Category Archives: Staging

DECOR DESIGNS CELEBRATES 15 YEARS

In February, Decor Designs, Inc. will celebrate its 15th Anniversary!   Since 2004, we’ve been invited into hundreds of homes & lives.  We’re so very thankful for the opportunities we’ve had to help with your decorating dilemmas.  We certainly hope we’ve had as much of an impact on you as you’ve had on us.

To celebrate our 15th Birthday, we’ve planned a special Rollback Rate promotion.  New clients (no matter the service) who call and reference the special Promo Code will have their billable hours adjusted to our 2004 Service Rates for the entire month of February.

For Example: 

Consultations (currently $95/hr. with a $195 minimum) will be billed at $25/hr. during the promotional period.  Interior Redesign, Decorating & Staging rates (currently $95/hr. with a 2 hour minimum of $295) will be adjusted to $40/hr. with no minimum.  (All other rates will see similar adjustments for services provided during the month of February, 2019!)

It’s been an AMAZING 15 years!  We’ve helped create a lot of pretty in our little corner of the world.  But, there are still plenty of rooms out there desperately waiting for a fresh, beautiful new look.  Together, we can make that happen!

We are so happy to celebrate this milestone and share these sharply discounted 2004 rates as a thank you for your continued support. This is a rare opportunity to take advantage of 15 years of experience at low, low Start-Up prices.  Don’t let it pass you by!  And don’t forget to share this post with family & friends in the Chicago area.  Call 815-245-2433 TODAY to start your your decorating journey with us.

Living Room After

Additional Promotional Information:

  • Clients must reference Promo Code ROLLBACK15 when booking their initial appointment to take advantage of these Rollback Rates.
  • Rollback Rates do not apply to current contracts or previous invoices. 
  • Service dates & appointments are provided on a first-come, first-served basis during normal business hours and may be limited due to availability.
  • Rollback Rates only apply to those services provided during the month of February 2019!  Effective March 1, 2019, regular rates will apply.
  • We proudly serve (and this promotion applies only to) clients within a 25 mile radius of our Crystal Lake office.
  • A 3% fee will be added to invoices for clients paying by credit card.
  • Rates for products/ services not provided in 2004 will be adjusted to reflect the rate at the time initially offered.
  • A full list of Rollback Rates is available upon request.
  • Other restrictions and exclusions may apply. Please call 815-245-2433 for details.

 

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STAGING EARLY

So many clients wait to tackle home improvement and decorating projects until it’s time to sell their home.  And, more often than not, we hear regrets about wishing they’d done it sooner so they could enjoy the changes.  It seems a shame to go to all the hassle and expense just to turn it to over to someone else.  Of course, not all sales are planned far in advance.  And, believe it or not, some owners move just to avoid the hassle of updating their old home.  But it still seems like there’s a better way.  If there’s even a remote possibility of moving, why not try staging early so you too can enjoy?

We’ve been working recently with a couple in Algonquin, IL who are doing just that!  Already enjoying retirement, they know that their 4 bedroom, split-level home won’t be as practical in a few years and they’ll be moving to a home that better suits their needs.

Before

After

The couple started consulting and working with us over two years ago as they prepared both mentally and financially for the updates they needed and wanted to make.  We started with a few smaller updates in the guest bedrooms and gave the kitchen cabinets a fresh coat of paint and new hardware.  A new deck and other exterior work was also completed.  Finally, this year, they were ready to turn their attention to the main living areas.  We helped unify all three floors with a new color palette for the first floor living room, dining room and kitchen as well as the lower level family room and finished basement.   The homeowners installed new carpet and flooring as needed.  And new light fixtures replaced dated ones in the dining room, foyer and upstairs hallway.

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After

Next, we turned to updating furniture and decor.  We began with the heart-heavy task of pairing down a lifetime of accumulated antiques, knick-knacks and other things that no longer fit into the new and updated look.  New living room furniture including a sofa, oversized chair and accent chair were ordered.  A large cocktail table and end tables were added to finish the seating area.  New parsons chairs replaced the original cane back chairs in the dining room.  A new rug, artwork, accessories, and window panels were also purchased.

