How to avoid Selling Mistakes (even in a Hot Real Estate Market)

Can anyone mess up their sale in a hot real estate market? The answer is yes!
Even though the real estate market is showing signs of improvement in this spring market and the inventory is low there are a few mistakes a home seller should avoid if they want to sell fast and more profitable. If you want to have several buyers bidding for your house, follow these easy steps and sell your home fast and for more money:

1. Price it Right

Yes, the market may seem hot but and pricing your home too high may get you burned. While the inventory is low and the current market resembles a “sellers market” high pricing for condition and location may make your property become “that one” that sits on the market and makes home buyers think “there must be something wrong”.

2. Prepare and Showcase your home

When selling your home – no matter if the market is hot or not, it is important to look at it objectively, through the eyes of a critical home buyer. Identify the potential negative issues buyers may have and correcting them through prep work or staging. Identify the positive features, the selling points and show them off. Create emotional connections through the home so the potential buyers can envision themselves living there.

Don’t forget the curb appeal and that includes the backyard too especially during the spring/summer months when everyone’s attention shifts to the outdoor spaces.

Home staging is designed to increase the selling price and reduce the amount of time the house stays on the market. Having your home professionally staged in will bring out multiple offers.

3. Have Great Marketing Photos

Home buyers start their search for their new home online and having lousy pictures of your home won’t help driving more foot through the door. Your house should be at it’s best on photo day and phone photos really shouldn’t be allowed!

4. Give space to your potential home buyers

Now that you have prepared and showcased your home for a faster, more profitable sale and your marketing is in place allow your potential buyers to view your house and Give them Space to envision themselves  living in your house.

Try to be flexible and allow showings when needed. It is tough and emotional draining to have the constant visitor in your home but if the first 3 steps are in place you will start getting offers really soon. Also, work with your home stager. She/he will be able to help you keep organized and on top the things so that the hassle of showing your home at about any time will be minimized.

5. Don’t Hide Issues from the buyers

Sometimes when a seller is a hurry to sell is tempted to hide issues like the leak in the roof or the crack in the foundation. The problem is that these things come up during the inspection and at a hefty price! The potential buyer may back up their offer or ask you to cover the costs to fix the problem adding an extra 10%  to cover any other issues they may think were not disclosed.

6. Don’t go at it alone

Last but not least, find a good realtor. Ask your friends or relatives for recommendations, conduct interviews, see if you are on the same page. But keep in mind they know what and for how much is selling in your area and have the connections necessary to market your home better.

If you want to sell your home for top dollar you need to use all the marketing available to you: work with a professional home stager to wisely chose the improvements that will get you the best return on investment and showcase the property in it’s best light possible, have a great online presentation, public open houses, etc. The more people see your house and go WOW the better your chances are  for selling it.

What do Millennial home buyers want? – Move in ready

According to recent studies millennials or gen Y comprises the largest share of home buyers. What do they want? Here is my tip as professional home stager in Chester County: younger home buyers want a house that is turn key.

While homeowners are hesitant to invest in a property they are getting ready to sell – and it is understandable, they should reconsider. Selling your home AS-IS might cost more than doing some easy fixes and it will only help selling the competition. Of course, a full kitchen or bathroom remodel are not necessary most of the times, or even recommended. But if you lived and raised your family in your home for 15-20 years most likely your house needs a face lift.

Home buyers are not looking into getting an allowance to fix up the cracked concrete steps or to repair the roof, redoing the kitchen or the bathrooms, or repainting. They want a home that is priced well so they can move right in without spending any extra time or money.

One of the reasons younger buyers want updated homes is that they have limited budgets and most of their budget will probably be maxed out by the down payment and furniture. They won’t have extra money to paint, update the kitchen or the bathrooms. They will want to move in as soon as possible and not when they’re done with the improvements that would make their new home livable.

Let’s say you offer a $3.000 allowance for replacing the carpet. The buyer will think: “Ok, but will this be enough to get new carpet for the whole house/ whole floor?” or “I’m new in the area – I don’t have time/want to source that right now”. Your potential home buyer might take your offer and knock down another 10% just to be on the safe side and make sure they cover all the costs. Or they reject your home, and move on to the house down the street that is in move in ready condition.

So work with your home stager, and let them help you find what repairs, improvements and finishes that would bring the best return on investment and help showcase your property. Don’t ask your potential home buyers to assume risks and additional expenses. Most of the times, they will be either unwilling or unable to purchase a home that will require repairs before they can move in.

