Stunning design helped sell this Sanford home – What to do when your have a nice house that is as nice as two dozen others in the neighborhood, which are essentially identical copies of your house? How can you make it something that buyers crave to own? The answer to this question might be “design to sell” it. Take smart and current design principals and apply them to your cosmetic overhaul. If the house had undergone a remodel you are half way there. This beautiful two story house in a gated community in Sanford is a good example of such a design change. With the help of high end artwork and a professional staging job this house shows its full potential. This floor plan had sold a number of times in this tract build community. However, the design of this property makes it a very appealing and creates a dramatic impact to visitors. We congratulate the seller to a renovation job well done. It gave us the perfect backdrop to a strong visual transformation with modern and urban appeal. The only sad thing is that we have to undo the magic, due to its approaching closing date. Like in most staging situations, the house gets sold without the furnishings. Well it gives us opportunity to do it again. It will be another house, and the look will be new and different each time. However, we hope the feeling we create will be the same. A fresh and current design, seemingly pulled from the pages of the latest design magazine. An idea, a vision of a lifestyle to be aspired to. It should be the feeling to have arrived at a place that we looked for so long – a place we call home.
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.
This beautiful renovated home in the Seminole county part of Winter park just came back on the market. Check it out. Showing is easy with electronic lockbox. The beautiful staging shows it off in a real nice way. The convenient location with access to shopping, restaurants and 417 within a great school district makes this a fantastic home. MLS number is O5410144 and the address is 7101 Ivy Ct, Winter Park, FL 32792.
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.
The color overkill – When using color you can create harmony or chaos. You can set a calming mood or put your senses on high alert. There is a reason that fire engines are mostly painted red. Most people appreciate color in their lives but done know how to use it successfully. When designing a space think about the impact a color has. Whatever the color is on your small sample swatch, it will be ten times stronger when it is applied to a whole wall. Look at your kids crayon box. The colors you see there are pure colors, mostly bright and… well, very colorful. They have an extreme impact on your space if you have those colors at any large space. Designers take often more subdued colors that are lightened up by whites or muted by a bit of black tint in them. The pigment will be less prevalent and allow other things in the room to shine. The wall color should be the undertone, the complimentary chorus to your design features in the room. Occasionally you can use a strong wall color to make a statement, but that device is to be used with caution and great care. It may be left best to the professionals. For staged homes we always use wall colors in range of neutrals. Neutral tones are the ones that will compliment many colors and not take center stage in the visual field. We have many colors than can read as neutrals between of different shades of whites, beige and greys. Light blues and greens with a portion of black tint can be great choices for neutrals. They are all soft toned with a hint of color. We want to leave the option to place different items in the room and not to dictate too much of what the new owner will need to do or force him to repaint the house right away. Matter of fact, the color of the wall can be easily a deal killer. Ask any Realtor about their experience. They all can tell stories of buyers who rejected an otherwise perfect home because they did not like the color of one wall. It can be distracting to many homebuyers so color choice is key. At the same time a design wants to stay out of the boring beige realm and have a visual interest. An easy way to achieve that is by using accent colors. We use accent walls in some rooms. That means we can paint one wall in a room in a different color to add visual interest and create more drama. You have to consider the use of the room and the corresponding items in your design. A very easy way to add color is with your window treatments which can add texture and color. Your other fabrics can do the same thing. If you have hard floor surfaces like wood or tile floors the addition of area rugs give you great opportunity for color and contrast. Throw pillows are a save way to add a pop of color without overwhelming the room. Consider one or two accent colors for a room and see if you can repeat them with a bit of consistency. You can use color in your sofa cushions, your decorative items like glass objects, dinnerware, and for example a lamp shade. There are plenty of opportunities to introduce color but you want to use care and restraint for a great look. When you use it strategically you can create great visual interest while keeping your design streamlined. It will help to create a coherent look and allow you to pull together an eclectic design. With the right color choices your design will shine in style. And you visitors may not even need to use protective eyewear.
