A Very Unconventional Thanksgiving
The holidays are about family, friends and tradition. Every Thanksgiving my family gets in our old, trusty, RV and drives down to San Felipe, Mexico to camp on the beach with eight other close families under a huge “palapa”. The kids spend the week away from anything “electronic” and play board games, beach volleyball, build forts, quad riding, canoeing, rocket launching and lots of card playing. A “palapa” is a large thatched open-sided structure and this is a picture of ours with my son skateboarding underneath.
We cook all our meals together in the outdoor kitchen and take turns hosting and cooking dinners. We start each day with a walk on the deserted beach collecting sand dollars and seashells. Here is a photo of me and my 13 year old son.
While some of us walk, others choose to go riding on their quads and motorcycles as you can see in the distance of this deserted beach.
In the afternoon, we go clamming which is a favorite activity for the kids because of the reward of fresh clams in butter, garlic and wine. Look at this girls wonderful smile while digging through the sand!
On Thanksgiving, each family is responsible for preparing one thing for the meal. My specialty is desert and I do a crunchy apple crisp that the kids love to help me make!
My Thanksgiving isn’t about pretty tables, dishes or centerpieces…but that may be a part of the reason it’s so special to me!
In the evenings, we just sit and watch the beach turn many colors of pink. Below is a photo of our view and the blue tarp is one of the forts the kids build during that week.
At night, we crank up the music and dance like no one’s watching or sit around a campfire and tell stories.
Why do I share my Thanksgiving with you? Because I know yours is filled with special traditions too. Memories in the making and blessings to be counted.
Wishing you a Thanksgiving filled with more things to be thankful for than you can count!
What special traditions do you have on Thanksgiving? Is your Thanksgiving unconventional like mine?
Knowing the Business of Home Staging
I love to share stories of personal growth and business success because I know it touches on our basic, core needs: to learn, be needed and to do something important and of value.
Nancy’s story touched me because she was not only surprised by her growth, she was able to truly help a house flipper turn a property that was sitting on the market for 5 weeks into something that sold immediately after she staged it. According to the recent 2014 home staging statistics, this is no surprise! Here’s her before-and-after photos and her story:
I wanted to take some time and really digest this journey. When I finally decided to bite the bullet and take the plunge and sign up with Home Staging Resource I had no idea of the personal growth that I would experience. I was always confident in my ability to stage a property. However it was the business side of home staging that really held me back...
Thank you for all you taught me. The major surprise for me was how much my confidence grows every day!
As you know I did my first job and got hired by the same client to do another house before I finished the first job. When I did finish and the house was listed in sold in 6 days. They have already hired me to stage the next property they are flipping before it goes on the market.
This industry has changed me in many ways, but the one that is most obvious is that I finally believe that I can do anything that I set my mind to. I really love the whole process, I love looking at a space and seeing in my mind what needs to be done. I love the shopping and putting everything together, but most of all I love getting the call telling me a property has been sold. That is very satisfying to my soul.
Thank you again for all you do for the staging industry and more importantly all of us who had a dream and you helped us achieve it!
Thank you Nancy, for your story! To see more photos by Nancy, go to her website at: http://www.nancythestager.com.
Bring HSR your natural decorating talent and we’ll show you how to make a successful business out of doing what you love AND are good at!
What will your story be?
Before you jump into a career in staging, take our free video and email series by click on image below!
5 Tips for Staging a Colorado Cabin
Who doesn’t dream of owning a cabin in the woods? This little 698 square foot, 100 year old cabin in Colorado was so sad until Kimberly Stark of KS Creative Staging in the Colorado foothills got a hold of it. “It is still Incredible to me that I get paid for having this much FUN!!!” says Kimberly who has staged 6 properties since starting her business in July. Here’s what the cabin looked like before Kimberly got a hold of it:
This sweet cabin went on the market on a Thursday, got into a bidding war and sold within 72 hours for OVER asking price! I’m seeing these kinds of home staging statistics all the time in the 2014 staged housing market.
You can learn a lot from looking at Kimberly’s before-and-after photos, so here is my five tips for staging a Colorado cabin in the woods.
