Review: Move Loot

A 5,800 square feet warehouse sounds like a lot of space, but it is not infinite (unfortunate for my furniture- and prop-hoarding tendencies). Me and sis have always talked about doing a huge blown out sale at the studio but it always gets too crazy with projects and we never get around doing it. 

Review: Move Loot || Staged4more Home Staging & Design

It is important for us to retire inventory semi-regularly, because

  1. we need new stuff to keep our look on trend and fresh
  2. we do get a little tired seeing the same furniture over and over
  3. we can recoup more return on investment on each piece that is being sold while it is still in its prime
  4. we have limited shelf space. We can't keep buying new stuff without making room for them!

We had tried garage sales and Craig's List and both are not very successful methods. Garage sales are good but can be tough. They are a lot of work to host (we have to clear out space, determine what to sell, price individual piece, set up the merchandise, and block off sections of the studio so people are not wandering everywhere asking about things we are not selling). Our studio is also in a more industrial area. It can be a little tricky to find. 

Craig's List usually sucked. Mainly because a lot of people work during day time so we had to sit around after work waiting for someone to come see the furniture. People are almost always no show and never bother to call or text us. It had happened so many times we just never bother with Craig List's anymore.

So retiring inventory has become such a headache, until we met Move Loot.

I was intrigued when Move Loot's Business Development Associate Eliza reached out to me and me and Yi Hsuen decided to give it try. It was also perfect timing. After a whirlwind last year, our studio was bursting. Because we had so much to sell on Move Loot, we qualified for bulk submission ($4k worth of furniture or 30+ items).

OUR EXPERIENCE

Eliza & crew checking out our goods and evaluating if it is a good fit for Move Loot.

Eliza & crew checking out our goods and evaluating if it is a good fit for Move Loot.

PRO

  • Free pick up, which is great. I really don't want to pack, move and drag 30+ pieces of furniture to Dogpatch (even though I love Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous.)
  • With part of the bulk submission process, we chose to let Move Loot price the items for us. This means that Move Loot will write the ad, take professional photos of the items and upload the photos. For us, this is a HUGE time and money saver. To be honest, with the amount of inventory that we have, it is difficult to keep track of purchasing costs and judging what they are worth to the general public. It is great that there are professionals who can do it for us and save us the headaches of administrative work of setting up for good sales photos, uploading them, writing cool marketing copy that sell and figuring out a good price to sell.
  • They take professional photographs. All the furniture pieces you see in the title graphic above are ours. They have the items professionally photographed in their studio, which is something we don't have the bandwidth to do. Our Craig's List photos are terrible in comparison, surrounded by other furniture, shot on our racks, bad lighting and the colors are not accurate. Move Loot takes multiple photographs, like our sectional ad below.
Here is an example ad of one of our sectionals for sale.

Here is an example ad of one of our sectionals for sale.

  • No headaches. The whole process is pretty smooth and we are pretty much able completely be hands off during the pick up and selling processes.
  • When the item sells, we split 50-50 with Move Loot, and the funds are immediately funded electronically. We did the math, with all the work associated selling inventory on Craig's List ourselves, we probably would come out roughly the same. Plus, there's no haggling with potential buyers, which I really don't like to do.
  • They price the items fairly well, which I was pretty impressed by. 
  • We get our space back so we can get more new stuff! And more space for our dog to run around in the studio!
Our corgi approves!

Our corgi approves!


CON

  • This is probably not a real con, because ultimately it protects the buyers. But to warn you, the movers are picky. They will scrutinize every little detail, smells, if items are wobbly, etc. Their people are nice to work with, but just be prepared that you may have a few rejects.
  • There are a lot of back logs with bulk submission. It took about 3 weeks for our items to appear on their website. 

