Blog

  • Why We LOVE Our Seattle Based Home Staging Business Model

    Not all homes are alike and this is why here at Seattle Staged To Sell, we design and stage each home uniquely and stay away from a formula design where house after house, the design basically remains the same with little or no variation. It is true that using such a formula would save a lot of time and labor, but we prefer to take our time and spend the additional labor costs to achieve the best design for each home.

    Seattle home staging                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We have an extensive inventory selection that we can choose from and this makes all of the difference. We might use the same set of a furniture pieces for different homes,  but how we use those pieces and what we pair them with is different every time.

    The non-refundable 50% deposit is required to reserve a date and inventory with the balance of the initial staging fee due prior to the start of staging installation.   Seattle Staged to Sell, LLC personnel will require total design discretion and full access to the home during the installation.  Homeowners, agents, sub-contractors, cleaners and/or painters should not be present at the time of staging.  A $500.00 rescheduling fee will be charged for a change of the installation date with less than a ten-day notice.

    This approach not only keeps our work more interesting, but by doing this, we serve our clients better by addressing challenges unique to each home. 

    When we began our company, we knew that we wanted to be a business in which the designs would stay fresh and true to the house. We also knew that we would have to identify the targeted buyers and stage homes for that particular audience. In other words, micro-targeting and staging. This approach has served our Staging success storiesclients well and has been the KEY to so many of our success stories.  This is a topic that we could go on and on about.

    We receive validations in different ways. As an example, one recent validation came when we staged a particular Mercer Island house which was sold in just one hour. My client who was the listing agent, Michael Ackerman, called and told me that all of my business cards and flyers were taken by the agents who visited the broker’s open house. This resulted in my receiving a tremendous number of calls from the various agents who had visited this house requesting that we stage their next listing.  

    This massive and positive response was so overwhelming and gratifying for us. As any creative person would say, appreciation of one’s work is sweeter than anything. When we asked these agents what they liked about our staging, without exception, they all said that they loved the uniqueness of our design, the perfect furniture selection for this particular house, the way the open spaces were identified, and our attention to detail. 

    After seven years, we have been able to establish ourselves as one of Seattle’s unique and premiere home staging companies. Our patience and our vision is bearing fruit now and all of the extra time, money and labor that we invested in each unique home staging design have been well worth it AND these choices have branded us. Our brand, is something that we are very proud of. 

    Our design work is what attracts new clients to our business and the way we take care of our clients and their needs is how we retain them. Home sellers and real estate agents trust and choose to work with us. As the founder of Seattle Staged To Sell, I’m mighty proud of our business model. This has sent us jumping for joy! 

     

  • 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.


     

     

     

  • 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. 

  • I Opened The Door And My Heart Sank

    I was recently asked to visit a condo unit in the Capitol Hill area for possible staging. I met with the home owner and the agent to discuss the needs of the home before it went on the market.  One of the main recommendations was to repaint the walls a warm neutral color and I suggested Jute By Benjamin Moore. 

    Home sellers had painted the walls a dark blue color
    Home Sellers had painted the walls a dark blue color.

    On the day of staging, I opened the door and my heart just sank. I was expecting freshly painted wall colors in Jute and clean windows. What did I see? Dirty windows and BLUE walls. For a moment I thought I had walked into the wrong unit, but no, I was in the right place. I was totally shocked. I checked my email sent box to double check, and confirmed that the color was to be Jute and not that blue. Puzzled, I called the agent to see what was going on. She informed me that the home sellers did not like neutral colors and that they loved this blue.  Really? When the FOR SALE sign goes up on your yard, it means that it is NOT about you, the home seller,  anymore.  It is about appealing to home buyers. Light in the homes means everything to a dark home for sale. Some particular shades of blue will work well for some homes, but not that BLUE in that house. 

    I had no choice but to work with it. I added rich dark brown as an accent to tone down the blue and used cream colored carpets and throws with a neutral color sofa to brighten the room. In the end, I was able to create an inviting and cozy room and solved the problem as best as I could. But, it will be hard to find that many people who love such dark blue walls in an entire home.

    Home sellers can help with the success
    Your home becomes a product when it is FOR SALE.

