Tuesday, March 13, 2018

How Much Does It Cost to Stage Your Vacant Home?

If you have ever lived in a home for sale, you can appreciate how challenging it can be to maintain a show-ready home for the duration of the listing. Of course, this is made especially difficult if you happen to have pets, kids, or any other type of life. While it is much less stressful for you as a homeowner to sell a home that you are not living in, an empty home puts a great deal of additional stress onto your buyer. 

The number rule of selling (anything) is that it’s not about you. In order to set yourself up for sales success, you will need to understand your buyer‘s needs, put those needs before your own, and clearly outline how you can help to deliver on those needs. What problem do you solve? Your buyer will have a list of wants and needs when looking at a home, but ultimately they will want and need something that fits their daily lifestyle. 

This is where home staging comes in. Homes that have been professionally staged spend 90% less time on the market (source: Real Estate Staging Association). Buyers view professionally staged listings as “well-maintained”, and are willing to pay more for a move-in ready home. In fact, a staged home will sell, on average, for 6.5% higher than an unstaged home, according to the Real Estate Staging Association. Despite these great statistics, we understand that it doesn’t make it any easier to open your wallet and spend money on a home that you are selling. Let’s face it – it’s not as though you are decorating a home that you are going to live in, so the joy in home staging, as a seller, comes upon the sale of the home, and the extra money in your pocket as a result. But what if it doesn’t sell? What guarantees do you have? And how much is the initial investment going to be?

Before we can tell you what it will cost to stage your vacant property, there are a few things that we need to consider. There are a number of factors that contribute towards a positive sale of a house, including the price, positioning in the market, and advertising. Home staging will help a home to sell for more money, but it is still subject to market restrictions, and will only sell for what someone is willing to pay for it. Think of home staging a part of your marketing strategy. It is not about decorating a home, but instead it is about showcasing the features of the home, and selling buyers on the lifestyle and experience of living there. 

Why are vacant homes difficult to sell?
  • 90% of buyers do not have the ability to visualize a space beyond what they see – vacant homes rely on their buyers to possess this skill in order to ensure that the house sells
  • Vacant rooms have no where to hide – buyers will easily scrutinize every aspect of the home
  • Buyers struggle to connect emotionally to a vacant home
  • Empty rooms appear smaller than they are – home staging not only helps to show the scale of the room and the furniture that will fit, but it helps to clearly define the purpose of a room, and the optimal furniture placement 
What is involved in the home staging process?
Most professional home stagers will begin with a home staging consultation, where they will visit the property to evaluate it and create a custom staging plan. In most cases, there will be a fee for this consultation (generally ranging from $100-$300 – BTSH Home Staging Consultations start at $150 + tax). In some cases, this fee may be refunded, in part or in full, if the staging company is hired for the full-service vacant home staging. In this consultation, you will receive some recommendations for updates or repairs, as well as some details about the staging that they will do (this may include a basic home staging plan, rooms to be staged, pricing, etc.).

Partial home staging vs full home staging
You may choose to stage only the main rooms of the home, however we strongly recommend staging the full house to maximize your home staging investment. Home staging helps to eliminate distractions, and create an experience for your buyers, and empty rooms will create a disconnect. As well, if any rooms are small or unusually shaped, buyers will find these rooms especially difficult to envision, and will usually underestimate their potential. Full home staging will always provide the greatest return on your investment, however if your budget will not allow for this, you can review options with your qualified home stager.

Weighing your options
It is not unusual to get a couple of bids for your home staging project, however the decision should be made on a variety of factors, and pricing should be the least of these. Remember that not all home stagers and home staging companies are created equal. Choose the company that you feel will best represent your home, and result in the best outcome. While there are a number of home staging techniques that most home stagers will follow, it is still a very subjective service, and different home stagers will create a different plan. When reviewing the home stager that you wish to work with, be sure to qualify their portfolio, experience, inventory quality, awards and accolades, certification training and continuing education, association affiliations, insurance coverage, etc. 

What does it cost?
Depending on the home (size, number of rooms, outdoor spaces to be staged, style of home, etc.), home staging services can cost you anywhere from $2,500 - $10,000 to stage properly. As well, the access to your property or the distance from the company’s service area can also affect the pricing. While condominium apartments are generally low square footage, the moving process can take much longer and therefore increase the staging fees. 

