As the cost of energy continues to rise, many home buyers today are looking for homes that are going to be easier and less expensive to run long term. I’ts important to know the trends to look for, whether you’re helping a seller update their home prior to selling or you want to keep an eye out for the perfect property for a buyer. Not only would following these trends allow you to better advise sellers, it also can help you ecuate buyers on to what to look for.
Each year, the home remodeling site Fixr polls industry experts and leaders in their field to help determine some of the top trends in the home improvement industry through their Energy Efficient Home Design Trends report.
Here are some of the most relevant findings to help you maximize your clients’ potential when buying or selling a home.
Energy Star Dryers
One key trend to watch for in properties is an Energy Star rated dryer. Of all the various appliances with the Energy Star label, experts felt that the dryer made the biggest change in energy usage when switching to a more efficient model. This is due in part to the fact that dryers use nearly as much electricity as central air conditioning.
Home shoppers today are focusing more on the laundry room, as well as where it’s located and what it contains more so than they ever have before. An energy efficient dryer can have a big impact on monthly energy budgets.
When it comes to heating a home, the heat pump is the most recommended method of heating for providing consistent heat and energy savings. Heat pumps work by exchanging outside air for inside air. It extracts the heat energy from the air outside–even in cold weather–and transfers it indoors.
An electric heat pump is 50 percent more efficient that other forms of heating. It’s also the most frequently installed energy efficient heating system in homes today.
Day Lighting for the Kitchen and Living Room
While experts agree that the best way to save money on electric bills without reducing the amount of usage is to use LED lights, there are still important things to consider when looking at a home for sale.
Day lighting is an important component of reducing electricity. This has to do with how much natural light a room gets. The kitchen and living room are two spaces that use the most electricity. As such, it makes sense that home buyers may want to opt for homes that have sufficient natural light in these areas either through windows or skylights.
Tankless Water Heaters
While the heat pump is the most popular way to heat a home, a tankless water heater is the most popular method of heating water. Tankless heaters are installed inside the walls of a home, and heat the water as it’s being used. This is in contrast to a heater that is constantly maintaining the temperature of any gallons of water at a time. Households that use this method of heating water can expect to save $100 a year on their energy bills.
Heat pumps and tankless heaters are both popular, but hybrid heat pump hot water heaters tend not to perform as well universally. Tankless heaters can be installed in more places, and perform better in cold-weather climates in general.
Low Flow Fixtures in Full Bathrooms
Households use a lot of water each day when they aren’t using low flow fixtures to try to restrict this usage. Experts felt the place that made the biggest difference when installing these items is in full bathrooms.
This makes sense, as the full bathroom will include a tub and shower, as well as a sink and toilet. Installing low flow fixtures in full bathrooms can help reduce the load on the water supply.
If home buyers are looking at homes with renewable energy sources, experts say that solar panels are by far the most popular method. Renewable energy is increasing everywhere, with millennial homeowners leading the biggest push into this sector. Experts also reported that millennials were the most likely to invest in cleaner energy sources, with Gen X taking second place.
Saving Energy Means Saving Money and the Environment
Homeowners and home buyers that want to maximize their potential in both these areas should seriously consider paying attention to these and other important trends in energy savings. While individually each of these factors may not save much, added together, they can have a significant impact on both the homeowner’s wallet, and their overall comfort inside the home.
Help your clients by pointing out these trends ,and how they can make them work to get better results for everyone involved.
To learn about the cost of household remodeling projects, visit the Cost Guides.
Guest Contributor: Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
The start of a new year in the real estate industry signals a prime opportunity for sellers to do what it takes to get their home noticed among the sea of listings soon to flood the spring market. After tackling the clutter, necessary repairs and updates, the key to making the best first impression for buyers is using on-trend styling touches to help them emotionally connect. Check out our suggestions below for ways of using some of the trends for 2019 to enhance a home’s features, engage buyers, and take your property from “For Sale” to “Sold” in no time.
