Real Estate Agents Proud to List Staged Homes

After a spring filled with multiple offers, bidding wars and quick sales, home sales slow this summer. This home misses the spring market but still manages to sell for more, thanks to home staging.

There are many challenges involved when selling this Heritage Hills condo—challenges that cannot be overcome by staging. The most desirable units in the development are single-level, two-bedroom, end-units with an attached garage. This home has none of these characteristics. Instead it’s a middle unit with stairs, three bedrooms (all on the upper level), with only a powder room on the main floor, and a carport that is a bit of a walk.

Nonetheless, the cluster is beautiful and comes with a real sense of community and wonderful neighbors. Our goal in staging this home is to balance out the negatives by showcasing the home’s positive aspects and potential.

Things work out beautifully for our client. Despite these challenges and the summer slowdown, a first offer is received just six weeks after listing. Holding out for more, a second offer is accepted just a few weeks later.

Listing agent Judy Johnson, President of Judy Johnson Real Estate in Somers, NY, sums up the process nicely.

Susan Atwell was an “Angel” to my client who was an out-of-state Heritage Hills condo owner that wished to sell. Susan arranged for the condo to be repainted, choosing appropriate colors, have new carpeting and light fixtures installed, and she also was able to be rid of everything else the owner did not want. She kept enough furniture, artwork and accessories to make the condo eye-catching and attractive to potential buyers. After the condo went to contract, she sent the artwork back to the owner and had everything else removed and taken away promptly. She transformed the condo so well that the owner received a higher price than he would have otherwise gotten. I, as a Realtor, was very proud to handle such an attractive listing!

- Judy Johnson, President of Judy Johnson Real Estate, Inc. in Somers, NY

The story of this success began last summer when Judy saw firsthand how staging makes a difference, as she brought in the buyer for another Heritage Hills unit we staged. Having seen that residence before and after staging, Judy is so impressed with the transformation that she calls to say so. So when this home is about to go on the market, Judy recommends us to the home owner from the start. Jeff, the home owner, is also pleased with the results, sharing the following:

Susan,

Thanks for the great work. I really appreciate all you’ve done, and how well you do it. Everyone is delighted with the before-and-after pictures. And thanks for your efforts to keep the total cost down; much appreciated. You did a great job (and I would be delighted to serve as a reference). Thanks!

- Jeff M., Somers, NY

Enjoy these before-and-after transformations of this staged home. It is a rare 1,400 square-foot, three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath Washington model in Heritage Hills.

(Click photos to enlarge.)

Kitchen Before AtWell Staged Home

Kitchen – Before Home Staging

Kitchen after AtWell Staged Home

Kitchen – After Home Staging
Door, wallpaper and shutter removal, fresh paint and two new overhead lights, along with a good cleaning brighten this space.

Kitchen Before AtWell Staged Home

Kitchen – Before Home Staging

Kitchen after AtWell Staged HomeKitchen – After Home Staging

Living/Dining Before AtWell Staged Home

Living/Dining Room – Before Home Staging

Living/Dining After AtWell Staged Home

Living/Dining Room – After Home Staging
Dark green carpeting, walls that had not been painted in many years and window treatments and lighting that had become dated are all replaced and made fresh. The sectional becomes a sofa and two new pillows are purchased for the space.

Living/Dining Before AtWell Staged Home

Living/Dining Room – Before Home Staging

Living/Dining After AtWell Staged Home

Living/Dining Room – After Home Staging

Living/Dining Before AtWell Staged Home

Living/Dining Room – Before Home Staging

Living/Dining After AtWell Staged Home

Living/Dining Room – After Home Staging

Dining Before AtWell Staged Home

Dining Room – Before Home Staging

Dining After AtWell Staged Home

Dining Room – After Home Staging

Living Before AtWell Staged HomeLiving Room – Before Home Staging

Living After AtWell Staged Home

Living Room – After Home Staging

Master Bedroom Before AtWell Staged Home

Master Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Master Bedroom After AtWell Staged Home

Master Bedroom – After Home Staging
Wallpaper, window treatments, and carpeting are all updated. The only item purchased for this space is new bedding.

Master Bedroom Before AtWell Staged Home

Master Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Master Bedroom After AtWell Staged Home

Master Bedroom – After Home Staging

Master Bedroom Before AtWell Staged Home

Master Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Master Bedroom After AtWell Staged Home

Master Bedroom – After Home Staging

Office Before AtWell Staged Home

Bedroom/Office – Before Home Staging

Office After AtWell Staged Home

Bedroom/Office – After Home Staging
As with most of the rooms in this home, this room is staged just with items found in the home.

