Tag Archives: home seller

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?

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.

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.

Home Staging 101 – Five Powerful Tips

Selling your home? If you look at it as product for sale and not as your home, you’re more likely sell it quickly and profitably.  Why?  Because you’ll be able to detach from thinking of it as yours.  You can then remove personal items and arrange your home to attract the widest amount of buyers.  And don’t worry, you can bring all the great memories and personal items to your next home! 

The key to effective staging is for you to detach from thinking of your home as your home and instead think of it as a product to be sold.

Here are Five Powerful Home Staging/Decorating Tips:

1-   Walk up to your front door.  Open it. What’s the first thing you see?  That’s what prospective buyers will see when they open the door.  It’s their first impression.  It can’t be changed.  Make sure what you see is not cracked, crooked, worn, smelly, dirty, or personal.  In other words, no chipped paint, ill-placed artwork,  tattered carpet, flowers in need of a water change, smudges on the mirror, or photos of your last family reunion.

2-   How much natural light does your home have?  Homes with lots of natural light sell quicker and at a higher price because people feel more energized and comfortable in the space.  Make sure that all window treatments are open except if there’s an obvious unsightly scene outside.  Turn on all the lights when you have a showing but avoid using flourescent lights unless you don’t have other options.  If you’ve got a dark house you create more light by painting the interior walls yellow, cream or beige.  And remove all clutter and superfluous furniture.  Add accessories in these colors:  red, bright orange and yellow. If it’s practical, install sky tubes which allow natural light from above and are less expensive than sky lights.

3-   Can you navigate easily through rooms and hallways?  The furniture arrangement in each room must allow for lots of room and for ease when walking through the space.  Remember that buyers are going to check out every room and will usually open closets.  Make sure it’s easy for them to get there.  You may have to rearrange furniture, but do what you need to in order create a good traffic flow through the space.

4-   By now most people know that personal family photos should not be on display when showing your home.  But that’s not all.  Remove animal skulls, deer antlers, animal-skin rugs, bones, mounted fish, photos of mounted fish, and anything else that’s no longer with us.  You don’t want to turn off anyone that has an aversion to these type of dead things.  Also trophies, swords, knives, and aggressive images are best removed.  Conversely, religious icons should be put away prior to showing your home.  You don’t want to limit buyers who may have judgments against certain religions.

5-   In each room, look up and look down, open all closets and cabinets and assess the dirt situation. Then clean, scrub, vacuum, polish, dust, wipe, sweep, and deodorize as necessary.  No time?  Hire a cleaning service to do it for you.  It’s very important that buyers feel immediately comfortable in the house.  Picture yourself  checking into a hotel and finding dust bunnies under the bed or fingerprints on the mirror.  It leaves a bad impression and you don’t feel comfortable.  The same principle applies here.

Good luck with selling your home and remember that these tips can be used even if you’re not selling your home.  They’re good Feng Shui!

Home Staging 101 – Paying Attention to Outside Details Pays Off

Selling your home?  To enjoy the highest price and the quickest sale possible remember that every detail of your home’s appearance is important.  Buyers are possibly making the biggest investment they’ll ever make.  They want to make sure they’re making a good choice.  The key to creating an appealing home is to pay attention to every detail.  If you’re not typically detail-oriented and haven’t noticed things like cobwebs in the corner of your front porch or chipped paint on a door frame, you’ll benefit from getting another pair of eyes to help you.  Sometimes we’re simply not able to see all the flaws a buyer might notice.

The most important thing to remember is that you only have one chance to make a good impression.  Once an impression is made and first impressions are made within seconds the buyer will either be excited about the house or will be hesitant.

The very first impression a buyer gets is driving up to your home and walking to the front door.  Here are ten important details to address outside your home:

1- The yard needs to be in pristine condition.  This means grass mowed, flower beds weeded, and all dead plants removed or cut down.

2- If your home needs exterior painting, get it painted.  If you have a wood deck, get it power washed.  Clean your gutters. Certain types of roofs can be power washed.

3- Whether your mailbox is on the street or on your front porch, ensure that it’s clean.  Replace it if it’s old and worn.  Don’t leave your mail in sight waiting to be picked up. Buyers need to be able to see themselves in the home and if they see your  mail it may hinder their vision.

4- Regardless of the size of your yard make sure that the front of the house has color.  The best colors to perk interest are fire colors – red, orange, purple, and pink.  Add color by planting flowers in beds and in pots placed on either side of the front door.  Ensure the pots are look new. 

5- Clean your front door thoroughly.  Consider changing the hardware and kick-plate if they are tired-looking.

6- Place a thick, colorful welcoming door mat outside the front door.  It needs to be in perfect condition.  Fire colors in the mat are helpful – especially if your front door is beaten-up.  The doormat will divert a buyer’s attention from the door.  Avoid personalized doormats.  Remember that you’re trying to appeal to all buyers and if you have a mat with an expression like “Wipe Your Paws” you may turn off people that don’t like pets. 

7- If space allows, create a vignette with patio furniture or add a porch swing to help buyers imagine themselves sitting outside. Remove any patio furniture that isn’t in mint condition.  Oftentimes, patio furniture can be spray painted to look fresh.

8- Clean the windows and sweep the front porch.