The investment for your home staging project includes more than just a few pieces of furniture. It covers the expertise of the home stager, and the time required to create and execute a successful home staging plan. This means creating the concept, selecting, prepping, and packing the home staging items, delivery (and pick-up upon sale of house), and of course the time required for the home staging team to install the selected items. The home staging process takes several hours, from start to finish, and involves several team members to execute effectively.

That said, how much can you expect to spend on staging your home? While this will vary from one staging company to another, here is a bit of a guideline based on our experience:
  • Pricing for vacant home staging projects begin at $2,500 + tax (this usually includes approximately 3 staged major rooms, plus bathrooms, hallways, and entrance)
  • Average vacant home staging pricing is $5,000 + tax
  • Smaller houses tend to cost more “per room” due to labour/moving fees – these tend to stay relatively the same as in larger projects
  • Houses with 5 major* rooms or more average approximately $750 - $800 / major room (+ tax)
  • Houses with 4 major* rooms or less average approximately = $850 - $900 / major room (+ tax)

*Major room refers to a room that requires notable furniture, such as a bedroom, living room, dining room, etc. Pricing provided includes the staging of all bathrooms, entry, hallways, etc. as a part of the estimated fee. If kitchen does not include a dinette, it is not included as a major room.

Tips for Setting Yourself Up for a Successful Sale
Give yourself the time needed to properly prepare your home for market. It’s cliché, but you really only do get one chance to make a first impression – make it count! Plan for home staging from the start of your project – it is never too early to call in a home stager for a consultation. A professional home stager can provide guidance and expertise to ensure that you are focusing your investment in the areas that will provide you with the greatest return. If you are flipping a property, it’s important to plan for home staging from the beginning. Consider meeting with your home stager BEFORE beginning any renovations. A qualified and experienced stager will be your best resource for understanding the best finishes and design choices for the home, which areas to improve, and how to best appeal to the target demographic of the home. 
Most of all, remember to stay calm, and call a professional home stager!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Selling Your Home with Kids

I get it – you all have to live in your home while it's listed for sale...
The home-selling process can be very disruptive, and often stressful, on kids. You may want to recommend that they play a part in preparing their rooms for sale themselves, to help them with the transition. If you have any knowledge of their next home, you can also help to get them excited about getting their new home ready.
-       Engage your kids in the process – get them involved with deciding what will stay, and what will be packed for the new house.
-       Kid’s toys should be limited to their bedrooms and play area (if available). Remove all additional toys from the living room, kitchen, dining room, and other adult entertaining areas.
  -       If you need to have some toys in an adult area, considering investing in a wicker or canvas basket - fill with toys, and place a blanket over the top to cover. This will cleverly disguise your toy basket as a simple “blanket basket”!
-       Kid’s play areas are a great selling feature, in the right neighbourhood, if there is space available for them. Adding baskets to these areas will help to keep the toys contained, and somewhat organized.
-       Kid’s Rooms – Kids will be kids, but when selling a house, it’s important that to check their rooms each morning to ensure that the beds are made and toys put away.
-       Limit the toys to a maximum of 2 toy bins, and unless these are considered decorative, such as a storage bench, keep these bins stored away in the closet or under the bed.
-       Take advantage of your “free” storage areas – these are areas that prospective buyers will not be looking in and includes under beds, dresser drawers, and inside any other furniture that you own. Remember, if it is sold with the house, they will look inside, so avoid over-filling any built-in cabinets or closet spaces.
-       Tone down any accessories and wall coverings – since it’s a kid’s room, some toys or other fun items should be on display, but be sure that these are kept to a minimum as well, and aim for a few select larger items rather than multiple small items.

While parents have often joked about shipping their kids off for the time that the house is for sale, some clients have actually make arrangements for the kids to be out of town, or have an extended stay at grandparent’s house for the first week or two. This helps to minimize stress on everyone, and allow them to be more flexible with available showing times – this can result in a faster sale, and return to normal life.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Selling Your Home with Pets

When preparing your home for sale, the ultimate goal is to ensure that the home shows at it’s very best, and appeals to as many potential buyers as possible. This strengthens your chance of receiving quality offers, and selling the home quickly.

