Archive for Resources

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]

Post to Twitter


Cost To Replace Kitchen Appliances When Selling A Home

I’m often asked how much it costs to replace kitchen appliances when recommended for selling a home.

On occassion, during the course of a home staging consultation, I recommend the homeowner replace some or all of their kitchen appliances as part of upgrading their home to ensure a faster sale at a higher price. The cost, while not pocket change, is usually minimal when compared to the cost of carrying the home for extra months while it sits unsold.

Los Angeles home buyers want a move in ready house.

Home buyers don’t want an allowance to make repairs, replace the carpet or buy new appliances. Excuse me for repeating myself: Home buyers want a move in ready house. Your list price will have to be considerably lower or your allowance considerably higher than the cost of actually replacing the appliances, replacing the carpet or doing repairs.

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and an updated, attractive kitchen will help sell your home.

I did some research to find some very cost effective replacement appliance upgrade packages in Los Angeles. These costs come from advertising flyers in the Los Angeles Times and the Pasadena Star News. I don’t guarantee these prices. These prices may or may not be available when you go into the store to purchase them. If you shop around, you may get an even better price. And don’t forget to apply for your rebates from your electric company and natural gas utility. Many are offering rebates of $100 or more if you replace your old appliances with Energy Star appliances.

From Pacific Sales:

Whirlpool 4 piece Stainless Steel Upgrade Kitchen Package $2,199. with stainless steel refrigerator, dishwasher, 30″ range and over-the-range microwave.

Frigidare 4 piece Stainless Steel Upgrade Kitchen Package with Counter Depth Refrigerator $2,499. This includes a stainless steel 5 burner gas range, over-the-range microwave, dishwasher and counter-depth refrigerator.

According to the Pacific Sales advertising circular, the Whirlpool prices are “Before Additional Instant In-Store Savings”

From Warehouse Discount Center:

Unbranded 4 piece white appliance package $1,199.96 with dishwasher, 30″ range and over-the-range microwave.

Frigidare 4 piece Stainless Upgrade Kitchen Package $1,999.96. Refrigerator has ice and water in the door, dishwasher, 30″ range and over-the-range microwave.

You may be able to get free delivery, free installation and free recycling of your old appliance. Check store for details.

As you can see, for less than the cost of 1 monthly mortgage payment (for most homeowners) you can replace your kitchen appliances to give your kitchen a fresh new look.

If your home sells one month more quickly than if you hadn’t upgraded the appliances, it will be well worth the cost!




Post to Twitter


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?



Post to Twitter


A Free Marketing Resource For Real Estate Agents

Here’s a great FREE information resource for Real Estate Agents, Mortgage Brokers and other real estate professionals!

Are you a real estate agent, mortgage broker or other real estate professional who works with home sellers that are facing foreclosure or a short sale? I recently discovered a great resource that can be co-branded with your logo and contact information. The material is provided by Fannie Mae on their website.  There are brochures, statement inserts, flyers, letters and pocket folders available for free download.

Create your own real estate marketing materials

From the website:

Fannie Mae has created a suite of helpful tools to educate homeowners on their options to avoid foreclosure. With the Storefront, you can access, customize (with your logo and contact information), and download these materials to use with your borrower outreach efforts.

When you click on one of the flyer options it looks like this:

Fannie Mae Flier to avoid foreclosure


If you already work with homeowners  facing foreclosure or considering a short sale, this is an excellent way to provide up-to-date information and tips. If you would like to increase your business by working with homeowners who are seeking a solution to their potential foreclosure or short sale, these free collateral marketing materials (which look very professional, by the way) are a great way to jump start that market.

Go to the Fannie Mae Know Your Options website and sign up (free) to access the collateral marketing materials.

As a professional Los Angeles home stager, I am constantly on the lookout for free or low cost marketing materials to share with my real estate industry partners. I want you to be successful! Contact me today to learn how home staging can help your listings sell faster and for more money!

Post to Twitter

+Michelle Minch