Articles

All articles have been provided by The National Association of Realtors.

 

 

By Jennie Morris, International Association of Home Staging Professionals

In the beginning, home staging was mostly focused on sprucing up vacant properties. In the late 1990s to early 2000s, when staging first started to gain traction, stagers and real estate professionals tended to have limited furniture resources and focus on “vignette staging.”

Vignette staging is where small groupings of furniture and décor are used for adding some visual appeal and in helping to define the purpose and size of a room. It was a technique widely used at the time. But in today’s staging world, vignette staging does not work.

Vignette staging–THEN

Staging–NOW
Photo credit: IAHSP

A vignette lacks proper size and scale of furniture that give buyers an idea of how large (or small) a room is.  It makes it difficult for a buyer to visualize when furniture items aren’t used or only surface décor or art is in the space. A buyer viewing images of the property online will not have a sense of the true size or the purpose of the room.

Buyers nowadays expect more from their property search experience and are more sophisticated as a result of watching programs on HGTV and TDN.  Vignette staging cheapens the look and feel of the house.

Today’s professional home stager follows industry trends for furniture styles, colors, and understand the demographics of the buyer they are working to attract with their staging results. They do not rely on old furniture in a property. They carefully curate an overall cohesive look that will resonate with buyers online and in person.

Stagers help create the potential for a buyer, often highlighting a lifestyle with the selections of furniture, artwork, and décor.

Just as real estate professional services have evolved to include higher quality marketing, photographs, and processes that help best market a home, home staging has progressed as well.

The idea of just putting a few towels in a bathroom, placing greenery on counters, and leaning a piece of art on a mantel and calling it a “staged” property is about the same as a seller thinking FSBO is the same as using the services of a professional REALTOR®. They are not the same.  Not by a long shot!

Which property do you think a buyer will want to purchase?

Photo credit: IAHSP

Photo credit: IAHSP

Photo credit: IAHSP

Photo credit: IAHSP

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennie Norris is the chairwoman for the International Association of Home Staging Professionals® (IAHSP®), the president & CEO of Stagedhomes.com, and the owner and principal stager of Sensational Home Stagingserving the greater Denver region. As a Master ASP® Stager, she and her teams have staged 5,000 properties for sale since 2002. For more information on staging or to locate a professionally trained and credentialed stager near you, visit www.Stagedhomes.comorwww.iahsp.com.

Author: Blog Contributor
Posted: May 20, 2019, 7:00 am

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey

In a throwback to the 1980s, neon colors are popping up in more home decor. The flashiness of neon colors is a sure-fire way to brighten up your home’s interior, and the way fluorescents are being worked into a room isn’t as nauseating as you might at first imagine.

Adding in neon-green bath towels or a neon-colored pink or yellow ottoman or accent chair may sound too bold for your home staging. But as long as you mix it with the right colors, it may be just the pop of color a room needs.

The neon accent trend was on display in this year’s New American Home, a model home of innovation presented during the 2019 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas. Designers used neon-green and yellow colors throughout the home’s otherwise neutral colored backdrop.

Photo credit: Jeff Davis / Jeffrey A. Davis Photography

Neon color pops can actually make a room look sophisticated and luxurious.

But of course, moderation is key when adding in neon accents. (Remember, you’re not going for some black light retro effect!)

Designer Justin Riordan with Spade & Archer Design Agency in Portland, Ore., told realtor.com® that the neon trend works best when it’s mixed within a room decorated in mostly whites and grays. He suggests avoiding neon accents when working with Earth tones, such as creams, beiges, and browns.

For those looking for a more daring staging style, you’ll be well on-trend if you reach for those neon yellow pillows or that hot pink, nailhead accent chair. Check out these pictures from Houzz to see how the neon trend is being shown off in stylish ways.

Author: Melissa Tracey
Posted: May 13, 2019, 7:00 am

By Sarah Anderson, VHT Studios

Let’s face it: Moms work hard! Besides juggling their own work schedule, they are integral to keeping the family on track, from changing diapers to helping with homework to shuttling kids to and from school and assorted extracurricular activities.

Because of that, when moms are looking for a property, they tend to be drawn to homes with features that work for the entire family: Large, open, and spacious kitchens, family rooms that double as playrooms and homework havens, bedrooms that can be converted to craft dens when the kids fly the coop, and designated mudrooms for sports equipment, shoes, and coats. Highlighting these family-friendly features could be paramount in appealing to mom buyers.

