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Six Ways to Use Virtual Staging After Buying Your Home / Before A Remodel

Six Ways to Use Virtual Staging After Buying Your Home / Before A Remodel

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When we talk about staging a home, the image that comes to mind is emptying your home and having a swarm of people redesign your living space, so your listing looks amazing in online photographs. Thankfully, with the use of technology and some brilliant interior designers, virtual staging has made this process so much simpler at a fraction of the cost. Instead of storing all your furniture and upending your life, a virtual stager uses the photographs you provide and redesigns your house using editing software. This means no heavy lifting for you and a lot more control over the design elements. 

All that is wonderful, and I highly recommend it, but it’s time to think outside the box. Virtual stagers offer more than you think! If you’ve already purchased your home or are considering a remodel instead of moving, virtual staging can be your greatest tool. Here are six ways you can use virtual staging beyond the listing process! 

 

#1: Paint it! 

If you are like me, you bought your home with the intention of adding a little personal flair to each room. You’ve spent hours scouring paint apps, trying to visualize the result of changing those beige walls to something with a bit more flavor. Sadly, those apps you’ve used aren’t giving you an accurate result, which can be very frustrating, especially if you plan to paint each room yourself. 

Hiring a virtual stager can help show you the different options before you ever set foot in a paint store. Not only do you get to see the result without lifting a finger, but with their interior design background, they can offer advice on complementary colors and matching furniture. It’s a win/win any way you look at it. Even better, you won’t need to waste any money on paint samples that you’ll have to cover up later! 

 

#2: Redesign your flooring!

Whether your house is brand new or passed down for generations, redoing the floors is always high on the list of upgrades. Some people want to add carpet, while others are looking at hardwood and tile. This is a costly endeavor, and you want to get it right the first time. A virtual stager can show you the different options available and how they look in your home, not just on a well-lit showroom floor. 

With so many materials and colors on the market, there’s no reason to close your eyes and try to visualize or order samples that show you what a square foot of floor space will look like. Simply call upon the experts and ask them for a few virtual samples of the entire room. You’ll quickly be able to tell if the tile you are considering will clash with your cabinetry or if hardwood will bring your home that classic look you’re aiming for. An excellent virtual stager will spend time getting to know you and researching the type of look you want. With thousands of hours spent viewing house after house to create online listings, they’ve seen it all, and their knowledge is invaluable. 

 

#3: Remodel a room (or five)!

Curious what your kitchen would look like with an island counter or a new backsplash? Considering turning your bathroom into a wonderland with a claw foot tub? Maybe you have even looked into removing a wall or installing a recessed ceiling to add that wow factor. Virtual staging can do all of that and more. You can redesign your entire living space over and over again before you settle on an idea! 

This is such a crucial part of the design process, and even the best construction companies rely on you to know what you want. Virtual stagers have entire libraries of remodels and various home aesthetics for you to choose from before calling that construction company for an estimate. This is something you want to take advantage of so you aren’t wasting time and money. 

 

#4: Interior Design

Even if the bare bones of your home are perfect, it can be hard to choose furniture and accessories that vibe with your lifestyle. Hiring an interior designer can get expensive, and the average family can’t afford this luxury. A virtual stager, though, is a fraction of the cost. You can see the different furniture styles in your rooms and find out which colors add that subtle cohesiveness that takes your living space to the next level. 

Interior design is all about aesthetics, and the right virtual stager will be ready and willing to design each room to your specifications. Once you have the photos in hand, you can take as long as you like transforming your house, piece by piece! If you’re working on a budget, this can make a huge difference in your ability to create the perfect space. 

 

#5: Design the perfect nursery! 

New parents spend months agonizing over creating the perfect nursery for their children. If you’re expecting, you already have enough stress on your plate. Take that Pinterest board and pass it to a virtual designer. They can help you decide the best layout and color schemes, all while staying true to your desires. They can even show you the natural light angles from the windows and what the room will look like in the light of day and the dark of night. 

Editing software has come a long way, and you can take advantage of this while knowing your design is in good hands. Trust me, you need all the help you can get, but it also feels good to be part of the process. A virtual stager will work with you to create the perfect room for your tiny human. 

 

#6: Upgrade your yard! 

