5 Tips for Staging a Media Room

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This beautiful room was pulled together by one of my clients after a Walk & Talk Consultation. The styling here really helps buyers visualize themselves enjoying “movie night” in the comfort of their own new home!

Media rooms are an especially attractive asset to high-end real estate buyers who expect luxury features in a home. Just like any other room, staging a media room well means creating a space that helps potential buyers dream about what life could be like in your home! Use these tips to show buyers your media room is the perfect place to hang out and relax!

  1. Neutralize paint. I tend to see an unusually high percentage of red media rooms in my consultations. Remember, the goal for staging is to create mass appeal in order to attract a greater number of buyers. While a thoroughly red media room works beautifully for many home owners, such a strong design statement will likely limit its appeal to potential buyers. Softer, more neutral tones promote relaxation and better allow a buyer to envision the space as their home instead of being reminded it’s still yours.
  2. Use vignettes. Vignettes are little groupings of props or decorations that create an emotional connection point for your buyers. They romanticize your home! If there’s a wet bar, set out a tray with a couple of empty stem glasses and a wine bottle. Setting a coffee table with (fake) popcorn and soda invites potential buyers to picture themselves relaxing in the home with a great movie!
  3. Hang oversized artwork. This is a great trick for media rooms that are devoid of electronics. Hang a large art piece in place of the screen for a touch of color on that giant blank wall. In the Houston area, local artist Stephen Scott creates large scale custom framed art and photography to complement your decor. Visit his site at http://artreka.com.
  4. Invite relaxation with plush seating. Add lots of pillows and a coordinating throw to create a comfortable space where buyers dream of unwinding. Hint: If you’re missing your red paint, throw pillows are a great way to add some pops of color back in to the room–and you can take them to your new house!
  5. Maximize lighting. Buyers respond best to “light and bright.” Media rooms, however, are typically dark and often windowless. Add a floor lamp, open windows, and turn on all lights during showings so that buyers can see all that this room has to offer.

If you still need a little help getting your media room just right, call Three Bears Home Staging & Redesign at (832)377-0785 to schedule a consultation. We’ll help you get your media room ready for show time in no time!

3 Revelations I Had While Staging My Own Home For Sale

blog-3RevelationsA few weeks ago my husband and I noticed a home we’d had our eye on for several months dropped the price. We decided to take a leap of faith, made an offer, and it was accepted!

“Next step: we have to have put our current home on the market and get a sales contract within 14 days,” my real estate agent/husband told me.

Mmm-hmmm…Ok. Should be no problem for a Realtor husband and a home stager wife, right? No pressure at all! <insert exhausted, hysterical laughter here>

Well, I am happy to say that within 3 days of activating our listing we DID, in fact, get a sales contract on our current home. But what I learned (and was reminded of) during this back-breaking, anxiety attack inducing experience, I feel compelled to share with other home sellers and those who work with sellers on a regular basis. Take note…

  • I will no longer use the phrase “de-clutter” when talking to my clients. I don’t think I had realized how emotionally charged this word feels. Doing what I do, I am constantly reminded of the need to simplify my surroundings. I keep things extremely neat, tidy, and organized around my home and felt fairly confident I’d be able to get our home staged in no time flat.

After my third trip to Goodwill in a 12-hour period and becoming increasingly personally acquainted with the staff, I came to the conclusion that I was very, very wrong. Even though my home wasn’t “cluttered,” the truth is that there were still a LOT of things in my house that we had outgrown, no longer used, no longer needed or wanted, and it just didn’t make sense to pack and move them. To my mind, “de-clutter” implies that one is messy. Because I am not messy, I wrongly assumed that meant I didn’t have clutter. This humbling experience has taught me that, as it relates to staging, I think a more accurate phrase home sellers should embrace is “less is more” or just “reduce and simplify.”

*In a related note, sellers should remember it is hard to be objective about your own stuff! I do this for other people all the time, and once our photos came back, I still noticed several items that probably should have been removed or neutralized for a better photo presentation. Reducing your “visual clutter” (stuff that’s not junky or messy, but still a visual distraction for buyers) is why it’s good to get a professional stager to come in as an objective third party to help you “reduce and simplify.”

