I had the pleasure of working with a (new-to-me) realtor recently, Jan Singbeil, who is with Sutton Sound Realty in Owen Sound. Jan hired me to stage a few rooms in a unique home that she was getting set to list in the downtown area. The decision was made to paint the dining room and kitchen (they were a deep red), update some of the light fixtures and do a thorough clean inside and out. Here are a few pics from that project (these pics highlight the importance of using a professional photographer for listing photos - you can tell the difference between mine and Alan's):
Research shows that at least 7 out of 10 buyers want move-in ready and ... they are willing to pay more money for it! So, it only makes sense that every possible thing that can be done to ready a property prior to listing, should be done. That's where the importance of staging comes in. When it comes to updates and repairs, stagers know where the best return on investment will be and it doesn't have to break the bank.
According to a recent article in 'Staging Standard Magazine', some of the best returns on investment include:
- Clean and declutter: 586% return
- Lighten and brighten: 313% return
- Enhance landscaping: 258% (think of curb appeal as the wrapping paper on a gift)
- Update kitchen and bathrooms: 172% return (these sell houses ... if kitchen and baths exceed expectations, they are willing to compromise on other wants)
- Replace or clean carpets: 169% return (an important, frequent request of buyers)
- Paint interior: 109% (number one interior feature most buyers want today)
Selling is not about personal taste. A stager's goal is to get the seller's property ready so it appeals to the largest number of buyers so that it sells quickly and for the most money!
Before and Afters
If you're thinking of selling your home, it goes without saying that curb appeal is CRITICAL and is always factored into the overall staging plan. It doesn't need to be complicated ... just stick to the basics and your property will stand out, especially during the upcoming summer months:
- make sure potential buyers can find your home! ... that means attractive house numbers that are visible from the road OR, for rural properties, ensuring the fire # is easily visible.
- if your home is not visible from the road (long laneway), make sure there's a display of flowers, planters, decor or lighting at the end of your driveway. Little touches go a long way.
- invest in a new mailbox.
- add a fresh coat of paint to the front door. Make it complement the house and trim along with a 'wow' colour to stand out. If you are unsure, there are online apps that will help you to visualize the look.
- invest in a new doormat.
- make sure door handles, locks, and your doorbell are working properly. If they are standard 'brass' consider painting them.
- ensure your walkway is clear by trimming tree branches, shrubs, etc.
- ensure that all yard equipment, trash cans, kids toys and pet 'stuff' is out of sight.
- depersonalize if necessary - ie. remove family name signs, flags, etc.
- show off how fun your yard can be by adding in lifestyle items like a hammock, raised fire pit or outdoor games.
- weed or scale back your gardens, keep the grass cut and add in a few nice floral touches (hanging plants or containers).
- consider pressure washing your home and decks if needed (very satisfying!)
- have your outdoor lights on at night with sufficient wattage ... most people will drive by after hours. Consider spotlights to showcase it even more!
- repair any porch bannisters and railings and add a new coat of paint if needed.
- don't forget your outdoor living space. Very popular these days to bring the indoors out with fashionable cushions, outdoor rugs, etc.
Remember, these are all great investments that you are making towards ensuring your home sells quickly and for more money ... it will be worth it!
Very surprisingly, I had two back-to-back log cabin staging projects recently. They can be a challenge for two reasons - the first due to the amount of wood, wood (and more wood!) and the second due to lighting (or lack thereof). Log cabins can be a more difficult sell since they appeal to only a small percentage of the population. Not everyone is a fan of (that much) wood, their rustic look and feel and the fact that noise can carry easily throughout the space (most are open concept). From a decorating perspective, the challenge comes mostly with artwork and decor for the walls. They can cast an orange hue, the wood on the walls if often curved (rounded) and many colours get 'lost' against the grain and knots in the wood. Thankfully, with both projects, there was a combination of drywalled and wooden walls so that helped to offset and balance some of the colour issues. I also used the client's existing furniture and some of their artwork as it already lended nicely to the space. Here are a few pics!