Archive for the ‘Interior Staging’ Category

Arlington, Virginia Home Staged and Sold, But It Took Some Work!

January 13, 2013

BEYOND THE FRIDGE IN THE DINING ROOM

Yes, this is how the house looked the first time I saw it. The old fridge was in the dining room, but that wasn’t all. Cardboard boxes were everywhere, bathroom fixtures and mirrors weren’t in place yet, painting needed to be finished, and the bath in the basement was just a rough in. The whole house was a construction zone, and we were asked to stage it in just 10 days.

This isn’t an uncommon scene for us. There are so many houses now being developed (and just a few years ago, I would have said “flipped”), especially in our area where there are a lot of wonderful older homes with good bones that just need some money and attention to bring them back to life. The trick for the professional stager, though, is to see beyond the construction to the potential that the house has. It is our job to show the buyers what the house really can be, and how wonderful it would be to live there. But you’ve got to see beyond the old, nasty fridge in the dining room.

The owner of the house was able to have all of the construction work completed on time, and the renovations were absolutely beautiful. Working with someone who knows not only knows what they’re doing but also goes one step beyond by using quality materials just makes our job that much easier. The staging, however, is what really brought the house to life.

This is what the dining room looks like without a fridge in it, as well as the before and after of the living room:

 

 

To see more before and after photos, check out our Gallery, or visit the website of Ellen Robinson, of RE/MAX Premier.

All the Best,

Monica, ASP

703.851.2690

Advertisements

Offering More to Our Customers and Partners

May 30, 2012

One of Preferred Staging’s goals to serve our Realtor partners and clients better is to contantly provide more value. The most recent step in that direction has been the addition of furniture to our inventory.  This is not a quick and easy process, as we are very particular about what furniture we purchase and from where.  Just like shopping for furniture for your own home, we are looking for quality, style, and durability.  Furniture is an investment in our business, and one that we don’t take lightly.

Everything is purchased new. We do NOT buy from Craig’s List, consignment stores, garage or estate sales. We believe that brand new furniture will create the best emotional bond between the buyer and the home. The last thing you want potential buyers to see is worn furniture in their future home!

Growing up, my family’s business was an independent furniture store. My father started working there when he was 17, moved up to sales, and eventually bought the store.  Needless to say, I learned a thing or two from him about furniture!  That knowledge, paired with 5 years of staging experience, has helped us to choose what we believe to be the right furniture for our vacant stagings.

One staging where we used all of Preferred Staging’s furniture is 5201 Summit Drive in Fairfax.  This beautiful house has a fantastic floor plan and a great mix of formal and causal spaces, and I’m not the only one who thinks so, as the house was under contract in just 12 days!  Visit our gallery to see photos of this beautiful house as well as some our new inventory.

Preferred Staging prices our inventory competitively with other furniture rental companies in the metro area.  The primary difference is that we don’t have a minimum rental cost that must met.  Most rental companies have a base rent minimum of $750/month for a 2 month contract.  We only use professional movers for both the delivery and pick up of our furniture. 

As I mentioned above, adding furniture is not a quick process. So far, we have invested about $30,000 in furniture and plan to invest at least that much again in the remainder of the year. As we build our inventory, we will still rely on American Furniture Rental when the need arises.  Preferred Staging is AFR’s largest staging client in the Washington, DC area, and our clients are offered benefits that no other staging company receives.  For example, AFR will offer clients a base minimum is just $600/month, compared to the industry standard of $750.

Our goal is to provide the maximum value to our Realtor partners and their clients in their professional staging experience, including high quality furniture and accessories that help their houses show at their very best, to create a warm and welcoming ambience, to help the house sell quickly and at top dollar. Vacants need to be staged to show their best. Builders stage model homes for a reason – staged homes sell!

All the Best,

Monica

703.851.2590

Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

Going GREEN – The Natural Way and the Faux Way

March 11, 2010

I just read an HGTV article about going green the natural way… so to speak.  No, its not about using chemical free cleaners or HEPA filters, but rather the natural air cleaning qualities of house plants.  Yes, house plants.

I grew up with lots of house plants, and have always had plants wherever I lived.  I guess I inherited my green thumb from my father, who grew up on a self-sustaining farm and even now, in his early 80’s, is still an avid gardener.  And one of the first things you learn in science class about plants is that they absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen – a very compatible relationship with humans and animals, to say the least.  So it just always seems natural to me (pardon the pun) to have plants around the house.

house plant

What intrigued me the most about the article, though, are the psychological and intangible benefits that house plants seem to offer.  People report feeling less stressed, can work and solve problems better, feel more attentive and think clearly when plants are around – even images of plants seem to have the same effect.

So how does this apply to home staging and presenting houses for sale?

