Fun, Family Time Countdown to the Holidays

One of the best loved traditions for this time of year is reading holiday books together as a family. Yet, it seems to have gotten lost in the hectic pace of the holiday preparations and the need to find a new place for an elf. The holiday countdown has turned into activities that are less oriented towards spending time together and the true meaning of the season.

If you haven’t turned reading into a holiday tradition, give it a try. Don’t forget to include grandparents and aunts and uncles too. They would love some quite; cuddle time with the children in their lives.

Here’s an easy way to turn reading together into a holiday tradition.

A Stress-free holiday just takes a little organizing

  • Get 25 holiday related books. Purchase, borrow from the library or swap with other families.
  • Wrap them and place them near the tree with a fluffy blanket and stuffed toy to cuddle with.
  • Each day, starting on Dec 1st, take one of the books and find time to read them and cuddle together.
  • When all the books are gone, it’s Christmas!

One hint: If you are borrowing from the library, place them on the top of the pile so you can return them on time.

To help you get started, here’s a link to a well compiled list of some of the best children’s books for Christmas: http://childrensbooksguide.com/featured/30-best-christmas-books

The tradition can be done for Hanukkah too! Here are some favorites to enjoy doing the festival. http://www.jta.org/2015/11/05/arts-entertainment/the-5-best-new-hanukkah-books-for-children

 

Home Staging: Now That It’s Staged

Home Staging: Now That It’s Staged

By Maria-Elena Grant of Awesome Rooms, LLC

I always tell me clients; the home you live in is not the house that you are selling. I hope you were able to notice the differentiation in my wording, the home you live in, the house you are selling.

A professional stager will stage your house with and your family in mind. They also will discuss with you the areas where you might need to compromise.

Once a house is staged, how do you live in it while it is being showcased? Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the subject.

What do I do with my pets?

The ideal situation is to keep pets out of the house and even off the property while the house is on the market. Some buyers may be afraid or allergic to pets. Also, no one knows how their pets will react to strangers being in your house while you are not there. They may bark continually or prevent potential buyers from viewing the whole house.

Where to keep your pets, particularly if you work full time is a dilemma for a seller. One solution is to have your pet stay with a relative or a close friend at their house while you are at work. Daily pet day care may be an option. If you are not at work and a viewing is scheduled, take the pet with you when you leave the house.

Remember to keep their food and water dishes, as well as leashes, toys, etc., out of sight. Litter boxes are the biggest problem. Search the internet for ones that are decorative. There are some that are even disposable.

Should I get an outside storage container or pod to store the things that I have already removed?

No, no and no. This sends many negative messages to the potential buyer. It totally destroys the                all-important curb appeal. It will take up too much room in the driveway and blocks all the welcoming and positive attributes of the front of your house. The buyer will immediately think that there is not enough storage space within the house.

Start by making sure that you are purging enough and not just moving things from your house to the pod. If you really need to store items outside the house, ask a nearby relative or close friend if you can temporarily put a storage container on their property until the house is sold. Their property should not be located on the same street as your house. Having it on your next door neighbor’s property is almost as detrimental as having it on yours. Another option is to rent a unit at a storage facility for a few months. It seems like a lot of trouble to transport items, so seriously think again if you are purging at a high enough level. Take this opportunity to eliminate some of your accumulated possessions.

A stager has placed items in your home not based on their personal tastes or opinion. Staging is based on experience and proven methods. Remember you have paid for this expertise and it should be embraced.

Most stagers have in their contracts that nothing may be moved or changed without consulting the stager. Something may be broken in the move or the change may disrupt the cohesiveness of the whole design – even if you do not see it that way.

It is sometimes not optimal to live in a staged house. Just remember it is only for a short time. Soon the house will be sold and you will be getting settled in your new home. Just the way that you want it to be!

Maria-Elena Grant loves to hear her clients say, “Wow”! She is the principle Interior Decorator and Organizing Consultant for Awesome Rooms, LLC.   The company offers decorating, organizing, and staging services. It can best be described as providing any service that transforms your space into rooms that are awesome.

