7 Tips for Staging Your Home

Make your home warm and inviting to boost your home’s value and speed up the sale process.

The first step to getting buyers to make an offer on your home is to impress them with its appearance so they begin to envision themselves living there. Here are seven tips for making your home look bigger, brighter, and more desirable.

1.  Start with a Clean Slate

Before you can worry about where to place furniture and which wall hanging should go where, each room in your home must be spotless. Do a thorough cleaning right down to the nitpicky details like wiping down light switch covers. Deep clean and deodorize carpets and window coverings.

2.  Stow Away Your Clutter

It’s harder for buyers to picture themselves in your home when they’re looking at your family photos, collectibles, and knickknacks. Pack up all your personal decorations. However, don’t make spaces like mantles and coffee and end tables barren. Leave three items of varying heights on each surface, suggests Barb Schwarz of Staged Homes in Concord, Pa. For example, place a lamp, a small plant, and a book on an end table.

3.  Scale Back on Your Furniture

When a room is packed with furniture, it looks smaller, which will make buyers think your home is less valuable than it is. Make sure buyers appreciate the size of each room by removing one or two pieces of furniture. If you have an eat-in dining area, using a small table and chair set makes the area seem bigger.

4.  Rethink Your Furniture Placement

Highlight the flow of your rooms by arranging the furniture to guide buyers from one room to another. In each room, create a focal point on the farthest wall from the doorway and arrange the other pieces of furniture in a triangle around the focal point, advises Schwarz. In the bedroom, the bed should be the focal point. In the living room, it may be the fireplace, and your couch and sofa can form the triangle in front of it.

5.  Add Color to Brighten Your Rooms

Brush on a fresh coat of warm, neutral-color paint in each room. Ask your real estate agent for help choosing the right shade. Then accessorize. Adding a vibrant afghan, throw, or accent pillows for the couch will jazz up a muted living room, as will a healthy plant or a bright vase on your mantle. High-wattage bulbs in your light fixtures will also brighten up rooms and basements.

6.  Set the Scene

Lay logs in the fireplace, and set your dining room table with dishes and a centerpiece of fresh fruit or flowers. Create other vignettes throughout the home — such as a chess game in progress — to help buyers envision living there. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.

Make your bathrooms feel luxurious by adding a new shower curtain, towels, and fancy guest soaps (after you put all your personal toiletry items are out of sight). Judiciously add subtle potpourri, scented candles, or boil water with a bit of vanilla mixed in. If you have pets, clean bedding frequently and spray an odor remover before each showing.

7.  Make the Entrance Grand

Mow your lawn and trim your hedges, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before showings to make your lawn sparkle. If flowers or plants don’t surround your home’s entrance, add a pot of bright flowers. Top it all off by buying a new doormat and adding a seasonal wreath to your front door.

Related:

  • Spring Cleaning Guide
  • 11 Ways to Create a Welcoming Front Entrance for Under $100
  • Fragrant Plants that Will Keep Your Home Smelling Good

 

By: G. M. Filisko. Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/7-tips-staging-your-home/preview/?cid=eo_rl_sss_rcrpromo#ixzz3cZUqVJjx

Why You Should Pay Attention to the Home’s Furniture Layout

One thing that occasionally gets overlooked when preparing a home for sale is furniture layout. I’ve been in many homes where I’ve felt that something wasn’t quite right about a certain room as soon as I entered it. Not anything obvious, but more of an indescribable sense of confusion for lack of a better word.

If you’re planning on selling your home, here are some questions you should ask yourself about your current furniture layout:

• Does the room look off balance?

• Is the flow of the room disrupted?

• Does the layout impede pathways?

• Is the focal point of the room concealed?

• Does the room feel “boxed in” rather than open?

• Is there too much furniture in the room?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might want to take a look at your furniture placement. This is where a professional home stager can help you.

