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Tip Jar: The How and Why to Staging a Home

865thompson2Today's guest post comes to us from Paul Benjamin, a District Manager at EZ Storage.

Today's selling market is rough. Though house prices are starting to rebound, the environment remains extremely competitive. Staging your home is an excellent way to help your house stand out, catch the attention of potential buyers, and ensure that it sells for a good price. Whether your house is vacant or still furnished, there are multiple ways to make your house look more attractive and inviting to as many potential buyers as possible. Read on to find out why you should stage your house and to discover some quick house staging ideas.

What are the advantages of house staging?

Staging your house helps it sell faster and at a better price. While house staging can't make your house sell at a price above its worth, it serves as a sort of insurance against the price of the house being forced below its worth.

Selling your house in the current economy means having to compete with similar houses which are likely priced lower than yours. Your house needs to be presented as attractively as possible- and to the greatest number of people.

Staging a house can be done relatively inexpensively (less than a thousand dollars!) and helps to neutralize a house. This is beneficial in eliminating quirks or specific stylistic choices that might put off some potential buyers.

Do you have an old bathroom or ugly carpeting? Home staging can also draw attention to a house's strengths while simultaneously downplaying its weaknesses. Staging a room to draw attention to a large bay window and away from old flooring is much cheaper than renovation, after all.

3 Quick and Inexpensive House Staging Ideas

1. Make sure your house is spotless from top to bottom: It sounds obvious, but many sellers underestimate the power of a de-cluttered house. Making sure that everything is organized and in its place makes a house look larger and more attractive, inevitably attracting more interest from buyers. A key to making a house less cluttered is to get rid of extra furniture; even if a house is spotless, an overcrowded room with one too many chairs or end tables in it will quickly make a house seem smaller and dirtier.

2. Re-purpose unused spaces: Taking empty or unwelcoming spaces and transforming them into usable, attractive rooms is an excellent way to add value to a home. Do you have a 'sewing room' that you barely use? Adding a well-placed book shelf or desk can instantly make a room serve dual purposes. What about a den that just seems dark and gloomy? Bring light in by adding an interesting lamp or a few brightly colored accent pillows-- or even draping bright fabrics on the wall. 

3. Lighting, lighting, and more lighting: As far as house staging ideas, this one is pretty easy. Brightly lit homes always look more welcoming and attractive. Make sure every room is carefully illuminated and potential buyers will automatically find it warmer and more livable. It's not a simple matter of making sure you have enough lamps in a room, however; increase wattage in already existing lamps and make sure the light isn't too glaring or bright; a mixture of soft and harder lighting is best.

Bottom Line: Home staging is one of the most inexpensive ways to up the selling price and appeal of your home. While it won't fix an old kitchen or outdated flooring, it can draw attention away from flaws to ensure as many potential buyers as possible find the house attractive. 

Put the house staging ideas above to practice and watch your home sell!


logoPaul Benjamin is a District Manager at EZ Storage, a self storage company serving the Philadelphia area for over 40 years.


Prep Your Home for Fall at Millesime!

Just in at Millesime in Old City...

Fall is the time when we begin to prepare our homes for the long winter and there is nothing more transformative than a rich luxurious textile. Nanimarquina rugs are some of the most fabulous creative rug designs available and they are just in at Millesime. These amazing works of art will completely change the look and feel of any room in your home. These rugs are beautiful enough to use as wall art and durable for floor use. If you are looking for that something special for your home, office, or apartment, then you must come in to the store to see and feel the colors, textures and designs of the Nanimarquina collection to understand the magnificence of these modern textiles.

Millésimé represents a collection of contemporary furniture, lighting and home accessories from American and international designers.
41 S 3rd Street


Heather’s Finds: Classic or New? Try Both!

Meet your neighbor Heather Karlie Vieira. Heather owns a fabulous (and when I say fabulous I really mean fabulous) antiquity/art/lighting/cool furniture and more store on the south side of Frankford Avenue near Girard Avenue.  The store is called 20th Century by HKFA located on 1311 Frankford Ave in Fishtown. Today Heather breaks down Neo-Classicism.

Neo-Classicism is a term thrown about in the antiques business for it sums up a few centuries of design.  Literally speaking, it is a New Classic.  That is a good thing.  To be considered a classic, it has already proven itself.  And to be new, why, that is also a good thing!  So, we seem to have the best of both worlds here!

