Take It Off Baby

I was driving to the office the other day with the radio on. The radio playing in the car is unusual for me; normally I drive in silence. But on this particular day the sun was shining and I don’t know, I just thought it was a day for music.

I’m driving along thinking about the calls I need to make and the other real estate related to do’s on my list, and Barry White comes on.

“Love Serenade.”

I love me some Barry White, but Love Serenade…not so much. Not one of my favorites. Call me a prude, but it’s just too sexy for me. Sexy to the point that it makes me a little uncomfortable.

I’ve since googled “Love Serenade” and it is on a bunch of sexiest songs of all time lists. Paste Magazine has it ranked as #9; Virgin Media has it at #6. It didn’t make Billboard’s 50 Sexiest Songs of All Time list…but what do they know? They have Olivia Newton John’s “Physical” at #1. Please..no way. I don’t think “Physical” is very sexy at all…it doesn’t make this prude the least bit uncomfortable.

But I digress…Back to Barry.

“Love Serenade” didn’t make it on to Billboard’s sexy song list, but for purposes here we are going to have to agree to agree that Barry White’s “Love Serenade” is indeed a very sexy song.

Except for the day I heard it on the way to the office.

The music starts…and that velvet voice comes through the speaker…

“Take if off, Baby, take it all off.”

It must have been those real estate to do’s on my mind…because as Barry is singing to me to get naked, “take it off, Baby, take it all off”, I’m not thinking sexy, I’m thinking wallpaper.

Specifically wallpaper hanging in a house that someone wants to sell.

I get to giggling thinking about listing appointments I’ve been on where the house has all kinds of wallpaper, and the way I try to really kindly, politely tell sellers the wallpaper needs to come down. I explain that buyers aren’t going to love the Waverly Ivy and they are not going to want to go through the hassle and expense of removing it. I tell them that if a buyer will even consider a house with wallpaper,  they will probably discount the house by more than it would cost the seller to have it taken down and have the room(s) painted the latest shade of greige. Yes I agree with them, someONE might love Waverly Ivy as much as they do, but in general, buyers do not respond positively to wallpaper. I get the message across, but it’s not the easiest of conversations, so I dance around it some. So as “Love Serenade” plays, I’m giggling thinking,  I dance around  but Barry sings it like it’s got to be…

“Take it off, Baby, take it all off.”

spotify:track:2PXtRrGKGknY76h6Q521nT

The truth is, buyers won’t be singing a love serenade about a house with wallpaper. And truly, who says it better than Barry?

Because I always have real estate on the brain nearly everything reminds me of or brings me back to real estate…even music. Since “Love Serenade” every song I  hear somehow has something to do with real estate. I’m no music connoisseur but I think I might have a playlist. Amy’s real estate playlist…so more to follow.

In the meantime…if you want to sell your house, and it’s wearing wallpaper…

Take if off Baby, take it all off.

 

 

 

 

 

Did your agent not tell you…or did you just not listen?

I showed a house last week that I just can’t get out of my head. I’ve shown countless houses in similar condition, so I don’t know why I can’t stop thinking about this particular house.

It isn’t the house so much as it is a thought…a question really, that keeps running through my mind…

Did your agent not tell you or did you just not listen??

It was a nice enough house, there was nothing blatantly wrong with it. The entire selling family and their yapping dog were home for the showing and that didn’t help but it was the house itself that could have shown so much better. A good bit of decluttering, a fair amount of depersonalizing and a couple of coats of paint and the house would have shown and looked completely different. Better different, worth more money different.

And all the while I was showing the house, as I walked from room to room, the question kept running through my mind…

Did your agent not tell you or did you just not listen??

If this particular agent, in this particular instance didn’t tell his clients how to properly prepare their home for the market, shame on him. If the agent didn’t tell the seller to do the things that would maximize the sales price of their home, then he did his client a disservice. He didn’t do his job.

