Sisterly Advice

“Being the Selling Realtor on your sister’s house”…..well, there’s two schools of thought you could possibly report on that.  Thankfully, I can only comment on the fact that it was a positive experience.  I hope she can say the same.

I’ll let you in on the end of the listing story …..”and it sold in less than a week”!  Now back to the beginning because it took a bit (or a lot) of work in order for that to happen.

I’m always happy to share my client’s stories (especially my sisters, with permission of course) because I believe that we learn from others mistakes as well as our successes.  Hopefully, this addition will be helpful to you as you are either thinking of selling or in the middle of your preparation.

One of the key elements of selling is listening to the advice of your agent.  They know the market, where your pit falls may be and what it is going to take to get a sold sign on your lawn.  Unfortunately, some Realtors only do the paperwork, take pictures (sadly, some with the toilet seats up) and put up a for sale sign but neglect to assist in getting your home ready.  As a Realtor, I go a few steps further with my Sellers in their preparation period because I am also a Stager.  It’s important to the success of the listing that we take the time to prepare prior to listing.  Whether that is a pre-inspection report, making sure things are up to date, replacing some things that are worn out or putting a fresh coat of paint in some areas that need it……they are all proof to a Buyer that if you show you care about your house, it gives them confidence in the product you are selling.

Going one step further from all that and presenting well is where I go one step beyond the norm of Realtors.  Staging your home doesn’t need to be expensive.  I always like to “shop” through your home first to see if I can re-purpose furniture that is better suited for another room.  The idea is to enhance your pictures and offer ”space” (both in the picture and in personally viewing the home) so that a potential Buyer can see what the room has to offer, not a cluttered view of too much furniture and nic-nacs.  It is also prudent of a Stager to come up with some solutions for those problem or awkward areas of your house.  Sellers are wise to remember that a Buyer sits at home and shops on-line first to determine where they would like to visit.  The presentation of your home on the internet is paramount in the Buyers decision of where those visits will take place.

For my sisters listing, thanks to lots of hard work, family crew, and some borrowed items from her “Staging sister” that were brought in to hit the pictures out of the park, we made it to our goal.  She did what she could to make it market ready within her budget and competed with the best of what was out there.

There’s nothing like hearing an honest testimony from your sister…..

So we decide to sell our house in the midst of a stressful time.  I’m presented with a list and you’re not quite sure why you have to do some of the things but you decide to trust your Realtor….and oh yes, she’s also your sister. That could make this whole process extra interesting. 

It was a lot of work to get our house ready for market, but in the end it was well worth it as I never thought the house would sell as fast as it did, and for a price we felt was top dollar.  The Staging ideas were hard to agree with at first, but well worth it when we saw the finished product.  I actually didn’t recognize my own house. Everything worked out as it should have, as it was an important time in life for us. We were thankful that the process we participated in was able to help remove the stress of selling and assisted us in selling our home quickly. Thank you, as we were able to focus our attention on what truly mattered to us at the time.

                                                                        Kim Hokkanen

The front of the home BEFORE.
Our goal was to remove the country look to be more pleasing to a wider range of tastes.

Front of home AFTER. Neutralizing country colours, adding contrast to the flower beds and the warmth of greenery all appeal to a wider range of tastes

Front Entrance BEFORE. Again, our goal was to remove as much of the country feeling to appeal to greater numbers. Light was replaced to update the look.

Front Entrance AFTER, a new light for a fresh appeal

Living Room BEFORE had some awkward spaces. It is long and narrow and difficult to set up furniture. Black furniture usually does not show well.

Living Room AFTER gives a spacious appeal that is simplified from the BEFORE look. Minimizing as much of the black furniture as possible gives a lighter, brighter feel to the room. We shopped through the rest of the house to re-purpose furniture for this room.

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen AFTER. A fresh coat of paint and some updated light fixtures give this kitchen an instant face lift.