Virtual staging isn’t just about the interior, as an expert will have landscaping knowledge as well. Whether you’re considering building a pergola, adding a deck, installing a pool, or just redesigning your walkway, a virtual stager will be able to show you the finished result before you ever get started. This can be a huge help once you hire the professionals to get the job done. Having a photo in hand to show them precisely what you want means you are way more likely to be pleased with the outcome. 

Even if all you are doing is laying sod, it can be nice to see what your yard would look like after all that hard work. It can help you visualize and keep you working towards your goal!

 

Take Advantage of Virtual Staging Today!

Now that you know what virtual staging can offer, it’s time to find the perfect professional. Your chosen virtual stager should be willing to talk to you over the phone and take all of your ideas and requests into consideration. Feel free to be as detailed as possible!

 

 

 

written by Lotus 3D Staging

Website: lotus3dstaging.com

Call us: (203) 293-8765

E: hello@lotus3dstaging.com

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Rent vs Mortgage – 5 Cities Compared

Rent vs Mortgage – 5 Cities Compared

At some point in our lives, we’re ready to stop throwing money down the rent rabbit-hole and instead build up our assets by investing in a home and paying a mortgage. The sooner, the better. Every monthly rent payment you make lines the pockets of landlords instead of bolstering your assets. If you have a steady job and some money put aside, consider purchasing a home, as each cent you put towards the principal of a house payment is one cent saved for a later date. Let’s look at five major cities and the rental versus mortgage prices, and whether or not the average restaurant server can afford to own a home on their hourly pay and tips (based on a down payment of 10%). 

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#1: Los Angeles, California Rent versus Mortgage

Average Rent According to Rent Cafe: $2,450. 

The figure above is nearly double the national average. In a more affluent sector, this price can be upwards of $5,000 or more. Depending on how much money you make (most rental agreements require at least three times the amount of the rent), you’re throwing out at least a third of your income every month for a place to lay your head. On average, someone renting in Los Angeles is losing $29,400 per year towards rental housing. 

 

Average Mortgage Cost According to Business Insider: $3,048. 

 

The income needed to attain a home at that mortgage rate is $121,939. If you’re married, this means that each person would need to bring just under $61,000. Mortgage rates include escrow amounts for homeowner’s insurance and property taxes as well. This means for $600 more a month, you’ll be able to stop throwing money down the drain and gain financial stability. 

 

With such a high cost of living, Los Angeles offers better pay than other cities within the country. One restaurant server working 40 hour weeks, five days a week, makes on average $71,539 before taxes and including tips (averaged at $150 per day). Homeownership isn’t just a dream. With careful planning and a partner, it can be a reality. 

 

#2: Chicago, Illinois Rent versus Mortgage 

Average Rent According to Rent Cafe: $2,012

 

While Chicago is marginally less expensive than Los Angeles, it’s still much higher than the national average. It’s easy to find cheaper rent, closer to the $600 range, but these neighborhoods come with high crime and poorly performing schools and rental buildings in desperate need of repair. 

 

Average Mortgage Cost According to Business Insider: $1,276

 

The income needed to attain a home at that mortgage rate is $51,031. Remember, if you’re married, that requirement is cut in half per person. This means that even those who rent in rougher neighborhoods can attain a house and begin building their assets up. For many, buying a home could cut their monthly housing payments nearly in half or cost just a modest amount more. 

 

While Los Angeles offers higher pay for the cost of living, Chicago doesn’t have the same rates, but it’s close. A restaurant server working 40 hours per week, five days per week, makes $66,352 before taxes and after tips (averaged at $150 per day). This means the average server which reports all tips on their taxes can afford a nicer than average home on their own. 

 

#3: New York City, New York Rent versus Mortgage

Average Rent According to Rent Cafe: $3,872

 

Manhattan, New York, has rent nearly three times higher than the national average, and over 50% of residents rent instead of owning. The good news is that rent in this city is declining, unlike the previous two on our list. The bad news is that finding lower rental prices means severely reducing amenities and safety. 

 

Average Mortgage Cost According to Business Insider: $2,733

 

The income needed to attain a home at that mortgage rate is $109,313. A married couple would each need to bring in just under $55,000 each. In this case, buying a home versus renting a home would save more than $12,000 per year. That’s a substantial annual savings that can go towards other expenditures. 

