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Staging Tips & Tricks!

How to Prep a Yard for Spring Buying: 5 Tips

Photo Courtesy: OPEI

By Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)

As the spring selling season kicks into high gear, real estate and staging professionals can help their clients enhance their listings by creating an outdoor space that is attractive to buyers. The family yard not only can expand living space, it also reconnects families and pets with nature and provides a natural setting to reduce stress, improve memory, boost mood, among many other benefits.

Here are five points to consider:

1. Understand potential buyers’ lifestyle needs.
Determine how a potential buyer might use the yard, then plant accordingly. Does the yard need more shade for hot summer days? Is it lacking a grassy area for kids and pets to play?

2. Know the climate zone.
Help your clients select climate-appropriate plants that will thrive with minimal input. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map indicates which grasses, shrubs, and trees are most likely to succeed in a specific location.

3. Plant for pets.
More families are including pets in their lives so consider animal’s needs when planting. Hardy grass withstands pet traffic. Soft, yet sturdy, foliage is a good choice for heavily-trafficked areas. See which plants are dangerous to pets by downloading the ASPCA’s list of poisonous plants.

Photo Courtesy: OPEI

4. Attract pollinators & wildlife.
The home habitat is also vital for pollinators (bees, butterflies, and birds) and other wildlife that rely on backyard plants for food and shelter. Planting climate-appropriate, pollen-rich flowers will help nourish pollinators, while creating a vibrant outdoor scene buyers will appreciate.

5. Stage the outdoors.

Showcase how the space will be used, including setting outdoor tables, having a barbecue grill set up, and other touches that show people can “live” in the space.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kris Kiser is the president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and the OPEI Education and Research Foundation. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing power equipment, small engine, utility vehicle, golf car and personal transport vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI is the advocacy voice of the industry, and a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the development of safety and performance standards. OPEI is managing partner of GIE+EXPO, the industry’s annual international trade show, and the creative force behind the environmental education program, TurfMutt.com. OPEI-Canada represents members on a host of issues, including recycling, emissions and other regulatory developments across the Canadian provinces.

 

Staged to Sell: A Virtual Transformation

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

The real estate professional: Cris Grayson, broker associate at Baird & Warner in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

About the home: The five-bedroom home in Glen Ellyn, Ill., was built in 1975. The home has been meticulously maintained, and the homeowners had recently made some updates to the interior as well. It is listed for $569,900. Grayson wanted to make sure the online presentation of the home would appeal to the widest buyer pool.

Grayson’s tips:

  1. Don’t skimp on photography. Grayson places a high value on quality photography for her listings. She uses a professional photographer who is trained specifically on taking real estate photos through VHT Studios, a national real estate photography firm. A good real estate photographer will know how to capture a space from the best angles as well as the flow of the home, Grayson says.
  2. Show off the possibilities. Grayson also likes to use VHT’s Virtual Redecorate tool, which allows spaces to be virtually changed and staged for photos.

Here’s the kitchen “before” and then virtually staged “after.” See how it changes the look of the table area.

Photo credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

Grayson also used virtual staging to change the look of the home’s family room. In its current state, the family room appears comfortable and cozy, but some buyers may be looking for a lighter, more modern look. Through virtual staging, the wall décor and upholstered furniture was presented in a warmer look in the photographs.

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios  – Chrissy Barrett

 

  1. Re-cast the room’s purpose. In some cases, you may want to change the purpose of the room to appeal to a wider pool of buyers. In the upstairs of the home, Grayson and her VHT photographer Chrissy Barrett used virtual staging to transform a teen room into a young child’s room with a play space. They also presented it another way too as an office and reading or crafts room. Grayson labeled any pictures as “virtually staged” when they appeared online. The virtually staged photos appeared after a photo of the actual room.

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

The Result?

Days after the home was listed with the virtual staging pictures included, Grayson said they received an offer and were in negotiations with an interested buyer. Grayson has found that using virtual staging in her listings doesn’t just show potential buyers the possibilities of a space but also offers buyers a styling guide to use when they move into their new home and make it their own.

Have a home you recently staged that you’d like to show off here at Styled Staged & Sold? Submit your staging photos for consideration, along with three to five of your best spruce-up tips. Contact Melissa Dittmann Tracey at mtracey@realtors.org.

Instagram-Worthy Pics and Ga-Ga-Like Amenities to Attract Millennials

By Justin M. Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

Surveys show that millennials prioritize home buying over getting married or having kids. They’re eager to buy, as soon as they  get their finances in order.

