Add Some Plaid to Your Holiday Decor

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Holiday decor is going gingham style this year. Checkered plaid is one of 2018’s hottest holiday design accessory. Black and white or red and black buffalo prints are popping up in everything from Christmas stockings, ornaments, table runners, and wreaths.

The buffalo prints are really a nod to the cozy farmhouse and rustic design styles. Mix black and white buffalo prints with some burlap, greenery, and the warm, yellow glow of lights and candles and you have a very welcoming home this holiday season.

 

Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash

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4 Tips for Using Paint to Update a Home

Photo Credit: Clare

Painting a room can be a quick, transformative update for new homeowners to accomplish. Say your clients recently purchased a home and now they need a little design inspiration to bring it into all its glory. Paint is often the fastest and more transformative way to quickly update a space. Interior decorator Nicole Gibbons, who become known as the “paint maven” with her own brand, Clare, has four tips for using color to update a room. Here are a few of her insider tips:

Photo credit: Clare

  • Pare down your color choices.Research shows that it typically takes an average of four months to choose paint color, which is an unsettling statistic for Gibbons. Tell your clients to focus on a more narrow, curated palette from the get-go, which will help them to not become overwhelmed.
  • Try the color on. Peel and stick color samples are a great way to try out a color without the mess of mini cans of paint and partially painted walls.
  • Shine a light on it. View potential paint color at different times of day, Gibbons recommends, and in different artificial lighting to get the full impact of the color.
  • Don’t forget the primer.“Think of primer as a base coat that creates the foundation for a flawless paint job,” Gibbons writes. It covers imperfections, creates a uniform surface, and neutralized the color so the paint your client chooses appears in its truest, most brilliant form. Two coats may be needed if you’re toning down a higher-gloss paint finish in a switch to matte, or if you’re going from a darker to a lighter hue.

Source: Nicole Gibbons, clare.com

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How Virtual Twilight Photos Sold a Languishing Listing

By Harry Parson, guest contributor

A picture is worth a thousand words, and if you have bad photographs of your listing, it tells a thousand bad stories.

So, when I recently took over a home that had been lingering on the market for more than a year, I focused on its photography and online presentation. The home had been listed using poorly lit and composed photographs, which was doing little to generate buyer interest.

High quality photography truly makes the difference between a home that sits and a home that sells. In addition to having good photographs, I used tech tools from VHT Studios, a national real estate photography firm, like virtual twilight to help photograph and present the home in an evening glow to help it stand out from other photos too.

Virtual twilight is when image specialists take exterior photographs taken during daylight and digitally alter them to reflect the warm indoor lights and cool outdoor hues of a home’s exterior at dusk. Twilight photographs stir emotions and make a connection with buyers. They also allow agents to showcase their listings in a new, differently lit way, without having to return for multiple photography sessions to capture a home in different lighting situations, or actually at dusk.

See the difference …

BEFORE

AFTER

The result?A buyer made an offer less than a week after I mounted the new images on my web site. Plus, the property sold for $20,000 over the asking price.

Why Virtual Twilight?

I used virtual twilight photos on the listing to make it stand out from similar-looking houses on the block. I believe the combination of higher quality photographs and the virtual twilight exterior made the difference.

In addition to the obvious beauty component, virtual twilight photos also help homes that have significant outside window reflections. It can be distracting when buyers see windows reflect other houses across the street, passersby, or cars parked on the street. This technology can remove these obstacles and replace them with a warm, romantic glow.

Virtual twilight photos aren’t just for luxury listings or already beautiful homes. For properties requiring exterior improvements, virtual twilight can add a polished look, improve curb appeal and increase buyer interest in practically any property.

How You Visually Market a Home Matters

High quality photographs are incredibly important in marketing a home in the digital age, since buyers search online and decide on a home’s worthiness before ever contacting a real estate professional. Engaging a professional photographer who can take well-lit photographs with wide-angle lenses and knows the ins and outs of lighting and composition will provide you with photographs that will pull buyers in.

If you have a property that’s been sitting on the market awhile, consider ways to amp-up the listing’s visual marketing, rather than automatically lowering the asking price or resorting to extreme measures like pricey remodels or traditional home staging.

Be honest, and put yourself in a prospective buyer’s shoes: When you look at the listing online, do the photographs look bright and inviting? Does the home attract buyers desiring a certain lifestyle? Does it make you want to book a showing or make an offer? If the answer to the above questions is a resounding “no,” you may want to consider engaging a photography partner who knows how to turn heads and help you grow your business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Harry Parson is a Real Estate Broker with Coldwell Banker in Chicago, who engaged VHT Studios to take high quality photographs and conduct Virtual Twilight services on a local property.

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3 ‘Subtle’ Holiday Staging Tips

Want to give your listing a little holiday flair–without going overboard?  Elyza Brillantes, design program manager at Havenly, offers some of the following tips:

1. Infuse greenery.

Greenery is always a must for staging your home so the space feels fresh. “For the holidays, seasonal greenery like evergreen boughs can be a lovely way to make the space look inviting, and also smell great,” Brillantes says. “If you live in an area where evergreens aren’t readily available, eucalyptus or magnolia can be a great substitute.”

2. Make it cozy.

The holidays are all about getting cozy. Pay close attention to your throw pillows and throw blankets in the living spaces to help potential buyers envision themselves spending quality time in your home, Brillantes suggests. Materials like wool and fleece are perfect for the cold weather months, and patterns like buffalo check are a timeless pattern that can feel just as classic as they do holiday, she says.

