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Have you seen this room at your listing appointment?

We all have and at simply irresistible interiors we know just what it needs!

This before shot was taken during the Pre- RENO consultation where we discussed with the Investors what would be a good course of action. As it turns out they were already thinking of knocking out this wall but questioned whether or not it would be worth it. I told them YES!!

As you can see they took my advice on this and I also helped them choose their paint, flooring, back splash, fixtures and did the Staging for them.

The result? The first open house 4 days later resulted in a PENDING OFFER.

Opening the river valley view through the kitchen to the living room patio was a super choice and one that warranted the extra time it took to do the work.

However some sellers are not 100% sure if they should take that on…we are here to help. Not only do we offer the Pre-RENO consult, we also offer to do the work, manage the contractors and handle the details from start to finish!

Would you agree that it’s a worthwhile result? Call today to pre- book before the Spring Rush. 780-452-4527

Home Staging Helps Real Estate Investors and Builders Maximize Profits. 

“When selling your investment property, are you tempted to leave the house empty? Decorating your house to sell, also called “home staging” or “real estate staging,” will help you sell your investment in record time and get top dollar for your home.

According to home staging expert Debra Gould, real estate investors who are preparing to list a home on the market shouldn’t skimp on furnishings and accessories in an attempt to save money. “When you’ve gone through expensive renovations, suffered with delays or extended beyond your budget, it’s difficult to stay motivated to the bitter end,” says Gould. “It can be tempting to say, ‘It’s good enough. The paint’s dry. Let’s put it on the market as is!’ This is shortsighted and can cost you a bundle! It’s relatively inexpensive to rent anything you need, and these finishing touches help ensure that you make the profit you deserve for all those costly renovations and repairs.”

Imagine it’s the Academy Awards. A big star is planning to wear a fabulous designer gown, so she decides she doesn’t really need to get her hair done. Does everyone talk about the fabulous gown? Of course not. All they can remember is the terrible hair!

Or imagine a fine painting that’s been placed in a frame from the dollar store. Does the painting have the same appeal as it would if it had been framed by a professional? Conversely, have you ever taken one of your child’s paintings and had it framed? What a difference it makes compared to how it looks when it’s stuck to the fridge with a magnet.

5 Reasons It’s a Bad Idea to Leave Rooms Empty When Showing Your House

  1. People don’t buy houses; they buy homes.
  1. It is difficult to understand how large a room is when there’s nothing in it to use as a reference point.
  1. People can’t visualize how furniture will fit in an empty space, and if they’re unsure, they don’t buy.
  1. When a room is empty, prospective buyers focus on negative details instead of falling in love with the overall space. Rather than looking at the flow of one room to another, prospective buyers get bogged down in questions like: Is the drywall smooth? Will those bumps in the carpet come out? Why  doesn’t the closet have a hanging bar? Why doesn’t that molding fit perfectly? Why is the light switch in the middle of  the wall?
  1. When a house or even a few rooms are empty, prospective buyers may become distracted from the house itself and shift their focus to the homeowners. Instead of focusing on whether this is the home for them, they may be busy wondering: Is this couple getting a divorce? Has the family left town? Are they selling because they have money problems? This train of thought can then prompt buyers to begin thinking, “Maybe I can put in a low-ball offer since the seller might be desperate.” Definitely not the picture you are trying to paint!

Home staging is about packaging a home to show off its best features and downplay the flaws. You romance the buyer and entice them into making an emotional connection with your house. So, bring in some furnishings and accessories to add character and warmth to the home. Taking the time for these final details will ultimately translate into a higher return on your investment.”

Beautiful Basements

written by Jill Gargus CID, CCSP

Creating a basement space that appeals to the buyers can be difficult if your basement is unfinished or half complete. Even worse is a basement that is chopped up with confusing rooms and a hodgepodge of materials used to slap it together. Basements are part of real living space and they do play an important and often forgotten role in the decision of a buyer to make an offer, the fact is your basement CAN make or break a sale.

What do you do if your basement is not picture perfect…walking out on to a beautiful yard and a man made lake? Well, you get to work. That does not mean you have to renovate your basement, but if they budget allows do what you can to clean it up and make it a useable, clean space that adds square footage to the overall offering your home has.

