Home Staging for the Homeowner

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Learn what home staging is and why it is the essential element to getting your house sold quickly and for top dollar; even in a hot real estate market. Central Ohio’s award winning home stager will teach you ten staging tips and techniques to get your house ready to sell on your own, as well as provide guidance on when you should bring in a professional.
 Home Staging for the Home Owner Instructor Lori Murphy

Lori has been in the homeowner’s shoes before. She wanted to know “why isn’t my home selling?” Going through the process sparked her interest in home staging and redesign. Lori is passionate about home staging and is ready to share her passion with you!headshot

Lori Murphy is an HSR Certified Professional Home Stager and Redesigner and has completed the most comprehensive home staging and redesign certification course in the country provided by the Home Staging Resource. The HSR Certification program is accredited for the home staging industry. The Home Staging Resource is the first and one of the only accredited staging training courses available for the staging industry.

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5 TIPS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF HOME STAGING

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Whether you’re a homeowner or a Realtor, understanding how to make the most of professional home staging is important.  If you’ve decided to invest in home staging you’ll want to read on.

Along with photos, flyers and online promotions, home staging is another great marketing tool but, it is at times under-utilized.  It’s like writing an e-blast and not hitting “send”, creating a flyer and not posting it or holding an open house without advertising.  The goal of home staging is to help buyers visualize themselves living in a home.  Staging achieves this by highlighting a home’s best features, making it comfortable, welcoming and visually appealing.

1. Eliminate Multi-sensory challenges: Home stagers are experts at making your home visually stunning. However, buyers use all of their senses when making a decision, including buying a home. A professional stager will assess the home and items that may affect the other senses as well.

  • Temperature: Is the home too hot or too cold? This happens frequently in vacant homes where the thermostat may be off to save money.  If it’s uncomfortable, buyers will be turned off no matter how good it looks.  Make sure the thermostat is set at a comfortable temperature during showings, even if that means a slightly higher utility bill.
  • Odor: Are/were there pets in the home, or pet odor?  What about a musty smell in the basement? Home stagers will give honest feedback on how the home smells.  If necessary, they’ll suggest that carpets and upholstery be cleaned and pet beds, cages, and litter boxes be moved into the garage or basement, if possible.  If the basement smells musty, have a professional identify the source.  Sometimes the fix is as easy as covering an open drain or putting in a moisture barrier.  If the house smells, staging efforts will not pay off.
  • Noise: Is there a floorboard that creaks when you step on it or a toilet that runs? These are things that sellers may have adapted to over time but potential buyers will notice immediately.  Make these easy repairs before you list.  It won’t matter how great the house looks, if the home buyers are distracted by a list of things “to-do”.

2. Don’t Under-Stage – choosing to leave the dining room as a sewing room or leaving a spare bedroom as storage, is a waste of staging dollars.  Though your home stager likely will not suggest staging every room, he/she will give you advice on how to optimize each room and suggest its purpose is clear.

3. On-line Photos matter – Now that your home looks amazing, make sure the photos do it justice. 95% of buyers are looking on line before they call their agent to view a home. On-line photos are the first impression and the number one tool buyers use to gauge their interest in a home.  If the photos are too dark, too small, or inconsistent, they’ll move onto the next listing.

  • Update Your Photos After Staging – If the home was listed before you staged, eliminate confusion by replacing the old photos with the new ones. For example, don’t post both the un-staged dining room and the staged dining room photos.  This will confuse buyers as to which way the home looks now.  Here is an example of the same room before and after.  If both photos are still posted, how do buyers know which one is today’s version? 

  • Limit the number of photos that are posted on line. Chances are buyers won’t take the time to look through 150 photos.
  • Double Check Your Listing Photos – Are they all the same size? Are any of them upside down? Are there repeats?  Are they in order?  You don’t want to make it this far and fall down at the finish line.  Details matter.

4. Communicating = Marketing – Double your marketing efforts by staying in touch with your stager. Chances are good that you both have social media accounts and, if you’re a Realtor, a website for your business. Your stager can help promote a property “coming soon” or an “open house”. Your stager is most likely also connected through their social media page(s) to other Realtors who maybe representing buyers.  If you think your stager did a good job, share the news and ask them to return the favor.

5. Get Feedback – Ask agents who show the listing to give feedback on the home and the staging. This will help identify the value of your investment; and by sharing the feedback with the stager, it will help identify any challenges buyers may still have and give you the insight to determine whether you have chosen the correct professional. Like a real estate agent, a professional stager should know the market and the potential buyer for the home.  As you wouldn’t have the same buyer for a $700,000 home as you would for a $200,000 home, your stager should also know the difference, and stage accordingly.

