In today’s Dallas real estate market, the majority of buyers want make-ready homes. We’re seeing less desirability for “fixer uppers” and more attraction to homes that are move-in ready, full of amenities, and tailored to a comfortable lifestyle.
The good news is that if you’re selling a home, it doesn’t have to be difficult to get your property up to these standards. It just takes some attention and expertise around two important steps. Do these, and your final sale price is almost guaranteed a boost.
What are the 2 steps? Preparation and Presentation.
Staging your home is important, but preparation is what happens BEFORE home staging ever takes place — and it is extremely important. I know that we stagers can do many magical things, but even the best stagers can’t distract from damaged paint and battered doors, floors and trim.
If updates or upgrades will require $5k investment, but the payoff is a $15k increase in the sale price, that is wise investment. In my experience, 9.9 times out of 10, it’s The Best Money you will ever spend.
The trick is knowing where and how to invest, and that’s where a professional stager comes in. During our initial consultation with you, we weigh the pros and cons of your space. We will let you know which type of buyers are eager for a home like yours, the features they want, and we’ll tell you exactly which investments are wiser than others.
You’ll walk away from our meeting with a prioritized plan for updating or upgrading your space wisely and staying within budget.
You are welcome to call in your favorite handyman or the one you found on Google last week… or, you could let our extended team do it for you!
In our case, all we ask is that you give us a little time, and we will bring our painters, the flooring and carpet installer, the electrician, and even the cleaner when the work is complete. What buyer doesn’t love walking into that fresh, new smell and the feeling that they will be the first to live in the home?
Staging your home for the potential buyers is another great investment, because it allows the buyers to connect with the home and see themselves living in it.
I’ve found that sometimes home sellers and even listing agents believe that they were born with special gifts in home decorating, and they will try to stage the home themselves. Please, even if you have a gift (I believe it!) doing the staging yourself to save a few bucks is a mistake.
Staging a home for the market is a lot more complicated than bringing furniture in and fluffing pillows. Yes, it requires one to not only know how to fluff pillows and bring furniture in.
But you need to be trained on certain things, too, like giving each space a purpose, staging for the ideal buyer, creating focal points and interest where there are none, showing potential clients how they can live in your home, and most importantly… staging so that the house photographs well!
The way the human eye and the camera lens perceives space is so far off from each other. And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. (Why do you think the big bucks companies hire visual merchandisers to market their products?)
Please know this, when you decide to put your house on the market, it is no longer your home. It is now a product that you would want to get top dollar for. So leave it to the professionals (and not necessarily the cheapest one) to get it done the right way, because you only have one chance to make the right impression.
Buyers will either love or hate your home in the first 3 to 6 seconds, whether they saw photos online or toured it in person.
3 to 6 seconds. That's all you’ve got. SO, my friends... choose wisely!
If you have a vacant property to sell, you might not be too excited to invest in home staging right now. I completely understand that perspective, but I have to be honest with you — I don't believe that's the right strategy.
Research says that 90% of the population can not visualize a vacant space. That means, when you don't stage your vacant home for sale you are automatically eliminating 90% of the potential buyers.
Why would you want to do that? I want to help you, so here is what's up…
The following story comes from the Realtor, Josh, who managed the sale of one of our staged projects. As usual, we staged a vacant home, our clients listed it, and a buyer quickly fell in love with it and made an offer.
Well, Josh told me that the buyers ended up closing the sale at the property. But by that time, we had removed all our inventory and the home was vacant again. He said that when the buyer saw the vacant home, she began worrying that the space was too small and said that her furniture might not fit in the living room. She couldn’t visualize it anymore!
Her agent assured her that it would work out, as she had seen the room with furniture in it already, and it had all looked just fine. The sale went through.
But… can you imagine how this conversation would have gone differently with a vacant home that was never staged? It would have been very tough for the buyer’s agent to convince the client to blindly trust that her furniture would fit in the vacant home. I can tell you from experience, without the confidence that comes from visualizing a staging, vacant homes are much less likely to get offers!
So, why is this? Let’s talk about it…
Every home has its little flaws, but leaving your home vacant puts those flaws on display! When there is no furniture in a room, guess where your potential home buyers will look? With a microscopic view at the walls, the flooring, the base boards, etc. And guess who will be paying for repairs? You… when the buyer subtracts it from your list price.
The big takeaway? Staging helps them see the big picture and the potential of the space, not its defects.
It sounds counterintuitive, but rooms really do look smaller when they are empty. The right scale of furnishings, lighting, and even art, can make a space feel taller, larger, brighter, and grander. And believe me, more space (even if it’s just an illusion) SELLS better.
This is what staging by a savvy designer can do for you. Don’t miss the opportunity to present your property at its best.
It’s no secret. A home without furniture feels cold, sterile, and far from welcoming. If you remember that most buying decisions are made based on emotion… well, the three emotions I just mentioned aren’t the ones inspiring purchases. Warmth, welcome, and classiness do.
Without furniture, it is nearly impossible for a home to create a strong emotional connection with a prospective buyer. And like I said before, 90% of buyers can’t even picture what their future lives would look like in an empty space. They can’t visualize the things that will make them feel at home!
You have to do it for them. Truth of the matter is — as Steve Jobs accurately pointed out — people don’t even know what they want; we have to show them. This holds true not only for iPhones and iPads, but for pretty much every other product that exists out there. And yes, if you’re selling your home, it IS a product.