How do you do this? Well, starting off in our previous emails the first 2 weeks of purging and de-cluttering, that part should have included the basement so you are well on your way.

  • Do a deep clean of the basement. Every nook and cranny. If you don’t want to touch it, neither will a buyer!! Basement and laundry area should be dry, clean, bright, neat and tidy
  • All cobwebs, dead bugs removed
  • Kitty litter cleaned daily!
  • Furnace filters replaced
  • Furnace, hot water tank and appliances washed down and squeaky clean
  • All window wells, cleaned off, curtains or coverings removed and the wells cleaned.
  • All windows coverings off, if possible, so lots of light can get in.
  • Update fixtures or wash existing ones and use the brightest bulbs allowed
  • Fresh paint on walls and floors if there is no carpeting.
  • Get a de-humidifier if the basement smells like pets or is musty.
  • Wash all drains and bathrooms well
  • Clean out the dryer vent and vacuum behind the washer/ dryer and freezer
  • Replace or remove torn flooring
  • Use bright bulbs and make sure all switches are working and wash off fingerprints
  • Add shelves to the laundry area if it would help
  • Take out all empty laundry boxes, and misc. socks that lost their mate, garbage, old brooms and of course anything missed from the previous 2 weeks!
  • If your basement floor is painted and you are not putting new flooring, you can easily spruce up the look by cleaning it well with TSP™ and then painting the floor with cement paint. Make sure to move appliances out, do not paint around them! Consult your local paint store to get advice on the products you need to complete this task. You can use color also….not bright overwhelming colors, but shades of grey, beige, white, tan, chocolate or blues would be good if they work with other colors around the basement. Then add a runner.
  • Create a laundry room space that says “Hey I love my laundry room!” Add a rug to the washer and dryer area, add a lamp, add a plant, create a folding table for the laundry or hang a clothes drying rack.
  • Stair handrails should be secure
  • Air out the basement.
  • Do not use products like bleach or strong solvents to clean, unless absolutely necessary, as the smell will be filtered through the whole house through the furnace system.
  • Make sure any water issues are solved, not just covered up.
  • Clean all baseboards and tops of door jams
  • Tackle all closets and under the stairs with the full de-clutter plan
  • Remove all extras from the storage areas. Although a storage area will be used for storage the goal here is to show off how much shelf space or storage there is by cleaning them off. Keep only the essentials in these areas. This is not where you put all the de-clutter items from upstairs!

Anything you can do to spruce up the rooms will add value. Basements are often overlooked and forgotten in the whole staging /preparation process and yet they could really outshine your competitor’s and so they should!

For more information on Preparation for Staging and Selling see www.stageandsell.ca or call us at 780.452.4527

Do You Need An Agent?

Selling your property on your own may seem like it makes financial sense these days, but in the end may cost you more money than if you had called a professional real estate agent. Real Estate Agents are trained to know the ins and outs of the market because they understand it better than anyone, being in it every day. They’ll watch out for issues that may not be in your best interest and with their large network of information and resources at their fingertips, your home will sell more quickly.

Days On Market (DOM) have changed for sellers. Where it used to be 1-30 days, it’s now 60, 90 or more. And to make matters worse, the DOM for selling it yourself can be much longer. Exposure through the REALTOR system (hyperlink: http://www.realtor.ca system) is KEY to getting you an advantage over the DOM and put you in front of your potential buyer’s eyes. Agents can get more buyers in your home than you can by yourself.

When pricing, every home seller mistakenly thinks they “should try it higher for a while”. The reason this does not work is that the initial buying activity is in the first 21 days. If your home is priced too high- even by just $10,000 – buyers will show up, comparing your home to the others that are priced correctly, and invariably you are assisting those properties to sell faster, while yours sits and goes “stale”. Don’t let this happen to you!

“Let them make us an offer…”

It does not work this way. But if by chance they did make an offer, they would most likely offer you way less than what you would be willing to take, resulting in offense.

Why am I sharing this with you?

As a licensed but non-practicing real estate agent, I want to share my experience with home owners and help them make educated decisions. I want to help you make the most money possible because I am passionate about helping people sell houses.

How Do You Find an Agent that Suits You and will be a Good Fit?

