PUTTING YOUR HOME’S BEST FACE FORWARD THROUGH STAGING


During this unique time, folks are viewing many more homes online before deciding on a select few to see in person. Because of that, staging is more important than ever. We spoke with Helen Bartlett of Refined Interior Staging Solutions about what she recommends.

 

Q. For starters, what is the purpose of staging?

 

A. To market a home for the quickest sale at top market value. Staging not only helps sellers accomplish this, it also allows buyers to picture their lifestyle in these homes. It shows the purpose of each space, it gives buyers perspective in how furnishings will fit and work within the space and it helps a buyer emotionally connect with a home.

 

Q. In this current normal, staging must be on point because people are spending so much more time looking at houses online in advance. What do you recommend people do? What things do folks have to consider for photos and videos?

 

A. Today, 95% of buyers are starting their home searches online. With so many homes to look at, if photos and/or videos don’t stand out, a buyer will be quick to move on to the next house. To get the best-looking photos, have a professional photographer shoot the property. They’ll be able to capture the room, focal points and other details that might be missed with amateur photos. To help a buyer focus on the room itself, distractions need to be at a minimum, so clean up the clutter! Good lighting is also important for getting good photos.

 

Q. Is there anything you’d recommend regarding color?

 

A. Staging with neutrals is key, because color is very subjective. For example, if you have a buyer come into a home with a brightly painted dining room, the first thing they’ll notice is the color. They’ll immediately decide if they love it or not, and rather than focusing on the space, they’ll be focused on the color. If they’re focused on the color and not the space, they won’t connect with the space, and if they don’t connect emotionally with the space, they won’t buy it. When you keep a space neutral, it allows a buyer to focus on room size, layout and purpose. Adding color through art and accessories is a great way to make the room feel alive and current.

 

Q. What about style? What do people need to consider regarding style of furniture?

 

A. For a home to appeal to a buyer, furnishings need to be current and on trend as well as compliment the architecture of the home. If you have a mid-century home, very traditional furniture will not highlight the architectural features of the space. Just like modern furniture will make a traditional home feel awkward. Another important thing to remember is the demographic of your buyer. If you’ve lived in your home for decades and your furnishings reflect the time you moved in, that may end up being an issue if a younger family looks at your home. If your home is filled with antiques and your buyer is young, they won’t be able to relate to how this will become their new dream home. It’s not necessary to remove all your furnishings if they are dated, but a good editing will definitely help!

 

Q. In a perfect world, we’d all hire people like you to stage our houses. If they can’t do that for whatever reason, what are a couple of simple things people can do to make their houses look better in photos?

 

A. Make sure your paint color is on trend. Declutter or edit your space to make sure the room shows its purpose and focal point. If there is a fireplace in the room, make sure it’s visible. If you have a beautiful wall of windows, make sure that it is highlighted. Accent any architectural features that will allow your house to stand out. Remove small area rugs in entryways, bathrooms and kitchens. Make sure surfaces are clean and clear. Remove collections or small décor items and use larger and more impactful pieces. Remove outdated window coverings and replace any outdated light fixtures.&

 

If you’ve had thoughts about selling your home, connect with a ReeceNichols agent today! We can guide you through thehome selling process—from listing to closing.

 

A national award-winning home stager and home stylist, Helen Bartlett has been staging homes in the Kansas City area since 2011. She has been awarded several national home staging awards, including the Top 10 Professional Home Stagers in the United States for Vacant Homes, Owner Occupied Homes and Redesign. Her work has been featured on local television in the Kansas City area, The Kansas City Star and Kansas City Home & Styles Magazine. Helen also co-authored a book: “Home Staging: The Power That Sells Real Estate. Visit herwebsite for more information.

BEGIN THE JOURNEY: YOUR GUIDE TO SELLING


Serving you remains our passion and we’re here to support you whenever you’re ready. Here’s a look at the selling process.

