Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Secret Ingredient for Kitchen Staging

Have you cleaned and decluttered your kitchen, and are now left with a cold, soulless space crying out for personality? If so, I have two words for you: cutting boards!

Wood is always a sure way to warm up the chilly mood of any room. And one logical, natural, quick, and economical way to introduce wood elements to the kitchen is with the cutting board.

Whether hung on the wall, laid on a center island, clustered in a corner, propped against a backsplash, arranged on a bar cart, or centered on the kitchen counter itself, a cutting board or a group of boards is a no-brainer prop for a home stager to use.

Either new or old boards are fine to use for staging. Best sources for older cutting boards are second-hand stores, garage sales, flea markets, and antique stores. Or you could poke around your grandmother's house.

And if you are worried about using these older boards for cooking and the contamination they carry, don't. Studies show that wood cutting boards -- whether bamboo, maple or other hardwood -- actually self-seal and kill bacteria as long as the surface is wiped clean after use. Plastic cutting board, even when bleached, can still harbor bacteria.

When I talk about cutting boards, I am including thick butcher's chopping blocks, thin and long-handled pizza peels, and everything in between. They can be pieced together from cross-grain wood scraps or sliced from a single log of beautifully grained hardwood. Boards designed especially for serving cheeses are usually marble or granite. Bamboo is eco-friendly and handsome. For staging purposes, plastic, stoneware and glass boards usually don't have the appeal we're looking for.

Check out these photo examples and then consider ways you can add some cutting board charm to your staged kitchen.

Don't assume you need to have a heavy, precious vintage board to add style to your kitchen counter. This grouping of an assortment of ordinary boards gets some heft from a distressed dresser drawer. The plant adds some life and color to the vignette. Photo: GlamShell


Bigger boards don't need any further embellishments to make an impression. These boards have some history, which helps them give a little friendly personality to the room. Photo: SavvySouthernStyle

A couple of oversized cutting boards like these will inject some character into an empty space and introduce a natural element. Whether your boards are new or aged, some kind of detailing or distinctive wood grain will make the display more interesting. Photo: BelleMaison

A pizza peel and a thin cutting board, both with handles, add some height and textural contrast to a display of ceramics holding metal and wood cooking tools. Photo: Homedit

Even boards without a wooden pedigree can be pressed into service to help style a kitchen. This selection of white plastic boards and marble boards look clean and tidy combined with one wood board and nestled in an old box with other kitchen objects. Photo: RustyPelican

If you have some wall space to fill near or in a kitchen, a natural choice is something like this medley of boards artfully arranged above a small dresser, where a basket and lamp tie the color scheme together nicely. Photo: PineAndProspectHome

Get more ideas for staging your home for sale when you download my $4.99 eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast for Top Dollar. Don't wait when you can start your staging today! 

Top Photo: LeoDesignsChicago



Wednesday, February 13, 2019

How to Market Your Home to Women

Did you know that single women are now buying condos and homes at twice the rate of single men? According to Forbes, it's a trend that's not going away soon.

After married couples, single women make up the largest segment of home-buying demographics.

And in married couples, it's women who "tend to be the majority influencer in homebuying decisions," says Forbes.

So, when staging your home for sale, it makes perfect sense to appeal to feminine tastes.

I'm not suggesting pink walls and ruffled curtains.

What I am saying is that the features most women want are easy to incorporate into your staging. And you don't have to get all girly, or offend men buyers, in order to capture the hearts of single women home buyers.

What women care about

There are distinct priorities a single woman has when shopping for a home, Safety and neighborhood quality are two concerns high on her list. For this reason, she statistically prefers a city or suburban location rather than a rural setting. Make sure your Realtor can point out safety features like an alarm system, the proximity of neighbors, or a neighborhood with zero crime rate.

If the home you are selling has the kind of location a single prefers, she is more likely than other buyers to sacrifice other amenities. This is a reassuring fact to remember if your home is small or lacking the latest, snazzy upgrades. Location matters most.

If you are selling a secure condo (maybe in a gated community) with a supportive and active homeowners association, single women are your target market.

Other perks

Whatever your location, here are other features that single women look for.

Plentiful closets Generally, women own more things than men do, so an adequate number of roomy closets is a selling point. Stage them to look accommodating.

Killer Kitchen Retired women often look for the kitchen of their dreams. Young women want an impressive kitchen where they can entertain friends. Stage your kitchen to be stylish and to give the buyer bragging rights. Declutter, paint, and add some beautiful, tasteful accessories. Replace appliances if necessary. It will make a big difference.

Choose an area of your kitchen that lets you stage a beautiful vignette. It could be a
center island, bar cart, single shelf, desk, or a built-in bookcase as this photo shows.
Spare Room
Although not a necessity, a room that can function as a home office or craft room as well as a guest room is a bonus. Many women work from home or are hobbyists or crafters who need space. Always stage this room like a bedroom, but a desk or work surface can hint at the multi-purpose benefits. Staging the room with a sleeper sofa rather than a bed works well in a small bedroom/office.

Easy  Maintenance A single woman is going to review her home inspector's report with a fine comb. She does not want to hire a handyman, plumber, roofer, electrician, carpenter, electrician and HVAC guy once she's moved in. She wants these systems up-to-date and trouble-free. Get a home inspection prior to listing and fix things now.

Detail Your Home 

Most women value cleanliness to the point that chaotic, stinky, dirty rooms are deal-breakers. So, most homes need what professional housecleaners call a deep cleaning. A sparkling home is a real draw for anyone, especially females.

You'll want your rooms to smell as clean as they are. In one bathroom staging, we decided to DIY some lavender bath bombs that would look perfectly at home there and scent the room.

You don't have to concentrate on pink to appeal to feminine tastes, but this bath had a pink bathtub, so
pink accessories were a natural choice. Remember that every room needs flowers or greenery of some kind.

Reach out to women

Research shows that women are more active on social media than men. Does your Realtor have a presence on Facebook and Twitter? Also, some Realtors use Pinterest and Instagram to showcase their properties.

Since people can shop long distance, a woman in Chicago might be looking for a home in St. Augustine, and she'll be looking online, checking Realtors in Florida from Illinois.

Your prospective buyer might even prefer to work with a female Realtor. Typically, women are more likely to forge friendships through sharing and casual communication, so look for a warm and approachable personality when choosing your listing agent.

Ladies like their storage. Keep cosmetics and toiletries organized 
and tidy because buyers do peek in closets and cabinets.  
Some Realtors work closely with a bank or other lender so they can help a buyer with financing. Find a real estate agent who has connections with lenders who look favorably on women seeking financing, because this step is often a stumbling block for single women.

Visuals are important to women. Lure them in with beautiful photographs, ideally professionally done. Virtual tours will help her visualize your home. Don't photograph your home until it is staged, and prepare for the shooting by making sure both interiors and exteriors are free from distracting things like garbage cans, cars, toys, pets, and boxes packed for moving.

Get the look. Get the book.

Whether your potential, single female buyer is divorced, widowed, living alone, or living with a partner or friends, she could be your prime candidate to buy your home. Just because you focus on women as potential buyers doesn't mean you will alienate male buyers or couples.

Stage your home according to the simple but powerful principles in my $4.99 eBooks on home staging and you'll keep everyone happy. Download now and start staging your way to a less stressful, more profitable home sale.



Top Photo: Kate Spade

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