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Julea Joseph

Julea Joseph
Hello - I'm Julea


A stylish home shouldn't be out of your reach or cost you a fortune. From entertaining to decorating, home should be celebrated and your special place in this busy world. Join me on my adventures to enhance, celebrate and appreciate all things home.


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Lifestyle Design – Home Staging the Garden?

Lifestyle Design Home Staging
As we all know, targeting a lifestyle is a well established design niche for both retailers and designers -from big box stores to model home designers, lifestyle design is all about knowing how your ideal client lives. Today, it's about fine tuning the enjoyment of your home. The most expensive thing we own, the one place in this unsure world we can feel safe - Home, now more than ever is where the heart is.

Take a stroll through the Home & Garden department at your local Wal-Mart, Target or Costco. That area no longer just houses pots, towels and trowels - Now, there are whole tempting outdoor rooms presented to you, eye candy equipped with beautiful planters, outdoor chandeliers and matching Melamine tableware. Catalogs like Grandin Road, Napa Style, or Smith & Hawken are totally focused on lifestyle design.

Old school homemaking is now big business. From going organic, brewing beer, to planting your own kitchen garden - the urban "Homestead" is hot! Last year I staged a very high-end home that had a Porsche in the garage, but rain barrels and a kitchen garden in the back yard. This month's Martha Stewart Living has a full feature on an upscale home planned around a garden. This past Sunday's Chicago Tribune had an article on kitchen gardens titled " Food for the Soul." Even the home party plan arena has gone from selling Tupperware to Wine Accessories and Green Cleaning Products.

Why? After 9-11, our safe haven became our home and the rise of using our home as the main entertaining zone. We were staying in, instead of going out and the movement has stayed "in-trend" since then.

We even staycation rather than vacation...

Packaging a Home for Sale
With the downward dip our economy has taken, we're using and valuing our entire home more than ever and looking for economical solutions too. From garages, carved out backyard rooms to kitchen gardens - From curbside to back fence everyone is celebrating every inch of their home.

So when it comes to Home Staging and packaging that home for sale, it's important to keep lifestyle design as one of your basic home staging strategies. As an example, I conducted a Home Staging consultation yesterday for a young couple relocating back to their Michigan roots. The home is in a cute suburb, with a boutique downtown that attracts their age group. In their 30's, this young couple with two toddlers in tow, are heavy entertainers, shop their town and dabble in gardening and yes - the garage is dapper too. As part of our staging plan, we incorporated those lifestyle choices - Since the predictable buyer will be someone just like them! Here are a few of my home staging tips and ideas for the seller -

•· Make sure the public areas of the home have a great open flow plan and are conducive to family & friends for casual living and entertaining. Make sure to establish rooms for their particular purpose and lifestyle - From a great cozy conversational seating areas in the living room, a TV viewing basement family room - to staging the built-in hutch in the kitchen with key entertaining pieces - Every space should read "This room is great for..."

•· Fresh. Take the extra effort and use real instead of fake. From a big bowl of real lemons, fragrant Key limes to a lovely orchid or tulip bouquet - Real speaks to the 5 senses and gives the home the essence of life.

•· Breeze Way is staged from floor to with bulletin board with great places to shop, dine and go, from Yoga class down to the "Whole Food" bags.

•· Backyard is "decked" out with furniture, vibrant container gardens, situated man grill, all to beckon the buyers to see the back half of this commodity.

•· Stage the garden - Budding gardeners, the kitchen garden that went in last year will be planted and maintained and featured as part of the home.

Since 1999, interior stylist Julea Joseph has owned Chicago area based interior design and home staging business - Reinventing Space. Your can see her work on HGTV or in the news giving homeowners expert insight on how to refresh, style and celebrate their space -Whether prepping their home to go on the market, just settling in, or just in need of a change. Julea also offers her expertise with certification training and mentoring offerings to Realtors, Home Stagers and Interior Redesigners in the industry. Visit her site, JULEA.com or Interior Stylist Program for more information or email her at mailto:atJulea@Julea.com.
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10 Home Staging Tips to Make Your Listing Look like a Model Home

One of Julea's Model Homes
What is it about Model homes that make them so appealing? Is it the freshness of all new; is it the sassy paint colors, the perfectly placed furniture, art and accessories or the beautiful groomed backyard that makes you want to plop right down on that comfy club chair? Well…. Yes to all the above. A builder holds host to an array of skilled professionals to make that Model beautiful. From blue print to drawer pulls that Model home is meticulously planned.

Beyond the nicely placed furniture, Model homes are the current reflection of the home environment needs of the target market for the Builder. They are a turn-key product, designed and packaged for the desires of perfect buyer.

Models homes are lovely because they have the latest and the greatest, are fresh and new and are meticulously detailed. Psychology, more than decorating is applied to make them look so fabulous. From architecture to floral arrangements, Model homes are planned with “YOU” in mind.

So how can you make your listing as appealing as a Model Home? – Here are 10 ways.

1.) Clean. Those nice angled vacuum lines, gleaming windows, and perfectly manicured lawns in Model homes speak to a potential buyer – You don’t have to do a thing. Translate that into - A little elbow grease goes a long way. A super clean home says “turn-key” to the potential buyer. Have every inch of the home, blind slats to porch light glass, super clean and perfectly coiffed. According to a national 2011 survey done by Real Estate based Home Gain (www.homegain.com,)  a $290.00 cleaning investment gives a $1990.00 price increase, or a 586% return!

2.) Fresh and Smells Good. People buy homes on emotion, and your 5 senses are a direct path to your brain. If a home smells and looks “funky,” “doggy,” “smoky,” or if the stove is coated with cooking gone bad – The home is off their list. Just like you would detail your car to sell, invest in clean and spotless carpets, patched, repaired and freshly painted walls and new appliances if the old have seen better days. Be wary to skip this step and take the low road with room refreshers, candles and stove burner covers – Potential buyers are not fooled.

3.) Color. Any advertising executive will tell you color is a key to properly packaging a product; and a listed home is just that, a product. Throw away the off-white manta of old school home staging rules – Welcome to the era of HGTV. Using color is a powerful and inexpensive way of making that home stand out from the rest, and with so many decorating TV shows boasting the benefits of color, you better get hip to hues. From 1st Web impressions to curb-appeal, color is a strong emotional tug for the potential buyer. Update yourself on the latest color trends in wall color, appliance, fixtures, etc… and apply it to your target buyer. For home staging, use earthy, calm tones for the bigger areas such as wall color and add pops of saturated colors in the details; such front doors, accessories or annuals.

4.) Make Space. The joy of a Model home is the acres and acres of unused storage space & beautifully organized closets. Reduce, organize, upscale and edit all the home’s spaces when it comes to closets and storage areas. If the home’s price point dictates, upscale the closets with custom organizing options.

5.) Clear a Path. Consider that many people with be walking through the home. Make sure traffic patterns, entrances and exits are well established. Too much furniture, undefined entrances and awkward walkways confuse and discourage buyers from moving about the property. Follow a Model Home’s lead and create a concise walking pattern for potential buyers starting at curbside to back fence.

6.) Lovely Layouts. From the landscape to furniture placement, take a clue from Models homes that continuity and flow make for a good mix. Create curb appeal with nicely maintained landscaping, added annuals and perennials, an inviting stoop and well groomed walk and driveways. Inside, make sure each room depicts what its function is, enhances the highlights of the room (i.e. fireplaces or upgrades,) and allows the buyer to envision themselves in the space.

7.) Set the Mood. Create ambiance and character in the home with well thought out placement of sensory and lifestyle components. Soft music, lighting on dimmers, candles lit, and fresh floral are all great ideas for Broker or Open houses. If you have concern about candles, battery operated candles that even have timers built in are now readily available. Stage the dining room table tastefully, or set the stage in a back yard with a detailed patio retreat. Offering helpful lifestyle hints has always been in the Model Home arsenal and always is a huge hit.

8.) K.I.S.S. On the opposite note, don’t over accessorize, go over-board with the lifestyle tips or create “store bought theme” rooms (i.e. Chef-with-a-Hat Kitchen or Anniversary Bathtub vignette complete with Champagne bottle and fake ivy.)

9.) Appeal to a Target Buyer. Model home Builders hire tony Marketing companies that create campaigns to market that home. Consider "WHO” the ideal buyer that will be interested in the property is, and market the property accordingly. From advertising photos to furniture, consider who will find this appealing and desirable.

10.) Market, Market, Market. Model Homes have great marketing incentives inside and out. From clear address markers, great signs, to small exit giveaways, to an exit survey - Market that listing to the fullest.
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