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Staging and Style

Before and After Photos: How Staging Can Make a Big Difference

By Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

What is the key to staging a home in appealing to a broad demographic?  Presenting a property’s main rooms so buyers can see its true potential beyond what they read in the listing.

A room showcased in a way that features the best use of the space will not only get noticed but will increase the perceived value and ultimately reduce the time spent on the market. The following are some examples of rooms that were “styled to sell” by meeting targeted buyer specific needs.

Feature a Room’s Original Purpose

Take away the guesswork from buyers by converting the key rooms of a home back to their original purpose. A living room that was being used as a library or office space (as shown in the example above) lacks the “wow factor” when entering the home and is a turn-off to young buyers looking for room to entertain guests.

By adding cozy furniture and modern accents such as a plush rug, wall art, and colorful throw pillows, the space has a fresh, welcoming appeal and helps buyers see the home’s true potential.

For the bedroom above that was used by the sellers as a wardrobe closet, it’s safe to say that buyers would lose interest if they can’t see how a full-sized bed, side table, and shelving would work in the room. Presenting a more functional use of the space rather than one that appears tiny with nothing but racks of hanging clothing, immediately might increase the property’s perceived value for buyers with young families.

Use Furnishings That Fit a Small Space

When staging a small, vacant property such as this flip/investment property shown above, choose the right sized furniture and don’t overdo with too many accents.

Try a love seat and smaller accent chair in the family room or position the head of a bed in front of a window to save space and increase perceived room size.

 

Present Creative Options For A Large Space

Or when styling a large space such as this living room, divide it into distinct sections to show creative uses of the space. We created a cozy game zone in this living room by incorporating a large round table and chairs accented with wall art by the window for an extra inviting touch. Buyers will not only be attracted to the style of the room, but the potential function as well.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

PattiABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is principal, interior decorator, and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating. She has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full-service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for the luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Her company received the Houzz 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Awards for Customer Service.

Staging and Style

Staged to Sell: A Fixer Upper to Show Stopper

Home stager: Justin M. Riordan, founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency, with offices in Portland, Ore., and Seattle

The home: This Portland, Ore., home was a “complete and total fixer,” Riordan says. But it wasn’t anything that some savvy staging couldn’t fix. The 3,180-square-foot home was built in 1906 and features five bedrooms, 3.5 baths. It’s listed for $875,000.

Riordan’s Staging Tips: 

Photo Credit: Justin Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

  1. When staging a home, stick with neutral rugs with little to no pattern. This will keep the the rugs from distracting from the house itself.

Photo Credit: Justin Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

2. Mix styles because not everybody loves modern or Victorian or vintage. By having an eclectic mix of styles in each room, the staging can appeal a little bit to each person.

Photo Credit: Justin Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

3. Use color blocking. By assigning a single color to each room, buyers will have a way to discuss each room. This house has a green bedroom, a pink bedroom, a grey bedroom, and a brown bedroom. When the buyer say, “I think Sally should have the pink bedroom,” the other buyer will understand immediately which room they were talking about.

 

Have a home you recently staged that you’d like to show off here at Styled Staged & Sold? Submit your staging photos for consideration, along with three to five of your best spruce-up tips. Contact Melissa Dittmann Tracey at mtracey@realtors.org.

Staging and Style

Virtual Staging Transforms Cold, Vacant Spaces Into Warm, Welcoming Homes

Photo credit: VHT Studios

By Brian Balduf, VHT Studios

Technology and the convenience it offers to buyers and sellers has changed real estate forever. The days of starting a home search inside the office or car of a real estate professional and touring five or six houses are long gone. Now, interested buyers expect to “shop” for their new home whenever they want on whichever device they desire and they often spend hours clicking through listings online before ever scheduling a visit. As a result, savvy real estate professionals are using many new tools to help their listings gain an advantage and sell faster.

One of the hottest tools deployed by real estate professionals is virtual staging, especially when used to market vacant condominium units.
Let’s face it, an empty condo unit, whether it’s a studio or penthouse, can lack the “curb appeal” that motivates buyers to take the time to make a visit. Empty rooms appear as boxy walls of white (or even worse, depending on the previous owners’/tenants’ tastes and color palette).

