Instagram-Worthy Pics and Ga-Ga-Like Amenities to Attract Millennials

By Justin M. Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

Surveys show that millennials prioritize home buying over getting married or having kids. They’re eager to buy, as soon as they  get their finances in order.

So, how do you appeal to the millennial home buyer? Here are some tips in speaking their language:

1. Make it Instagram Worthy

When it comes to reaching a millennial buyer, here’s one simple thing to keep in mind: Is your home Instagram worthy? Seriously, an empty room with a price attached to it is not enough to grab the attention of those 25 to 35 years olds. The space needs to have an awesome interior design through home staging–along with great lighting, photos worthy of being reposted along with copy that makes people think, laugh, and repost.

 

 

If you happen to get a millennial to actually visit your listing in person, be sure to have signs prepared that say “Home tour today!” and “1107 Elm Drive is AWESOME!” This way they can hold up the signs, you can take their picture, post it on your Instagram and tag them in it. All of their friends get to see what they are doing, where they are, and perhaps become interested in both your listing and in you as an agent. It’s like building your own little army of social media influencers.

Add hysterical descriptions to your listing. Make them laugh. If you raise an emotion with your listing, your audience will be more apt to “Like” and share your listing. Create short videos, by using TikTok or Boomerang, of you or your visitors being goofy in the house. Again, make them laugh, and you’ll gain followers.

Include ironically vintage items in your house. That exercise bike that your mom used to workout with when you were a kid is now an Instagram worthy moment. The vintage typewriter with a description of the house typed on the paper already inside is a great #coolhouse moment. Anything you can do to get your house organically in front of more millennials, the better.

2. Amenities That Millennials Will Go Ga-Ga Over

Furry Friendly Funmenities: Millennials are having less kids, and they are opting to fill their empty nests instead with dogs and cats. Providing cat doors, fenced dog runs, pet surveillance systems and pet washing stations could be a huge appeal to these perky parents of pets.

 

Super Smart Shelter Stuff

Smart homes are all the rage. Millennials were raised in a world of the disposable. They have very little concept of how to fix or repair anything in their home. The more their house can take care of itself the better. Here are some of the best self-caring items we are in love with currently:

  • Keyless entry systems: Opening doors with your smartphone or a memorized code, means you never have to carry a key with you again. When you join the shared economy, you can simply text your entry code to your renter, how easy is that?

 

Shavonda Gardner

 

  • Smart light bulbs: Change the level and temperature of light with a simple voice command or from your smart phone. Take your lighting from “selfie” mode to “Netflix and chill” with a simple code word.

kasasmart

 

  • Smart home management systems: From Nest to Alexa to Siri, there is some disembodied smart voice that can take care of everything from your temperature to your locks to your lights to your security system.

 

kasasmart

  • Refrigerators with cameras: It comes down to this–every time you open the door to figure out what you want to eat, you are essentially killing the Earth. If you want to be a better person without actually doing anything, you can now turn on the camera inside your refrigerator and see what’s inside guilt free. Earth saved!
  • Electric vehicle support systems: Speaking of killing the Earth, gas powered vehicles are doing just that too. By providing your millennial home buyers with electric charging ports, wall mounted batteries, and solar cell panels, you can make owning an electric vehicle so much easier. Now, we just need to get past the $80,000 price tag of the car!
  • USB ports in the outlets: This will allow your millennial buyers to charge their devices anywhere in the entire house.

Community Conscious Conveniences

There is a serious desire for millennials to find ways to meet other people without seeming forced. Skip the media room, millennials don’t watch TV on big screens, they instead use their laptops to download the latest episode of “Game of Thrones” and “Broad City.” Instead, promote outdoor BBQ spaces, community gardens, and high Walk Scores to show your listing is community-minded.

 

When it all comes down to it, millennials are going to need the same (vegan) meat and (gluten-free) potatoes everybody else needs: Living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms. The rest? It’s all (dairy free, non-GMO) gravy in getting them attracted to your listing.

 

headshot_JustinRiordanABOUT THE AUTHOR: Justin M. Riordan, LEED AP is founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency, a home staging company with offices in Portland, Seattle and Palm Springs, Calif. As the creative energy behind Spade and Archer, Riordan fuses his formal training as an architect with his natural design savvy to create beautiful and authentic spaces for clients. Follow Spade and Archer on Instagram.