When a home is staged with furniture that reflects its list price, it is obvious that the number is reasonable. By contrast, when home buyers walk into a vacant home, you have to hope that empty rooms will convince them.
I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to be in control of the conversation! And that conversation does not include haggling over price. Buyers should fall in love with the home and be excited to pay the list price… or higher!
The longer a potential buyer hangs around, the better. Good staging allows the buyer to linger as opposed to going in and out of the home in a jiffy. They will have the opportunity to take a closer look at all your house has to offer. Their mind starts working. And you will hear them talk about how they could do “this” or “that” with the space.
Most likely by the time they are out the door, they have emotionally moved in. And that’s all it takes to get a house sold.
I understand times are a bit tough for many people right now. That's one of the reasons we have come up with creative ways to help our clients stage their vacant home for impact and a fast sale.
I believe in Home Staging so much that we’re offering a summer special from now to August 31st. Stage your home with us and pay when you close the sale. Really.
IF you have a home that's on the market, naked and vacant, before that next price reduction, please give us a call. We CAN help you.
IF you are about to put your house on the market vacant, because money is tight, please give us a call. We can talk about staging now, and collecting at the time you sell. Once we are confident the house is priced well and we are confident we will present it well via our staging design plan, there is no reason for you to not sell your house fast and for profit.
Per an article on #inman, "Numerous studies have demonstrated that staging speeds sales. Faster sales tend to bring the best prices. Quick sales at favorable prices generally produce happier sellers."
In other words, the biggest mistake any Real Estate Agent or Seller can make is not staging a vacant home for sale. And with our Pay at Closing Home Staging service, there is really no reason not to stage your home!
So don’t wait. Don’t leave things up to chance. Call us and we’ll help you get the most for your investment.
While you may or may not want to start a kitchen renovation right this second, there’s no reason not to use this time at home to start planning! And when it comes to planning a remodel, it usually starts with creating a smart investment strategy.
If you’ve never budgeted for a kitchen renovation before, you might have only a vague idea of what the total investment really looks like. Or maybe you have no idea. Which is also okay. We all start somewhere.
In any case, let’s take it from the top...
To know how much you’ll be investing in your kitchen renovation, you’ll need a budget. A budget, not to be confused with your TOTAL investment, is an itemized list of the funds that will be allocated to various aspects of the renovation.
You can see that true budgeting requires researching, getting your team together, making a real plan (not a rough one), getting realistic quotes, and of course, TIME...
...which is precisely why it’s so difficult for me to give you an accurate cost estimate without looking at the property in question!
So, what’s my point? The point is to be aware that this will be the eventual process for a real functioning budget. For now (because I know you’re looking for a number), we’re going to talk in general investment ranges.
As I said above, it depends on the kitchen, but there are two components to the overall cost of any and EVERY kitchen reno: labor and materials.
Unless you’re renovating a super high-end luxury kitchen that will have all the bells and whistles of a commercial grade kitchen, your investment in LABOR is more or less the same. That makes labor a fixed (and non-negotiable) expense.
Materials vary widely in cost and therefore contribute most to variations in investments. Before we can estimate or calculate your materials investment, we need to know whether the home we are remodeling is a budget home, a move up home, or a luxury home. Each of these comes with different material choices and slightly different features, which will affect your total investment.
Entry Level Kitchen in Dallas: $7-12K
Move Up Kitchen in Dallas: $15-25K
Luxury Kitchen in Dallas: $25K-50K+
Again, these are general, average ranges based on my many years of being involved in Dallas kitchen renovations. Yours might be different, but this is what I’ve seen to be true.
There are a few ways you can control costs in a kitchen renovation without skimping on style. YES, even a budget renovation can look nice!
If you’re renovating your kitchen as the homeowner, I highly suggest working with a designer who knows trends in real estate. If so, they will be able to deliver a kitchen that is timely and timeless. (Never let your General Contractor make design decisions!) The idea is that, should you decide to sell your home in the next few years, the home will still hold up its value. I think we all want that, right?
The other benefit of hiring a professional (versus doing it yourself) is in saving on costly mistakes. The cost of a single expensive mistake made on your own could likely have paid for the professional to do it right the first time. And saved you the stress and heartache of investing twice. So I say do your homework and go with a professional you trust.
Just because you are working on a budget-friendly or move up kitchen it does not mean that it has to look ugly. You can have a well put-together kitchen on a small budget by adding classic elements. Such as an inexpensive subway tile and on-trend hardware and faucets. Even painting the cabinets white will do the trick.
This is where hiring a design professional is worth its weight in gold, because your budget-friendly kitchen won’t look like it was pieced together — it will look well worth its selling price!
I hope this post has given you a foundation for what a kitchen renovation investment looks like, as well as some tips for planning your own.
If you need a professional opinion on what your renovation will take (and how to do it right the first time!), I’d be happy to support you. Book your free discovery call here, and let’s chat!
P.s. You can grab our Guide to a Stress-Free and Profitable Renovation by signing up for our newsletter below!
This total isolation in place situation has caused a lot of people to rethink their homes — and I bet you’re no exception. In one location, we’re now having to eat, sleep, work, be entertained, and do everything in between.
But to be honest, this isn’t so different from the way housing trends have been going lately. In the last year especially, we’ve seen buyers gravitating toward amenity-rich homes that “do it all.” After the current situation passes, I predict we’re going to see this even more.
I think we are all realizing just how much a supportive, comfortable home can change how we feel and live, and in the last month, I have personally found this to be incredibly true. Knowing it is one thing. Experiencing it yourself is another.
