Investment Properties –
1031 Exchange is a strategy used by real estate investors to defer capital gains taxes, and is allowed under IRS tax code 1031.
By using a 1031 exchange, an investor can defer paying capital gains taxes on an investment property when it is sold, as long as another “like-kind” property is purchased with the profit gained by the sale of the first property.
Traditionally, a 1031 exchange is
where one property is literally
swapped for another property of like-kind. But finding someone that literally want’s your property and you want their property are pretty slim, so the delayed exchange is more common.
In a delayed exchange, you will need a middle-man who holds the cash for you after you sell your property. they will use that money to buy the replacement property for you. This 3 party exchange is treated as a swap.
When you sell an investment property, even if you weren’t the one who initially purchased, you end up on the hook to pay capital gains tax.
If you’ve made some not so great investments, selling your investment can cost you more than you make. But, if you own a rental property that’s worth significantly more today than what you purchased it for, you can make a come out ahead using this powerful strategy. It’s an important tool for real estate investors, and has become a bulls-eye for tax reform evangelists.
However, the exchange rules require that both the purchase price and the new loan amount be the same or higher on the replacement property.
Example: An investor is selling a $500,000 single family home she’s using as an income property in the LA Area with a $400,000 loan. She wants to buy a multi-family home for income here in the Desert; the replacement property must be valued at $500,000 or more with $400,000 or more leverage, (loan amount).
4 types of Real Estate Exchanges:
1) Simultaneous Exchange – occurs when the replacement property and relinquished property close on the same day. It is important to note that the exchange must occur simultaneously; any delay, even a short delay caused by wiring money to an escrow company, can result in the disqualification of the exchange and the immediate application of full taxes.
Three basic ways a Simultaneous Exchange can occur.
- Swap or complete a two-party trade, whereby the two parties exchange or “swap” deeds.
- Three-party exchange where an “accommodating party” is used to facilitate the transaction in a simultaneous fashion for the exchanger.
- Simultaneous exchange with a qualified intermediary who structures the entire exchange.
2)Delayed Exchange – The most common type of exchange chosen by investors; occurs when the Exchangor relinquishes the original property before acquiring the replacement property. In this scenario, the investor has 45 days to identify the replacement property and 180 days to complete the sale of their new property.
Using this strategy, an investor has a maximum of 45 days to identify the replacement property and 180 days to complete the sale of their property. In addition to the numerous tax benefits, this extended time frame is one of the reasons the delayed exchange is so popular.
3) Reverse Exchange – Also known as a Forward Exchange, occurs when you acquire a replacement property through an exchange accommodation titleholder before you identify the replacement property. Essentially, you buy first and pay later. This type of exchange can be tricky because it requires all cash. Many banks won’t offer loans on reverse exchanges. Taxpayers must also decide which of their investment properties are going to be acquired and which will be “parked.” A failure to close on the relinquished property during the established 180 day period that the acquired property is parked will result in a forfeit of the exchange.
The rules for a Reverse Exchange are similar with a couple of key differences.
- Tax payers have 45 days to ID what property is going to be sold as “The relinquished property”
- After the initial 45 days, taxpayers have 135 day to complete the sale of the identified property and close out the reverse 1031 exchange with the purchase of the replacement property.
4) Construction or Improvement Exchange
The taxpayer can use their tax-deferred dollars to enhance the replacement property while it is placed in the hands of a qualified intermediary for the remainder of the 180 day period.
It’s important to note that the taxpayer must also meet three requirements if they want to defer all of the gain (from the sale of the relinquished property) and instead use it as part of the construction or improvement exchange.
3 key requirements for a Construction or Improvement Exchange
- The entire exchange equity must be spent on completed improvements or as down payment by the 180th day.
- The taxpayer must receive “substantially the same property” that they identified by the 45th day.
- The replacement property must be equal or greater in value when it is deeded back to the taxpayer. The improvements must be in place before the taxpayer can take the title back from the qualified intermediary.
7 Primary 1031 Exchange Rules.
1) Like-kind Property
2) Investment or Business purposes only
3) Greater of equal value
4) Must not receive “Boot”
5) Same Tax Payer
6) 45 Day Identification window
7) 180 Day Purchase Window
We hope your main take-away is; you too can end up with passive income from real estate. But, it’s not easy for even the most seasoned real estate investor. Having the right team working for you will be important to set the stage properly. We have a team of professionals that can help. For more info, give us a call today – we’re happy to help.
