Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Secret to Staging that Sells - from a Colorado Springs Home Stager

The Secret to Staging that Sells – from a Colorado Springs Home Stager. What’s the secret to staging a home that sells? A wise mentor who once worked for the greatest story teller of our generation, Mr. Walt Disney, revealed to me “its all about the experience”. What experience does your home create? How do you tell a compelling story when your home looks like the home that’s for sale down the street?
Take a cue from what’s on-trend in design. A tastefully collected, curated look rather than a perfectly matched suite off the showroom floor reflects a “lifestyle experience” that Buyers will daydream about. Highlight your home’s features by using pieces that tell a story and feel as though they’ve been acquired over time. So, how do you tell your home’s story without looking like Grandma’s attic?

Reclaimed pieces such as this reclaimed elm wood and forged iron bench are touches that will give Buyers pause...and then admire those beautiful hardwood floors.

19th century botanical prints from over the pond, England, showcase what might be deemed as a somewhat ordinary fireplace
into what is now the pièce de résistance of the room.
Envision dinner with your family seated at this lovely table complete with 1940’s Blair dinnerware, ambient rattan-lantern lighting and…
oh hey, look at the view off the deck, is that Pike’s Peak?
(see where my story's headed?)
The secret to staging that sells is this - tell a story of what life is like living in this home. It should be an experience that Buyers desire. Create the desire, and you’re certain to create an offer. This home created an offer in 33 days.

If you need help telling your story, please contact a certified, professional Home Stager. They’re expert home story-tellers and can make the difference between you sitting at home waiting for a Buyer, and you selling your home beginning a new story. J

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Staged and Sold in 5 Days

Staging for 2012 sells Colorado Springs 1963 home in 5 days. No home is priced so low that it cannot benefit from staging. Priced under $200,000 is the sweet spot for home sales in the Colorado Springs area. 74% of all sales in the 1st quarter were under $250,000. So, yes it will sell...eventually. Staging will sell it faster and, maybe most importantly, closer to the price you want versus $5,000-$10,000 lower. Invest as little as $550 in Staging to gain a 299% return. That’s $2,194.* Always better than a price reduction.
Here's a prime example of how a well loved, but a little neglected family home can benefit from a minimal staging investment. Its a common scene anywhere in the U.S. today where the Sandwich Generation moves their parents to assisted living and find they have neither the time, nor the finances to make the necessary improvements in order to list at top market value. How do you net the most money out of an extremely limited budget? Hire a Professional Home Stager.
Investment property. First-time homebuyer. Down-sized, retired couple. All perfect demographic markets. The problem is their eyes glaze over because potential Buyers estimate too much money to rip out and replace the carpet, strip the wallpaper, paint and remodel bathrooms. The Seller's REALTOR suggested these improvements as well as staging. Cleaning, decluttering and staging with the homeowner's items and a few accessories were all the budget allowed.
Carefully considered staging strategies by Front Porch Interiors, Colorado Springs, were implemented to convince any potential Buyer who walked through the door to say, "I want to live here."
25-year-old window valances were removed to let light in. Buyers in our sunny, but cool winter climate appreciate window treatments if they compliment a room or mountain view and are acceptable to most décor styles. With the addition of contemporary artwork and a beautiful rug, the wallpaper has now become a design element in the room. Staging can turn what could be viewed as a negative into a chic positive.
Simple, fresh, updated design choices appeal to virtually everyone's design aesthetic.
Built-ins are money in the bank. Stage them to reflect lightness and air, not clutter.
Professional Home Stagers are masterful marketers. A few well-conceived, artistic elements throughout a home will elevate the perception of value in a Buyer’s mind. Can you afford to miss out on this highly effective, super affordable, yet huge-return-on-your- investment-marketing strategy to sell your home? Contact your REALTOR to find out how you can benefit from a Professional Home Staging Consultation.