At a recent staging consultation that I carried out, there were some issues with furniture placement. The space in question was an open concept living room/dining room/kitchen. If you take a look at this BEFORE photo, you’ll see that some changes were needed.

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Now let’s ask the questions about this space:

Question #1: “Does the room look off balance?” Although you can’t see it from this photo, the dining area was directly behind the sofa. This area was comprised of a small round table and four chairs along with a small dining hutch. The living area was weighted down in comparison with too many pieces of heavy furniture, which made the overall space look off balance.

Question #2: “Is the flow of the room disrupted?” The large sofa split the space between the living and dining areas in half, making the room look smaller and broken up.

Question #3: “Does the layout impede pathways?” The pathway to get from the dining area to the kitchen was tight due to the length of the sofa. As well, the pathway between the sofa and loveseat to reach the seating area was cramped.

Question #4: “Is the focal point of the room concealed?” Absolutely. In this case, the focal point of the room was the fireplace. With the current furniture configuration and the large TV, the fireplace did not take main stage.

Question #5: “Does the room feel ‘boxed in’ rather than open?” Yes, you can see this from the BEFORE photo.

Question #6: “Is there too much furniture in the room?” Yes, from a staging point of view there was too much furniture in the space. While living in a house and not considering selling, you’re obviously going to arrange your space to suit your needs as was the case here. Due to the amount of entertaining the home owners did, they required more seating. However, now that they were going to sell, they needed to make some changes.

So here’s what we did…

We removed the sofa, moved the loveseat over to where the sofa previously was, and brought in a chair that was being used upstairs in the master bedroom suite. Fortunately, this chair matched the loveseat so we were in luck. While we were at it, we removed the TV for good measure in order to also help open up the space and make the fireplace the main attraction.

Once the TV was gone, we brought in a glass console table that was previously in the basement to help ground that area, yet not detract from the fireplace.

Now take a look at the AFTER photo …

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In the AFTER photo you’ll see how the space is more open, there’s flow, and the fireplace now takes its place of prominence as it should. This photo was taken before any styling took place. You can see how different the space looks already and that’s without any decorative accessories, an area rug or small glass tables.

The way your furniture is arranged while you are living in your home should be configured to suit your needs and to work with your intended purpose for the room. However, remember that if you’re going to sell anytime soon, you should always ask yourself some important questions about furniture placement.

Happy Father’s Day!

unnamedFather’s Day originated in 1910 in Spokane Washington. Sonora Smart Dodd was the daughter of a Civil War Veteran who raised his six children as a single parent. To honor her father, she organized the first celebration at the Spokane YMCA. There were several attempts to create a national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson, President Calvin Coolidge and others. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers and declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the national holiday was made permanent and President Richard Nixon signed it into law. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads! Sunday, June 21st is your official day. Take time to enjoy it!

8 Tips for Adding Curb Appeal and Value to Your Home

Here are eight ways to help your home put its best face forward.

Homes with high curb appeal command higher prices and take less time to sell. We’re not talking about replacing vinyl siding with redwood siding; we’re talking about maintenance and beautifying tasks you’d like to live with anyway.

The way your house looks from the street — attractively landscaped and well-maintained — can add thousands to its value and cut the time it takes to sell. But which projects pump up curb appeal most? Some spit and polish goes a long way, and so does a dose of color.

Related: Gorgeous Landscaping for Your House Means More Than Just Looks

Tip #1: Wash Your House’s Face

Before you scrape any paint or plant more azaleas, wash the dirt, mildew, and general grunge off the outside of your house. REALTORS® say washing a house can add $10,000 to $15,000 to the sale prices of some houses.

A bucket of soapy water and a long-handled, soft-bristled brush can remove the dust and dirt that have splashed onto your wood, vinyl, metal, stucco, brick, and fiber cement siding. Power washers (rental: $75 per day) can reveal the true color of your flagstone walkways.