Office Before AtWell Staged Home

Bedroom/Office – Before Home Staging

Office After AtWell Staged Home

Bedroom/Office – After Home Staging

Guest Bedroom Before AtWell Staged Home

Guest Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Guest Bedroom After AtWell Staged Home

Guest Bedroom – After Home Staging
Futon from the smaller bedroom is moved here to create a guest room. Again, no items are purchased to stage this space.

Guest Bedroom Before AtWell Staged HomeGuest Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Guest Bedroom After AtWell Staged Home

Guest Bedroom – After Home Staging

Patio After AtWell Staged Home

Patio – After Home Staging
After removing the large dining table and umbrella and power washing the privacy wall, we stage this space with the home owner’s remaining chairs and side tables, along with a purchased plant to add some warmth.

Master Bath Before AtWell Staged HomeMaster Bathroom – Before Home Staging

Master Bathroom After AtWell Staged Home

Master Bathroom – After Home Staging
This room takes the lion’s share of the 30 man-hours required to clean this home. Fresh paint, towels, a new shower curtain, and the home owner’s accessories finish this space.

Master Bath Before AtWell Staged Home

Master Bathroom – Before Home Staging

Master Bathroom After AtWell Staged Home

Master Bathroom – After Home Staging

Powder Room Before AtWell Staged Home

Powder Room – Before Home Staging

Powder Room After AtWell Staged Home

Powder Room – After Home Staging
Wallpaper removal, fresh paint, towels, and a deep clean show off this space’s potential.

 


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Westchester Putnam Real Estate Report: 2014 Third-Quarter

Below is the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors’ (HGAR) 2014 third-quarter report for Westchester Putnam real estate.

The pace of real estate sales in the third quarter of 2014 was just a shade slower than it was in 2013 when there was a very strong post-recession recovery under way. The 2014 total of all sales in all categories of housing in all four counties serviced by the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service was 4,545 units, just 90 units or 1.9% fewer than in 2013.

Westchester, the largest county in the MLS region, posted a sales decrease of 2.7%, to 2,863 units. Rockland followed closely with a 2.4% decrease. In Orange County there was barely any change at all, a decrease of only 0.3%. Putnam’s sales actually increased by 3.1%, although that was measured against a small base of a few hundred units.

Generally, this slightly diminished but still very strong level of closed real estate transactions followed upon listing and marketing activity that took place during the spring and early summer months. The external conditions for real estate were good then. For example, mortgage interest rates remained consistently low and affordable; the average rate for a 30-year conventional loan ranged mostly between 4.4% and 4.2% throughout the period. Continue reading this report here.

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

 


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Home Staging Believer’s “Ridiculous Amount of Stuff” Leads to Quick Sale

A shared vision of a neat, organized, and staged home leads to a sale within 48 hours of listing.

Jayme calls herself a “home staging believer,” but some close to her are not. After huge efforts on her part to organize, finish unfinished projects, and decorate to sell, she is rewarded with two quick offers both in the first listing week.

The bills for the electric heat are killing her. And it no longer makes sense to have a home this large for just her and her son.

When I arrive, Jayme has closed off the upstairs (which includes two bedrooms and a full bath), along with a large bonus room on the main level. She confines her living to the first floor, where there are two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen/dining room, and full bath. All generous spaces and really everything she needs to be comfortable. The bad part? All the “stuff” from the closed-off spaces is now consolidated into the new living space, making it cluttered and difficult to manage.

Before our consultation, Jayme plans to put excess items in storage. I politely, but firmly, disagree. I’ve got a better idea that will save her hundreds of dollars, while allowing her to stage the home at little to no expense.

Staging isn’t just about making things look pretty, it’s also about making things practical while keeping costs in mind. I’m concerned that if the electric bill is high, the storage bills could be even higher.

There is more than enough room in the house to store all her possessions. It’s just a matter of deciding what needs to be immediately accessible and what can be tucked away. The good part is that everything will remain in the house – pre-packed in storage containers – keeping access easy.

Jayme takes copious notes during our three-hour consultation. Her friends love the plan and, working with her, implement every suggestion over the next few weeks. When complete, Jayme invites me to return for a one-hour follow-up. I learn firsthand that the plan works! The empty spaces are staged, and no one is the wiser that these rooms are really just very attractive storage spaces.

