Thursday, September 13, 2012

How can hiring an Interior Decorator or Home Stager help get my home sold?

English: Subject: Home staged for resale - Fam...English: Subject: Home staged for resale - Family room, kitchen :Location: North Phoenix, Arizona, USA :Date: August 2006 :Photographer: Andwhatsnext :Credit: Work completed by Steve Price/ :Original digital photograph, resized :Photo copyright (c) 2006 by Nancy J Price (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not all, but most Interior Decorators have additional training in home staging. The biggest challenge in home staging is getting your client to let go of what they currently have tried that has failed and trust that your knowledge in home staging will only help their home sell.

What you can do
As a homeowner you have to be willing to be flexible and give your stager the ability to work with your home. If you don't understand something they are doing ask them to explain the concept to you. Most  stagers have a strategy in place and can tell you exactly why this items needs to be removed, or placed elsewhere. You may have to accept a little constructive criticism as well. If you have a light fixture or piece of furniture that is extremely dated, your stager needs to be able to point that out to you and possibly cover it or remove it. Dated fixtures, furnishings, etc all can be potential deal breakers for buyers. Leave your personal feelings, and tastes out of the equation for the best results.

Français : Exemples de Home staging virtuelFrançais : Exemples de Home staging virtuel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What to expect
A good Interior Decorator/stager will sit down and spend a little time just getting to know you. Home staging is not a one day deal in most cases. The first meeting is usually about interviewing you and accessing your homes needs. That may include asking questions about your general habits during the day and evening, what your expectations are with regards to the results of any staging, and what your limits are regarding what you are willing to let a stager to do get your home sold. They will usually take the information, measurements and come up with a floor plan and strategy to present to you on the next visit. Please make sure you discuss what your budget is and see if your stager can work with it. Most quotes a stager/decorator give you are flexible, especially if they are independently employed.

The benefit of depersonalization
When a stager comes into your home and begins removing your personal effects, it is sometimes traumatizing to the homeowner. However each personal object that is taken away allows for the buyer to imagine their own decor in the space. This is ultimately what you want. The more your home looks generic, the easier it is for a buyer to envision their life in the house.

 Français : Exemple de Home staging virtuelFrançais : Exemple de Home staging virtuel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The outside should reflect the inside
Many potential buyers will do a drive-by of your home before actually committing to go inside to take a look. If your home lacks curb appeal, you may miss a lot of traffic when you have an open house. At a minimum, keep your lawn cut and watered, and hedges trimmed. It bears mentioning as well that a yard and/or front porch can be just as cluttered as the interior of a home. Treat the outdoor space the same way as the interior space and remove unnecessary, distracting things from your yard.

Eye on the prize
Keep remembering what the goal of the staging is, to get your home sold. The sooner you can cut your personal ties to the home, the easier it will be for someone else to love it, and that means buying it. A stager is not there to resell your home back to you. That is what they do as an Interior Decorator, but when they offer staging services the approach is different, and the goal is different. Always think like a buyer when you work with a stager, not like a homeowner. Your refusal to detach temporarily can mean long term failure and many possible price drops in your home.

The good news
Homes that are properly staged sell faster for more money. By removing your excess during the staging process you have also cut your moving time in half as well. This means getting into your new home that much faster.  Keep in mind, no stager can produce miracle results, and there is no guarantee that your home will sell just because you hired a stager/decorator. However, the odds are that you will sell sooner and for more money with the help than without it. Consider the experience as a valuable learning tool and it will no doubt help you the next time you have to sell your home and that alone will make it worth it.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

How do I make my sun room feel finished?

Sun room
The darker furniture pieces help anchor this large sunroom
Dear Dawn,
I have a sun room that was added on to my home several years ago. Once all the work was done I realized it was a challenge to not only decorate, but for some reason it still feels like it is in a state of transition, and not a finished room. Where am I going wrong?
Leslie, Ft. Wayne

Dear Leslie,
One mistake a lot of people make with their sun rooms is making them too different from the rest of the home. If you want your sun room to feel more integrated and finished, you should try a few of the tips listed below:

Pull color from adjoining rooms 
A sun room feels less like an addition when you pull color from the rest of your home into the space. This doesn't mean you have to use the exact color, but using lighter shades in an existing color already present in the home should help the room feel integrated. Try to find furniture that is similar to what your already have and love as well. Don't be lured into buying furniture that looks like "sun room furniture" that looks picture perfect but isn't user friendly or comfortable. This could keep the room feeling not only unwelcoming, but disconnected from the home.

Anchor the room
So many times, we see sun rooms that are light and lovely to look at, but they still feel like a glorified enclosed porch. While sun rooms should be filled with light many times people forget that a few visually heavy pieces can be just the anchor a sun room needs. So what exactly are visually heavy pieces? This can be items with strong presence in the room either in size, color, or texture. With all the strong light usually present in a sun room, you may feel the room has a light, ethereal, floaty feeling that doesn't really say, come on in and get comfortable. Adding a few dark furniture pieces, a bold print rug, or some texturally interesting pieces should help "settle the room down" and make it feel like it has substance.

Make sure the temperature is under control
Believe it or not, humans are extremely sensitive to fluctuations in temperature. A few degrees in either direction can be all it takes to make a room less appealing. Sun rooms that tend to be too warm in summer and too cold in winter will not be utilized to the fullest. If you haven't done so yet, look into adding heating and air conditioning to the space. Light control is important in keeping a room from feeling too warm during peak sunlight hours. Investing in window blinds may be a way to help stabilize the temperature in the room. Consider adding additional sources of heat  and air with electric fireplaces, and ceiling fans as well. 

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