Category Archives: Home Staging

My Secret to Selling Homes Quickly

As a real estate agent in Austin, Texas, I am committed selling my clients’ homes quickly, in fact my track record is 39 times faster than the market average.  What’s my secret?  I stage homes using the principles of the eastern art of Feng Shui.  Using Feng Shui creates irresistible emotional appeal.  When buyers connect to a home on an emotional level they are more likely to buy it.

Feng Shui involves creating balance in one’s environment. Every aspect of a room affects the way you feel in the space.  Colors, shapes, lighting, and furniture arrangement work together to create a harmonious feeling or conflict with each other to create a feeling of unease.  When buyers feel comfortable and relaxed they connect to a space.  Feng Shui helps balance energy so the space not only looks appealing, but offers a sense of comfort.  I refer to it as the “Ahh! Factor.” 

My company, Balanced Living Properties has become successful by incorporating Feng Shui principles to create a unique model for the business of buying and selling property.

Before putting a client’s home on the market, I stage it.  I emphasize its attributes by arranging furniture, adding color, and creating  good flow.  I showcase the home’s potential, allowing buyers to envision their dream home.

Feng Shui  puts people at ease in their environment.

 Oprah Winfrey employs her own personal Feng Shui Consultant. Major corporations such as Microsoft, Citibank, Chase Manhattan, Hyatt Hotels, CNN, ABC, IBM, Boeing, ATT, Disney and Trump have also been finding the ancient Chinese theories about flow and aesthetics of space to bring them success.

In fact, Hong Kong Disneyland‘s main gate and entrance was positioned in a north/south direction for good luck based on the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui.

Donald Trump said, “I don’t have to believe in Feng Shui, I do it because it works.” 

Balanced Living Properties takes a heart-centered approach to working with buyers and sellers, creating win-win-win scenarios and transactions grounded on goodwill.  Find more information at www.balancedlivingproperties.com.

Home Staging 101 – 10 Staging Mistakes when Selling Your Home

Home selling is a science these days. In order to navigate the process wisely, take note of the following home-selling “don’ts.”  Homes that look great and are priced right will sell quicker than other homes on the market.

 1- Don’t allow the furniture arrangement to block room flow. Awkward furniture placement can make a room feel smaller than it is. Remember that several people will be in your home at the same time when viewing it.

2- Don’t overlook the front door. It’s vitally important to make a great first impression. Clean or paint the door, polish the hardware, and illuminate the entry area. Make sure your house numbers are fresh and appealing.

 3- Don’t use highly scented room fresheners. Instead, move to an odorless home or use natural air fresheners like fresh flowers, cut-up fruit, cinnamon, or fresh-baked bread.  People wonder what heavy fresheners are covering up.  Don’t forget that you can bake refrigerated rolls or cinnamon buns minutes before a showing.

 4- Don’t assume all home stagers are the same. Every one brings their own personality and natural abilities into staging. Look at their portfolio.

 5- Don’t show the home when it’s not in tip-top showing condition. You only have one chance to make a great first impression.

6- Don’t paint walls sterile white. If you’re going to repaint, use a color that is more appealing to buyers.  Warmer whites and warm beiges add life to walls.

 7- Don’t use quick fixes that have the possibility of breaking when  buyers are in the home.  Buyers will take it as a signal that there may be other things that aren’t what they appear to be.

 8- Don’t remove all your personal photos. Leave two or three out. Buyers like to see happy faces of the owners of the house.

 9- Don’t forget that selling a home happens via two factors: Asking Price and Condition. You must lower your sales price to meet what the market dictates. Buyers aren’t concerned with how much money you spent on it if they feel like they’re not getting value.

10. Don’t wait to lower your sales price. It’s best to move on to your next home and get your new life started.  Trust that this is a benevolent universe and you will be okay financially even if you lose money on the home.  Stress builds up during the showing process. What price would you put on good health and serenity for your family?

10 Decorating Do’s when Selling Your Home

In today’s post “real estate bubble” housing market, attention to details sell a home. Homes that look great sell quicker. The fresher your home looks, the more it appeals to buyers.

10 Do’s

1- Purchase the best quality carpet pad which makes any grade of  carpeting “cushy.” Buyers will feel great when walking on it.

2- Take the time to paint walls, trim and ceilings that are dingy.  Keeping adjoining rooms in the same color palette makes your home feel larger and flow easier. Neutral colors like warm white or warm beige are the best to use. I always recommend Barely Beige by Benjamin Moore.

