How to Re-Do a Half Bath on a Budget

How to Re-Do a Half Bath on a Budget

With some paint and a carefully chosen storage solution, you can beautify a half bath on a tight budget!

The half bath is often the most forgotten part of the home. A room the homeowner themselves rarely ventures into, the half bath is often overlooked when other, more central rooms, are redecorated. In some circumstances, however, the half bath gets too much use, normally when it becomes the children’s bathroom. This designation usually results in a cluttered mess that features Barbie dolls and shampoo bottles covered in cartoon characters—not exactly a room to showcase to visitors!

How can you control this chaos and make it a more attractive space should guests stumble upon it? Storage! Even if you have a cupboard or shelf in your half bathroom, putting more storage in is never a bad idea, especially something that can become a focal point of this small room and help you dress it up in a few minutes before guests come to visit. Here we look at how with some paint and a carefully chosen storage solution, you can beautify a half bath on a tight budget.

When we moved into our 1960s home, we had a half bath that boasted a retro brownish-greenish-yellowish laminate countertop, white floor and wall tile, some under sink storage and a bathtub.Without a complete refurb, there wasn’t a lot we could do to the space to update it, and as it was situated between two upstairs bedrooms, it made the perfect children’s bathroom.

This designation meant it quickly descended into unorganized chaos. The tipping point for me was the multiple bottles teetering on the back of the toilet seat. I realized we needed storage that was open, easy to access and attractive. We also needed a new countertop—that retro mish-mash of colors didn’t look like it was coming back into style anytime soon.

After considering a complete vanity overhaul, we decided to try simply repainting the laminate. Using two coats of Rustoleum Countertop Coating ($20), we gave the room an instant facelift. The light grey color we choose complements the variety of different toned metal fixtures in the room and is a lot cleaner and brighter than the original color.

Next, we installed a simple chrome and glass wall shelf ($45) above the toilet. This fixture works perfectly for corralling the multiple bottles required to keep our children clean during everyday life but is also simple to dress up when guests come to stay.

So, don’t just shut the door on your chaotic half bath until you can afford to gut it. Consider some quick, inexpensive upgrades, such as paint and new storage, that will make it a more pleasant space to live with—or an easy update if you’re getting ready to sell.

Home Decor Style Tips for Seasonal Transition

Home Decor Style Tips for Seasonal Transition

Embrace fall as a welcome change agent in your home with tips from the seasoned pros at Ethan Allen

The calendar tells us it’s time to prepare for the cooler season inside and out. It’s also time to make some seasonal style changes, according to the design professionals at Ethan Allen.

And they should know; the company has been furnishing beautiful homes for more than 80 years. Ethan Allen designers love fall because it presents so many opportunities for warming things up! Their toolbox is overflowing (fine furniture for every room in the house, art for your walls; rugs for your floors; draperies for your windows; mattresses for sweet dreams; decorative pillows; gorgeous bedding, exquisite accents—the list goes on and on).

Because “cozy and comfortable” are at the top of everyone’s wish list at this time of year, we asked them to help us create a “blueprint” for a gracious, warm, and welcoming home.

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SAY HELLO IN STYLE
No matter your design style, you have only one chance to make a good first impression, so be sure your entryway rocks. It’s both a stage and a place of transition, providing an opportunity to set the bar high for the rest of your home. Choose from Ethan Allen’s diverse lineup—from timeless, traditional, and tony to fresh, fun, and modern—and discover a style that’s all your own. Select a dramatic focal point—like a console with a sweet silhouette—to draw the eye in. Add accents that complement the vignette for balance and a feel-good welcome!

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LIGHTEN THINGS UP
An abundance of pure light is one of the best-kept secrets of fine design. There’s a reason why Ethan Allen’s designers always try to place things “in the best possible light.” And because good interior lighting mimics sunlight, it puts guests at ease in subliminal ways, creating an ambience that feels warm and inviting. It enhances your furnishings, too. For fall—and throughout the year—we recommend lighting that is both quiet and flattering. Think of a room bathed in the glittering lamps of a show-stopping chandelier, or a sophisticated living space lit by versatile clear glass lamps. It’s illumination at its best.

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SIT AWHILE

Don’t you just love it when guests linger at the dinner table? Some say the trick is good wine, good conversation, and a delicious dessert. Ethan Allen’s designers suggest adding comfortable chairs to the mix! Because craftsmanship and quality are of paramount importance when selecting chairs that will get a lot of use, Ethan Allen is a great source. Did you know they still build many pieces by hand, in their own workshops in Vermont and North Carolina? Whatever your dining style, they make it easy to choose refined, well-designed dining chairs for a gracious touch and an eat-in experience that doesn’t get any better—or more beautiful.

