May 20, 2010

Home Staging — More than just a Quick Sale

Of course we know moving is stressful, but it is also bittersweet — even at the best of times.

I recently staged a home for a family that had outgrown their two bedroom character home.  Although they had a beautiful newly renovated home to move into, saying goodbye to their previous property — and all the memories they had made there — was still tough.

When the homeowner returned to the property after our staging, she was pleasantly surprised for more than one reason.  Not only did she love the way we arranged the furniture and added accessories, she was amazed at how much easier it was to move on.  Here is what she said to us:

The photos and slideshow look really great. I love that the second bedroom could be a kid’s room/could be a guest room/could be a den or office. The master bedroom looks HUGE, the main floor is warm and inviting. Your simple, comfortable furniture placement in all the rooms really allows a person to imagine their own interpretation of each space. I guess that’s the whole point of hiring a professional. 🙂 

 I never thought I’d be able to say I am excited to sell our little house but your transformation actually has me looking forward to moving on rather than just feeling sad to go. Turning it into a ‘house for sale’ instead of ‘MY house’ has really helped me say goodbye.  Who would have thought that staging the place could help with the emotional part of moving and selling!

At GreenApple, we thrive on being able to make a difference in people’s lives during these emotional transitions.  And we’re even happier with when we receive the good news that an offer has been accepted within the first few days on the market, as was the case for these homeowners.

If you’re approaching in upcoming move with mixed emotions, give us a call!  Let us share some of the burden and help write your own home selling success story.

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April 27, 2010

Are you Making the Biggest Home Selling Mistake with Your Property?

As a Calgary Home Stager, it’d be easy to talk about all the ways in which home sellers can improve the presentation and styling of their property. Face it . . . most of us just don’t live in that Show Home perfect world that buyers respond to best.

Although there are lots of missed opportunities where sellers could more readily connect with a buyer, this isn’t the biggest mistake that a home seller can make.

The biggest mistake is overpricing the home.

As I’ve said before, pricing a home is part art and part science. There are some very tangible ways to calculate those dollars and cents, and other less tangible factors that need to be taken into account.

However, for the vast majority of homes in Calgary, there is definitely a ceiling on each property. And once a seller prices above that ceiling, it is the quickest way to decrease the number of showings and put the few buyers who view the home on the offensive.

Many home sellers reason that the negotiations can begin when they receive an offer. However, that high price tag leads buyers to believe the seller will be unreasonable in the negotiating process, since they are unrealistic in the asking price.

Pricing a home over fair market value doesn’t guarantee a higher selling price. In fact, it often results in a lower one!

The cycle goes like this:

The home is priced too high —->

—-> Buyers are turned off and don’t view the property —->

—->The buyers who do come look for all the reasons why the property isn’t worth that top dollar (they get nit-picky fast!) —->

—->No . . . or only low . . . offers come in —->

—-> Time goes by —->

—-> The longer a property sits on the market, the more desperate the seller is perceived to be —->

—-> Leading to even lower offers.

Don’t be the seller that makes this mistake! Your best chance of selling quickly is to do your homework. Prepare, price properly, and then get the presentation polished!

Need help? We can refer one of the many great Agents that we work with. GreenApple also provides Pre-Market Consultations, giving you the advice you need so you can hit the market as the newest “hot property”.

You only get one chance to make a great first impression.

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Filed under: Home Selling — Tags: , , , — admin @ 3:14 pm
April 15, 2010

What’s new at GreenApple?

As they say, time flies when you’re having fun! I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post. Something I will try not to let happen again!

However, it’s not because we’ve been slacking off . . . quite the opposite. Our Calgary Home Staging and Photography business is really growing here at GreenApple with an expanding client list, expanding services, and expanding office help (and thank goodness for that!).Calgary Home Staging and Interior Photography, spa bathroom

So what have we been up to? One thing I really like about running my own business is that it is never a dull moment, or overly repetitive. We’ve helped many home owners and Real Estate Agents with Staging, Pre-Market Consultations, Pre-Photo Stylings — and, of course, Interior Photography!

One interesting project in the last few weeks was the styling and photography I did for Vicon Homes, a local craftsman Home Builder. Check out their latest home building project and our photos here!

Another fun job was providing a Pre-Market Consultation to some Calgary home owners at the request of their Agent. I gave them the advice they were looking for to effectively prepare their home for sale. The best part of it was going back a few weeks later and discovering they actually implemented nearly everything I suggested — and it looked great!

They even purchased some items for styling (which they happily get to take to their new home). I then used those items, and other things I found around their home, to add the “finishing touches” before our photo shoot. Take a look at our awesome home transformation and mini-staging results.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back soon again.

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March 21, 2010

The Difference great Real Estate Photography makes in a Home Sale!

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of photographing a beautiful home in SW Calgary. The Realtor had asked me to provide a pre-market staging consultation, so I got a preview of the listing.

