See how real estate is sold quick – during the slowest time of the year! After Thanksgiving the Orlando real estate market comes to a slowdown to be really quiet around Christmas. This property received plenty of showings and an accepted offer during the slowest time of the year. See what brought the buyers in and got the property pending in just a few weeks market time. Hint: It was not the price. It was listed at the very top end of all comparable sales in the neighborhood. The secret to the swift success is the way the house looked. The three bedroom 2 bath floor plan is one of the very common ones in the neighborhood but the house had undergone a cosmetic renovation and a full staging job. The house looked gorgeous with beautiful furniture. The offer came in at the sellers ambitious target price and the listing went in pending status after 28 days. When you ask the sellers about the affordability of the staging the answer is: “How can you afford not to stage it and leave money on the table.” Higher sales prices in combination with shorter market time make a compelling argument. Especially in this case where the property is an investment flip, and a quick turnaround is needed for the seller, to be able to get into the next project. If you are interested to learn more about maximizing renovation flip returns contact us or subscribe to our email notification of upcoming articles about interior design and staging. www.idesigntosell.com
The Top 5 renovation mistakes that will make you lose money in resale value. The old saying is that you have to spend money to make money. But what if you spend money on your house that will end up hurting your sale and will make you lose money. Here are some of the most common errors homeowners make when renovating their homes.
1 Investing in outdated features.
Carpets in the living room was all the rage in the 60’s and 70’s. In the early 80’s it was very fashionable to put wall to wall carpets in bathrooms. Those vast fields of carpet in residential properties pretty much disappeared from buyers wish lists these days. Buyers look for hard surface floors, like hardwood floors or good quality laminate which are very high in demand. Some buyers like tile floors if they look current and are in decent shape. Your expensive cat 5 wiring of the house is less of an attraction to the average buyers who might use new wireless devices. Even stereo systems are less and less in need of hard wiring connection for their speakers. The big build-in entertainment centers that housed the boxy DLP TV when you bought the house 20 years ago, is pretty much obsolete. A flat screen fits neatly on any wall with cable connetion. Don’t spend money to trim out this drywalled shelving unit but rather simplify it to accomodate modern electronics.
2 Kitchens that don’t cut it.
If you replace the counter tops don’t install laminate or plastic counters. Laminate was the affordable material of choice in decades past. However, with many granite qualities coming down in price and more competition in the industry, an entry level granite is often not much more expensive than the other cheaper solutions like laminate or tile counter tops. Buyers like real granite or quarz counters. Don’t go overboard for the rare exotic granite that is hand cut high in the Himalayan mountain and brought back from the quarry on a mules back. No one will pay a dime more on your real expensive quality. Go with common entry level grade for the average home. Reserve the more elaborate choices for your high end properties. Also, if your cabinets are falling apart or show wear and tear, the addition of new counter tops will not be well received by potential buyers either. They often have the feeling that now they have to pay a premium for the house because of the new counters, just to rip them out again and redo the whole kitchen. If your old trash compactor in the kitchen is broken, don’t think about finding a replacement unit for it. Invest in a small beverage cooler that will yield more money instead.
3 Chose outdated materials
It is true that travertine flooring was all the rage – 10 years ago. When renovating you want to make sure to update the house and rejuvenate it. So when you renovate with materials referencing some fashion of past decades don’t be surprised if buyers only want to pay yesterdays pricing. Your renovation might not even come across as recent and buyers might feel they have to update the property again very soon. Along the list of yesteryear favorites are oak cabinets, those bulky intercom systems, the 12x 12 white glossy floor tiles, venetian plaster walls, Faux painting in the fake Tuscan style and wallpaper borders, just to name a few of the top offenders. (I have shivers going down my back just thinking about those)
4 Creating functional obsolescence
The probably worse crimes in renovation history happen when the improvement makes the property impractical. For example: putting tile floors in the garage. It may look nice, but now essentially your garage becomes an official no-go zone for your car. Typical floor tile will crack under the weight of an automobile resulting in the need of an expensive tile demolition job and the result of a damaged garage floor, that might require further fixing. Also the garage conversion to a bonus room may yield additional living square footage, but will turn off many buyers who are looking for a house with covered parking. Questionable is also the project to combine two smaller bedrooms into one large bedroom. Unless you have a 6 or 7 bedroom house, that move might cost you tens of thousands in the resale value. Especially where values of 3 bedroom homes are much higher than 2 bedroom homes, the third bedroom might be a great selling feature to many buyers.
