Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Slob's Guide to Home Staging

Okay so I've alluded to the fact that I'm lazy in the past, and, of course, by "allude" I mean I have been brutally honest about it.  I'm sure this will come as a surprise to...someone out there, that laziness is probably the number one contributing factor of sloppiness.  Probably.  I'm basing that purely on logic, but I'm not really great at logic so let's just say I made that up (but it sounds legit right?)

So to most of the population all of these will just make a ton of sense, but to a sloppy girl such as myself (or my children) sometimes we need things spelled out for us.  The number two contributing factor to overall sloppiness is...wait for it...the suspense is killing me...CHILDREN! Boom!  That my friends was the sound of a huge truth bomb!  My kids are the cleaning.  They are pretty much the finest and brightest in every other respect, and I love them dearly which is why I'm still harboring their filthy selves up under my roof.  That and because I'm required to, by law, but mostly the love thing.

So, anybody else find half eaten bowls of mac and cheese hidden under the couch because when I told them to take care of their dish that was what made sense.  Don't even get me started with what I find in the couch.  This Studio C skit is what I think of every time I have to put my hand into the cushions.  That is a scary, gross territory and I am afraid to venture into it.  The couch stuff is just the tip of the grossness iceberg that is my children.  They seem baffled that I would flip over trash on the floor...let me be clear here, ITS ON THE FLOOR!  They can't imagine why potential buyers wouldn't be ok with them leaving panties on the floor, and don't even get me started on the bathroom.   They also can't imagine WHY  I would demand that all the dishes are washed before we go to bed.

Long story short my kids aren't loving my new pro-active keeping the house near a constant state of readiness.  I love it.  I mean holy beautiful house batman!  Why were we living like slobs before?  I want for our house to be ready to be shown at any given time with-in an hour.  Although, my awesome realtor wrote it into my listing that we need 24 hours notice because we flipping live here.  So here it is ladies and gents my guide to be a sloppy housekeeper selling a house.

1. Take out the trash.  One of the last things I do before I walk out of our house about to show is take ALL the trash out.  Nobody wants to smell your funky junk, or see what kind of garbage you have.  So take care of it prior to a showing.  I'm usually an advocate of leaving it until the trash can is full so as not to waste a perfectly good bag, but for this I take a large lawn and garden bag and just dump all the trash can contents into one bag.   Bam, waste problem solved!

2. Turn on the lights, and I mean ALL of them.  You only get one chance at a first impression.  You need to wow them from the time they walk in the door, and keep them interested the whole way through.  I always thought lighting wasn't that big of a deal.  Which is sad since Señor Hotness has worked in the world of lighting for most of our marriage.  When we redid our Texas house we really put a ton of attention into our lighting.  That was the upside to living with a lighting professional.  He knew what we needed, and where we needed it.  It was heavenly.  It was then that I became a fan or proper lighting.  Your home will never look as good as it does when it is well lit.  Light bright spaces are far more appealing than dark areas.  So deal with the energy impact and turn on those lights.

3.  Make sure your window coverings are open.  I know that those window coverings are really wonderful for privacy, but if you've got views use them.  Show them what they have the potential of looking at if they decide to buy your pad.  This is also one of the last things I do before I have a viewing.  Natural light is also an incredible plus.  It brings some of the outdoors, indoors, and helps all the rooms with windows feel bigger.

4.  Give everything a last minute shine.  I have begun to utilize the full power of the horde in home staging.  It is my tween's job to clean all three bathrooms, and it is the moody seven year olds job to get out the furniture spray and give all the tables in the house a good wipe down.  I personally like the Pledge multi-surface for this.  Remember you aren't trying to do a deep cleaning.  Ideally that would have already taken place, and you are just maintaining the cleanliness.  The multi-surface spray is awesome because it also works with leather, and I have her give the family room sofa and love seat a quick wipe down as well.  The teen or I usually give the kitchen that last bit of sparkle.

5.  Make your beds when you wake up.  If you are making your bed when you roll out of it then that is one thing you aren't having to address when you get the call that someone wants to come take a look.  Its easier to straighten up an already made bed then it is having to feverishly make 5 beds.

6.  Make sure your house smells good.  Here is where things get tricky.  What you think smells good maybe super gross smelling to someone else.  So I have a scentsy warmer in the kitchen with a mild smelling wax in it.  The rest of the house gets spritzed with Febreeze fabric refresher.  I have the teen or the tween go through the house after we have finished.  Starting at the top, and coming down and give the sofa's, curtains, rugs, beds and closets a quick spritz.  I'm not talking about them drenching them down.  That would hit potential buyers with a wall of smell so strong their toes would curl.  It takes a practiced hand, but a gentle few spritzes to each room makes a room smell fresh and not at all over powering.  Make sure that you pick a more neutral scent.  For example I personally prefer a fruitier tropical scent, but I know that doesn't appeal to everyone so my Febreeze scent is fresh linen.  It is a gentle scent that smells of fresh laundry which as everyone one can attest is pretty much the best smell on the planet earth.  For the closets that tend to smell like a nasty foot I did get odor eaters because nobody wants to smell someone else's gross foot smell.