*2011 Home Gain National Survey

Kim Gaston
Home Stylist, Stager, Fix and Flip Property Management, Interior Redesign and Color Consultant
Please visit my portfolio at:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

5 Design Secrets to Stage a Small Living Room

5 design secrets to stage a small living room from a Colorado Springs home stager. If your room is somewhat size-challenged re-think your space by blending in these key design elements.

1. Consider the scale as well as the amount of furnishings you currently possess. Take a picture of your living room. Is the overstuffed, comfy, 5-piece sectional the first thing you notice? Do you think the Buyer will overlook how it resembles Clifford the big red dog? They won’t get past how much valuable square footage is eaten up by this elephant in the room. You can remove/store it and replace with furniture that is the correct scale. Or, split it up at the corner and use a section to create a loveseat. It’s okay if there’s one arm or none. Pop color with an accent pillow on the end.

2. Use tables that have very little visual weight. Think translucent and reflective. Glass, lucite, metal and mirrors are surfaces that enable the eye to see through or to see light as it bounces around the room. Mercury glass lamps are brilliant for this purpose.
- Bella Mancini Design

3. Hang window treatments high. If privacy isn’t an issue and inadequate sunlight is, remove them altogether - especially if you’re lucky enough to have millwork. Buyers love a trimmed out window. This detail equates to a more custom, thus better quality home. If, however, privacy is a concern, or you’d like to showcase a beautiful view, here are some good options.

Lightweight panels hung to the ceiling create the appearance of more height (more space). An airy, open weave, like linen, will diffuse light unlike heavy, lined draperies which obstruct sunlight. Remove valances or swags. Keep it simple.

Another great alternative are woven shades. They create texture and architectural interest to windows that may be a tad dated.

4. Replace old dingy, stained carpet. If you find hardwoods underneath, it’s a no-brainer to refinish. If you can’t make this investment, consider ripping out the shag and replacing with a carpet remnant or a sea grass rug, both economical and visually fresh.

- Vanessa de Vargas Design

5. Last, but never least, paint. Before spending $40/gallon consult a professional home stager. Warm, creamy neutrals are typically the go-to, but should they be yellow-based or gray-based? How much daylight does your room actually get. Is it north-facing? Does it feel cool in the morning? Would Buyers feel too warm in the afternoon? Is there tile on the floor or your fireplace surround? Should you paint the ceiling the same color? Many variables determine which hue is best for your room. Don’t wait until you’ve made your third trip to the paint store to ask for help.

5 design secrets from a home stager to help you create an airy, spacious living room that Buyers will love.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tips on Pinterest

Our ActiveRain, SEO rock star, Tammy Emineth, does a fab job on spelling out how to use the newest social media phenomenon. Please check out her blog post below.
Via Tammy Emineth (Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing):

