Archive for Remodeling

The Best Light Bulbs When Selling A Home

I’m often asked “What are the best light bulbs when selling a home?” during our comprehensive home staging consultations.

What are the best light bulbs when selling a home? It used to be very easy to buy light bulbs. You went to the grocery store or the hardware store and you had the choice of the iconic incandescent light bulb, the one everyone is familiar with:

https://images.homedepot-static.com/productImages/553f85d1-b198-4dd1-8534-9ff2fe951e87/svn/ecosmart-incandescent-light-bulbs-52698-64_1000.jpg

Your most difficult choice was 40 watt, 60 watt or 100 watt, frosted or clear.

Now when you walk into the hardware store you have a choice of a few energy saving Incandescents, those horrible, curly CFL curly florescent bulbs (which contain mercury and must be disposed of as hazardous waste), Halogen bulbs (which burn very hot – they’ve been known to melt light fixtures when used in the wrong place) and LED bulbs.  All are relatively inexpensive, except Halogen, which I avoid anyway because of the heat output.

Of all the types of bulbs, LEDs are the most energy efficient and they can last as long as 10 years per bulb! They used to be expensive, but you can buy them for as little as $1 at Dollar Tree or other Dollar-type stores. Just be sure they will suit your purpose. Not all LED bulbs are dimmable or appropriate for outdoor use, for instance.

Which light color should I buy?

Most light bulbs come in 4 “colors”: Soft White, Warm White, Bright White and Daylight. The colors are based on a units called Kelvins (K).  Lower Kelvins mean more yellow light; the higher the Kelvin number the whiter or bluer light.

Soft White (yellowish appearance) – 2500K-3000K. This is the typical color associated with old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. It is the color of light we are most familiar with and feel most comfortable with.

Warm White (between yellowish and white light) 3000K-4000K.

Bright White (between white/neutral and cool light) – 4000k-5000k.

Daylight (blue/cool color light) – 5000K-6500K.

Soft White, 2700K, is a soft yellowish light; Cool White, 4100K, bit whiter than soft white; Daylight, 5000-6500K, bluish, whitish light, resembles noon on a cloudless day

Image courtesy of Batteries Plus

For my money, I prefer light bulbs that are 3000K. The color temperature of the light closely approximates the light from incandescent bulbs, which are the most flattering light and the one we are most used to. They are usually marketed as Soft White or Warm White. As long as they are 3,000K (you can find this info on the back of most light bulb boxes) you are good to go. 

The color temperature of the light in a house can affect a buyer’s perception of a home – is it warm and welcoming or is it cold and clinical. Does the home feel cozy or does it feel like a hospital corridor or dentist’s office. The best scenario is for the home buyer to feel comfortable and cozy, so they can imagine themselves living in the home.

We usually see a mix of incandescent, curly CFLs and LEDs all mixed in one home before staging, sometimes in the same room. When photographing a home, all those different light bulbs show up differently in the photos. For the best looking photos of the home and the best buyer experience during the open houses and showings, all recessed light bulbs need to match and they should all be about 3,000K and a minimum of 800 Lumen (equivalent to about 60 watts). 800 Lumen Warm White bulbs are the best color temperature and wattage for lamps, too.

These are the best light bulbs when selling a home.

 

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Get Your Home Ready To Sell: Home Buyers Want A Move In Ready House

Here’s a home staging tip from a professional home stager: Get your home ready to sell. In 2018, home buyers in the Los Angeles real estate market want a house that is move in ready.

Los Angeles kitchen remodel for sale

Get your home ready to sell. Home buyers don’t want an allowance to repair the roof, replace the carpet, redo the kitchen or repaint. Allowances are for teenagers. They want a well priced home, in a decent location, that they can move right in to without spending another dime.

Its a big fallacy that home buyers want to choose their own carpet or paint colors. If you choose a nice, neutral color carpet and nice neutral color wall paint (both things the best home stagers can help you with) most home buyers will see your home as more desirable because it is move-in-ready. They’ll be thrilled they don’t have to worry about picking out carpet and having it installed or find a painter who has time in their schedule. If your home stager can’t help you with this, then you are working with the wrong home stager.

Most home buyers are maxing out their home purchasing budget by making an offer on the nicest home they can possibly afford. They don’t have extra money to paint, install new carpet or retile the bathroom. They want to move in as soon as escrow closes, not after they have to make a lot of repairs to make their new home livable.

Los Angeles home upgrades to sell a home

This Los Angeles condo was on the market for 6 months with no offers. After it was remodeled, it went into escrow the first week it was put back on the market for considerably higher than it’s original list price.

