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!
Last month I took some time off from staging to help the residents of Nanawale get their community back to normal after Hurricane Iselle's visit to this gorgeous east-side of the island. It was an amazing sight to see the extent of the hurricane damage that literally bounced off the east side when it hit the island, which spared the rest of the island from much devastation. However the coastal east side neighborhoods and communities still suffered damage with un-passable roads and smashed homes and vehicles from downed massive albizia trees. It looked like a war zone.
We passed out supplies, ice and information for the residents after hurricane Iselle left her damages. Talking story and listening to their concerns with many expressing feelings of being blessed that the damage wasn't worse. It's a miracle no one was seriously injured from the storm and that was echoed all day.
That day I saw the strength of this community, the aloha and kokua everyone has for their neighbor and the determination to get their lives "back to normal". Now these same communities face another possible hurdle of Pele's encroaching lava flow. But these families are strong, and not only do they know how to work together, they know how to be respectful of Pele and Mother Nature, working with it instead of fighting against it. My prayers for these families and their homes as we all await to see where Pele's path leads us. But whatever path it takes, aloha and kokua will keep these communities strong and surviving.
Many of us living in Hawaii see how the Pacific Ocean creates a long tail with the East Coast being at the head and Hawaii at the tail end. Sometimes being at the tail end is a good thing. I've sat in on a few of Paul Brewbaker's, Chief Economist at Bank of Hawaii, predictions and he would describe how Hawaii's economy lags a few years behind the mainland. Design trends lag too.
With the advent of smartphones, it has brought our world smaller. I can talk to my friends in DC and cousins in Sāmoa, in a blink of an eye. How awesome is that?! But for me, I interpret this shrunken world to mean we can't lag behind on trends like we used to. Especially when we're selling much of our product to mainlanders. Many of our homes in East Hawaii have wood-stained cabinets. But one of the quickest, easiest ways for our homes to look dated and old is to have wood-stained cabinets. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE beautiful woods and how they bring warmth into a space. And there are indeed many timeless and beautiful wood stained kitchen cabinets. But on the whole, many of them just scream outdated and passé. Even ones just installed. Not sure if this is true? Go to Houzz.com and check out the kitchens showcased there. Then go to Zillow and search homes in our area and look at the cabinetry. Yes, we are experiencing a very long tail whip here.
Wood is a gorgeous building product. Many woods feel so luxurious underfoot, and they have natural dimension and shimmers that just bring depth to a space. But if we use too much wood in a space, the wood gets lost. We feel "dizzy" in the space and its not a harmonious, luxurious feeling.
One of the easiest ways to modernize a kitchen is to paint over the wood cabinets. The home we staged last month didn't extend their beautiful wood floor into the kitchen, which was wise so their wood floors didn't compete with their wood cabinets. But they could have if they painted their cabinets the right shade of white, or rather a cream white. Instantly adding elegance to the kitchen and modernizing it.
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.