Tips to Market Yourself and Your Business on PinterestFollow Me on Pinterest
Pinterest is a highly addictive and fast growing social media platform. If you don't know yet, well, as Gieco says, "what? do ya live under a rock?" Pinterest is a wildly popular virtual cork board to pin up everything and anything you may find online. From recipes and home decor ideas, to fashion statements, personal photos and... wait for it... real estate listings.
There are even web and seo ideas and of course business people to follow. It all depends on what you want to check out and who you want to follow. You can follow a particular board or someone's whole profile if you want. For example, I am NOT into shoes and while I like this one follower I didn't care about shoes so I unfollowed the shoe board, same with someone that only pinned baby things.
You can follow particular boards if you just want to know about those subjects or an entire profile of the person. You start to figure out what someone posts by the frequency of particular posts and then decide whether you want to keep them or not.
pinterest wall
So how do you market yourself or your business on Pinterest?
Set up an account first. Done that? Great. Now set up boards. Not sure what to name them? Start looking around at things that interest you and repin a few things, you will quickly find that certain things fit into certain boards more than others. You can name the board after you repin (or while you are repinning) which helps figure out the genre better.
Once you have a few boards make sure they are into categories. If you are really new, you may not have any followers and the quickest way to do this is to make sure all your boards are in a category. You simply click on your name in the top right and click boards. From here you can click on a board and at the top of the screen it will ask you to place it in a category. By doing this your pin can now be seen by everyone that goes to that category, not just floating around in your own little world.
From this page you can also rearrange your boards. Once you get a good amount of pins up, arrange your boards with the most popular or more important boards first to last. This allows Google to crawl through the site knowing what you're about more. This also helps those interested in following you a better idea of what you pin the most of.
Once you have repinned a few things you can venture out to pin original links. This is where it really gets good! From the home page you want to click the Add+ button at the top. From here you can upload a pin from your computer such as a real estate listing photo OR you can add a link from anywhere on the web.
Once you add the link (say from your website showcasing your new listing) make sure you put it into a board with a category and add text talking about the listing. In the text section you have 500 words but of course you don't want to bog someone down with marketing blah blah blah.. so make it interesting. "Beautiful Island City Ranch Home - FOR SALE" You may want to add your email or phone number or a simple web address. If you post the same on every pin people may start to unfollow you, so keep it interesting. I pin a lot of beautiful pictures of places that link back to the real estate site. Many times people repin because its somewhere they want to visit.. who knows, if they find you at every turn, they automatically think of you when the time comes to move there.
If you want to promote a listing or product with a price you simply add the price in the comment and it will splash it up across the product. It will then be listed in the "gift" section as well.
Once you get going you can create more of a name for yourself by commenting on other people's pins, requesting to be a contributor on other people's boards and encouraging others to contribute to yours such as agents in your office to your real estate board.
Utilize the Pin buttons. Under the about section you can choose several ways to add a pin-it button to your website or create a favorite button on your browser tool bar so where ever you are online, you click the pin-it button and it automatically pins whatever you want, wherever you want. (LOVE IT)
Find out who has repinned you and comment on the post, not pushy but in agreement or an answer to the way they may have repinned it.
Pin videos or virtual tours of your homes and again, make sure your comments are inviting and catchy.
Pinterest is still by invite only as far as I know so let me know if you need an invite. It's way easier than facebook to get started and lots more fun. And don't listen to Greg Nino when he says Pinterest is only for women. ;-)
Other Pinterest Tips
Tammy Emineth is an expert in custom content and original articles for blogs, website, press releases and more. Contact me anytime and feel free to subscribe to this blog to stay up to date on my latest blogs and informative information. Email me or contact me for Real Estate Website Marketing and SEO Content Writing.
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The information contained in this blog is believed to be true and correct and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy for any particular purpose. All information is copy written and the property of Tammy Emineth.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Is it “Vintage” or is it just “Old”?

Is it “Vintage” or is it just “Old”? Vintage isn’t a new term, its origins come from describing wine-making, the process of picking grapes and creating a finished product.

“a common, though incorrect, usage applies the term to any wine that is perceived to be particularly old or of a particularly high quality. The importance of vintage is both varied and disputed. ~ From Wikipedia

I found that ironic as it applies to much more than just wine.

Vintage cars for instance, might be an exception. Who doesn’t celebrate a vintage auto?

The “look” has transitioned to kitchens and bathrooms. Vintage pedestal sinks, cut-glass knobs, polished nickel drawer pulls, subway tile, penny round tile, and insert your favorite.

Probably one of the most affordable ways to inject a little vintage in your home is through lighting. However, does vintage sell or does it just look old?

The follow-up question would be, who is the target buyer? Many first-time buyers are young, 20 yr. old professionals who frequent the above retailers and might appreciate these touches.

Recently, Broker David Gibson gave me a little insight that “a buyer could be 90 years old and have owned 50 houses in their lifetime, but as long as they haven’t owned one in the last 3 years they can use most “first time buyer” down payment assistance programs.” That opens up the buyer pool!

If you’re thinking about listing your home and are in doubt about whether you should update that chandelier or that bathroom. Consult your Realtor as well as a professional home stager. They can guide you on which improvements should be made before listing and a resourceful home stager may be able to turn this negative into a positive feature. Saving you money and optimizing your home’s appeal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to Stage a Home Office.

