All posts by cathymenard

About cathymenard

My knowledge in architectural drafting and construction, a master degree in graphic design, and a successful career in catalog advertising, have provided me with the tools needed to help homeowners redesign/decorate their homes to sell, or to stay.

3 Reasons Why it’s Hard to Sell a Vacant Property

Family Room After/Bradbury
Bradbury Family Room Staged

It’s a Fact!  Vacant homes take a much longer time to sell because:

  1. Buyers see it as a gamble and are not willing to risk their hard earned money on something they can’t envision…
  2. They don’t know how their furniture/stuff will fit in this empty space.
  3. They will notice the flaws and work to be done. They focus on the negatives.
Bradbury43 Family Room Before
Bradbury Family Room Before Staging

What home staging does:

  1. It puts the buyer’s mind at ease. With proper furniture placement, they understand how their own furniture may or may not fit the space.
  2. When fully staged, the house will feel like a ‘home’ to them.
  3. The WOW factor is undeniable! When they see how beautiful it can be, they are willing to make an offer, hoping to buy the house before someone else does.
    Besides, when a house is empty, what else is there to look at?

Staging a house will reduce its time on the market by upwards of 90%. Most homeowners prefer a quick sale. Home staging will draw the attention of the buyer through awesome online photos. In turn, the buyer will ask for a viewing. Satisfied, they will make an offer… often times, above the asking price!

Remember: less time on the market = more money in your pocket!

If you want to avoid the carrying cost of owning two properties.
If you want the largest return on investment.
If you understand the benefit of home staging and are motivated to sell.
Your answer is just an email or phone call away!

Visit our website:
Groovy Chick Redesign & Home Staging
Designed to sell… decorated to stay

5 Ways That Home Staging Makes Realtors Money

Realtor/Homeowner staged Living/Dining Room
Realtor staged, but unable to sell property

Dear Realtor,

Are your online listing photos magazine worthy?  Are they creating a stir with home buyers?  You may have hired a professional photographer to take the shots but if you or the homeowners have ‘staged’ the property yourselves, then would you consider it to be a professional looking job?  Chances are, and you may not even realize it, but… no.  A professional home stager will make the space look magazine worthy because she/he has that critical eye and knows what/how to adjust for the camera lens.  Home staging involves updating the artwork, décor items, and possible repositioning, removal, or replacement of furniture.  Today’s buyer isn’t interested in purchasing ‘Grandma’s house’ and that look will not bring traffic through the front door.  Question: How many adult children do you know who will take hand-me-down items from the family?  Answer: Very few.  Why?: Because it’s just not their style.

Online photos alone, as professional as they may be, will not attract today’s buyer.  This is the misguided premise of many a real estate agent… ‘I’ll just send my photographer over, and Bob’s your uncle’.  Uh… no.  If you want your listings to sell fast you will include, at the very least, a home staging consultation as part of your service.  You may even want to go further than that and pay for part, or all of the staging.  This will justify your commission upon the sale of the home.

Partnering with a home stager will:

  1.  Create a reputation as serious about getting top dollar for your clients
  2.  Show that you are the expert in today’s housing market
  3.  Bring you more clients when they see your staged listings
  4.  Produce quicker sales, allowing you to move to your next listing that much sooner
  5.  Increase your overall profit margin!

And who wouldn’t want all of the above to reflect on them?

Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging is looking to partner with this type of real estate agent.  Could it be you?

Styled to sell living/dining rooms
Groovy Chick styled property… SOLD!

If
– you have a future listing or one that currently isn’t selling in the Durham Region or in the (eastern) Greater Toronto Area,
– you don’t have or haven’t used a home stager before,
– you’re losing clients to realtors who do offer home staging,
then please give us a call at 905-683-9136.

We would like to help you be a standout realtor!

Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging
Our homes are… Designed to sell, decorated to stay!

Do you suffer from Design-oma, Decor-itis or Stage Fright?

FearfulFaceScreaming

Many people are afflicted with one or all of the above maladies… are you one of them?  Do you feel dumbfounded with all of the choices out there when it comes to selecting paint colours, decor, style of furnishings, etc.?  Well, you are not alone!

