Liz Connolly
Staging Consultant, Trainer, Mentor

Located In: O'Fallon, MO

Servicing: St. Louis City & County, Mo St. Charles County, Mo

Additional Services: Vacant Home Staging Re-styling services for occupied resale properties Space Planning Project management Builder displays Finish selections

Phone: 314 486 5354
Cell: 314 825 6650

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CSP® Mentor CSP® Masters

St. Louis premier home staging company, INhance IT! Home Staging, will merchandise your vacant or occupied property utilizing beautiful furnishings and accessories which will allow the home seller to have the home showcased at it's best to appeal to the widest range of buyers which, in turn, should lead to a faster sale and higher return on equity.


TOTALLY TRANSFORMED

Staging is the fastest way to get your property sold fast and for top dollar!

Your home is probably your largest investment and selling it can be one of the most important and stressful times in your life. Staging is the process of getting your home ready for market. Staging is the only service performed in preparation for selling a home that actually brings measurable value. By following the steps and recommendations provided by a professional stager you are much more likely to secure the most equity for your property with fewer days on market. Your first showing is typically online as 92% of buyers shop online before they ever step foot into your house. Remember, buyers buy the way they want to live, not how they actually live.
• Staging is preparing the property to appeal to the widest range of buyers.
• Staging is NOT interior decorating. Decorating is PERSONAL. Staging is designed to appeal to the buyer demographic that will be looking at your property.

You must be committed to getting your house ready for sale. It is not easy living life “on stage” but your property WILL sell faster and for a higher price if you take the following steps to create a fabulous first impression. Buyers want rooms that are light and bright, meticulously clean, fresh and uncluttered. The more you do to prepare your house, the faster it will sell.

“THE WAY YOU LIVE IN YOUR HOME AND THE WAY YOU LIST YOUR HOUSE ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS”

TOP TIPS FOR PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR MARKET
*HAVE A STAGER PERFORM A CURB THROUGH BASEMENT ASSESSMENT
Start at the curb and look at things like your mailbox, driveway, landscaping, front steps/porch, front door, welcome mat, exterior lighting, paint, siding, and trim. Don’t forget to look up…looking for cobwebs, insects and debris. Look at each area of the home, garage, deck, back yard, and all interior living spaces with a critical eye. Ask yourself “would I accept this if I were buying this property?”

•CLEAN
-Inside and out.
-Don’t forget the basement, garage, porch, patio, cupboards, closets, baseboards, light fixtures, ceilings, fireplaces, carpets, curtains.
-IF YOU CAN SMELL IT, YOU CAN’T SELL IT.
Even if YOU can’t smell it, the potential buyer may. Many times we get used to the smell of our homes – dogs, cats, mildew, SMOKE, pungent ethnic foods, etc. Clean and deodorize. You may need to have your air ducts cleaned.

•DECLUTTER - EDIT
-Clutter happens! It comes in one piece at a time and eventually closes in on us. Clutter eats equity. A cluttered home is stressful, and in America we are cluttered to death. Clutter will be one of your biggest challenges in preparing your home for sale. Plan to tackle one room at a time or it can become overwhelming.
-WHAT IS CLUTTER? It’s the stuff your spouse wants you to throw out and you refuse to part with -- newspapers, magazines, stuffed animals, clipped coupons and recipes, figurines, and the things your friends say are “so you” and show your personality”. When you stage you need to pack these items away. Now is a good time to ask yourself “Do I really NEED to keep these items?”

•PAINT
-Painting is one of the least expensive ways to prepare your house for sale. Remove wallpaper, touch up smudges, freshen up baseboards and trim.
-When preparing your house for sale, select neutral, light paint colors in pale grays or beige.

•FUNISHINGS
-In many cases sellers have too much furniture or furniture that is too large for the space. This is another case where less is more. Be sure you have at least a 3’ walkway in all areas throughout the home. Store excess furnishings either off-site or in an area of the basement or garage where it won’t look cluttered.
- In other cases, sellers have sparsely furnished or unfurnished rooms. It is better to leave these rooms empty than partially furnished. The best scenario is to bring in rental furnishings to round out the design plan so that buyers can envision the space.

