The Economics of Home Staging in Patterson NY

What is the first step a professor of economics takes when selling his Patterson, NY home? You guessed it. He hires a home stager!

It doesn’t take a PhD in Economics to know that staged homes sell faster (but it doesn’t hurt to understand economics either). These homeowners crunch the numbers on home staging and find it to be part of a fiscally sound plan that would allow them to sell their home quickly and retire in Florida.

So before they call a Realtor, this professional couple takes the time to prepare their home for sale. They began the transformation a few months earlier by replacing carpeting with bamboo flooring, painting the home a neutral white, and packing.

But then they aren’t quite sure what to do next. Maybe this home staging stuff isn’t as easy as it appears on TV. Maybe it’s time to call in a professional. Someone who has done this before. Someone to guide them.

Home owner Allen finds AtWell Staged Home on the Internet. We speak with him and his wife, Robin, a lawyer, later that evening on the phone. Before hanging up, we schedule the initial consultation for that weekend, when both are available.

During the initial three-hour consultation in this 4,000 square-foot center-hall Colonial on 150 acres in Patterson, NY, we review the entire home and have enough time left to completely stage one space.

Dining Room/Entry After Home Staging in Patterson NY

Dining Room/Entry – After Home Staging in Patterson NY
The dining room, the first space buyers will see upon entering the home, is the logical place to start. Prior to staging, all dining-related furniture is on the left half of the room and other miscellaneous furniture is on the right. Spreading the furniture out over the entire space makes this the grand dining room that it is—a great place for entertaining and holiday gatherings.

Dining Room/Entry During Home Staging in Patterson NY

Dining Room/Entry – During Home Staging in Patterson NY
For fun, here is what it looks like just after moving out all the extra pieces. (Sometimes things get worse before they get better.)

They see the impact of the changes immediately, as we hang art on the blank walls, bring in plants from the living room, rearrange and edit the furniture, and accessorize the hutches and table with pieces from their collection of crystal.

When we are done, Robin asks, When can you come back and do the rest?

The main floor—which holds the eat-in-kitchen, dining room, family and living rooms—is in relatively good shape. The real challenge comes from the four upstairs bedrooms, bonus room, and walk-up attic. These rooms are packed with oversized inherited furniture, accumulated over many years, and in need of a good thinning out.

Additionally, with all white walls and lots of neutrals, we need to streamline the spaces to go with this more modern feel.

We bring in a professional organizer Andrea Bowser of Space Matters in Yorktown, NY, along with two assistants, and after a creative planning session with the home owners, we stage the home in a single eight-hour session.

With a place for everything and everything in its place, a cleaning crew spends the following day focusing on a deep clean in order to erase any traces of the recent construction, placing a special focus on the kitchen and baths.

Another professional cleans the micro-fiber sofa, which is relocated from the master bedroom to the bonus room. He even washes the windows for us.

Finally, a handyman comes and fixes the kitchen island, making it sturdy once again.
From the time of the initial consultation to the final home staging, this home is ready in just two weeks.

In reward for all their effort, the home sells within 30 days and these home owners retire to Florida, exactly according to plan.

Bedroom Before Home Staging in Patterson NYBedroom – Before Home Staging

Bedroom After Home Staging in Patterson NY

Bedroom – After Home Staging
The only items purchased for this entire home staging project are two bed sets, fresh towels for all baths, and three small pieces of art. Other than that, we use just what the home owners already have.

