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Real estate agents and home stagers share secrets
on how to sell your home fast
When selling your house, it might seem obvious that you should pick your dirty clothes up off your bedroom floor. Not so, says Realtor Joe Finnerty, of Prudential Patt, White Real Estate. Finnerty and his clients encounter homes with dirty dishes in the sink and an overflowing cat litter box.
“A part of you wonders: Did the agent tell them what to do?” said Finnerty, who has an accredited home stager on his team. “I have heard sellers say before, ‘If somebody really wants the house, they will overlook that stuff.’ They won’t.”
Lehigh Valley real estate agents and home stagers say the surefire way to sell your home fast is staging, either with the help of a professional or by following the simple, effective rules of the trade. A house that sells fast is clean, clutter-free and looks well maintained. Staged homes sell for about 8 percent more money since they sell faster, Finnerty said.
Real estate agents and professional stagers alike agree the window to make a good impression is small. An effectively staged home allows potential buyers to envision moving right in. “Allow the buyer to see the house, not the seller’s belongings,” advises Therese Kelley, president of the Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors.
Most buyers will first see your home online, so you want stellar photos that show all aspects of the house, said Nina Evangelista, owner of Staging It. She warns that clutter jumps out in photos. “If they don’t like the pictures, they won’t call. The better the photos, the more traffic you will attract,” she said. “The more space and the cleaner the home appears, the faster the sale.”
If an online listing piques a potential buyer’s interest, most then hop in the car and drive by the home, Evangelista said. That’s why sellers need to evaluate their entire home with a critical eye starting with the view from the street. Lawns should be well maintained, and if it’s spring or summer, plant flowers, Kelley said. In fall or winter, make sure leaves are raked and walkways shoveled. Give the front door a fresh coat of paint and put new numbers on the house.
“It makes the prospective buyer think they really took care of this home in other ways,” Evangelista said.
If the target buyer is a family with children, list your home in the spring, said Shoshana Gosselin, an interior designer and stager who owns Love Your Room. Families don’t want to uproot their children mid-school year, so they typically aim for a summer move.
The house should be spotless. Get carpets shampooed and drapes cleaned. Eliminate pet or food odors and send Fido to the neighbors. Ditch the tchotchkes and take down the personal pictures. “If you go into a living room and the whole wall is covered in family photos, it’s hard to picture yourself there,” Finnerty said
Buyers are nosy
Prospective buyers aren’t like polite house guests, warns Gosselin. They will be looking in closets and storage spaces, so start packing and purging.
“You want them to open a closet and see how big it is, not all your shoes,” she said.
Replace dated light fixtures or draperies. Make sure light bulbs are all working and turn all the lights on before a showing, Kelley said.
“Little updates, details are what sell a home,” Gosselin said.
Has your wife been nagging you about that door that sticks for years? Chances are, Kelley said, buyers will notice that too. Save yourself the trouble and fix it before your home goes on the market. Paint and carpet are two of the cheapest and biggest updates a seller can make. Slapping a fresh coat of paint on the wall has a 109 percent return on investment, Evangelista said. Stick to neutral colors and bring in pops of color with accessories, said Gosselin, who recommends Benjamin Moore Marble Canyon as a buyer-friendly paint color.
Solutions big and small
Fixes don’t have to be expensive. Put that dated fire screen in storage and let the fireplace shine with a fresh stack of firewood, Evangelista said. Or swap out the kitchen hardware.
“You want to appeal to a vast amount of people,” Evangelista said. “Not to one small unique set of people.”
The return on investment for major updates like a new furnace or roof is tricky because buyers expect homes to have these things.
“If you pay $6,000 for a new roof, we can’t raise the price by $6,000,” Finnerty said. “It definitely makes it more appealing. If the roof is totally falling down, you will get every penny’s worth back.”
If you fear the age of your furnace could be an issue for potential buyers, Kelley suggests having it serviced and finding out the replacement costs since it will impact your bottom line. Savvy buyers check a unit’s service card, she said.
Real estate agents agree vacant homes are the hardest to sell. If the owners have moved out, Kelley and Finnerty strongly advise renting furniture and staging a home.
Stagers offer tiered services ranging from one-time consultations to total home overhauls with new furniture and accessories. One-time consultations typically result in a report with suggested updates.
If you can’t afford to hire a home stager, ask your real estate agent for help.
Know your target buyer and get your home ready for that person.
Eliminate niche and personal items from your home.
Rooms look smaller without furniture, so placing just a bed in a room helps buyers with scale.
Small, inexpensive updates can make a huge difference.
We really enjoyed reading The Morning Call article ‘Modern Day Gold Rush’, and thank them for including us in it! Read it here:
Modern-day gold rush.
Treasures can be found at flea markets if you know where to look
April 28, 2013|Jack Romig | Special to The Morning Call
Eastern Pennsylvania is a hub for antique and flea market action. Many locations are within easy driving distance – Allentown, Slatington, Zionsville, Barto, Kutztown, Leesport, Perkiomenville, Saylorsburg and the multiple-market concentration at Adamstown in southern Berks County (where that copy of the Declaration turned up).
Local decorators and antiques dealers say real treasures await, along with apparent junk that can be rehabbed or converted to entirely new uses.
A few tips may be helpful to the beginner, said Melissa Weigner, manager of the Zionsville Antique Mall on Route 100. For example, Weigner says, it’s not necessarily best to hunt for a single specific thing.
