Staging and Style

Staging and Style

White Emerges as ‘It’ Color for Holiday Staging

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

White has become a classy go-to color this holiday season, and it’s perfect when staging a home during the holidays. Whether it’s white table linens, holiday stockings, ornaments, or even an all-white tree, the neutral color can be a way to decorate a home for-sale during the holidays without distracting from the home’s overall decor. More traditional holiday hues—like red and green—can take on more prominence in a home. But white blends right in to any color scheme, and can still offer warmth and yuletide cheer for the holidays.

The white artificial Christmas tree is among one of the hottest holiday decorating trends this year. These trees can look elegant and be a perfect staging solution for the holidays, in which your owners still want a tree but you don’t want it to overpower or distract a space.

There is a decorating trick to these trees in staging, however. Unlike more traditional Christmas trees, white trees tend to pull from a more muted color scheme.

Here are a few other tips to decorating an all-white or white-frosted tree:
White LED lights: The base of all-white lights will help create a soft, warm glow on your tree. Red, blue, or multicolored lights on an all-white tree will really stand out so it may be best to avoid when staging.

Use white ornaments: White on white? You bet! The key here is to mix in different textures of ornaments to avoid too monochromatic of a look.

Avoid contrasting colors: Besides white, use more softer shades like creams and soft grays for the ornaments and garland. Contrasting colors, like red or blue, may be too harsh against the all-white base.

Add some shine: Mix in some sparkle with silver or gold ornaments or accent picks.

Channel a farmhouse look: The white tree can be perfect to complete a farmhouse look. Decorate the tree with a burlap ribbon in a zig-zag pattern all the way down the tree, and repeat all around. Add in a few white spray-painted pinecones and even some cotton accents.

Staging and Style

Tips on Christmas Decor Home Staging

By Merri Cvetan, guest contributor

StyledStagedSold_Image1If you’re staging your home during this time of the year, adding a bit of holiday cheer to your decor can make a big impression on potential buyers. Use these tips to create a simple, polished look that puts your home in its best light this holiday season.

Choose the Right Christmas Tree

When showing your home, include holiday decor that allows potential buyers to picture themselves in the space. For example, choose a tree that allows other aspects of your home to shine. Your living room or entryway will look bigger if you opt for a small artificial tree over a 6-foot live pine. An artificial tree is also less messy than a real one, meaning your home will always be neat and tidy and ready for the next showing.

Light It Up

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The Christmas light possibilities are endless, but when you’re staging a home for sale, think simple and low-key and stick to one style. An over-the-top display might not reflect the tastes of your potential buyers, and too many decorations can take away from the room itself.

Take advantage of the many styles of Christmas tree lights available to give your home an understated yet inviting holiday look. Opt for something different, like an artificial white tree decorated with white LED lights. Finally, choose ornaments and trim that coordinate with the lights. Add a few silver and red ornaments for extra sparkle and color. It’s just enough Christmas for your family to enjoy without overpowering the room.

Decorate Your Mantel

Traditional Christmas Fireplace

The fireplace is an important focal point. Keep it simple and elegant to help potential buyers imagine opening their own Christmas gifts around a roaring fire.

Don’t completely cover the mantel. Pack away any personal family photos or the kids’ school crafts. Drape a garland across the mantel, allowing the branches to hang over the edge. A string of simple white LED lights adds just enough illumination to highlight the fireplace.

Add a few candles and a simple vase to reflect the light. A rustic wreath on the wall above the mantel completes the scene without distracting from the main event. This style is classic enough to appeal to a variety of buyers while still capturing the holiday spirit.

Don’t Forget the Exterior

Christmas Door

Increase your curb appeal and make a good impression from the get-go by decorating the outside of your home. Consider your neighborhood, too–if all of your neighbors have lights and outdoor decorations, you don’t want to be the only home without them.

Keep things simple and easy with a festive wreath on the door to greet potential buyers. Wrap a garland or string of lights around your front porch (or hang them around your entryway), then finish the look with lanterns or a potted evergreen. Finally, make sure your walkway is clear of snow or ice.

Welcome Buyers With the Spirit of the Holidays

During an open house, create the feel of a festive holiday party by offering seasonal snacks like gingerbread cookies, candy canes, hot chocolate, and apple cider. Keeping mulled hot apple cider simmering on the stove will also make the whole house smell good. Light a fire in your fireplace to make the home feel cozy and warm, helping visitors envision living there. When it comes to impressing potential buyers, these small touches can make all the difference.

