Blog

  • Who Are You Staging the Homes For Anyway?

    CONGRATULATIONS! 

    You have signed the papers and gotten yourself a new listing. Now, you need to start preparing the home for the market. Like all the top rated and successful realtors, your first call is to your professional home stager.

    Once in the house, you and your home stager will be discussing your staging strartegy. A dining room with a round table, a master bedroom with this and that, and of course, a child’s room. You’re planning to stage the listing for a family because most home buyers are families. Right? 

    hiring a home stager

    Well, no. The first question you and your home stager should be asking is this: “Who are your TARGETED audiences?” and THEN stage for this group. 

    This approach is certainly a paradigm shift. In the past, we used to stage homes to appeal to the mass market, but not anymore. The new home staging goal is to create a lifestyle for the right audience.

    For example, we recently staged two very similar modern townhouses for Michael Ackerman @CBBain. However, our approach of staging each one was distinctively different. 

    seattle home staging
    Homes FOR SALE should be staged for targeted audiences.

    We identified the first townhouse in the Mt. Baker area for a young family. We created a family friendly home with a media/game room which included a small desk that doubled as an office space, a child’s bedroom, and for the third bedroom, we staged a sophisticated teen room with queen size bed that would also showcase a possibility of a guest room. We introduced fun and warm clors thorughout the house to keep it elegant, yet informal.

    The second townhouse was located at Capitol Hill on a high-traffic road. The buyers for this home, we decided, would likely be a professional couple or single person. In contrast to the previous townhouse on Mt. Baker, we went for total sophistication. We choose modern sophisticated colors, furniture pieces, and accessories.

    This approach of identifying the targeted home buyer has been producing solid results and our statistics demonstrate the importance of this targetted staging. The Mt. Baker townhouse was bought by a single mom with a teenage son. The Capitol Hill townhouse was bought by single professional person. I should mention that both townhouses were SOLD in days. 

    If you are planning to put your house on the market, team up with professional realtors and home stagers who understand your real estate market. You will reap the benefits. 

  • A Simplified Guide For Choosing Wall Colors For Your Home & Yolo Paint

    Color is one of the most important elements in our lives. It has a language of its own and it effects our mood and creates emotions. It’s part of who we are and how we feel.

    When I was eight years old, my parents bought me bright patent red leather shoes. It was the most beautiful vibrant color and ever since then, the color red has been my favorite. The shades of red preferred and it’s intensity changed for me year by year, but my love of the color has remained constant. There is always an accent of red in my home and in my wardrobe. 

    As I mentioned earlier, color is the language of our emotions.  Color inspires, motivates, energizes, soothes, enlivens, demands attention and creates focal points. Knowing the relationships of colors with these emotions is key of choosing the right color for the right room for YOU! Remember after all, it is all about you and each one of us is unique in how we want our rooms to feel. 

    Start the process of choosing a color for your room by asking yourself what kind of emotion is it that you wish to achieve through color? For example, RED is the color of passion and conversation, while Blues and Greens are calming colors. Add a bit of white to the red and the new color, Pink, will create a romantic mood to any room. Yellow is a color associated with creativity, while Orange is the color of high energy and appetite. Have you wondered why so many fast food restaurants use the color orange in their signs? Brown is the color of stability and reliability. It instantly adds warmth and comfort to any setting. Brown is a great color to ground or balance other colors. White   illuminates any room. 

    Did you also know that by how you choose to use colors, you can change the feel and look of a space? Here are few examples:

    • By choosing lighter colors you will transform small and darker rooms into airier and brighter ones. 
    • By repeating colors through other elements in the room, such as with accessories, you will visually link the spaces together. This creates a flow, which is also soothing to the mind since it creates harmony. 
    • Color as a highlight can define separate spaces in your home AND highlight the features.
    • Darker walls can instantly set off any light object in the room and create a powerful focal point.
    Here are some tips for how to use a  color strip and select a color successfully:
    • When you are looking at a color strip to choose a paint color, you should keep in mind that deep accent colors appear more intense on the walls in the same way that light colors appear even lighter. 
    • If you want more of the softer one with just a hint of color, then select the top two colors on the paint strip. 
    • If you want to add more drama to your room, then choose the colors in the center section of the color strip.
    • The natural lighting in your rooms effect the paint. I highly recommend buying sample paint or big color swatches and see how these colors look in your room during day AND night. Light bulbs that you use in your home, incandescent and florescent, will influence the colors on your wall differently than natural light.
    There are different paint finishes and you may wonder why this is important to keep in mind. Different paint finishes have different durabilities and they react differently with light. Egg shell, semi gloss, and high gloss paint reflect more light and make the rooms look lighter and are more durable than stain and flat.
     
    Any room with any color can look inviting and elegant if it is a cohesive room. Limit the number of colors that you choose for each room. Remember that ceilings and floors are your fifth and sixth walls of your room. These, as well as the furniture and accessories, are also important elements in your room that should be incorporated into the design.
     
    Yellow living room by www.ijoos.com
     
    The good news is that choosing and living with a color is not a scientific approach. There are no right or wrong choices. As I have already mentioned, color is a self expression and is as unique as you are. Whether you like those playful and energetic orange colors or the peaceful sea-foam colors, it doesn’t matter. What matters is for you is to choose a color scheme that is as real as you. 
     
    Last, but not least, we recently have discovered a new paint company: Yolo Paint, and we are in love with this paint. In addition to their sophisticated yet simple to use palate, which is just AMAZING, YOLO paint is a totally green product. Not only we are going to highly recommend this brand of paint to our clients from now on, we have already started to use them in our homes. Stay tuned for the “after photos”.  Check out their website, www.yolocolorhouse.com, and play with their colors via their virtual room. Let us know what colors you fall in love with. We’re going to blog about our favorite Yolo color combinations in the near future. 
     
    Have fun experimenting and discovering your OWN colors!
     
     
     
     
  • We Staged & Energized This Seattle Townhouse in Ballard With Tangerine Colors

     This Ballard townhouse was our first 2012 staging project. Since the winter months can be drab, cold and dark, especially here in Seattle,  we decided to cheer, energize, and brighten up the inside. 

    Colors are a sure way to set any mood. We wanted to energize and brighten this Seattle townhouse tucked in the middle of a lovely Ballard neighborhood. The dark wood floors and rich neutral warm colors inspired us to use the 2011 Pantone color: Tango Tangerine. We selected white and neutral furniture pieces and added shades of tangerine throughout the home.

    home staging ideas
    Staging a Seattle home for sale

     This approach achieves something even more important and that is flow. A cohesive look and feel is one of the most important aspects of staging. Many times I view homes on the market and this important element is missed.

    We thoughtfully selected furniture pieces that were neutral and we just added different shades of tangerine or orange colors throughout the house. Since the main color for this townhouse remains neutral, this makes our accent color just pop.

    There are people who view home staging as just bringing in some furniture pieces, adding a fake plant and a piece of  wall art. However, a true professional home stager knows that each home has a soul and personality of it’s own and little details such as our carefully using tangerine accent colors throughout the house in a balanced way is what gives voice to them.

    Why this is so important? It’s very simple. Home buyers, by seeing the personality of the homes and feeling the energy, can visualize themselves in the home. And this is one of the key reasons that teaming with professional home stagers produces successful results. 

    If might be drab and dark outside this time of the year, but this Seattle townhouse in Ballard is totally energized with the tangerine colors and is ready to welcome in any tired and cold home buyer.

  • Working With Our Ideal Clients Has Made All The Difference

    Some things you just learn with experience! Period.

    learning from experience

     Learning to identify our ideal clients and ONLY working with them  is an example of one of these lessons learned through experience.  Of course, this approach requires saying NO at times.  Some might feel that they simply can’t say no to a potential client or to the income. This was true for us too. But we have learned that by saying NO to poorly matched clients, we are creating more space and time for our ideal clients and serving them even better. This path proved to be very successful.

