Smart home technology may make it easier to rent or sell a home, especially to a younger audience. A survey by the NAR (National Association of Realtors) showed millennials (born between 1980 and 2004) to be the highest demographic of buyers in today’s market. Another recent survey revealed that 85% of millennials are willing to spend more money to rent or purchase a home that includes smart technology. Considering those stats, now is the time to incorporate smart home technology into your plans for flipping or updating a home for the market.
Think about it. Why not? The younger generation has grown with technology being a big part of their lives and they seek it in everything they purchase that utilizes electronics. As part of the older generation I remember watching Star Trek and thinking how cool it would be to have a communicator so I could talk to people and be mobile. Now I bank, shop, travel, watch TV and get recipes on my phone! Yes, times have changed and it’s time to incorporate technology into the home. Just like lighting is the jewelry in a home, technology can be just the bling millennials are looking for.
Surprisingly, there are a lot of gadgets out there that don’t break the bank and could help your listing stand out from the crowd. Additionally, smart technology could help older homes maintain their character while still appearing relevant in today’s market.
Most everyone is familiar with Alexis, Dot and Google Home. My research for this blog opened my eyes to more helpful and less known gadgets and here are my top pics based on affordability, function and ease of installation.
SMART LOCKS can be conveniently controlled through an App and allow the owner to remotely provide access to friends, family or anyone they approve without sharing a physical key. The owner also has the piece of mind knowing when the home is entered or exited with a notification from the same App. Smart Locks work with existing deadbolts and can be installed in minutes. Prices range but the average is $150. While keyless code locks are about half the price, most don’t offer the technology of remote access or entry notification so I don’t consider them quite as “techy”.
When it comes to SMART THERMOSTATS, I think the Venstar Colortouch is sure to impress younger buyers. Visually, the colorful screen attracts the eye and the screen saver can even run a slideshow of your favorite photos! Remotely control the heat, air and check the weather outside with an App. For $182.00, it’s an affordable upgrade to any home.
Remote control, DUEL ON/OFF OUTLETS allow the owner to control anything plugged in to it and have the flexibility of controlling each outlet individually. Buyers will appreciate the ability to manage lights and appliances from anywhere with an App on their smart phone. For $50 per outlet, you can choose which areas would benefit the most with this technology.
And finally, everything you love about Alexa, the Amazon Echo can show you things too! What busy mom wouldn’t want the convenience of “hands free” assistance and instant access to music, videos, security cameras, phone calls and more! Control multiple devices with voice command, get the news or even call an Uber! For $230, your home will easily stand out from the crowd and appeal to today’s buyers with this handy built in assistant!
For more great tips on preparing your home for sale and the process of home staging, visit www.stagingconsultants.biz Serving South Central Michigan with all the tools and services you need to successfully prepare for the highest offers. I’m here to help!
For years, realtors® have encouraged sellers to prepare their home for sale but with the HGTV boom, viewers were given the opportunity to understand the meaning behind the term “staging”.
Many home sellers think that they will be able to follow a “How To” book or have watched enough HGTV to pull it off but they are rarely successful for three reasons. One, because each home is unique so Tips, Tricks, “How To” books and TV shows don’t address the unique needs of your home. Two, effective and successful staging is more than furniture and fluff or karate chopping a few pillows. Simply put, home staging is merchandising a home to create an emotional reaction and decorating to target a specific demographic of buyers. Three, if you have lived in the home for more than two years, your emotional attachment and comfort level means you have lost the ability to see the home through a buyer’s eye.
If you already live in a model home that is decorated, painted and finished to suit the taste of today’s buyers instead of your own, then following a few tips and tricks will elevate your efforts. But, can you confirm that your home fits the criteria or is it just your opinion? Most professional home stagers provide a walk-through consultation. It’s affordable and a worthwhile investment to make sure you have covered all the bullet points.
Like I said earlier, staging is more than karate chopping a few pillows. It’s merchandising each space so it appeals to the camera and buyer showings. A skill most home owners don’t possess. Today’s buyers are seeking more than a house. They are seeking a lifestyle that is an improvement over what they had before. They are seeking “move-in-ready and will be attracted to luxurious surroundings. Are those pillows of yours luxurious? Are the rooms merchandised like a showroom? Most home stagers don’t bring furniture in to an occupied home but do offer a re-styling of what you already own and will provide luxurious accessories for a monthly rental fee.
We live differently than we sell. Have you lived in the home for more than 2 years? If so, you have most likely lost the ability to see each space through a buyer’s eye. After 2 years, home owners have become comfortable with their space. Dad’s chair has always been in that corner and stand-alone shelving in the kitchen is ok because it provides extra storage space. What it tells buyers is “the kitchen doesn’t have enough cupboards”. Home owners become blind to the imperfections and subliminal messages that otherwise stand out to buyers. Professional home stagers view your home like a buyer would. Our eyes focus on the details and we are trained to be sensitive to the messages your home is sending to buyers. We wouldn’t think of allowing a home to be photographed and listed until it is ready to compete for the highest offers.
