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Planning to sell your home in Saskatoon?

posted by Trusted    |   March 27, 2014 09:31

You know those spotless, clutter-free, amazing looking rooms you see in magazines? That can be your home. Seriously! The founder of Fresh Living, Chantal Hounjet, created the company out of her combined love and talent for interior decorating and home improvement, which paved the way to a career in Home Staging and Interior Redesign. Chantal is an International Staging and Redesign Professional, bringing her talents directly to your door- and she is your Trusted Saskatoon Interior Decorator and Home Redesign Expert!

Here, Chantal answers some FAQs about home staging!

Should every house be staged?

Absolutely! How you decorate your home to live in and how you decorate it to sell are very different. The decorating choices you make for your home may suit your taste and lifestyle, but they may not suit those of potential buyers and may not show off your home’s best attributes. When you make the decision to sell your home, you must begin the process of detaching yourself from it. Even the most beautiful home needs to be de-personalized so potential buyers can imagine themselves living in it. Your home is now a commodity to be sold and it must appeal to a broad audience of potential buyers.

Homebuyers are typically looking for bright, clean, spacious homes with great flow. Many buyers have difficulty picturing themselves and their belongings in a home if it is cluttered and has outdated decor. Fresh Living can make the small changes that will have a huge impact. Cleaning, de–cluttering, de-personalizing, organizing, and some re–positioning of furniture is needed in every home, and these adjustments can have an enormous effect on how the house is viewed. Every home owner considering putting their house on the market should call us. We can help!

How long does it take to stage a home?

That depends on what needs to be done to make the house look its best. Some staging jobs can take one day, to a few days. However, if there are rooms that require painting or repairs and renovations need to be made, then it could take a few weeks, depending on how quickly these upgrades can be completed. The end result will always be a beautiful, inviting home, ready for the competitive real estate market.

What is involved in home staging?

Fresh Living begins the home staging process with a consultation that provides an objective look at your house. We tour the house and make detailed suggestions on what changes or repairs may need to be made. We also discuss a timeline, budget, and priorities with you. Once a strategy is agreed upon, we begin transforming your home. Trades are brought in to quote on work that needs to be done; we assess the furniture, artwork and accessories that are available to us and do the necessary shopping; and in a very short period of time, your house is made ready for the real estate market.

Is staging effective?

Home staging DOES work. It will help you to sell your home faster, and for more money. First impressions mean EVERYTHING when it comes to selling homes.

• Staged homes on average experience a 3% minimum increase in final sales price, versus non-staged homes.

• 98% of the houses staged have sold over the asking price.
Source: HGTV’s ‘Designed to Sell’

• Average number of days on the market for staged homes was 13.9 versus 30.0 for un-staged homes

• Average difference in selling price over list price was 6.3%
Source: 2004 survey by Joy Valentine – Coldwell Banker Broker – based on 2772 homes in 8 cities

• 63% of buyers are willing to pay more money for a house that is move in ready

• Men (41%) are more likely to place a premium on updated décor than women (30%)
Source: 2005 & 2006 Maritz Research Staging Polls

• 77% of people view homes first on the Internet. Be sure that your home shows above the rest, by staging it first!
Source: 2005 National Association of Realtors ® survey

• Sellers who spent $500 on staging recovered over 343% of the cost when they sold their home.

Are people offended when you point out what is wrong with their homes?

Rarely, because people understand that in order to get the job done, we need to be able to discuss the home objectively and work on its problem areas. After all, that is why people hire us. We are not judgemental, but aim to be constructive and positive. Most of our clients, when they see the transformation of their home, see exactly why home staging makes such a profound difference in selling.

How can I find time to carry out your suggestions, or be actively involved? I have a busy life.

Preparing a house for the real estate market is different for everyone. Some people love to be involved in the home staging process while others prefer to go on holiday during the work phase. You can have as little or as much involvement as you like. We understand that when you have a full schedule, the whole process can seem overwhelming. It is our mission to make the transition as seamless as possible for our clients. We take care of it so that you don’t have to!

What return can I expect on my investment in home staging?

Your home is your greatest investment so you want to make sure that it is in the best possible condition before putting it on the market. Our goal is to ensure that your house sells quickly rather than lingering on the market. Homes that sell in the first month get the best offers…so when we get your home sold in less than a week you will get the highest offer(s) possible. The cost of home staging is often less than the first price reduction on an un-staged home. You may also want to consider the emotional toll of a house lingering on the market –the stress of your house not selling at all or eventually selling for less; and the strain of keeping your house in immaculate shape for multiple showings and Open Houses. The stress reduction alone can make Home Staging well worth it.

What if my house is already on the market, but is not selling?

We are familiar with such cases, and it’s not too late to call us for a consultation. Fresh Living will help you organize a strategy to get your house sold quickly!

Should empty houses be staged?

Yes, because it is hard for buyers to get a sense of the space without furniture in it. Without furniture, the focus goes to negative details such as odd-shaped rooms, lack of architectural detail, or inadequate size. Furthermore, empty spaces tend to feel cold and uninviting. With staging, we can create a warm, inviting home that buyers can start to imagine living in.

Does Fresh Living guarantee their work?

We can’t guarantee that your home will sell within a week, but we will advise you on what needs to be done to transform your house into the best possible product for sale.

In many cases, our clients enjoy what we have done to their home so much that they hire us to decorate their new house, or even their office.

To begin your home staging process, find Fresh Living online, or on Trusted Saskatoon!

Making the switch to Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

posted by Elle    |   February 10, 2014 08:54

Call me crazy, but I kind of enjoy cleaning. I have created in my mind a continuum of household chores (based on the enjoyment and gratification I get from each) on which doing laundry is extremely low, and vacuuming is king. This is partially because I recently purchased an iRobot Roomba, meaning that I don’t actually have to put any effort into it. The investment in Roomba was mostly due to my longhaired cat - sort of to maintain a cat-hair-free home, but mostly for the potential for this to happen in my life.

Fairly high up on my home cleaning task spectrum is cleaning the bathroom, simply because I cannot stand a dirty bathroom. The surfaces typically found in bathrooms are just meant to  be clean. Sparkling faucets, shiny mirrors, pristine porcelain, spotless tile. I get a lot of  satisfaction from doing a really intense clean on a bathroom. In the past, this delight and contentment was paired with minor dizziness, accompanied by watery eyes, along with a feeling of slightly singed nose hairs. Why? Long story short, fifteen minutes spent cleaning the bathroom was enough time for the toxins in my cleaning products to wage a full-on war on my body. 

I don’t think the toxicity of common household cleaners is a secret, but perhaps this issue is not given as much consideration as it should when we make purchase decisions. 

For many people, the cheapest product on the shelf wins. Luckily, cost doesn’t have to be an issue, and you’ll find out why in a moment. First, allow me to convince you to switch to non-toxic cleaners. I pulled these points from an article found here


Why You Should Be Concerned About Your Cleaning Products

There is no requirement in Canada for manufacturers to warn consumers about the health and environmental hazards associated with exposure to chemicals found in many household cleaning products. 

Many common cleaning products contain chemicals that are not only irritants (the burning nose and throat), but are associated with blood disorders, reproductive problems, liver damage, migraines, and cancer. 

Exposure to toxins continues long after the cleaning job is done. The toxic chemicals we use in our homes linger in the air we breathe, they are absorbed through the skin, they end up on the cutlery and dishes that we eat from, and we ingest them through the chemical residues found on household dust. 

The toxins are also destructive to our environment, and are particularly damaging to aquatic organisms and ecosystems when flushed down toilets and drains.


Luckily, There Are Several Alternatives

Given all of that, it wasn’t a difficult decision for me to make the switch to cleaning products that are natural and non-toxic. However, as with most things, the price tag on products labelled natural, organic, or non-toxic tends to be higher. Like I said, cost doesn’t have to be an issue, and if you enjoy DIYs, you’ll love making your own non-toxic cleaning kit with these easy recipes. Ounce for ounce, homemade cleaning formulas cost about one-tenth the price of their commercial counterpart. Cheap, cheap!

If DIYs aren’t your thing and you would prefer to purchase your cleaning products, making the switch provides a great opportunity to support local retailers in Saskatoon who offer excellent alternatives. Check out Envirowise, The Better Good, or Dad’s Organic Market for some safe and effective brands. You can find helpful product ratings and reviews here

If you are someone who does not enjoy cleaning, or if you simply do not have the time to do it yourself, consider having local Saskatoon residential cleaning company Fresh Living take care of it for you. They use only environmentally friendly, health conscious cleaning products.

When you make the switch to non-toxic products, whether you whip them up yourself, purchase them, or have someone take care of it all for you, you can rest easy knowing that your health and the health of your family and pets is protected, and damage to the environment is reduced. 

If you choose to go the homemade product route, I highly recommend using the money you save to purchase a Roomba. And if you have a cat, a shark costume. And maybe a duckling. 

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