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