Discover how much your home is worth

Visit gethomevalue.reecenichols.com and simply type in your address to get a report, instantaneously! Your results will include an automated value range that will give you a rough estimate of the value of your home. This is useful information to have on hand, before you talk to one of our agents. Also, using a proprietary algorithm, you’ll be able to see how many people are looking for a home like yours, which can be a great way to get a feel for the market. The report will also show you which homes have recently sold in your area.

Connect with your perfect agent

Our agents are the experts on our local communities. They’re experienced, knowledgeable and will guide you through every step of the listing process. Plus, they’ll use the best technology, marketing and expertise to get your home sold. They’ll also remain your trusted advisor the entire time you own your home. Therefore, whatever your family needs—before, during and after the sale—we’re here to help.

Explore the market in your neighborhood

Once you’ve chosen an agent, they can provide a MyNeighborhood Report for you. This will give you some background about homes that have sold recently in your neighborhood. Your agent will also complete a detailed Comparative Market Analysis that will help you set an appropriate price for your home. Then, you’ll sign a listing agreement, and your home will officially be on the market.

Prepare to sell

Your agent will record a virtual tour of your home, which will give buyers a good feel for it before they ever set foot inside. If buyers would like to see the house in person, your agent can arrange a showing.

Marketing your home

A diverse mix of marketing tactics will be used to promote your home and find the perfect buyer. Your home will be featured on several online platforms, like MLS, ReeceNichols.com, Zillow and Realtor.com. Listings that fall under our luxury line, Signature by ReeceNichols, will reach thousands of eyes through media outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Mansion Global, Barrons & Penta online, MarketWatch, WeChat, Juwai and YouTube.

Close the deal

Offers will be negotiated, with your agent always keeping your best interests in mind. Then, they’ll guide you through a seamless closing!

Contact a ReeceNichols agent today to begin your journey!

WHAT TO AVOID WHEN PUTTING YOUR HOUSE ON THE MARKET


When you put your home on the market, there are plenty of things your agent will ask you to do before buyers come by, but there are a few things you should avoiddoing as well.

Don’t think you can offer buyers a credit instead of performing needed work. Most people want a move-in ready home and will assume the work will cost more than the amount of the discount.

Avoid leaving everything in your closet. Buyers love storage and taking half of your items out of the closets could give the illusion of more space. Also, make sure what remains in the closets is nice and tidy.

Don’t hesitate to replace carpeting if it needs to be replaced, and don’t buy the lowest quality.

Don’t ignore the lighting. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let the sunshine in!

Don’t forget to tidy up after the dogs and cats. You may think a cuddly pet might warm the hearts of potential buyers, but not everybody is a dog or cat lover. Take them with you during showings, tuck the dog food bowl out of the way and clean the litter box frequently, or remove it if you can.

Don’t DIY repairs you’re not qualified to do. Buyers will be able to spot low-quality work, and they’ll wonder what else has been done that isn’t up to par.

Don’t forget to depersonalize your home. The more personal things in your house, the less buyers will be able to visualize themselves living there. Gather up family photos, memorabilia and personal keepsakes and put them in storage.

Still have questions? No problem. Reach out to one of our agents to get all of your questions answered!

6 BENEFITS TO SELLING DURING WINTER


Many people shy away from selling a home during the winter months — you might be surprised to learn that there are actually a few advantages to selling during the snowy season.

Serious buyers are on the hunt.

Buyers that venture out on cold and snowy days are motivated. It could be a family that is relocating to the area, a couple which just sold their home, or a first-time buyer wanting to capitalize on tax benefits of homeownership before the end of the year.

Fewer homes on the market.

Motivated buyers will have fewer homes to choose from during the winter months as some sellers opt to wait until after the Holidays. Active homes for sale will be front and center for buyers ready to make a move.

Benefit from supply and demand.

With fewer homes on the market, you may be able to secure a higher selling price. The motivated buyers may be quicker to act knowing there are fewer homes to choose from.

Holiday breaks can be productive.

Buyers have extra time off around the holidays, allowing more hours to focus on the home search. This could be online research on ReeceNichols.com before private tours with an agent. With 9 out of 10 buyers beginning the search online, the cold weather won’t stop the research.

