Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Three things Every Homeowner Should Do Before Listing Their Home!

Whew! Having your house on the market is a lot of work! I like to think that my house is always clean and relatively neat- for a busy family of four plus one furry member. But keeping your house "show ready" is a whole other level!!

The good news is that we have had a lot of showings, second showings and a great buzz about our house!  There were three key steps that we took that I think have helped us attract buyers, show well, and ultimately, will help us when the offers start to come in:)

Step #1 Get your home inspected first!
We had a Home Inspector come to our home and conduct a Homeowners Pre-Inspection. Most homeowners looking to put their home on the market don't even consider having an inspection done. They don't want to spend the money and instead, just fix up a few home repairs that haven't been completed. That's a big mistake! I think hiring a Home Inspector before going on the market is absolutely imperative and here is why:

 The most serious buyers are the ones who will see your home first- they have been looking, they are educated and they know as soon as something new hits the market. For this reason, usually your best offers are the ones that come in first. 

Let's say you get a great offer in the first week and you accept it. Now the buyer will bring in a Home Inspector to inspect the house. You'd like to think that everything will go smoothly but remember, it is the inspector's job to do his/her due diligence and point out everything that is potentially problematic with the home. 
Once that 2,000+ page report is compiled :), your buyers will look at it and possibly detract from their original offer based on the results of the inspection. And you are left vulnerable. Money is literally being taken out of your pocket. Why? Because you didn't know these problems existed in the first place! Perhaps if you did know you would have addressed them before going on the market...and the cost to address them would be less than the amount the buyer is deducting from their offer. I tell my clients all the time: What would cost hundreds to do, buyers will deduct thousands for.

Got my logic?

We had our home inspected first and then we addressed any major issues that needed to be addressed. Yes, the inspection cost us several hundreds of dollars.....but knowledge is power. We chose to spend what we could on repairs as a result of the inspection. Instead of spending $5000 on painting and other cosmetic things, we chose to spend money on things that would come up on the inspection. No one is going to reduce their offer because your paint is chipping!Of course, it goes without saying, once you have the inspection done, invest the money to fix the major things you feel you can afford to fix. As for the things you can't afford to fix, at least you are aware of them and you can price your home accordingly.

Then we moved on to the next step:

Step #2 Staging and Packing
Yes. I said packing. Most people think it is absurd to pack before you have even put your house on the market but trust me, it is a necessary step! I went room-to-room and de-cluttered. Everybody got a box to fill of unnecessary items from their rooms. My kids packed their extra stuffed animals that didn't need snuggling for the next few months and the broken down Legos that could get thrown in a bin. I cleaned out closets and re-folded my linen closet. Cleaning out cabinets and closets (which will inevitably be opened) will show the prospective buyers how much space you have and how organized you can be in this home. Remember, you are selling a lifestyle...if your home is neat and organized, the buyers will believe that they will be neat and organized in this home, too! Remove small unnecessary pieces of furniture that might clutter up a space. Take down about 95% of your framed photos and religious items and clean, clean, clean! Baseboards, trims, doors, doorknobs....nobody wants to buy anyone else's dirt- get rid of yours and a buyer will picture themselves in your clean and tidy home! Consider hiring a professional Stager to help pull it together for you. Usually a consultation lasts a few hours and you get a vast amount of information. Homeowners stop seeing their own clutter after a while so hiring a professional will help speed up the process and you'll have a better result than if you handle the task on your own. I happen to know a good Stager if you need one:)


Step #3 Have your Home Professionally Photographed (or get your Realtor to do it!)
90% of buyers shop online for a home before contacting a Realtor. That means the first-impression of your home will be based on the photographs. Do you want to rely on iPhone photos or a point and shoot camera?  Photographing the home is usually the responsibility of the Realtor. Because I am in the business and I had a favorite photographer of my own, I had them done myself. And my home is NOT a million dollar home. And my home is probably the ONLY home in its price category that has professional photos. But, we have had an exorbitant amount of showings and I think it is because it shows so well online. When interviewing prospective Realtors, ask if they can have the property professionally photographed! Also, Homestyling101 also offers Real Estate Photography services bundled with staging services! Contact me for more information!

