Kitchens Sell Homes

   

As the saying goes, kitchens sell houses, often sealing or breaking the deal depending on how it is presented. But not to worry, kitchen updates do not have to cost an arm and a leg as many sellers assume. Read below for some of the smartest updates you can make for little to no money at all.

1. Paint Dated Cabinets Instead of Replacing Them
Before you make the costly investment in new cabinetry, try a fresh coat of stain or paint for a like-new look for a fraction of the cost of replacing. White or gray painted cabinets are the current trend, giving a light, bright look to the kitchen that buyers love. De-clutter and clean out the inside of each cabinet, lay down fresh liners and watch as buyers grow to appreciate your once-dated cabinetry. Finish the look by swapping your hardware for an updated style - when making selections don't worry about being too unique or fancy, simple is the name of the game when it comes to door hardware.

2. Paint the Walls
The color on the walls of your kitchen makes a huge difference in how this important space shows. Neutrals like gray, greige, taupe or ivory make great colors on the wall for an all-appealing kitchen and one of these can typically work with just about any countertop specie.  Be sure to consider not only your countertops but also your backsplash and cabinet tone when making a final choice on wall color.  If you have trouble selecting a specific tone, try a professional deck like the one found in The Complete Guide to Home Staging (www.CompleteGuidetoStaging.com) or hire a Home Stager for a color consultation.

3. Lighting is Key
The lighting in the kitchen plays a big role in the overall feel of the kitchen. If you have a florescent strip light, updating to a chandelier or unique semi-flush mount fixture (try www.ShadesofLight.com for a great selection) can make a world of difference. Still have the builder-grade fixture hanging over the breakfast nook? Spend the $150 at Lowes or Home Depot to swap it out for a classy new look for a complete transformation of your eat-in kitchen that buyers will love.

4. Invest in New Appliances
Studies show that it does pay to update those old kitchen appliances. If your dated oven and dishwasher are taking center stage, it will behoove you greatly to swap them out for an updated version. If you can't afford the stainless variety, go with black instead.

5. Keep the Countertops Generally Clear
Store away your extra accessories and appliances before each showing including can openers, coffee makers and dish soaps. Neat, unfussy countertops lend to a clutter-free feeling of spaciousness that will give the illusion of a cleaner, larger kitchen.

6. Cluster Accessories
Rather than spreading the remaining upscale accessories across the counters, group them together in clusters so the eye can bounce easily around the space, appreciating the assets of the kitchen along the way.  

7. Keep it Sparkling
Having a perfectly clean kitchen is arguably the most important part of selling the space. Buyers want to feel sanitary and fresh throughout their potential new home, and that is especially true in the kitchen. Make sure appliances sparkle, countertops gleam and cabinetry faces are spot-free. Mop the floor, keep any kitchen rugs washed/shaken and even empty the dishwasher before each showing if possible!

Tasha Moody is a certified Home Staging Expert and President of Simply Staged. Tasha has prepared over 300 homes for sale, both vacant and occupied, and also teaches the HSE certification across the southeast.

Home Staging Tip of the Month

   

Buyers no longer want bathrooms, they want spas.  Ensure your bathrooms have a spa-like appeal with everything from paint color to decor to lighting.  Paint a soothing color on the walls like a creamy white or gray-blue, place a stack of fluffy towels by the tub and a basket of soaps and lotions by the sink.  Updates don’t have to cost top dollar - consider painting or re-finishing the vanity, hanging a new framed mirror over the sink and swapping out faucets and light fixtures for a like-new look.

Staging :: Before and After

   

I staged this home off desirable Amsterdam Avenue just 2 weeks ago, and it went under contract 5 days later.  Hopefully the before vs. after above is pretty obvious (in terms of which one is which) - this is just one of the many transformed rooms in the house where I re-thought everything from paint to lighting to furniture and decor, adding up to a desirable product that buyers loved.  Here’s what I did in this particular room:

-Re-painted with a more sophisticated “Natural Linen” (Benjamin Moore) as opposed to the former pale yellow

-Removed the oversized, busy area rug and replaced it with a much smaller natural fiber rug, allowing the hardwood floors (the selling feature) to shine and the room to appear much larger in general

-Re-thought furniture arrangement to ensure the line of sight out the french doors, leading to the back deck was not to be missed.

