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  • Sometimes we have to steal or Borrow

    In an ideal world, all home sellers would have perfect homes and a limitless budget to prepare and stage their homes for the market. As we all know, we DON’T live in an ideal world and since we don’t, sometimes we just have to steal, borrow, and add when it comes to staging homes. 

    This Seattle house in the View Ridge neighborhood is an example of such a situation. The homeowners previously had their home on the market for quite a while without any success. After not seeing any results, they decided to go with a different realtor who they felt had better marketing and negotiating skills. They chose Phillip Blenkley from CBBain. 

    This home was built on a hill and had a very unique floor plan.  Right away we knew this was not going to be a home for everyone and decided to target professional couples with no children. But what this house had going for it was the views of Lake Washington from just about any window. The home was not prepared for potential buyers who came through and it was obvious why this beautiful house had not been sold.

     Below is the list of the problems that we identified and the solutions that we came up with to address them with our staging approach. We had to borrow, steal, and add on to make it all work.

    1. The home sellers had to sell their home right away for the highest amount of money possible for financial reasons. They had a limited budget to work with and it was not enough to cover all that we needed to do. We started to think outside of the box, something that most home stagers are skilled at. 
    2. This home had five different outdoor spaces and this was one of the main features of this water-view home. These spaces needed to be showcased in a big way, but they had no outdoor furniture. We could have provided these, but the homeowners’ budget didn’t allow for that, yet we knew we could not leave these wonderful spaces empty. We decided that these pieces could be borrowed from their friends and neighbors. After all, it was the beginning of March and the weather in Seattle was not yet warm enough to sit outside so it was a good time to borrow these essential pieces. All the outdoor furniture pictured below was borrowed.
    3. The dining room was in the family room and the narrow dining room looked like a hallway. One of the most common mistakes that people do when they put their home on the market is when they have used  rooms for different purposes while they are living in the them, and they fail to change it back. We asked the owners to place the dining table back into the dining room. There were lots of built-in bookshelves in this room as well. We asked them to pack half of the shelves. We wanted to re-arrange and design these bookshelves, since they were in the main room of the house. We also let them know that we would be stealing items from different rooms and cabinets to fill in the shelves. House Staged water view house by Seattle Staged To Sell
    4. For the family room, we needed seating, since the dining table was placed in the family room.  
    5. The formal living room lacked the right sitting, elegance, and definition. We wanted to showcase a large entertaining space and we selected a big sectional for this room. 
    6. The master bedroom lacked luster and elegance. We brought in a bedroom set to showcase the generous size of this room.
    7. The rec/play room had become a catchall place. We identified the pieces that should stay in this room and we requested that the rest of the items be removed. By adding wall art and redesigning the remaining furniture pieces, we achieved our goal of creating an inviting rec/play room.
    8. The second bedroom was a large room, but it only had a single bed which was lost in the room. We exchanged the bed with a queen size bed and added bold wall art. The transformation was fantastic!
    9. The third bedroom was not even being used as a bedroom but rather, a boxing and exercise room. We felt it was important to show this room as a bedroom and a home office since it was such a large room. 
    By thinking outside of the box, borrowing, renting, and stealing items from one room for another room, we managed to transform this house and prepare it for the market. This house had been on the market for quite a while yet not selling. Four weeks after we staged this beautiful lake view house in Sand Point, it was SOLD.
     
    These home sellers were super motivated and they needed to sell their home. By following our recommendations, they met their sales goals. 

     

  • Are you selling a house OR a home? There is a slight difference! Part 1

    Before putting your house on the market, you should be thinking about WHAT you are actually trying to sell or even more importantly, what you should be trying to sell. Are you selling a house OR a home? There is a slight, but important difference!

    After years of being a home stager and working with countless realtors and home sellers, I have come to know that home sellers and agents usually fall into two different groups. One group tries to sell houses and the other group tries to sell homes and the latter group, in my opinion,Tips on selling your house by seattle staged to sellis more successful in reaching their sales goals. Why? Because selling homes is more than just s selling a house. Selling homes also means selling the life style of the house. This is where the emotional connections happens. 