1. Stage for Cabin Style
Staging is an art form and the first thing every professional stager does is get a read on the “home’s integrity” or style. As you can see from the photo above, this is a classic cabin and has to be staged in that manner. Staging for the style of the home may seem like common sense but so many times I see the opposite done ie. cottage home staged as a contemporary. The home will give the stager clues as to how we should merchandise the space and a cabin needs to be staged as such.
2. Use Organic Materials Like Leather, Cowhides, Cottons, Plants and Wood
I can’t think of very many situations where I would recommend staging with a leather sofa BUT in a cabin…it absolutely works! Here is another view of the leather sofa with cowhide pillow and textured throw which really works in the space. You can also see how tiny the cabin is, so using a couple pieces and not crowding the space is essential.
3. Use Lot of Soft Furnishings to Break Up the Wood
You can see from all the photos that Kimberly placed pillows, rugs, place mats, runners and other soft furnishings wherever possible throughout the space. This helps to break up all the wood or hardness that you see from the before photo. She also cleverly uses wild flowers from the yard as a prominent display in the room and a reminder to the buyer about what cabin living is all about.
4. Multipurpose Furnishings to Maximize Space
As you can see, this cabin is TINY, so it’s critical to show buyers that while it’s small, it’s still very livable. Above is the before photo of the bedroom half of the cabin which you can see would be very hard for the buyer to imagine both a living and bedroom in this space. Using a futon couch one can see that there is room for a fold out bed and TV watching.
5. Bring the Outside In and Create Imagination Zones
In the photo above you can see that Kimberly put up all the blinds and really let the light in, as well as displayed the views and greenery from outside. With a remote cabin in the woods, do you really need privacy blinds throughout? In the photos below, you can see how she even staged the outdoor area by adding a hammock by the running creek. What buyer wouldn’t want to take an afternoon nap in that hammock and just “get away from it all”?
Creating harmonious and beautiful spaces is the fun part of being a home stager and redesigner! Seeing your work get multiple offers and the huge smiles on the agent and seller’s faces is worth the effort. Here’s what Kimberly had to say about becoming a stager and going through the HSR training:
Audra – I am thrilled you think my story is worth sharing!!! But looking back just a few short months ago, when my Broker told me “I know you can do this, but the only person in the room today that doubted your talent was You!”; I am certain there are others who also struggle with self-confidence and doubt; if I could offer even the smallest amount of encouragement to take that First step, it would bring me joy! Right before I enrolled in HSR, a close friend, with whom I had talked to about becoming a Stager, sent me an email that said “Live in Love; Delay no Joy”…..I decided I had delayed my Joy for too long and immediately enrolled…….and as over-used and perhaps corny as it may sound, it has truly been life changing! When I got my first “paycheck”, after the Client handed it to me….do you know what I said??? “Oh!!! This is too much!!!” and he smiled and said, “No! it isn’t!” Seriously, what is the matter with me?
And just to let you know, the Broker with whom I work, she is the one who encouraged me to get my Certification, said the difference in my Staging Presentation from when we first started working together (before HSR) to last week’s was an Amazing transformation; she said I was Awesome and the confidence I now had was evident!! She also told me she “loved” everything I did and the Sellers felt the money they spent was “well worth it”!!!!! Additionally, her Buyers for another house I staged, have asked her to contact me so that I may assist them in decorating their new home!!!! They are from Texas and want a “true Colorado Mountain retreat”!!!! I just cannot put into words how grateful I am to you for starting HSR and making it available to so many of us! Talk about Living The Dream!!!!
With kindest regards – Kim Stark
Thank you Kimberly for another home with a happy ending!
Largest home staging statistics survey taken of over 3500 homes sold in 2014 shows that on average, professional staging increases the value over 10% of unstaged comparables! Spending around 1% on the “professional” staging of a home resulted in HUGE returns for the 2014 home seller. In fact, we saw direct correlation between staging dollars spent and increase in sales price.
