I Have A Real Estate Agent; Do I Still Need a Home Stager?

I Have A Real Estate Agent; Do I Still Need a Home Stager?

Let me just say upfront, home staging is not rocket science, but by the same token not everyone has the skill to do it well.  I’ve heard staging skeptics make remarks such as, “Hey, if you want to pay me $150 to come over and tell you to turn the lights on for showings I will be right over.”

I will admit that some staging advice would fall into the category of common sense.  For example, a professional home stager will probably remind you to:

  • Take out the trash everyday so odors don’t build up in the property
  • Open the drapes (or remove them if out of style) to let in the light
  • Don’t let horizontal surfaces fill up with clutter
  • Turn on lights for showings

On my website I have a complete checklist of common sense things that a seller should do each and everyday to enable them to say yes to a showing at a moments notice.  I know it may seem like common sense to make your bed before leaving the house, but a gentle reminder in the form of a checklist can help make those new habits stick.

But what a good professional home stager will also do is look at your space objectively. He or she will be able to quickly identify the best feature in the room and determine if it is the first thing that catches a buyer’s attention when they walk into the room.  If it isn’t she will know what to do to remedy the situation.

She will have the ability to read the room quickly.  If there is too much furniture in the room she can quickly identify the pieces that should stay and what needs to go into storage.

A good home stager also keeps alerts to trends and design innovations.  Sometimes when you have been in a home for awhile you become numb to the décor.  I follow the trends so I know what will appeal to today’s buyers and what will turn them off.

Some Real Estate Agents have a very good idea of what needs to be done to make a property appeal to buyers.  The problem is that they want to keep you happy and keep your listing.  They might make a couple of recommendations, but then they stop.  Why? Because, you prefer to hear about what they like about your property rather than what they don’t like.

The Real Estate Agent wants to be your friend, and show their appreciation for your business.  They want to play the good cop. They call me in to be the bad cop!

Home staging is also referred to as real estate staging and property staging, and house staging.  No matter what you call it, it is a very good investment for anyone preparing their home for the market and it is a win, win, win scenario.

  •  You win by managing your time well. If you invest in home staging you will get specific advice about what changes will have the most impact on the saleability of your property. This will enable you to focus your limited time on the right things.
  •  The real estate agent wins because he or she has a quality product to take to the market,
  •  I win because I make a living doing work that I am passionate about and excel at.

If you live in the Twin Cities metro area please give me a call at 651.587.5887 to schedule a staging consultation today. You can also reach me by email.

Staging a Home; Let’s Talk Curb Appeal

Staging a Home; Let’s Talk Curb Appeal

Twin Cities Staging Professional Christi Bond answers seller’s question “What Is Homestaging?” with real life examples, tips, suggestions, and warnings…and she does it one room at a time.

In today’s House Staging lesson we will turn our attention to the importance of maximizing your properties curb appeal.

Curb appeal may seem like a funny topic for a St Paul, Minnesota house staging professional to write about at the beginning of February when we are blanketed in snow and whatever is in the yard is frozen in place.  Here’s the thing.  February is to the seasonal calendar as Wednesday is to the workweek.  On February 1st Minnesotans celebrate the survival of the first part of the torment (December and January), and get ready to welcome spring in just a few short months. February 1st is our hump day, the top of the bell curve, the promise of spring.  For those of us in the real estate field February is also the perfect time to start preparing for a vigorous spring market.

 “Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline” 

I think everyone understands that curb appeal is an important component in attracting buyers.  But I don’t think everyone understands that it is not something that you either have or don’t have.  Like the Maybelline slogan suggests, a little touch here, a little touch there, and you can have a different look all together.

A little paint and clean-up can make a big difference in curb appeal.

This is an excellent illustration of how a few simple changes can make an incredible impact on how the property looks.

