It is time to do the Fall Home Maintenance Checklist necessary to get your home ready for winter. Be certain to turn off your hose bibs and perform the other household chores listed below around Halloween time, enjoy the treat of a nice smooth transition into winter rather than the trick to dealing with clogged downspouts and frozen pipes when the weather gets colder.
Fall Home Maintenance Checklist
Turn off your house bibs. Locate the outside hose spigot and the corresponding inside area where the pipe comes into the house, most of the time that will be in the basement. Follow the pipe and turn the water supply off by turning the knob to the left or if the turn- off is a lever- pulling the lever to be perpendicular (across it) to the pipe. Then go outside and turn on the hose spigot, water will drain out of the pipe. Go back inside and armed with a cup- loosen the small metal nut next to the turn off handle, water will dribble out into the cup and replace the nut. Repeat with other hose bibs, and you have winterized your outside plumbing!
Clear out your gutters. You can get a ladder and do it yourself or hire a handyman. Cleaning the gutters will prevent ice blockages and water seeping into the house or pulling the gutters off and causing other damage.
Change your furnace filter. This should be done monthly or quarterly depending on the type of filter you install. Also consider having the HVAC system annually services at this time.
Rake the leaves on the yard and mulch. You and your neighbors will appreciate a tidy lawn even when the landscape is barren.
Replace outside lightbulbs. No one wants to get on a ladder in freezing temperatures and winter brings shorter days, you will thank yourself for the exterior lighting when you really need it.
Change the battery in your smoke detectors. Winter is a time of fireplaces, candles and light decorations, take precautions.
Plant the last bulbs in your yard. You will be delighted by the fresh colors and beauty in the spring for the work you did in the fall.
In a strong market, if a home is priced right and shows well, it should sell within the first six weeks. If it doesn’t, many sellers become frustrated, especially if their agent begins pushing for a price reduction. The seller may think the agent just wants a quick sale, but the agent sincerely wants to help the seller get action. Agents understand that a listing loses momentum and excitement soon after being listed. Buyers will think of a home as stale, tired, or flawed if it sits on the market too long. Agents and buyers alike will view the stale listing as a problem home- and wonder why it has sat and often will be overlooked and not shown. It is important to price your home right for your best financial outcome.
If your home is not generating offers, there are ways to get more action.
Home Condition, Updates and Price
You can’t change your home’s location, but you do have some control over the other two important buyer considerations. If the home is still sitting on the market after a couple of months, and especially if it has had no showings or offers, you need to look at the price and the condition. The most activity a new listing will receive happens in the first two weeks, and sellers are likely to get the best price at that time.
You have two big choices to make if you are ready to sell. The first is to take the home off the market and make some changes, such as more staging, de-cluttering, and altering the look of the kitchens and bathrooms.
If you are unwilling or unable to make the needed changes to the home, the other option is to reduce the price. Even if your house is the absolute best home in the neighborhood but the setting is not private or on a busy road , the only option will be to drop the price.
Make sure you and your agent are on the same page
Your agent is a professional and has experience and knowledge that will benefit you, however, you are the home owner and all decisions are ultimately yours. If you and your agent don’t see eye-to-eye on the pricing or sales strategy prior to listing, it might be time to find another agent. While it is your job to prepare your home for the day it becomes “active” on the listing service and internet, it is the agents job to be completely prepared as well. Your agent should be very clear about the service and timeline you should expect. The agent should research and the homework regarding sold homes prices, days on market for similar homes and the difference in upgrades, updates and condition between your home and others that are on the market now or have recently sold. You should be consulted on when your home will be photographed, what marketing will be done and where it will appear, open houses, brochures, and plans for the sign post. Your agent should diligently follow up will all agents who have showed the house and all interested parties.
Discuss your intentions and plan with your agent upfront, and listen to her feedback. Reducing the listed price may be necessary- but you will have to see firsthand how the market works in your neighborhood. Listen to the feedback your agent is gathering and reporting to you, and take action to address repeated criticisms.
It is so important to work with an agent who is understands the area market and will work with your strategy and can help you adapt to sell your home for the best price.
First impressions mean everything — especially when it comes to viewing a potential home. As visual beings, a cluttered space or a jarring wall color can be enough to make us turn around and walk out the door.
Successfully staged spaces provide two effects: they give a home an aesthetic appeal, and offer buyers an opportunity to dream themselves into the space.
If there’s one thing professional stagers know about designing spaces that appeal to buyers, it’s the art of selecting great decor pieces while utilizing space. The goal is making the most positive impact.
Here are five helpful staging tips a professional interior designer used to turn a listing into a sold home in no time.