This table and chair set in iron with figural and decorative brass accents exemplifies the mid-twentieth century's love affair with Neo-Classicism.  Reaching back stripping away all of the excess and leaving the pure, true spirit of a classic form, these artists were pioneers.  As there is nothing new under the sun, they took this sentiment and made it their own.  Paying homage to the past and looking toward the clean lines of the future.  Neo-Classicism straddles the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic with the antique period.  It is firmly grounded.  Based on tradition.  Styled for a modern space.  With simple clean lines and accents, this table and chair set is available at my shop, 20th Century by HKFA.  I welcome you to visit at 1311 Frankford Avenue in Fishtown.


Heather’s Finds: Nudity at Home!

Meet your neighbor Heather Karlie Vieira. Heather owns a fabulous (and when I say fabulous I really mean fabulous) antiquity/art/lighting/cool furniture and more store on the south side of Frankford Avenue near Girard Avenue.  The store is called 20th Century by HKFA located on 1311 Frankford Ave in Fishtown.

Choosing Artwork for your home is more than just matching colors to your sofa and decor. Your personal collection can begin to take on a new meaning and beauty when you understand the artist, the story and the subject matter. Heather Karlei Vieira gives us a beautiful narrative of one of the paintings for sale in her store. Today she shows us some nudes...

Isadora Duncan.  Creator of modern dance.  Beloved and belittled.  She drew crowds who came to cheer and decry.  She was a woman who knew no bounds.  Her natural flowing style both in dance and attire, would prove to be the death of her in the all too infamous accident in France.  But let us speak of other things.  Namely art.  In 1933, American artist Maxwell Simpson posthumously paid homage to Isadora Duncan with an almost life size nude portrait of the dancer.  She is posed leaning against a classically styled column.  Her flowing hair and beckoning eyes fashioned in an undoubtedly 1930's style.  Her body is taut, yet relaxed.  She was no stranger to nudity.

A portrait is a most intimate look, a personal story.  Like a biography, it is a life told through someone else's eyes.  But when this story reaches deep into the soul, a connection is made.These connections are the reason for my business.  My name is Heather Karlie Vieira and I am an antique dealer.  Bringing the past to the future generations.  Carrying tradition forth so that it may breathe again.  Come visit my shop in Fishtown for more.


Heather’s Finds: Mid-Century Mexican Furniture

Meet your neighbor Heather Karlie Vieira. Heather owns a fabulous (and when I say fabulous I really mean fabulous) antiquity/art/lighting/cool furniture and more store on the south side of Frankford Avenue near Girard Avenue.  The store is called 20th Century by HKFA located on 1311 Frankford Ave in Fishtown. Today Heather shows us a piece of Mid-Century Mexican furniture.

The table below is like a transformer but a tad more high-brow. It literally converts for several different uses. Let's let Heather explain this one of a kind piece that is available in her Fishtown store.

Game on.  Or dinner.  Or drinks.  Adaptation is a sure sign of continuation.  To change with the times, lends one to becoming part of the future, not only the past.  Here's a set that does that and more.  Crafted in the 1960's in Mexico, this mahogany table and chair set is accented with hand woven rattan.  Finely done, the lines are strong with a nod to Bauhaus furniture.  Nothing in excess.  Each support plays a role in the user's comfort, pleasing to the body, spirit and eye.  But this set has an Ace in the hole.  With the great game table styling, the set may also be used for dining.  And after the dessert plates are cleared, tilt the table top, turn the base on its side and Voila!  A coffee table ready for after dinner drinks and perhaps another round of cards.  See this set and more at my shop, 20th Century by HKFA in Fishtown, 1311 Frankford Avenue.

Thanks, Heather Karlie Vieira


3 Tips for Buyers: Renovating “This Old House”

Many buyers dream about finding an old house and restoring it. You may be one of those people. If you are then you may enjoy watching the video attached. It is a short tour with us as we show our buyers an amazing fixer-upper they are considering buying. In the video, this old house was built in 1865 and most of the original features remain in very good condition. Yet, though the home has tons of history and many exotic features to ponder, there are many repairs needed both inside and outside.

Perhaps your renovation is smaller or the home you want to buy may not have the magnitude of historic features that this particular home does. The fact is that any DIY home improvement project or renovation requires similar actions and strategies. So, after taking the full tour of this old house, here are the 3 tips we offered our clients for their potential home renovation endeavor.

1) Contractor List

 Make a 3 part list including cost estimate and estimated time to complete
a) Repairs that must be done day 1 -30.
b) Renovations that can be done during the first year.
c) The 5 year repair/renovation schedule.

2) Personal List

Make a personal 3 part list just like the above contractor list
a) Repairs you must do to make the home liveable the first month.
b) Renovations you can do on your own at your leisure throughout the year.
c) Repair and renovation projects that can be peppered over the longer term.

