Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lakewood - Sensational Home Staging - Remodeling and Staging Project!

Check out the transformation of this house - from remodeling to Staging - Sensational Home Staging was part of the process from the start. We helped make recommendations for flooring, fixtures, paint colors, counters and backsplash. The end result is a nicely updated property - and the Staging is the icing on the cake that makes the house come to life! Expecting to hear good new about this sale - with a quick offer that puts the property under contract in record time!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Denver Property - Beautifully remodeled and Staged to sell!

This totally remodeled house in Denver (80247) is ready to sell! With upscale features such as travertine floors, stainless steel appliances, an open floor plan that allows flexibility for furniture and use, and a sizeable backyard - make this house in an established neighborhood a prime opportunity for a lucky buyer! The Staging helps set off the features of this home!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Selling and Staying on Trend: Kitchen Remodeling Trends and Tips

Selling and Staying on Trend:  Kitchen Remodeling Trends and Tips
by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP-Premier, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO
Owner, Sensational Home Staging
Denver Region's Premier Home Staging Resource

When selling a house and updating or remodeling the property it is important to always consider the BUYER'S point of view.  What do today's Buyers expect to see in a house for sale?  In my 12 years as a professional Home Stager one of the biggest mistakes I have seen Sellers make is putting in colors and styles of upgrades THEY like when updating a house they are selling. 

I had one client put in blue Corian counters in their bathroom because their favorite color was blue and they liked the Corian material.   It was a huge mistake - and costly because not only was it a waste of money to do that "update" but it was not broadly appealing to buyers and actually hindered the sale.

I have had clients freshly paint walls a custom dark color when they know they are putting their house up for sale.  This again is a mistake because we never know who the buyer is for the home, and that dark color could be one they dislike, plus it makes the rooms feel smaller and darker in photos and in person, which hinders a sale.

This article on updating kitchens I found very interesting and wanted to share it on my blog.  It gives today's trends for kitchen remodeling and updating which is very useful for any homeowner that wants to stay on trend either for personal use or for selling now or in the near future.  It addresses not only counters and appliances, but cabinets and flooring.  No matter if you are on a budget for updating or can afford to do a complete overhaul, there is key useful information in this article.

The link is provided below for the article put out by RIS Media.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Top 10 Tips for Packaging Your House to Sell During the Holidays

Top 10 Tips for Packaging Your House to Sell During the Holidays
By Jennie Norris, ASPM®, IAHSP-Premier®, ASP-SRS®, ASP-REO®
Owner, Sensational Home Staging – Denver Region’s Premier Home Staging Resource

The holidays are just around the corner and many Realtors will tell you that the last quarter of the year is often their best for closing sales. Homeowners might think that it’s best to wait until the start of next year to put their house on the market and yet the last couple of months of the year are a good time to sell because there is less inventory and more serious buyers, and tax benefits as well.

If you are contemplating Selling in November and December here are some key tips to keep in mind:

1. Get a Staging Professional 3rd Party Opinion.
A Stager is not tied to the sale of the house and what is shared is received as truly objective. A professional Stager is going to be honest about any changes that need to be done in the house from simply packing up excess to painting, updating, and rearranging. They will create a specific plan of action and are available to help the seller implement it if needed. If you are a Realtor® having a Stager interface with your Sellers will save you time and energy and allow you to focus on what you do best – getting more business.

2. Fall warm décor is always a good visual.

The warm tone colors of the gourds, cornucopias, and fall leaves are always a nice addition to a home. Just remember “less is more” – so have one centerpiece on a table that is the highlight and keep all the smaller décor additions packed this year. A nice seasonal wreath on the door is nice, and warm snuggly throws on a couple of pieces of furniture add a layer of texture and visual appeal. Just because it’s cold outside does not mean it has to feel cold inside.

3. Keep holiday décor to a minimum.
This cannot be the year you pull all your treasured décor and holiday collections out and display it throughout the house. The items might be wonderful to you but to a potential buyer they are a distraction either because the buyer will be looking at all your holiday treasures and not your house, or they will be hiding some key selling feature like a fire place mantel or countertop. Remember not to put out anything that identifies your family – children’s names should never be on display which means maybe this year you wait to hang your stockings until Christmas Eve.

