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  • 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. 

  • Tips on Selling and Staging Your Home During the Fall Season

    staging tips for the fall season
    Fall is here. Is your home ready for the potential home buyers?

    Selling and staging your home during the fall season? Follow these simple tips to ensure a successful outcome.

    Usually, when the holiday season is near, the real estate market tends to slow down. Some people believe that not very many people are looking for homes during this time of the year and delay trying to sell their home. However, some home sellers need to put their homes on the market for a variety of reasons. Thank goodness for that too, because there are also those home buyers who are still looking for their new homes during the holiday season. I know, because this was my own scenario 10 years ago when we moved in the fall to Seattle from the UK and we needed to find a home fast.

    Fall home staging tips

    The good news for home sellers who have to sell their home during the fall is this: the home buyers who are looking for homes during this time are serious home buyers and this is the main reason for home sellers to do their best to create cozy and inviting spaces by following these tips:

    Curb appeal and more curb appeal

    1. Rake the leaves and make sure the path to your house is clear and open.
    2. Trim and cut back any dead shrubs and/or flowers.
    3. Add seasonal flowers like winter pansies and colorful mums.. You can also add some evergreen shrubs such as certain grasses. Visit local nurseries to get some ideas for your own climate.
    4. I like the idea of displaying some pumpkin by your front door if you have a porch or the space. Pumpkins add color and interest for the months of October and November. Avoid a Halloween theme.
    5. Don’t forget the power of beautifully potted plants.
    6. And don’t neglect the back garden.

    Carry outside fall colors inside

    1. It is always a good approach to bring outside inside. Fall colors are rich and beautiful. Who doesn’t like to look at a maple leaf with all those rust, orange and bright yellow leaves. Tips for fall home staging
    2. Bring these colors in with your candles, cushions and throws. A display of a bowl of nuts or ornamental small pumpkins is cheerful. 
    3. Potted mum are also wonderful for the inside of your home. They make wonderful centerpieces. 

     

    Show off your fireplace

    1. If you have a fireplace, make sure it is clean.
    2. It is easy and inexpensive to update the fireplace screens. By investing $50, you can pick up a new and attractive screen from Home Depot or Target.
    3. Place wood in your fireplace to suggest a warm image of sitting by the fire.
    4. Soft and cozy throws on a chair or sofa next to a fireplace add the element of comfort at this time of the year. 
    5. Never ever leave your home with the fireplace on. This is NOT safe. Your agent can turn on the fireplace during the open houses. 
    Fall season home staging tips

    Lighting

    1. Days are getting shorter and it is very important to add light for safety and for ambiance. 
    2. Keep the accent lights on for all of your showings. Remember that real estate agents don’t have time to turn on every bedside or floor lamp.
    3. Having some lights on makes it safer for the agents and home buyers to enter without tripping on anything.
    4. Use up-lighters to brighten up the dark corners.

    Scents:

    1. Stay away from scented candles. Even though their beautiful scents might seem tempting to add, remember that scents are very personal and not everyone will have the same reaction. In addition, there are some people who are allergic to certain scents. This is true for me. When I was looking for my own home, as soon as I walked into a home where the agent or the home sellers were burning scented candles, I would immediately leave the house, regardless of how much I wanted to see the inside.
    2. If you want to add some scent anyway, just add some vanilla drops to a pot of water on the stove over low heat or on the heating elements of your oven about two hours before your showing. But be sure to turn everything off and remove the pot before you leave the house.

    Keep in mind that home buyers tend not to stay inside cold homes for very long. Since the temperatures drop during the fall season, adjust your thermostat to a comfortable setting. Remember, a comfortable temperature and adequate lighting is essential when it comes to selling and staging your home during the fall season. 

    Photos Source: BHG

  • 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!

  • Realtors Who Stage Their Own Listings Might Not Be Using Their Skills & Time Wisely

    As a Seattle home stager, I like to stay informed about Seattle real estate and this means attending some open houses. I find it interesting to see how many homes for sale are staged and how these homes have been prepared for the market. I’m happy to say that I am finding more and more homes being staged. Even though most of these are staged appropriately, sometimes I see homes where the staging is quite not right. One such home, a Green Lake Tudor style home, is still fresh in my mind.

