Archive for the ‘home staging’ Category

Add Value to Your Home with Spring Cleaning

It may be surprising, but a clean and decluttered home can have a huge impact on a potential buyer’s impression of the home and help them envision it as their own. In addition, a clean home improves your mood and helps you feel more productive.

Clean Up the Yard

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression, so make the most of your home’s first impression by cleaning up the yard.

  1. Clear away fall and winter debris such as fallen branches and leaves; pick up and put away toys and other items that are not lawn ornaments.
  2. Be sure that all walkways are clear and easy to navigate along.
    • If you have broken or misaligned steps, consider hiring a professional to fix them.
  3. Clean the gutters, or hire a professional the clean them; when gutters are clogged, they can overflow and cause water damage to the exterior of your home. If they overflow into a window, the water damage can extend into the interior, as well.
  4. Treat your lawn to a spa day: feed it, weed it, give it moss treatment, and mow it on a dry day. When you know it’s going to rain, or shortly after rain, apply fertilizers for best results.

Clean Up the Exterior Walls of the House

Over the course of a year, a lot of dirt, muck, and grit can collect on the exterior walls of a home—not to mention moss, mold, and mildew growth along brick walls.

  1. On a warm, dry day, wash away the dirt on the exterior walls of your home. Take care not to damage any surfaces, let water get underneath the siding, or dislodge any bricks.
  2. If it looks like there is water damage on the outside of your home, call a professional.
  3. Take the chance to clean the outside of your windows as well, and check for any damage to them. Cracked panes should be replaced and peeling windowsills should be tended to, as well.
    • Peeling windowsills are a great opportunity (after removing the old paint) to repaint them with a refreshing new color. Not sure what color to pick? Our Painting Joy Into Your Home: How Colors Influence Your Mood blog post can give you an idea on what might be the best color, depending on what effect you want to achieve.
    • Once you’re back inside, wipe the inside of the windows down and clear away any cobwebs.

Clean Up the Garden

If you have a garden with clearly defined borders, be sure to freshen those borders up. In addition, give your garden some attention and care:

  1. Fork the soil around plants to introduce fresh air and reveal any pests or weeds
  2. Remove weeds and other unwanted plants
  3. Add mulch to control additional weeds or refresh existing mulch
  4. Check to see if any bricks or stones have become misaligned and realign them
  5. To help your plants grow and add nutrients to the soil, add compost or other organic matter

If you don’t have a garden but would like to increase the curb appeal of your home by adding some plants, try adding flower pots or hanging plants outside!

  1. Check that the flowers and plants won’t be at risk of dying from a last frost before adding the pots or hanging plants outdoors.
  2. If you want to grow the plants from seeds, consider starting them indoors to avoid losing them to hungry birds or animals before they’ve had the chance to sprout. Otherwise, pick potted flowers and plants you like from your local garden center.
  3. Arrange the potted flowers and hanging plants how you like: on your front porch, flanking your front door, along your walkway, or even in your back garden. The options are endless!

Last but not least, if you have a fence, inspect it for any damage.

  1. Ensure that all gates are properly attached and that locks function smoothly.
  2. Fill in any holes animals may have dug underneath the fence. If you have a dog that keeps digging a hole to escape, bury a toy, or pursuing some other destructive behavior, you may want to check with your local dog academy to see whether training can correct the behavior.
  3. Check for loose boards, rusted wires, damaged bricks or stones, etc. and repair the fence accordingly. If you don’t know how to maintain your fence and find that a section has decayed, call a professional.
  4. If you want to give your yard a fresh look, consider painting your fence a new color, adding flowers along the boundaries, or adding climbing plants to transform your fence into a garden wonderland. Check with your local garden center first on which climbing plants would be best.
    • Beware: climbing plants require a certain amount of maintenance and care to keep them from becoming unruly and overtaking your yard. If they attach to a tree, they can cause serious damage.