Photo credit: VHT Studios

Photo credit: VHT Studios

It’s also creative and smart to appeal to mom’s desire for creature comforts to help her envision her next lifestyle in that new home. What mom hasn’t dreamed of having a luxurious en suite bathroom, a reading nook, or a well-organized walk-in closet to indulge in at the end of the day? Or, having a space all to themselves in the form of a trendy “She Shed” or “Mom Cave”? And let’s not forget about a poolside chaise where the only voices heard are those of the birds!

Photo credit: VHT Studios

Photo credit: VHT Studios

Photo credit: VHT Studios

This Mother’s Day, let’s take a closer look at how real estate pros can leverage beautiful photography and even some digital virtual staging tech tools to appeal to both the practical and dreamy side in a mom’s home search.

What do Moms Need in a Home?

A great way to get on a mom’s good side is to show how a home can appeal to the whole family and how the home could even make her busy life a whole lot easier.

To clearly display how a home will work for the entire family, real estate pros need to showcase high quality, gorgeous photographs of family-friendly spaces and features within the home. Also, VHT Studios offers tools like Virtual Paint and Virtual Redecorate to help present a room in many different ways and functions–to help moms envision that picture perfect image too.

Children’s bedrooms: Show the current fully decorated child’s room that provides a fun, kid-friendly space for play, homework, and sleep. A child’s bedroom or playroom also can be transformed in photographs into a new office, den, or craft room by using virtual staging tools. (Just be sure to clearly mark the images as “virtually staged” so there are no surprises when they visit the property in-person.)

Photo credit: VHT Studios

The backyard: Show off how there’s enough room for children to play outside. Also, consider giving the home’s exterior a romantic look with a twilight photography session or a Virtual Twilight digital enhancement. Capture that blue and pink glow in the sky and the soft reflective light off the windows to convey a warm and welcoming, homey feel.

What’s Really In Mom’s Dream Home? 

All too often, moms delay their dreams to stick to a family budget. Although it’s important to take the entire household’s happiness into account when making a large purchase like a home, moms should also consider what they individually want in a house as well.

What mom doesn’t want to escape to a spa-like bathroom with a glass of wine at the end of the day?

Photo credit: VHT Studios

Real estate professionals need to show how that dream of relaxation and the ability to unwind can become a reality for moms by highlighting these types of home features in a listing. Professional photography can certainly help with that.

Photo credit: VHT Studios

Crisp, clear, high-resolution professional photography with rich, brilliant colors appeal to what moms really want in a home and draws their attention to potential indulgences such as luxurious bathrooms, open and fully updated kitchens, and relaxing, spa-like master suites, or an at-home gym where a mom can go to do yoga in peace.

The smartest real estate professionals follow that reliable old, but oh so wise adage: If Mom’s happy, everyone’s happy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Anderson is vice president of marketing at VHT Studios, a national real estate photography and visual marketing firm.

Author: Blog Contributor
Posted: May 9, 2019, 7:00 am

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

The speckled, spotted styles of granite countertops that have dominated kitchen design in recent years are moving out of the mainstream. In fact, those brown speckled granite countertops may even start to now age kitchens.

Instead, countertops are blending in more to the kitchen design. A polished, solid colored countertop, like in all white or black, is trending. Or one design really growing in popularity lately: Veined countertop designs. These countertops feature soft waves that resemble the look of marble.

 

Check out how some of these countertops are blending in more with the design and creating a clean, polished look in kitchens.

Author: Melissa Tracey
Posted: May 6, 2019, 7:00 am

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Besides a good window cleaning, there’s another way to boost your curb appeal and get those windows shining: Remove the screens.

Home stagers love this trick, and it’s taken straight from the film industry. Remove the outside screens on your windows in the front of your home prior to your home being photographed, or prior to an open house. Your windows will look shiny and clean.

After all, a window screen can make a window appear filmy and dark.

But whatever you do, don’t throw away those screens! Keep them in the garage, and don’t forget to reinstall them later. The new homeowners will most certainly still want those.

Author: Melissa Tracey
Posted: April 29, 2019, 8:00 am

Submitted by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)

Photo credit: OPEI

1. Declutter & Clean
The first step to sprucing up the outdoor living room is to clear dirt and clutter from the space. Store lawn equipment, children’s toys, and pet play things in a shed or garage. Give the entire area a good scrub down, sweeping away dust and debris so you’re left with a fresh, clean canvas.

2. Invite the Outdoors In
Blending interior and outdoor living spaces helps the exterior area feel like an extension of the home, not an afterthought. Ensure blinds and curtains are open to the family yard, highlighting the outdoor oasis. Make certain the indoor and outdoor décor complement one another and use similar colors, materials, and styles both inside and out. It’ll help better connect the two spaces.