Dining Room BEFORE had many loved items collected from grandparents past and gifts. Although precious to us, they will fill our presentations with what we love and not what will showcase our room well.

Dining Room AFTER shows the room, its spaciousness and warmth. Different mom and pop chairs, carpet, and mirrors all added to bring warmth and depth. Extra chairs also removed.

Master Bedroom BEFORE presents as functional but no “WOW” feeling to what is meant to be the adult oasis.

Master Bedroom AFTER!! This was my favourite room to do….a borrowed chandelier added the “WOW”….curtains to add warmth and removal of any extra furniture gave this picture something to talk about.

Master Bedroom BEFORE (view 2). Unfortunately space sometimes gets used for “all those extra things”

Master Bedroom AFTER (view 2). My idea of what to do with that extra space…..a master worth talking about!

Bedroom 2 BEFORE. I always say there’s one good pic of every room. This wasn’t its best pic.

Bedroom 2 AFTER. Its BEST pic!! The focal point being the head of the bed and also the importance to show the window, in what was a small room to picture. Lighter curtains and bedspread used to bring a brighter and lighter presentation.

Family Bath BEFORE

Family Bath AFTER. Updated light, painted cabinet for a new look and simple curtain. Instant update!

 

 

 

 

 

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The Military is on the move!

I LOVE WORKING WITH MY CLIENTS!!

Sellers need to move….and they have a home they need marketed to the best it can be! Every Seller needs the same …..  that’s my mission in working with them….. to Be The Difference! 

In spending time with my clients, I seek to understand how they interpret the listing process……Everyone has a different lens through which they see this process.  I certainly appreciate the honesty by which these particular clients communicate.  They are clear and forthright in their ability to communicate and together we started the journey to marketing their home to the best of my ability.  After all….seeing is believing and MLS needed to view the best their home had to offer.

I am pleased to welcome Brad and Melanie to the writing of this addition….being they are almost professionals by now at moving I thought who better then them to write about the Selling experience ……ENJOY!

Karen

 

GET USED TO IT!

If you are a military family like we are, you get used to moving. A lot. We just recently listed our house for sale which is our third sale in six years.  I like to think I’m getting used to this process and over the past two years of living in Kingston, ON, I spent a good amount of time researching ways to stage a home. I poured over Pinterest boards and spent time and money buying nice things for our home.  This time my husband and I had decided that we didn’t want to wait to do all the staging at the end, and not be able to spend time in the house enjoying all the pretty things. In addition to all of this, we had spent hours (HOURS) purging every room, closet and shelf. Boxes and boxes had been sent to the garbage or the donation centre.

HAVING WORKED WITH KAREN PREVIOUSLY:

We had worked with Karen two years ago when we bought this house, and after having been through dozens of homes with her then, we knew two things:

(1) She was a determined, competent Realtor and ….

(2) She was professional stager who knew her stuff.

So when the time came to truly prepare for listing our house we called Karen to come and have a look at all the work we had done. New floors, a newly face-lifted kitchen, gorgeous pillows and throw blankets. We were so ready.

If we had had any other Realtor, that might have been the case.

I’ve worked with several other Realtors in the past and they were all very talented and very competent. In fact, in both towns from which we moved they were among the top selling Realtors in the industry. Working with a Realtor who is also a stager, however, is a different experience. So while Karen was impressed at the renovations and pretty things, we still ended up with a list of things to do before we would be ready for our listing photos.
In previous moves, I may have been offended at these new suggestions. After all, I had spent the last two years getting ready for this very moment and despite my very best efforts there were still things to be done. How discouraging!

BUT HERE’S THE THING:

We want our house to sell. Not only that, but we want it to sell quickly and for top dollar. So rather than being frustrated by Karen’s suggestions, I embraced the changes. She showed me the statistics about the benefits of a professionally staged home and I had checked out her website and her Before & After photos. There was no doubt in my mind that she knew what she was doing and I felt confident that following her lead would help us immensely.  She makes the point that we are now making this into the Buyers home and we need to appeal to the masses.