 

Thankfully, New York offers one of the highest salaries for a server to offset living costs. A server working 40 hours per week, five days a week, earns on average $88,478 before taxes and including tips (valued at $180 per day). While a single server won’t be able to afford a home on the restaurant pay alone, a side gig can quickly bring them above the threshold needed to buy a home in New York City. 

 

#4: Dallas, Texas Rent versus Mortgage 

Average Rent According to Rent Cafe: $1,338

 

Dallas is slightly lower than the national average, but rent prices have risen 7% in the past year alone and have been steadily increasing. Neighborhoods such as Arbor Place offer rent as low as $770, but the quality and amenities decrease. 

 

Average Mortgage Cost According to Business Insider: $1,779

 

The income needed to attain a home at that mortgage rate is $58,033. Each partner within a marriage would need to bring in just under $30,000 to qualify. Dallas is one of the more affordable cities on our list, and housing is plentiful, so if you’re considering moving from renting to owning, now is the time. 

 

Dallas also offers amenable income for those living and working in the area. The average restaurant server that works 40 hours a week, five days a week, brings in $72,342 before taxes and after tips (based on the average of $120 in tips per day), meaning that the average server could not only afford a home on their pay alone, but they could join someone in purchasing an additional property and renting it out for extra income. 

 

#5: Nashville, Tennessee Rent versus Mortgage

Average Rent According to Rent Cafe: $1,502

 

Nashville falls right along with the national average for rental rates, but the rental market is increasing along the same lines as Dallas, with an uptick of 6% over the past year. While it’s possible to find lower rent within the area, parts of Nashville are heavy tourist attractions and are loud for many hours of the night as bars stay open late. 

 

Average Mortgage Cost According to Business Insider: $1,254

 

The income needed to attain a home at that mortgage rate is $51,294. This means that each partner within a marriage would need to bring home just under $26,000 each. Nashville has a booming market and many surrounding cities with easy access and even more affordable housing, meaning if you have a car, you can easily own your own home and stop paying rent while saving $300+ a month on housing expenses. 

 

Nashville is known for its restaurants and servers that work 40 hours per week, five days a week make on average $76,001 before taxes and after tips (valued at $150 per day). A single server can easily afford their own home in Nashville with enough left over to invest in other avenues. 

For those looking to sell your first home and move into something larger that can accommodate a growing family, please look into our Virtual Staging services. Help a renter buy their first home and pass the dream on! We can save you money on the staging process, and we pride ourselves on speaking directly with every customer to ensure our services meet your needs.

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Tips For Home Sellers

Tips For Home Sellers

With housing market prices currently skyrocketing due to low inventory and cash offers on nearly every home, now is an excellent time to put your house up for sale. Use these 15 tips to cash in on this phenomenon and get the maximum asking price with minimal overhead costs associated with home selling while alleviating the stresses that can occur. 

 

1.) Research comparisons to ensure the best asking price. 

You probably heard the term “comps” many times as a buyer while purchasing the home you currently own, but it’s just as important for sellers to understand comparable prices. Look at what other houses in your neighborhood with similar square footage and acreage are going for, and you’ll have a good idea of how to price your home. Remember, you’ll want an asking price to be slightly higher than the price you’re aiming for so the buyer will feel as if they received a deal on the home, but not so high as to land your house outside of search parameters and miss out on potential buyers. 

 

2.) If you’ve decided to hire an agent, make sure your realtor is independent of the buyer. 

While it seems unethical, it’s quite common for realtors to represent both parties and get the commission from both sides. This can simplify things, but it makes the bargaining process obsolete and results in your home selling for less than it could have. Real estate agents are very savvy and know the tactics needed to get you the optimal amount out of the deal, so long as they have someone to bargain with. 

 

3.) Present a clean home. 

As soon as you’ve decided to start the selling process, begin cleaning your home. Start by standing in the doorway of each room and viewing it with unbiased eyes. Here’s a list of things you should pay careful attention to, as buyers will notice things you might not think of. 