If you are a potential buyer, could you tell which rooms are staged to sell and which are staged for storage?

Home staging believer's entry before home staging

Entry – Before Home Staging

Home staging believer's entry after home staging

Entry – After Home Staging
New mirrors and a small table with a silk plant define the entry. A difficult space to stage, but why it’s even more important to make it look easy to decorate.

Home staging believer's Living Room before home staging

Living Room – Before Home Staging

Home staging believer's Living Room after home staging

Living Room – After Home Staging

Home staging believer's Living Room before home stagingLiving Room – Before Home Staging

Home staging believer's Living Room after home staging

Living Room – After Home Staging
This is the first room potential home buyers will see. One of the four mirror panels is removed to create a balanced and intentional look while much of the big furniture is moved to the bonus room. Extra dining chairs, found in the basement, frame the feature window while completing the conversation area.

Home staging believer's Kitchen/Dining Room before home staging

Kitchen/Dining Room – Before Home Staging

Home staging believer's Kitchen/Dining Room after home staging

Kitchen/Dining Room – After Home Staging
Subtle changes are made here. Re-hanging art, organizing counters and removing clutter update this space for $0.

Home staging believer's Bonus Room before home stagingBonus Room – Before Home Staging

Home staging believer's Bonus Room before home stagingBonus Room – After Home Staging

Home staging believer's Bonus Room after home stagingBonus Room – Before Home Staging

Home staging believer's Bonus Room after home staging

Bonus Room – After Home Staging
A wonderful space but expensive to heat, this large room is closed off and empty. Staged with items borrowed from the overstuffed living room and back bedroom, the only items purchased are a few throw pillows and a decorative bowl. Creating two clearly defined areas gives buyers an idea of the size and potential function for this space.

Home staging believer's lower bedroom before home staging

Lower Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Home staging believer's lower bedroom after home staging

Lower Bedroom – After Home Staging
Decluttering, new bedding, and furniture arrangement make this an appealing child or guest room.

Home staging believer's playroom before home staging

Bedroom/Office/Playroom – Before Home Staging

Home staging believer's playroom after home staging

Bedroom/Office/Playroom – After Home Staging
This room is packed with toys, dressers, desks, clothes, and many items that had previously been upstairs. Jayme works with her friends to return most items to the upstairs bedrooms, where they are desperately needed for staging.

Home staging believer's upper bath before home staging

Upstairs Bathroom – Before Home Staging

Home staging believer's upper bath after home staging

Upstairs Bathroom – After Home Staging
The floor and wall tile need patching. A handy friend will do the work for free, but how do we find the matching tiles without it looking like a patch job, or worse, having to buy all new tile? We find the needed tiles hiding below and behind the vanity, finishing the bathroom without too much trouble or expense.

Home staging believer's upper bedroom before home staging

Upstairs Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Home staging believer's upper bedroom after home staging

Upstairs Bedroom – After Home Staging

Home staging believer's upper bedroom before home staging

Upstairs Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Home staging believer's upper bedroom after home staging

Upstairs Bedroom – After Home Staging
Remember all the toys and excess furniture in the lower bedroom/office/playroom? Well, much of that is relocated here to create an appealing child’s bedroom. An air mattress – hiding yet more storage bins – finishes the look.

Home staging believer's master bedroom before home staging

Master Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Home staging believer's master bedroom after home staging

Master Bedroom – After Home Staging

Home staging believer's master bedroom before home staging

Master Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Home staging believer's master bedroom after home staging

Master Bedroom – After Home Staging
The one item found in this room – the box spring – is supported by plastic storage bins filled with items from the overflow spaces. The large walk-in closet is also neatly organized with clothes both hanging and in storage. The dresser is brought up from the lower bedroom and new dressing table from the basement.

To summarize:

  • Offer made within 48 hours of listing this 1,900 square-foot, four-bedroom Cape Cod in Putnam Valley, NY.
  • Second offer made within one week of listing.
  • Sale completed to the first offer.
  • Customer completely satisfied and no longer just a home staging believer, but perhaps a new staging evangelist!

Here’s what Jayme had to say about the experience:

I now know firsthand that you are an excellent captain of the ‘Sale’ boat (ooh see what I did there hahahaha). Closed on my house last week.

You made it happen!

