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Staging and Style

Staged to Sell: A Virtual Transformation

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

The real estate professional: Cris Grayson, broker associate at Baird & Warner in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

About the home: The five-bedroom home in Glen Ellyn, Ill., was built in 1975. The home has been meticulously maintained, and the homeowners had recently made some updates to the interior as well. It is listed for $569,900. Grayson wanted to make sure the online presentation of the home would appeal to the widest buyer pool.

Grayson’s tips:

  1. Don’t skimp on photography. Grayson places a high value on quality photography for her listings. She uses a professional photographer who is trained specifically on taking real estate photos through VHT Studios, a national real estate photography firm. A good real estate photographer will know how to capture a space from the best angles as well as the flow of the home, Grayson says.
  2. Show off the possibilities. Grayson also likes to use VHT’s Virtual Redecorate tool, which allows spaces to be virtually changed and staged for photos.

Here’s the kitchen “before” and then virtually staged “after.” See how it changes the look of the table area.

Photo credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

Grayson also used virtual staging to change the look of the home’s family room. In its current state, the family room appears comfortable and cozy, but some buyers may be looking for a lighter, more modern look. Through virtual staging, the wall décor and upholstered furniture was presented in a warmer look in the photographs.

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios  – Chrissy Barrett

 

  1. Re-cast the room’s purpose. In some cases, you may want to change the purpose of the room to appeal to a wider pool of buyers. In the upstairs of the home, Grayson and her VHT photographer Chrissy Barrett used virtual staging to transform a teen room into a young child’s room with a play space. They also presented it another way too as an office and reading or crafts room. Grayson labeled any pictures as “virtually staged” when they appeared online. The virtually staged photos appeared after a photo of the actual room.

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

The Result?

Days after the home was listed with the virtual staging pictures included, Grayson said they received an offer and were in negotiations with an interested buyer. Grayson has found that using virtual staging in her listings doesn’t just show potential buyers the possibilities of a space but also offers buyers a styling guide to use when they move into their new home and make it their own.

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

Instagram-Worthy Pics and Ga-Ga-Like Amenities to Attract Millennials

By Justin M. Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

Surveys show that millennials prioritize home buying over getting married or having kids. They’re eager to buy, as soon as they  get their finances in order.

So, how do you appeal to the millennial home buyer? Here are some tips in speaking their language:

1. Make it Instagram Worthy

When it comes to reaching a millennial buyer, here’s one simple thing to keep in mind: Is your home Instagram worthy? Seriously, an empty room with a price attached to it is not enough to grab the attention of those 25 to 35 years olds. The space needs to have an awesome interior design through home staging–along with great lighting, photos worthy of being reposted along with copy that makes people think, laugh, and repost.

 

 

If you happen to get a millennial to actually visit your listing in person, be sure to have signs prepared that say “Home tour today!” and “1107 Elm Drive is AWESOME!” This way they can hold up the signs, you can take their picture, post it on your Instagram and tag them in it. All of their friends get to see what they are doing, where they are, and perhaps become interested in both your listing and in you as an agent. It’s like building your own little army of social media influencers.

Add hysterical descriptions to your listing. Make them laugh. If you raise an emotion with your listing, your audience will be more apt to “Like” and share your listing. Create short videos, by using TikTok or Boomerang, of you or your visitors being goofy in the house. Again, make them laugh, and you’ll gain followers.

Include ironically vintage items in your house. That exercise bike that your mom used to workout with when you were a kid is now an Instagram worthy moment. The vintage typewriter with a description of the house typed on the paper already inside is a great #coolhouse moment. Anything you can do to get your house organically in front of more millennials, the better.

2. Amenities That Millennials Will Go Ga-Ga Over

Furry Friendly Funmenities: Millennials are having less kids, and they are opting to fill their empty nests instead with dogs and cats. Providing cat doors, fenced dog runs, pet surveillance systems and pet washing stations could be a huge appeal to these perky parents of pets.

 

Super Smart Shelter Stuff

Smart homes are all the rage. Millennials were raised in a world of the disposable. They have very little concept of how to fix or repair anything in their home. The more their house can take care of itself the better. Here are some of the best self-caring items we are in love with currently:

  • Keyless entry systems: Opening doors with your smartphone or a memorized code, means you never have to carry a key with you again. When you join the shared economy, you can simply text your entry code to your renter, how easy is that?

 

Shavonda Gardner

 

  • Smart light bulbs: Change the level and temperature of light with a simple voice command or from your smart phone. Take your lighting from “selfie” mode to “Netflix and chill” with a simple code word.