4. Not everyone celebrates your holidays.
We want the house to appeal to ALL buyers. If you know 100% that the buyer for your house is your same faith and will celebrate the exact same way you do then by all means leave all your items out. Fact is none of us know who the buyer is going to be until it happens. Don’t give them any reason not to buy YOUR house. There are many faiths out there so whatever yours is you need to eliminate it from the buying equation. Otherwise it can be uncomfortable for a buyer who is viewing all your personal faith items, and they might have a bias against faiths not their own, so putting your things away for a short period of time will help your house sell.

5. Christmas trees need to be in a good spot.
If you are determined to put a tree up for Christmas think location, location, location. Maybe you usually place it in a prominent area of your house but now that you are selling that tree will be a visual and physical block for buyers. Make sure that it is not blocking a real selling feature such as a view window or access to your backyard. Remember not to put any ornaments out that are treasures to you – as anything that is out on display is at risk of damage or loss.

6. Wreaths, Poinsettias and twinkly lights are good décor options. 
A wreath on the door that is simple and elegant is a good idea. Poinsettias by the front door or displayed on a table to add color are a nice touch. Twinkly lights on outdoor trees and a few touches inside add that winter sparkle. Just remember less is more. Have only one or two on display because there is a point where an item goes from adding a highlight of color to a buyer’s experience to becoming a visual distraction.

7. No presents under the tree early.
Presents should not be wrapped and put under the tree early as anything that is left out is at risk of damage or loss. Wait until a couple of nights before Christmas to put those out. They take up visual space for the floor which is the selling feature and the fact is you will have people you don’t know touring your house. As careful as Realtors are to ensure the security of a seller’s things, stuff happens. Be proactive and don’t become a victim.

8. Keep your yard cheerful.
The weather is turning colder and in many parts of the country snow will soon cover the ground. Trees are bare and there is a lack of curb appeal with color in most yards. A seller needs to help this situation out by adding color with annuals that like the cold and other splashes of color. Pansies, primroses, and kale are all cold hearty annuals. Pine boughs with pinecones and red berries are a nice seasonal touch.  Put a few pots of these outside by the front door, by the mailbox and at the corner of your walkway to add some color. Certain berry bush varieties also do well in the cold and add a nice splash of red to the landscape. And remember the twinkly white lights add a little sparkle too. Any lights should be tasteful and not overdone to the point of distraction with either cords hanging in odd or dangerous spots, or are visually distracting.

9. Remove ice from walkways, decks, porches and steps.
If you live in an area where it gets icy you need to stay on top of your walkways and yard to eliminate slipping hazards. The last thing you need is for some buyer to slip as they are viewing your house as that could lead to potential financial and legal issues. There are easy solutions for staying on top of the icing issue from salting the ice to scraping it. Remember it’s a temporary inconvenience to help your house sell.

10. Keep your house at a comfy temperature.
Keep your house at a comfortable temperature so that buyers will linger and really look around. Buyers don’t want to walk around long if the house feels like an igloo. You might not mind walking around in a knit hat and winter coat, but cold houses are unappealing to buyers. Remind yourself that the heating is for a short period of time in the grand scheme of things. Even if you are not home during the day, keep the heater on and set at a reasonable temperature (68-70 degrees) so that any potential buyers are welcomed with warmth. If you are selling a vacant house it has to be kept warm as well physically and visually - with heating and Staging.

Come up with a plan of action for selling your house by working with your REALTOR® on a key strategy to get maximum exposure for your property. Follow the tips above knowing the goal is to help YOU sell your house in the shortest time and at the best price before year’s end.


For help in the Denver region getting your house or listing Staged and ready to show, contact Jennie Norris at 888-93-STAGE, 303-717-7918 or Licensed, Accredited & Insured. Over 2,500 houses Staged since 2002.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sensational Home Staging - Before & After - Lafayette Street - Denver

Check out the latest Staging Project from Sensational Home Staging. This $950K property needed warmth and definition to help it sell! Stay tuned for the success story that is sure to follow!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How to Keep Your Commission Value Strong with Staging by Jennie Norris, ASPM, IAHSP - Sensational Home Staging

How to Keep Your Commission Value Strong with Staging
by Jennie Norris, ASPM, IAHSP - Owner, Sensational Home Staging

As the Market Gets Hotter Does this Mean Realtors Should Earn Less? The public has a general perception that Realtors don’t work very hard for their money. Right or wrong it is just a fact. They believe that all Realtors do is stick a sign in a yard, the house sells, and the Realtor gets paid a lot of money. Of course those that work IN real estate as an agent or an affiliate know this is a fallacy, but getting sellers to understand the VALUE of working with a quality, full-service Realtor can be tough – especially as the market continues to heat up and get stronger nationwide.