 

  1. Baseboards
  2. Showers, toilets, and sinks
  3. Windows
  4. Ceilings
  5. Laundry room
  6. Entryway
  7. Garage 
  8. Kitchen appliances
  9. Walls
  10. Stairs and banisters 
  11. Carpet, tile grout, and hardwood floors
  12. Closets and pantries

 

Be sure you’re using the appropriate cleaners for each surface and consider renting a carpet cleaner or having it professionally cleaned. If your walls are too dirty to create a pristine look, try to budget in a paint job in the bedrooms and living room, at the very least. 

 

4.) Appropriate unused rooms into typical desires. 

If you have a room that doesn’t get much use, turn it into a nursery, gym, or home office. Doing this will give the buyer ideas of what they can use it for and leave a good impression. Leaving a room empty or full of storage items can turn many buyers off of the house. 

 

5.) Optimize storage space. 

One major consideration buyers have when looking at a home is the amount of storage available. Once your closets and pantries are clean, consider boxing up half of each, so the buyer feels extra room is available. This also applies to the garage and basement if you have one. 

 

6.) Depersonalize your home. 

While your home should be clean and welcoming, buyers want it to feel as if it’s “move in ready.” Consider removing these everyday items to give it a fresh look. 

 

  1. Family photos 
  2. Crafting supplies
  3. Stacks of books and magazines 
  4. Questionable artwork on the walls
  5. Pet supplies
  6. Toys
  7. Any politically affiliated memorabilia 
  8. Toiletries

 

Remember that many different people will view your home, and they each have personal beliefs that might clash with yours. It’s essential to present a neutral environment, so the buyers don’t walk away based on conflicting morals. 

 

7.) Timing matters

One of the most significant factors in selling your home for an optimal price is the time of year. Homes placed for sale between March and May sell for more than homes in mid-summer and winter, and they sell quickly. Many people begin shopping for homes after the holidays have settled down because they want to move within the year. You’ll miss the mark and have to wait if you list too early, and you’ll miss out on many prospective buyers if you wait too long. 

 

8.) Consider the color palette. 

You might have personalized the walls of your home by painting them exciting colors or textures. The bright orange dining room you’ve come to love can repel a potential buyer. Repainting your walls in neutral colors will appeal to a wider variety of prospective buyers. 

 

9.) Assess curb appeal. 

First impressions matter and this is more true for home selling than anything else. There are no second chances. Consider taking care of these matters before you take photos or show your home. If you can not make changes, consider hiring a virtual staging/virtual renovation company (lotus 3d staging) to digitally show in a photo what the changes will look like.

  1. Repaint or pressure wash the exterior of your home.
  2. Trim the front yard and plant welcoming flowers. Make sure there are no weeds or overgrowth. 
  3. Pressure wash the driveway. 
  4. Have only one car parked in the driveway during showings and no vehicles parked during photos. 
  5. Shine up your mailbox and house numbers. 
  6. Make sure the roof is clean and in good repair, and the gutters are empty. 
  7. Make sure all outdoor lighting is dust-free, and the bulbs are in good condition. 
  8. Clean your porch and front door, paying careful attention to the knobs.  

 

Once you’re done, stand at the mailbox and view your house and property. Look for any other items that you might be able to take care of for a better presentation. 

 

10.) Photos matter. 

Buyers looking at homes are going to start with an internet search. If a home doesn’t have any photos, they’ll quickly move on to the next. Similarly, if the images don’t look professional and the house looks cluttered or in need of massive repairs, buyers won’t waste their time coming to see the house. Make sure your listing puts your home in the best possible light. If you take the photos yourself, consider hiring a virtual staging company to enhance the photographs for an eye-catching result. 

 

11.) Use virtual staging to cut down on selling costs. 

Staging your home is a critical aspect of the selling process. A house can spend years on the market simply because it’s empty and buyers don’t feel a connection. By hiring a virtual staging company to help you stage your home, you can cut down on staging costs and have complete control over the finished look. Find a professional virtual stager willing to speak with you on the phone, so there are no miscommunications about your expectations or the process. Interior design specialists run these companies, and they’ll have a lot of advice on what appeals the most to potential buyers. 

 

12.) View this exchange strictly as a business proposal. 