A Neutral Gray Backdrop
We can’t say enough about the benefits of using gray or “greige” wall color when staging. This versatile neutral hue instantly brightens a space, enhances its unique features and can increase a property’s perceived size and value. We’re excited to try Benjamin Moore’s 2019 Color of The Year, Metropolitan, a soft, sophisticated, and calm gray that coordinates well with many on-trend palettes.
A Dash of Color
We love adding a little drama against a neutral backdrop of beautiful architectural elements by layering living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms with pops of bold color dispersed throughout a room. One of our favorite industry picks of the year is Pantone’s “Living Coral” for its energy, warmth, and cozy freshness. This color can also make a statement when paired with different shades of blues such as Behr’sColor of the Year pick “Blueprint,” as well as creams and different metallic accents.
Luxe Fabrics and Bold Patterns
We are seeing a lot of lush velvet fabrics and floral patterns in furniture and accents this year. A floral side chair or wall art, velvet pillows, and duvet covers, a patterned area rug, are just a few ways to add texture, depth, and the right amount of sophisticated style to complement a neutral space and grab buyers’ attention.
Mix Up Metals
A mixture of metal accents throughout a room will always be a timeless way to create balance and definition in a space. You can pair complementary finishes such as brass with chrome, copper with yellow gold, rose gold with stainless steel, or any combination of the above so your fixtures and decor create the “wow” factor that buyers will remember.
Elements from Nature
Using natural elements in the home is a trend that continues to gain popularity as people want to feel a connection to the outdoors. Plants in any size, shape or form such as potted succulents used as a dining table centerpiece, wall hangings, or floor plants in woven baskets have a naturally soothing quality that makes them well-suited for bedrooms and bathrooms in particular. Sustainable materials such as jute or seagrass rugs, natural woven pillows and throws, and pottery vases are also great accents for incorporating a welcoming, on-trend vibe into any space.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is principal, interior decorator, and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating. She has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full-service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for the luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Her company received the Houzz 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Awards for Customer Service.
By Sarah Anderson, vice president marketing, VHT Studios
Have you found yourself in the past month mysteriously decluttering and refolding your clothes, all the while holding each one in your hands and pondering if they truly “spark joy?”
Since the release of Netflix’s newest hit show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, decluttering and reorganizing our homes has become a virtual overnight sensation. It seems everyone around us is in a tizzy decluttering and reorganizing their belongings and proudly posting their results on social media.
But the KonMarie method of tidying up applies not just to keeping your drawers neat and organized. KonMarie can also be applied during this spring’s real estate season. That’s why now is the perfect time to “Marie Kondo” your condo – whether it’s a starter home or townhouse, or a luxurious mansion or penthouse with downtown or ocean views.
Tidying up a real estate listing and preparing it for sale doesn’t have to be stress-inducing and labor intensive either. One of the hottest trends in real estate – virtual staging technology – can certainly help.
“Marie Kondo”-ing your condo or home doesn’t have to involve identifying, and purging clothes, books, knickknacks, or kitchenware and hauling them to the resale shop. Popular virtual staging tools used by the most successful real estate professionals are a powerful way to apply the KonMarie method to help home owners “spark joy” by selling their homes quickly and at the best price.
1. Virtual Declutter
Virtual Declutter is photographing each room in a condo or home and combining science with an artist’s eye to eliminate clutter from walls, floors, and countertops. It will impress buyers, without the added labor and cost of decluttering, furnishing, and renovating a home.
Virtual Declutter can magically remove personal effects and knickknacks from surfaces in a photograph and present a more spacious and visually appealing
home. And of course, that will help to “spark joy” among prospective buyers.
For instance, many older Americans in downsizing mode have accumulated a lot of stuff that will be passed down or donated so they can move into a more compact and clutter-free home. If they’ve procrastinated in sorting out their belongings for showings, offer the Virtual Declutter tool as part of their real estate photography package. Whether a home has stunning architectural features that are lost in clutter, or it’s a starter apartment or studio, Virtual Declutter can be applied to any listing photograph and dazzle prospective buyers.