    Home sellers should remember that in order to have a successful outcome when putting their homes on the market, they need to be detached. A home for sale has to be viewed as a product that would appeal to the most buyers. This is why hiring a home stager is important and produces results. They can assess the home and make recommendations without any personal attachments. Remember, it is now all about the home buyers and not you. 

     In contrast, take a look at this house with motivated home sellers. Their walls were painted a dark blue and we recommended changing them to a light gray. Their house was sold in two weeks.  

    Please research and hire a professional home stager and stick to her or his advice. If you feel uncomfortable with the advice, I highly recommend you discuss the issues with your home stager to find out the reasons behind those recommendations before you go rogue. After all, an expert’s advice is what you are paying your home stager for. 

     

     

  • I Said YES To Orange, Yellow, Blue, Red and Green Walls For This House!

    Yep, you heard me right. Sometimes I do tell home sellers not to change the wall colors and to leave those strong colors on the walls. And the reason for this “nontraditional” home staging
    recommendation is consistent with the occasions when I tell the home seller to change the wall colors. 

    When I meet the home sellers and take a closer look at their homes, I make serveral recommendations and paint is always one category that we tackle. Either the walls need to be repainted the same color to freshen up the walls or they need their color changed to a lighter one or possibly, even a darker one.  As an example, for this house, we suggested changing the dark blue colors in the dining and living rooms to a light grey.

    However, for this Craftsman Style home in Fremont, we suggested that the home owners leave the wall colors as they were. There were many different, rich and deep colors throughout the house but because it was done in such a beautiful way, it worked well in this house.  The painted walls actually had become a feature of this home. I accented the wall colors with accessories and vignettes to balance and tie everything together. This created a flow throughout the house and the results were stunning. I knew then that the flow and the mixture of the colors in this house would evoke strong emotions and that the home buyers would take notice. My gut feeling was right too –the house was SOLD in only 12 days.

    The blue grey master bedroom
    The blue grey master bedroom

    I carefully selected a white bedding for this bedroom with pillows that had a hint of the color in the walls and an orange pillow to emphasis the beautiful wall paper over the fireplace. You can see the orange pillow’s reflection in the mirror.

    The bedroom with red walls 

    The guest room with red walls and black trim just needed white bedding and brown pillows to tone down and brighten the room. This created a beautiful contrast. 

    orange walls in the powder room
    Orange walls in the powder room

    The beautiful orange walls with the dark trim was stunning, so we just added the white towels to make them pop.

    The green walls in the study or office
    The green walls in the study or office

     For the office with green walls, we choose a daybed that had lots of white and green. Then we added dark brown ottomans, as well as a desk and chair, to mimic the dark wood trims. 

    Yellow living and dining rooms
    Yellow living and dining room

    The beautifully yellow glazed walls were so stunning that I did NOT add wall art on the main large walls. I left them blank because the effects were a focal point of these rooms. I just brought in cream furniture to brighten it up and and added yellow accessories to create flow. 

    I did say YES to orange, yellow, blue, red and green walls. Sometimes neutral is not the way to go. Choosing different colors for the walls has to make sense and it did for this house.

    (All The pictures of this house are by HD Estates.)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • When The Home Staging Price Tag Sounds Too Good To Be True, Then Probably It Is

    Last year, I was asked by a home seller to provide a quote for staging a home in West Seattle that had an asking price of $599,000. It was a lovely mid-century house with a charming well manicured garden on a quaint street.

    It was easy to love the house, the views, and the original stone fireplace. The large windows (which was one of the beautiful features in most mid-century homes) were stunning and let in so much natural light. The original state of the house was even delightful to see. The house was small, but it was obvious that a young family could live here in a big way.

    I presented my staging proposal and also included a notation that all of our designers were booked for the next ten days and the earliest we could stage the house would be after that timeframe.

    Within two days, the home seller notified me that another home stager was available to start the following day and could stage her entire house for $1000, including tax. As a professional home stager, who has been in business for years, I knew that another company could NOT  provide the same quality of home staging the seller desired for the that price. The quoted amount would not even cover the basic staging costs. I wished her good luck as we ended the call. I told her that she has a lovely home on wonderful street and buyers will love seeing it.