Selling the home you lived in can be very emotional. In your heart, it’s worth more simply because of the amount of love and appreciation you’ve felt in the environment. By dissociating the selling process from your emotions, you’ll have an easier time selling it and depersonalizing it. Your home is an investment and an asset, so switch your thinking pattern from “my home” to “the house.”

13.) Assess the offers carefully. 

After all your hard work, it can be easy to get excited over the first offer. Playing hardball and assessing each offer can result in a higher selling price. Be sure that the buyer has a pre-approved mortgage lined up and that the bid is legitimate. Many closings have been pushed off for months due to inadequate preparation on the buyer’s end. 

 

14.)  Research closing cost discounts. 

If you haven’t already, look into closing cost discounts. Educators, nurses, and the military can qualify for discounts on these costs. Also, consider who will pay the closing costs and how negotiable you are. If you have damage to your home that is on the appraisal, you can trade off and pay the closing costs to lower the overall cost for the buyer without having to invest money into fixing a home you won’t be living in anymore. Similarly, you can make closing costs the buyer’s responsibility if you have many offers and are trying to sort through them. 

 

15.) Plan for the next step

Be prepared to move quickly. Once the closing is over, you no longer own the home, and you’ll need to have your next option lined up and completed. It’s a careful balance, as you don’t want to be paying two mortgages while waiting on your home to sell, but you also might need the funds from the sale to purchase your next home. This is one of the most significant stressors on sellers and buyers alike. By carefully researching and preparing, you can eliminate this issue and time it just right. 

Now that you have information on how to sell your home and cut down costs, it’s time to get started! Before you make a phone call or begin your search, take a walk around your house and start planning what needs to be addressed first. It may seem like a huge list to tackle, but by piecing it out as we have above, you’ll be in your new home with cash in your pocket in no time!

 

Call Us Anytime with any questions – Lotus 3D Staging (203) 293-8765.

We’re happy to talk with you about an upcoming property you need to sell and how best to do it!

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20 Expert Staging Tips to Make a Small House Look Bigger

20 Expert Staging Tips to Make a Small House Look Bigger

August 16, 2021 by Emily Huddleston

There’s one thing that will always be appealing to prospective buyers – and that is space. This need for space can feel like a major hurdle for those selling a home that’s on the smaller side. But there is good news! While you can’t add to your property’s square footage, you can change the perception of it.  Even the tiniest of homes can be made to appear larger – all it takes is proper staging.

That’s why we’re sharing our favorite home staging techniques to make a small house look bigger and more functional. We reached out to real estate and staging professionals across North America, from Riverside, CA to Kingston, ON. Keep reading for their best tips and tricks that work in small spaces every time.

small kitchen

1. Utilize vertical wall space. A great example would be using a vertical file holder in the entryway or office space to help organize incoming mail, school papers, or office documents. An intentional and yet organized space, especially for small homes, makes a huge impact on the overall feel of the home. – FIB Home Staging & Interior Design

2. Choose furniture and greenery that fits the space. If buyers have to turn sideways or squeeze by furniture they will remember the room feeling too small. It may be better to have two chairs and a small table, instead of having a sofa. Adding greenery or a vase with flowers can brighten up a small space too. You’d be surprised what adding a small inexpensive artificial plant can do. – Design to Sell Staging

3. Avoid dark furniture and dark colors in general. Keep it light and the space will feel expansive. – Studio Shaolin

4. Consider corners. I avoid cluttering the corners and always leave the corners of the room empty. Also, make sure you open your blinds and let natural light in. – Front Porch Properties SC

5. Add an interesting item to each room. This could be a colorful piece of art or a unique piece of furniture. – Asheville Home Staging

6. Place a low bed near a window. Try this simple trick in a small bedroom and more space will appear. Hang a mirror on the opposite wall to reflect the outdoors and create an even larger illusion of space. – Voila Staging & Design

7. Use white or light-colored bedding. This is an inexpensive and easy way to make small spaces feel larger. The same goes for window treatments. White or light curtain panels for privacy, white sheers for semi-privacy, and whenever possible, bare windows. Let the light in and spaces will always feel larger. – Debut Property Home Staging