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  • Smart home management systems: From Nest to Alexa to Siri, there is some disembodied smart voice that can take care of everything from your temperature to your locks to your lights to your security system.

 

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  • Refrigerators with cameras: It comes down to this–every time you open the door to figure out what you want to eat, you are essentially killing the Earth. If you want to be a better person without actually doing anything, you can now turn on the camera inside your refrigerator and see what’s inside guilt free. Earth saved!
  • Electric vehicle support systems: Speaking of killing the Earth, gas powered vehicles are doing just that too. By providing your millennial home buyers with electric charging ports, wall mounted batteries, and solar cell panels, you can make owning an electric vehicle so much easier. Now, we just need to get past the $80,000 price tag of the car!
  • USB ports in the outlets: This will allow your millennial buyers to charge their devices anywhere in the entire house.

Community Conscious Conveniences

There is a serious desire for millennials to find ways to meet other people without seeming forced. Skip the media room, millennials don’t watch TV on big screens, they instead use their laptops to download the latest episode of “Game of Thrones” and “Broad City.” Instead, promote outdoor BBQ spaces, community gardens, and high Walk Scores to show your listing is community-minded.

 

When it all comes down to it, millennials are going to need the same (vegan) meat and (gluten-free) potatoes everybody else needs: Living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms. The rest? It’s all (dairy free, non-GMO) gravy in getting them attracted to your listing.

 

headshot_JustinRiordanABOUT THE AUTHOR: Justin M. Riordan, LEED AP is founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency, a home staging company with offices in Portland, Seattle and Palm Springs, Calif. As the creative energy behind Spade and Archer, Riordan fuses his formal training as an architect with his natural design savvy to create beautiful and authentic spaces for clients. Follow Spade and Archer on Instagram.

Staging and Style

The Top Energy Efficient Home Trends That Home Buyers Want in 2019

Article Submitted by Fixr.com

As the cost of energy continues to rise, many home buyers today are looking for homes that are going to be easier and less expensive to run long term. I’ts important to know the trends to look for, whether you’re helping a seller update their home prior to selling or you want to keep an eye out for the perfect property for a buyer. Not only would following these trends allow you to better advise sellers, it also can help you ecuate buyers on to what to look for.

Each year, the home remodeling site Fixr polls industry experts and leaders in their field to help determine some of the top trends in the home improvement industry through their Energy Efficient Home Design Trends report.

Here are some of the most relevant findings to help you maximize your clients’ potential when buying or selling a home.

Energy Star Dryers

One key trend to watch for in properties is an Energy Star rated dryer. Of all the various appliances with the Energy Star label, experts felt that the dryer made the biggest change in energy usage when switching to a more efficient model. This is due in part to the fact that dryers use nearly as much electricity as central air conditioning.

Home shoppers today are focusing more on the laundry room, as well as where it’s located and what it contains more so than they ever have before. An energy efficient dryer can have a big impact on monthly energy budgets. 

Heat Pumps

When it comes to heating a home, the heat pump is the most recommended method of heating for providing consistent heat and energy savings. Heat pumps work by exchanging outside air for inside air. It extracts the heat energy from the air outside–even in cold weather–and transfers it indoors.

An electric heat pump is 50 percent more efficient that other forms of heating. It’s also the most frequently installed energy efficient heating system in homes today.

Day Lighting for the Kitchen and Living Room

While experts agree that the best way to save money on electric bills without reducing the amount of usage is to use LED lights, there are still important things to consider when looking at a home for sale.  

Day lighting is an important component of reducing electricity. This has to do with how much natural light a room gets. The kitchen and living room are two spaces that use the most electricity. As such, it makes sense that home buyers may want to opt for homes that have sufficient natural light in these areas either through windows or skylights.

 

Tankless Water Heaters

While the heat pump is the most popular way to heat a home, a tankless water heater is the most popular method of heating water. Tankless heaters are installed inside the walls of a home, and heat the water as it’s being used. This is in contrast to a heater that is constantly maintaining the temperature of any gallons of water at a time. Households that use this method of heating water can expect to save $100 a year on their energy bills.

Heat pumps and tankless heaters are both popular, but hybrid heat pump hot water heaters tend not to perform as well universally. Tankless heaters can be installed in more places, and perform better in cold-weather climates in general.

Low Flow Fixtures in Full Bathrooms 

Households use a lot of water each day when they aren’t using low flow fixtures to try to restrict this usage. Experts felt the place that made the biggest difference when installing these items is in full bathrooms.

