Landscaping Checklist

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During the staging process, it's easy to focus on the inside and put the outside of the house on the back burner. But now that the weather is warm, landscaping becomes very important to staged homes. Here is a checklist of items to pay close attention to:

    * Make certain bushes aren't covering up any of the windows. If so, trim them back before the new growth becomes unmanageable. Not only do you want potential buyers to see the windows from the outside, you want the view from the inside to be sunny and open.

    * If you need to add new plants to the flower beds, consider ones that are more mature to make more of a statement.

    * Make certain borders of flower beds are clearly defined. You don't necessarily need to add a border, but use a spade to mark the boundaries. Remove weeds and add fresh mulch.

    * If you mow the lawn yourself, set up a regular schedule so the grass stays neatly clipped. Better yet, hire a service to come once a week to make it less of a burden for you.

    * Colorful flowers that coordinate with the exterior of your house are a nice touch, whether in a pot by the door, on the walkway or in the flowerbeds.

    * Make certain the path to the front door is visible and inviting. If grass is encroaching on the walkway, remove it. If pavers have become embedded in the grass over the winter, take them up and reset them. If potential buyers can't see the front walkway, they won't feel welcomed into the house.

    * Keep houses rolled up, toys out of the yard, and trash cans and recycling bins out of sight. Remove any yard art as that distracts from the house.

    * Make certain your house numbers are visible from the street and in good condition.

    * Keep your car in the garage rather than parked in the driveway. That makes the view of your house unobstructed when potential buyers drive by. And it keeps them from being distracted by the car so that they are not looking at the house.

    * Don't forget the sides of the house, even if no one goes there. Your potential buyers will!

Remember, buyers will often drive by houses that are for sale before they consider making an appointment to see the inside. Make certain you've done everything you can to ensure they want a second look.

Ann Anderson is the owner of Rooms Reborn ( ), a decorating, staging, and redesign business serving Connecticut. She is also the founder and Director of the School of Interior Redesign ( ). a private occupational school teaching staging, decorating, redesign, feng shui, and working with relocating seniors. She is also the co-creator of the Ready2Sellin30Days system which is designed to help do-it-yourself home sellers prepare their homes for sale with less stress.

Flying the Empty Nest

Now that the nest is empty, is it time for you to fly it too?

In a home that you've built up over the years, it may be unthinkable of living anywhere else. Everywhere you look there are reminders of the family you brought up here and happy times spent together. But what of your life now? You may have flirted with the idea of downsizing but the task ahead is just too daunting to contemplate both physically and emotionally. Staging your property can help you if you want to downsize. Property stagers can help from the de-cluttering right through to staging the property for sale, they're on hand to help. They offer their advice on how to pick your way through the transition. Leaving your much loved home is a huge decision; apart from the simple fact that you're comfortable there, you're familiar with the boiler's little foibles and the creaky fourth step on the stairs, it's tied up with who you are as a person. A house where you've been a spouse and a parent has you clearly defined, who would you be if you left?

The first step along the journey is deciding you actually want to move on. You'll get an inkling of this if you spend time worrying over the amount of maintenance the property requires and whether you can keep up. Household billr can be a source of anxiety not only the maintenance costs but also the expense of heating rooms that are no longer inhabited. What about the higher council tax band that your property falls into? Could that money be better spent elsewhere? Perhaps on those long held ambitions that could still be fulfilled if you could just liberate some capital tied up in it. Whether it's the pursuit of a lifelong dream or just the peace of mind of living a simpler life, you could be ready to move on and now could be the start of something new; you could be able to make the first move.

Once you've made the decision to go it's vital that you concentrate on the positive aspects. Think about the burden of high property maintenance and the costs of hefty bills being lifted off your shoulders. See this as a new phase in your life, an opportunity to take time doing more of the things you enjoy most; a chance to reinvent yourself, and put yourself first after all these years. Reinvention keeps you young as discovering and trying new things keeps you stimulated and ultimately gives you confidence. Contemplate the new you and begin to move out mentally before your do so physically. Unlike a son or daughter who may have emotional ties to their childhood home, they can advise on the presentation of the property. A large property will always appeal to families - as it did to you. It needs to be presented to appeal to younger families with more modern tastes who will be able to visualise themselves in the space. Stagers can help the vendor achieve this.

