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As a National Trainer for Certified Staging Professionals the leading international home staging certification training academy. I have taught their 3-day certification course several times in Arlington, Virginia which is a suburb of Washington, D.C. The course is mostly attended by real estate agents, interior designers, professional organizers and interior designers interested in starting a home staging business.  What they all agree with and have shared with me is that when it comes to selling a home in the Northern Virginia market, with so much inventory available a property truly needs to have an “it” factor to stand out from the crowd.  In January I created a list of my “Top 10” Home Staging Tips for 2012. I wanted to share them again, as they are easy, affordable and will certainly help any home seller sell their home for the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time. Hope it helps! And Happy Selling!!


Cathy’s Top Home Staging Tips

1. Clear the clutter–this sounds simple enough, but if your home is not free of excess furniture and clutter it will simply take longer to sell.

2. Check the price — most buyers make decisions in large part based on price.  It is critical that your home is priced correctly.

3. Shop the competition— I suggest to a lot of my sellers that they go to open houses and really see what their competition has to offer.

4. Neutralize and de-personalize — you want potential home buyers to feel that it could be their home, not your home.

5. Make minor repairs- now is not the time to skimp. Paint those steps that haven’t been painted in years or replace that front door. Your will be glad you did!

6. Hire a cleaning crew-it is imperative that your home is spic and span, especially kitchens and bathrooms.

7. Rent furniture or purchase accessories if necessary--sometimes it isn’t about the fact that your home is furnished, but what kind of furniture it is furnished with. When marketing your property you want to make sure that the furniture and accessories to not come across as outdated or inappropriate.

8. Paint--I have never seen a property that did not benefit from fresh coat of paint when it came time to sell.

9. Don’t forget curb appeal-– remember many potential buyers will judge the inside of a home by what they see on the outside. Make sure the landscaping is well kept as well as exterior elements such as shutters, front doors and driveways.

10. Hire a Certified Staging Professional (CSP) to stage your home–you wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself so why would you not trust your biggest asset your home to a professional.

Va. Home Sales Showing Possibility of Recovery

by SCOTT McCAFFREY, Staff Writer Sun Gazette Newspapers

When should a tie be counted as a win? In the case of Virginia’s real estate market, when sales from 2011 held up fairly well compared to transactions a year before.

A total of 83,748 residential properties changed hands across the Old Dominion last year, according to figures reported by the Virginia Association of Realtors (VAR), up slightly from the 83,561 sales recorded in 2010.

More importantly, the 2011 sales figures held up even without the federal tax credit for home-buyers that helped prop up the market a year before.

If overall economic conditions continue to improve – obviously a big “if” – then “there is reasonable hope for an improved housing market in 2012,” VAR officials said in remarks accompanying the sales data.

Sales across Virginia in the fourth quarter of 2011 totaled 18,715, up slightly from the 18,513 recorded a year. Sales were essentially flat, compared to a year before, in all three months: October, November and December.

For the fourth quarter, total sales were up in every geographic region across the commonwealth except the biggie: In Northern Virginia, sales were down 9.1 percent, to 8,221. (In VAR parlance, “Northern Virginia” includes a huge swath of territory, much larger than the more traditional inner and outer suburbs of Washington, D.C.)

Sales were up 12.9 percent in the Hampton Roads area, 9.8 percent in Roanoke/Lynchburg/Blacksburg, 9.6 percent in Greater Richmond, 9.4 percent in Southwest Virginia, 8.3 percent in the Central Valley and 2.4 percent in Southside.

The average sales price of all homes sold across Virginia in the fourth quarter was $220,000, down from $233,000 a year before.

But “given that Virginia has seen two quarters of consecutive increases in the pace of annualized home sales, we may see prices stabilize in 2012,” VAR official said.

Average prices were down in all seven reporting areas, from a low of 0.2 percent in Northern Virginia to a high of 8.5 percent in Greater Richmond. Average sales prices were $309,995 in Northern Virginia, $195,000 in the Central Valley, $194,000 in Hampton Roads, $171,548 in Central Richmond, $150,000 in Roanoke/Lynchburg/Blacksburg, $120,000 in Southwest Virginia and $84,000 in Southside Virginia.

The median sales price for all homes in Virginia continues well above the comparable national figure, standing at $220,200 in November vs. a national total (for existing homes) of $164,200.

Total sales volume for all Virginia residential properties sold in the fourth quarter was $5.18 billion, down from $5.43 billion a year before. The average number of days homes spent on the market before finding a buyer was 100 in the fourth quarter, up from 91 a year before.