Blog

  • SSTS Awarded Two Best of Houzz Awards for 2017

    Best of Houzz Awards 2017 Design

    We, at Seattle Staged to Sell & Design, are excited to announce that Houzz awarded us for two categories for 2017. We are honored to receive both the Best of Design and the Best of Service awards again. We are proud to have won both of these awards consecutively each year since 2013, and believe it to be a testament to our excellent service to our clients.Read more

  • Home Staging Pays Off (Literally)

    Capitol Hill Condo Living Room Staged Seattle

    The idea of home staging can make sellers anxious. Bringing someone new into their home to redesign it may seem like an intrusion to some home sellers who have trouble letting go. Homeowners of smaller properties wonder if staging is worth it for their home. Therefore, home sellers who have not sold a staged house before may find the prospect daunting. However, the staging fee should not be thought of as a cost, but rather as an investment.

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  • The Importance of Investing in Staging

    Capitol Hill Seattle Staged

    When home sellers begin the process of putting their homes on the market, it can be an overwhelming experience. There are so many decisions to make, and it can be hard to decipher which choices will aid your sale the most. Whether or not to stage your home is an example of one of these decisions. It is an investment to stage your home, but in most cases it makes a huge difference. Staging affects important factors that are key to a successful sale–time duration and the price and number of offers.

    With this condo in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, staging proved essential.

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  • Soft Colors and Neutrals Update Craftsman Home

    Staged Queen Anne Craftsman Home Entry

     

    Of all of the homes we have staged, the entry of this luxury craftsman home is one of our favorites. The details of the stained glass window inspired our color palette and design style. Its soft colors complimented the dark wood trimming and neutrals throughout the house. A stained glass window is classic and timeless, and we wanted to bring these qualities into our design while keeping the style updated.

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  • Design Always Changes & So Are We

    Seattle Staged To Sell & Design

    Over the years, bit by bit, we grew as company and expanded by adding more team members and services. Now after ten years of being Seattle Staged To Sell, time has come for us to add “& Design” to our name.

    Seattle Staged To Sell & Design

    I invite you to read Our Story and learn more about our journey, from start to now, and meet our dedicated team.Read more

  • A Heartfelt Letter from Our Mercer Island Home Seller

    house staging in seattleor some home sellers, it can be difficult to sell their home and close a chapter of their lives. I think most of us can identify with this since we all have gone through similar emotions for one reason or another. This was true for this Mercer Island home seller, our dear client Andrea. 

    For myself, as an example, it was hard to replace the baby cots with “all grown up” beds as my daughters were getting older and growing. And I know that when I have to downsize my house as the kids leave home for college, it is going to be hard for me to let go and sell our home. It was also hard for me to close my mother’s house door for the last time and pass the keys to the new home owners. Selling homes is an emotional process for all of us. 

    Every corner of my house has a special memory for me. Each of these memories is with me EVERY DAY, when I am walking up and down the stairs or going into the different rooms. When I enter the room of my oldest daughter who just left home for college this fall, I can’t help but to remember her first bed spread that we helped her to choose for her all grown-up bed or the blue ceiling that she loved so much when she was young! With my second daughter, even though she doesn’t play kitchen or house anymore, I still like to keep some of these items in-tact and tucked away in our “Secret Room”.  I do this for my own sanity’s sake. Every now and then I pop my head inside to remember again. I AM attached to my home so I do understand where others are coming from.

    Seattle home staging company

    I suppose it is this understanding and being able to put myself in the same shoes as other home sellers that helps me to earn the trust of those who are attached to their homes and find it hard to let go. Andrea was one of these home sellers.  Through patience and real listening, I was able to gain her trust and I wrote a blog about the experience.

    Andrea wrote:

    Dear Shirin,
     
    I want to thank you again for doing such a fantastic job of decorating the house today!  I so appreciate all the thoughtful decisions you made; the result is a home that really looks warm and inviting and I’m certain will be admired by everyone who sees it.  Your advice to let go was very sound.  Yet I also feel that you heard me and incorporated some of my preferences – I appreciate that.  To decorate an entire house in a single day seems nothing short of miraculous!  I’m amazed you were able to do this, especially given all the attention to the function and proportions of each space.  You really have a great sense of proportion and arrangement, and I’ve learned a lot in this brief time we’ve worked together. 
     
    My heartfelt thanks, Shirin – it has been a pleasure working with you.  I’m looking forward to everyone enjoying the result of your efforts.
     