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The Top Energy Efficient Home Trends That Home Buyers Want in 2019

Article Submitted by Fixr.com

As the cost of energy continues to rise, many home buyers today are looking for homes that are going to be easier and less expensive to run long term. I’ts important to know the trends to look for, whether you’re helping a seller update their home prior to selling or you want to keep an eye out for the perfect property for a buyer. Not only would following these trends allow you to better advise sellers, it also can help you ecuate buyers on to what to look for.

Each year, the home remodeling site Fixr polls industry experts and leaders in their field to help determine some of the top trends in the home improvement industry through their Energy Efficient Home Design Trends report.

Here are some of the most relevant findings to help you maximize your clients’ potential when buying or selling a home.

Energy Star Dryers

One key trend to watch for in properties is an Energy Star rated dryer. Of all the various appliances with the Energy Star label, experts felt that the dryer made the biggest change in energy usage when switching to a more efficient model. This is due in part to the fact that dryers use nearly as much electricity as central air conditioning.

Home shoppers today are focusing more on the laundry room, as well as where it’s located and what it contains more so than they ever have before. An energy efficient dryer can have a big impact on monthly energy budgets. 

Heat Pumps

When it comes to heating a home, the heat pump is the most recommended method of heating for providing consistent heat and energy savings. Heat pumps work by exchanging outside air for inside air. It extracts the heat energy from the air outside–even in cold weather–and transfers it indoors.

An electric heat pump is 50 percent more efficient that other forms of heating. It’s also the most frequently installed energy efficient heating system in homes today.

Day Lighting for the Kitchen and Living Room

While experts agree that the best way to save money on electric bills without reducing the amount of usage is to use LED lights, there are still important things to consider when looking at a home for sale.  

Day lighting is an important component of reducing electricity. This has to do with how much natural light a room gets. The kitchen and living room are two spaces that use the most electricity. As such, it makes sense that home buyers may want to opt for homes that have sufficient natural light in these areas either through windows or skylights.

 

Tankless Water Heaters

While the heat pump is the most popular way to heat a home, a tankless water heater is the most popular method of heating water. Tankless heaters are installed inside the walls of a home, and heat the water as it’s being used. This is in contrast to a heater that is constantly maintaining the temperature of any gallons of water at a time. Households that use this method of heating water can expect to save $100 a year on their energy bills.

Heat pumps and tankless heaters are both popular, but hybrid heat pump hot water heaters tend not to perform as well universally. Tankless heaters can be installed in more places, and perform better in cold-weather climates in general.

Low Flow Fixtures in Full Bathrooms 

Households use a lot of water each day when they aren’t using low flow fixtures to try to restrict this usage. Experts felt the place that made the biggest difference when installing these items is in full bathrooms.

This makes sense, as the full bathroom will include a tub and shower, as well as a sink and toilet. Installing low flow fixtures in full bathrooms can help reduce the load on the water supply.

Solar Panels 

If home buyers are looking at homes with renewable energy sources, experts say that solar panels are by far the most popular method. Renewable energy is increasing everywhere, with millennial homeowners leading the biggest push into this sector. Experts also reported that millennials were the most likely to invest in cleaner energy sources, with Gen X taking second place.

Saving Energy Means Saving Money and the Environment

 

Homeowners and home buyers today are motivated to make energy-efficient changes in their homes due to the potential to save money as well as energy. More people generally aware of a need to protect the environment so it makes sense that protection coming from within the home ranks second place.

Homeowners and home buyers that want to maximize their potential in both these areas should seriously consider paying attention to these and other important trends in energy savings. While individually each of these factors may not save much, added together, they can have a significant impact on both the homeowner’s wallet, and their overall comfort inside the home.

Help your clients by pointing out these trends ,and how they can make them work to get better results for everyone involved.

To learn about the cost of household remodeling projects, visit the Cost Guides.

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Staging Tips for the Coffee Table Top

By Karen Post, guest contributor

In today’s competitive marketplace, if a listing is going to stand out, and say “tour me” it needs to do more than show rooms. It needs to project a lifestyle for potential buyers. To achieve this dream home result, you must think beyond furnishings and decor. You’ve got to think “sell theater” and create scenes that reaffirm the home’s quality and unique character.

As a home stager and designer, I’ve discovered that all coffee tables are fabulous opportunities to emotionally connect with home buyers. Why? Prospects will often sit down to chat about the property with the real estate professional, or they will wait for the rest of their family to show up.

Either way, their eyes are all looking at that coffee table.

Here are some tips and looks to improve your coffee table effect.

Photo Credit: Karen Post, Home Frosting at homefrosting.com

Here’s a transitional look using three risers with gray, brass, navy accents, candles, and a pop of color in flowers.

