If you're looking to sell your home — and get top-dollar for it — staging the property can help you do it.
Put simply, staging means preparing the home for a potential buyer — or "setting the stage," if you will. It involves redecorating, rearranging furniture, cleaning and other aesthetic strategies to present the home in the best possible light. The goal is to make the home as appealing as possible to the most potential buyers.
Benefits of Home Staging
Home staging comes with many benefits. For one, it can make it easier for potential buyers to envision themselves in the home. It provides a clean palette of sorts — one without clutter, personal photographs and other items that might turn off a buyer or make it hard to imagine themselves living on the property.
According to a study from the National Association of REALTORS© (NAR), 77 percent of buyers say it's easier to visualize a staged property as a future home.1
Staging also makes a home look more "move-in ready" — meaning that it doesn't seem to need a lot of work or repair before a new buyer could move in. Seventy-one percent of buyers are looking for a move-in ready home.2 Staging could help give that impression, which could be a nice advantage for you in successfully selling your home.
Finally, staging a home makes it easier to market. It looks better in listing photos (which can play a big role in today's home-shopping process), and it is also more eye-catching when shared on social media, printed on flyers and displayed in other visual marketing mediums. As a result, staged homes typically sell faster. According to NAR, 62 percent of agents say staging has an impact on a home's time on the market.3
Options for Home Staging
You have a few options when looking to stage your home. You can choose to do the process yourself (DIY); you can look to your real estate agent for help; or you can bring in a professional staging company to do the work on your behalf. In some cases, you could also do a combination of these options.
Though these pros do come at a fee, they typically do the work for you. They will evaluate your home's current condition, make recommendations on how to improve its overall appeal to potential buyers and marketability, and then put those suggestions into action by rearranging the furniture, bringing in new décor or helping you declutter.
Often, stagers have a large inventory of furniture, décor, artwork and other items they can pull from to help your home look its best. Just be aware that using a stager's inventory may come with an extra fee, so be sure to ask about that.
Calfee Insurance allows you to customize your coverage to fit your unique needs. We focus on understanding you, so you'll feel right at home working with us.
How Much Does It Cost to Stage a House?
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median cost of home staging is $675.4 These costs vary, though, and depend on several factors, including the size, location and price of the home, the exact type of staging services you're looking for, and whether you need additional furniture, décor or other items in your staging efforts. Some agents recommend spending between 1 to 3 percent of your home's listing price on staging.
If you're staging your home yourself, you'll want to consider the costs of things like:
Consider shopping at thrift stores or second-hand shops for any new décor or furnishings you might need. You might also want to focus your staging efforts on only a few rooms — higher impact areas like the living area, the kitchen and the master bedroom.
Is Home Staging Worth it?
From a financial standpoint, staging can add measurable selling appeal to a home. According to NAR, nearly a third of real estate agents say staging increases the dollar value offered by buyers, in comparison to similar homes, by 1 to 5 percent. Another 21 percent of agents say it increased the dollar value of the home between 6 and 10 percent.5
To determine if staging a house is worth it, you'll want to consider a few things, including:
Home staging may increase the likelihood that you'll sell your property and do so quickly, and for top-dollar. If you're on a tight timeline or looking to boost your profits on the sale, home staging can certainly help. It also can be beneficial if your market is particularly competitive for sellers by ensuring your home is memorable, beautiful and stands out from the rest.
If you're ever unsure of whether staging is in your best interest, consider speaking to a local real estate agent. They can help assess your property as well as make recommendations based on the market and preferences of local buyers.
Selling your home is an important life moment. Why not also take it as an opportunity to review your homeowners coverage?
If you've experienced a big shift or have something planned for the future, you may need to adjust your policy accordingly.
Want to make sure you have the right protection? Review this list of events to see if you should make updates to your insurance coverage.
6 Home Organizing Projects to Keep Your Children Busy While You're Working From Home During COVID-19
While many of us are adjusting to social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, parents are juggling their daily work activities with caring for their children. If you are working from home (WFH), you may have calls to make, emails to send or a video call to dial into while you try to keep your kids safely occupied.
There is a bright side to sheltering in place while working from home, and it’s not just the cozy family togetherness. You can get a jump on some of the home organizing projects on your to-do list, while helping your children learn how they can pitch in to help.