For about a year, I have lived in a 1300 square foot apartment waiting for my new house to be built. It felt like my family and I were practically on top of each other. And I’ll be honest with you… it was affecting me in a negative way.
Being crowded was part of it, but I’m a person who gets peace and joy from order and beautiful aesthetics — and it was not either of those things. (You know that sort of stretched, irritated feeling you get when you’re cramped and the situation is out of your control? That’s the one.) Safe to say, I was so looking forward to getting out of there.
I finally made the move at the end of February. I had a couple of weeks to decorate, get furniture in there, and make it both pretty and functional… and not a day too soon!
When the “shelter in place” order came in for Dallas, we were ready to go. And by go, I mean STAY, of course!
Since then, we’ve been so, so grateful to have our home during this time. One of my family members has the office on the 1st floor, and my workspace is on the second. We both have our privacy, ability to focus on work, and if we need some alone time (as all humans do), the option is there.
Overall, the house is supportive and functional. Peaceful and relaxing. And lets us do anything and everything we could dream up to do with this extended time in isolation.
THIS is the experience that buyers want these days when they purchase a home!
For this month’s blog post, I want to share some of the features and amenities that are making our home supportive and a place we love to be, even when under order. And it’s not just about beauty. Beauty and function should ALWAYS work together!
I bet this one doesn’t surprise you. Two allocated home office/work spaces have been revolutionary. In this day, having at least ONE home office is very important to buyers, two is even better. So many of us work from home (or will in the future), even if it’s just once per week.
It is not an understatement to say that natural light sells homes. Sure, your home buyer might not say that the natural light was the motivator of their purchase, but I guarantee that it contributed. Natural light promotes mental health, creates a feeling of being able to breathe, and makes the home look more spacious. In other words: windows.
In this blog post, I mentioned that many millennial buyers have pets and are looking for homes with outdoor spaces. But whether your ideal buyers are millennials or not, an outdoor living space is essential, and it doesn’t have to be fancy. Add a table, chairs, and inviting landscaping (if possible) and potential buyers are sure to be impressed.
Yes, ensuite bathrooms, and not just in the master bedroom. Can you imagine all of the families stuck at home right now with multiple children sharing one bathroom space in the hallway? Trust me, harmony at home starts with personal space.
Spacious kitchens are another amenity that sells homes. The kitchen is the hub of the home in today’s age, not just for cooking. Families gather in the kitchen, people entertain in the kitchen, and it’s become a place to enjoy, create, and connect. (See timeless and sellable kitchen styles here.)
Built-ins are important as they address the storage issue. It doesn’t matter who your ideal buyer is, they will NEED storage, and I’ve never met a person who said they had too much of it. It helps a house look well put together and in order… and an orderly house and environment translate to tranquility and peace of mind!
We get all the seasons in Dallas, and having a fireplace has made such a huge difference in how comfortable and supported we feel at home. I have really enjoyed it on the days when the temperatures have gone down. It’s a small thing that has such great mental health benefits!
Our homes are our escape from the busy world outside, and design is one way to bring those feelings of peace and calm into the home. Whether in the fixed elements of the home or in the decor, opt for soothing colors and patterns, such as nudes, warm grays, blues, and even greens.
Along with that large kitchen, for move-up to high-end homes, I also highly suggest having a large refrigerator or a freezer somewhere in the house. In a large home, the appliances should match. Otherwise, you’re not creating a space that supports the people who live there. And as we’ve all found out these past couple weeks — we need our homes’ support!
Another simple and completely satisfying amenity. For move-up to high-end homes, a reverse osmosis water filtration system is yet another way to elevate your offering (and sale price) and create a home that truly does everything your clients could want.
This one is less of a staple and more of a simple way to elevate your offering. Yes, I’m talking about a wine room or beverage fridge. As a wine lover (give me a Malbec any day), I can tell you that having a room/fridge feels luxurious and was worth every penny.
If you’re flipping or renovating a home for sale, it’s important to consider WHO will be buying the home and WHAT they are looking to get from it. Then you can design for those amenities and make it a property they won’t be able to resist. (And yes, this is where an experienced property designer is worth their weight in gold!)
If you have a property to design and renovate, and you need to hit the ground running as soon as the current situation passes, let’s talk.
YES, we did it again… we were just voted Best in Houzz for Design AND for Service!
These awards mean so much to me. First, it is rare for a home stager to win in a Design category and it feels darn good (though I’ve said it before — we’re not just home stagers!). Second, these awards are not one of those fake, pay-to-play type deals.
They’re earned on MERIT and the voices of the people we serve! Here’s how these accolades get dished out...
This award comes from receiving a large volume of positive reviews and ratings. For us, this means that our clients had a great experience working with us AND saw a high rate of success in the selling of their properties!
The Best in Houzz for Design Award takes into account how many times our project photos have been viewed and saved in “idea books” by Houzz users. As someone who designs and stages homes for SALE, it is extremely validating to see that our designs are so widely loved and appreciated. We must be doing something right! 😉
I’ll take happy client reviews any day, but these don’t just come from great service — it means they saw success! And by success, we mean PROFIT. Whether you’re renovating or staging a property to sell, your ROI is our #1 goal… and we obsess over it! A smart plan and great design is how we get there.
So, these project photos that are getting shared around and ooh’d and ahh’d over? None of them “broke the bank.: In fact, when you’re renovating to sell, it’s less wise to throw money at a property and far better to invest wisely where it matters.