Mortgage rates continue to be near record lows.

Buyers continue to benefit from low mortgage rates making homeownership a very achievable goal. In addition, with a mortgage pre-approval you’ll know buyers viewing your home are qualified buyers.

Holiday decorations make your home warm and inviting.

What’s better than walking into a warm home on a cold winter day? Even with a few holiday decorations, buyers can begin to envision themselves in a new space.

What do you say – are you ready to benefit from selling during the winter months? Connect with a ReeceNichols agent to learn more about the specific market statistics for your area.

FALL HOME STAGING


Fall is a great time to sell your home. Several studies, including one by Redfin research, show that, on average, homes listed during this time are more likely to sell, sell more quickly, and sell closer to the asking price.

If you are ready to list, there are a few things you can do to make your home inviting to eager buyers this fall:

Use fall decor but keep it sparse.

Place a few vases with fall foliage or a bowl of seasonal fruit in your kitchen. And, pick a few good pumpkins to put out on the front porch.

A fresh coat of paint is essential, no matter what time of year you sell your home.

If you are selling in the fall, use warm fall colors that stay neutral, like caramel. Small accents of color like deep orange and vibrant reds around your house will make your home inviting.

Keep your home bright.

With the days getting shorter, it is crucial that you have enough lighting. Let in as much natural light as you can and consider having additional lighting installed if your home doesn’t get a lot of natural light.

Make your home inviting.

A well placed, soft fall-colored throw blanket on the sofa, a warm crackling fireplace and the smell of cinnamon can make your home feel like the perfect place to feel cozy in.

Don’t forget about your curb!

Have your home power washed to give it a nice, clean look. Have your windows cleaned, so they sparkle. Consider painting your front door and the trim on your windows. Have your lawn spruced up weekly to remove any leaves. Include a few pots of yellow mums to brighten up your porch.

THE HOME SELLING PROCESS, STEP BY STEP


Selling your home can be a whirlwind, so we’ve broken the process down for you, step by step.

Reach out to your ReeceNichols agent.

They’ll complete a detailed Comparative Market Analysis that will help you set an appropriate price for your home. Then, you’ll sign the listing agreement, and your home will officially be on the market.

Market your home.

Your agent will use a diverse mix of marketing tactics to promote your home and find buyers.

Coordinate showings.

Open houses and showings let potential buyers get firsthand looks at your home. Your agent will coordinate all of the showings with you.

Receive offer.

Once a potential buyer makes an offer on your home, your agent will review the offer with you and discuss next steps.

Negotiate terms.

Your agent will negotiate the terms of the contract, always keeping your best interests in mind.

Hold inspections and appraisals.

These negotiations will include inspections and appraisals. Don’t worry — your agent will communicate what’s needed from you during these phases.

Finalize negotiations.

There could be more rounds of negotiations after the inspections and appraisal, but your agent will keep the sale moving along.

Close.

It’s time to close and move on to your next adventure!

Even after the sale, your ReeceNichols agent will remain a resource to you for any questions or issues you may have. If you’re ready to take advantage of the market and list, connect with aReeceNichols agent today!

5 LISTING TIPS FROM A STAGING PRO


Staging your home while it’s on the market helps buyers better envision themselves in your home — but you don’t have to replace everything to achieve that effect. So how do you stage your home while you’re still living in it? Helen Bartlett of Refined Interior Staging Solutions recommends five easy methods.

#1: UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STAGING AND DECORATING.

Decorating your home for your personal style and staging your home to sell it are two very different activities, Helen says.

“Even the most modern and up-to-date décor won’t always help sell your home,” Helen says. “Careful staging allows buyers to notice the architectural details, the focal point of each space and the flow of the rooms, and most importantly, it shows a buyer the purpose for the space and how they can see their lifestyle in it.”

#2: LET NATURAL LIGHT IN.

Ditch those heavy curtains to let natural light filter in, and turn on all the lights in your home during your open house.