I'm pretty sure any and all of these can be found in the Fly Lady manifesto of home cleanliness, but for us mere mortals these are learned behaviors.  I will say I am in love with our clean house, and much to my children's horror have declared that this will be a new way a living for our family going forward whether we're selling our house or not.  These are all great ideas that will help elevate your home when it is shown to buyers.  You want to grab, and keep their attention from the first time they walk in the door.  You want potential buyers thinking about how great their furniture would look in your home, and how they would use all the spaces themselves.  You want them to be thinking about living happily ever after in their home so that you can move on, and create your own happily ever after in your new home.

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Staged to Sell: Minor Changes to a Magnificent Kitchen

One draw back to our house was the kitchen.  It was a super swanky kitchen for the 1970s, and looks like I probably got a facelift sometime in the 1990s but on a whole it isn't generally what buyers are going to be looking for right now.  When that happens you have to play up your strengths, and make your weak areas fall to the background. 

So first things first...

This is a picture from our homes listing when we bought it.  I was super excited when I saw this because of the double ovens, a large pantry, and brick floors.  The things I wasn't as excited about was the mauve counters, and finding out that the bottom oven didn't work.

So we didn't opt to try to have them fix the oven, but after I moved in I called the appliance repair guy only for him to tell me that they don't make parts to fix my oven.  New double ovens are super pricey.  So I turned to the internet to diagnose and/or find refurbished parts for my oven.  I found out that the code sign that flashed was because the motherboard was going bad, and needed to be replaced.  I also found a company ( that fixes motherboards for discontinued ovens.  So for $200 our ovens were once again fully functional.  Which was a way better price than the thousands we would have been looking at otherwise, and the ovens aren't so dated that they look awful.  That match the space, and now they work great.

Fix janky oven, check!  The next item on the chopping block was the trash compactor.

The classiest feature of this thing was the massive dent in the front, and the fact that it too wasn't functional.  Add to it that I really don't like trash compactors, and this think was not going to go through any kind of a overhaul.  It was just going to be hauled right up out of my kitchen.

Which left behind a perfect trashcan sized hole, but the inside of the leftover cubby wasn't finished.  See the nails poking up along that one side, and how the edges were worn and gross looking?

Then there was this!  When the dreamy brick was added they didn't bother to address the back two inches of the trash compactor cubby.  Which I find super uncool.

So I had some bead board wallpaper left over, and I applied it to one side.  It was paintable so I was able to paint it to match the cupboards.

Then to address the missing floor I had Señor Hotness make a false floor with a few planks of high quality maple flooring that I bought at a thrift shop.  It wasn't enough to actually floor a room so it was a perfect use of it.  We used 1 x 2's to create raised foundation for the planks to rest on, and I simply laid the planks in and trimmed them out.  Then we bought some angle trim to trim out the scuffed opening, and to finish off the floor edge.  And...

Bam!  Not looking bad, huh?  The maple flooring looks super awesome there.

If we were staying I would have had Señor Hotness add a shelf to the top of the cubby for cutting boards or something. This however gives a buttoned up, finished look to this cubby like it was always meant to be this awesome looking.

Then I added a bit of trim around the dishwasher area to give it a little more of a finished look.

All the trim was adhered using liquid nails. because I was finishing these areas up while Señor Hotness was on the road.

Which brings me to another point.  CLEAN UP YOUR CRAP!  I found a lot of stuff like this.  Honestly standing up, and working around in the kitchen this isn't really apparent.  When listing your home for sale you want to make sure that everything is spotless.

Have you ever heard that ugly people need to have a great personality because they can't afford to alienate people with an off putting personality too.  Well a dated kitchen can't afford to being messy.  Its already dated the last thing it needs is clutter turning people off to the space even more.

When I started scrubbing the kitchen cabinet I realized that lots of areas that I thought were bits of food were actually chipped paint.  When we bought the house the cabinets were already painted.  So I took one of the cabinet doors off, and had it color matched at the store.  This was awesome because paint fades over time, and I was able to match the exact tone of the current cabinet color.  Meaning that I could get away with spot painting the chips, and not having to paint all of the cupboards just because of a few chips.

My last bit of advice is to dress a space for its intended purpose.  For example we never used the breakfast nook as a breakfast nook, but when selling a house people may not be room changing weirdos like us so I needed to make a change.  Bonus points if you recognize this table from a previous blog post.  So they may be expecting a breakfast nook to be...a breakfast nook.

These are the official listing photos that were taken by our awesome neighbor and local photographer Kevin Beasley.  What do you think?

Not looking bad, right?  The things that I couldn't change were the counter-tops, but by making sure everything was super clean and had a finished look to it that doesn't seem quite so heinous anymore.  Now you are able to truly see the bonuses of the space.

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