5 Bad workmanship and unfinished projects
Do things yourself can save quite a bit on labor cost. But you have to make sure you are capable to turn out a decent finish on your projects. Consider all aspects of the renovation including all materials, the trim and the overall fit and finish. Nothing turns off a potential buyer than obvious do-it yourself disasters, unfinished projects, and renovations that are done in violation of industry standards and building code. Not only can those projects turn out as visually off-putting, some can be outright dangerous; like makeshift wiring, improper plumbing and questionable structural changes. Be realistic about your experience and ability and if you are not sure about the full scope of the job consult with a professional. Many contractors will work with you when you want to pitch in labor on some part of the project, while keeping you in compliance with building codes and industry standards. When you sell your home you will be happy you did. You will pass inspections and avoid liability issues later on.
If you are not sure which renovations, materials and choices will add the most to your property value, consult with your real estate professional and interior designer. These are the people on the forefront of the industry. The real estate professionals know what is in demand right now and what will keep the house attractive for a potential future buyer. Your designer will help you to make the right choices in color, texture and material. That way you spend your money where it will create equity.
This small Winter Park bungalow was rather in serious disrepair not very long ago. See What Realtor (R) Ardian Eslava with La Rosa Realty did to the house. Check out the adorable home on the video. This is proof that good things can indeed come in small boxes. The staging by www.idesigntosell.com highlight the assets of this classic Winter Park home and maximize the space for traffic flow and usability. To set up a viewing check with your local Realtor.
The top 5 reasons why you sell a house that is staged much quicker: It sounds like a crazy idea. To sell a house one takes the effort of completely furnishing it, just for the time until a buyer is found. Then all the furniture and decoration is removed and the house gets sold without it. This concept is not an invention by the three stooges but used in many real estate transactions nationwide. Why would you want to go through the trouble and cost doing this? The reason is simple. To enhance your bottom line with the sale. Professional staging will have a few effects on your sale.
1) The first and very important benefit is that your advertising will look better. Your pictures will become more attractive and your listing will stand out very much. Buyers start their search online and most likely will look at pictures of your property well before they step foot into your home. If your house looks anything but stunning it may not make it on the showing list. Buyers frequently rule out houses they deem less attractive from the virtual representation found on real estate websites. If you don’t get the potential buyers excited from the start, you may loose them before they even have seen your house.
2) Agents are more likely to put the property on the showing tour. Staging a house signals the real estate professional that you are serious about selling. You have gone through the trouble of making the house attractive and competitive. Staged houses are more likely to be chosen and real estate professionals prefer to have a sale rather on the first viewing tour than on the fifth. So they natural select the houses that will be most likely to create a sale. After all, most Realtors are paid commissions not an hourly wage.
3) Buyers can envision the use of space. Once they enter the home it will present them with an idea how they can use the space. It gives them a reference point to room sizes and how their furniture will fit the space. Last not least it will give them the vision how they could live in the house. It creates a mental picture how they will live after the move to your home. It showcases a lifestyle they could have. A vision of holiday dinners in the fabulous dining room, moments of solitude and peaceful relaxation in the master retreat, inspiring conversations with friend or a fun playoff party. When they enter an empty house it is difficult for most people to envision how they would furnish it and live in it. The staging paves the road for their imagination.
4) Empty spaces are very difficult to judge sizewise. What makes it easier are furniture pieces who give the visitor a scale to measure the room size. How often have agents heard the words “My King size bed wont fit in here”. One will be surprised how often that assumption is wrong. Once your master suite is decked out that questions is off the table. Buyers see how furniture can be set up. It gives them a better appreciation of the space and shows how they could make the best use of it.
5) Buyers start to form an emotional bond to the property. They often fall in love with the decoration although it will not be part of the transaction (at least that is the case in most typical real estate transactions). The furniture gives the home character and ambiance and it helps the buyer to remember it from all the properties they toured. Will they remember any of the empty spaces in any of the vacant houses? The one they remember at the end of the day is the one with the large dining table where they could have the Christmas dinner. The also remember sitting on the comfortable couch while they were discussing who they would invite to the housewarming party. They also remember how they felt in the room. There was something different about this home. The reasons to decide to purchase a home were most likely quite rational: Saving money and building equity; providing stability for the family; locate to the preferred school district to benefit the children’s education, and so on. The decision which house they will purchase is often a more emotional one. The buyers most likely will buy the house that feels right. How can one argue with that.