  • Staging is an important part of emotionally disconnecting with your home. I raised my little ones in this home. My husband and I experienced personal and professional milestones in this home. We needed more space for our growing family and growing business, but it was breaking my heart a little to leave this place that held so many memories. Enter home staging…my professional mind knew this needed to happen. My bookshelves were carefully organized — but they needed to be less full, less personalized, less distracting to potential buyers. The walls had gorgeous family photos (and murals!) —but they needed to come down so buyers could visualize their own family living there. My kids had adorable play sets and large toys — but they needed to be packed away so buyers could see how spacious the room was. As I busily packed away treasured items and repainted spaces, as it gradually became less personal and felt less like OUR home, we began that all-important process of detachment and we all began to grow more excited about moving to the new house.
  • It is so worth it! Staging your home — and living in a staged home — is without question a completely stressful experience. Your world is upside down while you move, reorganize, camouflage, rearrange, and neurotically clean every facet of what has always been your sanctuary. You chase after every crumb with a wet sponge, yell at people for daring to sit on a couch with freshly fluffed pillows, painstakingly make the bed with ALL the throw pillows every day…but if you do stage it right and if you price it right, the offers WILL come. And then you can start to relax again and look forward with excitement to a future in your brand new home!

Getting your home ready to go on the market can be incredibly stressful, but we can help! If you need a hand getting your Katy, Texas home ready to sell, please give Three Bears Home Staging and Redesign a call at (832) 377-0785 or contact us here.

3 Easy Ways to Add Decorator Style to Your Home

blog-addstyleDecorating your home in a way that seamlessly combines style and functionality can be challenging. Regardless of how expensive the furniture or decor, sometimes our homes still seem to be missing “it” and fall short of the perfect rooms we see on HGTV.

One solution is hiring a professional home stager or redesigner to help rearrange your existing decor in a way that has more impact, making your home feel fresher and more modern. But if you’re not quite ready to have a professional come in, use these easy tips to add decorator style on your own.

  • Declutter. Many of live with too much “stuff.” When you have a lot of “stuff,” you have more to clean, more to organize…in short, you create more work for yourself. Having less clutter also helps re-direct the focus in the room to the things you truly love and/or use. Whether you choose to donate, sell, or haul it to the trash, SIMPLIFY your surroundings.Bed3-watermark
  • Add life. As any one of my clients can testify, I am a BIG believer in the power of plants in the home, both for staging and redesign. Plants and other organic elements — twigs, shells, natural wreaths, even really convincing faux plants — add character and warmth to a room and create an emotional connection for home buyers and home owners alike.
  • Neutralize…some things.
    Color has more impact when it’s used sparingly and not competing against other colors for attention. While it may sound boring, using shades of gray, white, or beige on the more permanent elements of your home, like sofas and walls, generally offers a lot more flexibility when it comes to decorating. Plus, it’s simpler and more cost effective to add color with throw pillows, art, and other decor…and swap out those touches of color for something else when your tastes change.

Living-2-watermarkDo you still need a little help getting your home “just right?” Contact the professionals at Three Bears Home Staging & Redesign in Katy, TX and we can help!

The 5 Dirtiest Places You May Not Be Cleaning

blog-Dirtiest-PlacesTime for spring cleaning has begun! While conspicuously gross places like toilet bowls and garbage cans are clear targets for disinfection, there are other less obvious, more nefarious dirty spots that we touch on a daily basis. To keep your household healthy and happy, take a look at these 5 germy spots you may missing and how to clean them.

  • Drip Coffee Maker. Most home coffee makers don’t stay hot enough for a long enough period of time to kill bacteria that may be growing in the dark, wet interior of the machine.

Solution: Pour equal parts white vinegar and water into the reservoir, then switch on the brew cycle. Halfway through, turn off the coffeemaker and let the solution sit for about an hour. Turn it on again to complete the cycle, then run several cycles with clean water.

  • Remote Controls. As one of the most frequently used and handled devices in the home, it’s no surprise that remote controls are full of germs.

Solution: Use disinfectant cleaner to wipe down remotes regularly, especially if you’ve got a sick person in the home.

  • Bags and purses. Women’s handbags and purses are one of the dirtiest items in an office setting, according to a study by the University of Arizona (and since those purses and bags go home with us, guess where the germs go?).