If many condos are for-sale in the same building, those big boxes with beige carpet and white walls appear disappointingly similar and fail to present their possibilities as a home. Virtual staging can help a vacant condo stand out from the rest and inject a new look into the listing photography, which brings that condo to life.

BEFORE

AFTER
Photo credit: VHT Studios (virtually staged)

Not to worry – you don’t have to put on silly helmets or special goggles to do it.

Virtual staging in real estate refers to the virtual photographic tools available to real estate professionals, in partnership with their professional photographer, to showcase a home and its potential. Virtual staging is the most common tool in the virtual real estate drawer and is playing a major role in the marketplace by appealing to prospective buyers or tenants.

Through virtual staging, a professional photographer captures photographs of vacant or lived-in homes and virtually changes a condo’s décor and furniture to make a great first impression to buyers or renters searching for their next home.

BEFORE

AFTER
Photo credit: VHT Studios (virtually staged)

In many cases, you really don’t want to show a house as it is decorated by the current owner/tenant, since buyers may not be interested in seeing the current owner’s stuff. Sellers should be reminded that their listing needs to help the next homeowner envision their own unique future lifestyle in that condo or apartment.

Take a fresh look at those empty rooms where the next owner will spend most of his/her time. Ask how you can appeal to that future owner/tenant by presenting the different possibilities of styling and furnishing various rooms. Various virtual staging tools such as virtual redecorate, virtual furnish, virtual repaint, and virtual declutter provide endless ways to showcase homes.

BEFORE

AFTER
Photo credit: VHT Studios (virtually staged)

These virtual tools give owners the chance to showcase the multiple functions of a spare bedroom by using virtual redecorate as an inexpensive virtual makeover to convert it to an office, arts and crafts room or nursery.

BEFORE

AFTER
Photo credit: VHT Studios (virtually staged)

Want to appeal to a fitness fanatic? You can virtually redecorate a second bedroom as a workout space. Virtual redecorating strips all furnishings from a photograph and drops in new furniture, wall color and décor to help you attract the next homeowner by showcasing the potential of the room in different styles or even different functions.
No two homeowners have the same taste, so appeal to the broadest audience possible by offering many different styles of the same living room, such as rustic, modern, shabby chic, traditional and beyond.

Sometimes, the virtual tools solve real estate professionals’ biggest headaches.

Did the current owner move out quickly, taking all her furniture and leaving behind a unit that appears cold and unwelcoming? Virtual staging can fill a vacant room with furnishings without the expense or inconvenience of having to rent or move in tables, chairs, couches or beds. The savings in time and budget are significant when compared to traditional staging costs.

Did the seller forget to clear the clutter before a photo-shoot? Virtual declutter can magically eliminate all of the current owner’s/tenant’s personal effects and knick-knacks from surfaces to present a clean, wide-open look.

BEFORE

AFTER Photo Credit: VHT Studios (virtually staged)

BEFORE

AFTER
Photo credit: VHT Studios (virtually staged)

Or does the dark red wall make the living room appear smaller? It can be virtually repainted a calming gray or white, making the room look more spacious and inviting.

During showings, to remind buyers of the virtually staged photographs they first saw online, real estate professionals can place the virtually staged photographs on an easel, or offer as a handout so buyers can actually see the potential of a room, rather than imagine it on their own.

Another tool that is rising in popularity is interactive floorplans. Some people just can’t look at a floorplan and “see” the flow of a condo. Interactive floorplans include photos from each room, to effectively help a buyer visualize how she’d live in her new home, or how he’d quickly move from his exercise room to the shower and make it to work on time.

Young singles and married couples now make-up the largest population of buyers and are accustomed to being wowed by the content they read and watch. Their expectations are no less when it comes to being dazzled by the potential of the next property they’re thinking of buying. Smart real estate pros will sell listings faster and grow their businesses stronger, by appealing to the needs and expectations of this young market and by helping them envision the full realm of possibilities.

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.