Enjoy some more transformations…

Guest Bedroom Before Home Staging in Patterson NY

Guest Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Guest Bedroom – After Home Staging

Smallest Bedroom Before Home Staging in Patterson NY

Smallest Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Smallest Bedroom After Home Staging in Patterson NY

Smallest Bedroom – After Home Staging

Bonus Room Before Home Staging in Patterson NY

Bonus Room – Before Home Staging

Bonus Room After Home Staging in Patterson NY

Bonus Room – After Home Staging

Bonus Room Before Home Staging in Patterson NY

Bonus Room – Before Home Staging

Bonus Room After Home Staging in Patterson NY

Bonus Room – After Home Staging

Bonus Room Before Home Staging in Patterson NY

Bonus Room – Before Home Staging

Bonus Room After Home Staging in Patterson NY

Bonus Room – After Home Staging

Kitchen Before Home Staging in Patterson NY

Kitchen - Before Home Staging

Kitchen After Home Staging in Patterson NY

Kitchen – After Home Staging

Great Room Before Home Staging in Patterson NYGreat Room – Before Home Staging

Great Room After Home Staging in Patterson NY

Great Room – After Home Staging

Great Room Before Home Staging in Patterson NY

Great Room/Kitchen – Before Home Staging

Great Room After Home Staging in Patterson NY

Great Room/Kitchen – After Home Staging

Master Bedroom Before Home Staging in Patterson NY

Master Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Master Bedroom After Home Staging in Patterson NY

Master Bedroom – After Home Staging

 


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Home Tweet Home: Best Real Estate Tweets for March 2014

AtWell Staged Home’s real estate Tweets are jam-packed with useful tips, fun quotes, great articles and more.

Read this month’s top real estate Tweets:

Home Staging…

8 Shockingly Bad Staging Decisions (And What to Do About Them) | @TruliaPro
And while, ultimately, buyers should be more focused on the bones of the home—the things that will stay after the current owner has vacated—staging can often be the difference between a buyer bonanza and a dearth of hot offers. Don’t let your sellers suffer at the hands of poor staging.

Seven Things Sellers Should Do Before Placing Their Home on the Market |  @RealtyTimes
As the Spring time approaches, many homeowners who need or want to sell will make the decision to place their home on the market for sale, since Spring is considered the best time of the year for home sales. However, prior to making that decision to place your home on the market, there are at least 7 crucial things that the Seller should do before putting up that ‘For Sale’ sign.

Selling Your Home…

Check out: Real Estate 2014: The New Wisdom | @aolrealestate
When the housing bubble burst, a damage-control mentality replaced decades of conventional real estate wisdom. With the housing market now rebounding, there is still uncertainty. The old rules — such as getting a fixed-rate mortgage and refinancing when you can — don’t apply. But the post-bust rules don’t work either. “There’s a new, new emerging wisdom.” 

Making Sense of Your Appraisal Report | @YahooHomes
Before any lender will loan you money to buy or refinance a home, the lender will attempt to get some idea of what the property is worth. After all, the real estate serves as the collateral that you will be putting up to secure the loan. Typically the lender will order an appraisal report. The value returned on this report will determine how much the lender is willing to lend. Here is a simple guide to help you understand this sometimes very confusing document.

Home Buying…

Buying in a Tight Market with Low Housing Inventory | @RealtyTimes
Increase your chances of getting your first, next, dream home in a competitive housing market, and lower your chances of losing out to another buyer!

Home Design…

How Much Stuff Is Enough? | @houzz
Play the numbers game to streamline your belongings, for a neater home and a less-stressed you.

9 Planning Musts Before You Start a Makeover | @houzz
Don’t buy even a single chair without measuring and mapping, and you’ll be sitting pretty when your new room is done.

Career Development…

How Incredibly Successful People THINK | @YouTube
This is Brendon filmed unscripted, in a single take, without a prompter or notes. Quotable from this video: “Successful people take their current limitation and put it on their agenda as a job to do, as a thing to figure out and make happen.” – @BrendonBurchard

Personal Development…

15 Things That Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do | @EliteDaily
There is a particular aspect of mental strength that is the deciding factor of whether or not you will have a good life. There are many levels to mental strength and all are needed to be successful and happy. The one particular area of mental strength that has the greatest impact is that of emotional strength.

Portrait of a Reformed Terrible Housekeeper | @houzz
See how a man who once stashed dirty dishes under the couch is turning over a new leaf for a neater home

 


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Warming Up to Home Staging in Rye NY

After 100 days on the market, these Rye, NY, home owners warm to the idea of home staging and sell their $2M home in just 30 days.