Home staging is an investment and you expect a return.  Follow these tips so you and your realtor can make the most out of your investment. 

Staging Your Home to Sell: How to Make a Huge Impact with Little Cost

Don’t let a gallon of paint keep you from selling your home.  
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When preparing your home to sell, packing, de-cluttering and minimizing is a great place to start.  After that’s done, one of the most important things you can do is paint.  Painting your home before listing gives it the fresh, up-to-date look buyers are searching for.

A homeowner considering painting before selling her home asked me if I thought the paint color was outdated.  I asked her when she last painted.  She said it had been 11 years and then turned to me and said, “it’s out dated, huh?”

I don’t know too many people who wear clothes from 11 years ago when they’re trying to impress someone.  Most people buy new clothes each year when the trends change.  Whether it is decor or clothes, cars or shoes trends change.  And people see what’s trending in magazines, on (HG)T.V. and in the stores whether they realize it or not.  So when they’re searching for their next home and see dark brown chocolate walls, a gold family room, or a red kitchen, they see outdated.  They don’t think to themselves, oh, it’s just the paint that’s outdated, we can change that.  No, they don’t think that because . . . 90% of buyers cannot see beyond “what it” . . . so what they see as outdated, is the house.

Painting the trim and ceiling medallion white helped put the focus back on the fireplace in this home.

When preparing your home to sell use a neutral, trending color.  Neutral doesn’t mean white, off white, or even beige.  Today neutrals include grays and taupe’s.  Grays can be tricky as they usually have an undertone of green, blue, or violet.  I always suggest hiring an expert for a color consultation to help choose the color that best suites the home’s style, and any fixed elements such as crown molding, counter-tops, flooring, carpet, tile, etc.

An accent wall makes a room feel choppy making it appear smaller.  With one color, the eye continues around the room without stopping showing the true size of the room.

Don’t let the cost of paint keep you from getting the most out of the sale of your home.  If you’re unsure and need help choosing the right color, call me for your consultation.

These Little Stagers Went to the Market

After the RESA conference ended, Jackie was determined to go to the Las Vegas market . . . I’m glad she insisted.

On her flight to Las Vegas from Denver Jackie sat next to a very nice lady named Tammy Taylor who was on her way to the Las Vegas market. But not as a buyer; she is a designer of faux furs . . . beautiful faux furs!

Tammy’s faux fur throws, bedding and pillows were being showcased in the Christopher Guy Showroom at the Las Vegas market and she invited Jackie to stop by and see her. We had no idea where the Christopher Guy showroom might be. But as luck would have it we stumbled upon it first thing.

Tammy gave us a tour of the showroom, telling us about her faux furs and Christopher Guy designs. It was insightful not to mention luxurious.

We learned that the Chris-X (Kris-Kros) leg is a Christopher Guy patented design in the U.S., Europe and China.  Tammy explained it was inspired by the corseted waist line of Scarlett O’hara and the crossed legs of a ballerina.

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Tammy’s faux furs were stunning . . . easily mistaken for the real thing.

I fell in love with the pink one

 

Jackie Weatherly of Adorned2Sell & Tammy Taylor in one of her faux throws

Jackie Weatherly of Adorned2Sell & Tammy Taylor wrapped in one of her faux throws

Once we left the Christopher Guy showroom, we strolled through many other showrooms seeing art, lamps, furniture . . . being inspired by all the current colors and trends and ones to come.   As much as we saw, we didn’t even put a dent in the 5-million-square-foot showcase!  I guess next year we’ll have to schedule an extra day just for the market.

 

 

The Real Estate Staging Association Conference 2016

2016 has started out with bang for sure!  Along with consultations for homeowners gearing up for spring (I predict a busy year!), I staged 4 beautiful homes during January (you can see the latest staged homes at http://elementonehomestaging.com/current-listings-2/); and scheduled my time so I could attend the Real Estate Staging Association Convention (RESA Con) in Las Vegas.  Needless to say, my New Year resolution to blog once a week has already fallen behind.  But alas, we scheduled a vacation before peak season with a group of friends – 14 of us.  Being the introvert that I am, I don’t mind at all taking the time to catch up while on vacation . . . it gives me the alone time that I need.