Basically, all three steps that every Homeowner should take before listing their home are steps that ensure that your home will stand out among the competition. Once your home goes on the market, it is a product and if your product looks better than the competition and is priced well- it should sell!

Many people don't want to spend money on their home before they sell it. Change your mindset! It's not spending- it is investing in your largest asset! If you were going to sell your car, you'd have it detailed first...right? Well it's that same thought- your home is your largest asset. Why not be as prepared as possible when selling it? Why not show your "product" in the best light when selling? It is an investment in your largest investment!

I'd love to hear your comments and feedback on other tips you may have used in selling your home...or struggles! Open discuss!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It's Official! We're on the Market!

So for those of you who follow me on social media (Facebook), I know I teased about sharing the staging process I went through to prepare my own home for sale. Well, today is officially the day our house of 12+ years goes on the market!

First, let me start off by saying that staging your own home (as a professional or not) is an emotional process. I have always understood this when working with clients, and this time I experienced it first-hand.

The entire practice of staging is based on the premise that if you de-personalize your home it will look like a universally appealing product. This is true. But unfortunately, the act of taking everything personal out of your home, is kind of sad in a way. Don't get me wrong, I want to move. We have wanted to move for some time but it was still bittersweet taking my first home apart. Packing up the wedding picture, covering up the shrine to my beautiful babies, and hiding the weapons (just kidding). But don't worry, I'll spare you the details on the crying stints and bottles of wine that got me through the It just entailed lots of packing, de-cluttering and throwing things away!!


Secondly, let me also state that sharing my home for all to see leaves me in a very vulnerable position. As an Interior Designer, the second comment I always hear is "Your house must look amazing!" (by the way, the first is "I wish you could come to my house"...and by the way...I can...its my job!).

Not to say that I'm not "House Proud" as Nate Berkus used to call it- I am. It's just that when you have a son who loves Legos, a daughter who loves crafting and hoarding, a dog and a husband with very large shoes, my dream home will always be a bit of a dream. Plus, we have contemplated moving for years so we never took on the larger renovations as we would have if this was our "forever home". So we did our best to make our dream "real" home. The home that hosts many kids, lots of toys, two business an active family and lots of love. That's what I'm going to share with you.

Without further ado, I'll share the photos...the process will be a different post later in the week!
@Nichole Lucas this is you.
Introducing Our Home:


Living Room

 Open Floor Plan

Dining Room

First Floor View

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

 Den View #1
Den View #2
Den View #3
I'll share the kids' rooms in the next post where I detail the process! 

I just want to take a moment to thank the people who made this all possible. My husband for not getting in my "creative" way and totally supporting my insanity through the process. 
I'd like to thank my Real Estate Agent and amazing brother-in-law Matthew Palumbo for also supporting my insanity and helping us through this very long process of both finding a new home and selling the old. He's not only amazing at what he does but he's an amazing BIL, too!
I'd also like to thank my wonderfully talented photographer, Kristen DeCola for bring my home to life! Looking forward to having her photograph many other projects!
Ok, they're playing the music...gotta get off the stage...but there are so many other people I'd like to thank!! You know who you are:)
For more information on this home, please contact:
 Matthew Palumbo, 
Associate Broker
Weichert Realtors
 Phone: 845-896-7042.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A new furniture baby is born: Birch Lane

Have you ever known an uber-cool couple who each have their own vibe, their own style and they are power-houses in their own rights....and then you find out they are having a baby and you're like.....what?? How cool is that kid going to be?
"Carlos" from The Hangover via Daily Mail UK

Well, that's what happened when I heard that furniture giants Wayfair and Christiane Lemieux, founder of DwellStudio (and now creative director of Wayfair) birthed their very own furniture baby in just six months! If you haven't gotten the catalog should get yourself on that mailing list! It is Birch Lane!