Know your audience
Staging is less about your personal style, and all about the buyer or renter you’re trying to attract. You must always know your audience in order to create a successful staging design.
Discuss this matter with the broker, and research the neighborhood to understand the demographic that will be looking to purchase or rent your home.
Pack up the photos first
You want the potential buyer or renter to be able to envision themselves living in the space, but that’s a bit difficult when someone else’s family photos line the walls. Put all family photos away in a safe place to allow room for visitors to imagine themselves in the space.
Don’t be afraid of trends
While it’s true that some trends have a short lifespan, in staging the risk may be worth it. The timeline for renting or selling is typically short enough for design trends to thrive while a home is on the market.
So, if you’re itching to try out all the Mediterranean Santorini blue accents popping up lately, go for it. Trendy designs and colors will give the home a current, fresh look.
A little color goes a long way
The goal in staging is to enhance a space, not distract from it. Usually a safe bet is to create a neutral space that any person, regardless of their taste, can appreciate. Bold colors and daring decor could be loved by some and loathed by others.
For instance, walking into an overwhelming yellow bedroom can make potential buyers forget all about those beautiful marble counters in your kitchen. The last thing you want is for buyers to remember your staged space as “the one with that tacky yellow room.”
That said, you shouldn’t be afraid of color. A trendy color applied in a tasteful way could leave buyers referring to the home as “the one with the gorgeous teal wall.”
Show how livable the space is
The most important reason for staging is to show the full potential of how a space can be used. You should try to bring in as many functional pieces as possible while not overcrowding the space.
Steer clear of oversized or bulky furniture. Details like this make a space feel cluttered and dysfunctional. Opt for full size beds with two night stands, armless side chairs, lifted case goods and round, pedestal-base tables.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to complete the picture. Even if you think a dining table crowds the space, at least show a two-seat dining set, as it’s more important to show that it could work than leave it out entirely.
The final thing to keep in mind is that staging doesn’t have to break the bank. Be creative and consider DIY options when you’re designing your space. In most cases, just keep these tips in mind and remember: Less is more. A few simple changes and you’ll be on your way to a space that other people are eager to live in.
Photos courtesy of Rayon Richards Photography. BY ZILLOW
If you’ve never seen the work of professional stagers—those magical designer/decorators charged with making your house more marketable—prepare to be mystified, enthralled, and maybe a bit scared.
Did we say “scared”? Prepping your home for getting the best offer possible means removing every shred of your personality from rooms, walls, floors, and ceilings so that potential buyers can imagine themselves in your place. Stagers favor neutral walls, simple layouts, and minimal artwork. (No purple living rooms or gallery wall allowed!)
“There’s a big difference between designing for someone’s tastes and remerchandizing a home to appeal to as many people as possible,” says Kathy Burke of Sensational Home Staging in Danville, CA. Getting it right is a critical and enigmatic art. Don’t panic! We got some stagers to reveal their secrets to help you navigate the process.
1. Don’t take it personally
We know you love the way you set up your living room. That eclectic collection of wicker baskets from all your European travels stacked up in the corner? It’s the perfect detail for you—but not for your stager. Not even close. Home stagers wish you knew- a little goes a long way.
So here’s the thing: When they tell you what to change (and they absolutely will), don’t be offended. It doesn’t mean they think your style is awful. Not necessarily, anyway.
“It’s not about whether I like something or not,” Burke says. “It’s about how we’re going to present it. I know what photographs well and what looks dated.”
Her favorite clients are the ones who know tough feedback is coming and don’t care: “I walk in and they say, ‘You can’t hurt my feelings. Do whatever you want.’”
2. Toss your stuff, and disconnect emotionally
For many sellers, home staging will be the first time they realize they’re really, actuallymoving. Family pictures come down, the sofa goes into storage, and suddenly this place you called yours is looking less and less like you.
If you need to do some emotional processing, we understand: It’s hard to put your family home on the market. But don’t subject your stager to your stress. Detach. Chill out. Help the process, don’t hinder or fight it. Keep your eye on the prize: selling your home at the right price, to the right buyers, within the right time frame.
What does that really mean? Try removing as much of your stuff as possible before the stager comes. By tackling spring cleaning you’ll not only accomplish some necessary decluttering before your move, but you’ll also get used to the idea that this is no longer your home.
“We need to make sure that they’re truly ready to sell their house,” says David Peterson of Synergy Staging based in Portland, OR. “That’s a big part of emotionally disconnecting.”
3. Move out (if you can)
Both Peterson and Burke find staging a home vastly easier when it’s vacant. If you can afford to move out when the home goes on the market, do it.
