Part 4 Rooms, funiture and bathrooms

‘Staging is preparing a home for sale so the buyer can mentally move in”

Depersonalizing a home has now become essential to creating a welcoming atmosphere for potential buyers’

The internet has changed the way people buy and sell homes and that has made how a home shows more important than ever.

First impressions have always been important and now with U-Tube  videos , internet ads, Facebook , social media   and multiple interior photos on web sites a buyer visits your home  before stepping though the front door. The impression that those photos make are very important and that comes down to what is broadly known as staging.

From cleaning to styling, from fluffing to decluttering, to moving furniture to renting furniture, staging can come in many different forms and levels. Professional stagers and real estate agents can provide you with a number of varied services and advice.

Don’t crowd the Room: Rearrange the furniture. Walk through the house as if you were seeing it for the first time. Can you easily move around the rooms? Can you move from room to room without having to go around furniture? Can you get to and look out windows without furniture blocking the access.  Symmetrical arrangements usually work well in main rooms- create a conversation area and remove oversized furniture from the spaces.

128FourthAve 008

Think Hotel: When sprucing up a bathroom stay with neutral with color and accents – for a pop of color, a piece of artwork and a small vase of fresh flowers works well. Bathrooms should be spotless with lots of fresh white towels. This includes the master bedroom which should be gender neutral in color so that it appeals to everyone and again free of personal items. Crisp Linens, a nice piece of art work and organized linen closet will appeal to everyone.

172Greenfield 038

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Part 3 Paint colours and Outdoor spaces

5.Tone it down:

Our personal tastes in décor vary greatly however when photos are taken of a home and you have strong colors on the walls what you see is the colors and not the house or room. Highly recommended is choosing to repaint rooms that are richly or boldly colored (especially main rooms) to a more stylish neutral tone and that is not necessarily white.

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Earthy tones and rich mid tone neutrals create a backdrop that makes the rooms look large and inviting without being stark. Even a deep earthy tone can be lovely as long as there is little else in the room to clash with the colour and a good piece of art work to set off the room.

 6. Outdoor spaces:

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Whether you have a yard or a small balcony you want to create an atmosphere that invites a buyer to enjoy the spaces. Decks should be cleaned and stained, Flower pots placed as accents on patios and decks, grass cut and gardens weeded (you don’t want it to look like it is high maintenance ). Play up small spaces with a café table and chairs ( even a place setting) so a buyer sees that  it is a lovely place to have a coffee or a glass of wine”

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Many times a garden extends the indoor space – if you are selling in the summer have the door open so it is easy to walk right out into the terrace or garden.

An easy fix to privacy issues or to disguise items that are not as visually appealing the use of potted cedars , grasses or trees works wonderfully with out spending a fortune.

images (4)images (5)

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Part 2 Cleaning and Closets

HOW MUCH FUN IS THIS!!

4.Cleaning: This is something that is so important.  Most people do not think it is that much fun to do and I found found they are correct in this. Even though we think our homes are clean using a cleaning company just before you go to market or the photo shoot is worthwhile. Photos and video’s take close-ups of such things as taps and flooring so everything should sparkle. Even if a kitchen or bathroom is dated, if it is clean it makes a huge difference in the eyes of a buyer.

Image result for messy closets

3.Open those closets and cupboards:  Buyers will look in your closets and pull out built in drawers. Closet space is a big selling point for buyers so show your closets off to full advantage  aim to have around a quarter of the space open for the impression of spaciousness.  Not every one has huge closets or California closets but even a small closet can be made to look spacious and useful.

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Part 1 – all the world is a stage!

ALL THE WORLDS A STAGE: part 1- a  series of 10  points for getting ready to go to market .

‘Staging is preparing a home for sale so the buyer can mentally move in”

“Depersonalizing a home has now become essential to creating a welcoming atmosphere for potential buyers’

128FourthAve 007

The internet has changed the way people buy and sell homes and that has made how a home shows more important than ever.