This house in the east part of Winter Park had one handicap. With 1221 sq ft under air and heat it was relatively small compared to most homes in the neighborhood. Despite its shortcomings it went under contract within a few weeks of being on the market. How did the agent Michelle Forbes found a buyer for the house so quickly? Her secret weapon in the competitive real estate race is professional staging. The last house she renovated and sold in mere hours was also staged by www.idesingtosell.com and her strategy now involves staging on all of her rehab flips. “It cuts down on market time and generates higher offers” so the real estate professional. “Why should I pay more on interest and holding cost, and being forced to lower my sales price in order to sell them, when I can spend a reasonable amount and sell them quick at top dollar.”
See the snapshots of this adorable house. While a vacant listing of 1221 sq ft seem too small for many buyers, this house is so big in style that the mere size may not matter so much after all. If you want to see what it takes to dress your property for success, contact us at www.idesigntosell.com for a quote.
This Windermere townhouse was a clean but uninspired middle unit when Realtor (R) Elisa Edwards from Watson Realty took the listing. See how she made it a hot commodity. Especially when the property is one of many similar ones it is important to make it stand out in the buyers eye. This property was on the market for weeks when owners and agents decided on a different marketing route. They went and hired stager Helene Bonello-Strauss with www.idesigntosell.com to take the property from drab to fab. The townhouse quickly transformed from average to amazing. See how it showed when it was finished. Not too long after it went under contract and has now closed. A great success story for everyone. We congratulate the owners and Realtor (R) Edwards to the smooth closing. If you want to know what it take to transform your vacant home into a designers dream home call us for a quote. Helene Bonello-Strauss provides temporary staging as well as interior design consultation for builders/developers and owner occupants.
What can a seller or real estate agent do to make a house stand out in a crowd of other listings? See what happened to this house in Winter park. This 3 bedroom, 2 bath pool home seems like many others from the outside. However, the inside reveals a fully decorated showhome with features like a barn door to the master bath, designer wallpaper accents and beautiful trim and fixtures. This investor flip is a good example of how the average can become something stunning. The interior designer Helene Bonello-Strauss had her crew transformed this distressed property to a stylish but comfortable home. The style is transitional with some modern aspects but mostly traditional appeal. “This mix is something that a lot of people react positively to,” so the design professional. “We had great success with this kind of design language, as it is appealing to a broad audience of different ages and creed.” While December is known as the slow season in Central Florida real estate, we think it is a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd. The few buyers that are actively looking this time of the year are typically quite serious. So Helene will be busy before Christmas to dress up at least one but possibly two more homes before the man in the red suit calls for a break. By the way, the house with a Winter Park address is located in a great school district and just got listed for sale. The asking price is $ 246,800 and it is available for showings right now. MLS O5408988 – 5441 Justine Way, Winter Park 32792. If you want to get your house or listing ready for the new year feel free to contact Helene at www.idesigntosell.com
How to sell mortar and stone real estate with fabric – When decorating a room consider other aspects than just the major furniture pieces. When homeowners describe their ideal house you hear descriptions like comfortable, warm, inviting. While the house is built mostly out of wood, stone, glass and occasional metal, the soft touch is something that has to be implemented after the last building contractor leaves the space. I am talking about your textiles in a room. In the example above the Interior Designer Helene Bonello-Strauss wanted to preserve the nice architecture of the house. She had the old wood ceiling painted in a glossy white finish for a polished look. Now the ceiling reflects light and makes the room open and airy. The fireplace wall was accentuated in an inexpensive dark paint treatment to create some needed contrast. The plush area rugs define the different vignettes and soften the room and they pay homage on the materials used in the sixties and seventies. The floor to ceiling curtains add drama and balance the light coming in from the corner windows. They provide some clean line structure that is conducive to the mid century look while offering a fresh clean backdrop to the more modern appeal of the interior. The bamboo hardwood floor offers a great hard wearing surface for years to come while creating some rich looking warm texture. This house had offers within hours of going on the market. We are not so surprised; there are many people that love mid century architecture if it is presented in the right way. Here the balance of clean lines with the use of softening texture made this space comfortable and stylish at the same time. When it comes to modern design, this room is proof of the fact that clean lines and a truly modern design language does not have to be cold and uninviting. Who would not want to lounge in this timeless space.