This makes sense, as the full bathroom will include a tub and shower, as well as a sink and toilet. Installing low flow fixtures in full bathrooms can help reduce the load on the water supply.

Solar Panels 

If home buyers are looking at homes with renewable energy sources, experts say that solar panels are by far the most popular method. Renewable energy is increasing everywhere, with millennial homeowners leading the biggest push into this sector. Experts also reported that millennials were the most likely to invest in cleaner energy sources, with Gen X taking second place.

Saving Energy Means Saving Money and the Environment

 

Homeowners and home buyers today are motivated to make energy-efficient changes in their homes due to the potential to save money as well as energy. More people generally aware of a need to protect the environment so it makes sense that protection coming from within the home ranks second place.

Homeowners and home buyers that want to maximize their potential in both these areas should seriously consider paying attention to these and other important trends in energy savings. While individually each of these factors may not save much, added together, they can have a significant impact on both the homeowner’s wallet, and their overall comfort inside the home.

Help your clients by pointing out these trends ,and how they can make them work to get better results for everyone involved.

To learn about the cost of household remodeling projects, visit the Cost Guides.

Staging and Style

Staging Tips for the Coffee Table Top

By Karen Post, guest contributor

In today’s competitive marketplace, if a listing is going to stand out, and say “tour me” it needs to do more than show rooms. It needs to project a lifestyle for potential buyers. To achieve this dream home result, you must think beyond furnishings and decor. You’ve got to think “sell theater” and create scenes that reaffirm the home’s quality and unique character.

As a home stager and designer, I’ve discovered that all coffee tables are fabulous opportunities to emotionally connect with home buyers. Why? Prospects will often sit down to chat about the property with the real estate professional, or they will wait for the rest of their family to show up.

Either way, their eyes are all looking at that coffee table.

Here are some tips and looks to improve your coffee table effect.

Photo Credit: Karen Post, Home Frosting at homefrosting.com

Here’s a transitional look using three risers with gray, brass, navy accents, candles, and a pop of color in flowers.

Photo Credit: Karen Post, Home Frosting at homefrosting.com

Rustic and natural items are still very on-trend. This tabletop includes books to help lighten up the area, as well as was layered metal vases and finished off with a bed of green balls.

 

Photo Credit: Karen Post, Home Frosting at homefrosting.com

An artisan grouping mixes floral with turquoise wish beads along with some distressed elements, books, and coasters.

Photo Credit: Karen Post, Home Frosting at homefrosting.com

Black and white is always a crisp statement. Here, we mixed silver and gold with geometric items.

Some of my favorite tips for staging a coffee table:

  1. Keep it simple and in sync with the home’s style.

Rule of thumb: No more than three to seven elements on your tabletop. Compliment the story of the home’s staging. Scattering sales materials from real estate professionals or any vendor here will cheapen the impression.

  1. Market softly.

Place beautiful books in one area. Top off the pile with your firm’s magazine or create a custom book wrap. The wrap cover can tout your brand mark, the back can include a brief story with successes or testimonials. Or, add an elegant dish with branded candy or place tastefully branded coasters with your vignette.

  1. Don’t block the view.

Yes, scale is important, but oversized, distracting accessories can make it difficult to see the outdoors, the water view, or even a TV. That won’t win you any home points.

  1. Add some life.

Fresh flowers are a nice touch for open houses. For extended periods, there are great looking faux plants and florals that don’t look cheesy. These can add a nice pop of color too.

  1. Tidy up the table.

When you’re doing a pre-showing walk through to open windows, turn on lights, etc., don’t forget to tidy up the coffee tables too. If you had the home professionally staged, mimic exactly how the pros left it.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Post is president of Home Frosting, a Tampa-based home staging and design firm. She has bought, rented, and sold numerous properties and has been creating memorable environments for over three decades. Post began her career in visual merchandising and has worked with top luxury retailers, fashion, and hospitality brands. She later evolved into an international branding expert. Post is also a published business author and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, FOX News, and The New York Times. She is also a regular guest on nationally syndicated daytime TV, where she shares home décor ideas and trends.

 

Staging and Style

How I Staged It: The Master Suite

The master suite is a place where relaxation should be paramount. A calming color scheme and carefully staged space can do exactly that. Staging and real estate professionals submitted some of their favorite staging photos and tips for our new slideshow, How I Staged It: The Makings of a Master Retreat.

Check out these stylishly staged master bedrooms >>>

View more

How I Staged It: The Fireplace

 

Want to have your photos featured? We’re looking for staging insights and photos for making over the entryway and dining room. Submit your pictures to mtracey@realtors.org.