Monthly Archives: April 2015

What Type of Home Owner are You?

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I’ve recently discovered there are 3 “types” of Home Owners. The “Perfectionists” always want their home updated, looking nice and just so. The “Beatles” (named after the song “let it be”) fix something if they have to otherwise – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The final group are “Here and There” full of started but not necessarily completed projects. The interesting part comes when the spouses living in a household are from different types!

The “Perfectionists” take tremendous pride in their homes. Keeping the home current and updated with renovations and décor is a top priority for them. Everything has its place and it’s always the right piece in the right place! The home is always clean well-kept and practically spotless. There is no clutter lying around and even the closets are well organized and de-cluttered regularly. Pride of ownership are typically the first words that come to mind when walking into a Perfectionist’s home.

The “Beatles” home is functional. It works for them but as the song says – they’d rather just “let it be”. The flooring may be worn, the counter may be stained, but hey, who wants to spend the time or money keeping up with trends that are always changing? There are so many more important things to do and so much life to enjoy! Their home may be cluttered from their many travels to foreign lands. It may have a collection that clearly shows their passion for a hobby that they love to invest their time and money in. Something that clearly gives them tremendous satisfaction. In extreme cases, we may find tendencies to store or hoard excess clutter. They fix what breaks but may not get around to patching the hole in the ceiling the plumber had to cut open years ago when he fixed the leak in the upstairs bathroom. 

The “Here and There” home is in the middle of the spectrum. It almost always consists of some updating projects, often started years ago, but not always finished. Projects always seem ongoing and may be found in many different areas inside and outside the home. The homes are usually cleaner but may have areas of clutter that everything gets moved into to keep the rest of the home neat. Repairs are always completed and most maintenance issues are addressed in a timely manner. This is usually where we’ll see projects taken to a certain level by a professional and then to save cost the Home Owner, with all good intentions, will have every intention of completing the details that somehow have a way of getting away from him/her and never quite get done. Hence we are left with a number of partially updated areas that have never quite been completely finished. 

The interesting part is when we find a home of extremes. In some cases, households are made up of 2 perfectionists but more often than not, one spouse is a perfectionist and the other is not. The Perfectionist will immediately point out what they have done, which areas are “theirs” vs. their spouse’s, and what they intend to do. They seek our understanding and validation for their future design plans. They want to ensure they do it right because they are keenly aware, they will only have one opportunity to do it once and do it right, once their spouse agrees.

In terms of staging, I have never been in a home we couldn’t improve just that little bit. Even the most extreme “Perfectionist”, can still use a few tips from a professional. Remember the biggest difference is showcasing a home for sale is very different from showcasing it for living. We look at things a little differently and most certainly with more experience than then average Home Owner. In a Perfectionists’ home we have much more to work with at the time of consult and can in many cases “stage” or recommend what to do so they can effectively stage their own home in a manner if hours. 

The Beatles and Here and There homes, which are probably 70-80% of the homes we see, by necessity will require some time to complete projects, declutter, and finally “stage” the home for sale. These homes more often than not may require contractors brought in, and in many cases some furniture rental to best showcase their home. Each home is different and where some may only require small touches, the next may require major work to get it to the same level of readiness for sale. Our ultimate goal, is to always have your home as updated and objection free as possible to ensure the quickest sale possible.

So, whether you are a Perfectionist, Beatle or Here and There type Home Owner, when it comes time to get your home ready for sale, its well worth the time and effort to pay attention to all those details to ensure your home shows the best it can and sells as quickly as possible!

Book Early to Ensure the Best Stage Possible

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As we get into the busy time of year for staging, it is critical to ensure you book your stage job as far in advance as possible. It happens every year, we submit an estimate to a client and they will “get back to us”. In the meantime, we have a numerous clients confirm and book jobs. Once a client has confirmed a job, and ONLY after we have a deposit, do I reserve furniture and décor for that project! Everything is on a first come first served basis. 

Although we have an extensive assortment of furniture and accessories some spaces require a certain color or a certain style or color of furniture to make the design look best. It is critical to ensure we plan a design that is consistent with the character of the home. We cannot use contemporary furniture/décor design in a very traditional character home or vice versa! It simply looks wrong! When buyers are looking for a traditional character home – that is what they want, a traditional character home. If they wanted a new contemporary style of home, they would look at a different style of home that was more contemporary. It goes without saying that an “updated” traditional home can have significant updates that remain true to the original architecture and style of the home while still updating the home quite tastefully. You can quite successfully blend a traditional with a more transitional style with fabulous outcomes. However, when you cross the line from traditional to totally “mod” – it just won’t work. 

This leads to how we plan the design when staging a home. Not all furniture and décor will work well in every home. We have to take into account everything like wall length to ensure we can properly fit a sofa, loveseat, chair or table in the right spot. We need to ensure there is adequate traffic flow walkways for buyers to comfortably walk through the space without furniture brushing against them. These are all critical aspects of any successful design. It is crucial to a great design to use the right furniture style in the correct size and proportion to properly showcase the space successfully!