Well, I’m already predisposed to bringing a bit of the outside into the house.  I naturally incorporate this fondness for greenery in the houses that I stage, and not just with a beautiful floral arrangement here and there, or a fichus tree in the corner.  Plants and flowers often end up in kitchens and baths, but also on end and cocktail tables, and often on nightstands.  I’ve never know anybody who doesn’t like a plant (just like I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like a donut), so there is no hesitation to place a plant in a variety of locations throughout a house.  (The images below are of a HUGE master bath where I created a “magic garden” – my most elaborate use of greenery yet.)

Sawbridge Master Bath

Of course, when staging both vacants and occupieds, I use faux greenery– preferably silk (by the way, FAUX is NOT a 4-letter word!).  For home staging, silk greenery has obvious multiple advantages.  They can be arranged and rearranged to fit the location and placement, and best of all, they don’t need to be watered and won’t die. 

I’d be pretty foolish if I though that potential buyers viewing one of my staged homes didn’t know that the plants are faux.  But I do believe that the benefits of the presence of house plants mentioned in the article – feeling more attentive and thinking more clearly – could very well be a part of the decision making process of buying a house.  One of the goals of staging a house is to create an inviting atmosphere for buyers and to help them envision themselves living in the house.  In my opinion, house plants go a long way to help achieve that goal.

All the best,

Monica

Preferred Staging

703-851-2690

Don’t Pack Away the Personality or the Charm!

March 11, 2010

I was on a consultation a couple of weeks ago for a Realtor who hires me for every house she lists. I really like this Realtor, and she always seems to have the nicest clients – mostly young families that are moving up to a larger house.  Such was the case with this consultation.

I met with the wife, who is currently a stay at home mom.  If I didn’t know any better, I would never have known that there were 2 boys under the age of 3 in the house.  The house itself was spotless and completely decluttered. (And the boys were very well behaved!)  She was a dream client.

What made it so easy to work with her was that she already understood the value of staging, and she and her husband had already made great strides in preparing the house for sale.  They had already packed away personal photos and sentimental items, and put into storage those items they didn’t immediately need as well as about half of the boys’ toys.  They had cleared out closets to make room to store what needed to remain at the house.  All repairs were made, walls were freshly painted, and little maintenance touch ups were planned for this weekend, including washing all the windows.  

The only problem was that when it came to decluttering, they went a bit too far.  Not much – just a bit – which is something I often see. In the zeal to declutter, and the fear or concern that various furnishings or wall art may be too style specific, or that people won’t like the current owners’ furnishings and style and therefore not like the house, sellers put away too much and the house is left lacking that special touch of personality and charm – the very elements that can help sell the house.

Of course we wanted to use what the seller already owned or could borrow from friends and family.  So some art work will be put back into the living room, which will really add charm to the space.  White candles will be replaced with gold ones for warmth, and a large faux plant will be added to a shelf to add some life and color.  Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – “faux” is NOT a 4-letter word!  And in this case, it’s the perfect solution for this mom, as she doesn’t have to worry about dirt on the floor or broken pots or ripped up leaves if her boys get to the plant. 

If you find you have clients in a similar scenario, where they need to declutter but aren’t sure what to keep and what to pack, a walk through consultation may be the solution.  A trained and experienced professional stager can provide the guiding hand needed to help keep the personality and charm in a house.

All the Best,

Monica

Preferred Staging

703-851-2690

But WHY Won’t You Give Me a Quote Over the Phone?

March 11, 2010

Imagine this phone call:

(ring, ring) Caller: “Hi, I want to put my house on the market in about 2 weeks. It has 4 bedrooms and 2 and a half baths. How much would you list it for?”

I highly doubt any agent is going to give a quote over the phone to this hypothetical client. Obviously, not only do you need to see the property, but you also need quite a bit more information before you can make a fair evaluation of the property to price it correctly.

Would you ask a painter, contractor, or anyone else to whom you intend on paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars to provide you a quote over the phone without having them first see the work that needs to be done?

Staging is no different, and is this is why Preferred Staging doesn’t give quotes to stage properties over the phone or through an email without first having seen the property and evaluate what is needed. Just like a Realtor determining the correct market value of a house, we need to take into account all the variables. Is the house vacant or occupied? How many rooms need to be staged? How big are the rooms? Do we need to take measurements? What is the layout of the house? Is it an open floor plan? Is the house traditional or contemporary? Where is the placement of the windows and doors, and how much natural light do the rooms receive? What colors are the rooms? Do they need paint, and would you like us to recommend colors? You get the idea.

Take for example a house in Arlington that we staged last year. It had a living & dining area, a den (of sorts), 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, kitchen and separate laundry area. The tricky part to this house was that it is only 750 square feet – total. (I’ve been told its one of the smallest houses in Arlington.) Had we not seen the house to understand the layout and traffic flow and taken measurements, we would not have been able to stage it properly and present it to its best advantage, which eventually led to it being sold in just 10 days.