    Most home buyers in today’s market are savvy and have already have done their homework.  This might include researching different properties, comparing the basic details of the homes, and of course, viewing photos online (a big reason to stage the homes and have them professionally photographed). Also, they might even have driven by your house couple of times before deciding to actually come in to see the home for themselves.  This is why as home stagers we place so much emphasis on the importance of curb appeal and helping our clients get this part of their home presentation just right.

    selling your homes successfully by seattle staged to sell

    Selling a house is selling the physical aspects of the house like: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, open kitchen floor plan. But selling a home is selling the emotional aspects of a house. It means helping the potential home buyer to understand and feel how they can live in the house that you are selling. 

    If you want to be successful in selling your property, put yourself in the second category and do your best to sell a home rather than just a house.  Once the home buyers get inside, you want to wow them and have them pay attention to all that is wonderful about your home.  You want them to be able to envision themselves living the good life there. When you stage and present your property as a home for living, you are selling not only a house but a lifestyle. This is when the SOLD sign goes up.


     

     

     

  • Tips on working with Multi-Cultural Home Sellers and Buyers

    One of the qualities that makes Seattle such a wonderful city to live in is its diverse population. There are 94 different languages spoken in Seattle public schools. This diversity introduces cultures that we might not have known about otherwise, provides us with some of the best ethnic cuisine restaurants and expands our horizons.

    However, having a diverse population, even though it enriches our lives, can also create some rift, at least unintentionally. Ninety-four different languages spoken in our public schools means that we can expect to encounter many cultures that may be very different from our own. Each culture has its own unique customs and interacting between them can be tricky sometimes. Personally, I have lived in three different continents and I know firsthand how easy it is to misunderstand or be misunderstood.  I also know that this is often where problems begin.

    Seattle staged to sell Tips on working with multi-cultural home sellers and buyers
    Working with multi-cultural families has its rewards and its challenges. But mainly REWARDS!

    All of us in the real estate industry have and/or will encounter multi-cultural home buyers and sellers and we want to be able to serve our clients the best that we can.  However, sometimes we end up offending them, despite our good intentions. With a little bit of awareness, most of these misunderstandings can be prevented. Below are some tips for you to keep in mind:

    • Remember that some individuals from different cultures, such as those from some Middle Eastern countries and Orthodox Jews, don’t allow handshakes with the opposite sex. When in doubt, a smile and a simple head bow will go a long way.
    • In some cultures, men prefer to do the talking, yet the women help with the decisions. Making quick eye contact with the women while smiling will let them know that you are acknowledging them also.
    • If you have a hard time understanding their accent, just politely ask the person to repeat what they said. They know that they have an accent and they will do their best to communicate with you so you can understand them. Avoid comments like “you have a cute accent”.  Not everyone will find your comment CUTE. 
    • Don’t racially profile. Not all Asians are Chinese and not all people with dark hair and eyes with olive skin are Latin. 
    • Don’t talk louder because they can’t understand you. They are not deaf; they just can’t speak English that well. Instead, speak slower, use simpler words, and ask if you need to confirm that they understood what you said.
    • Avoid using slang.
    • Some hand gestures, like thumbs up, are viewed negatively in some Middle Eastern countries. Be safe and don’t make any.
    • You should keep in mind that the American real estate process is very unique in comparison to most other countries. Don’t assume they  are familiar with it. BE PATIENT! Explain steps carefully and again ask for confirmation that they have understood your instructions. Encouraging your clients to come with a fried and/or a family member who speaks English well will be helpful to all of you. Don’t shy away from asking.
    • Visit a few open houses with them and let them know what they are competing against. This is a MUST!
    • Multi-cultural home sellers will look to you for answers and guidance. Be a problem solver and address their issues and concerns. What seems obvious to you might not be so clear for them.
    • Avoid talking politics at all cost, especially about their origin countries. They might want to tell you about their own views about politics. Listen and keep your own views to yourself. You might open a can or cans of worms without knowing it.
    • Respect the extended families. Many cultures don’t make any decisions without the blessing and/or approval of their parents. Elders are very important. Do welcome their input. 
    • Multi-generational living arrangements are very common in many cultures. Avoid making jokes about this cultural choice. Respect is everything.
    • If you find yourself stuck and have doubts of how to handle a situation, just ask them. “How do you prefer …..?” or “What is the best way …..?” This shows respect and they will be glad to share their culture and preferences with you.
    • Respect the “lucky” and “unlucky” days on the calendars. It is not a superstitious issue, it is a cultural one. Therefore, if you hear something like “it is unlucky to sign papers on such and such date”, just present another date. Don’t discuss it. 

