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3 Ways to Virtually ‘Marie Kondo’ Your Condo

Feb 11, 2019 by

By Sarah Anderson, vice president marketing, VHT Studios

Photo credit: VHT Studios

Have you found yourself in the past month mysteriously decluttering and refolding your clothes, all the while holding each one in your hands and pondering if they truly “spark joy?”

Since the release of Netflix’s newest hit show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, decluttering and reorganizing our homes has become a virtual overnight sensation. It seems everyone around us is in a tizzy decluttering and reorganizing their belongings and proudly posting their results on social media.

But the KonMarie method of tidying up applies not just to keeping your drawers neat and organized. KonMarie can also be applied during this spring’s real estate season. That’s why now is the perfect time to “Marie Kondo” your condo – whether it’s a starter home or townhouse, or a luxurious mansion or penthouse with downtown or ocean views.

Tidying up a real estate listing and preparing it for sale doesn’t have to be stress-inducing and labor intensive either. One of the hottest trends in real estate – virtual staging technology – can certainly help.

“Marie Kondo”-ing your condo or home doesn’t have to involve identifying, and purging clothes, books, knickknacks, or kitchenware and hauling them to the resale shop. Popular virtual staging tools used by the most successful real estate professionals are a powerful way to apply the KonMarie method to help home owners “spark joy” by selling their homes quickly and at the best price.

BEFORE

AFTER – Virtually staged by VHT Studios

  1. Virtual Declutter

Virtual Declutter is photographing each room in a condo or home and combining science with an artist’s eye to eliminate clutter from walls, floors, and countertops. It will impress buyers, without the added labor and cost of decluttering, furnishing, and renovating a home.

Virtual Declutter can magically remove personal effects and knickknacks from surfaces in a photograph and present a more spacious and visually appealing

home. And of course, that will help to “spark joy” among prospective buyers.

For instance, many older Americans in downsizing mode have accumulated a lot of stuff that will be passed down or donated so they can move into a more compact and clutter-free home. If they’ve procrastinated in sorting out their belongings for showings, offer the Virtual Declutter tool as part of their real estate photography package. Whether a home has stunning architectural features that are lost in clutter, or it’s a starter apartment or studio, Virtual Declutter can be applied to any listing photograph and dazzle prospective buyers.

2. Virtual Paint

Real estate professionals may want to consider other virtual tools that are presenting a listing in the best possible light too. Walls covered with faded paint or outdated wallpaper won’t elicit feelings of joy for increasingly discerning buyers. That’s where Virtual Paint can refresh any wall and eliminate hassles of hiring a painter and waiting for project completion.

BEFORE

AFTER – Virtually staged by VHT Studios

  1. Virtual Stage and Furnish

For vacant listings, or those with outdated furniture, Virtual Stage and Furnish can fill a vacant room with furnishing without the expense or inconvenience of having to rent and move in tables, chairs, sofasm or beds. Let’s face it – not everyone’s design choices will put smiles on today’s buyers’ faces. They’re not interested in seeing the owners’ tastes in furniture and décor.

Virtual Stage and Furnish alters the décor of a room, based on the likely style preferences of potential buyers and how they may use each room in a home. Virtual Stage and Furnish can even transform a bedroom into an office, or a nursery into an exercise room or library.

Also, there’s no joy in a vacant home, which is often devoid of personality. Even worse, it’s hard for buyers to visualize how their furniture will fit in a vacant living room or bedroom. By virtually staging and furnishing it, you can provide a frame of reference for where the sofa will go, or the available space for nightstands or a comfy chaise in the bedroom.

Buyers want to envision their own lifestyle in their next home and increasingly expect a real estate listing to appeal to their tastes and preferences. Virtual tools may help clients better envision the possibilities of properties and spark some joy as they view the homes. And remember, that’s what the KonMarie method is all about.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Anderson is Vice President Marketing at VHT Studios, the nation’s leading real estate photography and visual marketing firm.


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How I Staged it: The Fireplace

Feb 4, 2019 by

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

The fireplace is a hot home accessory to accent when a home is for sale, and a little staging can go a long way in giving it the attention it deserves. Staging and real estate professionals submitted some of their favorite staging photos and tips for our new slideshow, How I Staged It: Give the Fireplace Top Billing. Check out these stunningly staged fireplaces for ideas to inspire your own staging.

Want to have your photos featured? We’re looking for staging insights and photos for making over the entryway and dining room. Submit your pictures to mtracey@realtors.org.


