EARN YOUR CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS WITH HOME STAGING EXPERT®!

In case you haven’t noticed, Home Staging Expert® has been busy getting CE Approved in states across the country…and currently working to add many more! Both Hands-On and Live Virtual classes are not only going to provide you with staging knowledge you’ll use for many successful listings to come, but now you’ll get the CE Credits you need to fulfill your state requirements for Elective Continuing Ed!

We are currently approved in Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Wyoming…with more coming soon. Earn your CE Credits while learning must-have skills that will last a lifetime.

CLICK HERE for a list of upcoming workshops to learn valuable home staging skills and Continuing Ed Credits today!

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How this Quick Flip in Dallas Netted a Six-Figure Profit in Less than a Month

Check out the latest article on House Flipping by Whitney Coy. It’s always an honor to see what the flippers have done and provide feedback!

CLICK HERE to read the full article from Realtor.com.

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“ASK THE HOME STAGING EXPERT®”: DO WE REALLY NEED TO STAGE OUR HOME IN A SELLER’S MARKET?

We’ve finally made the decision to sell our house and buy up. My husband and the real estate agent want us to go on the market next week. I’m panic stricken as we are no where near ready! They say our market is moving so fast, it doesn’t matter what our house looks like, it will sell. I say it’s going to get us a better price if we take the month to clean, organize, freshen up all the paint, and update the flooring on the main level. Our carpeting has stains that can’t be removed, even with a professional cleaning. We need to replace it, though I think it would sell for more if the floors were wood or at least faux wood. We’ve been here a decade and have three kids. Our house definitely looks ‘lived-in’ and I want us to get the best price. What do you think?

Stressed Out in Seattle

Dear Stressed Out – I can certainly sympathize with you. Selling your home can be stressful enough without the added pressure of trying to rush the process. Though I do understand the mindset of your husband and the real estate agent, I am going to have to agree with you. Even in a seller’s market, there is no guarantee your house is going to sell right out of the gate, so you definitely shouldn’t skimp on presentation.

The homes that sell the fastest and for the best possible price are the homes that impress the most potential buyers. I always tell my clients, ‘Sell the house you’d be happy to buy!’ If you aren’t impressed, buyers won’t be, either. It’s better to take a month to prepare than to have it sitting on the market a month without any interest. And the longer a house sits, the more chances for lower offers or price reductions. Do it right the first time, and you’re more likely to get the best possible outcome.

Schedule your new flooring to be installed right now…I agree that wood and/or faux-wood are better sellers…and arrange for a painter, the sooner the better. In the meantime, get cracking on the cleaning and organizing. It’s definitely go time, and if the stars line up in your favor, you might be able to get it on the market even faster than you anticipated.

Hope this helps and good luck with the sale of your home!

If you have a question for “ASK THE HOME STAGING EXPERT®”, please contact lori@homestagingexpert.com.

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6 AWESOME SHRUBS FOR CURB APPEAL THAT SELLS!

Nothing kills curb appeal like dead, overgrown shrubs engulfing the house!  We recommend trimming back what you can, or completely removing anything that’s already dying or simply far too large for the space.  But don’t just leave it bare!  Remember that just like a nicely finished interior, potential buyers appreciate a nicely appointed landscape.

If you plan to replace and your home is going on the market soon, avoid shrubs deemed ‘starter’ size.  While certainly economical and easy to plant, they are far too small to make any real impact.  You can likewise skip planting full-size shrubs, as it usually doesn’t take many to break the bank and they often require more care to help get them re-established.  Somewhere in between, however, is absolutely ideal!

You also need to be mindful of the planting zone you’re in and the sun requirements and growing habits of what you plant.  Everything is going to get bigger…some things, MUCH bigger…so what might look perfect when you pop it into the ground may eventually turn out to be far too large for the space!

Below are some of our best suggestions for a few shrubs to help create a welcoming curb appeal that sells without getting too big or overgrown in the years to come.  If you’re still in doubt and the idea of tackling this project alone makes you nervous, take a photo of the areas you plan to plant up and head to your local greenhouse.  They typically have professionals on hand who can point you in the right direction.   (Availability from linked sources is subject to change.)

Little Lime Hydrangea

Zones 3-9, Full-Sun to Part-Shade, 3-6 feet tall and wide.

Blooms start out white with green tint, then fade to pink.

Available at www.wilsonbrosgardens.com

Montana Moss Juniper

Zones 4-9, Full-Sun, 2-4 feet tall, 3-5 feet wide.

Interesting foliage, may be used as a ground cover.

