Staging Archives - Jen Libutti Homes

Category Archives for Staging

Consider Upgrading Before You List

Most people have wandered through new home developments and wished their own home looked as modern and chic.  Model homes showcase the latest upgrades and decorating trends.  For home sellers these homes are their competition, and it can feel daunting to offer an older floorplan and design.

While it might seem like a smart idea to simply offer a buyer credit and list, there are downsides to this plan, and taking the time to update a bit on your own first could mean thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars in your pocket.

Here are a few reasons why offering a credit might not be the best strategy:

• Buyer Impression – A dated home looks old and not all buyers can see the potential.

• Lower Offers – Offering a credit could be viewed as high seller motivation, resulting inlower offers.

• Value Differences – You and your buyer might disagree on the value of needed upgrades. For example, you might feel $7,500 is a fair cost for a new countertop whereas your buyers might expect considerably more; this can lead to more negotiations and lower sales price.

• Home Condition – A property that shows its age can prompt the buyer to worry about the overall condition.

• Loan Approval – Lenders are wary of buyer credits; in fact, upgrade credits are no longer possible. You might have a buyer unable to take advantage of the credit at all and you could lose the buyer.

Home design trends change quickly.  If you’re ready to sell, it could be tempting just to list your home in its current condition.  Before you just add a credit to the listing, consider some simple updating so your buyers can see the value of your home.

Thinking of Selling??

Let us help you determine which upgrades will yield the highest returns on your investment!

Schedule your FREE Home Marketing Strategy Session today!

Buying an Eco Friendly Home

More and more homebuyers are searching for homes that offer better energy efficiency and use sustainable materials.  Eco-friendly homes not only help the environment but can mean significant savings in energy and maintenance costs.  As more home builders consider the environmental impact of their housing developments, finding an eco-friendly home is easier than ever before.

Here are a few things to look for when searching for a greener home.

• Nature Use – When searching for an eco-friendly home, notice the use of trees and other landscaping to save energy by blocking sun and wind—lowering air conditioning and heating costs by adding a natural barrier.

• Window Quality – Homebuyers should notice not only the quality of the windows but the placement as well. Are they placed to take advantage of the sun during the winter yet glazed to prevent summer heat?

• Building Materials – Natural materials are not only beautiful but also offer sustainability and lower maintenance costs. For example, cedar-plank siding is resistant to both water and pests, which makes it stronger and longer-lasting than other options; natural stone for counters and floors adds a modern touch, is easy to clean and lasts for years.

• Floorplan – Recent changes in home design trends are turning floorplans upside down—literally. Look for homes with living spaces on the top floor, which can take better advantage of natural light while keeping the lower-level bedrooms cooler and more peaceful.  Sustainable building designs and materials are becoming more common.

Homebuyers can find newer homes, as well as remodels, taking advantage of these trends. Buying an energy efficient, eco-friendly home can provide a beautiful lifestyle and save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of ownership.

Ready to Schedule Your FREE Buyer Strategy Session??

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Paint Colors that Sell…and Those that Don’t

Did you know that choosing the wrong paint color could cost you money when you sell your home?  The most impactful rooms, in particular, are the bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms and living room.  

In fact, according to a Zillow analysis, homes painted light gray or light bluish gray will sell for $5,440 more than other homes*.  The reason for this is that colors dictate emotions and feelings, and blue specifically feels very soothing and brings a sense of calm to a room. 

Benjamin Moore | Popular Blues

BM Breath of Fresh Air 806

BM Mt Rainier Gray 2129

Gray is a great neutral to use, and one of my favorites is Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore.  It isn’t too “cold” feeling, as is typically a perception of gray interior paint.  Edgecomb Gray in particular is a wonderful "Greige" color & great for rooms with warmer, beige finishes.  Revere Pewter is also very popular, but it is slightly darker than Edgecomb Gray.  One popular paint color worth mentioning, although not featured here, is Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams.  It is a very comparable color to BM's Edgecomb Gray & Revere Pewter.  It is quite popular among home stagers and real estate Fix & Flippers as it appeals to a very large pool of potential buyers.

Benjamin Moore | Popular Grays

BM Silver Satin OC-26

BM Edgecomb Gray HC-173

In contrast, according to the same Zillow analysis, painting with colors like Red, Gold or Terra Cotta can actually cost you money when you sell.  On average the amount lost was about $2,000*.  These colors are considered to be harsh, homeowners tire of them quickly and are considered to be dated.  To be clear, houses that feature these colors will probably sell - but the majority of today's buyers will likely value houses less than those painted using colors more in line with colors featured above.  This could cost you time and/or money when selling.  Here are some examples.

