The BEST Marble Countertop Alternatives; A Quick Reference Guide

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

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photo credit: sidehike via photopin cc

In my last post, The WORST Countertop Choice When Selling Your House, I tried (not so subtly) to convince you not to install marble countertops in your kitchen if you are putting your house on the market.

Hopefully, you’re now asking yourself, “If marble is the current  ‘on-trend look,’ and I shouldn’t install it, what type of countertop do I choose instead?” Well, I’d never leave you high and dry without some possible solutions!

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The idea is to install something that gives a similar marble look, but without all the maintenance headaches. We want to give prospective buyers the eye candy they want and the low maintenance lifestyle they desire. Cha-ching! Contract time!

So, I’ve pulled together a quick reference guide, The BEST Marble Countertop Alternatives, to save you time in your countertop search. The Guide includes the names of color options, approximate costs, and pros/cons for each. I’ve also highlighted some favorites.

Keep in mind that your countertop selection should be based on the undertones of the fixed elements in your kitchen that you intend to keep. Just be careful not to over improve your property for your price range and location! You want to be able to recoup your investment when you sell.

You can also check my Pinterest Board for photos of several of the selections.

Hope you find the Guide helpful!

Do you have any others to add to the list? What has produced the best results for you? Leave us a comment below. 250X52I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC, an Accredited Staging Professional® and Kitchen Redesign Specialist in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you…Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.
References: absolutetileandstone.com, apartmenttherapy.com, caesarstoneus.com, cambriausa.com, carlaaston.com, daltile.com, dreambookdesign.com, dupont.com, formica.com, girlcooksworld.com, granitegurus.com, hanwhasurfaces.com, hollymathisinteriors.com, houzz.com, julieblanner.com, lgviaterusa.com, life.nationalpost.com, lifeofanarchitect.com, marble.com, marbleandgranite.com, msistone.com, pentalquartz.com, quantra.in, roomology.wordpress.com, stewardofdesign.blogspot.com, roomology.wordpress.com, silestoneusa.com, staron.com, stoneitaliana.com, stonesource.com, studiodearborn.com, thegardenweb.com, theletteredcottage.net, thingsthatinspire.net, wilsonart.com

The WORST Countertop Choice When Selling Your House

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Now that grays are the new neutral in updating interiors, designers are looking for countertop materials that blend beautifully with these colors. Enter the latest star of the kitchen design world…marble.

Gird your loinsI have to admit, the first words that popped into my head about using marble for kitchen countertops were, “All right everyone, gird your loins!” (The Devil Wears Prada)

Devils…I mean trend-setting designers… are now specifying marble as the latest ‘must have’ countertop material. Check out Pinterest, Houzz, Better Homes. You’ll see what I mean.

But is it the BEST choice if you are preparing your house for sale?

Recently, one of my clients, who was updating her kitchen before listing, left me an excited voicemail saying,

“I’m soooooo lucky! I’ve just put their last two marble slabs on hold. According to the salesperson, they are selling out of it as soon as it arrives!”

Now keep in mind, my client went to this supplier to select granite options, but she got swept up in the current marble frenzy. After all, she loved it and everyone was ordering it. She knew it had to be the right choice!

It’s so easy to be seduced by the beauty of its soft, graceful veining and the fact that it is not seen everywhere, unlike granite. Almost every printed or internet design source indicates marble is the right choice for our on-trend, white kitchens. It is described as NEW and FRESH with a CLASSIC feel. But does classic mean good? Let’s face it. It’s an old material with some distinct maintenance issues.

 

Marble requires frequent sealing. It etches, stains, scratches and chips easily. According to some suppliers, all these traits give it character. Really? Aren’t these characteristics exactly what propelled the countertop industry to develop alternative materials?

 

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m the first to recommend classic choices and love the look of marble. Given the sealers and finishes available today, maintaining marble is a bit more manageable than it was years ago.

