Posts Tagged ‘Home Staging’

The Washington Post Got it Right…Home Staging is a Top 10 Must Do to Sell Your Home

December 31, 2011

We recently quoted in a Washington Post article on the top 10 things your need to know about buying and selling a home. The real estate market here in the Washington DC metro area has been fairly strong these past couple of months, with well priced and well presented homes selling faster than the national average. Speaking to our Realtor partners, we are no where near a seller’s market, so home owners still need to focus on the fundamentals to sell quickly and for the most money.

Specifically, the Post said that staging, especially for vacant proerties, was well worth the investment. They quoted Realtor Rachel Valentino of Keller Williams as saying, “Besides new paint, staging is the best return on investment you can make.”

Realtors, justifiably, have differing opinions on the benefits of staging. I think what is indisputable is that staging improves the presentation of a vacant property. Builders spend upwards of $100,000 to stage model homes. They know that a furnished home shows better than a vacant.

What is open for debate is: How much staging is worth? That question is tough to answer. Here’s one stat, that we can point to…Preferred Staging has staged and helped sell over $16 million in realestate so far this year. On average, Preferred Staging’s projects have sold for 97.5% of the asking price. According to Zillow, the average price reduction for the Washington DC area is over 6%. So, we can say that Preferred Staging homes help sellers save 3.5% of their home value. If staging typically costs about 1%, that is still 2.5% left over for the seller. An additional $10,000 to $15,000 in the seller’s pocket after staging costs…Not too shaby.

For the Realtor, Preferred Staging staged homes typically sell in less than 28 days. That is less time and money you spend marketing and showing. Staging helps your sales “velocity,” allowing you to manage more listings per year and helping you improve your statistics so you win more listings from prospects.

Bottom line, we agree with the Washington Post. Staging is a top 10 must do!

All the Best,

Monica, ASP

monica@preferredstaging.com

703.851.2690

Preferred Staging

the art of home preparation

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Preferred Staging Featured on Washington DC’s Fox 5

May 5, 2010

We had the distinct honor of being featured on Fox 5’s morning program today. They came out with us as we transformed a Washington DC vacant home into an inviting home!

You can see the segments here.

All the Best,

Monica

703.851.2690

Preferred Staging

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

Lighting the Way to Your Home Sale (Holiday Home Staging, Part 4)

November 21, 2008

OK, so now we move to the topic of holiday lighting. If you have just joined us, this is Part 4 in a series of holiday decoration articles specifically written for homes for sale in the Washington DC, Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland markets. If you live here, you’ve come to the right place. If you don’t, well, you are welcome too!

 

You can review previous topics here:

Part 1: Keeping the Holidays While Your Home is on the Market

Part 2: Wreaths Around Washington DC

Part 3: To Lawn Art or Not Lawn Art

 

This is Part 4: Lighting the Way to Your Home Sale (cute, huh!).

 

OK, so we have created a focal point to the home with an attractive seasonal (rather than holiday) wreath hanging on the front door. During the day, that is all I recommend. Any other visible decorations serve as a distraction. At night, however, we need something more.

 

When your home is for sale, the lighting I recommend is a spot or flood light illuminating the home. Look at it this way, it gets dark around 6pm during the short days of winter. If a buyer wants to drive by a home after they get off of work, or better, they are testing the commute to your home (that’s a great buying sign!), you want the buyer to be able to see the home! If all they can see is a dark shadow sitting back from the road, what type of impression will that leave?

 

Sure there are exceptions to this recommendation…if you live where a spot light will annoy your neighbors, or the home is well illuminated with street lighting and a spotlight would be washed out you may want to go another route…tomorrow, we discuss tasteful holiday lights.

 

All the Best,

 

Monica Murphy

703.851.2690

www.preferredstaging.com

the art of home preparation

To Lawn Art or Not Lawn Art (Holiday Staging, Part 3)

November 20, 2008

Yesterday, we started with at the wreath, and I encouraged everyone to put a wreath on their front door – even if it is just a seasonal wreath (if Christmas is not celebrated in the home). Wreaths add an important element of curb appeal in an otherwise dreary winter landscape. Wreaths create a focal point that draws the buyer’s eye to the door, welcoming them in the home. Lastly, wreaths create a transition between the outside and the inside. You get a jump on a great first impression with an attractive wreath.

 

OK, for those of you who like to put out lawn decorations for the holidays, I have one word for you – DON’T. If your home is for sale, the last thing you want a buyer to see as they approach your home is something foreign in the lawn.

 

I know that many home owners have attachments to their special lawn ornaments. I appreciate that the holiday may seem a little empty with out the traditional display. When you home is for sale, you need to think about the purchaser, not yourself.

 

When a buyer approaches a home, any lawn decorations will be a distraction. The buyer’s eyes will be fixed on the object on the lawn, not the home behind it. If they cannot figure out what the decoration is (such as a deflated blow-up Santa, or a straw deer that is lit at night), they will spend more energy trying to guess. Guessing leads to uncertainty and distraction.

 

This recommendation holds true no matter where your home is: Northern Virginia, Washington DC or Maryland.

 

Tomorrow, we will talk about tasteful light displays.

 

All the Best,

 

Monica

703.851.2690

www.preferredstaging.com

the art of home preparation

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

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

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,
 
703-851-2690 
Preferred Staging
the art of home preparation
Serving Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC

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