Beware Of Design Fads In Your Home This is an addendum to a series of articles written by my wife Kathleen in 2008. They were published nationally. One of our favorite real estate activities is to attend as many Parade Of Homes events as possible. Each year they are likely to include Salt Lake, Utah County, St George, and Park City. It is both enjoyable and helpful to our real estate practice.
Last year virtually every Park City and many of the others in the shows had painted their interiors grey.
Here is the expert Kathleen’s advice on “grey”: – Staging 2018:
Color trends always exist and are always changing. The most current trend is, as you know, is
GRAY. Having lived in Seattle for 40 years this is a fad/trend that doesn’t excite me whatsoever!
With any trend it pays to be careful. If you use grey/gray put it where it is easy and inexpensive
to change. Walls are relatively easy to change but avoid tile, flooring, cabinets, appliances etc. in
grey. You may love it now but the rage over grey will not last. It is best to keep it a warm grey
and not too dark on walls.
And please use some accent colors with it. That is one thing about grey you can use many other
colors with it!
These suggestions apply only to the INTERIOR of a home. Exterior grey is fine.
We provide the series of articles for our clients to help them prepare their home for sale. Click here for the link to them.
In homes, not so much in smaller units such as condominiums, staging your home for sale is important. Following professional advice, even more important. I share two examples: 1- Kathleen advised a client not to paint their walls pure white, they ignored the advice and it was an obvious error. 2- We advised a seller to replace their worn and dirty living room carpet. The rest of the home was very nice. Upon removal of the carpet was discovered a beautiful hardwood floor. It made the home so beautiful that I suggested we raise the price we were going to lists it for by 10%. The sellers took the suggestion and the home sold within a week at the now full price.
Larry K Cragun – Windermere Real Estate
Condominium and Residential Professional
Staging Help – When Does Staging Your Home For Sale Help? Well the answer is almost all of the time. How much you do and don’t do is the question that usually needs an expert eye.
In some cases its a matter of just Clean up… Clear out… Fix in… Fix out
We just closed on a condo that was so darn cute and in such perfect condition that the buyers stepped forward to make the purchase from the photos on line. It was under contract in less than a week.
The first condo I sold after licensing in Utah was partially staged, nothing fancy. But as the owner was moving into a retirement situation her son was cleaning everything out from the unit. I asked him to stop and leave a few items. Again, it sold fast, in less than a week and the buyers offered full price if the sellers would leave the pieces I asked them to leave.
I sold a home which was built in the 50’s. Nothing fancy, but nice. I gave them a price we should list it for. However, my designer wife gave them a check list of things to do to prepare the home for sale. In that was taking out the old carpet and leave the original hardwood floors polished. Neither us or the sellers new what the floor looked like, the carpet had been there since they bought the home. She suggested that they also replace the counter tops and move all of the clutter into a storage unit. Upon completion of the tasks they called and said that they were ready. I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO SHOCKED. The house was spectacular. The hardwood floors were stunning. They were surprised that I raised the price we should ask, and we got it.
You don’t always need to stage a home. You almost always need to do some things. Kathleen is an important part of my real estate practice and I always involve her in helping clients with these issues.
Larry Cragun Windermere Real Estate
Residential and Condominium Professional
Selling Your Home – Staging Your Home – Part 2
In my first post on staging your home in preparation to putting it on the market, I mentioned, Clean up… Clear out… Fix in… Fix out. Let’s start with Fix out. Backwards, yes, but the saying sounds better that way! Take a note pad with you and go outside. Better than that go across the street and look at your house. Pretend you don’t live there. Can you see the house? Does it look inviting? Is the yard mowed, trimmed, clear of stuff? Is the paint peeling or does the driveway, sidewalk or the roof have moss on it? Imagine the For Sale sign out front. If you (remember you don’t live here) drove by and saw that sign would the house beckon you to take a look? We are talking Curb Appeal.