Creating a Five-Star Guest Room

The best guest is a comfortable one! Here are some ways to turn your guest room into a cozy oasis for any visitor.

A relaxing bed is the most important piece of the guest room. If you wouldn’t want to sleep on the guest room bed, why would your guests want to? Invest in a high-quality, king- or queen-sized mattress. Single guests will love the ability to spread out, while couples can still enjoy having ample room. Crisp, clean sheets should always be placed on the bed before guests arrive and plenty of blankets and extra sheets made readily available.

It’s okay to use your guest room as additional storage for yourself, but make sure your guests have space as well! De-clutter the area, especially the closet and tabletop spaces. Add at the foot of the bed for guests to keep suitcases and bags within reach without having them in the way. Provide hangers and shelving for guests who have items that need to be hung up or put away.

A guest might be a night owl or an early riser. Add a bedside lamp for those who like to read or write before bed. For those who want to sleep in, make sure windows are covered with drapes or blinds that can block out the light. Early risers might enjoy an alarm clock to help them wake up on time if they are on a schedule. If an early riser is up before dawn, make sure the room has ample lighting so they don’t need to stumble around in the dark.

Sometimes guests forget things at home or leave them behind without realizing they’ll need them. Welcome your visitors with some mini-essentials! You can leave an extra toothbrush in the bathroom and a clean robe. Travel-sized soaps, deodorants, sprays, and other things are easy to keep on hand, and any guest will appreciate having them! Leave snacks and beverages in the room in case guests get peckish or thirsty before bed. If you have an extra phone charger, consider keeping it in the guest room in case they forget theirs.

Simple fixes or updates to your guest room can make a world of difference, especially to your guests. By having a comfortable guest room, you’ll make their stay a wonderful experience!

Greens for the Winter Blues

While snow is beautiful and winter’s trademark, it also makes for a colorless and bland world. This winter season, liven up your home with some indoor plants that thrive during the chilly season!

African Violet

African violets come in plenty of colors. The plant tends to bloom all year and does exceptionally well in an east-facing window, where the amount of sun is perfect! Plant your African violets in pots and set them on trays full of pebbles, as this will increase the humidity level to combat the dry winter air. Then, make sure to keep a good amount of water in the tray!

Aloe

Aloe is not only a great plant for its medicinal properties: it’s one of the easiest plants to grow! Aloe does well in small, sunny indoor areas and with a temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the soil dry and avoid frequent watering to help your aloe plant thrive.

Bromeliad

Bromeliads add a very colorful touch to your home with their vibrant leaves. This plant does not need full sunlight and grows well in shadier areas, like a bathroom or a corner. It also doesn’t need very much water to grow, so only water it when the soil looks very dry.

Cyclamen

This plant naturally blooms in the winter and enjoys chilly temperatures, making it the perfect window plant. Cyclamen comes in a variety of different colors and, with good care, will last a very long time. Cyclamen likes indirect or filtered light and evenly moist soil.

English Ivy

English ivy is an elegant plant, especially when the tendrils flow down from furniture or mantels. English ivy likes moist soil and cooler temperatures from the mid-50s to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Ivy is also easy to gift! Cut a section of the stem and plant it in the same conditions as the original plant. Allow about two weeks for it to start growing again.

Peace Lily

The peace lily is a popular indoor plant due to its easy-to-care-for nature and beautiful blooms. It also improves air quality! The peace lily enjoys lower levels of light and standard temperatures. Keep the soil moist but refrain from too much watering!

Pothos

This plant has an air-purifying effect and helps remove toxins from the home, such as formaldehyde, making it a great plant to own. Pothos has trailing stems and would do well in a hanging basket or on an indoor trellis. Cut back the stems when they get too long to keep your plant full and healthy. Pothos does well in a variety of lighting levels, but avoid too little light as this will affect the leaves’ variegation. Soil should dry a bit between waterings.

