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Apr. 21, 2010 - Staging Photos - Before and After

Staging a home for sale in Issaquah.

This particular home is currently in escrow to close in a few days. Below is a photo of how the space was used by the owners:

- TV on the far wall facing you as you walk into the room from the kitchen.

- All of the shelves being used with 3 on the left and 5 on the right.

- Small and lovely pictures made by the children on the wall above the fireplace.

- One of the sofas facing the TV and very close to the dining room chair.

While this arrangement served the family well for everyday usage, in order to sell the home I needed to open that space up. People needed to move around more easily during Open Houses and a more open and spacious environment needed to be created.

Before Photo

First I took the TV off of the back wall and put the sofa there placing a picture above it on the former "TV wall" and a complimentary long narrow picture with a similar "Tuscan" design between the sofa and sliding glass doors in the dining area. I took the floor lamp from the living room and moved it to the corner in the family room.

After Photo - not the final shot...just an after rearrangement photo.

I thinned out the shelves, saving the extra ones for the new owners and taping the hardware for reinstalling them on the bottom of the shelves so they would be easy to find.

We put a smaller TV in the space the builder intended it to be in the lower left built in area.

I used as many of the owner's things as possible to decrease their need for storage and to preserve some resemblance to the home they were still living in during the time the home was being shown.

 After Photo

By moving the sofa away from the table, I opened up the eating area with plenty of space to move around the table and through the space and out to the yard. There were FIFTY people inside the first Open House and this new arrangement prevented people from being cramped and trapped in the primary living areas.

I did a very simple table setting that the owners could easily move to the right lower shelf in the family room (photo above) while they were using the table to eat between showings. 

After Photo

A few minor changes in the Living Room.

Before Photo

 I removed the keyboard which went to the garage temporarily.

I replaced the wall photos with a couple Tuscan pieces.

After Photo

There was a lot of furniture in this room and the chair to the left was blocking the entrance to the kitchen somewhat. This room was redesigned more for walking freely through the house, than for the photo of the room. I moved the ottoman which was very large into the corner and other than two pictures and a pillow, pretty much left the room as it was except for furniture rearranging.

This staging project is a good example of using what the owner has and simply enhancing it a bit. It doesn't look like a Model Home...but the spaces work better for showings than they did prior to the relatively minor changes.

There were also some small changes on the second floor. The modifications took only a day or two prior to putting the property on market.

The kitchen pretty much sold itself with very few changes needed, so I am only showing the "AFTER" photos.

After Photo

Other than clearing off the counter tops, placing a few items above the cabinets to give the space more height.

I removed the office chair from the desk area and used one of the matching dining table chairs. Picked up the red family room accents in a small picture above the pantry door and a tiny "capuccino" plaque above the doorway to the living room.

In a kitchen...less is best. Refrigerator totally cleaned off and the hardwoods here were refinished as there was a stain over in the desk area.

This video gives you more of the overall feel after staging with final photos. The changes did the trick and the home sold fairly quickly. Should close on Friday. I was first contacted by the owners during the Christmas Holidays with a target date to list in early February, and for the owners to move out during Spring Break at school, which they did.

The home had four offers during the listing period of about 45 days, and there was one price adjustment from $489,000 to $475,000 after the first 10 days to two weeks.

I will be going back on Thursday to say goodbye to the house...I will miss this one. It was truly a pleasure to represent it and its owners who were referred to me by another client of mine.


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Aug. 22, 2006 - Products for Staging

I brought out a product my Mom told me about many years ago, when staging this home.  It's called "Old English furniture polish, and the cleaners used to use it on the desks back in the 70s when I worked at the bank.

Be carful with it as it could stain your clothes and your rugs.  It is a very dark brown furniture polish in a liquid, not a spray can.  I like to use felt clothes that you get from Michael's or any craft store, because the slightly rough surface helps clean and get into cracks and worn spots.  It really brings new life to old woods and fills in white water stain and scratch marks nicely. (felt is also great for removing your finger nail polish).

I also pulled all of the handles off of the cabinets (they were 80s Mediteranean style) and replaced them with an updated brushed chrome/pewter finish handle.  They run about $2.20 apiece at Lowes or Home Depot.  Wetting down the countertops for the photo is a trick many use.  I didn't here because I work so slowly sometimes, adding a little color over the refrigerator and tweaking the items on the shelf, that the counter usually dries by the time I take the photo.

You might notice that the items I used here are not the typical "Pottery Barn" items you see in my newer townhome photos of the past with regard to staging.  This home is a brick tudor in Ballard, so I purchased most of these items at the Antique store here in Kirkland to add color, but of an older time.  The antique rounded blue glass candle holders over the refrigerator came in a set of four, and add just a touch of color as you enter the kithen from the living room.  Again I used no curtain on the side window next to the front counter, as the greenery of outside adds an open feeling.

