3 Ways to Virtually ‘Marie Kondo’ Your Condo

3 Ways to Virtually ‘Marie Kondo’ Your Condo

By Sarah Anderson, vice president marketing, VHT Studios

Photo credit: 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.

BEFORE
AFTER – Virtually staged by VHT Studios

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.

BEFORE
AFTER – Virtually staged by VHT Studios

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.


How I Staged it: The Fireplace

How I Staged it: The Fireplace

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

The fireplace is a hot home accessory to accent when a home is for sale, and a little staging can go a long way in giving it the attention it deserves. Staging and real estate professionals submitted some of their favorite staging photos and tips for our new slideshow, How I Staged It: Give the Fireplace Top Billing. Check out these stunningly staged fireplaces for ideas to inspire your own staging.

Want to have your photos featured? We’re looking for staging insights and photos for making over the entryway and dining room. Submit your pictures to mtracey@realtors.org.

Why You Should Consider Staging the Staircase

Why You Should Consider Staging the Staircase

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Photo Credit: L.J. Smith Stair Systems

A great staircase can be attention-getting in your listing. Don’t forget to stage it and highlight it in your property photos to give it the attention it deserves. “A circular staircase creates a positive first impression as people walk into the home,” says Kurt Geschwender with Geschwender Real Estate Co. “It’s a one-two punch. You’ve created strong curb appeal to move them off the street and into the house. Then you need to close them with the first impression as they enter the home. I’ve found that a buyer will mentally buy the home after they hit the front door … and that they tour the rest of the house looking for reasons why not to buy it.” A circular staircase can be a symbol of elegance, says John Lynn, a real estate pro with 5 Star Real Estate Pros at Keller Williams Mountain Partners. “I’ve rarely seen a curved staircase in a home that wasn’t eye-catching in either its design or placement,” says Lynn. “People see a straight staircase design and think of a wide range of purposes for that staircase from basic functionality to being a home’s centerpiece for connecting life upstairs. However, a curved staircase makes a dramatic, jaw-dropping statement in a home ad appeals to home buyers on an entirely different level.” Stage it: Add a circular table at the bottom of the stairway to enhance the circular staircase. Include a vase of fresh flowers. If there’s space, include a chair beside it. The staging below will help accent the curve of the stairway above.

Photo credit: L.J. Smith Stair Systems

Photograph it: Be sure to include a picture of the staircase in your MLS photos. Capture it from below and shoot toward the curve to show off its grandness.

Photo credit: L.J. Smith Stair Systems

Enhance it: The trend for staircases is cool iron blusters matched with warm wooden newels and handrails, says Craig Kurtz, president of L.J. Smith Stair Systems. “That marriage of wood and iron allows homeowners to ‘play’ off both materials so that the stairway complements other design elements of the home.” Make sure the style matches the rest of the home, however, Lynn says. “The shape, style, positioning and material of a staircase can be a positive or negative in the buyer’s mind depending on how it fits into the overall design of the home,” Lynn says. “I’ve noticed that most people prefer to match the materials in a staircase to existing fixtures of the home to give a consistency of theme or design. Having a staircase with a little bit of color, material or design contrast allows them to offset or even showcase the staircase in the home.”
Staged to Sell: A Fixer Upper to Show Stopper

Staged to Sell: A Fixer Upper to Show Stopper

Home stager: Justin M. Riordan, founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency, with offices in Portland, Ore., and Seattle The home: This Portland, Ore., home was a “complete and total fixer,” Riordan says. But it wasn’t anything that some savvy staging couldn’t fix. The 3,180-square-foot home was built in 1906 and features five bedrooms, 3.5 baths. It’s listed for $875,000. Riordan’s Staging Tips: 

Photo Credit: Justin Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

  1. When staging a home, stick with neutral rugs with little to no pattern. This will keep the the rugs from distracting from the house itself.

Photo Credit: Justin Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

2. Mix styles because not everybody loves modern or Victorian or vintage. By having an eclectic mix of styles in each room, the staging can appeal a little bit to each person.

Photo Credit: Justin Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

3. Use color blocking. By assigning a single color to each room, buyers will have a way to discuss each room. This house has a green bedroom, a pink bedroom, a grey bedroom, and a brown bedroom. When the buyer say, “I think Sally should have the pink bedroom,” the other buyer will understand immediately which room they were talking about. Have a home you recently staged that you’d like to show off here at Styled Staged & Sold? Submit your staging photos for consideration, along with three to five of your best spruce-up tips. Contact Melissa Dittmann Tracey at mtracey@realtors.org.
Holiday Lighting Tips for Safety and Style

Holiday Lighting Tips for Safety and Style

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Framing a home in a glow of lights can show off your holiday spirit and your home this season. Depending on how much you commit too, you could become the talk of the town. But there’s that fine line between magical glow of holiday spirit and, well, the one that sent Clark Griswold from “Christmas Vacation” yelling expletives.

A recent Boston Globe article offered tips from the pros in getting the former, and not the latter, in your holiday light display this season.

Select a color palette. Will you do white lights or multi-color lights? Choose one and stick to it. Keep your color palette simple, such as with just warm colors or just cool colors, suggests April Tougas-Schavone with the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Mass., which hosts a big holiday lighting event each year. “You get a much bigger impact if you stay with one or two colors rather than following five different colors in one area,” she told The Boston Globe. “It looks much more professional and refined.” Also, choose between traditional incandescent bulbs and more energy efficient LEDs.

Choose the bulb size. You also have choices of mini lights or larger C7 or C9 bulbs—plump, old-fashioned Christmas lights. Some designers like to hang these in vertical strands from high branches, or to use meteor or snowdrop lights. These lights are a dripping down ball of light through a tube. The plump C7 or C9 lights can be good for using on evergreen trees or along rooflines. Wrapping tree trunks or branches with a tight coil of mini lights is always popular, designers say. “They take the longest [to install], but they’re worth every minute,” Michael Rose, owner of Christmas Décor by Suburban Lawn and Sprinkler Co. in Framingham, Mass., told the Boston Globe.

Test out your lights first. Nothing is more frustrating than spending hours stringing lights but then finally turning them on to admire and finding they don’t work. Test the lights out before you hang.

Check for safety. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there were 14,700 decorating-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms during the 2016 holiday season. Forty-one percent involved falls. Use a sturdy ladder and be mindful of safety if you’re installing the lights yourself. Also, check that all of the lights and extension cords are rated for outdoor use. Don’t use cut or frayed cords or any lights with cracked bulbs. Experts recommend plugging the lights into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, which will automatically shut off power if a ground fault is detected from water or a damaged cord. Purchase extension cords or adapters that add GFCI protection to any three-prong outlet.

It’s Easy Being Green: How to Add This Year’s Hottest Hues of Green to Your Décor

It’s Easy Being Green: How to Add This Year’s Hottest Hues of Green to Your Décor

Photo Credit: Crate and Barrel

By Laura Love Bardell, guest contributor

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.

Accessorize.

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.

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