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The Room Millennials Say Is Essential – and Why You Should Stage It

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Millennials may be willing to sacrifice extra square footage in a home and even features like an outdoor kitchen or two-story foyer. But there’s one thing they say they aren’t willing to sacrifice in a new home: A separate laundry room.

A separate laundry room clearly topped the list when the National Association of Home Builders recently surveyed millennials to discover what their “most-wanted” item on their home shopping list was. Fifty-five percent said they wouldn’t buy a new home that didn’t have a separate laundry room. They also ranked storage as important, such as linen closets, a walk-in pantry, and garage storage.

With the laundry room weighing so much on millennials’ buying decisions, you may want to take a closer look at the way you’re presenting the laundry room in your listings. Could it use a freshen up? And if it’s such a selling point, you may want to add a photo of your staged laundry room to your MLS photos.

Take a look at some of these photos from the remodeling site Houzz to get ideas on freshening up your listings’ laundry rooms.

  •  Try a soft paint color — accented with white painted cabinets and trim — to make the space look larger and even cleaner. Enhance with some under-the-cabinet lights that shine on the countertops. (The paint featured in the picture below: Benjamin Moore, Comet)
  • Fresh flowers, bright colored curtains, and even wallpaper behind the cabinets may make the space more inviting. 
  • Wherever there are cubbies, add wicker baskets. Hang a few clothes on wooden hangers to show off the storage options. And if the storage options even include a place for the family’s pet, accent that in a lower cubby too with a stylish pillow cushion. 
  • If the laundry room is small, add a wooden block over the washer and dryer to squeeze in a folding station.
  • Stack a washer and dryer to maximize space in a small area and to make room for some cubbies and shelves. Keep the shelves neat and staged, such as by folding light-colored towels. Keep the laundry accessories displayed to a minimum.

Is a Larger Closet Worth More Than a Prime Location? Apparently Yes!

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Home buyers say they’re willing to make some sacrifices on the home’s location in order to get certain must-have amenities in their next home, according to the 2014 PulteGroup Home Index Survey of more than 1,000 adults ages 25 to 65. Indeed, 44 percent of adults surveyed said they’d give up a location near public transportation and 35 percent would give up better schools and proximity to entertainment and shopping for certain upgrades in their next home.

So what features are so important that they are willing to make such big sacrifices as the location of the home? Here are the top items that home owners said they’d be willing to make sacrifices on location in order to have:

 

  • Move-in ready home: 64%
  • At least one bathtub in a home: 54%
  • More space than their current residence: 51%
  • His and her closets: 23%
  • Spa-like master bedroom: 23%
  • Large eat-in kitchen area: 23%
  • Kitchen island: 22%

“In addition to the more common home options, we’re starting to see regional trends emerging among homebuyer preferences,” says Ryan Marshall, executive vice president of homebuilding operations, marketing and sales for PulteGroup. “From outdoor kitchens in Florida, to spice kitchens in California, shoppers are increasingly discerning when it comes to home features that could be the deciding factor in their next move.”

Other popular regional trends the survey identified were accordion-style glass doors in the Southwest; multi-generation floor plans and screened-in porches in the Southeast; balconies off the kitchen and rooftop terraces in the Northeast; and “Jack n’ Jill” bedrooms and coffee bars in the Midwest.

Overall, the most important areas to home buyers when choosing a new home: kitchen (29%), bedroom (22%), and living room (18%).

 

 

Why You Should Pay Attention to the Home’s Furniture Layout

By Charlene Storozuk, guest contributor

One thing that occasionally gets overlooked when preparing a home for sale is furniture layout. I’ve been in many homes where I’ve felt that something wasn’t quite right about a certain room as soon as I entered it. Not anything obvious, but more of an indescribable sense of confusion for lack of a better word.

If you’re planning on selling your home, here are some questions you should ask yourself about your current furniture layout:

• Does the room look off balance?

• Is the flow of the room disrupted?

• Does the layout impede pathways?

• Is the focal point of the room concealed?

• Does the room feel “boxed in” rather than open?

• Is there too much furniture in the room?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might want to take a look at your furniture placement. This is where a professional home stager can help you.

At a recent staging consultation that I carried out, there were some issues with furniture placement. The space in question was an open concept living room/dining room/kitchen. If you take a look at this BEFORE photo, you’ll see that some changes were needed.

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Now let’s ask the questions about this space:

Question #1: “Does the room look off balance?” Although you can’t see it from this photo, the dining area was directly behind the sofa. This area was comprised of a small round table and four chairs along with a small dining hutch. The living area was weighted down in comparison with too many pieces of heavy furniture, which made the overall space look off balance.