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CREATE COMFORT
The look and feel of a guest room can make or break an overnight stay. Furnish yours around an elegant bed (a sheltering sleigh style is nice) to create an effortlessly romantic retreat. A tranquil palette (think mineral blue, white, and taupe) adds elegance. Don’t forget creature comforts: a relaxing chair, roomy chest, night table with good lighting, and sink-in-worthy bedcoverings (Ethan Allen offers all of the above). And remember: Luxury is on the house at Ethan Allen, where professional design services are always free of charge.

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INVITE CONVERSATION
Love the idea of a personal “chat room?” There are many ways to design a room around conversation, but furniture placement is always key. Give sofa and chairs equal time to encourage face-to-face-to-face interaction, but don’t crowd them—and don’t forget to elevate the space with a sophisticated palette. In a hurry to get the conversation started? Ethan Allen’s Custom Quick Ship styles are designed to have your guests kicking back in 30 days or less.*

  • *Delivery times may vary based on your location.

The 7 Do’s of Holiday Decorating When Your Home Is for Sale

The 7 Do’s of Holiday Decorating When Your Home Is for Sale

You can still be festive. These tips will help you celebrate — without alienating would-be buyers.

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Houzz Contributor, Neila Deen

Selling your home through the holiday season can certainly come with a few challenges. Chilly, wet weather and falling leaves in November and December might mean more raking and shoveling to keep your home pristine. However, the damp weather and dark skies don’t have to squelch your holiday spirit. In fact, the holidays are a perfect time to showcase the warmth and character of your home to prospective buyers.

If you’ve already got the basics of staging under control — meaning you’ve pared down, freshened up and added a splash of color — you’re ready to follow these seven do’s to create an appropriately festive home for sale.

M&S Christmas 2014

1. Do choose appropriately sized holiday decorations. Be thoughtful about the size of decorations you use. A good question to ask yourself is whether the piece helps to positively showcase the space, light and charm of the room. Or does its large size detract from the best features? Your goal is to be festive while honoring the value of your home.

Autumn Decor

For example, displaying a large multipiece holiday installation might be a family tradition for your living room, but doing so won’t highlight the value and space of that room. Perhaps find a new home for this piece on the front porch, or display only a smaller portion of the installation on a table.

Traditional Living

Similarly, you might have to trade in that huge fresh evergreen tree that you look forward to every year for a slightly smaller version. Large trees and decorations, while festive, may make the room look smaller. Choose an oversized tree only if you have a really large room.

Hill Section Residence

2. Do mind the light. Be sure your holiday decorating efforts don’t block any natural light from windows and doors. Though this may be a common sense tip, it may not be as easy to adhere to as you’d think, since windows are one of the most common places to place holiday decor. Just think of what you see when driving through your neighborhood during the holidays: Many residents affix decorations directly to the windows, place large, brightly lighted trees directly in front of them or install candles or figurines on the windowsill. We just love to showcase our holiday spirit to the world.

Christmas Trees

For the selling season, try placing your holiday pride far from the window. You might put decor outside your front door or, if inside, in an unobtrusive corner. If you absolutely must locate decor near a window, then place it far enough away that the natural light still flows in. Otherwise, by reducing the natural light, you’ll detract from the value of the room.

Scandinavian style on a budget in a small city apartment

3. Do coordinate with the colors of the room. Maintaining a color-coordinated design scheme matters, even when all you want to do is deck the halls in red and green. Remember, every room of your home should be as appealing as possible to prospective buyers. So, if your favorite holiday decorations clash with the colors in your room, think twice about using those specific pieces. Fortunately, there are tons of creative ways to add holiday accents without throwing off your palette.

Home for Chanukah

Metallics are one nonintrusive way to add a little festive holiday flair. Gold, silver or copper holiday accents pair well with almost any color scheme. White is also a peaceful, festive, yet still neutral accent color for almost any holiday decorating effort. Try replacing multicolored tree lights with sparkling white lights to give your room a more elegant feel.

Winter Holiday Decor

4. Do keep movements and sounds to a minimum. Moving parts, loud noises and even festive music will be a distraction for potential buyers. So please don’t welcome buyers with a singing toy soldier or dancing snowman. But if you must have those items on your mantel, then be sure to turn them off during showings. The same goes for flashing lights. Opt for simple white static lights that cast a beautiful glow, creating a neutral holiday feeling for many buyers.

Stoll Christmas House

5. Do decorate to showcase your home’s architectural features. Holiday decorating can give you a brilliant opportunity to highlight your home’s most attractive architectural features. For example, you might wrap a tasteful garland around a beautiful curved staircase. You can showcase your fireplace with accents such as knitted stockings or a strand of lights.

Christmas Decorating

Be mindful not to cover up any valuable structural details such as a beautiful wood floor or crown molding. Remember, less is more when staging, even when decorating for the holidays.

