Money in a Can: Paint for Selling your Home, 2019 Version

We meet with dozens of sellers each month. Each one has their own concerns or worries about how to quickly sell their home -- with spending the least amount of money possible. While we have lots of tips & tricks, one of our favorite ones for older or dated listings is this...

Aside from important home maintenance, such HVAC systems, plumbing etc, the biggest bang for your buck is always PAINT! We call it money in a can. A few coats of a pale grey or a light neutral beige can really transform an older home into a market-ready listing (we're talking inside OR outside). Often times, you won't need to paint your trim, just the walls. DIY sellers can usually accomplish painting a few rooms in one weekend. It gives buyers the sense that your home has been well-cared for and the fact that they might not have to paint over bright red walls is always a bonus. 

Worried about color? Our new for 2019 favorite is Gossamer by Pratt & Lambert - it's a soft neutral that doesn't lean too cool or too warm. It looks great in just about any setting & gives a fresh, updated feel. We also offer paint consultations to assist you in choosing the color just right for your listing. (PS- Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore doesn’t seem to be going anywhere either! It’s still a safe choice.)

 
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Your “Ready for Market” Masterpiece: Just a Brush Stroke Away  

Staging with Artwork

Expressing ourselves is just part of our joy-filled DNA. Want to know one of the most common examples of self-expression? Our home's personal style.  Our homes say a lot about us - our personality, values, and the things we love! In fact, sharing our personalities through interior décor choices is what turns houses into homes.

As much as we enjoy seeing homeowners' self-expression reflected in their homes (our own included!), we encourage less personality when it comes time to list and sell. Make room for potential buyers to imagine themselves and their style choices in your home.  One of the best places to start?  With art!

Artwork is a great way to bring character and life to a room, and if you pick the right pieces, it can inspire a prospective buyer to feel like the space already belongs to them.  Thoughtful art placement takes each space even a step beyond, garnering approving nods from enthusiastic buyers.

Below are a few tips to help win A+ art accolades from both buyers and agents . . .

Do's:

Selecting Art:

-Art that works for decorating doesn't always work for selling. The biggest difference is simplicity. You want simple!  No deep artistic interpretations needed when selling (save those for the art history class please!).

-Take a quick glance through HD’s staging porfolio and you’ll see our preference for abstract paintings, uncomplicated landscapes and still lifes.

-Artwork should complement the home's style and not compete for the starring role

-Use art to pull the colors of the room together, coordinating with other accents such as pillows and accessories.

-Studies say that color can influence mood.  Strive for colors that create a welcoming vibe.  For example, blue is typically calming and green portrays freshness. On the flip side, bold reds can indicate passion and anger and black comes off as “mysterious” and dreary.

Our favorite styles for staging:

  • Abstracts - choose semi-conservative abstracts that create a peaceful and calm mood. (Neutral-toned abstracts are always a safe choice.)

  • Geometric shapes - remember to keep it simple & subtle, especially if it has a heavy pattern!

  •  Still Lifes

  • Botanical artwork

  • Landscapes / cityscapes

Scale and Balance

-Scale is very important - artwork should be proportionate to the height and width of the wall and the overall space size. Selecting art that is too small for the wall space is a very common decorating faux paus.

-Balance is also important - you want your space to feel balanced with just the right amount of furniture, artwork and accessories. You don't want any single decor element to overpower the others.

Bonus tip!

Just finished re-painting the house? Want to avoid nail holes? No hammers needed.  Lean artwork against the wall above the mantle over the fireplace, on the buffet in the dining room or the dresser in the master bedroom.

Don't's

-Artwork should never compete with outside views! Outdoor views are super important selling features and art should not distract from the natural beauty of your exterior spaces. 

-Please – no nudes and no human faces. Silhouettes or figurative renderings of people are okay (as long as they create a soft, calming vibe). We sure don't want to offend potential buyers by displaying something “inappropriate” or too buzz-worthy on walls.   

-When it comes to family photographs/portraits – start packing!  Buyers want to feel comfortable touring your home, and not like they’re intruding in your space. If they see your face everywhere, they won’t be able to “picture” themselves buying and living in your listing.