Community Restaurants

Landry’s Seafood

Image Source: http://www.landrysseafood.com/location-the-woodlands.asp

While Landry’s is a chain, our local one in The Woodlands is exceptionally good. I’m always surprised by how great it is.  The service and food have both improved in the last few years and is now on my regular rotation. One of my pet peeves is when fish is over cooked.  At Landry’s, they get it right every time.  It is always moist and perfectly cooked.  There are many many kinds of fish to choose from. On a recent visit, there were nine different kinds of fish to choose from. And there are many different ways to prepare them, from fried, broiled, blackened, pan-seared, or grilled.  Once you decide what kind of fish and how prepared, you can select from many delicious sauces.  My favorite is the crawfish etoufee. It is rich and decadent and pairs well with a moist broiled fish.  I also love the firecracker shrimp with its spicy sweet bite. The Melissa topping has shrimp, scallops, crab, and mushrooms.  Entrees are served with a generous helping of salad that is fresh and plentiful. There are many other items besides fish to order.  They have cold water and gulf oysters. Their gumbo is excellent.  They have shrimp and grits, po-boys, all manner of shellfish, salads, and pastas.  The crawfish bread appetizer is totally addictive and a must order.  Landry’s also has an excellent bar and Happy Hour.  I love the happy hour drink and food specials.  The firecracker shrimp and the fried zucchini are always my favorite.  The fish tacos are a close second.  For any seafood you desire, Landry’s is a great place to get your fix.

Staging and Style

Watch for Asbestos When Renovating Older Homes: You May Be at Risk

Photo credit: BanksPhotos -iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Rosie Rosati, guest contributor

As a homebuyer, it’s easy to understand the appeal of investing in an older home. After all, it’s the perfect opportunity to tackle a few DIY projects and renovations to give the place the custom touch you’ve always imagined. Although this can seem like an exciting endeavor, new owners may get ahead themselves without realizing their house may be harboring toxins from decades ago.

It’s important to understand the dangers of asbestos during home improvement projects and how to reduce exposure risks.

Measuring Your Risk

Asbestos is a natural silicate mineral that was revolutionary for the building trade until its carcinogenic nature was discovered. This toxin was once widely-used by the construction industry due to its resilience and ability to withstand chemicals and high temperatures. Although its health risks were discovered as early as the 1920s, the United States continued producing, importing and manufacturing asbestos-containing consumer products for decades.

Researchers concluded in 1960 that asbestos exposure could cause a wide range of long-term diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and a deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma. As more tradesmen came forward with asbestos-related illnesses, this mineral became known as a primary source of occupational cancer.

The mineral is heavily regulated today, but millions of people are still vulnerable to exposure due to its expansive use in residential homes and buildings.

Asbestos is only considered dangerous when contaminated materials have been worn down or damaged which unfortunately, is a standard part of most renovation or remodeling work.

Any sanding, grinding, sawing, drilling, buffing, or physical impact may cause these fibers to become airborne and easily ingested or inhaled by anyone in the general proximity.

What Homeowners Need to Know

Asbestos is nearly impossible to identify on your own because it’s often mixed within building products, but it is possible to identify a hazardous situation and take appropriate preventative action.

Before getting involved with any sort of home improvement project, you should always double-check that your property has been recently inspected by a trained professional. This simple step is especially important if you reside in a home built more than 40 years ago and has visible signs of aging. This bit of precaution could save you from developing an asbestos-related illness years later.

You should be aware of common products that have a history of containing the toxin and monitor their condition for any sort of wear and tear. Keep an eye on old insulation, ceiling tiles, vinyl flooring, joint compounds, door gaskets, furnaces, roof shingles, electrical wiring, fireproof products, and more.

Asbestos is known to be a significant threat when it is “friable,”  meaning it can be easily crumbled or crushed by hand. Spray-on insulation and spray-on ceiling textures are prime examples of products that once contained friable asbestos and have been found within residential homes today.

Unlike floor tiles and cement that must endure long-term deterioration before asbestos fibers are loosened, the slightest amount of pressure can instantly release these fibers, allowing them to be carried throughout the air and dust indoors.

Do not panic and try to remove any materials you think are toxic, as this will only do more harm than good.

Instead, block off the area and avoid any activity, including sweeping or vacuuming, which can exacerbate the situation and cause toxic dust and debris to travel even further throughout the house.

Restrict anyone from going near the area until a professional can take samples to confirm it contains asbestos. If the toxin is present and appears to be hazardous, the licensed professional can safely remove the toxin from your home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosie Rosati is with the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center. She is  a health advocate for anyone impacted by the aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma. She dedicates her time to educating the public on where asbestos is found today and how to prevent exposure. Her ultimate goal is to connect anyone affected by this rare diseases with the resources and support they deserve.