Question #2: “Is the flow of the room disrupted?” The large sofa split the space between the living and dining areas in half, making the room look smaller and broken up.

Question #3: “Does the layout impede pathways?” The pathway to get from the dining area to the kitchen was tight due to the length of the sofa. As well, the pathway between the sofa and loveseat to reach the seating area was cramped.

Question #4: “Is the focal point of the room concealed?” Absolutely. In this case, the focal point of the room was the fireplace. With the current furniture configuration and the large TV, the fireplace did not take main stage.

Question #5: “Does the room feel ‘boxed in’ rather than open?” Yes, you can see this from the BEFORE photo.

Question #6: “Is there too much furniture in the room?” Yes, from a staging point of view there was too much furniture in the space. While living in a house and not considering selling, you’re obviously going to arrange your space to suit your needs as was the case here. Due to the amount of entertaining the home owners did, they required more seating. However, now that they were going to sell, they needed to make some changes.

So here’s what we did…

We removed the sofa, moved the loveseat over to where the sofa previously was, and brought in a chair that was being used upstairs in the master bedroom suite. Fortunately, this chair matched the loveseat so we were in luck. While we were at it, we removed the TV for good measure in order to also help open up the space and make the fireplace the main attraction.

Once the TV was gone, we brought in a glass console table that was previously in the basement to help ground that area, yet not detract from the fireplace.

Now take a look at the AFTER photo …

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Photo Credit: Charlene Storozuk, DEZIGNER DIGZ

In the AFTER photo you’ll see how the space is more open, there’s flow, and the fireplace now takes its place of prominence as it should. This photo was taken before any styling took place. You can see how different the space looks already and that’s without any decorative accessories, an area rug or small glass tables.

The way your furniture is arranged while you are living in your home should be configured to suit your needs and to work with your intended purpose for the room. However, remember that if you’re going to sell anytime soon, you should always ask yourself some important questions about furniture placement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charlene Storozuk is the owner of DEZIGNER DIGZ, a professional home staging, interior decorating and redesign firm based in Burlington, Ontario Canada. She is certified as an International Staging Professional, International Design & Decorating Professional, Professional Colour Consultant, and Feng Shui Design Professional. Her work is published in the book “FabJob Guide to Become a Home Stager,” 2009 edition. Storozuk is recognized as a local leader in the home staging industry. She founded the Halton & Hamilton-Wentworth Real Estate Staging Association Chapter and served on the association’s Executive Committee for two years as Regional Vice-President, Canada. Storozuk is a past recipient of RESA North American Leadership Awards for Chapter President of the Year (2007) and Regional Vice-President of the Year (2011).

Solve Kids’ Room Messes

Home owners don’t have to keep kids’ room doors closed 24/7. Provide room storage solutions for kids of every age.

Post to Facebook a free article, “Kids’ Rooms: Storage Solutions for Every Age”, from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in January’s “Unleash Your Home’s Storage Potential” article package. Share all five today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2015 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.

 

Deduct Energy-Efficiency Upgrades: Here Are Free Tax Tips to Add to Your Website

Can home owners deduct the cost of their energy-efficiency upgrades on their taxes?

Answer that and other home ownership tax questions by posting to your website a free article, “Don’t Miss These Home Tax Deductions,” from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Get Your Tax-Filing Party Started!” article package. Share all five today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2015 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.

 

 

The 5 Latest ‘Must-Have’ Amenities of Home Shoppers

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Besides an upscale kitchen and plenty of space, what are new-home buyers’ looking for when house hunting? Surveys by the National Association of Home Builders and homebuilder PulteGroup shed some light on a few of the latest in-demand amenities.

1. Walk-in closets: Large closets, particularly in the master bedroom, is among one of home shoppers’ top priorities, according to the NAHB survey of builders and remodelers. Indeed, 31 percent of 1,000 home owners recently surveyed by PulteGroup said they’d sacrifice another household feature in order to have his-and-hers closets in the master bedroom.

2. Luxurious laundry rooms: Buyers are looking for more than just a place to stick their washer and dryer. They want upgraded laundry rooms – complete with skylights, built-in ironing boards, space for folding clothes, extra storage, and upgraded appliances, according to the NAHB survey.

3. Energy efficiency: Home buyers are looking to cut utility costs, and energy efficiency appliances and products can be one way to do that. Low e-windows, Energy Star appliances, and programmable thermostats are more in demand among home shoppers.