    A few days later, I checked the listing online because I was curious to know what a $1000 home staging for a 2000 sq/ft house looks like. Unfortunately, the staging was less than optimal. For example, a huge tufted black leather sofa with two matching arm chairs had been placed in a living room that was on the side of being too small. The only place this oversized sofa could fit, was against the beautiful window with the views. This placement of course cut the view off. 

    not all home stagers are created equally

     

    The black oversized furniture pieces, in addition, dominated the room and became the focal point of the home rather than the beautiful views, the stone fireplace, and all that mid-centruy charm. Fake plastic plants sat in every corner of the house and there was no wall art. It was obvious that all the potential and beauty of the house was lost with this presentation. Ninety-five percent of home buyers look online for their homes. The house was on the market for almost five months and was sold at a much reduced price.  

    Home staging is an investment
    Home staging is an investment with high returns.

     The home buyers who saw the photos of this particular house on the internet were distracted by the large misplaced furniture, which dominated the room and blocked the views and diminished the fireplace. You should aslo remember, where quality and first impressions count, allowing yourself to be won over by a lower price tag may end up costing you more in the long run. As Warren Buffet said very wisely, “money is what you put it and value is what you get out.” We get what we paid for.

     When you are putting your house on the market and want to have it staged, you should ask yourself what is it that staging is supposed to accomplish. Why is home staging important? Do you want to sell your house or do you prefer to have your house sell the competition? If you want to do it right from the very beginning, start by teaming with a professional home stager who UNDERSTANDS your market and your house’s staging needs. Remember home staging is not about bringing some furniture in a home, it is about creating a life style. 

    Here is a previous blog about tips on hiring a professional home stager. Home staging has to be viewed as an investment and not a cost. You don’t have to learn this lesson in a hard way, just team up with a qualified professional home stager. 

  • Forgotten Spaces in a House for Sale

    After staging, this basement became a cool family room

    The only things finished in this basement were the walls. The floors were cement and this space was used as a catchall space. We recommended that all the items be stored or donated and to add carpet and side boards. Then we brought in a few accent pieces and used the home owners table, chairs, and TV to define an inviting family area. For an investment of $1,400, this home owner added 300 square feet of finished floor space to their home. A family bought this house 10 days after being on the market. 

     

     

     

    Forgotten places
    With couple of chairs and a game table, the space is defined as family hangout.

    This particular house did not have a separate family room, only a formal living room. Since this was a family home, we wanted to show the possibility of creating a family room where kids and parents could hang out. We created a sitting area in front of the TV and created an art section (not visible in this picture) to show the potential of the space.  

    Home buyers will like and remember organized and staged pantries.

     

     

    I like to feature pantries, especially for condos and townhouse, where storage is gold. This particular pantry belonged to an occupied townhouse in Greenwood. I always recommend to the home sellers that while they are living in their homes, the closets and the pantries should be super neat and organized. This will impress the home buyers. I added baskets and showcased the pantry. This townhouse went on market in November in an area where there were a lot of units for sale. This one was sold in less than two weeks in one of the slowest real estate months.

     

     

    a well defined staged working space
    A well defined staged working space adds value to homes. 

     

    This was a closet that was turned into a library with shelves. I removed one of the cabinets and added a chair and identified this space as a cozy, small, but efficient office. Creating these kind of suggestions for home buyers is what home staging is supposed to achieve. My approach is always to define every corner of the house and give it a function if possible. A library would have been fine for this space, but a working space is even more valuable.

     

     

    Remember, you are selling ALL of the square footage of your home and you will add VALUE to your home by creating and identifying all of these “forgotten spaces”.

     

  • Queen Anne House, Staged &SOLD!

    Recently, we staged a home in the Queen Anne area, which is one of the most sought after neighborhoods in Seattle.  This particular house was mid-centry and had beautiful windows with lovely territorial views. 

    The home owners loved the views so much, that they had put two chairs in front of the window to sit on for when they wanted to relax with their cup of coffee. One of the homeowners told me, “Who needs a TV, when you have this view?” I had to agree.

    Before, this Queen Anne house living room was painted in a very dark blue with numerous massive wall arts.

    The walls were painted in a very dark blue color and was decorated with very large pieces of art. This, coupled with big brown leather sectional, made the room look smaller and darker. In order to showcase the big windows and the amazing amount of natural light, we had to bring the light in the house.

