home staging by Creative Concepts-Home Staging & Contracting

Looking to get the most money for your home in 2011?

Experts say it boils down to two key points.  When selling your home there are only two elements you can control – price and presentation.

If you don’t want to keep lowering the price, a home must speak volumes of value and have a fabulous presentation.  Staging adds perceived value and provides the atmosphere home sellers are looking for when they want to invest in a property to call home.  In 2010, over and over again our staged home sold for more money and quicker than the competition.  Homes that had been on the market for over a year were staged and sold successfully.

But What do Real Estate Agents Say? This isn’t something that only we’ve experienced in 2010 – it’s being echoed by real estate agents and business experts alike.  AOL Real Estate’s What Works NOW recently released this video which echoes what other professionals are advising home sellers in 2011.

PRICING: Price for exactly what your home is worth from the start – a home that is overpriced will sell for less as it becomes subject to price reductions as it lingers on the market.

PRESENTATION: To sell successfully in 2011, homes will have to look much better than the competing neighbors’ properties. This video recommends making repairs and inexpensive upgrades and home staging.

Home Selling in 2011 will continue to be a price war and a beauty contest.  Our tag line  is You can’t change market conditions or your location, but we can help you change the presentation of your home.” The professionally staged home stands out when viewed online and in person.

Staging costs less than most home sellers might guess – with consultations starting at $100, real estate professionals agree that hiring a home stager from the start and entering the market ready for the competition is a wise choice.

Staging is what your competition is doing.  In the past few weeks our company been approached by more real estate professionals than ever before — asking us about what our staging services entail and incorporating it into their 2011 plans.  As one agent said “I can’t afford to take a listing that won’t work with a home stager.  These listings sell so slowly or not at all — the marketing costs become too high.   I tell my sellers stage it or lower the price – there isn’t another option.”

If you are selling your home in 2011 — you can’t change the market, the competition or your location.  You CAN create a better presentation and therefore command a better price. A home selling strategy that will get your home sold in 2011!

Margaret Oscilia is a Professional Home Stager serving Salem Oregon and surrounding areas who specializing in helping home sellers stage to sell or re-design to live well.  Moving or improving? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

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Related Posts:

Can I Afford to Have my Home Staged?

Does Home Staging Really Help in 2011?

Want to Get Your Home Sold?  Get IN the Market!

Dear Home Staging Expert:

My home is beautifully decorated and I receive many compliments on my style and taste in furnishing and decor.   I’m preparing to sell in the near future and my real estate agent advised I hire a “home staging expert” to give me some advice.  I can’t imagine what benefit I would receive from this service.  (I actually find it a bit insulting.)  Please advise.


Divine Design Diane

Dear Diane:

Thanks for taking the time to ask this important question before dismissing your agent’s recommendation.  First and most importantly please keep this in mind:  We decorate our homes to create a beautiful environment for us to enjoy.  When selling, we create a neutral palette for someone else to paint their story upon.

How we decorate our homes to live in and how we decorate to sell our homes are two different things.  This should not be considered an insult on your design style.    Staging for sale is merely a different design concept. You home’s decor may need to be modified to appeal to the general public and so the photos look spacious and inviting.   Have you ever been to a model home?  They has limited furniture and decor so buyers can move around easily and enjoy the home, but not be distracted by the decor.

You mentioned that your home is beautifully decorated with your style, this may be different than what is appealing to some potential buyers.  Can you afford not to appeal to every person who views your home?  Now is the time to remove some of the personalization and make it easy for someone else to see them living there, placing their own style in this home.

Usually a beautifully decorated home is easy to prepare to appeal to the broadest number of home buyers possible.  For example:

  • Remove smaller furniture pieces and decor, to make the room appear more spacious and improve traffic flow
  • Remove decor that draws attention to itself, rather than the architecture or purpose of the room
  • Remove custom draperies that have a style not consistent with current home buyer’s desires or that block light from entering the room
  • Keep a neutral palette throughout the home with accents of color.

