Selling Your Home and Holiday Decorations: How Much is Too Much?

Posted on December 9, 2013

It’s the holiday season, and you’re in the process of selling your home. You’ve decided to keep your property on the market during this time because it’s not difficult for you to prepare your house for showings (even during the holidays), and you figure that although not as many buyers are looking, the ones who are genuinely need to buy. Whatever the reason, your home is on the market and will remain that way through Thanksgiving into December and the coming New Year.

One of the questions that follows given the above scenario is how many decorations should you display? Or more succinctly, how much is too much? You probably already know the answer to that question. In just one word, it’s minimal, or perhaps, tasteful. That being said, my strong hunch is that if you asked professional stagers this same question, they would say the appropriate answer is none. After all, the underlying concept is that the way you live in your “home,” and the way you market and sell your “house” are two different things. And I do adhere to that belief as well as the staging concepts that I expounded in The Top 10 ASP® Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home, specifically that less is more (think clutter-free) and that buyers only know what they see, not the way it’s going to be or the way it could be. But personally, I also believe in self expression, and I think you need to live in a house that you enjoy – even when it’s on the market and especially during the holidays, which only come once a year. Therefore my recommendation is to “Just Do It” and have some holiday decorations in your home. But in the same breath, refrain from using multiple upon multiple strings of outdoor lights and hundreds of interior santas, angels, elves, menorahs or whichever decorative items you choose to display for the holidays.

In other words, opt for more tasteful and limited decorations. For example, on the exterior as you approach your home, you can have planters as pictured here – beautifully designed by Stems & Stalks by Linda. Or interior decorations as featured below with just a few adornments per room – those that enhance and don’t overwhelm the look and those that don’t distract the buyers from seeing the beauty of your property and from imagining themselves as the next owners of your home.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Have you ever been a home seller during the holidays? And if so, how did you handle holiday decorations? And how did the buyers react to your holiday displays? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or on the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (781-267-2844 or www.homesalesbylisa.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

Picking Paint Colors for Your New House

Posted on August 11, 2013

You’ve just bought a new house that is in dire need of new paint colors – or perhaps you’ve been living in your house for some time, and it’s overdue for some fresh paint…. Whatever the case, you now have the daunting task of picking the paint colors. And not just any paint colors – those which you love and with which you are happy and satisfied. With this subject, I’m speaking more about the interior paint because the exterior paint usually only involves one main choice – the body of the house. The trim and shutters are usually easier choices. But it’s the inside of the house that can drive a person crazy….  And I can tell you just how much from my own recent, first-hand experience.

Having lived in my house in Weston, MA for 10+ years, I am not a new home buyer, but I have struggled with interior house painting just as you may have. Each time I have painted interior rooms, I have found the experience to be difficult, confusing and frustrating at times. And because of this, I wanted to share a few thoughts and tips that I have learned about the picking of interior paints in an effort to make the process potentially easier for you (at least I hope that’s the case):

  • Paint a sample of the paint color on the wall. Do you agree that it’s virtually impossible to tell from the paint wheel what the color is going to look like on the wall that you’re painting? My suggestion is to buy a paint sample, and paint it on your wall. Furthermore, when doing this, you might want to paint the whole wall. Don’t make the mistake that I did…. I painted a color sample in my daughter’s room but just painted a few strokes, and once the room was fully painted, it had a very different look and the effect was much different than when just a few paint strokes were on the wall. Frustrated by this, I turned my focus online, and I found the Benjamin Moore website, which ended up serving as an incredible resource with extremely valuable information. You can order samples online, and the website also provides Best Selling Paint Colors, Color Trends, Designer Favorites and much more – priceless information from my perspective. So the bottom line is that I learned from my error and found a fabulous resource in the meantime.
  • Consider how much light the room gets. If the room you are painting is doused in sunlight from morning to evening, the pastel color that you have picked, for example, might get washed out. On the other hand, if the room is dark and you choose a navy blue color, the effect of the color once the room is fully painted will likely be darker than anticipated. Decorations and wall hangings – and all of the colors therein – can also influence the paint color and bring out different hues in the color. These are factors you will likely want to consider when making the important paint color choices.