BM Baked Terra Cotta 1202

BM Marblehead Gold HC-11

Finally, according to Zillow, the most costly wall color when selling is white.  On average, these homes sold for about $4,000 less than other homes*.  You would think the color white would be a very safe color, as well as a color that would make rooms appear to be larger.  However, just the opposite is true.  When using white, typically the room should be a larger room – contrary to popular belief, small rooms do well when painted darker colors – but also more importantly, the room needs to have SUBSTANTIAL natural light pouring into it since white is reflective.  Additionally, the furnishings and accessories used inside an all-white room must have a lot of texture and even occasional pops of bright colors to bring interest to the room.  Here are some examples of white rooms.

White Done Wrong
White Done Right!

Painting is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to prepare your home for the market.  Hiring a home stager or a certified color consultant to help you select appropriate paint colors for your home can help you maximize the return on your investment, and potentially save you money by helping you avoid selecting the wrong paint color and ultimately having to repaint.

*Zillow savings are based on average around the U.S.  In South Orange County, CA, the average savings is about double those cited by Zillow.

For the full Zillow analysis/article, please click here.

Schedule a Color Consultation Today!

Preparing To Sell During Quarantine

So now that you’re stuck indoors for the foreseeable future, you may be wondering how you are going to fill your time. If you have plans, or are just considering, putting your house on the market when this is all over, now is the best time to get it ready! What better way to pass the hours and be productive than preparing your house for sale? While some checklist items may be obvious, there may be a few to-do list boxes you aren’t sure you need to check. Here is a list for you to get your house ready for sale!

Start Outside

If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere having nice spring weather right now, take advantage of being outdoors without breaking any local rules. In most cases, you are permitted to enjoy the sunshine on your own property, so now is the best time to spruce up the outside. If you have a power washer, clean your siding and any sidewalks or driveways attached to your home. Boost your curb appeal by mowing the lawn, touching up any landscaping work.

Make Repairs

Take care of whatever repairs you can that don’t require an unnecessary trip to the store. Swap out old lightbulbs, fix that window that keeps jamming shut, and patch up any dents or scrapes on your indoor walls.  If there are repairs you need to make that require a trip to the store and you are comfortable doing so, make a list of the necessary materials and try to limit the amount of trips you need to make, wear a mask and perhaps gloves and finally be sure to wash/sanitize your hands before and after you go*

*Leaving your home to buy materials to fix repairs should be done @ your own risk and only if you have a level of comfort in doing so.  If this is not possible, stick to repairs you can make that does not require leaving your home.

Increase Curb Appeal

If you have any paint on hand, or will be venturing out to the store and can get some, give your front door a fresh coat, add a new floor mat (ordered online!) and perhaps a plant for your front porch to make your home feel approachable. If a potential buyer doesn’t feel welcome approaching your home, they likely won’t want to live in it.

Declutter the Home

This is the best time to realize how much you actually use items in your home. If you’ve been stuck indoors for several weeks and you still haven’t used an item, add it to your donate or toss pile. Not only is this great to help prepare for sale, but it will help your mental health while you are stuck inside. Clearing clutter is extremely beneficial for many reasons, and it will make your move that much easier.

Clean & Organize

After you’ve decluttered, it is time to clean and organize. When someone tours your home, they want to feel like it can be theirs. If your home is scattered with items and there is barely room to walk around, it will be hard for them to picture themselves living there. Having your items cleaned and organized will also help you when it is time to pack and move on!

Eliminate Odors

You are probably craving fresh air anyway, so why not spend those sunny days with every window in the house wide open! This will help eliminate any residual odors you aren’t aware of and it can help keep air flowing while you are using chemical products to deep clean your home. 

Right now is the PERFECT time to start preparing your home for the market - for more thorough recommendations on how to add value to your home and position you in the best light to achieve TOP DOLLAR for your home, click here to contact me or here to schedule a virtual consultation!

Increase Your Curb Appeal

If you’re preparing to sell your home, curb appeal should be a priority. When someone is walking by or coming to your open house, the outside of your home is the first thing they will see. If there is no curb appeal, potential buyers may never even set foot in your home. Instead of ignoring your home’s outdoor appearance, consider making some budget-friendly changes that can add appeal to your home without breaking the bank. 