Photo Credit: Karen Post, Home Frosting at homefrosting.com

Rustic and natural items are still very on-trend. This tabletop includes books to help lighten up the area, as well as was layered metal vases and finished off with a bed of green balls.

 

Photo Credit: Karen Post, Home Frosting at homefrosting.com

An artisan grouping mixes floral with turquoise wish beads along with some distressed elements, books, and coasters.

Photo Credit: Karen Post, Home Frosting at homefrosting.com

Black and white is always a crisp statement. Here, we mixed silver and gold with geometric items.

Some of my favorite tips for staging a coffee table:

  1. Keep it simple and in sync with the home’s style.

Rule of thumb: No more than three to seven elements on your tabletop. Compliment the story of the home’s staging. Scattering sales materials from real estate professionals or any vendor here will cheapen the impression.

  1. Market softly.

Place beautiful books in one area. Top off the pile with your firm’s magazine or create a custom book wrap. The wrap cover can tout your brand mark, the back can include a brief story with successes or testimonials. Or, add an elegant dish with branded candy or place tastefully branded coasters with your vignette.

  1. Don’t block the view.

Yes, scale is important, but oversized, distracting accessories can make it difficult to see the outdoors, the water view, or even a TV. That won’t win you any home points.

  1. Add some life.

Fresh flowers are a nice touch for open houses. For extended periods, there are great looking faux plants and florals that don’t look cheesy. These can add a nice pop of color too.

  1. Tidy up the table.

When you’re doing a pre-showing walk through to open windows, turn on lights, etc., don’t forget to tidy up the coffee tables too. If you had the home professionally staged, mimic exactly how the pros left it.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Post is president of Home Frosting, a Tampa-based home staging and design firm. She has bought, rented, and sold numerous properties and has been creating memorable environments for over three decades. Post began her career in visual merchandising and has worked with top luxury retailers, fashion, and hospitality brands. She later evolved into an international branding expert. Post is also a published business author and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, FOX News, and The New York Times. She is also a regular guest on nationally syndicated daytime TV, where she shares home décor ideas and trends.

 

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How I Staged It: The Master Suite

The master suite is a place where relaxation should be paramount. A calming color scheme and carefully staged space can do exactly that. Staging and real estate professionals submitted some of their favorite staging photos and tips for our new slideshow, How I Staged It: The Makings of a Master Retreat.

Check out these stylishly staged master bedrooms >>>

View more

How I Staged It: The Fireplace

 

Want to have your photos featured? We’re looking for staging insights and photos for making over the entryway and dining room. Submit your pictures to mtracey@realtors.org.

 

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The 3 Most Important Rooms to Stage in a House

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Staging not only results in a quicker sale but also tends to increase the home’s value too, according to the newly released 2019 Profile of Home Staging report conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®. One quarter of buyers’ agents say that staging a home increased the dollar value of a home between 1 to 5 percent compared to similar homes on the market that weren’t staged. Seventeen percent of agents said that staging increased the home’s dollar value between six to 10 percent.

Which rooms are the most important to focus on in the house?

Staging the living room was found to be the most important for buyers (47 percent), followed by staging the master bedroom (42 percent) and staging the kitchen (35 percent). For inspiration on sprucing up the master bedroom, view our slideshow: How I Staged It: The Makings of a Master Retreat

The least important area to stage? The guest bedroom, according to buyer agents. Only 8 percent of buyer agents said it was important to stage a guest bedroom in the home.

 

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The Jewelry in Your Kitchen Design

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Great lighting is definitely stealing more of the spotlight in kitchen design lately. Pendant lights that hang from the ceiling above your kitchen island—usually in a row of two or three–is really a place to show off lighting to dress up your kitchen.

Some designers refer to pendant lights as the jewelry of your kitchen. They add a little decorative sparkle to catch the eye.

Blown glass pendants are one of the top trends. This is a clear glass light fixture with an exposed Edison light bulb inside. Glass pendants in geometric shapes, like a glass boxed pendant or a glass sphere, are popping up in more kitchens lately.

Glass pendants can be a great choice for smaller kitchens or kitchens within an open floor plan. That’s because the see-through glass doesn’t disrupt the line of sight in your kitchen space. The lighting adds just enough statement and shine to accent that kitchen island.

Check out a few examples.

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3 Reasons Why Staging a Vacant Home Is Critical

By Audra Slinkey, Home Staging Resource

When you see before-and-after photos of spaces not staged versus staged, it’s easy to quickly become a believer in home staging! Vacant spaces, in particular, absolutely need to be staged for these 3 HUGE reasons…

  1. An empty room EASILY SHOWS its flaws.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of strutting around in my bikini these days … are you? Why? Because with very little on, you can see every flaw on my body. Empty rooms are no different!