There is nothing wrong with this house. Certainly nothing that should turn off potential home buyers. This home is meticulously cared for, clean and clutter free. Everything home buyers respond well to. But still, the feedback is less than desirable and not positive enough to generate an offer.

Before it’s too late in the selling cycle, and before the listing becomes stale, home seller, Theresa, Googles “home stagers” and finds AtWell Staged Home. On the phone we connect immediately, and two days later meet in person for the initial consultation.

Perhaps this home is a little too neat, too clean, containing too little “stuff”? A three-hour consultation leads to the following goals:

  1. Warm each space with soft accessories such as plants, pillows and art.
  2. Add some pizzazz to each room.
  3. Refinish the dull-gray hardwoods on the main floor to match the more traditional golden palette of the upstairs.

As you might expect, it’s rarely just one thing that needs to be changed, but instead a series of minor changes and updates throughout a home that make the sale. The devil is in the details yet again.

While Theresa follows the plan to a tee, we consult a few more times, in person, on the phone, and by email. Concerned with the size of the task before her, I ask Theresa if she feels overwhelmed or would like additional help. She confides that even though it is a lot of work, she is really enjoying the process.

AtWell Staged Home’s guidance and suggestions, combined with Theresa’s great taste and do-it-now determination, quickly pull this 4,200 square-foot home together for a relatively small investment. The home returns to the market 100 days after its original listing with new photos and new life. Within 30 days, these home sellers are in contract.

Here’s what Theresa had to say after the sale…

Susan,

Thank you again for all your guidance with our house. The closing was last week.

The house is sold. I cannot thank you enough.

I am certain it would still be on the market were it not for your help with staging. (In fact, many of the homes that were on the market when we were selling are still for sale!!)

So many thanks again!!”

- Theresa M., Rye, NY

Once you cross real estate’s $1M threshold, buyers expect more. Not just “even more.” They expect a lot! Buyers want to be wowed when they walk through the door and all through the house.

So when these home owners weren’t getting offers on their $2M home, they didn’t waste any time. Instead of lowering the price and starting a vicious cycle of selling insanity, they stuck to the price, rolled up their sleeves, and got to work on staging their home to sell.

Enjoy my two favorite transformations that helped warm the hearts of home buyers.

(Click images to enlarge.)

Bathroom Before Home Staging in Rye NY

Bathroom – Before Home Staging

Bathroom After Home Staging in Rye NY

Bathroom – After Home Staging
Conflicting yellow walls are painted over with a coordinating color. The large new cabinet is painted a bold chocolate brown inspired by the dark fleck in the granite countertops and marble floors. Window treatments, art and accessories are also added for warmth, drama, and color.

Family Room Before Home Staging in Rye NY

Family Room – Before Home Staging

Family Room After Home Staging in Rye NY

Family Room – After Home Staging
(Yes, this is the same room.) Wall unit is removed and replaced with owners’ two large art pieces. Inexpensive furniture is purchased to define and fill this vacant space. And hardwood floors are refinished from blonde to brown.

 


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Home Tweet Home: Best Real Estate Tweets for January/February 2014

AtWell Staged Home’s real estate Tweets are jam-packed with useful tips, fun quotes, great articles and more.

Read this month’s top real estate Tweets:

Home Staging…

Avoid These Staging Mistakes and Get Your Home Sold | RealtyTimes
You may love your home, but that doesn’t mean that everyone coming through the door will feel the same way. What may be “charming” to the seller may seem off-putting to a prospective buyer. Many sellers attempt to stage their home themselves and, in doing so, create mistakes that can actually sidetrack the sale of their homes.

Real Estate Trends…

5 Things to Watch In Housing in 2014 | WSJ
For housing, it was a tale of two halves in 2013. During the first half, unusually low supplies of homes and low rates spurred bidding wars, pushing prices up sharply. During the second half, the frenzy cooled amid a sudden spike in interest rates. While more markets are now reporting increases in inventory, the number of homes for sale remains quite low.

