Posts Tagged ‘Washington DC’

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

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Look What A Small Investment Can Do!

March 19, 2010

Look what a small investment can do!

A few weeks ago I did a 2 hour walk through consultation for a home owner that has lived in the house for 45 years. The house has been very well maintained, but as we see all the time with older clients who are downsizing, updating hasn’t been a priority over the past few years. The house does have a lovely remodeled kitchen, but some other rooms needed attention.

The best example was the wood paneling in the basement. The dark paneling absorbed all the light in the room, making it feel like a cold, dark cave – and really dating the house. Once the paneling was painted an off white, some furniture removed and other pieces moved, and some art work rehung, there was a huge difference – it hardly looks like the same room!

Spending even a little money on such updates and for staging is sometimes a hard pill for homeowners to swallow. We really need to educate home owners that home preparation is truly an investment that they will receive a return on when the house sells. The return will either be a better listing price, (is it better to sell the house “as is”, or at market value?), and a faster sale, which in the long run will reduce mortgage payments, utility costs and general maintenance and upkeep of the property. A faster sale also means less marketing dollars Realtors have to spend.

Check out these statistics from HomeGain.com for ROI on home improvements for sellers:

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According to the survey, painting, decluttering and reorganizing the basement will bring a nice return to the home seller – and all for about 2 days of work!

All the Best,

Monica

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

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!

 

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

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

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

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

Set the Stage with Vignettes

May 26, 2008

Staging with Vignettes

There are a variety of staging solutions for every home and budget. An experienced stager will be able to work with sellers to find the appropriate balance between the cost to the home seller and the impressions of the house created for the home buyer. 

When staging vacants, the industry standard is to spend 1% of the home’s value on a 3 month staging. In the Washington, DC area, that is $5,000 to $10,000. While many clients understand that staging is an investment that will yield far more than a 1% return either through a higher offer from the buyer or less time on the market – or both, some sellers simply cannot make that type of investment.
 
We work with all types of sellers and understand their needs. A great solution to a tight staging budget is to stage using vignettes. A vignette is a small visual element that provides context to an area.  
 
Vignettes can be used in secondary rooms, such as basements, kids bedrooms, offices, those odd spaces in kitchens that don’t really have a purpose, etc. Vignettes typically help to define the purpose of the space, but also provide some spacial context to a empty room.
Washington DC row house before home stagine   Washington DC row house after home staging
 
Vignettes are not recommended for the emotional spaces of kitchen, master bedroom and family room. These rooms sell homes and need the most attention.
 
When staging with vignettes, there are some classic rules to follow:
  • Always be consistent with the purpose of the room. Do not mix messages just because you have the space. Stage an office vignette as an office; resist the urge to throw that overstuffed chair in the corner just because you can.
  • Follow the “rule of three”.  The human brain is wired to be able to wrap itself easily around concepts, phrases and visual elements that come in threes (“location, location, location” is a good example). When staging, creating vignettes in groups of threes is the fastest and easiest way to present a visually appealing “concept” for a room.  For example, a bedroom may simply have a bed, nightstand and lamp, which is just enough to accomplish the following three objectives: define the purpose of the room, create the essential cozy feeling, and allow the buyer to see spatial relationships.
  • Make the vignette the first thing you see when you enter the room. You do not want a potential buyer to walk into a room and ask, “What is this room for?”, then notice the desk, chair and computer against the far wall. They should be thinking “office” as they enter the room.

Staging vignettes cost less than staging the full room. They define the room’s purpose and add contextual reference points to potential buyers. Vignettes also help buyers see the how they might use those awkward spaces that many newer homes in the Washington DC area have.  

All the best, 
 
703-851-2690 
Preferred Staging
the art of home preparation

For Wasington, DC Area Aspriational Home Buyers

May 11, 2008

Go With the Pottery Barn Look

Pottery Barn is considered the pinnacle of design for today’s young home buyers. Take a look at their website and you will see why. Their designs are fresh, unpretentious and modern, yet still have traditional roots. They seem to have found the recipe that speaks to the Gen Xers. One thing the Washington, DC has a lot of are Gen Xers, so we need to know how to position starter homes for them.

 
What does it take to market to these buyers? In my opinion, color is king here. After all, the only thing that will be left after the home is sold are the colors.
 
So what can we glean from Pottery Barn’e success and customer research? First, everything is bright – not a dark color in the bunch. Even their dark colors are bright and are used primarily as accents.
 
A cynical person would say, “Yea, they use those colors to accent the furniture, which is usually white.” Well, maybe… but I think there is more to it than that. Pottery Barn knows its customers well. And it knows that certain colors, along with its furniture, will create a “feeling”. Since the furniture in their display ads is usually white, the feeling is being created by the colors used as the backdrop.
 
Now I am no psychologist, but it seems to me this is the very same feeling that we want to create for the Gen X home buyer. I call it “aspirational”. It is a sense of what it will be like when “I get there,” where ever “there” might be.
 
So, if you have a home targeted at the first time buyer, consider using Pottery Barn colors.
“Well, geez! Thanks, Monica. But just how are we supposed to do that, match chip cards against the Pottery Barn web site?”
 
No, Benjamin Moore has done it for us. They have developed a color pallet especially for Pottery Barn.
 
Best colors for virginia, dc and maryland
  
Use these colors for single family homes, town homes and condos in the suburban environments. I am not sold that all of these are the right colors for urban locations, so please keep that in mind.
 
All the best, 
Monica
703.851.2690
Preferred Staging
the art of home preparation