Speed of Sale vs. Getting a Better Price
It’s not just about “speed of sale” in today’s housing market but about making the most money out of your most valuable commodity. While staged homes are selling quicker according to the RESA stats, I wanted to survey whether they were selling for more than the unstaged, neighbor’s home and boy did we get great results! I’ll be sharing more about these results in the coming weeks. Here is a quote that is good to keep in mind and pass along for the next selling season if things continue on their current trajectory:
Interestingly, our International HSR grads posted fantastic gains upwards of 15% which was not surprising since they are pioneering staging in their markets. The midwest housing market had a bit less in return than the rest of the country which was also indicative of those markets being a bit behind the California, Texas, New York rates.
Overall these numbers don’t come as a big surprise since the popularity of HGTV and sites like Houzz, create an expectation for buyers when they are searching for the right home…they want the model home look and professional staging is the best way to achieve that.
Something about sending my kids back to school this week really makes me feel sentimental as another year clicks by and I now have a 7th grader and 5th grader. I’ve been feeling sad about having a child in Jr. High but was gratified when my youngest son still ran out of his class the first morning to kiss me good bye…how long will that happen I wonder? I know many of you are sending kids back to school currently or are maybe a bit wistful about the days past that you did, so I thought a post about going back to school for us adult home stagers and designers would be helpful along with lots of link resources and fantastic “after” photos of course…
There is a lot to know when you enter into the home staging industry and I find that many times people have no idea until they step into the Certification training. Not only do you need to learn how to be an entrepreneur (accounting, client maintenance, inventory control, licenses, insurance, contracts, website, social media, marketing, etc…), you have to know staging, design, shopping and the real estate market and process!
So how do home stagers stay on top of all of these industries? Here are 5 ways to go back to school and 48 link resources:
1. Join Staging Social Networking Groups – There are many Facebook, Google and LinkedIn staging groups available to join and take part in. You can view my LinkedIn Profile to see all the home staging groups I subscribe to. At HSR, we have our own private social networking group called Stagers Connect where we have over 300 ongoing discussions from model home staging to photograph to window coverings. Here’s a sneak peek into what’s inside Stagers Connect:
2. Network through Staging and Design Association Chapters Locally – The Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) which is the trade association for the staging industry and the American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners (ASHSR) has chapters all over North America for stagers to network, volunteer and learn.
3. Subscribe to Design Magazine Blogs – I learn a lot about design by looking at the work of others, as well as reading blogs from experts in the industry. Some of my favorite design magazine blog sources for design are www.houzz.com, http://freshome.com, http://hgtv.com, http://www.domainehome.com, http://www.lonny.com/, apartmenttherapy.com (for small spaces) and http://www.housebeautiful.com/.
4. Subscribe to Real Estate News and Blog Sites – Advanced knowledge on “buyer demographic” and which staging advice will provide the best return on investment within a market comes from having your finger on the pulse of the real estate markets you serve. In our training we go over advanced Internet search techniques to identify a home’s “staging potential” but it also helps to subscribe to your local Realtor Associations FB page and website. I also like to subscribe to these national Real Estate News sources: http://www.inman.com/, http://realtormag.realtor.org/, http://rismedia.com/, http://money.cnn.com/real_estate/ and http://www.zillow.com/blog/.
5. Grow Your Product Knowledge – As stagers and designers we are continually shopping and sourcing for our clients (and sometimes ourselves for vacant homes), so it’s critical to know where to go to find that perfect piece! We haunt our local home furnishing stores but personally, I love to look through catalogues both online and offline. Catalogue stores that provide trade discount and consistent pricing and products are more beneficial to me because I can source items quicker while providing the value of my trade association. My favorite catalogue/company is Ballard Designs where I can order items that ship usually within a week, have great customer service and return policy as well as inexpensive, versatile pieces that show well for staging. Click here for a linked list of 35 home furnishing catalog stores you can sign up for with Ballard Designs at the top!
Home stagers by nature are the types of people who hunger for knowledge and never stop learning about their craft and the markets they work in. It’s an industry of amazing entrepreneurs who hunger for information in order to perfect the “art” of what they do….happy staging!
Feel free to comment if I missed a great resource that you like to use…