As a professional home stager here is my advice: if you want to get your Chester County home sold faster and for more then price it right and have your team in place to make sure it is in move-in ready condition and marketed right.

Home Staging Tip: Don’t leave anything to buyers imagination

Are you selling your home in Chester County?  Here’s an important staging tip: don’t leave anything to buyers imagination. And don’t make your potential buyers guess if their furniture will fit in the space or how could they place their furniture.

For more than 90% home buyers it is very difficult to walk into a room and see the possibilities. If there is no furniture there’s no reference. This is why the feedback for vacant homes on the market is usually is that the house feels “cold and barren”. Buyers have a hard time imagining themselves living there and empty rooms usually look smaller. Having a few pieces of well-chosen furniture helps tremendously.

Let’s take this bedroom as an example. Would you take a nap here? :) What would a buyer think about this room: it fits a bed for sure, but is it a king, a queen or a twin?

bedroom  before staging

Same bedroom from the same angle and it’s clear that you can fit a queen size bed in the space, 2 nightstands and still have space to move around.

guest bedroom staging after

A vacant home leaves no impression on the home buyers, they rush through the house and sometimes focus on posible negative details.
When you have a home professionally staged, you allow potential buyers to see how large the rooms really are and most importantly you help them to fall in love with your home and give them a vision of a home that can be theirs.

Why a Home Staging Consultation is the Best Investment

Many people seem to think home staging is just moving things around, fluffing up some pillows or getting in rental furniture. While that may be partially true, every home is different and everybody has different things to work with.

By calling ReImagine Interiors for an occupied Home Staging Consultation you’ll get expert advice on what what updates would bring the best return on investment(ROI) and how we can accomplish an effective “packaging” to bring the best out of your home, at an affordable price.

home staging return on investment

During a Home Staging Consultations we’ll go through your home, inside and out, and we’ll discuss what needs to be done to get your home in market ready condition. We will suggest the optimal furniture layout, discuss what items need to be pre-packed, and make paint color recommendations, if needed.

If you’re the do-it-yourself type then a Home Staging Consultation is the perfect choice for you! The goal of the Home Staging Consultation is to give you a solid plan for what needs to happen in every room of your house. At the end of your consultation you will know exactly what needs to happen in each room in order to sell your home for maximum profit.

Once you’ve completed all or part of the suggestions discussed in your Home Staging Consultation, ReImagine Interiors will do as much or as little work as you’d like.

The bottom line is that with an investment of only a few hours of your time and a couple hundred dollars for a Home Staging Consultation you will see at least 299% ROI (according to HomeGain Home Improvement National Survey Results). And having your home professionally staged always costs less than the first price reduction.

To schedule a Home Staging Consultation call (484)318-5629 or send me an email at

Home Staging Tip: How to Make a Small Room look Bigger

Staging a house for sale doesn’t have much to do with decorating, it is more about marketing. When staging a property for sale I may make the place look boring or spare to the home owner, but the way we live in a house is completely different from the way we’re selling it. When staging a home for sale I’m selling the property and it’s architecture, not a personal style.

As an expert home stager in Chester County I have 4 main goals and everything I do in staging is done to meet one of these goals.

One of my main goals, as well as a frequently asked question by homeowners and real estate agents is how to make their home or listing look bigger in order to appeal to more buyers.

Here are 9 tips for making a small home feel bigger. You can use these tips whether you are staging a home to sell or if you are planning to stay and just need some help dealing with smaller rooms.

  1. Remove clutter. Lots of smaller items eat up visual space and make a room look smaller. Only display a few items at a time and in odd numbers like 3 or 5. Try and follow the “cantaloupe rule”: items smaller than a cantaloupe just crowd a room.
  2. Use appropriately sized furniture and pare it down to essentials. Having a large sectional in a small family room will highlight how small the room is. If possible opt for sofas and armchairs with exposed legs, it will create a sense of light and space.
  3. Cooler colors recede while darker colors make a room seem cozy. Opt for lighter paint colors like gray, pale blue and light colored flooring as well to make the room feel airy. You can also make a room appear larger by painting the walls, trim, and detailing in different shades of one color, such as off-white.
  4. Pulling the furniture away from the wall will create the illusion of spaciousness.
  5. Show more hardwood. The larger the expanse of hardwood, the larger the room will look. Area rugs are good for defining spaces but you should try and see how it looks without a rug too.
  6. Strategically placed mirrors make a room feel larger.
  7. A well lit room feels larger. Use a few smaller lamps to spread the light around and draw the eye around the room.
  8. Use fewer and less busy patterns on upholstery. Extra tip: If you have a big sifa that has a busy patter you can always “break it up” with a solid color throw and throw pillows.
  9. Minimize or even remove window treatments if they’re dated. The simpler the better. Shutters, blinds or simple drapes take up less visual space, give a cleaner look.

