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!

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)