Unfortunately, not all buyers are pet lovers, and in fact, a home with pets can often be a cause of concern for many, especially for those with allergies. Evidence of pets such as toys, food dishes, and pet beds will also put potential buyers on the lookout for damage throughout the house that may have been caused by furry family members. By eliminating the presence of the pets in the home, buyers can focus on the home’s features, instead of scrutinizing and looking for flaws.

The BTSH team consists of serious animal lovers, and we are proud of our dedication to the animal community. We are all pet owners, and Shauna Lynn takes “crazy cat lady” to a whole new level. Despite this, our recommendations when selling a home with pets is always the same - consider removing all pets from the home, not only for showings, but for the duration of the sale. At the very least, aim for a temporary home for your furry family members for the first two weeks that the home is listed – this is when you receive the greatest amount of traffic and interest in the house. Approach trusted friends and relatives about opening their home to your fur babies. This will mean less stress on both you, and the pets. Animals can be incredibly sensitive to changes, and to strangers in the house (even when they are removed from the home for showings), and you won’t have the worry of trying to maintain the home with the fur, dirt, and other messes that these pets create for us.

If removing your pets is not an option, there are some steps that you can take to ensure that the evidence of them is minimized. To minimize any potential pet odours, ensure that all pets and pet areas are given a thorough cleaning. Opening the windows for a few minutes every day, regardless of the season, will help to remove any stale odours that may be lingering.

Selling Your Home With Cats
Selling your home can be especially stressful for cats, so it is strongly recommended that cat-owners find a temporary home for them while the house is on the market. Indoor cats, when left in the house for showings, often escape, whether by fright or negligence of the potential buyers.

If the cat(s) absolutely must remain in the house for showings, it is important that their presence is minimized as much as possible.

  • Litter box should be cleaned twice daily
  • Litter box should be completely emptied and washed at least once a week
  • Remove cat and litter box for showings if possible (sometimes this can be as simple as a car ride for the duration of the showing or open house)
  • Store food in an unmarked, opaque container – this will help to keep it hidden from buyers, as well as keep the food fresh
  • Remove all scratch trees, beds, and all toys
  • Ensure that their food area is kept clean and tidy, and remove it for showings
  • Vacuum and dust daily

Selling Your Home With Dogs
Dogs are a little easier to “hide” while a house is on the market. Usually, a homeowner (or a friend or family member) can remove the dog(s) for showings, if given sufficient notice. It is still recommended that a temporary home be found for dogs whenever possible, but if they must remain living in the house for the time that it is on the market, their presence should be minimized as much as possible.

  • Remove the dog for all showings
  • Hide all evidence (leashes, food, toys, beds, etc.)
  • Store food in an unmarked, opaque container – this will help to keep it hidden from buyers as well as keep the food fresh
  • Thoroughly clean all fabric surfaces (couch, carpet, rugs, bed, etc.)
  • Keep dog(s) well-groomed
  • Clean the house regularly
  • Keep the yard cleaned and patch any bare areas

To check out a few of the furry friends that we have had the pleasure of meeting and working with, check out our video here.

For more information on how to prepare your home for sale, contact Beyond The Stage Homes!

Phone: 1-266-240-0766
Email: info@btshomes.com

Thursday, December 28, 2017

BTSH Reflects on 2017

As another year comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past 12 months, and peer through the looking glass at the year ahead. We want to thank you for continuing to be a part of our journey, and look forward to another year serving the residents of Waterloo Region.
So what made this year so fantastic? Here are just a few things that happened at Beyond The Stage Homes - thank you for being a part of it!
January - Shauna Lynn Simon and Jennifer Roth attended the biggest home staging industry event in North America, RESACON in Las Vegas, where they continued to develop their skills and build relationships. In addition, Beyond The Stage Homes’ sister company, SLS Academy, was honoured as a finalist for Most Innovative Product for their Client Care Package, a staple in all BTSH consultations since inception.

