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?


Entry – Before 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.



Living Room – Before 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.


Kitchen/Dining Room – Before 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.


Bonus Room – Before 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.


Lower Bedroom – Before Home Staging


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


Bedroom/Office/Playroom – Before Home Staging


Bedroom/Office/Playroom – Before 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.


Upstairs Bathroom – Before 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.



Upstairs Bedroom – Before 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.



Master Bedroom – Before 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.

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 KatonahMaster Bathroom - Before Home Staging Katonah

Master Bath – Before Renovations

Master Bathroom - After Home Staging Katonah

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.


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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Home Tweet Home: Best Real Estate Tweets for June 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…

Home Staging on a Budget: 10 Simple Steps That Sell | @AOLRealEstate
You’ve decided to sell your home, and you want to get top dollar for it. And you’ve seen TV shows where homeowners spend thousands of dollars staging their homes for sale, but there’s an important detail to consider: You don’t have thousands and thousands to spend.

6 Staging Pitfalls Sellers Should Avoid | @TruliaPro
In many cases, staging will determine how easily a home will sell, but luckily, it’s one of the few factors that your clients have control over. With a little guidance from their great agent (read: you!) any smart homeowner can get their home picture perfect and buyer ready.

Selling Your Home…

The Best Season to Sell Your Home—and Why | @REALTORdotcom
Timing really is everything when it comes to home sales. Getting your asking price, and even attracting multiple buyers, can simply be a factor of the time of year when the home is sold.

Home Decorating For Mass Appeal: Choices You Make May Affect Your Home Sale | @RealtyTimes
One of the advantages of owning your own home is the ability to decorate it and make structural changes the way you like. However, when it comes time to list and sell that same home, those changes may help or hurt you depending on what you have done to the house.

Home Design…

How To Renovate Your Kitchen For Under $500 | @RealtyTimes
Looking to redo your space but lacking the funds? You can actually get a whole new look without a big hassle – or a big expense. With some tips and tricks and some effort on your part (and maybe that of a few of your friends), you can fix up almost any space for under $500.  

12 Deadly Decorating Sins | @houzz
Are your room designs suffering from a few old habits? It may be time to change your ways

Career Development…

Whose version of success are you living? | @Terri_Cole  @PosPositive
Maybe you consider yourself ‘successful,’ which is great. However, I want you to check in and honestly ask yourself if you are living your version of success, or that of someone else.

Customer Service…

12 Most Indispensable Habits for Keeping Your Customers Blissfully Happy | @TRYBusiness
By establishing the following essential habits, you’ll soon start reaping the many benefits of keeping your customers on your happy train.

Just for Fun…

How to See Without Glasses | @YouTube

Ten Reasons Not To Move To Texas | @RealtyTimes
For the last several years many news sources have reported that Texas is THE STATE with the most and best of everything, however Realty Times has come up with 10 great reasons people may want to reconsider moving to Texas.


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Home Staging Heritage Hills: Putting the Pieces Together

Home staging is a puzzle, but Bonnie’s home has all the pieces to produce a speedy sale.

Bonnie needs to sell quickly and move even faster. As a savvy home seller, she seeks the advice of a stager to make her home stand out from other properties for sale in her community of Heritage Hills in Somers, NY.

Agent Deanna LaBarbara of Coldwell Banker in Somers, NY, recommends Susan Atwell of AtWell Staged Home to help Bonnie achieve her goals.

Bonnie’s 2-bedroom, 1,500 square-foot condo is up-to-date and freshly painted, but she’s looking for assistance with placing art, accessorizing, arranging furniture, and deciding which things should stay or go. Making these decisions quickly and implementing a plan are major reasons for recruiting professional assistance.

With no basement or storage unit available, we decide to neatly fill the garage with the excess items.

My favorite memory of the home staging sessions is moving the sleeper-sofa from the guest bedroom to the living room. We knew it would be possible even if it appears that the house is built around this heavy sofa. If the sofa had made it into the bedroom, there must be a way to take it out.

Bonnie suggests putting it on end, and with lots of wiggling, sweat and furniture slides, we pop it out the bedroom door and slide it into the living room. (This is why it’s important to wear machine-washable clothing when staging. You never know what trouble you might get into.)

I love Bonnie’s can-do attitude and determination, the two most important ingredients—more than even money—when preparing a home for sale. Read in Bonnie’s words how all this effort is rewarded:

Thanks for all your help staging my condo. I want you to be aware that I received more than $25,000 over the Realtors’ recommended listing price and $11,000 over the actual listing price on my Condo and had multiple cash offers within 7 days of the listing (within $1K of each other).

Your help made the difference. You have a real talent!

I have two friends to whom I am sending your newsletter who are interested in your services. I may request some professional assistance with arrangements once I relocate—so store those images in your head!

- Bonnie S., Somers, NY

Home Staging Heritage Hills - Bathroom After Home StagingMaster Bathroom – After Home Staging
Not much to do here but accentuate the clean and updated space with some fresh towels, art, and accessories.

At the broker open house, agents think the home always looked this way. (The perfect feedback because a home should never scream, I’m staged!)

The agents ask, What did you do? That’s when I walk them to the garage showing them the neatly stacked mounds of furniture and storage containers. Next I describe how the rooms looked prior to staging.

Bonnie’s agent is also thrilled with the results. Here’s what Deanna had to say:

The unit looked great!! You did an outstanding job and I know the home owner was so pleased with all your work. She was very excited and thrilled! We had showings immediately, which lead to a quick sale. All your hard work showed!

I will be referring you to some other clients soon!! I would also love for you to come in to one of our office meetings so I can promote all you do as my sincere thanks! Most of the agents know your work, but there are some new agents that would love to meet you.

Deanna LaBarbara
Coldwell Banker, Somers, NY

Bonnie had beautiful furniture, art, and decorative items to begin with, making my job not only easier but great fun too.

As with most homes, the pieces required for a quick sale are there already. The secret is knowing where to put them. As a home stager, these are my favorite puzzles to solve.

Because we start staging at the first meeting, no before pictures are taken, but we hope you’ll enjoy these listing pictures with descriptions of how the spaces looked prior.

Keep in mind that each room is staged using just what the home owner already has.

Home Staging Heritage Hills - Lving Room After Home StagingLiving Room – After Home Staging
The infamous sleeper sofa moved from the back bedroom to the main living space replaces an oversized – and less comfortable looking – wicker sofa. Furniture that blocked access to the window, including a demi-lune sofa table, which is now just visible on the left wall, is removed. The comfy chair is placed to the left of the fireplace and just one additional chair – the mate to the one on the right – is moved to the dining area.

Living Room – After Home Staging
(From a different angle.)

Home Staging Heritage Hills - Dining Room After Home StagingDining Room – After Home Staging
By removing one section from the wall unit, the room appears larger and allows us to add the chair from the living room. The secretary on the far left is now visible after being moved away from the entry to the kitchen. In its place is the smaller plant stand (shown on right). We also add – yes, add – a leaf to the dining table to keep it in scale with the room.


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