With so many choices in fabrics, patterns, colours, and styles, one can get confused… overwhelmed.  You may feel anxious, wanting to have the perfect home to enjoy and to show off to family and friends, but whenever you attempt to decorate, it never seems to work out, and you can’t understand why.  You’ve watched all of those HGTV designer shows and thought that you too could put a look together… but something just isn’t right, and you don’t know what it is.  It may drive you crazy so you give up.  Well have no fear, Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging is here!

Let’s begin with a simple in-home consultation and learn a little bit about you, your likes and dislikes.  We’ll consider the things that you have and see what could stay or should be removed from the space.  We will talk about where you see yourself in 2, 5, 10 years down the road.  Will you be up-sizing, down-sizing, remodelling, selling, etc.?  Once that is established, we’ll devise a plan that will work for you and your home.

Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging is able to secure designer discounts at preferred vendors that will benefit you, the client.  Many a home seller has told us, “I wish I knew about this service years ago.  I just love my house now and am sad to have to sell it!”  That doesn’t have to happen.  So, let’s the begin the transformation by forming a relationship!  Give us a call or send us an email.  We would love to help you!

Black/white/green sunroom sofa close-up
Designed to sell or decorated to stay sunroom sofa

 

 

Will IT Sell?

Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 12.30.57 PM

While browsing through Realtor.ca, I come across this image.  What the???  There are no interior or exterior pictures.  Is this real estate agent serious about selling this… home… telephone pole… whatever it is?  What were the circumstances?  Was it posted by mistake, or as a joke?  I can’t imagine marketing my home to sell with something like this… can you?

A good real estate agent will want to cast the largest net in order to catch the most fish!  How they do that is with awesome pictures on MLS.  Showing an exterior picture with ‘Coming Soon’ on it will work for a little bit, but the actual listing pictures had better WOW the buyers.  People like pretty things and will move on to the next listing if they don’t feel emotionally drawn to a house through the online photos.  The best way to do that is to hire a professional photographer and, of course, a professional home stager!  Every good REA must include a home staging consultation with the sellers.  The more serious and successful agents will actually pay for all or part of the staging.

My analysis is this:
If the REA is the fisherman, trying to catch the most fish in a very big pond, then the online photos are the lure.  Fish will only go to what attracts them.  Hence, buyers will only want to visit homes that appeal to them visually… and we all know that you only get one chance to make a good first impression!

Anyway, I don’t know what eventually happened with the above property.  Did it sell?  Who knows?  Did anyone care to visit it?  I doubt it.  Why even show that kind of shot if a house isn’t ready for the market?  Am I right?

If you are a homeowner and want to sell your house, are perhaps shopping for another house, ask yourself: “Would I want my home to be represented as in the above photo?” or “Would I be interested in purchasing the property in the photo above?” Or would you want something like the photo below to represent your property or to want to see it in person?

If you are a real estate agent in the eastern GTA and would like to work with a proven home stager, please contact: Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging.
Our homes are designed to sell, decorated to stay!

For more info, please visit our website: https://www.groovychickdesign.com/

Viewing sofa through coffee table top
Vignette of coffee table to sofa view

 

Do-it-yourself Home Staging?

Master bedroom before staging
Homeowner staged master bedroom

Have you ever diagnosed your own ailments?  If you have, would you then represent yourself in court, prescribe yourself drugs, do a root canal, or massage therapy, etc. on yourself?  Of course you wouldn’t… you couldn’t.  You would go to the specialist in a particular field to make things better… right?

The same can be said for getting your home ready to sell.  You should be looking to a professional home stager who will show you the best way to ‘market’ your house (appeal to the majority of buyers) to sell quickly and for more money.  It could be as simple as a two hour consultation, or involve a partial (for an occupied house) or complete (for a vacant property) home staging .

You, as the homeowner, are too close to ‘your stuff’… whereas a home stager is not.  They will give you an honest third party opinion, and show you what does or doesn’t appeal to today’s buyers.  Don’t be afraid… a consultation is not an attack on you or your lifestyle but will open your eyes to the selling potential of the home.  The majority of today’s buyers are not interested in nor can they afford to make upgrades.  If a property looks tired, dated, or old it will not appeal to them.  They have to feel excited about it, want to see it again, and to purchase it.

Think of it this way… you are getting ready to go out on a date.  You shower, put on your best outfit (or go out and buy a new one), make sure that no hair is out of place, that you smell fresh and your teeth are clean.  You want to be asked to go on a second date, better yet… a commitment to the future.  See where this is going?