9- A winding pathway to the street is the most desirable but if you have a straight path to the front door put potted plants on either side or plant flowers on either side to create more of a natural feel.

10- If practical, place a fountain in the front yard or by the front door to add energy, character, and a sense of peacefulness.  One of the easiest ways to is to buy a bubbling fountain in a large ceramic pot and place convenient to an outdoor electrical outlet.

And if you’re not selling a home, use these ideas to improve your enjoyment of your home while you’re living in it!

Home Staging 101 – Good Smells Sell Homes

One of the most common and costly mistakes you can make when selling your home is not paying attention to the smells in your home.  When a prospective buyer opens the front door, they’ll be hit with your home’s unique odors.  They’ll form a first impression based on whether they experience a pleasing smell, or if something immediately turns them off.  The importance of smell can’t be underestimated because it’s nearly impossible to change a first impression.

Here are 7 Important Staging Guidelines to Help you Sell your Home Quickly:

1.  Don’t try to cover-up odors, instead, do all you can to reduce them.  Buyers are generally turned-off by strong air fresheners and if you don’t remove the offending odor, they’ll not only smell it but they’ll also smell the room freshener.  Double trouble!

2. Take out the trash often.  Even if the trashcan is hidden under the sink or in a closet, it’s best to simply keep the trash empty when showing your home. 

3. If you smoke inside the house stop, start smoking outside only.  Non-smokers immediately pick up on cigarette smoke.  If you’ve got years of built-up smoke you may need to re-paint, clean the carpet and drapes, and clean the air-ducts.  And open the windows for several hours to dispel energy and clean the air.

 4.  Don’t cook before a buyer comes to see your home because cooking odors can linger and will create a reaction.  You don’t want to risk the buyer having a negative reaction.  The only exception is baking bread or pastry – which is a terrific way to enhance a buyer’s experience of your home.

 5.  The best air fresheners to use are those with natural scents like citrus or spices like vanilla and cinnamon.

 6.   To keep things natural-smelling you can heat cinnamon sticks in boiling water before a showing.  Also, cut up oranges, lemons or limes and place them in a bowl in the kitchen.

 7.  Wash your pet often.  Keep pet bedding clean and diligently clean any “messes” that may have occurred between showings.

 Best Wishes for a quick and profitable sale!

My Job is to Help Home Sellers and Now I am One.

Buy our home in Austin!

We decided to be proactive about our finances and decided that selling our home was the best solution to our current economic state.  My partner David never really felt like our three-year old home was “home.”   I did, but I also succumbed to the facts about how much money we were spending versus how much we were earning.  In light of the recent real estate downmarket it seemed like in an instant we went from having lots of business to almost no business.  I’d been hearing about how bad things were in other places and how little business other Realtors®  had but that was not our situation at all until it was our situation.  Along with last year’s dramatic stock market losses we suddenly found ourselves in a pickle neither of us planned for.

It was a  tough two weeks of physical labor and 15-hour days spent decluttering, moving furniture, cleaning, packing, and even holding a garage sale (which I vow never to do again) to ensure that our home was balanced, beautiful, and shining.  As the echo of  the mantra I use with clients rang in my ears….you only have ten seconds to create a great first impression, I looked for every detail in my home that I could improve upon.  Since my job is selling other people’s homes and staging them using Feng Shui, I wanted to use every staging idea I had and implement every Feng Shui treatment I knew.

That part is done.  Our home went on the market four days ago.  I expected to have at least one call by now but it’s been very quiet. Looks like we’ll get to experience first-had what other sellers in Austin and lots of places are seeing which is a scarcity of buyers.  Hmm… maybe tomorrow?  Now my mantra is… it only takes one person to buy your home.   I’ll keep you posted.

Sell your home by creating soul.

Getting ready to sell your Home?  

Imagine yourself in an un-furnished home with white walls, beige carpet, and little or no color.  Does it feel sterile and soul-less to you?  Contrast this with a place you feel comfortable in – with color, interesting decór, and light.  By using Feng Shui Home Staging techniques to prepare your home for selling you’ll create a space that feels comfortable, looks balanced and appealing, and has a intagible feel which I call “soul.”   People, most importantly, potential buyers, will inevitably feel more comfortable in a space with soul and this translates into a sale. 

Feng Shui Home Staging Techniques can help create comfort and appeal and help your home look and feel different than the competition.  What is Home Staging? Staging is marketing. It’s a way of arranging a house into a product that can be marketed and sold. Effective staging helps a home appeal to the broadest possible audience.  Staging sells homes in less time than un-staged homes and helps maximize your profit.  See more about home staging at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_staging


What is Feng Shui?  It’s a time-tested discipline with specific guidelines involving geographical, psychological, philosophical, mathematical, aesthetic and astrological concepts in relation to living space and energy flow. In short, Feng Shui works to put people at ease in their environment and helps balance energy so that the space not only looks appealing, but offers a sense of comfort.  See more about Feng Shui at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feng Shui


When these two disciplines are applied correctly a visually appealing and comfortable space emerges.  A home with soul!  It may feel so good that you don’t want to leave!


My home looked so good after Elizabeth and her team finished staging it that I didn’t want to move!  S. Pearce, Central Austin