But if you are trying to attract BUYERS, your countertop choice also needs to fit the lifestyles of most people. The majority of people say they don’t have enough time as it is. Do you think they’ll want to buy your house if they believe maintaining it will take a lot of time and effort?

So, if you’re a seller getting your property ready to connect with buyers, DO NOT select marble countertops! DO. NOT. SELECT. MARBLE. COUNTERTOPS!

I guarantee that unless your prospective buyers understand and appreciate the inherent ‘character’ of marble created through daily living, the value of your brand new countertop investment will plummet. Buyers will not be willing to pay big dollars for a new countertop that looks worn, particularly if they aren’t the ones doing the wearing.

Instead you want choices that all buyers can identify as having value. Boring choices? Maybe. But choices immediately recognized by buyers as desirable, with little or no maintenance, will automatically create a connection with them.  Marble is not it.

So it comes down to this. How much do you want to gamble with your investment?

Do you want to spend thousands of dollars installing countertops that many buyers will not want once they find out how much maintenance and care they require? That’s strike 1 against the successful sale of your property. Beware…2 more strikes and you’re out!

What alternatives to marble have you used that give the same look? Would love for you to share your suggestions! 250X52 I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC, an Accredited Staging Professional® and Kitchen Specialist in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

The NEW Bronze Faucets; Easy Money in Your Pocket?

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

What’s one of the newest trends for 2014? Faucets with warm finishes. They’re not the shiny brass of the 80’s, but instead have a warm, sophisticated, satin glow.

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Source: Centsationl Girl

With the gray trend in fabrics and paint becoming so prevalent, the introduction of warm metals as a way to bring some noticeable bling to a room seems like a natural.

Trend setters have tried to get warm metals back into the mainstream time and again, but when kitchen faucet companies start to expand their options in a particular finish, you know it’s getting serious. They understand most consumers won’t spend hundreds on their products unless they have confidence that this new trend will last.


Take a look at this latest Delta commercial and see how many warm metal faucets you see.

To get consumers to embrace these new finishes, the smart marketers of faucets are not calling them brass; the fixture finish we’ve been trying to get rid of forever. Instead they are calling them (some sexy adjectives +) bronze.

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Source: Delta

For example, there’s Champagne Bronze from Delta and Vibrant Brushed Bronze from Kohler.

But what does this have to do with you getting your property ready to sell? Will installing the new bronze faucets put easy money in your pocket?

Imagine this scenario. You’re thinking you want to change your fixtures to make your house appealing and look updated. So, installing the latest and greatest in faucets is a sure winner. Right?

Armed with this savvy design knowledge, you go to the big box store and search for one of the new bronze faucets. You spy the perfect one and head to the register to make your purchase. Please hear me screaming, “STOP! DON’T DO IT!” This is a disastrous decision which could cost you thousands!

Installing the latest in kitchen faucets is risky if you are trying to sell your house, even if it will become popular in the near future. Instead, you want your house to feel comfortable to most buyers and not represent the front edge of design. How do you do this? By providing elements in your home that are familiar and mainstream now.

When many people won’t buy a house simply because they don’t like the paint colors, how do you think they will feel about buying a property with new fixture finishes that they may not believe are here to stay?


So, push away your inner Nate Berkus or Candice Olson. Reach for the brushed stainless, oiled rubbed bronze or chrome. These choices are safe, current and what prospective buyers are looking for. After all, we want to give them what they want!

What’s the take away here? If you love the new bronze faucets, purchase them for your new home. There you can love and admire them for years to come. Then let the rest of us catch up.