8. Remove clutter. This is one of the easiest ways to give your home a “ready to buy” feel. Start by removing anything that is wasting space: old magazines or random objects that don’t have a purpose. Even your favorite family photographs should be kept to a minimum. Most houses look cluttered because of the furniture, therefore, it is advisable to get rid of the furniture to give rooms a larger appearance. – Swee An Ng

9. Play with patterns. Adding patterns to a small room creates a whimsical visual distraction making the space feel bigger. There are some great adhesive wallpapers out on the market now. Try doing just the bed wall with a fun pattern or an accent wall in a breakfast nook or dressing room. This will not only make it feel more inviting but also add a visual interest that will distract the room from its size. – En Vue Staging

10. Adding shelving into a small bathroom. This will create storage and easy function, without sacrificing style. Also, raising your bathroom curtain rod up to the ceiling will make the bathroom appear larger to buyers. You want to keep your bathroom light and airy but don’t be afraid to add pops of color. –  Unforgettable Staging

11. Incorporate tempered glass, acrylic, or lucite furnishings. It allows buyers to see more of what the room has to offer and creates a sense of ample open space. Plus it’s quite aesthetically pleasing to the eye which is a big bonus. – Nicole Beale – Owner, Honeycomb Homes AZ

12. Keep scale in mind. One of the goals in staging a home is to make the rooms look as large and inviting as possible. Using furniture that is too big for a room can make it appear cramped, small, and uncomfortable. If the furniture is too small in scale, it can make the room look like it’s furnished with doll furniture. The scale of the furniture must be in proportion to the room. – StandOUT Home Staging

13. Size and color matter. Monochromatic color schemes versus a variety of colors and patterns create a seamless, more spacious look for online photography. Trick the eye by using a small grouping of table accessories with height instead of numerous small items that can look cluttered. Include large modern wall art that demands visual attention. It is the perfect eye candy for creating the illusion of space. – Lifestyle Staging by AM

14. Create moments across each staged space that will resonate feelings. These moments will leave future homeowners with the ability to envision enjoying the special features and character of the property. We create these moments through vignette setups in designated areas.  It may entail staging a sitting area by a window with a coffee cup, an open entertaining room with martini glasses on the ottoman, a reading corner with an open book and reading glasses, a cutting board full of cooking ingredients on the counter, or a breakfast tray on a bed. By creating these special moments, you leave buyers wanting more. – Upstate Roots Design

15. Adding visual depth to the room. You can do this by 1) floating the sofa and accent furniture away from the wall, 2) by providing ample floor and table lamps throughout, 3) adding vertical shelving for smart use of space, and 4) by mixing patterns and textures in your soft fabrics for added dimension. Be sure to avoid small accessories and décor and instead opt for fewer but taller accessories to make the room look and feel grander than what might otherwise meet the eye. – Cozy Corners

16. Try a signature wall of color or a large mural. This can elevate and give a small room a grander perspective. Coordinating these elements, with a large piece of furniture, rather than many smaller items, will ground your room and give a more expansive feel. Decorative items, such as black and white photography (especially a nautical theme) lend a special drama to a small room, while visually expanding its dimensions.  – Lotus 3D Staging

17. If you have a room that is less than updated, make it a feature. Pink and black bathroom, no problem!  Show your buyers why this is an added character, not something that has to be updated. – NOVAS Best Home Staging

18. When it comes to furniture, less is more. A few carefully curated pieces in each room to show the functionality and to provide a pop of color will go far. In communal spaces avoid placing furniture exclusively along walls and instead float it out a bit and create gathering places anchored by area rugs. – LUXE Home Staging

19. Use smaller scale furniture that can have multiple uses. An example would be a dining table that can also function as a desk. Another furniture item that can do double duty is nightstands that work as a dresser and additional storage.  – The Staging & Design Consultant

20. Add a bar height table behind the sofa. One of the quickest ways to gain square footage in the buyer’s mind is to make the kitchen appear bigger. A trick we often use is to put a bar height table coupled with three or four bar stools behind the sofa facing the TV. This eliminates the need for a big table in the kitchen, opens up the space, and offers a great way to watch the big game or a great movie. – Delight In Designs

Call us: (203) 293-8765

email us: hello@lotus3dstaging.com

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