Thursday, September 29, 2011

Condo Redo – What a difference “Staging” makes!

Greetings everyone!!!  MY OH MY… where has the time gone??  (Hang on, this is going to be a looooong posting – lots to tell you and show you!!!).   It just seems like there is no time to “blog” these days.  So much of my time has been spent with my grandchildren, working, and of course… getting my Mother-in-Law’s condo ready to sell.  As you may remember, she passed away in January.  Once Phil’s brother and wife (Steve and Harriet) were able to come for a few days, we started the tedious process of going through closets, drawers, cabinets, etc.  At times it was painful, but there were also many pleasant finds.  You realize just how important certain things are when you go through someone’s keepsakes.  Know what we found?  Cards… lots, and LOTS of cards.  Drawers FULL of cards that she had kept over the years.  She had moved into that condo about 16 years ago, and I think she kept every single card since she moved in.  Birthday cards, Christmas cards, Mother’s Day Cards, Thinking of You Cards, and cards sent just for the heck of it.  Especially ALL cards she received from her grandchildren.  I guess you just never know how much a simple little thing like a card can mean to someone!!!!

Once all the sorting/pitching/dividing/giving/cleaning, was done, we sat down to discuss just what we needed to do to get the place ready to sell. I told them that there were four things we HAD to do.
  1. Paint the entire place… walls, doors, woodwork, closets, shelves, etc.  (and that we needed to HIRE a professional painter to do it).
  2. Remove the wallpaper from the 2 bathrooms.
  3. Get the carpet cleaned.
  4. Stage the entire place.
They all looked at me as if I had grown a horn or something.  I heard things like, “The paint’s not THAT bad”… “I think the wallpaper is fine”… “If we paint it should just be white”… “What do you mean by ‘staging’… that will cost a lot of money!” Oh my, obviously they don’t watch the home makeover shows!!! I KNEW that if we had a prayer of a chance to sell this thing (especially with the economy the way it is), that I HAD to win these battles! Mom had lived in that place for 16 years and had NEVER painted, or even moved the furniture around. Well I won the battle. (I can be rather convincing!) Of course “winning the battle” also meant that the brunt of everything was going to fall on my shoulders – especially since Steve and Harriet live in PA!

PAINTING:  I wanted to give the walls a bit of color (NOT white).  I wanted something that would go with any color scheme someone wanted to decorate with.  I knew I wanted to use Behr because we had used it in our house.  It truly is a one-coat paint, and goes on beautifully.  I went to Home Depot and picked up about a bazillion color samples – all different hues of white/tan/cream/yellow… etc.  I laid them out on the floor of the condo, and by process of elimination finally settled on “Navaho White” and placed the swatch up on the mantle. We couldn’t get the painting done for a few weeks, so I started “second guessing” myself.  Back to Home Depot – whole new stack of colors to choose from – went through the entire process again.   Narrowed it down to 3 swatches, and finally selected the “winner”.  I asked my hubby to hand me the other swatch from off of the mantle.  Guess what???  SAME COLOR… “Navaho White”!!!!  Guess it was meant to be!  Might I say “I absolutely LOVE this color!!!!”  It turned out to be a very soft off-white/yellow color.  All the woodwork was painted bright white, so it really “popped”, and made everything look nice and clean. Anyway, we had a professional painter come in and paint EVERYTHING.  We couldn’t believe the difference it made.  Everything looked fantastic!!

WALLPAPER:  Yep, DOWN came the wallpaper. That too had been in place all those years, so you can imagine it was not in the best shape!! I was going to try and take it down myself, but after about an hour of working on it, and only removing a small section, I decided that we would ask our painter to do it – I would have gladly paid out of my own pocket for that!!! The two bathrooms were painted a slightly darker color than the rest of the rooms. They looked fantastic!  We ended up leaving the wallpaper in the kitchen because it was in pretty good shape and very neutral.

CARPET:  It was professionally cleaned and, although not perfect, was MUCH better.