10 Really Obvious Reasons You Should Hire A Real Estate Agent | FirstTeam
With Google to answer all of your questions and new real estate listing websites, it can seem like a great money saving idea to skip the real estate agent and tackle the market on your own. While this can be done, it makes the process of buying or selling a house infinitely more stressful, time consuming and difficult. There are many reasons to hire a real estate agent and here are 10 really obvious ones that you should consider before you decide to take on the market alone.

Selling Your Home…

5 Rules for Homebuying in 2014, and Beyond | AOLRealEstate
In 2014, stay focused on what you know, stay local, take your time and don’t let outside forces sway your decision to buy a home. People have bought and sold homes for years, at higher prices and with higher interest rates. If you’re in it for the long haul, consider yourself at mile 3 of a 26-mile marathon.

Home Organizing…

Your Total Home Organizing and Decluttering Guide | Houzz
We’ve compiled some of the best cleaning and organizing guides from Houzz, room by room, to help you start off the year with a clean slate.

Home Design…

Downsizing Help: Choosing What Furniture to Leave Behind  | Houzz
What to take, what to buy, how to make your favorite furniture fit … get some answers from a homeowner who scaled way down.

Feng Shui Your Home | RealtyTimes
Whether you’re listing a home and looking for decor inspirations to stage the home in hopes of selling, or you’re a proud new owner of a home eager to start decorating; Feng shui might be an option worth exploring.

Career Development…

10 Awesome Infographics to Guide your Marketing Plan for 2014 | Buffer
Infographics seem to be getting more and more popular lately. They’re certainly fun to look at, and they convey useful information in a format that’s fast and easy to digest. One thing to keep in mind with infographics is that they’re generally static—unlike blog posts, they’re rarely updated as new information becomes available.

10 Phrases Great Speakers Never Say | Inc.
Want to ruin a presentation in seconds? Just drop in one of these sentences. While it’s really hard to immediately win over a crowd, it’s really easy for a speaker to lose the room within the first few minutes of a presentation.

When Winning Feels Like Losing | LinkedIn
After the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics, researchers from Cornell University studied the facial expressions of all the athletes who won gold, silver, and bronze medals. They analyzed footage of ceremonies and television interviews and found that gold medalists seemed the happiest. What a shock, right? But they also noticed something surprising: The bronze medalists seemed much happier than the silver medalists.

Mentally Strong People: the 13 Things They Avoid | Forbes
For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit,” optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”

Social Media…

26 Ways to Make Pinterest Work for Your Business | SMExaminer
Are you looking for tips on how to use Pinterest strategically? Is your business benefiting from Pinterest? Pinterest is an effective tool for businesses of all sizes and sectors. From B2B to B2C, there are a number of goals you can pursue—from driving web and foot traffic to increasing visibility with influencers and consumers. In this article, you’ll find 26 tips, an A-Z guide for making Pinterest work for your business.

Inspiration…

Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate accomplishments. -Napoleon Hill

Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. -Lou Holtz

 


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Barbara Corcoran on Home Staging

Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran knows real estate. Barbara also knows the value home staging adds to real estate sales.

Recently, Barbara Corcoran was the keynote speaker at the Real Estate Staging Association’s annual convention. After the event, Barbara sat down and spoke with the founder of RESA, Shell Brodnax.

“Without home staging, people wouldn’t even come to see the house. It used to be an extra, now it’s just an essential…Why wouldn’t someone stage a home if they want to get more money for the house?” – Barbara Corcoran on home staging

Enjoy this 5-minute video where Barbara shares her feelings on why home staging is essential, why real estate professionals should recommend home staging to all their clients, and how home staging and the Internet have changed how people buy homes.

Want more tips from Barbara Corcoran on home staging? Click here to watch Barbara perform a home staging consultation.

 


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Westchester Putnam Real Estate Report: 2013 Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year

Get “The Skinny” on the Westchester Putnam real estate market in this 2-minute video:

Below is the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors’ (HGAR) 2013 Annual and fourth-quarter report for Westchester Putnam real estate.