Buying or Selling a Home with Solar Panels
More than a 12 million homeowners across the U.S. added solar systems to their homes in 2018. As solar systems have become more efficient and less expensive, they’ve become more popular with homeowners.
If you’re Buying or Selling a Home with Solar Panels how do you determine what value the solar system adds to the sale price? In a recent study from Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, a research lab affiliated with the DOE, they found homes with solar sell for 4.1% more than homes without solar systems. The study found that home buyers are willing to pay a premium for systems that are owned.
The same is not true for leased solar systems. The home value premium only applies to homes with “host-owned” PV,(aka photo voltaic systems). In other words, if you own your solar system vs leasing the panels from a solar company.
The study also found, just because you spend more on a larger PV system, the premium on the resale value may not scale to match the investment. Smaller systems for more modest homes return a higher margin on the investment when the home hits the real estate market.
When weighing the cost vs the benefit – the determining factor will be the ROI, how long it takes to recoup the hefty up-front investment. Through energy savings, tax credits, and the potential increase in your home’s value at time of sale.
There are many factors that influence a solar system’s true value, including the age, size, and power output of the system. No two solar systems are alike, which is why appraisers need to value each system independently.
One of the biggest gotchas of buying or selling a home with a rooftop solar system has to do with who owns the system and that depends how the system was purchased.
There are for ways to purchase solar panels:
Cash Purchase, Loan, Lease or Power Purchase Agreement.
Homeowners who purchase a solar system outright with cash own the system. That’s the simplest scenario in a real estate transaction. A solar system purchased outright is considered “real property,” in real estate parlance, or a fixture of the home, and can therefore be appraised as part of the home’s value.
The same applies to a system that was purchased with a loan that has since been paid in full. That system belongs to the homeowner. If, however, the homeowner is still making payments toward a loan, ownership will depend on the contract the homeowner signed with the lender. Most lenders allow the homeowner to claim ownership while they make payments. These systems can be appraised as part of the home’s value.
Other lenders may place either a lien or UCC-1 Filing (part of a legal set of rules that allow creditors to secure assets as collateral in the event of default by claiming third-party ownership) on the system. UCC-1 filings are technically not liens, but are often treated by title companies as a lien. If the system is secured with a lien or UCC-1, the lender may claim ownership of the system, which may therefore impact whether or not the system can be included in the appraised value of the home. Appraisal practices and underwriting guidelines continue to evolve as rooftop solar becomes more common, so be sure to work with your lender and title company to understand the specific guidelines in your area.
It’s also worth mentioning that sellers are on the hook to pay off any loan tied to a property prior to a sell. Solar is no different. Sellers are ultimately responsible for paying off their loan obligation as part of the sale or through other means if the buyer is not willing to take over the loan, and may want to adjust their asking price accordingly.
Buyers who are willing to take over the loan on the solar energy system will need to qualify concurrently for both a mortgage and a loan for the system, which may affect their debt-to-income ratio.
Power Purchase Agreement, (PPA) or Lease
Under a Power Purchase Agreement or Lease, the homeowner pays for the right to use the system for a specified period of time, but does not actually own the system. The system is owned by the solar provider, who typically places a UCC-1 Filing against the system as described above. Systems financed in this way are owned by a third party (not the homeowner) and cannot contribute to the appraised value of the property.
Sellers with a solar system obtained through a Power Purchase Agreement or lease must either transfer their systems to their new residence or “buyout” their contract. The specifics vary by solar provider, so be sure to read your contract.
Buyers looking to purchase a property with either of these types of agreements should obtain a copy of the solar contract tied to the property and decide if they are willing to take the contract. This process may add to the timeline, but may be worth the effort. Power Purchase Agreements and solar leases are a way to take advantage of the benefits of solar with little or no up-front costs. The rates are typically lower and fixed for a specified term.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Buying or Selling a Home with Solar Panels – Tips for Buyers
- If buying a home with a solar system is high on your wish list, make sure your agent knows that.
- Work with agents, lenders, and title companies trained or at least familiar with rooftop solar whenever possible.
- Ask your agent or title company to check if a UCC-1 Filing (a lien) has been placed on the system. If there is, you will need to work with your agent, title company, solar provider, and the property owner to determine how you will negotiate the UCC-1 Filing as part of the deal.