For example, in the above photo, what do you remember most – the beautiful window or the window coverings?  If someone likes a sleek style, will they be able to feel comfortable in this room which contains lots of furniture and patterns?  This is a beautiful room, and a few changes could make it appealing to more buyers.

This room also is well decorated in neutral tones.  Removal of a few furniture pieces and decor would improve traffic flow and make it appear spacious in photos and in person which is important to home buyers.

While hiring a home staging expert for a consultation may seem unnecessary for beautiful homes, their fresh perspective and knowledge of what home buyers perceive and are looking for can be a valuable tool to be used when preparing your home for sale.


Margaret Oscilia

Home Stager and Redesign Specialist

Creative Concepts and Contracting


My family has spent many a Father’s Day weekend visiting the Tour of Homes sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Marion & Polk Counties.  Despite the fact that we are in dozens of homes every week, we never seem to tire of looking at new homes.

We visit the ones in our favorite parts of town and are especially attracted to the high end homes featuring state of the art sound systems, cabinetry, stonework and more.  What new features do these homes have that I can’t live without?  The kids love the grand ones — thinking we need to have a special theater room too or at least  a hot tub near the television on the deck!

At first glance, the 2010 Tour of Homes may appear a bit different than prior years. Eight of the 30 homes on tour are UNDER $200,000.  Nine more are priced between $200,000 and $300,000.  Only three tour homes are priced over $699,000.  Probably most of these tour homes aren’t as awe inspiring, the lines won’t be so long and I won’t get any fabulous ideas was my first thought.  Perhaps this year’s tour would be one we will pass on attending?

As I read further into the descriptions on these modestly priced homes, I see features listing slab granite counter tops, custom cherry cabinets and stainless steel appliances.  Stamped concrete, stone accents, energy efficient gas furnaces and closet organizers.  These homes may be affordable, but do not appear to lack wonderful amenities!

More importantly, these builders are creating homes Salem needs and can afford. While we’ve all loved touring the “McMansions” of the past, affordable and quality housing is what most Salem home buyers are purchasing.  Yes, I’ll go and check out the most expensive home on tour (I just can’t resist), but I’m also going to make sure to see more of the other listings as well.

We work with builders and developers and know how rough the past few years have been for them. Reducing employees, changing business focus and not reducing quality has been a challenge for most businesses in the construction industry.    As an important part of our local economy, we are pleased to see and celebrate their success.

So even if you aren’t shopping for a home, check out the tour of homes this year. Admire the craftsmanship and be surprised at what these builders have created.  Commend the builders on their success during this difficult time for their industry.  The Home Builders Association has chosen “explore and be inspired . . . “ as the theme for this year.  How appropriate.  We hope you’ll join us in participating in this years tour and show support for our local builders.

The HBA Tour of Homes for Marion and Polk Counties runs through June 20th.  Weekends homes are open 12 pm to 6 pm — week days 6 pm to 9 pm.

Margaret Oscilia, Home Stager and Redesign Specialist with Creative Concepts and Contracting has a passion for real estate that goes back for over 20 years.  Whether projects include extensive remodeling, a few minor updates or simply rearranging what home owners already have — each one is treated with the same enthusiasm and detailed care.

With many homes on the market and fewer home buyers, home staging has become more in demand than ever before.  Several agents and home sellers have asked us lately – who should pay for home staging?

Home staging makes a house easier to market — they look and “feel” better in person and in the listing photos. A quick sale of course benefits the real estate agent.  Should they pay for staging?

One example to consider:  If a home seller had carpets that needed cleaning, would the real estate agent advise them to do so?  Of course.  But they normally wouldn’t consider paying for the cleaning.  Likewise, home staging is an important part of home selling, and home sellers should pay for home staging.

Occasionally, sellers can’t afford to pay for home staging until after the home has sold.  What then?  We’ve brainstormed with agents and sellers and find affordable and win-win solutions to this situation.  Real estate agents are cautious (and reasonably so) before investing in staging listings that may not sell quickly and need to develop their marketing plan prior to committing to paying for staging.