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7 Hot Home Design Trends to Watch in 2019

Jan 28, 2019 by

What is trending in home design in the new year? The designers at Houzz chimed in with their top picks. Here are a few of their choices for top home decor trends:

Tile backsplash feature wall.

More kitchens are using tile for an accent wall, taking the tile from countertop to ceiling. The tile is even behind floating shelves and range hoods to create an eye-catching feature wall.

Glass and steel room dividers.

In recent years, we’ve seen increased popularity in glass and steel for front doors and shower enclosures on Houzz. But good ideas spread quickly. We’re seeing more glass and steel dividers between interior rooms and expect that to continue in 2019. They give an open feeling while still providing some privacy and noise control, along with a stylish graphic element or contrasting color to otherwise white walls.

The centerpiece tub.

Homeowners are spending more to increase the size of their bathroom and carve out a spa-like space. And they’re devoting a lot of attention to making the tub the all-star of their space.

Black is back.

Black is entering kitchens in a bigger way. Black range hoods, island accent colors, and all-black cabinets are popping up in more designs. Houzz predicts more kitchens featuring black cabinets paired with white walls, backsplash and countertops for a dynamic and sophisticated contrast.

Furniture benches in the dining area.

In the kitchen, built-in bench seating in a dining nook is not only trendy but also offers extra storage as an added bonus. Designers are bringing in bench furniture pieces, which offer an affordable and convenient alternative. “It turns almost any dining spot into more of a lounge area, and you can tuck a few storage baskets underneath for blankets, games, place settings and more, giving you the feeling of a banquette without the commitment,” Houzz notes.

Board and batten exterior.

The modern farmhouse look is still going strong throughout the home, but exteriors are also reflecting it now too. “The board and batten method of construction delivers that homey look and adds texture and interest to what might otherwise be a flat facade,” Houzz notes.

Wood vanities.

Wood vanities can help bring a large dose of warmth to the bathroom. Wooden vanities have long been popular on Houzz, but the latest designs are turning toward reclaimed wood or light wood with clear stains that draw out grain pattern details and knots.


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Can a Shipping Container Home Be Stylish? Check This One Out!

Jan 21, 2019 by

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

A shipping container for hauling heavy freight in trains, trucks, and ships isn’t often associated with anything glamorous. But the housing industry wants to prove otherwise.

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

This 3,000-square-foot home in Phoenix is made up of stacked shipping containers, but you’d never know it once you walked inside. It’s modern, open designed interiors matches the style and spaciousness of any other single-family home today.

Homes constructed of shipping containers are drawing more attention in the building industry. These homes are flood and fire-proof, eco-friendly, energy efficient, and there’s certainly no shortage of them to transform. Worldwide, an estimated 24 million empty shipping containers are retired, just waiting to find a new purpose. Could real estate be it?

Some housing experts predict shipping containers to make up a bigger footprint of homes and buildings in the future. One shipping container can be transformed into a tiny home, several molded together could form a standard-sized single-family home, and hundreds stacked together in a Lego-like way could make for an apartment complex. Shipping containers can also be transformed as add-ons to existing homes, such as a garage.

But can a shipping container be stylish? Shara Terry, a real estate pro with Berkshire Hathway HomeServices Arizona Properties in Phoenix, certainly thinks so. She’s listing a three-bedroom, four-bath single-family, shipping container home for $ 610,000. The home, which is a hybrid of two stacked containers on its east side and two stacked on its west side, is designed by engineer Jorge Salcedo and Colombian architect Gregorio Baquero.

“A lot of people who’ve visited it have been curious, and they can’t believe it used to be a shipping container once they step inside and they see how open and seamless it is inside,” Terry says. “There really are only two subtle reminders in the interior that show a portion of the red container,” but even those have been blended into the overall decor. The exterior includes some writing on the containers that were preserved for character, including a stamp in Vietnamese showing its former location.

Overall, the home’s industrial exterior blends to a more modern interior. Take a look at the staging by Kelly Hester with KH Staging and Redesign in Phoenix.

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com


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High-Tech Home Design From CES 2019

Jan 10, 2019 by

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

As more homes get teched out, how do you make a home smart but stylish too? CES 2019—Las Vegas’ annual mega tech show—is showing off thousands of high-tech products, including a growing number to outfit a smart home.

From smart mirrors to rollable TV screens, CES 2019 vendors are evolving the look and function of many everyday household items. Particularly interesting is a gradual movement to the attention of detail in how these high-tech products are being integrated into a home’s design. It’s becoming less about having a massive monitor on display or smart speaker on your coffee table, and more about integrating and blending the tech into the home subtly.