Of course, there are many actions you can take upon yourself if you have the skills and spare time. The reality is that staging can also involve maintenance, updates, painting, cleaning and improving curb appeal. If you love to paint and remodel, by all means do so with the guidance of a professional staging consultant. A certified staging consultant can guide you to neutral choices that are proven to appeal to a broad range of buyers. With so many levels of home staging available, call your local stager to learn how they can help!
As a professional home stager and the owner of Staging Consultants, LLC, I offer a wide range of services to suit almost any budget. I serve Mid-Michigan from Kalamazoo to Jackson and everywhere in between. Call me before you list!!
The Open House Date is set and you’re excited about the possibility of getting an offer! You’re praying for a good turn out! The Realtor will be on site but there are a few steps you should take to protect yourself and your belongings. Here are some things you probably haven’t thought about.
If your home is properly staged and the listing photos reveal a warm, clean, welcoming space, there will probably be a good turnout. The Realtor has marketed it well so a wide array of interested buyers will make an appearance and examine every inch of your home because they want to know what you are offering and compare your home with others. Neighbors will visit out of curiosity, couples will bring their children and maybe a relative or two.
With all these people coming and going, it can be a challenge to monitor everyone’s activity while they are in the home. Your Realtor has a job to do and their experience will allow them to recognize and engage with truly interested buyers. That’s what you expect them to do, right? You don’t expect them to spend the time running around to watch each and every person. Kids may jump on beds, people will use the bathroom and doors can be left open for brief amounts of time. Take these precautions.
As a Certified Home Stager and the Owner of Staging Consultants, LLC Home Staging and Styling, my blogs are featured on Feedspot and shared on multiple sites. I've been published in Battle Creek's own Scene Magazine and my newest article is due to be out in the Spring Issue of Michigan Home and Lifestyle Magazine. Thank you for stopping by!
What are your listing photos saying to potential buyers? Listing photos are the first opportunity to grab the attention of a potential buyer so listen up! 95% of buyers see your listing on line before they decide to spend their valuable time to actually set foot inside. As a professional home stager, I spend hours each week surfing through listings and critiquing photos for areas of improvement. And let me tell you, there are plenty of them. Sellers often don’t even look at the photos that were taken of their home nor do they realize the impact photos have on the marketing efforts.
Preparing for the photo shoot is the Seller’s responsibility. Take time to prepare for the shoot and avoid staging mistakes. Here are some tips and insight from the buyer’s eye.
Still not sure? I’m here to help! Give me a call for a walk through consultation, redesign or full home staging in Michigan.
I've seen it many times. So has your Realtor. The eye roll. The heavy sigh. Hands thrown in the air. "What am I supposed to do with all this stuff?!"
Moving can be stressful and packing becomes overwhelming when you have accumulated years or even a lifetime of stuff. Today’s busy sellers have jobs, families and house hunting to juggle. Whether staging your home to sell or simply packing up to move, the maxim less is more always applies!
First, concentrate on one room at a time or even one space at a time, like a closet, built in cabinets, bathroom vanity or kitchen cupboards. The important thing is to negotiate your time so you can stop at any time and be DONE with that particular space. I like to work from the top of a home, down or start with the least used room like a guest room, den or basement so when that space is finished, you can close the door with at least some assurance that it will stay clean and organized while you turn your attention to other areas.
For instance, if you only have an hour or two to spare, don’t attempt the entire master bedroom. Focus on the closet or dressers as a smaller task so when you’re done, you’re done and can start in another area at another time. For the same reason, if you are setting aside an afternoon, concentrate on one room that can be accomplished in that time period. Don’t try to get the entire house done in one day because (A) it won’t get finished and (B) you will end up with piles and messes everywhere. Clutter creates stress for the mind so the goal is to have your work area cleaned up so you gain a true sense of accomplishment and peace.
More importantly, follow through at the end of each task by taking unwanted items to the trash, donation center, consignment or storage so accommodate for that time as well. So…”I have 1 hour to spare, I will clean out the dressers, decide what will be donated, re-sold, thrown away or put in storage and then move them there. Task accomplished! Tomorrow I will do more”.
If you are moving and have followed my advice, you might want to consider having a garage sale because you will most likely accumulate enough items to justify the time. Instead of placing items in tubs or boxes, simply move them straight to the garage and start setting up for your sale. Big ticket items like furniture sell quickly at garage sales. Home décor accessories also sell well. Stage your sale so it doesn’t feel like a flea market mess. Show buyers how well some items can go together by color or era. Price items to “sell” and negotiate willingly. Price items as a bundle so the buyer has to take all. Remember, you are trying to get rid of things so let them go!
