Its about being
The "hot house" on market
Its highly likely the largest transaction you’ll ever make will be the buying and selling of your home. You can stand to gain a lot, lose a lot, or break even. Real estate is market-driven, but there are things you can do to increase your likelihood of a successful sale. The 2 critical keys to understand when selling your house is 1) price it right 2) market it right. When these 2 keys are aligned correctly, you will sell your home quickly at the strongest dollar.
For today, let’s look at key #2) Market it Right. Marketing real estate is broken down into Internal and External marketing. External marketing is about the exposure the house gets to draw prospective buyers to your home for a showing. Once we get them to the showing, its the efforts of the Internal Marketing that will influence the buying decision.
Your first marketing efforts should be made on Internal marketing which is the preparation of the home and property itself. This would include repairs, upgrades, decluttering, cleaning and staging. Most people understand why repairs, decluttering and cleaning are necessary. As for staging, all things equal, 2 identical houses side-by-side, buyer’s gravitate to the staged home, and will even pay more for the identical but staged house. A staged home not only looks better than other homes on market, buyers view staged homes as “well maintained” and “move-in” ready. Professional staging creates harmony, balance and ambiance in the space, helping buyers feel at home. Dialing in on your internal marketing will help make your house the hot house.
Once your internal marketing is ready, it’s time for your Realtor to focus on External Marketing. These efforts can include conducting open houses and broker opens. Your Realtor’s networking is a critical function within this sales process. Also posting your house on MLS, Zillow, print ads and other real estate platforms are part of external marketing. Technology has made beautiful photos online critically important as today’s marketing platforms are largely online.
As you can see, staging influences the effectiveness of both internal and external marketing efforts. Rolling up your sleeves to work on reflecting your home in its best light before listing can help you maximize the dollar on your sale.
As Hilo’s staging experts, here’s our list of recommended first steps to transform your house to be the hot house of your neighborhood:
1. Start purging and packing. Buyers have a hard time seeing past Seller’s “stuff”. They can have difficulty seeing, or feeling, how a room is because their senses can be inundated with the Sellers items. It prohibits them from envisioning their own things in the room. Without them visualizing themselves living there, its harder for them to feel motivated to submit an offer. If they do submit you risk it being a lower offer than if the house was lookings its best. Start your declutter process by making a throw pile, donation pile, and packing pile in each room. Pack/purge everything you won’t wear or cook with in the next 6 months. Look at it like an extended vacation, and pack everything else except what you need for your extended vacation. Also, depersonalize your house by removing personal things like photos, diplomas and religious items as they remind Buyers they’re walking through YOUR house, not their potential home.
2. Clean, clean, clean. Nobody wants to buy somebody else’s dirt. Literally. Clean everything. Once you’ve decluttered by packing and purging, clean every crevice, every ceiling, wall, floor, window, light fixture, fan, door knob, cabinet, mirror, inside the appliances, and behind them too. Everywhere. Sidewalks. Mailboxes. Clean. No spiders, roaches, cobwebs, dust, stale odors, stains, pet stains. None of it. Clean it all. Overwhelmed? Have a cleaning party with friends, or hire a housecleaner to get it done.
Those are the two biggest, heavy hitting items above. At the very least you should do those two - albeit huge - things to prepare your house for market. Whether you do it before you list, or after, it will need to be done before the new Buyer takes possession. So you might as well receive the biggest benefit of doing it before you launch the listing since it can help shorten time on market as well as strengthen the dollar on your offer.
The next few items add the finesse to take your house to the next level:
3. Furniture placement - Keep walk pathways clear within the home and avoid placing furniture close to doorways which will make rooms feel cramped.
4. Kitchens and bathrooms - can be freshened up with new cabinet hardware and paint. Choose modern colors (greys), whites, off-whites, to appeal to target buyer demographics. You can even paint laminate countertops using melamine paint! (make sure you sand and primer, or hire a professional to do it).
5. Show off closets - by creating ample space in closets. Excess furniture, sports equipment, toys, clothing, and just “Life Stuff” should be donated, discarded or ideally boxed and stored off premises before you launch listing.
6. Windows - Consider removing curtains. Oftentimes they hold onto dust and odors. If you must have curtains, consider solid, light colored curtains to help the room appear as large as it can be. Dark colored and printed curtains will help visually shrink the room and make it feel smaller than it is.