“Darkness makes people uncomfortable,” Helen says. “Sun and light will make your home more approachable and attractive to buyers.”

#3: STORE COLLECTIONS.

We know you cherish your collections, but they can be distracting. Potential buyers may spend too much time checking out your collections and too little time checking out your home.

#4: TAKE DOWN FAMILY PHOTOS

“What happens is buyers look at your wedding photos or vacation snaps and take up time being nosy,” Helen says. “You want them to be interested in your home — not your family!”

While you’re listing, take down your family photos so buyers don’t become distracted and can completely focus on your home.

#5: REMEMBER YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC

“I always tell my clients to edit the furniture and decorations they already have,” Helen says. “You have to consider the right furniture and style for the buyer.”

For example, while your antique furniture may be a beautiful addition to your home — millennial and younger buyers will have trouble seeing behind the antiques to your home itself. Save yourself time on the market by storing these pieces while you’re listing.

“Some clients don’t want to initially invest the time or money into staging their home while it’s on the market,” Helen says. “But they can end up paying for it in the end with a lesser sales price or a longer time on the market.”

If you’re looking to list, connect with a ReeceNichols agent today! We can guide you through the home selling process — from listing to sale.


A national award-winning home stager and home stylist, Helen Bartlett has been staging homes in the Kansas City area since 2011. She has been awarded several national home staging awards, including the Top 10 Professional Home Stagers in the United States for Vacant Homes, Owner Occupied Homes and Redesign. Her work has been featured on local television in the Kansas City area, The Kansas City Star and Kansas City Home & Styles Magazine. Helen also recently co-authored a book: “Home Staging: The Power That Sells Real Estate. Visit herwebsite for more information.

WHEN TO START WORKING WITH AN AGENT: SELLERS EDITION


Selling your home is a huge undertaking — but with the right agent, you don’t have to do it on your own. Your ReeceNichols agent will guide you through the sale, helping you price your home correctly and marketing it to potential buyers. So how do you know when you’re ready to contact an agent about listing?

YOU HAVE THE SEVEN-YEAR ITCH.

You’ve been in your home seven (or more) years, and you’re starting to get that itch to find something new. The good news for you? If you’ve lived in your home for five years or more, you could have equity in your home. Cash in!

YOUR HOME IS TOO SMALL OR TOO BIG.

Kids moved out? Kids moved in? Too cramped? Too cavernous? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to right-size.

YOU’VE PAID OFF NON-MORTGAGE DEBTS.

If you’ve paid off your student loans, car or any other non-mortgage debts and have saved up a nice chunk of change, it could be time to list and see what’s on the market today.

YOU KNOW THERE ARE POTENTIAL HOME BUYERS OUT THERE.

Maybe you’ve heard rumblings that home buyers are on the hunt for homes like yours. When you connect with a ReeceNichols agent, they’ll be able to show you real home buyers who are looking for home just like yours, a heat map of buyer interest in your neighborhood and more — giving you the inside scoop.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO SELL YOUR HOME FAST.

The best time to list is when there’s no immediate need to list. That way, you don’t have to sell to the first buyers who make an offer — you can wait and sell your home for the price it’s worth.

If you’re considering selling your home and want estimates for how much your home is worth, check out our tool to discover your home’s value. Then, your ReeceNichols agent can prepare a comparative market analysis for you, giving you a more detailed evaluation. Contact an agent today!

SELLING IN 6 MONTHS? HERE±S YOUR TIMELINE


A little work upfront can make a world of difference when it comes to listing your home. But where do you even begin?

6 MONTHS OUT

    • Find your agent. With six months to go, you have more than enough time to find your perfect agent without rushing the process. Use ReeceNichols.com to find an agent near you!
    • Schedule your game plan. Do you have any big trips planned? Want to avoid holiday mayhem? By thinking through conflicts in advance, you can work around your schedule and list your home at the best time for you.
    • Start familiarizing yourself with the current market. Your agent will be able to prepare you a comparative market analysis and set you up on Neighborhood News so you can begin to get a feel for how homes in your neighborhood are priced. They’ll analyze additional data to make sure your home is priced correctly.
    • Target your new neighborhood. Start scoping out where you want to move. What are the average home prices in your potential ’hood?