•ASSESS HIGH IMPACT AREAS
-KITCHENS. One of the key areas you can invest is in the kitchen. Buyers pay particular attention to kitchen FLOORING (in a home over $200,000 they do not want vinyl). Replace with tile or hardwood. COUNTERTOPS are another key area. Buyers are looking for solid surfaces such as Granite, Quartz or Silestone. APPLIANCES may need to be updated – stainless is still the most requested appliance type.
-LIGHTING. LOOK UP. WHAT DO YOU SEE? If major lighting fixtures are dated, they can be replaced easily and inexpensively. Drum light fixtures (with fabric or neutral shade) blend with most existing fixtures.
-HARDWARE. This is another inexpensive update. Replace brass door handles. Replace dated knobs and pulls on kitchen cabinets.
-MASTER BATH. Along with the kitchen, the master bath is a key area where buyers want luxury. Carpet is a negative in wet areas. In a home over $200,000 buyers are looking for tile. If you replace carpet with vinyl, be sure to use a heavy vinyl that looks like tile.
-MASTER BEDROOM. Replace floral or patterned bedding with fresh “Hotel Collection” white bedding.

•PLAN AHEAD
Preparing your home for market requires detailed planning. There are so many elements that need to come together prior to putting your property on the market it can be daunting. Remember, if you pack it now you won’t have to move it later when your house sells. Put together a schedule and rely on an array of industry professionals to assist with the process.

•HELP, I HAVE TO MOVE AND MY HOUSE HASN’T SOLD!
-This is where a professional staging company like INhance IT! comes to the rescue. We select furnishings, artwork, plants and accessories to enhance each key room of your home.
-We select the furnishings, move them in, merchandise the home, and move them out prior to closing.
-Vacant home staging fees can begin from as little as $2,600. Pricing is based on several factors including the square footage of the home, price of the home, location, type of property (condo, high rise, single family) and rooms to be staged. It may sound high, but think about it – each home will have approx. $20K of furnishings when staged – high quality, selected to accent the home and designed to sell your home.
-If you don’t stage your home as soon as you move out, it WILL sit on the market longer and you will still be making the house payments. Statistics show that staged properties sell 83% faster than un-staged properties. Recent RESA (Real Estate Staging Association) reports show 120 days (4 months) for un-staged properties vs. less than 40 days for staged properties.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Whether you will be living in your home while it is on the market or moving on to your new home, be sure that your agent arranges to have your home professionally photographed once it is staged and ready to go. The old adage, a picture is worth a thousand words, still holds true today. You only have once chance to make a first impression and in today’s marketplace that first impression is typically on-line or on social media.

Real estate professionals agree that the cost of staging is less than the cost of a price reduction. Stage first and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your home will be sold and begin to reap the rewards of your labors. Contact INhance IT! Home Staging…the cost of our service is less than your first price reduction! 314-486-5354 www.inhanceitstaging.com

FIXER UPEPER MANIA

Fixer Upper Mania is sweeping the nation. It's basically a refined version of the original Shabby Chic...giving old items new life. Want to re-create Joanna Gaines' look in your home? Here are a few tips.

•Shiplap
•Subway Tile
•Exposed brick – natural or whitewashed
•Sliding Barn Doors
•Farmhouse sinks

Utilize “found objects” repurposed for beautiful living environments
•Feed buckets/troughs
•Milk crates, milk bottles
•Old ladders
•Simple white dishes, towels, bedding, window treatments
•Old window and door frames and shutters
•Watering cans
•White flowers and green herbs
•Lemons and green apples
•Natural books – no covers
•Old scales

Paint:
•White or ivory (Sherwin Williams color of the year 2016 Alabaster)
•Pale Gray (SW Repose Gray)
•Light Blues with Gray undertones (SW 6772 Cay)
•Dark Gray (cabinets) SW 6235 Foggy Day
(Great with white and unfinished shiplap and wood tones)
•Rich Teal Blue (6494 Lakeshore)
*Sherwin Williams 2017 color of the year Poised Taupe