It was a bumpy road, but we ultimately sold to the people who made their offer within the first 48 hours that the house was listed. (In between, of course, we drafted contracts for the second-offer buyers–made within one week of listing–because they were higher, but it turned out that they had a difficult time retrieving their funds from the OTHER house they were already in contract with…so the second-offer people didn’t work out. But luckily, the first-offer people hadn’t had time to go far, and they were still very interested, so it all worked out in the end.)

Looking at the ‘before’ pictures – what a credit to your vision. Distanced from it now, it’s even more impressive that you could see beyond the RIDICULOUS amount of stuff that was strewn about the house. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Jayme S.
Putnam Valley, NY

Jayme is currently looking for a new home and also shared, “I really enjoy reading your newsletters, by the way. I find it helps during the house-hunting process as well to help me ‘stay open’ to the possibilities.” Please visit Stage Every Listing Letter to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter or to view our archive.

 


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Home Tweet Home: Best Real Estate Tweets for September 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…

7 Major Signs a Home is Staged Wrong | @TruliaPro
When staging is done right, it can make a world of difference when it comes to closing a deal quickly and with a great price. But just because your clients (or you!) have taken the time to stage a home, doesn’t mean that the staging helps to highlight a home. After all, the only thing worse than not staging at all is staging that’s done terribly wrong.

Home Buying…

How to Lose a Bidding War and Still Get the House | @aolrealestate
Sellers love backup offers because it puts pressure on the original accepted offer to close the deal quickly.

Selling Your Home…

7 Features That Will Get Your Home Sold Faster | @daily_finance
Amenities like exterior lighting can mean the difference between getting multiple bids at once for your house — or getting no offers at all.

Home Design…

Decorating 101: How to Shop for Furniture | @houzz
Before you hit the stores, learn what furniture to get rid of, what to look for when buying, and how to avoid mistakes.

The Nicest Westchester Home Designs From The Past 10 Years | @WestchesterMag
Great design never gets old. Here are our favorite designs from our archive.

How to Get Your Furniture Arrangement Right | @houzz
Learn basic layout rules to get a polished, pulled-together look in any room.

Social Media, Blogging, Web Development…

9 Tips to Promote Your Website (Infographic) | @christinahills
Many website newbies seem to think that once their website is up and running, people will automatically find it without you having to do anything else. Like, “If you build it, they will come.” The reality is, building a website is just the beginning. You now need to market your website to drive traffic.

Personal Development…

4 Steps to Overcome a Devastating Setback w/ Dr. Cathy Collautt | @MarieForleo
We’re all sensitive souls. Sometimes seemingly minor setbacks that our minds tell us should be “no big deal” can sink our self-confidence and hold us back from our dreams. If you, or anyone you know, has trouble regaining their confidence after a failure, you’ll really appreciate today’s episode with the brilliant Dr. Cathy Collautt. Learn four simple steps to overcome any setback in a healthy and soul-honoring way.

 


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Home Staging Cortlandt Manor: 50 Shades of Beige

Condo sells first listing weekend with a backup buyer waiting patiently in the wings.

Bruce Dollar, Associate Broker, contacts me to stage a unique property in Cortlandt Manor’s Valeria condominium complex after home owner Dave permanently relocates to Vermont. A former weekend retreat from New York City and most recently a rental unit, the home is now vacant and in need of minor repairs, paint, and decorating to help it sell quickly.

Bruce and I spend two hours at the initial consultation reviewing the home and creating a plan to stage this home to sell.

After agreeing the plan, home seller Dave gives AtWell Staged Home carte blanche to pick paint, new light fixtures, furniture, and accessories. All work is completed within just two weeks of the initial consultation. Dave remains in Vermont throughout the process, as Bruce and I handle everything here.

Bruce affectionately names this project 50 Shades of Beige after seeing the home painted a consistent neutral color scheme inspired by the heart of this home, the kitchen. The original paint color is “too fleshy”, as the painter describes it. I just call it pink. The open floor plan and modest square footage are also better served by using a common color that works throughout.

After the sale, an agent with encyclopedic knowledge of the Valeria complex confides that there are units with much better floor plans, but it’s the staging that makes this floor plan flow.

The home staging works, as just three days after the Broker open house, this 1,800 square-foot, three-bedroom condo has an accepted offer at 98% of asking. Not wanting to start a bidding war, a second interested buyer opts to play backup just in case this deal should fall through.

Here’s how Bruce, the listing agent, describes the benefits of home staging for his clients:

The unit sold the first weekend for 98% of its asking price. It’s due to close in two weeks, which is partly what made the deal so attractive. The quick sale and closing minimize the time my seller would otherwise continue to pay taxes and carrying costs.