2. Virtual Paint
Real estate professionals may want to consider other virtual tools that are presenting a listing in the best possible light too. Walls covered with faded paint or outdated wallpaper won’t elicit feelings of joy for increasingly discerning buyers. That’s where Virtual Paint can refresh any wall and eliminate hassles of hiring a painter and waiting for project completion.
3. Virtual Stage and Furnish
For vacant listings, or those with outdated furniture, Virtual Stage and Furnish can fill a vacant room with furnishing without the expense or inconvenience of having to rent and move in tables, chairs, sofasm or beds. Let’s face it – not everyone’s design choices will put smiles on today’s buyers’ faces. They’re not interested in seeing the owners’ tastes in furniture and décor.
Virtual Stage and Furnish alters the décor of a room, based on the likely style preferences of potential buyers and how they may use each room in a home. Virtual Stage and Furnish can even transform a bedroom into an office, or a nursery into an exercise room or library.
Also, there’s no joy in a vacant home, which is often devoid of personality. Even worse, it’s hard for buyers to visualize how their furniture will fit in a vacant living room or bedroom. By virtually staging and furnishing it, you can provide a frame of reference for where the sofa will go, or the available space for nightstands or a comfy chaise in the bedroom.
Buyers want to envision their own lifestyle in their next home and increasingly expect a real estate listing to appeal to their tastes and preferences. Virtual tools may help clients better envision the possibilities of properties and spark some joy as they view the homes. And remember, that’s what the KonMarie method is all about.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Anderson is Vice President Marketing at VHT Studios, the nation’s leading real estate photography and visual marketing firm.
This year in home decor, green is really having a moment. Far from being a short-lived trend, however, this verdant color is definitely here to stay. Luckily for us, green goes with just about everything, and it’s easy to incorporate into any room of your home.
Add some life.
The simplest way to add green into your home decor is with botanicals, which blend effortlessly into any color scheme. Place a cluster of potted succulents on the coffee table, and fill that empty corner behind the sofa with a statement fiddle leaf fig tree. In spaces that lack sufficient natural light for live plants, consider faux varieties. With advances in manufacturing techniques, many artificial plants look just as convincing as the real thing and require no maintenance.
In rooms with a neutral color palette, use green accessories to add a pop of color or texture. Swap out existing window treatments with curtains featuring botanical leaf prints or patterns. Layer throw pillows and blankets on the living room sofa. Avoid choosing all solid color pillows as the effect can be a bit flat; instead opt for complementary patterns and textures for a fresh, updated look.
Style your bookcase or end table with a vibrant emerald centerpiece bowl, or intersperse green vases with on-trend marble decor on the console table for a chic, of-the-moment look. For a bolder statement, consider a kelly-green statement wall, palm print wall decals, or a luxe velvet sofa in a rich olive hue.
Mix it up.
Beyond neutral palettes, green works beautifully in any number of color schemes. Many shades mix easily with black and white; use this combination for a classic, timeless aesthetic. Juxtapose a muted lime green with pops of red, orange, and yellow for a playful, energized space. Paler hues mix well with pastels or jewel tones offer a rich, vibrant look.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laura Love Bardell writes for Crate and Barrel, where she creates design-savvy content on the latest home-furnishing trends. Laura enjoys giving tips for how to use furniture creatively for any space, big or small.
A lot of real estate agents are looking for a good, reliable home stager that can magically transform their listings into the price point their seller is hoping to achieve. The trouble and confusion sometimes comes when the real estate professional asks a few home stagers to “bid” or present a proposal on their vacant home.
Photo credit: HSR Certified Helen Bartlett of Refined Interior Staging Solutions in Kansas City
The vacant staging proposal price can range anywhere from $1,500 to $8,000 for a smaller home, so do you just pick the best priced stager?