If the agent did tell them…if the agent let them know that the walls of family photos, the knick knacks on top of knick knacks, the lilac, pink and neon green rooms, their too much stuff and their yapping dog presence would be a hindrance to a top dollar sale…if the agent told them all that and they didn’t listen?? Then the sellers are fools.

Harsh, I know.

Lest you think I write this from my high horse, I have a confession to make.

In my earlier days, and regretfully more than once since, I’ve been an agent that “did not tell you.” Because I wanted your listing, I needed your listing, because I wanted you to like me, because I didn’t want you to be angry with me, because I didn’t know, because I was too new or too scared, I didn’t tell you. I didn’t tell you that the price you wanted for your house was never going to happen, I didn’t tell you that your house was dirty or cluttered or entirely too decorated. I didn’t tell you to get real, get cleaning and painting. I didn’t tell you to make sure you and your yapping dog weren’t home for showings. I didn’t tell you.

And I’m sorry. Shame on me. I did a disservice; I didn’t do my job. And I won’t let it happen again.

And I think that’s why I haven’t been able to get that house and the question out of my head until now…it’s been working its way through my mind until it could become this promise:

My seller clients may not always listen, it is their right to do as they wish…but wondering isn’t necessary…I told them.

What’s YOUR House Smell?

I went on a listing appointment the other day…met with a gentleman whose elderly dad passed away a few months ago. He’s getting ready to put his Dad’s townhouse on the market. The townhouse was tidy and pretty much ready for the market…as he was showing me around he asked me, “Does it smell like old guy?”

Does it smell like old guy? I hadn’t noticed any smell at all…

It made me think of my daughter Joanna. My daughter Joanna has one very keen sense of smell, particularly “house smells.” She claims that every house has its own unique “house smell.” There’s not a house that she’s been in that she hasn’t determined the pleasantness, or unpleasantness of its particular “house smell”. My sister Lisa I’ve learned has good house smell. “I love Aunt Lisa’s house smell, ” Joanna has said, “it always smells like Downy and laundry detergent.” Joanna’s on a never-ending quest to improve the house smell at our house. Not that it’s disgusting or anything, we do laundry and use Downy too, so I’m thinking our house smell is usually pretty decent. We do have a dog, and sometimes we’re a little late in taking the garbage out after something particularly odoriferous has been tossed in the can, so there are occasions when we do not pass Joanna’s house smell test. And on those days Joanna shames us for our house smell…tromps through the house with Febreze, scolding us as she sprays “linen and sky” throughout the guilty rooms.

Joanna’s a stickler about house smells…house smell is important to her.  And she’s not alone…house smell is important to homebuyers too. House smell is important, really, really important, when your selling your home.

A pleasant aroma that gently wafts through the air as homebuyers enter the house can enhance a showing…and a really bad house smell? Bad house smell can be a deal breaker. I’m only guessing but I’ll bet cigarette smoke and pet urine top the list of worst house smells…though reptiles and the heavy scent of curry pack quite a punch and can be a turn off as well. The point is, when you’re selling your house you have to be aware of your house smell.  And if it’s a bad house smell, you’re going to have to address it. You can’t just make a bulk purchase of Glade plug-ins and hope for the best, nope, you have to address it. A quick Google search will turn up a plethora of products, home remedies and solutions. Some smells will be easier to take care of than others, some may take a lot of work and maybe even a good bit of money. But it has to be done. Buyers don’t carry Febreze with them. They won’t scold you, but they will be turned off and move on.

Selling your house? Take a big whiff…make sure it would pass the Joanna “house smell” test. Think I’ll take her by that townhouse.

Purple Staging Will Do by Amy Curtis

My last post was my “confession” of faith in the benefits of home staging. I am a believer. But I have my limits…

Have you seen the clever Ace Hardware purple paint commercial??  The one where the woman is searching for the perfect shade of purple? Here it is…

Got it? There’s purple…and then there’s purrrrple.

This may lose something in the translation, but I think you’ll follow…

There are degrees of purple…from the basic purple to the more dramatic purrrrple. And guess what? When it comes to staging a home for the market, there’s staging…and then there’s staaaaging. I’m a believer in the basic purple sort of staging.