The Rollable TV

Photo Credit: LG

The bulky, rectangular television set has long been a centerpiece of many family rooms. But LG Signature’s OLED TV R is disguising it. This rollable 65-inch television disappears into a box below a modern, silver credenza when not in use. When you do need it, it unrolls to its full height in seconds. You can also put the TV in “line view,” so that only about a quarter of the screen is showing. In this wide, rectangular view, the TV can be set to just display a clock, weather, personal photos, or other designs.

LG debuted a prototype of the wallpaper TV back at CES 2018, but it will be available to the public starting in the second half of 2019. Pricing has yet to be determined.

Not Just Any Wood

Photo Credit: Mui

That two-by-four piece of wood on the wall looks like a stylish accent that blends into the room, but it’s actually a smart home assistant. Voice-assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, are getting stylish makeovers and embedded into more products. The Mui smart block can be controlled via voice. Homeowners can take control over music, lighting, thermostats, and more through this discreet Google Assistant. When it’s not being used, the LCD display turns off and it looks like just any other piece of wood again. When activated, words appear on the screen and you can talk to it. It’ll be available in early 2019 for $ 999.

Picture Frame and Wireless Charger

Tech chargers aren’t exactly the prettiest accessory to leave lying around. Enter Twelve South’s PowerPic. It’s a picture frame that doubles as a wireless charger for your devices. It appears as a typical wooden 5×7 picture frame, but it contains a hidden wireless charger behind that favorite photo being displayed. You can place an iPhone or other compatible device inside of it to start charging. (This retails for $ 80.)

 

A Smart Mirror

This isn’t your ordinary mirror. It’s a touchscreen mirror with Google Assistant-embedded inside. This smart mirror from Capstone Connected Home allows you to ask it anything you typically would of a standard voice assistant. You can even compose email and messages from it and type directly into the mirror. The mirror is available in various sizes, starting at 19-inch by 22-inch. It’ll be available in early 2019. Pricing has yet to be determined.

 

Mood lighting

Photo Credit: Philips Hue

Pick a mood and let your lights match it. Philips Hue offers a range of smart bulbs that allow you to take control over the lighting to fit the setting. Adjust your dining room lighting to create an ambient atmosphere for a dinner party, or turn a living room into a home theater with dimmed lights. Many of the bulbs can also now be controlled via voice, allowing you to change lighting without ever having to flip a switch.


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Why You Should Consider Staging the Staircase

Jan 7, 2019 by

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Photo Credit: L.J. Smith Stair Systems

A great staircase can be attention-getting in your listing. Don’t forget to stage it and highlight it in your property photos to give it the attention it deserves.

“A circular staircase creates a positive first impression as people walk into the home,” says Kurt Geschwender with Geschwender Real Estate Co. “It’s a one-two punch. You’ve created strong curb appeal to move them off the street and into the house. Then you need to close them with the first impression as they enter the home. I’ve found that a buyer will mentally buy the home after they hit the front door … and that they tour the rest of the house looking for reasons why not to buy it.”

A circular staircase can be a symbol of elegance, says John Lynn, a real estate pro with 5 Star Real Estate Pros at Keller Williams Mountain Partners. “I’ve rarely seen a curved staircase in a home that wasn’t eye-catching in either its design or placement,” says Lynn. “People see a straight staircase design and think of a wide range of purposes for that staircase from basic functionality to being a home’s centerpiece for connecting life upstairs. However, a curved staircase makes a dramatic, jaw-dropping statement in a home ad appeals to home buyers on an entirely different level.”

Stage it: Add a circular table at the bottom of the stairway to enhance the circular staircase. Include a vase of fresh flowers. If there’s space, include a chair beside it. The staging below will help accent the curve of the stairway above.

Photo credit: L.J. Smith Stair Systems

Photograph it: Be sure to include a picture of the staircase in your MLS photos. Capture it from below and shoot toward the curve to show off its grandness.

Photo credit: L.J. Smith Stair Systems

Enhance it: The trend for staircases is cool iron blusters matched with warm wooden newels and handrails, says Craig Kurtz, president of L.J. Smith Stair Systems. “That marriage of wood and iron allows homeowners to ‘play’ off both materials so that the stairway complements other design elements of the home.” Make sure the style matches the rest of the home, however, Lynn says. “The shape, style, positioning and material of a staircase can be a positive or negative in the buyer’s mind depending on how it fits into the overall design of the home,” Lynn says. “I’ve noticed that most people prefer to match the materials in a staircase to existing fixtures of the home to give a consistency of theme or design. Having a staircase with a little bit of color, material or design contrast allows them to offset or even showcase the staircase in the home.”


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