The RESA convention was fabulous!  I heard it described several times as “getting a drink of water from a fire hydrant”.  I’d say that was pretty accurate.  So much wonderful information was shared it was hard to take it all in.  But I did take a lot away and have already started implementing much of what I learned.

With Audra Slinkey, President, Home Staging Resource

With Audra Slinkey, President, Home     Staging Resource

The conference is structured as many of them are; a mixture of keynote speakers and breakout sessions on specific subjects.  The sessions I choose were very much in line with where the current state of my business is: processes/systems, photography, day-to-day warehouse operations and building a team.

The instructors were made up mostly of veteran stagers, some as one said, who “fell into the business”.  Before HGTV these veterans figured it out as they went; and now are so willing and generous to share their experiences and knowledge with others in the field.

It was great to catch up with my friend Jackie from CO., talk shop with the President of the Home Staging Resource (HSR – where I earned my staging certificate) and officially meet The Decorologist, Kristie Barnett, a veteran stager from Tennessee who I have followed since seeing her speak at the conference in 2014.

Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist

Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist (and a very tired me)

Kristie received the RESA Most Innovative Product 2016 award for her paint color toolkit which simplifies choosing paint colors for a home.  If you call me for a consultation, I’ll most likely show up with it in tow.

The convention began on Friday evening at 6:00 and ran through Sunday at 3:00.  Retiring to my room until my flight early the next morning would have been my routine . . . but the Las Vegas market started that day and my friend and fellow stager from Colorado, Jackie wouldn’t hear of that!  Oh, no, we were going to the market!   (More to come on that).

Jackie Weatherly of Adorned2Sell at the Las Vegas Market

Jackie Weatherly of Adorned2Sell at the Las Vegas Market

Window Treatments and Staging

Last week I staged a beautifully renovated vacant home.  One of the many updates added were sky lights in the great room and windows on both sides of the fireplace.  This helps meet one of the main goals of staging – making a space as bright as possible.

I met with the investors at their office after the staging to show them photos. They asked about hanging window treatments. They are happy with the staging but felt it would look more homey if window treatments were added. They, like most believe that if the curtains are pulled open, it will still be bright.

But even window treatments left open block natural light. I don’t use window treatments when staging vacant homes and when consulting with homeowners of occupied homes, if they have blinds and / or don’t need curtains for privacy in any given room, my recommendation is always to remove the window treatments – even if it’s only a valance. Here’s why:

  • Window treatments can change the appearance of a room; they can make it feel heavy, out dated or unappealing if they are to taste specific.
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  • A standard offer from a buyer typically requests that all window treatments remain with the home. If a homeowner wants to take the window treatments with them to their new home, it’s best to remove them prior to listing. Most of the time when I say this to a homeowner their reply is, “Oh, those are so old, I don’t want them”. One more reason to remove them when preparing to list.
  • Bring the outside in – remember that buyers are looking at the outside as well as the inside of a home – what better way to show it off than through the windows?
Show off the beautiful landscapes, views and privacy of a home

Show off the beautiful landscapes, views and privacy of a home

  • The more wall space that is seen, the bigger the room appears – as in this optical illusion “which line is longer” the eye can perceive the same thing differently.

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When preparing your home to sell, keep in mind that what may look bare to you, looks spacious to buyers. Consult with a professional home stager; they’ll have an objective eye and understand how buyers see your home.

Element One Home Staging of Dublin Awarded Best Of Houzz 2016

Over 35 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,

Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

 Dublin, Ohio, January 12, 2016Element One Home Staging of Dublin, Ohio has won “Best Of “Customer Service” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The Central Ohio Home Staging Company was chosen by the more than 35 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 35 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2015. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2016” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

I am honored to receive this this recognition for the third consecutive year”, said Lori Murphy, Owner of Element One Home Staging.

“Anyone building, remodeling or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented and service-oriented professionals” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We’re so pleased to recognize Element One Home Staging, voted one of our “Best Of Houzz” professionals by our enormous community of homeowners and design enthusiasts actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

Follow Element One Home Staging on Houzz:

http://www.houzz.com/pro/elementone/element-one-home-staging-and-redesign

About Element One Home Staging

Element One works with real estate agents, homeowners and investors to prepare homes for sale.  By showcasing the best features of the home and making it appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers, they offer homeowners a competitive edge making the process of selling a home faster and more profitable.  For more information about Element One contact:

Lori Murphy
(740) 972-4714
lori@ElementOneHomeStaging.com
www.ElementOneHomeStaging.com

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.

