Now & Then: Flashback to 2010

HD Celebrates 9 Seasons!

Talk about a business with a past!  We’re celebrating this month with a flashback to September 2010, the month we launched House Dressing!   Nine “seasons” of professionally staging Acadiana sure deserves a special shout out as we pause to appreciate each one of our “believers” - our treasured clients who took a chance and hired us to stage their listings and experienced a brand-new level of selling.  We’ve grown from serving just 12 listing in 2010, to nearly 300 in 2018.  And we can’t wait to share 2019 numbers (hint:  August was our best month ever!), but we have to wait until December 31st. . .

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to everyone who has been a part of our amazing story, inspiration, encouragement and growth!    While a lot has changed since 2010, our mission remains the same - to acknowledge  where our blessings come from (ABOVE - PTL!); to bring our very best to each project, large or small; to share our gratitude to every client for their partnership and trust in our services; and always to bring our passion and commitment to “dressing” our projects for selling success!

In this month’s blog, we thought it would be fun to have a few flashbacks from the old days and - oh gosh!  We can’t get over how things have progressed for both House Dressings and the staging industry!

Let’s hit rewind and see what’s changed…

Home Design & Staging- Now & Then:

  • COLORS:

    • NOW - soft muted neutrals with cool accents and small pops of colors versus…

    • THEN - warmer colors (the Tuscan look - browns, reds, mustard colors) and warm metallic and typography accents, and we can’t forget – that popular chevron print.

  • STYLE:

    • NOW - modern, minimalist, simple elegant designs and open floor plans versus…

    • THEN - bulkier furniture, dark and glossy woods, disconnected spaces, heavy accents

  • PHOTOGRAPHY:

    • NOW professional real estate photographers are hitting it out of the ball park with high quality MLS images and more vignette/lifestyle shots versus…

    • THEN - cell phone pictures taken by sellers, realtors and builders

  • STAGING:

    • NOW simple yet sophisticated neutrals that showcases lifestyle and sell livable spaces, with a special emphasis on attracting Millennial buyers versus…

    • THEN - less practical styling using warm tones with busy accessories and formal furniture pieces

Things that have remained the same Now & Then:

  • Importance of Curb Appeal – sellers always want to make the best first impression to potential buyers

  • A warm welcome with an inviting foyer

  • The fireplace mantle remains a focal point– “the heart of the home”

  • Outdoor spaces are still on the top of buyers’ list of wants

  • Depersonalizing and decluttering are still key items on every seller’s to-do list


Staging is not the only thing that has changed…

House Dressings - Now & Then: Streaming Live

We’ve had many changes over the years as we strive to grow, evolve, and stay current and on-trend in the ever-evolving staging and real estate markets.  Our team has grown from a “one woman” show to a strong team of 8!!  Some other things that have changed include our branding, logo, website, warehouse, Instagram (which is constantly changing!), and of course, our inventory to always stay fresh and relevant with the latest emerging trends.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this walk down memory lane, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for House Dressings and our wonderful clients!  Be sure to tune into HD Season 10, streaming live now on FACEBOOK  PINTEREST  INSTAGRAM and our blog and website.  

 

Back to School: Staging Numbers Rule!

Yes, it’s that time of year again – time to go “back to school” and learn more about the great benefits of staging!  This month we’re sharing some of our favorite staging numbers – statistics that tell the story on why staging is one of the most important investments you can make when selling your home.

House Dressings, Acadiana’s go-to firm for the very best in home staging for Acadiana’s real estate market, offers 9 years of professional experience and hundreds of successful “sold” stories to our numbers.  When it comes to staging, our math sure adds up for sellers, agents, builders, flippers and more!

Confused over the word “staging”?  It’s simple -  staging is the professional process of preparing a home for the competitive real estate market.  It reduces a home’s flaws while enhancing it’s positive features.  Staged homes sell faster and for more money.  And most importantly, staging creates buzz!

Who cares about buzz?  Millennials especially – today’s largest demographic of home buyers.  They are actively (99%) looking online for their new homes.  In fact, 91% of Millennial home buyers say that quality MLS photos are crucial to their decision to view a property. They love move-in ready homes with natural wood floors, entertaining spaces, low maintenance yards, and modern/modern farmhouse designs. (Source:  RESA) 

Now that we have your attention, are you ready for some numbers?!

Selling + Kids = A Winning Mix!

Sellers with kid are going to love this month’s lesson plan!  It’s all about putting your best foot forward while ensuring a happy and peaceful family life during selling.  We know the thought of going on the market can be overwhelming with a houseful of little (& big!) peeps -- but no worries!  Our summer tips can help you do it successfully while keeping your sanity!

Start with the basic three D’s of staging including decluttering, depersonalizing main rooms of the home, and deep cleaning.  Next, rally the kids to help with tidying up and depersonalizing their spaces.  Scavenger hunts work great when it comes to decluttering.  Remind them that the team goal is to score (attract) lots of buyers, even those without children and pets.  Keeping the family focused on that exciting new/next house can also win support for your side!  

Breakout Session:  We love the idea of holding regular family meetings to imagine who will buy your house (art project!), chat about what’s ahead for the next few months and together create a colorful chore chart for both the selling prep phase and a second one to use once the house goes on the market.  Some families have even written good-bye letters to the house to share with buyers after closing; and buried sweet mementos in the back yard as a thoughtful farewell .  And please don’t forget to make a fun photo book with pictures of each room of the house before you start your selling prep!

