Blog

  • What Kind Of Home Seller Are You?

    best results for selling homes

    After years of being in the home staging business (since 2005) and meeting with countless of homeowners, we can easily identify what types of home-sellers/clients we work with.  Usually, the buyers fall into three groups, however some are intermixed between groups while others who travel from one group to another.

    As home stagers, we work hard to educate our clients and help them see and understand that we are their partners. We want them to get the most ROI of the sell of their homes. The key to communicating this point effectively is to know what kind of home-sellers we are dealing with. We understand that not everyone sells a house for happy reasons, and we strive to meet our clients where they are and to help them become more informed and savvy home-sellers.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. 

  • Cedar Park Neighborhood Contemporary Home Sitting On The Hill

    Cedar Park is one of those lush and quaint neighborhoods in Seattle, WA that everyone loves. This particular house in Cedar Park sits on the top of the hill overlooking Lake Washington and the Cascade mountains. 

    As you can see, this house is nestled among trees on the hill top. This means views of Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains without ANY obstruction AND lots of privacy. Do you see these big windows? This translates into natural LIGHT and lots of it.  The large deck off the kitchen is a wonderful outdoor space for dining and entertaining. 

    Cedar Park house staged with the views of the lake
    This is what I mean about living in a lush neighborhood on top of the hill.

    Now look at the windows from the inside. The vaulted ceiling and the super large windows capture the amazing views from this home. In addition this allows the inside of the house to have a relationship with the outside and this creates a larger setting. 

    When we saw this house for the first time, we knew that our staging needs to be minimal, since the views were the main focal point of the house and we didn’t want anything to distract from that. 

    Cedar Park house for sale staged by seattle staged to sell
    Vaulted ceilings and giant windows bring in lots of natural light into this home.

    Another wonderful feature of this Cedar Park house were the two fireplaces. It is lucky for most home owners to just have one fireplace, but two fireplaces is just a very special treat. I could easily imagine myself sitting by the fire, enjoying the beautiful view, and sipping on my tea. Since Seattle has a milder temperature, this means that new home owners could do just this about 9 months out of the year. 

    Cedar Park House staged by Seattle Staged To Sell
    This house offers two fireplaces, one on each floor.

    Can you see the amazing views from this kitchen? The panoramic views makes washing dishes in this kitchen a pleasure and not a chore. This on its own is priceless. Unique features like this is what makes Cedar Park neighborhood homes so popular. 

    Staged Cedar Park House
    Views of the kitchen

    Who wouldn’t like to wake up every morning with the eastern light? This turns every day into a great day. It is easy to stay in the bed on Sundays with the newspaper and a cup of coffee when you have views of the mountains from your bedroom. 

    staged home in Cedar Park neighborhood of seattle
    Good Morning!

    As Seattle home stagers, we get to stage many wonderful homes in different neighborhoods. This Cedar Park home is a perfect example of this and we know that the next home owners will enjoy living in this home and entertaining their friends and families for the years and seasons to come. 

    This house is listed by Redfin and the MLS number is: 411677.

  • 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!

     

  • Another Seattle Home Staged & SOLD In ONE Day

    There are LOTS of aspects about my home staging business, that I love. But three of them stand out above all the rest. First, I get to meet some amazing people that I would not have otherwise. Second, I come across so many unusual homes and neighborhoods that I would not have seen if I was not a Seattle based home stager. Third, I get to see homes transformed before the FOR SALE sign goes up.  This is just delightful! 

    This particular home on Dearborn Ave South is a good example. When I met with the homeowners of this rental property, Eric and Courtney, it was as though I had known them forever. Right away, we connected and had so much fun walking through their house and hearing stories of how they used different spaces and about the fun parties they had shared with their family and friends. This home was totally a four-season entertainment home. I knew right away, that we need to convey this to the potential buyers.

    Michael Ackerman, the listing agent, and I were getting so excited as we were discussing our home staging strategies. Michael is one of our amazing and inspiring  ideal clients. After working with each other for so long, we know how to work together to produce the best results for our clients. Right away, we knew what needed to be done to transform this Seattle home and get the greatest ROI for our clients.

    Seattle Staged Home On Dearborn Ave South

    Another charming FOR SALE Seattle home was successfully staged, transformed, and ready for the market. After the repairs and home staging were complete, Michael Ackerman felt that the house should be priced higher than the initial estimate since it was now a different and improved product.

    When you are planning to put your home on the market, keep the big picture in mind. Follow the advice of your realtor and home stager and come onto the market when you have transformed your home and it is ready. It takes more effort to sell homes successfully, especially these days, when home buyers are looking on the internet to find their homes. According to 2011 HomeGain – you will get your money back and then some!

     

  • 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. 

     

  • 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!

  • 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.