First impressions have always been important and now with U-Tube  videos , internet ads, Facebook , social media  and multiple interior photos on web sites a buyer visits your home  before stepping though the front door. The impression that those photos make are very important and that comes down to what is broadly known as staging.

From cleaning to styling, from fluffing to decluttering, to moving furniture to renting furniture, staging can come in many different forms and levels. Professional stagers and real estate agents can provide you with a number of varied services and advice.

Sometimes it can overwhelm a homeowner when starting the process but some simple points can help de stress the process.

I am going to mention only  10 points a few at a time that always have remained true with buyers and sellers through the years.

  1. Curb appeal: this is something you always hear but it is amazing how many of us neglect our front entrance. Buyers may do a drive by, you want a good impression. So, paint or stain the front steps, rail, and porches, paint the front door a colour that accents the home, replace old house numbers and mailbox.  A planter of flowers or seasonal decoration is always nice.  A new doormat is nice, It all says “welcome home” to  a buyer and shows pride of ownership.

Image result for front door and porch of homes

2. Clear away Clutter:  “Remember Less is More”:  Counters, tops of furniture, tables, desktops, closets, bookcases should be purged of anything you no longer want and personal items such as family photos and personal collectables should be put away or stored. You can bring all those things back once the house has sold, the idea of space is important in the eyes of a buyer. Furniture can be rearranged to make rooms look larger and pieces removed, or new ones added.

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Sometimes you may have to rent a storage locker for a while but it is worth it. I know that it is “your taste and style’ however you are trying to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible so a clean palette is important for them to see the house properly with their things.  To be continued….

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Part 5 The Basement and Lighting

Part 5 of a 5 part series about getting your home ready for sale

‘Staging is preparing a home for sale so the buyer can mentally move in”

“Depersonalizing a home has now become essential to creating a welcoming atmosphere for potential buyers’

The internet has changed the way people buy and sell homes and that has made how a home shows more important than ever.

First impressions have always been important and now with U-Tube  videos , internet ads, Facebook , social media   and multiple interior photos on web sites a buyer visits your home  before stepping though the front door. The impression that those photos make are very important and that comes down to what is broadly known as staging.

9. The Basement: Purge, Purge, Purge.1. Get rid of anything you no longer want or use.2. Organize the remaining in one area so that the basement walls and floors are visible. Try to have shelving units to organize the items ( they do not have to be fancy – Ikeas /Rona /Home Depot have lots of good items that are very affordable .3.  Make sure that around the electrical, plumbing stack and furnace is easily accessible and visual. 4. Broom clean /vacuum the floor and also highly recommended is to paint the concrete if the area is not finished. 5. Make sure the stairs are solid and easy to access- handrail a must. 6. Get rid of those spider webs from the ceilings and walls of unfinished parts and clean the top of the furnace and hot water tank.  If you have a finished basement remember that if you are /marketing it as a living space then make sure it shows like the rest of the house. The basement is usually the last place a buyer goes and it leaves a lasting impression. Make it a good one._MG_5085images (8)images (7)

10. Lighting:  1. Take advantage of your windows by having them cleaned and keep the drapes or blinds open. 2. Outdated and broken light fixtures can easily and cheaply be replaced and remaining ones should be dusted and cleaned- including exterior lights. 3. Add lamps and supplementary lighting to dark areas or rooms. 4.Make sure the basement is well lit as well . 5.  For showings  have the blinds and drapes open as well as having the lighting on. 6. Kitchen , bathrooms , basement and main hallways should be lit, it makes a big difference. 7. Table lamps  on for the darker spaces. In the summer of course the lights can make the house warm so  air out the house and have the air conditioning  on to keep it fresh .

You are looking to sell a valuable asset and the time spent on getting your home ”Fit to Sell” is worth it.

Stay tuned for “where’s my stuff “and the Life Box to survive selling your home .

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Thinking of a move!

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As a home owner it is always after a snow storm I ask myself  why I would be here in the winter! Why do I live in a home with rooms I visit occasionally! I also always seem to find that in the winter months that there appears to be so much more junk in my home. Where does it all come from! Winter blues? Maybe!  However, as part of the baby boom generation I spend a lot of time with clients of my generation and most at some point ask themselves the same questions . Sitting on large homes that are usually your largest tax free asset may not make sense.