We’ve worked with many different scenarios, and find frequently when sellers pay for staging, we obtain the best results. Why?  When sellers are invested financially, they usually value and implement the recommendations we give them.

While I do think it is the sellers responsibility to pay or share in the cost of home staging, I do believe it is the real estate agent’s responsibility to educate the seller on the value of home staging. I continue to be surprised at how unprepared many sellers are when entering the Oregon real estate market.  Home sellers need to be informed of the statistics revealing:

  • Staged homes sell quicker than unstaged homes
  • Over 90% of home buyers look on the internet for homes
  • Homes that look great online get more showings
  • A 2009 study reveals staging is a necessary improvement that yields a high rate of return – over 500%
  • Homes that linger on the market are targets for lowball offers and price reductions.
  • Staging always costs less than a price reduction!

Also home sellers benefit greatly from:

  • Understanding what buyers are looking for when visiting their home
  • Knowing that sellers form a STRONG impression from the curb and within the first ten seconds of entering their home.
  • How important lighting, room function and flow is to impressing buyers
  • Learning how to declutter, clean and prep their homes for sale effectively.

Once sellers understand the competitive nature of home selling in 2010 they are more likely to be willing to invest their money in a staging consultation or to pay for vacant home staging.  We work with a variety of payment situations, depending on the seller and agent.  For example:

  • Home Seller contact us directly for a consultation or staging services and pays for all staging expenses.
  • Agent refers clients to a professional home stager and educates seller on the value of home staging
  • Agent provides a staging consultation for their listings,
  • Agent agrees to reimburse home seller for a staging consultation at closing
  • Some agents pay for consultations and have a written agreement that if the listing is terminated, they will receive reimbursement for their expenses.
  • We work with a few agents who refuse to list properties when home sellers are not willing to work with a home stager.  They won’t spend their time, energy and marketing budget on homes that aren’t ready to compete.
  • On existing listings that linger on the market, use a portion of a price reduction to invest into staging – improving the appearance and price at the same time.

Each listing and situation is different, but finding a way to obtain the competitive advantage home staging provides is important to both the real estate agent and home seller.

Need more ideas on how to incorporate staging into a new listing?  Contact a professional home stager for other creative ideas and enter the 2010 real estate market knowing your home is making the best first impression possible.

Margaret Oscilia, Home Stager and Redesign Specialist of Creative Concepts and Contracting provides home staging consultations, vacant and occupied real estate staging, color consultations and more.  This team of “prepare to sell” specialists serve Salem Oregon and surrounding cities throughout Marion, Linn and Benton counties.


Once upon a time in the peaceful city of Keizer Oregon there was a beautiful home waiting for a new owner.

Potential buyers passed it by, thinking it was for the birds!

Living Room - MLS photo before staging

Listing Photo Before Home Staging

. . .

When it was vacant, the home was bland and several incidents

of snow blindness were reported.

vacant homes don't show well to potential home buyers

White on White on White

Room sizes and features were overlooked due to blandness of home

. . .

The resourceful listing agent was not going to let this home linger on the market any longer and hired a professional home stager to create a new image for her listing.

With a limited budget what can be done?

A little staging magic . . . and from the moment buyers enter this spacious home, they will find it welcoming and be able to envision the  lifestyle available within these walls!

professional home staging

Wow - This home looks interesting!

living room after professional home staging

Rooms look inviting. Making buyers feel comfortable

vacant homes don't show well

From blah, boring and dull . . .

. . .
I think this home is ready for its happily ever after!
Professional home staging - Creative Concepts and Contracting

Now warm and inviting - ready for a new owner!

Selling a home and wishing for a fairy tale  happy ending?   Home selling in 2010 is a combination of price war and beauty contest. Be prepared to compete!  Home staging sets your listing apart from the competition and gives you the best possible chance of a good offer!