You should take a good deal of credit for this success, and you can quote me!

Thanks again for your good work.

Bruce Dollar
Associate Broker
North Country Sotheby’s International Realty
Croton-on-Hudson, NY

We hope you enjoy these room-by-room transformations.

(Click images to enlarge.)

Entry Before - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Entry – Before Home Staging

Entry After - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Entry – After Home Staging
Functional and beautiful. With no real coat closet, we keep one set of hooks near the door, but replace the others with a space expanding mirror and table that shows this as a formal entry, not just a pass-through.

Living/Dining Room Before - Home Staging Cortlandt ManorLiving/Dining Room – Before Home Staging

Living/Dining Room After - Home Staging Cortlandt ManorLiving/Dining Room – After Home Staging
Chandelier is spray-painted black, fresh paint added, and simple furnishings and accessories show the potential this home has for relaxation and entertaining.

Dining Room Before - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Dining Room – Before Home Staging

Dining Room After - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Dining Room – After Home Staging

Kitchen Before - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Kitchen – Before Home Staging

Kitchen After - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Kitchen – After Home Staging
A thorough cleaning, new knobs, paint, wall art, a work-table, and simple accessories warm this space. Without the addition of the table, walking into this kitchen is a hazard, with upper cabinets presenting an unexpected surprise.

Third Bedroom/Office Before - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Third Bedroom/Office – Before Home Staging

Third Bedroom/Office After - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Third Bedroom/Office – After Home Staging
This main-floor room is a legal bedroom but can also be used as an office. We opt to define this space as an office and again add just enough furniture to give perspective, purpose, and warmth.

Bedroom Before - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Bedroom After - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Bedroom – After Home Staging
Adding a bed immediately defines the space and shows the true size of this large bedroom.

Master Bedroom Before - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Master Bedroom – Before Home Staging

Master Bedroom After - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Master Bedroom – After Home Staging
Simple, modern, elegant.

Baths
With only two weeks to paint, clean, make repairs, and stage, there’s no time to renovate baths. Instead, for the three baths and dressing areas, we pick more dramatic, yet neutral, paint colors, bold art, fresh towels, and accessories. Grout is repaired and baths are thoroughly cleaned. As only one bath is updated, the bold paint color and decorating make these other spaces feel more current than they really are.

Powder Room Before - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Powder Room – Before Home Staging

Powder Room After - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Powder Room – After Home Staging

Bathroom Before - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Bathroom – Before Home Staging

Bathroom After - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Bathroom – After Home Staging

Master Bath Before - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Master Bath – Before Home Staging

Master Bath After - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Master Bath – After Home Staging

Dressing Area Before - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Dressing Area – Before Home Staging

Dressing Area After - Home Staging Cortlandt Manor

Dressing Area – After Home Staging
 

 


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Home Tweet Home: Best Real Estate Tweets for August 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…

Make Your Home’s First Impression Stick With Buyers | @RealtyTimes
Existing-home sales rose 4.9 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million, according to the National Association of Realtors. While that figure is still below the 5.15 million-unit level in May 2013, it’s still a lot of inventory. The more inventory on the market, the more you need a competitive advantage to make your home’s first impression stick with buyers.

Home Buying…

Homebuying: 4 Must-Do’s Before You Even Start Shopping | @aolrealestate
For home shoppers, looking at homes and imagining living there is the best part of the process. But like a child who must eat their vegetables before getting dessert, first-time home buyers have a lot of work to do before making a bid on a home they want.

Selling Your Home…

Are You Really Ready to Sell? | @RealtyTimes
When you put your home on the market, you may think you’re really ready to sell, but if you’re throwing roadblocks in front of buyers, you’re really not ready at all.

Career Development…

Small business by the numbers – how do you measure up? @MartinaIring
I kind of love statistics. I’m a bit of a nerd that way. But I haven’t done too much stats stuff here on the blog. So when I was invited to publish this infographic by Dealstruck, I thought “sure, why not, let’s do something a little different here.”

How to Infuse Your Brand Voice With Personality | @pamelaiwilson
Creating a website with personality may sound difficult, but it’s surprisingly easy. You just need to understand the three steps to develop an enchanting brand voice.

Social Media and Blogging…

Email List-Building From the Experts: How to Grow a Massive Email List |  @buffer
While social media might be the hot place to push your marketing efforts, there are many who choose to rely instead on building a valuable email list. And they couldn’t be happier.