Our priority is finishing on-time, on-budget, and getting you the most ROI possible. And YES, all of these good things can coexist with a beautiful design buyers will love!
Renovating for the first time (like anything you’ve never done before) can come with some questions. Will your renovation drag on? Will it be done correctly? Are you going to see some profit on your investment?
I would love to say that every new client who crosses our path is 100% confident in the process, but that would be unreasonable to ask. So, how did we get to all those positive reviews?
Communication. Kindness. Integrity. Excellence. All of these contribute to the trusting relationships we build with clients, and with them, incredible homes and... ROI!
So whether you’re a first time home seller or an experienced investor, with us, you’ll be in good hands. P.s. Sample a bit of the good stuff we're dishing out by subscribing to our newsletter below!
Do you know which design trends are going to boost your bottom line, and which are going to sink it?
In my last post, we talked about some of the features that today’s buyers want most in a home. These were mainly related to spatial desires, such as a sociable kitchen, designs for joy, smart homes, etc.
Today, I’m going to talk about the MATERIALS that are on-trend, timeless, and going to support a great bottom line for your renovation.
Note, this post is hot on the heels of my trip to the International Builders’ Show (IBS) and Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), where experts meet to talk trends, market shifts, and the latest in home design.
It’s important to note that just because a beautiful slab of stone or oversized modern lighting are on display at KBIS doesn’t necessarily make them a prime candidate for a profitable renovation.
Not everyone is designing to sell. Some are designing to live. So it’s important that I use my experience and judgment to assess the trends that everyone is gushing over.
Some trends are timely but will have a short lifespan. Others are timely as well as TIMELESS (Meaning future buyers aren’t going to be worried about their interiors having an expiration date.)
The trick to profit-driven interior design is that it is equal parts timely AND timeless.
Knowing which trends are profitable (and which aren’t) is an area where I excel. So, what’s the verdict?
White kitchens are incredibly on-trend right now, but I wouldn’t call them “trendy.” White is timeless and can make well-lit spaces look larger. Another tip is to take those cabinets all the way up to the ceiling. They make the room seem taller, in addition to adding more, desirable storage space.
If you’re selecting wood cabinets, go with a warm tone. It makes the space feel more inviting, social, and comfortable.
Black is another timely and timeless color that can be used to create elegant impact in a home. It’s best used as an accent color, either in some of the furniture used in a home staging, or as part of the hardware of a home, such as an elegantly slim curtain rod, light fixtures, or window frames.
Much like blue did in 2019, green is taking over homes in 2020. Color is always timely and timeless, but should be used tastefully when selling a home. I like to add pops of color with pillows and decor, or in the case of this year’s color, fresh greenery.
Spring green accents are tasteful and inviting. (Design by KETI)
Light fixtures are incredibly underrated – they are the jewels of the home, and you shouldn’t sell a home without great-looking ones!
Below are a few that we’ve chosen for dramatic impact. And yes, they sold quickly!
Living room or bathroom, lighting matters! (Design by KETI)
This trend applies more to the home staging than the renovation, but is equally important. A home without some semblance of the outdoors will feel cold and lifeless. With today’s shift toward design for joy, bringing the outdoors in is ESSENTIAL!
I like to use flowers, small potted plants, indoor trees, or succulents. (Design by KETI)
This is the only trend on our list that is timely but NOT timeless. You might be tempted to install a backsplash of beautiful patterned tiles that are completely on-trend right now… but not only are you taking the risk of the homeowner not liking the pattern, it may go out of style quickly.
This is why I suggest pattern mixing in the home staging, not in the renovation itself. Keep your backsplashes and tiles more neutral.
Mixing patterns with the area rug and pillows are timely and tasteful. (Design by KETI)
In my next post, I’m going to break down what a kitchen renovation costs and how to budget for it.
Every year, I see large and small shifts in the housing trends that buyers want most in their homes. This is true of aesthetics — such as color, material, and style — but also functionality, HOW people are using their homes.
As someone who designs homes to sell (for homeowners, builders, investors and flippers), it’s extremely important for me to stay in-the-know about these housing trends and give my clients the upper hand.
Part of staying educated includes attending conferences and industry events, and I recently returned from two that were held in January in Las Vegas:
So, what features are Dallas homebuyers loving most in 2020?
Today’s market buyers are mostly millennials, and gone are the days of the big mansions. It’s challenging to sell a 5000 square foot home to a millennial, even if they have the cash to buy it. In fact, the ideal home in 2019 was about 2,500 sq-ft with 3 bedrooms.
Home features millennials love:
Allow me to elaborate…
It’s sad but true that people are lonelier than ever before. Nearly 80% of Americans say they are unhappy. There is rising emotional anxiety.
Naturally, a trend to design for joy has taken root and flourished in the housing market. Health and quality of life has taken precedence amongst the builder community because that’s what their buyers are asking for.
How can you capitalize on this housing trend?
Design the home to be a safe haven, a place for people to take time to decompress. This can be achieved in how you stage the home (creating restful spaces), as well as the attention given to materials in private areas, such as a master bathroom in cool, soothing colors designed for relaxing.
As I said before, when you design a home that appeals to the senses, millennials are not the only buyers who will be impressed.
Another aspect of housing trends is the way we use the different spaces in our homes. Here’s a quick room-by-room breakdown of the changes that are happening in the 2020 market:
Along the lines of Americans feeling lonely, the kitchen has made a 180-degree turn in how it’s being used day to day. No longer a place for the chef to retreat, kitchens have become a place for gathering, socializing, and entertaining.