And I just noticed where that water bottle went that I couldn't find when I left the Open House on Sunday.  It's in that frosted glass door cabinet in the picture below in the previous post.

Staging is a fun and pleasant experience.  It really fills the soul with "Leave a Place Better Than You Found It".

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Aug. 22, 2006 - Staging a Kitchen

When you stage a kitchen, you want it to look clean and bright and pleasant.  Think of it like you are creating an "aura" or a happy glow.  A pleasant place to whip up some cocktails and snacks for guests, while drinking a glass of Julia Child sherry.

I use some "foodstuffs" like a bottle of olives or herb filled oils.  I found some great colored metal old ice cream shop pieces at Sur Le Table which are currently on sale at half price.  Always try to put something bright and colorful as high up as you can over the cabinets.  It raises the eye up and gives the feeling of spaciousness and height.

Sometimes I take the curtain off, as in the window you see here where the tree out front adds to the ambiance of the space.  The window you can't see on the left has an open lace curtain I used as a backdrop for some candles. 

Always walk through the house when you are finished staging.  Walk out of the room and back into the room from every doorway.  Look into the room from other places in the home, from which it is visible.  Nudge and tweak and fine tune until you see only pleasant things and no negatives from every angle.  Don't stare at the room from within it.  Walk quickly through it from every angle.  Staring at it from inside the room is *decorating*, walking through it quickly from every angle is *staging*.

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May. 24, 2006 - What is Home Staging?



Staging your home before putting it on the market is simply one of the steps in "Positioning Your Home to Sell". 


I recently acquired my Accredited Staging Professional designation, but frankly, staging homes before putting the house on the market is not a new concept.  There are key areas of the home on which people base their buying decision.  First is curb appeal.  If they don't want to come in the house, it doesn't matter what you do with the inside of it. The entire first floor is very important as this is where the buyer will view enternaining and impressing their friends.  The master suite including the bath, is next in line. 


For many years, new home builders have staged their model homes with great success.  Now the resale market is better able to compete with New Construction by using the same strategy of giving the buyer a better idea of what the house or condo can look like in its best condition.  If you have ever been to a New Construction Model Home, you know what staging is.  Your real estate professional should assist you in making your house look THAT good, or as close to that as possible, especially the first 10 days it is on market.


All homes sell.  But the staged home will sell faster and at a higher price.

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Feb. 17, 2006 - Staging A Home for Sale from Start to Finish

Last night I went to to a townhome that  I will be listing for sale in the next two to four weeks at about $350,000.  Aside from talking about price and marketing strategy, I started "staging the home" in my head and taking notes.


Some agents give the owners a list of things to do.  I can't seem to do that, because I have a "vision" or "an eye" for things that are easier for me to just do, than to explain.  Also, I try something in one place, step back and look at it, and change my mind.


I thought I would try to give a blow by blow of my thought process last night to see if it might help you stage your home.


Be a buyer.  Go out front and start there.  This townhome had a front step, a traditional door and a two car garage.  I like to put a wreath on a traditional door.  Something with Spring flowers.  Homes do sell better in the Spring...it isn't spring?  Who said.  Put a big wreath of spring flowers on the front door.  If it's a wide "stoop", like this one, put a potted tall but narrow evergreen on each side of the front door.


Like most townhomes with attached garages, there is a long staircase in front of you as soon as you open the door.  Put something dramatic at the top of the staircase.  In this case, we will be moving a beautiful tall piece there, that is now somewhere else in the house, with a big floral arrangement on top.  That piece is currently blocking the entry to the main area.  Keep your entry and exit ways wide and uncluttered.


The kitchen is easy.  Clean, clean and clean again!  Attractive things on top of the cabinets to draw the eye up.  I like big bottles of peppers, olives, cherries and other foodstuffs.  This way the color at the top is natural.


Keep colors coordinated from kitchen to living room to dining room.  I am taking everything they own away that doesn't coordinate with the sofas and bringing in place settings, over the window froo-froos and a lace topper for the dining room.


I never take "before and after" pictures.  I think it is insulting to show peoples homes "before", as if the way they lived before I arrived was "awful".  But I will put up some photos after it is staged.


It is a three year new townhome, so I know it will look really good.  We just have to take away the "lived in" look and transform it into a "model home".  Or as close to that as possilble.


Stay tuned for photos.  Will be two weeks to a month.

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ARDELL DellaLoggia of Sound Realty on Seattle Real Estate process and market including Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, Green Lake and most areas around the top of Lake Washington North of Downtown Seattle. Phone: 206-910-1000 - Mailto:ARDELLd@gmail.com

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