1. Landscape Your Walkway

Create a smooth transition from the street to your front door. A clear path will allow a potential buyer’s eye to look straight to your home, rather than stopping to concentrate on unkept landscaping. Clean your walkway and create groupings of mid-size shrubby and florals close to the road and by your front door.

2. Hang a Wreath

Adding a wreath to your front door is a simple way to make your home look more welcoming. Consider a DIY wreath that is easy to create and cost-friendly.

3. Treat Your Lawn Better

Consistent upkeep is the best way to save money when it comes to your front lawn. You should apply a weed-and-feed treatment to your lawn as often as needed to supply the necessary nutrients while also killing off any weeds. Be sure to provide proper maintenance to your lawn mower and keep your mower blade sharp.

4. Add Porch Appeal

If you have a front porch, add an affordable outdoor furniture set. This can create an inviting space that will make potential buyers want to try it out!

5. Consider Color Accents

If your door or shutters need a fresh paint job, consider finding an accent color that will help your house pop. It doesn’t have to be extreme, just enough to catch the eye of a potential buyer. Be sure to test your paint color alongside your siding or brick before fully committing.

6. Restore Your Driveway

Your driveway can be a major eyesore if it isn’t taken care of. Fill any holes or cracks in your asphalt and apply a fresh sealer. A driveway that looks new is sure to help your curb appeal.

7. Power Wash Your Home

Sometimes, all your home needs is a good cleaning. If you don’t own power washer, rent one from your local home improvement store and take a weekend to power wash your entire exterior. Even if your home is relatively new, a deep cleaning can make it look like a new build. 

Simple Tips For Sprucing Up Your Home

You don't need thousands of dollars to fully refurbish your home to make it feel like new again. Instead, you can DIY a lot of features in your house to help spruce it up for the upcoming season. Whether you plan to sell your home, have guests over, or are just tired of how drab it's been feeling lately, here are a few tips and tricks you can use to refresh your space...

CLEAN + DECLUTTER

Throw out all of the junk taking up space! You'd be surprised by how much more you'll fall back in love with your home when you take out the collection of accumulated stuff that has piled up over the years and finally get to see your home's features for what they are. Store what you don't need/use in either the attic, basement, or in a storage unit. After you've decluttered, be sure to finish it off by cleaning your home. Clean windows, walls, and the floors for the best results. 

BRING IN NATURAL LIGHT

Do you have heavy curtains covering your windows? Bring them down! Not only will this make your space feel bigger by removing stuff off the walls, it'll also feel alive again with all of the natural light that pours in. 

ADD FRESH PAINT & COLOR

Nothing refreshes a home like a new coat of paint. If you have dark dull colors, opt for lighter tones. Covering up stains on the walls, or drab old paint, can help your house feel brand new all over again.  Although neutral colors are always recommended as the base of any home decor, don't be afraid to compliment your neutrals with a pop of color. You can add it throughout the home by using flowers, pillows, decor, or even light curtains that are staged on the sides of your windows.  By the way, Color Consults are one of my areas of expertise, so I can help you select the perfect color for your favorite spaces!

ADD TILE

Consider adding a tile backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get beautiful results. Be sure you get tiles that compliment the colors in the space, so it doesn't clash and look unappealing.

CHANGE OUT FIXTURES + HARDWARE

You'd be surprised by how much more a kitchen can look different just by replacing the hardware on the cabinets. A bathroom or living room can come alive again by installing a brand new light fixture. If you moved into a place that still has the same stock hardware or fixtures, replace them and add a little creativity with the new pieces you have installed. 

REARRANGE FURNITURE

Head to Pinterest and get inspired for new living room, bedroom, or dining room arrangements. Most homeowners decorate "incorrectly" when it comes to standard staging rules. View a variety of furniture set-ups on social media and let it motivate you to rearrange your space. You don't have to buy a bunch of new furniture to make a drastic change.

5 Reasons to Stage Your Home Before Buyers Visit

Sellers seem to have mixed reactions when they hear the word “staging.” Some go all-in, while others are somewhat resistant to the idea. The more reluctant homeowners ask questions like: Why would anyone bother staging a home before selling it? It sounds like a lot of extra work for me. What do I get out of it?