3. Create Cozy Sitting Areas
Create easy traffic flow throughout the outdoor living room, while offering a number of places for people to sit–at a table, around a fire pit, or in a cozy chair configuration. Also, offer some shade by using umbrellas or outdoor curtains to minimize sun glare and maximize visions of enjoyment in the outdoor living room.

4. Soften the Outdoor Space

Introduce a few soft design features into the outdoor area to create an inviting atmosphere. Rugs, throw pillows, and upholstered patio furniture are a few ways to accomplish that “cozy” feel. Ensure these items look fresh and clean and are not worn or dated. It’s relatively inexpensive to swap out new pillows and rugs.

Create outdoor ambiance by hanging string lighting, introducing a fire pit in the center of a patio, setting up a zen-like water feature, or adding candles, small plants and freshly-cut flowers to tabletops.

5. Use Living Landscapes
Nothing says “welcome home” quite like a beautiful living landscape, complete with flowering shrubs, trees, flowers, and other vegetation. Freshen up the family yard by weeding, mulching, and planting flowerbeds and pots with colorful flowers and verdant plants. Vases of flowers can also help bring life—as well as a pop of color–to outdoor tablescapes.

Author: Blog Contributor
Posted: April 29, 2019, 7:00 am

Photo Courtesy: OPEI

By Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)

As the spring selling season kicks into high gear, real estate and staging professionals can help their clients enhance their listings by creating an outdoor space that is attractive to buyers. The family yard not only can expand living space, it also reconnects families and pets with nature and provides a natural setting to reduce stress, improve memory, boost mood, among many other benefits.

Here are five points to consider:

1. Understand potential buyers’ lifestyle needs.
Determine how a potential buyer might use the yard, then plant accordingly. Does the yard need more shade for hot summer days? Is it lacking a grassy area for kids and pets to play?

2. Know the climate zone.
Help your clients select climate-appropriate plants that will thrive with minimal input. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map indicates which grasses, shrubs, and trees are most likely to succeed in a specific location.

3. Plant for pets.
More families are including pets in their lives so consider animal’s needs when planting. Hardy grass withstands pet traffic. Soft, yet sturdy, foliage is a good choice for heavily-trafficked areas. See which plants are dangerous to pets by downloading the ASPCA’s list of poisonous plants.

Photo Courtesy: OPEI

4. Attract pollinators & wildlife.
The home habitat is also vital for pollinators (bees, butterflies, and birds) and other wildlife that rely on backyard plants for food and shelter. Planting climate-appropriate, pollen-rich flowers will help nourish pollinators, while creating a vibrant outdoor scene buyers will appreciate.

5. Stage the outdoors.

Showcase how the space will be used, including setting outdoor tables, having a barbecue grill set up, and other touches that show people can “live” in the space.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kris Kiser is the president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and the OPEI Education and Research Foundation. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing power equipment, small engine, utility vehicle, golf car and personal transport vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI is the advocacy voice of the industry, and a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the development of safety and performance standards. OPEI is managing partner of GIE+EXPO, the industry’s annual international trade show, and the creative force behind the environmental education program, TurfMutt.com. OPEI-Canada represents members on a host of issues, including recycling, emissions and other regulatory developments across the Canadian provinces.

 

Author: Blog Contributor
Posted: April 22, 2019, 7:00 am

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

The real estate professional: Cris Grayson, broker associate at Baird & Warner in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

About the home: The five-bedroom home in Glen Ellyn, Ill., was built in 1975. The home has been meticulously maintained, and the homeowners had recently made some updates to the interior as well. It is listed for $569,900. Grayson wanted to make sure the online presentation of the home would appeal to the widest buyer pool.

Grayson’s tips:

  1. Don’t skimp on photography. Grayson places a high value on quality photography for her listings. She uses a professional photographer who is trained specifically on taking real estate photos through VHT Studios, a national real estate photography firm. A good real estate photographer will know how to capture a space from the best angles as well as the flow of the home, Grayson says.
  2. Show off the possibilities. Grayson also likes to use VHT’s Virtual Redecorate tool, which allows spaces to be virtually changed and staged for photos.

Here’s the kitchen “before” and then virtually staged “after.” See how it changes the look of the table area.

Photo credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

Grayson also used virtual staging to change the look of the home’s family room. In its current state, the family room appears comfortable and cozy, but some buyers may be looking for a lighter, more modern look. Through virtual staging, the wall décor and upholstered furniture was presented in a warmer look in the photographs.

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios  – Chrissy Barrett

 

  1. Re-cast the room’s purpose. In some cases, you may want to change the purpose of the room to appeal to a wider pool of buyers. In the upstairs of the home, Grayson and her VHT photographer Chrissy Barrett used virtual staging to transform a teen room into a young child’s room with a play space. They also presented it another way too as an office and reading or crafts room. Grayson labeled any pictures as “virtually staged” when they appeared online. The virtually staged photos appeared after a photo of the actual room.