3) General suggestions

Things to do while in the midst of planning, renovating, and repairing
a) Get 3 fixed estimates on everything and get it in writing.
b) Never pay for entire projects in advance. Pay upon completion.
c) Kitchens and baths are still the best dollar for dollar return value followed by master bedroom and main living area.
d) Make a backup list of renovations you are willing to sacrifice should a few of your repair costs exceed your projected numbers.

Chime in with your home renovation tips!


Tip Jar: Go with the Flow

Below is a before photo of a beautiful home we have listed at 1015 N 4th Street in Northern Liberties (only $359,900, BTW!). When we first visited this home, the layout had tons of potential but the way the furniture was positioned it really cluttered the space and did not show off the Open Flowing Layout people have come to love these days. As you see in the before photo below, the couch blocks off the dining area. Although this method of dividing rooms can translate very effectively in a huge oversized room, for the narrower rowhome so prevalent in Philadelphia, this method can backfire and give the illusion of a smaller space.















The current popular trend in home design in Philadelphia is for the main living spaces (kitchen living and dining areas) to flow together seamlessly. So we made some suggestions and the transformation was immediate. Below is the after photo. Notice how the room looks bigger, less cluttered and the Open Flowing Layout has been achieved by simply moving the couch that served as a room divider, out of the living room altogether.


To create a separation between rooms that will not effect the Open Flowing Layout that people are looking for, try these 3 tips:

1) One large piece of art or a large mirror on the wall can define a space and create a focal point for a room without taking up floor space.

2) A neutral colored floor rug that blends with the flooring can define a space without blocking the walking path or drawing too much attention through color to one area of the room.

3) Creatively placed soffets, chandeliers, and lighting can serve as an absolutely brilliant room divider without being at eye level or on the floor. This is my personal favorite solution.

Do you think you can implement these ideas into your home to improve flow? Have you done other things to create the same results in your space? I'd love to know.


Score Free Tickets to the Philadelphia Home Show!

Don't miss out on the 2012 Philadelphia Home Show, which runs until January 22nd. The first 15 people to email [email protected] will get two free tickets each! Just email your first and last name and pick up your tickets at Remax Access at 1033 N 2nd Street here in Northern Liberties. Enjoy!


Tip Jar: Clean Out That Closet!

For this week's tip jar, we transformed some tiny closets! From a closet mess (check out the before video!) to a closet success. Our condo closets were a HUGE problem for being so small. The incredibly Cool Condo Lifestyle is really "all that" and we would not trade it in for anything but admittedly most condos will lack closet space. Where other homeowners who live in traditional urban rowhomes can compensate for smaller closets by using their basement, attic, or spare room, Condo and Apartment Dwellers have to make the most of their small space.

Here is our personal solution for our closet challenges. Our 4 closets including our hall coat closet, our laundry room, and our 2 bedroom closets were filled to the gill and a mess. So, we hired a company to organize these spaces. The cost was only $1,300. The estimate was complementary, the installation was only a couple of hours, and the results are amazing.

We now have more space and we can easily find items, some of which we forgot we owned ! Now we can actually close the coat closet, things are not falling on our heads when we open the doors, and they look so fantastic.

Custom fitted closets add practical value and also increase the net value for homes whether they are a Condo like ours or any other style.

Next on my list is new paint throughout. Hmmm...what color to choose?


Operation Closet Makeover!

Condo Dwellers know that closet space is sacred space and though we love the cool lifestyle and vibe that a condo has to offer, there are often small sacrifices we need to make. Closet space is often one of those small sacrifices when it comes to condo living.

For me and Chris, well, we like to live relatively modestly and we are minimalists in general. (You'd never know that by looking at our office at work). We only keep the clothing we wear, we do not do Costco shopping and buy a year's worth of toilet paper or visit Sam's Club for a flat of cereal. Our closets host only what we use and maybe a few extravagant items here and there.

Over the last couple of years, I have noticed our closets looking like a crazy mess. The last straw was when I opened up our coat closet and a mound of pillows and old computer boxes fell on top of me. I am okay, thanks for asking, but that was the moment I knew we needed a change. We have always lived together in small spaces and with two cats (who take up more space than I would like to admit) we've learned how to make a smaller space work just fine for us. Remember, most condos and apartments have no basements or attics or spare rooms for stuff.

So, long story short, I arranged for closet makeovers for all of our closets. The video slide presentation is what our closets looked like a few hours before the transformation began. Stay tuned for the AFTER video!


Phone: 215.253.6818