What do you think about the new warm metal faucets? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

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I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

Related Resources:

How To Make Fearless Design Decisions – A Cheat Sheet for Home Decor

The Shocking Truth About Granite

5 Home Staging Tips for Front Entries to Make Buyers Fall in Love with Your House

How to Find a Sensational Realtor® – A Scary Halloween Tale

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

OK. I’ll admit it. I don’t like scary things; scary movies in particular. Ever since I saw my first horror film where zombies were aimlessly walking to feast on the living, I try to avoid scary things. I attempted to improve my ‘cool’ factor when I was growing up by watching Hitchcock thrillers, like Psycho and The Birds, but their haunting images stayed with me. Something about sitting in the dark and having the livin’ daylights scared out of me is not my idea of a good time. Ever.

So why am I on the psychiatrist’s couch telling you about my childhood? Because oddly enough, those same frightening feelings came over me recently when I read a Realtor’s response in an online chat regarding home staging. A savvy homeowner was looking for recommendations for a staging professional who serviced her area. The Realtor’s response?

“I have never been a fan of staging. It does not sell anything faster and seems to be a complete waste of time for maybe 90% of all property. No one can point to stats that show staging shortens the selling time. Just price it correctly or at least gradually lower the price if it is not selling and eventually you get offers. This business is not that complicated.”

NOW THAT’S SCARY.

Imagine that this is your Realtor.

He’s sold plenty of properties. You trust him and value his opinion. But does he have your best interests in mind?

He lists your home and doesn’t say a thing about staging your property. Why mention it? He knows you think buyers will love your home as much as you do. He wouldn’t want to do anything to jeopardize his relationship with you, so better not risk ruffling any feathers having that conversation.

The problem is that he has not taken the time to educate you about your home now becoming a house; an item to be staged and marketed to be sold.

But he’s the professional and the fact that he doesn’t mention staging, you don’t think it makes that much difference in the sale of your home.

This is where he’s wrong. Dead wrong. And there are home staging statistics to prove it.

Do you think he’ll share that his marketing strategy for your home is to continually drop the price until it sells? I seriously doubt it. It’s a strategy that takes money directly out of your pocket.

In the meantime, your property sits…and sits…and sits. You continue to put your life on hold, pay months worth of mortgage payments and become increasingly frustrated. So this is a Real Estate professional? This is really frightening.Oct. 2013 Blog

The truth of the matter is, this guy is the exception, not the rule. Most real estate agents understand the value of home staging, are professional and deserve your respect. They know home staging can impact your profit and the amount of days your property stays on the market.

So, if you are thinking of putting your house up for sale, don’t let the whole process frighten you. Seek out a sensational Realtor® who uses an Accredited Staging Professional®. One who values you and your property. One who knows what it takes to market your home so that it stands above all the other properties. One who knows that staging properties results in a quicker sale for the best possible price.

Have your house be the Treat, not the Trick for any potential buyer who walks through your door.

What are your Home Staging success stories?

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I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

Related Resources:

How To Make Fearless Design Decisions – A Cheat Sheet for Home Decor

The Smells that Sell: What Really Works – Home Staging in Elgin, IL

5 Home Staging Tips for Front Entries to Make Buyers Fall in Love with Your House

A Gift from the “Land of Oz” – The Secret to Successful Home Staging and Redesign

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Darkness. Loss. Lack of connection. Words you don’t normally associate with a blog on Home Staging and Redesign.

burning the candle at both ends-Patrick Feller

This is what I felt last week. I awoke in a hospital room not knowing where the last 8 hours had gone. According to my doctors, I had a rare case of temporary amnesia that was brought on by “burning the candle at both ends.” Luckily, I’ve been told this is probably a one time thing.

Oddly enough, the onset of my amnesia occurred when I was with my local group of Accredited Staging Professionals®. A group of professionals whose primary goal is to establish connections; connections between buyers and a property through home staging.

We were on a professional outing to see the latest in home design at a new model home. I was to give a presentation on the current trends in kitchen design. The last memory I have before visiting the “Land of Oz” was the supportive warmth I felt from my colleagues in this beautiful space.

Why am I sharing this? Because this event has changed my perspective; personally and professionally. I’ve been touched by how the feeling I had about that space and the people in it was what helped me regain my memory. It wasn’t anything I could put my finger on. It was simply the warmth of a memory that drew me back. I wanted to be in that space again.