I have created a Free Realtor Connector Referral Program, where I take the time to go over your selling needs on the phone, in order to match you with an agent that best fits you and your needs. I have access to over 3,200 agents in my database and have personal relationships with many of them. I can match you with someone in your area, who can assist you in your sale with integrity, professionalism and results. Call 780-452-4527 and ask for me, Jill Gargus or use our contact form.

The Skinny on Working with an Agent

Trust your agent to speak the truth. They will walk you through correct pricing procedures and it is VITAL that you stay within your range and watch the market conditions to stay ahead of the game. Use your own reasoning skills when reviewing the comparable SOLDS and ACTIVE listings. There is absolutely no room for sentiment when pricing a property. It is a product for sale.

Do not choose an Agent based on price! Agents who price high to get the listing are doing you a disservice. It will end up costing you more money and time in the end. Price competitively and at true market value! IF an Agent can’t be honest with you about your pricing then they are unlikely to stand up for you at the negotiating table.

Home Staging will not sell an Overpriced Listing

No matter how appealing your home looks, budget and comparable pricing is always an issue for home buyers. Price right! Stage it before showings start, and hire a Professional Real Estate Agent that can properly market it for you.

Jill Gargus is a licensed Real Estate Agent in the Province of Alberta, under Logic Realty. She does not actively sell, but can refer to you an Agent that will work well for your needs. This website in whole, is not intended to solicit listings that are currently under contract to other brokerages.

 

Fight for The Sale

The winner takes it all!

Home Sellers are doing more to offer a fabulous “product” to the buyers. They are fighting for the sale, with upgrades, painting and staging.

Many sellers have had the hard lesson that just cleaning, minor repairs and what I call “home owner staging” is NOT enough.

We have had so many clients this past year that still sat for months on the market despite their efforts to stage it themselves.

In regards to vacant properties, as that is our field of expertise, home owner staging is just that. The seller leaves some “things” behind and thinks they have staged the home. They haven’t, they simply left some furniture. It sends the message that they either can’t afford staging or they left in distress, as most sellers do not have the “touch” to create a room that draws the buyers in.
We understand the thought process, they think that leaving some furniture will give indication of the room sizes on www.mls.ca

Well it will, but that doesn’t really matter when you are trying to convince a buyer that your home ROCKS in a small photo.

It needs to have STYLE and COLOR and an Updated Look.

It needs to scream ” HEY, I am the BEST HOUSE in your PRICE RANGE!”
This past year some smart sellers have taken this message all the way to the bank…they upgraded things like flooring, lighting, interior doors, paint, faucets and appliances, then Staged it with us and SOLD!

Well what about everyone else? They are still for sale, gave up the fight or took a way lower price.

The best part of this is that Knowledge is Power and you can decide the budget for your upgrades, you decide the timeline you have to work with, and you decide to not be a victim of a struggling market…..

It’s your Choice!

Change your mind about how real estate used to be sold and see how it IS being sold now.

Isn’t the power to choose your future a great thing?????

 

 

Home Staging Aids Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

Foreclosure is an unpleasant topic, but one that some of us will have to deal with.

According to home staging expert Debra Gould, the key to avoiding foreclosure is to be proactive. “If you know that you will have difficulty making your mortgage payments in the near future, contact your lender immediately,” Gould states. “Explain your situation politely and clearly, and ask if you can negotiate a modified mortgage payment plan. Don’t be embarrassed to take this important step. Lenders are much more likely to work with you if you have contacted them before the foreclosure process has begun.”

Many people facing the prospect of foreclosure will decide that the best solution is to sell their houses. If this is the only viable option for you, then you have a particularly strong incentive to sell your home as quickly as possible and for the best possible price.

This means hiring the best agent for your area. Your agent should have an intimate knowledge of your neighborhood, be able to identify comparable home sales and make this information available to you. Additionally, he or she should disclose the current market conditions and have extensive networking abilities as well as solid negotiation skills.

If you have decided that selling your home is your best option, you will need to prep your home for showings. Hiring a professional home stager is the single best way to outshine your competition. It might seem counterintuitive to hire a professional stager when you’ve tightened your budget and are facing the sale of your home to avoid foreclosure; however, it has been proven time and time again that staged homes sell faster and for a higher price than homes that are sold “as is.”