Ottawa’s housing market has been on a terrific run, helped by low interest rates, low supply of good homes l have pushed up home values.  This may be a good time as any for the downsizing baby boomers to  look to add to their nest egg by cashing out on the real estate market. Financial advisers say the decision to sell the family home isn’t one that can be rushed and requires careful planning before you list your home for sale

As experienced real estate agents we can certainly do that . In some cases planning can take months , others mere weeks but hiring an agent who is skilled at helping you through the process of getting a home ready is hugely important not only in obtaining the price you desire but in the minimalizing the stress sometimes around getting a home ready for sale. We focus in on the important items and provide guidance.

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Last year I wrote a series of articles about some of the aspects of getting your home ready for sale

Here are the links

http://teskey.com/category/expert-advice/staging-and-getting-the-house-ready

 

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Below are the average sale prices in Ottawa since 1969 It has been an amazing run – some years better than others but a steady good news story for most  home owners. An 18 year run of increase prices sometimes in the double digits.

Last year 2015 saw another 1.7 increase in the average sale to bring the average house sale price in Ottawa to $367,632. 00

Of course many of the core areas are more in demand than the suburbs and the average  prices are much, much higher. Regardless a property needs to be priced correctly for what the market will bear and there are times in the last few years that the market has turned sluggish for sometimes 6 months. So that planning and keeping up to date on the market is an  important aspect for  the sale of your home.

1969 $25,652 10.0
1970 $26,532 3.4
1971 $27,808 4.8
1972 $30,576 10.0
1973 $38,305 25.3
1974 $46,661 21.8
1975 $49,633 6.4
1976 $54,623 10.1
1977 $57,032 4.4
1978 $59,134 3.7
1979 $61,896 4.7
1980 $62,748 1.4
1981 $64,896 3.4
1982 $71,080 9.5
1983 $86,245 21.3
1984 $102,084 18.4
1985 $107,306 5.1
1986 $111,643 4.0
1987 $119,612 7.1
1988 $128,434 7.4
1989 $137,455 7.0
1990 $141,438 2.9
1991 $143,361 1.4
1992  $143,868 0.4
1993 $148,129 3.0
1994 $147,543 -0.4
1995 $143,193 -2.9
1996 $140,534 -1.9
1997 $143,873 2.4
1998 $143,953 0.1
1999 $149,650 4.0
2000 $159,511 6.6
2001 $175,971 10.3
2002 $200,711 14.1
2003 $218,692 9.0
2004 $235,678 7.8
2005 $244,532 3.8
2006 $255,889 4.7
2007 $272,618 6.4
2008 $290,366 6.6
2009 $303,888 4.9
2010 $327,225 7.7
2011 $343,284 4.9
2012 $351,792 2.3
2013 $357,348 1.6
2014 $361,707 1.2

Enjoy your dreams.

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MINIMALIST V MAXIMALIST

FT columnists Lucy Kellaway and David Tang correspond after visiting each other’s homes
Dear Sir David
It was great to meet you this morning and thank you both for visiting me in Islington and showing me all three of your splendid London homes — in Chelsea, Piccadilly and Hyde Park. I expect you noticed that I am an exceedingly nosy person, so you can imagine what a kick I got out of seeing your priceless furniture and paintings, inspecting your bookcases and — this was the bit I liked best of all — rifling through your cupboards and drawers.Yet I hope you won’t be hurt if I tell you how relieved I was to get back to my own empty kitchen afterwards. I made myself a cup of tea, closed my eyes and sat quietly trying to collect myself before writing to you.