KNOW THIS:

It isn’t easy to have someone come in and touch and move all your things. There were times that she would move a blanket (or a whole couch!) that I thought, Well, we’ll see about this” followed closely by “Ohhhh….that DOES look better”. The thing is, we all live in our homes for design *and* functionality. So it makes sense to us to have the couches facing the TV and lots of toys accessible to our children. Karen didn’t want us to live in an unsustainable way throughout the sale period, but she did request that we were open to some changes that would help the marketing presentation on MLS. Moving the TV out of our primary living room seemed like a totally impractical suggestion, yet when we did it not only did our living room look better but it also got us to use our basement family room more often since now that’s where the TV watching space is. Our master bedroom was large and comfortable and I had put effort into our coordinating bed linens and big fluffy pillows. I was sure it was essentially right out of HGTV. Yet the difference between before and after Karen staged it was the difference between pretty and functional to spacious and elegant while still being comfortable! When I look at the Before & After pictures of my own home, I can’t believe the changes. We like them so much that even after our house sells we will be keeping most rooms exactly the way they are!

THE ANTICIPATION OF THE MOVE:

There are so many things a home Seller can and should do in anticipation of a move. Purging, organizing, and adding pretty touches are all a great first step. But there truly is nothing like having a professional lend her eye to the scene because she views each room through a marketing lens, which is an entirely different lens than we do.

If you’re considering selling your home any time in the future, it’s never too early to get Karen to come in and have a look around. You truly won’t be disappointed!

Melanie and Brad Perry, March 2017

 Before pic of Kitchen After pic of Kitchen Before pic of Family Room After pic of Family Room Before Pic of Master Bedroom After pic of Master Bedroom Before pic of Rec Room

After pic of Rec Room

 

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Fet pou fe yon Enpak: Born to make an Impact!

“Irresistible” once blogged about the meaning of that word.  Rather, the new meaning of that word for me personally.  For what was once found “Irresistible” had changed.

 https://irresistiblehomes.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/truly-irresistible/

Three years later, the new meaning of that word for me has only deepened. When you go deeper into my world you’ll find that my heart is for Haiti, the teams I prepare to go, and the Real Difference we desire to make.

This year Impact Haiti 2016 has prepared once again to “Take part” in being the difference.  For the last 10 months we have been fundraising for Haitian projects, collecting necessary donations, preparing children’s programming and team building.  This is the first time for three of our members going to Haiti,  although the others have been on previous teams. Such a worthwhile trip to take part in that many choose to do it over and over again.  The relationships that we build there and being part of seeing it grow,  certainly adds a depth to the team members lives.  The Haitians live amazing lives of faith that humble us as we share in their lives over the 10 days.

This years team efforts is focusing on a program for the young children of Grande Goave, hygiene items for our visitation throughout the village, and the expansion of Haiti Arise. We are excited to be part of the projects currently underway which include a Children’s Village, new elementary school, and a new guest house.

It is a joy for us to be involved in the building of skills, the igniting of hope and effecting change throughout the great nation of Haiti.

Like us on facebook and be part of the “Impact Haiti” updates.

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Impact Haiti 2016

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Team building

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2016 Fundraiser: Born to Make an Impact

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                                   Children’s Programing: Tye Dye t-shirts for children

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False Start

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Listing your home without being ready is like that false start in a race that gets you disqualified.  The outcome in the world of real estate is either a lack of interest or a sale lower then you anticipated.

Allow my clients testimonial and pictures to speak for itself:

“During and prior to our 35 years of travel both abroad and here in Canada, my wife and I have accumulated, inherited and picked up a lot of “stuff”.  To many it could almost be called hoarding and the houses have had to become larger and larger to accommodate these keepsakes!  We have reached a stage in our lives that we have decided to downsize both home and contents!