4. Great rooms: These large open spaces that often merge dining rooms, living rooms, and kitchens continue to be in high-demand among home shoppers, according to NAHB’s poll of builders. “Great rooms are wonderful places where everyone in the family can sit around, or where the kids can do their homework while you get dinner ready,” Stephen Melman of NAHB told MainStreet. “Today’s great rooms are large, bright and just make you feel good being there.”

5. Taller first-floor ceilings: More home buyers want the first floor to stretch beyond the typical eight-foot ceiling. They’re asking builders for nine-foot ceiling heights. The taller ceilings can open up living rooms, dining rooms, and other spaces on the first floor. But home shoppers say they can do without the cathedral ceiling in the family room, which can be too costly to heat and cool. Also, they aren’t preferring the higher ceilings on the second floor, which many home buyers say they want to feel more cozy, Melman says.

 

The Most Important Rooms to Stage in Your Listings

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

If you’re prepping a home for sale, what are the main areas of a home you should target with your staging – especially if you can’t stage every square inch? The National Association of REALTORS®’ 2015 Profile of Home Staging ranks the most important rooms to be staged, based on a survey of real estate buyer agent’s. Here’s how a home’s spaces stacked up:

1. Living room

2. Kitchen

3. Master bedroom

4. Dining room

5. Bathroom

6. Children’s bedroom

7. Guest bedroom

Overall, the survey found that staging can influence buyers’ perceptions of a home and even the home’s perceived value. Indeed, 32 percent of buyer agent’s say that their clients tend to be more willing to increase their offer by 1 percent to 5 percent of the dollar value; 16 percent say they believe a staged home could potentially raise their buyers’ offer by 6 percent to 10 percent.

The following chart shows just how staging can influence buyers’ perceptions of a home.

 

impact of staging

Source: National Association of REALTORS, 2015 Profile of Home Staging, REALTOR.org

Yet, not every seller opts to stage, nor do the listing agents always recommend it. Forty-four percent of listing agents surveyed said they do not recommend staging but instead suggest that the seller declutters and fixes any property flaws; 13 percent say they only recommend staging for “difficult” homes to sell; and 4 percent say they only reserve staging for their high-price bracket listings. On the other hand, 34 percent of listing agents surveyed say they recommend staging for all the homes they list.

For those who do stage, the median dollar value spent on home staging per home was $675.

But who pays that amount varies. Sixty-two percent of REALTORS® surveyed say that the seller’s agent offers the home staging service to sellers and pays for it; 39 percent say the sellers pay for staging prior to listing the home; 10 percent say the seller pays for the staging after the home is sold; and only 3 percent say the agent’s firm pays for a home staging service.

Access more of the results from the 2015 Profile of Home Staging at Realtor.org.

Staging Tips: Styling for the Photo Shoot

By Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space

You have worked tirelessly preparing your home for sale. Don’t let all your hard work fall short with the often forgotten, most overlooked step in a great home staging – The Pre-Photo Shoot Styling. Before those photos are taken, your home needs one last interior makeover before making its grand debut on the internet. I often compare it to going to the hair salon before a big event, getting a great color, cut and style, only to go home and wash it. Don’t stop short right before you publicly introduce your home to potential buyers by not making it perfectly groomed for its Internet close-up.

Home Stagers are experts in styling homes for photo shoots. In an hour or two, we can whip and flip a home into a stunner. Your on-line photos are the #1 advertising element of your for sale home. Here are a few of our tips and techniques.

  • Remove all scatter rugs from floors. Have cleared counters and make the space extra inviting with a bowl, vase or pot of something fresh.
Photo1_Julea

Photo Credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space, julea.com

HOME STAGING TIP: Room look bigger and spacious in photos without rugs or counter clutter breaking up the room’s lines or distracting the eye.

  • Set a spectacular bed. Perfectly tucked, primped and pampered – the bed is the trophy of every bedroom.
Photo2_Julea

Photo Credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space, julea.com

 HOME STAGING TIP: Create added interest on a bed with a colorful accent pillows and textural throws.

  • Every bath needs fresh, clean, fluffy towels, a seat down, glistening surfaces, and not a personal product present.
Photo3_Julea

Photo Credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space, julea.com

 HOME STAGING TIP: Nothing says fresh and super clean than a stack of fluffy white towels.

  • Light it right. Showcase rooms and the home by making sure the space is lit well by turning on light, opening shades and pulling back drapes.
Photo4_Julea

Photo Credit: Julea Joseph, Reinventing Space, julea.com

HOME STAGING TIP: Photograph the home at the time of day that allows just the right light in.

This post originally appeared at Julea: Reinventing Space. Copyright Jan. 4, 2015.

 

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