Latest articles

Staging and Style

Holiday Lighting Tips for Safety and Style

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Framing a home in a glow of lights can show off your holiday spirit and your home this season. Depending on how much you commit too, you could become the talk of the town. But there’s that fine line between magical glow of holiday spirit and, well, the one that sent Clark Griswold from “Christmas Vacation” yelling expletives.

 

A recent Boston Globe article offered tips from the pros in getting the former, and not the latter, in your holiday light display this season.

Select a color palette. Will you do white lights or multi-color lights? Choose one and stick to it. Keep your color palette simple, such as with just warm colors or just cool colors, suggests April Tougas-Schavone with the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Mass., which hosts a big holiday lighting event each year. “You get a much bigger impact if you stay with one or two colors rather than following five different colors in one area,” she told The Boston Globe. “It looks much more professional and refined.” Also, choose between traditional incandescent bulbs and more energy efficient LEDs.

Choose the bulb size. You also have choices of mini lights or larger C7 or C9 bulbs—plump, old-fashioned Christmas lights. Some designers like to hang these in vertical strands from high branches, or to use meteor or snowdrop lights. These lights are a dripping down ball of light through a tube. The plump C7 or C9 lights can be good for using on evergreen trees or along rooflines. Wrapping tree trunks or branches with a tight coil of mini lights is always popular, designers say. “They take the longest [to install], but they’re worth every minute,” Michael Rose, owner of Christmas Décor by Suburban Lawn and Sprinkler Co. in Framingham, Mass., told the Boston Globe.

Test out your lights first. Nothing is more frustrating than spending hours stringing lights but then finally turning them on to admire and finding they don’t work. Test the lights out before you hang.

Check for safety. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there were 14,700 decorating-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms during the 2016 holiday season. Forty-one percent involved falls. Use a sturdy ladder and be mindful of safety if you’re installing the lights yourself. Also, check that all of the lights and extension cords are rated for outdoor use. Don’t use cut or frayed cords or any lights with cracked bulbs. Experts recommend plugging the lights into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, which will automatically shut off power if a ground fault is detected from water or a damaged cord. Purchase extension cords or adapters that add GFCI protection to any three-prong outlet.

Staging and Style

4 Tips for Using Paint to Update a Home

Photo Credit: Clare

Painting a room can be a quick, transformative update for new homeowners to accomplish. Say your clients recently purchased a home and now they need a little design inspiration to bring it into all its glory. Paint is often the fastest and more transformative way to quickly update a space. Interior decorator Nicole Gibbons, who become known as the “paint maven” with her own brand, Clare, has four tips for using color to update a room. Here are a few of her insider tips:

Photo credit: Clare

  • Pare down your color choices.Research shows that it typically takes an average of four months to choose paint color, which is an unsettling statistic for Gibbons. Tell your clients to focus on a more narrow, curated palette from the get-go, which will help them to not become overwhelmed.
  • Try the color on. Peel and stick color samples are a great way to try out a color without the mess of mini cans of paint and partially painted walls.
  • Shine a light on it. View potential paint color at different times of day, Gibbons recommends, and in different artificial lighting to get the full impact of the color.
  • Don’t forget the primer.“Think of primer as a base coat that creates the foundation for a flawless paint job,” Gibbons writes. It covers imperfections, creates a uniform surface, and neutralized the color so the paint your client chooses appears in its truest, most brilliant form. Two coats may be needed if you’re toning down a higher-gloss paint finish in a switch to matte, or if you’re going from a darker to a lighter hue.

Source: Nicole Gibbons, clare.com

Staging and Style

Add Some Plaid to Your Holiday Decor

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Holiday decor is going gingham style this year. Checkered plaid is one of 2018’s hottest holiday design accessory. Black and white or red and black buffalo prints are popping up in everything from Christmas stockings, ornaments, table runners, and wreaths.

The buffalo prints are really a nod to the cozy farmhouse and rustic design styles. Mix black and white buffalo prints with some burlap, greenery, and the warm, yellow glow of lights and candles and you have a very welcoming home this holiday season.

 

Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash

Community Real Estate Market

First-Time Millennial Homebuyer Question: Am I Ready To Buy A House?

For many millennial first-timers, the thought of buying a home brings a flurry of excitement. Those who are financially savvy know the decision to buy can be a great investment in their financial future. Others may be looking for more space to start a family. And for those with an eye for interior design, a new home brings possibilities of trendy decor like denim couches, fuzzy chairs, and decorative range hoods.

However, not everyone is so eager to begin the home buying process. First-time homebuyers can often feel anxious about the process. According to a recent survey, 70% of millennials regret their home purchase — so how do you ensure you’re not one of them?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when deciding when and how to buy your first home. The key to successfully buying your first home is asking yourself the right questions. This flowchart from Self Lender walks you through some important considerations before you make the investment.
Am-I-Ready-to-Buy-a-House

Visit MicheleFlory.com for homebuying information and options in The Woodlands.

Staging and Style

How Virtual Twilight Photos Sold a Languishing Listing

By Harry Parson, guest contributor

A picture is worth a thousand words, and if you have bad photographs of your listing, it tells a thousand bad stories.

So, when I recently took over a home that had been lingering on the market for more than a year, I focused on its photography and online presentation. The home had been listed using poorly lit and composed photographs, which was doing little to generate buyer interest.

High quality photography truly makes the difference between a home that sits and a home that sells. In addition to having good photographs, I used tech tools from VHT Studios, a national real estate photography firm, like virtual twilight to help photograph and present the home in an evening glow to help it stand out from other photos too.

Virtual twilight is when image specialists use exterior photographs that are taken during daylight and then digitally alter them to reflect the warm indoor lights and cool outdoor hues of a home’s exterior at dusk. Twilight photographs stir emotions and make a connection with buyers. They also allow agents to showcase their listings in a new, differently lit way–without having to return for multiple photography sessions to capture a home in various lighting situations, or actually at dusk.

See the difference …

BEFORE

AFTER

The result?A buyer made an offer less than a week after I mounted the new images on my web site. Plus, the property sold for $20,000 over the asking price.

Why Virtual Twilight?

I used virtual twilight photos on the listing to make it stand out from similar-looking houses on the block. I believe the combination of higher quality photographs and the virtual twilight exterior made the difference.

In addition to the obvious beauty component, virtual twilight photos also help homes that have significant outside window reflections. It can be distracting when buyers see windows reflect other houses across the street, passersby, or cars parked on the street. This technology can remove these obstacles and replace them with a warm, romantic glow.

Virtual twilight photos aren’t just for luxury listings or already beautiful homes. For properties requiring exterior improvements, virtual twilight can add a polished look, improve curb appeal and increase buyer interest in practically any property.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Harry Parson is a Real Estate Broker with Coldwell Banker in Chicago, who engaged VHT Studios to take high quality photographs and conduct Virtual Twilight services on a local property.