3 Misconceptions About Home Staging

Nearly half of all Realtors believe that a staged home can bring a higher price than a non-staged home. According to the National Association of Realtors 2015 Profile of Home Staging, 32% of buyers’ agents believe staging a home increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer by one percent to five percent. Another 16% of agents believe it increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer by six percent to 10 percent.

With so much money at stake, why do some people still fail to stage their homes? Possibly because of a few misconceptions still surrounding home staging…

1.  Staging is only necessary for unoccupied homes.

No way! While vacant homes do benefit from the addition of furniture and accessories, staging an occupied home can have a tremendous impact on your listing photos and on how potential buyers view the space. The best part? It usually costs less because a professional stager can work with what you already own. Often something as simple as rearranging furniture can better showcase the hidden potential in a room.

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This home is clearly occupied, but we removed unnecessary pieces and rearranged the furniture to showcase how bright and spacious this living area truly is!

2. My stager will just tell me to paint everything beige and make it neutral.

Sometimes–but here’s the thing: buyers must be able to envision themselves living in the house. This is much easier for them to do when they’re NOT surrounded by the seller’s taste-specific design choices, family photos, and references to hobbies/sports/universities/religion throughout the house. Buyers need to see your house, not your stuff. On the other hand, there are sellers at the opposite extreme who completely eliminate all coziness and create an environment that is far too empty and sterile. A good stager will help you find the right balance between effectively depersonalizing and creating a comfortable, welcoming space that invites buyers to picture a romanticized view of what life could be like if they purchased that home.

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We were able to work with this client’s existing color scheme and furnishings to create better MLS photos and show off the spaciousness of the room.

3. Staging is basically just decluttering.

First of all, let’s talk about that terrible word “decluttering.” I hate it and don’t use it with my clients. Simplifying is a much more accurate word. Decluttering implies that your stuff is either messy or junky, and the bottom line is that, no matter how great (or not) your belongings are, removing extra distractions will help potential buyers focus on the architectural details of the home. That being said, adding decor in a very intentional way (eg., a large bowl of bright, beautiful lemons to highlight a gourmet kitchen island or setting an elegant table in the dining room to help buyers envision how easily they could entertain) is an important part of styling the home for photos and for visits from buyers.

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For this client, we hid the toys and rearranged the remaining accessories to highlight the height of the fireplace and the spaciousness of the room.

If you need a little help getting your Katy, TX home ready to go on the market, give the home staging experts at Three Bears Home Staging a call at 832-377-0785, and we’ll set up a Walk & Talk Consultation to get you started!

Great Paint Colors for Home Staging or Selling Your House: Taupe!

blog-taupeLast Monday, Sherwin-Williams revealed its 2017 Color of the Year, and as a home stager I am 100% behind their choice:  Poised Taupe!

Wait, what? Taupe…really?

“Neutrals are shifting,” Sue Wadden, the director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams, told the Today Show. “For five years everybody’s talking about gray ― well, they’re warming up. It’s like gray and brown had a baby, and it became taupe.”

Taupe gets a lot of criticism for being a boring, safe choice, but when styled right it can add a lot of interest. Taupe is a great background for pops of color and bold prints. It also adds a little more interest than a cold gray or plain beige.

What I love about taupe is it’s versatility — it’s the perfect blend of gray and brown, warm and cool, light and dark. Having a color like that in your arsenal can be incredibly powerful if you’re preparing your home for sale. For home sellers who want to give a more modern feel to a home full of wood accents and brown toned tile and stone, taupe paint can be an effective and inexpensive way to create a more modern feel that still complements the more permanent elements of the house.

One of my personal favorites for home sellers is Sherwin-Williams Tony Taupe (I’ve even used it in my own home). Soft and subtle, it’s the perfect neutral to complement a wide array of both cool and warm colors.

Taupes and other neutrals aren’t really that exciting, but for a home that’s on the market, these colors usually present an ideal view of your home in terms of size, shape, and mood. They also allow buyers to envision themselves and their belongings in the home without being swayed by your personal design style.

Do you have a favorite shade of taupe? (*Yes, I realize that question sounds a little bizarre if you’re not into that sort of thing, but if you’ve ever picked out what you thought was a “neutral” only to find it had a weird pink or yellow undertone, you’ll know what I’m talking about) What’s your favorite neutral? If you need a little help picking one out, give the experts at Three Bears Home Staging a call at (832) 377-0785 to set up a color consultation!

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!

Resolve to Sell! Quick Tips for Getting Your Home Market Ready in 2015

blog-resolve2015Last year’s “Resolve to Sell” post was hands down our most popular blog post on Pinterest, so with that in mind, we thought we’d follow up with some more helpful tips about how to start getting your house ready to go on the market in 2015!