The next consideration is color. If the walls are white or off–white using a white sofa simply will not show as well as a darker color. It’s the color contrast that shows a space so well in photographs. If the walls are a darker color I prefer to use lighter colored furniture if/when possible. If the walls are lighter, then I usually try to use darker furniture to ensure we have adequate contrast in the photos to catch buyers’ interest and make them book those showings! A room just doesn’t look as appealing in photos when everything blends together and gets lost in the photo. 

The problem at this time of the year becomes furniture availability. If someone waits until the last minute to book a stage job, then their design will, by necessity, be drawn from a pool of limited furniture that is available right now. Quite often at this time of year, I will have clients call to say they are “ready” any time for a stage and preferably sooner than later. The more notice you can give us the better the design will be. We can almost always put a design together quickly to meet those print and advertising deadlines, however, we may not have the best furniture available on such short notice. If the seller provides us more notice, at least a week or 2, it is much easier for us to reserve the furniture for their job because we know those pieces would work so much better in their home. Those pieces might be the exact right dimensions to show the space that much better, or possibly a much better color with the paint they have on the walls… it’s all about putting the best collection of pieces together to maximize the design of that particular space. Sectionals can be extremely difficult to get in the right color and the right size for a space.  So, often I could have used a piece had I only know the week before instead of using that piece in another job. I want to provide the best design possible to my clients at all times! We’re always designing multiple places at one time so there’s usually a few collections going in the warehouse – one set aside for address  “A” and the next for address “B” etc. Given that extra notice, it becomes that much easier to ensure we use the right pieces to showcase your space in the best way possible! So book early and the chances are, your design will be that much better!

 

Just Do It RIGHT the First Time!

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I always meet people “looking” for a deal. They are thrilled about the cheap labour they found for repairs and then complain because their home isn’t selling and they don’t know what to do! When you are getting your home ready for sale and it has stiff competition from other homes in the neighborhood that is not the time to take advantage of a cheap kijiji labour offer! You get what you pay for! 

I cannot count the number of people I’ve met who grudgingly go through the time and expense of completing minor maintenance and repairs to get their home ready for sale. Then decide to use the cheapest possible labour they can find. A bad paint job will look just like what it is – a bad paint job and even worse, one that the new buyer will have to re-paint if they buy your home. I even heard of one client who would drive across town to pick up her cheap kijiji painter because he didn’t have a vehicle. He only showed up when he could and it took more than 3 months to complete touch ups that could have been done in a few days by a pro … but hey it was cheap labour!

If someone does not know how to do things, they will often do a job below what is expected. Often times, some of these jobs need to be fixed or re-done before the property can finally be listed. So, what exactly did you save??? Or did it cost you more to do, then have it ripped out and re-done properly by someone who knows what they are doing?

Poor workmanship and costly repairs is one of the main reasons buyers will walk away from a home. Flooring incorrectly installed, gaps in flooring, ripples in carpet not kicked out smooth, basement flooring incorrectly installed that sinks to an uneven surface below when you step on it…. Flooring on stairs can be tricky to install and can look horrible if done poorly! Paint that leaves distinctive roller marks or worse is only one coat of paint and the color below can be seen through because the painter only put on a thin single coat of paint. If you have one small area that may not have turned out well, that’s not enough for most buyers to walk away. However, if there are issues everywhere they look, that is often cause for most buyers to say “enough”! I’m not interested in buying a “project”.

I cannot stress the critical difference between doing a job well and one that is very poorly done. One leaves buyers with the impression of a home very well cared for that they are anxious to purchase. The home that was done on “the cheap” looks like no one gave a hoot! The first thought in a buyers head when they see such poor quality workmanship is “wow, they really didn’t care much about this place did they?” The second thought, “Gee I wonder how bad things are that I can’t see” – like the electrical? Plumbing etc.? Probably had someone’s friend in who didn’t know what they were doing because it was cheap – or worse they did it themselves and this place is just waiting to go up in flames!? I’m outta here!” Is this really the message you want to send potential buyers?

The main purpose of completing maintenance and repairs is to get a better price for your home and make it more desirable to buyers. There is a big difference between spending enough to get a good job and just spending the bare minimum to say you did the work. If you are not prepared to do it right, just don’t do anything at all. Sell it as a fixer upper and know that you are selling it as a project for someone. At least then the Realtor can sell it as a fixer upper and potentially create interest among investors looking to make money on doing the work themselves.

I cannot count the number of times sellers have told me about the “deal” they got from some “guy” and when I see the workmanship I’m not surprised. I believe it was the “guy” that got a deal by actually convincing someone to pay them good money for some of these catastrophes they call renos!! Then the sellers become unhappy home owners who were so proud of their “deal”, but cannot understand why they can’t get a single offer on their home. So, the deal that saved you $1000 – ended up costing you an extra 3 months selling time and you had to drop your price substantially. That was mortgage payments X3, property taxes and insurance X 3; utilities X3; inconvenience of showing your home; etc. ….So, what exactly did you save by using this cheap labour “deal”? Even staging will never hide a bad reno job, and it should never be used in this way. Staging is about making a place look better NOT hiding someone else’s poor work or bad decisions. So if you decide to do what needs to be done, please do it right!