The real estate market continues to see a great number of homes going on the market, and your home needs to stand out among the rest. You want your home to be the one that people fall in love with the moment they enter, and a home stager helps make that happen.

When hiring a home stager, remember that home staging is not a regulated field. Anyone can claim to be accredited or certified, and many present portfolios of their work that they bought as part of a course. When hiring a home stager, ask questions about any before and after photos you are shown, look for a demonstrated understanding of the local real estate market and don’t make a decision based solely on price. You often get what you pay for, and in a serious situation like the sale of your home, you need the very best professional advice available. Hiring the right real estate stager can mean an extra $10,000 to $70,000 in the selling price of your home.

When you are facing foreclosure and must sell your home quickly, pricing your home correctly and marketing it effectively are not always enough to get a quick sale in this market. You must go above and beyond other homes for sale in your neighborhood to catch the eye of potential buyers. By using the services of a professional home stager, your house is much more likely to be one that sells.” The Staging Diva

 

Jill Gargus makes Top 10 Finalist in RESA’s Professional Stager of the Year 2013

A couple of months ago I entered a Staging Contest with RESA, the Real Estate Staging Association. 

RESA supports and encourages Stagers across North America, and provides educational forums, contests, ethic and conduct monitoring as well as fun stuff like contests!

Stagers across Canada and the USA, all voted for their peers in the first round of voting. Photos were submitted and votes were based on a 1-10 scale. I spent over 3 hours voting for hundreds of my peers, reviewing their before and after photos WITHOUT knowing whose pictures they were. The names and watermarks were removed off all submitted photos and the judging was based on finished product and overall first impression, use of scale, color and transformations. Talent was strong and the pictures were all really good, it was a tough competition honestly!
Well, the  news is….I made it to the TOP 10 in Canada of Professional Stagers…and I am so honored and excited! There were multiple categories as well, and so many inspiring stories

www.HomeStagingIndustryAwards.com

And now it’s off to second rounds of voting for the all finalists and the winning title! Honestly I am so thankful to be nominated and I know how Oscar Nominee’s feel now when they say, “I am just glad to be nominated”-it’s true!

For all finalist details and photos…it’s exciting! Check it out!

Selling during Santa’s visit?   

How to tackle the decorations!

While Christmas is not an ideal time to list your home, it is sometimes the only thing that you can do. So how do you have a happy holiday and still not overwhelm buyers with all your stockings and decorations?

The key is to keep it very simple. While decorations are festive, there are buyers that do not celebrate this holiday and may be put off by the decor. If it were me, I would skip decorating altogether while trying to sell, however I realize that is not always an option especially if you have kids.

In my home I put up 4 trees, so I know your dilemma! Try to keep in mind that you are still having showings and if a buyer is trampling through the snow then you know they are serious. Selling real estate in the winter is serious business.

Keep the tree set up to only one, maybe a smaller size than the one you would normally use. Leave all the windows clear of decorations and skip the Mistle toe altogether! No need to make it awkward for the Agent and a Buyer!

It is also not advisable to nail stockings to the fireplace mantle. This causes damage and the buyers will not appreciate that. Keep lights to a minimum and don’t even think about using fake snow on anything- no exceptions!

Your property is your biggest asset and it is being marketed for sale, so treat it like a product on the market and keep it clean, clutter free and mildly festive. That way the buyers aren’t overwhelmed or distracted by the decorations and the kids can still have Christmas. There is a happy medium, if you continue to think like a property marketer.

Following this advice, can result in an offer during the holidays because people are always moving and buying homes regardless of the time of year. Let’s get your home sold so next year you can be in your new home and decorate it up to your hearts’ content!

ESA – Home Staging Industry Award(s)

Along with many other fabulous Professional Stagers and Home Staging Companies, we have been been voted in by our peers in the Real Estate Staging Association as one of the Top 10 Home Staging Teams of the Year 2015 in North America, and Jill has won a Top 10 title for Redesigner of the Year 2015 in North America! As well as the RESA Award from 2013 to Jill for Top 10 Professional Stager of the Year in Canada!

Free Packing Checklists

written by Jill Gargus

The process or packing is a daunting one at best. It is important to remember that not only does the process of pre-packing create visual space, it also creates ACTUAL space and square footage is what helps sell a property.

