Posted on March 10, 2013
Home staging is without a doubt one of my favorite subjects. It’s basically the intersection or coming together of two of my most loved concepts – home decorating and selling real estate. Over the years, I have looked to Nate Berkus and Barbara Corcoran for tips on how to make a home or room look better and appeal to as many buyers as possible. And today, my source for home staging tips is Boston Magazine. In its recent March issue featuring the Best Places to Live 2013, Boston Magazine said, “Sellers, Take Note…” and offered these six tips on staging your home:
- “Stage early. You may think the clock starts with the first open house, but the pictures are what actually kick off the selling process. Turning on lamps during a shoot is key. ‘Natural light casts blue,’ says Julie Chrissis, of Chrissis & Company Interiors. ‘Lamps throw yellow light and most people relate to that warm feeling.’ Limit your listing to 10 to 15 images. Anything more just overwhelms.” My two cents – 100% yes to the warm lighting and the number of photos….
- “Ban the books. We’re a well-read city, but the idea of living inside a library can leave buyers feeling claustrophobic. If you want to keep a few tomes on display, align the bindings on the edge of a shelf. And pack away any [subject matter] that might be off-putting.” My take – this is an extreme situation. Most sellers have an appropriate amount of books on display. But if the number of books is overwhelming and distracts from the space, then by all means, get rid of some of the books.
- “Update the paint. New paint is the cheapest way to overhaul a room. ‘Fresh paint can really clean the whole house up, get rid of all the scuff and dirt marks that bear traces of someone else,’ says Heidi Pribell, an interior decorator and stager.” I couldn’t agree more – new paint always seems to do the trick of giving a fresh, clean look, which is priceless when it comes to selling your home.
- “Stash personal effects. ‘You want buyers to come in and feel comfortable, not like they’re trespassing,’ Pribell says. While wedding photos and graduation pictures must go, Chrissis suggests keeping a few ‘nondescript’ candids on hands. ‘A buyer should ask, Did that come with the frame?’” My feeling on this is similar to my thoughts on the books. As long as the number of photos isn’t excessive and the depictions aren’t too revealing in nature, it’s fine to keep them. The other rule of thumb is to make sure the personal effects aren’t such that they prove to draw more attention than the spaces or rooms in your home. You want to keep the buyers focused on the task at hand – buying your house – and not figuring out your familial relations and friendships.
- “Pack up the home office. ‘With our community of entrepreneurs, I see a ton of people who work from home…but most don’t do so in the neatest way,’ Chrissis says. Since home offices are the hardest to photograph for MLS listings, consider boxing things up here first.” From my perspective, let’s just say that when it comes to selling a home, neat can’t be beat. Having orderly, de-cluttered spaces optimizes the sale-ability of a home.
- “Leave the lights on. Do agents a favor and illuminate your home before potential buyers arrive. The last thing you want is someone fumbling through your bedroom looking for a lamp.” Can I just say – Alleluia and Amen?! Not to mention thank you in advance for leaving those lights on and saving us an extra five minutes which sometimes we don’t have when showings run late and travel is highly trafficked.
What are your thoughts on the subject of home staging? Do you agree with these tips? Or do you have other – possibly more effective – thoughts on the subject? 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.
Posted on August 28, 2012
As was the case in 2010 and 2009, Weston High School has once again ranked #1 in Boston Magazine’s Best Schools 2012. Behind Weston were many nearby schools, including Lexington High (#2), Dover-Sherborn Regional High (#3), Concord-Carlisle High (#4), Wellesley Senior High (#5), Wayland High (#6), Needham High (#14) and Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High (#16). In 2011, Weston Public Schools ranked #3 behind Dover-Sherborn and Concord-Carlisle.
Whereas last year’s issue highlighted the performance and statistics of the entire public school systems, this year’s issue focused on the public high schools. According to Boston Magazine, “We called … all 222 high schools in the area* to determine graduation rates, student-teacher ratios, number of extracurriculars, and so on. And then we crunched the numbers to come up with our proprietary ranking. Since there’s no one measure to rate the quality of a high school, we used a formula that incorporates 13 different data points. We gave the most weight to academics, including performance on the MCAS, the SATs, and AP exams, because a school’s first priority is a proper education. We also factored in both graduation rates and the percentage of students who go to college. This year, we dialed back—slightly—the importance placed on student-teacher ratio and per-pupil spending, because while they do contribute to learning, recent studies show that they’re not educational silver bullets. Finally, we considered the number of sports and clubs offered, since extracurricular activities are essential to teaching teamwork and leadership. They also look good on college applications.”
Since my children attend the Weston public schools, I am admittedly thrilled about Weston High School’s #1 ranking. I’m also curious about your thoughts. Many people consider these school rankings when determining where to live and raise a family. Were they an important factor in your decision on where to settle? And does this year’s Boston Magazine’s analysis of the public high schools seem on target? I can’t wait to hear….
For more information on these schools or about 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.
* Boston Magazine states that it confined its analysis to cities and towns inside I-495.
Posted on March 9, 2012
As part of Boston Magazine‘s Best Places to Live 2012 feature in the recent March issue, the monthly magazine included the segment – “Swanky Town Smackdown! How Boston’s Best, Fanciest, Suburbs Stack Up.” The magazine touted the 10 Best Suburbs of Boston as Brookline, Weston, Lincoln, Wellesley, Manchester, Newton, Winchester, Lexington, Concord and Belmont (in order of the highest to lowest median home price). And the towns were then rated on the following categories:
- Prettiest Outdoor and Green Spaces- Wellesley is the winner – “For having everything from English gardens to a sandy pond beach.”
- Main Street/Town Center Cuteness Rating (Scale of 1 – 10) – Concord is the winner – “For its quintessential New England appeal. It’s the perfect spot for a Sunday-morning walk.” Concord scored a “perfect 10,” and Lexington was a close second with 9.5.
- Commute Time to Boston- Winchester is the winner – “For its lack of T crossings and lights. Sorry, Brookline!” Brookline and Winchester both shared a commute time of 16 minutes, while Weston and Wellesley clocked in at 26 minutes.
- Cool Boutiques and Shops- Wellesley is the winner again – “For the chic trio of Gretta Luxe, Moxie and Hudson.” (Note that Hudson recently closed its doors in Wellesley but still has a location in Boston’s South End.)
- Notable Restaurants- Brookline is the winner – “For its tasty range of dining options, from beer bars to tapas spots.”
- Upscale Pampering Spots- Wellesley is the winner for the third time – “For having the poshest ahhh-inducing retreats of the bunch.”
- BMAG School Ranking – Concord is the winner for the second time – “For its stellar test scores and more.” Just for the record, Concord’s rank was #2, and Weston was #3. (Note that there wasn’t a #1 ranking on the chart.)
- Famous Residents – Newton is the winner – “For inspiring some of our favorite comedians [namely Friends actor Matt LeBlanc (and half of The Office cast)].”
As the magazine attests, these suburbs are “pretty, prestigious and priced accordingly. But when it comes to livability, which gold-standard suburb reigns supreme?” Well…according to Boston Magazine, the Overall Winner is – drumroll please – our near and dear neighboring town of Wellesley! Congratulations to Wellesley – it won three of the eight categories, which was more than any of the other towns. I guess that means that Concord is the Runner-up since it won two of the eight categories. If we continue to use this method of determining winners (namely how many categories a town won), then Winchester, Brookline and Newton would be Honorable Mentions, having each won one category.
What are your thoughts? Is Wellesley the most livable of the Boston suburbs? Or is there another town which is more deserving of the win? I can’t wait to hear….
Posted on September 17, 2011
Although Weston High School (pictured above) was ranked #1 in Boston Magazine’s September 2010 and 2009 issues of Boston’s Best Public Schools, this year, the Weston Public Schools ranked #3, behind Dover-Sherborn, which ranked #1, and Concord-Carlisle, which ranked #2. Several other area schools were ranked this year in the top 10, including Lincoln-Sudbury (#4), Lexington (#5), and Wayland (#7). Wellesley Public Schools ranked #11 on the list.
Whereas last year’s issue highlighted the performance and statistics of public high schools in the area, this year’s issue seems to have incorporated the entire school system. According to Boston Magazine, “We compared test scores from elementary, middle, and high schools in 135 districts, then looked within those districts to determine how schools were improving (or not) over time. Next, we called superintendents, principals, teachers, coaches, administrative assistants, and guidance counselors to ask: How many AP classes do you have? Can a kid play freshman sports? Do you offer pre-K of any kind? Will a child’s passion for math, science, or writing be fostered here? …. Finally, we crunched the data and came up with this, our exclusive ranking of the region’s 50 best school districts.”
It’s interesting because many people consider these school rankings when determining where to live and raise a family. Were the school rankings a factor in your decision on where to settle? And do these school rankings seem on target? I can’t wait to hear….
For more information on these schools or for the best in real estate service, knowledge and experience in Weston, Wellesley and the surrounding towns, please contact Lisa Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-267-2844 or at Pinnacle Residential Properties, 781-237-5000. And click here for a complimentary search of the MLS real estate listings where you will have access to all homes currently on the market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland, Needham, Dover and surrounding communities.