MerriABOUT THE AUTHOR: Merri Cvetan is an interior designer who writes about home decor topics for The Home Depot. See more Christmas lights and decorating ideas for the holidays.

 

Staging and Style

Hot Home Trend: Bamboo Everything!

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Bamboo is making its way into more home interiors. From flooring, window treatments to wall accents, furnishings and more, this sustainable material is popping up everywhere.

Some designers are making bamboo their go-to material, which RISMedia recently highlighted in the article “4 Reasons Why Bamboo Is Taking Home Décor by Storm.”

Bamboo is widely available and more affordable than many other wood products. Bamboo is traditionally considered a type of wood flooring, but it’s actually not a wood at all, but a grass. And at growth rates of three to five feet per year, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on Earth, which means it’s widely available for spicing up interiors.

Here are a few trending ways we’re seeing bamboo enter more household decor.

Gold bamboo is particularly hot for home accents (Check out the coffee table in the picture below).

 

Bamboo-textured walls can add a focal point to a space.

 

Bamboo is popular in landscapes and for adding privacy.

 

Bamboo flooring is an alternative to wood flooring and comes in many different color variations.

 

Bamboo can be used for an artistic privacy screen.

Staging and Style

Smarten Up Your Showings With Smart Home Technology

By Christy Matte, guest contributor

StyledStagedSold_imageSmart homes with security and automation features are becoming a hot trend, and they can be an exciting way to dazzle prospective home buyers (and up your staging efforts to a high-tech level at the same time). But if buyers have never experienced an automated home environment, rattling off a list of features could be meaningless at best, and confusing at worst. Here are some fun ways to show a home with smart features, so the buyers will be wowed and you can clinch the sale.

Know What It Is and How It Works

It should go without saying, but make sure you can control the features like a security system, smart locks, or smart lighting, before trying to introduce them to buyers. Ask the homeowner for tips, test them out, and be ready for the big show.

Get the Apps

Ask the seller for access to the associated apps for the various systems. Even better, convince the sellers to tie all smart home technology into one convenient smart hub. It’s an easy task with the help of their Internet service provider. Install one app on one device so prospective buyers can try them out.

Educate Buyers on the Benefits

Make a one-page list of the features, specifically showing how they can save time and money, while also providing increased security.

Go Beyond the Basics

Most people have a basic understanding of a traditional home security system. Show them how this particular system can go even further. Can it send them a text message for smoke detection or a water leak? Can you open the smart lock with your own designated code? Show buyers how much flexibility is available. Security systems aren’t just for protecting against theft anymore.

Have Fun!

Use motion detectors to trigger mood lighting and automated music as buyers move through the home. Let them set off the sprinkler system (after touring the yard, of course) with a swipe of the app. Teach them voice commands to trigger the home’s other functions.

With the right planning, you can turn your everyday showing into something truly special and extremely smart.

Christy Matte HeadshotABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christy Matte is a Boston-based writer who covers home security for XFINITY Home. She is also a die-hard techie who blogs at QuirkyFusion.com.?

 

 

Staging and Style

View the Possibilities With Virtual Staging

By Brian Balduf, VHT Studios

Appealing to home buyers is all about making that emotional connection. Smart marketers know emotions trump other factors, especially when you hear buyers say the listing “just feels right.” They may be searching for a new house, but they’re envisioning their next home.

Buyers’ emotional experience while home shopping is heightened even more by stunning real estate photography that is the attention-grabber in the age of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Houzz.

Breathtaking photographs and video stir buyers’ emotions and imaginations and prompt dreams about how they’ll live in that home.

New virtual staging tools go even one step further. Virtual staging makes a listing stand out and allows buyers to visualize their dreams – not only in their minds – but on their monitors or mobile devices.

When marketing to those buyers, virtual staging allows real estate professionals to present the rooms of a listing in many styles and functions, enabling agents to reach the widest audience possible by appealing to myriad tastes and lifestyle needs.

Virtual Staging blows up the current one-size-fits-all listing model and gives real estate pros far greater flexibility in customizing a listing to the desires and expectations of their perceived audiences.

It starts with high quality photographs, the standard for showing how a home is currently furnished and decorated today for its current owner.  Virtual staging tools inserted into or enhancing those photographs amp up the features of a listing and showcase why each room is a great space and how it can be used, whether the prospective owner is a workout enthusiast, a craft hobbyist, or a new parent.

