8 Lessons You Can Learn From an Open House - Guest post by Houzz

When we were in the process of selling our home, I was surprised to learn from my real estate agent that open houses are not typically thought to be effective in selling a house. “They’re just for the neighbors” is the going logic. But there are plenty of reasons to attend open houses, whether or not you are looking to buy. Here are eight reasons to check out those weekend open houses near you.

Nest in the Trees

1. Get to know your local housing market before you sell. This is something I wish we had done. Simply attending a few open houses in your neighborhood can give you an education about the housing market in your area beyond what your real estate agent can tell you. The prices of comparable homes, features that are popular and attendance levels at open houses can be valuable data to gather before you put your home on the market.

Northside Colonial

2. Get ideas for staging. Whether you are looking for a professional to help you stage your home or want to do it yourself, attending open houses is a great way to pick up ideas. Notice wall colors, furniture arrangements, styles and accessories, and use this information as a jumping-off point for your own staging process. Related: Spruce Up an Overlooked Space in Your Home With These Home Decor Products

Laguna Vista

3. Gather design inspiration. On the other hand, if you’ve recently purchased a home and are looking for decorating and remodeling ideas, local open houses can show you what other homeowners have done. It’s especially helpful to look at homes that have floor plans similar to yours. Related: Browse Bedroom Design Ideas

Contemporary Farmhouse

4. Get comfortable in a home you are considering buying. If you’ve been seriously looking to buy for a while, and you have narrowed your prospects down to a few favorite homes, attending the open house can be a nice way to explore the home further and hear what other open house attendees are saying.

Princess Margaret Residence

5. Get referrals for pros. If you live in the neighborhood and are looking for a good contractor, designer or other professional, scoping out open houses can be a good way to view that pro’s work firsthand. Most agents have established relationships with pros they know and trust, and are happy to share recommendations. But if you are there without any intention of buying, don’t take up the agent’s time during a busy open house. Wait for a slow stretch and be honest and upfront about what you are looking for.

Mountain Hill Home-- Family Room

6. Be a fly on the wall. If you’re thinking of selling your home soon, having some idea of what buyers are looking for in your neighborhood can be incredibly helpful. There’s no need to pretend that you’re a potential buyer while attending open houses. Most agents realize that neighbors like to attend open houses, and it’s best to be honest (or at least quiet) and not waste an agent’s time with pretense.

Rockridge 2: Designed, Staged, & Sold

7. Meet your future agent. Seeing an agent in action is a great way to get a feel for his or her style and consider whether you would work well together. We met our buyer’s agent at an open house she was working. We didn’t really mesh with the house (and weren’t quite ready to buy), but we were impressed with the agent, so when it was time to get serious about house shopping, we looked her up.

1215 NE THOMPSON ST, PORTLAND OR

8. Think of it as a practice run. We’ve all heard stories of the “love at first sight” home purchase. But if you’re buying a house for the first time, it can be a good idea to get in a few practice runs before you begin your search in earnest. Once you’ve viewed 10 or more houses, you won’t be as thrown off by the process. Tip: Keep a list of must-have items to check at each home you see, and get some practice running through your checklist at open houses before you really begin your search.

This post was written by Laura Gaskill, Houzz and posted by RealBird with permission.


How to Sell Your Home Faster to a Younger Buyer - Guest Post By Houzz

Educating my clients about the audience they will be marketing to is one of the most important things a home stager can do. When you put your home on the market to sell, you should know that the next owner will likely be younger than you are. That's why you should stop thinking about what you like or want in a home and start thinking about what your most likely buyer will want.
Modern living
1. Stick with warm, neutral walls. If your target demographic is "young professional" or "young family," try using a warm gray as a neutral wall color. The gold or pinky-beige wall color you chose 10 years ago is going to seem outdated to this new group of home buyers. On-trend neutrals like grays allow potential homeowners to envision bringing in complementary colors and clean-lined furnishings to make it their own.
Various Work
2. Invest in white cabinetry. Many home buyers younger than 40 prefer white or off-white kitchen cabinetry. They don't want to see their momma's dark kitchen cabinetry in their new home! Consider a kitchen facelift if you have dark kitchen cabinetry with orange or red undertones. Benjamin Moore's Advance is a great paint to consider. It's a hybrid of latex and oil, and it requires very little prep work.
Teri Turan
3. Update your appliances. Many younger home buyers cannot fathom buying a home without stainless steel appliances. You'll need to update your almond ones with stainless replacements before putting it on the market.
Impala Black
4. Look for simple stone countertops. Granite and stone countertops are a must-have for most young home buyers — it will make the difference between whether they choose your home or your neighbor's home. But don't make the mistake of installing busy or taste-specific granite that may not appeal to everyone. If you plan to be in your home for a long time, go for it — but not if you plan to sell within the next few years. Instead, choose a granite that is almost black or something with a minimum of colors and veining. Anything more might be a turnoff to those picky younger buyers.
Summer Home
5. Open up your shower space. Young professionals love large, open glass showers. The garden-variety tub isn't where it's at anymore.
Cow Hollow Historic Home
6. Keep it simple for families with children. People with young kids are less likely to want a fixer-upper. If your target demographic is "young family with small children," it's important that your property be ready for them to move right in. Make sure the home has no unfinished projects or red flags for young families. 7. Consider selling your home as a fixer-upper. If your neighborhood is becoming a mecca for young professionals, there may be some appeal to the fixer-upper if the price is right. These younger adults without children may have the time, energy and imagination for making over an older home. Even so, the price will have to be lower than if it were picture perfect.