Shamrock Plant

With leaves that look like shamrocks and small, white flowers, it’s easy to see why this is a popular winter plant! The shamrock plant enjoys bright spaces but refrain from placing it in direct light. Allow the soil to dry a bit between waterings.

Plants are a wonderful addition to any home and can help combat the winter blues. Most winter plants are relatively easy to care for and grow. They don’t require much tending, making them perfect during the busy holiday months!

Painting Joy Into Your Home: How Colors Influence Your Mood

Painting Joy Into Your Home

How the Color of Your Furniture and Walls Influence Your Mood

Do you avoid lingering in your living room? Does your home office crush the motivation right out of your soul? Take a look at the color of your walls and how much light gets into the room through the windows. It may be that the combination is affecting your mood negatively.

With the start of the New Year is a great chance to introduce a new splash of color and enliven your home! A fresh coat of paint can make a home look newer, increase the value of your home, and – most importantly – brighten your mood.

To help you decide on the best new color to use in your living room, bedroom, or any other room in your home, we’ve compiled the following comprehensive guide on the psychology of how different colors influence your emotions, along with which colors are best applied to which rooms for the most joyful mood.

Before falling in love with a particular color, remember to ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What do you typically do in that room?
  2. What emotional state of mind will most help you accomplish those tasks?
  3. Does this color evoke the emotional state of mind you need?

Dining table against a wall 3d image

Psychology & Meaning Of: Red

Red, depending on the intensity and shade, can evoke strong emotions of power, assertiveness, and domination or subtle emotions such as thoughtfulness. McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Pizza Hut and KFC all use the color because it encourages appetites and hunger. However, red is also typically characterized as a passionate color and is associated with love (red roses) and Valentine’s Day.

Positive Effects

  • Increases hunger
  • Pumps up adrenaline
  • Stirs excitement and passion; great for romance
  • Unsaturated red increases friendliness and warmth

Negative Effects

  • Raises blood pressure, increases the heart rate, and speeds up respiration
  • Studies indicate that being exposed to red before an exam can cause people to do poorly or fail their exams
  • Too much red is believed to evoke anger

Best Places To Use: Red

  • Dining Room: Since red encourages appetites, an ideal place to use it would be the dining room, to make people hungry, as opposed to the kitchen, where people are in the process of cooking. Studies have shown that if you go to a grocery store while hungry, you’re more likely to deviate from your grocery list and buy an excess of unneeded food. In the same sense, using red in the kitchen may cause you to eat food before it is fully prepared or even makes it to the dining room.
  • Front Door: Culturally, a red front door has been regarded as a sign of good luck and a safe place. In China, many paint their doors red before the Chinese New Year for good luck and to draw chi into the home. In America, a red door used to indicate that the home was a safe stop for travelers. Red also creates a strong first impression, and as such, is great for the front door.

Places To Carefully Use: Red

  • Bedroom: The right shade of red can enhance your romantic relationship, but too much red is linked with danger and can have the opposite effect, endangering your relationship and increasing levels of anger.

Places To Avoid Using: Red

  • Office/Study: Since offices and studies are typically used to get work done, and red is known to stimulate people, it is not the best color to use in a study room or office. Opt instead for a color that will help you concentrate and encourage creative flow, such as blue.

Blue study or office

Psychology & Meaning Of: Blue

One of the most popular colors in offices, blue is frequently associated with calmness, serenity, meditation, peacefulness, and water.

Positive Effects

  • Brings down blood pressure and slows both respiration and the heart rate
  • Associated with relaxation, serenity, and calm states of being
  • Promotes alertness – sunlight contains color from the blue end of the spectrum and wakes people up: the same result can be achieved with blue LEDs
  • Encourages intelligence – studies indicate that people who were exposed to blue before taking an exam were more likely to succeed and achieved greater results on their exam

Negative Effects

  • Especially in winter, certain shades of blue can come across as cold and make people feel unwelcome
  • Rooms that receive little sunlight come across as especially icy when painted blue
  • Pastel blue evokes introversion

Best Places To Use: Blue

  • Offices/Studies: Because blue encourages intelligence and alertness, the workspace is one of the best places to use it.
  • Bedrooms: Since blue also calms people and provides a sense of serenity and peace, the bedroom (where one goes to sleep) is another great place to use it.