Christmas Holiday Decor

6. Do use exterior holiday decorations to add curb appeal. Holiday decorations are a fantastic way to spruce up the exterior of your home and add some color. Wreaths, thoughtfully lighted shrubs and the occasional ribbon or bow on a mailbox can be tasteful ways to deck the exterior for the holidays. These elements will certainly add curb appeal and pleasantly welcome your potential buyers.

Holiday decorations

While a frenzy of flashing lights and rooftop ornaments might be fun and playful, try not to embrace your inner Clark Griswold. (“National Lampoon” movie-fest, anyone?) Your goal is to sell your house, not distract or even turn off your buyer by creating a neighborhood spectacle.

A perfectly pale interior with Nordic influences

7. Do celebrate the holidays and create a warm, joyful feeling. There’s an advantage of offering your home for sale — and decorating it — during the holidays. If you strike the right balance, your residence will exude a positive energy and charm that can’t be felt at any other time of the year. Done well, your decorated home will offer the kind of warmth that appeals to potential buyers and helps them to imagine living there. So go ahead and celebrate what is likely your last holiday season in that home. Happy holidays!

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Tips and Tricks for Living in a Staged Home

Tips and Tricks for Living in a Staged Home

Feeling like you are walking on eggshells in your staged home? Try these tips and tricks.

Guest Post via by NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm

Your home is on the market, pristine and expertly staged to get it sold. Now what? How do you still live in your home and keep it in perfect condition – especially for the unexpected showing?

First and foremost, you have to change your mindset; it is not “your home” anymore. Treat the house as if it were a five-star hotel; you need to maintain the staged look and keep everything spotless. You do not want it to appear that anyone is living in the home; there should be no dishes, family pictures, or piles of personal stuff visible. You want your potential buyers to easily envision themselves living in the home. The good news is that keeping your house like a five-star hotel will also enable you to treat yourself and your family to a mini-vacation – no cooking and lots of fun outings!

So how do you and your family eat, sleep and live in your home without leaving any evidence? Here are some simple tricks:

KEEP IT CLEAN

Kitchen:

Remove all of your kitchen appliances from the counters. Do not use them; keep clean and hidden.
Have one set of cups, plates and utensils for each family member neatly stored in a cabinet. Use only these dishes and hand wash after every use. Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink or out in a dish rack. Eat, drink, wash, dry and put away.
Use recycled paper plates and cups to limit dishwashing.
Keep only the essentials in the refrigerator and pantry (potential buyers are known to look inside). Unused pantry items can be donated to your local food bank.

Bathrooms:

No personal care products (soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrush, etc.) should be left out. Give each family member a bathroom tote to hold their daily-used products, to be put away into a closed cabinet after each use.
Keep antibacterial wipes under the sink for quick and easy cleanup after each sink and shower use.
Use stick-on toilet cleaners inside the bowls to keep toilets clean and smelling fresh.
Only guest towels should be displayed in the bathrooms. Each family member should have his or her own set of towels, to be washed regularly and kept out of sight.

Bedrooms:

Keep all nightstands and dresser tops clear of personal items. Purchase plastic containers with lids that can easily slide under beds to store reading glasses, books, journals, medications, tissue boxes, etc.
Be sure to make the beds each morning; that way there is one less thing to do when a showing is scheduled.
Keep all clothing items neatly put away and laundry baskets hidden in closets.
Wash, dry, fold and put away laundry on a daily basis if necessary.

Living Room:

To maintain a tidy living room, keep daily-used items (remote controls, DVDs, video games, children’s toys, etc.) hidden away in closed drawers, cabinets or storage ottomans.
Do not let newspapers, magazines or mail stack up; file away or recycle immediately. Perhaps keep the latest newspaper in your car; it may come in handy when showings are scheduled and you need to head out to a coffee shop or other fun destination.
Eating & Entertainment

By now you may be thinking, “How does my family eat?” It is best to go out to eat during this time. Even take-out is a no-no; the goal is to keep your home smelling like fresh flowers, not fried chicken.
To stay on a budget, visit websites like Groupon or Restaurants.com for deals and coupons. Also, look into daily/weekly meal deals at your local restaurants, like $2 Taco Tuesdays or where kids can “eat free.”
Get your whole family involved and make a list of activities to do on the days your house is scheduled to be shown. Ideas include bowling, going to the beach, zoo, museums, amusement parks, or even visiting relatives.

Pets

Unfortunately, Fido and your feline are not staged-home friendly; it may be best to find another place for them to stay while your home is staged. Perhaps a family member, friend or neighbor can take care of your beloved four-legged family members. Another option would be to send them to a kennel-free boarding “resort” for their own vacation.
If they must stay in your staged home, designate 1-2 rooms for your pets to live in. This will keep the fur cleanup to a minimum.
Living in a staged home may not come naturally, but if you and your family can adjust your daily routine, it can be a lot of fun. Take the opportunity to go out, explore and do things you all had always hoped to do. Motivate every family member to get in on the challenge and it can turn out to be a memorable time spent together!

