Holiday Decorating – Home Seller Beware

After decorating my front yard this past weekend as a scary cemetery complete with ghosts and ghouls for Halloween, it made me wonder what’s best for home sellers to do during the holidays, decorate or not?

Sometimes it’s hard enough to get sellers to agree to remove certain objects or tone down accessories in their home or front lawn. So, when it comes time to decorate for Halloween, display pilgrims and turkeys, set-up the menorah or Christmas lights and trees, what are stagers or even Realtors to do to make sure the home still appeals to buyers?

It’s hard to imagine buyers receiving a good vibe on a home if they’re walking up to the door surrounded by a makeshift cemetery. Plus, they may get distracted with the holiday d├ęcor and overlook the curb appeal. While Halloween and Thanksgiving are celebrated by most, Hanukkah and Christmas are religious holidays that buyers could discriminate against. So, it’s important for sellers to target buyers based on your neighborhood. If your neighborhood is festive during Christmas then a buyer would expect Christmas decorations at your home, on the other hand, if you live in a “politically correct” neighborhood with a mix of religious beliefs use more generic decorations to promote Season’s Greetings rather than your specific holiday.

While it’s easier to take your home off the market during this time of year, many sellers can’t afford to lose those months. Keeping your home on the market can be beneficial there is usually less inventory and those looking to buy are serious, but it may be hard to schedule appointments and many agents take time off then. If you do plan to keep that for sale sign up make sure you keep your decorations to a minimum.

Exterior Decorating

Keep the tinsel, garland and most of those blow-up characters in storage. The entrance should be simple. Use more natural elements: For fall add pumpkins, stacks of hay, cornstalks and don’t forget to plant some mums (you can also prepare the home for spring now by planting daffodils and tulips). For winter group poinsettias and use evergreens to create floral arrangements. Door wreaths welcome all to your home and set the stage for celebrating. Use holiday colors that blend in with and dress up your home’s exterior colors. Attach tree branches from your garden, gourds or flowers, and ribbons. Use a few strands of white lights for elegance or keep to a color scheme, forget about the multi-color strands this year. Most importantly, refrain from objects attributable to specific religions.

Scene Stealers Inside

During staging it’s important to make focal points stand out so don’t block or cover up fireplaces, stairs, and stained-glass windows those features that sell. Rooms filled with decorations can feel smaller and stops the buyer’s eyes from visualizing themselves in the space. Choose specific areas to stage with festive themes. You want buyers to see themselves celebrating their holidays in your house. To do this you want to create a simple, clean, cozy space with your decorations. Set your formal dining room for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Bring in a Christmas tree making sure it’s not oversized. Again use natural elements to bring in texture and interest like an evergreen garland or pine cone centerpiece. Color is also important to keep in mind keep within a color scheme. Red is not only the color of Christmas, but it’s an emotionally appealing color that you are able to use in the space.

Don’t forget to think about what the holidays mean to you then incorporate that into your vignettes. Do you love decorating the tree? Creating a Gingerbread House? Making Apple Cider? Christmas Morning? Family Dinners? Or Sitting by the Fire? Create those imagines for buyers. Play into Using the Five Sense to make them feel at home.

And just because you may not be able to decorate as you would in the past, you can still celebrate those traditions, take part in holiday activities and get in the festive mood through ‘buyer’s eyes,’ it’s a spirit that may result in selling your home.

Network Marketing – Is Network Marketing A Good Home Business For Me?

Network marketing has become a respectable way to enable millions of ordinary, everyday people start and run a business from the comfort of their own homes. Based on the idea of ‘networking’, it starts with your immediate circle of family, friends and colleagues and broadens out to reach those in their network. If you are wondering “is network marketing a good home business for me?”, read on for some helpful pointers.

Network marketing is a business strategy where owners pay a small start-up fee, but do not receive a salary. They receive a commission directly from their own sales (and also a percentage from anyone else they recruit), so that income is directly related to how much effort and marketing is put into play. The idea is to extend your customer base using face-to-face, party-plan, ebrochure, and any other selling methods you choose.

If you are deciding whether network marketing is a good home business for you, what are some of the things you should consider?

1) Are you a confident type of person? If you want to build a serious home business in network marketing, you need to be able to meet and greet complete strangers and be comfortable demonstrating or talking about your product.