In need of a little home staging magic? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.  You can’t change your competition, the market or your location – you CAN change the presentation your home makes!

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

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Looking for a way to give a dated bathroom some pizazz? When preparing your home for sale, one affordable and high impact improvement can be achieved by changing dated light fixtures in bathrooms.

If your bathroom features broadway light bars, or other dated fixture styles, here are some tips to help you make updating bathroom lighting easier!

Evaluate your space. Is there a existing light that isn’t painted behind the fixture?  Is there limited clearance to the ceiling or vanity mirror?

How large of a fixture do you need? Most fixtures come is 1-6 light models.  Measure how large you want the fixture  to look before heading to the store.

Consider metal finishes in the other elements of the room. For a sophisticated look, metal finishes should match.  If your faucets are chrome and the towel bars are oiled bronze, brushed nickel or another metal finish, choose the finish that will coordinate with the updated towel bars.

Sometimes the cheapest light fixture isn’t the best buy. While lights are quite easy to install, some “contractor grade” fixtures are more flimsy and can be harder to install.  If you are preparing your home for sale, be sure the fixture is one that is not too contemporary or dated, but a simple traditional style that will  be appealing to the general public.

Avoid broadway lights!  Installing this style of fixture is not an upgrade.

(That’s all I’m going to say about this style of vanity light!)

So what are some good lighting styles and finishes when updating bathrooms?

Simple, traditional styles work in most homes.

This second example has a larger “footprint” and will cover a space that may not have been painted behind an existing fixture easily.

Avoid fixtures that are too ornate.

Simple lines and contemporary finishes are nearly always a safe choice.

When potential home buyers enter this room, they no longer will be struck with how horrible the lighting is, which previously would have been their first impression.  This bathroom still has a dated counter top, but the improvement made by simply replacing the light fixture (under $50) and changing the decor gave the room an entirely different look and feel.

More questions about bathroom updating or preparing to sell?  We love your emails or comments on our post!!  Helping home sellers make wise updating choices is our passion!

Moving or improving in Oregon? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.  What can we do to help you today? Contact Margaret Oscilia at 503-881-0886!

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

View our website See our YouTube Videos Connect with us on facebook! Subscribe to our blog

Take a typical 3 bedroom 1 bath Salem home in a NE neighborhood (NE is not considered the hot real estate hub of Salem for those not living in Salem).

Add one savy owner who updated the paint and carpet with some good choices . . . and here’s the results:

The curb appeal was challenging – especially the path to the doorway.

And while this home does look nice — as you can see it is just . . . . .

another beige vacant box.

What size are the rooms?

Over 90% of buyers shop first on the internet.

Currently there are at least 40 comparable listings on the multiple listing service . This home and these photos won’t stand out!

So instead of making an appointment to view the home, the potential buyer continues looking online until something more interesting catches their attention.

This house was listed for about $150,000.  Why would anyone stage a house that was in that price range?

Because while the average days on market in this area is over 150 days, this house received an offer within 5 days.

Some simple and affordable staging transforms a beautiful beige box into a welcoming home.

A new path welcomes buyers in – (and was affordable using materials they already had on hand).  The curb appeal is great.  Most buyers want an easy care yard!

When marketing a vacant home help buyers see the room sizes.

Simple furniture and decor showed this room size and made it look inviting.

It showed well on the internet, and even better in person.

We stage homes all over Oregon, and not all of them sell within five days. But we do continue to see the homes that are priced and prepared well standing out from the competition and receiving offers!

Moving or improving in Oregon? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.  What can we do to help you today? Contact Margaret Oscilia at 503-881-0886!

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

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This morning a local big box store flyer highlighted their sales items for this weekend.  The items they have on sale were items I hope none of my readers would consider buying!

This light fixture is on sale for $9.97 . . . but unless you are starring in a Broadway show does anyone really like to see themselves with these type of lights glaring down at them?


If updating your bathroom and planning on selling in the future – please — do not buy this type of light bar!  It may be a good price, but it screams cheap cheap cheap!