- If the system is tied to a Power Purchase Agreement or a lease, make certain you understand the risks and obligations of the contract before taking it over. You can also request the system be removed by the seller as part of the deal, assuming the seller is in a position to do so.
- If the seller is still making payments on the loan for the solar energy system, work with your agent to decide if you will take over the loan or ask the seller to pay off the loan as part of the deal. Remember, if you intend to take over the loan, you must qualify for both the solar loan and your mortgage.
- Ensure the appraiser accurately accounts for the value of the system. The appraisal validates the system’s value should you need to sell the property in the near future.
- Allow extra time in your purchase contract for the closing date. There can be a lot of moving parts when trying to completely understand the details, negotiate who will pay, etc
If you have solar installed on your Desert home and unsure how the solar impacts the value of your home for the current real estate market, give us a ring – we’re happy to help.
Buying or Selling a Home with Solar Panels – Tips for Sellers
- Work with agents, lenders, and title companies trained or at least familiar with rooftop solar whenever possible.
- Get a jump start on the process, collect all of your system’s documentation together, along with 4 – 6 months of your most recent electric bills, and share those with your agent.
- If you acquired your solar system through a Power Purchase Agreement, a Lease, or through a Loan; check to see if there is a UCC-1 Filing placed on the system. If there is, work with your agent, title company, solar provider, and the buyer to determine the best way to negotiate the UCC-1 Filing as part of the deal. Rarely, but possibly, the solar provider or finance company may be willing to provide a “subordination agreement”. Taking 2nd position behind a 1st mortgage, if the buyer is willing to take over the contract. This would be an exception not the rule.
- If you’re still under contract with a Power Purchase Agreement, or Lease, or if you are still making loan payments be prepared to buy out your contract if the buyer is not willing to take ownership of the contract. If the market is strong, you may be able to adjust your asking price to account for the added expense or search for a buyer willing to take the contract.
- Ensure the appraiser accurately accounts for the value of the system. Remember, $0 valuations must be supported with sufficient evidence.
- Chances are, potential buyers aren’t looking at your house just because of the solar panels and people unfamiliar with solar panels won’t know about the added value, so it’s important for you and your agent to explain this value. The appraisal can help with that, but a knowledgeable real estate agent will be an important part of this. Be prepared to share past electric bills to demonstrate the savings you enjoy as a result of your solar energy system.
If you have solar installed on your Desert home and unsure how the solar impacts the value of your home for the current real estate market, give us a ring – we’re happy to help.
Buying a home with Solar, or installing solar on your home is generally a sound investment; If you live in your home for the duration of the warranty, you can expect a grid tie system to pay for itself 2-3 times over. With tax breaks and energy savings.
Even if you decide to move before the warranty is up, you still come out ahead. The value of the system can translate into a higher sale price when your home hits the market. That premium is typically enough to cover the cost of the hardware; which is a break even on the solar investment.
If you’re looking at purchasing a home with solar, and not sure what the price premium actually is, give us a ring we’re happy to help.
Home Staging or Home Styling is about telling the story of your home. By adding dramatic punches of color or texture, using furniture or accent pieces in unexpected ways you can bring out the personality of your home. You can, without words, tell your potential home buyer just how fabulous it is to live here!
Here are a few design trends that can be an easy way to start your story.
Get your Juju – Hand Crafted Hats by Tribes in Cameroon.
Juju hats, were worn by royal dancers during Bamileke tribal ceremonies. They symbolized prosperity and were created from natural or dyed chicken and wild bird feathers.
The Juju hat creates an interesting design element and can tie a room together with a wide variety of rich colors. A Great way to add texture and pops of color to any room.
Side Table Crazy – Curate a Modern Aesthetic.
The standard wood or glass coffee tables are making way for a new innovative approach using a variety of side tables with the same or contrasting finishes at various heights and grouped together to create a cool modern look.
Light or Art? – Statement Lamps Make a Big Splash in Home Design and Staging.
Sculptural lamps add a sense of drama and sophistication. Home Buyers will be wowed when they see dramatic floor and wall lamps that blur the lines between form and function.
Reflections – Make a Drama Statement with a Shimmering Pool of Color
Finding exactly the right color for a room is a defining moment in the design process. Once you’ve got the color perfect, it’s time to talk about the finish. Make a Statement by Adding Drama to the room with Super High Gloss Paint that shows like a shimmering pool of color. Paint an accent wall, the ceiling, or add a high gloss accent piece to the room to make an eye catching statement.