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

The Result?

Days after the home was listed with the virtual staging pictures included, Grayson said they received an offer and were in negotiations with an interested buyer. Grayson has found that using virtual staging in her listings doesn’t just show potential buyers the possibilities of a space but also offers buyers a styling guide to use when they move into their new home and make it their own.

Have a home you recently staged that you’d like to show off here at Styled Staged & Sold? Submit your staging photos for consideration, along with three to five of your best spruce-up tips. Contact Melissa Dittmann Tracey at mtracey@realtors.org.

Author: Melissa Tracey
Posted: April 15, 2019, 7:00 am

By Justin M. Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

Surveys show that millennials prioritize home buying over getting married or having kids. They’re eager to buy, as soon as they  get their finances in order.

So, how do you appeal to the millennial home buyer? Here are some tips in speaking their language:

1. Make it Instagram Worthy

When it comes to reaching a millennial buyer, here’s one simple thing to keep in mind: Is your home Instagram worthy? Seriously, an empty room with a price attached to it is not enough to grab the attention of those 25 to 35 years olds. The space needs to have an awesome interior design through home staging–along with great lighting, photos worthy of being reposted along with copy that makes people think, laugh, and repost.

 

 

If you happen to get a millennial to actually visit your listing in person, be sure to have signs prepared that say “Home tour today!” and “1107 Elm Drive is AWESOME!” This way they can hold up the signs, you can take their picture, post it on your Instagram and tag them in it. All of their friends get to see what they are doing, where they are, and perhaps become interested in both your listing and in you as an agent. It’s like building your own little army of social media influencers.

Add hysterical descriptions to your listing. Make them laugh. If you raise an emotion with your listing, your audience will be more apt to “Like” and share your listing. Create short videos, by using TikTok or Boomerang, of you or your visitors being goofy in the house. Again, make them laugh, and you’ll gain followers.

Include ironically vintage items in your house. That exercise bike that your mom used to workout with when you were a kid is now an Instagram worthy moment. The vintage typewriter with a description of the house typed on the paper already inside is a great #coolhouse moment. Anything you can do to get your house organically in front of more millennials, the better.

2. Amenities That Millennials Will Go Ga-Ga Over

Furry Friendly Funmenities: Millennials are having less kids, and they are opting to fill their empty nests instead with dogs and cats. Providing cat doors, fenced dog runs, pet surveillance systems and pet washing stations could be a huge appeal to these perky parents of pets.

 

Super Smart Shelter Stuff

Smart homes are all the rage. Millennials were raised in a world of the disposable. They have very little concept of how to fix or repair anything in their home. The more their house can take care of itself the better. Here are some of the best self-caring items we are in love with currently:

  • Keyless entry systems: Opening doors with your smartphone or a memorized code, means you never have to carry a key with you again. When you join the shared economy, you can simply text your entry code to your renter, how easy is that?

 

Shavonda Gardner

 

  • Smart light bulbs: Change the level and temperature of light with a simple voice command or from your smart phone. Take your lighting from “selfie” mode to “Netflix and chill” with a simple code word.

kasasmart

 

  • Smart home management systems: From Nest to Alexa to Siri, there is some disembodied smart voice that can take care of everything from your temperature to your locks to your lights to your security system.

 

kasasmart

  • Refrigerators with cameras: It comes down to this–every time you open the door to figure out what you want to eat, you are essentially killing the Earth. If you want to be a better person without actually doing anything, you can now turn on the camera inside your refrigerator and see what’s inside guilt free. Earth saved!
  • Electric vehicle support systems: Speaking of killing the Earth, gas powered vehicles are doing just that too. By providing your millennial home buyers with electric charging ports, wall mounted batteries, and solar cell panels, you can make owning an electric vehicle so much easier. Now, we just need to get past the $80,000 price tag of the car!
  • USB ports in the outlets: This will allow your millennial buyers to charge their devices anywhere in the entire house.

Community Conscious Conveniences

There is a serious desire for millennials to find ways to meet other people without seeming forced. Skip the media room, millennials don’t watch TV on big screens, they instead use their laptops to download the latest episode of “Game of Thrones” and “Broad City.” Instead, promote outdoor BBQ spaces, community gardens, and high Walk Scores to show your listing is community-minded.