Kitchens:
•Painted cabinets – white, gray, lt. blue.
oIsland contrasting color with shiplap, bead board or reclaimed wood.
oWood island top
oGray ice stone countertops with white cabinets
•Glass front cabinets
•Exposed open shelving
•Subway tile backsplash (pale gray or white)
•Exposed brick
•Stainless appliances and drawer pulls
•Lighting – copper or black
•Portable islands

STAGING/SELLING TO MILLENNIALS

One of the most important aspects is marketing a property for sale is creating an environment that will appeal to the demographic/psychographic of the buyer who will be looking at the property. In today’s market:
• Typical first time buyer age 32 (Millennial) born 1980-1999
•Average seller age 57 (Boomer) born 1946-1964
•The millennial generation lives in a time in history when minorities will lead the U.S. population. For this reason, they are considered one of the most diverse generations.
•Confidence, tolerance, ENTITLEMENT
•Economically, this is the most educated generation as of 2016. (HIGH STUDENT LOAN DEBT-avg. $37,000). Coming to working age during times of economic turmoil, many millennials are underemployed. Despite bleak economic conditions, millennials remain one of the more optimistic generations.
oIn Missouri average millennial salary is $32,105
oNet worth negative
•Millennials are more likely than previous generations to delay marriage and children. The average age for a millennial's first marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men. Even further, a Pew analysis of census data predicts that 25 percent of millennials will never marry at all.
•The millennial generation also represents a shift in technology. For instance, millennials are more likely to use television and Internet sources to access news and information as opposed to newspaper and radio. They are sometimes referred to as "digital natives" because they began using technology such as computers and cell phones at a young age.

BOOMERS PURCHASED THEIR FIRST HOME IN THE 1980’S with interest rates hovering around 15%

Most boomers that are selling today have lived in their current home at least 20+ years.

Millennials want a home that is move in ready:
•Freshly painted
•New carpet/flooring
•Storage

Millennials are not looking for a typical “cookie cutter” home.

•Pre WWI (Victorians, Queen Annes, arts & crafts, bungalows, colonials, anything with charm and character)
•Mid Century homes built between 1945 and 1965.
oKnown for ranch style, cantilevered construction, open floor plans.
•Lafayette square, south City, Benton Park, New Town

Kitchen-Bath Trends for Millennials
•Original period details in kitchen and bath
oHerringbone floors, peach, pink or blue four-inch bathroom or kitchen tiles (original)
oArt deco light fixtures
oNO WALLPAPER
•OR, TOTALLY MODERN. LOTS OF CONTRAST
oExotic stone or poured cement counters
oTop of the line appliances, especially the stove
oWine coolers
oIslands with extra sink
oRecessed lighting and plenty of it!




COLOR TRENDS FOR MILLENNIAL HOME BUYERS
•EARTH TONE, SOFT COLORS, ACCENT WITH AQUAS, BLUES, GREENS OR BROWNS – BRINGING THE OUTDOOR IN (ORGANIC)

FLOORING
•Millennials are moving away from carpeting, even in bedrooms. If carpet is used at all, it is used sparingly.
•Travertine or marble 18” or larger
•Reclaimed wood looks

With the majority of buyers Millennials and the sellers Boomers, Boomers need staging now more than ever.
Simple fixes:
•Paint paneled walls and brown base, chair rail and crown moldings white or light neutral
•Remove all wallpaper
•Remove carpet and replace with hardwood (or expose existing hardwood) in living areas and tile in bathrooms.

SPECIALTY ROOM TRENDS
•Open floor plans combining family room with kitchen/dining
•Media rooms
•Playrooms for kids
•Work out rooms

STAGING SELLS

Thanks and no thanks to HGTV the entire world is aware of the term “Home Staging”. That being said, home staging is much more than furniture and accessory placement. In fact, furniture is the final element in a 3 step process toward preparing your property for sale. It takes some time and some monetary resources to get your home ready for market. At this stage most sellers just want to be done with it! Who wants to invest more time in money into a property they are leaving? No one!! But statistics show that 63% of buyers are willing to pay more for a property that is move in ready. That’s the buyer you want to attract when selling your home. Your home is most likely the biggest investment you have ever made. Why not glean as much equity out of this investment as possible? Here’s how.