Mirror, Mirror on the wall – How a mirror reflects your style. The question is not why to use mirrors in design but rather why not. Artwork can be very personal and specific and can add great drama to a space. A mirror can do that as well but adds also a different twist to things. A mirror can reflect light where it would be beneficial. So you can use it to highlight an area and use incoming light from an opposite wall as well as reflecting a different angle of the room. It is as you will another viewpoint of the room. So you can take a nice view out of the window and have a mirror project that in another direction. Maximize the assets if you will. The other great benefit is the versatility of a mirror. It is great to anchor a vignette with a console table and fill a wall space. When you have already enough artwork in a room but you want to fill some wall space for a balanced look a mirror is a great option to give you the visual impression you are seeking for. When designing a room you seek for the right balance between empty wall space and items to define the space and create visual interest. You can also use a mirror to mimic somewhat of a window space. There are rooms that are falling short when it comes to window space. A mirror can add that extra bit of natural light by reflecting of the existing windows and bouncing that light back into the room. When placing a mirror it is important to consider what the mirror will reflect from the most likely vantage points of the room. Ideally you want to reflect an angle that adds something to the overall design. You want the reflection to propose an attractive image of the room when you enter. So placement will be key for the successful design. After all, the mirror will be last not least a style statement, just as the other parts of your design. Make sure you have a coherent design concept that integrate the mirror as part of the overall design idea. Don’t let that any item be an afterthought but rather a piece of the puzzle. Consider color, texture and shapes when selecting the mirror. When it accents the room nicely and helps to elevate the design from great to fabulous you made the right choices. You want the design choices to look great and at the same time reflect your design identity.
The power of art – Many public spaces are created with architectural focal points that are built around art pieces. They add visual interest and create drama. Consider art as an integral part of your design. There are plenty of choices where you can find great art. If you like original art you might want to visit a local art show to source items that give your home a bit of an artistic flair. If you live in an area without galleries or art shows you can turn to the internet to find great art at good prices. Websites like Vango or art.com offer art on a commercial platform for inspiring artists. Generally one-of-a-kind originals are pricier than prints or glichees, which are replications of an original that often are produced in limited editions series. Generally you should look at size for the space and consider larger pieces for greater impact. In this examples we have a museum quality original called “Angel” in the breakfast nook. Not the typical place to display larger artwork. The art piece is composed of two separate sections and takes up a large wall space. It is one of the earlier pieces of the European artist Alfred Peters. The placement is somewhat unexpected and creates some sense of drama in a more or less conventional space.
The formal living room is open over two stories. Such a high ceiling is asking for something to give the design composition some height. A vertical format is ideal for this room as it allows to expand up, and to draw the attention to the high ceilings. Here we have placed a unique large abstract by the central Florida Artist Nancy Jay. The piece shows a lot of dynamic movement and vivid red accents that proclaim underlying dominance in the composition. The artist Nancy Jay is well know in the Central Florida region as an prolific artist and educator. Her mostly abstract pieces show an emotional side that is hard to find in her genre. This piece is outstanding and elevate this room from the ordinary to the extraordinary. The furnishings are kept stylish, simple and geometrical. The idea here was to create a room that emulates the appeal of a urban gallery, something that shows sophistication and visual interest. It is the space that visitors see first when they entering the house. We have the opportunity to set the mood and elevate the house to a location that asks to host gatherings and to entertain in. We seek to impress by simplicity, and the artwork plays center stage in this production.
The adjacent dining room possesses equal dramatic lines. The designer had chosen a glass table to show the contemporary side of this room. The chairs are arranged on opposite sides while we forgo the common head chairs at the end of the table. Three glass vases are in line to comment on the chairs setup and to reiterate the orderly form at the table. The artwork appears equally impressive as in the other spaces. Here we have gone with an inexpensive art piece from an online supplier. It works so well because it features the same shades of grey as used in the curtains and the chair fabric or the living room rug and sofa. The sweeping skull of a bull is hiding in the shade while drawing the eye to the dead center of the room. The repetition of the monochrome design helps to increase the visual impact. The fact that we used a rather affordable mass reproduction art piece versus a highly priced original, becomes meaningless from a designers viewpoint. The designer Helene Bonello-Strauss attests that “It is not about the price you pay for a piece, it is all about how your piece conveys your message.” To Helene art can be used to set a mood or to anchor a vignette. She takes art as pawns in her ever changing battlefield, to create order in the chaos of our surroundings. It is a way to find uniqueness in an ocean of conformity, a way to express ones individuality that transforms a space to singularity. “Only if I am able to create something that offers a sense of order and familiarity, while maintaining a tension and visual interest to the composition, I am successful in my approach.” so the designer. “We want to create something people can understand and relate to, while keeping them interested and intrigued.”
If you want to learn more about how you can use art in your interior design, contact us at www.idesigntosell.com for a personal consultation.
Just re-designed 2409 Northumbria Drive in Sanford – This beautiful two story home got transformed by Interior Designer and Stager Helene Bonello-Strauss. The staging transformation features a modern design aesthetic combined with family friendly appointments. Who says you can not impress your guests while you entertain and at the same time live comfortable and casual in your house. This gorgeous home looks quite polished and stylish. The dominating color in the design concept is a rich dark grey that finds it use throughout the space in the curtains, sofa, dining table or master bedroom headboard. The use of fabrics lend itself to a tailored look.
