever accumulating carrying costs. The truth is the cost of staging your home will always be lesser than your first price reduction.
If you see a few or all of these signs as part of your home sale it is time to call in a professional home stager and take an opinion. Ask questions and let them share a staging vision for the home. Here are some handy areas to consider if you are not sure about how does staging work.
The combined benefits of - a better presented home, showcasing a lifestyle visualization to the buyer coupled with the right marketing and pricing may help your home sell - faster and for better!
Pramiti is Co-founder at BlueGrape Staging, a leading home staging firm at San Diego known for its staging excellence in helping homes sell. Besides, this she is Vice President, RESA, San Diego (Real Estate Staging Association) a RESA Top 10 Rising Star Stager, loves all things design and Internet.
In the debate over what priority prepping the house needs before being listed on the market one of the areas considered often is - home staging.
In pure terms - staging is the prepping of the home (whether vacant or occupied) to create a final product that generates great demand at the right market price. The interplay of the demand generated by the attractiveness quotient helps market homes better and gets the best offers in the shortest time.
Many real estate agents nowadays have a staging firm as a part of their 'go to market teams' so to speak. We are grateful as San Diego home stagers for being part of the go to market team of many talented real estate agents. The partnership approach has seen much success for the agent, home seller, buyer and stager.
The Product - Marketing - Purchase cycle impact of home staging:
Now, here is the question, how should one position the value of staging to the home seller?
Here are 5 reasons home sellers should absolutely be aware of and points real estate agents can help sellers understand:
1. Home Staging is part of your marketing strategy
Let’s face the simple facts as I mentioned in an early article on the ABC of home staging – the home is the product. Staging and setting it up for the customer is part of your promotion and marketing. The customer has choices, the need as well as the buying power.
Will customers drool over and buy the empty and cold meal, cluttered and unappetizing meal or the perfectly warm, tantalizing meal made by a chef de cuisine?.
Believe me, when it comes to home buyers across budgets they are looking for the Chef de cuisine meal!
Whether the house is a starter home or a high-end luxury beach house it needs to create the lifestyle buyers aspire for and love.
2. Staging overcomes one's potential home flaws
Each home has strengths and maybe some weak areas to overcome. Dark rooms, tiny bedrooms, layout issues, dated fixtures. While sellers are sensitive to these areas, home stagers in a subtle captivating manner motivate them to wear the buyers hat and understand these areas. The truth is - the higher the price of the home, the more perfection buyers expect! Subtle weaknesses become reasons to believe the home is overpriced or decide not to consider it.
Professional home staging companies will make a note of all these weak areas, address what can be addressed, simultaneously enhancing the strengths. Statistically in the NAR Home Staging profile 2015 survey by realtors it was found 28% buyers overlook weaker home flaws post staging.
3. Creating the buying psychology at your home is vital.
Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman says that 95 percent of our purchase decision making takes place in the subconscious mind. Create the right buying psychology = generating a willing and able buyer!
Staging helps establish emotional connections. Buyers buy on emotion, make them fall in love with the home you generate demand.
3. Staging helps sell a home faster
That’s the truth. However here are stats - Staged homes sell 78% faster than unstaged homes. The acclaimed staging association, RESA, shared the findings in a survey which covered staged and unstaged homes.
4. Competition - Are you keeping up with the Joneses?
If competing homes for sale are staged, your home will lose out as it will be in the consideration set of fewer buyers. Buyers will want to visit and consider the more beautiful, well prepared homes in the neighborhood. It is better to understand this in the beginning rather than after days of the home sitting on the market. See live pictures of competition and deciding which homes will you visit!
5. Staging is an investment, not a cost
You invest thousands on your home and all the upgrades you have within it. Quality staging is an investment because it delivers returns with the home selling better and faster. 32% of buyers agents see staging adding 1-5% to home value and 16% see it adding 6-10%. All that when you invest 1-2% (and sometimes surprisingly lesser!) on home staging! Further staging is a tax-deductible expense, which can be shown in closing costs.
To Stage or not to Stage? The decision is easier when one evaluates all the steps systematically and wears a critical "buyers hat" while assessing your home and no other hat so to speak!