Posts Tagged ‘Virginia’

Wreaths around Washington DC (Holiday Staging, Part 2)

November 19, 2008

Let’s start our exploration of holiday decorating for homes on the market with wreaths. We will keep in mind our three different customer segments (Northern, Urban and Southern – see yesterday’s post). I like to start with the wreath because it is the last thing that potential buyers will see before they step into the home – so it sets the stage. The wreath also acts as a centerpiece for lawn decorations and curb appeal.


Before we start, let me say that I know many people do not celebrate Christmas. I do not expect my clients to decorate their homes in a manner which is inconsistent with their personal beliefs. What I seek in those situations are elements of holidays which have been secularized. Wreaths are a perfect example. Many people maintain wreaths all year long, rotating them to match the seasons. Wreaths are no longer Christmas symbols.


Select a wreath that you will feel comfortable leaving up beyond the holidays, or replace your holiday wreath with a seasonal wreath after the holidays. A wreath adds a bit of warmth and color to an otherwise bare exterior during the winter.

 Martha Stewart wreath

In Maryland, I would suggest a wreath that is simple, classic and evergreen.















For Washington DC (and other urban areas), I would suggest something a little more modern. Find something edgy, but non-offensive. This square wreath does the trick.


Pottery Barn wreath














In Northern Virginia, where we are leaning towards the south. We suggest adding some color to the wreath. This Williams Sonoma wreath is a great example:

Williams Sonoma wreath 






















Lastly, when a home is for sale, I do not recommend hanging wreaths from every window in the house. This may be very attractive and really brings out the spirit of the season, but home staging is about neutralizing and showcasing the home. Wreaths in every window will draw the buyer’s attention away from the home and to your decorations. It may also convey a sense of exterior clutter that we do not want buyers to experience before they enter the home.


Tomorrow, we discuss lawn art.


All the Best!




the art of home preparation

If it is on HGTV, it must be true!

April 25, 2008

 HGTV is THE source for all things home related

Well, maybe. They certainly have gone a long way towards helping home owners understand that they must prepare their home for sale.
Along those lines, HGTV has just published it list of top 25 Biggest Mistakes in Real Estate.
Here’s the number one thing to avoid…
1. Failing to Showcase Your Home and Make Small Cosmetic Changes

When you are selling your house, you have to really look at it objectively and think about it from the viewpoint of the house hunter. Make minor enhancements to the house and maybe hire a professional stager to come and arrange your furniture. Staging is about decorating your house for the buyers’ taste, not yours. A great place to start is with the front of the home and the main entryway. Home staging is designed to increase the potential selling price and reduce the amount of time the house stays on the market.

I could not have said it better myself…out of all the things home owners should avoid, not staging their home for sale is Number 1.

Take away…

Whether your clients use a professional or not, please share this information with them! A properly prepared home will dramatically increase the changes of a fast sale.
All the best.

Instead of “Dress for Success” Sellers need to “Paint for Success”

January 21, 2008

Paint selection is probably the biggest challenge home owners have in preparing their home for sale. A fresh coat of whatever color was there before is typically a BIG mistake. Homeowners select colors that fit their personality and their lifestyle. Preparing a home for sale requires stepping away from personal preferences and deciding what is best to enhance the salability of the property.

The color should be selected for its broad appeal, and must be appropriate for the purpose of the room. Bedrooms are rarely yellow, for example, but soft greens or lavenders work very well. Potential buyers need to walk into the master bedroom and immediately feel at peace. Color achieves this. Color should set the tone for the entire home and whisper, “You want to live here!”

Sellers cannot assume that the buyer will be interested in selecting their own colors and painting after purchase. We all know that in this market, you cannot leave anything up to the buyer – they want it perfect – and there is plenty of inventory to look at until they find the one that meets their expectations. Paint is one of the easiest, most affordable ways of increasing the salability of a home.

Realtors, If you have had the “paint conversation” with sellers, or can’t otherwise broach the subject with your clients, call us! Let us break the news that the pink kitchen won’t work in this market, or the Winnie the Pooh mural in the kids room may not appeal to a broad enough audience.

The right paint can sell a home!

All the best!


Preferred Staging


Fall Curb Appeal

September 26, 2007
OK, we all know that staging a home starts with curb appeal. Home buyers in Northern Virginia are extremely busy. They will first look at real estate listings online, drive by the homes in which they are interested and then request to visit a home. Fall offers us one of the best opportunities to differentiate your listings from the others on the market. We want to create a warm, welcoming feeling for the fall – the kind of feeling that says, “This is where I want to come home every night!” asp logoA welcoming feeling is obtained by creating a visual funnel with the home’s entrance as the focal point. Use fall decorations and plantings around the entire front of the home, but only sparsely at the edges. The concentration of accents should increase until your eyes rest on the door (adorned with a fall wreath, of course).Unless they are part of the decorations, leaves should be cleared away regularly. A few scattered leaves enhances an autumn theme outside. A yard covered with fallen leaves makes a potential buyer think of all the work it will be to rake. Many areas, such as Reston and Annandale, have leaf pick up if your rake it to the curb. We suggest you bag your leaves and have them picked up with the regular lawn watse. You do not want a wall of leaves to compete with your fall staging.fall decor 3With so many cultures mixing in Northern Virginia, leave the Halloween decorations in the box this year. Halloween runs counter to many people’s beliefs and might keep that one buyer from falling in love with the property (remember, all you need is one!). Certainly use pumpkins and gourds, but no carving, please. Uncarved pumpkins will last many weeks, so it is best to leave them in their natural state. Live accents such as pumpkins will need to be replaced once or twice if the weather is warm, so keep that in mind.Have a great fall, and best of luck in your real estate activities!Monica, ASP



Preferred Staging