The most desirable kitchens are spacious, have islands, and offer a variety of seating conducive to gatherings and socializing.
For a period, it was not trendy to have a formal dining room. Now it’s a comeback!
We’re seeing mudrooms becoming a highly desirable feature, even more so than the entryway. Why? Because today’s homeowners rarely get into the house via the front door.
These days, buyers are eating up “flex spaces,” a room or area that is left up to the buyer to decide what to do with it. That said, you should always STAGE a flex space with a design that appeals to your target buyer. Leaving it vacant won’t inspire anyone’s imagination.
We styled this flex space as an office, since buyers in the area are mainly business professionals who often work from home.
Today’s consumers (mostly millennials) are all about the smart home and the home’s role in battling time poverty. Now, you can talk to a faucet to start it, start dinner while in your car driving home, take a therapeutic bath in a free standing jetted tub, and the bath mat will weigh you each morning.
How can you capitalize on this housing trend?
Regardless of how you feel about technology in the home (or seeing your weight first thing in the morning), today’s consumers are interested in tech. Yet, the volume builders are not providing it in homes!!
Adding smart features to your property will put you above the competition, help your home appeal to the largest population of buyers, and usher you even faster to the closing table.
This one can include millennials but also branches out into the Gen X’ers. I’m talking about billionaires. More billionaires have cash than ever before, but we’re not seeing a trend toward opulence or heavy luxury in homes.
These days, luxury is light and livable. Luxury is classic and timeless. Luxury doesn’t need to be loud because it speaks for itself.
How can you capitalize on this housing trend?
If you’re designing for a luxury client, focus on materiality. For example, an incredible piece of marble around the fireplace speaks volumes.
Since we talked about the most desirable housing trends in this post, my next post is going to share some of the best TIMELY and TIMELESS materials for your bottom line.
Until then, download our free guide to profitable staging!
Getting a home staging consultation is probably one of the best kept secrets in the real estate market. Instead of wasting money on updates you hope buyers will like, imagine having an experienced professional essentially hand you a cheat sheet to success.
Sounds easier, right? Not to mention better for your ROI!
This is exactly what a home staging consultation does for you. But first, what is home staging?
At its heart, home staging is strategic marketing. We all know that a company wouldn’t expect great sales if they never invested in marketing their product, and the same is true for homes.
To get the highest offer for your property, we need to prepare the home in a way that entices target buyers, addresses their needs, and offers the lifestyle they dream of living.
THAT is home staging. And it all starts with that home staging consultation I mentioned...
If home staging is the design and preparation of the home, your consultation is the strategy session. Some people might think that a consultation includes us coming out to your property and walking around to see it, but this barely skims the surface.
Here are the 5 steps of this action-packed session, and yes, they all prioritize your ROI:
First things first: identifying your target buyer. In any marketing or business plan, the target buyer (or client) is the center point that EVERYTHING else focuses on. If you’re not serving people well, you’ll have a hard time succeeding. We take this same approach to preparing your property.
Maybe your property is located in a great Dallas school district and is ideal for families. Or maybe it’s in a neighborhood that consistently attracts business professionals. We’ll do the research for you in advance of our home staging consultation to identify the buyer most likely to meet you at the closing table!
Now, we use our knowledge of your target buyer as the lens through which we assess your property. What features will attract that target buyer most? Which are less important? Are spare rooms better presented as a home office or a child’s bedroom? Is creating an open concept floor plan going to sell your home for $20K more and in the blink of an eye? (Sometimes, that’s the case!)
Once we’ve identified the home’s best features, we can make a plan for any updates and design options.
Next, we’ll talk about your budget and how much you plan to invest in preparing the home for sale. I can give you all of my best suggestions for updates that will sell your property (#4 below), but if these updates don’t fit into your investment strategy, there’s no point.
In other words, we take your ROI very seriously, have decades of experience with budgeting, and an MBA to boot. We’ve got your back.
Combining all of the information above, we’ll offer suggestions for updates that will raise the perceived value of your home, promote a fast sale, and support your ROI. Updates could include fresh paint, a new color palette, small or large repairs, updated lighting or materials, etc.
We’ll also advise you on which updates AREN’T worth the time or money. Waste not. 😉
The last piece of the puzzle is a layout of furnishings and accessories that paint a picture of the dream lifestyle your target buyers want. This includes the look, flow, functionality, and livability. We’ll create a home staging plan for you that checks all of these boxes... and has the wow-factor!
So, what do you think? Did you know that ALL THIS happens during one home staging consultation? Most of our clients are surprised by just how much we do, too!
It’s also worth mentioning that if you decide to stage your home with us, we credit the cost of the home staging consultation back to you. Just another way we uphold our mission of stewardship, integrity, and trust. 🙂
Until next time, here’s to your most profitable sale!
If white-on-white kitchens make you feel like taking a deep breath of air or if you've felt the serenity of light blues and grays, you've experienced the overwhelming power that color has on your emotional and physiological states.
In fact, it isn't merely the color itself that our brains interpret as mood-invoking, but also the shade, pattern and depth of that color. (e.g. A bright red alerts us to danger and puts us on edge, while a deep burgundy can make us feel warm, passionate and elegant. Additionally, small and repetitive patterns can make us feel regimented while large, flowing patterns bring out our artistic sides.)
While you might laugh at this idea, give it a chance. If your living room is a drab beige and you often find yourself restless or unhappy when in that room, you can bet your last can of paint that there is a connection.