    All the best,
     
    Andrea
     

    She sent me this email after she saw her house staged. As a home stager, I live for emails like this since connections are the most important aspect of my work. I know it was hard for Andrea to trust me and to let go. Her trusting us and her real estate agent produced the result that she was seeking. Her house was sold basically in ONE hour!

    It truly was a pleasure and an honor to work with such a thoughtful and gracious home seller such as Andrea. 

  • The Home Seller who Finally Learned to Trust the Home Stager

    home sellers who finally learned to trust the home stager

     ften times I come across of home sellers who are either so attached to their homes that is really hard for them to let go or home sellers that just can’t fully trust other professionals to help them with preparing their homes for the market. Both of these types of home sellers can create problems and sabotage their own success.

    Even though more and more home sellers are informed these days about the benefits of home staging and how important it is to get “me” out of the picture and instead concentrate on the potential buyers, there are those home sellers out there who are not quite there yet.

    One of our Mercer Island home sellers, Andrea, fell into the second category.  She had a hard time letting go and trusting us. The interesting point here is that she had called us on her own and prior to hiring a real estate agent. She was informed enough to know that her house had to be staged, but she also had her own ideas.

    For those of you who are not familiar with the Greater Seattle Area, Mercer Island is one of the most affluent communities and has highly rated public schools. Many families try to buy homes in Mercer Island because of their great schools. Andrea, who had amazing taste, had made all the right choices for renovating her Mercer Island home. Each of the bathrooms and the kitchen were inviting and glamorous. 

    The problem was, Andrea, had her own ideas about the staging, such as not wanting pillows on the sofas and wanting black and white prints for the walls. She also was determined that we should use a single bed in one of the bedrooms that in my opinion, needed to have a queen size bed. She told me over and over that a queen size bed would not fit in the space. But to Andrea’s surprise a queen bed did fit in this room easily and we showcased it as a beautiful teen room. For this house, it was very important to showcase another bedroom with a queen size bed vs. another twin bed.

    Mercer Island home staged kid's room in Seattle WA
    This house showcased a room for a younger child and one for an older child or a teen. By creating different options like this whenever possible, you are showcasing the possibilities to the home sellers and this is a wise approach.

    As a professional home stager, it is my job to help the home sellers achieve their sales goals and sometimes, I have to start by earning their trust bit by bit. After all, I do understand that homes are the biggest investments of most home sellers. I visited with Andrea several times and discussed my ideas with her. I also let her know that NOW it was not about her anymore, it was about the home buyers. I asked her for the trust and reminded her that she has hired me for a reason and she should let me do my job. She wanted to come on the staging day and help me stage her home but by the end of our second visit, she knew that as home stagers, this is not how we work. 

    Mercer Island home staged house by seattle staged to sell

    Andrea took a leap of faith and entrusted her beautiful house into our hands. On the first day, approximately 80 agents came through the house and the first agent who came in had a written offer for the full asking price. Andrea’s house was basically SOLD in ONE HOUR!

    I really enjoyed working with Andrea and staging her home was just a delight. As a home stager, I earned the trust of this home seller and this was the key to this happy ending. By trusting us, Andrea allowed us to stage her beautiful home for the home buyers by finally having peace in her heart that her staged home was going to look different from the way she had decorated her own home. As a home stager, the greatest honor that home sellers can bestow upon us is their trust and this is something we treasure.

     

  • As Professional Home Stagers, We DO Walk the Walk & We De-Clutter

    Recently, we left our SODO warehouse and moved into a different space. Our new warehouse is much larger, has an office and is much more accessible from all of the freeways. It would would have been much easier for us to pack everything and just move it all into our new warehouse since the additional space was more than enough to accommodate it all. But as professional home stagers, we do walk the talk and we de-cluttered our warehouse!

    Most of us have had to pack and move to a new home, and some, like myself, even had to move to a new home in a different state or country. Some people, like empty nesters, may have to downsize while others, such as families with small children, are moving into larger homes. Regardless of whether you are moving into a smaller or bigger space, it is always essential to de-clutter your items. 

    As a home stager, we continually have to shop and add to our inventory. Different homes require different types and styles of merchandise and we always need to freshen up our designs and follow some of the new trends and colors. 

    When I began the Seattle Staged To Sell company, I had this philosophy that whatever items we were not going to use or were not in that mint condition that they needed to be, we’d donate  to our favorite charities. This not only has been good for us as company, but it has also been a way to give back to the city that we love to live and work in.

    As a home stager, I sometimes come across resistance when I tell my clients, the homeowners, that they need to detach and de-clutter their home before putting it on the market. Often I hear stories about why they should keep this collection or that piece. For these clients, I take my time and help them realize that they are selling their home and not their furniture or collections. 