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services. http://www.northstarmoving.com

Staged for Success: The Case for Hiring a Home Stager

Staged for Success: The Case for Hiring a Home Stager

Before listing your home, tap into the talents of a home stager. You may sell your home faster and at a bigger profit.

Home staging has become an increasingly formidable force in helping people sell their homes more quickly and for more money. Its overall goal is to help prospective home buyers emotionally connect with a space, hopefully leading to an offer to buy. Home staging isn’t limited to just high-end properties. It has become a norm for homes at all price points. While staging may seem like an additional hassle and expense, the investment can pay off. Here’s a guide to home staging, including the benefits, process and reasons to stage your home if you’re considering a move.

Scandinavian Modern Platform Bed, Mid Century Modern Slat Bench and Cave Chair

Who Hires Home Stagers?

Anyone selling or buying property may benefit from home staging. Homeowners selling single-family homes, condos and townhouses make up the greatest percentage of those hiring home stagers. However, property developers selling new construction, and real estate agents, also are in the mix.

While home staging was created primarily to benefit the seller, seeing prospective properties in their best light also can be advantageous to buyers because it can cut down on their search time.

Siegal Residence

Benefits of Staging a Home

Most people have trouble visualizing a space’s potential, whether that’s figuring out how to lay out an empty room or trying to ignore oddly arranged furniture, clutter or decor that’s not their style. The majority of home buyers can’t easily look past what’s in front of them to appreciate a room’s potential. Staging helps eliminate the buyer’s guesswork.

“The key is to set the stage for potential buyers to imagine themselves living there,” says home stager Robin DeCapua of Madison Modern Home. A 2015 study by the National Association of Realtors confirmed that more than 81 percent of home buyers find it easier to visualize the property as their future home when it’s staged.

Had the staged living room seen here been empty, many people might have found the large space intimidating and possibly off-putting. Instead, Audrey Gourguechon of Staging North Shore in Chicago created multiple seating zones to highlight it as an inviting living and entertaining space to potential buyers.

Mid Century Modern Dresser with Glass Vase Display

Prelisted staged homes spend 90 percent less time on the market than their nonstaged competition, according to a 2016 report by the Real Estate Staging Association. Considering the monthly carrying costs — mortgage, taxes and utilities — that translates into a lot of saved cash if the home spends less time on the market.

Transitional Style Bellevue Home

Shopping for many things these days is done online, and real estate is no exception. “Today, buyers look at the online photos before deciding to come in and view the homes in person,” says Shirin Sarikhani of Seattle Staged to Sell and Design. Web surfing is the first step in the buying process, and if your home doesn’t grab their attention, it will likely be passed by.

“If you want to get ahead of your competitors, be proactive, Gourguechon says. “Chances are your next-door neighbor has their home staged.”

Buyers decide whether they like the home or not in the first few minutes after entering. There’s only one opportunity to make a first impression, so you don’t want to be the seller who skipped out on staging, especially if there are several houses on the market in your area. Even if without staging you manage to get potential home buyers through the door for one viewing, they may not return for another look if nearby properties appear more enticing.

Contemporary Condo

Most homes have characteristics that are selling points, like architectural details or a great view, like the one shown here. But if these highlights aren’t actively showcased, they could go unnoticed. Or worse, a positive attribute could instead be perceived as a negative.

Let’s use this room as a hypothetical example. Slim, modern-style seating accentuates the city view by not blocking the window. On the other hand, an oversized roll-arm sofa with its back against the window could have send a message to prospective buyers that the living room is too small for a full-size sofa without obstructing the sought-after view. Boiling it down to a mere sofa location, the buyer might have moved on and considered a different property.

Living Room Before and After

Let’s be honest: You’re too attached to your home to see it clearly. Homeowners have too many memories and attachments to belongings that can cloud seeing the whole picture. A home stager is a pair of fresh eyes with no emotional ties to the house or its contents. He or she is in a position to suggest packing up Grandma’s afghan or shifting a beloved painting from the hallway to the fireplace mantel. For the staged living room seen here, a bulky cabinet angled in a corner was swapped out for a more useful and attractive reading area.

It’s not personal. “When selling your home, it’s not about you anymore,” Sarikhani says. “It’s about the buyers, so being detached is the most important aspect of selling the home.” Home stagers emphasize to their clients that their feedback shouldn’t be taken personally, but rather should be seen as a means of helping prospective buyers envision their own belongings in the home. Most often, clients are happy with the changes and remark that they should have made changes earlier. Sarikhani has even had clients love their newly staged home so much that they take it off the market.