No room is perfect and empty ones especially are like walking around naked. Look at this room below which in its naked condition appears dark, dreary, small and what is that THING under the window?

Buyers walking into this space would immediately think it’s far too dark and notice the under window contraption. Then, they would walk out.

But look what happens when this room becomes professional staged by a certified home stager (Stephanie White Interiors)…

Staged by Stephanie White Interiors

If you were not a “staging believer” before … I bet you are now!  You don’t notice the under-window contraption, darkness, or dreariness in a room staged and styled with warmth, texture, and well … fully dressed.

This room was brought back from the dead, literally!

2. An empty room almost ALWAYS looks smaller than it really is.

People have no imaginations and let’s face it, how could buyers intuitively even know if furniture will fit into a space. Empty rooms almost always appear smaller than they really are because without furniture … it has no frame of reference.

This empty room had doorways everywhere and a small fireplace that would make buyers feel like their furniture would absolutely not fit.  More importantly, buyers would have no idea how to do a furniture layout in this tricky living space. Why allow your rooms to look smaller than they really are?

Now, take a look at that same space with furniture …

By cleverly floating the furniture around the focal point and creating a seating area, Stephanie leaves nothing up to the buyer’s imagination.

Finally, here’s the number one reason it’s critical to stage an empty or vacant home…

2. Empty rooms are cold and lifeless (i.e. not exactly an emotion you want buyers to feel!)

Imagine the cost of putting up a lifeless, cold, sterile photo online of your empty home! In our 2018 staging statistics of over 4,200 professionally staged homes, the average increase in value to the home due to professional staging was more than 8 percent.

Vacant homes typically take twice as long to sell and go for even less than unstaged, “occupied” homes. So,  imagine the true cost of not staging a vacant home!

What emotion do you feel when you look at this empty, unstaged room?

3. Every room gives a stager the opportunity to add “emotional connections” to the space, so that buyers fall in love, aspire to live there and can actually imagine their family in that home.

Staging is merchandising and marketing in its purest form. Home stagers learn who the buyer demographic is and what they envision for a home will draw on those emotions with a carefully styled room…

Staged by Stephanie White Interiors

Can you believe this is the same dreary room you saw in the photo above?  Yep, that’s the power of staging and the importance of not leaving anything up to the buyer’s imagination.

For a quick guide on how to understand home stager pricing and proposals, check out: How to Understand Home Staging Pricing and Proposals: Do’s and Don’ts.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Audra Slinkey is president and founder of the Home Staging Resource, a home staging and redesign certification training company. Slinkey’s training program has been awarded the Most Innovative Product of the Year Award three times. She serves on the board of the Real Estate Staging Association. Slinkey is also a published author and international speaker on staging, color, and design. She is proud and privileged to help create and mentor thousands of staging and design businesses across the globe. To find home stagers that do the kind of work featured above, visit Directory of Certified Home Stagers and Designers.

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7 Surprising Design Trends for the Home: Which Has Staying Power?

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Bold colored vanities and vinyl flooring are gaining more clout in home design. Last week at the 2019 International Builder Show and the Kitchen & Bath Industry show, thousands of designers and builders talked trends as vendors showed off their latest innovations for the home.

Here are a few of the surprises I spotted through 608,000 square feet on the Expo show floor:

1. Colorful bathrooms. 

A range of hues were shown in the bathroom, as some forecasters looked to add more color into what has mostly been a neutral color palette over the last few years.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

Kohler showed off purple and blue sinks as well as a purple clawfoot bathtub. Several vanities on display were in grays, blues, greens, and even pink.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

2. Colored cabinets. 

Speaking of color, I lost count of just how many shades of various colors I spotted on kitchen cabinets on the Expo floor. White is still supreme for kitchens, but there is a growing trend of more “moody colors” being used, says Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz, a home remodeling website. Grays, navy’s, greens, and reds are all being used to add more color to the kitchen. Two-toned cabinets—where the upper cabinetry may be in white and then the bottom cabinetry are in navy—also was popular on the show floor.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

3. Vinyl flooring. 

Sitchinava called vinyl flooring a rising star in home design, a sentiment  echoed by many other designers at the show. “Vinyl comes in a lot of colors, textures, and lots of different options,” Sitchinava says. “It’s an easy-on-your-feet material, and consumers are recognizing that. … It’s very conducive to aging in place, and many baby boomers are driving this trend.” The flooring leaders in the kitchen remain ceramic/porcelain tile, followed by hardwoods, and then engineered wood or laminate. But vinyl flooring is quickly gaining popularity in home remodels, and Sitchinava calls it one to watch in 2019.