7 Personalized Spaces: The Joy of the Calculated Risk - Guest Post by Houzz

We've all heard the expression, "the greater the risk, the greater the return." The risk/return tradeoff is generally discussed regarding a financial investment, but does the same apply when investing in your home's decor? REALTORS® around the world would vehemently discourage the risks in this ideabook because highly customized homes often yield a lower return when the home goes on the market. But let's focus more on the satisfaction the homeowner receives from realizing their personal vision. For someone who desires to break out of cookie-cutter decor, the risk definitely outweighs any expert opinion.

Kohi House

The lady who grew up envying the doll who had everything can now live the dream in a pink kitchen of her own. Sleek cabinetry in a sweet, high-gloss pink is balanced by white lower cabinets and hardwood floors. This delicate balance keep the space contemporary and less confectionery. Related: Inspired? Here’s How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Like a Pro

Diamond and Baratta design

For a colorful family with an appreciation of the arts comes a two-story foyer from Diamond Baratta Design with flair and personality to match. There is so much to love about this space, from its saturated hues to the shiny tiled floors, captivating mural, artsy stair runner and the Murano glass chandelier. The black door, trim and railing add polished accents to this enchanting space.

Dining Rooms

Purple isn't just for royalty. Enjoy vivid colors in custom drapery and even in your chandeliers. Both can carry a high price tag, but when it's something you love, it's okay to splurge. Many clients request that their decor be unique —something they won't see in anyone else's home. This room and any room you can dream up will fit the bill.

Alki Cottage

Surprise is the spice of life, isn't it? Or is that variety? Enjoy both with a BlueStar Range that offers a splash of color in a pristine white kitchen. Little kitschy elements like this make even mundane chores more enjoyable.

Glam Pop Art

Count on a wise owl to let you know who left the toilet seat up. Be open to ideas on where to place your uncommon finds and leave your guest with something to really talk about.

Handrail

When the saints go marching in, it's not enough to memorialize their presence even with a baby grand piano. Why not make a grander statement with life-size, two-dimensional musicians marching in a row? Taking a stand with an artistic statement never leaves guests to question your family's favorite pastime.

Creazioni Alice Armchair

Try a less permanent statement when exploring life outside the box. Humorous art that captures moments like the one in this painting would make any parent cringe with embarrassment. The irony lies in the fact that it becomes funny when on display and it's not your kid.

 

 


The 4 Basic Types of Home Photographers to Know - Guest Post by Houzz

The Houzz community has a wide range of services and service providers, many united in the need for quality photography showcasing their built projects. There are many ways to photograph a home and many photographers to work with. And many factors come into play in commissioning a photographer. Knowing what kind of photographer you may hire or can afford will help you as you look at the pricing and the fees photographers charge. Here is a discussion of some of the types of photographers an architect, designer or homeowner might hire and what to expect from their background and experience.

St Helena Retreat

1. Architectural or Interior Photographers What they do: A professional architectural or interior photographer often has years of specialized experience photographing architectural interiors and exteriors. He or she knows how to show a space and the circulation within the space. Architects also like the photographer to show the relationship of inside to outside. These photographers own a vast assortment of equipment that they can deploy depending on the assignment and shooting needs. Commonly they do extensive postproduction work, like with Photoshop, to deliver very high-resolution photos that are often intended for publication. What they don't usually do: Architectural or interior photographers aren't necessarily prepared for portraits or casual shots. The gear they use is often big and on a tripod — shooting people or loose compositions is not what they most often do. The process is more exacting, not spontaneous.

Portfolio

2. Real Estate Photographers What they do: A subset of the architectural and interior photography field, real estate photography is often characterized by a photographer working quickly, making few adjustments to the composition or to the arrangement with the room. Real estate photographers may bring a stylized look to the photos with photo editing software such as Photoshop. What they don't usually do: Typically a real estate photographer and the commissioning party do not expect to use the photos for long. The photographer's fee could be considered a sunk cost as soon as the property is sold. As a result, style and the overall design story aren't usually the focus in these photos.

Wedding Ceremony

3. Portrait or Wedding Photographers What they do: Capturing the moment, telling a story and knowing the light are some of the best skills a portrait or wedding photographer can bring to their subjects. These are working professionals who also offer enhancing Photoshop services to make the finished photo better. What they don't usually do: These photos tend to be less controlled than standard home photos. They're less about composition than about capturing the perfect moment. This is quite different from architectural photographers, who now often composite a number of photos in Photoshop to create a single, perfect shot.

High-end home interior

4. Commercial Photographers What they do: A skilled commercial photographer takes photos for use in advertising, merchandising or other types of marketing material. These photographers are very well versed in the mechanics of photography; composing, exposing and delivering high-resolution files for commercial use is standard practice. What they don't usually do: Since they have a specific client and audience in mind, many commercial photographers won't focus on trends in styling or art directing for portfolio and magazine shots.

Richardson, TX: Morgan and Monica Campbell

If You Want to Do It Yourself Of course, if you have an interest in photography, you may want to go the DIY route. Today the camera and equipment needed to make high-resolution photos is in a cost range accessible by many serious amateurs and the designers themselves. A keen eye and patience can go a long way to get some good photos. Practice makes perfect, though! Do your research. Look at inspiring examples and try to implement their style. Discuss your photos with peers, take a class and then practice some more.

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Room of the Day: Preparing a master bath for resale - Guest Post By Houzz

This bathroom was large, but it was a dark dungeon that included features like faux black marble, fluorescent lighting, Lucite faucet handles, a black bidet and, oddly enough, a refrigerator. With her twin boys about to go off to college, this single mom was ready for a change. At the same time, she realized a resale would probably be on the horizon in the next few years, as she wouldn’t need so much space. “My client has really great eclectic and bold taste, but for her future plans we kept things classic and neutral in here,” interior designer Beth Kooby says. She layered in more personal eclectic touches via accessories that can be switched out with ease if necessary.

Paces Neighborhood - Atlanta, GA

Photos by Jeff Herr Photography Bathroom at a Glance Who lives here: A mother and her twin teenage boys Location: Atlanta Size: 144 square feet (13 square meters) “I’m a big fan of classic and clean for the permanent fixtures. That way a bathroom won’t get dated,” Kooby says. “You can always switch out accents like rugs, mirrors, planters and window treatments to update or change up the look later for very little money.”

ROTD: Beth Kooby
 

This plan shows the new layout. The linen closet previously had been a 3-by-3-foot shower stall. Kooby installed the shower where a toilet-bidet closet had been. She borrowed a little room from a large bedroom closet to work in the new bidet-less water closet.

Paces Neighborhood - Atlanta, GA

“The homeowner’s room is light, with touches of citrus, wrought iron and gauzy drapes,” Kooby describes. She created continuity via wrought iron accessories like the vintage accent table and the light fixture, the gauzy linen window treatments and the chartreuse planter. Carrara marble shows up on the vanity top and backsplash, the wall tiles around the room and in the shower. Tip: Bring life into the bathroom with plants. “I love to use plants in a bathroom,” Kooby says. The large planter was a perfect fit for the empty corner between the vanity and the wall. “It’s even more chartreuse than it looks in the photos, and it’s covered in spikes. I got it from one of my go-to spots when I need a good dose of pretty, Lush Life.” She scored the bench at 14th Street Antiques Market. “I love to add in pieces from local antique and consignment shops — I think it adds a lot of interest to the mix,” the designer says.

Paces Neighborhood - Atlanta, GA

After searching high and low, looking at “every mirror in the universe,” Kooby scored the mirrors at Cost Plus World Market. “Mirrors are a great place to add a design element,” she says. “And you can always change the finish or color.” The carved wood frames add an ornate touch that isn’t too delicate or feminine.

Room of the Day: Bye-Bye, Black Bidet — Hello, Classic Carrara

For the floor, the designer chose a reasonably priced stone that looks expensive, from Porcelanosa. In addition to helping them stay within budget, the choice warms up the room. “Too much marble can be harsh sometimes,” she says.

Paces Neighborhood - Atlanta, GA

The new shower is about 5 by 5 feet. The floor and walls are Carrara marble, with penny rounds on the former and a varied linear pattern that mimics stacked stone for the latter.

Paces Neighborhood - Atlanta, GA

Tip: Get out of the bath section when choosing a bathroom rug. Kooby recommends looking for more interesting flat-weave rugs. “They are easy to vacuum and clean; they dry quickly and feel fine on your feet,” she says. “Rugs are made to be walked on. You don’t have to be gentle on them.” The artwork is a print by George Braque, who helped create Cubism with Pablo Picasso. To keep the woodsy views while also providing privacy, Kooby stood in the tub while her client looked up at the room from the driveway outside. The homeowner had never used the old tub, but she wound up using and loving the one put in for resale.