8 Tips for Crafting Brilliant Blog Post Titles That Get Clicks | @Earnworthy
You’ve got mad skills as a writer, and can dish out blog posts like nobody’s business. Unfortunately, you keep realizing how badly your titles suck. What can you do to make your titles as good as the golden content you are generating? Writing a catchy title is all about grabbing your reader’s attention, and it’s an art form.

Personal Development…

Arnold Schwarzenegger Motivation – 6 rules of success speech | @YouTube

9 Instinctive Decisions You Will Always Regret  | @Inc
Especially when you look back and realize just how much those decisions cost you.

Three Magic Words for a Clean Home and a Better Life  | @houzz
Not a natural tidying and organizing whiz? Take hope in one short phrase that can change your life forever.

 


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Home Staging Katonah: Sold in a Day

A large ranch-style home on a flat lot in a highly desirable neighborhood and school district should be easy to sell. Right?

At least that’s what these home sellers think until they try selling their Katonah, NY home about four years ago. After a few months they pull the home off the market and make a big decision.

Instead of selling now, they decide to invest in updates to their home, enjoy them for a few years, and try selling again later.

Second-time-around home sellers pick an agent who features staging as one of her many marketing tools, and they don’t just sell, they sell on the first listing day.

When we arrive, the home is updated and freshly painted, but spaces are not clearly defined or showing their best. Our initial working consultation lasts six hours. After, their agent, Teresa Chang of Houlihan Lawrence in Somers, NY, helps them with the remaining “home” work–purchasing bedding, towels, pillows, and some art.

Teresa and I return one more time to complete the staging and take listing photos. With a total of just nine hours of home staging, this home sells on the first listing day–at the broker open house–to a broker.

Here’s what Teresa has to say about working with AtWell Staged Home:

From the first time Susan and I worked together to stage a small 2-bedroom home in Shenorock, I knew we made a great team. Since then, I strongly encourage all my home sellers to stage their homes because every home can benefit from Susan’s expertise. Susan’s staging helps these homes show better, sell for more, and get on the market sooner. I love getting hands-on in the process and seeing how quickly Susan can transform a home, often in just a few hours. This experience has turned me into a huge believer in home staging after so many quick sales and satisfied clients.

Teresa Chang
Houlihan Lawrence, Somers, NY

The following transformations are representative of why this $875,000, 3,700 square-foot Katonah, NY, home sells on the first listing day for 98% of asking.

Entry - Before Home Staging Katonah

Entry – Before Home Staging
This original listing picture of the entry leaves you cold and wondering, Why is there a piano here? This is the first impression upon entering the home.

Entry - After Home Staging Katonah

Entry – After Home Staging
Piano is replaced with items found in the home – art, chairs, table, and accessories. This entry is transformed for $0.

Master Bedroom - Before Home Staging Katonah

Master Bedroom  Before Home Staging
Actual listing picture from first attempt to sell when home owners did not have the benefit of home staging.

Master Bedroom - After Home Staging Katonah

Master Bedroom  After Home Staging
Same master bedroom and furniture four years later. Window treatments had already been updated. Teresa helps the home owner find coordinating bedding for less than $100, as well as art for over the bed.

Great Room - Before Home Staging Katonah

Great Room – Before Renovation

Great Room - Before Home Staging Katonah

Great Room – After Renovation but Prior to Home Staging

Great Room - After Home Staging Katonah

Great Room – After Home Staging

Dining Room - Before Home Staging Katonah

Dining Room – Before Renovation

Dining Room - Before Home Staging Katonah

Dining Room – After Renovation
Home owners change the fluorescent light fixture for an elegant chandelier. They also convert the underutilized corner into a functional built-in hutch, adding a unique architectural feature to this room.

Dining Room - After Home Staging Katonah

Dining Room – After Home Staging

Living Room - Before Home Staging Katonah

Living Room – Before Home Staging
Furniture placement – in this original listing picture – makes the room feel awkward and difficult to decorate.

Living Room - After Home Staging Katonah

Living Room – After Home Staging
Ideally a new sofa would be used, but since the home owners do not know where they are headed, buying another new sofa is not practical. We do our best and place the sectional in a position to show off the large room, tall windows, and fireplace. Adding fresh new pillows and keeping it all clean and neat make it work.