 Ten Affordable Home Staging Tips for Creating Great Curb Appeal

  1. Update the light fixtures on the front of the house if they are worn or dated.  Sometimes all you need to do is take them down and give them a fresh coat of spray paint
  2. The front door is very important since buyers will be standing there waiting for the property to be opened.  Make sure the paint color is appropriate and in good condition.  How does the hardware look?  I have seen doors painted in Viking Purple and Gold…had to go, and I have seen doors completely transformed by adding a brass kick plate, fabulous!
  3. Add a planter of fresh flowers or evergreens/pinecones to the entry. Try to pick up the color of the front door or the color of the house in your arrangement
  4. Move the garbage bin and recycling bins inside the garage and keep the garage door down at all times.  Lots of buyers cruise neighborhoods looking for available properties. 
  5. Check for wear and tear.  Look at the paint on the window trim, the condition of the mail box, check the condition of the fence. 
  6. If your driveway is asphalt consider applying a sealant if the surface is faded
  7. Powerwash the property if it is dusty or grimy or the sidewalk or driveway is soiled.  Store trailers, RV’s, boats, motorcycles etc off-site.
  8. Pay special attention to the front stoop. Look up for cobwebs, add a fresh door mat, make sure everything you see says “this house has been well maintained.”  Don’t forget to check to make sure the doorbell works
  9. Make sure your house numbers are visible from the street
  10. Make sure your lawn and bedding areas are in great shape 

Home staging is one of the best investments of time and money you can make when preparing your home for market.

If you live in Minnesota’s Twin Cities area and would like the help of a professional home stager I’d be happy to help you with your project. If you have questions relating to this post, or about how to stage your home please drop me a comment and I will do my best to respond quickly. You may contact me by email or call me at 651.587.5887.

There are more articles about How to Sell a Vacant Home through Staging on Christi’s blog. You can also download my free eBook: “Lighting the Way to a Fast and Profitable Sale: Tips and Advice from a Professional Home Stager“.

 

 

Staging Renovated Investment Property | Video

Staging Renovated Investment Property | Video

See for yourself how this newly renovated investment property was brought to life with staging. Warm, rich autumn colors will wrap around buyer’s as soon as they walk through the front door.

Daily Home Staging Checklist: Keep Your Staged Home Ready For Showings

Daily Home Staging Checklist: Keep Your Staged Home Ready For Showings

You have worked hard to get your home staged and in excellent repair. Now you need to make sure that your property stays in show condition. I know it is not an easy task, but keep in mind that the sooner you get it sold, the sooner you can relax and enjoy your home again.

Home Staging Daily Checklist

Keeping Your Property in Staged To Sell Condition

The days of scheduling showings days in advance are virtually gone.  Today, it is not unusual for you to receive a call at your office asking if it will be ok to show your property in an hour or two. Cell phones, electronic locks, and agent accessibility have transformed this process.  This is great if you are a buyer, but it can be a headache when you are the seller.

To maximize the number of showings at your staged property you will want to keep it in show condition.  If you follow these suggestions on a regular basis your property will be ready for a showing a moments notice.

Do yourself a favor and make sure you can confidently say, “Yes, a showing this afternoon will be fine.”  LET’S GET IT SOLD FAST!

Daily Checklist: Keep Your Staged Home Ready For Showings

 BEDROOMS

  • Make the beds
  • Make sure all clothing has been hung up, put in dresser, or placed in a hamper
  • Put all personal items put away.  Try to make the bedroom as impersonal as you might find in a nice hotel
  • Dressers and nightstands should be clear off except for items you chose to display when you were doing the home staging
  • If the room is dark and not adequately illuminated by a light switch at the door, leave lamps on, or plan on coming home to turn on lamps prior to the showing  (remember, your real estate agent is often not the showing agent)
  • Close closet doors
  • Open curtains and shades

KITCHEN

  • Make sure sink in is empty and cleaned out
  • Wipe down counters
  • Spot clean floor if necessary
  • Put away any items such as dish draining rack, dish soap, and any other items that may have been used but not put away
  • Make sure kitchen and dining room table is cleared of dishes and wiped down
  • If the centerpiece has been removed from the table, put it back so that table looks attractive
  • Close all cabinets and drawers so the kitchen has a neat profile
  • Take out trash
  • If you need to defrost something for dinner, leave it in the refrigerator if you can