THE FINAL VERDICT

Overall we are happy with our experience, because Move Loot solves a 2 critical problems for us: space & time. We get more storage space back, we are recouping part of our original investment and we basically delegated all the selling to Move Loot. I think Move Loot and its bulk submission process are great for stagers like me, who are looking for ways to save time and get recouping part of our original costs. It is also great for homeowners who are moving. Basically once Move Loot makes the pick up, everything else is their headache.

If you are just selling a few pieces or don't want to do bulk submission, you can submit individual items on their app as well, which Eliza had shown me how to do so. It is super simple. You take a photo of the item with your phone, input it into the app, and that's it.

Review: Move Loot || Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Also, there are some cool stuff on the site. I've been eyeing this, this, this and this. (I really like chairs.) And THIS (oh man, I'm totally in love). 

Here are some of the items we've listed for sale, in case you are interested:


If you are a stager in the bay area, Staged4more and Move Loot are co-hosting a happy hour!

Join us! I'd love to see you!

the details

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM (PDT)
4:30-5:00PM Meet & Greet at Move Loot Warehouse
5:00-5:45PM Move Loot Warehouse Tour
5:45-7:30PM Stager Happy Hour with wine and light bites (on us!) at Yield Wine Bar 


 
Not in San Francisco bay area? Move Loot's services are also available in the Raleigh, Durham, and Charlotte, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. 

ps. We have tried Move Loot and we genuinely like it. There is an affiliate link in the post that allows you to get $25 when you sign up for an account (free to sign up!).


Have you tried Move Loot? How was your experience? I'd love to hear yours!


What Color Should I Use to Paint My Front Door?

Need a quick makeover of your curb appeal? Start with your front door.

The front door is one of the most important part of the curb appeal. It is the first thing your visitors and buyers see when they walk up to your house, it is also the easiest to do it yourself. The color of the door can transform the entire feeling of your house and only needs 1 quart of paint to refresh! Easy peasy, right?

What Color Should I Paint My Door? || Staged4more Home Staging & Design

A FEW TIPS ON COLOR SELECTION

What Colors Should I Paint My Front Door © Staged4more Home Staging & Design

COMPLEMENT THE ARCHITECTURE OF YOUR HOME

For example, if you have shutters and flower boxes, like one of our projects above, it is a good idea to coordinate the colors of your door,  your shutters and your flower boxes. Or if you live in a house that has distinctive architecture, like a Victorian home, choose a color that will work harmoniously with your existing colors.

PICK THE RIGHT PAINT & FINISH

I generally recommend using exterior paint because your front door is exposed to weather and exterior paint is designed to deal with that. When it comes to the finish, I personally prefer Matte because it hides imprecations the best. However, if you prefer, you can use Satin or Semi-Gloss. These two would have more sheen and shine to its final finish. The glossier the finish is, the easier it is to see the imperfections.

What Color Should I Paint My Front Door | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

WHAT KIND OF FEELINGS DO YOU WANT TO CONVEY?

Here, I took one of our project photos and used photoshop to change the door into 2 different colors. The middle was the original.

Black, red, fuchsia. Each different color evokes different feelings for the visitors. If you are selling your house, I recommend something classic like black and red. But if you are not selling your house, go crazy! Do what reflects your personality and makes you happy.

DON'T BE SCARED

Our eyes perceive colors differently and often times, depending on the lighting, the same color can look completely different. This is why it is not 100% accurate when you go by the paint chips. I always recommend my clients to get samples first, paint a square on the wall, and then look at the test area during different times of the day to see if the color works best.

If you picked the wrong color, no worries, it's paint! Just repaint the area. Easy fix, right?


HERE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITE COLORS

(YOU CAN SEE MY "COLLECTION" OVER ON Pinterest)

What Color Should I Paint My Door || Staged4more Home Staging & Design
What Color Should I Paint My Door || Staged4more Home Staging & Design
What Color Should I Paint My Door || Staged4more Home Staging & Design
What Color Should I Paint My Door || Staged4more Home Staging & Design
What Color Should I Paint My Door || Staged4more Home Staging & Design
What Color Should I Paint My Door || Staged4more Home Staging & Design
What Color Should I Paint My Door || Staged4more Home Staging & Design
What Color Should I Paint My Door || Staged4more Home Staging & Design

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THESE COLORS? WHAT COLOR IS YOUR FRONT DOOR? DO YOU HAVE A GO-TO COLOR?