-Avoid political artwork – remember you’re creating a peaceful and welcoming vibe, not a re-run of today’s 5 o’clock evening news.

Resources for artwork:

-The Big Easel is an outdoor art show hosted each spring in Acadiana and definitely one of our favorites for finding original art & fun treasures by super talented local artists.

 -In a hurry?  A few of our go-tos for inexpensive art include HomeGoods, AtHome and Target.

-Shopping online? Juniper Print Shop is another favorite! You can purchase a digital download file of their artwork online and have it printed inexpensively at Costco or your favorite printshop.

-Spend a few hours sourcing at thrift shops & antique stores to find unique pieces with character as you unwind from a busy morning of decluttering, packing and cleaning.  A short drive up I-49 to Sunset, Louisiana promises just the right mix of fun, chill and treasures. 

Remember: Art should be the final brush stroke that completes your masterpiece - "your home" for sale!

Let Your Light Shine In For Showings: All Things Windows

Today’s home buyers are looking for listings with plenty of natural light in every room. Windows play a starring role by giving the home a sense of more space which means LARGER and more inviting rooms. Uncluttered windows that let in plenty of natural light help to achieve the desired and on-trend look of an open floor plan.

So, we say “Let that Light Shine In!”

Below you’ll find our easy to follow steps that are sure to help show off your windows as well as casting a “favorable light” on your interior spaces.

If you struggle with how to clean those windows – you’re sure not alone. We’ve included some cleaning tips at the end to help you get those windows looking squeaky clean for buyers!

Exterior window tips:

· Can we see your windows from the curb?  Many sellers let their landscaping take over the yard to the point of obstructing their windows and home’s front elevation.  Get those pruning shears out and starting trimming shrubs and lower tree limbs so buyers can see and appreciate the front of your home.

· For best presentation of your windows from the curb, remove all screens – store & save them in the garage or attic.  Screens make a home look less appealing from the outside and filter out much needed natural light on the inside. 

· Sell your exterior spaces from every possible interior window view. For example, if you have a pool or fabulous patio/backyard, start selling it from the inside.  You want buyers to focus on your fantastic view or backyard, not the window blinds and/or window treatments that hide your outdoor selling features.

· Finally, don’t forget to clean all windows thoroughly (inside and out) especially those front & patio windows.

Interior window staging tips:

· Let the light shine in for each showing!!

· It truly is okay to simply leave your windows completely bare – it’s definitely better than having the wrong or dated window treatments displayed that could turn off buyers. And no worries if you don’t have big alluring windows, we’ve included tips here that will help with any size window.

· Some windows are just so pretty that they won’t need any embellishments. If your home has a circular or curved window – don’t cover it up.  Instead, let this unique architectural feature dazzle buyers!

· What’s happening with the windows on your front door?  Remove any adhesive film products from the glass and open those roman shades or blinds during the day for showings.

· Editing heavy and busy fabric valances, sheers and panels makes such a difference to buyers. And please – no lace.  Outdated window treatments can be a distraction from the other great features of the home – making your listing feel tired and unloved.

· Remove dated and over-sized rods & hardware and patch/touch up wall paint. If bulky rods must stay, consider giving the rods a face lift by painting them a light neutral color. 

· Don’t forget to remove black out shades from all windows (remember we need to let that light shine in!).

· Looking for that just right window treatment?  We recommend a pair of fabric window panels hung from an easy-to-install simple rod. The panels should be basic in design with a gentle-on-the-eye solid neutral color, framing the windows on either side and not covering them up. To install, select very simple rods that extend across the width of the window.  Make sure the fabric panels are long enough to “kiss” the floor when hung.

· If you’re concerned about privacy, leave fabric panels or mini-blinds open during the day for showings and close them each evening at sunset.

Window Cleaning Tips (according to Good HouseKeeping)

Good Housekeeping recommends using a combination of Hope’s perfect glass cleaner (available for $4 on Amazon) with a microfiber cloth ($6 for a 3-pack on Amazon).

 A few tips to make your window cleaning a success:

 · Choose a dry cloudy day because if it’s a sunny hot day the cleaner will dry on the windows before you can wipe it off and remove those pesky streaks.

