Vannessa Rhoades Voted as One of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate Staging

June 1, 2018, KATY, TX — The Real Estate Staging Association® (RESA®) is pleased to announce that Vannessa Rhoades with Three Bears Home Staging in Katy, TX has been voted One of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate Staging. 

Vannessa Rhoades operates Three Bears Home Staging and has been a professional home stager since 2013. Three Bears Home Staging services Katy and the Greater Houston area. 

“I am honored, grateful, and humbled to have been nominated by my peers and to be in the company of so many talented and inspiring people,” said Rhoades.

“We are so excited to be able to honor the Top 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate Staging. The list can be viewed www.HomeStagingIndustryAwards.com. You can also view the finalists in all of the Home Staging Industry Awards categories. All of the winners will be announced at RESACON during the awards banquet July 26, 27, 28, 2018 at the M Resort in Las Vegas” said, Shell Brodnax, CEO Real Estate Staging Association.

About Three Bears Home Staging and Vannessa Rhoades

Three Bears Home Staging was founded in 2013 and provides home staging services for homeowners and real estate professionals. The firm specializes in Walk & Talk Staging Consultations for home sellers, providing detailed, objective advice for the fastest, most profitable sale. Three Bears Home Staging has received Houzz’s Best of Customer Service award annually since 2015. Vannessa Rhoades is an HSR Professionally Certified Home Stager, owner of Three Bears Home Staging, and author of Just Right! Easy DIY Home Staging.

About The Real Estate Staging Association® 

The Real Estate Staging Association® (RESA®) is the trade association for professional real estate stagers and redesigners. For more information on the real estate staging and the convention visit www.RESAConvention.com.  For more information about the awards please visit www.HomeStagingIndustryAwards.com. For more information about real estate staging, or to find a professional stager or redesigner call 800-201-8687 and speak with Shell Brodnax, or visit the RESA® Web site at www.RealEstateStagingAssociation.com      

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Bathrooms: Easy DIY Staging Tips

blog-bathroom-staging-tipsFirst impressions are especially important when it comes to bathrooms, an area where potential home buyers don’t typically spend a lot of time. We’ve outlined a few of our favorite tips for staging your bathroom (and some easy updates even if you’re not trying to sell your home).

  1. Keep it sparkling clean. Remove all traces of dirt and mold from shower doors and tiles. Get rid of rugs and fuzzy toilet seat covers, wipe down baseboards, sweep and mop floors. Dirt, hair, mildew and soap scum are major turn-offs for buyers.
  2. Remove clutter–even if it’s functional. Buyers don’t want to see your combs, toothbrushes, hair dryers, and toiletries stacked on the counter. Keep these personal items in a caddy to easily store out of sight in a cupboard when not in use.
  3. Add spa-like accessories. A few candles, decorative soaps and a beautiful plant (we like orchids) can help any bathroom feel a bit more luxurious. Avoid the temptation to use heavy deodorizers.
  4. Replace old bathroom fixtures with new ones. Sleek, modern fixtures can give your bathroom an instant facelift at a fraction of the cost of a complete renovation. Shop your local home improvement store for inexpensive cabinet hardware, faucets, shower heads, towel bars, toilet paper bars and lights.
  5. Add some high-quality plush towels that coordinate with the rest of the bathroom’s color scheme. Hide your “real” everyday use towels (just toss them in the in the dryer out of sight) when buyers are coming through and put out fresh clean ones — neutral colors typically work best for photos. To get a “spa-like” look, we recommend rolling up a few white hand towels to place on the counter or next to the tub.
  6. Keep counter wipes, glass cleaner, and paper towels handy in every bathroom for quick clean-ups. You never know when that call will come from a potential buyer who wants to tour your house!

Making a few budget-friendly changes can get your bathroom looking great for any target market. Need more staging tips for your Katy, Cypress or Houston area home? Three Bears Home Staging can help! Contact us here to schedule a Walk & Talk Consultation or call (832) 377-0785.

4 Tips for Avoiding Contractor Fraud

blog-avoid-contractor-fraudIn the wake of Hurricane Harvey, our Houston and Katy, TX communities will sadly see an uptick in the number of contractors attempting to take advantage of frustrated, anxious families who were displaced by the storm. Reputable contractors are often booked for weeks or months. Families overwhelmed by a natural disaster may not do their due diligence when it comes to vetting contractors, and sadly, fraudulent contractors and scam artists will step in to take advantage of this, whether it’s the use of defective materials, unkept promises, or price gouging.

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Me with my friend and photographer Stephanie Cheney, mucking out her Katy, TX house after it flooded during Hurricane Harvey.

