Tag Archives: real estate market

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.

Six Feng Shui Home Staging Secrets for Adding Irresistible Appeal when Selling your Home.

If you’re selling your home in the current real estate market whether here in Austin Texas or another part of the country, the more you do to make it stand out from other homes on the market, the better.  More than selling four walls and roof, you are selling the possibility of a more fulfilling, inspired life.  Attention to detail is crucial in creating warmth and coziness, which creates comfort in the buyer.   Here are six relatively inexpensive things I do when preparing a client’s home for sale based on the principles of Feng Shui.

1- Place new flower pots with colorful flowers on each side of the front door and flower boxes on the porch (if practical).  Buyers are going to form the very important first-impression before they even walk into your home.  There’s no way to change a first impression.  Ensure that everything they see on the way inside your home looks healthy and pretty.

2 – Create a seating area on the porch with a chair (or two) and a table, an outdoor rug, and colorful seat cushions.  For a little extra effort, hang a porch-swing.  Creating a sitting area creates instant comfort and allows buyers to imagine relaxing on the porch.   It’s important to create areas that lend themselves to a buyer’s imagination. 

3- Buy a new, colorful, heavy-weight front door mat.  The front door is important and nothing says “I’m not a well-cared for home” more than an old and faded doormat.

4- Install a few upgraded outlet covers in high visibility areas.  You’ll add instant  charm and character with a sophisticated or whimsical electrical switch outlet.  It gives the impression of extra care you’ve taken with your home and it gives your home unique appeal.

5- Place magazines like Architectural Digest, Dwell, and Gourmet on your bed or on an outdoor seating area.  Publications associated with home or relaxing are best (travel magazines are great too) in order to create an idea of relaxing and creating a more fulfilling life. 

Buyers aren’t just buying a home, they are buying the dream of a creating a happier life.

6- Place an accessory with an uplifting saying on it where buyers can see it.  I’ve used river rocks that say “patience” and “trust,” a wood cut-out that says “happiness” and a plaque that says “love is spoken here.”  Adding nurturing sentiments can trigger a buyer’s feeling of relaxation and okay-ness.  When a buyer feels relaxed and inspired in a house, they are much more likely to buy it.

Staging Your Home Gives You a Powerful Advantage

What is home staging? Staging is marketing. It is a proven technique that turns a home into a product that can be marketed and sold. It transforms a home to appeal to the broadest possible audience to generate the greatest possible interest from buyers. Staging sells homes in less time than the un-staged competition and helps maximize your equity.

Why stage your home?

  • Allows you to get your home sold quickly.
  • Maximizes your selling price.
  • Reduces the amount of showings.
  • Minimizes your stress.

A home’s condition will dictate the selling price. It’s quite simple – show your home in its best light at a higher sales price or lower the price and lessen the improvements done to home.  Staging gives you a powerful advantage.  An essential part of selling your home is preparing it for sale, yet this is frequently overlooked or not done correctly.  Quite simply, homes that are appealing sell quicker and for more money than homes that don’t have that “wow” factor.  The better a home looks, the easier it is to sell. 

Here’s what people say about staging:

“Statistics report that while most homes take more than 30 days to sell, staged homes average about 13 days on the market and sell for about 6 percent over list price.” 

Fort Worth Star Telegram, June 2004.


 “Staging speeds up sales in a sluggish market, and can bump up prices 2% to 10% in a moderate market. The biggest advantage occurs with luxury homes or in a market with bidding wars over properties, where effective staging can boost prices by 30% to 50%”.

Wall Street Journal, April 30 2003.


 Valerie Torelli, broker/owner of Torelli Realty in Costa Mesa, Calif., has been staging homes since 1991. “I have five seconds to sell a home five seconds to make an impact on the buyers when they first walk in the door,” said Torelli. “Staging ensures that that impact is a good and lasting one.”

Realtor Magazine, April 2003.


 The better impression your house makes on buyers, the closer you will be to making a sale.   Properties that are staged with a flair showcase a home are the type buyers get excited about the moment they drive up.

-Roger Sturgell, Chairman of the Austin Board of Realtors, Austin American-Statesman, 2005

Getting Real when Selling your Home.

Sold SignHome Sellers in the current Austin real estate market are having to face the reality of a market that’s great for buyers, but difficult for sellers.  Homes are selling, but the sales prices are lower than in previous years.  I’m in the unique position of being a Realtor® and selling my own home so I can relate to the challenges my clients are facing.

The things I recently accepted about my own selling situation were:  improvements I put in weren’t valued as much as I thought they were going to be; I was not going to realize the profit anticipated when I bought the home; and recent sales in the neighborhood indicated a down-shifting market so my sales price had to be in line with comparable properties.

For me, and any home seller right now, ignoring the following facts will only add to your stress of selling and will probably delay getting it sold.

  • First, I had to wrap my mind around the fact that it’s a buyer’s market which means, quite simply, there’s a surplus of homes on the market and the best-priced home is going to get sold.
  • Second, the improvements and features that I put into the home don’t necessarily bring any increase in sales price in this market.  Unfortunately, potential buyers may not value custom tile or landscaping as much as you do; however, the good news is that more amenities and features in a home can lead to a quicker sale and help your home stand out from the competition. 
  • Third, no amount of Staging will guarantee you the sales price you want.  I’m an ardent practitioner of Staging and Feng Shui Real Estate. Using these techniques will help you sell your home and distance it from the competition, but they won’t help much if your home is over-priced. 
  • Fourth, if you decide to accept an offer lower than what you had hoped for, don’t think of the buyer as the enemy.  Try to work all issues out amicably and don’t make it a war.  Be grateful for the offer and that you are selling your home in this market and create a transaction grounded on goodwill.
  • If you hire a Realtor® to sell your home,  follow the advice given.  Don’t confer with neighbor’s, coworkers, relatives, or anyone else that isn’t an active Realtor® in the current market in Austin, Texas.  The fewer opinions you have flowing into your stream of thought the better. 

A previous client hired my company to sell her home.  I meticulously staged it, marketed it, and gave her my recommendations for the listing price.  She didn’t follow my price recommendation, her mother rearranged all my staging, and she conferred with everyone she knew about what to do to sell her house – which ultimately made her fearful to take any action.  After 100 days (the longest time it’s ever taken for me to sell a house), we received a workable offer and the house sold.  But what could have been a relatively easy process turned into daily stress for over three months with the end result no better than if all that second-guessing had not been done.