I think we can all agree that there is a BIG difference between Walmart and Restoration Hardware when it comes to furnishings, so choosing a home stager on price alone is not a good idea … here’s why.
Photo Credit: HSR Certified Corrine Kaas of Harmonizing Homes
The professionally certified and trained home stager ranks the home based on “luxury level” and places the most ideal furnishings that kind of buyer would “expect” in the home. In each area across the country, there is a certain buyer “expectation” that corresponds to price point and location.
DO make sure the furnishings enhance and correspond with the buyer expectation for that home.
Photo credit: HSR Certified Donna Dazzo of Designed to Appeal in New York City
It’s not a matter of simply choosing a couch/chair/coffee table/rug to go into the space … it’s an art form. Professional stagers tend to base their price on the VALUE of the furnishings that go into that home. This is how they calculate their return on investment (ROI) and cover their costs, so that their business will be around in a year. This is also how they are able to stay on trend, turn over older furnishings, and present the home in a fresh, modern way every time.
Photo credit: HSR Certified Leia Ward of LTW Design in Connecticut
DON’T choose on price alone.
Going with the lowest priced staging proposal could mean you are getting low priced furnishings, which ultimately could hurt the sale of the home. Here are a couple questions to ask a home stager rather than base your choice on price:
Photo credit: HSR Certified Glenda Evers of Elite Interiors
DO ask them what kind of “look” can I expect to go in this home?
This is their chance to show and talk you through their expertise and show you their work. If they fumble or choose a style that does not fit the style or luxury level of the home, then I would question their credibility and training.
Photo credit: HSR Certified Jeff Johnson of the Home Staging Pros in Florida
DO ask them if they buy wholesale?
The certified stager knows how to buy wholesale and can get AMAZING prices on luxury furnishings (thus more bang for your buck!) But some home stagers are not certified or trained in this kind of advanced shopping.
I train on this extensively, and here’s an example of the kind of pricing you can get by going to the market. I love the look of layered rugs and this zebra hide rug costs only $99 at the market … what?!
DON’T base your choice on experience alone.
Staging will always be an art form and some of the most talented stagers I’ve seen who do not sacrifice on quality of materials are brand new to the industry. Their heart and soul is placed into that home and it shows. Take a chance and try someone new.
Photo credit: HSR Grad Leslie Anderson of Leslie Anderson Interiors in Virginia
A good rule of thumb is to consider spending a little less or around 1 percent the value of the home on vacant staging in order for the staging to match the luxury level of the home. The million-plus dollar home needs to be staged like a million bucks …. buyers expect this.
Photo credit: HSR Grad Birgit Anich of BA Staging and Interiors in Connecticut
If the seller’s furnishings are over 10 years old then DO have them consider “moving out” beforehand, so that they can make an extra 5 to 10 percent the value of the home in the sale. According to recent staging statistics, the seller who spends close to 1 percent on staging usually sees over a 10 percent return on investment. There does appear to be a connection between spending more and getting more.
Photo credit: HSR Grad Corrine McKendrick of Pacific Home Design
Photo credit: HSR Grad Corrine McKendrick of Pacific Home Design
DO educate the seller on how they can get the best price for their home by staging.
I’m seeing a lot of smart agents educating their sellers on this critical cost, sometimes even paying it up front (for the cash poor seller) and then charging it in closing as part of their fee. We all know that markets go up and down, but the real estate agent who consistently puts the best marketed and priced product on the market for the sellers, is the one that will be around forever.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Audra Slinkey is president and founder of the Home Staging Resource, an advanced home staging and redesign certification training company. Slinkey has been awarded the “Most Innovative Product of the Year Award” three times for her training and serves on the board of the Real Estate Staging Association. Slinkey is a published author and international speaker on staging, color, and design. She is proud and privileged to help create and mentor thousands of staging and design businesses across the globe.