SCAM ALERT – ATTENTION HOME STAGERS, INTERIOR DESIGNERS, AND CATERERS!

They’re at it again!

We recently received an email from a company asking for assistance to stage a 4-bedroom apartment in town for their engineers who were moving here from out-of-state for a 2-year project. Finding the email somewhat questionable, I dug a little deeper. Turns out, the address they provided for the 4-bedroom apartment was actually a 4-bedroom home that just sold a few months ago. Odd.

The company goes by the name AMG Engineer Solutions, and truth be known, they look very legit. They even have a website which you can check out here and claim to have offices in four other states. However, I could find no such street address for them listed on Google. And when I searched further, the only info I could find came from their own website. No state info. No nothing. And when I called the phone number listed on their website, I got a very fishy recording. Strange, as one would think a company so large and successful with offices in four other states could likely afford a receptionist.

What I did actually find, located in the same city and state, was a company with a very similar name. When I contacted them, however, someone actually answered the phone and they were well aware of the scam, but were not aware it had started up, again. Apparently, the fake AMG has taken info directly from the real AMG’s website to make themselves look legit. They’ve been hitting up Home Stagers, Interior Designers, and Caterers in the USA and Canada, so please be aware.

While I’m not exactly sure what their racket is or exactly how they will try to defraud you this time around, some of our HSE’s did receive similar emails a few years ago. One of them almost got taken until the company that ‘hired’ her asked her to send a few $THOUSAND$ dollars for the furniture she would be using…all purchased on-line of course, likely by another scam company they had…with a promise to re-imburse her once the job was complete. That’s when she finally contacted me to let me know what was going on.

The truth is, the world is full of scammers who make themselves look very legit, these days. Be very careful and make sure you are dealing with a legitimate client. If you receive a similar email from AMG Engineering Solutions, or any other company making an offer that looks suspicious, verify it with the state and if they aren’t registered, report them to the Federal Trade Commission. And whatever you do, DON’T SEND THEM ANY MONEY! DON’T GIVE THEM ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION! DON’T GIVE THEM YOUR BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER SO THEY CAN ‘WIRE’ YOU MONEY! A legitimate company would never ask for that type of info.

BE AWARE! SPREAD THE WORD! AND DON’T BECOME A VICTIM!

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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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