Solution: Don’t set your purse on the floor of restrooms or public places. Launder washable bags weekly, and wipe down leather purses with a disinfectant wipe every few days.

  • Bath Mats. They lie on the floor of one of the dirtiest rooms in the home, collecting moisture, hair, and dead skin cells. The damp, dark environment of a bath mat makes it a haven for growing germs, and thus one that needs regular attention.

Solution: Launder bath mats weekly in the hottest water and hottest dryer setting recommended by the mat’s care label. Of course, remember to clean and disinfect the floor also to avoid contaminating a newly cleaned mat.

  • Shoes. Not only do shoes track dirt and mud onto floors, they also spread a significant amount of bacteria, including E. coli and other nasty fecal-based bacteria (typically picked up from floors in public restrooms and outside from animal excrement).

Solution: Avoid wearing shoes in the house at all when possible.

Take the opportunity this spring to tackle a few of these quiet little germ spots and help improve the health of your household. And remember, a good thorough cleaning is an important step in getting your home ready to go on the market! If you need more help getting your home market ready, give Three Bears Home Staging and Redesign a call at (832) 377-0785 or contact us here to set up an appointment for a consultation!

Photo credit: The All-Nite Images via Flickr

Drapes and Wallpaper in Home Staging

blog-Drapes-and-WallpaperStaging is 100% visual marketing. It’s about creating the most demand from the largest number of potential buyers. In most cases, drapes and wallpaper of any kind are extremely taste and style specific. To increase the appeal of your home with more buyers, we recommend removing wallpaper and drapes in most cases.

Most buyers will not appreciate the elegance of your custom drapes or the pattern of your wallpaper. Are you willing to gamble thousands of dollars in your hard earned home equity by waiting for that one buyer who can either see past those things or who loves them?

Common Home Seller Questions

“Are you saying I have bad taste in drapes/wallpaper?”

No. We’re not anti-wallpaper or anti-drapes when it comes to decorating. The home you live in and enjoy should be personalized! Decorating is not staging, though. Staging is about marketing your valuable product (the house) in a way that will statistically net you a higher profit, less time on the market, and fewer buyer objections.

“But the draperies/wallpaper were very expensive! Don’t they add value to the home?”

No, they don’t. Value is based on your square footage and comparable sold homes with similar amenities in the immediate vicinity. Drapes and wallpaper won’t alter the value. What they can do is increase or decrease the mass appeal of your home and the amount of time it sits on the market.

“I’m afraid if I remove the wallpaper it’s going to tear up the walls.”

It might, but guess what? Potential buyers will likely have the same thoughts. And they’ll add it to their mental list of projects to be updated when they move in, which reduces the amount of money they’ll be willing to pay for your home and the likelihood that they’ll even make an offer.

Occasionally, it is possible to paint over wallpaper, but this requires special prep (read tips from both Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore that detail the circumstances where this is possible). A qualified, professional painter (we can make recommendations) is often one of the best investments when preparing your home to sell.

“But my wallpaper/drapes are so cute/whimsical/classy/neutral! Do I really need to take them down?”

Yes. Buyers will see what you want them to see. With very, very few exceptions, wallpaper and draperies put limits on the potential buyers can see in your beautiful home.

“Buyers are going to decorate this house the way they want to anyway. Can’t they see past my decor?”

No, most can’t. Statistically, only about 10% of buyers will be able to look past personalized decor and visualize your home’s potential for their lifestyle. Most buyers want a home that’s move-in ready. That means instead of seeing all the beautiful potential of your spacious kitchen or bathroom, they’re going to see dollar signs and a room they need to spend time and money renovating.

“I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll just wait and see what kind of feedback I get after I put my home on the market.”

By waiting to remove things about your home that, most buyers typically find objectionable, you limit your market and risk sitting on the market waiting for that one buyer who can either see past the wallpaper or who loves it — an expensive gamble for most sellers.

If you need more help getting your home ready to go on the market, give us a call at (832) 377-0785. Our popular Walk & Talk Consultations provide home sellers the guidance and immediate feedback they need to get top dollar and a quicker sale!

Photo credit: tapetenpics via Flikr.

