17 Dec

Why You Should Improve Your Fireplace Mantel When Selling

updated fireplace mantel in a newly staged Long Island home

I can’t tell you how many times I have recommended painting and updating fireplace mantels in homes when a client is selling. Especially red brick fireplaces – when I mention it should be painted or updated, I get this “We think you are crazy Linda” look on my clients’ faces.

A vacant investor property that I staged (above) had the ugliest red brick fireplace – and someone (the investor or the investor’s painter) had the ridiculous idea of painting it even redder – making it worse!

before pic of an ugly brick fireplace

It’s a little tough to tell in this pic – but the painter had painted over the red brick – and it wasn’t even a good job. Painting it white or off white would have been better! Adding the bluestone to it made it even more ridiculous and keeping the ugly brassy doors kept it looking too 70s.

Here’s an after shot, in the same angle. once the fireplace was redone and the furniture and accessories were placed in the room.

Adding the furniture, artwork and accessories really helped – but what an eyesore this fireplace would have been without adding the stacked stone!

NEWSFLASH – this home sold in a month!  Plus – it had several other less than wonderful attributes…

  • It was a little over-priced for the area
  • There was a concrete backyard…no grass
  • It wasn’t in the desirable school district (which was a block or two from it!)
  • Neighbors have two yappy dogs which they let out way too often

Plus…a few other little things that I could enumerate. If they had left the fireplace “as is,” heaven knows how long it would have taken to sell! A fireplace mantel is the focal point of most living rooms and great rooms – you have to make sure it’s given its due by making it a special feature.

Before the investor relented and changed the brick to stacked stone – I had suggested a less expensive alternative – painting.

Here’s a before and after of my blog friend, Leslie Stocker’s, red brick fireplace…

Via www.lesliestocker.com

What a huge difference!! By painting both the brick and the wooden mantel shelf – she updated her fireplace in a day. This is huge – not only for homeowners…but for home sellers on a budget. Notice she painted the brassy/gold parts of the fireplace door black, which updates it further. This needs to be done with heatproof paint. In my project, the door was spray painted with heatproof paint as well.

Another easy way to update your fireplace (when you don’t have a mantel!) is to just use a mantel shelf – and accessories.

Living room fireplace in Great Neck NY after home staging

Living Room Fireplace After Staging

This was another home staging project that I did over the summer – where the home seller had completely ignored having a fireplace at all. There was just a firebox in the wall – that’s it. So, I re-arranged her furniture, added a mantel shelf, art, accessories, an area rug, pillows etc – and now her living room looks like a wonderful place to sit down, relax and enjoy a cozy evening by the fire. You can see some before and afters and read more about that project here.

Home buyers are looking for their dream homes – you have to paint a picture for them. A fireplace is part of that dream for many prospective buyers, so if you have one…play it up…make it memorable. It will help you sell your house (even if you have some less desirable attributes!!

If you need help in making your fireplace look great, please contact me. I am a decorative artist also and have transformed many ugly features into beautiful designer pieces.

Happy selling!

26 Jun

The Stress Free Way to Sell (or List a Home)

Happy Summer to All. Hope you are having a wonderful season so far. I am for sure – I’m just about to go out sailing with my husband…but a blogpost first before the sail!

Today I wanted to talk about how to prevent a lot of stress when you are selling (or listing) a home for sale. Of course I will be talking about the benefits of staging your home first! Preparing your house the right way will absolutely take the stress out of this very stressful time.

Here are some reasons why…

When people put their homes up for sale, most times they showcase their “stuff” rather than highlighting the special features of their homes (the views, the architecture, the hardwood flooring, the fireplace mantel). Consequently, buyers may remember these homes as “the home with too many figurines” or “the home with the dated wallpaper.” When a stager comes in to help a seller prepare their home for market – they concentrate on making sure a potential buyer sees and remembers the special features of a home…and they help sellers downplay anything that may be a negative or a turnoff to a buyer.

Staging is not just a Service…

it’s really all about the underlying benefits you get that are the important points about staging.

Staging Benefit #1: Happy and More Confident Sellers

I love getting Thank You Notes like this!

I love getting Thank You Notes like this!

This lovely note I got from my Great Neck client tells me she is happy and she probably feels more secure about the look of her home as it goes on the market. I bet she is even more confident in her realtor too. And – a  happy, less stressed client won’t be calling their realtor every day wondering why their house hasn’t sold yet!

Staging Benefit #2: Saves Sellers Time and Will Probably Net Them a More Profitable Sale

Great Neck NY living room before

Living Room Before

 

Great Neck NY living room staged before going on the market

Living Room After Home Staging

Staging Benefit #3: Staging Brings out the Best Attributes of a Home and Shows Buyers How to Live in a Space

Great NeckNY living room fireplace before home staging

Living Room Fireplace Before

Living room fireplace in Great Neck NY after home staging

Living Room Fireplace After Staging

It was obvious to me that this client really didn’t have a decorating bone in her body.  She had really great furniture (Roche Bobois – that’s French for really darn expensive stuff!) and a beautiful baby grand piano. But, incorrectly placing these pieces and not establishing a focal point (ignoring it altogether actually) would not allow a buyer to see how to live in an open concept home like this.

I had my client purchase a mantel shelf, some pillows, artwork, area rugs (she bought the wrong size…but this is much better than “nothing”) and I brought in additional accessories to warm up the room and to give some emphasis to an otherwise over-looked fireplace. What I was able to do in a day – my client never accomplished in all the years she was living in the home!

For info on this home contact listing agent: Xiujing Zhang (JJ); Keller Williams. tel. (860) 266-4349

Staging Benefit #4: It Gives the Home Warmth, Personality and Shows Buyers How They Can Decorate

Vacant living room in the Mooring in East Islip NY

Vacant Living Room Before

Staging a beautiful but vacant waterfront home in East Islip NY

After Home Staging

Above, a large vacant home can feel cold and impersonal. Tall walls and mantels can feel imposing and difficult to decorate; Open floor plans may confound many buyers. This beautiful waterfront home in The Moorings in East Islip needed some furnishings and some love…some warmth.

Staging Benefit #5: Can Show Buyers the Function of a Room (i.e. how to use Bonus, Extra Rooms in a Large, Vacant Home)

how to stage a bonus vacant room

A Vacant Bonus Room

Staging a vacnt bonus room as an office

Bonus Room Staged as an Office

Bonus rooms not only confuse buyers but many sellers don’t know what to do with them either – so many times these spaces remain undecorated or they become “storage” rooms. Staging helps to give a reason – a function to these rooms. I wish that my own home office looked like this!

For information on this home, contact listing Agents: Joe Guiliani (tel. 631 774-6551) and Mike Watts (tel. 516 398-4845) of Michael J Watts and Associates. 

If you would like to feel more confident about your home for sale, please give me a call at 631 793-1315. I know that I can help you!