If you need help figuring out how to make your home or listing feel larger or more appealing contact us for a home staging consultation. It’s a great investment in preparing your home or listing for sale, or making your home more livable if you are planning to stay.

Tips on How To Choose and Hang Artwork – part 2

6. If hanging a group of pictures of different sizes your best bet is to lay them down on the floor for the optimal arrangement. There no real rules here, but the arrangement should appear cohesive and balanced. You can also trace the arrangement on a large piece of paper and then hang the paper on the wall as your guide.

7. Try making art the inspiration point for a whole room’s color palette and material choices.

Take this bathroom for instance. It has a very tranquil feel to it and it doesn’t look like the art was an after thought but everything fits in just right.

8. If hanging art on a wall with busy wallpaper, make sure the art you choose has a simple pattern and/or lots of white.

9. Try to keep pictures in a room in the same style because art display in a room bring cohesiveness and a curated feel. As an example, mixing contemporary abstract paintings traditional and botanical prints would not be a good idea…

10. Placing art vertically can add the illusion of height to a room. Same with placing art horizontally: it add width to a room.

Tips on how to choose and hang artwork – part 1

Curb Appeal Matters

You have only one chance to make a first impression. And the first impression is usually a lasting one. If your home doesn’t look good from the outside, buyers are going to believe it is not well maintained and the inside doesn’t look good either. They will not click on your online listing to see the interior photos or they’ll just drive away.

1. Clear the clutter

  • Keep grass mowed and edges trimmed regularly
  • Remove and replace any dead or dying shrubs
  • Consider removing or trimming any excess large trees or shrubs, especially those blocking the windows
  • Weed yard and garden
  • Remove plant debris
  • Remove and store garden equipment, kids’ toys, etc
  • Hide trash cans out of view
  • Keep driveway clear of extra cars during showings. (park down the street)
  • Remove excess clutter from garage and neaten it up
  • Wrap up your hose or hide it altogether in a hose storage pot or wheel
  • Remove excess furnishings from front porches, decks and patios to create spaciousness

2. Clean

  • Remove mildew and cobwebs from eaves and lighting fixtures
  • Power wash any mildew off house, walkway, front door area, patio/deck, awnings, and driveway
  • Clean windows, front door glass, outdoor lights
  • Clean garage floor
  • Clean pool, hot tub, or any other water features
  • In fall, rake the leafs

3. Repair

  • Paint exterior if needed
  • Re-paint trim
  • Paint or stain the deck
  • Repair or repaint front door
  • Polish door fixtures, numbers, mailbox, light fixtures
  • Remove or replace unattractive awnings
  • Replace burned out bulbs
  • Repair or replace broken garage or shed doors
  • Align downspouts with gutters
  • Repair cracks in foundation, sidewalks
  • Repair or replace broken deck or fence slats
  • Repair or replace any other broken or worn items

4. Small changes that that bring the “WOW” factor

  • Paint the front door a contrasting color to the house such as red, black, etc. This is one place where it’s OK to use a bright color when selling your home.
  • Paint the garage door
  • Update mailbox, house numbers and front door lighting fixtures
  • If you have a porch consider adding a bench or chairs and a small table
  • Add or replace doormat
  • Update lighting fixtures on walkways, pool area, patios, decks
  • Update the planters
  • Add color using pots with flowers
  • Plant flowers in the front and back yards – flowers do wonders!
  • Add fresh mulch to the flower and shrub beds to provide contrast and a neat look
  • Add shutters or window flower boxes to accent windows
  • Tips on How to Choose and Hang Artwork – part 1

    Having beautiful artwork pieces or family pictures is something that most of us enjoy but many times we are worried about choosing the right art and where to hang it on the wall. And then there are those who have no idea their pictures are not hung properly.

    Here are some helpful tips to eliminate the second guessing on how high a picture should be hung.