Another aspect of the move is the de-cluttering of a lifetime's possessions and clutter. Many grown up children leave behind boxes of belongings at their parents' home. They use their home as an unofficial dumping ground or demand that nothing changes in their old bedroom in their absence. Parents are often also happy with the arrangement, they want to oblige them and by doing so keep hold of the past too. However when a parent decides it's time to move on it means that decisions have to be taken as to what to do with it all. Chances are that the children don't ever look in those boxes and wouldn't miss them anyway. Start by sorting the clutter on a scale of 1-10, with items at 1 being so prized you'd brave going into a burning building as to save them and 10 as being rubbish not even fit for recycling. The stuff kept just in case it may come in handy? Well it never did - so that can go. This is also a good chance to get photographs organised in albums so that they can be stored more easily or even in frames that can be put on display and enjoyed. Then there are those guilt items. The odd birthday gift that you never did like - there won't be enough room in the new place - that can be donated to charity. The clothes bought on impulse that serve to reproach you every time you open the wardrobe. And the big one: the children's clutter. Well you consult with them and state that you're happy to hand it back or dispose of it according to their wishes. Sometimes it just takes a gentle guiding hand to start the process.

It may also be a way of handing out an early inheritance. Heirlooms can be distributed to loved ones where you'll be able to see them enjoyed and cherished in your lifetime. You may want to sell on some pieces, which will feather your new nest even more Once the first pile has been sorted you're on your way. It can be an emotional process too, with memories flooding back as to how and when you came by an item, so it may be useful to have someone there to keep you focussed. There is an enormous sense of relief when it's done and the aids you to move on to the next phase. It's almost like a liberation from the past but choosing to carry only the best bits forward with you. Downsizing can be immensely satisfying both as a process and with what's left at the end of it. You have a streamlined life, with the opportunity to devote yourself to more of what pleases you; surrounded by the things you love most.

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Home Staging Gone Bad

I scheduled to show a house to my buyers. The Listing Agent mentioned that the house had been staged. With so many vacant homes on the market today it's nice to see one that is furnished and decorated nicely. It gives the buyers an idea of how they can utilize the space.

Upon entering this house, we noticed that there was an odor... my buyers remarked that it smelled like food. We walked into the main portion of the house and noticed that the house was jammed packed with furniture. In the dining alcove area, instead of a nice dining table, they put a full living room set. At the back door leading to the outside patio, they put a full-size dining table... right in front of the doors. (odd... why would you put it there when this house has a specific dining area?) The house was filled with knick knacks and "things". As we walked from room to room, we spent more time commenting on the odd tchotchkes than looking at the house itself. The master bathroom had a 3 tier shelf unit above the toilet. The shelves were filled with large pillows. (pillows on shelves in the bathroom?) Then my buyer noticed that the toilet seat didn't fit the toilet. It was several inches shorter than the toilet. When we walked into the back bedroom, we noticed another odor... this time like mold or must. There was a very large stain on the carpet. We were almost done with our tour and I went to open the door leading to the garage. Once again, we were struck with yet another odor... this time the stench of bananas! Amongst many items left in the garage, there were two crates on the garage floor... one filled with bananas and one with onions. The house was so poorly staged, that we were actually glad to leave and head outside to get some fresh air.

The house has been on the market, with this current Agent, for 175 days and with cumulative days on the market (CDOM) of 522! I wonder if the Listing Agent has been to the house recently? Did she approve the staging?