We professionally stage all of our properties so that they will not only show to their best advantage, but will also stand head and shoulders above the competition. Preferred Staging prides itself on the quality of our work, quality of our accessories, and our attention to detail, and our success can be seen in how quickly our staged homes sell. Like you, we just can’t achieve this level of professionalism and success through a phone call or email.

All the Best,

Monica

Preferred Staging

703-851-2690

4th Street, SE, Washington DC Row House Staged and Read to Sell

December 9, 2009

Staging vacant homes are always a lot of fun for Preferred Staging.  It’s a great creative challenge to walk into an empty house and then envision how it will look furnished and accessorized.  Although it’s not quite as simple as it sounds.  Room measurements, zones (like space between furniture, walking paths, dining versus living, etc.), floor and wall colors, windows placements, and natural light all have to be taken into consideration.

We recently staged this fabulously renovated 1937 townhouse at 714 4th St. SE, Washington, DC.  The builder has really made this a showcase house with a huge kitchen, wonderful modern baths, a spacious master bedroom, and beautiful hardwood floors.  The front and back yards and patio are perfectly landscaped, too.

The builder has really made this a showcase house with a huge kitchen, wonderful modern baths, a spacious master bedroom, and beautiful hardwood floors.The front and back yards and patio are perfectly landscaped, too.

The approach to staging row houses like this one is to consider the long and narrow living space and the presentation.  How we stage to present a house is not necessarily how the new owner is going to arrange their furniture to live in the house.  Our goal is to stage the house with the best possible layout and arrangement so the house shows well, and potential buyers can see not only how much space there is, but also what furniture and how much furniture can fit into a room.

Of course, if a buyer walked in on staging day, they would probably stand there shaking their head wondering how we’re going to make it all work.  It’s CHAOS (or in home owner parlance, Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). But it’s all creative chaos – yes, we actually know what we’re doing – and at the end of the day the final results speak for themselves. See more before and afters of this and other Washington DC homes

All the best,

Monica, ASP

703.851.2690

Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

McLean, Virginia Home Staged in Evermay

November 27, 2009

Preferred Staging firmly believes that every property is unique, so when we approach a house for staging, we need to take into consideration all of the wonderful features that the house has to offer.  We stage each house to highlight its best features, and work with the challenges.  Each house, therefore, is staged a little bit differently.

Last week we staged a fabulous house in the Evermay area of McLean, Virginia.  It’s a split level house with a large and open front foyer, which is very welcoming.  However, from the foyer you can see into every main room of the house – the dining room, kitchen and family room, living room, and finished basement.  What a view!  And this was our main challenge – to stage each room visible from the front foyer so that it was warm and welcoming, but also with focal points that would invite buyers to walk into the rooms to experience each space further.  The longer a buyer will linger in a room, the more interested they can become, and hopefully envisioning themselves living in that room.  This is a major first step in the buying process.

Our team staged this large house in just one day, and when the Realtor stopped by as we were finishing up, he stood in the foyer and looked around him and into each room.  He was thrilled with the results!  The Borker’s Open the next day was a huge success, and we are expecting a sale in the very near future!   Before and after photos of this property can be found on the Preferred Staging gallery with other McLean, VA homes.

All the Best,

Monica, ASP

703.851.2690

Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

Pendleton St, Alexandria, VA Before and After Pictures

January 20, 2009

Here are the full before and after pictures of the home on Pendleton Street in Old Town Alexandria. It really is a stunning property.

All the Best!

Monica

703.851.2690

Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

Lovely Alexandria, Virginia Townhouse

January 5, 2009

We just finished staging this awesome townhouse in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. I will post the before and afters tomorrow, but we just finished editing the video, so I thought I would get that up right away.

This home already has some interest, with one offer on the table, just days after staging.

All the Best,
Monica
703.851.2690
www.preferredstaging.com

Staging for the Holidays

November 14, 2008
 
We just received our first request for holiday staging/decorating today, so I thought I would send out a quick note… The holidays in the Washington DC area have gotten busier and busier. This year is looking like the busiest of them all, with the change in administrations and everyone working harder to keep the wheels of the economy turning. It has gotten so you cannot even drive in Tysons Corner or Chevy Chase after Thanksgiving!
 
Preferred Staging can help you with your home preparation by doing as much or as little as you need, from rearranging furniture for better flow and movement through the house, to helping you to decorate.  
 
The best way to move forward would be to start with a consultation and for us to come and see your house and discuss plans and budget.  More often than not during a consultation we start working towards your goal – moving furniture, changing accessories, etc. 
 
The holidays will be here before you know it, so call soon!
 
All the Best,
 
Monica
703.851.2690
www.preferredstaging.com
the art of home preparation