Let me explain.

It was just this time of year three years ago and I was listing a home.  When I met with my clients they told me they had already contacted a home stager and were working on their “staging” list.  I thought it might be a good idea….until they told me what the stager had instructed them to do: Repaint the house (inside and out), replace all light fixtures, repave the driveway, relandscape the exterior, replace the garage door, buy “art” and rent furniture. We were in the midst of a rapidly depreciating market and the stager had made recommendations that would have cost thousands of dollars and would have taken precious weeks of market time to complete. And this for an already cute as button house with a gorgeous remodeled kitchen on a large beautifully landscaped lot. The house was already highly saleable, in a desirable location and the sellers were reasonable on price.

Kinda like purrrrple…this was staaaaging.

I suppose if money were no object and there was nothing but time and a seller could rest assured that they’d get back every dime spent, sellers would staaaage. They would just go ahead and remodel kitchens and baths, they’d tear up carpet and lay hardwood floors in their place, they’d paint the whole house in the latest shades of cream and beige, they’d remove all their knick knacks and art and drop a small fortune at Pier 1 to replace it all, they’d call contractors and landscapers. But let’s get real.

Why go with purrrrple when purple will do?

Purple staging is demphasizing seller decor and highlighting the home’s space and features. Purple staging is rearranging furniture for better flow,  it’s pulling pieces from some rooms to areas or rooms that need to be given a purpose, it’s tidying up closets and packing away personal items. Sometimes it includes jazzing up the bedding in the master bedroom, maybe replacing a light fixture or two or purchasing a statement piece of art or accessory that can be used or enjoyed in the sellers next home. But most of all, purple staging is realistic. Purple staging shouldn’t take more than a couple of hundred dollars or a week to complete. And though it’s not staaaaging, purple staging can still make a world of difference in the presentation of a home.

With spring market underway, time is precious…purple staging will do!

So yeah…I’m a believer. A purple staging believer.

 

I welcome your thoughts.

Home Staging…I’m a Believer by Amy Curtis

I’ve had a conversion of sorts. Nothing road to Damascus like, nothing quite that dramatic or life changing, but a conversion nonetheless. A conversion that does have an impact on the work that I do in helping clients sell their homes.

It’s home staging. I’m a recent home staging convert. A new believer.

Home staging has been around for years. Statistics show that staged homes sell quicker and for more money than homes that are not staged. A quick google search provides an avalanche of statistics, information and evidence of the benefits of home staging, and yet, I remained unconvinced. I remained uncompelled to embrace home staging and incorporate it into my services to sellers.

Why? How could this be?

I’d always thought there was something a little disingenuous about “staging” a home. The connotation of the word…stage…as in “stage” a play, or “stage” a crime. Stage is a performance, it’s not real life, it’s not the real thing. Something about the sound of it always made me think of it as an attempt to pull the wool over a buyer’s eyes, and the idea of that just never sat well with me.

And too, “staging” sounds like a big production, a big expensive production and who wants to get involved in that? When someone has decided to sell their home, they’re kind of done with their house. If there’s time and money to be spent, most sellers would rather spend it on the next house, the new house, not the house they’re trying to get rid of. So, staging as a production just never made sense to me either.

But I’ve changed my mind, I’m a believer.

It’s happened gradually and over time. It’s happened because of the homes I’ve seen and sold. It’s happened because of the homes I’ve seen that never seem to sell. It’s happened because I’ve found a really good home stager. It’s happened because I’ve seen up close and in person the difference staging can make.

In practice, staging needn’t be a big production. In practice, there is no pulling the wool over the buyers eyes. Home staging is simply the last important step in preparing a home for the market, because staging is the process through which a house is separated from its seller and introduced to its new owner. The “staged” home is a home in the midst of its “conversion.”  A staged home allows the buyer to become a “believer” that they’ve found their just right for them home.

Home staging…I’m a believer…Are you?  I welcome your thoughts.