Low Cost, High-Impact Staging Ideas that Work

Staged Dining Room

Are you looking for affordable ways to spruce up your home to sell fast?

The right home staging can make your home ‘pop’ with potential buyers and bring top offers.

Here are some small things that will make a big difference when staging your home.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS – Curb Appeal

  • Light the way to fast sales! If your porch light looks dated, replace it. Be sure that the bulbs are replaced; often this is the first thing buyers see when they pull up the driveway of your home.
  • Crank up the curb appeal. Take a look at your front door, a new layer of paint can give it wow appeal. Trim the bushes; brighten up your landscaping bricks with a power washer; add fresh pots with flowers on the doorstep; and finally crown with an eye-catching welcome mat.

BIGGER OFFERS ARE AN INSIDE JOB

  • Neutralize. The first impulse when buying a home is to personalize a space. You want to do the opposite to sell your home; look around and try to neutralize the space. Remove family photos; take the kid’s pictures off of the refrigerator; paint over those marks on the door showing how tall your kids are. You want the buyer to envision that it’s move-in ready and they fit right in.
  • Clean up the clutter. Buyers want a feeling of space. Visually do an inspection of your home. Clear off countertops; tidy up the inside of cabinets; clean out the closets; put extra items in storage, donate, sell or toss them.
  • Pour on the elbow grease. Now’s the time to really make your home shine. Scrub baseboards; polish stainless steel; clean, scrub, shine, and make everything sparkle like new.
  • Cash in by dressing up cabinetry. A budget-friendly way to instantly brighten up your kitchen is to paint wood cabinets and add knobs and handles. A new coat of paint can make worn, tired kitchen cabinets look new again.
  • Beautify your bathroom. If your tub or toilet is dingy looking, you’ll turn off buyers fast. An inexpensive way to fix this is with an acrylic tub surround and liner. Clean the grout between tiles and remove debris in drains. This will give a fresh, clean look to the bathroom. Also, if you have bathroom carpet, remove it and replace with new vinyl or ceramic tiles.
  • Light it up. Set the mood with lighting. Make sure there is enough light flowing through the home. This doesn’t mean turning on every light in the home. Instead use floor and table lamps and open curtains to create a soft, warm ambiance.
  • Odors STINK when it comes to selling your home. The biggest culprits include stale air, food, pets, mildew, and smoking. Open windows to air out your home and use air filters to break up and neutralize odors in the air. Products like Febreeze can freshen up curtains or furniture. Then remember to light a softly scented candle on the day of showing. Be cautious about this though, sometimes strong scents can be as big a turn off as bad odors; you might want to consider using an “air sponge” which will neutralize the offensive odor.
  • Add eye candy. When your home is ready, adding little touches like bowls of fresh fruit, a vase of flowers or plants can add warmth and colour to any room.

Finally, consulting with a home stager can provide a wealth of ideas. A home stager can recommend more effective furniture arrangements, paint colours, and tips/tricks to make your home visually appealing.

Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to selling your home fast!

What to Consider When Remodeling or Renovating

Remodeling

Are you thinking of remodeling your home? Home renovations not only can update the look of your home, but it adds personality that makes your space feel like home.

Investing in renovations can also increase the value of your home.

So what should you keep in mind when making plans to remodel? Below are some expert tips to simplify the remodeling process.

Are you Remodeling to Stay or to Sell? If you are remodeling to sell, it’s important to find the value of comparative homes in the neighbourhood and the level of amenities they have.

For example if most homes in the neighbourhood feature hardwood floors and granite counter tops and you have laminate counters and vinyl flooring, you should consider upgrading those.

Get the Most Bang from your Renovation Buck. If you are going to spend money on remodeling, spend it in the rooms that add the most value to your home. Typically the kitchen and the master bedroom and bath are the biggest attractions for buyers.

There’s nothing like an updated kitchen and sparkling designer bathroom that says “move-in ready” to buyers.

Finding Your Personal Sense of Style. It is so rewarding to get rid of the carpet, colours, and fixtures in a home that don’t suit you. But what style do you choose? Do you stick to your same choices or try something bold and new?

It’s easy to watch a design show and say “I want that for my room!” But what looks great on TV might not be a fit for your home.

