Monthly Archives: December 2015

Decorating Tips for the Holidays


There are two approaches to Holiday Decorating. The first is relaxed while enjoying the spirit of the Holiday Season. The second, is stressful with a desire to get everything done, or done just right! If you take a few simple steps, holiday decorating can be fun and stress free. 

Sort through what you have before rushing out to buy more. This will save you money as well as time. I always forget what decorations I have in storage, especially the newer ones. Most years we buy a special new piece or two (three or four). Christmas is our favourite time of the year! My hubby and I both discovered we shared the same favourite Holiday when we were on our Honeymoon and discovered a year round Christmas shop. We were like 2 kids in a candy store! We still have nearly all the purchases we made that day for our tree. We have simply added to our Christmas décor over the years. So, I usually start by bringing out all my accent pieces for the home. My garlands and sleighs with snowmen, reindeer, ornaments for my mantle, etc. That way if some was damaged or broken I have time to replace it if I want to. I usually pick a weekend in November and do just my accent décor then I have time to buy more if I need just the right piece for “that” one space that doesn’t look quite right. 

Leave yourself as much time as possible. Holiday decorating can be overwhelming if you try to tackle it all at once. The next big projects are my Christmas trees. I usually have 3 at home and 2 at the cottage. I did say Christmas was our favourite Holiday, right? Our main tree is very traditional with many of the ornaments we purchased back on our honeymoon. It is a special family tree with years of ornaments from ours girls, and special ornament additions we’ve made over the years. If I’m feeling particularly stressed that year, I will only do one tree per day. I start in late November or early December so I have time.  We have a tree in our piano room decorated in burgundy and gold with some black accents for the piano. We are still renovating our rec room (hope to have that completed in the next few months) but I still have a tree at the bottom of the stairs to greet people! Of course, we have our fireplace and mantle decorated in the rec room as well. At the cottage, our main tree is even more rustic than the one at home. After all it is the cottage. Finally, most years I also put up a small (6’) tree in our sunroom at the cottage as well. This one is more whimsical and fun, like our sunroom.

One of the things that make décor cohesive and interesting is having it meaningful. Our main tree is very rustic with a very beautiful tree skirt that I bought years ago that had matching throw pillows. So our tree skirt and throw pillows blend with the rest of the décor in that room for a wonderful look! We have a beautiful blend of colors from the room that we use on our tree. Burgundy from our accent chairs, golds from our walls, and black from our piano. It all blends beautifully and looks “right”. Having décor meaningful takes time and is developed over time. There is no time to start like the present. It doesn’t have to be big, just a few small pieces each year and before you know it, your Holiday décor is special and speaks uniquely of your family.

I finish off with some nice outdoor touches. Micheal’s was having a great sale, as they often do this time of year, so we found a combination of accents sticks that we blended together for our large planters by our garage. They are simple but beautiful. We also have small 3’ Christmas trees on either side of our 2 front doors to greet guests during the holiday season. It’s that extra splash of “happy” to welcome friends and family. Christmas simply wouldn’t be Christmas without my hubby’s Christmas lights. He loves his lights!  We have them along the front of the house, on the 4 small trees at the doors, along the fence and of course around the garage doors. Holiday lights can be as simple or as detailed as you want. Home hardware has a beautiful and simple light called an “elf light”. It takes 10 minutes to install and casts multi colored speckled lights on your home.  Very beautiful effect in next to no time!

Finally decorating your holiday table. Again, this can be as detailed or as simple as suits you and your family. You can go all out for a centerpiece and colored placemats and matching napkins, with matching napkin rings. Some people still have special table clothes they use only on the holidays. Use what is meaningful to you and your family. This is where I find most people’s traditions tend to be similar to what they grew up with. Then of course, we add a few of our own special touches!  In setting a table for the holidays, dinnerware can really make a table look stunning. Small little accent pieces that go with the décor in your home from accents on the stemware to décor sprinkled on the table. You can go all pout or stay as simple as you feel comfortable with! If you do want to be more elaborate, leave yourself time to plan it all out and have it ready well in advance. There is nothing worse than scrambling at the last minute! You may even wish to set out the décor and centerpiece the day before and just leave the glasses and dinnerware for the day of. You will have enough to do that day so save some time and stress.

