My last column covered reasons your home may not be selling. This one is about the formula to get your house sold. It really is quite simple but most folks miss the mark.
One size does not fit all
This has to do with staging/preparing your home. All homes are different. All budgets are different. Not every home is perfect and not everyone has the money to invest in renting furniture and accessories to stage. It is important to be realistic and more importantly, respectful to the seller. I call this ‘staging in allowance’. Doing something is better than doing nothing. Read more
You may not be able to figure out why your house is not selling but it may be obvious to others folks especially potential buyers. Whether the home is viewed virtually or live, the reasons may hurt initially but knowledge is power. It is best to showcase the home the right way from the beginning but we all deserve second chances, even our homes.
The question was put out on Facebook and it certainly created a lively online discussion. Here is feedback from Realtors, friends, family, sellers, buyers and future buyers.
The showstopper for me at this year’s Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York was Stikwood, ultrathin wood planks that have an adhesive backing that sticks to just about any surface, creating the look of what would ordinarily be a costly piece of décor.
“I love the smell of wood, the feel of wood. I love everything about wood,” owner and founder Jerry McCall says. “But I’ve always been a bit upset about how wasteful it can be.” The master woodworker came up with a product that would give consumers the look of rustic, reclaimed wall paneling, using as little of the natural resource as possible. Read more
During a staging consultation in Warwick Grove, I had the honor of walking through the home of George and Nancy Younes as they prepare their home for sale. After a few comments of, “You made that?” I knew I had a column’s worth to share.
Surrounding yourself with things that you love is what makes a house a home. Seashell and beach glass from beach vacations adorn a mirror. A collection of handkerchiefs, once framed, becomes a work of art. The laundry room pays tribute to the family business. Check out Nancy’s handy work as she explains the story behind the craft. Yes! Their home is for sale.
The shell mirror is a collection of shells and glass collected from Fire Island, NY and Florida beaches. Happy childhood memories of endless walks on the beach hunting for sand crabs, and splashing in the warm pools formed during low tide. Looking at the mirror brings back memories of ferry rides, crabbing at night off the ferry dock, clamming in the bay, walking barefooted with the red wagon on the boardwalk. My siblings and I often painted some of the shells collected and sold them at the dock to visitors. These memories were enjoyed by a second generation and continued after our parents retired to Florida with its beautiful beaches.
The many handkerchiefs belonged to my husband George’s mother. They were given to her as gifts from her many business clients over the years. As a resident buyer in the garment industry she purchased merchandise for clients both domestically and overseas. She really was the E.R.A. before the “Feminist Movement” became a household name. Our recollection of her was always in a dress, heels, hat and gloves. “Hankies” were always in her handbag. These beautiful handkerchiefs are displayed in the frame and adorn the wreath.
My husband and I owned two Laundromats in New Jersey for 15 years. Nancy’s Wash and Dry Cleaning was our flagship store in Little Ferry, NJ. Sunrise Wash & Dry cleaning was in Palisades Park, NJ. George was so proud to say that he put my name in lights, not on Broadway, but on Washington Avenue. At one time we were the largest in Bergen County. I thought it would be a nice tribute to our hard work that I adorn our laundry room with memorabilia of that time in our lives.
I belonged to a small craft group called the “Crafty Critters”. We four women met in the evenings to work on various projects that we sold at numerous “Juried” craft shows. Items included ribbon & grapevine wreaths, ornaments, birdhouses, hand decorated mailboxes, and garbage cans. We made our own version of the cabbage patch doll. The eyes were embroidered, the body was sewn and stuffed & hair was created with yarn. Each were dressed and assigned names. Of course our kids got dolls as well.
(Featured in the Times Herald Record on March 22, 2015)
My last column was about spring inspiration. It felt as if it would never stop snowing. Spring has arrived and it is finally warming up. The white stuff is melting away. Next month will be my 10th anniversary in business. Look for observations and lessons learned in an upcoming column.
One thing I will share is how much some of my clients have inspired me. There are some very creative people out there and I am honored to work with them.