Weaving the story about your home is the art of marketing and presentation. The way your home is presented, both online with photos and in person is what differentiates your home from the competition. As that online buyer makes their way to your front door to look at your home in person, they want to be wowed.
In the Desert Real Estate Market, home buyer’s are more sophisticated than ever, they’re looking for a lifestyle. In other words they’re looking for the whole package – stylish, clean, well put together, well kept and easy to maintain, they want …..
See the Before and After on a Great Lock and Leave Golf Villa in Palm Desert
If you’re thinking about selling your Desert Home, give us a call today for a consultation. Let’s talk about how Home Styling can improve what you can ask and receive for your home.
Not quite ready to talk about selling your home yet? That’s OK, you can still Find Out What Your Home Could Sell For now at My HomeValue365.com
Meet HENRY — “high earners not rich yet” — the term was first coined by Fortune Magazine and describes a niche subset of the population that represents the next generation of wealth. the most important demographic consumer segment that you’ve probably never heard of.
Today, HENRYs are largely millennial’s (and some younger members of Gen X) who earn an annual household income of more than $100,000. These top earners are well on their way to becoming tomorrow’s affluent consumer. HENRYs are the heavy lifters in the consumer economy. If 70 percent of the U.S. GDP is consumer spending, then the HENRYs are the key driver in that figure. They make up only about 18 percent of the total U.S. households, but account for roughly 40 percent of total spending.
Millennials life paths differ from previous generations when it comes to deciding when to get married and start a family. Travel and Experiences are more important to them and they place a premium on both. It should come as no surprise, then, that the way in which millennial HENRYs make their buying decisions, and specifically when it comes to buying a home, also differs from generations past.
Inside the mind of the HENRYs
It’s worth noting that the American dream of home-ownership is still very much alive and well for millennial HENRYs. According our recent study, 97 percent of millennial HENRYs either own a home or plan to buy a home, while nearly three-quarters either already own or plan to own a second home.
However, HENRYs are changing the traditional definitions and attributes associated with luxury, and specifically as it relates to what a luxury home means to them. When asked what makes a brand luxury, 80 percent said superior quality.
Only 47 percent said a premium price.
The top indicator of a luxury home as identified by 68 percent millennial HENRY’s is finishes. Location and amenities were ranked as the second and third most important factors in determining what makes for a luxury property, by millennial HENRYs.
Millennial HENRYs are willing to pay for what they want and value in a home, i.e. finishes, neighborhood, amenities, etc., but that luxury isn’t determined by price tag alone. Rather, for this demographic, luxury means a home that suits their unique preferences and needs, and beyond that, the lifestyle they want to achieve.
Whether that means living in a chalet at the base of a mountain year-round in Aspen, or a beach side bungalow on Hilton Head Island, HENRYs are precisely curating their lifestyles to reflect their unique preferences.
Luxury is more than just a property — it’s the enjoyment of life according to their unique and personal definition of luxury.
For more information about targeting the HENRYs when selling your home, give me a ring (760) 218 – 5752 or drop me a line, Cathi@DesertAreaHomeFinder.com Our strategic marketing positions your home for this niche demographic.
Presented by the Palm Springs Cruisin’ Association, the Dr. George Car Show is in its 17th year and has grown to be the largest one day car show in California. With 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Desert Cancer Foundation, it included 1,000 vehicle entries and is held on the lush grounds of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
For over twenty years, the Desert Cancer Foundation has provided financial support to patients and their families without insurance. Each dollar donated has equals to approximately $7 worth of services.
In 2018, The Palm Springs Cruisin’ Association donated $77,000 to the non-profit Desert Cancer Foundation.
In addition to its size it is also the longest running car show in the Coachella Valley.
The Palm Springs Cruisin’ Association is a non-profit organization that includes over 400 members. For this event, 150 volunteers participate in facilitating the car show which includes numerous vendors, a raffle and silent auction. The event is always free and the cost of parking was $5. At the point of entry club members ask for donations from spectators.
The car show is open to all collector vehicles. In the first year there were 375 entries. Only a few years later the association had to create a cut-off at 1,000 entries after growing exponentially.