7. Towels - Invest in “showing towels” to be used only for your showings and open houses. A great inexpensive way to make your bathroom feel fresh.
8. Bed Linens - All beds should have “show linens”. Fresh clean sheets for all beds, and simple blankets or comforters (only the keiki bedrooms can get away with busy and loud comforters). All beds should have fresh, evenly fluffy sleeping pillows (not old pillows whose batting has seen better days).
These are the basic preparations to ready your home for market and are the beginning steps of staging. No staging can be performed successfully without the first 2 steps of packing/purging and cleaning. To really wow! prospective buyers and be the hot house on that buyer’s list, consider incorporating a professional stager with your team. Professional stagers are trained to create well-balanced harmonious rooms which help the home “feel like home”, that buyer’s can aspire to. They also use color, decor and psychology to target the home’s buyer demographics, similar to Coke displaying a bottle of coke, dripping wet on a hot summer day. You can almost taste it...
Why leave money on the table? This is one of the largest transactions you’ll make. Start the steps to transform your house into the hot house, maximize your dollar and have a successful sale.
Check it out...
Here’s a challenge we did. The home was filled with seller’s items and old outdated finishes that didn’t really show off the great architectural features. The wallpaper was dated and the home had its share of deferred maintenance. We worked with the seller’s existing furniture once the purging and packing was done. Despite the deferred maintenance, great pricing coupled with beautiful staging put the home in escrow 15 days after listing.
The challenge in this before picture the living room didn't reflect the great features the home had. It just felt like a mishmash of stuff and gave little inspiration for buyers.
The solution made the space feel more open, inviting, harmonious and inspirational. The beautiful fireplace and high ceilings are beautifully shown off.
A real estate investor needed guidance choosing the finishes for a newly constructed house they were building in Hawaiian Shores, Big Island, and called us for help. They wanted to create a well-built home balanced within a competitive sales price-point. Creating a classic Hawaii home that can stand the test of time without feeling outdated within a year while providing the new home owner greater value was our objective. We worked with items that were locally stocked in Hilo yet provided gorgeous upgrades such as gas stove, beautiful deep kitchen sink, soft close cabinets, quartz countertops. The master bedroom was painted a warm luxurious grey that beckons you to unwind in. And with incredible extras such as insulation throughout the house, even the hottest days will leave you cool and comfortable.
Once the build-out was completed we were brought back to stage the home for sale. We used decor that complimented the soft elegance and great architectural features the developer built into the home. Listed at $299,000, this home gives you incredibly more for your dollar. Contact Realtor Christi Mallicoat, of RELife Realty, LLC at 808-756-2079 for more info. MLS 614449.
Bombarded with 2018 forecasts? Yes, its that time of year when everyone makes their prediction of the newest decorating fad or real estate market forecast. Speculations abound, like is Kim Jong-un courting us? (or do we believe the oops I pressed the wrong button?!)
But seriously, style agencies have been setting the trends since the early 1960's when Maïmé Arnodin started a column in Jardin des Modes, a French fashion magazine, where she featured pieces she believed would become fashionable in the next season. She unknowingly launched a whole new industry. Today, the most influential style agencies still come from France, but they take their cues from artists, historians, linguists and sociologists as they observe life around the globe and translate that to color and style. An influential color predictor is Pantone. Manufacturers rely on Pantone's color predictions, coupled with other color experts and style agencies, to guide their color selections with fabric batches from blouses to sofas, cars, curtains and drapery, flooring, tile colors, roof colors... well you get the picture. Anyone manufacturing anything wants to make their item sell fast and offer their product in the latest trend color and style. As a consumer you know that's only part of the story. Color may attract you to the product, but it has to perform well too if you're going to buy it.
Do you see how this applies to you if you're selling real estate? Knowing the current trend is important in understanding your customer, but its only one of the keys. Buying a home is typically the single largest purchase a person is likely to make and buyers want to know they're getting their money's worth. Here in Hilo, we're in the grey trend. Its easy to misunderstand what that means when decorating a home or preparing it for sale. Everyone wants to install grey floors. Paint walls grey. Grey backsplashes, grey tile.... But its a misconception that if the trend is grey, then put grey everywhere in the home. And compounding that at the stores the sales people tell you their most popular selling item is the grey thingy over there..... But good design isn't about putting in all the trendy grey things. When selling real estate its about attracting buyers. And attracting buyers for real estate means using good design coupled with the latest trends to help buyers see the homes' value.