The disaster relief non-profit organization SBP has identified recommendations to safeguard families from contractor theft. They also offer a free contractor fraud checklist online. We’ve summarized their suggestions here:

  1. Get for recommendations from neighbors, family, friends, or co-workers who’ve had similar work done. Avoid using contractors who “just happen to be in the neighborhood” knocking on doors or “have material leftover from another job,” as these are often red flags for fraudulent activity.
  2. Ask for references and CHECK references. Call former clients. Check their Better Business Bureau rating for any complaints. Honest contractors will have a verifiable track record. Also make sure to use contractors who are licensed and bonded or insured. We highly recommend using SBP’s Free Contractor Checklist as a guide when interviewing contractors.
  3. Get more than one estimate and get it in writing. Verbal estimates don’t hold up in court if the contractor ends up charging your double or damages part of your home. It’s also a good idea to have a knowledgable friend or an attorney review the document. Both you and the contractor should sign the estimate prior to beginning any work.
  4. Avoid paying cash upfront. According to SBP, “Document all payments, via check or credit card, so there is a paper trail. Clients who pay with cash are likely to never see the contractor again. Reputable contractors ask for down payments or deposits (1/3 of the total price is standard procedure), almost never request full payment upfront. In fact, most legitimate contractors bill at predetermined progress points in the project and when the work is complete to the client’s satisfaction. If a contractor asks for or demands total payment upfront, do not use that contractor.”

If you suspect a repair rip-off, call the consumer division of your state Attorney General (800-351-4889). If you suspect fraud, waste, or abuse involving Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster assistance programs, report it to FEMA’s Inspector General’s Office (800-323-8603).

As home stagers, we’ve heard too many tragic tales from frustrated homeowners who were taken advantage of by unscrupulous contractors. Disaster-struck communities are a magnet for this type of theft. Taking the necessary precautions to hire a reputable homebuilder will ultimately help you get back into your home faster. And if Three Bears Home Staging can help, don’t hesitate to contact us at (832) 377-0785.

Title photo credit:  “N view” by Sean Gillies is licensed under CC BY 2.0

3 Easy Steps to an End of Summer Declutter

blog-endofsummerdeclutterI really dislike the word “declutter” — to my mind, it implies messiness, dirtiness, and disorganization. I prefer “simplify and reduce” because it feels less judgemental and more direct (the Google search engine tells me I’m in the minority as far as which phrase people actually search, though). The truth is, even the neatest, most organized of us have clothing that needs to be purged; books we’ll never read again; stacks of paper or kids’ artwork that needs organizing; or maybe even an extra piece of furniture that we don’t love but still have sitting in a corner because we never found the right spot for it. Whether you’re getting ready to sell or staying put, it’s very difficult for people to see the details of your beautiful home when there is too much stuff. “Less is more” is especially true when it comes to staging your home for sale.

As summer comes to a close, take the time to do a little simplifying and reducing. Getting rid of extra stuff is not as hard as it seems — in fact, there are plenty of places that would love to have it and will give you money for it! And when you properly dispose, recycle, or donate your unwanted items, you help keep the Earth a little greener for everyone.

Here is our three-step process for finding good homes for your extra “stuff”:

  1. First, grab three large plastic bins and two trash bags.
  2. Label the bins and bags as follows:Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 12.58.12 PM
  3. Go through the room and ask yourself these three critical questions:
    • Do I love this item?
    • Do I use this item?
    • Does this item fit the style or vision I am trying to create?

If the item does not meet at least TWO of those qualifications, place it in its most appropriate bin.

Store. For those items that you “only love” or “only use annually,” consider storing them. If you’re finding quite a few items in your storage bin, don’t worry! It’s okay to simply store those items to unpack later.

Sell. Craigslist.com, eBay, Facebook, NextDoor, and consignment stores are a great way to sell your more valuable items. Online options generally require far less time and energy than a garage sale.

Donate. Consider simply giving other items to those who need it. List items you don’t want as “free” on Craigslist and Freecycle, and someone will pick it up at your house shortly. You can also donate to the following organizations in or near Katy, TX (some even offer pick up services for large items, such as furniture and appliances):

Recycle. Don’t trash old electronic equipment! These devices often contain valuable and rare metals, as well as chemicals that can be harmful to you and the environment. Electronics should never be thrown in the trash or burned. For old TVs, computers, refrigerators or large appliances, make sure to dispose of them properly by calling your city to see where each piece is best recycled and handled. Best Buy also offers free electronics recycling.

If you’re getting ready to put your home on the market, we can’t overstate how important it is to simplify and reduce so that potential buyers can see all the beauty your home has to offer! If you need help getting started, give the professionals at Three Bears Home Staging a call at (832) 377-0785 or fill out our contact form here.

Title photo credit:  “Flex Tote – 1K52 – Large – Closet2” by Rubbermaid Products is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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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!