Here are my 7 designer must-haves from this new favorite go-to of mine....starting with a chair I put in one of my client's homes!

#1- Stratton Arm Chair Blue Paisley $349...I know....seriously.... it is just as beautiful in person, too!!
Birch Lane Stratton Arm Chair, Blue Paisley

#2  Colton Framed Prints (set of 2).....$129.....I must need your glasses...this style at these prices...must be a misprint.....and I am a lover of architectural prints....
Birch Lane Colton Framed Prints

#3- Hexa Wall Mirror- $299 gorgeous any way you hang it!
Birch Lane Hexa Wall Mirror 

#4 Vanessa Table Lamp- $129 on sale! Remember all that mercury glass we were seeing at NY is another way to do it...a lamp!
Birch Lane Vanessa Table Lamp 

#5 Madison Mirrored Chest- $599- now mirrored furniture has been around for some time (and I've loved every second of it!) but what is unique about this piece is that the top and sides are done in a beautiful hand-painted silver gray so you can put it in your entryway and still throw your keys down with some attitude! You can use this piece anywhere- in a bedroom, entry, hall, living room- it's a piece you'll never tire of!
Birch Lane Madison Mirrored Chest

#6 Terryton Wall Clock- $199- I am just a sucker for a square! I think this clock would look really cool mixed in with a photo collage on a grand wall. The square would balance out other round or rectangular frames and the details are so simple and classic!
Birch Lane Terryton Wall Clock 

#7- Barton End-of-Bed Bench $699. I love the band of nail head trim detailing the edge and I especially love how the seat part is separated from the sides...adds to the beauty and style. And while it is called the "End-of-the-Bed" bench, it can go in an entryway, hall, living room, kids room, den...unlimited possibilities!
Birch Lane Barton End-of-Bed Bench

Next time your trolling the internet for some new pieces for your home to zhush up a space- add Birch Lane to your list of sites to check....and, no, this post was not sponsored by's just little ol' me with a big opinion! Let me know if you've ordered anything from Birch Lane- I've only ordered one item so far but loved it!!

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway for a free copy of HGTV Magazine the September issue... I know it isn't an expensive giveaway but free is free, right?
To enter just follow me on Twitter here or Facebook here or subscribe to the blog. Then leave a comment on this post telling me what you did to enter. The winner will be selected randomly. You have until 9/10 to enter.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

NY Now Re-cap Part 1..Plus a giveaway!

So it took a week (or two) but I'm finally back at my computer to do some re-caps of NY Now: the Market for Home + Lifestyle. It was a great market filled with amazing vendors and products- in fact there is just too much to highlight in one post so I am going to share some of my favorite finds over the course of the week(s)! 
Javits Center NYC

Since I arrived in the city a little early, I decided to walk across town to the Javits Center. I cut right through the Fashion District, where I spent a lot of time while studying at FIT, so it was nice to wander around those streets for a little while. There is such great energy there- you can feel the creative juices flowing all around...and you just never know what you're going to see there!

 And you thought you would only see this in the 80's...but in NYC nothing is a surprise!

One of my first stops at the Javits was to the Go Home Ltd. booth. I just love this company- they have such unique products. I feel like their style is a great blend of rustic, industrial and sophisticated all rolled into one!
Go Home Ltd. Display at NY Now

 Thank you Go Home Ltd. for this Mercury Glass deliciousness!

What can I say....Gorgeous Go Home Ltd!

My second must-see was the Dash & Albert booth. I just can't get enough of these rugs and have used them on so many projects. Their colors are spot-on...their patterns are current yet classic and the quality and workmanship is just amazing. In fact, they  have some rugs that can be hosed down and bleached! These are great for my clients with homes filled with kids and dogs.
Sorry, I didn't get great shots of the rugs  (visit their site for that ...but I did snag a shot of this new product (can you tell they are a dog-friendly company?) called the WAMP. Its an amazing ramp for doggies! Must get one for Fergie so she doesn't hurt her knee getting on and off our high bed!