    This Green Lake house was only one block from the actual lake and this is a huge plus for a Seattle home. The house, though it was charming from the outside, told a different story from the inside. These are the problems that I saw right away with the staging:

    • The furniture pieces were in wrong scale. The dark brown full sofa, two matching large arm chairs and wide coffee table overwhelmed the living room.
    • The small dining table on other side of the room was dwarfed by the over-sized living room.
      Staging tips by seattle professional home stager
      A correct furniture scale is one of the most important aspects of home staging.
    • The living room was dark and adequate lighting was missing; the dark brown leather furniture compounded the problem.
    • A too-small piece of wall art was hung from the largest wall of the room. 
    • The bedrooms were missing bedside tables and lamps.
    • The master bedroom’s blow up bed was totally deflated and it made the whole room sad.
    I tired to look for a business card to see who had staged this house, but then realized that this house was staged by the real estate agent and this is when the warning signs went up for me. Don’t take me wrong, I know of some savvy real estate agents who also have professional home staging business and they do wonderful work. The key word here is PROFESSIONAL. Being a real estate agent and having a home staging business with full time professional home stagers is a wonderful venture. The problem is when a full time real estate agent tries to stage their own listings with few pieces of furniture that they have collected and keep in their basements or garages.
     
    Two weeks after coming across this house, I received a call from Michael Ackerman, one of my real estate clients from CBBain. He wanted me to stage his upcoming Green Lake listing.  Michael’s listing just happened to be right across the street from this house and it was a Tudor style home as well.
     
    Michael’s home sellers were worried about the sale of their home since the house across the street was not selling. I promised them that their house would be beautifully staged for the targeted buyers. Our staged home was sold in one week for the full asking price. Four weeks later, when we de-staged the house, the For Sale sign was still on the yard of the house across the street with an additional red sign on the side indicating REDUCED PRICE
     
    As we drove away, I wondered how much this butchered staging ended up costing the home owner.  The home sellers who hired us to stage their home invested $2,750 in the staging of their home, which was far less than $20,000 price reduction plus the up-keep costs such as mortgage, taxes, …..
     
    Staging tips by seattle staged to sell company
    YOU as a home seller have a clear choice. Make it right from the beginning  
    and team up with a full time real estate agent and a professional home stager.
     
    My advise to the home sellers:  when it comes to selling your home, one of your greatest investments, look at the bigger picture. Spending an average of $2,500 for staging should not be considered a cost, but rather an investment. Hire a real estate agent who is a savvy marketer and who puts all his/her attention and focus on the selling of your home. 
     
    A price reduction is painful. Avoid it by teaming up with full time real estate agents and professional home stagers.  A successful sale demands it.

     

  • Want to Sell Your Home for Top Dollar? Then Don’t Sabotage Your Own Success!

    Recently, one of my real estate clients asked me to meet her at the townhouse of one of her clients for a pre-listing consultation.  The home owners had tried twice to sale their home previously without any success. They wanted to try again to sell their home since they had a new baby and they wanted a larger house with a garden.

    Home staging consultation can turn the past failures into successThis urgent need to move and their past failed attempts to sell their house made me feel that these home buyers were very motivated and ready to take our advice. However, this was not the case.

    After meeting with the homeowner (the wife), and touring the house, I helped them identify the problems and then came up with the solutions.

    The challenges that these homebuyers had to overcome included:

    • The house was on a busy street
    • Most townhouses, the competition, have three bedrooms; this townhouse had only two bedrooms
    • No outdoor space
    • Very, very, very small dining space
    • Laundry room was in the garage 
    • Too many and over-sized furniture pieces 
    • Overstuffed closets                                          

    The features of the house:                                              

    • Light and bright
    • Large kitchen
    • Nicely sized garage
    • Two bedrooms, each with their own bathrooms
    • Beautiful bay window
    We could not do anything about the busy road or the number of the bedrooms, but we could do a lot inside to minimize the downsides and enhance the features in order for the homebuyers to be able to envision themselves in this house. The instructions were simple:
    • Remove the china cabinet that blocked the bay window.
    • Replace the cabinet in the living room that the TV was placed on with a smaller table that was sitting in their bedroom.
    • Move the couch to the larger wall and borrow or buy a coffee table. A living room without a coffee table and large sofa screams “RUN AWAY” to the homebuyers. 
    • Replace the dining table and four chairs with a smaller table and two chairs or a bistro table.
    • Start packing winter clothes to create room and space in the closets.

    Most of the time, homeowners feel energized and empowered after consultation visits. But this was not true for these homeowners. The real estate agent, my client, told me that the husband doesn’t want to tackle most of the suggested identified projects such as removing the large furniture pieces. 

    Sadly, homeowners like these who want desperately to sell their homes, but for some reason, refuse to follow professional advice to prepare their homes, are the ones who are still too attached to their homes. Unfortunately, these attachments can result in homeowners sabotaging themselves.home sellers sometimes sabotage themselves. Two unsuccessful failed sale attempts should have indicated to these homeowners that they need to change their game plan in order to meet their sales goals. 