  1. Declutter. As a home stager, I can say this is without question the number one issue most home sellers face when preparing to sell their homes. Buyers need to focus on the great light, awesome space and beautiful architectural features of your home–not be distracted by your curios and collections! Packing starts BEFORE you list your home. Put away a good percentage of everything in the room in order to create a more clean, open and spacious feel.
  2. Make repairs. Buyers will almost always over-estimate the cost of repairs and may use that to low-ball an offer on your home. Get rid of the buyer’s mental repair list by fixing it yourself! Touch up paint, fix nail pops or tape-and-float cracks, and make sure appliances work properly.
  3. Modernize. Make sure your home reflects trends that are timeless, not fads that are tiresome. Do you have lots of brass hardware that needs to be painted or replaced? Could those wallpapered walls use a facelift? Flip through home decor magazines and see how your home compares.
  4. Clean, clean, clean! The dirty work speaks for itself but is often overlooked because you’ve lived there for so long. Are there cobwebs around the front entryway? Do the windows need to be wiped down? Is there mildew in the bathroom? Are there any cooking or pet smells? Ask your realtor or stager to be brutally honest and listen to their advice–buyers WILL notice!
  5. Improve curb appeal. Curb appeal is literally the first impression and sets the tone for the way the buyer will view the rest of the house. Remember the goal for the exterior of the home is the same as the interior:  a clean, open, sunny and well-manicured look. Read our blog post on how to maximize curb appeal.

If you need help getting started or knowing what to tackle first, contact us at (832) 377-0785 for a consultation! We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead as our blog continues to grow, thanks to readers like you. We hope you’ll continue following our home staging adventures in the coming months!

Resolve to Sell! Quick Tips for Getting Your Home Market Ready in 2014

Resolve to Sell in 2014With the holidays now behind us, it’s time to plunge into 2014 with new goals and expectations. If putting your home on the market is part of the plans you have for 2014, it’s important to remember a few basic tips for preparing your home to sell (even for sellers on a modest budget):

  1. Clean up the exterior! Power wash the siding, decks, porches and driveway, add fresh mulch to beds, mow and edge the lawn, and remove decorative lawn ornaments (Even if you love the garden gnomes and reflecting balls, remember that potential buyers may not. Pack them up before you put your home on the market).
  2. Consider new paint. Most houses need at least some touching up, and many need a complete color overhaul.  Professional home stagers are skilled color consultants and can provide expert advice (even when the seller does not plan to professionally stage).
  3. Begin packing NOW–before the home goes on the market. I cannot over emphasize the importance of decluttering. You may even consider renting a temporary storage unit to hold boxes and extra furniture. Eliminating clutter can make even smallest home feel more spacious and orderly to potential buyers.
  4. Clean. A clean house gives potential buyers the impression that the home has been well cared for. A dirty, cluttered space gives the opposite impression. Most professional home stagers will ask buyers to have the home thoroughly cleaned prior to staging and regularly while the listing is active.

If you need help getting started or knowing what to tackle first, contact us for a consultation! We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead as our blog continues to grow, thanks to readers like you. We hope you’ll continue following our home staging adventures in the coming months!

Home Staging Tips for Fall

blog-fallhomestagingAutumn is a great time to sell your home! There are fewer homes on the market (i.e., less competition), and the cooler months offer the perfect opportunity to stage your house as a great place to snuggle up and get cozy for the winter. Here are six home staging tips for fall that can help you get an offer on your house before the new year!

  1. Create curb appeal. Buyers can’t appreciate what they can’t see so rake up the leaves and trim summer overgrowth. Clean out gutters and power wash siding and driveways. Add flowers that thrive in colder weather, like mums and goldenrod, for a gorgeous pop of seasonal color.
  2. Keep holiday decor to a minimum. You want buyers to focus on your great front porch and the high ceilings of your entryway–not a pumpkin patch yard full of hay and scarecrows or a plethora of Halloween tchotchkes.  A few nice pumpkins or a simple vase of fall foliage adds a nice touch of autumn without being overwhelming.
  3. Make it cozy. Create a warm, relaxed atmosphere that encourages homebuyers to stick around and see the house. Emphasize your comfy living room with plush throw pillows and luxurious throws. Use a warmer color palette (reds, golds, browns) as accent colors throughout the house.
  4. Brighten up! As winter approaches, the days get shorter and ample lighting is key to emphasizing your home’s best features. Open ALL the blinds and curtains and turn on all the lights before any showings. Add table lamps and accent lighting to help rooms look larger and more inviting.
  5. Feature the fireplace. Accentuate this fabulous fall feature by making it a focal point with your furniture arrangement or by adding a beautiful fall-themed arrangement or artwork to the mantel. Use fire with extreme caution. You can simply “set the scene” without actually burning logs and NEVER light candles before leaving the house for a showing–that’s an accident waiting to happen.
  6. Capture the fragrance of fall. We don’t typically recommend strong fragrances for home staging (since you don’t want to alienate any buyers who may have an aversion to a particular smell). With the approach of cold weather, though, certain scents are especially good at evoking an emotional connection in buyers. A subtle cinnamon or vanilla in moderation is probably a safe bet (no complex fragrance combinations). Remember that these scents can also be overwhelming in excess.

If you are in the Katy or greater Houston area and need a hand staging your home for fall, give us a call at (832) 377-0785! We provide Walk & Talk Consultations, hands-on staging, and can even connect you with contractors or shop for accessories!