3. Show off entertaining potential.

Entertaining during the holidays can be top of mind for buyers. Dress up your dining table in a way that feels inviting. For example, a simple table runner and centerpiece can be a great way to make a space feel perfect for having the extended family over for the holidays, Brillantes says.

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Black Friday Shopping? The Top Searched Furniture Items by State

Consumers may be most on the hunt for a new sectional, TV stand, hutch, and sofa table to spruce up their home. These were the most searched-for home furniture items based on Google shopping data, according to a new analysis of search data by NextDay Blinds.

NextDay Blinds analyzed the data to find the top-searched furniture items and broke it down by state. Many homeowners may be setting their sights on enhancing their living room. Consumers within 27 states were most searching for a furniture item that was specific to the living room.

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Denim Design: The Jean-Look Is Hitting Home Decor

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

If you thought jeans were just for wearing, you are mistaken. Denim is becoming a hot fabric in home décor. We’re seeing denim sofa coverings, pillows, table runners, ottomans, rugs and bedding.

Denim is being lumped into a bigger trend of using more “utility fabrics” in home décor. Besides denim, those trending utility fabrics also include burlap, grain sacks, and drop cloths. All of these are heavier fabrics but they can add texture in designing your space. Another bonus: These utility fabrics are known for being less expensive and durable. That helps make denim great for rugs, sofas, or even a kid or teens’ bedroom. Denim wears and washes well so it can also be a great choice for high-traffic areas of the home.

 

Blue is really taking off as the “it” color in home design this year, and obviously blue denim fits right into that. A more mainstream use of the jean trend may come from denim-inspired blue paint finishes on furnishings or on kitchen or bathroom cabinets.

 

Can denim make a lasting enough impression on home decor to stick around? It’s a heavy fabric and it doesn’t exactly give off a cozy vibe. But in some areas of home design, it may very well find a niche.

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Show Us How You Staged It!

Calling all stagers and real estate professionals! We want to see your best photos of staging the following areas in a home:

  • The Entryway
  • Fireplace
  • Master Retreat

Do you have a photo to share showing off how you perfectly staged these areas? If so, please email Realtor Magazine writer Melissa Dittmann Tracey at mtracey@realtors.org. You and your work could be spotlighted in an upcoming photo gallery spotlighting our favorites at REALTOR® Magazine online.

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Make a Bigger Statement in the Kitchen: Stylish Hoods

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

That spot over the stove is prime real estate in the kitchen these days. Lately that space is being reserved for a decorative hood, which is becoming almost like a centerpiece of the kitchen.

Stainless steel hoods have been all the rage in recent years. But brass hoods and decorative wood ones with detailing are also proving to be popular choices. Check out some of these hood styles incorporated into kitchens from designers posting their work at Houzz.

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Why Is This Hairy Chair Popping Up Everywhere?

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Love it or hate it, faux fur furniture is having a big moment in home design, and you’ll spot it creeping up in a lot more interiors lately.

The faux fur trend started off as sheepskin throws over the sofa or as a fluffy accent pillow. But now that furry trend is coming to furniture. And it’s no longer just a hot dorm accessory, but you’ll also spot it being incorporated into more sophisticated living rooms too.

Here’s why it’s becoming a go-to accessory: It adds texture to a room. Texture can help make a room more visually appealing and add warmth to a space. And a statement chair of faux fur certainly adds a lot of texture! Check out how designers incorporated this now infamous chair into some of the designs below.

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Staged to Sell: A Vintage Cottage in Need of Some TLC

Home stager: Kelly Kurtz, a licensed REALTOR(R) with Exit Options Real Estate and founder of Simply Well Simply Organized

The home: This cottage was located in a small community in Groton, Mass. The home was rundown, and the owner had accumulated years of belongings that were scattered everywhere. Kurtz knew the home needed a deep cleaning and some staging to make it appealing to a buyer, without sacrificing the owner’s potential for profit by listing it under market value. Kurtz took the strategy of decluttering and cleaning the property but purposely muted her staging accessories to fit the style of the property. The home, which was built in 1925, was listed for $249,900.

BEFORE

AFTER – Photo Credit: Kelly Kurtz, Exit Options Real Estate

 

BEFORE

AFTER – Photo Credit: Kelly Kurtz, Exit Options Real Estate

 

BEFORE

AFTER – Photo Credit: Kelly Kurtz, Exit Options Real Estate

Kurtz’s Staging Tips:

1. Work with the “feel” of the property. In this cottage, there already was a “vintage feel” so Kurtz knew shiny, new accessories wouldn’t work. The home’s kitchen was last updated in the 1950s, and so she worked with what she had. She weaved in timeless accessories–like a red kettle on the stovetop and tea towel curtain valances–to bring out the vintage charm already present in the space. She added a vintage kitchen stool by the laundry area and a chrome rimmed high-top table and colored stools in a sitting room off the kitchen, which fit more a 1950s decor style.

Photo Credit: Kelly Kurtz, Exit Options Real Estate

2. Fit the home to the likely buyer. Kurtz envisioned what type of buyer might live there. She added simple accessories that would appeal to that demographic. Kurtz staged the home with inspiration that a young couple who possibly had a small, younger family would be drawn to the home’s location, square footage, and budget.

3. Highlight any unique features. Kurtz knew the vintage stove might be one of the first items that many real estate professionals would recommend replacing, but instead she sought to accentuate it. The new owners could then decide to keep or toss it after they closed on the home, but it was all part of the vintage feel she tried to create.

 

Have a home you recently staged that you’d like to show off here at Styled Staged & Sold? Submit your staging photos for consideration, along with three to five of your best spruce-up tips. Contact Melissa Dittmann Tracey at mtracey@realtors.org.

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