The Lower Hudson region’s real estate market continued its strong recovery of the past two years with double digit increases in sales volumes, and some increases in prices as well, in the four-county area served by the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, a subsidiary of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. MLS Member Realtors working in Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties reported a grand total of 13,781 closed residential sales in those counties, a 20% increase over 2012’s performance which itself was a robust bounce-back from the bottom of the real estate recession in 2008 and 2009.

The recent numbers were the highest posted with the MLS since 2007. On a percentage basis, Orange County led the way with a 23% increase in sales over the full year 2012, followed by Westchester (21%), Putnam (17%), and Rockland (14%). Broken down by quarters, the first quarter of 2013 was the slowest, the second and third quarters were the most vigorous, and the fourth quarter eased back again although, with a 16% increase over the fourth quarter of 2012, it was still a fine finish and bodes well for 2014.

The accelerating sales volumes over the past two years have dented the region’s inventory of properties for sale. There was a total of 8,942 residential units (single-family houses, condominiums, cooperatives, and in Westchester, 2-4 family residences) available at the close of 2013, a 7.1% decrease from 2012, which itself posted a decrease from 2011.

The region is emerging from a period when supply was tight because potential sellers were concerned about economic conditions and were reluctant to list their properties because of that. Some of that reticence to list still exists among potential sellers who are wary of lingering high unemployment as well as uncertain federal legislative and regulatory enactments that might negatively affect real estate as well as the economy as a whole. However, it now appears that the downward direction of inventory results more from classic supply and demand – sales outpacing new supply – than from consumer nervousness about the real estate market per se. Continue reading this report here.

 

To compare this report with earlier reports, visit Market Statistics at HGAR.com.

 


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Home Staging: Pros and Cons

After almost 9 months on the market and no sale, these New Rochelle New York home sellers turn to home staging for a quick sale.

It is mid-May when Paul and I first speak. His home has been on the market exactly 7 months with no takers. He and his wife – a Realtor in Florida, where they have recently relocated – both understand the challenges of selling a home whose backyard abuts the Hutchinson River Parkway.

But the parkway was there when they purchased this 4-bed, 2-bath, 1,850 square-foot Tudor-style home years earlier, and it didn’t deter them. So why are today’s buyers not biting?

It’s all about pros and cons. Its simple math that when the cons outweigh the pros, home buyers walk.

So what can you do? Easy. Tip the scales in your home’s favor. Eliminate as many objections as you can while playing up your home’s best and most desirable features. Or, in a word, stage!

Here are some of this home’s pros:

  • Great family neighborhood and schools.
  • Walk to town and temple.
  • Close to highways, trains, and commuting to New York City.
  • Great starter home for a growing family.
  • Updated kitchen, finished basement, sunroom, fireplace, and flat backyard.

And some of its cons:

  • Original baths from 1929. (Although some might find this charming.)
  • Carpeting throughout hiding the hardwood floors. (Not so charming.)
  • Tons of “stuff” filling the basement and sunroom.
  • Not all rooms – especially the bedrooms and bonus spaces – are clearly defined.
  • Did I mention the highway in the backyard?

It is Paul and Robin’s agent who suggests staging with AtWell Staged Home. After an initial consultation we come up with a plan to tackle those pesky cons. The plan includes a lot of packing and purging, minor painting, cleaning, staging and clearly defining each room, and the biggest investment, refinishing all of the hardwood floors.

When complete, their investment in staging allows them to re-list the house for $10,000 more than they had been asking. Even with the price increase Paul and Robin accept an offer in just 45 days. Proof, once again, that staging makes a difference.

The relief of finally selling is displayed here when Paul posts this great picture to our Facebook page. Here he is, taking a break from rubbish removal, as they empty the house for the big move.

Facebook Testimonial

Paul also adds, “You did a superlative job in bringing out the best of the home.” And that’s the goal of home staging. Mission accomplished.