STEP 1 – THE CONSULTATION

The consultation is the lead off point for getting your property market ready. Many sellers undervalue this step primarily because they believe consultations are about décor; it is vital that you understand the consultation is about CONDITION. All the deferred maintenance, cleaning, clearing, repairing, painting and replacing are dealt with during the consultation. This step involves a real estate staging professional visiting the property and performing a “curb through basement” assessment of all projects that need to be completed prior to marketing the property. The seller may say: “No budget,” “No money,” “No time,” “Not necessary” …but the consultant is charged with the responsibility of informing sellers of condition items which will affect sale of property within the window of value regardless of their budget. This consultation is about condition not about where to move furniture. In our experience “no money” is usually the first line of resistance. The goal is to have sellers understand they will pay for it anyway by dropping the price of the property. Remember “The investment for staging your property will be less than your first price reduction”.

The consultation can take from an hour to two hours. The staging professional sits down with the seller and provides a plan of action for getting the home market ready. Tasks will be prioritized based on the seller’s budget, price of the home, demographic of the buyers who will be looking at the property and the seller’s desire to increase equity and rate of return. The goal of the staging professional is to help the seller get this accomplished while spending the least amount of time and money possible. INhance IT! provides sellers with a custom Room Ready Handbook which outlines the entire action plan. This is a comprehensive room by room checklist. Now it’s time for the sellers to go to Step 2…

STEP 2 – THE WORK

Now that the seller is armed with an action plan, it’s time to do the work. Using the easy to follow action plan. The key areas addressed in the consultation are floors, walls, ceilings, windows and stuff (FWCWS).

The stager will be able to provide various resources such as painters, plumbers, electricians, packing professionals, handyman and others as needed to complete the work. For busy homeowners the stager can oversee the entire process. Either way, once the work has all been completed its onward to the final step…





STEP 3 – SHOWCASING

Once the “Work” has been completed now it’s time for the final step – SHOWCASING. If the sellers will be living in the home while it is on the market or leaving their own furnishings, the real estate staging professional returns to the home to complete the transformation.

The stager decides the function, focal point, flow and which feelings the room needs to evoke to appeal to the buyer. Staging will accommodate for awkward furniture arrangements, design plans that are not cohesive, and poor lighting. Staging will also create a color strategy/color scheme and focal points for the room. Effective showcasing involves applying a variety of techniques to bring together a perfectly presented room or property, which shows off ease of living designed to stand out in the buyer’s minds.

Showcasing includes flooring (area rugs), furniture, lighting, color and texture, greenery, artwork/mirrors and accessories. Dark furnishings add visual weight as do dark doors and trim. The stager creates balance, proportion, scale and rhythm in each room. The showcasing is designed to connect the viewer emotionally. Adding the correct touches helps the buyer feel comfortable and fall in love with the idea of living in the home. At this point the stager will move furniture into the proper positions within the room and/or even move furniture to another room where it will be more functional. The stager will place the accessory items that were not packed away during the work phase and re-hang art.

Key areas where sellers may need to invest (purchase) items for use in showcasing are the master bedroom and bath. Buyers are seeking a spa-like environment and are attracted to white “hotel collection type” bedding, sheets and towels. White soaps, shower curtains, white orchids and bath products work beautifully when showcasing a bathroom.

Updated throw pillows and artwork may also be required to complete the showcasing. At times, rental furnishings may need to be brought into the home to finish off the design plan. The stagers job is to guide the seller throughout the process making recommendations that make the most sense toward achieving the goal of getting the home sold fast and for top dollar.

A trained real estate staging professional can be the agent’s and seller’s best friend throughout the entire process. In today’s real estate market it takes a great agent, great staging, and fabulous photography to let your listing stand out from the crowd! Don’t go it alone…work with a professional stager.

Prepared by Liz Connolly, MIRM, MCSP
President INhance IT! Home Staging
314-486-5354
www.inhanceitstaging.com

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