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

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.

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

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

It’s Spring! Time for cleaning and if you’re thinking about home staging in St. Charles, IL, it’s also time to declutter! I hear you out there saying, “Ugh!!! What difference does it really make?”  But you need to be saying “Let’s get it done and get our house sold!” The effort you put into this task can make you money…big money, and may make or break the sale of your home.

The HomeGain 2012 Top 10 DIY Home Improvements for Sellers survey shows that for every $402 dollars spent on Cleaning and Decluttering, you will show a benefit of $2,024. A whopping 403% Return on Investment!

Need more convincing? According to Barbara Corcoran, Real Estate Mogul, Business Expert and “Shark Tank” TV Show Panelist, decluttering and organizing your house is key, particularly the linen closet.

“Buyers judge the inside of a house based on the impression of the linen closet. If you can clear your closet and make it meticulous, buyers will assume the very best of your house.” – Barbara Corcoran

MarthaStewart

Photo source: mediabistro.com

So, are you ready to embrace your “inner Martha?” Are you ready to attack the mountain of items in your linen closet?

Here are 4 easy steps to make your linen closet impress potential buyers:

  1. Clear out
  2. Categorize
  3. Organize
  4. Display

1. CLEAR OUT

Clear everything out of your linen closet to see what you are actually working with. Laying everything out on a bed or table is ideal.

2. CATEGORIZE

As you go through all you items, separate them into 4 piles: Keep, Relocate, Donate and Throw Out.

As you decide how many linens to keep, remember these guidelines:

  • 2 sets of sheets per bed (1 on the bed, 1 in the closet)
  • 2 sets of towels/wash cloths for each family member (1 set being used, 1 in the closet.)

Be tough on yourself. Your ultimate goal is to have just the bare minimum of what you’ll need for the next 2-3 months and nothing on the closet floor. Pack up everything else. The more you can remove from this closet, the more spacious it will look to buyers.

3. ORGANIZE

Do you have loose items sitting on the shelves? Do you have clear totes with all your medicines in them? Once you’ve gone through everything to clear out what has expired or what you no longer need, put your items in bins or baskets that you can’t see through. This will eliminate the visual clutter and give a sense of organization.

4. DISPLAY

Put everything back in the closet as you might see it displayed in a store. Group linens by type and color. Have them all neatly folded the same way.

Don’t know how to fold those dreaded fitted sheets? Watch this video to show you how: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHTyH2nuFAw .

Linen closet (4)

Photo Source: iheartorganizing.com

Bottom line…You want buyers open your linen closet and say, “WOW! I wish this were my closet!”

Paying attention to these details will pay off. It shows buyers that you’ve taken care of their future home.

Home Staging in St. Charles, IL will make your house stand out above all the others on the market. It’s the extra effort you put into decluttering and organizing that will help you sell your home quickly and for the best possible price.

Are you ready to find the money hidden in your linen closet?

Related Resources:

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

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

Home Staging in Geneva, IL – 2 Secrets to Selling Your Home

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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.