This all-volunteer project has raised over $845,000 for the Desert Cancer Foundation, which Dr. Sebastian George co-founded prior to his tragic death in 2002. PSCA Club members work year around, planning this amazing show. With the pristine setting of the Tennis Gardens, car owners line up to show their vehicles on the lush green grass. The goal for 2019 is to reach the $100,000 mark for the annual contribution. this contribution will provide approximately $1mm in care and support for cancer victims.
For more information on the 17th Annual Dr. George Charity Car Show, visit the Palm Springs Cruisin’ Association website.
The 2019 Dr. George Charity Car show will take place on February 9th with gates opening to the public from 9:00am to 3:00pm.
DESERT REAL ESTATE MARKET REPORT
2018 Year in Review
As we start 2019, it’s time to take look back at how the Desert Real Estate Market performed last year and look for developing trends.
In 2018, there were 5,836 single family home sales throughout the Coachella Valley. Those homes sold at an average of $610,300 and an average of $260. / Sq Ft. Homes that were priced correctly for the market, sold on average in 89 days. The highest sale price in 2018 was $12,000,000 for a home located in The Madison in La Quinta.
With those statistics, we compared 2018 sales to the previous year and found that while the number of sales were down slightly overall, (2%), Selling Prices were up 10% and the price / sq ft was up 8%. The time it took to sell was down 10% from the year prior. The highest priced home sale in 2017 was $8,700,000. for a home located in The Vintage Country Club in Indian Wells.
While prices are up, inventories remain low as compared to this time of season in years past. Historically when the inventory of homes for sale is low, prices tend to rise due to the pressures of supply and demand.
Interest rates also play an important role in how markets perform; rates are still low despite the fact that the Fed gave us 4 rate increases in 2018. As rates increase, buyers can afford less house for the same mortgage payment, which ultimately puts downward pressure on home prices.
But good news, rates pulled back a bit this week. Conforming loans, (up to $484,350) for a 30 year fixed rate is still just 4.47%.
The Coachella Valley has long been viewed as a destination for the soon to retire and already retired home buyers looking for an active lifestyle, but with the increase in mobile commuting, people can work from anywhere. We’re also seeing more young home buyers who are looking for a quality lifestyle, moving to the Desert full time. Easy Freeway and International Airport access makes that possible.
Combine the Lifestyle that only the Coachella Valley offers along with affordable home prices – the Valley is and will continue to be a destination for both full time residents, second home buyers and
We have a strong and steady real estate market here in the Coachella Valley.
If you would like more detailed information about your neighborhood specifically, drop me a line – we just finished our 2018 “Year in Review” Market Report, I’m happy to send you a copy.
Broker Associate with Bennion Deville Homes
Paint Colors that Sell.
Did you know that using certain paint colors in specific rooms of your home can statistically increase the value by as much as $10,000? Sounds incredible, but it’s been proven true. According to an exhaustive study done by Zillow, they looked at more than 32,000 photos from sold homes around the country. They compared how certain paint colors impacted the sale price on average, when compared to homes with white walls.
Homes with Blue Bathrooms sell for $5,400 more than expected. Listings with cool, neutral colors sell for more money and homes with white, yellow or red wall colors can sell for less than expected.
Paint Colors that Sell: Blue Bathrooms, found in hues of powder blue or light periwinkle, sold for the highest sales premium of all colors analyzed. Walls painted in other cool, natural tones like pale gray or oatmeal were also among the top performing listings.
They found that some colors may actually deter buyers; the darker more style specific wall colors such as terracotta Dining Room walls sold for $2,000 less than expected.
However, a lack of color may have the biggest negative impact. Homes with white bathrooms sold for an average of $4,000 less than similar homes.
Paint Colors that Sell: Oatmeal, pale taupe or light beige did better in the Living Room, selling for about $1,900 more than expected.
Paint Colors that Sell: The exterior color that garnered the best price premium was
“Greige”, a combination of gray and beige with the front door painted in a contrast color such as dark Gray, Navy Blue or Black.
As a Home Stylist, we are here to help with the latest information on trends that we see in the real estate market. We’ve got our eye on the market so we can help elevate your home above the competition. For more information about how our “Home Styling” will get your home sold for top dollar, give me a ring.
Broker Associate / Home Stylist
The Real Estate Corner Desert Market Update
NUMBER OF SALES
Home sales are up Valley-wide. The total three-month sales are up 2.9%. On a city by city basis, six cities show higher sales, with three; Palm Desert, Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs showing the largest increase in sales.