    1. As a generally rule of thumb, pictures should be hung at eye level of an average person, and while is hard to get it right in every case it is a good guideline to keep in mind.

    If there’s a grouping of pictures always look at the grouping as a whole.

    2. Relate to the size of the wall.
    Choose smaller pictures for narrow walls and larger works for big wall spaces. A rule of thumb is to have the art fill two-thirds to three-quarters of the wall. For contemporary art, size matters: bigger is better to maximize impact.

    3. The height at which art has to be hung should relate to the height of the furniture and not be hung too high. One of the most common mistakes is hanging art too high and when there is grouping to far one from another. Keeping the bottom edge of the frame 6-12 inches above the furniture piece should do it.

    4. The width of a piece of art or group of pictures should be a at 3/5 the length of the piece of furniture it is hanging over, and should not be wider than the width of the furniture it is hanging over. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule but usually it looks like the art is overpowering the furniture and the whole room.

    If hanging two or more pictures next to each other, the ideal spacing is 3 to 4 inches between them but no more than 8 inches.

    5. To make it easier to hang a grouping of pictures side by side evenly you can use a laser level. A laser level will make things easier but it is also important to take in consideration the frames and where they have their hooks and/or wires.

    Home Staging Myths

    Even though they know the importance of Home Staging, a lot of Realtors have a difficult time bringing up the subject and when they do they find that clients are going to be skeptical and resistant for many reasons. Here are some of the most common myths:

    Myth 1: I Don’t Need to Stage:  My Realtor will sell my house anyhow 

    Maybe, but the question is how long are you willing to have your house on the market and how much is that going to cost? And the cost doesn’t include only the financial toll but also the emotional part. And always, the longer a house sits on the market the lower sale price will be.

    Myth 2: Staging is Decorating/Staging is a Critique About How You Decorate
    Staging is NOT decorating. Staging is a marketing tool.

    While decorating and home staging have elements in common, the way you decorate is to express yourself, and to fit the personalities of your family. When staging a home you will make it look more appealing but  one should not be able to to profile who lives there. The way you live in your home is different from the way you sell your home.

    Myth 3: Staging is Only for High End Houses

    You would think so…but regardless of the listing price of the home, home staging is always beneficial to the seller. The only difference between an “average” priced home and a high end home is the amount of staging that has to be done. In the average home, it just might be as simple as de-cluttering and re-working the existing furniture.

    According to a HomeGain study, the number one thing that added value to a house was de-cluttering which added an average return on investment of a ridiculous 403%!  
    The key is how to de-clutter, how to de-personalize and how to make emotional connections, and using a professional Home Stager can give you the direction that you need.

    Virtual Staging

    I feel that the “virtual staging” subject comes back every year and tends to be a “hot subject” in the industry. And since real estate season is about to peak, even more so. I see ads all over the place attempting to sell you virtual staging software.

    In my opinion there are two types of virtual staging:
    The first type of virtual staging is basically a “virtual” consultation because the home stager I won’t actually go into a client’s home but I give staging advice by email based on the images of the property they provided. It is an ideal situation but for some wors and it gives homeowners professional home staging advice.

    The other type of virtual staging is the one where no home stager goes to the home and no real furniture goes in the house. Sometimes the floors are refinished, carpet ripped off and hardwood installed, and the walls are repainted too!
    How does it work? Photos of the property are sent to “virtual” stagers who choose furnishings and accessories that are rendered into the photos so that buyers see the picture of an attractive room when browsing online, on a brochure, etc

    I can see how this type of software could be useful to show what you’re going to do in a home when working on an interior re-design project, but for home staging I think it kind of beats its purpose.
    Potential buyers are going to be quite disappointed and confused when they arrive at the house and see that the house looks nothing like the photos they viewed online.

    Using virtual staging to give an idea to potential buyers how they could arrange the place might work if you place photos of the “staged” place in the house and explain what they represent and their purpose. Everything else is misrepresentation if you ask me, and it may backfire.

    My job as your professional home stager is to make the buyer fall in love with your home, and while having great pictures online it’s very important, it is not everything – it is just the first step. Once the buyer walks in and doesn’t recognize the place the disappointment will settle in, and an unhappy buyer is not a buyer that will likely make an offer. Home staging is a 6th sense: in order for buyer to have an emotional connection and an actual feel of the space the ol’ traditional staging is what a home really needs.