Places To Carefully Use: Blue

  • Living Room: Dull and light blues can come across as cold or unpleasantly chilly in certain circumstances and thus discourage socializing. When using blue in the living room, aim for saturated and warm hues of blue such as cerulean. Dark blue, such as navy blue, can encourage sad emotions, so use these sparingly.
  • Children’s Room: If you have a shy child or one that is prone to depression, certain shades of blue (such as pastel blue and dark blue) may not be the best color to use in their room.

Places To Avoid Using: Blue

  • Dining Room: Blue has been known to curb appetites. Unless you’re trying an extreme diet, opt for a color that encourages appetites, like red.

Yellow kitchen

Psychology & Meaning Of: Yellow

A bright and sunny color, yellow is a double-edged sword. While it is commonly associated with happiness and can stimulate intellect, yellow is also known to make babies cry more and to evoke feelings of frustration and distress. Still, it’s a great accent color.

Positive Effects

  • Bright yellow stimulates intellect
  • Unsaturated yellow increases relaxation and differential behavior
  • Associated with sunshine and happiness
  • Grabs attention
  • Creates enthusiasm and can awaken greater confidence and optimism

Negative Effects

  • In excess, has been known to cause distress, frustration, and feelings of anger
  • Causes babies to cry – studies show that babies are more likely to cry in a yellow room
  • May strain the eyes or cause eye fatigue

Best Places To Use: Yellow

  • Kitchen: Yellow is said to increase metabolism and give a person energy. While cooking in the kitchen, energy and cheer is exactly what you need. In case you’re looking to do more than just paint your kitchen, check out our blog on how to style your kitchen.
  • Bathroom: What better place to add a spark of sunshine than the bathroom!

Places To Carefully Use: Yellow

  • Dining Room: Since excessive amounts of yellow can make people feel frustrated and may lead to an outbreak of emotions, avoid using it in the dining room. Unless you’re on a reality TV show, in which case, yellow will enhance the likelihood of a dramatic family dinner with flipped tables.

Places To Avoid Using: Yellow

  • Bedrooms & Children’s Room: Yellow makes babies cry. You want to sleep. Save yourself from interruptions and use a different color in the children’s room.

Green living room

Psychology & Meaning Of: Green

Frequently associated with nature, green is an excellent color that can be incorporated into a variety of different rooms.

Positive Effects

  • Associated with nature, the outdoors, forests, plants, and wealth
  • Studies indicate that colors reminiscent of foliage and nature tend to reduce symptoms of ADD in children
  • Some claim that green can prevent nightmares
  • Evokes tranquility, composure, comfort, and relaxation
  • Saturated hues of green stimulate verbal wit and critical analysis
  • Desaturated hues of green stimulate confidence

Negative Effects

  • Green may calm a person to the point of becoming placid and lethargic

Best Places To Use: Green

  • Kitchen & Living Room: Green will help add a note of calmness and serenity to clear your mind for various social tasks, while still promoting a sense of togetherness through its warm undertones.
  • Bedrooms & Children’s Room: With children, green may reduce symptoms of ADD and prevent nightmares. With adults, green should help you unwind after a long and arduous day, and encourage a more restful sleep. In addition, green is said to help with fertility.
  • Trophy Room/Den: Unsaturated and darker greens evoke confidence, and as such are great to use in the trophy room.

Places To Carefully Use: Green

  • Offices/Studies: To help you focus on your work, try adding some green elements to your office space.

Places To Avoid Using: Green

  • Green is a fairly versatile color.