Most importantly, remember the Holidays are about spending time with those you love.  Enjoy time with family and friends. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to make you happy and feel good! Relax and enjoy! Happy Holidays everyone! May the peace and love and joy of the Holiday Season be with you all!


Staged Properties Selling Fast This Fall!

dining room

Whether your home is vacant or occupied, staging it for sale will help it sell faster and for a better sale price! We’ve seen a significant swing in the local real estate market. Interesting however, is that Maximum Impact Plus continues to see fast sales in our staged properties. Even the Winnipeg Real Estate News front page this past week was all about the new Buyer’s Market and things to do for a fast sale. As always the key factors are condition and price. Staging homes for sale was recognized as one of the key factors to selling in the Buyers Market!

The condition of a property is determined by a number of factors. Anything from updates, to basic maintenance and repairs, de-cluttering a property so it shows well, and arranging furniture and accessories for that maximum impact “wow factor” when buyers come in. The WREN stressed the importance of good pictures for on-line marketing and listings! Fabulous pictures have become a critical factor in creating buyer traffic through your property. The better the pictures, the more interest!  Staging a home professionally will ensure you have beautiful magazine quality rooms for your Realtor to photograph and market! The more interest they can generate by their photographs and virtual tours, the more potentials buyers come to see the home and the faster it sells. 

Another key factor was ensuring the homes are priced “right” for our current market. Sellers often want to overprice their homes based on sale history of recent years. However, the market we’re selling in is now, not 2 years ago. New builds have added a tremendous amount of available supply of homes for buyers to consider. A few years ago, their selection was much more limited and thus, prices were higher. As supply increases, the demand decreases, as does the selling prices. I regularly tell my clients that they must be very realistic in the listing price. A key factor many sellers do not consider is having the listing become stagnant. Once it has been on the market for a number of weeks without any offers – it loses its urgency! Buyers are less likely to offer list or closer to list pricing. The longer the home sits on the market the more likely you are to receive low ball offers! If your home has been on the market for a long time – many Realtors will discourage new clients from seeing it if they have already been through with other clients. It needs work or it’s not what you’re looking for are comments buyers often hear. Buyers don’t even get a chance to come see your home, even if they were marginally interested.

Most of our stages since this summer have sold within the first few weeks to a month. The Sellers are realistic about the asking price, the home looks beautiful, the photos are fabulous and the homes are selling quickly! Most are very close to asking price, and some are still selling at over asking price because the urgency and the competition for a well-priced home in fabulous condition is still high! However, these homes have to be in great condition and looking fabulous! We’ve had a few homes that were over-priced (by the Realtors assessment) and they take longer to sell than average and they sell for below the asking price.

We have many different staging packages for occupied and vacant homes. Occupied homes typically require one of our Accessory Packages. Occupied homes usually have most, if not all, of their own furniture. We will often re-arrange what the home owner has to better showcase the spaces in the home. We top off the furniture with a beautiful accessory package of artwork and accessories to compliment the color and style of the home. These packages are customized for each property but include things like accent furniture, area rugs, throw pillows, artwork, décor, bathroom décor. The amount of décor is often dictated by the budget of the homeowner but starts around $750 and go up from there for a larger home. This includes all moving, design, packing and set up and rental costs for the first month. It is an excellent starter package that can turn an ordinary home into a highly sought after home! The second month rental costs start at around $325 but can be dictated by the client budget.

Staging a vacant home typically includes a living room, dining room &/or eat in kitchen, master bedroom and bathroom. Depending upon the layout and the amount of furniture required, and how many rooms need to be staged the starting cost is around $1500 and can go up from there depending on the home and the budget. This includes all design and labour costs for packing, set up, take down and pack up. It also includes all moving costs to and from the home.  It also includes the first month rental. Second month rental costs usually start around $750 for all furniture and accessories and go up from there based on amount of décor and number of rooms staged. 

When we complete a stage job it is “picture ready”! Typically our Realtors schedule their photographers right after us so they can get the pictures on-line asap and start marketing the property and creating the interest and excitement! The key to a fast sale is running with this excitement and generating as much interest as possible as quickly as possible to create that sense of urgency that leads to those great offers every seller is still hoping to receive!