Enter Karen Donnan and her team, Leslie and Annalise.  They represent a wonderful combination of creative, organizing and selling skills all in one package!  Their unique talents are accompanied by a very personal touch of caring and understanding, so much so, that we feel as if we are honorary members of their team and they a part of our family!  Their pride and expertise shows through time and time again.

Our initial choice of realtor was disappointing. Whatever we suggested, the agent simply agreed with us rather than providing constructive advice. They did provide an indication of a suggested price and when I suggested increasing it by $5K, they readily agreed without trying to rationalize their own position. Yes they had comparable listings to show how they arrived at that number but their instant agreement with a higher price was puzzling.

The house was listed for a total of about 5 months with this agency. During that whole period we had only one showing! We had four or five Open Houses which were always offered as the absolute cure or panacea for what was described to us as “a very slow market”. The most frustrating part was the need to push all the time for feedback and the response was always the same – they had to go and find out what was going on and get back to us. They did not know what they should really have been on top of and then advising us of what was happening. The lack of feedback was extremely frustrating.

We did not renew the listing for a third time. Instead, we obtained referrals from one or two people active in the local real estate market and we chose Karen Donnan of Sutton Realty Masters. 

Karen came to see us and to talk about her approach to getting a house ready for sale and to review, at great length, how to arrive at a price and the importance of pricing it properly. She was utterly straight forward with us and pulled no punches at all. She described her process which, initially, sounded daunting for the less organized types like me. She was instantly my wife’s heroine given their amazing abilities to organize!

I wasn’t too clear on this process of staging a house and kept wondering how it would help. The biggest concern was being able to remove so much “stuff” and find storage space in the house and to thus present a very elegant, minimalistic appearance and to do that by appealing to current tastes and especially those of the younger generation.

My precise thoughts were “bah, humbug” as I couldn’t picture how this would work and how to manage and work with Karen’s very creative process. My wife had it all down pat and followed it all without any difficulty visualizing the end result.

Karen was amazingly patient with us throughout and took all the time in the world to make sure we understood her process. 

Once the first part of the process was complete and we could corner Karen for explicit instructions on what to do, we set about moving and removing and moving again. Our guru, Karen, was due to return a couple of days later to check on our progress and very proudly we showed her everything we had done. Karen, with the utmost in diplomacy and politeness, told us we really had a lot more to do and also provided very hands on guidance as to what was to go where. This was so useful to us, especially since we had never done it before and then the whole project started to really click and fall into place. It felt like being part of a very precise military operation where everything had to be in place in order to measure success – and guru was the general!!

Karen always felt that staging a house should not involve unnecessary expense and kept telling us she could lend us anything we may need to complete the makeover. This was the third part of her process and it was amazing to watch her in action. Symmetry was the word of the day, especially for photographs of the house. Assuming one could keep up with her, the transformation was amazing as plants and cushions were moved around along with many other pieces. At the end of the day, the house presented absolutely beautifully and infinitely better than we could have done on our own. Karen’s creativity and flair for design is amazing and the house looked stunning. She also has a wonderfully patient demeanor that will put any client at ease while she explains the features and benefits of the house while selling them on the prospect of owning such a ”unique and wonderful property”!

The fourth and probably the most critical part of Karen’s process was taking photographs of the interior and exterior of the house. She insists on taking all her own pictures as she knows how she wants each room or space portrayed in order to allow clients to see the full potential of the house and how they would be able to use it to their best advantage. She will return to re-take shots if she is unhappy with her original effort.

It was the most fascinating, detailed process imaginable and it was nowhere near as daunting as we originally thought. It was a lot of fun and a really enjoyable exercise that happens to have the added benefit of making your house as attractive as possible for the market.

We cannot recommend Karen and her partners Leslie and Annalise strongly enough. They are consummate professionals with enormous experience who will go to incredible lengths on behalf of their clients.

P.S. Karen has one other talent she is very shy to demonstrate. She has the great and unique ability to wear two different socks and have you believe in the artistic value added by her decision. Incredible!!!”