Professionally, this experience has changed my definition of successful home staging and redesign. Did I previously know how important it is to create a connection with buyers and homeowners to a property? Yes. Did I know how primal this connection can be? No. Not really. Not until I had to struggle to piece together my memory of that day. I was given a gift.

Staging and Redesign must have depth to truly connect and be successful. People must want to stay in a space as the result of these professional efforts. Staging and Redesign must touch buyers and homeowners to their core so they KNOW this is the home for them. Otherwise, it’s just window dressing.

PROUD HOME Staging, LLC-Kitchen,BEFORE

BEFORE – Kitchen without interest or soul. A space in desperate need of an update.

PROUD HOME Staging, LLC-Kitchen, AFTER

AFTER – Kitchen with depth. New lighting, granite countertops, cabinet hardware, tile backspash, appliances, fixtures and paint. A space that connects with buyers.

So what is the take-away here? Find a professional home stager who can put soul into your property. Someone who can stage your property so it speaks to buyers and makes them want your house. Not by reflecting your personality as the homeowner, but by utilizing design principles and linking all the senses to make your house stand out.

If you’re redesigning your property, find a professional who can make your home reflect the essence of you. Someone willing to take the time to find out what gives your home soul and not just give you what is currently “on trend.”

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So, click your ruby-red slippers, Dorothy. It’s time to find a professional to help you find your way back home.

What reflects your home’s soul?

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I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

Related Resources:

5 Tips to Help You Find a Home Stager in St. Charles, IL – “The Box of Chocolates” Dilemma

The Smells that Sell: What Really Works – Home Staging in Elgin, IL

How To Make Fearless Design Decisions – A Cheat Sheet for Home Decor

The Shocking Truth About Granite

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Granite. It’s the word realtors and buyers love to see in the description of any house. It’s the current buzz word in real estate that is immediately associated with quality properties that are updated. It’s the material my design clients ask me to help them select time and again. After all, who wants to invest thousands in a countertop and not get it right?

The shocking truth is that if you choose granite as an upgrade to help sell your home, you might automatically turn off the very people you want to attract; home buyers. Why? Because a granite choice is extremely personal. As a home stager, granite can be an ugly word. No amount of staging can convince a buyer to purchase a home if it has very taste specific granite, unless that one in a million buyer loves it too.

Homeowners continue to install it though, because they’ve been told by professionals, design magazines and TV decorating shows that it is the right choice; the choice that will be a great return on investment. This is exactly why I installed it in my own home years ago. And because of all the hype the last 10-15 years, granite has been elevated to “king of the countertop mountain,” so to speak.

But the reality is, most prospective buyers aren’t aware of the advantages of various countertop materials, so they continue to ask for granite as a safe choice. They can walk into any property and easily identify this upgrade as a good investment. It’s costly and everybody wants it, so it must be good, right?

If we weren’t all drinking the Kool-Aid, would we still select granite if we truly wanted an investment that would attract buyers not only today, but in the future? I don’t think so.

Yes, granite is a natural product that has unique qualities; inherent beauty and depth of color that can only be generated through thousands of years of heat and compression within the earth’s crust. But it has drawbacks that make it less than perfect:

  1. Maintenance – Most granite needs to be periodically sealed due to the porosity of the stone. This porosity can also trap bacteria; not good for kitchens where the bacteria of raw meat can rear its ugly head.
  2. Durability – I’ve heard clients say, “I can cut right on my granite and take hot pots off the stove and put them directly on it.” Well, yes you can if you want to dull your knives and run the risk of having your granite crack. Since granite is a natural, igneous rock, it can have fissures within the slab. These weak areas can cause cracking if the expansion and contraction is too fast due to extreme temperature changes.
  3. Cost – since granite has been around for a while and new alternative materials are becoming available, the cost is starting to go down a bit, but it is still a hefty investment for most homeowners.
  4. Movement – This is the kicker; the characteristic of granite that makes it sooooo taste specific. Either you love all the movement created by the veining of each type of granite or you don’t. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground with most people. And because buyers are either in one camp or the other, home sellers automatically alienate a large group of buyers just by the granite selection they make.