    We created a list of what we feel identifies someone as an ideal client for every service category that we offer.  It was our intent that this would be a guide to help us recognize clients that are a good fit for what we offer.  This is our list:

    • We are passionate home stagers and we love what we do so our ideal client is one who gets us even more excited about what we do everday.
    • We put people, like home sellers, first ALL the time. Not all real estate transactions are for happy reasons and we often deal with delicate situations. Therefore our ideal client has to be in this business because they love what they do AND they take care of their clients also.  They are not in business just to create wealth.  They love real estate and truly want to help their clients to achieve their sales goals.  Relationships matters to us.
      Seattle Staged to sell ideal client
      Our ideal client values our hard work.
    • Details make the difference.  We pay attention to every detail of the homes and our ideal clients do the same. They don’t believe in putting homes on the market as is. Their listings are prepared and ready for staging.
    • Creativity is the essence of what we do. We love to work with realtors who value creativity, authenticity and hard work
    • Home staging is hard work.  A tremendous amount of coordination, planning, managing and communication goes into every successful staging project. Our ideal clients value our hard work and contribution to their business success.
    • Every realtor handles their business differently. Some prefer that we contact their clients directly and some don’t. Some want us to use neutral colors in their staged homes while some choose orange as an accent color. Our ideal client communicates expectations clearly. The ability to express what they want and need is a key characteristic of our ideal client.
    • Our ideal client understands that we have other clients as well and they allow us a reasonable amount of time for their projects. With real estate, sometimes this is not an option and we also understand these unusual circumstances and do our best to meet the needs of our clients.
    • Our ideal clients seek an on-going relationship.  They understand and value the benefits that come from a long-term partnership. We are totally committed to keep our clients happy and satisfied. Relationships matters to us. 
    Again, every realtor and home stager runs his or her businesses differently. We have learned that we don’t need to convert everyone to our way of doing things.  Our experience has shown us that through being true to who we are, doing what we are so passionate about, having fun in what we do, and being great listeners and problem solvers, our ideal partnerships will be developed and nurtured. And the quality of our design and work ethics will keep our ideal clients seeking us out for an ongoing relationship as well. We are fortunate that we get to work with some amazing and successful realtors in Seattle. They have all become more than just clients… they are our friends.

     

     

     

  • This Seattle Home For Sale On Capitol Hill Was Staged For A Professional Couple

    We had so much fun staging this house for Michael Ackerman from CBBain.  When it comes to staging, we like to save as much money as possible for the home sellers and this house was a perfect example of this.

    The homeowner had moved to the east coast and wanted to sell her house and purchase a home in her new city.  Since the home seller lived in another state, we managed all of the projects. Some floors were refinished, some walls were painted, and our team members loaded up the truck several times to take the extra pieces of furniture into the three storage units that were rented for this purpose. We brought in the missing items, redesigned and staged the entire house. We showcased the beautiful windows and the views of Capitol Hill.

    For sale home on Capitol Hill Seattle WA
    This Colonial home on Capitol Hill was grand and we staged it elegantly targeting a professional couple.

    Since this home didn’t have a proper family room, we turned this spacious basement, which was used as a catchall space into a media room. By defining this space as a media room and suggesting a function for home buyers we turned this forgotten space into a room with huge possibilities. When you are selling homes, you are selling square footage. Therefore all home sellers should and must showcase all of these “forgotten places” like the basements, mud rooms as well as laundry rooms. 

    Even though this part of Capitol Hill is more of a family neighborhood, this house was not very suitable for families with small children. We decided to target the staging toward young professional couples or couples with a teenager. This house ended up being sold within just a few weeks to a young professional couple.

    Our philosophy at Seattle Staged To Sell is to stage homes for a specific demographic.  Some homes must be staged for families with small children while others need to be staged toward a professional couple or a single person. This laser targetting approach has been proven successful. This Colonial Capitol Hill home is a successful example of this approach.

     

     

  • This Realtor Should’ve Sought A Professional Home Stager’s Advice

    While back, I was viewing a house with a friend who was interested in finding a home in the range of $1.5 that offered stunning views of Puget Sound. Her agent called to let her know that he had found a property that seemed to possess all the features that my friend desired and the three of us me to view the house together.