Allan and Sue Proulx

Enjoy the before and after photos

 

Dining room before

Dining Room Before

Dining room after

Dining Room After

The best feature about this kitchen is how bright it is with great windows. The picture needs to reflect its best qualities.

Kitchen Before. The best feature about this kitchen is how bright it is with great windows. Unfortunately this picture doesn’t reflect how wonderful the windows are.

Showing its best qualities!

Kitchen After. Showing the rooms best qualities and the terrific view!

kitchen 2 after

Kitchen After (2) Uncluttered and bright!

Main floor family room before

Family Room Before. Full of furniture that was haphazardly placed. The end result on MLS is poor presentation and viewers cannot grasp the space available.

It's better to show good space with an empty room then a room with furniture that has an awkward layout online

Family Room After. It’s better to show good space with an empty room, then a room with furniture that has an awkward layout online

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom After

Master Bedroom After

The lighting in this picture gave the impression that the room was pink.

Living Room before. The lighting in this picture gave the impression that the room was pink.

Living Room after

Living Room After.

Pebbles on the Beach

Some projects don’t take any explanation past a picture.  Although this project wasn’t for staging purposes, it has all the ingredients for a great outcome in the world of design….great new feel with not a lot of investment.

This summer trailer had all the makings with great bones but was outdated by what felt like decades going on centuries.  With a little vision and lots of hard work….this was the final outcome.  A pebbled rock back splash, light airy color palette, glass pendant lights, black painted counter top, barn board wall with a white wash application, and  two-toned distressed cabinetry with glass knobs all serve to give this summer get away a “beach” feel. Amazing what paint and creativity does!!

For sale!! Proceed with vision!

For sale!! Only proceed if you have vision!    and….next time get a better pic….but you get the idea that it needed help!

IMG_4328IMG_4327IMG_4326Before: main living area

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Truly Irresistible

This isn’t necessarily the forum I would choose to speak of something personal, but when your personal experiences affect your business life then I’m all in with sharing.

I just came back from a trip to Haiti with my family and a group from my church. We had the pleasure of serving with an organization called Haiti Arise.  This organization is doing awesome work with the Haitian people rebuilding, equipping, and encouraging as they walk beside them to restore and give hope to their lives.

The trip changed me.  What I saw and experienced was staggering.  The way I now view what “irresistible” really is has shifted.  I was exposed to a people that had nothing.  Less than nothing if you can try to imagine.  I walked their streets, I went into their homes, I sat and talked with them, and I worked along side of them.  Having the knowledge that someone working beside you may not have even had a meal that day…… that’s hard to conceive. And through those 10 days, I could barely recognize the same spirit that I went with as what I came home with.

I have never met a people so joyful in spirit and content with life and yet they have nothing.  They have put their total reliance and daily trust in God in a deep and profound way.  It certainly left me many hours pondering what I do for a living back home in our rich land of Canada…..and how discontent people can be in the midst of plenty.  Even the poorest person in Canada has so much more than a Haitian. We live in a land of opportunity and for that I am thankful.  Imagine not having daily opportunity….lack of knowledgeable people to teach you good information to help further your life and on top of that,  a place that has little to no infrastructure……yet they are joyful.  It certainly gave me a deeper understanding of what creating an “Irresistible Home” is all about.  Thank you to the Haitians that truly touched and changed my life.

Its hard to get your head wrapped around all that, and know what to do with what you’ve been exposed to. Its certainly an adjustment coming home.

There’s lots I don’t know about life….but this much I do know……that when much is given, much is expected. I have a “doer” spirit in me and I like to inspire people to think outside of their box for something greater….to be something greater.  Really, that’s what I do when I come into your home.  I see your home for what it can be and not for what it is now.

So I have a challenge for you as well as myself personally today from Irresistible Homes…… to think outside of our comfortable box and reach out for greater.  For those of you that know me personally, you know I come from a farming background. Our team had the pleasure of working along side another team from Three Hills, Alberta while we were there.  There were also farmers on this team that I became friends with and together we are striving to work together between our two provinces to send some of our farming wealth south to Haiti.