 

When it all comes down to it, millennials are going to need the same (vegan) meat and (gluten-free) potatoes everybody else needs: Living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms. The rest? It’s all (dairy free, non-GMO) gravy in getting them attracted to your listing.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Justin M. Riordan, LEED AP is the founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency, a home staging company with locations in Portland and Seattle. He is a thought leader and trendsetter in the real estate industry as well as the energy behind Spade and Archer, creating home staging that is simultaneously aspirational and obtainable. Prior to opening Spade and Archer in 2009, Riordan practiced interior architecture and interior construction for 12 years, bringing a diverse background as well as a bachelor of architecture to the home staging industry. With more than two decades of hands-on project management and design experience, Riordan delivers an unmatched level of precision, expertise and service to his clients. In addition, Riordan is an accomplished and engaging speaker who regularly presents at real estate industry events, sharing his expertise about home staging.

Author: Blog Contributor
Posted: April 8, 2019, 7:00 am

Article Submitted by Fixr.com

As the cost of energy continues to rise, many home buyers today are looking for homes that are going to be easier and less expensive to run long term. I’ts important to know the trends to look for, whether you’re helping a seller update their home prior to selling or you want to keep an eye out for the perfect property for a buyer. Not only would following these trends allow you to better advise sellers, it also can help you ecuate buyers on to what to look for.

Each year, the home remodeling site Fixr polls industry experts and leaders in their field to help determine some of the top trends in the home improvement industry through their Energy Efficient Home Design Trends report.

Here are some of the most relevant findings to help you maximize your clients’ potential when buying or selling a home.

Energy Star Dryers

One key trend to watch for in properties is an Energy Star rated dryer. Of all the various appliances with the Energy Star label, experts felt that the dryer made the biggest change in energy usage when switching to a more efficient model. This is due in part to the fact that dryers use nearly as much electricity as central air conditioning.

Home shoppers today are focusing more on the laundry room, as well as where it’s located and what it contains more so than they ever have before. An energy efficient dryer can have a big impact on monthly energy budgets. 

Heat Pumps

When it comes to heating a home, the heat pump is the most recommended method of heating for providing consistent heat and energy savings. Heat pumps work by exchanging outside air for inside air. It extracts the heat energy from the air outside–even in cold weather–and transfers it indoors.

An electric heat pump is 50 percent more efficient that other forms of heating. It’s also the most frequently installed energy efficient heating system in homes today.

Day Lighting for the Kitchen and Living Room

While experts agree that the best way to save money on electric bills without reducing the amount of usage is to use LED lights, there are still important things to consider when looking at a home for sale.  

Day lighting is an important component of reducing electricity. This has to do with how much natural light a room gets. The kitchen and living room are two spaces that use the most electricity. As such, it makes sense that home buyers may want to opt for homes that have sufficient natural light in these areas either through windows or skylights.

 

Tankless Water Heaters

While the heat pump is the most popular way to heat a home, a tankless water heater is the most popular method of heating water. Tankless heaters are installed inside the walls of a home, and heat the water as it’s being used. This is in contrast to a heater that is constantly maintaining the temperature of any gallons of water at a time. Households that use this method of heating water can expect to save $100 a year on their energy bills.

Heat pumps and tankless heaters are both popular, but hybrid heat pump hot water heaters tend not to perform as well universally. Tankless heaters can be installed in more places, and perform better in cold-weather climates in general.

Low Flow Fixtures in Full Bathrooms 

Households use a lot of water each day when they aren’t using low flow fixtures to try to restrict this usage. Experts felt the place that made the biggest difference when installing these items is in full bathrooms.

This makes sense, as the full bathroom will include a tub and shower, as well as a sink and toilet. Installing low flow fixtures in full bathrooms can help reduce the load on the water supply.

Solar Panels 

If home buyers are looking at homes with renewable energy sources, experts say that solar panels are by far the most popular method. Renewable energy is increasing everywhere, with millennial homeowners leading the biggest push into this sector. Experts also reported that millennials were the most likely to invest in cleaner energy sources, with Gen X taking second place.

Saving Energy Means Saving Money and the Environment

 

Homeowners and home buyers today are motivated to make energy-efficient changes in their homes due to the potential to save money as well as energy. More people generally aware of a need to protect the environment so it makes sense that protection coming from within the home ranks second place.

Homeowners and home buyers that want to maximize their potential in both these areas should seriously consider paying attention to these and other important trends in energy savings. While individually each of these factors may not save much, added together, they can have a significant impact on both the homeowner’s wallet, and their overall comfort inside the home.

Help your clients by pointing out these trends ,and how they can make them work to get better results for everyone involved.

To learn about the cost of household remodeling projects, visit the Cost Guides.

Author: Blog Contributor
Posted: April 1, 2019, 7:00 am