Does Decorating Matter – How do I Stage my House for the Holiday Season?

jennycookies.com

p: jennycookies.com

As we get into the decorating holidays, Sellers always ask, “can I decorate for the holiday?” The short answer, “yes, with some ‘staging’ recommendations.”

True story – I once showed a house with one fully decorated artificial Christmas tree in every room. Well that’s not too weird, right? Did I mention it was July?? Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine “not” displaying treasured holiday keepsakes or seasonal decorations when your house is on the market. So, what about decorating for holidays when it makes sense – October, Halloween; November, Thanksgiving; December, Christmas/Hanukkah? Unless you are showing houses to Scrooge, most buyers are in the holiday mood and a welcoming seasonal wreath, doormat, or display on the kitchen island makes them feel welcome. Too many decorations can be distracting to buyers, much like a wall of family photos. Here are the Weaver Team’s tips for the upcoming holiday season.

houseofhargrove.com2

p: houseofhargrove.com

First, Halloween. Don’t get us wrong, we love Halloween – who doesn’t? The candy, the costumes, the orange & black decorations – what’s not to love? Many of you will even buy a costume for Fido or Kitty. Awe! Cute! Pumpkins, mums, decorative kale and cabbage, all safe bets if your house is for sale. Unfortunately, most buyers are a little scared of zombies, skulls, and anything with fake blood. For more formal spaces, like living rooms and dining rooms, try a “Martha Stewart” type vibe with white Cinderella pumpkins and black branches. Orange and black are not everyone’s favorite color combination so be careful not spread the decorations into every room. If you need to be “spooky” try to keep it on the front porch or back deck, that way once inside the house the buyers feel more at ease.

1-Rustic-Fall-DecorNext, Thanksgiving. Autumn and fall colors blend nicely with most décor. A spray of silk autumn leaves or mums fit nicely into nooks and bookshelves. Your fall-themed pillows, blanket throws and flower arrangements will add a cozy and warm vibe to the interior. Don’t skip the autumn decorations in November and go right to Christmas. If you get weary of thinking that you need to overhaul the house again for November here’s another Weaver Team tip – “layer” your decorations. Place autumn first as a base, think leaves, mums, fall colors and then add your Halloween decorations. When it comes time to switch on November 1st just remove Halloween and voila! All set for November.

theharperhouse.com

p: theharperhouse.com

Finally, everyone’s favorite decorating holiday – Christmas. Okay, you have permission to dive right into the holly and “ho-ho-ho” the day after Thanksgiving. Here, again, just a caution about overusing red and green in every room. Like Halloween, you may want to research a more elegant look for your formal rooms. Gold, silver and white may be decorative enough to add an air of festiveness to your living room without overwhelming the buyer’s senses. If you celebrate Hanukkah then you are all set as the silver, white, gold and blue theme compliments almost all styles.

So, go ahead! Trim the tree, display the Menorah, put a scarecrow on your front porch. But, remember, take them down when the celebrations are over. You don’t want to end up in my blog – like the condominium owner that still had a Halloween mat at his front door – in March!

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Prepping Your Home For Sale

Hi everyone! This is Jennie, Marketing Director for The Weaver Team. I’m always posting tips on home staging, getting ready to move, etc. but I thought speaking from my own experience might really hit home for you all. My husband and I recently decided to put our condo on the market to move on up to our first house. SO exciting, but also SO stressful!

P: Shutterstock

P: Shutterstock

Just looking at all of the stuff we’ve accumulated over the years was giving me heart palpitations. And I am a total neat freak – so it probably wasn’t even that bad. I had so many thoughts going through my head, there were so many things I wanted to clean or fix up before putting our condo on the market. There was just so much to do that I didn’t even want to start.

Once we started looking at houses, we decided it was time to buck up and get our condo on the market – sellers aren’t very enamored with offers contingent upon selling your current property. We were getting ready to head out on vacation for 10 days and I thought it would be the perfect time to list, that way the condo could be shown any time and we wouldn’t have to get out, figure out what to do with the dog, or clean up after ourselves.