One of Haiti Arises’ projects for the future is to have a goat farm.  They will milk the goats, make cheese as well as have them for meat ( Yes, I ate goat when I was there). Haiti Arise will walk along side of members in their community teaching them and encouraging them as they strive to create some structure and self sustaining means for them to support themselves. I saw this for myself and how they inspire and teach as I attended agricultural school for a morning to see for myself the hunger for knowledge that the Haitians had. I was in awe as they hung off of every word spoken about composting and fertilization(that would be a stretch for me)!! Something we take for granted here from generation to generation. Knowledge is a powerful tool as well as what is handed to you from your parents and generations before.  Something they are void of.

So join me if you like as together with Alberta, we are hoping to raise enough money to get them started.  The average price of a goat is $70 to $100 US.  A saying kept running through my mind while I was down there as we worked along side everyone …and that is…..many hands make light work, so if you would like to contribute to this cause please email me for details….perhaps buying a goat is in your future!! 😉

I have been honored to be part of such a great vision that has depth in the meaning of precious lives.

Thank you for allowing me to share what I now find to be Truly Irresistible.

Karen and Marc....irresistible homes

The founder of Haiti Arise with an Irresistible Homes t-shirt…. gave it new meaning!!

haitian children, blog

Karen with Haitian children who go to the Haiti Arise school.  To see them dressed so neatly was astounding seeing I knew what they were living in.  They are very proud to go to school and have the privilege to learn.

haitian home, blog

A Haitian home

“All things old, new again”

We are on the eve of a New Year……no matter what this past year held for you, tomorrow is not only a new day but a New Year. So Happy New Years from Irresistible Homes.  May this year bring you many blessings and may you prosper in every way as you strive to make a difference in your family, your business / place of work and the sphere of influence around you.

My theme for this blog is a little more personal as I share one of my own rooms with you.  I think its fitting because as you look at what the possibilities are for your new year, I challenge you to take some of “the old things and make them new again.”  Look at them with a different set of eyes for what they could be and not for what it is now.  I guess that goes for many areas of life but for now I will concentrate on this one room.  The room where I spend most of my time. Yes, my home office…..but it used to be my rather unattractive living room.

This was once a room that I walked through, but hardly ever used……a room that got all the left over furniture, and generally had no personality at all.  In short, I didn’t like it and I didn’t use it.

Then that day came.  The day when I got fed up with having my Real Estate files in one office, my Irresistible Homes files in another and just constantly running between the two. Getting fed up causes one to gain a new set of eyes and a new frame of mind.  I needed to re-think my space and make it work for me.

The decision was made pretty quickly that my current space  didn’t work for me. My living room was dead space to me and it was going to be changed into a den/ home office. What used to be a room that I didn’t go near, is now a room I enjoy being in, even when I m not working.  I wanted to give it a heavy, earthy (is that even a word?) feeling with a flare of femininity. All the choices for this room were chosen from the fabric making all subsequent choices come together with ease. Personally, I feel like I accomplished it.  I like it now and I guess that’s what counts….is that I like it and it works…… for both businesses.

Now the cost…..I found the two towers on either side of the desk area for $100 each because the glass was broken out of the doors.  No problem there as I just reworked the door panels with a padded material matching the curtains.  The rest of the room was fitted with shelving, bench seat, and a second work area.   The cost of the wood for this project was about $200.  Materials/desk towers in total were about $400. The handyman to put it all together was me.  (That’s why I won’t let you look closely at the corners!!)And of course the curtains which give the room warmth and colour, made graciously by my mother.

I’m happy to say that I now enjoy this room.

So as you start this New Year and you are contemplating what your projects are for the year, consider taking something “old and making it new again”.

Happy New Year from Irresistible Homes…..may you and your family be blessed this year.

Karen

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I know its in there somewhere!