If you're selling a home that is stuck in the brown trend, both in color and style, professional staging can help ease the feeling of an outdated home by making the home feel fresh and current. We do this utilizing good design principles coupled with balancing colors within the space.
And one more tip about real estate and the grey trend, or any future trend for that matter. Trends change. So, for the fixed elements of the home that are too expensive to replace within the next 10 years... whenever you're renovating a space and find yourself in the position to choose a new fixed element of a home (flooring, cabinetry, countertops, tile, stone work... anything built-in and fixed to the house) like a great pair of jeans choose finishes that are classic and reflect the style and era of the home instead of trendy. Buyers will love you for it and you'll love it more too.
So be like the Irish and have fun with green! But stay away from green walls unless you have a lucky leprechaun helping you! Happy St. Patrick's Day!
We develop relationships with our homes. Our homes are our foundation and see us through our best and worst times. Experienced Realtors know the emotional and sometimes painful process Sellers go through when they make the decision to sell their home. They are, after all, choosing to break up this relationship.
A stager's job is to help Sellers in this break-up process. Whether staging a vacant or occupied listing, or guiding a Seller on their packing and prioritizing their repair list, stagers help ease the burden on both Sellers and Realtors, keeping the end result in focus and laying out the path to achieve it.
And what is that end result? Shortest time on market for the strongest dollar possible. The staging magic is in changing the focus of a home from the Seller/homeowner, to viewing the home as a marketable commodity where the focus is switched to the BUYER. While focusing on the prospective buyer, stagers use layout, color and decor to target the buyer and create an ambiance in the home that feels balanced, harmonious, warm and welcoming. These are subtle things that everyone can perceive, but few know WHY they're perceiving it and what influences it. Similarly we often don't know exactly why we fell in love with our mate, and may think it was the initial attraction. Often its the underlying things that spark the relationship, like how he smiles at your silly jokes, or remembers you like dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Its these subtle little things that can have big and lasting impressions and lays the foundation of the relationship. A successful staging does the same thing. It lays the foundation for the new buyer to "see" their new relationship and how beautiful it is.
When a prospective buyer walks into a beautifully staged home, they feel great. They might not understand what is guiding them to this feeling of balance and harmony. All they know is that they've fallen in love with how the home makes them feel. And buyers in love are the ones motivated to submit offers.
And for the Seller, when their home is looking absolutely fantastic, they're proud to hand their home to the new buyers. The pain and guilt of breaking up with their old home is released, freeing them to pursue their awaiting adventure and build a relationship with their new home.
Realtors know vacant homes can be difficult to sell and often sit on the market long. Buyers have difficulty imagining what a space would look like filled with their belongings. Size, scale and layout become challenges in their mind as they view the space. And if the space is vacant, then the challenges are compounded. Add to that, sometimes Buyers don't know how they could use a space, and thus don't see the potential value of a property.
Professional staging eliminates those problems and helps draw in Buyers by giving purpose to the room, as well as warmth and harmony. The furniture and decor is carefully chosen to defend the space and accentuate the architectural features of the home, while drawing the Buyer in, helping them relate to the personality of the home. Here's an example of a vacant space. With no furniture and decor, its difficult to grasp the size and what the rooms is. There's nothing there for us to relate to, or to be drawn in with. Is it a large bedroom, a dining room, a living room? It feels cold and empty
Once staged, you can tell what the room is at a glance. Staging defined the room as a living room, gave it size, scale, warmth, balance, harmony and personality. It created a welcoming feeling that Buyers can relate and aspire to, drawing them into the home and motivating them to visit and even submit offers.
This Ainaloa home was on the market for 2 months when the Seller called us. We staged it and they were in escrow 11 days later at list price!
Simply placing furniture in a room isn't enough to motivate Buyers. Professional staging incorporates design and psychological techniques to help Buyers see the home's true potential and helps Buyers make that emotional leap, the decision, to buy the home.