Fix Out: The pots out front add charm but the base of the pots could stand a little scrubbing. The tree nearby is overgrown and parts are dying. A good trimming is needed to see the house. If you are selling right away get bigger plants. It will look better. Some nurseries will help you select plants and even plant them for you, but there are all kinds of books and magazines that tell you how to do that. And don’t forget to water them daily if the weather is warm. Make sure your front door is in good shape and painteded a pleasing color as shown. Spray painting the door is preferable so you don’t have brush strokes. And you need to take the door OFF to do that. New bark in the planting beds is usually a good idea.
Fix In: After you fix up the outside it’s time to tackle the inside. Using the same approach and notepad, walk around your house taking an inventory of things that need fixing. Having it in one notebook and checking off the items as they are done will keep you on track. A well maintained home will always sell faster and bring a better price than one that is not. All functioning parts of your house need to do just that, function! Furnace, water heater, stove, oven, toilets, etc..
Speaking of toilets, new toilet seats should be put on so they are bright, sparkling clean.
If you need to paint, and that is usually the case, this is not the time to add bright accent walls. Neutral tones are best and even though dark colors can be used dramatically and effectively, when you are selling is not the time for dark. Do it in your next house just for you. There are exceptions, a powder room perhaps. (See pictures in Part 3) Once I was working with a seller that did a great job of fixing up his home as I had suggested. However, he didn’t wait for me to pick out the paint colors. I arrived to find he had painted the whole interior of the house bright, high gloss white! Bad idea. Neutral, yes and sometimes white would be alright but high gloss NO. Even then in most cases it is better to use light beige or tan or taupe, boring, maybe, but there is a reason builders use neutral colors. Everybody’s stuff goes with it. That being said, watch those undertones! I once was attending a class on color. The instructor said the average American man can distinguish between 250,000 colors. Sounds good, right? However, the average American woman (he said) can distinguish between 2 million or more colors. Perhaps this is why Larry can’t match up his socks (and he only has 8 pairs!) Who should pick out the paint colors?! Larry has other redeeming qualities!
Wallpaper. Don’t even get me started! Don’t do it to sell your house. Your chances of picking out something that your buyer would like are almost nil! Wallpaper is a very individualized taste. Buyers balk at the idea of having to remove it.
Next post will be dealing with Clear Out, Clean Up AND the real Rocket Science part of staging. Posted by Kathleen Leavitt Cragun ©
Staging Your Home For Sale Part 3 K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Staging – Clear Out, Clean Up
Clear Out: After you have fixed and repaired it is time to de-clutter! And you can’t just stuff it all in the closets because people do want to see how the storage stacks up. They open up drawers, cupboards and closets if they are even somewhat interested in your house. Spend some time tidying these up and cleaning. You will have far less to do when you start serious packing, so it will help in two ways. The best solution is to rent a storage unit. Start packing up the things you don’t use very often, if at all. Too crowded with furniture, store it! 2nd best, pack up smaller stuff in boxes and put in the garage, but a garage isn’t too impressive stuffed with excess furniture. Get a storage unit. Call the Salvation Army or St Vinnie’s.
Things to make disappear: Most of the stuff on your kitchen counter tops, i.e. kitchen appliances (except for a toaster) that dead plant you keep trying to revive, any cleaning supplies, soap, dish rags and so on. Only a few strategic attractive items should be left. Banish as well that pot rack and hanging pots, refrigerator magnets and notes, dishes in the sink, toothbrushes and personal grooming items, towels in bad condition and uncoordinated colors, ugly shower curtains, stuff on window ledges, scatter rugs, too many plants, too many pillows, too many cars, too many accessories, too many of anything! If the things left are arranged with skill, less will be more. It’s the KISS principle. Keep It Simple Staging! If in doubt, throw it out.