· Always vacuum the frame, sill and sash before cleaning the glass.

· Don’t be afraid to be generous with the cleaning spray.

· Finally, dry with a microfiber cloth – avoid paper towels if possible!

Follow all these tips and you are sure to make your windows sparkle and dazzle buyers!

 

Nine for 2019: Home Design & Staging Trend Roundup!

Maybe we’ve been just a little too busy posting Instagram stories about this month’s blog.  We can’t help ourselves! We are so excited about the latest home design & staging trends that have emerged for 2019. We’ve rounded up our “top 9” below, along with plenty of eye candy & inspiration.

1) Return to Nature:  Let’s take a walk in the forest!  Décor includes subtle wood accents with features like white washed and natural finishes. Wood is a wonderful material for connecting people to the outdoors and recalling sweet memories of enjoying the calming essence of nature. 

2) Put the FUN in Multi-Function Rooms:  Attention multi-taskers – this one is for you with murphy beds, multi-purpose built-ins, moveable walls or sliding doors, hidden storage solutions like retractable shelving, pull out pantry doors, and integrated kitchen appliances.  The FUN comes from the special flexibility, clever organization and sense of minimalism this trend brings.

3) Modern and traditional mix:  Yes, it’s definitely okay to mix!  Blend those trendy new “gotta-have” accessories with your favorite traditional pieces for a timeless, trending, and very true design vibe for your home.

4) Bohemian Beauty + Artisan Elements:  Still holding on to those hand-made crafts from 4th grade?  Time to show them off - think hand-woven furniture, textured art, and hand-crafted items using sustainable materials like jute, straw, brick and wicker.  These pieces create a warm and welcoming experience while also connecting us to our inner authentic selves.

5) Geo Glam:  It’s a Rubik’s Cube redeaux - geometric furniture styles, accessories, paint patterns and fixtures create a funky space filled with lines, circles, triangles and more to give your home a sense of individual algorithm.

6) Pattern Party:  This is a trend with booster power - painted floor tiles (grew over 1200% in popularity last year says Sunset.com), wallpaper and painted statement walls and ceilings have all been making an encore appearance as a style element in home decor.  Spice up that space with a dash of pattern!

7) Venus meets Mars:  Feminine tones like blush, dusty pink and bronze meet masculine statement pieces such as a chunky-based dining table, an over-sized leather chair or even a brick fireplace painted a soft-shade of baby blue.  Cupid says let your décor make love, not war! 

8) White Out:  No - not the kind you use on paper!  Think all white kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms that create a serene feeling as well as a blank canvas for design flexibility.  If you get a little tired of the all-white vibe, just add a touch of greenery, or a pop of color with fresh flowers, art, drapes, and pillows.  What color will you add to your white canvas?  The world is your oyster!

9) Mixed metals:  Who doesn’t like to mix and match?! - especially in the kitchen.   Cabinet hardware and light fixtures are a great place to start. Designers suggest not mixing more than 2 to 3 different metal accents per room.  As always – Less is more!  Moderation is the key to creating a metallic compound that is just right for your space. (Source: Elle Décor and House Beautiful)

 

 

"Fresh Beginnings: Bathrooms & Closets"

Mastering the Mess

Is home organization one of your top resolutions as you get ready for the 2019 selling market?!  Well, let’s “master your mess” together and sell those bathrooms and closets – two of the most frequently cluttered spaces in the home.  During the holidays especially, homeowners busily shove everything but Santa’s sleigh into closets or cabinets to make room for seasonal decor. 

Did you know that an important “gotta-have” on most buyers’ wish lists is definitely plenty of storage?   Believe it or not, lack of sufficient storage can jeopardize a sale.  Buyers should both see and appreciate the total storage available in your home.  Space and functionality in bathrooms are also high on buyers’ lists.  They want bathrooms that fit their particular “lifestyle” or one they soon hope to achieve.  Below you will find our “mastering the mess” staging tips for both closets and bathrooms.  Follow these easy tips and you’ll impress potential buyers with stress-free and organized spaces! 