See the walk through video for a more personal impression of the Sanford listing that is on the market right now. Please feel free to share and re-post.
Just staged in Winter Park: A small house with a big attitude – Realtor (R) Michelle Forbes just completed the renovation of this gorgeous 3 bedroom 2 bath home in Winter Park. The update included a gut renovation of the bathrooms and the kitchen, among other cosmetic improvements. The result is tremendous. This house offers fantastic features with its granite counters, new high quality cabinetry and great fit and finishes. The staging for this cozy split plan home provided exactly what this house needed. It shows how the floorplan can be utilized without infringing on important traffic space. A small house can have it all; it just needs to be designed correctly. The 3 seater sofa with its modern lines offers comfort and style. We added accent chairs that do not have wide armrests. It is a great way to add seating without using a lot of space. The chairs are quite comfortable and provide a perfect scale for the room. The dining table seats six and demonstrate that this home is ready to entertain guests. The secondary rooms are nice sized and we set one up with a queen bed and one with a twin bed. The master suite boasts a king size bed with room to spare. This house looked small before the furniture showed how the rooms scale really translate. Now we can demonstrate that a little over 1200 sq ft can have a great impact. It is not about sheer size but more about what you do with the room. There is a national trend to downsize while some families even consider tiny houses. This beautiful home in Winter Park shows that less can be more and one does not have to live cramped and without style. This staging brings out the fabulous side of the house, and is proof that one does not have to spend a million dollars to own a stylish abode with a Winter Park address.
Just Staged – a 6 bedroom home in Orlando’s popular Conway area – If you are looking for a house with space and plenty of bedrooms this newly finished staging project might be worth a look. Listed by Realtor Scott Butts this property on Pecan Lane in a community off Gatlin offers a lot of square footage for the $ 379k asking price. It is 3,541 square feet under air and heat with a total space of 4,461 sq. ft. under the roofline. This pool home has three bedrooms on the first floor, and 3 on the upstairs level. We have decorated one of the downstairs bedrooms as an office. The goal was to show off the hardwood trim work and create a color scheme that makes the wood color work well in the space. We repeated the wood tones in accessories and the furniture and kept a neutral palette. The formal living area received an understated modern sectional to show that a transitional/contemporary design concept can work well in a house with plenty of traditional features. We use black as the accent color to enhance the contrast. Here in the living area the throw and the picture frame, as well as the lamp shade, has the same dark accents as the dining table and the newly installed Chandelier. This room is proof that an accent color can be black and technically a total lack of color. Sometimes it pays off to ignore the rules and try something different.
“Why?” You ask. The real estate interested buyer has seen on countless TV shows on channels like HGTV, DIY Network and a half dozen others what an army of contractors, designers, and stagers do to properties to make them more salable. They are willing to pay a good price for their next home but they know exactly what they want. They want updated floor plans. They want nice upgraded features. They look for granite counters, stainless steel appliances, nice wood floors, updated light fixtures and most of all a designers vision of what the property could look like. They want to be wowed, they want to be impressed. They have seen dozens of homes on TV that look like a million dollars, and some that are actually worth much more than a million dollars. You, as a potential home seller, are not only competing with your neighbors who are selling their homes, you are competing with the vision buyers have on how their new home should look like. They have seen bathrooms they like, they have seen kitchens to die for, and they already have a laundry list of items they are searching for. Unfortunately the faded wallpaper from the time your house was built did not make that list; Nor does the worn laminate countertops or the beige carpet in your living room. If your house looks in the buyers mind anything less than perfect they will not make an offer or at least deduct a considerable amount of money on the price they are willing to pay for the property. If you do not create a vision on how the property should look like and how buyers would see themselves living in the house your chances of a sale drop significantly. The new generation is all about individuality and the expression of their lifestyle. It is a generation that is used to have instant gratification. It is not the generation that saved up for a decade or two to buy a house. They want it now! They don’t want to go through a long drawn out process of renovating a house but rather have a turn key property ready to move in. Buyers today have certain expectations in life. They have an idea how their lifestyle should be, and how their house will help them achieve that goal. They have a vision that they look to make a reality. They have seen it on TV. The endless shows of fixer uppers, flipping, decorating and contracting might not have schooled them on how to achieve the results themselves, but it certainly has taught them what they are looking for in your house. If you are hoping for a top dollar sales price you better ‘up’ the game and get ready to deliver. You should seriously consider having a design professional on your team. Remember, your buyers are listening to professional designers for years.