“Honey! What a great piece…let’s buy it! We have just the spot for that! We need that too! ”  And….after awhile of good intentions to do something with what you’ve bought (and thinking you have the space), you have a house full and can’t see the floor anymore.

After sitting down with my clients who had hired me to sell their house, our discussion ended up in the direction of Irresistible Homes.  They had lived for years in the mindset that they had a place for that piece or got a great deal at an auction etc, etc.  and brought home more and more and more. Unfortunately, they could not sell in the state they were in.  After months of working with them and encouraging them along, they were ready for me to bring in the final pieces and stage their home.  It made all the difference in the world as the neighbors slowly watched the transformation take place and a different house emerge from the “stuff”.  The Seller’s themselves were overwhelmed by the process.  In the end, the house sold in the first week on the market for “OVER” asking price in competing offers.  In the end, the Sellers did everything that was suggested to them to bring the best sale possible and that’s what happened.  What was under all the stuff, was a great product and just needed to be presented with the right price.

Here’s what the Seller had to say….

“I was given Karen Donnan’s name from a good friend of ours.  We were in search of a good real estate person and we got what we needed and more.  Thanks to Karen we have come from total chaos to serenity.  I love my place now, it took a lot of hard work and I will be sad leaving it.  I am amazed at how much space I really have. Karen it’s too bad we didn’t meet a long time ago it might have saved a few grey hairs. Thank you for all your time and hard work.  If anyone I know from around here needs staging or real estate I will most certainly recommend you.”

                                                                                                                                         Sharon M, Sept 2013

The before pictures of the home were not taken in the midst of packing but this was how they lived. Thank you Sharon for allowing me to share your story and your pictures on my Blog as it helps others to understand the concept and importance of staging.  The right price and great presentation sells.

living rm before  living room beforeLiving room after  living room afterkitchen before  kitchen beforekitchen after (1)  kitchen after (1)kitchen after (2)  kitchen after (2)Dining room before  dining room before  Dining Room after  dining room afterspare room before  spare room beforespare room after  spare room aftermaster bedroom before  master bedroom beforeMaster bedroom after  master bedroom afterrec room before  rec room beforerec room after  rec room after

Historical gem ……

Think the 1700’s, downtown Kingston, and Irresistible Homes……although I was not obviously alive in the 1700’s I had the pleasure of working some magic on this gem that was built in the 1700’s,  and it was about to go on the market. Historically designated, little change could be brought to the outside of this home and much of the inside had been already updated.  Unique in its stature and history, this home was in need of a “homey” presence but was definitely not in need of a different location.  Within walking distance to the market, fantastic restaurants and the Kingston downtown waterfront, this stately home just needed the right price and a nice presentation.

In walk two gentlemen from Vancouver.  One being the owner,  and the other his friend, both here to get this home on the market in a timely manner.  Currently, this home was being fixed up after having been rented. After meeting with the Realtor it was decided that they were in need of a stager.  Thus….the beginning of an eventful but fruitful week with Irresistible Homes.

Let me tell you the end of the story first as it’s better than the start….

And in the end, they loved it!

Back to the start…..our relationship got off to a stressful beginning.  I can only tell you this now because there was a happy ending but we started off with different mindsets.  We can laugh (and we do) about it now but the first few days were filled with some education of what staging was and on many occasions lowering our raised eyebrows.

My job, as I see it, is to present a home in the best way possible to bring a sale to the Seller.  When I consider the home I am staging I try to remedy as many “problem” areas as I can.  Those objection areas are going to be a hurdle to a Buyer, and I know if they can be removed or minimized it will make selling the home much easier and leave more money in my Sellers pocket.  For every objection a Buyer or Buyer’s agent are finding in a home,  there’s reasons in their mindset to come in with a lower offer price.

So back to my gentlemen……I had many ideas going through my head as to what needed to be fixed and a warmth that obviously needed to come into this home. They had a mindset that if they decorated like Vancouver that it would sell better.  I kept saying this was downtown Kingston….they would say give it a Vancouver feel…..I would say this is downtown Kingston. Vancouver. Kingston. Vancouver. Kingston.