Sunroom Before Home Staging

Sunroom Before Home Staging (Right Side)

Sunroom Before Home StagingSunroom Before Home Staging (Left Side)
With beads, paneling and gold carpeting, all this sunroom is missing is the lava lamp. But below this groovy façade is a room with great possibilities and appeal.

Sunroom After Home Staging

Sunroom After Home Staging (Right Side)

Sunroom After Home Staging

Sunroom After Home Staging (Left Side)
Using only what we find around the house, this room is staged with furniture borrowed from the patio. The shades were hiding below the beads and a cream colored paint updates the paneling. New silk ivy is added to the planters and slate floor is no longer hidden by carpeting.

Living Room Before Home Staging

Living Room – Original Listing Picture – Before Home Staging

Living Room After Home StagingLiving Room – New Listing Picture – After Home Staging
Now when someone walks into this house they are not distracted by large electronics and dull carpeting. They are drawn to the newly refinished hardwood floors, fireplace, and large picture windows.

Rental furniture is considered for this space, being the first room you see upon entering the home, but instead, refinishing the floors takes precedence. A wise choice.

 Boys Bedroom Before Home Staging

Boy’s Bedroom – Before Home Staging
Original listing picture shows too much furniture in this small boy’s bedroom.

Boys Bedroom After Home Staging

Boy’s Bedroom – After Home Staging

Boys Bedroom After Home Staging

Close-up of how to set the stage for home buyers. This bedroom is themed for an active and sports loving boy. Without spending a dime, we use just what is found in the home to appeal to all the buyers from mom and dad to son and daughter.

 


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Home Tweet Home: Best Real Estate Tweets for December 2013

AtWell Staged Home’s real estate Tweets are jam-packed with useful tips, fun quotes, great articles and more.

Read this month’s top real estate Tweets:

Home Staging…

Can Color Help Sell Your Home? | RealtyTimes
Yes! Just like curb appeal matters, the colors of your home can and will influence buyers. With that in mind, we explore which colors tend to appeal to the masses.

The Right Kitchen Remodel Can Pay Off | Styled Staged & Sold
Create your win-win kitchen remodel: Build a fantastic space to live in and add value to your home at the same time — provided you make the right choices for your remodel – small or large. No other space in your home gives a higher return on home improvement dollars.

Get Ready for Show Time! | RealtyTimes
Properly prepare upfront, and reap the benefits at the closing table.

Selling Your Home…

6 Ways to Make a Good Impression to Make More Money in Real Estate | BiggerPockets
I’m sure you have heard of the ‘elevator pitch‘. Its your chance to pitch your business to someone in the length of time it takes for an elevator ride. What a stressful proposition, only 30-60 seconds to sell someone on your ideas enough for them to want more information or say yes? Crazy. Makes me a little anxious just thinking about it. Well…we are doing this every time a buyer looks at our property, and we have even LESS time to do it in.

Snapshot in Time: Housing Inventory, Sales and Mortgages | The Home Guru
At least once or twice a year, I like to take a “snapshot” of the moment in the housing market as a sort of historical record, and the very promising developments in the past six months prompt me to do so now.

Home Design…

Incorporating Radiant Orchid, The Pantone Color of The Year, Into Your Decor | RealtyTimes
The Pantone color of the year for 2014 has been announced, and the winner is: radiant orchid. So get ready for a purple reign all over the retail and home design worlds soon.

Ways to Keep Pets Comfy-Cozy at Home | Houzz
There’s a briskness in the air. That means it’s time to cozy up your home for the pets. Sure, the human household members are important, but we can’t deny our furry housemates those same creature comforts we enjoy. Here are some ideas for getting your pets’ hangouts and bedding ready for the cooler temperatures in ways that are attractive to humans.

Career Development…

6 Things You Should Quit Doing To Be More Successful  | ForbesTech

Financial…

Financial Trends for 2014: What’s In and What’s Out  | YahooHomes
Just like in food, fashion or fitness, financial trends come and go, too. As the new year approaches, here’s a look at what will be “in” and what will be “out” for 2014.