BATHROOMS

  • Make sure wet bath towels have been placed in the dryer with a dryer sheet.  This has three benefits, your towels will not get mildew, the house smells nice from the dryer sheet, and buyers will not be uncomfortable being in a private space
  • Put out fresh towels
  • Wipe down the bathroom sink toilet and tub/shower (disposable cloths make short work of this)
  • Make sure all personal items are put away. This includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrushes, antiperspirants, makeup, creams and lotions.  You want the bathroom to look like a bathroom in a hotel.
  • Empty trash can

FOYER

  • Clear out all accumulated clutter such as yesterday’s mail, the morning newspaper, miscellaneous keys, cell phone chargers, etc
  • All shoes, boots, skates, slippers etc should be put away
  • Door locks set properly to allow access by real estate professionals and their clients

GENERAL

  • Open all blinds and curtains to let in as much natural light as possible
  • Spray a little air freshener if needed.  Don’t go overboard and choose a non-floral sent like spring rain, or use an unscented air freshener.
  • Make sure the property is left at a comfortable temperature
  • Leave on a radio with soft music playing.  A classic rock station is usually a good bet
  • Vacuum or sweep floors as necessary
  • Pick up toys, books, games, paperwork that accumulated from the previous day

PETS

  • Make sure pets are secured
  • Put away all unneeded pet bowls and toys
  • Make sure litter box has been cleaned and is as out of the way as possible

OTHER

Add items here that are specific to your home that you will need to remember to do to keep your property ready for a showing at a moments notice.

  •  __________________________
  •  __________________________

 

Prepared By Christi Bond, The Home Staging Coaches

www.homestagingcoaches.com

2 Quick Organizing Tips to Simplify Your World

2 Quick Organizing Tips to Simplify Your World

I love an organized home, and I bet you do too.
Home Staging Coaches St Paul MN
I am a homestager and room makeover expert in St Paul, Minnesota. It is my pleasure to help people create spaces that welcome them home. There is one thing that  I know for sure.  It is the small and consistent changes that we make in our daily routines that come together to make an organized home.

Sometimes it is the simple things in life that bring the greatest joy.  I find joy everyday from simple modifications that I have implemented in my home over the years.  Here are a couple modifications that I made years ago that just keep on giving:

  1. Storing my earrings in ice cube trays that fit neatly into the top drawer of my dresser. One pair in each ice cube mold.  Not rocket science, but life enhancing.
  2. A small covered box next to the phone in my kitchen. This box has my scissors, a small stapler, pens, clips, and post-it notes.  Everyone in the house knows that if they take something out of the box it needs to go back there…or else!

Why do these small systems provide joy? They make my life easier.  No more fumbling around looking for the mate for an earring…no more asking my friends, or my homestaging and room makeover clients to hold the line while I find a pen.  These two little things are consistently maintained and make my world calmer.

I am not an organized person by nature.  I have to work at it.  And I don’t enjoy cleaning. I know some people do, but it is not on my favorite things list.  So I have adopted a system for organizing and cleaning my home in 20 minute increments. I learned from the organizing experts that I can do anything for 15 minutes.  I have modified that a little…and it works for me.

If you are looking for more tips on how  to get your home  organized  subscribe to my blog.

I’d love to hear from you about organizing tips and tricks that you have implemented that make your life easier.

If you live in the St Paul metro and could use the help of a Room Makeover expert or a Professional Home Stager, give me a call for schedule a one-to-one meeting.  I will share my secrets, large and small, to help you create the home of your dreams.

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About the Author: Christi Bond lives in St Paul, Minnesota and is a recognized leader in the field of home staging and room makeovers.  She has been providing value added services to homeowners, real estate investors, and real estate agents for nearly seven years.

If you live in the twin cities metro area I would welcome the opportunity to share my staging, organizing and design expertise with you. I can be reached  by phone at 651.587.5887 or contact me by email.

I provide Home Staging and Room Makeover services in the greater Twin Cities metro.  Including but not limited to: White Bear Lake, Mahtomedi, Oakdale, Maplewood, North Oaks, Woodbury, Cottage Grove, Hudson, Hastings, Hugo, Forest Lake, Columbia Heights, Highland Park, St Paul, Minneapolis, South St Paul, Apple Valley,  Minnesota

7 Simple Steps to an Organized Closet

7 Simple Steps to an Organized Closet

I have a closet organizing system that I share with my home staging and room makeover clients. If you are interested in creating an organized living space for your home you might want to give it a try.  It has worked for many of my home staging clients and it will work for you too.