2) How much time can you devote to your business? Preparing, planning, phoning, demonstrating, and the delivering of products/catalogues can be time consuming. Whatever time is available, having a plan in place means you are far less likely to waste time and actually get things done quicker. Also factor in time to learn training techniques taught by your company, which is a great business-building tool.

3) Are you a team leader? At some point in your business you may want to earn extra income from other people’s efforts. You can do this by notching up significant sales for yourself to become a team leader. Many networkers have surprised themselves to see their confidence grow to such an extent that they attract other people who want to join their ‘team’.

Before finally deciding if network marketing is a good home business for you, research the business you are interested in thoroughly by asking yourself a few questions:

* Can you experience the products for yourself so that you are comfortable selling them?
* Can you shadow someone to see what kind of effort is necessary to build a profitable home business?
* Can you check out what additional or ongoing training is available?
* Can you be introduced to the area supervisors to find out what support you can expect from your upline?
* Is the product very expensive? You may find that people are not so quick to buy luxury items in times of recession unless there is a totally unique selling point.
* Is the product an ‘evergreen’? Evergreens tend to be things that never go out of fashion, or items that people will always need, such as make-up or vitamins.

At the end of the day, whether you choose network marketing or not, all home based businesses will require effort, motivation and determination to achieve success. At least you are guaranteed top position as your own boss regardless of age, status or gender!

Having come this far, what will you do next? If you linger a little longer, I would like to introduce you to a business strategy that already works for thousands around the world. Knowing that finding your business is only the first step, this model builds layer upon layer to help launch you confidently into your chosen niche, and also gives you your own business to promote. I hope ‘Network marketing – is network marketing a good home business for me?’ has been helpful.

Staging a Home During the Holidays

As a large portion of my business we Stage hundreds of homes every year. At this time of year with the Holidays approaching I am asked by clients and Realtors what we recommend for Holiday Decorating.

1. First of all let’s start with the outside. I like to see lights outside but kept to specific areas that will make our product shine.

2. A spot light on a beautiful wooden door with a LARGE wreath is fantastic. If there are tall wooden columns flanking the entry showcase them with lights and natural green boughs of Pine. Natural Pine roping can be found at Nursery’s and Christmas tree retailers.

3. I like to stay true to the products age and Architecture. Showcase any Trees you may have with lights. You can either hang lights from low branches and/or Spot Light those tall Evergreens.

4. I like to see all the lights the same color as not to “clutter” the visual affect. White lights are gorgeous, in my opinion, yet will the perspective buyer notice another White Holiday lit home?

5. All Red or All Blue or Green lights perhaps. They need to flatter the selling features and compliment the products color and style.

Warm & Inviting is always a Stagers desire for the exterior of a home for sale. This is the perfect time of year to Stage your product. The idea is to have the Buyer WANT to be there to EXPERIENCE the Holidays.

WOW them with a bold statement done simply.

Consider using the new LED window candles in every window that can be seen from the street. Makes ya just want to go in and be cozy.

Really understanding who it is you are Marketing too is crucial.

1. With Interiors it can be tricky. We Stagers are accustomed to asking our clients to minimize all religious Icons. There are however certain neighborhoods known for their Church, Synagogue, Temple and so on. In my city where we live there is an entire area of town called The Saint Jude’s neighborhood. Having a Nativity scene in this specific neighborhood could be a positive point.

2. I recommend that my clients really discipline themselves to only display a small portion of their decorations.

3. Keeping the product warm & inviting, cheerful and uncluttered should be the goal.

4. A particular home here in my hometown always has their Christmas tree in their beautiful 10 ft. windows. If I were looking in that area and price range… that staged scene of that tree would have me buying in a heartbeat

5.This is the perfect time to have a Dining Room set for a party. This would have the buyer dreaming of perhaps them entertaining their friends and family in that room.
Staging any home is problem solving.

Be particularly careful not to leave decorations up after the New Year. It conveys that you are not “on top of things”. I recommend that an exterior door wreath be replaced with any other shaped decoration for winter such as a basket with cascading greens or a Pear shape. The wreath, circle, shape seen on homes in February will look like a Holiday Wreath.

A great source for inspiration is the Better Homes & Gardens online site.

Please Decorate your home even while it is in the market. Life is short and you need to enjoy your home during the selling process, but PLEASE restrain yourself.