Social Media…

8 Types of Images that Get More Re-Pins on Pinterest | FourthSource
There’s a tonne of information on the web about how to optimise content for Pinterest. But after you’ve kept your hashtag-rich descriptions short, avoided shortened links, included price information and verified your account… have you had time to take a look at the image or photograph you are about to share?

Personal Development…

Modern Party Etiquette for Hosts and Guests | Houzz
Invitations, seating cards and cell phones, oh my! Navigating modern party etiquette can be tricky for both hosts and guests. These 10 do’s and don’ts should help clear up everything from what to bring (try a book instead of flowers) to those pesky details (t.p., olive pit bowls) you will not want to forget.

Inspiration…

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. You can do anything you decide to do.” -Robyn Davidson

Just for Fun…

Oscar the Grouch and Grumpy Cat Finally Meet in Epic Face-Off | Mashable

 


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Home Tweet Home: Best Real Estate Tweets for November 2013

AtWell Staged Home’s real estate Tweets are jam-packed with useful tips, fun quotes, great articles and more.

Read this month’s top real estate Tweets:

Selling Your Home…

How to Sell Your House Fast | Barbara Corcoran
Before you set the price, it’s smart to walk in the shoes of a buyer. Start by shopping online for local houses similar to yours. If your house has four bedrooms, a brand new kitchen and no backyard, that’s exactly what you should look for. Don’t be tempted to include houses that have features yours doesn’t, because that’s the kind of stinkin’ thinkin’ that starts sellers down the road to overpricing. It really does make a difference that your house only has two baths when the other has three.

Why Location Matters in Real Estate | Yahoo Homes
Ask just about any real estate agent to list the three most important things a property should have, and you’ll likely hear: “location, location, location.” That phrase has been in use at least since 1926, according to The New York Times, and is just as relevant now as it was then.

When Odd Photos Happen To Good Real Estate Listings (And What You Can Learn From It) | Huffington Post Home
What was once regarded as “curb appeal” — the first impression a home buyer forms of a house as he pulls up to the curb — has moved to our computer screens. More than 90 percent of home buyers use the Internet to look at houses and more than 40 percent of those who buy houses first see them online, said the National Association of Realtors.

Home Staging…

Kitchen Home Staging Easily Boosts Home Selling Price | Staging Diva
Kitchens are one of the most important rooms when determining the selling price of a home. That’s because they’re the most expensive and time-consuming to renovate.

For the Real Estate Pro…

The Home Guru Authors a Book of Practical Advice, Mixed with Wit and Style | The Home Guru
Could it be? A book about homes and real estate that’s not dry, but rather interesting and funny? That’s what Musings of the Home Guru: Armchair Observations and Advice about Buying, Selling, and Fixing Homes, both Practical and Absurd promises the reader, whether a first-time home buyer, a senior looking to downsize, or a realtor looking for a fun closing gift for a client.

Career Development…

How to Stop Offering Free Advice and Make the Sale | Entrepreneur Magazine
In this special feature of ‘Ask Entrepreneur,’ Facebook fan James Schulman asks: For a consulting service, how do you make the sale without giving away expert advice for free?

Social Media…

LinkedIn Tells Noisiest Members To Hush, And A Ruckus Ensues | Forbes
Yes, LinkedIn, the site for 238 million people who take their jobs seriously. Joining LinkedIn and participating in the site’s specialty groups is widely seen as a great way to network. But LinkedIn’s huge, affluent, engaged audience can also look like a spammer’s paradise. And while everyone agrees that networking is good and spamming is bad, drawing the line between the two can be devilish.

Six Reasons to Start Marketing on Google+ Now | Vocus
Many marketers talk about Google+ as if they expect tumbleweeds to blow across their screen from two-year-old social network. That couldn’t be further from the truth for the world’s second-largest social network. Three in five of Google+’s 135 million active users log in every day.

Just for Fun…

What Sleep Experts Do To Get A Good Night’s Rest | Huffington Post
These sleep experts have done the research, they’ve heard the up-all-week horror stories (as well as the surprise successes) — so, we asked, what works for them?