Before

After

While most people would do all of this work only to turn around and move, this couple did it a better way.  Not only is their home updated, but it’s also pre-staged to sell.

Is it time for you to update some things in your home?  Don’t wait ’til the last minute so you can do it for someone else.  Give us a call and we can help you with staging early.  It’s a win-win!

 

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CURB APPEAL SELLS

If you’ve ever looked at real estate, you’ve probably noticed most listing photos are interior shots of the home.  Since sale price depends largely on square footage and since most realtors pay for listing photos, you can bet the majority of pics will showcase living space rather than lackluster exterior features.

First impressions are lasting ones.  Good listing photos are key to getting buyers to the door.  But before they can even step inside, a clean, well-manicured yard can really wow potential buyers.  Just like staging the interior, staging your yard will take some time, effort and a little money.  But, investing in your home’s curb appeal will definitely impress potential buyers.  And the payoff can be a fast offer.

Before your realtor takes the first listing photo, here are some key areas to address that will maximize the curb appeal of your home:

Clean & Spruce up the Lawn

Imagine pulling up to a property that caught your eye as you shopped online.  Your first impression, however, is an overgrown lawn littered with weeds.  You’re already disappointed and you haven’t even walked in the door.  As a seller with a lawn, it’s one of the first things potential buyers will critique.  It’s crucial to cut the grass and keep it neat and clean for every showing.

Weed and water your flower beds regularly.  Trim the bushes & hedges especially those along walkways and remove dead leaves as needed.  Make sure you clean the front stoop.  Specifically, remove spider webs and dead insects.  Clean exterior light fixtures.  Replace old planters and remove any dead flowers.  Adding a new ‘Welcome’ mat never hurts.  And don’t forget to check the mailbox for signs of wear and tear.

Porches, driveways and sidewalks should be in good repair.  And if they are covered with dirt or stains, consider power washing.  Renting a power washer from a local home improvement store and investing a couple hours of your time can significantly improve the curb appeal of your home.

Image courtesy of Veranda

De-Clutter

On the recommendation of your realtor or stager, you’ve probably already de-cluttered your interior spaces.  Why stop there?   Don’t ignore clutter in your yard .  Ensure the outside of your home looks as tidy as possible.  Remove old newspapers as well as any litter you see around the yard.

Make sure your kids’ toys are stored neatly, preferably out of sight.  And speaking of toys, make sure your adult ‘toys’ (aka cars) are parked in the garage or on the street when showing.  Why block the appealing view you’re working so hard to create?

Add Punches of Color

Depending on the season, a trip to your local garden center is in order.  Pick up  inexpensive, colorful annuals for your garden, planters, window boxes or along the edge of the driveway. If you don’t have much space, shepherds hooks or hooks with hanging baskets along the eaves can work wonders.  In colder weather, planters should be styled with seasonally appropriate (preferably natural) fillers or removed from sight.

Image courtesy of jasminetokyo

Much More Mulch

It should go without saying, but fresh mulch is a must for planting beds.  Like a fresh coat of paint covers smudges and blemishes on your walls, fresh mulch covers unsightly dirt and weeds for an immediate exterior facelift.  Opt for thin layer of dark mulch for better coverage.

Set the Stage for the Entire Family

A yard cluttered with toys and other kid’s clutter can be an instant turn off.   But, you can still stage your lawn to look attractive to buyers whether they have children or not.

Getting children excited about a living in a home is actually more difficult than adults.  Since the kids can be very influential in the decision, make sure the yard appeals to them as well.

If you have a swing set or climber in your yard, make sure it is clean and in good repair.  Add “temporary” improvements like volleyball net or cornhole boards to excite kids.  Organize bikes and other toys as well.

Entertain Exterior Entertainment

Kids aren’t the only ones who like to “play” in the yard.  Creating an adult space for outdoor entertaining or dining is a great way to show the grownups how much fun entertaining in your home’s backyard can be.

Image courtesy of Houzz

Styling your patio or deck as an inviting outdoor seating area is a great start.  Create inviting outdoor “rooms” to complement the staged spaces inside.   Adding colorful rugs, throw pillows, outdoor lanterns and accessories will showcase the additional square footage in your homes backyard.