Lucy Kellaway in the kitchen of her home in London©Victoria Birkinshaw

Lucy Kellaway in the kitchen of her home in London

In advance I had been warned that your approach to interior design was maximalist, but nothing had prepared me for the sheer volume of stuff you own. Your wife, who is a devotee of yoga, tells me that there is not enough floor in any of your houses on which to unroll a yoga mat. Sometimes she pushes the table to one side in the dining room in Chelsea, but even then there are chairs, enormous chandeliers, sideboards, occasional tables, paintings in bubble wrap leaning on the walls, seven hats, half a dozen Chinese clocks and a lot of electric cable. And it’s the sparsest room in the house.

I gathered from our conversation that you have five further houses — two in Hong Kong, two in Beijing and one in New York — and that a similar approach to stuff is evident in all of them. In addition, you have three warehouses to store additional belongings (two of which you have kept secret from your wife). Far from getting rid of things, you tell me you adore shopping and are adding to the pile. While your driver was taking us from one house to another, I overheard you saying you’ve just ordered another 12 shirts. What is it all about?

I know the question of clutter is partly a matter of personality. But wouldn’t life be simpler if you got rid of some of it? And not just simpler, wouldn’t you be able to appreciate the beauty of some of the things you owned, if there wasn’t so much of it?

As I explained to you earlier this morning when you inspected my house in London, I am a recent disciple of Marie Kondo, the Japanese tidying guru. Last autumn I read her declutter manifesto, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, and since then I have applied her simple test to everything I own. I have sifted through all my belongings, asking of each item: does this give me joy? If not, I carted it off to the dump. As not much of what I owned gave me joy, my house is now almost empty, which does give me joy, in a surprisingly large quantity.

What, I wonder after my visits this morning, would happen if you gave your stuff the Kondo treatment? Would you end up chucking it all, too? Or does all of it really give you joy?

That’s all for now. I’ve been direct with you, and I hope you’ll return the favour. Tell me honestly — what did you think of my house? I really want to know. Please reply quickly

Lucy

. . .

My dear Lucy

David Tang in the office/study of his Chelsea home©Victoria Birkinshaw

David Tang in the office/study of his Chelsea home

First, I only have three more homes, not five: two in Hong Kong and one in Beijing. And none in Noo Yawk.

But thank you for showing me your one home, whose manicured tidiness offered, I admit, a sense of calmness but also a feeling of tedium. There was no immediate excitement and few surprises, except for the oversized Victorian sideboard in your hallway, which immediately jarred with a lot of your G Plan-ish furniture.

The most important point about my visit was that it confirmed to me your embrace of Kondo for her dubious principle of joy through decluttering. Doesn’t that make you a slave to possessions when possessions should be our slaves?

Also, as a Chinese, I have never really trusted the Japanese. For a start, the world’s most cluttered department store, with far more stock keeping units than any other in the world, is of course Tokyu Hands. I love that store in Tokyo and spend hours rummaging through its vast range of goods. What would Kondo say about this quintessentially Japanese institution? She certainly wouldn’t be engaged as a merchandiser there. Imagine the horror of a total depletion of choices!

When my wife suggested to me the possibility of being “Kondonised”, I immediately resisted because I adore being surrounded by masses of stuff, so that I don’t have to be bored by looking at empty walls or pieces of furniture with nothing on or in them. Just think of the anticlimax of opening a large drawer only to find, as I did in your set of drawers next to your bed, just a few rolled up bundles of your husband’s monochromatic underpants — and a half empty drawer. If you opened mine, it would offer you a whole range of socks: from thick to thin, from long to short, from wool to cotton, from black to white, from yellow to blue, from plain to patterned. It’s like Aladdin’s cave and who wouldn’t want to stumble into Aladdin’s cave?

No, I don’t need tidying up. Beethoven never did. Nor Brahms nor Einstein. They all lived among piles of stuff. If such maximal environments were good enough for them then they’re good enough for me. Stuff the Kondo, I say.

Masses of love

Sir David Anthony Prise
Wing-Cheung Tang, KBE, OBE, Chevalier l’Ordre des 
Arts et des Lettres, DSc, BA

. . .