“To me it’s much more exciting when people come in with an open mind and just let something speak to them,” she said. “These days nothing has to match what you already have at home – if you like it, you can make it work.”
Weigner suggested measuring spaces at home to get an idea of what can fit before you go out to the flea markets, so you’ll be ready to buy a piece you like. Merchandise can turn over fast and a coveted object may disappear before you can go home and back. Take a smart phone along, where you can list reminders of things you might want. You can even research interesting pieces on the fly.
Many veteran flea market visitors advised getting out early to outdoor markets, before someone else gloms the best stuff.
“Some places may be like that,” said Nancy Esposito, owner of Salvage Goods in Easton. “But I can always find something. Bases, metal machinery parts, old wallpaper, architectural pieces, wrought iron, vintage radios, advertising – some people can’t see it, but if you look for the interesting things out there, you should be able to find something no matter what.”
Prices for flea market merchandise are often lower than those for similar items in a thrift store or even new. If you’re a serious bargain hunter, you may want to arrive late for extra deals. Some dealers will sell cheap at day’s end to avoid packing up their wares and carting them home. And many flea market vendors like wholesale dealing. Often they’ll cut prices if you buy more of their goods.
But the soul of the flea-market deal is dickering.
“Always ask for the best price,” Weigner said. “Prices are normally somewhat negotiable, and asking for a discount is OK. The worst anybody can say is no.”
WHAT’S WORTH BUYING
At the market you’ll be competing with other homeowners, collectors, designers, decorators and dealers. It’s your eye and imagination that matter when it comes to spotting a worthwhile find before someone else does.
“People at the markets are looking for those special touches that don’t look like they came out of a box,” said interior decorator Shoshana Gosselin, owner of Designs by Shoshana in Breinigsville.
“It helps to think about where you’ll use it before you buy it,” she said. ‘All you need is a little creativity. I’ve turned old-fashioned lamps into accents on a bookcase, found jewelry that looked great just hanging it on the wall. Repurposing is a big part of flea marketing – you can get a whole new look from the right piece.”
While Esposito enthusiastically repurposes flea market finds, she said certain items should be avoided.
“Fabric, pillows, old bedding – those are some things that should be passed by. I’d say the same thing about anything that’s too damaged or soiled.”
Love Your Room Receives
Houzz’s 2013 ‘Best Of Houzz’ Award
Annual Survey and Analysis of 11 Million Monthly Users
Reveals Top-Rated U.S. Professionals
ALLENTOWN, PA – January 21, 2013 – Love Your Room of Allentown, Pennsylvania has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” 2013 by Houzz, the leading online platform for residential remodeling and design. The interior design and decorating agency was chosen by the more than 11 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community.
The Houzz “Best Of Houzz” award for 2013 is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction award winners are based on homeowner members who rated their experience working with remodeling professionals in 12 categories ranging from architects, and interior designers to contractors and other residential remodeling professionals. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the community of 11 million monthly users, also known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 124 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, iPad/iPhone app and Android app.
“Wow what an honor. So proud of our team.” Says Shoshana Gosselin, owner of Love Your Room.
“Houzz provides homeowners with an in-depth, 360-degree view of building, remodeling and design professionals through images of their work, reviews and an opportunity to interact with them directly in the Houzz community,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community. “We’re delighted to recognize Love Your Room among our “Best Of” professionals for exceptional customer service as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”
With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals Love Your Room, but also those whose work matches their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and evaluating their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.
About Shoshana Gosselin
Love Your Room is a Lehigh Valley interior design and decorating agency founded by Shoshana Gosselin with the belief that we should love the rooms we live and work in. We work on both residential and commercial spaces.
Houzz (www.houzz.com) is a leading online platform for home remodeling, providing inspiration, information, ‘advice and support for homeowners and home improvement professionals through its website and mobile applications. Houzz features the largest residential design database in the world, articles written by design experts, product recommendations, a vibrant community powered by social tools, and information on more than 1.5 million remodeling and design professionals worldwide who can help turn ideas into reality. @houzz_inc
Exciting news! About.com has published a photo of one of our past residential projects on their website. Our Asian inspired bedroom is now the example of how to create a red and green color scheme for an Asian styled space. CLICK HERE to read the article.Bedroom Color Schemes Using Color Complements: Red & Green Asian Style Bedroom
About.com provides home owners and renters bedroom design solutions and inspirations that are both affordable and manageable. About.com is a top 15 website owned by The New York Times.
Fresher, brighter shades of velvet you can create an updated, glamorous vibe. CLICK HERE to get inspired!
Ottomans are an added luxury to any sectional, but they come in so many shapes, sizes and styles that choosing one can be overwhelming. Picking the right ottoman for your modular sofa depends on the configuration and the look you want to achieve; you want to find one that has the right scale, height and feel to coordinate with your space. Here are some helpful tips. CLICK HERE.
If your powder room is suffering from a severe case of ho-hum, bring it back to alluring with skillfully placed art. CLICK HERE to see!
11 modern ceiling fan designs worthy of a round of applause CLICK HERE to see!
It has been a while but Shosh will be back on WFMZ-TV 69 News at Sunrise tomorrow at 8:40 am. With spring right around the corner, and this crazy warmer weather, she will share her Top 6 Home Staging Tips! If you are putting your home on the market, tune in!!
For more info read an article on home staging Shosh recently wrote for the Hakol. CLICK HERE.