    As a professional home stager, I am aware that some homeowners need a bit more encouraging and hand-holding to be convinced. I am not ready to give up on these homeowners and am planning to go back and visit with them and the agent to try to help them become detached from their home that they have lived in for almost 1o years.  Hopefully, I will be able to help them to stop sabotaging themselves and move on to their new home with the garden so their son can crawl on the grass of their own NEW home.

     

    Summary: When the time comes to sell your home, STOP sabotaging your sales goals and instead, START creating your success by seeking a professional home stager’s advice and following the advice that is given. This is how you can find and hire a professional home stager and this is what you can expect to get from a professional home stager. 

     

  • Selling Your Home? Then It’s NOT About YOU Mr. & Mrs. Home Sellers!

    Selling your home? Then it’s NOT about YOU Mr. & Mrs. Home Sellers. 

    It is a no-brainer that when every home seller puts his or her home on the market, they hope to sell their home for the most money in the least amount of time. We all want that.

    It's about home sellers


    You would think that every home seller would do their utmost to turn this goal into reality. However, some home sellers, without really knowing it, sabotage their own sales goals by not detaching from their homes when they put them on the market for sale. I have written many blogs about this issue in an effort to educate the home sellers since I come across this problem over and over again.

    When the FOR SALE sign goes up on your yard, it is not about YOU anymore. If you want to sell your home for the most amount of the money in the least amount of the time, your home has to be turned into a product that appeals to the HOME BUYERS! I know I sound like a broken record, but as a professional home stager, I know I can’t say it enough. It’s NOT about YOU.

    To ensure a successful outcome of selling your home, begin the process by identifying your Tips on selling your hometargeted BUYERS with the help of your real estate agent and professional home stager. Based on the demographic of buyers you have identified, let your home stager design the staging for the home utilizing this information. Creating a lifestyle for the targeted buyer is crucial. 

    By teaming up with professional home stagers and savvy real estate agents, you will get the best help and advice on selling your home. Trust their guidance and make the selling of your home about the home buyers. This is why your are investing and paying for these professional services. 

    Once you take “YOU” out of the equation, you are one giant step closer to meeting YOUR sale goals!

     

  • 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!  
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • This Ravenna Tutor House Got 2 Offers & Was Sold In 4 Days

    ravenna house in seattle wa for sale

    The home sellers of this beautiful Ravenna home were moving to San Francisco and they asked us to help them stage their home for the market. These motivated home sellers were excited about the new chapeter of their lives and wanted to move on.

    • The house got a new coat of paint inside and out
    • The carpets were cleaned professionally
    • The garden got a new makeover with the help of newly laid sod, seasonal flowers and mulch
    • Necessary repairs in the kitchen were completed
    • Added two new shelves above the stove to create a function for an otherwise “dead space”
    • The entire house, including the windows, was professionally cleaned
    We introduced some orange and red accent colors for the entire house to create a cohesive and inviting look.
    ravenna house in seattle wa for sale
    This Ravenna house got two offers and was SOLD in four days!

    When the home sellers walked into their house after being staged, this is what they said:  “We absolutely LOVE what you have done with our home. We just wish you could have come in and staged it when we were living here since you made much better use of the space!”  And this is why we love what we do!

    You can review our Testimonial Page.

    Here is the video of the house by HD Estates: http://hd-estates.com/tudorinravenna.

     

     

  • A Seattle Home In Ravenna Neighborhood Staged & SOLD!

     We recently received a call from one of our dear clients, Ron Waxman, from SeattleResults.com team, asking us to stage one of their listings on the upcoming Saturday. The challange was not so much about working on a Saturday, something that we don’t often do, but it was more the fact that it was now Wednesday night and the home sellers had only two days to prepare their home for us to come in and stage it.

    What made this even more of a challange was the fact that the home seller’s husband was out of country for business, she had a toddler, the interior walls of several rooms needed to be painted, several big pieces needed to be taken to storage and lots of little items needed to be packed and put away.  And all this needed to be accomplished in just two days!

    seattle home stager prepares a ravenna house for sale
    This Ravenna Craftsman home looked like a fairy tale house.

    Sometimes it takes a village to to prepare homes for the market successfully. This was certainly true in this situation. Both Ron Waxman and his partner, Ricklie Stone, pitched in to help the home seller get all these jobs done and helped us on the staging day as well. 

    This house looked beautiful and showed well. And most important, it was ready to welcome the potential home buyers in. The house SOLD less than a week and the home sellers knew that they will be spending their Christmas in their new home in Redmond.