By Audra Slinkey, Home Staging Resource
I gotta say it, I LOVE pillows! I’ve seen so many spaces transformed with the simple addition of pillows that I had to share some of my favorite photos of pillow inspired spaces, as well as my top six tips to styling and staging with pillows!
My friend HSR Certified Gregg Churchill, an amazingly talented Australian Home Stager and Designer knows the art of pillow placement, so I’m using some of my favorite photos of his work exclusively to give you my top tips and to conclude with some of my favorite places to buy pillows …
Tip #1 – You Can NEVER Have Enough Pillows, so Go Big!
Can you imagine if this furniture were not dialed in with pillows? This is a perfect example of how the right placement and selection of pillows can transform couches.
Tip #2 – Don’t Get “Matchy Matchy.” Mix It Up!
As a designer, there are things you want to “match” to add calm and symmetry to a space (like the tables and lamps above). BUT when it comes to pillows, have fun and get a little crazy! I love how Gregg completely breaks the rules here with his color and pattern choices to make this otherwise boring, white space…POP!
Tip #3 – Use Pillows to Guide the Eye in Staging
Okay, imagine this room without the pillows. Again, Gregg breaks some rules beautifully by drawing the eye up and away from the dated terra cotta tiled floors to the colorful, selection of pillows contrasted against the white couches. Not only does he distract but he connects the floors with the space through the choice of two similarly colored pillows….love it!
Tip #4 – A Square for Every Chair
I have to say, I love the on-trend, coral pillows on the end chairs of this dining room as a way to connect the art with the space. By using a clean, bright, color palette of similar tones it all just flows well together, so add those pillow squares to the chairs when it works like this.
Tip #5 – Add Drama and Go “Colorless”
This is probably my favorite photo because Gregg removes all the color from the space for dramatic effect, so the buyers walk in and go…whoah! The reason this works so well is because he cleverly inserts plenty of textures and pattern (fuzzy rug, platinum lamps, geometric throw and pillows). Gregg deleted the color from the space, which allows a buyer to notice the architectural elements they are buying that are special in this room, i.e. the wainscoting and hardwood floors.
Tip #6 – Pillows Make Spaces Happy!
This room without the pillows? You would have zapped all the “happy” out of the space.
Okay, I admit it…I’m a pillow junkie! This is why I like to buy pillow covers at www.etsy.com (search for “pillow covers” and look for good reviews), which means I can store them better. I also look for pillows with zipper enclosures for easy washing and storing.
I shop at HomeGoods, Pier1, BurkeDecor, WayFair, BallardDesign, and PotteryBarn (most of which I get my “To the Trade” Discount).
What are some other pillow tips you want to add?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Audra Slinkey is president of the Home Staging Resource, a RESA Accredited home staging training and certification company. Slinkey has personally trained over 3,000 stagers worldwide and is a bestselling author and international speaker. She also serves as president of the American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners. Connect with her on Facebook!
By Sam DeBord
Online home valuations have a rocky history. From automated valuation models (AVMs) used in lending during the mortgage boom to consumer-focused products like Zillow’s Zestimate, the accuracy of these valuations has always been an issue for real estate professionals. Despite online valuations’ inability to consistently provide an accurate home value on an individual basis, one thing is clear: They’re very popular.
While the misinformation creates fairly regular confusion for consumers, the regular annoyance to many real estate professionals has simply become an opportunity for others. Consumers gravitate to online valuations in droves, so many professionals are starting to offer their own versions.
There are plenty of online valuation tools for agents and brokers available, and although they’re not a brand new concept, the number of companies offering them is growing. The simplest versions are standalone websites that do just one thing: get home sellers to enter their address and contact information, and deliver them an estimated value report.
Companies sell these websites directly to agents, and provide some training and networking online with other users to learn to drive traffic to them. We tested the product from Home Value Leads in California. Facebook ads and Google pay-per-click campaigns are used to attract home sellers who are curious about their home’s value. The sellers click on an ad about home prices in their neighborhood, fill in their address and contact info, and receive their value report. The agent can follow up to explain the inaccuracies that are inherent in an online valuation and offer a personalized follow-up or CMA to better educate the consumer.
Full-service website vendors are integrating the home valuation tools as well. The most recent one we tested was from Real Geeks in Hawaii. Customers simply add it to their current Real Geeks website with a call-to-action asking sellers “What’s Your Home Worth?” They can also drive traffic with paid ads. The same follow-up and personalized explanation with a consumer makes the process educational for the home owner and valuable for the agent. It’s tied in to the back-end of the agent’s current website, so the leads from sellers and buyers exist in the same database.
While it might seem like a simple form on a website could generate the same leads, the simplicity and single focus of encouraging a user to enter their address is the beauty behind these products. Conversion rates are far higher on these tools than when simply asking a user to fill out a form on a regular website. They’re built to prod each user along to the next step, and they do it well. Even without all contact information, simply getting an address from a consumer might be reason to send a postcard to the homeowner who might be thinking of selling.
Many of us roll our eyes when we hear “But Zillow says my house is worth X.” It’s a professional annoyance, but if we’re honest about it, it’s a genius marketing tactic. These new tools create an opportunity to get past being frustrated with the tactic, and to use it yourself to create some new customer contacts. With consumers now on your website, you can start the education process about home values right away.
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Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
Given the harsh winter across the country this year, more home buyers may have added a mudroom to their wish-lists. Could staging one in your listing win over more buyers’ hearts?
The home owner may already have the perfect space carved out for one. If that’s the case, all you may need to do is bring in a bench and add some hooks or cubbies for extra storage.
The mudroom is a place to transition from the outside to the inside. The idea is to create an organized place for hanging coats and bags, and removing those muddy shoes or organizing the children’s items as soon as you step in the door — and so they’ll be easy to grab when you’re ready to step back out the door too.
As such, the location of the mudroom needs to make sense if you stage one. Mudrooms need to be close to an exterior door or the garage. Otherwise, the purpose is defeated if you have to track your rain boots and wet umbrellas across the house.
Here are some simple staging touches if adding a mudroom — or at least a few characteristics of one — to your listings.
Add some cubbies for extra storage. This can be perfect spot to store shoes, kids’ toys, or all of that ever-growing winter garb.
Offer up a bench where home owners can sit down and remove those dirty shoes, instead of trying to balance on one foot to do it.
Offer up an easy wipe-off mat or dress it up a bit by trying out this idea of using a tray filled of rocks to store those muddy boots near a door.
Add some hooks for hanging coats or book bags. If the home doesn’t have an entryway closet, your buyers may never miss it.
A mudroom can get dirty with all those outdoor items heading in, but that doesn’t mean it should be coated in mud. Keep it clean, organized, and functional for quick drop-offs as you head into the house.
The mudroom needs staged too. Don’t leave it completely empty or too cluttered that it doesn’t show off its function. Offer just enough touches to paint the picture and make buyers go “wow, that would be a nice space to have!”