Here are some simple tips for staging:

Clean and get rid of clutter... in every room! Make sure the furniture fits the room and is not oversized Clean the carpeting. Buyers do not want to see large stains in the carpeting Make sure the house smells nice. Put scented candles or some air fresheners around the house. Some scents that can help to sell a home are cinnamon, citrus, hint of mint, baked goods, vanilla... etc Do not decorate with personal items. Remove any personal photos or religious or political items that the buyer would not be able to identify with or may offend the buyer Keep the colors neutral yet repaint carefully. You may want to spend $25 for a gallon of neutral-color paint to make a room more appealing. But remember to do a good job repainting. Buyers will notice a sloppy paint job. Dust and clean the baseboard moldings and walls. If you do not want to repaint, at least take the time to clean the moldings and walls. this does enhance the appeal of a house as it shows that the house is maintained well.

A house should be staged to get a quicker sale for top dollar. So if you are hiring a staging company, check their credentials and ask to see a portfolio of their work. Take the time to go to the house after it has been staged to see if they have done a good job.

For additional information, contact Diana Lisinski

Tips for Staging Your Home to Get the Sale

Selling real estate seems mysterious to a lot of people, particularly first time sellers. When families are ready to move forward, onto a more appropriate space for their needs, they need to offer their homes to interested parties. The issue here is...who is the right party?

The answer is: all of them. This, naturally, leads to another question: How does one make a home into a house...a commodity...a piece of property for sale?

That is where staging comes in-staging a home means turning it back into a house-one where any family, individual, or couple, can see themselves living. Sounds easy, but to those who have lived on a property for several years may find it difficult to be objective when it comes to their belongings. That wonderful shelf of bowling trophies may look great to the bowling champ, but to others coming in for a tour, it will turn them away as fast as if the house was on fire. Here are three easy ways to begin staging a house when selling real estate:

Visit a Model Home for Inspiration

Walk through model homes, and rate how each one felt afterward. On the highest rated take note of the following:

• The home's color schemes

• The home's d├ęcor (flowers, window treatments, decoration items, etc.)

• The home's lighting

It will, most likely, come to attention that the highest rated homes have neutral or pastel color schemes, are well lit, and have excellent color coordination. If a house has too many bold, primary colors, it can turn off a majority of potential buyers. Some agents state that one or two rooms done with a "mood wall" are okay, but should be avoided if possible.


The best way to stage a home when selling real estate is to remove all clutter and deep clean. The ideal is to create a house that anyone can picture as theirs. This means that personal collection items must be put away, as well as personal photos and any chotchkies (small items of personal value). The entire house will need to be decluttered, including closets, the areas under the sinks, and even larger rooms, such as the living room. Avoid placing larger items too close together as well. Eyeball the rooms as if they have never been visited before to double check for cluttered areas.

Lights, Color, Action!

Finally, ensure that there is good lighting throughout the house. Place table lamps, floor lamps, and colored lighting where appropriate. Blue lighting will make a room brighter, and pink lighting will make a room warmer and cozier. Avoid yellow lighting and red lighting completely. Yellow lighting can highlight flaws throughout a room, and red lighting tends to turn people away and make a room uncomfortable.

A clean, clutter-free, well-coordinated house is the best way to stage a house when selling real estate. Above all, it is always a good idea to consult a trusted real estate agent to get honest opinions about how a home is best staged for selling.

Jason Kay encourages you to consider selling your home yourself. There are several services to help you and it can save you thousands of dollars. Read reviews as well as review of other services offering aid in selling your own home.

Home Staging Tips

There are a number of home staging tips that you should always keep in mind to make sure that you are doing all of the important things to make the house sell. Remember that this process doesn't have to be hard if you understand the things you have to do to make the staging a success.

As far as home staging tips go, always remember that in home staging you are not decorating; you stage a house so that it sells.

Here are some home staging tips to make the process go smoothly.

* Create an atmosphere in the house that will appeal to a wide range of potential home buyers. Your particular likes and dislikes are not important so discard them now.

* Remove all of the clutter from the bathroom countertops, from the tubs, from the shower stalls and especially the commode tops. Coordinate your shower curtains, towels and rugs. Make sure that everything is spotless and clean.

* Most home staging tips are quite simple and this one is no exception. The outside of the staged home is one of the most important areas that you need to concentrate on. Make sure that the lawn is cut and that any and all flowerbeds are neat and well-tended. Pay special attention to the outside entry area and doors. Some areas may just need painting while others may need repairs.