    And it never fails — when the homes have been de-cluttered, the home owners fall in love with their home again and feel a sense of peace. A de-cluttrered de-cluttered  home is truly a sanctuary.

    Warehouses are the second home for professional home stagers. Not only do we spend a lot of time there, we also spend a lot of time handling our inventory.  When we pack and donate the pieces that we loved and have used over the years, we know that these beautiful pieces have served us and our clients well and it is time for them to go to someone else’s home where they can continue to be appreciated.

    For us to be efficient home stagers and to be able to create beautiful staging designs, we need to have our own warehouse in perfect shape and this means that everything has its own place and we can easily see and locate each item.

    Therefore, when we as professional home stagers provide advice to our clients, we also walk the walk and follow that same guideline!

  • SEVEN Reasons Why This Amazing Mid-Century House Was Not Selling

    This beautiful homeowner occupied Mid-Century house in Magnolia, which is one of the most charming neighborhoods in Seattle, was for sale for almost six months. It’s actually still on the market. Except this time, this home has gone through an amazing transformation and it is ready to greet the buyers.We decided that the BEFORE & AFTER photos can speak for themselves.

    Don’t forget that the before pictures of this Magnolia house shows the state of the house while it WAS on the market.

    • Confusing Master Bedroom – The master bedroom, despite it’s magnificent views, had some challenges. One wall housed all of the closets and the built-ins. The doors to the master bathroom and outside porch were situated on the third wall. The fourth wall was taken out by the previous owner and was replaced by French Doors leading to the next bedroom. Therefore, in reality, you could not put the bed against any wall. This bed placement was one of the main reasons that this home was not sold. The home is a view home and this is the main reason that the home buyers would buy this house. Having the bed face the closets vs. the views was problematic. We solved this problem by floating the bed and brought a dresser and used it as a headboard. The problem was solved!  
    Home staging transformation of a Magnolia house for sale STAGED BY SEATTLE STAGED TO SELL
    Master bedroom BEFORE & AFTER
    • Mismatched & Misplaced Furniture Pieces – The living room, which was the first room that buyers would walk into, was cluttered with many misplaced and wrong furniture pieces. This not only didn’t show the lifestyle for this house, but it also created a distraction from the main focal point of the house. The TV blocked the views and the dated and mismatched furniture created a feeling that this house was neglected and in need of extensive repairs. 
    Magnolia house before staging and after staging by seattle staged to sell
    Wrong and misplaced furniture pieces created distraction

    The kitchen, pictured below, looked dated, cluttered, and lost even though it was remodeled and had beautiful cabinets. By bringing in a modern dining table, creating a sitting space, and de-cluttering, this kitchen was transformed into an inviting and modern area. See how the windows with the amazing views have now become one of the main focal points of this space. 

     

    Home staging transformation by seattle staged to sell
    This kitchen was missing a seating space and elegance.
    • Clutter Here & Clutter There – There was clutter everywhere. The closets were filled with items that the home sellers told me later that they didn’t even use anymore. For example, the entry coat closet housed the garden tools, bags of different fertilizer and the vacuum cleaner. When selling homes, the house should be de-cluttered, the extra furniture pieces should be eliminated and the closets should be thinned out. An entry coat closet for example should be showcased as a coat closet and not a catch-all space for everything that doesn’t have a defined space.
    • Not Depersonalized – The house was still about the home sellers and not the buyers. All of their personal items were in display throughout the home. The bathrooms were filled with their personal hygiene products. Even the signs of their choice of presidential candidate were displayed. Political signs have NO place in the homes FOR SALE, especially during the election year. Home buyers who came through the house could not make an emotional connection with it.
    • Mildew, Dirty Windows, Plastic Grocery Bags In The Garbage Bins – Do I need even expand and explain why this is a a HUGE NO! NO!? This is definitely a wrong approach when you are trying to sell ANY house. But even more so for a high-end home like this one. 
    • Forgotten Spaces – When you are selling a house, there should be NO FORGOTTEN spaces. You are selling square footage, so show it off. This house has a huge finished basement, which had become a neglected space. We addressed the problem by replacing some of the homeowner’s furniture pieces and moving their massive TV from the living room to the basement to create an inviting media room. It is all about suggestions.
    • Deferred Repairs – This home clearly was in need of some obvious repairs. When it is obvious, YOU as home sellers should try to address the issues. It will get called out later anyway and will result in a price reduction. With the help of your agent, you should identify your MUST repairs and get them done. This house had failed windows, rotten exterior trim, and needed to be painted. 
    After all of these issues were addressed and the house was staged and transformed, NOW the home was ready for the market!  
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • The Story of my Garden – A Seattle Home Stager’s Personal Journey

    Our almost postage size Seattle garden is a special and personal place for me because it tells a story.  Our story.