When times were tough and it was hard to sell a house because of the economic conditions, sellers were more apt to realize that selling their home would take work and effort. They were more willing to pay a qualified Realtor to help them get the results they wanted. 

When a market heats up and turns into a “seller’s market” like we experienced at the start of 2013, the belief is that Sellers don’t need to do much to sell their house. Why should they pay a Realtor full commission to do something that is going to happen anyway? Not only that, but when an industry is seen as lucrative and "easy" more people jump into it creating more competition for business.  Real estate licenses are being issued at record rates nationwide as a result of the up-turn in the real estate market.

In a seller’s market, the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) market also increases because the belief is that it is not hard to sell a house when demand is high and inventory is low. Again, those that work IN the industry know the value of working with a Realtor who has knowledge, resources and credibility. 

It is the misconception where the seller wants the most for the sale of their house but does not necessarily want to pay to ensure that happens. In real estate the old adage, “You get what you pay for,” is very true when it comes to selecting someone to help you sell your house however not all sellers seem to understand this.

Realtors that want to keep their value and income strong need to figure out other ways they bring value to the sale to get listings over their competition. Staging is one of the best ways to do that. Statistically a Staged house sells faster and/or at a better price than the un-staged competition. This happens whether the market is hot or slow, whether a seller’s market or buyer’s market. Statistics that have been gathered for years prove this is true. This means that even in a hot market, a Staged house will sell for MORE than the un-staged competition – and this is money in the seller’s pocket that they would not otherwise have. 

It is all about the Staged List Price versus the List Price and the difference between the two categories could be $5,000 to $100,000 depending on your market and type of house. When a seller realizes that you bring a tool to the table that can help them net MORE from the sale of their house, they want that. A seller does not sell to get “some” of the money out of their house – they want ALL the money possible.

Realtors - instead of thinking you have to discount your commission fees in order to get listings, think about the resources you have that bring increased VALUE to the sale process. When you bring in your team member – your Stager – to work with the Seller, you are adding value to the process. When the house is Staged professionally, the house looks better than the competition or competes equally with the competition and this benefits the seller. Statistically Staged houses help a seller keep or make 5-20% more on the sale of their house. When the seller is asking you, the Realtor, to reduce your commission by 0.5% -1.5% to “earn their business” you can share that you don’t do that because you have a tool at your disposal that will help them keep or make MORE than they are asking you to discount.

When Realtors discount commissions they must work that much harder to get more listings to keep their income where it needs to be. This means their time and attention per seller is reduced as they scramble to get more listings. Rather than be that discount agent, be the agent that brings value, time and attention to the seller. Incorporate Staging as a key listing tool – and even be willing to PAY for the consultation for your seller as a benefit of listing with you. Around the country that ranges from $100-$500 for an average size house depending on where you live. It’s an investment that will not only help you get the listing over your competition, but also helps you keep your commission strong.

If you sell real estate in the greater Denver region and want help getting your listings Staged to maximize success for you and your Seller, give Jennie a call (303)717-7918 or 888-93-STAGE.  After successfully helping over 2,700 homeowners since 2002 prepare their houses for sale, you can trust Jennie's expertise.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Urban Loft - Denver - Sensational Home Staging Success!

Check out the before/afters of this unique downtown Denver historic building property - located in the Ice House.  Adding furniture and décor helps make the rooms seem larger and adds visual interest beyond the brick and pipes.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Who Determines the Price for Staging? by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP-Premiere, SRS, REO - Owner, Sensational Home Staging

Who Determines the Price for Staging?

Price. Cost. Money. Expense. Budget. Fee. Spend.

Who Determines the Price for Staging?

Price. Cost. Money. Expense. Budget. Fee. Spend.

Lately something that troubles me is the perception that the Seller (and/or Realtor) gets to dictate the Staging budget and comes to the Stager telling us what they want it to be.  The Stager has not even seen the house yet.  This is not the right way to think about the Staging because the person stating the price has no idea what goes into Staging a house properly to get the desired results - a sale.  Unless you run a successful Staging company, you do not know what it "should cost."

Staging is an INVESTMENT - and the person best equipped to determine the Staging price the STAGER.  Just as you Realtors reading this don't like it when your Sellers tell you at what price they think they house should be listed for sale, we don't like being told what our Staging costs "should be."