Master Bathroom - Before Home Staging Katonah

Master Bath – Before Renovations

Master Bathroom - After Home Staging Katonah

Master Bath – After Renovations

Master Bathroom - Before Home Staging Katonah

Master Bath – Before Renovations

Master Bathroom - After Home Staging Katonah

Master Bath – After Renovations and Staging
Wish I could take credit for this makeover, but the home owners did this themselves. But it isn’t finished until it’s tidied up and accessorized for selling.

 


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Home Tweet Home: Best Real Estate Tweets for July 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…

Experts Rate Curb Appeal and Staging as Best Home Improvement Projects for Sellers | @Home_Staging
As the market heats up, we are seeing more real estate agents and sellers recognizing the huge benefits that come with hiring a professional home stager! Here is the latest in home staging statistics according to a new Zillow Digs survey of Real Estate Agents and Interior Designers: Hiring a professional home stager was listed as one of the top two critical improvements a seller should invest in when selling their home in 2014.

Setting The Stage For A Super Home Sale | @RealtyTimes
If you’re getting ready to sell your home, there are a few things you should do first. At the top of the list are repairs, decluttering, and staging your home for a super sale. With the help of your agent and/or homestager, you can create the perfectly staged home that’s eye-catching at first glance.

Selling Your Home…

Hook a Higher Price For Your Home | @RealtyTimes
When you receive an offer from a homebuyer, chances are it will be less than you expected. The housing turmoil of the last eight years has taught buyers to go in low, except in the most heated markets.

The 4 Biggest Listing Photo Mistakes | @TruliaPro
Even when the market is hot and homes are selling fast, you’ve got to make sure your listing sets itself apart from competing homes in order to get the best deal. Pictures move the masses and if you’re not careful, they can move prospective buyers away from your listings online.

Home Design…

My Personal Campaign to Paint Every Front Door Red and Why | TheHomeGuru.com
For those of you with a bent toward feng shui, you know that the front door is the main source of a house’s energy. But practically and simply put for both curb appeal and resale value, spruce up the front door and, in a sense, you have a new home. Paint it red, and you have a home run on every level.

Check out “The Arhaus Story” on Vimeo. Now in Danbury CT.

Social Media and Bogging…

How to Create Powerful Marketing Hotspots on Your Website | @pamelaiwilson
If you set it up correctly, your website can work for you while you sleep. It can generate sign ups to an email list, and sales of your services and products all while you live your life and pay no attention to it.

The Top 9 Writing Mistakes And How To Fix Them | @FutureofInk
Blog posts. Articles. Ebooks. Ezines. Case studies. Slidedecks. Stories. Your bio. Press releases. White Papers. If you need to create content but you can’t write well, spend five minutes on this crash course. Follow my advice, and you’ll improve your writing.

For the Real Estate Pro…

Open House Tips: 5 Strategies for Open House Success | @BiggerPockets
Some believe open houses have become antiquated and are no longer an effective method to market your property. However, I feel some new takes on an old idea can really help bring your marketing to the next level whether it’s a recent flip, a new listing or even when it comes time to selling your own home.

Personal Development…

15 Things Highly Successful People Do At The Beginning Of The Day That You Should, Too | @lifehackorg
What you do when you wake up in the morning sets the tone for the entire day. Here are 15 things that successful people do at the beginning of the day to set them up for a great day.

Inspiration…

There are only 2 ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. A. Einstein

 


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Westchester Putnam Real Estate Report: 2014 Second-Quarter

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

Below is the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors’ (HGAR) 2014 second-quarter report for Westchester Putnam real estate.

Closed residential real estate transactions during the second quarter of 2014 slackened in relation to the same period last year. Realtors participating in the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, serving Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange Counties, reported 3,195 closings in the four counties, a decrease of 9.2% from the 3,519 closings reported during the second quarter of last year. These grand totals comprised sales of single family houses, condominiums, cooperatives and 2-4 family dwellings.

The second quarter closings largely reflected listing and showing activity that took place during the early months of the year. Many data providers and analysts, including the National Association of Realtors, ascribe at least some of the slowdown in sales here and nationally to exceptionally difficult winter weather conditions that discouraged prospective purchasers from getting out and researching properties of interest. The lower Hudson region undoubtedly experienced some of that effect, but in our case there may also have been an equal or even larger effect from a simple market correction of the fast pace of sales in 2013 and the first quarter of 2014.