    Summary: By following some of these suggested recommendations, you will be successful in dealing with your multicultural clients and helping them to reach their sales goals. You should also know that once you have gained the trust of a multicultural family and have helped them to succeed, they will be your best source for referrals. RESPECT is everything.

     

     

  • Connections are Everything for this Seattle Home Stager!

    Besides being a passionate home stager, I am also a passionate cook and love cooking and sharing meals with family and friends. Some of my best memories as both a child and a mother are the ones around the kitchen table. I’m not sure what it is about gathering around a table to eat a meal, but this is where significant conversation takes place and memories are made. I thrive on experimenting with food, trying different recipes and creating new dishes.  I also enjoy sharing my recipes with others. But what I didn’t realize was that this openness could result in my generating some additional home staging clients!                                                                                                                                                    

    seattle home staging company

    A couple of years ago, I stopped by a supermarket to purchase some items for dinner before I picked up my daughters from school. While I was standing in line to pay, I felt a poke on my back. When I turned around, I saw this elderly lady with immaculate permed white hair, red lipstick, and a peacock blue coat who looked quite a bit like Queen Elizabeth II.  And there she stood, looking up at me and tapping me with her cane!  She asked, “Excuse me, what are you planning to cook with ALL those eggplants?” I described the ingredients and presented a brief summary of the recipe.  She became quite excited and asked me for the complete recipe.

    The dish was a Persian one and a bit complicated to make, and I knew that it would take more explaining than what I had time for. She appeared so charming and I was also pleased about her interest so I took out one of my business cards and asked her to call me so I could explain the recipe in detail over the phone. She thanked me and said that I should expect a call from Charlotte. I smiled and waved good-bye. How many times have we exchanged phone numbers with strangers in the hopes of meeting again and connecting? Not very many at all and I was fairly certain that I would never hear from Charlotte. 

    However, Charlotte did call me and even today, I am still not quite sure how all it happened, but the next day, she and I were in her kitchen peeling eggplants along with a few of her bridge buddies. I quickly learned that Charlotte loved food, good laughs, cats and playing bridge.

    Charlotte’s curiosity about learning the Persian eggplant recipe was super impressive. She took notes, participated, and asked many questions. That evening, I was among four 75+ year old ladies, having dinner and great conversation.  Again, I still don’t know how I ended up staying in her house for so long, but I do remember that the ladies were quite persuasive and that I was thoroughly enjoying their company.

    While preparing the food and chatting, the topic of my home staging came up and the ladies became intrigued with my home staging business. To my surprise, some of ladies were already familiar with the home staging concept thanks to HGTV programs on the topic. It was a wonderful and fun evening and it seemed as though I’d known these ladies forever.

    Several months later, Charlotte contacted me again. This time it was about home staging. She was getting ready to move to a senior housing community on the east side and wanted to prepare her house to sell. Obviously, our conversation had made a strong impression on her. She knew the benefits of home staging and wanted to have that extra edge on the market. Again, I was impressed with her being so proactive. Her agent worked with his own stager, but Charlotte had a connection with me and wanted “my touch”. I was honored and humbled by her wishes of wanting to work with me.  I redesigned her home and added some fluff. Her cozy staged cottage was sold quickly which made us both very happy. 

    Remember Charlotte’s bridge buddies? Well, a couple of them were in same position and they too called and asked for “my touch“. We all have made a connection and it all started with Charlotte’s curiosity and my willingness to take share my time and a recipe. I have come to know that the #1 reason for my personal and business success has been establishing connections with others. 

    seattle home staging company
    It's all about connections!

    Relationships matter to me and my connections are golden. I am convinced that this personal belief is the main reason that Seattle Staged To Sell is a successful home staging company. So when novice home stagers or other business owners ask me what I would attribute our success to, the answer is very simple: connections!

  • The Downsides Of Staging Homes

    What are the downsides of staging homes?

    staging benefits by seattle staged to sellFrom time to time, I do come across home sellers, and yes, even some agents, who say that they are not sold in the benefits of home staging. Some even go further and give me a list of their own opinions of the downsides of staging homes. So, are there any downsides? Let’s examine this question. 