Designer Julianna Dykstra with Distinctive Bathroom & Kitchen Inc. in Ottawa, Canada, also is seeing a rise of “luxury” vinyl flooring in her market, particularly for the kitchen and bath. The water-resistant material is mostly being used in grays or whites, she says.

4. Floating toilets and beds. 

To add some drama to a space, designers are floating objects. Floating toilets—those installed into the wall instead of the floor—are helping to open up the space in bathrooms. On the Expo floor, Kohler showed this black floating toilet:

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

Also, at the 2019 New American Home, a show home of this year’s IBS, the master bed was suspended by steel cables and it appeared like it was floating in air.

Photo credit: Jeff Davis / Jeffrey A. Davis Photography

5. Bling for your appliance handles. 

To dress up appliances, CAFÉ, within the GE Appliance brand, has launched customizable hardware options in various metals, such as brushed bronze, brushed stainless, or brushed black. Homeowners add different finishes to their stainless steel, matted white, or matted black refrigerator or stove. For example, soft brushed copper hardware handles can be added to a matted white refrigerator for a more contemporary vibe.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

6. Roll down shelves. 

As cabinets get taller, reaching for those higher up shelves can be a challenge. At the Wellborn Cabinet booth, the company showed off iMove shelves that feature a pull down feature at the edge of the upper shelf. You just pull on the handle and it gradually brings the shelf to eye level.

Photo credit: Wellborn Cabinet

7. Roll away walls. 

Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors were popular at IBS 2019 in showcasing seamless indoor and outdoor living. Most of these glass doors were displayed on long, straight walls that could be rolled completely away–via pocket doors that disappear into the walls–to open the interior of the home to the outdoor space. Some firms also showed how you can add sliding glass pocket windows to tuck them away when wanting to open up the house to the outdoors, or even curved areas of the home with rounded floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

 

Which of these trends do you think has staying power? 

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Using the Latest Decor Color and Trends to Attract Buyers

Guest Contributor: Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

The start of a new year in the real estate industry signals a prime opportunity for sellers to do what it takes to get their home noticed among the sea of listings soon to flood the spring market. After tackling the clutter, necessary repairs and updates, the key to making the best first impression for buyers is using on-trend styling touches to help them emotionally connect. Check out our suggestions below for ways of using some of the trends for 2019 to enhance a home’s features, engage buyers, and take your property from “For Sale” to “Sold” in no time.

A Neutral Gray Backdrop

We can’t say enough about the benefits of using gray or “greige” wall color when staging. This versatile neutral hue instantly brightens a space, enhances its unique features and can increase a property’s perceived size and value. We’re excited to try Benjamin Moore’s 2019 Color of The Year, Metropolitan, a soft, sophisticated, and calm gray that coordinates well with many on-trend palettes.

A Dash of Color

We love adding a little drama against a neutral backdrop of beautiful architectural elements by layering living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms with pops of bold color dispersed throughout a room. One of our favorite industry picks of the year is Pantone’s “Living Coral” for its energy, warmth, and cozy freshness. This color can also make a statement when paired with different shades of blues such as Behr’sColor of the Year pick “Blueprint,” as well as creams and different metallic accents.

Luxe Fabrics and Bold Patterns

We are seeing a lot of lush velvet fabrics and floral patterns in furniture and accents this year. A floral side chair or wall art, velvet pillows, and duvet covers, a patterned area rug, are just a few ways to add texture, depth, and the right amount of sophisticated style to complement a neutral space and grab buyers’ attention.

Mix Up Metals

A mixture of metal accents throughout a room will always be a timeless way to create balance and definition in a space. You can pair complementary finishes such as brass with chrome, copper with yellow gold, rose gold with stainless steel, or any combination of the above so your fixtures and decor create the “wow” factor that buyers will remember.

Elements from Nature

Using natural elements in the home is a trend that continues to gain popularity as people want to feel a connection to the outdoors. Plants in any size, shape or form such as potted succulents used as a dining table centerpiece, wall hangings, or floor plants in woven baskets have a naturally soothing quality that makes them well-suited for bedrooms and bathrooms in particular. Sustainable materials such as jute or seagrass rugs, natural woven pillows and throws, and pottery vases are also great accents for incorporating a welcoming, on-trend vibe into any space.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

PattiABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is principal, interior decorator, and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating. She has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full-service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for the luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Her company received the Houzz 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Awards for Customer Service.

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