How to Fall in Love With Your Home Again

blog-Fall-in-Love-AgainWhether it was love at first sight or a whirlwind mental courtship of decorating potential, most of us felt a buzz of excitement the first time we saw our home. As with many relationships, time can take its toll on how we feel about our house. This Valentine’s Day season, rekindle the spark and fall in love with your home again with these simple tips:

  • Declutter and organize. Collect any extra clothes, nick-knacks, and home goods, and sell or donate what you don’t love or use. Deal with paper piles by filing or storing important documents and shredding outdated items.
  • Let there be light! Proper lighting affects mood and is essential to our sense of well-being. Open curtains or blinds and move furniture that may be blocking natural light. Add lamps or ambient lighting to darker spaces to create a soft glow and a cozy environment.
  • Re-arrange. Sometimes just moving the furniture around can change the energy flow of a space. Try something different and see how it feels. Ask for feedback from a friend whose taste you admire.
  • Add life. Plants are a simple way to add beauty and life to a room. If you don’t have a green thumb, try fresh cut flowers or Ikea has a great selection of beautiful faux plants that will do the trick.
  • Freshen up. Our sense of smell is incredibly powerful and is an important tool in creating an environment you love! Whether it’s the clean scent of a “fresh linen” air freshener or the nostalgic aroma of a cookie-scented candle, choose something that speaks to you. Tip: Based on current research, we generally advise home sellers against using any complex scents while the home is on the market.
  • Add personal touches. Feature pieces that you find beautiful or meaningful. Incorporate favorite pieces of art, treasured collections, or even cozy new throw pillows into parts of the house where you spend the most time.

Perhaps the best tip for recreating that love connection between you and your house is to cultivate a sense of appreciation. Nurture feelings of gratitude for the people or animals who share your home. Remembering to have a thankful heart for the shelter and space your home provides can help re-kindle that spark of love.

Do you need a little help falling in love with your home again? We offer redesign services and color consultations at affordable rates! Contact us online or give us a call at (832) 377-0785 to schedule an initial consultation.

Photo credit:  Elin B @ Nordic Touch, www.nordictouch.co.uk

Three Bears Home Staging and Redesign Wins “Best Of Customer Service” on Houzz®

BOH-web-badge-2016Three Bears Home Staging and Redesign of Katy, Texas has won “Best Of Customer Service” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The 3-year old staging and redesign firm was chosen for the second year in a row 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. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2015. 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.

Three Bears Home Staging and Redesign founder and principal, Vannessa Rhoades, states, “Houzz connects millions of homeowners with the best home professional for their project, and we are honored that our work has been recognized among the other talented staging and redesign professionals.”

“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 Three Bears Home Staging and Redesign, voted one of our “Best Of Houzz” professionals by our enormous community of homeowners and design enthusiasts actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

Three Bears Home Staging and Redesign was founded in 2013 and provides home staging and redesign services for homeowners and real estate professionals. The firm specializes in staging consultations for home sellers, providing detailed, objective advice for the fastest, most profitable sale.

For more information visit threebearshomestaging.com and be sure to check out the other “Best of Houzz” award winners at Houzz.com.

4 Tips to Help You Get Organized in the New Year

blog-get-organized-new-yearJanuary is the perfect time for a fresh start in your home! Whether you plan to stay put or you’re getting ready to sell your home, start the new year off right by getting organized and enjoy the benefits of a neater, easier to maintain home.

  1. Stop adding clutter. Avoid making bulk purchases or stocking up on sale items before putting your house on the market so that you’re not filling up closet and shelf space.
  2. Start purging. Use a couple of large bags or bins to collect items you can donate or sell (eBay, garage sale, Craigslist, whatever works for you). I keep a box in my trunk for regular collection of items I intend to donate to charity so that I can go straight to the drop-off location as soon as it’s full. As you’re making decisions about what to keep and what to pack, ask yourself, “Do I love it? Do I use it?” If the answer to both is no, you should probably seriously consider whether it’s worth packing and moving with that item.
  3. Focus on one project at a time. Getting ready to move can be overwhelming, so don’t try to tackle everything at once. Clean out one closet completely before moving to the next. Toss out expired pantry items and get rid of excess in the junk drawer, but do it one project at a time.
  4. Deal with paper. Paper clutter can inundate us quickly. File or store the important documents properly and shred outdated items. Other items can be scanned and stored digitally, taking up much less space.