So you can see, granite has issues. If we’re going to invest bookoo bucks in home improvement knowing that we want to attract buyers now or in the future, why aren’t we selecting products that have no maintenance and will appeal to most people?

Times are changing. We are starting to wake up. We are educating ourselves as to the benefits of alternative materials to create interiors that will stand the test of time and give us the biggest bang for our investment dollars.

Let’s make our selections as timeless as possible so a buyer doesn’t walk in a house and immediately know the year the home improvement took place.

Quartz countertops, anyone?

What do you think about granite?

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I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

 

Related Resources:

The Smells that Sell: What Really Works – Home Staging in Elgin, IL

How To Make Fearless Design Decisions – A Cheat Sheet for Home Decor

Home Staging in St. Charles, IL – 4 Easy Steps to Find the Money Hidden in Your Linen Closet

How to Make Fearless Design Decisions – A Cheat Sheet for Home Decor

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Wall Art Too High-applegreenstudio.blogspot.com

Artwork hung too high. (Source)

Have you ever walked into someone’s home and known that a tall person or someone on a ladder made the decision where to hang the artwork? Have you gone into a room and felt uncomfortable, without really knowing why? Something just wasn’t quite right, but you couldn’t put your finger on it.

As a professional home stager in St. Charles, IL, it is critical to be able to identify these and other issues in a room to eliminate this uneasy feeling and instead make a house embrace whomever walks through its doors. It’s knowing and applying the basic rules of design to a space that will eliminate these uncomfortable feelings.

floating-rug-Squidoo.com

Rug too small. (Source)

How high do you hang wall art? What size rug do you need? How do you know what size light fixture to select? These are some of the questions I repeatedly get asked by clients. Having the answers to these and other design questions in the form of a quick reference guide will make your decorating easier and create the results you desire.

I’ve compiled this information to create my Cheat Sheet for Home Decor. You can use it before going shopping so you know the dimensions you need to fit your space. No guess-work. It’s all there in black and white. Using these guidelines will help you pull your spaces together like a professional.

For your free, printable copy, click on: A Cheat Sheet for Home Decor

What design decisions are bugging you right now?

Related Resources:

The Smells that Sell: What Really Works – Home Staging in Elgin, IL

Home Staging in St. Charles, IL – 4 Easy Steps to Find the Money Hidden in Your Linen Closet

5 Tips to Help You Find a Home Stager in St. Charles, IL – “The Box of Chocolates Dilemma”

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I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

1 Easy Way to See If You Need a Professional Home Stager

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Thinking about selling your home and not sure if you need a professional Home Stager? This is an easy way to find out. Stand in the doorway of each room in your home and take a photo with your cell phone. Now look at the photos you’ve taken and ask yourself, “If I saw these rooms online, would I want to go see this house enough to make an appointment with the Realtor®?”

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Keeping in mind that 90% of buyers search for houses on-line (National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers) and 45% of them do not read the comments, but rely strictly on the photos to convince them to see a property (Wall Street Journal), it is critical for your house to look sensational on-line.

Now look at the photos you’ve taken again and ask yourself:

Do I notice the decorative things in the room instead of the room’s space?

Do I notice the worst features of the room instead of the its best?

Do I notice the backs of furniture more than the way to circulate through the room?

BEFORE - First thing you see is the back of the couch.

BEFORE Staging – First thing you see is the back of the couch and too many decorative items.

AFTER - Now you can see how spacious the room is and the fireplace focal point.

AFTER Staging – Now you can see how spacious the room is and the fireplace focal point. Pulling furniture and accessories from other rooms provided the right balance.