Lehman Renovation

While the architectural style and age of the home play a role in the look of a staged room, other factors come into play with staging. The style is dependent on market trends, the likely buyer pool and demographic information. DeCapua says stagers glean this information from real estate agents or from prior stagings in the area. Her Los Angeles market is made up of thousands of different cities, neighborhoods and districts — and each one is unique. “Each home receives an appropriate style of staging,” she says. “For instance, an urban downtown loft gets a trendy look, while a San Fernando Valley home will be more family-friendly.”

Another plus is the vast inventory of stylish furniture and accessories home stagers have at their fingertips, something a homeowner selling a home is unlikely to spring for. For example DeCapua says she recently put a blush-pink sofa in a luxury condo, and indigo lounge chairs paired with an orange midcentury modern sofa in a more contemporary space. “All-neutral staging is a thing of the past,” she says. “When we started in this industry eight years ago, we saw a lot of blandness. But that has really changed. Now staging is hip, at times brightly colored and often full of personality, but it has to be tempered with good taste and an assemblage of furniture, decor and art that speaks to potential buyers in a powerful way.”

MOVERS WHO CARE®

While some staging projects require only a few accessories and moving furniture from one room to another, the average staging project requires one-third to one-half of the home’s contents to be removed and stored off-site. Too much furniture and pieces that are too large are common culprits. Also, home staging expert Barb Schwarz suggests that closets be half-full rather than bursting at the seams. Overstuffed closets convey that the home has inadequate storage space.

“We remind clients that once their home sells, they’re moving anyway, so why not get a head start on the packing process?” DeCapua says.

Bookcase Styling

When to Hire a Home Stager

The best time to hire a home stager is prior to listing your property. Waiting until your property has been lagging on the market is usually too late. “I often meet clients that call me when their home has been on the market for 30 to 60 or more days,” Gourguechon says. “It’s good that they realize that other properties are more appealing, but they have already lost a big part of their audience. Most of them won’t come back.”

While stagers recommend clearing away pieces from the home that won’t be making the move, many recommend not doing anything else, like painting or decluttering, until they visit your home. You could pick an unsavory new paint color that has to be painted over or, as Sarikhani has experienced, remove too many items that then have to be replaced with staged pieces, which can add to the cost.

Dining Room

Cost

Home staging costs vary widely and tend to fluctuate with location, scope of work and ease of access. Some home stagers charge based on square footage. The National Association of Realtors’ 2015 Profile on Home Staging cites $675 as the median spent on home staging, but projects can range from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars.

Staged projects tend not only to recoup the initial investment but to generate more profit. DeCapua says for 2015, Madison Modern Home’s data show that their clients received more than $6 for every $1 spent on staging — and more than half the homes they staged that year sold for more than their initial asking price. On average, staged homes sell for an average of 17 percent more than nonstaged homes, according to a survey by the International Association of Home Staging Professionals and StagedHomes.com.

Gourguechon makes a persuasive argument: The cost of staging will always be less than the cost of your first price reduction on your asking price.

Insurance

Professional home stagers should have comprehensive insurance to guard against any damages made to your home during the staging and destaging processes. Likewise, the client would be responsible, either personally or through homeowner’s insurance, for any damages made to the staged furnishings. It’s a good idea to check the coverage of your homeowner’s insurance policy and discuss with the home stager his or her insurance coverage. Also, it’s wise to verify a stager’s insurance and business licenses before you hire anyone.

Lombardy Lane, Laguna Beach

Which Rooms Are Most Important to Stage?

While it’s ideal to stage all the rooms in your house, your budget might not stretch that far. If you can do only a room or two, rooms should be staged in this order of priority, according to the NAR 2015 Profile of Home Staging: living room, kitchen, master bedroom, dining room, bathrooms, children’s rooms, guest bedrooms.

Sarikhani also advises that homeowners not dismiss “forgotten” spaces. She recently turned a large furnace room into a fetching little home office.

Process and What to Expect

Process. An initial in-home appointment with a professional stager usually lasts between one and three hours. The stager will likely take photos and may draw a simple floor plan. He or she will determine what should stay, what should go into storage and what items might be moved to different locations, and will assess the property’s general readiness to be staged. The home stager will also discuss timing and availability, and supply an estimate and options, usually after a couple of days.

If the proposal is approved, a contract will be drawn up and a staging day scheduled. Staging typically takes one day, but large properties can require more time. The home will be destaged after it has been sold or as per the contract.

It’s a good idea to interview more than one home staging company, look at all of their portfolios and ask for references from previous clients.

Find home stagers

Relaxing Kirkland Townhouse

What Items Typically Are Not Included in Staging?

This can vary with different home stagers and based on whether the property is occupied, but most do not supply window treatments, bedding, towels or live plants.