Certain colors can multiply or muffle light and can even appear as various shades of that color throughout the day, depending on how much sunlight that room receives and its proximity to other colors.
Basically, colors are complicated, and color choices are--by far--the most stressful decisions that must be made during any home improvement project.
If you've hit a wall with your personal life, you need to consider the physical walls around you and the colors therein. Are they enhancing the positive qualities of your life--thankfulness, love, abundance--or are they muting your individual voice?
We find the latter to be true nearly every time you buy a new home (and, in essence, take on the mood / color palette of the previous owner). Not all vibes are worth sharing, and that's why fabric, furniture, and paint colors must be matched to your current chapter in life.
And that's a good thing. As you grow and evolve your personality, your family dynamic, or your skill set, it's important for your home environment to evolve at the same rate. When it doesn't, you'll feel it. Restlessness, irritability and an inability to relax or be your authentic self are all symptoms of a mismatched environment.
You can't always remove the people or situations from your life that cause disharmony, but you do have control over your home. Make sure it's a sanctuary that fills you up rather than depletes you.
Let's talk. Your individualized color consultation is a phone call away. Call us at (214) 814 -5967 to book your in-home consultation.
You might think a great floor plan, location, or square-footage will sell a property, but trust me, important as that might be, great real estate design is what sells homes. Buyers care what the home looks like, and if it doesn’t meet their criteria, they won’t be headed to the closing table any time soon.
I know because we’ve encountered many situations where homes with great bones and floor plans sat on the market indefinitely until we came in and helped with some much-needed improvements. Design MATTERS.
Here’s what great design can do to sell your property:
If you don’t believe me, here’s the proof!
If you’re serious about your ROI, you’ll want to hire a professional in the field. Your first instinct might be to hire an interior designer, but I would caution you against it. Interior designers, while extremely talented, are experts at creating spaces that are highly personal and specific to the people already living in the home.
Designing a flip or renovation to sell requires a very different approach.
Instead of asking the homeowners how they use the space and want to live in it, we have to consider the design from a profit-driven perspective:
Once these questions have been answered, a real estate design and staging professional will create the right aesthetic AND prioritize your bottom line.
It’s design, but it’s also expert business strategy. Your pocket book and future will thank you!
If you work with a design and real estate staging professional, they should take you through three steps: a consultation, a design plan, and the final staging to bring everything together.
The renovation and design consultation is a strategy session. It’s the first step to a successful project and is not to be taken lightly! During this on-site meeting, we’ll…
During this phase we get into all the design-related specifics, or the HOW of our renovations plan. We’ll make all the selections for any new or updated features such as paint, flooring, counter tops, tile, back splash, lighting, hardware, plumbing, etc.
We will present you with all the specifics of the renovations design plan at which time, we can either source all the material selections for you, or you can do so in collaboration with your GC. During the renovation process we can also make ourselves available to your crew for any installation and design specific inquiries.
Extra step: If desired, our trusted team of subcontractors can carry out the agreed-upon updates and renovations with speed and professionalism. Relax and enjoy letting experts take the wheel!
The design of the home doesn’t stop with hardware, flooring, and countertops — what’s inside your home matters too. To complete the transformation, you will definitely want to stage the home. (Whether you choose us or not, we still suggest it! It is SO worth it.)
With us, while the minor improvements and renovations are underway, we’ll present you with a vacant home staging proposal that highlights the home’s selling features and is worthy of its listing price.
Once the renovations have been finalized, we will begin staging your investment property. This is the moment when the magic happens… the home is transformed and ready to steal the hearts of potential buyers!
For the best results, we recommend bringing in a design professional from the very beginning, before any updates are made, and taking your project step by step. (This is our Complete Concierge service for investors or homeowners.)
But if you’re looking for design help somewhere in the middle of your project, you can still find any of these as a stand-alone service and see drastic impact.
Next month, I’ll be back here to share a bit more about what really goes on at a home staging consultation. Spoiler… more than you think!
Until then, sign up HERE to grab our free download, How to Prepare for a Remodel!
Instantly Improve the Perceived Value Does your home for sale have cringy or outdated kitchen cabinets? If they don't show significant wear, they are a good candidate for a paint-induced makeover. Remember, kitchens and baths are the main selling points of a home. Ensure that the kitchen, the heart of the home, is looking its best.
Whether you are the homeowner looking to sell or the agent who is handling the listing, the tips we're sharing today will help increase the perceived value of the house, which can result in a higher payoff.
Update old or builder-grade kitchen cabinets with high quality paint. If they are already painted, simply refresh their existing color. If they were previously stained, hire a professional re-finisher or take your time to learn the best way to paint your cabinets. Keep in mind that the cabinets must not show significant wear and must not be broken.
Make your cabinets look high end by painting a different color on the island or by creating contrasting upper / lower cabinets. (e.g. A tuxedo kitchen has white uppers and black lowers.)
When selecting new paint colors, choose a shade from the existing counter tops and / or back splash tile to ensure that the space still flows well.
To further accessorize, line the cabinets with a solid color shelf liner or simply remove any old shelf liners. Your cabinets should look fresh from the inside out. Don't hesitate to give them a thorough interior cleaning.
Lastly, swap out the cabinet and drawer hardware for something new and minimal. This can improve the aesthetic of the entire kitchen by leaps and bounds.
The way your home looks online matters. Ensure that your house gets the attention it deserves (and sells for a great price) by investing in quality staging and styling.