The three cities with the largest sales declines are Indio, Indian Wells and Cathedral City.
INVENTORY OF HOMES FOR SALE
While home sales are up, inventories are down. Typically our inventories dip to to their lowest point every year toward the end of September, but this year inventories are even lower.
Low inventory acts as both a positive and negative; it’s positive for sellers and future home sellers as it tends to move home prices higher. But, it’s also a negative in that low inventory puts the brakes on the number of sales. If interest rates continue to increase, that can put a damper on sales as the cost of borrowing money for a mortgage becomes more expensive.
MONTHS SUPPLY OF HOMES FOR SALE BY CITY
The month’s of supply ratio is down valley-wide compared to one year ago in every city. Most have less than 4 month supply except two; La Quinta which currently has a 4.5 month supply and Indian Wells with a 6 month supply of homes to sell.
MONTHS SUPPLY OF HOMES FOR SALE BY PRICE BRACKETS
When we look at the supply of homes by price category, we see the supply is lower across all price brackets compared to one year ago. The biggest change is homes priced above $800,000. Last year the higher price points were taking 7.5 months – 1 year to sell. Now, it’s taking on average 5.3 – 8 months
The tipping point when using this metric is 6 month’s. 6 months is considered a “Balanced Market”, not particularly favoring either Home Buyers or Home Sellers. Less than 6 months, the market is tipped in the Sellers favor, otherwise known as a “Sellers Market”. More than 6 month supply is viewed as a “Buyers Market”.
As home prices or the cost of buying a home, (rising interest rates), increase – sales will start to slow putting downward pressure on pricing. Markets are always in a state of flux, moving from one market to another and rarely stopping at “balanced” for long.
While there is typically a lag period between market shifts, the lag time is shorter as the number of sales are increasing. Home sellers quickly see an improving market and strive to maximize the price they can ask. When prices increase too fast or too far ahead of sales, potential home buyer’s become reluctant to make offers, fearing they could be buying at the peak.
DISCOUNT FROM ASKING PRICE
In 2018, when negotiating a sale price with buyers; home sellers are discounting their listed price an average of 2%. One year ago, sellers needed to discount an average 2.4% off their asking price to close a sale.
For example, this ratio means if a home is listed at $400,000 it’s selling at an average of 98% of their asking price, or $392,000. a discount of $8,000. This metric also shows a strong and improving real estate market here in the Desert.
When we look at the story each of these metrics are showing for the Desert Real Estate Market, we can see an improving but pretty balanced market. In addition, we can see that the market has had and continues to show sustained growth. Making now the right time to be a participant in the market.
The Desert Lifestyle is unlike any other, as we head into our season now is a great time see what the Desert has to offer. Check out these FAB Desert Homes!
Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade 2018
Sunday, October 28th from 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.
It’s time to kick off a new season in the Desert with the Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade! This years theme is “Celebrating our Super Heroes” Our community will showcase and celebrate all of our different types of Super Hero’s including our Police Officers, Fireman, Veterans, Teachers, Parents, the list is endless. Come be a part of the pageantry and fun as scores of whimsically decorated golf carts and bands march down El Paseo.
Palm Desert is a progressive city with an eye on the future – this picturesque desert community has a Dynamic Big City Vibe; with Exclusive Country Clubs, Fine Dining, Art Galleries, Live Theater, World Class Championship Golf and home to the valleys only zoo, The Living Desert, which combines an indigenous zoo with an authentic arboretum. Be a part of what makes Palm Desert the place to be, check out these FAB homes for sale in Palm Desert!
10 Staging Tips to Avoid at All Costs!
Home Staging Design can make or break a potential sale. Whether you’re using what you have or starting from scratch, there are some common design mistakes you’ll want to avoid. Here are a few tips to help you make your home look great for the marketing photos and make your potential buyers say WOW!
- Wall Hugger – It may seem like the logical and maybe even the only way to arrange furniture in the room, (especially if you’re working in a small room), but the opposite is actually true, you can harness the flow of a room by centering your pieces, pull them closer to each other instead of crowding your furniture against a wall. You will be amazed how the room takes on a different feel.