Wash your windows inside and out, swipe cobwebs from eaves, and hose down downspouts. Don’t forget your garage door, which was once bright white. If you can’t spray off the dirt, scrub it off with a solution of 1/2 cup trisodium phosphate — TSP, available at grocery stores, hardware stores, and home improvement centers — dissolved in 1 gallon of water.

You and a friend can make your house sparkle in a few weekends. A professional cleaning crew will cost hundreds — depending on the size of the house and number of windows — but will finish in a couple of days.

Tip #2: Freshen the Paint Job

The most commonly offered curb appeal advice from real estate pros and appraisers is to give the exterior of your home a good paint job. Buyers will instantly notice it, and appraisers will value it.
 
Of course, painting is an expensive and time-consuming facelift. To paint a 3,000-square-foot home, figure on spending $375 to $600 on paint; $1,500 to $3,000 on labor.

Your best bet is to match the paint you already have: Scrape off a little and ask your local paint store to match it. Resist the urge to make a statement with color. An appraiser will mark down the value of a house that’s painted a wildly different color from its competition.

Tip #3: Regard the Roof

The condition of your roof is one of the first things buyers notice and appraisers assess. Missing, curled, or faded shingles add nothing to the look or value of your house. If your neighbors have maintained or replaced their roofs, yours will look especially shabby.

You can pay for roof repairs now, or pay for them later in a lower appraisal; appraisers will mark down the value by the cost of the repair. According to “Remodeling” magazine’s 2015 “Cost vs. Value Report,” the average cost of a new asphalt shingle roof is about $19,500.

Some tired roofs look a lot better after you remove 25 years of dirt, moss, lichens, and algae. Don’t try cleaning your roof yourself: call a professional with the right tools and technique to clean it without damaging it. A 2,000-square-foot roof will take a day and $400 to $600 to clean professionally.

Tip #4: Neaten the Yard

A well-manicured lawn, fresh mulch, and pruned shrubs boost the curb appeal of any home.

Replace overgrown bushes with leafy plants and colorful annuals. Surround bushes and trees with dark or reddish-brown bark mulch, which gives a rich feel to the yard. Put a crisp edge on garden beds, pull weeds and invasive vines, and plant a few geraniums in pots.

Green up your grass with lawn food and water. Cover bare spots with seeds and sod, get rid of crab grass, and mow regularly.

Tip #5: Add a Color Splash

Even a little color attracts and pleases the eye of would-be buyers.

Plant a tulip border in the fall that will bloom in the spring. Dig a flowerbed by the mailbox and plant some pansies. Place a brightly colored bench or Adirondack chair on the front porch. Get a little daring, and paint the front door red or blue.

These colorful touches won’t add to the value of our house: Appraisers don’t give you extra points for a blue bench. But beautiful colors enhance curb appeal and help your house to sell faster.

Related: Colorful Plants with Curb Appeal

Tip #6: Glam Your Mailbox

An upscale mailbox, architectural house numbers, or address plaques can make your house stand out.

High-style die cast aluminum mailboxes range from $100 to $350. You can pick up a handsome, hand-painted mailbox for about $50. If you don’t buy new, at least give your old mailbox a facelift with paint and new house numbers.

These days, your local home improvement center or hardware stores has an impressive selection of decorative numbers. Architectural address plaques, which you tack to the house or plant in the yard, typically range from $80 to $200. Brass house numbers range from $3 to $11 each, depending on size and style.

Related: 11 Ways to Create a Welcoming Front Entrance for Under $100

Tip #7: Fence Yourself In

A picket fence with a garden gate to frame the yard is an asset. Not only does it add visual punch to your property, appraisers will give extra value to a fence in good condition, although it has more impact in a family-oriented neighborhood than an upscale retirement community.

Expect to pay $2,000 to $3,500 for a professionally installed gated picket fence 3 feet high and 100 feet long.

If you already have a fence, make sure it’s clean and in good condition. Replace broken gates and tighten loose latches.