  • Keep in mind the colors of the rooms in your house as you make decisions. I picked two entirely different blue colors for my daughter’s and son’s rooms, which happen to be next to one another. At least I thought they were entirely different colors. But once on the walls, the blues looked almost identical. And now, when I walk up the stairs to the second floor and take in both paint colors as I do so, the paint colors look the same, and it bothers me. A lot. I didn’t think about putting blue colors in rooms right next door to one another because I thought that the blues were different enough that they wouldn’t end up looking so similar. My bad as they say…. But instead of doing anything about it for now, I’m going to live with it, and see how I feel over time. The good news is that the kids don’t care. They love their blue colors – despite the fact that they’re almost identical and their rooms are right next door to one another.
  • Consult with your painter. Sometimes your painter can add incredible insight, expertise and perspective on your paint color decisions – after all, s/he paints every day all day. That being said, your painter might also shy away from weighing in on these discussions and decisions as s/he doesn’t want to be culpable and bear a sense of responsibility if you ultimately hate the color. Ask and see where your painter falls on the advice spectrum – if s/he is willing to consult, it could be a great help.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Have you been a new home buyer with many rooms to paint and faced the dilemmas of which colors to pick for which rooms? Or maybe you bought a house with perfect paint colors and so there was no need to paint? Or what about those of you who have lived in your house for several years but need a change of colors? What are your recommendations for interior painting and picking the right colors? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or on the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (781-267-2844 or www.homesalesbylisa.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

Selling Your Home: Tips to Make Your Foyer Fabulous

Posted on July 8, 2013

This is one of my favorite subjects – what to do when selling your home to maximize a buyer’s first impression. Not to be redundant, but it bears repeating – “You have only one chance to make a first impression.” And it’s worth doing everything you can to make that first impression a positive one, especially when selling your house….

Ok, so back to my love of this subject. With Making Your Home’s Exterior Show Ready, we covered making your home’s exterior sparkle and shine. And with Appealing to the Visual Sense: Selling a Shiny, Sparkling Home and More Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home, we did the same for your home’s interior. This is about a buyer first stepping foot into your home, specifically into your entryway. Optimizing the buyer’s initial glance into your home, namely by way of the foyer, is of paramount importance.

Last year, my post 5 Simple Tips to Optimize Your Entryway was based on recommendations from one of my favorites, Nate Berkus. He advocated (1) painting your entryway a bold color to show your personality, (2) adding a console table, (3) displaying a patterned rug or runner, (4) featuring vintage hooks and (5) hanging a mirror. And now, I’d like to offer more tips to make your foyer fabulous and to create a favorable initial impression for those buyers as they first walk through your front door. This time I have researched tips from such sources as Houzz.com, Better Homes and Gardens, House Beautiful, Southern Living and DecoratingFiles.com, and I’d like to share some consistent thoughts and ideas from all of these fabulous home design experts:

  • Create a seamless transition from the outside of your home to the inside. According to Houzz.com, “Try to follow the style of the rest of your house [both inside and out] and make your foyer the ambassador of the theme.” Think of it like this… when buyers walk inside the door and into your foyer, they know what to expect in terms of design, colors and decorative choices from that moment on and as they proceed throughout your house.
  • Don’t overlook the importance of your front door. A gorgeous door will impact your foyer from the inside and outside. This is one I hadn’t thought about, but now it seems so obvious and makes such good sense.
  • Let the lights shine. Having a table lamp, chandelier or some kind of lighting source not only provides brightness to the foyer but adds warmth too. It sets the right tone when buyers walk through the door.
  • Add cozy seating options. A chair or small love seat is inviting and adds warmth and practicality. And this is a definite if you are asking buyers to remove their shoes or wear booties while viewing your home. This way they can sit right down after entering your home and leave their shoes behind.
  • Keep your entryway simple, neat and organized. This is hard because the foyer is not only how buyers first enter your house, it’s also your first entry point. It’s important, however, that this area is de-cluttered when buyers step into your home. Otherwise it could be a big, messy turn-off. Put your keys, coins and other paraphernalia in attractive baskets or bowls to organize them. Store coats, hats and mittens in a closet, and display an appealing umbrella stand in the event of rain.
  • Convey a sense of your personality, interests and tastes. As Houzz.com reports, “Make your entryway individual by adding family pictures or sculptures from your travels, something that speaks about the people who live in the house.” This will allow buyers to have a sense of you as a person – not just as a seller – and will allow them to begin to identify with you, which is a good thing. Personally, I love adding flowers, candles and fun decorations to my entryway table. The only caveat is don’t go crazy with the number of personal touches you add to the foyer; simple, neat and organized is still extremely important.
  • Make sure your entryway is clean and mud-free. This goes without saying, especially when selling your home. Add a welcome mat outside the front door to catch some dirt, and then have a small rug just as the buyers walk into the house to contain the rest of the yuck. And as mentioned before, if you would like buyers to remove their shoes or wear booties, it’s great to feature a shoe tray or boot rack so they have an easy place to store their footwear. It keeps things clean too.

What are your thoughts about your entryway? Have you incorporated tips like these to make your foyer fabulous when selling your home – or even when you’re not selling your home and just want to delight in and enjoy the space? And/or do you have other fun tips to make your entryway appealing? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or on the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (781-267-2844 or www.homesalesbylisa.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

Your Favorite Sofa Material?

Posted on July 5, 2013


Not only is this question about understanding consumer preferences and trends, it’s also admittedly a plea for help…. Over the years, I have always bought upholstered sofas – those you would find at Calico Corners, Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn, for example.  But now I have three cats (and a dog too) who claw, claw my couches to kingdom come, and I’m at my wit’s end. It’s not the hair I mind, it’s the destruction of the couches. What can I do about this? Or maybe even better – what kind of couches can I buy that my cats won’t destroy? Suede? Leather? Microfiber? Other materials?

I have heard that leather can be more scratch-resistant, and I know that they are also great for kids with allergies. But I’ve never had a leather sofa, and so I am not used to the look. And isn’t suede super expensive? I certainly love the look of it though. I’m hearing that microfiber could be the solution to the problem, and yet it seems that the options are limited in terms of the couch’s look and design (think solid colors or basic patterns).

What are your thoughts on the subject? What is your favorite sofa material without adding in the complications of pets, children, allergies, etc.? And what do you recommend if you do have those complications? For example, if you are living in a jungle with animals that love nothing more than to scratch, scratch, scratch (like I am)? Is there a sofa option that is practical and beautiful at the same time? Or when it comes right down to it, do you ultimately have to sacrifice one for the other (beauty for practicality)? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or on the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (781-267-2844 or www.homesalesbylisa.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

Your Favorite Household Big-Time Item?

Posted on June 22, 2012

This is another just for fun topic that is similar but different from Your Favorite Home Purchase. In that blog, we were talking about smaller items – flowers, candles, pillows and the like – that you purchased for your home. Now we’re talking about the big kahuna – furniture, appliances, electronics, works of art, rugs – substantial items that add presence to your home. And these items may have been purchased, given as gifts or acquired some other way.

So back to the question at hand – what is your favorite household big-time item? Is it a sofa, armchair, flat-screened television, dishwasher drawer, lighting fixture or piece of art? And is it your favorite item in your house simply because you love the look or the way it adds to your home? Or does it have family significance or sentimentality? Or does it just make your life easier? And is your favorite household big-time item the most expensive purchase in your home – and therefore you love it in an extra special way? Or is it the opposite – something that you received as a gift or that was a real bargain?

When I ask myself this question, I vacillate between two things….  One is my “pair of men” andirons (one “man” is pictured here) that my father gave me from his Nantucket, MA home (my dream house as some of you may remember). These men are so unique and full of character; I love their proud stances and their one arm akimbo (remember learning that expression when you were growing up?).  Every time we have a fire in the winter, I smile when I look at them. They are so fun and serious at the same time.

The second is a gold, antique mirror (pictured here), also from my Dad’s Nantucket house, which now sits above my living room mantle. My Dad can’t be reached for comment at this time, so I don’t know all of the history of this item. (Honestly, he might not know either.) But I can tell you that this mirror has seen quite a bit of history in its long life; it has the markings of age in its gilded wood pieces, some of which are broken off, and in its mirror, which has that antiqued, somewhat worn reflective look.  The bottom line, though, is that it is gorgeous and adds tremendous presence to my living room. You can’t walk into this room and not take notice….

But at the end of the day, I think my “pair of men” really win the prize. I just love their stances and the uniqueness and flair that they add to my home, not to mention that they came from my Dad’s home in Nantucket and are therefore quite special to me…. What are your thoughts about your own big-time home items? Which one or several are your favorites? And why are they your favorites? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (781-267-2844 or www.homesalesbylisa.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.