what makes a home look great to potential buyers?

My job as a professional home stager takes me into over a dozen homes a week and I meet some fantastically creative people along the way.   It is amazing to me the unique things people do, create and collect – a fun part of my job.

All too often I have to tell these clients that their hobbies are going to prevent them from getting a good price for their home.

  • The doll collector, whose guest room housed hundreds of dolls,
  • the former antique dealer who can’t let go of so many beautiful antique pieces,
  • the rock collector – whose every flat surface contained rocks, crystals or agates,
  • the quilter, whose fabric collection would be the envy of many small shops
  • and the scrapbooker whose papers, punches and cute items have taken over not only the desk, but cabinets, storage bins and more.
  • yes – I’ve worked with them all in the past few months and each and every one of them is killing their own home sale.

Sound extreme? If you can answer yes to any of these questions – your hobby (or lifestyle) is killing your home’s quick sale!

Do you have furniture pieces in rooms where they don’t belong?  Desks in the dining room?  File cabinets in the master bedroom?  Collectible cabinets in the guest bedrooms?  Is your bedroom, family room and dining room places of serenity where people can enjoy the space without viewing lots of “________”  (file in your vice – books, model cars, fabric, work piles, etc).

How much is your hobby costing you? If your home remains on the market more than 60 days your agent will probably recommend a price reduction of at least $10,000.  Are you sure you can’t live without your “stuff”?

Spacious rooms are desirable to home buyers Home buyers are buying space.

Collections and hobbies take up a lot of space and usually don’t photograph well.

Keep your “stuff” and I guarantee your home will remain on the market longer than necessary.

Time and time again I see that those who pack up their hobbies and get ready to move are able to do so. Their homes sell. Others who drag their feet and tell me they “can’t live” without these things for a few months have homes who remain on the market month after month.

When you’re selling your home, you’re selling a lifestyle too.

And don’t just stuff everything in your garage.  Get a storage unit, pack it off to a friend’s garage, or to mom’s attic.  Potential buyers want to think there is enough storage for all their stuff along with room for their cars in the garage.

The quickest selling homes in 2011 are:

  • Priced accurately
  • Prepared beautifully
  • Presented (marketed) well

Pack it up, and get ready to move.  Take a break or reduce your hobby to a small space.  It will save you time, energy and get it sold!

Margaret Oscilia is a Professional Home Stager with Creative Concepts – Home Staging and Contracting serving Salem Oregon and surrounding areas who specializing in helping home sellers stage to sell or re-design to live well.

Related Posts:

Can I Afford to Have my Home Staged?

What do buyers think of a staged home?

Selling a home in 2011?  Tips from the Pros

Moving or improving? Creative Concepts-Home Staging 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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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


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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Following is a great article from a home builder who has seen all types of markets and situations. We haven’t had experience with thousands of sales like he has, but we too continue to be amazed at how staging makes well laid out homes warm and wonderful and awkward floor plans “work”.   This winter has been no exception – with staged houses selling faster than their competition!

As a former home builder with 40 years experience, I can say without equivocation that professionally staged homes have a distinct advantage over non-staged homes. I can say this as I have had direct experience with the sales of thousands of homes during my career.

can I affort to have my home stagedWith several years in the corporate world of home building, I saw first hand the advantages of staged homes. That’s why ALL major home builders, including the ones for which I worked, had professionally decorated model homes in each neighborhood. And strangely, the model home plan was always the big seller in that neighborhood.

The simple reason for that is that buyers are attracted to homes that show well, that are tastefully decorated, and in which they can visualize living. Most buyers lack the ability to visualize a home with their furniture and accessories, so having the home appear “ready for living” is a distinct advantage.

In today’s difficult market, staging isn’t just helpful, it’s essential to achieving a sale at a reasonable price and within a reasonable time frame. In order to sell, a home MUST show better than its competition; and there’s much too much competition to ignore having a home professionally staged. And, while some feel that the lower prices being dictated by this market rule out the expense of staging, the opposite is true. Staging is usually less expensive than the alternative. Staged homes sell faster—meaning less time on the market and fewer mortgage payments and other expenses—and often command a higher price.

The ultimate goal for sellers is to attract buyers. Tastefully staged homes will do just that, allowing sellers to reap the dividends of a faster sale, and perhaps, more money at the closing table. The question is not, “Can I afford to have my home staged;” it is, “Can I afford not to?”

For the latest news for those interested in buying, selling, building, remodeling, or repairing homes, visit: The Housing Guru

Who in Salem, Albany and Corvallis Oregon are having their homes staged? Investors, home builders, flippers, young families and senior citizens — we’ve worked with all of them just this month.   As one senior told me – “I can’t afford to wait to see if my home sells – I need to take advantage of every strategy!”  He decided he couldn’t afford NOT to have his home staged!