Available at www.greenwoodnursery.com

Goldflame Spirea

Zones 3-8, Full-Sun to Part-Shade, 3-4 feet tall and wide.

Maintains shape, rosy spring blooms, leaves turn color in fall.

Available at www.thetreecenter.com

Dwarf Alberta Spruce

Zones 2-8, 6-8 feet tall, Full-Sun to Part-Shade, 4-5 feet wide

Vertical interest, evergreen all year.

Available at www.fastgrowingtrees.com

Checkerboard Hardy Fuchsia

Zones 7-11, Full-Sun to Part-Shade, 3-4 feet tall, 2 feet wide

Showy flowers throughout summer.

Available at www.dancingoaks.com

Tiny Wine Ninebark

Zones 3-7, Full-Sun, 4 feet tall, 4 feet wide

Spring flowers, maroon to bronze leaves all season.

Available at www.kiwinurseries.com

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“ASK THE HOME STAGING EXPERT®”: SHOULD WE SPEND MONEY ON LANDSCAPING?

 

 

Hello, Lori – We need your help!  We’re flipping a house and ended up going a couple of thousand dollars over budget due to some unforeseen repairs.  We refinished the hardwood floors, painted the kitchen cabinets and added granite countertops, completely remodeled both bathrooms, and everything got a fresh coat of paint.  So now that it’s spring, we’re finally tackling the exterior.  Everything’s been power-washed and painted, and we removed all the overgrown arborvitae and out-of-control shrubs.  That in itself was a huge improvement, but in my opinion, it looks very bare now.  There are literally no plants or shrubs or anything around the exterior of the house except a small patch of daylilies out back.  My partners don’t want to spend anymore money and think it’s best to leave it as-is.  They say it’s better to let the buyers decide how they want it landscaped.  I think we should add some edging, shrubs, and mulch.  What do you think?  Should we just hang up our wheelbarrow and call it a day?

The Missouri Flippers

 

Dear Flippers – Sounds like you’ve done a great job turning things around.  That is awesome!  But I’m going to have to agree that you shouldn’t stop there.  The landscaping would truly be the icing-on-the-cake!  You should never underestimate the value that a little added curb appeal brings to the table.  If you think it looks bare, potential buyers will likely feel the same.  I would definitely finish it off.  After all, there’s a reason you finished the interior so nicely and didn’t leave that task to potential buyers!  Most buyers prefer ‘move-in-ready’, and that goes for the landscape, too.

If you’re short on funds, you can try to find some free landscaping materials.  Check out craigslist.org.  This time of year, a lot of people start getting ready for home improvements and will often post ‘free’ or ‘cheap’ rocks or bricks for edging if you’re willing to haul it away.  Likewise, you can check out your local municipality for some free mulch.  While you do need to be careful about the mulch you find there…IMHO, it’s not always as attractive as the store bought stuff and might contain some weed seed…sometimes, you get lucky.

As far as the plantings go, a couple of mid-size shrubs…I wouldn’t go with ‘starter’ shrubs, as they are typically pretty small and won’t have the same impact…and some perennial filler plants should do the trick.  You could also ‘shop’ your own yards for some of those plants.  Personally, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to divide my Sedum, Hosta, and Salvia over the years!

In the end, I think it would serve you well to invest in some exterior landscaping.  There is nothing more attractive to potential buyers than a house that feels nicely finished, both inside and out!  Hope this helps and wishing you all the best.

If you have a question for “ASK THE HOME STAGING EXPERT®”, please contact lori@homestagingexpert.com.

 

 

 

 

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10 Cheap, Easy Ways to Stage Your Home For Sale by Teresa Mears

We participated in an article on home staging posted by Living On The Cheap.  Writer Teresa Mears did a great job offering 10 simple and affordable tips on staging.  Please check out their awesome website that includes advice on everything from Money & Budgeting, to Travel & Exploring, to Family & Parenting, and everything in between…including this awesome post on home staging!  Thanks for including us, Teresa!  

You’ve decided to sell your home, and you want to get top dollar for it. That means you need to stage your home for sale — in other words, prep your house so it looks more appealing to potential buyers. You’ve seen the TV shows where homeowners spend thousands of dollars to bring in new furniture and have a designer arrange everything, but there’s an important detail to consider: You don’t have thousands to spend.

The good news is there are many things you can do to spruce up the look of your home without shelling out a lot of money. “Updating isn’t as expensive as it used to be,” says Lori Matzke, author of “Home Staging: Creating Buyer-Friendly Rooms to Sell Your House” and a Home Staging Expert® in Minneapolis who teaches workshops nationwide. “There’s a lot of DIY information out there.”