* Painting the interior of the house is usually cost-effective and is an easy way to enhance the look of the home. Most home staging books and magazines recommend a neutral paint pallet for this. Hiring professional painters to do this will be well worth the extra expense.

* A big part of home staging involves removing clutter and making sure that everything is clean. Take extra care to ensure that all of the windows are clean both inside and out. The exterior should also be clean. You may need to pressure wash the siding and decks or other exterior areas. Don't forget the garage. Everything that looks cluttered or messy should be removed.

* Some things may need to be updated. Take a good look at the kitchen cabinets and countertops. If they are chipped or in need of repair then you need to decide if they can be re-finished or need to be replaced.

* Check out the carpets and flooring. Do they just need to be cleaned or re-finished. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and replace old and worn carpets. If it makes the house sell quicker and at a higher price then it is worth the cost.

* Sometimes you have to get rid of furniture if the rooms are crowded or small. At other times you may have to bring in furniture to replace worn or shabby furniture. Quite often you can rent nice furniture by the month to ensure that the staged home looks its best.

* Make sure that every room has a focal point that will engage the buyers and increase their interest in the house. Arrange the furniture so that the focal point commands the buyer's attention. Also ensure that nothing in the room conflicts with this focal point.

* One of the most important home staging tips is to make sure that the home is well lighted and that it smell pleasant and fresh. If the home is vacant, make sure that the heat or air conditioner is on during the hours that you will be showing the home.

Home staging tends to make the home look larger and much brighter and also allows the home buyer to envision themselves living in the home. Home staging professionals claim that correctly staged homes will sell much faster and for a higher price. The expense for staging a house usually is determined by a number of variables, including whether or not you are going to stage all rooms of the home or perhaps just some.

Stick to these home staging tips and the house will sell a lot faster, as well as at a much better price than your competition.

Should you get stuck and really need creative ideas, walk through several other open houses which were staged to see exactly what they have successfully done. They can be an excellent reference for suggestions and will provide ideas that you can add to your home staging tips.

Find additional information about Home Staging and get other Interior Decorating tips -

Tips to Sell Your Home

For any person who is selling their, the goal is always the same: to sell their home at the highest possible amount within the least time. However, many are the times when it is a Herculean task to synchronize these two goals. However, you can always attain this by investing some money on sprucing up the home in order to make it as attractive as possible to potential buyers. While this does not have to be too much of an expense, it definitely is very necessary when you are selling your home. Note however, that there are variations as to the importance of particular projects. Some projects will incorporate more returns while others may not rate that highly. What are the things that you should do to make selling your home a rewarding affair?

Painting - Applying a fresh new coat of paint in all the places would definitely work wonders as far as enhancing the look of your home is concerned. You definitely appreciate that the exercise would not only be easy but also inexpensive even as it brings about impressive returns. Forget that lame idea that the buyers have that they would not mind if the house is not painted. You should see how fast thdy go for the painted one and give others a wide berth.

Revitalize the bathroom - Anyone will acknowledge the importance of a bathroom in any house. In this case, when selling your home, be sure to swap out the pulls and light fixtures in order to refresh the bathroom. Giving the space a fresh new coat of paint would also be important not to mention upgrading the taps, shower heads and faucets. These would definitely not have to take too much of your money and the returns will be well worth it.

Upgrade the kitchen - Giving your kitchen a complete overhaul is of utmost importance when selling your home. This would not have to be too much of an investment as all you would need is to clean the cabinets, lightly sand them then apply some paint to freshen them up. Update the hardware and the lighting of the kitchen while eliminating any clutter in the kitchen.

Flooring - Rip out the torn carpets and replace or refinish the battered floors. Installing laminate vinyl flooring would be an easy and inexpensive way of upgrading the house and boosting its appearance.

Upgrades - When selling your home, investing in the first impression would be quite worthwhile. In this case, clean up the back and front yard, maintain the garden and repaint the planters and pots.

Jay Chambers is the owner of Staging Works, a condo staging Toronto and home staging services company. Visit our home staging blog for articles, practical information and home staging tips.