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.
There are a lot of fun choices available for redecorating rooms. If you want a trendy look, grey provides a wonderful backdrop to add vibrant splashes of color in the room. For more earthy, down-home look, creams and beige provide the backdrop for comfortable greens and browns to nestle into. Many designers are predicting black will be making a bold statement in 2015, but black is a tricky color to work with. Too much black can make a room feel depressing and oppressive. So be very careful in using black unless you're working with a good designer. Remember back in the 80's the black toilets and sinks, yes steer clear of that!
Choices abound us, especially in this digital world we live in and its even on our screens... the Flat vs Realism battle. Which do you prefer? Not sure? Here's a fun interactive demonstration... http://flatvsrealism.com
Happy New Year and have fun walking through all our choices this year!!
How do Hilo homeowners make their home stand out amongst the sea of other homes for sale? How do you maximize your equity, an minimize your market time?
Find a great Realtor is important when selling your home. Your Realtor should know your market competition and what inventory is on the market and at what price point. They should be familiar with the comps of what sold in the last 30 days or up to 12 months depending on the market. They should know what home conditions are at various price points and what home features are desirable and be able to provide you a report of market comps. This information is crucial when you sit down with your Realtor to determine the list price of your home.
Great Realtors market your listing aggressively through various marketing outlets, providing your home the greatest amount of exposure to its market pool of Buyers. Your Realtor is the greatest tool you have in marketing your home for sale.
Interview various Realtors and ask them these questions. The sale of your home is most likely the biggest, most expensive commodity you'll own and sell. Choose your Realtor partner carefully so you feel comfortable and confident with them.
Professional stagers are happy to work with both Realtors and Homeowners in preparing the home for market, shifting it from a Home to a Marketable Commodity. Where Realtors market the home externally, stagers work on marketing the home from the inside. Together we're a powerful team that can bring you results!
Claudia Jacobs, a fellow RESA member (Real Estate Staging Association), interviewed Rob Unger, CPA, CFE of Judson, Giordano & Siegel, CPA, P.C., to clarify how the IRS interprets staging costs and if any are tax deductible, and provided this enlightenment. She said Unger described, "Home sellers can benefit from home staging, as the fees for staging services can be considered as advertising costs according to IRS guidelines. Since a home stager prepares your house for potential homebuyers, the IRS considers the service as an advertising expense, as long as the home stager has been hired for the sole purpose of selling your home. The costs of staging are subtracted from the proceeds of the sale of the home and decrease the total realized profit. In summary, the IRS' position is that staging costs are a legitimate selling expense for both primary and secondary homes and are therefore tax deductible. However, it is important to note that if a house is staged and then taken off the market, the staging expenses are not tax deductible."
Questions for the CPA
This is great news, but Claudia wanted to get further clarification as the word "staging" is a very broad statement and can be confusing. Claudia then asked if fresh white towels, new shower curtain, home repairs, paint, new carpeting, furniture or furnishings -- either rented or purchased -- can qualify under the IRS definition of staging allowed tax deductions. She also asked if there's an IRS difference if the Seller buys the furniture and decor, or if they rent the furniture and decor from a stager.
And further questioned if the home goes off the market for a few months, then goes back on, is the Seller still allowed to claim it as a tax deduction? For instance: Sellers didn't want to put in new carpeting, but had no offers while it was listed so they took the home off the market for the winter. Then decided to install carpeting, home back on market and then it sells.
CPA Rob Unger replied, "With regard to the timeline, the costs of staging are only deductible if the home is for sale and actively on the market. If the home is on the market, then taken off without a sale, the cost of staging (prior to it taken off the market) is not deductible.
"The IRS does not allow you to deduct expenses for repairs, maintenance and upkeep on your main home, so these expenses cannot be subtracted from the sale of your home. Fresh paint, new carpet, furniture and home decorations are not tax-deductible expenses, even if a home stager recommends them.
"In your example of the home being on the market, coming off, then going back on and selling, they are considered separate transactions. If there are staging costs associated with the first time it is on the market and then comes off with no sale, no deductions are allowed for the staging costs. Any staging costs associated with the property going back on the market and selling are deductible as it relates to that transaction.
"Staging is typically what happens after the homeowner has cleaned, painted and made minor repairs. It's the cost of the stager's services in dressing up the home to get it ready for sale.
"In your example, when the homeowner is buying the fresh white towels and furnishings, these are not tax deductible, as after the sale is completed, the homeowner is most likely going to take these items with them. If these are part of a stager's services and the stager rents these items to the homeowner, and it is included in the stager's invoice for services, and they are retained by stager after the home staging is completed, then they will be tax deductible as staging expenses.
Unger continues, "I think a literal explanation is that the tax-deductible part is what is on the invoice from the stager. Items that the homeowners buys and intends to keep that are used in the staging process are not deductible, as they are being used for staging and then also for personal use after the staging making them non-deductible. Items they rent for the staging process and then return to stager after the home sells are deductible as part of the staging, as homeowner does not use them for any personal use, they are used strictly for the staging process."
If you initiate a conversation with your CPA to see if the IRS tax deduction can be applied to your circumstances, ensure you advise your Realtor as well. Your Realtor can help you determine the proper market price of your home. The IRS home staging cost tax deduction places importance on pricing the home right the first time, so the property doesn't bounce on and off the market, jeopardizing staging tax deductions and extending the home's market time.
Staged right. Priced right. Sold!
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.