Monthly Archives: August 2010

Eight Easily-Avoidable Home Staging Mistakes

I think most home sellers agree that they can’t afford to lose potential buyers in this competitive real estate market.  So, if you’re a home seller, are you ready to do whatever it takes to ensure that your home appeals to the most people possible? Remember, buyers automatically looking for reasons not to buy your home, so it’s in your best interest to avoid giving them reasons!  The quicker your home sells, the more money you can put in your pocket.

Common Mistakes You Can Avoid When Staging Your Home

1.  Not keeping the porch area around the front door clean, colorful and uplifting.  This means you’ve got to sweep debris daily.  Remove any flowerpots that don’t have vibrant flowers or plants in them.  And get a new colorful (but not personal!) heavy-weight front door mat.  A buyer’s initial impression starts before they even enter your home.

 2.  Ensuring that there aren’t any missing lightbulbs in light fixtures and that all bulb work.  Even one burnt out-bulb can signal, in a buyer’s mind, the idea of the home needing repairs. 

 3.  Not removing old hangers or other miscellaneous items from closets.  These personal items negate a buyer’s important need to be able to imagine themselves in the home.

 4.  Not paying attention to odors in every room.  Your home shouldn’t have any odor unless it’s a light scent of something neutral.  My personal favorites are baking pastry dough or cinnamon.  Even if you’ve moved the kitty litter into a discrete corner of a guest bathroom, you’ve got to make sure that there is no odor associated with it when people enter the bathroom.  Any negative odor will add to a buyer’s list of negatives regarding your home and will make it harder to sell.  Perhaps a buyer with cats will look past the odor, but do you really want to take that chance?

 5.  Replacing all old and tired-looking tissue boxes with new, colorful boxes.  There’s a wide range of wonderful options that can add life and energy to a room.

 6.  Not replacing almost-empty toilet tissue rolls and paper towel rolls before a showing.  Having full, fresh rolls of paper products gives buyers a feel of abundance and not depletion. 

 7.  Not removing books or publications that can evoke negative emotions in buyers.  Although (theoretically) buyers are supposed to over-look a seller’s personal items, it’s could be hard for some people to look past the National Rifle Association Magazine they saw on your coffee table or the book  entitled “A hundred reasons that Republicans are better than Democrats” on your bookshelf.

8.  Not removing and storing all stuffed animal heads, stuffed birds, animal skulls, swords, guns, and the like.  Oftentimes, I’ve walked into a well-appointed home and found a prominent display of hunting “treasures” throughout the home.  These may cause happy energy in the home owner but lots of home buyers may have a negative opinion of such a display.

How Healthy is Your Home?

Let’s face it.  From the moment you leave your driveway each morning, you are likely to encounter stressful situations.  Whether it’s trying to find the shortest line in the grocery store, interacting with co-workers, or just trying to find a parking space, stress can affect you if you’re not able to cope with it effectively. 

Increasingly, our society is experiencing anxiety, allergies, depression and fatigue. Now, more than ever before, your home needs to be your sanctuary.  You need to feel comforted and supported in your home as well as inspired to step out and make your unique contribution in the world.

Unfortunately, many of us feel depleting energy connected to our homes that leaves us feeling tired with recurrent illnesses, long term poor health, and relationship or financial issues.

The level of pollution in our homes can be high, both from the chemicals used in the household and on our carpets and furniture but also from the electro smog from the computers, wi-fi and mobile phones we use. All of these contribute to a lowering of our immune systems leading to a reduction in our vitality and zest for life.

If you’ve got a lot of clutter in your home, if your furnishings don’t inspire you, or if you just don’t feel comfortable with the way your home feels, creating a healthier home can change your life. 

Homes not only hold the patterns of our own thinking and experience of life but also can be affected by the experiences of those who have lived there before and the history of land on which they are built.