Paint the kitchen island a deep, bold color to make it stand out from the cabinets. Navy, black, or deep green are excellent options.
O: (214) 814 – 5967
Hardwood has long since been a hallmark in high end, quality homes. Its rich, earthy texture and natural beauty have made it a no-brainer, resulting in refinishing vs. replacing whenever possible to avoid the high cost of replacement.
However, hardwood has caused no small amount of anxiety to homeowners with children and pets. Because hardwood floors can be warped by excess moisture or noticeably scratched, they aren't always the best or most sensible option for busy households.
What is hardwood-loving homeowner to do?
Meet the Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP).
Luxury vinyl planks make for excellent flooring in every room, especially high-moisture areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. The wood-like appearance of LVP adds warmth and character without succumbing to spilled liquids, heavy use, or frequent cleanings.
Quality LVP will last anywhere from 10-15 years, though could last even longer depending on how it is treated. It also doesn't need to be refinished - ever - and is available in a variety of faux wood species, including maple, oak, walnut, and hickory. Wide and narrow planks are available as well, making it easy to create a truly custom floor.
Ease of installation matters, even if you're hiring a company to handle the professional installation of your LVP flooring. The more convenient it is for the installers, the faster they will work and the more pleasing your final invoice will be. Happy installers make for good projects - trust us!
LVP snaps together effortlessly but does require some pre-planning, measuring, and cutting to ensure the joints don't end up all in a row (yep, just like hardwood). For best results, use an installer who works with LVP and hardwood frequently.
We never suggest that you get stingy when it comes to more permanent materials like flooring, but we also have to admit that LVP is a significantly smaller investment than hardwood. Happy accident? Not really.
LVP was developed to be an aesthetically pleasing, durable, and affordable alternative to hardwood. It ranges from $2-5 per square foot, while hardwood rings up the bill at $8-25 per square foot. Homeowners who opt for LVP often end up having more funds leftover for other luxuries, such as a curbless shower or elaborate back splash tile.
Faux wood and waterproof flooring are trending - and for good reason. LVP can often contain recycled PVC, which adds to its durability.
If you or someone in your home suffers from chemical sensitivities, be sure to treat your new LVP as you would any other building material, allowing it to off-gas in a climate controlled space.
O: (214) 814 – 5967
I have seen this trend recently where some stagers are advertising and claiming that they will stage your home - and because they own their own inventory - they will not charge you any rental fees.
As a professional home stager myself and as someone who is dedicated to running a successful staging and design business whose services will benefit many clients for many years to come, I wanted to write about this trend and clarify some things.
My goal and desire is that all you who are seeking staging services - where the stager claims they will use their props and inventory and not charge you for it - will be better educated in making the right decision that best addresses your staging needs.
First I would like to make you all aware of the fact that Home Staging is not a regulated business. What that means to you as a consumer and as a seeker of staging services is that anyone can put a shingle out there and claim to be a “professional home stager”, but that does not necessarily make them so.
For anyone to achieve the highly sought “professional” status in any field a few things need to take place. I read once that it takes an average of three years or about 6,000 working hours for someone to hone in their skill set in the profession of their choice.
It is a known fact that a lot of people who claim to be home stagers, stage on the side, and on the weekends mostly. Staging is not their full time profession.
Secondly, like with any other profession, on-going training and education is a must. There is absolutely no way around it, if anyone as a professional is set on providing stellar service and products to all their clients 100% of the time.
As an example of this I have committed to investing up to $5,000 a year towards on-going training as it relates to what I am engaged with on a daily basis and that is, staging, design, and renovations.
Since Staging is not a regulated business, on-going continued education is not required. That is not to say, it is not needed however.
Thirdly results always speak for themselves. Check out their on-line reputation, portfolio and results. Reading reviews from clients who have actually worked with them in the past would be a great thing to check out.
And as always be weary of stock photos used on ads and websites, as they are not reflective of what the stager can actually do or accomplish; rather they only speak to the fact that those stagers can pick a pretty picture, no problem.
A professional home stager, one who has done the time so to speak and on an on-going basis hones their professional skills is very well versed in things like, fundamental design elements, what makes a staging design stand out, what does not, scale, balance and symmetry, how the style of the home and the fixed elements in the home dictate how the home is staged etc. For those reasons I am also against verbal staging quotes, but I will have to write another blog on that and why you as a consumer should not fall for it.
Please realize that all those items I listed above dictate how the buyers will respond to your home. Why would you want to risk having the potential buyers focus on bad staging when they should actually focus on your beautiful home?
You are making the buyers experience of touring your home memorable o’right but it is not your sellable home they will be remembering I can assure you of that.
Case in point, check out these two homes below.
One belongs to the Tuscany brown trend which is no longer trendy now btw. This property was located in Prestonwood in Dallas and it sold in one week once it was professionally staged by Design by KETI and it relisted as such.
This other home which is located in Preston Hollow in Dallas belongs to the current Parisian gray trend. This home sold in two weeks after it relisted as a professionally staged home by Design by KETI.
Here are some other examples...
This condo sold and de-staged in less then 30 days...
This luxury Home in Lake Highlands sold in three days from being listed as a professionally staged home. It de-staged in less than two months.
This renovated home in Preston Hollow sold and de-staged in two and a half months...
Different type of props, inventory and color schemes were used to stage those homes as the fixed elements and the color scheme in the home dictate how the home should be staged.