Get together as a family to brainstorm potential projects. Let the kids come up with some of their own, weighing in on what they want to do. Consider creating a schedule and come up with little rewards they might get ‒ such as extra screen time after finishing a big task or a project, one-on-one time with a parent, a walk around the neighborhood, or time playing catch.
Here are some organizing ideas that can help occupy the kids while you’re working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Home Office
Looking for a fun way to get the kids to help clean your home office? Let them shred paper! Just note that it’s not recommended to recycle or toss financial documents, as these can contain personal information that can be used for identity theft.
Different documents should be held for different amounts of time, usually 1 to 7 years, though some should be kept forever. Double-check your shred pile for these types of documents before your kids start shredding them. If your children are old enough to use a shredder, give them a proper tutorial to make sure they know how to use it safely and supervise if necessary. Better yet, let them tear up the paper with their hands. Just make sure they know they have to pick up any bits of paper they drop and toss them in the trash.
Bikes, balls, holiday decorations, lawn equipment and gardening supplies might be, piled up in your garage, even with a car parked inside it. Let the kids get some fresh air while you’re WFH and sort through their outside toys. Have them decide what to keep and what to donate or throw away. Discard broken or nonworking items like deflated balls, broken sporting equipment or a cracked bike helmet. Discovering boxes of sidewalk chalk and the forgotten scooter can also give them something to do after organizing.
3. Spice Rack
While you make dinner or continue to WFH in the next room, let the kids organize the spice rack. They can organize alphabetically or by spice type ‒ baking, green spices, salts, etc. It’s also a good time to weed out empty bottles and make sure that the contents of remaining bottles are not past their expiration date.
With the kids at home full time, they may be scattering their toys around the room more than usual. While you’re WFH, have them use this time to set aside any broken items and less-loved toys that might make another child happy. Throw out the broken toys, and box up any that can be donated.
Kids grow quickly, and their clothing from last season may no longer fit them. To clear out these wardrobe items, have your kids put on a fashion show to let you see what no longer fits. At the same time, this can be a good time to plow through email on your laptop while in their room, either sitting at their desk or on their bed. It’ll take time for the kids to change into different outfits, and they can hang up or fold the clothes in between. Keep a bin or bag ready for donations.
Pantry organizing can take several routes. Kids can inventory what goods are in the pantry and start a shopping list for future trips or deliveries. They can throw out expired food and wipe the cabinets clean (a great way to introduce them to the task of spring cleaning!). Kids who like to cook could use the ingredients they find to plan recipes. Some websites can even recommend recipes based on the ingredients you have on hand.
Letting the kids do some home organizing while you’re work from home doesn’t have to be a chore. What’s more, if you’re thinking of selling your house in the near future, you’ll be in a better position to begin that process of decluttering.
Organizing can be an educational process, even if your kids don’t know that you’re trying to teach them something. After they get into the swing of things, they may not even want a reward, since they’re having so much fun. Plus, seeing the results of an inviting toy pile, a pantry with lots of promise or a closet full of clothing that fits is a reward in itself.
Remember, especially in times like these, Calfee Insurance cares and is here for our customers when they need us. If there is anything we can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact us at 508-540-2601.
Because there are so many companies selling car insurance, sorting through all the choices to find the right policy for you and your family can be a challenging task. With each carrier claiming to offer the best value, it's easy to feel confused. At first glance, all of the policies may look the same, but there are important differences you may need to consider. Your goal should be to find one that includes all the benefits you need at a competitive price.
Follow these four steps for finding the best car insurance policy for you:
1. Determine the Level of Coverage You Need
The cheapest policy may not be the one you need. Inexpensive plans may not provide collision coverage, which pays to fix your own car following an accident. They may not offer comprehensive coverage, which covers damage to your car not caused by auto accidents, such as natural disasters, theft or vandalism.
The nonprofit Insurance Information Institute notes that all states except New Hampshire require property and bodily injury liability coverage.1 A policy that offers only the minimum amount of liability protection required by law may save you money, but it probably won't cover the legal claims that can stem from serious accidents involving property damage or injuries.
Remember that not everyone's insurance needs are the same. For example, if you're leasing a car, you may need gap insurance. If the car is totaled, gap insurance covers the difference between the actual cash value of the vehicle and the outstanding balance on your lease.
2. Review the Financial Health of Car Insurers
Everyone wants a good deal on their auto insurance policy, but low rates won't do you any good if the company you choose isn't around to pay its claims.
