Archive for Remodeling

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…


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


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

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

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A Great Professional Home Stager Is Like A Swiss Army Knife

An experienced house stager has a lot in common with a fully-loaded Swiss Army Knife™.

A home stager is like a fully loaded Swiss Army Knife

Since WWII, the trusty Swiss Army Knife™ has been the go-to tool for soldiers, campers, fishermen, construction workers, even Hollywood Bowl goers (mainly for the corkscrew and for slicing cheese:o). I even have a Swiss Army Knife™ in my home staging tool kit!

The Swiss Champ™ has 35 tools or “features” and there’s not a lot you can’t fix or attend to with a Swiss Champ™ in your pocket.

The more experienced the home stager, the more tools she is likely to have at her disposal.

I like the think I’m the Swiss Champ™ of home stagers. Like the problem solving Swiss Army Knife™, Moving Mountains Design can be the solution for many home selling difficulties:

  • Need advice on how to add umph to your front yard to enhance curb appeal? A home staging consultation will cover that
  • Need a recommendation for inexpensive carpet, granite counter-tops, reliable movers or storage? I’ve got several to choose from in my contact list
  • Don’t know what color to paint your living room to appeal to more buyers? I know the perfect color
  • Not sure if your furniture will help or hurt the sale of your home? I can assess your furniture and let you know if I think it will advance your goal to sell your home for top dollar
  • Is your home vacant and feels empty with no furniture? I can provide a few rooms or a whole house of furniture, artwork and accessories to make your home look like a model home
  • Don’t have a real estate agent to list your home? I’ve worked or interacted with 100’s, all over Los Angeles, Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley and I know who does a good job
  • Not sure if you should spend the money on remodeling your house for sale? I can tell you which upgrades should  help with a faster sale or a higher selling price
  • Do you need to sell your home fast and as-is? I work with real estate investors that can close escrow in as little as 1 week for all cash – no banks, no mortgage approvals, no appraisals

If you’re the listing agent, I can help you with:

  • Photographing your listing after staging. I’ll provide professional quality photographs of the homes we stage for use in marketing
  • Writing your marketing materials
  • Sending an email blast to 1,800+ real estate professionals on my mailing list
  • Convincing your client of the importance of doing certain repairs, upgrades or staging in order to effect a faster sale at a higher price

As you can see, an experienced home stager has a lot in common with the trusty Swiss Army Knife™.

Smart home owners, real estate agents and real estate investors have one in their pocket. Do you?



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+Michelle Minch