ABOVE- Kitchen-Too much stuff, wrong kind of stuff Bathrooms– OK, much better
Clean Up. You will be doing some of this as you go through and are fixing up and getting uncluttered but when all the other is done, go through and check for clean. Carpets should be cleaned, it is best to have a good professional do it or if worn or stained or a color that is hopelessly out of date, or would be difficult for most people to work with it should be replaced before you put your home on the market. This will work much better than giving a carpet allowance if wisely chosen, as far as selling your home. All appliances need to be super clean, as do bathrooms. Also clean floors, walls if soiled, windows, showers, shower curtains, outdoor furniture if on display, drains, exhaust fans and hoods, blinds, light switch plates, garbage cans, fireplaces, dog and cats dishes, sidewalks and patios and decks and driveways may need pressure washing. Clean is something that will need every day attention when you market your home. After you do all of this it should smell good! Smelling good is important. The saying goes “If you can smell it, you can’t sell it.” Unless the smell is good of course, but be careful about artificial perfumey smells. Sometimes that may be interpreted as someone trying to cover up a bad odor. (And sometimes it is)! Also many are allergic to these and won’t stay in your house long enough to look at it.
I was going to go into what I call the Rocket Science part of Staging but I am tired from just writing about all this work!
Posted by Kathleen Leavitt Cragun ©
Before I get to that rocket science part, I want to refer to an article in a recent newspaper article. In the Real Estate section was an article on tips to make your house sell fast, introduced by a huge picture. Much good advice was given BUT a few things made me cringe, so I just want to warn you what NOT to do. Do not paint your kitchen cupboards Gloss white. I already mentioned not to use gloss white on walls in an earlier post. When was the last time you saw a new model home that had GLOSS white cabinets? White maybe, but NOT gloss. If you are redoing old cabinets Gloss white will show every flaw, every brush stroke, every imperfection! It is a finish that should only be done by professionals (sprayed on) but also one that is not really a “with it” thing to do. If your cabinets are stained wood, there are products you can get, like Cabinet Magic, Liquid Gold, that will cover scratches and revitalize cabinets, sometimes miraculously. They are also easy to apply, most are rubbed on with a soft cloth. (Insert: 2014, there are many more new ways to change your cabinet color now) Oak cabinets almost always look bad painted. Regarding painting anything, it is very important that it be done well. If you can’t do it well, you shouldn’t do it yourself. It takes time and patience and skill to do a good job. Prepare to give it that. It isn’t called sweat equity for nothin’.
Other advice in the article regarding fixing up Kitchens and Bathrooms, “You can do all this for cheap.” If it looks like you did it “on the cheap”, it will not help you sell your house. A very good bit of advice given was to hire a home inspector yourself to go through your home and get a list of things that need to be fixed. That way you shouldn’t have any unpleasant surprises when your buyer’s inspection is done. I have done this and it was very helpful and brought peace of mind.
The idea of staging is to present your home to stand out from the rest. It should be a well-maintained home, not just looked like one on the surface. We want the buyer to be happy living in the home, not just happy buying it, don’t we? No cover ups, no law suits.
Many of the clients I have advised on fixing their homes before they sold did quite extensive things like replacing very outdated kitchens and bathrooms. When they saw how good they looked, every single one wished they had done these things as they lived there and enjoyed it themselves as well. Something to think about!
OK, OK – The Rocket Science part. Now that you have done all the things recommended in the first three posts, the fun part begins but also the part that you may want to call in your staging advisor to complete. Not all designers and stagers are created equal. Some are better than others just as some home builders, lawyers and hairstylists are better than others. This is advice I should have given you in the beginning. Ask your real estate agent for a referral to someone who does it right. Check out a portfolio of before and after photos. Look at model homes they have done or if you have the chance to see, what does their own home look like?
Everything that is left now needs to be moved, arranged, and accessorized. What to put in and what to leave out? Where to hang the pictures and how high for the best effect? A tip here, don’t hang pictures at LeBron James’ eye level! A common mistake is hanging pictures too high where they have no connection to anything else. While you want to keep it simplified this doesn’t mean it needs to be boring and bland. Don’t just line furniture up around the room. How things are arranged in groupings and with just the right choice of accessories and accents are the key. I am realizing I can do it, but it isn’t something I can easily explain and tell you how to do. I guess that is why it is the Rocket Science part of staging!
Posted by Kathleen Leavitt Cragun ©