Archive for October, 2008

Washington DC Stagers Featured

October 31, 2008

Preferred Staging was one of 2 staging companies featured in a prominent Washington Times real estate article this week. We were honored to have had the chance to participate. Our contribution focused primarily on staging vacant properties, but they used several before and after photos of our work, including occupied and vacant homes.

Staging is a new concept in Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland, but has been around for decades in other parts of the country. Some experts state that as many as 75% of high-end listed homes in California are staged. But, staging is not just for high end homes. Virtually any home will benefit from staging to help the home sell faster. We can do as little as walk thru the property and give you some ideas to a full home staging project – whatever fits the budget.

If your home is on the market or you are thinking of selling in the coming year, please give us a call. We would be happy to discuss your needs and plans.

All the best,

Monica

703.851.2690

Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

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Northern Virginia Association of Realtors Showcase

October 30, 2008
Thank you, thank you!  Many thanks to the hundreds of you who stopped by the Preferred Staging booth at the NVAR Convention in Vienna, VA last Tuesday, October 21st.  We were the only staging company with a booth, and we were able to answer a lot of questions about staging, cost. We spent a lot of time talking with you about timing, how Preferred Staging works, and also how we market your staged properties after the staging is finished.  Lynn, Preferred Staging Project Manager, and I both truly enjoyed meeting so many wonderful REALTORS, the time just flew by!
Everyone is a winner
I’ve said it before, but I think it bears repeating – when house is staged, everyone is a winner. 
 
The home owner wins on many levels, because their staged house sells faster than houses that aren’t staged, and a faster sale means a reduction in carrying costs for them in continued mortgage and utility payments, and upkeep.  They also win because a staged home lessens the need for a price reduction, so they often sell closer to their asking price. 
 
The real estate agent wins because a staged home is its own best marketing tool, making your marketing efforts just that much easier.  Also, a faster sale means fewer marketing dollars you have to spend.  Of course a faster sale means you get your commission sooner, too. 
 
The buyer wins because they’re getting a house that is in top condition.  A staged home never hides anything; a staged home enhances the positives and works with the challenging parts of the house, thereby offering buyers solutions that they may not have considered. 
 
Preferred Staging wins, too.  As we told everyone at the NVAR convention, we’re in business to help sell houses, and when a house sells quickly, we have the satisfaction of knowing that we’ve done our job well.
 
All the best,
Monica
703-851-2690 
Preferred Staging
the art of home preparation

Montibello in Alexandria, VA Great for Young Condo Buyers

October 29, 2008

I was at a condo in the Montebello community in Alexandria, Virginia yesterday. It is an older condo, one of the first developments of its size in the Washington, DC area. It is in a great location, right off the beltway and very close to the Old Town Alexandria area and adjacent to the Huntington metro stop. This makes Montebello a perfect location for young people who want a dynamic environment.

 

However, the realtor I am working with told me that some believe Montebello is a 50+ community!

 

Wow, so enter the staging challenge. When you own a home in a mature neighborhood, especially a condo, which may be particularly attractive to younger buyers, you need to stage for the market you are targeting. Update the paint. Get rid of the dated furniture. Rent modern furnishings and art work to appeal to your audience. Stage a room as an office with a laptop. Bring in a flat panel TV. Stage the balcony as a place of rest and serenity. Bring the outside in with some small trees next to the sliding doors.

 

If your furnishings are more than 20 years old, they will project the wrong image for a younger audience. Project a feeling of youth and vibrancy and buyers will be excited when they tour your home.

 

All the best!

 

Monica

703.851.2690

www.preferredstaging.com

Montebello in Alexandria Great for Young Buyers

October 28, 2008

I was at a condo in the Montebello community in Alexandria, Virginia yesterday. It is an older condo, one of the first developments of its size in the Washington, DC area. It is in a great location, right off the beltway and very close to the Old Town Alexandria area and adjacent to the Huntington metro stop. This makes Montebello a perfect location for young people who want a dynamic environment.

However, the realtor I am working with told me that some believe Montebello is a 50+ community!

Wow. When you own a home in a mature neighborhood, especially a condo, which may be particularly attractive to younger buyers, you need to stage for the market you are targeting.

  • Update the paint.
  • Get rid of the dated furniture.
  • Rent modern furnishings and art work to appeal to your audience.
  • Stage a room as an office with a laptop. Bring in a flat panel TV.
  • Stage the balcony as a place of rest and serenity.
  • Bring the outside in with some small trees next to the sliding doors.

If your furnishings are dated, they will project the wrong image for a younger audience. Project a feeling of youth and vibrancy and buyers will be excited when they tour your home.

All the best!

Monica

703.851.2690

www.preferredstaging.com

the art of home preparation

Make Sure Your Real Estate Photos Pop

October 14, 2008
At Preferred Staging, we believe that home presentation extends beyond curb appeal and interior staging. We want Northern Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland listing photos to “pop” off the page. It is well known that having more listing photos is one of the best ways to attract buyers. With almost 90% of home searches starting on the internet, the quantity and quality of photos will increase the probability of a fast sale.
 