Purple office

Psychology & Meaning Of: Purple

Throughout history, purple was commonly used by kings, queens, rulers, emperors and more to distinguish their royal status. Because of its royal heritage, purple is often associated with luxury, distinction, and sophistication. At the same time, purple evokes creativity and lighter tints of purple can encourage serenity.

Positive Effects

  • Associated with wealth, luxury, royalty, and high social status
  • Encourages creativity
  • Creates a sense of serenity without the chilly undertones that blue can sometimes convey

Negative Effects

  • None have been noted.

Best Places To Use: Purple

  • Offices/Studies: Purple is great in an office or study to enhance creative inspiration.
  • Trophy Room/Den, Great Room, Entry Hall, Bathroom: If you’re going for a royal flair and an awe-inspiring welcome, try using purple in the entry hall, bathroom, great room, or even the trophy room/den.

Places To Carefully Use: Purple

  • Children’s Room: If your child plays in their room, then purple is great for encouraging their creativity and sense of adventure. However, purple may also give them a hard time falling asleep. If your child has their own distinctive playroom, then purple is a great color to use there.

Places To Avoid Using: Purple

  • Bedroom: Since purple stimulates creativity and, in that sense, awakens an individual, the bedroom may not be the most ideal place to use it. Bedrooms are typically used to sleep, not to wake up and conjure a variety of ideas.

Orange exercise room or gym

Psychology & Meaning Of: Orange

An exciting color, orange grabs attention and enhances enthusiasm and energy. Like yellow, orange is cheerful and merry, but unlike yellow, orange does not make babies cry.

Positive Effects

  • Increases energy
  • Certain shades encourage appetites
  • Evokes warmth and socialization
  • Creates excitement and enthusiasm

Negative Effects

  • In America, orange is associated with prison uniforms
  • In America, orange is also used to indicate construction work

Best Places To Use: Orange

  • Exercise Room: Orange is great in an exercise room as that is typically when you need energy the most.
  • Dining Room: Certain shades of orange stimulate the appetite, and so are great to use in the dining room.

Places To Carefully Use: Orange

  • Living Room: Depending on the shade of orange used, you may accidentally encourage hunger in the living room instead of social energy.
  • Kitchen: As with red, orange may not be the best color to use in the kitchen simply because of the hunger it can stimulate.

Places To Avoid Using: Orange

  • Bedroom: Whereas purple awakes the mind, orange awakens with a burst of energy. To help you sleep at night, avoid using orange in the bedroom.

Pink toddler's room or children's room

Psychology & Meaning Of: Pink

In the past, pink was seen as too strong of a color for the delicacy of girls and instead more suited to the strength of boys. It wasn’t until the 1940s that manufacturing companies decided to assign pink clothing to girls and blue clothing to boys. But in the last decade, we’ve seen a miniature revolution to make pink a gender-neutral color once more. Despite the dichotomous history of pink and blue, pink has been proven to calm people down and has even garnered the term “the pink effect.”

Positive Effects

  • The Pink Effect – a study conducted at an American state prison indicated that inmates exposed to pink became significantly calmer, and the effect lasted for at least 20 minutes
  • Counteracts anger and violence
  • Regarded as calm, sweet, loving, and joyful
  • Associated with Valentine’s Day and romance
  • Due to marketing, can bring to mind memories of dolls and other toys traditionally meant for girls

Negative Effects

  • Due to marketing, may still be regarded as a color only for girls
  • Excessive pink may bring to mind a lack of will-power and self-worth, or a sense of immaturity

Best Places To Use: Pink

  • Bedrooms & Children’s Rooms: Because of its calming effect, pink is great for the bedroom, children’s rooms, and particularly children’s play rooms. It’s sure to help calm your nerves so you can get a good night’s rest and to minimize children’s temper-tantrums by soothing them.
  • Living Room or Family Room: Pink is also a great color for the living or family room as it should encourage relaxation and quality family time.