Now… you’re getting your house ready for the real estate market.  You’ll clean, paint, purge, declutter, depersonalize, and update the look.  You want your home to attract those buyers, to get them to purchase it and to offer much more money for it…right?  The bottom line is this, whatever negatives a buyer sees will be directly related to what kind of offer they will make.  If they believe the homeowner to be negligible, lazy, or out of touch, they will offer much less money.  Why?  Because they believe that they will have to spend a lot of money to get that desired look.  However, most first time buyers are cash poor.  They don’t have the extra funds to make those changes and will look elsewhere to find their perfect home.

Fact:  For every dollar that a homeowner invests in getting the house ready to sell will generate $3-5 in profit above asking price.

Example A:  House is listed for $800K, with $20K spent on improvements (including staging) and sells for $890K in two weeks time.  That’s a profit of $70K.

Example B:  Same house goes on the market with no upgrades or changes.  Furniture is old, carpeting is stained, paint colours are different in every room, kitchen is dated, etc.  It sits on the market with little or no interest.  Price is reduced by $20K but still no good offers.  Best offer is $70K below asking.  If the homeowner must sell, they take the offer.  If they don’t have to sell, they take it off the market and either make improvements and try it again or don’t bother.  If they take the low-ball offer, the homeowner will have lost $90K from the original list price.  That’s a difference of -$160Kouch!

If you live in the Toronto area, Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging can help you. Please give us a call at 905-683-9136 or email us at catherine@groovychickdesign.com
Our homes are designed to sell, decorated to stay!

 

After shot of staged master bedroom
Groovy Chick staged master bedroom

How a Home Stager can help you in a Divorce

The holiday season bills have come in causing financial stress. The lack of daylight hours, and the frigidly cold temperatures are getting to us. Depression may be setting in. Is it any wonder then that January is considered Divorce Month?

Cutting_Marriage_Certificate

Here’s a scenario:
Your spouse has filed for divorce. You had no idea that there was a problem in your marriage. You feel shocked, hurt, angry, devastated, and afraid, as the lifetime partnership that you thought you had is now gone and you feel all alone. You go through the seven stages of grief: shock, numbness, disbelief, reality, alienation, reinvention, and finally… acceptance.

Once you’ve come to terms with what’s happening and are able to think a bit clearer, you may be speaking to a lawyer, a grief councillor, etc. but have you considered speaking with a home stager?

The reality is that divorcing couples will go their separate ways and that leaves the communal home in limbo. Most likely, one person will stay in the house but that may not work out as a single income could find it very difficult to carry the monthly expenses of a house and possibly, childcare costs.

Your house is the single largest financial investment that you’ll probably make in your lifetime. It’s where you put your heart and soul into decorating, entertaining, making memories… good and bad, happy and sad. A divorce is not the time to turn your back on this home and cast it out into the real estate market, while expecting to get top dollar for it. Buyers will realize soon enough that the homeowners are separated and will take advantage of it by offering lowball bids. Don’t let this happen to YOU!

Today’s homebuyers are looking for an emotional attachment to a home. They want to be WOW-ed. Divorcing couples generally have no interest in making the house feel warm and fuzzy for others. They just want out. Does this speak to you? Do you not want the highest possible return on your investment? You may realize that it will take some effort to showcase the home but your heart isn’t in it. Well, a home stager can do that for you. Your house will look warm and inviting. Homebuyers will get excited (as you once did) when they see your house and will offer you much more money for it than they would in its current condition. You and your spouse will leave with more money in your pockets to put towards new and brighter futures.

A home stager is a neutral third party who doesn’t know the homeowners and will not prejudge them or their home. What we have is the knowledge of the saleability of a house once seen and what improvements/extras are required to attract today’s buyers.
A home stager views a property through the buyer’s eyes. It begins with a consultation and, depending on the homeowners’ situation and mind-set, can evolve into a showcasing of the home. This is very important for web photos since over 95% of home buyers shop online.
Great photos = more buyer interest.
Poor photos = little or no interest, which will once again result in lower or no offers.

If you are considering a consultation with a compassionate home stager, please call:

Catherine of Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging at 905-683-9136 or visit our website: https://groovychickdesign.com

Please LIKE us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GroovyChickRedesignHomeStaging

We would love to hear from you and help you at this difficult time.