Do I notice bold jolts of color on the walls instead of neutral color(s) throughout to create flow?

Do I notice dimly lit areas instead of overall even lighting?

If you answered Yes to any of these questions, you need a professional Home Stager.

Home Staging is more than just cleaning and decluttering a space. That’s just the beginning. A professional Home Stager knows how to utilize design elements and principles to highlight the very best features of your home so that it will appeal to the largest group of buyers. Professional Home Stagers can prioritize which items you should address first for the best return on your investment.

Your home is quite possibly your largest investment. Before putting it on the market, don’t you want to make it look exceptional so that you can get the best possible price?

Isn’t it time to call a professional Home Stager?

Related Resources:

The Smells that Sell: What Really Works – Home Staging in Elgin, IL

Home Staging in St. Charles, IL – 4 Easy Steps to Find the Money Hidden in Your Linen Closet

5 Tips to Help You Find a Home Stager in St. Charles, IL – “The Box of Chocolates Dilemma”

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I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

5 Home Staging Tips for Front Entries to Make Buyers Fall in Love with Your House

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

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“You had me at hello.” Dorothy uttered those five, simple words to Jerry in the movie, Jerry Maguire. She was hooked. She was connected. She was in love.

Do you think your house connects with prospective buyers at their first “hello”? Does your outside entry immediately hook buyers so they feel it is their home? From the minute they view the exterior, either on-line or in person, you want to make them fall in love with your house in Geneva, IL.

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To evaluate your entry, you need to be objective. You need to have a fresh perspective about the product you are trying to sell.  Most people rarely go through their own front entry, so take a photo of yours and view it as if you were seeing it for the first time. What do you notice? You can bet that prospective buyers will notice every detail and will decide within seconds whether to explore more of your property or move on.

There are 5 home staging tips for outside front entries that will make buyers fall in love with your Geneva, IL house:

1. Create a Focal Point with Color

125a4478cfc3893830Curb appeal with color

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  • Paint or re-stain your front door a color that compliments the architecture, exterior color(s) and location of your house. Select a color that reflects current exterior color palettes without being too trendy or personal. 

Need ideas? Look at Pinterest boards (Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, Curb Appeal, Inviting Front Doors, Exterior Paint Combos), paint websites or other homes in your neighborhood for color combinations with similar exterior colors. TIP: If your exterior has stone or brick that is multicolored, select one of those colors for your front door to give a pulled together look.

  • Use pots filled with colorful plants that repeat the same colors found in your yard or on your front door. Repeat no more than three colors or it will make your entry look busy and distracting. Select the number of pots needed to create balance for the entry without blocking the front door or making it seem like a jungle. You want to have plenty of room for buyers and Realtors to easliy get into your house.

Need ideas for winter? There are winter exterior home staging ideas on Pinterest.

2. Make Buyers Feel Welcome

  • Purchase a doormat that is, at a minimum, the width of your door frame, including any screen or storm doors.
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Select a doormat that compliments the architecture/color of your house and preferably one that says “Welcome.” Stay away from anything too personal, such as monograms, team affiliations and sayings.

Select a mat thickness that allows the screen or storm door to move freely across it when opened.

  • If space allows, add a bench, a couple of chairs or a bistro set and accent them with colorful outdoor pillows in one of the colors you’ve selected to repeat.

3. Update Your Entry Hardware

  • Your front door hardware should be the same color and finish as is found in the rest of your house and in excellent condition.
  • Does your doorbell work? Are your house numbers and mailbox worn or dated? Replace broken items and repaint worn hardware to instantly convey your house is a well maintained property.