“It’s easier for them, it’s easier on their pets, and it’s easier on the buyer,” Burke says. “We can create one cohesive look and don’t have to blend anything.”
Occupied houses present more of a challenge (and take substantially more time): Stagers have to accommodate daily living, as well as risk the homeowner not preserving their layout (or any rented furniture).
Occupied homes can even cost more to stage. “It’s just a lot more work, timewise, when the owners are still living in the place,” Burke says.
“Much of what I’m doing is to appeal to people through photographs,” Burke says. “I hope that photo will touch people and they’ll say, ‘That’s going on my short list.’”
Peterson aims to be the “last person in before the photographers. We want those pictures to look great.”
But no one wants the buyers to be disappointed with the home’s real-life presentation after seeing photos online. So here’s a bonus: If you’re staying in the property, make sure to keep it in tiptop shape.
5. Get your money’s worth
Staging isn’t a last-minute addition before your home officially goes on the market. Stagers work far in advance and can’t always fit in last-minute work. Costs start around $1,250, depending on your state of residence, square footage, and what—if any—furniture you rent, according to the Real Estate Staging Association.
That might seem like a lot of money to spend on a home you’re about to sell, but both Burke and Peterson say staging is an investment with a very high return. “Anything we put in, we want to make sure you’re getting your money back,” Burke says.
6. Stay on schedule
Don’t dillydally on making the recommended changes for your stager, who can’t begin rearranging until you’ve finished renovating. Usually the requested changes are small (new paint, fixing chipped tiles in the bathroom, etc.).
Not finishing small jobs on time can push the entire project back.
“If we get there and a place hasn’t been cleaned, or there’s still a painting crew, we can’t do our jobs. Then we have to charge them a fee, leave, and then reschedule,” Peterson says. “If we’re booked out several weeks, it really makes it hard.” And maybe even more expensive. So get moving.
There are several steps you can take to stage your home for sale — and many of them don’t cost a dime. Here are five No Cost Staging Tips you can do to prepare your home to sell.
Clean, clean, clean
The number one thing people think about while in a home is whether or not they believe it is clean. A home that is absolutely pristine presents as well cared for.
Clean all windows inside and out. Dust all door frames, light fixtures, ceiling fans and blinds. Don’t leave a single spot in your home untouched. Potential buyers look everywhere, so make sure the entire home is clean.
Depersonalize the house
Pack up almost all personal photos and family keepsakes. If you have a great photo of your family enjoying a camping trip or other family activity, you can leave it out on display if your home is being marketed to families. This one family photo plants a seed of happiness in a buyer’s mind, making them think how happy their own family could be living in the home.
All other photos, portraits and keepsakes must be packed away out of view — and ideally, stored outside the home. In general, family photos and keepsakes draw a buyer’s attention to your family and keep them from seeing your home as their potential home.
You’re not selling the family, you’re selling the house — so always let that be the center of attention.
Pack — and pack some more
You could probably live comfortably for a short time with about half the things you own, especially if you have lived in your home for more than a few years. We all tend to collect things. Whether we use them or not doesn’t matter, but what does matter is showcasing the space your home has to offer potential buyers. You cannot showcase rooms that are full of stuff — especially too much furniture.
Pack up as much as you can live without, then store it offsite if possible. Store packed boxes and extra furniture neatly away from living spaces no matter what. If you have to store items in the garage, make certain you leave enough room for a car.
Manicure outdoor spaces
Outdoor living is now a part of everyday life for most of us. Potential buyers will absolutely consider the outdoor spaces as critically as they do indoor spaces. If you don’t have the budget to freshen the landscape with flowers and decorative items, you can still make sure the yard is perfectly manicured.
Keep your yard watered, and cut grass to approximately 3 inches high. Any shorter takes away from the fresh green look, and any longer starts to look unkempt.
Foliage should be very neat and properly shaped to match your neighborhood. Trim the trees so that a 6-foot-tall person can easily pass under them. This makes the trees appear taller, and gives the yard a clean, tidy look.
Power wash the sidewalk, patio, deck, driveway and fence. You will be amazed what a difference this will make in the look of your home.
When showing or photographing your home for potential buyers, open every blind and curtain in your home, and turn on every light. Even the lights over the stove and inside the oven should be on. (Remember, the appliances are pristine — they need to be shown off!)
Buyers are looking for “light and bright,” not “dark and dreary,” so give them light. Help them see how clean and well cared for your home is. Don’t be afraid to move a lamp to brighten up a space if you need to. Let there be light — and lots and lots of it.