Dear Sir David

Lucy Kellaway’s trousers rolled up in a bedroom drawer©Victoria Birkinshaw

Kellaway’s trousers rolled up in a bedroom drawer

So sorry to have slightly overestimated the size of your property portfolio. In return, may I correct a couple of minor misapprehensions you have about my house? First, what you saw in the drawer were not my husband’s underpants but my trousers. Second, it’s Ercol, not G-plan. And, finally, my mother would have been most distressed to have her aunt’s 18th-century oak dresser described as an oversized Victorian sideboard. The reason it survived my recent cull was because it gave my mum joy. Kondo would not approve of such sentimentality, but I’m not such a slavish disciple that I have to follow her in everything.

I note you enlist Beethoven in your defence. Granted, he wrote some fine music without being a neat freak; but equally he didn’t spend his life wasting time shuttling between half a dozen different homes, and I very much doubt if he started each day dithering over a vast choice of socks.

Lucy Kellaway’s 18th-century oak dresser©Victoria Birkinshaw

Kellaway’s 18th-century oak dresser

You are evidently pleased with your sock collection, but your drawer was so full it was difficult to open; I bet there are 100 pairs at the bottom that you haven’t seen in decades. My objection to all this isn’t waste, it’s inefficiency. You told me that you recently bought a new suit and then promptly lost it. It took your wife and staff three days to search among the 100-plus you already own before it turned up. Isn’t that evidence enough?

And mentioning your wife again brings me to a final point. Your way of living imposes a cost on your family — and on your staff. When I asked your housekeeper if you should have less, she rolled her eyes in agreement. Perhaps in the end you and I are similar — both being selfish in imposing respectively extreme disorder and extreme order on those who live with us.

Should we both mellow a touch in their interests?

Lucy

. . .

My dear Lucy

David Tang’s untidy sock drawer©Victoria Birkinshaw

Tang’s untidy sock drawer

So you wear the trousers. Nevertheless, since you snitched on me by telling my wife in a FaceTime conversation about my two hidden warehouses, perhaps I should, for the benefit of your husband, reciprocate your underhand move by exposing your confession to me that, when he is at work, you regularly select various possessions of his and secretly dispose of them.

I suppose I must take your word for it that your oak old dresser is 18th century, although it doesn’t detract from the fact that it is too rustic and bulky in your hallway. Even by your own admission, it deserves culling under the Kondo principle which does not allow for “transferred joy”, which you impute to your mother. It’s no good preaching the Kondo creed if you conveniently ignore it when it suits you. And there lies your Achilles heel: that your life should be shaped by an arbitrary evaluation against which you end up cheating.

As opposed to such a slippery slope, we keepers of possessions are free from any fetters — we have no urgency to get rid of anything at any time. We stand fast on what we choose to keep and have no compunction to act as hoarders. I call it lazy freewill which is a real luxury. If the price of this is to have a drawer jammed full of socks which might never see the light of day then I draw comfort from the fact that our ocean floors are buried with immense biodiversity of which we know nothing.

Furthermore, we love the serendipities and sense of frisson arising from the sudden discovery of things we had long forgotten. These are sensations you miss out on because you have thrown away most of your things and will never suddenly come across them again, and if you do remember any of them, you can only wallow in nostalgia and regret.

David Tang’s books and suits packed into a wardrobe©Victoria Birkinshaw

Tang’s books and suits packed into a wardrobe

You are mistaken that I live an inefficient life. As I buy almost everything in multiples, I have everything I need at each of my abodes. Hence, I hardly ever have to pack when I travel between Beijing and Hong Kong and London. I get on the aeroplane simply with my shoulder bag and luxuriate in the knowledge that I have everything I need at the other end. Ergo, I live a very efficient life involving lots of travel.

And you need not shed any sympathy for those working around me. They know they are not expected to do any real tidying up, especially with my books, pictures or clothes that happily remain piled up or stuffed up until further notice, which is usually a long time. Therefore, they only attend to surface cleaning, whose spring never seems to come. This laissez-faire attitude lightens their workload and I should be credited for being considerate.