Paying attention to curb appeal is your best chance to make a good, first impression with prospective buyers.  With a little money, time and sweat equity, your outdoor space might just be the thing that puts your indoor space in front of all others!

Go forth and create curb appeal that blows the competition away.  And happy exterior staging from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

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STAGING CLOSES SALES OPENS DOORS

People uproot their lives, sell homes and move for so many different reasons.  The seasons of life pass and the pages turn.  New beginnings arrive only after one door closes and another opens.  So, when we’re helping our clients stage a property, we’re mindful that while our efforts will help close the sale, it’s also a way of helping them open a new door on the next chapter in their lives.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve had the privilege of guiding a wonderful family in Lakewood as they’ve readied their house for sale.  After an initial consultation and leaving a fairly lengthy to-do list, we returned yesterday to put the finishing touches on all the family’s hard work.

Sorting through and purging for a cross-country move is no easy feat.  Added to that:  painters,  electricians, repairmen, and landscapers and you have a plate full of busy.  None the less, this family stuck it out and were ready when our team arrived.

In the living room of this mid-century colonial, with freshened paint, we decluttered and arranged the furniture to open up the foot print of the room showcasing just how large this space is for living and entertaining.

Living Room

BEFORE

Living Room

AFTER

In the dining room, we eliminated unnecessary furniture.  Taste specific wallpaper was replaced with trendy grays.  Dated brass fixtures were updated with warm gold to appeal to a younger subset of buyers,

Dining Room

BEFORE

Dining Room

AFTER

In the Master Bedroom, as with all bedrooms, simplicity was key.  Pops of color add memorable character in listing photos for this zen and restful retreat.  (The cat seems to approve!)

Master Bedroom

BEFORE

Master Bedroom

AFTER

Finally, in the finished basement, leftover furniture helps buyers visualize the possibilities for this great space.

Stone Fireplace

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AFTER

Many sellers fall prey to the idea that buyers can look past their lives in the home to envision their own.  Sadly, nothing could be farther from the truth.  Considering judicious updates, completing necessary repairs and staging to evoke an emotional attachment from potential buyers are all key to a quick and lucrative sale.

Hard work by this family along with our finishing touches means this Lakewood property will be home to a new family very soon!

Have plans to sell your current home?  We can help stage your home so you can close the sale and open the door to your future.  815-245-2433.

 

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WHAT SHOE IS ON YOUR BEST FOOT?

Real estate staging is a tool savvy home sellers and good realtors use to market a property.  As with any marketing strategy, staging helps ensure a property is ‘merchandised’ to attract the largest number of prospective buyers.  In a nutshell, it’s all about putting your home’s proverbial ‘best foot’ forward.

Contrary to popular belief staging is much more than depersonalizing and decluttering.  While no one relishes the though of spending money and working countless hours on a property just to turn around and sell; staging can make all the difference between getting people in the door or being ignored.

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AFTER

Of course, every home seller must decide how much they are willing to do and to invest in the sale of their home.  No one else can make that decision.  But, depending on how dated the property and its decor are, a reasonable staging budget is somewhere between 1/2% to 1% of the anticipated list price.  That usually covers most minor updates, staging props and of course the services of a professional stager.  Changes to infrastructure like flooring, kitchens and baths will obviously cost more.

BEFORE

AFTER

Stagers aren’t magicians!  While we have been known to work magic from time to time, our ability to make dramatic transformations in a property is clearly linked to the staging budget set by the seller.  That can apply to both the amount of time working on the project as well as the amount of things we change or add.  Think of it this way.  If the act of staging helps put the best foot forward, the budget for staging buys the shoes!

BEFORE

AFTER

While it isn’t necessary to totally renovate a house prior to putting it on the market, the more that’s done to shorten a future buyer’s ‘to-do’ list, the better the chances of selling quickly and for more $$$.

Working with a limited budget, it’s important to focus on the main living areas first which might include a finished basement.

With time or $$$ remaining, focus on the master bedroom, bath and all other bathrooms.

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AFTER

Finally, if anything is left, turn your attention to guest or kid’s bedrooms since most people can envision the potential of those spaces.