Tip #8: Maintenance is a Must

Nothing looks worse from the curb — and sets off subconscious alarms — like hanging gutters, missing bricks from the front steps, or peeling paint. Not only can these deferred maintenance items damage your home, but they can decrease the value of your house by 10%.

Here are some maintenance chores that will dramatically help the look of your house:

  • Refasten sagging gutters.
  • Repoint bricks that have lost their mortar.
  • Reseal cracked asphalt.
  • Straighten shutters.
  • Replace cracked windows.

Master Bathroom Must Haves

Supersized master showers reign, according to the 2015 Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. Showers are expanding with many of the more than 3,000 home owners recently surveyed saying they plan to upgrade their master showers and increase its size.

Northeast home owners were found to have the biggest love for their master showers and are planning the most upgrades. But many non-master full baths, especially in the West, are also getting supersized shower stalls, the survey found.

Thirty percent of those surveyed by Houzz who say they have plans to upgrade their master shower plan to make it 50 percent or more larger than its current size; 19 percent plan to make it between 25 percent to 50 percent larger.

But the master shower isn’t the only driver to bathroom remodels. The Houzz survey found respondents rated the following functional aspects as important factors in their bathroom remodels:

  • Easy to clean: 55%
  • Easy to store and find: 53%
  • Good lighting: 47%
  • Two-person compatible: 46%
  • Easy to get ready in: 36%
  • Helps me relax: 34%

What’s more, the design of the space is also important. Survey respondents identified the following top design aspects of a master bathroom:

  • Stylish and beautiful: 83%
  • Spa-like atmosphere: 41%
  • Reflects who I am: 38%
  • Filled with natural light: 34%
  • Makes a statement: 23%

Other top characteristics identified by survey respondents for master bathroom remodels are:

  • Ceramic tile, followed by porcelain tile, is the most popular flooring choice.
  • Painted walls are by far the most popular choice, while wallpaper is only used in 3 percent of remodels.
  • Recessed lighting and wall sconces dominate as the most popular lighting choices.
  • Baby boomers are more likely to install grab bars and curbless showers in their master bathroom remodels. But non-slide floors, hand-held shower heads, shower seats or tub seats, and thermostatic mixers are growing in popularity among all generations.

Survey respondents also identified the following specialty features as the most important in luxury master bathroom remodels:

  • Rain shower head
  • Tub for two
  • Spa jets in tubs
  • Radiant heat flooring
  • Shower for two

June’s Metro Atlanta Real Estate Report

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 June 21st is the official first day of summer. The real estate market is already hot and sales activity is high. Click here for the Metro Atlanta Real Estate Report. Here is a summary:
  • Closings for May were up 1.4% compared to last month and flat compared to last year.
  • The average sales price jumped to $283,000 in May versus $269,000 in April. The average sales price for year-to-date 2015 was $259,000 which is up 47% from the bottom of 2011.
  • Listed inventory was up 4.2% from last month and up 1.2% compared to last year. Inventory is up 42% from the recent bottom of February 2013. But the limited availability of highly desirable properties in select markets is still driving multiple offers and very quick sales in those areas. Remember, real estate is local and markets can be very different.
  • Months of supply increased slightly to 3.7 months versus 3.6 months in April. Six months is considered normal. Luxury properties are taking longer to sell with homes above $1 million showing 16.5 months of supply and properties over $2 million showing 30 months of supply.
  • The latest Case-Shiller Index (5/28/15) reports that Metro Atlanta home values are up 45% from the recent bottom of March 2012. Increasing homes values are getting some sellers back into the market but also decreasing affordability for some buyers.
  • Mortgage rates remain very attractive but this will not last. Click here for the latest rates.
  • New Homes are moving fast – but the problem is that many builders cannot build them fast enough. Visit www.NewHomesServicesGA.com to view new home communities.
  • Commercial real estate is also making a comeback in Metro Atlanta. Our Commercial Real Estate Division specializes in these areas and would be happy to help you.