Staging Tips for Closets:

1) Clear out closets – start by editing at least 30%.    Packing up off-season clothing and storing for your move really helps with this first step.  Next, make a pile of things you intend to give away.  With less in your closets, it makes an important impression that there is definitely lots of room to spare.

2) Add on-trend and matching baskets (i.e. – wicker baskets, opaque containers, cloth baskets) to store necessities and hide clutter.  Avoid clear containers because they add to an unwanted cluttered look.

3) Always, always keep the closet floor clear of messes and storage!!  Sell that square footage.

4) If budget allows, matching hangers create a much more cohesive look (stick with neutral colors --tan/wood, cream, soft gray or white).

5) Install extra lighting or add a small lamp on an open counterspace (if available) to brighten the space.    Closets will instantly appear LARGER with good lighting!

6) Color coordination of hanging clothes always provides a very organized stress-free affect. 

7) In master closets, try creating a feature area with a cute piece of artwork – you’re selling a “lifestyle” that buyers are sure to want!!

8) Wondering what to do with all your discarded closet treasures?  We love supporting local thrift stores with clothing donations.

Staging Tips for Bathrooms:

1) Create a blank canvas by clearing off those countertops – remove ALL of your daily toiletries and personal products (toothbrush, toothpaste, hair products, deodorant, etc.) and keep those cabinets tidy, too.

2) Bathrooms should be immaculately clean!  You want buyers to feel that your home is well-loved and that you’ve taken pride in presenting a consistently clean home.  And always empty (and hide) the trash before showings.

3) New on-trend neutral towels are definitely one of our staging staples. Hand towels on countertops or at sinks topped with a pretty bar of soap, and on the tub deck a stack of neatly-folded bath towels help accentuate that coveted spa-like vibe.

4) Dated & tired looking bathroom?  No worries - an easy bathroom update can come from using on-trend accessories.  Your goal here is to create an updated feel with the simple addition of accessories like fragrant soaps, loofahs, cotton balls and candles.  Remember to think simplicity because less is always more.

5) Flowers or green plants and succulents (fresh is preferred) are a great finishing touch.  They add instant color, dimension and life to the space. 

6) Lastly and as time and budget permits, clean out bathroom cabinets and use baskets to store all of your everyday necessities (rubber bands, Q-tips, makeup, combs and brushes, etc.) Spacious storage sells, so keep those cabinets only partially full.

Here’s to new and fresh beginnings!  Be sure to look at our sample images of “dressed for success” staged bathrooms and closets!  Happy New Year and Happy Selling in 2019!! #masterthemess

 

12 Days of Christmas Gift Guide: Stager’s Edition

Every Christmas we make our gift lists and check them twice, but still have a challenge deciding what to give those who have been extra nice!

This year, we decided to help out by introducing our 12 Days of Christmas Gift Guide:  Stager’s Edition!  Hope you’ve seen our fun Instagram story posts with gift ideas for the 12 days leading up to Christmas!! The stories featured 12 budget-friendly must-give X-mas gift ideas sure to lower stress levels and up everyone’s joy during the season of gifting and giving! 

We received such a great response to our posts that we wanted to share these must-have accessory ideas as a blog because they are true staging staples and great gifts to give all year round!!

12 days of “staging staples” gift ideas: (including list of store ideas for purchase)

1) welcome mat

2) pair of coffee mugs

3) accent pillows

4) white cereal bowls

5) fresh fruit basket or bowl

6) large hardbound cook book with colorful pictures

7) inspirational art

8) table runner

9) neutral throw for living room

10) coffee table hardbound book with colorful pictures

11) matching hand towels for bathroom

12) fresh herb plant

List of store ideas for items – Paul Michael’s, Target, World Market, Bed Bath & Beyond, At Home, Home Goods, Nordstrom Rack, and Dollar Tree. Online store ideas – Amazon, Overstock, Wayfair, Magnolia Farms, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, and Etsy. (there are many others but these are some of our favorites!!)

We have included all of our images for the 12 days of Christmas to give you examples of these great staging staples.  We hope you have a happy and prosperous New Year!!