Maria-Elena also teaches, lectures, and conducts seminars on a variety of decorating, organizing and staging subjects. Awesome Rooms has designed rooms for charity, helping to raise funds for their causes.

She was a Custom Decorating Consultant for Metropolitan Window Fashions in Paramus, NJ. Maria-Elena has been a furniture counselor and consultant for retail home décor specialty establishments. She completed the Interior Design Certificate Program at Bergen Community College. She can be contacted at designer@awesomeooms.com

 

 

 

© Maria-Elena Grant 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may forward this article as long as the copyright notice is intact. No part may be used or reprinted without my prior written permission.

 

Home Staging: Why Quality Photos Are So Important

It’s all about the internet. Buyers go straight to the internet to view properties. In most cases, they do not contact a real estate agent until they see a picture of a house they like. As I have said before, a lot hinges on these photos.

We have all seen poorly taken Multiple Listing Services (MLS) photos (for example, a photo where someone is taking a picture of a bathroom and they are shown in the mirror with the flash going off).  If you have never seen a poor MLS photo, just put “bad MLS photos” into any search engine and you will be amazed how many sites are devoted to the subject. Yet, it’s not very funny when it is your listing.

Online presentation is essential to attracting potential buyers. It is the epicenter of your agent’s marketing strategy. They can create increased interest, which leads to increased showings, which leads to multiple offers, which leads to a higher selling price.

Some agents will go around your house and snap pictures of the key rooms on their cell phones. If this happens, perhaps you should consider talking with your agent about a better quality marketing plan for your house. Quality photos  will leave a better and better impression. Bad pictures will only become worse.

A good listing agent wants quality in all their marketing material and you do too. Seriously consider hiring someone who knows more about lightning, angles and how to showcase the outstanding features of your property. There are many local photographers who would be willing to work with you. If you have a friend who is a good photographer, one with some knowledge of photography principles and who has different lenses, they can do a better job than a cell phone.

If your agent and photographer are working together, they can create a series of photos that will peak the interest of potential buyers. A buyer will take their time to look at a series of well taken photos. Houses that post quality photos receive more clicks to the site than those with poor quality.

Home staging is done to make the potential buyer feel that they want to live in the house they are visiting. Good MLS photos make buyers feel that way before they go to see the house.

 

Maria-Elena Grant loves to hear her clients say, “Wow”! She is the principle Interior Decorator and Real Estate Stager for Awesome Rooms, LLC.   The company offers decorating, organizing, and staging services. It can best be described as providing any service that transforms your space into rooms that are awesome.

Maria-Elena also teaches, lectures, and conducts seminars on a variety of decorating, organizing and staging subjects. Awesome Rooms has designed rooms for charity, helping to raise funds for their causes.

 She was a Custom Decorating Consultant for Metropolitan Window Fashions in Paramus, NJ. Maria-Elena has been a furniture counselor and consultant for retail home décor specialty establishments. She completed the Interior Design Certificate Program at Bergen Community College. She can be contacted at designer@awesomeooms.com

© Maria-Elena Grant 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may forward this article as long as the copyright notice is intact. No part may be used or reprinted without my prior written permission.

 

 

 

Home Staging: How To Get Started

Home Staging should start with your realtor. As experts in the field, they partner with other professionals to create a total marketing plan for your house. Most realtors understand the benefits of staging. They will be happy to recommend a stager. A good realtor and a good stager work for you, together as a team.

The ideal staging process begins once you have signed a contract with a realtor and before the house is listed on MLS. Staging before the house is listed on MLS will ensure the best possible pictures of your house will be posted online. Since this is where most buyers begin their search, it will get your house the most positive attention and strongest offers at the very beginning.

If you post pictures before a staging, then post staged pictures, you have lost many showings. Potential buyers will not go back to look at a house they have already viewed. The age old saying, “You have only one chance to make a first impression.” is all too true in this situation.