Mark Lassen first took my House-Life Connection class in Newburgh at the Desmond Campus. He returned with his wife, Sheila, for my Staging Tips class. Sheila shared with me how much Mark enjoyed my House-Life class and started applying what he learned to their home.
The Lassen’s hired me for a staging consultation. We walked through their beautiful home and I made a few suggestions in a few rooms. We ended up rearranging their living room furniture to create a more comfortable arrangement for TV viewing, fireplace enjoyment and views to the back of their beautiful property. More importantly, the new layout created a more welcoming space to guests who enter from the front door.
Many rooms have competing focal points, which is usually the fireplace and the TV. In the Lassen home, the TV is next to the fireplace on an art easel. This was such clever way to mount a TV instead of the typical media cabinet.
How to mount a TV to an Art Easel
“We saw the TV easel combination in a high-end furniture store. It caught our eye as fitting in our house well but it was quite expensive. After all we had the TV and all we needed was an easel. We definitely wanted oak and we searched many artist supply shops and Internet sites. When we found the right one it only required a small amount of modifications to securely mount the TV to the easel. The TV had all the connection points since all of the flat screen TVs are built to be wall mounted”, says Mark.
Less is more
“One thing is true, reducing clutter in one’s living space reduces the clutter in ones mind. Our philosophy for our next home, wherever that may be, is that less is more. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. We enjoyed the feedback and look forward to applying our revised “vision” of how to market our house and an improved way to live in it without clutter!”
There are people you meet that keep popping up into your life. There are no coincidences and sometimes you just have to acknowledge and appreciate the connection. Stephanie Uszenski is one of those people.
We first met when I was selling a kitchen hutch on craigslist and she purchased the hutch. Years later she attended a “Fall Back In Love with Your Home” presentation I did at the Hudson Valley Builders & Remodelers Association. Thanks to Facebook, we became friends. A short time later she was having difficulty selling her house, I asked to see the listing, made suggestions, her house sold.
Last month Stephanie took a day off from her job at Millspaugh Furniture in Walden to attend my “House-Life Connection” at the Desmond Campus of Mount Saint Mary College. That is one of my fun classes where we discuss Feng-Shui and how to clear the energy of your home by burning sage, also called smudging. She mentioned how she was always hesitant about doing it but after taking the class she was willing to give it a try.
“I had a negative association of the concept of saging but I am open to new ideas. Your presentation was so clear, and made sense. I did each room from corner to corner. Although I didn’t experience some of the changes in smoke intensity where there are pockets of negativity described in your class, as the fourth owner of this house I was glad to remove any “unknowns”! My house felt ‘dark’ from neglect. The previous owner did not take good care of it.
Later that day
“No one was aware of what I did. When we arrived home, we had our typical chaotic day immediately running to soccer practice which I also coach, rushing back home to finish homework, make dinner and get ready for bed & the next day! It went very, VERY well even with four teen and tween girls!”
Walking into the house the next day, she reported that the house did feel ‘brighter’, like she washed the windows and the walls. “It definitely feels ‘clearer’ in some way and things seem to flow more smoothly. Thank you for the encouragement to try something outside my comfort zone. “
Without sharing too much detail, this had been a rough year for me. Through our friendship, Stephanie made the following observation, “You can be a spokesmodel for the tagline, “never let them see you sweat”. Whatever you went through, you handled it with grace and poise. It’s admirable”.
When the going gets tough, I get saging. I personally do not do it all the time, just when I feel I need it and for the New Year. It is a reassuring feeling to know, at any point of your life, no matter what comes your way; you can have a fresh start. You just have to clear the air.
How we live now can define our living space: Time and time again after meeting with clients in their home whether for decorating or staging I hear the same comment when it comes to one room, “We never use the dining room. What a waste of space.”
The formal dining room is probably the most underutilized room of the home. If one were to take a poll, majority would probably say they use it maybe once or twice a year. That is a lot of equity in a room that is hardly used. Read more