    The homeowners for this house, understood that design to sell is different than design to live in. They were motivated home sellers and agreed to change the wall colors and  allowed us to redesign their home and bring in some of the missing pieces.

    We choose Balboa Mist OC-27 paint color by Benjamin Moore. This is a very beautiful light grey color and we knew it will work beautifully with the dark brown leather sectional. We also choose two of their own paintings for above the sofa to replace the existing ones.

    After staging, the fireplace and the beautiful built-ins became the focal points of this room.

    Obviously, we took the same approach to the dining room, which was adjacent to the living room. We edited the wall art and furniture pieces.  This opened up the room and created a clear and spacious pathway to the kitchen. 

    The dining room of this Queen Anne home had too much furniture and the patterned wall painting was a distraction.
    After staging, the dining room appears larger and more inviting for the home buyers.

     Of course we wanted to showcase the big living room window and the views without blocking them. By bringing a long and narrow ottoman we were able to showcase both aspects and suggest a sitting area, like the homeowners had created for themselves.

    Beautiful windows and views of Queen Anne

    This house was sold in two weeks and I know that the new buyers will enjoy living in this house as much as the current homeowners did. We very much enjoyed working with these motivated home sellers.

     

  • How To Choose A Qualified Home Stager

    You’re planning to put your home on the market and want to hire a home stager. Then you should keep few points in mind, when it comes to choosing a qualified home stager.

    Seattle homes for saleFirst of all, you should call about three different home stagers and ask them to view your property. Getting a price over the phone doesn’t give you any important information. You should NOT compare prices with prices only. Have you heard that old saying that you get what you paid for? Well it is true. Make sure to compare value with value.  Warren Buffet said it perfectly, “Price is what you pay and value is what you get.”  A cheaper price tag doesn’t mean that you are getting more value for your money and a higher price tag doesn’t mean you will get the best finished product either. Compare quality and detail of the work. Some home stagers provide a detail proposal, while others don’t. Do your homework.

    seattle home staging
    When interviewing home stagers, you should be asking the right questions and comparing the quality of work?

     Here are some helpful questions and hints that will help you to choose the a qulaified home stager:

    • Are they knowlegeable of the real estate market? Knowing the right audience and staging for this group is super essential.
    • What is their experience in working with agents?
    • Does the person looks orangized and relaxed?
    • Does this person seem knowledgeable and confident in providing information and in answering your questions?
    • Does this person listens to you, and I mean REALLY listen to you?
    • Not all home sales are for happy reasons, does this person seems sensitive in delicate situations. 
    • Does this person understands your needs and what is important to YOU?
    • Ask to see their portfolio or check out their gallery page on their website. Look at the work they have done. Does it look appealing and professional? Does their work includes a varitey of styles. The pictures should be of the work that they have personally done – not stock photos.
    • Ask questions such as why they chose the furniture and wall art that they did. Can they explain to you why they choose the items that they picked? This matters, because thoughtful design are harder to carryout and they produce the best results. 
    • Does this person have any testimonials from reliable sources? You can just type their name or company name with the word reviews into your search engine for an Internet search. You can also ask them for references but that may not be as reliable as the reviews on the Internet.
    • Perform a Google search on the stager and the company. Finding published articles, blogs, reviews by realtors , negative comments, may help you decide if this is a qualified home stager  you want to hire or should work with.
    • Ask to see a list of homes in a similar price range as yours that they have staged. If your home has a much higher value than what they have experience working with, this might not be the right company for you to work with.
    • What kind of insurance this home staging company carries and does it cover any damages that might occur during the installation, such as wood floor damages.
    There is no formal organization for rating or monitoring the performance of stagers; nor are there any credentials that let you know that they have completed a required level of training other than becoming accredited by completing a short two day course. RESA-Pro is the closest affiliation that ensures you are working with a professional home staging company. In order to have a RESA-Pro designation, a stager has to have been in the business for five years or more and he/she has to provide the proof of business insurance. In short, accreditation tells you little. Their work however, speaks VOLUMES. 
    seattle home stager
    Hiring and working with a qualified home stager is an investment.
     
     
     
     
    Congratulations on being an educated home seller and knowing the value of hiring a well qualified professional home stager. This investment will get you closer to your sales goal.