"Do you think we need to stage our house?" they ask as you're midway through your listing presentation. If you say NO, you're in opposition to the messages given on HGTV and numerous other cable channels sporting real estate and decorating programs. YES means you see problems with their home which could hurt their feelings in this relationship-driven industry. How do you respond to their questions? What do you say?
A simple "We'll send our professional stager to meet with you." will handle it.
That's it! Task completed and now you can move on with your listing presentation. You talk business, you sell your services and land the listing. All questions on condition or presentation can get deferred to your professional stager.
Our initial 2-hour consultation meeting with your Seller bears useful information for your Seller as they prepare their home for market. We use tactful approaches in discussing these tender topics with your Seller. We discuss what they should pack, what can be used for their staging, what repairs they should perform, what walls should be painted and even what color to paint. We career our recommendations to bear in mind their repair budget, yet maintain the focus of converting their home to a house that's market-ready. We go over these details with them so it frees up your time and allows you, as their Realtor, to focus on the actual SALE of their home.
Mauna Kea was seen sporting Pantone's new 2016 colors of the year earlier this month! Where else can you find these colors in our environment? What feelings do they evoke in you? Aren't colors fun!
Whether you're in the market to sell your home, or renovating your current one, its helpful to know what the design trends are. I like to keep a pulse on trends while staging homes in Hilo, and these are the ones I think will be applicable for our homes as we move through 2016.
1. Color of the year is Pantone's Rose Quartz and Serenity
As Rose Quartz and Serenity are softer tones, basically soft pink and baby blue, this color combination most likely won't hit most homes across the U.S., but instead be seen in fashion wear and jewelry. Because the colors are so tranquil and look like our sky at sunset, I see the colors being incorporated into our homes far easier than in the midwest. We'll see it in artwork and accessories, but not wall color and furnishings.
2. New Technology
Hilo may still be3 rural, but we love our technologies. Smart phones have infiltrated life globally with more smart phones than toilets world wide! Well, we really love our toilets too, but as smart phones helps us navigate unknown streets, find recipes, contact friends, and stay abreast with daily news, our phones have grown increasingly important. Emerging trend is the dedicated charging station. these charging stations, mainly being built in kitchens but also appearing near entrances of homes, are all the rage right now! Add the advanced security systems that link to tour smartphone-monitored baby cameras and motion sensors that are quickly growing in affordability and popularity, you can easily see why dedicated charging stations will become the new norm in our homes. Incorporate it into your new house or renovation!
3. Kitchen Design
New technologies are emerging in the kitchen with toe-kick drawers under your lower cabinets, and hands-free tablet holders so spills don't get on your device while watching video recipes. White and grey are still the timeless and popular colors for kitchens, and Shaker style cabinets remain in vogue.
4. Sustainable Products
We will see a larger selection of sustainable products using longer lasting materials and incorporated with style. Public awareness is placing focus on earth consciousness and consumer demands are bringing about this positive change. Use once and throw away will become passé.
"Glamour camping" is in. Bring the outside in, and the inside out! We already see a lot of this with our outdoor lifestyle here in Hilo, but the trend is incorporating natural materials such as copper, marble and brass balanced against natural elements of reclaimed or salvaged woods or even recycled materials with our lanai "glamping".
UP Staging & Design has been awarded "Best of Houzz" for Customer Satisfaction by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The 2-year old home staging and redesign firm was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.
The Best of Houzz award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Design award winners' work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz, known as "Houzzers." Customer Satisfaction honor are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2014.
"House is a wonderful tool for homeowners who are looking for fresh design ideas for their homes. And it has easy search capabilities to find visual examples of a multitude of finish choices. We love Houzz because its easy to showcase our work and connect with our customers. We're still a young firm, so reaching out to our customers is critical as we build our customer base. House has been wonderful in helping us achieve that and we're so pleased to be honored with this Houzz recognition award!" said Ululani Poepoe, owner of UP Staging & Design.
"Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project," said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. "We're delighted to recognize UP Staging & Design among our "Best Of" professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes."
Follow UP Staging & Design on Houzz and Facebook.
I'm Ululani and have been staging homes in Hilo since 2013. I'm passionate about staging, design, color and photography. I'm also about slow food free of pesticides, chemicals and genetically modified organisms for healthy balanced living for our 'ohana and communities.