My favorite clients are the ones that let me see their house, allow me to price the Staging properly and agree to get it done realizing I am pricing my services to cover my process and what I do will help their house sell.

This is not I only want to spend $$ on the Staging but I want all of this done type service.  This is a You want the results Staging will give you - so you need to pay for that service, time and talent.  No champagne tastes on a beer budget.  Beer budgets get you poor Staging or surface Staging ...neither of which actually helps the house sell.

Who knows the RE Market?  The fact is in order to get the proper price to list and sell the house, Realtors have to do market comps, see what sold, and what is listed and come up with a range that works.  When a Seller tries to tell a Realtor what their house is worth, they are basing it on information they might get online, but only a Realtor can get access to the details on MLS that gives them an educated and informed position on pricing the house.  I know it is annoying to Realtors when a Seller tries to tell them what they want - especially when it is not based on valid information.  Who knows the RE Market?  The Realtor or the homeowner who has not sold a house in 10 years?

Same is true for Staging.  A Seller might wish to spend a certain amount to prepare their house for sale, and yet they really don't know what all is involved in getting a house Staged because they are not running a Staging business.  Realtors are not either.  It is not wise for them to talk pricing with their client before they have spoken with their Stager because once that dollar amount is tossed out there it hangs in the air and the Stager is left to try to make it work.  Very few Stagers I know operate on a cookie-cutter pricing system that allows any client to figure out what the pricing will be.  We operate on a project-by-project basis and base our pricing on a number of factors.

As an example, in order for a Stager to give an accurate price to Stage a vacant house we have to look at the inventory that is needed and time it takes to get the Staging installation done.  We consider the square footage of the house and the price-point to make sure the inventory reflects the type of house being sold.  We look at who is part of the Staging process... does it take 1 person or 4 people?  A 900 square foot condo will not be priced the same as a 2,500 square foot house.

There are real estate agents that will list a house at either an inflated price to get the listing (or as some would call it buying the listing) or lower their commission to get the listing. Realtors who don't believe in that strategy to get business will quickly dismiss that type of agent as one that does not do as good of a job or have as quality a marketing plan as a full-service Realtor.

Yet the same situation that a Realtor will say produces a low quality agent and lower results (low baller, discounter) is somehow expected in the Staging world.  I am here to say - stop the hypocrisy. 

There is VALUE in working with a quality Stager - because their work ultimately reflects on YOU and your ability to get that property sold - whether you are a Seller or Realtor.

It's true that each market is different - and prices for Staging vary around the nation.  However, what is consistent is that the STAGER is the one that needs to determine the price for the Staging. 

Here are some points I am asking Realtors to consider:

1.  Please do not give a seller an idea of price - let your Stager quote any pricing.

2.  Allow the Stager to properly price the Staging and share with the Seller directly so that if your seller has questions, the Stager is the one answering them. 

3.  Any negotiations on price should be between the legal owner of the house and the Stager.

4.  Realize that at some point if the Staging cannot be done properly it should not be done at all.  Throwing some decor and a few pieces of furniture in house is not Staging.

5.  Understand that the Staging helps YOU get the results you want with selling the house.  It is a team effort, so please do not undermine the Stager's pricing.  And by the way, when the house sells at a better price, YOU make more commission!

6.  When a Seller asks you about price, simply say, I will have my Stager get in touch with you to get you an accurate price for Staging your house.

When a seller limits the ability of the Stager to do the staging properly but coming up with some arbitrary dollar amount they hope to spend, they will not be happy with the results.  When the house does not sell, the Seller rarely takes responsibility for not allocating the proper Staging budget and points fingers at the Stager and the Realtor.

As the market normalizes - this practice of dictating a budget to a Stager without even receiving a pricing proposal will hopefully stop.  The old adage of "you get what you pay for" is true.  I am not in the practice of making it work to the point where I barely net a profit on the Staging and cannot stand proudly behind my product.  I am a business owner and here to make an income and profit on my time, talent and creativity.  You want the Staging done right - you need to pay for that service.  You would not be happy if you hired a schlocky mechanic to fix your car only to have it break down two weeks later.  You will not be happy limiting the Staging by reducing the budget as the buyer experience will still not be enough to entice them to make an offer.

Remember this:  If the investment in Staging is less than a price reduction and Staging can help your house or listing be priced BETTER than the competition from the get go - don't you think it's worth doing it properly?  Staging saves or help the seller make 10-20X their Staging investment - and that is something they can take to the bank.


