When Is A House Not A Home…

White Brick Front Porch, Gas Lanterns, Boxwood Planters At Entry, Plank Window Shutters, Double Door Entry, Rockers On The Porch
via Better Homes & Gardens

As Soon As It Goes To Market

The minute you consider placing your home on the market is when it needs to become a house again.  It was just a house when you purchased or built it.  It was a business transaction, and a very important one in your life.  After the purchase is when this mere piece of architecture became your home, filled to the brim with your memories and your personalities.  When you decide to pass this house onto someone else, you must look at it as a business transaction, a very large one that you want to be successful.  You are not selling your memories.  They get to go with you. 

Smart business people are pros at choosing and hiring the best associates to assure the transaction is successful.  When selling a home, the right real estate professional is essential.  Most realtors have a pretty standard list of the basic things that need to be done to ready your property for sale.  The best agents have complete teams to access and implement strategies to make your property rise to the top of the current offerings.  Designers are a big part of this team.  Experienced designers have seen properties that move quickly and some that linger.

Let’s Discuss

Painted Brick Home, Stone Entry, Red Front Doors, Slate Roof, Stone Retaining Walls, Black Shutters
via Pinterest

Curb Appeal-This is not a time to assume beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Please don’t ignore the suggestions to update overgrown landscape, apply fresh paint,  and insure roofing and gutters are in pristine order.  Create a welcoming entrance with seasonal plantings that you keep in top condition. We have to get the buyers to come into the house. Which house is more inviting to you?

Red Brick Home with Black Shutters, Lower Level Garage , Wrought Iron Columns
via Pinterest

Decor and Maintenance-   You may be hoping that an agent is going to come in and tell you that you don’t have to make repairs or updates.  If you are serious about selling your home, then you have the wrong agent.  It can be obvious that updating is needed or you can be unsure.  This is the time to trust the professionals you are working with.

Is your decor too personal in taste?  This can be true even when things are done to perfection.  Remember the goal is to appeal to as many tastes as possible.  We’ve had buyers walk away in despair because they don’t think a house will work with the level of decor and furnishings it has now. A few changes can make this room resonate with buyers.

Salmon Pink Walls, Blue Stripe Sofa, Over Decorated Living Room
via Better Homes & Gardens

If your decor looks like a furniture store display we need to liven it up.  Houses that look lived  in sell.  We don’t live in stores!

Dark Wood Dining Room "Set"
via Wayfair

Staging can be too much or too little.  The best “staged” properties use your furnishings, simply arranged to highlight all the amenities of your structure.

Over staged and too “Matchy”.

Buttercream Living Room, White Duck Upholstery, Blue Striped Curtains, Too Matchy Matchy
via Pinterest

Under Staged…empty rooms are better than feeling like you are up next at a poor doctors office.  Yep, one chair with no arms is super inviting don’t you think? Designers, vs a stager, will be honest with you about spending some, but not more money than you have to, in regards to staging.

Under furnished, Beige Walls, Great Room, Unappealing To Buyers. Furniture Out of Scale
via Pinterest

Kitchens have to be updated.  This is the one room you can spend a moderate amount of money on to get the best investment return.  Be careful when choosing who you will use to help you plan the updates so you do not spend more than you have to.  See our previous post on kitchens…if it does not wow you it will not wow the buyers either.  They will move on to your neighbors that is updated.

See our recent post about this very kind of kitchen here.

Oak Kitchen Cabinets, Green Laminate Counter Tops, Pendant Island Lighting, Wood Flooring In Kitchen
via Home Design

Below is the standard list any agent will give you.  These are all good points and the minimum you should do.

  • Remove Clutter – You don’t need us to tell you to do this.  You know you have to.  You are going to have to pack it or toss it before you move anyway, so go ahead and get it done.
  • Pet Control – Anything that looks like or smells like you have a pet needs to be addressed.  Period.  This may seem harsh but put yourself in buyer mode.  Are you anxious to buy a home where the dog/cat has destroyed something? Didn’t think so.  Have a plan for pets when showings happen.
  • Clean- up, clean-out and clean some more. – Not just surface cleaning.  Good old-fashioned spring cleaning.  The more you clean the less you will have to spend on updates.  Funny how that works!
  • Paint – Touch up as needed and make sure paints blend.  Paints age and no one wants to see a spotted design. It goes without saying that colors need to be what is selling at the time.  Another good time to hire the designer.  Know what the smell of money is…it’s fresh paint.
Gretta Garbo NY Apartment, Wood Paneling, Hot Pink Furniture, Bright Decor from the 1960's
via Architectural Digest

Unless you are the late Greta Garbo, whose abode above recently went to market in New York and has not been touched since the 60’s, you will want to keep reading the few extra tips from us.  These are the things our clients want when looking for a new house to make their home.


Family Entry Wall Hooks, Wellies, Umbrellas, Wool Throws, Soft Creamy White Walls, Hooks On Boards
via Remodelista

White Simple Desk with File, Adjustable White Wall Shelves Over Desk, Swivel Black Desk Chair, Desk Task Lamp, Bulletin Boards, Pencil Cups

Things don’t have to be fancy or expensive, but areas need to be defined as to how they can be used to make their life easier.  Carving out small spaces with high function return more than the cost of the project.


Long Wood Farmhouse Table, French Bistro Chairs, White Pendant Lighting, Windows With Transoms, Natural Washed Wood Wide Plank Floors
via Luxe Interactive Design
Soft Blue Walls, Light Filled Breakfast Nook, Modern Molded White Chairs, Wood Table with White Iron Base, Navy Blue Chair Cushions
via Remodelista
Farmhouse Dining Room with Moody Blue Wood Plank Walls, Rustic Distressed Farm Table, Black Wood Rattan Chairs with Exposed Natural Maple Legs, Woven Market Baskets
via Canadian Home

No matter what your decor is, remember it is part of your personality and going with you.  Our clients want to see perfect windows…clean, painted and unobstructed.


Butcher Block Counter Top, White Porcelain Farmhouse Sink, Beveled 3x6 Subway Tile with Light Gray Grout, Single Arm Chrome Faucet with White China Handle
via Remodelista

There is a simple rule you can apply to updating your architecture.  If you would not have it in your new home then chances are neither will your buyers.  By the best you can afford.  Working with a designer will not mean you will be buying the most expensive choice.  It means you will be putting the dollar where it has the most impact…ultimately back in your wallet.


White Walls, Dual Windows with Transoms, Dual White Painted Radiators, Gallery Wall Art, Window Seal Plants, Mixed Vintage Wood Chairs, White Breakfast Nook Table
via Coca Lapine

Styling a house provides balance; shows off the assets while minimizing the not so desirable elements.  Nine times out of ten, after we work our magic in a house, the owners wish they had used us years ago to make things so much more functional and appealing.  We often are hired to help the sellers settle into their new homes.  The best real estate agents also have the best designers a text away and can assist you rather quickly.  Wondering why we do not get that 10th owner?  They hired the wrong agent and don’t know we exist.

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