How to Stage a Home Office. Staging a Colorado Springs home officeis pretty much the same in Minneapolis, as it is in Phoenix, or Seattle.

When you’re flipping channels with the remote and land on the Travel Channel do you pause for just a second to see where they are? How about HGTV House Hunters International? Wait…. don’t turn it, lets see if it’s a country I’m interested in, how much can you get for your money, and what’s it like to live there?

Buyers love to imagine what life is like living in homes for sell. This emotion connects them positively (or not) to your home. And, when they’re emotionally connected, an offer soon follows. Consider how staging your home office can make a positive, emotional connection to your Buyers.

1. De-clutter/sort/pack. You knew that was coming. Then, donate/discard/store/repurpose. Can’t be stressed enough (especially in the home office), box it up and get it out of sight. What emotion are you feeling here?

2. Cords need to be corralled and any equipment (old printers, monitors) not absolutely necessary for daily work stored away. Don't add to their stress level looking at your mess.

3. Clean, clean and clean, again. For sure, the noisy metal blinds... and that goes for wood, vinyl, etc. Wiping your fingers on those can be a red flag to Buyers - better move along.

4. Desks and office chairs should not be pushed up against the wall. This does not create the illusion of space. More welcoming is a “meet and greet” placement. Shown here.

5. To create that emotional connection, use travel visual cues, such as: large-scale maps, globes, or a couple of framed, blown-up photos of truly interesting travel destinations. Haven't been anywhere special? Use a magazine or travel catalog page to mat/frame. Or, take a walk at a nearby park, lake, maybe the backyard. You'd be amazed at how exotic a close-up shot of a branch can be.

If you don’t have a dedicated room for a home office, carve out a corner of the bedroom or living room to show how the space can be multi-functional as well as efficient.

Its fun to be transformed to another place, take Buyers on a ride when touring your home. It’s what makes your place memorable, and hopefully, sold.

Cheers to a successful sale!

Kim Gaston

Home Stylist, Interior Redesigner, Color Consultant

Front Porch Interiors, LLC

style to sell * style to stay

~ delighted to style Colorado Springs and the Front Range communities.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Young family in need of hip, fresh space...

Young family in need of hip, fresh space...

A friend of a friend (we all know a few of those) asked if I’d help her sister out by redesigning her front living room. Her shiny new, starter home had turned into a playground for baby’s toys, a dumping ground for sheet music, and a catchall for misfit furniture. Just close your eyes as you walk on through...

Since it is the very first room you step into from the front door, this fun, young mom really wanted to transform it into the entertaining room it was meant to be - maybe relax with a glass of wine after baby was asleep and be serenaded by her husband. Knowing there was no budget to purchase anything new, we needed to wave our wand to give this young family a hip, fresh space.

The kid's coloring desk does double duty as a coffee table, add some task lighting, a little Fiesta ware, kitchen placemats for pops of color, grandma's mirror to check your lipstick and we're ready for a soiree!
The neighbors can saunter in and take a seat at the antique pub table - uncovered in a corner of the basement. No, the bar stools aren’t antique, but a little Howard's Restor-a-finish brought them up to snuff to pass as close cousins.

Aren't those prints terrific? With their wide, dark frames they added just the weight we needed for a pub-style atmosphere. Feeling just a little neglected upstairs in the hallway, they're now getting the attention they deserve.

The fabric-covered canvases just needed to play a game of twister on the wall. Now, they define the music area. Hidden baskets keep sheet music, plus baby's toys tidy and out of sight.

Finally, a cozy furniture placement now accomodates a few friends while sharing an evening of music, drinks and adult conversation. A little repurposing, rearranging and refinishing was all they needed to create a hip, fresh starter home they can enjoy with friends and family.


Kim Gaston

Home Stylist, Interior Redesigner, Color Consultant

Front Porch Interiors, LLC

style to sell * style to stay

~ delighted to style Colorado Springs and the Front Range communities.