Archive for the ‘Real Estate’ Category

Investing in Home Staging

May 8, 2009

So, how many times in your life has someone told you there is “no free lunch” or “you get what you pay for”? Well, we all know the most important things in life are invaluable, but everything else has a price tag.  

Staging is no different, the most important thing that we provide our clients is peace of mind that they are doing everything possible to sell their property. You cannot place a value on that.  

What you can place a value upon is success. Our average days on the market fell to 20 this week with the sale of one of our most recent stagings in just 10 days. Now, we do not take anything away from the real estate pros we work with, they deserve all the credit for moving these properties – they are the best!  

Preferred Staging’s job is to provide the backdrop for an aggressive marketing effort. It is very difficult to market a vacant home, or an occupied that just does not show well. All the eloquent wording of fliers, the online listings, the broker’s opens, and open houses cannot overcome a home that does not show well. That’s where we come in.  

80% of the homes we have staged this year are under contract, and those homes sold in an average of just 20 days, that’s a full 60 days less than the average in Arlington so far this year. That is 2 fewer mortgage payments home owners have to make, on average. It is also less marketing time and expense for you.  

Home staging may be a new concept for many home owners, but the numbers tell a very effective story that it is the way to go to sell quickly.  

All the Best!  

Monica, ASP

703.851.2690 

Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

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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

Keeping the Holidays While Your Home is On the Market (Part 1)

November 18, 2008

Around this time last year, I wrote a post about staging for the holidays. I thought I would continue this year with a multipart series so we could go into more details. We will call this blog: Part 1 (original, huh?), Holiday Psychology.

First, I would like to talk buyer psychology. I have a masters in Art & Architectural History, so I am no shrink, but basic marketing says you have to keep your buyers in mind at all times. Buyers in Northern Virginia are different from buyers in Washington DC, who are different from buyers in Maryland.

There are subgroups within Arlington, for example, or Gaithersburg versus Bethesda, true; but you have to draw the line somewhere. We can work on more specific market segmentation and how that will influence the staging of the home with your Realtor.

I don’t know if it is the north/south thing, but buyers in Maryland have a definite northeastern view of the world. Buyers in Virginia, definitely southern. Buyers in Washington DC, well let’s just call them urban.

There are specific psychological profiles associated with each of these groups (bet you can think of some one your own!). We will keep these profiles in mind as we move forward in the discussion.

southern_accents_dec_19911     greenlight-long-island_holiday-2006-cover1   new-york-city-holiday-lights-tour-in-new-york-city-21

Do these groups mix, sure. Might someone interested in buying your home come from somewhere other than the northeast or south? Absolutely. Can you stage for every possible segment of the population, No! So, please excuse my painting with a broad brush here.

Now, as we move forward over the next couple of days, we will keep these larger customer groups in mind.

Tomorrow: Wreaths and why every door should have one (but not the windows!)

All the Best,

Monica

703.851.2690

www.preferredstaging.com

the art of home preparation

Washington Post on Staging

November 15, 2008

Preferred Staging was featured in the Washington Post today, talking about how staging improves the salability of DC metro area homes. This was a big treat for us, coming on the heals of a Washington Times article.

Here are a few excerpts:

  • LaChapelle, for instance, gives much of the credit for her sale to her decision to have the home staged. She feared that an empty house would look too cold and barren.
  • “A vacant house leaves no impression on buyers. In the world of sales, no impression is the same as a negative impression,” said Jane Fairweather, an agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Bethesda. “If you’re only competing against vacant homes, you’re still okay. But if a buyer sees three vacant homes and then a fourth one that is done up smashingly, the buyer is going to remember that fourth home.”
  • “To really capture a sale, buyers need to be able to mentally move into the home they are considering,” Murphy (that’s me!) said. “When you stage a vacant home, you’re providing an example for a buyer. The worst thing you can do is make your potential buyer guess. You need to do the work for them.”

Read the rest of the post article here. The Washington Times article can be found here. Whew, ok, enough of the 15 minutes of fame, now back to helping people sell their homes!

If you are planning on selling your home, or your home is currently on the market and has not sold and you are in the Northern Virginia, Washington DC or suburban Maryland region, I would love to here from you!

All the best,

Monica
703.851.2690
www.preferredstaging.com
the art of home preparation

Washington DC Sellers Getting Ready for the Inauguration

November 13, 2008

I received a call from the owner of a town home in Bethesda, MD yesterday. They are moving out next month and will be listing the home in the new year. Staging was something they were planning to do anyway, but this homeowner is getting creative and leveraging the staging to earn some extra money while the home is vacant.

The homeowner plans to rent his town home out during inauguration week! They are going to leverage the upscale staging and the attractive location of his home. Hey what ever works!

Any one else interested in covering the cost of staging through a short-term rental for the inaguration? Obviously, homeowners in Washington, DC should consider it, but what about Arlington, Alexandria, Silver Spring, College Park, etc.

Give us a call to discuss!

All the Best,

Monica

703.851.2690

Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

Fairfax Condo Sold in Under 2 Months

November 12, 2008
Staged and Sold in Under 2 Months
 
We love getting letters like this!
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November 10, 2008
 
To: Monica Murphy
Preferred Staging, LLC
 
My husband and I had a condo to sell and it had been on the market for about two months. We spent a great deal of time and money renovating the condo and we appreciated the space and convenience that it provided.
 
When the real estate market fell dramatically, we were worried that there would not be a buyer with the ability to see what our condo offered.  We put so much thought into the interior, especially the kitchen.  
 
We made the decision to stage the condo to show the size of the rooms and to enhance the fact that the room size was larger than what most homes offered.  After moving our personal furnishings, we thought it would be best to help the prospective buyers visualize the space that we were offering.
 
It was at that time that I searched the internet and found Preferred Staging, LLC.  I called Monica Murphy and was delighted to find someone that was very interested in working with me to provide the best solution for staging our condo so that potential buyers would have the ability to visualize the room sizes and get a better feel for what our space provided.
 
Monica was personable; had the ability to listen to what my requests were; was pleasant and extremely capable and professional.  In no time, Monica had the schedule laid out and within a very short time, our condo was transformed from vacant to impressive and very well defined.
 
We were very impressed with Monica’s ability to look at our property, take photos, determine what furniture was needed and put everything together very quickly.  Monica was never insistent or overly aggressive.  She was very personable and she went out of her way to make sure that everything was done well and on time.
 
We made the right decision to stage; we made the right decision to have Preferred Staging do the job.
 
It is with great pleasure that I recommend Monica Murphy and Preferred Staging, LLC, to assist home sellers to stage their homes for successful sales.
 
Sincerely,
 
D E Piper
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Here are some before and afters of the condo…
 
Alexandria condo living room before home staging  Alexandria condo living room after home staging 
 
Alexandria condo living room before home staging  Alexandria condo living room after home staging
 
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
 
Alexandria condo bed room before home staging  Alexandria condo bed room after home staging
 

All the best,

Monica
703-851-2690 
Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

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, www.usingenglish.com, “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,

Monica
703-851-2690 

Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

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!
 
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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