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shshallow
February 13, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We are moving, and we'd love to get some help beautifying our home before we put it on the market. I have attached a few images of our 1940s house.
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elklaker
A few more pics would be helpful.
February 13, 2013 at 5:26AM     
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Gabberts Design Studio
That is a pretty large question...it may be easiest to go room by room. If you're interested in the entire house, I would look into a local staging company. Some general advice, is to clean up the areas and de-clutter as much as you can.
February 13, 2013 at 5:32AM     
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Dytecture
I agree, the scope of work is quite large. Would be helpful if we can see the entire house and go room by room as Gabberts Design Studio mentioned.
February 13, 2013 at 6:13AM     
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shshallow
Thank you! I tried to add a few more, but it limited me. I'll see if I can attach them here if that is not too confusing. Yes, I am working hard on decluttering. I added comments to these photos previously, but I'm new to this site and don't see that they appeared with the pictures.
February 13, 2013 at 6:54AM   
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apple_pie_order
It helps to find a half dozen houses in the same price range as yours on the MLS. Look at their photos. Pick the most attractive ones. Then take photos of your house that match theirs. What are the differences? Probably the most attractive competing houses have new paint, lack of clutter, well-trimmed landscaping, clean as a whistle.

A staging company can be a huge help. Alternatively, get a book on home-selling and staging from the library. If your real estate agent has advice, take it seriously. Neutral, light paint colors are best inside and out for selling. A good budget for repair and fix-up might be 1%-2% of the selling cost. If that is unaffordable now, put your effort into making it squeaky clean and de-cluttered.
February 13, 2013 at 6:56AM     
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I would not buy your house now but if you follow applepie's suggestions, it could be a winner!
February 13, 2013 at 7:00AM     
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shshallow
Thank you! I'll post more photos as I declutter and make improvements!
February 13, 2013 at 7:04AM   
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BeyondFrames
Every advice above is to be taken seriously. More than that , I would try my best to have every room furnished for it's purpose and nothing else - that is a bedroom is just a bedroom, not an office or gym.
Every room has a focal point and that should be at it's best. For instance in a bedroom the focal point is the bed area so having new , beautiful bedding and pillows it's a must.
Then in the living room the focal point is the fireplace so dressing it up, make it sparkle and attractive is what you have to do.
Keep the walking closet with just few hangers and few items on the shelves, add some complimentary decorative boxes.
Put away anything personal - framed photos for instance. You want your house to look ready for new owners.

Every piece of furniture that doesn't belong to one room has to be removed - moved it to the other house or rent a storage for a while.
If this is going to create empty spaces that make you feel lost in one room, check your local furniture rental companies. For instance, instead of having a desk in the bedroom I'd choose to create a reading area .

If you are going to have a open house make sure that every single light in the house is on .
Even rent /buy some more if needed.

The kitchen also has to be in it's best shape ever.

For the exterior I would choose to clean the entry , add new number if needed, buy some pots with flowers, a new entry mat if needed.

Everything has to look, fresh, airy, clean. I would invest in professional window cleaning and also make sure every mirror in the house it's sparkling.
February 13, 2013 at 7:25AM     
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shshallow
This is an awesome site! It is inspiring me! I just did some decluttering. Let me know what you think. I have kept a few personal pieces since we will most likely live here for a few months while it is on the market. I don't want the children to feel sad in this already intense move. I have hired a maid, have a plan for removing all dog items before a showing, and I have a handyman coming in and making everything like new. Thoughts? Thanks so much everyone!
February 13, 2013 at 8:26AM     
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shshallow
A few more pics...
February 13, 2013 at 8:30AM     
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BeyondFrames
I'd remove the toy train above the fireplace, and the personal photos. Having your family photos displayed is like you are still in the house, not ready to let it go, the house is not ready for new owners. Not sure what type of fire place you got there, if you could turn it on for open house , but at least you could have some batteries operated candles grouped there. Add some fresh flowers on the mantle , few decorative books, a pop of matching color on the shelves.
remove the frames on the bathroom shelves and replace them with candles, decorative cosmetic bottles( do not over do it though). You could have some colorful towels instead of the white ones.
February 13, 2013 at 8:56AM     
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carole
wow,you have been working hard!!!your are right ofcourse to keep some personal things,especially for the kids!!i do think the train should be packed up,and if you can paint that section white,would make the room look less of a box,and i would not have pict in the bathroom,just soapbottle or something like that?great seeing the changes you've made already keep up the good work and get a good prize!!!!!!!!
February 13, 2013 at 9:07AM     
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Carriage Lane Design-Build Inc.
I agree, De-clutter, paint even if it is over the wallpaper and fill it with some lighter nick nacks for staging. Fill the backyard with grass too just to entice the outdoor appeal!
Hiring a stager would be very beneficial for you since they may be able to gear you in the right direction and where you will get the best impact for your money and time.
February 13, 2013 at 9:11AM     
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shshallow
More great ideas! The train actually is a selling point. It is not a toy. It is a high gauge electric train that mesmerizes everyone who enters. The lighting is beautiful, and the remote allows it to circle the room. It is a very expensive piece that we added to after we bought the house. The previous owners used it as a prominent piece when they were part of the Christmas Open House tour in this area. I'll keep working. I like the ideas you are presenting!!!!!! This is inspiring!
February 13, 2013 at 9:20AM     
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shshallow
There is no wall paper. The owner who did the remodel was careful to use all of the original paint colors from that time period. It's a historical neighborhood, so I'll ask our realtor what she thinks about painting over.
February 13, 2013 at 9:31AM   
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BeyondFrames
My intention is far from offending you in any way! I just want to highlight the idea that when selling a house it's a key having everything neutral not because this would be the definition of good design, warmth or anything alike, but because this is the way you could get more offers and don't take the risk of loosing some of them just because what something is great for some might not be appealing for others.
Buyers generally cannot go over one certain design, feature, bold color for a accent wall, they either like what they see the first time they walk into a house or not. Just few go beyond the first impression and picture themselves into the house , day dream about how they could fit their furniture in, redesign some areas.

First impression is crucial when selling a home.
You did a great job so far.
February 13, 2013 at 9:38AM     
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nasmijati
I do not have much to add. If one reads articles about "selling your home faster" or " increase curb appeal," they ALL say to remove clutter, remove all family photos, have the place sparking clean and in good repair. Think "nice hotel room." Most articles suggest a new doormat, and a potted plant with yellow blossoms on the front porch. Some suggest new, big, black house numbers in a horizontal orientation - easier to read, like text. For indoors, put 3 or 5 (odd number) pieces of fruit in a pretty bowl or plate on the kitchen counter. During the time visitors will be in the house, have a pan of water and cinnamon sticks simmering on the back burner of the stove. Some articles suggest fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, however, I would not want prospective buyers dropping cookie crumbs throughout the house!
February 13, 2013 at 9:55AM     
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nikitasmom
The interior of the house looks to be in great condition with wood flooring and spacious well lit rooms. Initial impression is that the yard has potential with the ornamental fence but uneven shrubs, tiny overgrown pathway, bald muddy spots, and barren seating with odd white rocks next to it shout out that money needs to be put into fixing it up. My 2nd impression was that every room is painted green. For the pictures try keeping them in one place near a drawer so you can tuck them away when showing the house as you really do want people admiring your house instead of your family. I am not sure the train would sell the house to me but I know it would to my husband. ; )
February 13, 2013 at 10:39AM     
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carole
did not know all that about the train!!in that case great,leave it and use it!!!
February 13, 2013 at 10:50AM     
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Wow, you have made some great progress! Well done! In the room with the fireplace, if the mirror will fit vertically, it might help make the ceiling look higher.
February 13, 2013 at 10:52AM     
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diyjames
This house is gorgeous. Clean up and you have a winner.
February 13, 2013 at 11:04AM     
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shshallow
Thanks! I am not offended at all, and really appreciate all you are saying to help me out! I'll keep posting. I got a few items today that might work.
February 13, 2013 at 12:06PM     
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cait1204
A good rule of thumb is no more than 2 or 3 objects per table or flat surface. A great way to get staging ideas, is to look at model homes either online, or in person because they have been staged by a professional.
February 13, 2013 at 12:14PM     
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shshallow
I agree! The white rocks outside are speakers. The house came equipped with surround sound, some of it in the train room is a Bose system we did not hook up.
February 13, 2013 at 12:16PM   
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shshallow
I am going to start the backyard tomorrow. I was thinking of putting pebbles in the section that is shaded by the door so the dog won't dig there anymore. Near the fence I was going to add more stones to make a pad for the trash and recycle cans. For the shrub area I was going to mulch heavily and define those areas. I am going to have the stone cleaned up so the walkway is clear and attractive again. Pressure wash the areas that need it, and hopefully it will be a dog friendly by also a house showing friendly once again. Does anyone have better ideas? With the puppy I don't think there are many choices. The trellis bench is pretty in the spring, and it has twinkling lights that sparkle in the evening.
February 14, 2013 at 5:11AM     
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carole
that will give the house much more curbappeal!!hard work,but rewarding!!!will you put in a picture???
February 14, 2013 at 6:53AM     
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shshallow
Yes, I will. Thank you!
February 14, 2013 at 7:20AM     
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nikitasmom
My dog has torn up the lawn this winter and it looks horrible. Adding the rocks around the steps and bench sounds like it could work. Trim the taller shrub down some if you can without making it look bald. When you show the house add cushions, a blanket, and a book to the trellis seating and a small table with flowers or a flowering plant. If you could hook up the bose system and pipe soft music throughout the house and yard it would add a nice touch.
February 14, 2013 at 7:48AM     
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shshallow
I planned on putting the classical music on when I leave, but I hadn't thought of the other things since I am so dog minded. I hope the clients will give me enough time to get out these nice items each time. There is no way I can leave any of them out with this nutty puppy. Thank you!!!!!!
February 14, 2013 at 7:50AM   
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elklaker
Music is such a great touch and so few people think of it. Your home is lovely. Good luck with the sale.
February 14, 2013 at 7:56AM     
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nikitasmom
I hear that. Mine has a thing for my lotion bottles. But, be sure to stage it that way when they take photos of your house.
February 14, 2013 at 8:01AM     
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Susan Jacobs
Something that caught my eye is that your lovely fireplace/bookshelf area just needs larger knick knacks in it. The things that you have left on the shelves somehow look lonely and too small for the space. I would get some larger pieces: pretty boxes, pottery, etc. but think bigger and well placed. Fill in the bottom shelf. I think it looks nice to either 1. put some hardcover books of a similar color on the shelves or 2. wrap some hardcover books in brown paper, or other simple, solid wrapping paper you have around the house. Good luck!
February 14, 2013 at 10:33PM     
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shshallow
Oh, good idea! I am going to post a photo today if I have time of two mirror choices too. Thank you!
February 15, 2013 at 4:20AM   
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handymam
I think your home is lovely as is with the exception of decluttering, which you have already begun. The photos must go though. I really dislike seeing "the family" when house hunting. But I think your home is just right as it is. Your colors are neutral to my way of thinking.
February 15, 2013 at 4:41AM     
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n247080
Personally, I think your house is lovely. All you need to do is declutter a bit. Heck, I'd be interested in buying it cluttered if I were in the market for moving. Your house has a lot of interesting structural features with a lot of options for the buyer to make changes that would make it theirs. Anything you can do to make the features stand out seems like a good idea to me.
February 15, 2013 at 4:47AM     
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handymam
You know n247080, what you said is interesting. I agree that if the bones of the house are good (like this house) I would not let the clutter bother me, just as I never let the color of a room deter me either. It's just paint, and I am not buying the owner's clutter. I think a lot of tv shows have pushed the thought that buyers can have whatever they are seeking without doing any work themselves. I guess if money is no object that is true. I understand wanting to appeal to the widest range of buyers, but sometimes, I think things have gotten out of control.
February 15, 2013 at 5:03AM     
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n247080
handymam, i think you're right about things getting out of hand. When I was shopping for my current home I had a list of features i wanted. (fireplace, room I could convert into an aviary, non busy street, porch and/or deck, central air, dishwasher, etc. I ended up going with the house that had most of the items on my list. What i found annoying about looking at homes was all the distractions people set up. I know realtors tell you to do that, but soft music, lovely smells, fresh flowers...all nice, but it made it very hard to focus on what I was looking for in a home. I almost liked the cluttered homes better. I could see what would happen to the home if I didn't keep things neat...which...let's fact it, happens to ALL of us from time to time.
February 15, 2013 at 5:26AM     
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handymam
It happens to me...I don't mean I would look at a home that was an absolute mess, because that signals they don't care for their home possibly, but clutter is not dirt. And yes, some people see a house and say "Oh, this is so beautiful, look at the furniture or I love their area rug." Well you are not buying the furniture or the rug...How do you like the house? Same goes for the opposite. "Oh, look at that couch , it looks like my mom's/grandma's." Again, you are not buying the furniture. Put your own in, make it your own.
February 15, 2013 at 5:32AM     
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shshallow
I agree. I rented an apt in college that was adorable. I was so excited. When I got there on moving day and all of the tenant's furniture and personal items were gone the place was a dump. I didn't realize how much flair and talent they had for turning any space into a much wanted rental. On the other hand I do agree that all of these suggestions will definitely make it easier to see my home for what it is. I love all of the feedback!
February 15, 2013 at 5:40AM   
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shshallow
Where should I look for ideas for shelves? I have looked on Pinterest. I'm not sure I am gifted at placing items or choosing the right size and shape.
February 15, 2013 at 5:41AM   
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handymam
Pottery barn catalogs are a great source of inspiration for me. They stage things so that it looks lived in without it actually feeling like a particular family lives there.
February 15, 2013 at 5:45AM     
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nikitasmom
Bookshelves from the Houzz Ideabooks. http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/query/bookshelves
February 15, 2013 at 9:18AM     
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shshallow
Love that link! Thank you! A few more photos here. What do you think of the larger mirror as opposed to the smaller one in previous photos. I added a few things to the bookshelves as well.
February 16, 2013 at 7:04AM     
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sms9758
I can tell you from recent experience that some of the suggestions are over the top. Depending on where you live a staging company may be overkill. And no matter what you do buyers will still complain. My daughter did everything her realtor said to for example. She painted in and out added 2 bathrooms redid the kitchen etc. it was an hgtv showroom when she was done and yet the new buyers were concerned whether the drains would clog! Remove the clutter like you did, keep it neat, put out some fresh flowers and c buyer will come. We have to stop this maddening treadmill that our homes have to be Martha Stewart perfect to sell! Your home is beautiful. The only thing I would spend money on is getting them in the door with curb appeal
February 16, 2013 at 7:20AM     
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
In Photo 1, I would remove the two short objects from the mantel, place the picture 6" to the right and move the candlestick 9" to the right. I'm not loving the pink and brown pillow mixture. Do you have other pillows you could use there? The coffee table is too frilly with the heavy sectional. Do you have something else to use instead? What is the basket to left of hearth? Can it go away?

In photo 2, I would remove the 2 pieces of art that are to left and right of the mirror. If you want something else, I would select a large colored vase, pitcher or ginger jar Some colorful objects on the shelves would be nice, but please place them square, not angled. I would remove all photos. On the hearth, I would remove the lantern and pull the basket slightly out of the corner. I'd also remove the storage ottoman from the window wall.
February 16, 2013 at 7:26AM     
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shshallow
Good suggestions! Thanks! The pillows are salmon color and match the touches of seashore-vase full of shells, ... The basket holds blankets. I have a black chest that could replace the coffee table. Could the coffee table look good in the train room? The colors don't show up true in the pictures. Thanks! I'll keep working!
February 16, 2013 at 8:40AM   
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nikitasmom
Is photo 1 your tv room? I ask because of the way the sectional has been pulled away from the wall and is blocking the use of the 2nd fireplace. For the photos and open houses I think I would push it up against the wall. Try standing the mirror up more so it doesn't reflect the ceiling fan. Layer the other picture frame almost entirely in front of it. You could put the lantern, the vase, and white bowl on one side. A couple of books laying down with a candlestick on top and another beside it on the other side.
February 16, 2013 at 10:06AM     
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shshallow
Yes, it is our tv room. There is an entertainment center on the opposite wall. Thanks for suggestions.
February 16, 2013 at 10:20AM   
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Susan Jacobs
shshallow, I think that at this point you don't want to over think the little things. The shelves look a lot better; I agree that you don't need to put the books, etc. at an angle, and take away the other 2 framed pieces on either side of the mantel. Do you have a large oversized pitcher? Put in some fresh flowers and add the arrangement to the mantel. Don't try to balance everything. As far as the other picture, I think it's fine! What are you supposed to do? Redecorate your whole house to try to sell it? That seems silly to me. Especially since your home is lovely already.
February 16, 2013 at 1:26PM     
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jthoye
Declutter - that alone is a major job
February 16, 2013 at 1:32PM     
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I think the black trunk would work fine as a coffee table in the TV room. Your idea of trying the frilly coffee table in the train room is a good one. Give it a go and see how it looks.
February 16, 2013 at 1:39PM     
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BeyondFrames
Well, I guess the truth is that out there are all kinds of buyers : the ones focused on priorities, the ones that can go beyond any kind of clutter, mess, whatever, and see the great potential in a neglected home, the ones that don't have the tiniest clue what they are shopping for and just, all of a sudden click with a certain home , or the ones that have an idea, a clear one, but still shop around for a better option.
This is why staging is needed. - to have them all , or most of them, coming and check the property listed for sale.
For me it's a big difference between staging and design - the first one's goal is to help visitors imagine how a certain room could look like, if a queen or king bed would fit in, if there are 4 bedrooms one could easily become office but they find it tough to figure out which one would be the right one.
And so on.
Yes, it has it's trick's , maybe not always on the buyers behalf as it can be distracting , but can help tremendously when selling.
By saying that I mean that if there are weak areas in the house, the art of staging comes in to emphasize the best of the home.
It's not meant to hide real problems concerning the house though. (and the buyer also has the highly recommended inspections) .
Interior design it's a different story. They are closely related but interior design implies much more. It's an art to play with colors, layers, lighting, scales, architecture and so on to create different interiors according to ones' personal taste, or at least to a smaller group - let's say mid -century modern.

In this case, as it is a home listed for sale, my personal opinion is that the most important steps have already been taken - de-clutter, organize room by purpose, even o lot of details have been considered.
Trying to find the perfect scale, the perfect color combo, or other similar activities I find as being overwhelming and kind of useless, to be honest.

Walk around the home and see if if the object fall into place - the bed in bedroom, and the lamps are on the night stands not on the floor and so on.
For instance , I wouldn't angle the sofa in front of the fireplace and having the floor lamps behind it. Usually people look for a conversational area enjoying a fireplace not avoiding it.
Not to speak about the ones that are specifically looking for a fireplace .
Floor lamps come into a space to provide lighting to a certain area, not to be hidden behind it - so I'd place the floor lamps one on each side of the couch.
And that's why I suggested earlier to remove frames from bathroom- that's a place for cosmetics. As long as you live in the house you can have anything you like in your bathroom, but it's not the same when the house is listed for sale.
I wouldn't deny that details count (flowers, colorful accents and alike) but sometimes it's so easy to over do it, to get lost into details that wouldn't change much and forget about important and big ones.

Check your home for that "move -in" ready and inviting atmosphere , and the overall feeling that is a home ready to be personalized.
February 16, 2013 at 7:55PM     
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2dogssashatess
I think you have the interior of the house well presented now but I think some new grass in the yard would really help, The only photo of the front? yard makes it appear pretty barren. You have to get people in the front door of your obviously very nice home (inside), and curb appeal is very important.

I wouldn't want to spend a fortune on the garden if I was moving, but it is possible you could get some nice large matching ( perhaps flowering) plants in matching plots, to put at the front of the house, and perhaps around the perimeter of the garden. You could buy something you like and take it to your new home or hire some plants from a company which hires out plants for staging
February 16, 2013 at 8:58PM     
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rowekamp
I like a lot of the ideas presented here and of course getting rid of excess furniture, chachkis, clutter and family photos puts you well ahead of the game. Your progress has been impressive.

One of my realtors told me to make sure all my closets and cabinets were no more than 25% full, and although it meant storing most of my clothes and "stuff" in bins she was right. It was a pain but sure made all my storage spaces look much bigger.

Browse around the listing photos on realtor.com, trulia or zillow and you will soon become sick of trying to look beyond people's over-furnished, disorganized, messy and cluttered rooms. Believe me, your sparkling clean uncluttered home will be a breath of fresh air to buyers, and the trick is to get them in the door. Just put your efforts now into a little curb appeal to draw them in.

I wish you the best of luck and a quick easy sale, you deserve it!
February 16, 2013 at 9:42PM     
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shshallow
Here is one of the front of the house. The others you saw were our backyard.
February 17, 2013 at 8:35AM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Great looking house! With a wee bit of landscaping and all the work you're putting into the interior, you should have a rapid sale!
February 17, 2013 at 8:44AM     
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