Creative Concepts and Contracting is a professional home staging company serving Salem Oregon and surrounding areas — helping homeowners create beautiful homes to live in or to sell quickly!  They have 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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Selling your home and the holiday season is approaching?  Wondering if you should decorate and if so, how much?  Follow these tips to assure a festive look that you and potential buyers will love.

1.            Highlight your home’s exterior. For a classy look stick with single colored lights on the house or featured shrubs and trees.  Don’t have the yard full of displays and blinking lights.  The focus is on the home’s architecture – not the decorations.

2.            Make sure your front door says welcome. Add a festive wreath.  A classic holly, cedar or pine wreath or swag with a fancy bow make a beautiful addition.  We also love the large berry wreaths.   Make sure the wreath is high quality as it is one of the first impressions people see upon entering your home.  In the entry a few red poinsettias plants are a cheery greeting – make sure you keep plants watered and in good condition.  If using silk or artificial plants use only top quality – and be sure they aren’t dusty!

3.            Think from a global perspective. If you are a different religion or nationality entering your home does it feel welcoming or odd?  While this is a season for many diverse religious celebrations, make sure your personal décor is inviting to all potential buyers.  Limit religious displays to a small portion of your décor.  While decorating focus on “festive” rather than specific beliefs or traditions.

4              Before you decorate inside – remove more décor! You already have decluttered until it looks nearly bare to you – but before bringing out any holiday décor, take away more décor items.  Everyday items can be exchanged for ones that look more seasonal as well.  Replace centerpieces with seasonal bouquets, change the beige throw to a cranberry one – little changes will give a more festive look.  Your home may look bare to you, however it doesn’t look that way to buyers or to the camera when photos are taken.

5.            Create a simple and classic holiday look. By choosing a color scheme for your decorations your home will look more coordinated and sophisticated.  We love homemade ornaments and all the ones with the kid’s pictures too – but having a hodge podge of decorations can look like clutter.  Limit colors to two or three and have them repeated though each area of holiday decorating.   Choose a few larger decorations which are more restful to the eye than a bunch of small decorations.

6.            Is it Christmas without a tree? Not for most families.  Does it block the flow of the room or a view window?  Is it size appropriate for the room?  Here are some other ideas to keep in mind when decorating with a Christmas tree.

7.            As you decorate, concentrate on a few areas. Decorations should not adorn every window sill and room.  Do you have beautiful vaulted ceilings?  How about a tall slender Christmas tree with large ornaments?  Have a beautiful dining room?  Create a fantastic centerpiece and display on the buffet. A classic fireplace?  Decorate the mantle with boughs, tall bold candle holders and beautiful glass balls.

Serious buyers are the ones making time to view homes in December.  Enjoy the season with a home that displays holiday cheer AND  buyers will be focused on your home’s features – not just décor.

Margaret Oscilia

Creative Concepts and Contracting


Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

home staging business Salem Oregon home staging examples on youtube find Creative Concepts and Contracting on facebook Creative Concepts and Contracting blog

Just count to ten . . . that’s all the time it takes for buyers to create a strong opinion of your home.  Does your curb appeal impress that potential home buyer?

Within seconds, buyers have formed a strong first impression – one that’s hard to change! With buyers choosier than ever, if your curb appeal isn’t fantastic, they may not even set foot in your home. Not willing to take a chance on making a best first impression? Follow these tips to increase your curb appeal!

exterior before Creative Concepts and Contracting

  • Make sure the street, sidewalk, walkway and porch are free from garbage, leaves and moss. Pressure wash if needed.
  • Remove oil drips from the driveway and repair cracks in the walkway
  • Is the exterior paint in top condition? If not repaint a neutral color. Paint shutters and door.
  • Paint/stain fences – replace broken boards and be sure gates work easily
  • Apply new door hardware and a shine up that brass kick plate
  • Buy a new welcome mat and replace the house numbers – make sure they are very visible from the street.
  • Put a planter that does not obstruct traffic flow with seasonal flowers in the porch area
  • Check porch and entry area weekly for cobwebs, dirt and keep spotless.
  • Install a new front porch light fixture – use maximum wattage bulbs
  • Clean windows inside and out – replace any cracked or fogged glass and damaged screens
  • Roof must be in great condition, no missing shingles and moss free
  • Make sure the gutters and downspouts are in good working order.  Pressure wash or paint if needed
  • Lawn must be edged, mowed, weed free and kept green and in good condition.
  • Invest in great landscaping – bark mulch, nice plants – attractive and low maintenance

exterior after Creative Concepts and Contracting

Create an inviting and cheerful entrance and set the tone for a successful showing!

CCC LogoFor more home staging and preparing to sell tips, contact Creative Concepts and Contracting – specializing in home staging, repairs and updating. Licensed, bonded and insured.