According to realtor.com, “A property with a single photo spent 70 days on the market (DOM) on average, while DOM fell to 40 with six photos, 36 with 16 to 19 photos, and 32 with 20 photos. Additionally, listings with one photo sold for 91.2 percent of the original price, while homes with six or more sold for 95 percent of the original price.” 
 
How much more appealing will your listing be with magazine quality photos? Here are some examples… We went to the internet and grabbed some random photos. There is really nothing wrong with the samples, but I think you will recognize how much nicer the enhanced photos are.  
 
Put yourself in the position of a buyer…how much more likely will you be to ask for a tour of a home with the enhanced photos? 5%, 10%, more? Is that worth it? We think so!
 
As posted:
 
Enhanced:
 
As posted:
 
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As posted:
 
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Not sure your photos can benefit from enhancement?  Send us a photo (or point us to a web site). We will show you what is possible. No charge or obligation for the test, but we think you will be impressed.
All the best,
Monica
703-851-2690 
Preferred Staging
the art of home preparation

AGENT: “I’VE NEVER USED A STAGER BEFORE…” (PART 2)

October 1, 2008

In the last post, I wrote about the first steps Preferred Staging takes when you call us and schedule an appointment to see a listing, including consultations and proposals.  So, now what happens when you have the proposal and we’re good to go?
 
Well, let’s start with the proposal first.  Preferred Staging’s proposals outline what rooms and areas are to be staged, and how much time we believe it will take us to stage the property and de-stage when the house has sold.  We also provide a general list of accessories from our inventory that will be used, which runs the gamut from lamps, mirrors, rugs, and wall art, to place settings, floral arrangements, towels, and those extras that really make a room feel welcoming and inviting.  The final part of our proposal includes the cost of rental furniture, if necessary.
 
If everything is acceptable, then Preferred Staging emails the client (whomever is paying for the staging) a Letter of Agreement.  If rental furniture is needed, then the rental company will email a separate contract.  Preferred Staging only facilitates the contract, which is between the client and the rental company.
 
Once all signatures and deposits are received, then a delivery and staging date is scheduled, usually about 3-5 business days after signing the contract.  We usually arrive at the property in the early morning (around 8am), unload the accessories, and then start to create wonderful rooms and spaces that will entice potential buyers to linger and envision themselves living in the house – a crucial first step in the buying process.  Along the way, we also manage the furniture delivery and set up, hang pictures, set tables, make beds, create spas in the bathrooms…we virtually move in!
 
The time it takes to stage a house depends on how big the property is and how much staging is needed.  A 2 bedroom condo can be completed in about 8 hours, while a 4,000 square foot house can take 3 days.  Each house is unique – in its layout, square footage, price point, what rooms need to be staged, etc. – which is why it’s virtually impossible to provide an estimate over the phone.
 
Next, I’ll tell you how Preferred Staging keeps working for you, even after the staging is completed. 

All the best,
Monica
703-851-2690 
Preferred Staging
the art of home preparation

AGENT: “I’VE NEVER USED A STAGER BEFORE…” (Part 1)

October 1, 2008

Of all the phone calls and inquiries I receive from real estate agents, one of the most common comments I hear is, “I’ve never used a stager before…so I’m really not sure how all of this works”. Staging is still in the growth mode in the Washington DC area.
 
Actually, the process is quite simple.  Generally, you tell us what you need and want and we take care of the rest.  Well, maybe it’s not that simple, but that’s not too far from the truth, and it really is quite painless.
 
Preferred Staging will do as much as or as little as your client wants, and we offer a full compliment of services, from consultations (walk-through or written), staging occupied or vacant homes with rental furniture and accessories, and hands-on-staging using the home owner’s furnishings.  We also do color consultations, and provide redesign services (a.k.a. Staged for Living).
 
Unlike most other staging companies in the metro DC area, we also offer a handful of services and options for our Realtor partners, such as a free home preparation guide.
 
OK, so now you have a general idea of what we can do for you.  But what’s the first step?  When you call Preferred Staging, we ask a variety of questions about the house so we can have a better understanding of what’s really needed, which in many cases leads to a cost savings for your client by avoiding unnecessary staging fees.  

Whether we meet for a consultation or a proposal, we always take reference photos.  Then we proceed with the consultation, or we discuss what’s needed for us to stage the house, such as what rooms are to be staged, vignette or full staging or somewhere in between, and most importantly the budget.  Proposals are usually ready within 48 hours.
 
You’ve probably noticed that I keep using the word “proposal” instead of “bid”.  We view a bid as a set price – this is what we’re going to do and this is what it will cost – period.  However, we’ve learned that a “bid” per se doesn’t always work for every client.  Time frames and/or budgets change, and the bid may not be what is needed anymore.  So Preferred Staging prepares proposals, which we consider a working document.  The proposal can be modified to meet the client’s needs, and it’s not done until everyone is satisfied.
 
Next, I’ll discuss the staging process once the proposal is accepted and we are good to go.
All the Best,
Monica
Preferred Staging
703.851.2690