For help preparing your house or listing for sale in the greater Denver region, give Jennie Norris a call at 303-717-7918.  She has Staged over 2,500 properties, and is a top educator in the Staging industry.  Go to for more info.

WillowCreek - Centennial - remodeled and ready to buy!

This newly remodeled house was transformed with the vision of the builder and installation of Staging to help add color and appeal.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

$2.3M CUSTOM - Castle Rock - Sensational Home Staging showcase of ASP Home Staging talent

Check out the transformation of this 8,000 square foot custom house in Castle Rock. With help from ASP Stager colleagues this house was transformed on time and on budget which would not have been possible without extra hands! The final outcome - a tasteful transformation that will help this house sell.

Custom Home with 50 Acres - check out before and afters of this Sensational Home Staging staged property!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Is Staging About Money or Creativity?

Is Staging About Money or Creativity?
by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP-Premier, ASP-SRS, ASP-REO
Owner, Sensational Home Staging

Years ago when I first got started Staging, I ran into my old boss at a business event. We got caught up after 10 years of not seeing each other and in the course of our conversation I of course let him know I owned a Staging company. He told me he had hired a home stager when he sold his Mom's house. The market was hot. The house was a $6 Million property. It was going to sell quickly. But he paid $60,000 for the Staging (or roughly 1%) of the list price. All new items were brought in to use for the Staging. Back then I was (and still am)shocked at how much he paid for a service that should have been 1/10th of what he paid. I could easily have done the Staging - and done it well - for a fraction of what he paid, and I felt badly because he got ripped off.

As a Stager it's a fine line to walk between wanting to earn a good income in my business and being fair to the client. Some Stagers may disagree with me, but to charge someone $60,000 to Stage a house that was going to sell the first month with or without Staging is unethical. If the service they provided - their time and inventory truly added up to that much, then charge that amount. In this case, and in most cases where an exorbitant amount is charged to a seller, that is not what is done and a Seller overpays because they do not know better.

Staging is about Creativity.  It's harder to Stage using creativity than it is to just remove everything and bring in a controlled palette of furniture and decor. When a house is furnished, using creativity to come up with an appealing look for buyers is challenging. It's EASY to remove everything and bring in rental furniture, decor and accessories and create the look we want in a house. That is not creativity challenging but it can be physically demanding, and it is usually more costly to the Seller.

Our creative muscles get a workout when we have to use what a Seller has - and have to rearrange, repurpose, and reposition things in the house. Using the principles of Staging (not decorating) to Stage a room is what is needed. Consider the room - stand in the doorway and define a focal point. Define the purpose/use of the room. Feature the space not the stuff. Staging is the "framework" for the house and rooms in the house - not the focal point. Add points of interest with artwork, strategically placed decor and use of colors. Allow a buyer to take in the room as a whole - feature the floor plan, the setting, the views out the windows - that is what Buyers are buying. They are not buying $60,000 worth of decor and furniture.

My team and I just completed a Staging on a high-end property. We used the Seller's furniture, brought in some artwork and rugs for color, added a bit of decor but used 90% of what the Seller had. We were able to totally transform the "feel" of the house - giving it an updated look that will appeal to today's buyers. This was all accomplished for under $1,000. We took about 2.5 hours in the house to set the scene and were paid for a Staging consultation prior to the hands-on. This is .012% of the list price. 

We Staged another house that was in a competitive price point. The Sellers put in new carpeting and painted. I selected the carpeting for them, and advised on paint colors as part of my consultation. We brought in furniture for 3 areas of the house, as well as some artwork and decor. The Staging was about $1,300. When listed, the house was listed at a price towards the top of the price range, and sold at $12K above the Staged List Price - which was a wonderful success and got the sellers far more than they hoped for their house.

Staging is about the Money. Staging is in line with other services provided for selling houses - pest inspectors, home inspectors, appraisers (buying side), and so forth. It's the only service done in preparation of the house for sale that actually brings measurable value - and statistics prove this - between 5 and 20% more that the seller either keeps or makes on the sale of their house.

Staging is not a free service - it is not easy either. Staging takes a lot of vision, planning and ability to execute the plan successfully. It is also physically demanding and a good Stager makes it look easy as they whirl through a house making what seems like minor changes that turn out to make a major impact. We sometimes have to come up with a plan in properties we've never seen with an audience of homeowner, friends, and real estate professionals "watching." 