3 Reasons Why Realtors Should Include a Home Staging Consultation

Pink exterior
Will pink door and trim sell a house?
Front repainted
Repainted garage door and trim.

Hello Mr./Ms. Realtor.  Welcome to my blog!

Have you been worrying about losing clients or wondering why, after all these years, your listings are taking much longer to sell?  It may be that your tried and true methods no longer work in today’s market… and I have the fix for you!  It’s called the ‘homeowner consultation’ which involves the seller, a home staging expert, and could include you as well.  A consultation usually lasts two hours, involves room-by-room critiquing, and leaves the homeowner with a clear understanding of what things need doing, what things could be done, and what things are not that critical, in getting the home ready for the market.

The consultation will open the homeowner’s eyes, to view their own home as potential buyers would.  When you are too close to your ‘stuff’, are comfortable with the way things are, you are forgetting that the buyer is seeing your place for the very first time and doesn’t know or care how you live in it.  What they care about is how they will be occupying the space.  The homeowner’s personal style is a distraction to the buyer and people today are very visual, meaning that they need to see how things could be… not the way they are.

A home stager has the know-how for what look sells and what look doesn’t.  A home stager is the realtor’s best friend.  How much financial involvement the real estate agent commits to is strictly up to them.  It could be just the consultation, part of the staging, or all of the staging.  The realtor who pays for it all is deemed to be knowledgable, confident, and serious about getting top dollar for their listing.  Not only that, but the realtor will come across as knowing what the market is demanding by bringing in a home staging expert.

And the 3 reasons why all realtors should include a home staging consultation are:

  1. A higher selling price for the homeowner
  2. A larger commission for the realtor
  3. A much quicker sale

Remember… the quicker the sale, the faster the REA can move on to his/her next listing.  It’s a win-win for all involved!

Are you a real estate agent based in (or have an upcoming listing in) the eastern part of Toronto or GTA?  Have you wondered about using home staging as a marketing tool?  Drop us a line, send us an email, let’s meet and discuss.

Here are some links to help:
https://www.groovychickdesign.com/contact which includes home staging statistics
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GroovyChickRedesignHomeStaging
Connect with me on: https://www.alignable.com/ajax-on/groovy-chick-redesign-and-home-staging or https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherine-menard-9a9b5935/

F.Y.I.  The above house sat on the spring market for weeks with little or no interest.  Any idea why?  Answer: Most people just couldn’t get past the strong pink colour in the first photo.  After a consultation, new paint colours, some styling, and updated photos, it SOLD!

Talk soon,
Catherine Menard

 

Decorating Help for the Holidays

ChristmasTreeDecoratedCloseup

The holiday season is fast approaching.  Have you started your Christmas shopping, your baking, or your decorating yet?  Many of us have so much to do and so little time for it.  Are you one of those people?

Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging will trim your Christmas tree(s), decorate your business, or style your storefront.  This allows YOU to enjoy yourself or have more free time to do the other things on your list.

We love hearing from our followers.  What is it that challenges you?  What can we help you with?  Just send us a note via our website: https://www.groovychickdesign.com/contact
if you’re based in the Durham Region (Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa) in Ontario and we’ll be happy to help!

Please visit and LIKE our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GroovyChickRedesignHomeStaging/

 

Sole Fan In The Stands

A Tale of 2 Vacancies

There once were two houses for sale.  It was spring, a time of year when the housing market is known to be red hot.  These two homes were located on the same street, in a quiet middle class neighbourhood, with all the amenities one could want.  Both were modest in size and sure to sell quickly!  Or would they?

House ‘A’ was put on the market in early spring… snow, still on the ground.  It sat and sat, and sat and sat.  No buyer interest.  It continued to sit for one month, two months, three.  Still no interest.

House ‘B’ went on the market in the spring, after the snows had melted, and sat.

Why were these houses not selling?  It was time for an investigation.  After searching online, I found both homes.  House ‘A’ was vacant, had a dated 80’s look, multi-colour painted rooms, wallpaper, etc.  It was on the market, then off, then on again.  House ‘B’ was also vacant, but it was newly renovated from top to bottom.  House ‘A’ now had to compete with a neighbour (House ‘B’) who was looking current and move-in ready.  House ‘A’ then dropped its’ asking price, and still didn’t sell.  House ‘A’ finally bit the bullet and renovated the inside and guess what?  It didn’t sell.  What?!  During the prime real estate selling season?  Why didn’t it sell??  Heck, why weren’t either of them selling?