Now this I wouldn't mind next to my bed!

Then off to Two's Company. The Two's Company booth is like the mecca for accessories. Their booth was so unique- it just seemed to draw a they were giving away free tote bags and everybody loves freebies:) Their product and displays were stunning.
Two's Company

Do I spy more mercury glass? And look at the back wall- that is so achievable on any budget! You don't have to spend tons of money on a large mirror- buy less expensive small ones and group them together. Love.

Next week I'll share some of my great vendor finds from NY Now- companies that I just discovered for the first time. And there were lots of them!

After NY Now, I walked over the the HGTV Magazine's Blogger's Block Party. This was an all-day event dedicated to blogging, tweeting and crafting. There were some great crafting projects going on, and some amazing refreshments, too! Thank you HGTV for always supporting us bloggers when we are out in the trenches!

Loved their display of front doors...for those of you who read HGTV Mag you know that they feature a front door every month in the magazine- unique colors, numbers, styles, of my favorite regulars because it shows how creative you can be in the details of your home! (For those of you who don't read HGTV Magazine, I'm done speaking with you until you get yourself a subscription! And HGTV is not sponsoring this post...just love the mag:)

While there were presentations going on all day, I was there for the Kitchen Art DIY presentation. Sara Peterson (my BFF in my know when you feel like you know someone- but you don't- and you feel like you could be BFFs if only you did know each other..well, Sara Peterson, the Editor-in-Chief at HGTV Magazine is one of those BFFs in my head.)

Anyway, Sara, along with one of her fabulous craft editors, demonstrated three different DIY projects to create your own kitchen art. Here is a picture of my favorite art created at the event but you can find all the deets in the September issue of HGTV Magazine. Can you believe this is just an Ikea frame, some wooden spoons painted with craft paint and some linen fabric glued to the mat! GENIOUS!! Love this one! But be sure to go to the September issue-its all about kitchens!

Blurry iPhone photo of my girl, Sara Peterson showing off some DIY kitchen art!
There is another great piece they demonstrated using a blank canvas, some paper napkins and stencils on their site. Very cool stuff!
You can check out step-by-step at HGTV Mag.
If you've made it all the way here to the end...I commend you. I think you should get a prize or something. Maybe I'll give away a copy of the September issue of HGTV magazine! To enter just follow me on Twitter here or Facebook here or subscribe to the blog. Then leave a comment on this post telling me what you did to enter. The winner will be selected randomly. You have until 9/10 to enter. I believe this is the longest post I've ever written....thanks for staying with me...more to come on NY Now once I've recovered from writing this monster post!


Monday, August 18, 2014

NY NOW, The Market for Home + Lifestyle and the HGTV Blogger Block Party!

Getting out early this morning on the Metro North headed into NYC for a super exciting trade show: NY Now, the Market for Home + Lifestyle at the Javits Center. This trade show is open to the trade, including designers, buyers, retailers, press, etc and features over 100,000 products and 2,800+ exhibitors. Let's just say I'll be wearing my comfy shoes!

And as if that isn't enough excitement (because it is!) I am also going to head over to HGTV's FIRST EVER Blogger Block Party! Yes, I know....I love my job! This is an all-day event dedicated to meeting, tweeting and crafting! And I have experienced an HGTV event before when I attended BlogFest 2013 and boy can they host an event! Love me some HGTV!

Join me tomorrow for my first re-cap of the things I loved most at NY Now, the Market for Home + Lifestyle and for some dirty deets on the HGTV FIRST EVER Blogger Block Party! Or, if you just can't wait that long, follow me on Twitter for instant updates or Instagram (Homestyling101)...I promise I'll accept your request! Get ready for some pretty things!!