Any suggested updates, like painting and new flooring, are typically paid for and arranged by the homeowner. However, the staging professional may recommend paint colors or other products.

Homeowners are responsible for cleaning the home prior to staging as well as for the duration of the contract. The tasks of packing, moving and securing a storage facility for belongings that will not remain in the home during the staging period are the homeowner’s obligation as well.

Bedroom

What About Staging a Home With Pets?

Most professional stagers won’t stage in homes with cats for fear of scratched furniture, and some do not work in homes with any pets. Others will stage a home with animals only if they are kept out of the staged rooms. The issue of pets is an important point to discuss with your home staging professional.

North London Apartment

What to Do Before a Stager Arrives

  • Give your home a thorough, “white glove” deep cleaning.
  • Fix anything broken or easily improved — oil squeaky hinges, for instance.
    Replace lightbulbs or at least make sure all of your fixtures have working bulbs and the illumination is consistent.
  • Weed and mulch your flower beds, especially in front of the home, for curb appeal. You’ll make a good impression before potential buyers even reach the front door.
  • Pack away superfluous family photos on display. Keeping a few out is OK, but too many pictures dampens the “I could see myself living here” reaction of potential buyers.

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5 Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal for the Fall Selling Season

5 Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal for the Fall Selling Season

Sellers looking to get the best price know that curb appeal plays a huge role in making the sale, even in the fall when the leaves begin to fade. Here are five simple ways to make the most of what fall has to offer and boost your curb appeal.

Sellers looking to get the best price know that curb appeal plays a huge role in getting buyers through the door. Once the flowers fade and the temperature drops, however, it can be easy to overlook your outdoor space altogether. Here are five simple ways to make the most of what fall has to offer and give your home the edge it needs for a quick sale.

1. Improve Your Entry

With every potential buyer passing through your front door, your entryway is critical to a good first impression. Cleaning the door, sweeping the stoop, and ridding the area of dirt and cobwebs can be enough to improve the overall look of your home, but for maximum impact, lay a new doormat and replace or paint any rusted or corroded hardware, mailboxes, or light fixtures. If you’re feeling adventurous, painting your front door a different shade can be a great selling feature that can be done in an afternoon.

Traditional brick colonial dressed up for fall with colorful mums and harvest gourds

2. Let the Light Shine

While the outdoors is the natural habitat for all manner of insects, they don’t need to reside in your outdoor light fixtures. Dirty lights and windows will not only reduce your nighttime curb appeal but can also affect how much natural light makes it through to the inside of your home. A thorough cleaning of light fixtures and windows will boost the overall impression buyers have of your home and can affect their impression of the rest of the home. For added impact, place inexpensive solar lights along the border of any gardens or walkways to illuminate your yard at night.

3. Love Your Landscape

Given that landscaping can amount for up to 15 percent of a home’s value, keeping your yard in tip-top shape is more important in the fall than ever. Fall colors and cascading leaves may provide a romantic vision, but may leave a potential buyer focusing on how much raking they will have to do. When seasonal plants fade away, be sure to cut back the dead growth and ensure your yard is regularly raked. Even if your yard doesn’t require frequent mowing, be sure to edge walkways with a straight-edge for a clean-cut look, and add some quick color by placing pots of seasonal plants in gardens and on porches.

Raking fall leaves with rake

4. Whisk the Water Away

The fall tends to bring increased precipitation, which can be a deal-breaker for buyers if they feel water penetration will be a problem. To prevent pooling water, be sure the grading around the foundation slopes away from the house and use downspout extenders, if necessary, to move water out into the yard. Clean the gutters regularly, and take a good walk around your home after a heavy rain to identify any problem areas that may allow water into the house, like door and window caulking.

5. Don’t Overdo the Decor

Finally, while the bounty of fall can be used to enhance the beauty of your home, be wary of overdoing the decor. Too many Halloween decorations, for example, can easily detract from the beauty of your home. Try instead for colorful mums, gourds, and pumpkins in a variety of colors and sizes that can provide earthy variety without overdoing it.

Regardless of the weather, the fall is still a hot time to sell a home, and can be an incredible opportunity to make a lucrative sale. Keep in mind that most buyers will either view your home online or drive by before making a decision to visit, so a sharp curb appeal can help keep your home above the competition.

5 Fantastic Kitchen Staging Ideas for Fall

5 Fantastic Kitchen Staging Ideas for Fall

Wow fall homebuyers with these easy staging ideas from HomeAdvisor

Selling your home in the fall means adding small seasonal elements to make your home feel warm and welcoming. And, what better place to do that than in the kitchen? Here are some ideas to help you make your kitchen — and your home — appeal to fall homebuyers:

Fall counter decor

You should always keep the countertops nearly clear when potential homebuyers are walking through. In fact, you should keep it down to about two to three essentials if you’re living there from day to day. For the fall season, you can add small elements like placemats, fruit and leaf decor (window drapings, vase, etc.).