Because my friends, people (buyers) need to see with their own eyes, and to imagine how a house could look with their furniture and stuff in it.  Staging a house helps the buyers to see what their lives would be like in this home.  A house is the biggest purchase of one’s life and buyers will be very reluctant to gamble their hard earned money on an empty house!

… back to my research.

House ‘A’ listed at just under $600K, came off the market, spent money on renovations, re-listed at $590K, and after a total of 110 days on market (not including the days in between) finally sold (in July) for $585,500.  That’s $14,400 less than the original asking price… and don’t forget the cost of renovations!  It went back on the market… empty again, asking $619,900, and guess what?  It’s now up for lease!

House ‘B’ took 32 days to sell, was listed for $615K and sold at the end of June for $590K. That’s a difference of -$25,000.

The bottom line is this:
The cost to stage a home is less than that of the first price reduction.  A clearer explanation of the cost of staging versus not, is in the following link:
https://www.groovychickdesign.com/contact
Just click or copy the above link and visit my contact page on Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging website.  The RESA statistics say it all.

Don’t feel alone and unwanted like the fan in the stands.
Remember: Stage First, Sell Fast!

 

Groovy Chick’s 10 To-Do’s before staging your home

kitchen cooking baked oven
Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

The days of baking a pie or loaf of bread for your open house are gone. That was a gimmick used to entice buyers to fall for home. A little tidying up, a familiar smell, and presto…the house was sold! Not anymore

Today, buyers shop online for their ideal home and they expect instant gratification. They don’t want to have to ‘deal with’ the previous owner’s style, neglect, or problems. The home seller’s best friend should be a home stager, who will guide them in what today’s buyer is expecting and it all begins with the consultation.

During our consultation (before the house is ready to be staged) I will recommend to the homeowner, things to do in order to sell their home quickly and for more money. Here are the 10 most common To-Dos:

#1 – CLEAN, Clean, clean! Buyers will be looking through your cupboards, closets, out your windows, at carpets, floors, ceiling fans, light switches, lights, counters, furniture, appliances inside and out. You get my drift…every nook and cranny! All surfaces must be able to pass the white glove test. Make sure that there are no cobwebs at ceiling level. Bathrooms and kitchen must be spotless.

#2 – Declutter. Any items that do not enhance the sale of the home must be removed. I have rental accessories to accent the rooms.

#3 – De-personalize. Please remove all family photos, diplomas, bills, jewelry, etc. These items cause a distraction to the buyer. Remember, they are buying the home to make their own memories.

#4 – Less is more. I will suggest removal of excess furniture or repurposing it elsewhere. We want to create a good traffic flow…not a road block.

#5 – Refresh the walls with a neutral paint colour. I can help with paint colour selection. Touch-up dings/paint/trim at the very least. Remove any wallpaper but if it must stay, make sure that edges are sealed. Buyers will notice!

#6 – No odours in the house please. This includes smoking, pets, strong cooking smells. If buyers smell something foreign to them, they will bolt. You can air out any odours prior to the open house or rent an air cleaning machine.

#7 – Fibres absorb odours. Replace old, worn-out, or stained carpeting. Shampoo if it’s newer but this may cause wall-to-wall carpeting to ripple and thus require stretching. Remove dark and heavy drapes. 

#8 – Fresh bedding and towels…preferably new and white.

#9 – Make minor repairs. Buyers will notice imperfections, when looking at trim, opening doors, walking on floors, turning on lights etc. 

#10 – The Exterior. Place blue boxes and garbage bins in garage. Weed or (at least) remove dandelion heads from lawns. Cut the grass, rake leaves, trim bushes, etc. Power wash outdoor furniture, deck/patio, driveway. Repaint the front door?

Bonus Tip – Moving is a stressful time and I don’t envy you but if possible, take some time away while the home is being shown. You’ve invested a lot of time and money in getting it ready for the market. Professional styling has made it magazine worthy. Why stress over having to constantly clean up and be ready to leave on short notice. Take a mini vacation if you can. You’ve worked hard and will be rewarded for it.

A home staging consultation with Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging is worth every penny. Any additional service will deliver as much as a 1,000% return on investment.

Contact info:
Email: catherine@groovychickdesign.com
Phone: 905-683-9136
Website: https://www.groovychickdesign.com/home