Having a garage sale accomplishes 2 things. You get a few extra bucks and items are carried away by other people. In addition, when items don’t sell for cheap prices, you will feel better about letting them go to a donation center and writing it off on your taxes. I recently had my garage sale and made $600 the first day! I put that chunk in the bank and pocketed the money I made the second day. I don’t recommend a long 3 day weekend sale. Most garage salers won’t visit the second or third day because they think all the good stuff is gone. I held mine on Thursday and Friday. Friday was half off everything and I closed early to have the rest of my weekend off. It was easy cash and the donation center is picking everything else up. DONE!
This little gem was post flip. The owner completely remodeled the bathroom, kitchen and living room. Installed new windows, carpet and fresh paint throughout before renting it to a friend for a short time. New lighting and stainless steel appliances are just a few of the nice details that come with this home.
From a professional stagers point of view, I determined that the buyer demographic would range from a young family to a single woman. I designed the staging to reflect a convenient eat in kitchen, plenty of room to relax in the living room and a peaceful master with a bonus spot to read or escape without disturbing anyone.
Here are some before and after photos that show how staging allows potential buyers to envision themselves living in a home instead of just touring an empty space.
For the past year, I’ve been scouring real estate websites for a new home. Of course, as a professional home stager, I can hardly get past the dark, dingy photos. Unmade beds, dark brown paneling, cosmetic covered bathroom sinks and wallpaper. Oh, the wallpaper! No wonder they are selling.....they must be miserable there? And then there is the mysterious lonely vase of flowers in every room. The exact same vase of flowers, that is. I think it wanted some attention so it followed the photographer around.
Needless to say, though the home may have had the right amount of bedrooms, a decent size kitchen and the coveted storage space I desire…..I just can’t get excited about any of them. I feel the dread of disappointment just from knowing that there will be too much work to do. And why would I pay that price for the opportunity to work my butt off for the next few months before I can or would want to move in?!! Recently updated kitchen, it says! Sorry, but I don’t consider 2010 as recent. That just means that it will need to be updated again in the next couple of years and there is 7 years of gook in the corners of those cabinets.
Now, I’m a professional home stager, right? I have vision so I can see past the clutter but as a potential buyer, I need to make some kind of emotional connection with the space. Like most buyers, I’m looking to upgrade, not go backwards.
Then the day came, when I got a tip that a couple in the area was thinking about selling. I scooted over there to look. Hmm, it appears to be the right size. It has extra out building storage. The lawn is manicured and lush. The curb appeal was excellent so of course, being me, I waltzed up and knocked on the door. I was greeted by a smiling couple and explained the circumstances. They happily gave me the tour, apologizing that they were not expecting company so the house was not as clean as it would be for a showing. I beg to differ….the house was immaculate!
Right away I noticed tall ceilings and a gas fireplace. Bonus! The tour went on to reveal an all seasons party spot, more bedrooms than I had hoped for and a large kitchen. Each room was neat and tidy, beds made, counters clear and her taste was equivalent to mine. The traffic flow was perfect and focal points were highlighted. This lady had a talent for decorating. One room had been set up with bunk beds for grand kids and I could see my future grand kids there. I could literally see them and they aren’t even born yet! The kitchen table was positioned perfectly in front of the sliding doors that led to the deck and I could see dinner gatherings taking place. I could see myself cooking in that kitchen. I could see all of this so well that I became a little emotional inside. The bedrooms are a little small and I didn’t even look at the closets but I didn’t care. The staging had connected with me emotionally and allowed me to see what life could be like living there.
This is it! I’m in love! We exchanged contact information and I’m prepared to make an offer. The next day I woke up and thought, wait a minute…her staging worked on me! And I’m a stager!
Whether you need an entire vacant home staged with luxurious decor or your occupied listing needs some styling in order to emotionally connect with buyers, I can help and I love doing it!
There’s an old saying in the real estate biz that goes like this…..
”If it smells, it won’t sell”. It was true when you bought the home and it's true now. Have you ever walked into a home and instantly picked up on odors? Did you realize that there was a pet residing there before you actually saw it or gained a sense fish was on the menu last night? Potential home buyers are even more intuitive because they are contemplating spending money and and can quickly be turned off by mystery odors. Here are a few tips for those that already have a home on the market or are considering selling your home in the future because mystery odors can be death to a sale.
I have written about the importance of preparing and staging a home for sale. Realtors and Home Stagers fully understand the strategy behind it and we can push our client’s pretty hard because we want the best for them. We want them to reach their goals and get the highest return on their investment. Today, I felt it was important to remind ourselves that a home can be more than a monetary investment. For a seller, it may also be an emotional investment. A home holds memories of life gone by, hard work and a sense of security in the world. The process of letting go can bring excitement about the future but it can also bring a sense of sadness and loss. There are lots of reasons for selling a home like, moving up, a growing family or a new job! But, there are also reasons that aren’t so exciting. You see, I know, because I’ve experienced them first hand.