By keeping them connected to the selling process and nurturing their ideas and concerns, your children can become remarkable players rooting for the home team!

Here’s our winning list of selling tips for families:

Klearing Kid Stuff and Kreating Buyer-Friendly Zones:

1) Store square-footage stealing baby gear (like highchairs, plastic swings, jumpers, etc.) in a single room – especially for MLS photos and showings

2) Toys should be relocated to children’s bedrooms and/or a designated playroom or play space

3) Protect your family’s privacy by removing and packing items with children’s name on it including awards, trophies, certificates and personalized art (Zillow)

4)  Keep that floor decluttered – especially items on the floor that make the spaces feel smaller (i.e. doll houses, kitchens, lego creations, stacks of clothes, etc.)

5)  Be vertically inclined – as in considering the busyness of wall space as well as floor space.  We suggest limiting art to just two walls in any room. And please no vinyl clings, tapped posters or wall stickers

6) Create hiding places for last minute showings (i.e. empty a few bedroom drawers, storage ottomans/trunks, wicker baskets that can fit in a closet, organizers under your bed, etc.) (Zillow)

Kickin’ Kids’s Rooms that Really Sell:

1) Just like the other rooms of your house, go neutral. This includes neutral bedding, colors, and furniture. Got a Frozen Elsa Princess or Sheriff Woody themed bedroom?  Try flipping over patterned comforters to show a solid color under-side and top with simple white pillowcases. Buyers will be able to imagine the many potential uses for these rooms (like a home office or work out room for example) without having to visually remove all the scene robbing props.

2) Be a proud mama or papa and display your kid’s “framed” artwork (make sure it’s depersonalized and adds a nice pop of color).  Hang in laundry rooms, mudrooms, kid’s bedrooms, bathrooms or bedroom halls.  Shop for budget-friendly simple frames.  Also, vibrant hardbound children’s books can be a great staging tool in bookcases, on desks and nightstands, and in a fun basket next to a chair.

3) Paring down kid’s toys doesn’t have to be a challenge; keep a decorative neutral basket with a lid or a toy box close by in their bedrooms or closet to keep just their most favorite toys in.  Other toys should be packed for the move to the new house, donated or given to other family members (who don’t live in your house!).

Finally, if you are wondering what to do with the kids this summer when you have showings, we recommend always having a “go” bag of snacks, water and other necessities packed and ready with lots of fun options of places to go. You’ll be ready to go as quickly as possible for those last-minute showings – and your listing agent will love you!  Plan to be away for at least an hour for each showing.  And don’t forget to include the pets when you load up the kids and back out of the garage!

You see?!  With a few key steps, selling and kids (and pets) really are a winning mix!

 

First Impressions: Front Porches that Beckon

Come and sit a spell!

June is the perfect month to think about outdoor spaces and how to market our front porches to welcome buyers.  In the South, we’re well known for our easygoing porches where family and friends gather to visit, sip sweet tea and watch the kids play on the front lawn.  Whether your porch is big or small, we’ve got the right-sized tips to help buyers imagine themselves chilling at the end of a warm day while passing time on your porch.     

In addition to sweet tea and friends, we’ve put together a short list of key “ingredients”

to make a great first impression that starts at the porch:

#1) Grab the bucket and soap -

Just like the inside of the home, your porch needs to be pretty much spotless. Give all surfaces a good pressure washing and/or cleaning. Once on the market, sweeping and blowing off the porch regularly is a must!

#2) How about a fresh coat of lipstick?!

Repaint and/or stain front shutters, posts and front door if tired, sun bleached, peeling or dated.  Refresh your front door – (i.e. – new paint in a cheerful bright color and new hardware, topped with a simple green wreath should do the trick!).  As buyers pause at your front door waiting to gain access, their eyes will be fixed directly on that door.  Be sure it has something positive and inviting to say back to them.

#3) The power of the pillow -

Make them want to get out of the car!  You can sell the porch just like your interior spaces with a few enticing pieces of outdoor patio furniture and accessories. A pair of matching rockers and/or a porch swing are always so welcoming and create a sense of “HOME”. We recommend a generous sprinkling of color – don’t hold back on fun patio accent pillows and cushions.  Room for a small end table in between the porch chairs?  Top it with a bright blooming plant.

#4) Do the numbers add up?

Wake up those tired house numbers and make sure they’re clearly visible from the street. We suggest installing new black numbers, vertically stacked right next to the front door (spray painting old numbers matte black is okay, too).  If you’re feeling extra creative, add a simple metal piece of wall art (space permitting) or a new black retro wall-mounted outdoor light fixture (yes black to match the numbers). Like the inside of your home, your porch should be tasteful and updated to create broad appeal.

#5) Plants that Persuade –

Plants are always a great way to get people in the door!  Plants are amazing conversation starters and show buyers that your home is well-loved. Potted seasonal plants are a must for adding a pop of color (either the container color or plants themselves) to your porch.  Select plants that require minimal upkeep (keep them looking healthy for showings) while providing maximum impact.  Hanging ferns are a wonderful choice to showcase Acadian-style homes with covered porches.  Window boxes are making a comeback and can also add an extra serving of curb appeal charm.

#6) Take them to the mat -

Welcome mat, that is!  A new and energetic welcome mat placed at the front door will ensure buyers are super excited as they step across the threshold into “their” new home!

 

 

 

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 Muslin by Dunn-Edwards - 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!