There’s a simple answer to these questions. By staging your home effectively, you have a better chance of selling it quickly and for the highest possible price. This alone should be enough to motivate even the most reluctant seller.

But those aren’t the only reasons to stage your home before inviting buyers for a visit. Here’s a more complete list of benefits…

1. Staging forces you to de-clutter and organize the home.

Clearing away shelves, cabinets and closets is a big part of the home staging process. It also helps with the moving process, because you’ll have to pack things away at some point anyway. So when you stage your home, you will also be giving yourself a good head start on the packing and moving process (in addition to making it seem more spacious).

2. Staging requires you to think like a home buyer, and that’s a good thing.

When you set out to stage your home for the market, you’ll be viewing the property as if you were a buyer and not the actual owner. You’ll be thinking about the home more objectively, with less personal attachment. Adopting this kind of mindset early on will help you in many ways, from marketing to negotiating.

3. Staging increases the likelihood of a quick sale.

When listing your home for sale, you’ll want to do everything in your power to increase the chance of a quick sale. Because let’s face it, having your home on the market isn’t very much fun. It can be invasive and inconvenient. Anyone who has sold a home in the past can attest to this fact. So the less time your house is on the market, the better. Besides, you probably have a timeline for your move, your next residence, etc. Home staging can give you an extra edge in selling the home quickly.

4. Staging helps to justify the asking price.

If you are in a seller’s market, and you price your home correctly, you probably won’t have to go back and forth negotiating over the asking price. You’ll get offers soon enough. But in a market that leans toward the buyer, you need everything in your favor to get top dollar. When done right, staging can help you justify the asking price by positioning the home more favorably in the buyer’s mind. And even if you are in a seller’s market, you still want to earn the best possible price. So stage away!

5. Staging can actually be fun!

At first, home staging might sound like “all work and no play.” De-cluttering, painting, strategic furniture placement — all of these things require some effort on your part. You’ll have to roll up your sleeves and put in some elbow grease. But staging a home can be a creative process as well, and many people find they enjoy it once they’ve begun. Put on your amateur decorator hat, and have some fun.

If you’re thinking of selling, contact me today!

The Benefits of Staging When Selling a Home

Seller’s market conditions persist in cities across the country, as inventory continues to fall short of demand. Under these kinds of conditions, sellers typically enjoy competing offers from buyers.

But that doesn’t mean sellers should skimp on the home staging. By staging your house for buyers, you can increase the chance for a quick sale and a full-price offer. And those are good things!

What Is Home Staging?

Home staging is when you take proactive steps to make your house more appealing to the majority of buyers. “Majority” is the key word here. Some people will dislike a certain property no matter what kind of staging is done. Taste is subjective, after all. But there are certain steps you can take to make your property appeal to the majority of potential buyers. And that’s precisely what home staging is all about.

The staging process can include such things as:

* Landscaping the yard, when applicable
* Painting the inside and/or outside of the house
* Replacing outdated fixtures with modern ones
* Arranging, adding, or removing furniture to maximize space
* De-cluttering the entire house
* Cleaning the house thoroughly from top to bottom

In some cases, these kinds of actions might be unnecessary or even cost-prohibitive. For example, a new or recently updated home with modern fixtures won’t require any new knobs, sink handles, or light fixtures. But an older home with outdated fixtures might need extra attention (unless the fixtures are antiques that add charm).

What’s the Point?

Now you know what home staging is, and what it involves. But what’s the point? What can you get out of it, as a home seller?

As a seller, your mission is to sell your house as quickly as possible, and for the best possible price. Staging can help you achieve these goals, and in several ways. It creates aesthetic value, which helps to support your asking price. It presents your home in the best possible light, which will make buyers more inclined to make an offer.

Above all, effective home staging helps you set your house apart from others that are listed for sale in the area. This is especially important in a crowded market with many similar properties for sale.

When buyers look at a well-staged home, they tend to say things like:

  • “I got a great vibe from that house.”
  • “I didn’t want to leave.”
  • “I could see myself living there.”
  • “The owners have taken good care of that house.”
  • “It seems nicer than the other homes we’ve looked at.”

This is the kind of mindset that can lead to an offer.

Home staging allows you to create a favorable impression in the mind of potential buyers. And these kinds of impressions tend to “accumulate” as the buyer moves through the home. So if you stack enough of them in your favor, you’ll have a much better chance of landing a strong offer. And that’s your primary goal as a seller.

If you are interested in buying or selling your home, contact me!

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