For example an ultra modern design would not fit in a 40’s cottage style home. Plus, you can’t simply shift from Country Chic to Urban Contemporary by painting without changing the furniture to match as well.

Find an inspiration piece with the colours and feel you like and use that to guide your selections. It could be a rug, piece of artwork, favourite furniture piece, or even a scarf.

Don’t try to force a designer magazine picture to work for you; most photos don’t show the regular “stuff of life” like toys, papers, remotes, pet items, etc. A good interior decorator can help you strike the right balance of style that fits your lifestyle.

Function always comes before form!

Creating a Harmonious Look. Sometimes DIY designers get a little crazy trying something new in a room. While that can make for a really unique space, it may look “off” as compared to the rest of the home.

The biggest mistake people make, is they don’t visualize their entire project as a whole.

Sometimes they buy single furniture pieces without truly knowing how it will look together in a room. For example in the kitchen, start with the major items such as cabinets and flooring first.

Next, select your appliances and counter top, followed by tile back splash and cabinet hardware. Then select the lighting. All selections should work from a complementing palette.

Paint Creates Big Impact That Won’t Empty Your Wallet. There’s nothing like a coat of paint to add a fresh feel to a room. A good colour scheme will complement the elements within the home (hardwood, carpet, cabinets, fireplace stone etc.).

You don’t have to settle with boring white, gray, or beige.

If you struggle with choosing a paint colour, hire someone to do a paint consultation. If you are remodeling and plan to stay in the home, you can try some richer colours to add warmth.

But, just because a paint colour looks great in your friend’s house, doesn’t mean it will look great in yours. Base elements like lighting changes everything!

If you are selling, stick to neutral tones that will appeal to most buyers.

Keep Function in Mind. Remodeling can transform a room into an inviting space that  meets your lifestyle needs. Ask yourself how do you plan to use the space? What needs do you have that the room is not meeting for you now? Do you need more space, more light, more storage, a better layout?

All these can be changed with proper planning before you begin your project.

Saving Money with Smart Choices. There are many affordable ways to save money on renovations. If the cabinetry in the kitchen can be painted, re-surfaced or re-stained it can modernize the whole kitchen and save thousands of dollars.

Other small kitchen updates like a tile back-splash or a new counter top can add a big wow factor yet are very affordable.

Same holds true in the bathroom. Often a tub can be re-glazed, rather than replaced at a fraction of the cost. If the glass shower doors are dingy, replacement doors make the bathroom look fresh and new.

Leave Some Buffer Money in Your Budget. Detailed planning can help you create a budget and timeline that makes the remodeling project go smoothly.

But once renovation begins you may be surprised by something you find structurally that needs fixed. By leaving yourself some wiggle room you can handle any “bumps” that occur during the process.

For instance you may decide to change the oak baseboard in your home to an updated 4″ white. But how is that going to affect the casing around your doors and windows? You may be surprised to find out it doesn’t match and those need to be replaced or painted white as well.

Or you may plan to knock out a wall only to discover that wall has a supporting beam that is critical to the home.

Surviving the Remodel. How long will the remodel take? How will your family “function” in the home while certain rooms are under remodeling? What will you do with your children and pets to keep them safe and out of the way?

Will you have to move out during part of the renovation? Is it better to do this project in the spring or summer? Is there a certain order that projects need to be done first? These are questions that consulting with an interior designer can help you to answer.

Expert Advice Can Save Time, Money, & Headaches. Remodeling your home is a major undertaking. That’s why consulting with an interior designer will take the stress out of remodeling and prevent some costly mistakes.

Experience has taught them how to plan, be able to implement basic design principles, and how to make the process go smoothly.

Before starting a project, it is smart to seek the advice of a pro to determine your personal style, talk about goals, your needs for the space, and your budget.

An interior designer can help you make selections that improve function, add beauty, and increase the value of your home. Plus, they have connections to skilled contractors and resources for getting quality materials and the best rates.

If you dream it, an interior designer can help you create it. Hope these tips help you create a space you love!

Renovating or remodeling can make a huge impact on your home’s value and on how much you love to live there so if you need help with your renovating needs and live in the Calgary area, give us a call for a free consultation!