Places To Carefully Use: Pink

  • None

Places To Avoid Using: Pink

  • Exercise Room: In the exercise or gym room, you’re usually looking for a burst of energy to help you reach your exercise goal. While pink may help you meditate, it may also counteract any stronger energy needed to motivate you to work out. Opt for some orange in the exercise room instead to boost your energy.

Brown den

Psychology & Meaning Of: Brown

Frequently considered a neutral color by designers and home stagers, brown – like green – is extremely versatile and can be used almost anywhere.

Positive Effects

  • Evokes quietude, strength, reliability, and sophistication
  • Brings about desires to cozy up to a fireplace, and feelings of intimacy and togetherness
  • Associated with nature and the wilderness and, as such, is sometimes described as down-to-earth and conventional
  • Can be used as a complementary color in a palette with stronger colors, such as blue, green, red, etc.

Negative Effects

  • In excess, can create feelings of sadness, isolation, and loneliness
  • Can also be regarded as vast, empty, stark, and akin to a desert

Best Places To Use: Brown

  • Living Room: To draw people together and encourage quality cuddling time in front of the fireplace, add some brown to the living room. While blue can seem chilly and off-putting in the winter, brown is sure to bring comfort.
  • Trophy Room/Den: For a quiet yet powerful note in the den or trophy room, spring for brown. Coupled with green and accented by gold, this triple color combination is often regarded as quietly sophisticated and yet conducive to getting work done. As such, the color combination is also great for a den that doubles as a study or office.

Places To Carefully Use: Brown

  • None

Places To Avoid Using: Brown

  • None. Like green, it is considered a fairly versatile color.
This living room gets abundant natural light, and the white walls makes the room appear expansive.

Psychology & Meaning Of: White

As the saying goes, white (and black) matches everything. White is an excellent color, particularly when you can’t decide on a single color and want to focus on a complex color palette for the furniture and window treatments. In large rooms that get a lot of sunlight, white can help to accomplish a bohemian style or can be used to refine a room and give it a Greek flair. White is frequently used in more modern, contemporary homes.

Positive Effects

  • Gives off feelings of sanitation, cleanliness, and purity
  • Spaciousness – typically makes small rooms appear larger
  • Creates an airy and open atmosphere
  • Associated with harmony, reticence, and formality

Negative Effects

  • Can sometimes be regarded as bland, a blank slate, and a lack of effort to color a room

Best Places To Use: White

  • Bathroom & Laundry Room: Because white evokes sanitation and cleanliness, it’s a great color to use in both the bathroom and laundry room, where cleanliness is the primary goal.
  • Any room in the house

Places To Carefully Use: White

  • None

Places To Avoid Using: White

  • Rooms that get very little sunlight: Although white goes with anything and can make small rooms appear larger, rooms that get little sunlight may seem bland, one-dimensional, and drab with white walls. Rooms with the most sunlight benefit from white because the natural light bounces off the white walls and helps to brighten the room even more, giving it that airy, open, and spacious atmosphere.

This living room also gets a lot of natural light and is visibly large, but the black walls shrink the room and make it appear smaller.

Psychology & Meaning Of: Black

Like white, black goes with anything and everything. However, unlike white, too much black can drown out a room and create a negative atmosphere. Designers and home stagers generally agree that a touch of black in any room helps to ground the main color palette used in that room and give it a sense of depth.

Positive Effects

  • Evokes formality, strength, protection
  • Associated with luxury and sophisticated
  • Regarded as authoritative, powerful, self-controlled, disciplined, and independent

Negative Effects

  • In excess, black can lead to depression, mood swings, feelings of melancholy and even create a negative environment
  • Can evoke the desire to stay indoors

Best Places To Use: Black

  • Any room in the house: to avoid depressive qualities, be sure to use only a touch of black to highlight the main color palette of the room.

Places To Carefully Use: Black

  • None

Places To Avoid Using: Black

  • Small Rooms: Black naturally drains the light out of a room and makes it appear smaller. As such, small rooms may come across as claustrophobic if painted black or containing too much black furniture.