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.
Older houses are dated and boring, right? This is not always true, and especially not in this house on Ivy Ct in Winter Park. This 4 bedroom 3 bath home in a great Seminole county school district is proof that existing homes can pack a punch. This house underwent a full renovation with new roof, windows, kitchen, bathrooms, floors, AC system and more. So essentially we are looking at a pretty much new home with an existing shell. The interior offers two master suites and a very open layout that gives this spacious 1866 sq ft a very livable floor plan. The different areas flow nicely together to create a fabulous entertainment area that will offer accommodations for large family gatherings, dinner parties or simply a relaxing afternoon at home. The staging by interior designer Helene Bonello-Strauss shows a comfortable but elegant side of this great home. Her vision of the house is a place where people congregate, in an welcoming and warm space wrapped around a fabulous kitchen. “It is not about the 4 walls but the way we interact in the space.” according to Helene. She views her work as a way to “anticipate the people who will occupy the house and create an environment that will make it the perfect home.” This one may come very close to that loft goal. It just came on the market at an affordable budget of $ 255k. All its missing is the new lucky owner to enjoy it and to make it home.
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
This Winter Park pool home underwent a full renovation. Not officially on the market yet – make an appointment before it becomes available to everyone. Last renovations under way right now. New roof, new electrical breaker box inside and out, new kitchen with granite counters, tile mosaic backsplash and stainless steel appliances, new bathrooms, pool resurfaced, paint inside out. This house has stunning features like crown molding in the living area, designer touches everywhere, a huge screened in porch with new screens and outdoor carpet, fully fenced backyard. Great neighborhood with fantastic Seminole County schools. Courtyard garage and nice landscaping create a great curb appeal. This 3 bedroom 2 bath pool home is a designer showcase, just days away to be ready for the new owners. For all our Realtor friends: Your cobroke will be protected even before listing starts. Contact Realtor (R) Malte Strauss with Trust International Real Estate LLC at 407-416-9659 for more information.
Is your fireplace caught in a time warp? – As taste changes, so do interior design features and materials. Unfortunately, not everything that is old becomes a charming ‘vintage’ element. Not everything turns into a ‘classic’. Some things remain just tired and old and makes a house look dated. In this example we transformed a family room with some small cosmetic changes. This transformation included removing the small white glossy tile on the fireplace and replacing them with travertine and glass mosaic tile for a fitting and updated look. The mauve colored carpet was changed to travertine tile set in a 45 degree pattern and the old and indestructible recliner sofas had to make room for a contemporary sectional that features low lines. The change of accessories and some modern artwork completed the transformation. Not a drastic renovation but a fairly simple update that has a big impact. Sometimes it only takes a few smaller changes instead of the large gut remodel to deliver the desired result. Pick the items that are the worst visual offenders and see if you find a viable solution to replace or update them. In this case the fireplace surround with its 80’s rounded drywall corners is everything but up to date. But with the main offenders removed from the crime scene, this transformation makes the room more palatable and quite acceptable for many people. If you renovate to sell your house, this is the way to go. This renovation yielded twice its cost in increased returns. A truly money making proposition for the homeowner, who sold it shortly afterwards.
Staging sells real estate! Two more properties under contract – The agents of two properties reported success with their staging. The property on 7316 Yoder Street in Windermere and 1147 on Baton Drive in Deltona went under contract to close soon. Elisa Edwards from Watson Realty listed the house on 7316 Yoder and just wrote: “Thank you so much for all your hard work, professionalism and assistance in getting this sold! It would not have happened without you!” You are very welcome.
The property on Baton Drive is scheduled to close on Friday November 20th. The listing agent Cherie Price just reported that not only this one is a full success, but another of her listings staged by www.idesigntosell.com had received an offer and will be on the schedule to close soon. We congratulate the agents and the owners. If you want to learn more about staging or if you want to receive a quote, please feel free to contact us on the web 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.