My “marriage” home was a fixer upper. I poured my heart and soul into it. I brought my babies home to it. I learned how to garden, raised pets, buried pets, loved, lived and thought I would die there. It was never meant to be a starter home and although it was the first, it was a forever home. So when I got a divorce and had to leave, it was like cutting off an arm.
Last year, I experienced selling my childhood home. My parents had built that house and raised 4 daughters there. Though I had grown up and moved away, I always knew where “home” was and I visited my mother often. There were memories in every corner. I couldn’t walk down the hall without remembering our cat always had her kittens in that closet. The Christmas tree was always in the same corner. Many holiday parties and I could still see my family gathered in the kitchen. When mom passed, friends and neighbors stopped in to talk about the old days. The house held memories for them too. As the trustee and a professional home stager (thank god), I carried out my duties and knew what had to be done. The packing, donating, sorting, painting, fixing and staging was stressful enough. Each step of the process felt like I was erasing an entire era. It felt like I was betraying my memories. The loss of a parent and then the family home was, at times, unbearable. It was difficult just to call a Realtor. By the time I found myself at the closing table, I was numb.
I think it was a survival tactic put forth by my brain.
Next week I get to do it again. Ugh. This time it’s my aunt’s home that my mother had inherited. Although I didn’t grow up there, it still holds memories and a nostalgic tie to family and the past. It also represents pleasant and exciting dreams of the future. I tried to keep it. I wanted to own it and retire in that warm place with tropical breezes. But alas, it’s not in the cards. The trip will be bitter sweet. I will say my goodbye’s and there will again be tears.
So Realtors and Home Stagers alike….remember, the house you are excited to get your hands on, can hold a lot for the seller. At times, they might seem difficult to work with. At times your meeting may seem like a counseling session when all you want to do is paint and replace that hideous tile or get your sign in the front yard. Be there for them! Be gentle, be kind and respectful. Listen and understand that detaching can be like letting go of a life, love or dream.
©Staging Consultants, LLC 2017
As the Realtor fumbles with the lock box, a couple stands on the porch closely examining everything around them. The door, the frame, the home’s exterior and the porch beneath their feet. They begin to notice the generations of bugs that have lived and died in the spider webs that cling above their heads.
BINGO! The door is open and they can’t wait to get inside before they too become dinner. They were wondering if creepy crawly creatures live inside too? As they land on the cracked tile of the vestibule, their wonderment is interrupted by the lingering aroma of air fresheners, pets and your last dinner. Is that fish or pizza, they silently ask each other with a mere glance from above a turned up nose? As they remove their shoes, with socks sticking to the floor, they begin the showing and the Realtor begins the story….3 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths with the big back yard you are looking for! With anticipation the group begins to make their way through your home. The pre-approved couple had been anticipating the showing. They had seen a few listings that day but nothing seemed to fit the bill. You see, the dog just had puppies, little Jimmy will be going to school soon and has a sister on the way. They had been working hard to get their starter home ready for the market and mom is in nesting mode so the new home has got to be move-in-ready. They aren’t too picky but they are not interested in painting, shopping for flooring or living in a construction zone. Nor do they want an allowance for these items just because you didn’t want to deal with it either. Unfortunately, despite the good advice you’ve been given from both your Realtor and Professional Home Stager, you decided the buyer’s would pay top dollar and look forward to making this home their own. You came to this conclusion right after you told your Realtor that you also wanted to look at move-in-ready homes. As the couple is repeatedly underwhelmed with empty room after empty room, old wall to wall flooring, they begin to worry about how their furniture will fit in the room or go with the 1980’s mint green walls? Mom notices layers of dust on the funeral parlor curtains you so generously left behind and wonders if she can muster enough relatives to help her clean the entire place? Dad can feel the weight of the “honey do” list compiling in mom’s mind and that’s going to conflict with his hunting season around the corner. Standing between them and the big back yard of their dreams is the kitchen from hell. The on-line photos did not do it justice. From floor to lighting, appliances to counter tops, this is not the home for them. They had actually made up their minds when their feet hit the sticky tile floor but didn’t want to be rude to the Realtor. At this point, the Realtor is working hard to sell the allowance and how easy it would be to take out that wall! They’re out! A back yard resembling the grounds of Graceland wouldn’t be convincing enough.
Eventually you get the feedback that the home needed too much work. Again and again. Eventually you lower the price. Again and again. The investment you were originally advised to make in preparing and staging your home seems small now compared to the painful hit you are taking on the price.
Why would I fix up a home I’m going to sell, you had argued in the beginning. Now you know why.
I have been helping people prepare and stage their homes for sale for over 10 years and I love doing it!