So Staging is about BOTH Creativity and Money - a seller should not overpay for the service and yet the public needs to recognize the VALUE Staging bring to the table to help them get the best price for their house.

What a Seller or Realtor pays for when they hire an expert Stager is their ability to see past what is in front of them - and envision a transformed room and house - and then translate that vision into reality. The proof is in the offer that comes and the smiles on our client's faces when they get the results they want.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sensational Home Staging - Golden - Mountain Property - Gorgeous setting and views!

Check out the latest Staging project from Sensational Home Staging! This house went from Southwest to Sensational with our hands-on Staging and vision. House is being listed for sale this week by Justin Thornton, KW Highlands Ranch.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Before & After Transformations - Sensational Home Staging. Using what a homeowner has - adding decor and furniture as needed - the results SELL!

In today's world where budget is still king, it's important to remember that we can and do work with Sellers with budgets. Using what a homeowner has combined with some "wow factor" inventory does the trick. In some instances, we have to bring in furniture for 1 or 2 rooms in order to get a complete look - but can use what is already in the house with ease in the other areas. Staging is not about the MONEY and selling STUFF - it's about creating an attractive backdrop to sell the HOUSE.

This house needed pizzazz to help it show its best. With neutral floors and walls and no artwork with color, bringing in Staging décor and using what the Seller had was the key. The Realtor was paying for the Staging as a way to help the house Sell - so again, budget was a consideration. The proof is in the offer that comes in short order!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

4409 Raritan Street - Denver - Staged and for Sale!

This house has been remodeled and is ready to buy! With granite, hardwood floors, travertine bath, stainless appliances and a private yard - this is a great find in the Chaffee Park neighborhood area of Denver. For more information contact listing agent: Kathy Sangster (303)332-3847.

Monday, April 29, 2013

312 Inca Street, Denver CO - Staged and for SALE! This house is remodeled and ready for you to move in!

Check out the latest Sensational Home Staging success! This house has been remodeled and features an interior with new amenities while keeping the old-time charm with elements such as the fire place, original wood flooring (refinished) and interior brick walls.

Tranformation of Occupied House - Dallas ASP Course - April 2013. "It's not about the money - it's about Creativity"

Check out the latest ASP Staging Course from - Before & After Transformation using only what the homeowner had combined with our students' creativity and ideas! Every room is made more sellable with Staging!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Messes Send Messages - What Does Your House or Listing Say?

Messes Send Messages©
What does your house or listing say?
by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP-Premier
Owner, Sensational Home Staging
Denver Region's Premier Home Staging Resource


In life 90% of communication is non-verbal.  Body language, tone, expressions - they all convey our message more than what we actually say.

Houses send messages too.  They communicate with us whether we are living in, buying or selling them.  Some messages are of sadness.  Some are of depression.  Some of joy.  Whatever the situation, we can tell when people living in a house have had issues because the house looks neglected.  And for good reason - when life takes an unexpected turn, the last thing we make a priority is making sure our house looks fabulous.

Mess Causes Stress©.  Some of these homeowners don't realize that by living in disarray they are actually creating stress for themselves and stress can lead to a myriad of health issues.  The elimination of "stuff" actually helps de-stress not only the house but the person living IN the house.

When a house is for sale, what message is it giving to the buying public?  Messes Send Messages.  A house communicates and elicits emotions for a buyer who either loves what they see and feels a connection to the house or not.  When they feel that connection the house becomes a must have.  No connection means it is a must leave.  A messy house says, "No one cares about me," or "Don't buy me because you are going to find other issues with maintenance."  A house also send messages about the Sellers such as, "We have given up." or "We don't care about getting the most for our house."  And a house that has too much on display also sends the message that there is not enough storage in this house. That simple message can be enough to deter a potential buyer.
Look at any messy house photo and you just feel stressed looking at it.   Because "Mess causes Stress" when the house is not prepared for sale the buyer literally FEELS stressed standing among the chaos.  They can just look at a photo online and get that feeling of stress.  Is it any wonder these houses don't sell? 

It's so easy to address this issue when selling a house and yet the big question I have is why are so many houses in poor shape when listed for sale?  It's not like the Realtor doesn't see the mess.  At least I would hope they notice because it's right in front of our faces.  We can give the Seller a little break because when we LIVE with a mess we get used to it and don't see it for how bad it really is.  But anyone coming in from the outside who works in this industry HAS to know the house is a mess.  And when it's our job to get the seller the MOST money when selling a house, it is up to US to tell the Seller what they need to do.  