5 Biggest Home Staging Mistakes That Cost You the Sale

House For Sale

Are you putting your house on the market? As I’m sure you’re aware, first impressions are vitally important to prospective buyers.

From the moment people walk in, they start making a decision about your home and what it would look like if they lived there.

So how can you make your home an inviting space that buyers love? The answer is home staging.

There is a big difference between a staged home and one that is on the market that hasn’t been staged.

Here are some of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make when trying to sell a home without the benefits of staging.

  1. Cluttered Space

    Clutter gives the buyer a feeling that there is not enough storage space in the home. So it’s really important to put away unneeded items while you are showing your home.

    Everything from countertops and tables to bedrooms and even the garage needs to be cleared away of clutter and unused items.

  2. Dirt and Grime

    No one wants to move into a dirty, poorly maintained home. Taking the time to make every surface sparkle is critical. Bathrooms should be spotless, free of mold, mildew and stains.

    Give some extra attention to the kitchen too by paying close attention to the appliances, especially the fridge, garbage area and cupboards.

  3. Unpleasant Odors

    One whiff of a foul smell can make a buyer turn their nose up on a home. Sometimes we are so used to the way our home smells that we don’t recognize odors. Sometimes sellers try so hard to make their home smell nice that strong candles or air fresheners can offend buyers too.

    Making a home have a neutral, clean scent is the best way to go. Worst offenders are pet smells, musty/stale air, and cigarette smoke. Other offenders can include mildew or even strong food smells such as fish. If in doubt, have a friend walk through your home and give it the sniff test.

  4. Too Hot or Cold

    Buyers want to know that the home will be comfortable. This includes knowing that it’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Be sensitive to this and set the temperature accordingly when you are showing your home. Fans can help keep air flowing through the home.

    If windows are drafty, make sure to seal them with caulk or replace them if budget allows. If it’s summer, keep it pleasantly cool but don’t blast the AC and freeze your buyers out. You want buyers to linger and feel at home in the space.

  5. Keeping it Too Dark in the House

    A dark and dreary home doesn’t show your property off in its best light. Take time to walk through your home and see ways you can add more light. Keep the lights on in the house and consider adding extra spotlights or lamps. Make sure the windows are clean so the sunshine comes through them.

Avoid these pitfalls when selling your home by hiring a home staging professional that can take care of all the details so you don’t have to frantically try to remember everything during this stressful time.

Having a staged home sells fast with offers that are sure to make you smile. And if you need help with your staging needs and live in the Calgary area, give us a call for a free consultation!

Home Remodelling Projects That Pay Off

Hone remodelling with paint swatches and tools

Thinking of upgrading your home? If you are looking to sell, home renovation can help your home to sell quickly and for top dollar.

But what home improvement projects will deliver the best return on your investment?

Here’s a look at some inexpensive home renovations that will add the most value to your home.

  • Update the kitchen with latest designs and technology
    A modern kitchen will catch the eye of prospective buyers. An upgraded kitchen will greatly increase the value of your home and its appeal.

    If you don’t have a big budget, you can still upgrade the look of your kitchen with a few inexpensive fixes by adding new faucets, cabinet doors and handles.  Ditch the old light fixtures and add new energy efficient ones.

    Such renovations do not cost too much and will increase the property’s value tremendously. If you have a larger budget, cabinet makeovers and re-facing can transform the space. Add some new countertops and that old kitchen will have new spark.

  • Appliance facelift
    Home appliances that are defective or do not match give a bad impression and bring down your home’s value.

    If the appliances do not match or are very old, it is time to give them a facelift by ordering new ones. Potential buyers will be attracted and appealed by new appliance faces simply because the conditions imply functionality.

    Match appliances like microwaves, dishwashers and conditioners to produce a cohesive-looking environment. Most of the time, appliance facelifts are quite inexpensive and can be accomplished using simple rearrangement and replacement of external components.

  • Re-grouting the baths and toilets
    Bathrooms are the next evaluation space after kitchens and many people will immediately make their buying decisions based on the condition of the bathroom.

    Simple renovations such as changing toilet seats and new pedestal sinks can go a long way in increasing value with the least amount of effort and expenses. Change old bathroom floors that have become discoloured and install easy-to-clean vinyl tiles instead.