 3- Slipcover mismatched furniture in a room that isn’t unified. Remember, the items in a room should relate to each through color, style, proportion, and pattern. If a room feels uncomfortable to you or “off” it’s going to feel uncomfortable to buyers as well.

 4- Test all door and cabinet knobs. Replace mismatched or inexpensive hardware for a quick update.

 5- Let the sun shine in. Natural lighting is a huge selling point and can overcome other issues with the home. Heavy drapes are in the minority.

 6- Freshen up closets with closet organizers to maximize storage space. Make sure that buyers can see the back of closets and pantries.

 7- Consider the appropriate level for finishes in kitchens and bathrooms. Buyers in mid-priced neighborhoods aren’t looking for high-end finishes.

8-Clean every surface until it shines.  Windows are important- no streaks! Consider investing in a professional window cleaning service to get the best results.

 9- Edit furniture and accessories in each room. Less is more.  Buyers want to see the home’s bones and not so much of your decorating personality.

 10- Install new light switch-plates Worn or out-of-date covers lack attention to detail.

 Next time…10 Don’ts! when selling your home.

Home Staging 101- Creating an Appealing Atmosphere

Home Staging is marketing. Staging allows buyers to see your home in its best light.  The most effective staging allows buyers to emotionally connect with your house and most importantly, see themselves living there.  Creating an appealing atmosphere in each room and in the home as a whole is vital to leaving buyers with a great impression.

Create atmosphere by paying attention to the details.  Important details include lighting, furniture arrangement, colors, artwork, accessories, sound and smell.  The details in each room should induce buyers to want to linger in the room.  Make sure the room is well-lit and welcoming so buyers will be drawn in. The longer buyers spend in your house, the better the chances that they’ll feel comfortable in it which ultimately leads to a sale.

Three Home Staging Essentials:

I. Accentuate the positive. Ensure that you’ve done all you can to call attention to the areas in your home that are special. Positive features can include windows with views of nature, an outdoor deck, or a gorgeous master bathroom. Accentuating the positive also takes the focus off areas that aren’t so great and will keep buyers excited about what is.

II. Create atmosphere in each area. Use strategically placed, high quality, beautiful items to help buyers envision themselves in the space.  The things you use should be comparable to the sales price of the home. Add items that will spark buyer’s imagination.  Helping buyers see themselves in the home is the key to selling your home.  

If You Have A Great View or Lots of Windows:

1. Create a relaxed. contemplative atmosphere.

2. Make sure the windows are very clean.

3. Keep draperies or blinds open as much as practical.

4. Create a reading nook next to the windows or a window seat.

5. Put something whimsical or beautiful outside like a bird bath or wind chimes.

 If You Have an Appealing Outdoor Deck:

1. Create an atmosphere of fun and excitement.

2. Keep the deck swept and clean.

3. Ensure patio furniture looks fresh.

4. Add colorful cushions to furniture.

5. Add an outdoor area rug or two.

6. Create a conversation area.

7. Place new cooking utensils near the grill, hang a chef’s apron nearby.

If You Have a Spacious Master Bath:

1. Create a relaxing atmosphere.

2. Add luxurious towels to create a spa-like feeling.

3. Add candles around the tub.

4. Add a new container of bubble bath and moisturizer(s)- don’t use anything that’s half-used.

5. Add one or two high-quality soap bas and an orchid or two.

6. Place travel magazines around the tub or on a table if the space permits.

III. Don’t overdo it. Don’t take the focus off the wonderful attributes of each area with too much stuff.  Balance is the key!

I’d enjoy hearing your comments or feedback…..

Eight Clutter Clearing Tips You Can Start Today

Use the vibrancy of Spring as motivation for cleaning, organizing, and de-cluttering your home or office. If you’re like me, you may put off de-cluttering your desk or organizing an over-stuffed junk drawer for as long as possible. Then, when I finally do it, I feel energized and happy.  I wonder why I waited so long.  Every client I’ve worked with has reported feeling more energetic after decluttering, and happier with the way things look and feel.

Here are Eight Tips to Help You Get Started:

1. Decluttering Your Closet.  If your bedroom closet is packed with stuff and you can’t see much of the floor, it’s time to declutter. According to Feng Shui, having too much stuff in your closet keeps you blocked from opportunities. And it just feels better when look at an organized closet.  Saves you time and stress getting dressed too!

First, make three piles of things – Yes!’s, No’s and Maybe’s. The Yes!’s will be things that you can eliminate today.  The Maybe’s will be things that you think you’ll eventually give away.  And the No’s will be things that you want to keep.  Revisit the Maybe’s every so often or until you get tired of  looking at the items. Gradually move the Maybes to the Yes!’s  Whenever you feel that you can give away something, do it immediately. The goal is to have a closet full of things that you want and will use regularly and not full of things that you haven’t worn in years.  Make it a tradition to do this at least once a year.