So why do so many houses for sale still look messy?
Is it because the Sellers don't "get it" that they need to address the issue?  Do they not see the value in making changes? Do they resist because it's overwhelming to them?  Or do they just not care.  I think it could be a combination of all of those reasons.

There are ways to get a Seller to cooperate - especially when they see the benefit for THEM.  They will get a better offer when their house shows its best, and their house will sell faster - which means they get to move on to the next phase of their life and into their new home - wherever that is.  As professionals serving sellers we need to be equipped with what to say and how to say it so that the Seller is compelled to make changes.  We also have to be ready to help them.  As a professional Stager, my team and I can and have transformed a house in a matter of hours.  It is a very cost-affordable investment with a high rate of return.  This takes the pressure off the Seller who may be overwhelmed with the move, with life and is unable to make decisions about what to do.  It's a wonderful service we offer - and it makes the Realtor's role a lot easier too because we are the ones doing the heavy lifting, packing, sweating, and setting the scene room by room.  The Realtor can be working on paperwork or meeting with a new prospective client and leave the Staging to us.

In all of this process, the key ingredient is to make sure the seller knows we care and this effort is being done FOR them.  When they know we care and want the very best for them, my belief is that they will get on board.  It might require hand-holding and helping them through a stressful time but in the end they are grateful for the results.  Their house can be presented as a stress-free environment for buyers looking for a connection to a place they can call home.


For help in the Denver area getting your house or listing de-stressed and ready to buy, give Jennie a call.  Her Sensational Home Staging stage crew can make a big impact in a short time to help the house sell faster and at the best price.  303-717-7918©2013 Jennie Norris and Sensational Home Staging.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Best Foot Forward - Don't Sell Your Competition

Best Foot Forward
by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP-Premier,
Owner, Sensational Home Staging
Helping Sellers & Realtors in the Denver Region



When I was looking for photos to include in this blog post and Googled "ugly feet" the images made me want to retch.  There are some UGLY and totally disgusting feet out there!  However, I wanted to use the analogy of "Best FOOT Forward" for how we want to sell houses so I am saving you the nasty images of what I saw (blech!) and instead chose one that gets the message across without grossing you out. 

The truth is in life we do only have one chance to make the best FIRST impression so we want to have, as they say, our BEST foot forward!  When a house is listed for sale and a buyer looks at it online or in person - the house either sells itself or sells the competition.  They either want to see more and make an offer or they walk on to the next option.

Buyers compare houses online and in person.  When one looks great and the other is not prepared for sale - dirty, dated, cluttered, too dark, smelly, etc. - a Buyer will naturally compare that house to the one that is ready to show and buy.  So your choice as a Seller or as a Listing Agent is simple.  You either Stage up front to get the positive attention and offers or you don't and you just SOLD your competition.

As a Listing Agent you have to ask yourself, "Why would I want to market an ugly foot?"  You invest a lot of your time, energy and dollars to get a house sold.  The house reflects on YOUR reputation.  When it does NOT sell you are often held responsible and blamed by the Seller - and word gets around the neighborhood.  Aren't you in this business to get referrals from happy clients?  Of course.  So YOUR best foot forward is to make it a requirement that all your listings are Staged BEFORE they are listed for sale.  Or else you just help sell YOUR competition because the neighborhood is watching who gets the pending sign out first and at what price the house sold.

Yes I know Sellers can resist change and it can be hard to tell them their house has warts or corns.  Yet you are not doing them (or yourself) any favors by marketing their house "as is."  I know there are special circumstances that can exist, but for the most part, a Seller wants ALL the money from the sale of their house. Not just some. 
Putting an ugly foot on the market guarantees they will not net the most from their house and it guarantees their house will be USED to sell the houses that put their BEST foot forward.  Even in a hot market, a Buyer does not want the hairy foot with warts and icky toenails when they have the option of buying the beautifully manicured foot with pretty color and jewelry.  Those two houses will NOT sell at the same price and the ugly foot will be used to sell the pretty one. 
The changes a Seller needs to make to get their foot from ugly to pretty are usually simple and very effective.  In most markets a Staging Consultation where the Seller is given a detailed summary of what to do room by room is an average of $250.  That small investment can yield thousands of dollars in return.  Anything a Seller can do UP FRONT to help their house show better should be recouped in the sale and help their house sell at the best price.