As a professional homestager and room makeover expert working in the St. Paul metro area I coach clients all the time on how to clear out their closets, cabinets and storage areas.

Why do homestagers make such a big deal about organizing closets, cabinets and storage areas?  Because, the goal of homestaging is to appeal to a buyer’s hopes and dreams. Most of us dream about living in an organized and attractive home.  The tips below can help you achieve the dream no matter if you are staying put or getting ready to sell.

Seven Closet Organizing Tips For Getting The Job Done FAST

  1.  Set a timer.  The idea here is that a timer sets the session up as a game.  If you only have 20 minutes allotted to the project you will
    Home Stagers Sample Organized Closet

    Organization Makes This Small Closet Work Hard

    want to exceed your own expectations and get the job done. That is the rule.  Once the timer goes off you are done.

  2. Take everything out.  Pushing everything around into neater piles without taking anything out often leads to a session of organizing clutter.  It will look nice for a day or so, but will not bring you long term results
  3. Have donation and trash bags right where you are working. If it is clearly trash or an item you want to donate drop into the appropriate bag the first time you touch it. If you are uncertain place in the “keep” pile. Move fast during this process.
  4. Look over the keep pile. Review the items that did not go in the trash or the donation bags. Look for themes.  Place like items together. If you have duplicates decide if you can donate the extra items, or perhaps store in a different location until you need the item.
  5. Group small items together in a larger container I call 25 bottles of nail polish visual clutter.  On the other hand a labeled container that says nail polish can be a simple pleasure.
  6. Put it back.  Keep like items together.  If you are selling you home place the most pleasing items at eye level, and make sure personal items are tucked away so that a buyer doesn’t need to confront them.  If you are not selling you can arrange by placing the most frequently used items in the most accessible location.
  7. Pat yourself on the back….or have a beer, or read a book.  Whatever your pleasure.  Celebrate a job well done.

I wish you a New Year filled with peace and joy. If you need to get your home organized home to allow peace and joy to enter your life, follow my posts.  I will share my secrets, large and small, to help you create the home of your dreams.

I’d love to hear from you about organizing tips and tricks that you have implemented that make your life easier.

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About the Author: Christi Bond is a recognized leader in the field of homestaging and room makeovers.  She has been providing value added services to homeowners, real estate investors, and real estate agents for nearly seven years.

Are you are preparing to sell a home or property in the Twin Cities Metro? Maybe you are staying put but are looking for advice on how to make your home more visually pleasing and more organized. If so, I would welcome the opportunity to share my staging, organizing and design expertise. I can be reached via email by using my contact form or by phone at 651.587.5887.

I provide Home Staging and Room Makeover services in the greater Twin Cities metro.  Some of the areas that I have provided services in include: White Bear Lake, Mahtomedi, Oakdale, Maplewood, North Oaks, Woodbury, Cottage Grove, Hudson, Hastings, Hugo, Forest Lake, Columbia Heights, Highland Park, St Paul, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Homestaging: A Wise Investment for FSBO Listings

Homestaging: A Wise Investment for FSBO Listings

In today’s Staging a Home lesson we will turn our attention to the special needs of sellers pursuing a For Sale by Owner sales strategy.

If you will be selling your property yourself you will need to fill in some of the gaps that a real estate professional generally provides. Things you will need to purchase ala carte might include:

  • Legal assistance to understand local listing requirements and help you review purchase agreements when the time comes,
  • Advertising/Marketing
  • Advice about getting your property ready for sale

I can’t provide legal assistance or be much help with advertising or marketing but I would like to share a few ideas about getting the property ready for the market.