    It all began in May of 2002 with the planting a cherry tree in honor of my late nephew, Zhubin, who left us much too soon.  A very special person, Jarrett, who also is no longer with us in this world, planted the tree.  Since then, our small garden has become a place of remembering and reconnecting in a spiritual way for my family. 

    In August 2000, I moved with my family from England and I wanted to bring part of England with me.  It was a difficult move for me and the idea of being away from my family, friends and the UK, was heart wrenching for me. But I made the decision early on that I was going to make the most of my new situation and create a cozy home for all of us in our new city – Seattle. Once I made that decision, I didn’t look back.

    In 2001, we bought a Craftsman style house in a triangle. One side of the triangle is in the Wallingford neighborhood, while the other two sides are in Green Lake and Fremont. It took about 10 months to renovate the home. From the start, I knew that I wanted our home and garden to reflect our lives in UK and our Persian heritage. So, it is not surprising that we have an English Cottage style garden. 

    My daughters and my late nephew were born in England so the English daisies in my garden are the reminder of that. In the front of my house,  Parrotia Persicas, a tree native to Iran, reminds me of the country that my family left behind so many years ago because of the revolution.

    Whether it is in my own life or in our house and garden, I believe in structure.  But in the midst of all the structure, I like chaos.  This holds especially true for our garden. I have driven many gardeners crazy with this approach, but this works for me.  I am told that I have an “interesting” way of mixing colors. I suppose that comes from my design background along with my total respect for Mother Nature. I don’t believe in following a color formula when it comes to our garden, since Mother Nature has taught me that I don’t have to.

    Shades of green on green add interest and movement for the eyes. Together they make one statement, and yet individually, each plant has a voice of its own.  Everything is growing within each other as though the leaves are whispering in each other’s ears. I often wonder what stories they are telling each other. For me, this sense of collectiveness creates a beautiful and strong dichotomy – a loud but a hushed sense of harmony for both the soul and the eyes. When a flower’s end comes, next to it, another flower is waiting anxiously for her turn to burst out with color. A pleasant reminder of the cycle of life. 

    A home stager Seattle garden
    These past few years we have been able to harvest about 35-45 pounds of cherries and share it with everyone. Last year, the majority of the harvest (of what the birds and raccoons allowed us to have) went to a local soup kitchen.

    The most sacred and cherished plant in our garden is the cherry tree that we planted to honor my late nephew. In the first year, our cherry tree fruited 21 cherries. My sister was the first to count that initial batch of cherries.

    At first she counted only 20 cherries which made her sad and disappointed. I helped her to count the cherries again and this time, we found cherry #21 which was hiding under a leaf, being shy as it was the smallest of all the cherries. My sister re-counted the cherries for the third time to make sure there were 21 of them. At that moment, the smallest cherry became the most noble one. 

    She shouted for joy and opened her arms toward the sky to thank the universe for her gift. You see, Zhubin was 21 years old when he took his own life. By fruiting 21 cherries, the cherry tree that was planted in his memory was letting my sister know that Zhubin was in a better place where there was no more pain. Most importantly, our tiny cherry tree was, in its own way, gently teaching my sister that Zhubin was still with her and with us. This simple gift has been very comforting for all of us, but especially for my sister. 

    Our garden might be a small one, but it tells a bigger story – a bit of a sad one, but at the same time, a moving and amazingly uplifting story. Another beautiful dichotomy.

    Passerby’s have stopped me to tell me that for some reason, they feel moved when they walk by our garden.  Some say they make a point to walk by in order to feel the energy and see what new flowers are popping up. Several have even left kind notes with similar messages in our post box. Their kinds words and their ability to sense the energy of our garden moves me very much. I’m humbled and honored. 

    Everyone is welcomed to our garden. I love it when people come and linger.  I love it when the birds, bees and butterflies come and find food, water, and shelter there. I love it when the different raccoon families climb our cherry tree and pick those plump red fruits together as a family. 

    But more than anything, I love it when my sister comes and tends to the garden.  She comes for her son’s birthdays and his anniversary. This is her way of caring and connecting with her son. For her, our small garden is a hollowed ground and it all began with us planting a tiny cherry tree in her son’s honor. 

     To find out more about Zhubin’s life story and his foundation, please visit http://www.zhubinfoundation.com

Seattle Staged to Sell