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Happy New Year!

The Christmas tree and decorations are put away for another year and I’m looking forward to the new year and all that I want to accomplish. This is where I start – a weekly blog.

I’m heading to Las Vegas in a little over 2 weeks for the Real Estate Staging Association Conference (RESA Con). We’ll be hearing from some great keynote speakers.  I am excited for the breakout sessions I’ll be attending as well. There are changes planned for Element One Home Staging this coming year and I know I will leave the conference feeling inspired and motivated!

This Thursday I’ll be doing the first staging of the year. A great property over 3,300 sq. ft. with some unique spaces – all of which have been completely updated. I’ll be busy packing the accessories, choosing the right furniture, art and rugs in the next few days.

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Speaking of “the next few days” – here’s a great article I want to share with you written by Karen Eubank, a top stager from Dallas, TX. Karen’s article addresses questions I receive everyday. Her answers give a little more understanding to what and how the staging process looks like behind the scene.  Enjoy . . .

http://candysdirt.com/2015/12/31/archives-karen-eubank-explains-stage-naked-properties/

Have a great first week of 2016 – and watch for the after photos of Thursday’s staging later this week!

To sell a home, good first impression is essential

TIFFANY L. PARKS | Daily Reporter

Published: 07/24/2015

It has been said that prospective homebuyers know within one minute whether or not to consider buying a specific home.

In today’s bustling real estate market, Lori Murphy of Element One Home Staging says the time afforded to make a good first impression is even more narrow.

“Believe it or not, it’s closer to 15 seconds upon entering a home,” she said. “If buyers like what they see, they’ll be looking to reinforce it throughout the rest of the home.”

For some properties, the time is up before would-be buyers exit their vehicle.

That’s why Kathy Greenwell of The Greenwell Group has included a list of 10 low-cost staging tips for central Ohio properties on her website.

The suggestions include purchasing a new mailbox, trimming bushes that block windows, replacing weather-beaten house numbers, upgrading outdoor lighting and power washing driveways, sidewalks and exterior siding.

“All the little things you can do up front will help showcase your home to be a leader in the market place,” said Greenwell, a certified residential specialist.

Other tips include purchasing a new doormat, placing a bright pot of flowers on the front porch and cleaning the gutters.

Greenwell said buyers need to feel an initial connection to a listed property.

“In a competitive market, sellers should take heed to the advice offered from their knowledgeable agent that is specific to their property whether it is decluttering, painting, new carpet (or) landscaping,” she said.

Murphy, who founded Element One in 2012, said she understands buyers who want their property to stand out from the crowd.

“I had a home on the market for two years in 2010; my life was in limbo waiting for that home to sell,” she said. “I empathize with sellers.”

Element One’s most popular service is vacant home staging.

“It is more important to have your home ‘show ready’ before you list it even if it means delaying it by a week or two,” Murphy said. “Declutter, depersonalize, stage and listen to your Realtor’s advice when it comes to pricing.”

Like Greenwell and Murphy, Felicia Frazier, owner of Staging by DWELL, stressed the importance of a property’s aesthetic appeal.

“It’s important that you try to establish an immediate emotional connection by staging to the desired lifestyle of your target buyer,” she said.

For occupied homes, DWELL offers redesign and decorating services. For vacant properties, the company specializes in furniture and accessory rental.

“The investors that I’ve worked with have seen a lot of success using staging as a marketing tool. My most recent investor used staging for the first time,” Frazier said. “He received an offer the day after it was staged, it got the highest price in the neighborhood and it received a supporting appraisal.”

Murphy said 90 percent of buyers don’t have a vision of what a home would look like with different paint colors or their own furnishings.

“In an occupied home this means finding the balance between too much and too little and helping buyers feel as if they are in their home, as opposed to yours,” she said.

“By staging a home we’re able to remove objections and appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers resulting in a faster sale for more money.”

Frazier said the way a seller lives in their home and the way it should be marketed are two very different things.

“If you want to increase your odds of a quicker sell at the most money possible then invest in staging. Whether you choose a consultation and you stage your home yourself or you hire a stager to do the work for you, there is definitely a return on investment,” she said.

“Most sellers understand the value of good presentation, but cost is typically why they’re on the fence. To that, I’d say the investment in staging will always be less than your first price reduction or a low ball offer. Even in today’s market where inventory is low and houses are selling more quickly, staging can be that secret weapon used to bring multiple buyers and drive up the price.”