The health of your home consists of:

  1. The land it’s built on.
  2. The materials used to construct your house.
  3. The floor plan and amount of natural light in your home.
  4. The décor and furnishings.
  5. The amount of clutter you have.
  6. The emotional energy stored in the home from you and from the past residents. (Were past residents happy and healthy in the home?  Why did they move?)
  7. Household products you use.
  8. Electro-magnetic energy.

If you experience headaches, low energy, depression, stress, anxiety, allergies, digestive problems or have long term health issues such as chronic fatigue cancer you can help your health by making  positive changes in your home.

Removing toxicity, redecorating your home, and creating better energy flow by removing clutter can make a significant improvement to your health, but also your wealth and relationships.  If you’ve got questions about how to make your home healthier, please leave me a comment.  I’d be happy to help!

Home Selling 101- Does your Home Staging have Soul?

If it’s taking longer than you expected to sell your home the truth of the matter is that your home is either overpriced or it doesn’t stand out in comparison to the competition.   Both home sellers and real estate professionals are employing extra home selling help by hiring a Home Stager to give them every advantage in the current real estate market.   

Home Staging has become a familiar term.  It means arranging your home in a de-personalized and visually appealing manner.  The problem I’ve seen with a number of staged homes is that they look over decorated and contrived.  Simply put, they don’t have soul.

When you’re selling your home remember that it’s a product.  As a product, you must position it in the real estate market to appeal to the broadest number of buyers in order to get a timely sale and high offer.  Buyers base their decision to buy on three main things:

1- Price     2-Location     3-How they Feel in the Home

If you haven’t gotten an offer after eight showings and your home is competitively priced, odds are that your home is lacking soul. 

Soul is – The quality that arouses emotion and sentiment according to Webster’s Dictionary

Buying a home is an emotional decision.  The way that a buyer feels in your home is key to selling your home.  The secret to really great home staging is being able to create soul.

How you ask?  By creating a warm and comfortable atmosphere.  An atmosphere that a buyer feels relaxed in.  Your home should look like a model home or a pricey hotel room, but with more warmth.  Attention to every detail is vital!  You can usually find good examples of soulful rooms in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine and O magazine.   

Why bother staging if you’re not able to trigger an emotional response from a potential buyer?  If buyers don’t get the warm, fuzzy feeling that they need in order to commit to buying your home you won’t be able to sell it or you’ll have to lower your price beyond your comfort level.

Ways to Add Soul:

1- Don’t paint everything white!  If you’re going to re-paint, pick warm beige like Benjamin Moore’s Barely Beige or a light creamy yellow.

2- Add fire and earth colors where you can.  Adding decorative pillows, throw blankets, artwork, and area rugs in fire and earth colors are a great way to add coziness.  Earth and fire colors are beige, yellow, red, terracotta, and orange.

 3- Add visually stimulating patterns in the accessories like swirls, waves, and diagonal lines. 

4- Add whimsical touches like a teddy bear in a rocking chair or a plaque with a cheery sentiment like “Happy.”

5- Add soft table lighting where possible and don’t use flourescent lights.

6- Play smooth jazz or other soothing music when you have showings.

7- Avoid placing too many silk plants around your home.  I’ve seen lots of sellers with lots of silk plants on the top of the cabinets which look too staged.

8- A soulful scent like cinnamon or bread baking is perfect when showing a home.  Pop some instant pastries into the oven and bake 30 minutes before a showing. 

9- Place things that can create positive emotions in buyers like cheerful table settings, a welcoming front door mat, whimsical switch plate covers and fresh flowers or a small herb garden in a special area.

10- Create vignettes in the master bedroom, kitchen, and outdoor seating areas which perk a buyer’s imagination.  For example, create a spa-feeling in the master bath, an incredibly comfy looking bed, accoutrements for a gourmet kitchen and a remarkably cozy outdoor lounging area with magazines and a small bubbling fountain.

For More Information or Questions about Home Staging, please email me elizabeth@designforprosperity or leave a reply here.