 

Enjoy the fresh coat of paint! The best part of painting a room, aside from the act of painting and doing it with friends or family, is enjoying the results of all your hard work.

The Two Best Ways to Save On Your Renovations

Whether you plan on selling or simply want to keep up with the current trends, a remodel may be the best thing for you. However, to make sure you get the most out of your improvements you will want to keep a few things in mind.

Take a look at our top two best ways to get more for your money.

Tip #1: CONSIDER LOOK-ALIKE MATERIALS

countertops.jpgIn the 1990’s every piece of linoleum looked the same. Fast forward a couple of decades and you can now spend hours in a home improvement store just staring at tile floors. The options are endless which means there are so many ways to save. In the past few years, companies have really stepped it up with ‘imitation’ material products. There is now laminate that looks like real wood, and quartz counters that can appear to be marble. There are so many options for picking materials that still look top of the line without having to stretch your budget.

Tip #2: PLAN AHEAD

Some of the worst decisions are those that are made on the whim. This means you should put a good amount of time and consideration into deciding which rooms to renovate in houseonmoneyyour home. Look at the long term. If you plan to live in your home for 5+ years then you can go into more elaborate designs, picking out exactly what you want and what suits your family. If you are going into a remodel with the end goal of getting the highest price out of your home sale then you will find your priorities may be a little different.

By sitting down and deciding what your true end goal is in the remodel you will have a better view on what exactly ‘needs’ to be done and what you ‘want’ done. You may ‘want’ that marble counter top, which is just fine if you plan to enjoy your home for many years to come. However, if you ‘need’ to get the most out of your remodel because you plan to sell next year…then maybe that laminate look-a-like is the better option. Plan ahead, make educated decisions, and listen to your gut. By doing so you will end up with a home that you are proud of. Whether you are selling or staying, you want to be able to take pride in your home!

Spring Cleaning

openhouse

The doldrums of winter have nearly passed, and straight ahead lurks the chaos of spring real estate. What passed for clean back in January simply won’t work as open house season approaches, so let’s take a closer look at the dusty corners, the filthy hardwood, and the tumbleweeds of discarded pet hair.

 

Less Stuff

If your spring cleaning is also in preparation of putting your home on the market, a storage unit might be in store. As HGTV points out, decluttering to show off the house often means just getting your stuff out of there. If you’ve decided you can finally part with some of that stuff, though, you could become one of the estimated 165,000 people who host a garage sale every week.

Exteriors Matter

You might be used to that old fence never quite closing, or maybe you’re still in winter mindset and have been ignoring those filthy gutters and streaked windows. When staging your house, though, the outside is the first thing a prospective buyer sees, and it’s important that it strikes a good first impression.

In addition to giving the yard a good mowing, the mailbox is an oft-ignored landmark of the front yard. When buyers pull up to an open house, a decrepit and pitiful mailbox is not what they want to see.

On that same note, make sure that your address numbers are clean and visible. No one wants to feel like they’re heading into a squatter’s home during an open house. A new welcome mat never hurt, either.

Elbow Grease

Inside, everything must find a home. Open up those windows to let in some fresh air, hunt down offending odors, and be sure to clean even things that may not look dirty such as drapes, curtains, and hardwood floors. In some cases, you may have forgotten just how pristine and shiny they can look.

Dust the spots that are hard to reach, even if they’re out of sight. Sometimes you can just feel that a place is dusty, even if you can’t quite spot the dust, and a feeling of dustiness is certainly not a quality you want in your open house. Don’t be afraid to wipe down the walls, too; you never know what kinds of mess they’ve been hanging on to.

The biggest challenge of a deep-clean is normally the bathroom. Be sure to let stubborn grime soak before really scrubbing it, and don’t ignore the dirt-trapping qualities of grout.