So please, as your new best friend, even if we disagree on the stuff of life, I beg you not to slide down that inexorable path of gradual elimination. It’s a dangerous tendency to “tidy things up”, when that job should only be properly handled by the henchmen of the Yakuza.

Masses of love

Sir David Anthony Prise
Wing-Cheung Tang, KBE, OBE, Chevalier l’Ordre des 
Arts et des Lettres, DSc, BA

Photographs: Victoria Birkinshaw

. . .

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All the world’s a Stage part 4- Tip 7 and 8

 ‘Staging is preparing a home for sale so the buyer can mentally move in”

“Depersonalizing a home has now become essential to creating a welcoming atmosphere for potential buyers’

The internet has changed the way people buy and sell homes and that has made how a home shows more important than ever.

First impressions have always been important and now with U-Tube  videos , internet ads, Facebook , social media   and multiple interior photos on web sites a buyer visits your home  before stepping though the front door. The impression that those photos make are very important and that comes down to what is broadly known as staging.

From cleaning to styling, from fluffing to decluttering, to moving furniture to renting furniture, staging can come in many different forms and levels. Professional stagers and real estate agents can provide you with a number of varied services and advice.

38FirstAv 008Don’t crowd the Room: Rearrange the furniture. Walk through the house as if you were seeing it for the first time. Can you easily move around the rooms? Can you move from room to room without having to go around furniture? Can you get to and look out windows without furniture blocking the access.  Symmetrical arrangements usually work well in main rooms- create a conversation area and remove oversized furniture from the spaces.

128FourthAve 008

 Think Hotel: When sprucing up a bathroom stay with neutral with color and accents – for a pop of color, a piece of artwork and a small vase of fresh flowers works well. Bathrooms should be spotless with lots of fresh white towels. This includes the master bedroom which should be gender neutral in color so that it appeals to everyone and again free of personal items. Crisp Linens, a nice piece of art work and organized linen closet will appeal to everyone.

172Greenfield 038

32FirstAve_0092

38FirstAv 033

 

Tags

All the worlds a stage part 3

painting

5.Tone it down:

Our personal tastes in décor vary greatly however when photos are taken of a home and you have strong colors on the walls what you see is the colors and not the house or room. Highly recommended is choosing to repaint rooms that are richly or boldly colored (especially main rooms) to a more stylish neutral tone and that is not necessarily white.

12

Earthy tones and rich mid tone neutrals create a backdrop that makes the rooms look large and inviting without being stark. Even a deep earthy tone can be lovely as long as there is little else in the room to clash with the colour and a good piece of art work to set off the room.

31

 

 6. Outdoor spaces:

276

Whether you have a yard or a small balcony you want to create an atmosphere that invites a buyer to enjoy the spaces. Decks should be cleaned and stained, Flower pots placed as accents on patios and decks, grass cut and gardens weeded (you don’t want it to look like it is high maintenance ). Play up small spaces with a café table and chairs ( even a place setting) so a buyer sees that  it is a lovely place to have a coffee or a glass of wine”

33

Many times a garden extends the indoor space – if you are selling in the summer have the door open so it is easy to walk right out into the terrace or garden.

An easy fix to privacy issues or to disguise items that are not as visually appealing the use of potted cedars , grasses or trees works wonderfully with out spending a fortune.

 

images (4)images (5)

 

Tags

ALL THE WORLDS A STAGE- PART 2

VACUMN

HOW MUCH FUN IS THIS!!

4.Cleaning: This is something that is so important.  Most people do not think it is that much fun to do. Even though we think our homes are clean using a cleaning company just before you go to market or the photo shoot is worthwhile. Photos and video’s take close-ups of such things as taps and flooring so everything should sparkle. Even if a kitchen or bathroom is dated, if it is clean it makes a huge difference in the eyes of a buyer.

Image result for messy closets

 

3.Open those closets and cupboards:  Buyers will look in your closets and pull out built in drawers. Closet space is a big selling point for buyers so show your closets off to full advantage  aim to have around a quarter of the space open for the impression of spaciousness.  Not every one has huge closets or California closets but even a small closet can be made to look spacious and useful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags