How To Give Homebuyers What They Really Want Pt.2

Yesterdays post talked about your target market and what a typical homebuyer looks like. Today I’m going to cover what a typical seller looks like and how it will be important to you when you are getting ready to sell your home.

  1. 40% of home sellers traded up to a larger sized home.
  2. 47%  purchased a more expensive home.
  3. 53% percent purchased a newer home.
  4. The typical seller lived in their home for 10 years.

Remember yesterday I had mentiond that seller received 97 percent of the listing price, and 45 percent reported they reduced the initial asking price at least once.

With sellers moving up into a larger home, they are looking for more space, so it’s going to be really important to showcase your home by removing clutter and extra furniture pieces.

It is equally important to merchandise your home.  Visual merchandising is a retail strategy that maximizes the aesthetics of a product with the intent to increase sales.  Visual merchandising in this case home staging can also play a role in the look, feel and lifestyle benefits that a home provides.  Done well, it can create awareness in your marketing photos online presence while simultaneously increasing a home perceived value. Most importantly, it can draw homebuyers in and close the sale – all based on the aesthetic quality of your home.

In a nutshell those same sellers are home buyers, looking to move up into spacious homes, into more expensive and newer homes.  The goal of staging will be to paint the picture that your home can provide what homebuyers are looking for.

Success factors of home staging include the home’s appearance, updates, lighting, artwork, greenery, color, furniture, textures, presentation and the “wow” factor each of these elements bring together in a homes setting.  When these elements come together to showcase a home, it enriches the homebuyer experience, leading to a positive home buying experience and increased offers and faster sale.

Tomorrow in order of priority I’ll share how to stage your home, what updates will give you the best return on investment and how to merchandise the home for a wonderful “wow” factor.

How To Give Home Buyers What They Really Want

I was asked to give a presentation at the Womens Council of Realtors North Metro Denver Chapter about home staging in January 2015. So, I might as well take this time to share a bit about what I’m going to talk about, before being handed the microphone.

Unfortunately, when I look at the statistics there is no easy way to sugar coat the facts, so I apologize now if this is hard hitting, but it is what it is and I do you a dis-service if I don’t give it to you plain and simple.

Being a bit of a statistic nut to make a case to the unbelieving to the home staging process, I thought it a good idea to to base my findings on statistics from National Home Builders Assn., National Assn. of Realtors and Remodeling Modeling Magazine Cost vs. Value Report, all of which spend lots and lots of money gathering data to determine what is going to provide a good return on investment.

It’s likely that this post will be in a few parts as there is quite a bit to cover, but I promise I’ll sum things up the best that I can in follow up posts. I’m going to talk about your homebuyer target market before getting to How To Give Home Buyers What They Really Want.  You can’t market a home for sale unless you know who you are selling to.

First and foremost home staging is used to appeal to the emotions of homebuyers. No matter how much furniture, artwork, greenery, lighting and accessories are used to prepare a home for sale, there are things that homebuyers are looking for and all the staging in the world will not make up for updates and repairs not done. Not following thru with updates and repairs will only help to sell the competition.

Home sellers armed with the knowledge of knowing who their target market is and how it will help give a marketing edge over the competition, will be the winner when it comes time to sell. Should you not take these considerations into account, your home will sit longer on the market, potentially receive price reductions, ultimately selling for less moola.

Across the nation it’s a sellers market, here in the Denver Metro area average days on market was 41 days (December 2014) so you are probably thinking “I don’t need to stage my home”, but I’ll cover some interesting stats that will change your mind. You can’t sell if you don’t know who you are selling to and what you are up against.

Let’s look at some statistics:

  1. 33% of todays first time home buyers are 31 years of age and make an average income of $68,300. Repeat home buyers average age is 53 years old and earns approximately $95,000. 65% of these folks are married.
  • What that means is you are going to have to stage your home to appeal to a broad target market. You can bet your bottom dollar that our younger homebuyers don’t want a dated, dingy home. The older buyers have made some money and are looking for something chic and stylish that reflects a certain lifestyle. Mauve, sage green, swags, wallpaper, just to name a few – gotta go. Remember, we are marketing for a higher return on investment when it comes time to sell our homes.  Well, that’s my goal for you when consulting

2.  New home purchasers bought a new home to avoid renovations or problems with plumbing or electrical, and the ability to customize their home.  Hint, hint.


  • Hopefully you are making the needed repairs to your home, or if a Real Estate professional making the recommendations to your homesellers. Homebuyers want things looking like NEW. Otherwise, statistics say they want a better price and overall value, so be prepared for price reductions if you don’t give what the market demands.


  1. 92 percent of home buyers use the internet in their home search.
    • You need to prepare and stage a home properly to appeal to buyers. I tell my clients when providing home staging consultations that the photos are the bait used to lure prospective buyers to visit your home. Make sure the visual distractions are kept to a minimum.


  1. Typical home buyers searched for 10 weeks and viewed 10 homes
    • Homebuyers are discriminating. You have to capture their attention and may the best home win.


  1. 53% of homebuyers purchased a newer home.
    • Let’s take a look at what that means: contemporary, the latest, modern, up-to-date, sophisticated, current, keeps with the pace. I hope this clarifies any questions you may have on what newer means, if not don’t worry that’s what you have a home stager with buyer eyes.


  1. 48% reported credit card debt, that’s certainly a challenge to overcome.



  1. 47% purchased a more expensive home.
  2. 46% of homebuyers reported they have made some sacrifices such as reducing spending to purchase their home.
    • Don’t for a minute think that not painting or updating is an option, homebuyers don’t have the extra money to do it. They will spend more money on a move in ready house and sacrificed to do so.
  3. 44% reported student loan debt (SMH/shaking my head)
  4. 36% reported car loans delayed them from saving for a down payment.
  5. 12% shared that saving for a down payment was the most difficult task in the home buying process.


Now that I have given you a snapshot of what your typical homebuyer looks like, hopefully you will have a better understanding of your target market when selling a home.


At the very least I hope that you can provide some empathy on why homebuyers shouldn’t expect to purchase what is as close to their dream home as possible.


They have overcome the obstacles of going to school, buying cars to get to work, sacrificed, paid off debt and have had to wait, to get to the point of being able to purchase a home, the American Dream. Your goal is to get your home for sale as close to new as you and your budget allow.


Updates, repairs and home staging will help you compete with NEW and updated homes in the same price range. Otherwise, be prepared for a below market value sales price, longer sale or price reductions.


Oh an before I forget, if you think that it’s a sellers market when the recent sellers who sold their homes were getting 97 percent of the listing price, and 45 percent of them reporting they reduced the initial asking price at least once, is good think again because you are leaving money on the table.

Staged and updated homes are being sold faster and for $10,000 and upwards more than ask price, with contingencies stating buyers would come out of pocket and not dependent on appraisal.  These same homes sell in days not the normal 41 that we are seeing.   So, these buyers mean business and have worked hard to get what they want and they will pay for what they want.



Tomorrow I’ll wrap up with talking about typical home sellers, which will be a real eye opener to your return on investment.

Bathroom Trends Do’s and Don’ts

Life is fun and ever changing, but when it comes time to sell your home and updates need to be made, you may want to follow some bathroom trends do’s and don’ts to make sure you get a good return on investment.

Gray is here to stay! Gray was the “in” color choice for the bathroom in 2014, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Gray is a perfect neutral and versatile palette for traditional, modern/contemporary or transitional design. Darker grays are more dramatic and mysterious and the closer it gets to white, the more illuminating and lively it becomes (fyi buyers prefrer open light, bright and airy). Gray is not a 50/50 of white and black, gray can have tints of blue, green, pink, mauve or yellow within it which give it some energy. Adding white accents will give you a sophisticated look. Oh la la, add a splash of bold, eye-popping color, with accents and you’ve got the makins’ of delicious design.

Stick with transitional lighting, nothing trendy if you are updating to sell. Toss or donate original builder fixtures and add transitional lighting (also known as “updated classic”, “classic with a contemporary twist”, or “new takes on old classics”). Perfect for that “transitional” gray that can do double duty if you get bored, to go either with modern or classic design. Oh, don’t forget lighting in the shower and if you have some room an accent light on the counter or chandalier if you are sporting a big enough room.

FYI, traditional design is trailing behind contemporary, keep in mind the age group of the folks who will be buying your home (the average first time home buyer is 31).   Their tastes may be a wee bit different than what you are used to, if not among the same generation.

Home buyers are still looking for that spa like bathroom and Zen-like retreat that has earthy wood looking floors, tile made to look like wood is probably a smarter choice than the real deal in a particularly “wet” room. However, tile always has style especially if it is a good ceramic faux made to look like real natural stone or just plain real natural stone, there is nothing like it under a barefoot.

Interior designers are saying geometrics are in and I believe them. Me, the home stager says if I were you and getting ready to sell, I’d keep your geometric, bold colored tile to something more transitional and get your geometric trends on in your towels and/or accessories. Stay away from some of the trends that are more permanant when selling. Color and pattern do not appeal to the majorities, just saying.

DO:  Big showers, vanities with lots of drawers and technology, free standing soaking tubs,  water control like thermostatic mixers that can control multiple shower heads or a combination shower-bath. Benches or seats in showers, electric radiant floor heating, steam showers, no-threshold showers, comfort height toilets, comfort height vanities and while your at it, install one of the awesome USB ports to your electrical outlet for your smart phone.

Don’t forget to check out the National Association of Realtors Cost Vs. Value Report to see where you will get the best return on investment.

Home Staging for the Holidays

Home Staging for the Holidays

Tartan and cable knit is a timeless pattern associated with the holidays. Try bringing throw blankets and pillows into your living room and guest room for a festive touch.

Presentation is everything when it comes time to sell, no matter if a retail store merchandising a store front window or home staging for the holidays.  Why heck, we wrap our holiday gifts in pretty paper, ribbons and bows to elevate its appeal to make it feel special to the receiver.

Home Staging for the Holidays 2

Set the mantel’s tone with faux snow in vases and apothecary jars.
Take advantage of the glass jars’ interior spaces to create a tiny winter scene and to introduce sparkle with traditional mercury glass ornaments.

With that said, we should be marketing our homes for sale during the holidays using home staging tips that raise the value and marketing appeal to the broadest range of home buyers.  Take a simple approach, keeping in mind that less is more just as your would when selling during any other season.

Home Staging for the Holidays 3

Set the mood with candlelight and metallic accessories to create drama in your space.

Don’t take my word for it, check out the Realtor survey data reveals, the majority of realtors feel that when selling  your home during the holidays, home staging should be put in place to attract potential buyers to make a home feel cozy and inviting.

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Update an Old Sofa

Update an Old Sofa 3A sofa takes up a lot of real estate in the living or family room, making it one of the first things we see when entering a room. Sofas can get worn out over time, or we just plain get sick and tired of the same old look and need an update.

Update an Old Sofa 4

You can refresh the look of an entire room, with little to no money invested. Lucky for you, there are several ways to update the look of a sofa and they don’t take a lot of time or money.

My favorite and least expensive remedy to updating the sofa is to use accent pillows.

Update an Old Sofa 5

Image Courtesty HGTV

Use solid colors only.

Update an Old Sofa

Using a solid color with a pattern is simple and provides big impact.On a cream or white sofa, using a strong pairing of opposite colors such as red and green, orange and blue, those colors that are opposite on the color wheel. all you need for a backdrop is cream or white.

Update an Old Sofa 1

Use a bold pattern and a small subtle pattern that visually looks like a solid is a good look.

Update an Old Sofa 7

Update an Old Sofa 6

Floral patterns can be mixed and won’t clash with one another.

Update an Old Sofa 9

For the brave at heart you can mix up patterns by varying the size of the patterns and adding texture.

You can use a 2-2-1 ratio to keep a simple symetical look. Two square pillows of the same size on each end of the sofa, working inwards add two smaller pillows in a different pattern next to them and one jazzy rectangular pillow for the middle.

The photos that I have provided may not be old sofas, but the design concepts are the same.  You would be surprised to see how an old sofa can be transformed just by using accent pillows.

Home Staging Consultation Report

home staging consultation report office

The home staging advice on this office showed the biggest transformation. Providing an open, light, bright and airy space that could be used as a bedroom or an office

Hey All!  Just wanted to fill you in on some of the behind the scenes of what goes into a home staging consultation report.  The motivated seller of this home rocked it, following the consulation report that I provided, to the letter.

The success that the seller received from the staging consultation in her Denver area, owner occupied home was (drum roll, please) sold first day, multiple offers, $10K over asking price.

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Avoid A Bowling Alley Room Design

Avoid A bowling Alley Room Design 2

Image Courtesty

Bowling alleys are fun but not when it comes to room design.  Home-buyers need to imagine being able to easily place their own furnishings into the homes that they are considering purchasing.

Avoid A Bowling Alley Room Design

Image Courtesty

Home staging a long room to avoid a bowling alley room design, will help not only your own comfort in the rooms in which you live, it will also help potential homebuyers envision the opportunity that a room has to offer.

Hmmmm, grey and orange seriously trending from accents to walls, if you haven’t noticed lol!

Avoid A Bowling Alley Room Design 1

Image Courtesty

Whether you have just moved into a new home or are struggling with furniture placement in a long room, or you need to make your marketing photos look smashing, the following tricks will help:

  1. Arrange furniture for a long room over to one side of the room to allow space for people to walk a straight line and passage way from one room to another, without interrupting conversational seating areas.
  2. Limit the number of furniture pieces and place furniture in a corner arrangement. This allows people to walk through the room past the furniture at an angle. Use an ottoman that can be used both for storage and as a stand in coffee table or extra seating when needed.
  3. Place a loveseat or sofa depending on the width of the room facing and in front of the fireplace/window focal point. Using a sofa table behind will stop the eye and divide the room.
  4. Using end, coffee tables and art with the round elements will detract from the long lines of a room.
  5. Place freestanding bookshelves at the end of the room to allow for foot traffic, should your room be too narrow to comfortably walk between the piece and the furniture in front of the piece.
  6. Divide it! Stage two or more separate groupings in the room. Create an area for conversation, another for music/games, or one for media viewing. The possibilities are endless!  Think outside of the box.
  7. Use area rugs to define each space to tie the whole design together.
  8. Using darker colors on the short walls at either end of the long space will shorten the space visually.  Paint works wonders in long rooms, simply by painting an end wall a darker color the room will magically appear to jump forward.
  9. Hang artwork with strong horizontal lines on the end walls, this will visually make the room appear wider and the length of the room appear shorter.
  10. Choosing smaller pieces of furniture and pulling the room arrangment toward the center of the room (where space allows) will create the illusioin of a shorter space.

Bonus:  By adding a strong, brightly colored focal point to the coffee table will naturally draw out our eyes attention and distract from the problem of a long space.

Try to incorporate a few tricks into your design and what was once an awkward room will feel stylish and comfortable.

Warm and Welcoming Fall Decor

warm and welcoming fall decor 1

No doubt we are looking forward to the fall holiday, right? Home Staging for the fall holiday works best when a home has minimal visual distractions, appeals to a buyers senses and makes use of warm and welcoming fall decor.

Fall decorating can be used to merchandise your home for sale to stimulate imagary of holiday tradition and togetherness, joy and memories of fun.  Just remember to decorate for the fall holiday with a pinch of style, leave the bounty and abundance of your holiday decor of the season pre-packed and put away.

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How Much Does Home Staging Cost – Part 2

how much does home staging cost

Home I staged sold to 1st homebuyers who previewed the property

As promised the much awaited answer to (drum roll please) How Much Does Home Staging Cost – Part 2.  In my last blog post I discussed pricing on a Home Staging Consultation and Hands on Staging Services.

Pricing will vary region by region based on some of the reseach that I have conducted.  So….don’t take my word for it, ask your stager how they price their services and what types of rental fees may be incurred.

Always remember that Home Staging costs are always less than your first price reduction.

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