2. Kitchen Pantry. If every time you open the pantry you think “I really need to organize this” it’s draining your energy.  Instead, schedule a block of time and clean it out – or start simply with just one small area in the pantry and do another part tomorrow.

3. Desk Drawers. It’s easy to build clutter here.  Remember that if you can’t find what you need easily, it negatively affects your peace of mind. Try to discard unneeded items consistently throughout the year.  If you’ve got junk drawer, shedule thirty minutes for the initial clean-out, and extend the time if you need to.

4. Computer Clutter. Don’t forget to clear out the clutter in your computer…emails, old documents, old applications.  Again, start in small increments of time like 15 or 30 minutes. You may be surprised at how much you can discard in just a few minutes.

5. Refrigerator. Clean out your fridge regularly and it won’t turn into a big project when you don’t clean it for a while. I recommend setting a specific day each month like the 1st or the 6th and take just a few minutes to clean it.

6. Kid’s Rooms.  Model conscious stewardship for your children.  You can give your kids the gift of loving themselves for who they are and not what they have. Don’t allow toys to take over your home. Every few months, ask your kids to find things that they can give away to children that don’t as much.  Guide  them in the experience that giving feels good.

7. Break projects into manageable pieces. Simply say work for 30 or 50 minutes on whatever project most inspires you then stop until the next time.

8. At the beginning of each month, find at least three things in your home that you can give to friends, donate, or throw away. Then do it!  Make it a game. For motivation remember that as you create space in your home new opportunities will be drawn to you.  Remember the adage, “Nature abhors a vacuum.”

Home Staging 101 – Fresh Staging Ideas that Work

If you’re selling your home you need tools to present the best product possible. Attention to every detail is crucial if you want to sell your home quickly and for potentially higher profit.  You need home staging that goes beyond cleaning windows and putting out a welcome mat.

Home Staging is marketing. It’s about detaching from your home so that buyers can see themselves living there. In order to appeal to the most home buyers, you’ve got to de-personalize your home and present it in an appealing manner.

Picture this: You need to buy an automobile. You found the model you liked but when you went to see the car it had bumper stickers on it that you didn’t agree with, baby’s toys in the backseat, and fast food wrappers (from a restaurant you disliked) on the floorboard. Would you be drawn to that auto? The same principle applies in selling a home. 

Ten Fresh Staging Ideas that Work

1 – Make sure there are no visible nicks on your furniture, especially in the living room, master bedroom, and entryway. Paint or replace it if so.

2 – Outdoor furniture should be as appealing as indoor furniture. Repaint, clean and/or replace worn-out cushions as needed.

3 – Remove all family photos except two or three. Buyers like to see who they’re buying the home from and if they see a happy photo of your family, they’ll feel more confident that they’ll be happy in the home.  But too many photos will make the home feel like “your” home and buyers won’t see themselves in it.

4 – Ensure the first thing a buyer sees when they open the front door is high-quality, in good repair, and colorful. Fresh flowers are good -droopy plants with brown edges aren’t.  Place your most appealing artwork, rug(s), and/or furniture here.

5 – A few potted plants around the house is good as long as they are trimmed – no unruly ivy! Plants must be healthy.  No plastic pots either – transplant them to ceramic pots.

6 – Remove all outdoor flags. Many of my clients have resistance to doing this. “It’s the American flag after all!”  Remember, you don’t want to cause a negative reaction in buyers. Some home buyers may have judgment about home owners that fly a flag outside. And some buyers may have a judgment about flying a particular flag outside.  Why risk it?

7 – Don’t display too much of one thing. If you love cats and have a lot of cat memorabilia remember that not all buyers will have a positive reaction when they look at cats. Limit memorabilia to one item in each room, three items total throughout the house.

8 – Ensure every bed in the house has lots of pillows on it. Ideally, each bed should have two rows of pillows and a decorative pillow in the middle.

9 – If your garage is the messiest area of the home, warn buyers by placing an attractive note card on the garage door saying “Please overlook the mess, we’re getting ready to move!” or something similar. Prepare them.  Avoid giving buyers any negative surprises.

10 – Place candy or sweet treats for buyers in large bowls and make sure to refill before buyers arrive. You want to create a feeling of abundance and comfort.

Need personalize help? I offer Long Distance Staging Consults which are remarkably effective!  Check my website at Feel Good Home Design.

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.