Each ratings agency uses its own standards for evaluating insurance companies and their financial health.
3. Compare Several Car Insurance Quotes
You can shop for insurance working directly with insurance agents. A report says getting multiple quotes is important because prices for the same level of coverage vary greatly.3 That happens because insurance prices are based on risk. Each carrier has its own formula for measuring the policyholder's risk for filing claims.
Some insurers rely heavily on insurance scores to determine how likely policyholders are to file claims. Other companies may give more weight to the type of car you drive and how expensive it would be to repair following an accident.
Where you live also can be a factor in determining what you pay for car insurance. If your ZIP code has a higher-than-average rate of car accidents, your insurance costs could be higher.
4. Ask About Discounts
Many insurance companies offer discounts, notes. If you have a teen with good grades on your auto policy, he or she may qualify for a reduced insurance rate. Some insurers offer discounts to drivers who meet annual low-mileage thresholds or take driver education classes. If your car has an anti-theft device, that also could qualify you for a discount.
Be sure to ask to request a list of all available discounts. It could make a big difference in how much you pay for your policy.
Buying renters insurance to protect your stuff may seem like an unnecessary expense, until you experience a theft or fire in your rented home or apartment and lose some of your most treasured possessions forever.
Whether you're a longtime renter or starting out in your first place, renters insurance policies provide important benefits and coverage. If a fire or similar incident destroyed your home and you didn't have renters coverage, it would be up to you to replace everything you own. Plus, if someone claimed you caused an injury or property damage, without adequate insurance protection, you could be at risk for an expensive lawsuit and paying that person for his or her damages.
As you consider whether to buy renters insurance, here are four things you need to know:
1. Renters Insurance Provides Off-Premises Coverage
Renters insurance does more than cover the cost of lost or damaged possessions in your home. There is coverage if your bicycle is stolen from a bike rack at the park, or if your laptop is taken from your car while you're at the supermarket.
2. You Can Be Compensated if You're Forced to Relocate
Most renters policies provide additional living expenses coverage if your home becomes uninhabitable due to an event such as vandalism, theft, fire or water damage from home utilities.1 This benefit usually includes the cost of living expenses, up to your policy limits.
This coverage typically is limited to 30 to 50 percent of your insured personal property. For example, if your belongings were insured for $100,000, the limit on additional living expenses would be $30,000 to $50,000, as outlined in your policy.
3. A Home Inventory Can Determine How Much Coverage You Need
Before you decide how much coverage you need, it's important to know how much it would cost to replace your possessions. You can calculate replacement costs by conducting a home inventory and checking with your insurance representative to make certain you're fully covered.2
4. You Can Reduce Your Renters Insurance Costs
There are a variety of ways to reduce the cost of renters insurance. An option is to select a higher policy deductible, the amount you must pay before your insurance coverage takes effect. Increasing a deductible from $250 to $500 could create an annual savings of up to 15 percent.
You also may want to consider buying all your insurance policies from one carrier. For example, when you bundle your auto and renters policies, you receive additional savings.
The spring season calls for refreshing and maintaining your most lived-in spaces, including your home and car.
Taking care of basic maintenance tasks can also help you avoid dealing with expensive repairs in the future.
In other words, now is the perfect time to make sure your property is in tiptop shape. Here are six essential car and home tasks to have on your radar.
First, check your vehicle's service schedule. That way, you'll know when and how often your car needs certain repairs, including:
Do you want to avoid expensive home repairs in the future? Here's what the experts suggest.
Do you know how damaging potholes can be?
Unfortunately, this common road hazard can potentially send your vehicle to the repair shop.
Here’s what to know if you ever find yourself dealing with pothole problems. Plus: Find out how you might be able to avoid them in the first place.
What kind of damage can a bad pothole cause?
Thinking of filing a pothole damage claim?
Your policy may cover pothole damage, but such a claim is likely to be considered a single-car accident, which means the fault gets assigned to you. Having an at-fault accident on your record could cause your rates to go up.
Before you file a claim, check your deductible to see if the cost of repair will exceed your out-of-pocket amount. If not, there’s no benefit to filing a claim. Not sure what to do? Reach out to us for help weighing your options.
How can you avoid pothole damage?
Pothole season may be unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean potholes themselves can’t be avoided. Here are a few tips for preventing pothole damage:
Have questions about pothole damage claims or your policy in general? Reach out today.