    The exterior of the house and the gardens were absolutely beautiful and the neighborhood was to die for!  However, upon entering, our eyes were immediately drawn to numerous pictures displayed throughout the house. The photographs were of the home seller during her pregnancy. My friend, the potential buyer, right away became preoccupied with the pictures instead of being focused on the house.

    seattle home stagers
    Personal photos are distractions when you are selling your home.

    house stagers seattle
    Stunning views of Puget Sound

     

    As a home stager, one of the first things I tell my clients is to depersonalize their homes. I suggest that they pack up their personal pictures so that prospective buyers can more easily imagine themselves in the home. As I observed my friend’s reaction while she looked over the pregnancy photos, I became acutely aware of what a huge distraction they were and how they prevented my friend from seeing herself in the house. 

     

     

     

    I couldn’t help but wonder why the agent had not advised her client to do things like remove the photographs and store the toys in the child’s bedroom rather than in the living room next to the gorgeous Italian sofa. Why hadn’t there been more attention to creating the lifestyle for the potential home buyers? Did the agent perhaps feel uncomfortable and a bit fearful about offending her client? Or was he just uninformed when it came to home staging, or perhaps, too busy?

    If this agent had brought in a home stager for an initial consultation, I have no doubts that the pictures would have come down and been replaced with some beautiful, yet generic, wall art. I am also certain that the home stager would have helped to create practical strategies for the home upkeep so that the home sellers could keep their home show ready for those times when they only have moments to prepare.

    A $250 consultation fee (most are about $150-$250) is much less than a $17,000 price reduction and far less painful! I am confident that with the help of a home stager, this home would have been remembered for its amazing views rather than its pictures. The “pregnant lady picture house” never made it to the 2nd viewing list. As beautiful as the house was, my friend did not make an emotional connection with it. Would her experience have been different if it had been staged more effectively? Unfortunately, that is something we will never know.

    To avoid stories like this, team up with trusted and experienced home stagers and let THEM do the talking. With their advise, your listings will be market ready from the first day and you will get that SOLD sign up. 

  • How To Keep Occupied Homes Show Ready, While On The Market

    As a home stager, I am always interested in the new homes that come on the market and time permitting, I like to go to the open houses, at least the ones close to my own neighborhood. 

    tips selling homes
    What's the first impression home buyers are getting?

    When I see a FOR SALE sign, I automatically assume that the realtors have worked with home sellers to prepare the homes for the market and perhaps even have sought the assistance of  home stager. We all know by now that the first impression is everything. But to my surprise, frequently I come across occupied homes that are NOT prepared to greet and welcome the buyers. This lack of preparedness still shocks me, because for most people, homes are the biggest investment of the sellers and everything should be done to meet the sales goals. A show ready and staged home is not just for vacant homes.

    When my realtor clients call and ask for our assistance to prepare their homeowner occupied listings, they know that not only we help to stage the homes, but also we create  strategies and easy to follow “To Do” list based on the homeowner’s life style and circumstances. These kind of guidelines help the home owners to keep their homes show-ready at all times.

    An unprepared home not only will welcome home buyers, but it will stop them. Staged homes sells.
    Believe it or not, these photos are from a $1.5 million home in Queen Ann neighborhood. An unmade bed and toys in the living room kept this beautiful home on the market over six months. Other homes in this neighborhood were selling much much faster.

    There are some simple steps that all home sellers can take to ensure the best first impression for the buyers:

     