There’s no rule of thumb about how much you should expect to spend getting your home ready to sell because every house is different. But investing a few thousand dollars can potentially increase your sale price by much more than that, in addition to making your house sell more quickly. “Anything that you can do is only going to benefit you,” Matzke says.

Here are 10 economical ways to stage your home for sale.

  1. Remove all clutter.  Prospective buyers, particularly young ones, often can’t see past the homeowners’ decor to what’s most important about a house – the floor plan and the space. That’s why it’s important to make the home look as neutral and appealing as possible, so buyers will focus on the property itself.  Remove all personal photos, knickknacks and other junk that’s visible when you walk into a room. “Cleaning out the clutter just creates so much space, and that’s what people are looking for – space,” Matzke says. “It just really makes your home look bigger and younger.”  You don’t want empty shelves, but edit the décor to a few attractive pieces that pair well together and are not a mish-mosh of crazy colors.
  2. Edit your furniture.  If your rooms are crowded, consider putting bigger and less attractive pieces of furniture in storage. This will open up space and make your home look larger. Make sure there is nothing obscuring buyers’ eyes from focal points, such as fireplaces and views.  If your upholstered furniture is mismatched or patterned, consider draping them with matching slipcovers in a neutral color, if that helps pull the room together and make the furnishing appear stylish.
  3. Do a thorough cleaning.  Wash the windows, clean the cobwebs out of the corner and scrub the grout in the tile floors. Even though you’re not selling the furniture, clean that as well because it adds to the overall impression you’re trying to give. If your house has great bones, but feels old or dirty, buyers will be less enthusiastic and devalue the property in their minds.
  4. Spruce up the outside.  First impressions matter, so make sure your home exudes curb appeal. Go all out with small do-it-yourself projects. Replacing the mailbox and house numbers, adding a doormat and painting the front door can make your home more appealing to a prospective buyer driving by. If the house looks dirty, wash the siding or stucco.  “I’ve seen houses that look really frumpy on the outside and great on the inside,” Matzke says, “but you can’t get [potential buyers] in the door.”
  5. Refresh your landscape.  In the same vein, you’ll want your landscaping to be clean and attractive. Cut the grass, trim the bushes and get rid of dead branches. Clean up flower beds, add fresh mulch and plant flowers. Make sure your deck is swept and the pool skimmed of leaves. Tuck your kids’ stray toys and bikes in a shed.
  6. Paint.  While painting is fairly simple and inexpensive compared with other improvements, a new coat makes a significant impact. In some cases, you’d be wise to paint the entire house inside and out. In other cases, touching up and painting the trim might be enough. If you’ve got a crazy color or garish wallpaper in one room, tone it down with a neutral coat of paint.  “Fresh paint is a really good seller,” Matzke says. “Do it in trendy neutral colors.” Painting dated kitchen cabinets can also make the kitchen look fresh and new.
  7. Don’t forget the small stuff.  Pay attention to details, says Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. “New, matching towel sets in the bathroom, accent pillows on the couch and fresh flowers can be welcoming elements to a homebuyer,” she says. If you don’t want to spend money on items you won’t use again, see if you can borrow them from a friend.  You will also want to clean or replace light fixtures, and replace old cabinet hardware. “It’s not a really expensive undertaking, but it really makes a difference in how the home is presented,” Matzke says.
  8. Replace old carpeting.  If you can afford it, pull up the old carpeting and replace with new to give your house a fresh look. If your home has hardwood floors underneath, that’s even better. Ideally, you should refinish wood floors but even just exposing them is good, Matzke says. Hardwood floors are desirable, and potential buyers will be pleased to see them.
  9. Make sure each room has a defined purpose.  Don’t make prospective buyers work to figure out how to use a space or what it’s original purpose was. If you’ve turned your dining room into an office, return it to dining room status, Matzke says. If a room could serve multiple functions, Chris suggests putting up tent cards that say “Dining Room or Office” to point out alternative uses for the space. That would also work in a bedroom you’re using as an office.
  10. Make your house picture-perfect.  You want to make sure your home photographs well. Most buyers start their home search online, and they may quickly reject a home if the listing photos aren’t appealing. Don’t photograph your home before you’re finished staging it, and when you’re ready, pick a time of day with the best natural light to do the photo shoot. If you’re not confident with a camera, hire someone who is to photograph your house. If you want to save money, find a friend who’s handy with a DSLR.
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