It can be a lot of work getting your house ready to sell. Even with no staging budget, you can still take the time to make a few changes that will have a profound impact on your home sale.
Once upon a time, the big bedroom investment was a complete set of furniture that matched identically in style and details. This style, says designers surveyed in the latest is decidedly out this season. The designers shared what’s popular for master bedrooms for the year to come and what designs make inviting bedrooms .
In: Coordinated furniture
Approach the bedroom like you would a living room, finding furniture that coordinates, but doesn’t necessarily match exactly.
In: Rustic, or raw wood and natural details
One of the biggest trend surprises this season is the amount of raw or natural wood — especially in pine finishes, said designer Vanessa DeLeon.
Designer Jamie Beckwith echoed DeLeon, naming “very organic materials, and rustic, lots of wood materials and mid century design” as strong fall trends.
The layer of textures — a rustic wood headboard contrasting against silky sheets and woven blankets — is what creates today’s bedroom retreat.
In: Neutral, warm colors
One of the biggest “outs” in the bedroom?
“Highly patterned bedding in the master bedroom, especially anything that comes as a “bed in a bag,” said designer Kerrie Kelly.
Rather, go for a layered, luxe look of neutrals, specifically “warm tones that are enveloping,” says designer Garrison Hullinger.
And while a “bed in a bag” may be an affordable option for a room, bedding is probably one of the areas of a master bedroom that should be splurged on.
“Since we spend at about one-third of our lives in bed,” said designer Melissa Klebanoff, “I encourage my clients to purchase the best mattress, the finest pillows and the best bedding they can buy.”
In: Modern, statement lighting
Forget basic can lights. The fall, consider adding elaborate overhead lighting in the bedroom spaces.
“All types of chandeliers, hanging fixtures and ceiling lights grace the master bedroom, often defying our ideas about height and scale,” said Klebanoff.
It’s not just statement lighting, but great lighting in general that will set the tone of a bedroom.
“Lighting may be the hardest working—and most underrated—element of your master bedroom’s design,” said Kelly. “All the fabric, color and furniture in the world sit flat and lifeless without the appropriate lighting. An ideal lighting scheme starts with natural light and supplements with ambient, task, and accent lighting.”
In: Sitting rooms, added functions
“I’m getting a lot of requests for reading nooks and seating areas in the master bedroom,” said DeLeon. “Clients love being able to have a bedroom that is multipurpose.”
Even small rooms can include this function with furniture that allows for work or relaxation. Kelly suggests finding a nightstand that offers hidden storage or pullout trays to serve as spots for books and drinks.
Despite all the room trends, ultimately a master bedroom should reflect the person or people spending time there.
“Getting the room to look and function as they desire is critical,” said Klebanoff. “Thus my clients are asked to think long term about their design choices.”
Highlight your home’s strengths, downplay its weaknesses and appeal to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers with these 5 secrets to home staging.
Bye, Bye Clutter
The most important thing you can do to prepare your home for sale is to get rid of clutter. Make a house rule that for every new item that comes in, an old one has to leave. One of the major contributors to a cluttered look is having too much furniture.
One of the things that make staged homes look so warm and welcoming is great lighting. As it turns out, many of our homes are improperly lighted. To remedy the problem, increase the wattage in your lamps and fixtures. Aim for a total of 100 watts for each 50 square feet. Don’t depend on just one or two fixtures per room, either. Make sure you have three types of lighting: ambient (general or overhead), task (pendant, under-cabinet or reading) and accent (table and wall).
There’s a common belief that rooms will feel larger and be easier to use if all the furniture is pushed against the walls, but that isn’t the case. Instead, furnish your space by floating furniture away from walls. Reposition sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groups, and place pieces so that the traffic flow in a room is obvious. Not only will this make the space more user-friendly, but it will open up the room and make it seem larger.
Make It Bigger
To make a room appear to be bigger than it is, paint it the same color as the adjacent room. If you have a small kitchen and dining room, a seamless look will make both rooms feel like one big space. And make a sunporch look bigger and more inviting by painting it green to reflect the color of nature. Another design trick: If you want to create the illusion of more space, paint the walls the same color as your drapery. It will give you a seamless and sophisticated look.
Neutral and Appealing
Painting a living room a fresh neutral color helps tone down any dated finishes in the space. Even if you were weaned on off-white walls, take a chance and test a quart of paint in a warm, neutral hue. These days, the definition of neutral extends way beyond beige, from warm tans and honeys to soft blue-greens. As for bold wall colors, they have a way of reducing offers, so go with neutrals in large spaces.