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AFTER

We just finished staging a nice property in Cary, IL this week.  After some time sourcing a limited amount of staging art, accessories and other props, we arrived at the house ready to pull together work the homeowner had already started.

BEFORE

AFTER

While the transformation isn’t always spectacular, the end results are no less impressive.   Using only available furniture, we rearranged each room to maximize it’s visual appeal.  Mixing colorful staging art and accessories with the owner’s decor helped give even more punch to the spaces.  And with over 85% of buyers shopping online first, the listing photos have to be memorable to get them in the door.

Again, staging is all about putting your property’s best foot forward.  If you think about it, nobody remembers Dorothy’s house when it fell into Oz.  (It’s a good thing she wasn’t  trying to sell!)  But, the munchkins sure as heck remember those ruby-red shoes.  The moral of the staging story…. when you’re putting your best foot forward, make sure you’re wearing kick-ass shoes!

Happy Staging from Decor Designs!

 

 

 

 

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NOT SO VACANT STAGING

The housing market is more competitive than ever.  Gone are the days of simply putting a sign in the yard and listing on the MLS .  What might have sold a home not so long ago isn’t the case anymore.  Armed with the internet, home buyers are better equipped than ever to make a more educated choice with a few simple clicks of a mouse.  A vacant property is up against stiff competition in any market.

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hearth-room-2

AFTER

Staging a vacant property gives potential buyers something to look at beyond the inherent flaws in almost every property.  Awkward room layouts and unusual spaces are even more obvious when a property is vacant.  Outdated hardware, fixtures & finishes are glaringly obvious when there isn’t anything else to catch the eye.

living-room-1

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AFTER

AFTER

We recently had the chance to help with a vacant staging in Crystal Lake, IL.  The out-of-state owner had been working with a neighbor and former stager to complete the home’s updates.  She had already helped with new fixtures, appliances and tile backsplash as well as refinished floors and needed repairs.  Once the updates were finished, she encouraged the owner to hire our team to bring in the wow factor, adding color and visual interest to the updated and neutralized spaces.

kitchen-1

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AFTER

AFTER

As with any staging, I tell my clients “getting them in the door” is key.  Not only do you have to actually get them to the property, you have to get them to love the house from the second they step inside.  Listing photos have to pop in order to entice an actual tour of the property.  And studies have proven most buyers make their initial impression within a few seconds of walking in the door.

master-bed-1

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AFTER

AFTER

Focusing on the first floor, we staged the foyer, living room, dining room, kitchen, family and hearth rooms.  On the second floor, we staged the master bedroom and bath.  A successful vacant staging finds the balance between adding enough furniture and accessories without overcrowding.  A good staging plan warms the home and explain the spaces accenting the home’s best selling features while distracting from those that might not.

family-room-1

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AFTER

AFTER

This vacant property now invites buyers to take a closer look.  Bright colors add warmth and contrast with the desired neutral backdrop.  Furniture makes the spaces look bigger rather than smaller and it helps buyers envision their own furniture in the rooms.  Simple props add the look and feel of ‘lived-in’ home.

dining-room-1

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AFTER

AFTER

This beautiful property now stands out from its competition.  It’s sure to get people to notice in the listing photos and to get them in the door.  I’m confident it will sell quickly and for top dollar.  And, isn’t that the point?   Happy Staging from Decor Designs!

 

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STAGING PUTS BEST FOOT FORWARD

You know what they say about first impressions.   It’s always a good idea to “put your best foot forward”.  Chatting with another decorator this week, that idea came up several times.  And it got me thinking.  I always tell clients, especially clients looking to sell their home, that staging helps them “put their best foot forward”!  She and I agreed staging doesn’t always guarantee a sale.  However, it IS all about making a good first impression with potential buyers.

House sold sign

The reality is that very few people really want to spend money on a house that they’re selling!  Who could blame them?  It’s hard to spend money on improvements to a property that you’ve probably already emotionally detached from.  While statistics show that staged homes sell faster and for more money, staging is a difficult sell to homeowners who just want to move on.  So when you get that staging estimate, here a couple things to keep in mind:

One…. What are your monthly carrying costs for the house?  At the very least, it’s likely you have a mortgage and/or equity loan, property taxes, insurance, utilities, lawn care and other routine maintenance.  Add those things together.  Even if your staged home sells 1 month faster than it would otherwise, chances are you are close to breaking even with the cost of staging.  The longer your un-staged home languishes on the market, the more carrying costs and price reductions will cost you.