4 Good Reasons FSBO’s Need Professional Homestaging

In order for your property to appeal to buyers both on-line and in person you may need to make a few changes.  Deciding which changes are necessary can be a little tricky for a For Sale By Owner seller for the following reasons:

  1.  As a For Sale by Owner listing you will not be getting honest feedback from a real estate agent about the condition of your home.
  2. It is very difficult for sellers to critically evaluate their own homes.  I think it is a defense mechanism that we are born with.  We learn to not see every little flaw in our home while we are living there.  Maybe it’s Mother Nature’s way of ensuring that we can find a little peace and comfort in our homes.
  3. When you list with a real estate professional they often hold a Realtor Open House right before the property goes on the MLS.  The listing agent uses the realtor open house to collect feedback from his/her peers  on the condition of the property or the appropriateness of the asking price.  If real estate agents do come to your first open house, you can assume they are there to solicit your business. Telling you the nitty-gritty truth about the condition of your home or the appropriateness of your asking price is not likely to be forthcoming until you have a formal arrangement with them.
  4.  Relying on your friends and families to give you an honest assessment is risky too.  It is difficult for your friends and family to tell you that there is an off odor in your home, or that all your prized hunting trophies need to be removed and stored offsite.

Staging A Home is one of the best investments of time and money you can make when preparing your home for market. A small investment in professional home staging can make an amazing difference in the amount of traffic you get through your home.

Staging is also very affordable and can save you so much time.  How does it save you time? Your stager will help you zero in on the changes or fixes that will have the most impact on the sales process.  Sometimes people get bogged down doing things that really have little or no payback. A prioritized list will be a  huge time saver for you.

If you live in the Minneapolis St. Paul metro area and would like the help of a professional home stager I’d be happy to help you with your project. You can reach me at 651.587.5887 or contact me by email.

 

 

A Top Rated Home Stager In Twin Cities Wants a Do-Over

A Top Rated Home Stager In Twin Cities Wants a Do-Over

Power of A Business Name AAA

HEADLINE

The Home Staging Coaches, An A Rated Staging Expert In The Twin Cities  Has Regrets

 Wishes  Her Business Name was AAAmazing Transformations by The Home Staging Coaches

Why do I wish that I had named my business AAAmazing Transformations by the Home Staging Coaches?  Because when your name starts with an A…or better yet with three or four A’s, you get more attention…and what small business owner doesn’t love attention?

For example:  Angie’s List has 69 Home Staging Businesses in their Twin Cities data base.

  • Of those 69 only about 15% have client reviews
  • Of that 15% only 10 have reviews from an Angie’s List member giving them an A rating
  • I am happy to tell you that I am on the short list, with both customers reviews, and an A rating

When someone does a Google search for Twin Cities Home Staging Businesses  Angie’s List pops up to indicate that they have  home staging businesses in their database. The problem is only two business names are included in the Google results…and they both start with A. It looks something like this:

Saint Paul Home Stager Reviews you can Trust | Angie’s List | Best ..

  • Abode Design
  • Al   Theilson

Unless you are an Angie’s List paid subscriber you can’t get into Angie’s List database to see that The Home Staging Coaches (me!) is rated superior in service and price by her customers.  But if I was AAAmazing Transformations I would show up on the list before Abode..or Al Theilson.  Then even non Angie’s List members could learn about my business and  call me  to manage their Real Estate Staging project. 

That is why in my next life I am going to call my business AAAmazing-Transformations…or AAAhomestaging, or something starting with at least 3 A’s.

If you live in the Minneapolis or St Paul metro area and would like the help of a professional home stager I’d be happy to help you with your project.  I’ll give you A+ results even thought my business name starts with T.  You can read lots of comments from my satisfied customers right here on my website … who needs for you to get into Angie’s List! Please contact me by email or by phone at 651.587.5887 if I can assist you with your Home Staging or Room Makeover projects.

 

2011 Home Staging Statistics

2011 Home Staging Statistics

What do you think?  Is Home Staging an expense or an investment?

I think most home owners initially think of home staging as an expense.  I see staging as an investment,

I am a professional home stager in the Twin Cities so my viewpoint on the subject may be a bit slanted. But stay with me for a second and see if I can help you see that making a small investment in home staging can reap financial returns for you.

A respected organization recently surveyed 600 real estate agents to understand what types of things they recommend sellers  do to get their property ready for sale.