Westchester and Orange Counties experienced the largest percentage year to year falloffs in sales at 12.0% and 12.2% respectively. In Westchester the slowdown was concentrated in the single family house sector, 13.5%, followed by condominiums, 10.1%. Orange County’s single family house sales were down by 12.1%. Putnam County sales were down by just 2.9%. Rockland County stood out from its neighbors with an actual overall increase of 6.2%. Continue reading this report here.

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

 


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Home Staging: From Rehab to Rental

Home Staging techniques rehab an undesirable condo into a highly desirable rental unit.

Nobody is going to want this condo. At least that’s what this real estate investor thinks. Why?

It’s not because of the community. It’s Heritage Hills in Somers.

It’s not because of the location. It’s in a private cluster with only 6 homes and plenty of guest parking.

It’s not because of the floor plan. It’s a 2-bedroom end unit all on one level.

What makes this home less desirable than most in this community are the five different wallpapers and original 1980s baths.

Since it’s difficult for most people to see past these things, it’s the perfect opportunity to make an offer and buy this home for a good price.

A “mini-staging,” using decorative items in the kitchen, baths, built-ins and on the fireplace mantle, helps to make this home feel welcoming and warm without the expense of rental furniture.

To augment the light staging, all areas are painted bold, yet neutral, classic colors, clean bright white is added to the trim and ceilings, and all new white outlets, light switches, and thermostats are installed throughout. It’s the details that count, especially if you are not planning to stage with furniture. The major financial investment involves the bathrooms, which are decades overdue for a major overhaul.

The total investment is just $15k in labor and materials but the Realtor feels that $20k to $30k is added to the bottom line. The unit rents within one week with multiple offers.

We hope you enjoy these room-by-room transformations.

(Click images to enlarge.)

Hall Bath Before Home Staging

Hall Bath – Before

Hall Bath After Home Staging

Hall Bath – After
How do you update this space at minimal expense without opening a can of worms? A series of small updates and changes including a new toilet, sink, cabinet pulls, mirror, light fixture, bold but neutral paint color, removal of the soffit and smoothing of the popcorn ceiling, are made. Eventually this bathroom will be completely made over, but for now, these changes will suffice.

Master Bath Before Home Staging

Master Bath – Before

Master Bath After Home Staging

Master Bath – After
The majority of the budget is spent here with an almost total gut–including new toilet, tile floor, vanity, mirror, light fixtures, exhaust fan, soffit and wallpaper removal, and tub glazing. To get top dollar, this electric blue just has to be vanquished from this space. Classic subway tile is always appealing and one of the best values in tile.

Kitchen Before Home Staging

Kitchen – Before

Kitchen After Home Staging

Kitchen – After
The biggest changes are new lighting, a new floor (that at first glance appears to be tile, but is just a few hundred dollars’ of durable linoleum), and replacing the wallpaper with paint. A small detail, knobs on the cabinets, adds that touch of “jewelry” the kitchen is missing.

Kitchen Before Home Staging

Kitchen/Living – Before

Kitchen After Home Staging

Kitchen/Living – After

Entry Before Home Staging

Entry – Before

Entry After Home Staging

Entry – After
First impressions start here, and this window treatment and wallpaper have got to go! The lighting is also updated for just $5 per fixture by simply removing the glass covers, adding a new liner, and viola, brighter more modern light!

Living Room Before Home Staging

Living/Dining Area – Before

Living Room After Home Staging

Living/Dining Area – After
Having the carpets stretched makes them feel new. Removing the big green monster of wallpaper helps to brighten and lighten this space. And insulated window treatments large enough to cover the sliding glass windows are selected for both their good looks and energy efficiency. (Yes, vertical blinds would have been ideal, but my allergy to vertical blinds would not allow for this option.)

Master Bedroom Before Home Staging

Master Bedroom – Before

Master Bedroom After Home Staging

Master Bedroom – After
Not much work is required here. Removal of old window treatments with an inexpensive–but new–venetian blind and new paint finish this space.

Bedroom Before Home Staging

Second Bedroom – Before

Bedroom After Home Staging

Second Bedroom – After
Similar to the master bedroom, little work is required here. Window treatments are simplified. And the mirror is removed as it’s too taste-specific and feels odd in an empty space. You never want buyers or renters thinking, Why is that there?

Deck Before Home Staging

Deck – Before

Deck After Home Staging

Deck – After
The best update is the simplest update. Remove the awning. The metal prison like bars look awful in the winter, and it costs too much to have the awning maintained. A retractable awning would be nice, but the expense can’t be justified for a rental unit. The added light makes this unit that much more desirable.

 


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