For those reasons – so that you ensure that you hire the right stager for you, whose staging will add value to your home and not take away from it – some good questions to ask would be along the lines of their professional staging background and how much actual time do they dedicate to staging homes on a weekly basis and for how long have they done so.
Some people might excitedly say “staging is my passion”. Please understand Passion Is Not Enough.
Although there is nothing wrong with being passionate about staging, having the skill set to also deliver a top staging and design plan that will yield results and that is to sell your home swiftly and at a desirable price point, is of utmost importance.
Passion does not make you a professional!
For example, I love dancing. I am very passionate about it. Everybody who knows me on a personal level knows this fun fact about me.
And I exercise this passion of mine by social dancing on a regular basis. On occasion and when my schedule permits it, I will take a group class but that is about it. But IF I want to become a professional dancer however, I would need to dedicate a lot of time and money to it. I would need to allocate time in my schedule to take a lot of private lessons so I can hone my dancing skills, and be really good at it. I also need to practice what I learn during those private lessons, so that one day in the near future I would be able to call myself a professional dancer and make a living out of my dancing.
My point is having passion about something – even staging - is not enough!
Cultivating your passion by dedicating time and resources to it, will elevate you to a professional status in the field of your choice!
Now that you have a little bit of a background on what distinguishes a pro stager from an amateur stager, let me tell you the reasons why we charge rental fees when we use our own props and inventory to stage your home.
Let’s apply this to hiring a stager to stage your vacant home and you need not pay rental fees for props and inventory.
Although it appears you may be getting a good deal, in actuality you may be getting a really bad one.
It pays to invest more in the front end. When you pay a rental fee for props and inventory to stage your home, you are ensuring you are getting top of the line items that are on-trend, are ispirational to the buyers and in line with the architecture of your home. Since staging is nothing but packaging and merchandising, it is of utmost importance that the right props and inventory are used to package and merchandise your home in other words stage your home.
Please understand each added input/benefit (in other words, "free props and inventory") will lead to a decrease in the quality of what you thought the outcome of staging was going to be.
So you find yourself six to eight months down the road and not only do you not get the return on your initial staging investment, you suddenly find yourself losing money because of it. Those losses come in the form of several price reductions, and on-going mortgage, tax, insurance and upkeep payments and fees.
The quote from John Ruskin comes to mind:
“It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that's all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”
So I encourage you to pay for something better, all the time.
3.1 We charge rental fees when we use our own props and inventory to stage your home because not charging accurately for services provided is not a sustainable business model. Specifically such type of business model will drive the business and the business owner into bankruptcy in no time at all.
Let me explain this a bit further. The three basic components that make up a vacant staging price quote are: 1. Staging Design Fee, 2. Moving and Logistics/Packing/Unpacking Fee and 3. Furniture and Accessories Rental Fee.
The staging fee covers things such as putting together a staging design concept, selecting all the props needed to stage the home (things like furniture, accessories, artwork, and soft good, lighting), and packing and wrapping all such props and inventory, and then setting up on site as well as styling.
The moving fee covers the cost of moving all packed and wrapped props and inventory from the warehouse all the way to your house. And then from your house all the way back to the warehouse when your house sells and it needs to be de-staged.
If you have moved recently you know from experience that it is expensive to hire movers in Dallas. Our experience has been that when staging vacant homes – based on the scope of the project, the rooms we have staged and the distance of the house from our warehouse– moving costs can go anywhere from $700 and up to $2,000 on any vacant staging project.
And then there is the Furniture and Accessories rental fee. Please understand that there is a lot of money that goes into purchasing new inventory items on a regular basis. Inventory purchase and warehousing are two of the largest expenses any staging business has on their books.
We have a special formula in place when it comes to pricing out the rental fee for all items that are needed to stage your home.
What those other stagers are doing when they say “they don’t charge rental fees” is no different that you reaching out to some of the furniture rental companies out there and have them let you lease their stuff for free. I can assure you that will never ever happen. Why because they are a for profit business. An exchange of products (staging props and inventory) for dollars ( inventory rental fee) needs to happen.
That makes a lot of logical, business and financial sense.
Red flags should go up when someone claims they do not bill rental fees. Some valued questions to ask would be, where did they get their props and inventory, how much money they spent towards it, will they bring cardboard furniture to stage your home, are they bringing stuff they got on garage sales to stage your home, or is it their parents oversized peanut butter color leather sofa from the 80’s that will make its debut in the formal living room of your $900K home.
I am mentioning all those things because I have seen them actually happen over and over.
And last but not least do they have insurance for their inventory. And do they have insurance to be working at your home. Unforeseen/unexpected things happen all the time. And the smart and savvy business owners plan accordingly for such things.
At the end of the day – as a consumer myself – I would be reluctant to hire someone who appears to not understand the intricacies of basic pricing. In my head that is something that would raise flags related to their professionalism, knowledge of real estate and their skill set.
Since they are not capable of doing such elementary thing – meaning pricing their services correctly - I would wonder if they are capable of being a top notch professional who will provide top notch staging designs so that your home is packaged and merchandised the correct way, so that your home sells fast and for top dollar and so that you get your money’s worth and return in staging it the professional way by a professional stager.
…those are all my thoughts. What are yours? Please feel free to share your opinion on this. I would love to hear it.
And if you are set on working with a professional home stager to help stage your home the right way, we would welcome the opportunity to be of service. And because we care for results and we care that YOU turn a profit, we will bill you rental fees, not because we are greedy, but because it's a win-win for all parties involved, we are fair, and we are really good at what we do. 🙂
O: (214) 814 – 5967