 The goal of the survey was to see:

  • The 10 actions Real Estate Agents suggested most often to their clients,
  • To figure out what the average cost of implementing the suggestion was,
  • To calculate what the expected Return on Investment for implementing the suggestion would be

Not surprisingly giving the home a deep and through cleaning came in as the number one thing Real Estate Agents recommended to their sellers.  The investment cost is very low and the return on the effort is very high.

home staging statisticsHome Staging was ranked as Number 3 on the list of 10.  With an average investment of $550 the realized gain was $2,194.   That means for every dollar invested in staging the property, the seller realized $3 in return.

Keep in mind that many people are able to stage their properties for well under the average of $550. In the Twin Cities a staging consultation will run you anywhere from $150 to $225.

Let’s say that during the staging consultation ($150) I  suggest that you replace a dated light fixture  ($65), swap out the vase of silk plants with a candle arrangement for ($30), give you specific suggestions on how to declutter and brighten the space ($0), and provide a game plan for rearranging your furniture and accessories to showcase the best feature in the room ($0).  Your investment is only $245.

If an investment of $245 would help you:

  1. Develop a hit list so you knew what to focus your energy on
  2. Made the house more appealing to buyers
  3. Encouraged more buyers to make an appointment to tour the property after looking at the MLS pictures, and
  4. Resulted in a property that sold faster than it would have if you had not invested the time and money into staging

I bet you would agree with me. Staging is a good investment!

If you live in the Minneapolis or St Paul metro area and would like the help of a professional home stager, contact me.  I’d be happy to help you with your project.  I’ll give you excellent service and work hard to make your investment in staging just that, An Investment!

Home Staging Tips for Your Master Bedroom

Home Staging Tips for Your Master Bedroom

Depersonalizing the Master Bedroom is Key When You are Trying to Sell A House

How To Sell A House … Fast; Musings from A Twin Cities, MN Professional Home Stager (vol.8)

Today’s Topic:  Home Staging Tips for Preparing Your Master Bedroom For Visitors

In today’s How to Sell a House … Fast lesson we will turn our attention to staging the Master Bedroom. 

One of the key goals of home staging is creating a property that buyers feel comfortable in.

Think about this.  When was the last time you invited your guests into your master bedroom?   I bet it was when you last redecorated and couldn’t wait to show your BFF or your Mom your new paint color and comforter.

The point is, Master Bedrooms are private.  And Master Bathrooms…well we will talk about that at another time.

What can you do to make buyers feel more comfortable in your Master Bedroom?  I have a few ideas.

Seven Tips for Staging your  Bedroom to Make Buyers Comfortable

  1. Pack away all the wedding photos.  If you have lots of photos of your kids in your room you should pack up most of them too
  2. Remove or downplay religious items
  3. Never leave makeup, clothing, or jams and jellies (as Candace Olson my favorite HGTV designer calls lotions and wrinkle creams!) out in public view.  Having items like this on display is a huge reminder to a buyer that they are in your private space.
  4. Edit the nightstands.  They don’t need to see the contraption you breathe into at night, or your pills for insomnia.  A lamp, a non controversial topic book, and an alarm clock should do it.
  5. Make sure your master closet appears spacious and big enough to hold two peoples clothing. I can’t even count the number of times I have seen HIS clothes in the guest closet because HER things take up the whole closet.
  6. Make sure that a buyer doesn’t have to come across lingerie, nighties, or bathrooms to gain access to the closet.
  7. If your comforter is dated or worn, get a new one.  It is a small investment with huge impact.  After all the bed often takes up 1/3rd of the floorspace, sometimes more.

So now you know how to sell a house… FAST…You Stage it to make people feel comfortable so they will linger longer!

Real estate staging is all about teaching you how to sell a house in the shortest amount of time, and at the most attractive price.

If you live in the Twin Cities metro and would like the help of a professional home stager I’d be happy to help you with your project.   If you have questions relating to this post, please drop me a comment and I will do my best to respond quickly. You may contact me by email or call me at 651.587.5887.

There are more articles about How to Sell a Vacant Home through Staging on Christi’s blog.