Often sellers think to put their house on the market and see what happens. Nothing can be further from the truth, if you want to sell your house quickly and for a high price. Buyers will not pay top dollar for a house that does not immediately appeal to them.

Buyers also think let’s see what happens, but for a different reason. They are waiting to see if a price reduction will happen. Buyers know that if a property is not properly showcased, a price reduction is right around the corner. I have never done a staging project that costs anywhere near the amount of a price reduction.

Shortly after signing with the realtor, the stager will come to your house for a paid consultation. It is a paid consultation because the stager is providing you with specific recommendations that their trained eye can quickly assess.

Some stagers offer free consultations. The best stagers do not go this route. A true consultation provides important information that you can use after the consultation is over. Free consultations provide limited information and perhaps a generic checklist. A free consultation focuses on getting more staging hours from you. A paid consultation focuses on solving problems. You get what you pay for.

If a seller decides not to personally do the actions recommended, then the stager can implement the plan. A crew arrives at your house and does the actual staging. They work very fast. It’s usually completed in a day or two. Most stagers prefer that the seller not be present while the house is being prepared.

On the final day of staging, the staging company and/or the realtor arrange for the MLS photos to be professionally taken. Then, they are posted.

Many sellers are anxious to get their house listed as soon as possible. However, taking the time to properly prepare your house to be showcased takes about a week and can significantly shorten the time it will be on the market.

Remember, if you wait to stage your house until after the first price reduction or after initial traffic has died down, you will miss getting the best and strongest offers for your house.

Maria-Elena Grant loves to hear her clients say, “Wow”! She is the principle Interior Decorator and Organizing Consultant for Awesome Rooms, LLC.   The company offers decorating, organizing, and staging services. It can best be described as providing any service that transforms your space into rooms that are awesome.

Maria-Elena also teaches, lectures, and conducts seminars on a variety of decorating, organizing and staging subjects. Awesome Rooms has designed rooms for charity, helping to raise funds for their causes.

She was a Custom Decorating Consultant for Metropolitan Window Fashions in Paramus, NJ.  Maria-Elena has been a furniture counselor and consultant for retail home décor specialty establishments. She completed the Interior Design Certificate Program at Bergen Community College. She can be contacted at designer@awesomeooms.com

© Maria-Elena Grant 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may forward this article as long as the copyright notice is intact. No part may be used or reprinted without my prior written permission.

 

 

Fifty Shades of WOW

Fifty Shades of WOW!

Yes, It Will Work in Your Home!  Fifty Shades of Gray

 OMG, I have fallen in love. The furniture used on the set of the new movie, Fifty Shades of Gray, was created by the design company BRABBU. Their designs are absolutely exquisite, sleek, clean, sophisticated, modern, creative, and innovative. I can go on and on. I believe that, due to the predicted popularity of the upcoming movie, their designs will have a huge impact on interiors. Very similar to the way the TV series, Mad Man, is often cited as the influence for the surge in the popularity of mid-century modern design. While actual BRABBU pieces may be beyond the budget of most of us, a similar look can be created at a more economical price range. The movie set for the film, Fifty Shades of Gray, is stark and minimalistic. However, adding a piece or two to your current décor can be updating and still be warm and inviting. Perhaps, instead of the traditional chandelier type sconces, two Vellum Wall Lamps can be placed on either side of your dining room breakfront. Imagine two placed above your piano as a piece of artwork.

Hang two Vellum Wall Lamps to frame artwork in an entryway

 

BRABBUWingChairCroppred

Consider the Dukono Chair rather than the classic wing chair.

The above photo shows BRABBU’s Vellum Wall Lamp and Eanda Armchair as seen in the movie. I am showcasing samples of their work in this newsletter because I would like my subscribers to think a little different about their own décor. Perhaps your first reaction may be, “It is not for me.” My reaction is, “Why not”? For more inspiration, visit BRARRU’s website at:http://brabbu.com/en/index.php