    The advantage of floor renovations is that you do not necessarily need to remove the old one. You can just install the new plan on top of the old one. Other bathroom renovations that add value to your home include shower surrounds and prefabricated tubs. While they seem expensive, they can still be achieved using cost-effective installations that will achieve maximum longevity.

  • Front yard makeovers
    The front yard is the first thing a buyer sees when they pull up to your home. So it’s worth spending time to improve your curb appeal.

    Simple renovations like paved walkways and coloured planters will give the front yard a fresh new look that delights prospective buyers.

  • HVAC and Furnace replacements
    Buyers usually breathe a sigh of relief whenever they see a new furnace and HVAC system.

    Replacing air conditioners and furnaces with new energy efficient models will enhance indoor comfort. A house with old inefficient HVAC systems will give the impression of poor maintenance and buyers may question the condition of other appliances in your home.

    Installing new furnaces and air conditioners adds peace of mind for buys and increases your homes value.

  • Storage and space
    Women love big closets.  Unfortunately, many older houses may lack sufficient closet storage and this can be a deal breaker for some buyers.

    Add self-adjusted laminate and wire closets systems to entry closets, bathroom and pantries. There are many closet expansion designs to choose from and some companies offer online templates from measuring and designing new closets.

    You can add extra space and increase a home’s value with a few installations.

You don’t need to spend a fortune to makeover your home,  With a few clever renovations you can add instant buy appeal to your home!  Have fun with your project!

If you live in the Calgary area, Jackie and I would be happy to discuss your home remodelling needs!

8 Tips to Hiring the Right Home Stager

Janet and Jackie Staging a home in Calgary

So you listed your home on the market with your real estate agent. Now what?

First impressions are important to impress buyers. You want to make your home look warm, inviting, and stylish. Hiring a home stager makes your home more attractive to buyers.

Staging your home means that your home will sell quicker at a higher selling price.

In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, staged homes sell 80% quicker, and for up to 11% more money than non-staged properties.

Here are some things to look for when hiring a home stager:

  1. Find someone you feel comfortable with. Are they easy to communicate with? Ask them why they feel the suggestions given will make a difference for you. Do you feel confident about their abilities?

    Rapport is important. You want someone who is calm, confident, and easy to work with. Don’t be afraid to interview several people till you find the right one.

  2. Schedule a Staging Consultation or Quote. During a staging consultation the home stager will go through every room of your home offering suggestions of what needs to be minimized, decluttered or in some cases renovated.

    A home staging quote is for the physical staging of a vacant or occupied property, these are typically homes that do not require a lot of preparation prior to selling. In an occupied property (if rentals are required) it can usually be tied in with the consultation.

    If you are living in your home during the sale process or if you want to know what types of things need to be updated or renovated prior to listing your home, a Staging consultation is definitely the route to go.

    Based on their expertise within the market and your community, the staging company will show you ways to improve the saleability of your home in the priority areas, while keeping within a budget to maximize your Return on Investment.

  3. During a home staging consultation, you can ask if the home stager plans to use your existing furnishings, buy new pieces, or if you will you need to rent. Keep in mind that if you are staging a vacant home you will need rental furnishings.

    Will you have to paint or get new carpet? Can they redesign your home to have a fresh look using existing pieces you have? After a walk through, the home stager will create a plan for what changes they will make to your home.

  4. What is their approach? Ask for the typical steps they go through in a home staging. Find out costs, timelines, and what they will expect of you.

    Remember that cheaper is not always better.

  5. See what you can find out about them on Google. See if you find any good or bad reviews. What do others say about the home stager on Yelp or Google Reviews?

    Also look what clients say about them on their website.

  6. Ask for some references. If they have a proven track record they won’t be shy about sharing the names of satisfied clients whom you can contact.

    Call them to see what it was like working with them and how they felt about the quality of their work.

  7. Check out their online portfolio. Most reputable staging companies have a portfolio on their website that you can review before making an appointment.

    Seeing before/after pictures of the work they do will give you an idea about their skill.

  8. Will they be available to you during the process? Can you text or call them with questions? Are they super busy and hard to reach? What is the best way to contact them during this process?

If you live in the Calgary area, Jackie and I would be happy to discuss your home staging needs!