– Shauna Lynn was officially sworn in as the Canadian Representative on the National Board of Directors for the Real Estate Staging Association. In her 2-year term, her aim is to grow a stronger home staging community across the country, build awareness for the industry, and forge relationships with Canadian home staging leaders. In her first year, she has travelled to visit all Canadian RESA Chapters, and was instrumental in bringing the Staging to Sell – What Every Agent Should Know professional development course to Canada. The inaugural Canadian class was taught right here in Kitchener-Waterloo in September, providing savvy KW agents with the CSA (Certified Staging Advocate) designation. 
April – Spring is a time to refresh, and BTSH took this as a great opportunity to refresh our home staging inventory! We sold off most of our inventory, helping us to clear out space to bring in new, top-quality items for staging our homes, as we continue to be Waterloo Region’s #1 choice for vacant home staging.

May - BTSH continues to be a proud sponsor of the KW MS Walk by raising funds at our hosted home sellers workshops, providing TeamMS prizes at the walk, and volunteering their time before, during, and following the event. This event helps to raise much needed funds for the MS Society’s Grand River chapter.
July Received 1st place Diamond Award for the Waterloo Chronicle Reader Awards Interior Design/Furnishings Category 2017
October - Received 1st place Diamond Award for the Record Reader Awards Favourite Interior Decorator 2017 (our 3rd year in a row, thank you so much!!). To say thanks to our loyal supporters, we are offering a chance to win a $500 shopping spree from Wayfair!

Other notables of 2017:

BTSH enjoyed surprising clients with home-grown maple syrup from Harvey Martin Farm, in commemoration of Canada’s 150!

Shauna Lynn was featured on CTV, Rogers Daytime, podcasts, blogs, and more!

We continue to support local businesses and new entrepreneurs through the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre. Shauna Lynn is a volunteer mentor with the centre, and has provided leadership through guest speaking and 1-on-1 coaching.

We met some incredible people throughout the year, and we couldn’t forget about the furry friends that we made as well.


What does 2018 have in store?

You know what they – time flies when you’re having fun! Well, we cannot believe that the spring of 2018 will mark our 10 year anniversary – stay tuned for details on how you can help us to celebrate this incredible milestone!

In July, Jennifer Roth and Shauna Lynn Simon will attend the 2018 RESA Convention at M Resort in Las Vegas where SLS Academy will be exhibiting once again. 

Beyond The Stage Homes will continue to make Waterloo Region’s homes beautiful, and service our clients in the only way that we know how – by always exceeding expectations in our designs, and in our service, and by creating a home that they can cherish, regardless of whether they are selling staying.

Wishing you a healthy and prosperous 2018!

All the best, from Shauna Lynn and the entire BTSH team 

Phone: 1-266-240-0766
Email: info@btshomes.com

Friday, December 8, 2017

Holiday Hosting 2017

With the holidays just around the corner now, there are parties that need a-hosting, and tables that need a-setting. I love to host gatherings with my friends, from simple cocktail parties to extravagant bashes, and of course, dinner parties with my closest friends are always a holiday favourite.
The Cocktail Party

When hosting a cocktail party, since the objective is to have your guests mixing and mingling, it’s easiest to simply set out your food and drinks buffet style. First, re-arrange your furniture to accommodate your guests and allow them the room to move easily throughout the room (setting a table against a large wall in the room, rather than the middle of the room, will allow for a better flow and access). Ensure that you have a pitcher or punch bowl of a non-alcoholic beverage available, and set out with some highball glasses, a bucket of ice, and some lemons and limes for garnishes. Set out wine glasses, as well as an uncorked bottle of red and white (don’t open too many right away, as your guests may bring you a bottle as well). Serve finger foods that are easy to eat and don’t require utensils, and be sure to provide lots of side dishes and napkins. Allow for some rest areas around the room that provide some seating and if possible, some tables for setting down a glass or a plate.
The Dinner Party
When hosting a dinner party, how you choose to dress up your table can set the tone of the evening.. Whether it be simple and elegant, or festive, or even themed, have fun with it. Be sure to set the table before your guests arrive – it will help to avoid the chaos of trying to get it done while entertaining your guests. Set out hand-written place cards for a personal touch, to allow you to select the seat that will allow you the most flexibility to balance serving with entertaining.
The Black Tie Themed Party
If you are hosting a formal, black tie style party, why not set your table in a black tie theme? Choose a black linen tablecloth, and crisp white linen napkins, with black and white dishware. Compliment with some shimmer, such as silver candlesticks, or a centrepiece of silver and gold ornaments. Add a splash of colour with some rose gold or navy blue, both hot colours this season.
Photo Credit: Good Housekeeping
The Festive Party
For a festive party, set your table in the festive colours that you have chosen for your home. Create a feeling of warmth with candles, and bring out the holiday spirit with evergreen sprigs and holly.
Be a Gracious Party Guest

Attending a hosted party this season? Avoid arriving empty-handed. Most hosts will appreciate a contribution to the beverage bar, such as a bottle of wine or after dinner liqueur, but feel free to bring something more personal that can be kept and enjoyed after the party. For some inspiration, check out some of our favourites here.