Getting organized is an important first step in getting your home ready to sell. If you need help getting started, give Three Bears Home Staging & Redesign a call at (832) 377-0785 or contact us here.

Photo credit: Rubbermaid Products

Staging Your Home for Sale During the Holidays

blog-holiday-stagingOne of the most exciting decorating seasons is finally upon us! Most homes look their best (and certainly their most festive) during the holidays, but if you’re selling your home, your decorating goals should be a bit different. You want to convince buyers to buy your home–not spend a morning opening presents with you. Because early nightfall, cold wet weather, and holiday distractions typically make December a slow time for real estate sales, paying special attention to how you stage your home during the holidays can make a big difference in convincing potential buyers to get out and take a look!

  • Declutter, clean, and stage. Adding holiday decor on top of an already messy house is a recipe for disaster when selling. First, pack away the excess, scrub and dust, rearrange furniture if necessary. Then you can think about adding decor.
  • Think “seasonal,” not “holiday.” Pack away nativity scenes and menorahs for this year, as overtly religious decor may be distracting for some buyers. Warm wintry touches like candle arrangements, pinecones, and cozy throw pillows and blankets are a great way to nod to the season instead. Hopefully, next year you’ll be celebrating the holidays in your new home, complete with any religious/holiday decor you choose!
  • Light the way…gently. A few strings of white lights that highlight your homes architectural features are ok, but leave it at that. Avoid inflatable penguins and plastic Santa/reindeer displays in the yard.
  • Use a neutral palette. If you absolutely must have holiday decor, wait until after your MLS photos have been taken and then add a few touches in a neutral palette. Simple ornaments in gold and silver are preferable to bright red and green decor.
  • Set the mood. Romance your buyers by making them feel at home! Invite them to stay with a cozily heated atmosphere (or if you’re in Texas like me, with the A/C turned to an appropriate level), soft classical or light jazz playing throughout the home at low volume, and a small plate of homemade holiday treats (if you’re not worried about crumbs or stains). Note: Don’t go overboard on artificially scented potpourri or candles. Research show that simple, natural scents, like pine or cinnamon, can be more effective at enticing buyers.
  • Less is more. Tone it down while your home is on the market, especially for the photos! Remember: your MLS photos may stay on the Internet long after the holidays are over, making it easy for buyers to know exactly how long your home as been sitting on the market.

If you need helping staging your Katy, TX home for sale during the holidays, we can help! Give Three Bears Home Staging & Redesign a call at (832) 377-0785 or contact us here to get started!

Photo credit: Jessica Spengler via Flickr

How to Hide Eyesores and Flaws in a Room

blog-hide-eyesoresAs I watch my dad and husband eagerly await the approach of hunting season, I am reminded of the importance of camouflage. Camouflage is essentially the art of making something blend in with its surroundings, and it can be an important tool for home sellers on a tight budget. A well-staged home will draw attention away from negative elements and focus on the home’s most positive features. Here are a few tricks of the trade that can help you hide flaws in a room:

  • Tiny windows – Hang curtains wider and closer to the ceiling to visually expand the space.
  • Unsightly electrical cords – Use little hooks attached to your desk or wall to hang electrical cords just out of site. A large, full plant also does a great job of hiding wires.
  • Bumpy, uneven walls – Paint with a low sheen finish reflects less light, making it harder to notice surface imperfections. While flat paint does a great job of this, it’s not very durable and is generally recommended only for low traffic areas (i.e., the ceiling). An eggshell or satin finish is still low-sheen, but more durable.
  • Small, dark spaces – Buyers respond to light and bright, so add a lamp! Mirrors are another easy way to make a room feel bigger and brighter.
  • Cluttered, open shelving – Remove the clutter and put anything that absolutely has to stay in matching baskets. Less is more!
  • Open layouts – This isn’t necessarily a flaw by itself, but when adjoining walls in an open floor plan are chopped up by different colors it can feel unsettling to potential buyers. With open layouts, it’s generally better to select one wall color for all the adjoining rooms and add pops of color in other places. The continuity of a single color tends to be more relaxing for buyers.

If you need a little help figuring out what to do with eyesores or problem areas in your home, we can help! Give Three Bears Home Staging and Redesign a call at (832) 377-0785 to schedule a consultation!