Remember that real estate is local and every market is different. Contact the Petersen Partners team to find out the specific details for your local area. Better information helps our clients make better real estate decisions!

Early Summer Lawn Care

Get a barefoot-worthy lawn and ensure your home has curb appeal.

Watch out for grubs: Warm weather means that grub worms, the larvae stage of June, Japanese, and other beetles, start feeding on the tender root systems of lawns. Affected lawns show browning and wilting patches.

To be certain that the culprits are grubs, pull back the sod and look for white, C-shaped grubs. If you see more than 10 per square foot, your lawn should be treated with a chemical pesticide.

Milky spore is an environmentally friendly way to control some species of grubs. When using insecticides, read and follow all label directions, and water the product into the soil immediately. Cost is around $50 to $75 per application.

Grass-cutting tip: Your grass is starting to grow fast, and you might even be cutting more than once a week to keep up. To keep grass healthy, mow often enough so you’re removing no more than 1/3 of the grass blade.

Pesky weeds: Weeds that have escaped an herbicide application should be removed with a garden fork. Use a post-emergent herbicide only if you think the situation is getting out of hand. Check out this guide to some common types of weeds and tips on how to get rid of them.

 

By: Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/lawns/lawn-maintenance-calendar/#ixzz3cZpl1Qjs

How To Downsize From Your Current Home

Here’s an article from a few years ago with some great info on downsizing that merits reposting.

RISMEDIA, Wednesday, November 02, 2011— The organizational benefits of downsizing can be very rewarding. You can save time, restore order, relieve stress, free up space, and perhaps most importantly, save money.

It’s important when you are organizing and downsizing to try to keep your emotions out of the process. The process may seem overwhelming, but you can do it, and here are some tips that will help you accomplish the task:

1) Try not to focus on the entire house at once. Break things down room by room. Take on one project at a time and don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed. If the room itself seems to be too much to take on, just focus on one area at a time, like a closet. Accomplish something before moving on to another area. Small steps yield big rewards. Set realistic goals about the amount of time you need, and create a timeline that works for you.

2) Evaluate what you have. Everyone has extra stuff. Ask yourself: Do I use this? Need it? Love it? Is it in good condition? If you haven’t used or thought about something in over a year, it’s probably safe to get rid of it. Sell valuable items that you no longer need. Ebay and Craigslist are both great online tools that will help you cash in on things that you don’t need anymore. Or donate. There’s no shortage of organizations that take in the things you don’t use and distribute them to people in need. What a great feeling!

3) Properly store irreplaceable items. Meaningful items such as old photos, yearbooks, wedding dresses, and christening gowns should be properly stored in sealed containers in order to protect them from the elements. You may even want to go one step further with old photos and convert them to a digital format to ensure that they will always be safe. If your children have grown and moved out, as hard as it may be, remind yourself that you are not responsible for providing storage for your adult children.

4) Stay positive. Getting rid of items that remind you of your past can be an emotional process. At first it might seem difficult to part with those masterpieces that your children created when they were small, but there’s no reason to keep every scrap of paper your child has ever brought home. Instead, concentrate on what’s important you, and visualize what your home will look like when you have de-cluttered and re-imagined your space. I have found that after de-cluttering, most people wish they had done it sooner.

5) Hire a REALTOR® such as the folks at Petersen Partners, the #1 team in Georgia for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, who specialize in working with downsizers. This type of move is a specialty and requires a unique set of skills and a great deal of planning and patience. You will need someone who works well with you. You might find yourself needing the services of others, such as stagers, de-clutterers, and junk removers, as well as a storage plan for the things you can’t bear to part with or want to keep safe. With the right connections, you’ll be able to find someone who is not only familiar with your situation, but who has existing relationships and can assure that the process moves smoothly from beginning to end.

For more information on downsizing and getting into another home contact Petersen Partners at info@petersenpartners.com or go to their website at www.petersenpartners.com.