You getting the picture?

After the first few days were over…..the change started to evolve…..and I finally had believers on my hands as the warmth and charm of downtown Kingston started to be felt and seen.

Here’s what one of the gentlemen had to say about “Irresistible homes” (he actually wrote over a page but I downsized it to a sentence or two):

“By the time Karen finished the house, she presented it significantly better than if we had done nothing.  Further, it presented in a way we could never have accomplished.  I certainly would not consider looking any further than Karen if I needed staging services in Kingston.”

                                                                                                Greg P / July 2013

Just a few of the areas that were addressed in the home …….

You can see it for yourself in the pictures

Lighting…..very important…..I see it as the jewelry to the room.

Consistent color…….(see the orange kitchen counter top, blue railings, yellow bedroom, blue flooring in the bathroom etc, etc

Large rooms being given different functions to bring it to scale….ie. the kitchen was also given the function of sitting area as well as office.

Image

Master Bedroom Before

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Master Bedroom After

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Living Room Before

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Living Room After

ImageDining Room before (something about that light that definitely doesn’t speak dining room)

Dining Room After

Dining Room after (2)

Office area in kitchen….before

Office area in kitchen….after

Sitting area in Kitchen….before

Sitting area in Kitchen …..after

Bathroom before (what do I do with that blue floor?)

Bathroom after (who said you needed a standard bath mat?…..when hiding a blue floor needs to happen you go with as big as you can find!Certainly helps with pictures)

Coach house before

Coach house after

Sitting area before

Sitting area after (this picture taken before I convinced them to paint the blue railing black)

Kitchen before……4 different kinds of lighting in the kitchen

Kitchen after……consistent lighting and repainted orange counter top

Spare room staged……but before I convinced them to paint

Spare room after

Spare room 2..before

virtual-tour-112641-mls-high-res-image-33, spare room 2 after

Spare room 2….after….consistency in the color palette of this home helps with the flow of the home as well as the flow of presentation of pictures on the internet

The first time around…..

Staging is about appealing to the masses.  Although we have our own concept of what appeals to us, everyone is different.  When your house goes on the market, the style usually lends itself to a certain decor.  Although we need to keep that in mind, we need to stage it to appeal to as many different people as possible.

In this particular staging project, the house had been on the market for over a year and wasn’t selling.  The homeowner had chosen the paint colors according to his own taste when he lived there and felt that his colors were also satisfactory to the market to list as well.

A year later, and still on the market,  Irresistible Homes came in and staged.

Paint is very important…..its the backdrop of the picture you are presenting and it has to appeal to someone else’s taste.  In this case, it didn’t.  After the walls were neutralized and some furniture was added, it offered a broader scope for a whole new clientele to imagine themselves in this space.

Here’s what the client had to say about his experience:

“For about a year I was having difficulty selling my home in Kingston  The house was only two years old with tons of upgrades, but looked like the buyers were not able to visualize all the stuff that was put into it.  I hired Karen Donnan from Irresistible Homes, who guided me through a whole process of staging my house. She recommended a nice color and arranged staging the house.  After the staging, the interior of my house looked different and quite elegant.  The house was sold within the month. It was a very significant difference that she made.  Thank you so very much.”

Sincerely, 

Dr. M. El Saidi, M.D.

Belleville General Hospital

great room, 1 Great Room Beforegreat room, 2 Great Room AfterKitchen, 1 Kitchen BeforeKitchen, 2 Kitchen AfterKitchen, 3 Kitchen AfterKitchen, 4 Kitchen After

Basement, 1Recreation Room Before

Basement, 2 Recreation Room Aftermaster bath, 1 Master Bathroom Beforemaster bath, 2 Master Bathroom Aftermaster bedroom, 1 Master Bedroom Beforemaster bedroom, 2Master Bedroom After