So now we had a deadline to get our place ready, which was just the kick in the pants we needed. After all of the homes I’ve photographed and all of the staging tips I’ve poured over the past couple years, I knew the first step would be to declutter and depersonalize. We rented a small 5 x 10 storage unit for our ‘overflow’, I highly recommend a storage unit if you don’t have a basement or garage where you can store things.

DSCN1976We removed all photographs of ourselves, family, and dog – including from the walls, shelves, and refrigerator. We had a few ‘extra’ pieces of furniture including a console table, wine tower, and 2 dining room chairs that we removed to make the space look as large as possible, but without making it look sparse. We have storage under the stairs, so to show how large the space is, we packed it all up and put it in storage. The same for our closets, buyers are looking for storage space so if your closets are filled to the brim it gives a sense of very little storage space. We packed up seasonal clothes and shoes and off to storage they went.

Next we washed ALL of our walls and doors, just a bucket of water and a cloth, wiping them all down top to bottom. You will not believe the difference it made! And don’t forget the kitchen cabinets which tend to get extra grimy. We also wiped the ceiling fan blades, man those get dirty.

DSCN1981Once everything was hauled off to storage and everything had been wiped down, I went back through and redecorated. Yes you should declutter and depersonalize, but you don’t want your home to feel cold and unwelcoming. We have a cluster of shelves above the couch where I added candles and small picture frames will cool wallpaper. I put a runner on our dining room table with some candles and added a few small colored vases to a shelf above the TV.

Finally, as an added touch, we created a flyer that called out the features of our condo and also some additional perks like being within walking distance of the Village, local events, and being near the bus line. You don’t know if the agent showing your home is familiar with the area, so why not let them know why you love living there?

Let me tell you – staging works! Our condo, listed with The Weaver Team of course :), sold in 1 1/2 weeks! If you are going to list and have a vacation coming up, definitely list before you go, it will save you a ton of hassle with showings. And hopefully, like me, your home will sell while you’re away!

Stay tuned for my next post on buying a home.

Selling A Home With Pets

selling home with petsThe Weaver Team loves pets. Carolyn shares her house with a cat rescued from North Beach in Burlington and Jennie’s dog Maddie looks forward to walks every day. When you put your house on the market it’s important to consider what you’re going to do with your pets for the showings.

Even when you think your pet is calm and well-behaved, Bella or Max may exhibit other behaviors when you are gone. In one case, a good friend of mine listed her house and I was very familiar with her dog, “Buster.” Because I had visited on many occasions, the dog seemed calm and content so I told my friend the dog was no problem and could stay in the home for showings. When I arrived at the house to measure, on my own, “Buster” turned into the Tazmanian Devil. This whirling dervish followed me through the house jumping and barking incessantly. When I tried to leave the house Buster ran out and jumped in my car. Needless to say the poor fellow had just sentenced himself to a day in doggie day care for the showings.

P: shorewest.com

P: shorewest.com

Other pet situations sometimes involve pets escaping when other Realtors arrive at the house. One time, an owner let us know that their cat was shy and would hide. When we arrived and opened the door, the cat charged the door (and us!) and escaped into a hedge. Unfortunately, shaking the dry cat food box and calling, “Here kitty, kitty, kitty,” was futile. The seller had to leave a golf game to rescue Fluffy from the great outdoors.

For those of you who know us, our team is calm and we rarely panic. Recently, though, a Buyer’s Agent texted us from one of our listings asking, “Does the owner have cats? There are two in the yard.” The house had an indoor cat and we posted a sign, “Please Don’t Let the Cat Out.” Two? Outside? Before we could process this another text arrived, “They both have identical collars.” A quick read of the collars showed that the cats were the neighbors. Our seller’s cat was safely inside, asleep on a bed. Phew!

P: franklinteam.com

P: franklinteam.com

The point is to have a plan for your pets. We specialize in “pet tips” that we have accrued from our years of showing homes with dogs, cats, iguanas, guinea pigs, rabbits, snakes and ferrets. One time there was an empty cage … that’s a whole other blog.