Best Foot Forward.  Get the house Staged by a professional Stager to ensure the house truly has the best opportunity to get the best price.  Then when the house closes at the BEST price, treat yourself to a manicure!  After all the running around we do for our clients we deserve it!


For  help putting your best foot forward in the greater Denver area, give Jennie a call 303-717-7918.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Do Buyers want to Interview and Date Your House?

Do Buyers want to Interview and Date Your House?
by Jennie Norris, ASPM, IAHSP-Premier, SRS, REO
Owner, Sensational Home Staging



Online dating is very common these days.  People create a profile with pertinent information about interests, hobbies, background, etc. and add photos for those looking online for a match.  Based on what is read online, the people decide to set up a date to meet in person. They are basically interviewing a person online to see if there is more of an interest.  It's like a job interview - to get the appointment to meet in person, your resume or information has to be compelling and a match to the prospective employer. 

Isn't that the same thing we do when we list a house for sale and put our info on the internet for buyers to see?  When a Buyer looks at your house online, it's an interview.  They are checking out the house and reviewing the information to see if they want to engage further in the relationship.  Based on what they see, they either decide to meet the house in person or move on to the next online option.  Remember we only have one chance to make a good first impression.

The Wall Street Journal just came out with a highly interesting study that shared 45% of buyers do NOT read agent comments on properties they find online and instead rely on the PHOTOS of the house to either convince them to want to see more or move on to the next online listing.  This is a crucial part of the property interview that either leads to a date or moves the buyer to the next online option.

The question becomes, "Is your house or listing making a good Interview impression?"  If the photos shown online are of cluttered, empty, dated, and/or dirty rooms the interview is unsuccessful and buyers move on to the next option.

Imagine back when we were dating or if you are currently dating - think about how we present ourselves on a date?  Do we go out with our worst clothes on, uncombed hair and heck - why bother showering?  No.  Hopefully we put our best foot forward to make a good impression and dress nicely, groom appropriately, and make an effort.  We smell good, we look good.

So the question becomes, "Is your house Date Worthy?  When Buyers come in person does your house or listing make the right first impression for people looking at the house?  Does it smell right?  Is it clean?  Is it appealing?  Does it make Buyers want to see more?  If not, they will turn around and leave and move on to the next property.

Staging is the KEY to getting successful Interviews that translate into Dates.  Photos online of un-Staged houses do not create a good impression for the online interview and will not result in a date.  Instead those houses will sit on the market, not have showings because of how unappealing they look, and actually be "used" to sell the houses that sell. 

When Buyers come in person for their date, the house better look like it did online - Staged and ready to buy!  Using pictures of a furnished house and selling that house vacant when the Sellers move out does not compute to a Buyer.  It is misleading and is disappointing to Buyers when the photos do not translate to the reality of what they experience in the house.  It's like the old bait and switch of online dating - people load up a photo of a really attractive, fit individual and when they meet in person what they actually get is a mildly attractive out of shape reality.  The photos need to match what is seen in person or else a buyer will just turn around and leave.  A vacant house does not cut it to get top dollar.  Without furniture and decor to highlight the rooms, add warmth and emotional appeal, all a buyer has to look at are the flaws in the house. 

I had a client that shared their house was under contract and it fell through.  They had already moved out and despite the fact that they received an offer quickly at first, they were now faced with an empty house that did not show well.  When the house was furnished they received rave reviews about how nice it looked.  When they house was being shown as a vacant product, all the sellers heard were complaints about all the things that were "wrong" with the house - and they had not changed anything except move out.  So wisely they invested in Staging so that they could once again create that buyer appeal and give the buying audience more to focus on than the empty rooms.

The last piece of key advice is to keep the house ready to show at all times. Sellers cannot relax in the house once it's Staged.  They have to set the scene daily to ensure that any in-person showings or dates leave the best impression.  As a professional ASPM® Stager, I have Showing Instructions that I leave with Sellers that include key tips they need to do on a daily basis to make sure their house is date worthy on a daily basis. 

In order to Sell successfully the house must interview well online and be selected for the in person date that will hopefully lead to the offer to buy the house!  It all starts with Staging for the buying audience - marketing the product properly with Staging and the Seller can eventually relax and move on to their new home once their house SELLS with Staging!
For help getting your house or listing in the greater Denver area Staged to sell for TOP DOLLAR - give Jennie a call.  She has helped over 2,500 clients get the dates and deals they wanted. 
303-717-7918 or 888-93-STAGE