-Luckily this homeowner was moving out and was open to doing a full vacant staging package, giving me the ideal situation to truly transform the house by bringing in all new furniture, linens, artwork and decor.

Morningside Transformation

   

Above is one more before and after example from the charming Morningside retreat mentioned in my previous entry.  This room was transformed from dark and tiny to bright and ample through a variety of changes:

  1. Neutralizing and lightening up the walls with a soft gray

  2. Bringing in rich furniture, bedding and decor to convince buyers that you can, in fact, fit not only a queen bed, but also two nightstands and a dresser - with plenty of room to move around and enjoy the space!

  3. Softening the space with an area rug, task lighting and simple, soft bedding, beckoning buyers to cozy up and enjoy their new master bedroom!

From Trash to Treasure :: The Heart of Staging

   

When I arrive at my appointments, many of my clients have a stack of furniture and decor in a corner of their garage, waiting to go to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.  While I appreciate their efforts to de-clutter and get rid of that which appears unattractive, I’m often left to pick through this pile of cast-aways if I have any hope of creating a marketable product with what’s left on the interior.  That’s where a fresh set of eyes and an open mind can really go a long way in re-thinking what the client already owns.

For homeowners selling their house, the name of the game is spending the least amount of money with the most impact possible.  Turning “trash” into treasures is always the ideal way to go- and generally this involves a coat or two of paint.

The above furniture piece was seemingly unusable, ready to go to the dumpster according to my client.  Meanwhile I had no end table next to the queen bed in the guest bedroom, and, you guessed it, no budget to go out and pick a new one up.  SO - for the cost of two cans of ivory, semi-gloss finish Krylon spray paint, a sheet of sand paper and some elbow grease, I went to town on this tarnished 70’s legacy, transforming it into a very acceptable, strategically distressed, dare-I-say desirable end table that suited my staging needs just perfectly. 

I have literally hundreds of examples like this, but the point is my job as a stager is to save my clients money by thinking creatively about pieces they simply can’t see from any perspective except the tired, worn, unsalvageable state they appear to be in.  I simply love creatively transforming what my homeowners already have to increase the marketability of their home, meanwhile giving them “new” pieces they can take into their next home when they get there!

Realtor Event at the Mart

   

I so enjoyed hosting my preferred Realtor clients for a private Home Staging Event at The Mart this week.  I hosted an hour-long training seminar on how to prepare their listings for sale, followed by admission to 6 of my favorite home interior showrooms with exciting discounts I had pre-arranged with the showroom managers.

It was nice to give back to the people who support my business all year long, and say thank you in a fun atmosphere that got us all out and mingling in an environment to which most wouldn’t normally have access.

Thank you to all 30+ agents who made it to the event, and I’m looking forward to a continued partnership to ensure our staging services help your listings sell as quickly and for as much money as possible.

Simply Staged Featured on the Dave Ramsey Blog

   

From time to time I have a second to breathe and submit to the requests for tips and tricks from different blogs and articles.  This week my tips were featured on Dave Ramsey’s blog, covering some of the lesser known tips for homeowners and Realtors alike.  Below are the tips Dave Ramsey featured:

Paint – Everyone knows that neutral colors are more attractive to potential homebuyers, but many sellers make the mistake of painting their homes the same shade of vanilla. A variety of colors in an earth-toned palette will give your home memorable warmth and charm, according to Simply Staged President Tasha Moody. Stick with colors you see in nature such as gray, beige, sage, soft yellow and spa blue.

Furniture arrangement – Instead of arranging your furniture against the walls of the room, add visual square footage by first removing one or two pieces of furniture and pulling the rest away from the walls.

Fresh bedding – Make your bed an inviting focal point with an updated bedding set layered with neutral pillow shams, throws or an extra comforter folded at the foot of the bed. Choose simple patterns or play it safe with a crisp, white duvet and color-coordinated throw pillows.

Rooms with purpose – Stage each room for one purpose. You might use your dining room as a home office or playroom, but buyers will respond better to the space if you stage it with a dining table and chairs and chandelier. Even nooks and crannies are valuable square footage, so play them up. An odd alcove at the top of the stairs becomes a cozy reading corner with the addition of an armchair, ottoman, side table and lamp.