Two…  the success of your staging will largely depend on the budget you give your professional stager.  Think of it like this.  Staging will indeed help you put your best foot forward.  But, what kind of shoes will you have on?  Your staging budget is akin to your shoes.  Unless your stager has an adequate budget to “tweak”, adding things that might be needed to update and enhance your decor, your results could be limited.  If you really want to put your best foot forward, you probably don’t want to wear crappy shoes!  No, you DON’T need Ferragamos or Jimmy Choos.  But are those bargain bin beauties really the first impression you want to make?  I think you get the idea!

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

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As with all things, finding a happy medium for your market and price point is key.  An experienced stager will work with you and your realtor to come up with a plan and budget that won’t break the bank while maximizing your impact!

With over 80% of prospective buyers previewing properties online before they even look in person, first impressions are crucially important.  Staging your home will ensure your home is putting its ‘best foot forward’.  Just don’t forget the shoes!

Happy Staging from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

 

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STAGING A PURPLE PASSION

DINING ROOM LIVING ROOM AFTER

DINING ROOM LIVING ROOM AFTER

You have to share the rest of the world with everyone else.  But, your home is yours alone.  So you get to decorate it the way you want, right?  Absolutely!  Until you are ready to sell that is!

If you’re planning to put your property on the market you have to take your personal decorating preferences out of the equation.  Even though your home may be beautifully decorated, you have to remember your taste might not be the majority’s taste.  Nothing personal…. it’s business.  While it’s hard to separate years of memories and personal style from it, real estate transactions really are purely business or should be.  If you’re having a hard time seeing past your decorating preferences and all those fond memories, hiring a professional stager is a great way to help you gain needed perspective on this important financial transaction.  We’ve just had the pleasure of working with mom and daughter in South Elgin to do just that.

LIVING ROOM BEFORE

LIVING ROOM BEFORE

LIVING ROOM AFTER

LIVING ROOM AFTER

Starting with a staging consultation a few weeks ago, we determined just what needed to change in order for their updated, single family home to appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers.  Beautifully decorated, clean and largely de-personalized, this home had one glaring problem.  We’ll just call it the purple elephant in the room… and the purple paint, purple rugs, purple sofa, purple towels, purple shower curtain, purple accessories.  Well, you get the idea!  While a lifelong love of purple had made this house a home for our client, we decided it might not serve her as well while trying to sell her home.

FAMILY ROOM BEFORE

FAMILY ROOM BEFORE

FAMILY ROOM AFTER

FAMILY ROOM AFTER

After agreeing on a staging budget, we went to work crafting a plan to subtract as much purple as possible while making the rest appeal to buyers.  We picked neutral paint colors to address the purple walls in the master bedroom as well as other areas that needed a fresh coat.  We also had the forest green fireplace tile surround primed and neutralized for a more updated look.

DINING ROOM BEFORE

DINING ROOM BEFORE

DINING ROOM AFTER

DINING ROOM AFTER

While that work was being completed, we went shopping for things we could layer in to create even more visual appeal and to play down the purple elements (like the sofa) that couldn’t be removed.  New ‘staging’ art, a couple of slip covers, new window panels, throw pillows, shower curtain and accessories were just enough.  On the day of staging, we rearranged furniture and removed area rugs to show off the beautiful hardwood floors and maximize the visual square footage.  We repositioned many of the homeowner’s things while layering in jewel tone teal and cream accents to compliment and “distract” from the purple.  Purple is an awesome accent color on its own and one of my favorites as well.  In this case, however, we needed to introduce an even stronger accent like the rich teal so the purple would act more like a unifying neutral.