Are You Smart Enough To Assemble This Brain-Teaser Furniture? | Wired
There’s few things better than getting a piece of furniture delivered and discovering that the grunt work has already been taken care of. But you might actually welcome the construction process with this kit, because it comes in the form of a mind-bending puzzle.

Inspiration…

If you are going to doubt something, doubt your limits. –Don Ward

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Rand Realty Redesign

Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty in Somers has the most economical move possible when AtWell Staged Home helps them redesign and relocate their office three doors down.

Richard Mishkin, Manager of Rand Realty in Somers, NY, and I met when he was the manager of the Somers’ Coldwell Banker.

Richard’s words during a presentation I made to his team will always stick in my mind. He told them that, “There isn’t a home out there that couldn’t benefit from a two-hour home staging consultation.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

More recently I heard him talking to his regional manager about my work. Richard told him that “I can always see the difference after Susan has staged one of our listings.” He expanded upon that thought recently by adding, “It’s almost impossible to look at your own house through the eyes of a potential buyer. Most people wouldn’t consider moving their favorite chair or taking down a sentimental photo or knickknack. Susan’s sense of design, spatial relationships, color, and texture plus her experience staging homes to sell sets her apart from decorators and agents who may be pretty good at staging but are limited by their relationship to their client.”

The first home I staged for Richard’s Coldwell Banker team was a beautiful center-hall colonial. Here’s what that home owner had to say about the experience:

My house was on the market for 3 months when my agents recommended staging and brought in Susan from AtWell Staged Home.

For three hours we rearranged furniture, removed window treatments and re-hung artwork. Susan suggested a few more changes – additional decluttering, grout cleaning, and wallpaper removal – which I promptly took care of over the next week.

After taking all of Susan’s advice, the first person that came in after the staging did a “WOW” and bought the house. The whole presentation worked like a charm because the buyers fell in love with the house immediately.

The staging experience was more than pleasant. Everyone was cheerful, and I could not resist Susan’s positive presentation of ideas. If I were to do it all again, I would call Susan first.

- Norm F., Granite Springs, NY

As they say in the movies, this was the beginning of a beautiful relationship…

Earlier this year, Rand and Prudential Douglas Elliman agreed to trade office locations. Rand Realty moved out of Scarsdale to expand their Somers location, while Douglas Elliman moved out of Somers to expand into the Scarsdale market.

To accommodate the expansion, Rand moved into the larger Douglas Elliman digs just three doors down.

Richard wanted to move quickly, efficiently, and at minimal expense. Knowing that I like a creative challenge, he called me in to help.

The following week, while the office was still vacant, we met with EVP Nick Germak. At this meeting we determined furniture and art placement and settled on all recommended repairs.

Having worked in many offices – from large corporations, universities and even a renovated one-car garage in a residential neighborhood – I was not only focused on the visitors’ first impressions but the experience of the agents who would be spending time here. We were all on the same page with these goals, so deciding the rest made for relatively quick work.

What I liked – and found unique about their original office – was that it was designed like a living room, a home within an office. We wanted to keep that feeling, even if the new office footprint was a little awkward in comparison.

Reception Area Before Interior Redesign

Before
A very traditional waiting room, like you would find in most offices.

Reception Area After Interior Redesign

After
The new entry is an unusual, but inviting presentation, for home buyers and sellers, as visitors feel like they are coming into a home, not to an office, when they enter.

After Richard had the recommended repairs made and contents moved, I returned for two more hours to finalize furniture, art, and accessory placement. It all worked to plan, and I hear that the resident agents are quite pleased with the results. (At least that’s what they tell me when I visit.)

Here’s another image of my favorite part of the office – the entry before and after the transformation.

reception_area1_before

Before

reception_area1_after_crop

After

reception_area7_before_crop

Before

reception_area7_after_adj

After
Waiting area becomes the reception area.

admin_office1_before

Before

admin_office1_after

After
Oddly shaped alcove is transformed into an area for the office administrator. Desk is placed on left wall to allow visibility to clients entering the office.

 


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