Lighting Your Way to a Quick Sale

Lighting Your Way to a Quick Sale

After nearly seven years as a professional home stager in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, I have seen more than my share of out-of-date lighting fixtures.   I am no spring chicken either…so I likely grew up in homes that had some of the fixtures that I now see in clients homes. I am grateful that I have blocked out those memories.  No use taking up valuable real estate in my brain with visions like that!

The double swag light fixture is my least favorite of all of the styles that came in to vogue between 1960 – 2000.  It is so distracting to potential buyers that I beg my staging clients to remove it. (By the way, I found this one on ebay and  the bidding price  is currently at $99. Bonus,  you can pull it down, replace it with something that most  buyers will like and maybe even come out ahead!)

Here is what I have learned..  My staging clients don’t like the swag fixture either.  So why haven’t they changed it before now? They don’t know what to replace it with. This is where investing in the services of a professional home stager pays off.  It is easy to tell people to get rid of something… it takes a bit more expertise to be able to tell them what to replace it with.

I am a big believer in the adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  Often after I leave a staging consultation I sit down at my computer the minute I get home, open up a link to one of the big box stores, copy a picture of a light fixture that will appeal to buyers, and email it to my clients.

I find that clients are very happy to do the work and spend the money if I can get them on the right track.  Here is what I would recommend as a replacement for the swag fixture. 

In this case, we can see from the picture above that the walls have been painted a nice neutral sage green.  I am not able to see what the finish of the other fixtures in the room are, so I am going to make the assumption that they are chrome.  I also see that the energy source is on the wall (some are on the ceiling and that makes a big difference).

This light fixture  would be perfect.  It is affordable ($110 at Lowe’s), it matches the other hardware in the bathroom (chrome), it will give off great light (home buyers love bright spaces), and it is nondescript enough that it will appeal to almost everyone.

If I were asked to provide a list of what a home seller with a tight budget should invest their money in I would list the following:

  • Hire a professional house stager.  He or she will help you make the most of what is already available at the property and to help you most effectively spend your limited budget  on things that will bring the biggest payback.  A home staging consultation is very affordable.  I charge my twin cities clients $150 for the consultation
  • Replace dated light fixtures, paying special attention to the fixture on the porch, the foyer, the dining room and the bathrooms.  If you shop the big box stores and pay attention to sales you can get a lot of light fixtures for just a couple hundred dollars.
  • Clean and de-clutter the rooms of the house and wash the windows.
  • Paint any room that is either to0 taste specific or too banged up for a prospective buyer to get past.  If you are able to do the painting yourself the investment is really pretty small, and the payback can be pretty big.

If you would like more information about getting your property ready to sell you can download my free home staging e-book.  It is filled with good information about selecting the right real estate agent, high impact/low cost updates for your home, and guidance on pricing the property correctly from the get-go.

If you live in the Twin Cities and would like help with your property you can call me at 651.587.5887.

How I Became A Home Stager

How I Became A Home Stager

I’ve been operating a home staging business in St Paul, Minnesota since 2005.  

I was one of those people that even in adulthood always had to answer the question:  “What do you want to be when you grow up?  ”With, “I don’t  know yet, I’ll fill you in once I figure it out.”

I now know why I couldn’t answer the question until I was nearly 40 years old…what I wanted to be…a Home Stager, didn’t even exist when I was a kid.

I went to college and graduate school and had a long and successful career in Corporate America.  I didn’t dislike my job, but I never felt like I was doing something that fed my spirit.  It was an ok fit, but not a great fit.

Then one day I had just arrived at my office, following a really dreadful morning commute, when I got a call that my sister passed away in her sleep.  She was just a few years older than me and her death shook me to my very core.  The message, life is short, became clear and loud…and unrelenting.

The Bond Family Now

I was a newly single, middle aged woman with a teenager and a 3 year old.  I was trying to balance work, and commuting, and a toddler and a teen.  I was keeping things together, but worried that if I suffered the same demise as my sister my toddler would only remember me as the woman who sometimes cooed, sometimes screamed,…”hurry up honey, we are going to be late.”  Something needed to change, and I decided to fulfill my dream of being self-employed.

As it turned out, my midlife crisis happened at just the right time. HGTV had recently launched a new show called Designed To Sell.  It was a show about homestaging. The show focused on helping homeowners  prepare their properties for the market.  It was a new concept for a Midwesterner like me, and from the first time I saw the program I was hooked.

I thank Lisa LaPorta and Clive (the original cast of Designed to Sell) for helping me finally answer the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  I wanted to be a Home Stager.

It was the right decision for me.  I love what I do, and my clients tell me that it shows.

Follow your passion, you won’t regret it.

Kindly,

Christi

www.homestagingcoaches.com

651.587.5887

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.

Video Sampler of Amazing Transformations

A video tour of before and after photos demonstrating how Home Staging can make an amazing transformation to your room.