This faucet was $29.98 but is on sale for $19.88.

I wouldn’t recommend this style of faucet at any price.

When buying homes people notice things light faucets and light fixtures.

This one also looks inexpensive and if you have ever seen these type of handles when they are dirty – eeeoooowwww!

Here is another faucet that was also advertised in another big box flyer today.

This was on sale for $28.00 — only $8 more than the above faucet.

It is a Price Pfisher brand (a brand which people see as a quality name) AND doesn’t it look so sleek and contemporary.

Easy to keep looking clean too.

When choosing faucets or light fixtures to update your space, the right choice can have a huge impact — and often is priced just a few dollars more than something that looks far more inexpensive!

Shop around and make sure to spend your updating budget wisely!

Moving or improving in Oregon? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.  What can we do to help you today? Contact Margaret Oscilia at 503-881-0886!

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

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Nearly every home I go to has this problem — caulking that isn’t maintained around tubs and showers. Sometimes it’s yellowed, other times it’s mildewed — and sometimes as illustrated so well here – it is causing permanent damage to the flooring.

When recaulking, be sure to remove all old product and use a quality caulk to protect your flooring investment. Caulk comes in a range of uses and qualities — use the best quality mildew resistant caulk — those few extra dollars will help the caulking do it’s job longer!

time to fix thisPlaces that water is present are generally layered. If one layer of protection fails there will be a second to prevent damage. This is true of properly constructed roofing and exterior components but not the other area in the home that sees a lot of water: the bathroom.

The seam between the bathtub and the flooring is especially vulnerable and is sealed with a flexible caulk. The subfloor is usually an engineered particle board and can be very sensitive to water exposure. The purpose of the caulk seam is to try to seal this joint as the two different materials move independently. The more water the seam sees the more likely it will open up, and particle board acts like a sponge that expands as soon as it is exposed to moisture.

I see grout used between the tub and the floor often, on home inspections, but it is not a very good solution. The tub is made of a different material and the grout will fracture and break.

Caulking is the best but it will need to be maintained. That means when it fails the caulk should be removed and a new, fresh seal should be applied. Seriously, when the caulking joint opens up, it is time to get in there with the razor blade and remove the old caulk. This should be done before damage to the flooring occurs.

Do not put this little maintenance item off unless you want some major changes to the flooring. If you want a comprehensive list of things in your home that you “ought to get around to,” in the Salem, Oregon area, call me.

Do these little details matter?  Yes!  Showing your home as well maintained helps put buyers at ease and become confident that your home is “the one”!  Looking for more ideas and tips on how to prepare your home for sale?  Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

View our website See our YouTube Videos Connect with us on facebook! Subscribe to our blog

The house is SOLD!!!   It’s what we all love to hear!

Before staging, over 50 comparable homes had sold, while this lovely home was passed by.   It lacked furniture and decor, and didn’t make a good impression on the internet or in person.  It was in a great neighborhood, well maintained and priced well.

After staging, it was the FIRST to get an offer in its price range.

Here’s the unsolicited testimonial we later received:

In our time of need, Creative Concepts and Contracting, came to the rescue and helped my brother in law sell his home. After the passing of my sister, my brother in law wanted to sell and move closer to his family. He placed the home on the market and after 6 months of no activity we called Margaret. She found us a new Realtor  and staged my brother in laws home beautifully… The results were outstanding…. After 3 months he had an accepted offer.. This would not have happened so quickly without Margaret’s thoughtful, well planned out execution and talented staging skills. In a market where homes are selling below market value and many homes are listed in your same area or on the same street in my brother in laws case. Staging his home with Creative Concepts is why the home sold…. What else can I say but Thank you, Margaret, and God bless you.

We feel fortunate to be involved in work that has such a positive impact on so many people!

Moving or improving in Oregon? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.  What can we do to help you today? Contact Margaret Oscilia at 503-881-0886!

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

View our website See our YouTube Videos Connect with us on facebook! Subscribe to our blog