4. Examine Your Light Fixtures

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  • Are your light fixtures the right scale? A good rule of thumb for the front door fixture is for it to be 1/3 the height of the door if there is only one and 1/4 the height of the door if there are two (one on each side of the door).  Fixtures that are too small make buyers wonder what else you have skimped on in your house. NO WIMPY LIGHT FIXTURES!
  • Do you have the correct bulbs? Use bulbs with a warm white light and the correct wattage for the fixture. Incandescent light, 60-75 watts total, is ideal for most decorative exterior wall fixtures and post lanterns. With that being said, make sure you have plenty of light to highlight your entry at night. Check the fixture label so the maximum safe wattage is not exceeded.

5. CLEAN EVERYTHING!

  • Windows, light fixtures and hardware need to sparkle. The door and trim need to be (or at least look) freshly painted or re-stained. Cobwebs and any insects need to be gone. Frequently sweep the entry to keep it looking spotless.

Are you ready to use these 5 home staging tips for front entries to make buyers fall in love with your house?

Related Resources:

The Smells that Sell: What Really Works – Home Staging in Elgin, IL

Home Staging in St. Charles, IL – 4 Easy Steps to Find the Money Hidden in Your Linen Closet

5 Tips to Help You Find a Home Stager in St. Charles, IL – “The Box of Chocolates Dilemma”

250X52I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

The Smells that Sell: What REALLY Works – Home Staging in Elgin, IL

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Source: flicker, bradleygee

Source: flicker, bradleygee

What’s that smell?

Scents and odors are everywhere and all buyers are influenced by them, particularly when looking at houses to purchase. The sense of smell is the strongest of all the senses to connect (or disconnect) buyers to your house.

When preparing to stage a house, we recommend getting rid of the sources of bad odors by making a house super clean and dealing with pet issues, to name a few. But how about subtly layering a scent through a house that has no odors, but is clean and staged?… Infusing scents for the sole purpose of helping convince buyers that your house is “the one.”

With that being said, should you pull out scented candles for your next showing or prepare to bake chocolate chip cookies for your Open House?

Well, no you shouldn’t and here’s why…

We need to stop doing what we THINK works to attract buyers and rely on studies that tell us what DOES work. Research shows that while popular scents may trigger positive emotions, they can distract from our ability to make decisions.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Eric Spangenberg, Dean of the College of Business at Washington State University, has been studying the effect of scents on the buying habits of people for over 20 years.

He and his co-authors published the results of their recent study in the Journal of Retailing. They found that shoppers spent 31.8% more when a store was scented with a simple orange scent over a complex blend of scents.

Professor Spangenberg says the same principles apply to Open Houses, “because in both cases, the aromas may affect cognitive functions in the same areas of the brain involved in decision-making.” And what were their findings about stores with no scents? Buyers spent more in these stores than in the stores with complex blends, but less than in the stores with simple scents.

When buyers are confronted with a complex scent, even if it is pleasant, they are distracted by trying to figure out what the smell is instead on focusing on the house.

So, how do you know which scent to use? According to Professor Spangenberg,

 “You need to think, ‘What scent will buyers associate with this environment?’ It must be simple and positive and congruent.”

Simple: He recommends using simple scents, such as orange, lemon, basil, vanilla, green tea, pine and cedar. These scents are easier to sort out, less distracting and thus more conducive to spending.

Positive: Equally important is the strength and source of that scent. You don’t want buyers to be bowled over by a strong scent the minute they walk through the door. As the saying goes…”less is more.”

“You want scents to be on the edge of your perception — not centrally processed. This leaves the central part of your brain to do what it does best: process the task at hand” – Eric Spangenberg
Using natural, organic elements will help keep the scents subtle and also prevent turning off buyers who are sensitive or allergic to synthetic commercial products.
Congruent: You must select a scent that is in harmony with the location of your house. The scent of pine may be great if your house is on a wooded lot, but not if it’s beach front property.
So…you know simple, subtle scents are needed, but what are the best ways to accomplish this? My Pinterest board can provide a few suggestions, but I’d like to hear from you.
How do you infuse your home with simple, organic scents?
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I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.
We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.