Wondering what home improvements you should  do before putting your home on the market?

Which ones will be noticed most?

If you invest in improvements can you recoup your investment?

HomeGain regularly conducts a home improvement survey.  This survey has been a guide for thousands of home sellers when preparing their home for sale.  Following is an excerpt from the report that was released today:image_cropped_hsmwoman

HomeGain recently conducted a new survey of top 12 low cost*, do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvements for people getting their home ready to sell.

The top five nationwide home improvements that Realtors recommend to home sellers, based on average cost and return on investment (ROI) to sellers, are:

  1. Cleaning and de-cluttering ($200 cost / $1,700 price increase / 872% ROI / 98% recommended)
  2. Home staging ($300 cost / $1,780 price increase / 586% ROI / 82% recommended)
  3. Lightening and brightening ($230 cost / $1,300 price increase / 572% ROI / 95% recommended)
  4. Landscaping ($320 cost / $1,500 price increase / 473% ROI / 94% recommended)

See the rest of the Survey Results Here!

When you’re preparing your home for sale, a staging consultation can help you decide which improvements will get you the most “bang for your buck”!  Consultations are affordable and provide the expertise you need to prepare for sale with the least amount of stress.

Contact Creative Concepts and Contracting at 503-881-0886 for more information about professional home staging and making a great first impression!

home staging business Salem Oregon home staging examples on youtube find Creative Concepts and Contracting on facebook Creative Concepts and Contracting blog

Many people believe that home staging only applies to high end or custom homes.  Regardless of sales price, staging can help a home sell quicker and for more $$.

Nearly 90% of all home buyers look first on the internet for homes.  It’s a proven statistic that listings with photos get more views online.  Photos are key to marketing properties in all price ranges.

How compelled would you be to make an appointment to visit this home?

living room before home stagingdinette before home stagingbathroom before home stagingmaster before home staging

Or maybe this home might be more interesting to see?

living room after room redesign by Creative Concepts and Contractingdinette after room redesign by Creative Concepts and Contractingbathroom after home staging by Creative Concepts and Contractingmaster after staging by Creative Concepts and Contracting

Same house – whole new appeal!

This homeowner chose a budget conscious redesign staging option using items they owned.  Some rented decor from our inventory adds appeal in person and photos.

Looking for ideas on how to improve your room? Creative Concepts and Contracting specializes in adding VaVoom for every room.  Whether you’re moving or improving – home staging can help achieve the look you love!

Staging consultations are one of my favorite aspects of being a home staging and redesign specialist.  Why?  It brings so much hope and direction to a home seller!

Most sellers, especially in this market, have a specific reason for selling – whether it is to relocate, wanting to upgrade to a nicer home, or perhaps a change in family status.  The stress of putting a home on the market can be reduced significantly by obtaining specific and detailed information on how to prepare for the best offer and quickest sale.

How we live in our homes, and how we present our houses for sale are two very different things.

  • We personalize our homes – create a warm and comfortable environment for us.
  • We present a house for sale – showing it as an inviting palate for someone else to paint their life story upon – a neutralized and wonderful environment to become their home!
  • Price will bring people to view a home, having a home well prepared or “staged” will get the offers.  Buyers shop logically and purchase emotionally!

A staging consultation provides the easiest way to transform a beloved home into a fantastic house for sale!

expect- bedroom before staging

So what can you expect from a staging consultation?

expect - bedroom after staging

  • Honest and straightforward evaluation of your home’s appeal – inside and out.
  • A detailed list of free and low cost recommendations you can implement yourself – specific advice on decluttering, lighting, traffic flow and more are addressed.
  • Help on prioritizing what needs to be done and an action plan so it is not overwhelming.
  • Advice on updating and repairs that will give you the best return on your investment – what’s the best paint color and sheen, is it best to give a carpet allowance, what about that lovely wallpaper in the bathroom?
  • Product and vendor expertise – years of personal experience with products and contractors gives you the peace of mind and success.
  • Reasonable Cost – Staging consultations are affordable and this small investment will help any home sell quicker and frequently for more money.
  • A partner in helping you achieve success – our business is built upon delighted home sellers who have allowed us to team with them and recommend us to others
  • Amazing results – Best said by a realtor recently upon viewing their listing where we provided a consultation “OH MY GOSH!  My jaw hit the floor!  I cannot believe this is the same house . . . .”
  • Fun – We love our work!  Our ideas provide confidence and less stress and we like to think we are fun to work with too!

Professional home stagingCreative Concepts and Contracting specializes in home staging services.  From model homes, color consultations, or licensed/bonded/insured contractor services!  Contact us for expertise with your prepare to sell needs!

With a little magic, vacant rooms can come alive and show buyers the full potential on the internet and in person.  Here’s a quick snipit of a job we completed yesterday. Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

For other examples and ideas check out our website too!