“Fall odors”

The smell of leaves, apple pie, pumpkin and cinnamon evoke the cozy feelings of fall. Candles are nice and actually baking something “fall-like” before a showing is a sure way to make potential buyers feel more at home during a showing.

Colors of fall

Depending on the current condition of your home, you might consider a fresh coat of paint. What color you decide to use may or may not be influenced by the season. While you should always lean towards neutral colors, you might consider accent walls or cabinets in browns or dark tones of red or green if you think they would work. The cost to paint an interior room is about $380, though prices will vary depending on the size of the room.

Bringing nature in

If there are windows in the kitchen, make sure to keep them clean. Depending on the weather outside during a showing, you might open them and let the fresh air in. It helps to create a flow between nature outside and the atmosphere you’re trying to create in the kitchen. If your budget allows, you might also accent the windows with fall-like window treatments to create an even easier flow. If you don’t have these treatments, a professional home stager can sometimes find them for a reasonable price.

Natural lighting elements

Lighting is an essential element of home staging, no matter the season. In fall, in particular, it’s all about enhancing the twilight or sunset and complementing of all the fall colors. For lighting in your kitchen, consider accent and track lighting. Or, you could install recessed lighting on a dimmer switch, which will allow you to control the brightness of the kitchen to complement the mood outside.

5 Essential Tips for Staging Your Home in the Summer

5 Essential Tips for Staging Your Home in the Summer

With a flooded market and tons of competition, selling a home in the summer can be worrisome for sellers — but it really shouldn’t be. Here are five essential summer staging tips to give your home the competitive edge it needs.

With a flooded market and tons of competition, selling a home in the summer can be worrisome for sellers — but it really shouldn’t be. As any experienced real estate agent will tell you, houses sell every day in the summer, as long as they are priced right and are appealing to a buyer. Here are five essential summer staging tips to give your home the competitive edge it needs for a successful summer sale.

1. Maintain Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is essential, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Pull any dead shrubbery or plants and keep healthy ones trimmed back. Weed your garden, and consider placing a hardy ground cover, such as bark mulch, to keep weeds down and provide a finished look.

Walkways, patios, and entrances are key points to consider, so edging sidewalks, the driveway, and weeding patio stones are key tasks that don’t cost a penny. Finally, consider painting your front door and laying a new doormat to create a welcoming space that beckons buyers inside.

Newly painted exterior of a North American home during summertime with green grass and flower beds

2. Make Functional Outdoor Space

During the summer months, it’s important for buyers to see your outdoor area as added living space, rather than just another space to maintain. If you don’t have seating on your front porch or backyard, now’s the time to create a functional space that echoes the relaxation of lazy summer days. Online buy and sell sites are great places to pick up outdoor furniture at a fraction of the cost.

Add a pop of summer color by placing bright throw pillows on existing outdoor furniture, and matching it with coordinating annuals or potted plants. Stage outdoor spaces with candles, place-settings, or fresh-cut flowers for showings to kick-start the imagination of potential buyers.

3. Bring the Light In

Natural light is a desirable trait in a home. But, even if you don’t have much of it, you can successfully pull off the same vibe and give buyers what they want. Simply cleaning the windows in your home — inside and out — will let the light reach your rooms unfiltered. Replace heavy drapes with something light and gauzy. Open blinds and drapes for all showings and consider the role of wall paint in your staging. Some colors tend to absorb light rather than reflecting it back into the room, so consider painting over dark colors with a neutral shade.

woman polishing glass door using microfiber cloth and yellow latex gloves

4. Pare Down

An essential part of staging is clearing the clutter and depersonalizing the space. This does two things to help sell your home: It creates the feel of more space and helps buyers picture themselves in your home. A storage unit is a great investment to hold any extra furniture, unused or off-season items, and allows you to showcase the true potential of your home.

5. Coddle the Kitchen

It’s no secret that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes in any season, but when selling in the summer, many buyers are considering how they can use the space to entertain. Providing an attractive place to do that just may be the difference that gets your home sold. If you don’t have a backsplash, it is a quick and inexpensive way to add a finishing touch. Clean your cupboards and replace worn or tarnished hardware for modern appeal. Clear the counter of clutter, and leave only those small appliances that highlight the function of your kitchen.

Kitchen interior with large rustic white porcelain sink and granite stone countertop under sunny window

When it comes to summer staging it’s all about bringing the inside-out and the outside-in. A whole-home approach will help buyers feel at home from the moment they pull up to the curb and will ensure that the great summer weather works for you.

6 Tips Every First Time Home Seller Should Read

6 Tips Every First Time Home Seller Should Read

Before you plant the yard sign on your front lawn and start packing boxes, take a look at these wise words on selling your home from our network of Coldwell Banker professionals.