Staging

Just because it’s clean doesn’t mean it’s ready to woo homebuyers. Take care to remove your personality from the house as much as possible without making it look like an empty tomb. Re-arrange furniture so as to make the rooms appear bigger. Clutter is the enemy here, and making decorations accentuate the space rather than detract from it is the name of the game.

Some Changes

Okay, you got everything clean. It looks better than it’s ever looked, and while you’re cracking jokes about maybe we’ll just stay after all, you start to think that things could use an update in addition to being really, really clean.

Chances are that, if you have a home built sometime between 1950 and 1990, you’re still sporting popcorn ceilings. A housing feature that’s thankfully gone the way of the dinosaurs, modern homebuyers tend to avoid its dated appearance. Though doing anything to your ceiling can quickly turn into a home makeover nightmare, you’ll be glad in the end that you took the time – especially if it locks in those buyers.

A new coat of paint, be it to finally cover up the hideous purple of the guest bedroom or to brighten up a claustrophobic bathroom, always does wonders to transform a space. Neutral colors give the greatest mileage here and are the least likely to make homebuyers turn their noses up in disgust.

A Starting Point

It’s a start, but if your ultimate goal is to sell your home, you may still have a long road ahead of you. Look on the bright side, though – at least the weather’s finally warming up! For a more intensive itinerary to follow, look no further than Oprah. Happy cleaning!

Have any cleaning tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

 

Creating Real Estate Listing Photos That Stand Out

 

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In the world we live in today, technology is right at our finger tips. The second we need something whether it be a place to grad lunch or your most recent bank statement, we pick up our phones and have answers within minutes. This is the same way that people are beginning their home search. Before a potential buyer picks up the phone to call their agent they most likely have already ‘house stalked’ online. This means they have pulled up the listing, searched through the specs and took a look over every photo. These first impressions can make or break the next step for the buyer and something as simple as that band angle in the master bedroom may lead them to think this home may just not be worth the walk through.

This is why it is crucial to make sure the first impression you are giving buyers is as perfect and accurate as possible. Here are five tips for making sure your listing photos are done right.

  1. Quality is everything. The quality of the photo reflects the quality of the home. If the images are not clear and well thought over this is leaving a bad first impression to anyone looking at the home.
  2. Take pictures of what really counts. You want to set your focus on the house and just that. After all you are selling the home, not what is in it. Make sure each room is free of clutter. This will open the space and draw attention to the features of the room, not the belongings of the buyer!
  3. Less is not always more….but too much may be overwhelming. Picking the right number of images to show off the home is crucial. If you are missing images in the listing it may imply that there is something wrong with that specific room. Also if you have an image of every single room in the home all the way to the closets and pantry then you may run the risk of losing the buyers interest. Make sure to photograph the important rooms with a great flow that makes sense to someone scrolling through the gallery. This will help the buyer feel as if they were walking right through the home, a virtual tour of some sorts if you will!
  4. Let there be daylight! Lighting is very important to keep in mind when setting up an appointment to take photos. The more lighting the better. Keep in mind the time of day when the sun may be shinning in through certain windows. Try your best not to photograph the home at nighttime. The lack of daylight may cause the home to appear dark and dreary.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. A recent study showed that listing done with professional photography sold 50% faster and 39% closer to the listing price. Professional photographers have the proper lenses, cameras and eye to shoot each room at the right angle and in the right light to make sure the beauty of the home is reflected in each image. This is simply a talent that our iPhone can not give us. Hiring a professional to photograph a home for sale is becoming more and more popular. The pay off in doing so can be major saving you the time, energy and stress, not to mention a quicker sale!

As spring hits it is the perfect time to get some new fresh photographs taken. Keep it light, focused, and clutter free. In addition, do not hesitate to reach out to a professional for help!

Nothnagle Home Services vendor Todd Fleming Photography specializes in head shot portraiture and real estate photography in Rochester, Buffalo, and the surrounding areas. Visit the Nothnagle Home Services page to learn more.