I gave a few styling tips and furniture arrangment ideas as the home owner and I travelled from room to room, but what was mostly on my mind was that I couldn’t wait to come back with my photography equipment! Everything about the home — from the decor and artwork to the cleanliness, organization and maintenance — just had “Your search is over” written all over it!

As I had expected, the home has already sold . . . but I was doubly pleased to learn that GreenApple’s real estate photography and slideshow played an integral part in the sale — as was reported to me by the Realtors, it helped clinch the deal!

Like most people, I take great pride and pleasure in a job well done. And knowing that what I do has made a real difference helping these home owners to move on to their next chapter more quickly . . . it’s the icing on the cake!

To see the difference our photography makes, view our portfolio!

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March 14, 2010

Looking for More Information on Home Staging and Home Selling in Calgary?

Did you know that I write for the Calgary Home Staging Blog, as well as maintaining a blog here on GreenApple Staging & Images?  Because homes and real estate have always been a passion of mine, I keep informed on many related topics . . . and then share what I learn with all of you!

If it has been awhile since you’ve been active in Calgary’s real estate market, things have definitely changed . . . and I’m not just talking about price fluctuations.

Technology has dramatically affected the buying end of the home selling equation — the internet has given buyers more control in searching for properties independently, which in turn means they are far more educated about what is on the market. They don’t need to rely on an agent to shortlist homes for them, and they can easily view hundreds of properties in one sitting at their own computer.

Wondering how your home stacks up against all the others out there? Interested in learning how to get the most out of your single largest asset?

Read about these questions and more on the Calgary Home Staging Blog. Find out how great photography and professional home staging can help you sell your home more quickly . . . and for more money.

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February 17, 2010

Tips for Choosing a Calgary Realtor for Listing your Home

Spring has sprung in Calgary, and I don’t just mean the milder weather we’ve been enjoying. The Calgary real estate market seems to be off to a healthy start for 2010.

At GreenApple Staging & Images, we’ve been busy giving pre-market consultations to home sellers looking to maximize their home’s potential. We’ve also been doing tons of MLS photography shoots as our regular clients seem to be listing up a storm. And, we’ve also done a lot of home staging and furnishing of properties for sale that would otherwise have sat vacant.

The reward of all our effort? Homes are selling! We’re so excited to be part of our busy Calgary Realtor teams that are making a difference to many home owners in selling their properties.

Are you thinking of listing your home sale, but don’t know who to call? How do you go about choosing a Real Estate Agent to list your home with? With some 5000 Realtors in Calgary, this is not an easy task! Here are a few of our best tips:

  1. Insight – Pricing a home is part art and part science. All Agents have access to current statistics, but applying it appropriately to any given property is a little trickier. You want an Agent who will help price your home accurately. Go too high, and buyers lose interest. Price too low . . . well, no one wants to leave money on the table, but you could end up with multiple offers to help correct that.
  2. Investment – The real estate game has changed dramatically in Calgary. Houses no longer sell themselves, just because you put the sign on the lawn. With over 90% of home buyers now starting their home search online, you need an Agent that understands the importance of great photography and properly preparing a home for sale. It has to be visually appealing for today’s home buyers! Ask about an Agent’s value-added services. Better yet . . . check out the properties they currently have listed to see for yourself. Can you see the rooms in the photos? Do you like what you see?
  3. Impact – When an offer comes in, you need a skilled negotiator! What might look like a straight forward sale can get complicated very quickly. It’s not just about the dollar value — terms, conditions, home inspections, closing issues — as a Home Seller you need someone on your side to navigate these treacherous waters and help save you costly mistakes!

Of course, we whole-heartedly recommend the Agents that we work with! Looking for someone who is a good fit for you? Just ask us and we’ll pass on a qualified referral.

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February 1, 2010

What is Your Clutter Costing You??

In Pre-Market Consultations, I often recommend to Home Owners that they start the process of moving and packing before they list their home. And nearly as often, I get a surprised and somewhat reluctant reaction! It gets even worse when I suggest that they look into some additional off-site storage to clear out excess boxes and furnishings from their home.

While I totally understand how unappealing all that work is, the reality of selling your house means that you will have to deal with your stuff . . .  and moving it . . . sooner or later.

But would you be more willing to start moving out of your home a little early if someone was going to pay you to do it?

Did you know that is exactly what a buyer will do? They will pay you to pack up your stuff.

In HomeGain’s latest survey (2009), they published the top 12 low-cost Do-It-Yourself home improvements that pay off when selling your home. And guess what the number one Return on Investment is?

Cleaning and De-cluttering!

They estimated the effort at a cost of $200, with a $1500-$2000 price increase!

In fact, most of this job is absolutely free, aside from the effort — which you have to do eventually, anyway.

Even if you need additional storage space, you can rent a 10’x10′ mini-storage unit for about $238/month . . . or look into renting a private garage with more space for even less money. Clearly, the couple of extra grand you’ll get, makes it worthwhile. 