So, how do you appeal to the millennial home buyer? Here are some tips in speaking their language:

1. Make it Instagram Worthy

When it comes to reaching a millennial buyer, here’s one simple thing to keep in mind: Is your home Instagram worthy? Seriously, an empty room with a price attached to it is not enough to grab the attention of those 25 to 35 years olds. The space needs to have an awesome interior design through home staging–along with great lighting, photos worthy of being reposted along with copy that makes people think, laugh, and repost.

 

 

If you happen to get a millennial to actually visit your listing in person, be sure to have signs prepared that say “Home tour today!” and “1107 Elm Drive is AWESOME!” This way they can hold up the signs, you can take their picture, post it on your Instagram and tag them in it. All of their friends get to see what they are doing, where they are, and perhaps become interested in both your listing and in you as an agent. It’s like building your own little army of social media influencers.

Add hysterical descriptions to your listing. Make them laugh. If you raise an emotion with your listing, your audience will be more apt to “Like” and share your listing. Create short videos, by using TikTok or Boomerang, of you or your visitors being goofy in the house. Again, make them laugh, and you’ll gain followers.

Include ironically vintage items in your house. That exercise bike that your mom used to workout with when you were a kid is now an Instagram worthy moment. The vintage typewriter with a description of the house typed on the paper already inside is a great #coolhouse moment. Anything you can do to get your house organically in front of more millennials, the better.

2. Amenities That Millennials Will Go Ga-Ga Over

Furry Friendly Funmenities: Millennials are having less kids, and they are opting to fill their empty nests instead with dogs and cats. Providing cat doors, fenced dog runs, pet surveillance systems and pet washing stations could be a huge appeal to these perky parents of pets.

 

Super Smart Shelter Stuff

Smart homes are all the rage. Millennials were raised in a world of the disposable. They have very little concept of how to fix or repair anything in their home. The more their house can take care of itself the better. Here are some of the best self-caring items we are in love with currently:

  • Keyless entry systems: Opening doors with your smartphone or a memorized code, means you never have to carry a key with you again. When you join the shared economy, you can simply text your entry code to your renter, how easy is that?

 

Shavonda Gardner

 

  • Smart light bulbs: Change the level and temperature of light with a simple voice command or from your smart phone. Take your lighting from “selfie” mode to “Netflix and chill” with a simple code word.

kasasmart

 

  • Smart home management systems: From Nest to Alexa to Siri, there is some disembodied smart voice that can take care of everything from your temperature to your locks to your lights to your security system.

 

kasasmart

  • Refrigerators with cameras: It comes down to this–every time you open the door to figure out what you want to eat, you are essentially killing the Earth. If you want to be a better person without actually doing anything, you can now turn on the camera inside your refrigerator and see what’s inside guilt free. Earth saved!
  • Electric vehicle support systems: Speaking of killing the Earth, gas powered vehicles are doing just that too. By providing your millennial home buyers with electric charging ports, wall mounted batteries, and solar cell panels, you can make owning an electric vehicle so much easier. Now, we just need to get past the $80,000 price tag of the car!
  • USB ports in the outlets: This will allow your millennial buyers to charge their devices anywhere in the entire house.

Community Conscious Conveniences

There is a serious desire for millennials to find ways to meet other people without seeming forced. Skip the media room, millennials don’t watch TV on big screens, they instead use their laptops to download the latest episode of “Game of Thrones” and “Broad City.” Instead, promote outdoor BBQ spaces, community gardens, and high Walk Scores to show your listing is community-minded.

 

When it all comes down to it, millennials are going to need the same (vegan) meat and (gluten-free) potatoes everybody else needs: Living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms. The rest? It’s all (dairy free, non-GMO) gravy in getting them attracted to your listing.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Justin M. Riordan, LEED AP is the founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency, a home staging company with locations in Portland and Seattle. He is a thought leader and trendsetter in the real estate industry as well as the energy behind Spade and Archer, creating home staging that is simultaneously aspirational and obtainable. Prior to opening Spade and Archer in 2009, Riordan practiced interior architecture and interior construction for 12 years, bringing a diverse background as well as a bachelor of architecture to the home staging industry. With more than two decades of hands-on project management and design experience, Riordan delivers an unmatched level of precision, expertise and service to his clients. In addition, Riordan is an accomplished and engaging speaker who regularly presents at real estate industry events, sharing his expertise about home staging.

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