3 MONTHS OUT

    • Make repairs. Now is the time to get your roof, plumbing and electrical system inspected and have any necessary repairs completed. Also, consider making small cosmetic changes that will show off your home in the best way — like painting walls or ditching outdated light fixtures. Getting this done now helps to account for any delays and keeps you on track to list in your preferred timeframe.
    • Deep clean and possibly re-organize. Give your home a serious deep clean. And while you’re moving around furniture, consider storing some pieces or re-organizing a bit to show your home at its best. Rooms look bigger with smaller furniture, so why not make these changes while you’re already moving everything around?

1 MONTH OUT

    • Gather your marketing materials. Now that you’ve deep cleaned and gotten everything organized, your agent can help you have professional photos of your home taken for the online listing. Now is the time to enlist the help of a staging company or even stage your home yourself.
    • Set your official “live” date. You’ve already targeted the general timeframe you want to list in, but go ahead and set exactly when your listing will go live. You may want to debut your listing during our Open House Celebration. During our Open House Celebration weekend, ReeceNichols markets all open houses through online and radio ads — giving your listing an extra boost!
    • Start preparing for your move. In 2017, recently-sold homes were on the market for a median of three weeks. You’ll have enough going on once your home sells, so why not get a little packing done in advance? If you list in the summer, you’re probably safe packing up your winter coats, snow boots and holiday decorations. Same goes for listing in the winter with your swimsuits, pool toys and grill.

2-3 WEEKS

    • Consult with your lending officer to get your loan payout information. That way, you’ll have a better idea of what your net sales proceeds will be.

1 WEEK

    • Keep cleaning! It’ll cut down on the night-before-listing cleaning frenzy.

POST-LISTING

Congratulations! All your hard pre-listing work has paid off. Now, the real work begins. So, what do you do now? Learn about what to expect throughout the selling process here.

SHOULD YOU HIRE A PROFESSIONAL HOME STAGER?


When you’re selling your home, you want to get the best price possible. One way you can do that is by staging your home for potential buyers.

Why stage your home? Because according to Realtor.com, staged homes sell 88% faster and bring in approximately 20% more than nonstaged ones.

There are lots of easy things you can do to stage your home yourself. But if you want that extra touch, you can also hire a professional home stager.

What does a professional home stager do?

A professional home stager rearranges your home’s furniture, decorations, and colors to make it look “professionally decorated”—so it’s as appealing as possible to buyers.  They may also add touches like new curtains, lights, artwork, throw pillows or towels to maximize your home’s best features and minimize the flaws.

How much does it cost?

Realtor.com reports that most professional stagers charge 00-00 for an initial consultation, plus 00-00 per room (which equates to around ,000-,000 for a 2,000-square-foot home). Another option: some stagers also offer a one-time “idea session” for 00-00, where they walk through each room and share ideas for rearranging it. You may also pay for new paint, decorations or furniture—especially if your home is currently empty.

Is it worth it?

Let’s look at a 00,000 house. If you spend ,000 to professionally stage your home—and that brings in just 10% more (or 0,000) on the price than if you didn’t stage it—then you’ve made an additional 4,000, even after staging costs (and likely sold it faster, too, saving you precious time on the market making two mortgage payments). In that case, it is definitely a worthwhile investment.

How do I find a good home stager?

Start by talking to your realtor. For example, your ReeceNichols realtor can recommend a great stager who has helped other homes sell quickly in your neighborhood.  Or visit the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) website.

What questions should I ask a professional home stager?

  • Can you show me a portfolio (or examples) of other houses like mine?
  • How would you approach my home? What are your initial ideas?
  • How much will it cost to stage my home? What is included in this price?
  • Do you have any references I can speak to?

We’ll help you get the best possible price for your home. Find aReeceNichols realtor who knows your neighborhood.