OFFICE BEFORE

OFFICE BEFORE

OFFICE AFTER

OFFICE AFTER

MASTER BEDROOM BEFORE

MASTER BEDROOM BEFORE

MASTER BEDROOM AFTER

MASTER BEDROOM AFTER

GIRL'S ROOM BEFORE

GIRL’S ROOM BEFORE

GIRLS ROOM AFTER

GIRLS ROOM AFTER

BOY'S ROOM BEFORE

BOY’S ROOM BEFORE

BOY'S ROOM AFTER

BOY’S ROOM AFTER

HALL NICHE BEFORE

HALL NICHE BEFORE

HALL NICHE AFTER

HALL NICHE AFTER

The end result speaks for itself.  With selective editing, improved flow and furniture placement and the additional pops of color and texture, the “neutralized” purple now shines in this home.   In a great location with great curb appeal and a beautiful back yard and pool, this purple elephant won’t be on the market long!

 

 

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STAGING WITH PURPOSE

Have you ever wondered why builders go to such great lengths to decorate model homes? After all, they aren’t in the business of selling furniture, artwork or accessories.  Of course, the answer is simple!  They know all to well that you’re not just selling the box of a house, the roof, the rooms or the fixtures.  They’re selling the DREAM!

Shoppers buy logically based on necessity.  But, generally, they justify that purchase emotionally based on how the item (in this case a house) makes them feel.

Staging goes way beyond depersonalizing and decluttering a space.  You have to sell the dream that living in your home (can be).  That holds true even if you are finished with that dream and ready to move on.

Every room in your home needs to have a clear purpose in the eyes of your potential buyers.  In other words, if it’s a bedroom… it should probably be a bedroom.  That’s why people are looking at your house.  If they’re looking for a larger home, chances are they need bedrooms, not turtle habitats or gyms or offices.  The same holds true for every space in your home.  Every one of them needs to showcase how functional it can be helping the new owner to live the dream.

I recently helped stage a property in Kildeer that had a unique selling conundrum.  What do you do with a non-functional sauna?   While a buyer might see this as a neat feature, it’s definitely a costly fix to get in working order.  So what to do?   Why not turn it into a wine cellar?  Just off the basement man-cave complete with bar, this potential problem suddenly has purpose and a new life as a wine storage area.  With a few bottles of wine and props, the hidden potential in this space is uncovered.  And the space goes from a liability to an asset for buyers.

So don’t sell yourself short when selling your home!  Give each space a clearly defined function that alines with what prospective buyers need to live the dream.  Try to anticipate what buyers are looking for and give it to them.   If you have a space that has become a catch-all or a liability, (like this sauna) give it a new purpose so buyers look past the “to-do” that could kill the deal before it even starts.

If you need help uncovering the hidden potential in your listing, give us a call!   Happy Staging from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

 

 

 

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STAGING SELLS

Are you a shopper?  I know I am!  Granted, a big part of what I do is shopping.  My clients send me out into the sea of retailers to find the perfect things for the perfect spots in their homes because they simply don’t have the time, patience or know-how to do it.

If you’re a professional shopper, or maybe even if you aren’t, you begin to learn the tricks of the trade.  You learn which stores have sales and when.  You learn when stores get new merchandise.  You learn how to stretch shopping dollars just that much further.  And you recognize good merchandising when you see it.

In the simplest terms, (real estate) staging is all about merchandising.  It’s showcasing the selling strengths of a property while disguising its weaknesses.  People often buy things they don’t even really need simply because of how they were merchandised or marketed to them.  Why wouldn’t the same concept apply to home buyers?

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We recently staged a wonderful, ranch home in a great location in Rockford, IL.  The seller understood the importance of first impressions and putting her best foot forward.  Since there are still pockets of real estate that aren’t performing as well one might hope and she felt like hers might be one of them, she decided that staging was the key to make her property stand out as a YES in a sea of Maybes!

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BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

After our initial consult, my client had plenty of homework.  She had to go ahead and begin the moving process by sorting through things to keep and by getting rid of things she no longer needed.  While she was busy with that, we went to work finding the few key things she needed to pull her staged look together and wow prospective buyers.

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

As you can see, the Before and After pictures of this job prove that the key to getting offers and even getting buyers in the door is marketing!  The most impactful new additions were inexpensive but colorful window treatments in the main living areas.  The majority of the rest we were able to do using what she already had once the unnecessary furniture and clutter were edited out.

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BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

 

 

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