Phone: 1-266-240-0766
Email: info@btshomes.com


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Inexpensive Kitchen Updates that Sell

1. Light Fixtures 

Review all of your lighting in your kitchen and identify when it was last updated? This includes your eating area, above your island (if applicable), and above the sink. As a general rule, if the light fixtures have not been installed within the past 10 years, they will likely need to be replaced. If the light fixtures are the original ones that the builder installed, they should likely be replaced.

Here is what not to do:

Here are some great alternative options: 

While you’re updating your lighting, why not consider adding under-cabinet lights? These add a great task lighting and are a great selling feature! 

2. Faucet/Sink 

Out with the old, and in with the new! If your faucet is showing age and/or wear, upgrading it can be a great low-cost update. 

Find something with a spray head included, and select a faucet that compliments the overall style of the kitchen (i.e. that antique style faucet may look nice, but if your house is a newer house with clean lines and very little traditional style and feel, it may not be the best choice). Brushed nickel is still the preferred choice for the kitchen, but if your light fixtures and/or door hardware has been upgraded to an oil-rubbed bronze, you may want to consider adding a faucet to match. 

Stainless steel sinks are becoming a thing of the past, and are being traded up in favour of granite sinks and other alternatives. If you are replacing your countertops, it would be a great time to consider replacing your sink as well (note that if you are not replacing your counters, you will need to find a sink that is comparable in size to your current sink, and may require some minor counter adjustments to be made).

3. Cabinet Hardware

Plastic, wooden, brass, or other outdated cabinet hardware should be upgraded in favour of a newer style and finish. Again, brushed nickel is the preferred choice, however oil-rubbed bronze is a great consideration if it compliments other aspects of the home. This could be one of the least expensive updates in your kitchen, with the greatest impact.

4. Refinish/Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Remember that when selling a home, our goal is to provide a move-in ready house. If the kitchen cabinets are in need of a facelift but a full renovation is not in the budget, consider painting or refinishing them instead.

5. Backsplash

A backsplash is the finishing touch that every kitchen needs. It’s like that last accessory that you put on to complete your outfit before heading for an evening out! When you’re dressing your kitchen, the backsplash will complete the look. It always amazes me how many homes do not have a backsplash. If you’re installing a new backsplash, and have not yet installed under cabinet lighting, I recommend installing the lighting first, as it will be much more difficult to properly run the electrical for it after the backsplash is installed.

6. Countertops 

It’s truly amazing what a new countertop can do for a kitchen. Most buyers today would prefer to see a granite or other stone countertop in a home, regardless of the price point of the house. Again, our focus is on move-in ready, so if the kitchen is likely to be fully renovated by the new homeowners within a couple of years, you may opt for a low-cost counter solution such as laminate, in an updated style/colour. If the kitchen has a great layout however, and the cabinets are in good shape, it’s unlikely that the new owners would take on a full renovation, in which case an upgrade to a stone countertop is a worthwhile investment. Take a look at this example:

This is a great example of a kitchen with a good layout, and good quality cabinets, but the counter makes it seem dated and uninviting. The home had been previously listed for approximately six months prior to calling Beyond The Stage Homes. The homeowners were concerned that we would suggest a full renovation, but instead we recommended adding a backsplash, new countertop, and updated cabinet hardware. The transformation was just what the home needed.

7. Appliances 

Most buyers expect to purchase all appliances with the home. While they may not need to be stainless, if they’re dated, or broken in any way, they should be replaced. Check out your local scratch and dent stores for good quality appliances at a discounted price.  

For more information on how to update your home, whether or selling or living, contact Beyond The Stage Homes!

Phone: 1-266-240-0766
Email: info@btshomes.com