- Collection Spread – we’ve heard it before – when selling your home, declutter, and yes that is true. BUT, the truth is we all collect; whether it’s frogs, figurines or forks from the 4th Century AD, and you likely want to have them on display. There is a right way and wrong way to display your collections. First, if you have a lot of items in your collection, trim it down to just a few of your favorites and pack the rest, (you are moving right?). Next, instead of spreading the pieces throughout the room or worse the house, bring them together – the key is small groupings. Arrangements look deliberate and let your pieces speak for themselves. Well laid out arrangements can enhance the staging of your home if you do it right, and let you enjoy your favorite collections while avoiding that cluttered look.
- The Fickle Eye – you’ve lived in your home for years, over those years you’ve probably bought or inherited furniture and incorporated it into your home. Maybe it doesn’t quite match or it’s a little too big for the room or worse, you didn’t have room but still used it since it only partially blocks the walkway. Now, years later you don’t notice it any more, you walk around it every day without a thought. Our eyes can be fickle, they have a way of tricking us. Now that you’re selling your home, it’s time to put on your “Buyer Eyes” and take a good hard look around your house. Are there extra or oversized pieces of furniture that force someone to alter the natural path as they walk through the house? The old saying, “less is more” is absolutely true when staging your home to sell. Don’t set up an obstacle course path with furniture and don’t cram the room full of small décor objects. Make the decisions now whether to store, sell, donate or pitch.
- Dark in Small – Yes dark furniture can make a room feel warm, but they also make a small room feel smaller. If you have a small living room, opt for a lighter color palette.
- Rug Rules – Area rugs are the best way to anchor a room or a setting and they can tie a room together. But used incorrectly, it can also leave your space looking disjointed and cluttered. This is especially true in the living room, your rug should ground all of the seating elements around it. Make sure when looking for the perfect rug, you buy one that is big enough to achieve this affect. If possible, have all legs on the rug with a little rug showing behind the pieces of furniture, creating a frame around the setting. If your living room furniture setting is 6’ x 8’ you should be looking at an 8’ x 10’ rug. Plopping a 5 x 7 in the middle will make the room feel disconnected. Not sure? Get my Rules of the Rug ebook to help bring your rooms together with area rugs.
- Scale – Even designers can get it wrong sometimes; scale is one of the most important, (and sometimes the most difficult) elements of a well put together room. If you have a massive 10’ sectional in the room and put a small 5’ x 7’ area rug in the center or use a small coffee table, it just feels wrong. Maybe you have a large Dining Room space and put a small table in the room, or vice versa you’ve got a small breakfast nook and put a large heavy wood table in the space. Scale is important, think about it when you’re placing furniture or accessorizing a room.
- Balance – Without balance in a room, it can make you feel uncomfortable and even anxious. Balance is as much about emotion as it is about good design and balance gives us a feeling of stability and wellness. Creating a harmonious space depends on a few things; the furniture and the décor placement. Color and texture and the scale of the furnishings and décor. Think about a seesaw, if one side of the room is heavy and weighed down, the room will feel off balance. Example, if one wall has a tall wall unit and wall décor, make sure you balance that wall with something bold on the opposite side of the room. If you have a heavy sofa on one side, balance it with a pair of chairs opposite the sofa or other foundational piece of furniture.
- Matchy – A sure sign of an amateur decorator is where everything including the art matches perfectly. It’s not about perfection, it’s about ambiance. Example, balance a bold color with a large pattern that blends but doesn’t match exactly. Or balance a bright warm color with a textured cool color. Or choose colors that are the same hue but varies in intensity. Homes look professional and well put together when new elements are mixed with old; smooth is contrasted with rough, polished is contrasted with nubby.
- Boring – If you have a boring “beige” room, pick a great color and think about threading a needle, you’ll want to run that thread throughout the room and the house in a variety of different ways with pieces that pick up on that color or color palette.
- Level – Rooms with furniture all the same height are boring. Create interest with changes in elevations through the room. Put tall pieces next to short pieces. If you have a low back sofa, add something like a tall armoire or bookshelf. The reverse is also true with small décor, use the 3:1 ratio. Example, if you have 3 vases of varying heights grouped together, balance them with a single larger décor object on the opposite side of the shelf or mantel. It will make an eye-catching design statement.
These are called common mistakes for a reason and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. You may not know where to start or the most important detail to focus on. If you would like more information about staging your desert home to sell, give us a call, we’re here to help.