Also, virtual staging eliminates the expense of renting furnishings or hiring traditional stagers, while allowing buyers to mentally prepare how they can live in their prospective home.

Virtual staging helps buyers look beyond the stark, off-putting appearance of a vacant room. It also presents decorating options that enhance, for instance, a living room containing worn carpeting and outdated furniture that could leave a bad impression.

Virtual staging presents a property’s potential and can attract and interest different audiences with a variety of lifestyles.

See for yourself how virtual staging was used successfully by Robert Pribyl and Bernadette Ray, with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group in Chicago. Robert says they took advantage of virtual staging’s flexibility for a vacant and fully remodeled 130-year old house in the trendy Logan Square neighborhood.

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Virtually staged by VHT Studios

“This neighborhood is very hot. It’s become a magnet for millennials and high-net worth investors, so we needed to showcase how single professionals or families with different needs might live in the home,” Pribyl says. “I like the modern furniture that buyers see in the living room – it fits the style of the buyers I’m trying to attract. The home looks more appealing to buyers when they can see select rooms that are furnished.

They used virtual staging to showcase how a bedroom might appeal, for instance, to a young couple with a newborn. They also transformed that same vacant bedroom into an office and an exercise room for a young entrepreneur or a workout enthusiast.

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Virtually staged by VHT Studios

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Virtually staged by VHT Studios

In the finished basement, virtual staging allowed the duo to show the space’s potential as a child’s playroom and man-cave for TV sports fans and game lovers.

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Virtually staged by VHT Studios

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Virtually staged by VHT Studios

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Virtually staged by VHT Studios

In just four weeks after installing virtual photographs, they received multiple offers on the listing, and as of this writing, they were in negotiations with potential buyers.

Virtual staging opens many real estate marketing options which up until now have been impossible to deploy. There are now unlimited ways to present a room’s functions or decor through virtual tools.

Real estate professionals are also applying flexibility to how they use virtually staged photographs. In addition to websites, advertising and brochures, agents are using enlarged virtually staged photographs that depict multiple room functions and placing them on easels in each room of their listings. This allows buyers to instantly recall the virtually staged home they viewed online, as well as to envision the many possibilities.

Also, consider these other virtual tools that can solve common headaches that real estate professionals have had to work through over the years:

  • Virtual paint is helpful when walls need a fresh coat of paint or when dated wallpaper needs a makeover.
  • Virtual declutter removes mementos and personal effects that may be cherished by the owner but are distractions to buyers.
  • And virtual twilight wows buyers and with warm, romantic, and welcoming exterior views that appeared to be photographed at dusk.

Here’s another example of a virtually staged living space at a listing in Rosemont, Ill. See how the space has been configured to appeal to different style preferences.

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Virtually staged by VHT Studios

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Virtually staged by VHT Studios

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Virtually staged by VHT Studios

Don’t Try This at Home!

Some digital photography pros may be tempted to hire a Photoshop hobbyist to digitally alter photos with virtual enhancements. Having great Photoshop skills doesn’t guarantee beautiful virtual staging.

Installing a virtual couch into a photograph and hitting “Sharpen My Image” may do more harm than good to a vacant room.  Often the end result looks like the old Colorforms stickers we played with as kids.

Experienced virtual stagers are studio and image specialists who have composition skills in real estate photography and know how to blend multiple exposures in which lighting, window views, and details are merged to create the final composite photography.

They also understand perspective, shadows, and size in relation to room dimensions.

We advocate trusting your visual marketing to a pro, just as real estate brokers advocate to their clients.

The newest visual marketing tools are proof that real estate marketing is no longer a one-size-fits-all proposition. Smart professionals are adopting these tools to reach a much wider audience, to make a greater first impression on potential buyers, and sell homes faster and at the best price.

Brian BaldufABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brian Balduf, CEO, chairman and co-founder of VHT Studios, has built the Rosemont, Ill.-based firm into the nation’s largest real estate photography and image management services company. Since he co-founded the company in 1998, VHT Studios has helped more than 200,000 real estate professionals sell more than $200 billion in properties through its nationwide network of hundreds of photographers and image specialists. Delivering to real estate professionals their most powerful selling tools – high quality photography and video – Balduf has worked to ensure their properties get seen more, sell faster and at the highest price. For more information, visit VHT.com, The VHT Studios Blog or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.