Here’s what happens when you offer a $5,000 allowance for repairing the roof that should have been replaced 5 years ago:

  1. The buyer thinks “What else didn’t they repair that they should have?”
  2. The buyer thinks “What structure got damaged by the leaky roof?”
  3. The buyer thinks “Is it really going to cost only $5,000 to repair the roof?”
  4. The buyer thinks “How much time will it take me to get bids, hire a roofing company & get the work done?”
  5. The buyer thinks “What happens if (fill in the disaster: it rains, the contractor absconds with the deposit, a worker falls off the roof)?”
  6. The buyer thinks “The seller must be desperate since the house isn’t in good shape.”

Here’s what happens next:

The buyer accepts your offer of $5,000 to repair the roof, and then also knocks off another 10% because they think the house is not in good condition or you are desperate…

~or~

The buyer rejects your house and moves on to the house down the street that is move in ready.

Here’s what happens when you offer a $3,000 allowance for new carpet:

  1. The buyer thinks “Will $3,000 really cover new carpet for the whole house?”
  2. The buyer thinks “I’m not from around here. Where do I buy new carpet?”
  3. The buyer thinks “That house down the street already has new carpet. Why should I take on the added stress of shopping for & installing new carpet?”

Here’s what happens next:

The buyer accepts your offer of $3,000 to buy new carpet, and then also knocks off another 10% because they think your allowance won’t cover all the costs

~or~

The buyer rejects your house and moves on to the house down the street that is move in ready and already has new carpet installed.

By not repairing and updating your home before you put it on the market, you are asking home buyers to assume risk and additional expenses. You add more stress and uncertainty to the situation. Many home buyers are already investing every penny they can get their hands on in order to purchase a home. They are unable or unwilling to purchase a home that will require repairs before they can move in. Additionally, the condition of your home may effect the appraisal causing the buyer’s lender to refuse the loan.

Want to get a Los Angeles home sold? Price it right, hire the best full service Realtor you can find, hire a professional home stager and make sure it is in move-in ready condition.

This post was originally written December 2010. It has been updated to reflect current market conditions.

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What Home Upgrades Are Homeowners Spending Money On

Home Upgrades – What are we spending our money on?

Here’s a very interesting home improvement infographic published by the US Census and HUD (Housing and Urban Development) departments of the US Government. The top improvements were Appliances and Major Equipment (I would interpret this as something like a new furnace or whole-house air conditioner) 35%, Flooring, Paneling and Ceiling 32% and New Windows and Doors 20%. The study says we Americans spent $359 BILLION (!) during 2009-2011 on home improvement projects and the median amount spent was about $3200 per project. One metric I found very interesting was that 63% hired professionals to complete their home remodeling project, while on 37% were DIY projects.

Home Improvements infographic image [Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

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A Home Staging Consultation Is Money Well Spent

I receive many phone calls from Los Angeles home sellers who recognize the value of hiring a professional home stager to sell their home, but think they can’t afford it.

Here’s a money saving home staging tip: hire a professional home stager for a home staging consultation and then do the recommended work yourself.

By calling Moving Mountains Design for an occupied house staging consultation, you’ll get expert advice and house selling tips at an affordable price:

  1. Verbal Home Staging Consultation – We’ll walk through your home , inside and out,  and discuss the work that needs to be done to get your home in market ready condition. We can make paint color recommendations, suggest the optimal furniture layout and discuss what items need to be pre-packed or donated. You can ask any questions, show us carpet samples and paint chips you may have picked up. You take all the notes. Do the suggested work on your own schedule.
  2. Comprehensive Home Staging Consultation – We walk through your home with you (including exteriors) and outline the work that needs to be done to get your home in top market ready condition, same as above.  Afterwards, I’ll email you your  custom and very specific comprehensive home staging consultation report. Your report will contain all the recommended changes and tasks that we discussed. In addition, I’ll include information about how to prepare for open houses and showings, how to stage your closets, how to stage your garden, how to stage your garage, and how to stage your kitchen cabinets. Once again you save money by doing the recommended work yourself.

Once you’ve completed all or part of the suggestions in your Home Staging Consultation, the Moving Mountains Design team will come in and complete any portion of the work you would like. Our services are completely a la carte. The more work you do yourself, the more money you will save. 

 Here’s what a recent Pasadena home staging consultation client had to say:

…The best decision we made in this whole process was hiring you. It’s no exaggeration to say that we couldn’t have gotten any of this done without you — we didn’t even know where to begin.


We also offer cost-effective interior design, decorating or redesign consultations.
Many homeowners are not planning on moving in the near future, but want to redecorate or refresh their current interior decorating. Once again, you can do all the work yourself, do some of the work and hire us to complete the project or hire us to complete your project while you put your feet up and relax. We can handle everything from light redecorating to full-on kitchen and bath remodels (we only work with licensed and insured contractors and sub-contractors!)

To schedule a home staging consultation appointment, call (626)441-8975 or send me an email at Michelle@MovingMountainsDesign.com.

Moving Mountains Design – We know what makes homes sell!™

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+Michelle Minch