And the more clutter you have, the more it will cost you to not deal with it. One of the top selling features of a home in today’s real estate market is organized storage. Our lives are so hectic and crazy busy, that we really need our homes to “work” for us. Buyers value a home that holds some promise of a more organized life. Even if your home does have a lot of storage, if it is over-stuffed and the picture of chaos, it leaves a buyer with the impression that whatever it is, it’s not enough.

Order is serenity.

Keep saying that to yourself as you sort through closets, fold and stack your linens like a store display, and turn the labels in your pantry to the front.

Order is serenity . . . order is serenity . . . order is serenity.

And better yet . . . let a wide grin spread across your face as you further remind yourself . . . serenity means money in your pocket! Ahhhh, there’s a thought you can fall asleep to.

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Filed under: Home Selling — Tags: , , — admin @ 7:39 pm
January 25, 2010

GreenApple Staging & Images makes a Great Debut at the Calgary Real Estate Tradeshow

Wednesday, January 20th was the 6th annual Calgary Real Estate Board Conference and Tradeshow. GreenApple Staging & Images was proud to be one of 102 exhibitors contributing to the theme, “A Brave New World”.

The GreenApple team had a great time mingling with both the attendees and other exhibitors. We had tons of traffic at our booth and got a chance to meet many hardworking and forward thinking Realtors.

There is definitely an increased interest in Home Staging, professional Real estate Photography, and pre-market Consultations as part of an individual Realtor’s marketing plan — all part of the new economy. I believe these strategies are not just trends. They are definitely here to stay as our consumer oriented society continues to respond to visual appeal.

We staged our booth with our brand colors — black, white and apple green, of course — and we were happily surprised that GreenApple was declared one of the top 3 Staging Exhibitors! We were all tied with an Honorable Mention for booth design and service.

We also held a draw and gave away a Pre-Market Consultation package and an MLS Photography Package. When I called the winners, they were thrilled and are eager to apply these services to their next listing. 

It’ll be all work and no play for awhile, as the “Spring” real estate season seems well underway in Calgary already. But that is exactly what we bargained for!

Thanks to everyone who visited us at the event, and all others who supported us behind the scenes!

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January 3, 2010

GreenApple is going to CREB Forecast 2010. Are you?

January 20, 2010 marks the 6th annual Conference and Tradeshow for the Calgary Real Estate Board. This year’s focus is on the “brand new economy, brand new consumer, brand new technology” for today’s real estate market.

GreenApple is proud and excited to part of the changing face of real estate! Our business focus of home staging and professional photography is all about helping home owners more effectively market their property to today’s consumer. And not only do we follow Calgary’s real estate market and trends, we are also part of national and international networks that allow us to see how larger influences will affect us locally.

If you are a Real Estate Professional, drop by and visit us at the show! Enter our draws for complimentary services, including free pre-market consultations and full real estate/MLS photography packages. Multiple winners will be announced following the show, just in time for the busy Spring market.

We look forward to seeing you at the Telus Convention Centre on January 20th!

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Filed under: Home Selling,What's New — Tags: , , , — admin @ 1:34 pm
December 30, 2009

Who Should You Call First? Your Realtor . . . or a Home Stager??

When you’re thinking of selling your home, this question might be on your mind, with a chicken-and-egg kind of quandry!

Calling your Realtor first will give you the information you need as far as pricing and comparables are concerned, helping you out with budget considerations. Contacting a Home Stager will help you get on the right track to properly prepare your home for today’s real estate market. Sometimes this can even influence your Realtor’s opinion on the value of your property! (No joke.)

That being said, some Realtors now work with Home Stagers, and even include a Pre-Market Consultation in their listing services. So, why pay for this yourself ahead of time? At GreenApple, we work with those forward thinking Real Estate Professionals, and can recommend one to you in your area.

The biggest mistake home owners make in the area of timing is not starting the process soon enough. Getting your home ready takes longer than most people allow.

So often we are called by home owners who want an appointment today, because they need to get on the market by Friday. Unfortunately, it’s just not possible to get any home prepared in this short of a time frame! Why? Because we don’t live in our homes the same way that we need to sell them.

The standard in selling a home today is to have it look like a “showhome”. Merchandised, like any product for sale. Buyers want move-in ready, and don’t want to do your little fix-ups any more than you do. (Interestingly, more people put more effort into detailing their cars when they sell them, than their homes!) Ideally, getting a pre-market consultation done two months ahead of your projected list date, gives you ample time to get all those little jobs done at a do-able pace.

So who should you call first? Call a Realtor who works with a Home Stager (and professional photographer!) for the best marketing plan . . . or a Home Stager who works with many Realtors. Either way, you’ll get the best of both worlds.

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Filed under: Home Selling — admin @ 6:53 pm
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