    I can think of a few downsides of staging homes:

    • During the up economy, staged homes sell faster and for more.
    • During the down economy, staged homes move faster and closer to the asking price.
    • When the homes are sold faster, it means that home sellers get more money for their homes AND they save money on the upkeep of the house like taxes, utility bills and mortgage.
    • Even though the price creates interest, staging brings the offers.

    The home buyers might feel the downside of staging when they may end up paying more for the homes they have made an emotional connection to and fallen in love with. But I think, that the downside of staging is HUGE for the home sellers who are not serious about selling their homes and earning the best return on one of their biggest assets, their home.

    Benefits of staging homes by seattle staged to sell

     

     

     

    Therefore, if you are not a serious home seller and you are just toying with the idea of selling your home, stay away from investing an average of $2500 to stage your home. Otherwise, you may have to deal with the mentioned downsides that will force you into packing and getting ready to move out and into your next home.

    Watch out for those downsides! 

  • Sometimes we have to steal, borrow and add when it comes to staging homes

    In an ideal world, all home sellers would have perfect homes and a limitless budget to prepare and stage their homes for the market. As we all know, we DON’T live in an ideal world and since we don’t, sometimes we just have to steal, borrow, and add when it comes to staging homes. 

    This Seattle house in the View Ridge neighborhood is an example of such a situation. The homeowners previously had their home on the market for quite a while without any success. After not seeing any results, they decided to go with a different realtor who they felt had better marketing and negotiating skills. They chose Phillip Blenkley from CBBain. 

    This home was built on a hill and had a very unique floor plan.  Right away we knew this was not going to be a home for everyone and decided to target professional couples with no children. But what this house had going for it was the views of Lake Washington from just about any window. The home was not prepared for potential buyers who came through and it was obvious why this beautiful house had not been sold.

     Below is the list of the problems that we identified and the solutions that we came up with to address them with our staging approach. We had to borrow, steal, and add on to make it all work.

    1. The home sellers had to sell their home right away for the highest amount of money possible for financial reasons. They had a limited budget to work with and it was not enough to cover all that we needed to do. We started to think outside of the box, something that most home stagers are skilled at. 
    2. This home had five different outdoor spaces and this was one of the main features of this water-view home. These spaces needed to be showcased in a big way, but they had no outdoor furniture. We could have provided these, but the homeowners’ budget didn’t allow for that, yet we knew we could not leave these wonderful spaces empty. We decided that these pieces could be borrowed from their friends and neighbors. After all, it was the beginning of March and the weather in Seattle was not yet warm enough to sit outside so it was a good time to borrow these essential pieces. All the outdoor furniture pictured below was borrowed.
    3. The dining room was in the family room and the narrow dining room looked like a hallway. One of the most common mistakes that people do when they put their home on the market is when they have used  rooms for different purposes while they are living in the them, and they fail to change it back. We asked the owners to place the dining table back into the dining room. There were lots of built-in bookshelves in this room as well. We asked them to pack half of the shelves. We wanted to re-arrange and design these bookshelves, since they were in the main room of the house. We also let them know that we would be stealing items from different rooms and cabinets to fill in the shelves. House Staged water view house by Seattle Staged To Sell
    4. For the family room, we needed seating, since the dining table was placed in the family room.  
    5. The formal living room lacked the right sitting, elegance, and definition. We wanted to showcase a large entertaining space and we selected a big sectional for this room. 
    6. The master bedroom lacked luster and elegance. We brought in a bedroom set to showcase the generous size of this room.
    7. The rec/play room had become a catchall place. We identified the pieces that should stay in this room and we requested that the rest of the items be removed. By adding wall art and redesigning the remaining furniture pieces, we achieved our goal of creating an inviting rec/play room.
    8. The second bedroom was a large room, but it only had a single bed which was lost in the room. We exchanged the bed with a queen size bed and added bold wall art. The transformation was fantastic!
    9. The third bedroom was not even being used as a bedroom but rather, a boxing and exercise room. We felt it was important to show this room as a bedroom and a home office since it was such a large room. 
    By thinking outside of the box, borrowing, renting, and stealing items from one room for another room, we managed to transform this house and prepare it for the market. This house had been on the market for quite a while yet not selling. Four weeks after we staged this beautiful lake view house in Sand Point, it was SOLD.
     
    These home sellers were super motivated and they needed to sell their home. By following our recommendations, they met their sales goals.