Selling your home is a big move.  Literally. But a few small steps can set you on the path to a successful sale.  Before you plant the yard sign on your front lawn and start packing boxes, take a look at these wise words from our network of Coldwell Banker professionals. See their insight on the real estate process, how to sell your home with kids, and even what the home buying process can teach you about selling your home.

“Pack or purge.” – Chavi M. Hohm, Coldwell Banker BAIN in Seattle, WA

“Think about what position the home will put you in when you are ready to sell and how it will help you buy your second home. Sweat equity is your friend here!” – Kevin Lawton, Coldwell Banker Schiavone & Associates in Yardville, NJ

This Ballard Beauty is located at 7351 Mary Ave NW in Seattle, WA and is listed by Team Diva with Coldwell Banker BAIN.

“When you were negotiating and came in with a low offer that probably irritated the sellers… it may in fact happen to you. Remember that when you are on the receiving end. Try to keep emotions in check. Of course in a hot market perhaps not as much but the same goes for pricing. Be aware of the market and what your home’s actual worth is.” – Melissa Mummery, Coldwell Banker Coastline Realty, Brokerage in Ontario, Canada

“Remember what you noticed before you moved in. The HVAC, outlets and switches. Where are they placed, How many in each room/area? ” – Tina Kerr, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

This remarkable historic colonial is located at 129 Bayview Ave in Amityville, NY and is listed by Jennifer Ronzo with Coldwell Banker Harbor Light.

“Detach from the emotions. To make the best decisions and start moving forward, you need to emotionally detach from the house and the moving process.” – Sunny Lake, Coldwell Banker BAIN

“Staging and decluttering really does matter. I had a young family that had 3 children ranging from infant to 3 years. They totally decluttered/depersonalized. Every time we had a showing they had their kids throw their toys in a suitcase and threw them in their trunk and took off for a clean empty home to show! Sold in no time and the buyer could not believe how many kids they really had! Buyers don’t want to see toys (kids or pets) so put it away or take it with you!” – Jennifer Ronzo, Coldwell Banker Harbor Light in Amity Harbor, NY

Most importantly, you don’t have to go it alone.  Working with a real estate professional can be one of the best things you can do to navigate the real estate process. If you’re looking for a real estate agent in your area, visit coldwellbanker.com.

Staging for Success: Advice to Help Your Home Sell Faster

Staging for Success: Advice to Help Your Home Sell Faster

To sell your home quickly, you must stage it in a way that showcases its strengths and make spaces attractive to prospective buyers. In honor of Coldwell Banker Home Staging Week, we asked some of our top agents to share their staging best practices, tips and tricks. Here’s what they had to say!

We’ve all heard the adage that it is important to make a great first impression, and the same is true for your home when opening the doors to potential buyers.

While you may have decorated your home in a stylish and comfortable manner, prospective buyers may have a different eye for design. In order for your home to seem attractive to buyers, they must be able to see the space as a semi-blank canvas so they can mentally apply their own style and design to each room. Only then will they be able to picture themselves living there, making them more likely to want to make an offer.

We asked some of our Coldwell Banker-affiliated agents and brokers around the country to lend some staging tips and tricks, and most agreed on the following best practices:

Showcase your strengths:

“Staging is incredibly important because it helps showcase aspects of the home. For example, if a home has a newly installed granite countertop in the kitchen, one should simply put fresh flowers on the counter to highlight it.” – Danielle Moy, Broker Associate, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Orland Park, Illinois

“Staging is as much about ‘editing’ as it is about rearranging furniture. Editing means you can see the space in the best possible way, and not just the stuff within that space.” – Cara Ameer, Broker Associate, Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Cut the clutter and pay attention to detail:

“Less is more when it comes to staging. Declutter and pack away any items that aren’t necessary for daily living. It’s all in the details – scale back the amount of items on shelves and make sure all lamps have working light bulbs. Lighting is important to making a space seem more open and inviting” – Renae Voda, Sales Consultant, Coldwell Banker Barnes, Franklin, Tennessee

“Don’t forget to organize and declutter closets and cabinets – buyers will peek in there! You don’t want to give the impression that there isn’t enough storage space by keeping those areas packed with items.” – Angel Piontek, Realtor Associate, Coldwell Banker Edite, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Save some pennies:

Jessica Edwards Quote

“You don’t have to hire an expensive staging company to completely redesign your home! Move furniture, change shower curtains, hang clean towels and remove rugs to expose hardwood floors.  Add new throw pillows to couches and beds to freshen up the area!” – Jessica Riffle Edwards, Previews Property Specialist, Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, Wilmington, North Carolina

“A few cans of paint and fresh carpet are affordable upgrades that can make a home stand out without much of an investment.” – Chris McDonnell, Broker, Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties, Vail, Colorado