    • Mobilize your army.If you have kids in your family, everyone should be involved. Share with your children why it is important to keep their spaces clean and how they can help you to meet your sales goals. Once the kids are informed, they will not only participate in keeping the homes show-ready they will enjoy it. You’ll be surprised how often we hear back from our clients that their kids felt proud and empowered.  
    • Keep all of your bathroom personal items in a caddy in one of your bathroom cabinets. Home buyers don’t want to know what brand of shampoo you use. 
    • Use your fluffiest towels as your staged towels and don’t use them. This way, they always stay neat and clean.
    •  After using your own personal towels, instead of handing them, place them in dryer and turn it on for 15 minutes and just leave them there until your next shower. 
      Seattle home stager's tips on selling homes
      These tips will help your home show-ready at all times.just leave them there.
    • Make all the beds and fluff the pillows. Saggy pillows and half made beds are not welcoming.
    • Pack as much as your clothes as possible and keep the remaining ones neat and organized.
    • When you take your coats or shoes off, put them in their right places right away. 
    • Invest in some felt hangers. A mixture of plastic and wire hangers are not attractive. You can purchase a set of 50 felt hangers from Costco for $10. 
    • Keep the closet floor clear of everything. Yes, everything.
    • Keep a coat closet as a coat closet and don’t store anything else there.
    • No plastic dry cleaning bags in the closets. Dry cleaning bags are not good for your clothes anyway. 
    • Before showings, open all the blinds and turn on all the accent lights. Use up-lighters if you have a dark corner. Homes that are light and bright appear larger and more inviting. If you have ceiling fans, turn them all on low.
    • Use decorative baskets and containers in your kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
    • Have some soft music playing. If you have a media room, leave a movie playing with the sound turned down low.
    Staged and SOLD Kirkland Home
    Our strategies helped the home sellers of this Kirkland home to keep their home show-ready despite having a set of TWO YEAR old twin set.
    • Scents are important to creating emotion. The smell of a clean house, is the best. Vanilla scent is the second best option and everyone finds this scent soothing and comforting. Stay away from cooking seafood or anything with strong scent. Stay away from those artificial air fresheners smell artificial. Keep in mind,  that lots of people, like myself, suffer from allergies and asthma and can’t tolerate strong scents.
    • Vacuum everyday. 
    • Dirty dishes should be in the dishwasher. This is obvious, but you’ll be surprised how often I come across a sink with dirty dishes and dirty counters.
    • Dirty clothes should be neatly placed in a hamper or put them in the washing machine. It is a good idea to wash your clothes more often, while your home is on the market.
    • While you may love your pets, many people are afraid of them and they often get in the way. Taking your pet with you during the showing is the best idea. Some dogs are crate-trained and sit quietly in their crate. However, there’s nothing more annoying than listening to a dog bark the entire time you’re viewing a home. Before I forget, licks for your dog, Rex, will convert into offers. I promise. 
    • Don’t be there when the agent and buyers arrive. It’s awkward and makes the buyers uncomfortable. Buyers want to be able to peek into closets and kitchen cabinets freely without you being there.
    • A silver lining: following all of these steps at the beginning is going to be hard if this has not been your style. But what a wonderful habits to take with you to your new homes.

    Remember, that buyers decide in the first 60 seconds to buy a house. 

    Are you getting ready to sell your home? We can assist you to prepare your home for the market and help you to reach your sales goals. To schedule for an appointment, please contact us at Shirin@SeattleStagedToSell.com or 206-334-0266.

  • SOLD… please move the staging to the next unit!

    We recently were asked to stage a beautiful modern townhouse on Capitol Hill and immediately realized that we needed to create a modern, sophisticated and hip design because we had identified our targeted audience for this home to be professional adults.

    Our clients loved the results and the home sold in ten days to a professional single man — the exact buyer that we had identified and staged this Capitol Hill townhouse for. 

    Townhouses for sale in Seattle
    Capitol Hill Townhouse Staged and SOLD to the targeted buyer.

    Within days of this sale, I was contacted by another realtor interested in having us stage a townhouse next to this one.  He asked if we could take the furniture and accessories from the SOLD townhouse to his property. We were quite happy to accommodate his request.

    As experienced and professional home stagers, we put tremendous thought behind every design. At Seattle Staged To Sell, our goal for each staging project is to create a design suitable for the right audience. This is KEY.  Another important element is to create a flow. We introduced different shades of green throughout this house that created the trendy feel that flowed from room to room.

    In this type of situation where an agent calls and says “loved your work, want the exact same thing for my listing”, it is a tremendous compliment for us. This agent understood what and why we did what we did and wanted the same successful results for his listing. Stories like these are some of the reasons that we love doing what we do: staging Seattle homes. 

    Pictures by HD Estates.