STAGING:  Next came the FUN!!! Although it was a LOT of work, it WAS fun. Thankfully I had JUST redone my own house, so I had lots of things that I could use. Plus, I had been doing so much GW shopping that I had PLENTY of nick-knacks to choose from. Sooooo, instead of taking things OUT of the condo, every time I pulled up I took boxes and boxes IN. I think the neighbors thought I was crazy. I had to buy SOME things, but for the most part, I either used what was still at the house, or brought my stuff in. Basic furniture was kept in place, but old items, or things that made it look cluttered were removed. I opened up the floor space as much as possible.

The first time Steve and Harriet returned once everything was done, I was there to greet them at the door. When Harriet took her first glimpse of the living room she started crying. Thinking that she was missing Mom, I gave her a hug and said, “are you crying because it looks so different, not like Mom’s house any more, and that you are missing her?” She said, “NO! I’m crying because it is soooooo beautiful!!! She continued crying throughout the entire tour.

I DO WISH I had pictures of “before” so that you could fully appreciate the transformation. The only other way that I could make you see the difference was to take pictures of the condo after we moved everything out. OH… did I tell you that we SOLD the condo??? Yep!!! So obviously everything I had brought in had to be taken back out and returned to my house. (You can’t even get through my garage right now!!!) The new owner did ask to buy the TV cabinet, dining room outfit, and small kitchen table, so those things are still in place in the pictures. Once everything was packed up, removed, and final cleaning was done, I took pictures. Looking at the empty rooms (even though they were nicely painted) I asked my sister-in-law if she thought the place was very impressive. She said no! I asked her if she thought the “staging” had made a difference. She agreed that everything I did had been well worth the effort and made a HUGH difference.

So… are you ready for a tour? First, the “before” pictures. Imagine yourself coming in the front door and taking a tour. There are several other condos for sale in that same complex, and this is basically how you would find them – except most of them have not bothered to even paint. You just walk into empty rooms with bare walls.

image image




Well, what do you think?  Did you find it very impressive?  After all, it WAS freshly painted, carpet cleaned, and everything spic and span.  No?  Well I agree... looks kind of boring doesn't it!!  Now let's take a tour again, but this time you will see that it is fully staged.  Keep in mind that I had to work with the basic furniture, but everything else I brought in.  Also, one of my goals as I was staging was to show people that no matter what colors they wanted to decorate with, that the wall color would work with it.  Here we go...






So, does staging make a difference?  I actually asked the buyer that question.  He told us, "It made ALL THE DIFFERENCE!!"  He told us that he had looked at MANY places, several within the same development as our condo.  He said that the moment he walked in he knew it was perfect.  He asked if I did staging for a business.  I laughed and said "no!"  He said, "Well you SHOULD!!"  Evidently when the Realtor showed him the condo he said, "I would usually point out all the different things that need to be done if you moved in, but there is absolutely nothing to be done here!"  When we went to the closing, the Realtor said "This was the best staging I've ever seen - better than professionals I hire to stage homes."  WOW!!!  All the hard work was well worth it!!

So folks - that's where I have been spending a lot of my time.  PHEW!!!  It's finally over.  Had to go in and take everything apart, pack it up, and bring it back home.  It was sad actually... to pack everything away, to do a final clean up, close the door for the last time, and drive away.  All that's left are many wonderful memories of the years that Mom spent in that condo.  

So now that I am back among all my blogging friends, I would love to hear what you think.  Hopefully I will be able to catch up on my blogging and show you some of the other projects that I have worked on real soon.

I'm linking up to the following parties:

Saturday Nite Special; Link Party Thursday (Somewhat Simple); Transformation Thursday (Shabby Creek Cottage); The Girl Creative; Feature Yourself Friday (Fingerprints on the Fridge); Look at me I'm so Crafty (Fun To Craft); Show & Share (Just a Girl); Whatcha Got Weekend (Lolly Jane Boutique); Saturday is Craft Day (Along for the Ride); Show and Tell Saturday (Be Different Act Normal);  VIP Party (Designer Garden); Think Pink Sundays (Flamingo Toes)Sunday Scoop (I Heart Nap Time); Sunday Showcase Party (Under The Table and Dreaming); Making the World Cuter Monday; Just Something I Whipped Up (The Girl Creative); Motivate Me Monday (Keeping it Simple); Made By You Monday (Skip to my Lou)