Realtors: Have your clients 'See the Potential'

Realtors, I know you’ve all had clients who simply cannot decide on a property. It’s not that unusual, but there are methods you can employ to assist them in doing just that. I recently received a call from a savvy agent with Sotheby’s. She’d shown her client a smattering of homes in her preferred area. Some exceeded her budget but were easy to visualize her family living in. Others, well…not so much. However, an affordable price can be enticing. The agent used her noggin and 'rolodex' in order to make sense of this puzzle. Me. An Architect, with a natural yet cultivated eye for design.

I readied myself, as professionals tend to do. I perused the listing on line. Attempted to decipher the home's plan. Determined what rooms this house possessed and prepared a document that I would utilize to take effective notes.

The next morning I pulled up to this stately house and was treated by my colleague to a little information about the potential buyer before the housekeeper let us in. It was a five bedroom home in Great Falls on as many acres with a quiet pond and billowy hills. The rooms were graciously sized and bursting with character. They were also weighed down by beautifully carved albeit dark wood trim. There were mismatched floors, occasional occurrences of wallpaper and an enormous yet emotionally heavy kitchen among other solvable oddities. This information was gathered on my initial walk-through, sans camera and notebook.

Once I had acquainted myself I was ready for the real work. Out came the empty document ready to be populated with my thoughts. Room by room I evaluated each space: its character, flaws, potential use, assets, and even options for remedying the quirks - all while snapping pics. Armed with my scribble coupled with the photos I took I was ready to return to my desk and think further. I started with an overall assessment of the house, acknowledging its virtues as well as its obstacles. Each room’s notes were carefully chronicled along with recommendations for their fix. The deliverable was a polished set of suggestions detailing what the buyer might do to turn this house into her next family home.

Now, I haven’t heard if the agent’s client bought the house or not. What matters is that the service I provided afforded her the opportunity to make a decision armed with far more information than she previously held. And for only a few hours of my time the realtor knew that this investment was well worth the expense. Next time you find yourself in a position where a professional just might help tip the scales I hope you’ll call on me. You’ll wish you’d done it dozens of times before. Find me at wendy@smartlystaged4you.com. I look forward to it.


Realtors: Know anyone Moving?

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you love moving? Right, that’s what I thought. I’ve developed a system to resolve your moving worries before you are even packed up. No, I’m not a realtor asking you to list your property with me. I am an architect who loves houses, design, and working with people, particularly in an effort to make something overwhelmingly stressful much less so. Let me take you through a typical project.

               I start by working with the realtor you’ve carefully chosen to sell your house. I will either go there to photograph myself or use documented images your realtor had taken for marketing purposes. I inventory all of your belongings, one room at a time. Every reasonably significant object gets a code. (No, I won’t going through your drawers or name each set of china.) The foyer rug, FY01, the library desk, LB04. Now I have stock of what you’ve got.

               Luckily you’ve found a house. Mazel Tov! I work with your buyer’s agent to get inside and take a look. Perhaps we’re lucky enough to acquire a set of plans. If not, I will draw them up. I am an architect. Now comes the fun part, for me. You get to worry about what schools your kids are moving to and if they’ll make new friends. I start drawing. Room by room. All of the objects that got catalogued. Each piece of furniture, or rug, or sculpture gets ‘moved’ to its position in your new house, along with its code name. Armoires are surprisingly light in drafting software so moving them around is cake. Doing this highlights a couple of key issues: what might be best to discard before bothering to move it and what you’ll need to acquire. Don’t freak out, I will help you with both. Now your house plans are populated with all your stuff and no backs were hurt.

               While you’re a little weepy because you recall your daughter, now 16, taking her first steps in the family room, the movers have arrived. They get out the oversized saran wrap spools and blankets and start protecting your belongings. Instead of writing ‘Living Room’ on the now amorphous looking settee, they compliantly write the code name you or I put on it saying LR03. They saved writing 6 letters. Hey, time is money. But that LR03 is helpful on the other end because the plans show us precisely where it is to be set upon arrival. Yes, I’m there too. Did you think I would all of a sudden drop you? No, I’ve got you.

               One piece at a time your life comes gently out of a truck or two and we guide the movers with LR03 to your new office as was pre-determined. Then comes the dining room table, your beds, all of it. We direct them to be placed where we agreed would make the most sense in this new house and is shown on the plans. There’s no ‘well, just set that over here for now.’ The puzzle was finished already. Of course, we can always make adjustments. But in general, you’re in, set up, ready to hit the ground running. See? That wasn’t so bad!

               I’m still not going away. You’ll be calling me about what sort of runner to have installed so you don’t keep sliding down the hardwood stairs. I will gladly come to your aid. You didn’t think it was possible that busy professionals with kids could undertake a move like this without hyperventilating. Turns out Smartly Staged is just what the doctor ordered. Well done and welcome home.

Contact us at: wendy@smartlystaged4you.com