Let me encourage you, the packing you do now is going to make the process on moving day go so much easier….you will be glad you did it! A 50% reduced packing/moving day makes a world of difference when energy is low and stress is high on the BIG DAY.

So HOW do you handle this process now?

  1. Find a local storage unit to rent or borrow a friends garage OR
  1. Rent a pod for your driveway. See www.pods.comand use the promo word “Staging” to get a discount on their services. Pods are great because they land on your driveway, you load, they pick up and place in heated storage and then when you are ready they deliver to your new driveway for unloading. Very easy and less stress!
  1. Find a partner to delve into this project with you, it will make it go faster and be much easier
  1. Begin by removing all seasonal and holiday items (camping gear, winter sports items, Christmas stuff, bikes or wagons and large children’s toys etc)
  1. Create a “give away or donate” pile in one corner, some people just use their vehicle for that right from the start so it all only gets moved once
  1. Do a “once over the whole house” for all donate the items, use clear plastic bags or open boxes so that you can see the items are not garbage  and they don’t get mixed up by mistake
  1. Do closet purges of clothes including seasonal ones that you do not want anymore. Be honest and if it doesn’t fit- give it away!
  1. Create a zone for larger scale garbage items that may need to go to the dump, if necessary make a sign in the garage stating what zone it is so all family members are aware
  1. Remember there is no need to move things you could give away or throw out!!
  1. Whenever you have a garbage bag full take it directly outside
  1. Whenever you have a box full and ready for storage, take it to the pile or the pod. Don’t leave boxes full in your rooms, it will slow your process down and cause frustration.
  1. Keep a list by the fridge of all things you think of along the way. It is better to write it down then try to remember it. Trying to remember will take up mental energy that could be used elsewhere.
  1. Include the basement, garage and yard as part of this “first pass” purge. It will remind you of what is going on in all your spaces and give you a greater sense of accomplishment since the whole property will have been touched on
  1. Once you have done this general purge, decide if you are starting outside or in the basement and then pick a room or a shed and empty it out of all things that you can pack now. These are things you are keeping but are not going to need during the time your house is listed.
  1. Pack these items and mark the boxes on the TOP and 2 sides in large felt marker. Make a general note of where contents came from and what is in the box. For example:  “Shed: potting stuff” or “Under stairs: winter coats/boots” Also “FRAGILE”, if required.
  1. De-clutter one room or area at a time. Start and finish each room before moving on to the next. Do one entire floor before moving onto another. That way you can have a sense of accomplishment, limit your steps up and down, ease the stress level and be more focused. It’s like “How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time!”

A Bit on Boxes

  1. Do use smaller sturdy boxes for heavy items such as books and spread out the load so each box can be carried easily by anyone.
  1. Boxes from U-Haul or other moving companies do last for at least 3 moves or for storage and are worth the investment. Some sizes also have handles which is a real bonus! Add strength to your boxes with packing tape and do not overload them.
  1. DID you KNOW that if you buy U-Haul boxes and do not use them, they will BUY THEM BACK?
  1. Wrapping items in packing paper or bubble wrap is much cleaner than newspaper and will not require all dishes to be washed when you arrive at the new house. Newspaper bleeds and makes everything coated in black/grey ink so it actually causes more work at the end.
  1. You can also wrap some items in extra towels and create a padded box with extra bed sheets and pillows. This will balance your box weight better and save money on extra packing paper!
  1. Wrap mirrors in large area rugs or comforters and heavily tape them like a secure package with large notes on both sides saying “mirror”
  1. All extra evidence of pets should be packed also. Keep out only what you need
  1. Consider hiring movers for all or part of this process, you can book them for just the afternoon or one day only and then you can be prepared financially.  I have found that when I booked movers if I told them “I have a budget and can only hire you for 5 hours…” They were agreeable to that and seemed to work faster. If you get all the items to a spot in the garage and it is ready to go when they arrive, it makes things go much faster.

Keep in mind your end goal is to do half of this pack/move now and half on moving day. This breaks up the work load for you BUT better than that it will help you to sell your house faster since buyers are not forced to navigate through all your excess stuff. Buyers can more easily see what they are buying, see how large the space is and visualize themselves living there when the rooms are open, clean and free of chaos and clutter.

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