IF SO, SHARE THEM IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW. I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT YOURS!



Are You a Realtor Who is Looking to Boost Your Business?

Are you a realtor who is looking for more information about home staging so you can add more values to your CMA? Do you always wonder what to say to your sellers about home staging? Or how to deal with price objections? Or what to say to sellers during the first walk through of their property (without offending them)?

Well, we've put together a mini course to walk you through that. 

As you know, home staging is one of the most effective ways to market homes, to showcase your property in the best light possible and generate high returns on investment. I mean, NAR (National Association of Realtors) even said so in their 2015 Home Staging Statistics

Specifically, NAR said:

Home Staging Statistics by National Association of Realtors || Staged4more Home Staging & Design
Home Staging Statistics by National Association of Realtors || Staged4more Home Staging & Design

A little details about the course

  • Video format
  • You have lifetime access, meaning you can watch it as many times as you would like, including when we add updates to the course
  • Access to private discussion group where you have access to fellow agents and us for questions, vents, discussions, brainstorms and networks
  • You would also have access to the library of our graphics. Like the ones above that you can use however you like. They are digital files that are printable, social media ready, and you can use them in your marketing materials.

Before the course goes live...

Before we make the course public, we would like sure it's in tip top shape. So we are looking for 15 beta testers.

As beta tester, you would take the mini course (a video course), complete a survey at the end and be the first ones in our private group, where you can network and meet other agents, ask each other and us questions.

Sounds good? fill out the questionnaire below and tell us why you would be a great fit.

Name *
Name

5 Practical Steps to Boost Your Listing's Visibility

For those of you who know me, you know that I am super single, and my parents are freaking out about me not getting married any time soon. To appease their excessive reminding of the baby factory getting shut down in the near future, I signed up for couple online dating sites.

5 Practical Steps to Boost Your Listing' Visibility || Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Other than punching in incessant amount of personal details, all of these online dating sites ask for photos. And not just any photos! They ask for high quality photos that show off my personalities, my body, my interests and as many as possible. They even offer to take my photos for me with a professional photographer (like this ad below from Dating Ring). 

Why Photography can Make or Break Your Sale || Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Why all the emphasis on high quality photos?

Because good photos sell. Good photos tell stories and stories sell. Most people still judge a book by its cover. This ad wisely points out the importance of good photography:

"A picture says a thousand words -- make sure they're positive ones. Many people think pictures are just about looks -- but personality and character play a really huge part. We have seen thousands of online dating photos, and we know how to take just the right photos to maximize your success."

Notice the keywords: "the right photos to maximize your success."

It's so in the dating market, and it's the same in the real estate market. 

Like shopping for an ideal mate, most people have a check list in mind when they are shopping for a new home. People are also busy nowadays, they often screen first online before they see the houses in person. According to National Association Realtor's research, 90% of home buyers searched online during their home buying process (source). 

Here are a few pro tips on maximizing your success with listing photography:

1. If you want to sell it, put a photo on it (actually, put several)

5 Practical Steps to Boost Your Listing's Visability

According to eHarmony, profiles with photos are nine times more likely to get communication. The same study also shows that more photos mean higher engagement rates. I know this is statistics on dating photos, but wouldn't you think it is similar with real estate? (source)

Most professional photography starts at $150. That is PEANUTS compare to what you would make on a real estate transaction. That is well below 1% of your listing price.

Many real estate sites nowadays allow you to post as many photos as possible. Realtor.com allows 36 photos (source), and that's a lot! Since you have such a big allowance, take advantage of it. I also recommend to post a few detail shots to add visual interests and lifestyle elements (like above example).

2. Hire a Professional

5 Practical Steps to Boost Your Listing' Visibility || Staged4more Home Staging & Design

I used to take my own photos to save money. I would spent 1 hour trying to get the best photos with my Canon DSLR. Then at home, I spent 3-4 HOURS selecting the best photos, processing them in Photoshop and Bridge, adjusting the levels, playing with saturations, colors, cropping the photos, etc. I often walk away from the computer feeling cross-eyed and exhausted. Then I realize, I actually am not saving any money by doing it myself. I am also not getting better results by shooting the photography myself.

For $150-$250, a photographer shows up, takes photos, processes them in post production. In return, I get great looking, high resolution, internet ready photos that I can crop however I want. I also get 3-4 hours back where I can focus on doing more important business development stuff. Everybody wins.

Professional photos also often show properties in the most flattering light, which attracts more open rates on listing websites and get more foot traffic during open house.

3. SHOW OFF THE BODY

5 Practical Steps to Boost Your Listing' Visibility || Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Yeah, that's right, the good stuff. I often see homes on the market hiding behind overgrown bushes and trees. Curb appeal is super important. It is the first thing everyone sees. So make a great first impression.

4. Show off the personalities

5 Practical Steps to Boost Your Listing' Visibility || Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Every house has characters, personalities and unique selling features. These can be architectural details, the neighborhood it's in, the views, the amenities.

5. Be well groomed

Before & After || Staged4more Home Staging & Design

You may not be able to hire professional stagers to stage the properties, you still should tidy up and make sure the house looks pleasant, inviting and presentable before the photo shoots. As the before and after photo illustrates, you don't need a lot. Proper lighting, basic tidying up, and dress up the space a little can go a long way.

By the way, A free goodie for you!

Subscribe to our weekly blog digest and we will send you our Pre Photo Shoot Check List for free! (Want to check out our other available check lists? Just head on over to our shop.)


WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT MY TIPS HERE? WHAT ARE SOME PHOTOGRAPHY TRICKS THAT YOU HAVE USED TO MAKE YOUR LISTINGS STAND OUT?

Photo credits: 1 Staged4more 2 Dating Ring 3 Pop Sugar 4 Unsplash 5 Domaine Home 6 Domain HomeStaged4more


Studio sale this Friday & Saturday!

It's spring cleaning time and we are having a studio sale this Friday & Saturday!

DETAILS

Friday 4/3 11am-1:30pm (or by appointment)
Saturday 4/4 9am-1pm

SOME SAMPLE ITEMS FOR SALE

(All items were used for home staging purposes. Linens like accent pillows, towels, beddings, etc. were not used.)

  • IKEA Ektorp Sofa (retail $399): $80 white slip cover, in good condition (zippers on cushions broke)
  • IKEA PAX Wardrobe (retail $100-$175): one with mirror door, the other without door. Both have a clothing hang bar, a shelf and drawers. 19 5/8x23 5/8x79 1/4 " (dimension from IKEA)
  • An antique armoire 
  • Rugs various sizes
  • Accent pillows $5 each
  • Bath towels $3 each
  • Bedding starts $20
  • Camping bed frames and air mattresses
  • 50-90% off on some of our online retail shop online, like Lolia candles, Umbra, Fred.
  • Faux florals, plants
  • Dish sets, kitchen canisters
  • Various decor items like vases
  • Dining tables, console table and small side tables
  • Wicker chairs
  • Various lamp shades and lamps

Cash only. Everything is sold AS-IS. No refunds or returns once items leave our studio.

***directions***

GPS often gives the wrong directions. Use the direction on our contact page

 

Can't make our sales? Sign up to be notified for future sales.

 

Selling Your Home? Essential Spring Gardening Tasks You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Spring is a time when the garden comes to life. The snow, ice and miserable weather is (hopefully) a dim and distant memory. If you are planning on putting your home up for sale around Easter, now is an excellent time to restore order to your outdoor space and ensure it is looking in tip-top condition by the time prospective buyers come for a look around. So what are the essential gardening tasks that need to be tackled in the springtime*?

Spring Gardening Tasks for Selling Your Home | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Order Bulbs and Seeds

Early spring is the time to order new bulbs and seeds for the garden. Certain bulbs can be planted in the spring for a summer flowering season, so if you get in early, you will be able to enjoy a colourful festival of colour in the summer, which will help to make your house a lot more attractive to potential buyers. If you or a family member likes to grow you own veggies, now is also the time to order seeds – just make sure you buy from a quality supplier. 

Clear Up the Borders

After a long, cold, wet and miserable winter, most people’s gardens are looking in need of a lot of tender loving care. If you haven’t done so already, clear up the remains of last year’s bedding plants and throw them on the compost heap. Next, clear out the dead leaves lurking in the borders, cut back dead bits in perennials and give everything a thorough tidy up.  You can buy some great outdoor plants from Glut* that will help make your garden look even more beautiful.

Essential Spring Gardening Tasks for Selling Your Home | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Fertilize the Borders

Early spring is the ideal time to dig the borders and prepare them for new bedding plants, bulbs and seedlings. As long as the ground is not still frozen, wait for a bright day and get out there with a heavy-duty garden fork. Take the opportunity to introduce organic fertiliser: rotted horse manure, chicken manure, compost, or recycled green waste will all add essential nutrients to the soil.

Essential Spring Gardening Tasks for Selling Your Home | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Eradicate Garden Pests

Garden pests don’t disappear over winter – they just hibernate and wait for the warm weather to return. If you inspect your perennials closely, you might be able to spot colonies of slugs, snails and aphids lurking out of sight. It is also a good idea to check roots of any bedding plants left in the borders and pots: vine weevil larvae often pass the winter in the remains of bedding plants. If you find any pests, treat them with pesticides or parasitic nematodes. 

Essential Spring Garden Tasks for Selling Your Home | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Fix Fencing and Trellis

A poorly maintained garden looks shabby and is off-putting to buyers. Most buyers want a garden they can enjoy without spending too much energy. After all, they might have a ton of decorating and remodelling to do when they move in. So gardening is probably not high on their list of things to do. Spring is the ideal time to fix any broken fencing or treat wooden structures with preservative. Once you get these jobs out of the way, you can concentrate on taking care of the plants. 

Gardening needn’t be a chore. Fit in a few gardening sessions when the weather permits and before long your garden will be a wonderful selling point.

*This post is sponsored by a UK company. While there may be UK resources mentioned, you can find equivalent resources here in the US.

Photo credits 1 Garden Gate eNotes 2 Sunset Magazine 3 sbmagContemporist


Update the Curb Appeal of Your Home Sale

As the housing market continues to bounce back, it is becoming more and more competitive for sellers. Help your home sell faster by captivating buyers at first glance with impeccable curb appeal. Here are seven ways you can make your house stand out from the competition:

GROOM THE GARDEN

Unless there's snow on the ground or it is dead winter, there is no reason your landscape shouldn't be lush and colorful. Incorporate color with annual plants, planting them throughout the yard as well as in window boxes and in pots flanking the front door. You can find fairly inexpensive options in your local big box stores like Home Depot. 

Landscape designer Sherri Silver recently told FrontDoor.com that planting artificial flowers is never acceptable. If it's too cold for plants to survive, Silver recommends adding fresh mulch to garden beds to brighten them up. Be sure to pull any weeds and get rid of any dead leaves and debris before your first showing. You can also chat with your local nurseries to determine what plants are the best for your local area.

Check out: 20 Easy and Cheap DIY Ways to Enhance the Curb AppealCurb Appeal: 20 Modest yet Gorgeous Front Yards

THINK LIKE A BUYER

In order to make your home memorable for buyers, you have to think like one. Look at the exterior of your home with a critical eye, making a list of anything that doesn't look as good as it could. Are you missing a few roof tiles? Is your landscaping covered in dead leaves and debris? Does the front door look dull? Make note of anything that needs to be cleaned, repaired or replaced.

Check out:  Photos: Before & After: Exterior ; The Secrets to Being the Most Gorgeous House on the Block

UPDATE LIGHTING

A well-lit yard changes the welcoming aura of a house. Take an inventory of your landscape lighting including replacing any bulbs and cleaning the fixtures to ensure your lighting scheme is balanced and polished. If extreme weather has gotten the best of your fixtures, replace them with new outdoor lights or you can spray paint them for an affordable fix. Create a few focal points with lighting, drawing attention to the front door and landscape features such as a unique tree or sculpture.

Check out: 6 Ways to Improve Curb Appeal ; 20 Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal ; The Secrets to Fabulous Outdoor Lighting

REPLACE FRONT DOOR

The front door sets the stage for whether or not buyers feel welcomed into your home. It is also the first thing the buyers see! If your door is over 10 years old or has excessive wear and tear, now is the time to upgrade to a new door.

In terms of picking the right colors, I say keep it simple. Pick one that will be welcoming and noticeable. If the surrounding walls are dark colored, pick something bright for contrast. My go-to colors for doors are generally red, black and gray. 

Check out: Make an Entrance: 10 Welcoming Front Door Paint Colors ; 12 Best Paints for Your Front Door55 Different Front Door Inspiration Ideas {in just about every paint color possible}

REFRESH HOUSE NUMBERS

Replace your house numbers if they are difficult to read, dingy or faded. Consider hanging them in a different spot where they will be more visible. If a potential buyer has trouble finding your house because they can't see the house number, you may have a strike against you from the start. When selecting new numbers, consider the style of your home and get numbers that complement that style.

powerWASH WINDOWS & exteriors

Sparkling clean windows and exterior surfaces are a must when welcoming potential buyers into your home. If hiring a professional isn't in your budget, you can mimic their technique to get similar results. There are a lot of guides online you can find to learn how to do it safely. Powerwashing, if done properly, can make a HUGE different. Just look at the photos above, from this Buzzfeed article.

CLEAN THE DRIVEWAY

Sweep dirt and debris from your driveway and hose it off using the highest spray setting. If it still looks stained, rent a pressure-washing machine to scour away stains and refresh the look of your driveway.

Photo credits 1 Woo Home 2 Angie's List 3 Cottage and Vine 4 Yahoo: Homes 5 the Garden Glove 6 & 7 Buzzfeed 8 Better Homes & Garden

This post is an update of a previously published post in 2013. You can find the original post here.


It is St Joseph's Day and Spring Sale is Here!

EcoJoe, the Eco-Friendly St Joseph Statue Home Selling Kit

It's St Joseph's Day and we've got a sale for you!

From now to 11:59pm 3/26, we are throwing a 20% off store-wide sale! Just use the coupon code SPRING15-20 when you check out.

A little bit about EcoJoe...

I launched EcoJoe officially in fall 2009. The whole concept to manufacturing to market process took about 1 year. EcoJoe is the first sustainable and eco-friendly St Joseph statue home selling kit on the market. I worked with a design firm to come up with the graphics, the brand attitude and the packaging. During the process, I learned a lot about developing a product, packaging design, working with artists, overseas manufacturing, copyrights, and sustainable practices.

The practice of burying a St Joseph statue to sell homes has been a long-standing tradition, I felt that it was time to update it and modernize St Joseph himself. After all, he is pretty important.

Real estate in general can also be a very wasteful and un-green industry. It is my hope that EcoJoe can bring awareness to being green in real estate. EcoJoe is not only the hardest working saint in real estate, he's all natural, won't harm the earth!

Interested in wholesaling EcoJoe? Get more info here.

Wishing you a HAPPY SPRING!