Archive for November, 2008

The Devil is in The Details

November 5, 2008

I had a consultation in a wonderful Montgomery County, Maryland home yesterday. The home was just about 15 years old; modern, but mature. I thought this would be an easy one. Landscaping was good, exterior of the home was in good condition…

According to the website,, “When people say that the devil is in the detail(s), they mean that small things in plans and schemes that are often overlooked can cause serious problems later on…”
This couldn’t be truer than when you’re selling a house!
As a home stager, I see lots of details that are little devils, and really need to be taken care of.  These little red flags are often missed by the home owner, not because they are thoughtless or careless, but more likely because they are too closely involved with the preparation of their house for sale that they just don’t see all the little details that will make a big impact on potential buyers.  Paying attention to the details is even more important in vacants, as anything amiss will really stand out.
When I’m walking through a house, it is rare that I encounter a house that hasn’t been cleaned.  That’s always a good sign.  What I often see, however, are dirty light fixtures, old bathroom light fixtures that are rusting, and burned out bulbs.  The floor or carpet may be cleaned to within an inch of its life, but if the buyer can’t see it because of the dust on the fixture, or the lack of working light bulbs, then it starts to set a negative tone that will carry throughout the rest of the house.  Make sure the light fixtures are cleaned – especially if there are bugs in it! –  and the highest wattage light bulbs recommended for the fixture are used.  If the light fixture is old and tired, rusting or broken, then replace it.  It need not be an expensive fixture, but a new one is a lot better than one that looks like it’s ready to fall off of the wall.
Other little devils are all the small, obvious repairs that need to be done.  Make sure all doors work properly, in particular bi-fold doors, which can easily come off their tracks.  Imagine a potential buyer opening a closet door and it falling out, or worse yet, not being to open the door at all. Yikes! 
Another repair of sorts is when painting to remove all the old nails and hooks that held up wall art – don’t just paint over them.  That nail by the kitchen cupboard may have been perfect for your calendar, but probably won’t be for the new owner.  A potential buyer is going to look at the wall of painted nails and think only of how much work it’s going to take them to remove the nails, patch the holes, and repaint.  If it’s too much work, they’ll most likely cross that house off of their list.
As I mentioned above, it is rare that I walk into a filthy house.  But it seems that one area that is often forgotten about is windows – sills, screens, and the windows themselves.  Dust and dead bugs on the sills is a real turn off, along with broken, bent or torn screens, and dirty windows.  A clean window is going to make a room look a lot lighter and brighter, which in turn will help show the house better.
Don’t forget to tell your clients while they are preparing their house for sale to look at their house with the eye of a potential buyer, and to be sure to look for all the little devils that lurk from floor to ceiling, and wall to wall.  Taking care of the details will help prevent potential problems later on.
All the best,


Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

Condo Transformed in Alexandria, Virginia

November 3, 2008
Can Do Condos  
Looking back across the our back issues of our newsletter, I realized I have never featured a condo! I don’t know why, maybe the single family homes in Fairfax or Bethesda have more drama, there are more rooms to fill in the larger homes of Great Falls, Potomac, MD and Loudoun. Maybe the row houses in Washington DC have a story to tell, who knows! Well, here is our first condo staging story.  
We just finished this awesome condo in the Landmark area of Alexandria. This is a big unit with a western exposure. The listing agent, BJ Cyr, has a great photo of the sun setting as seen from the condo balcony. Take a look at the listing photos on BJ’s site. (Since the property was just staged, the listing phots do not reflect the staging.)
The living room was a very neutral gray, which goes with any decor. The track lighting allowed us to highlight art work on the walls.
Alexandria condo living room before home staging  Alexandria condo living room after home staging
The rooms where so large, that we actually placed the furniture against the walls. In this case the the rooms actually look bigger and allowed us to emphasize the stunning view from the 17th floor.
Alexandria condo living room before home staging  Alexandria condo living room after home staging
On-trend turquois paint in the master bedroom was very unique. With the right bedding, a very soothing environment is achieved.
Alexandria condo bed room before home staging  Alexandria condo bed room after home staging
With the open floor plan of a condo, you need to coordinate the transition between spaces. In this case, the sofa table in the living room (seen in the distance below) is a similar style to the dining room furniture.
Alexandria condo dining room before home staging  Alexandria condo dining room after home staging
Alexandria condo dining room before home staging  Alexandria condo dining room after home staging
The seller loved the results! She said she was considering moving back in!
All the Best,
Preferred Staging
the art of home preparation
Serving Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC