New York State Certified WBE

It’s official! WBE State Certified!

On April 30, 2013 the NYS Department of Economic Development, Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development, completed its review and determined that The Home Staging Source & Supplies meets the eligibility requirements and therefore has been granted status as a New York State Certified WBE (Women Business Enterprise).

I am thrilled and eager to continue to grow my successful home staging business while developing new relationships and partners.


What if Your REALTOR Doesn’t Believe In Staging?

Call a home stager and stage your home yourself.

Most of my vacant home clients want their property to remain staged, with furnishings and accessories intact, until the bank appraiser goes through the house.  That in itself speaks volumes to the value of home staging.

Recently I received a phone call from a homeowner inquiring about my vacant staging services. The empty house has been sitting on the market with very little action for months.  When she asked her REALTOR the name of the home stager she works with, the REALTOR replied, “we don’t stage in Buffalo.”   That comment took me by surprise.  I work with many REALTORS in the area and there are several Home Stagers in Western New York.

With a plethora of staging statistics available and cable TV promoting staging as a given when you list your property, I can’t fathom the reason an established REALTOR would not acknowledge home staging as a valuable marketing tool or at least recommend it as an alternative to an immediate, large price reduction.

The direct calls from sellers I encounter, know about home staging and they assume their REALTOR will as well.  Many of these calls are made at the urging of their REALTOR.  The goal for the homeowner, REALTOR, AND Home Stager is to get the house sold fast, for the most money possible.  I become part of the team that gets the home sold.

Let’s take your car for example.  You’re ready to post it for sale but first, it’s certainly worth taking the time to vacuum, dust off the dash, clear out the old coffee cups and clutter.  You may even consider cleaning out the trunk and replacing that broken knob on the console.  You declutter.  You repair.  You detail clean.  You’re in fact staging it.  You’re showing your second most valuable investment in the best possible light.  Why?  You think it will help you get the price you’re asking.  You think it will sell faster.  You think it will give a buyer the impression that it’s been well cared for.  You’re staging it.  Why wouldn’t you do the same for your most valuable asset?

With regard to vacant property, often the homeowner vacates the house while or before it’s on the market.  Take some time to take some decent staged pictures prior to the home being stripped of the furniture.  An empty room feels cold.  There is no way around it.

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If your REALTOR doesn’t believe in and support staging, call a home stager and stage your home yourself.  Savvy sellers and increasingly, the average seller will find a stager on their own.  Many times I’m called prior to the selection of a REALTOR.  Often the conversation turns to the client asking for a REALTOR recommendation.

Of course I’d be happy to recommend a REALTOR.  A cutting-edge REALTOR who, in representing the clients best interest, will use every possible marketing tool out there, including social media and HOME STAGING, to aggressively prepare, promote, showcase and sell their property.   In fact, I can recommend several REALTORS that I work with on a regular basis.


Owner Occupied Redesign & Rearranging


Using ONLY the homeowner’s things, give the main rooms a fresh look and feel. What a major difference a little rearranging can do when an owner occupied home is redesigned.





Fall Color Consults – Everyone is painting!

October seems to be the month for color consultations.  We’re starting to migrate back inside, my phone is ringing and wall color is the hot topic.  One of my clients will be doing BM-Stardust with BM-White Dove trim.  A gorgeous combo and I can’t wait to see the outcome.  I couldn’t talk them into Farm Fresh (below) on the ceiling……. the ultimate.

Benjamin Moore color trends 2012

Benjamin Moore 2012 colors

This client  is also doing a tranquil and soothing bedroom in Nimbus Gray (above) with White Dove trim.  Although it comes off as a blue, it’s in the grey family and is very soft, pretty and serene but can also be dramatic depending on how it’s used.

Another client is doing a BM-Conventry Gray living room (BM-Revere Pewter is an amazing gray as well).  With over 200 Benjamin Moore shades of gray (well over 50), Coventry Gray is one of my favorites.  It’s an extremely versatile, fresh color with blue undertones and is being used as a neutral in her living room.

Benjamin Moore HC-169 Coventry Grey

In a bedroom, the debate is over Sherwin Williams 6415-Hearts of Palm, much softer than the old granny smith apple, yet still bright and cheerful and 7732-Lemongrass, sophisticated and chic especially when paired with black and tan.

SW 6415 Hearts Of Palm

SW 7732 Lemongrass








Nobody has bitten on the Benjamin Moore color of the year, 331-Lemon Souffle …… just not feeling the soft yellow yet.

Benjamin Moore Color of the Year 2013 – Lemon Souffle







Anticipating The Staging Consultation

Are you a savvy seller? “The Staging consultation is like a treasure map to uncovering the equity in your house.” Two houses: same neighborhood, same type, same price range…. one is Staged to sell, one is not – which one sells first? Invest in an ASP Home Stager and at the very least have a professionally prepared consultation done. You will be left with a furniture layout plan or ideas, paint colors, flooring suggestions, and curb appeal recommendations and much more.  Ask your Agent if Staging is part of their marketing plan. If it’s not, be a savvy seller and call The Home Staging Source to schedule your Consultation!  


Sellers could just cleanup the yard, wash the bathroom, and mud the floors before placing an “Available” sign in the yard. However the market has changed: Individuals are very savvy, and you are rivaling brand-new construction whenever you sell your house.

When buyers select a house, they’re searching for the very best house they are able to get for that price they’re prepared to spend. The easiest method to get your house prepared to compete is as simple as using a complete staging consultation.

An entire staging consultation is really a thorough inspection of your house and property. The professional stager provides you with an itemized report of the inspection that usually appears like mom of “honey do” lists.

This list contains everything you planned to get to eventually but that you need to accomplish now, and a lot of items you probably never noticed. Moving is a lot of labor, sure, but don’t forget – the more you need to do to organize your house for that transition, the better your roi.

Some stagers offer a walk-through consultation with recommendations- an abbreviated version of the complete staging consultation. This sort of consultation isn’t as comprehensive.

The written report that you obtain following a complete consultation varies based on whom you hire. Some stagers give a handwritten report on the spot, yet others take notes while they’re at your house and then mail or fax a typewritten report later. Some stagers e-mail the report when it is ready. Because time is generally a factor when you are readying a home available, ask the stager when you can expect the report.

One stager we heard about actually tells the house seller throughout the consultation, “You’d better take notes while I talk.” Some consultation! When the stager doesn’t go ahead and take consultation seriously and fit everything in that he must do, then the way the remainder of his work be practiced?

An entire staging consultation should result in an extensive listing of recommendations that flow from area to area. It will likewise incorporate observations and strategies for the outside of the property. Consider it a step-by-step plan, a piece plan, a starting place. When the concept of doing all of this jobs are causing you to crazy, turn your thinking around and check out the staging consultation like a treasure map to uncovering the equity in your house.

Craig N. Porter at 06172011



5 Savvy Fixes To Help Sell Your Home

Get the maximum return on your spruce-up dollars by putting your money in the areas buyers care most about

Kristie Barnett for Houzz
Color Expert, Interior Decorator, & Design Blogger (….More »


No one wants to spend money on the home they are getting ready to sell, but it can be crucial if you want to sell the house quickly and for the price you want. Beyond basic decluttering and cleaning, there are areas where some money may need to be spent. While there are some areas that aren’t necessary to spend money on, you may need to spend a little cash in order to get your property sold.

traditional dining room by Michael Abrams Limited
1. Paint
Painting the walls in updated neutrals and on-trend colors will set your home apart and help home buyers remember each room. Open areas all should be painted the same color — maybe a light griege or muted-down color. You’ll want to skip the dark or intense colors in these areas.
traditional bedroom Guest Room Redesign
Master and guest bedrooms are best painted in muted but distinct colors. Muted versions of blues, greens and yellows are good bets.
This lovely guest room painted by Warline Painting in Benjamin Moore’s Georgian Green will be remembered over a similar one painted Builder Beige.
2. Make Necessary Repairs
Go ahead and make any repair work that you have left unfinished. Not only will the buyer’s home inspector find those issues anyway, but you are hindering offers if there are obvious repairs that need to be made.

Unfinished repairs or projects reflect badly on the overall maintenance of the home and send up a red flag to would-be buyers. Nothing will make a buyer pull out of a deal and run for the hills faster than a home inspection report riddled with needed repairs and safety concerns.

3. Replace Old Carpet
If you have old or stained carpet, you should consider replacing it before putting it on the market. Often a professional cleaning is enough to get it ready to show, but sometimes that just won’t do the trick. Stained or dated carpet is a huge turnoff to potential buyers, especially if you have pets. Even pet lovers are not interested in buying a home with carpet stained by other peoples’ pets.
bedroom by Freedom Restorations Co.

And before you even mention it, “carpet allowances” really don’t work well anymore. Mortgage companies are increasingly reluctant to allow a contract with repair and update allowances. Besides that, most people don’t have the luxury to stay a few extra weeks in their previous home after the closing date while new carpet is being installed. Fresh, new carpet is even more crucial when selling an empty property, since that is all buyers will see in an empty room.
Same thing goes for vinyl flooring — you’re going to have a hard time selling if it’s old, torn or stained. Replace it with a clean, neutral vinyl or vinyl composite tile (VCT).
4. Install Solid-Surface Countertops
You’ve probably heard that kitchens and baths sell houses. If you are interested in getting your house sold quickly, replacing laminate countertops in the kitchen will help make that happen. We can argue the particulars, but solid-surface, natural stone or quartz countertops will help sell your home.

When a property is above the $350,000 range, I highly recommend the upgrade. If it’s below that, there is absolutely nothing that will sell a home faster and for more money. Buyers on the lower end will swoon over them and will always choose a home with solid-surface countertops over other homes in their price range that don’t have them.

More on choosing kitchen counters

5. Find a Stager

Investing a few hundred dollars with a really good home stager can help you make tens of thousands when selling your home. Not all stagers are created equal. Do your homework and find a stager with a good track record and a great portfolio so you can see the work before investing in a consultation.

Spread out the cost — and enjoy some fixes yourself. If you are considering moving within the next couple of years, don’t wait until the last minute to improve your home to make it more marketable. Do a little at a time so that you can spread out the cost. Why not enjoy the improvements yourself before your house goes on the market?

Guides to selling your house
How to Sell Your House Faster to a Younger Buyer


Back to the Spreadsheet

Youngstown/Lewiston, NY

A great riverfront house in Youngstown. Note to self - keep appropriate footwear in vehicle at all times.

Spring Home Staging in Western New York is in full swing.  Several open projects have me resorting back to my spreadsheet system.  A problem I welcome.

This week was all over the board.  It was primarily consumed with designing and packing for a vacant. The painting is complete, the color palette is hot and the design is coming together nicely.

Interestingly, I’ve seen an explosion in the number of requests for exterior color consultations.  The “artsy” neighborhoods in Buffalo are a favorite.  The older homes have quite a bit of gingerbread and architectural detail.  They allow for a little more creativity with making funky color choices.

By now, we all know staging a property is such a smart investment!  It works and it does send the message of a well cared-for home. That series of first impressions highlighting your home‘s features, allows the buyer to feel at home, not in your home.  The before and after photos tell the story.  Eventually, I’ll spend a day editing and uploading pictures.  Until then, the Staging itself is the priority!

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Getting Ready for Market: To Pay or Not to Pay for Staging

Wednesday, March 28, 2012, by Curbed Staff

Curbed University delivers insider tips and non-boring advice on how to buy, sell, or rent a home or apartment. Additional questions welcomed to Up now, does it make sense to pay for staging?

curbedU_3_2012.jpgA picture is worth a thousand words, and since most people start their apartment search online nowadays, it better be a damn good picture. There are many companies in NYC that“stage” apartments for sellers and real estate brokers, meaning that they bring in furniture and accessories to make an apartment feel more like a home, and therefore appeal to a wider range of buyers. It also helps focus on the best features of the apartment byneutralizing a palette and using furniture and accessories that give each room a purpose and work with the room’s dimensions.

“An overwhelming majority of buyers cannot visualize  how the home will work for their furniture and needs when they first walk into a property,” says Kathryn Swift of Swift Solutions Home. This can apply to different sized couches, tables, and most importantly, knowing if you’ll be sweetly dreaming in a queen or king sized bed, which can be hard to see without that representation already there.

So why stage? “Homes that are staged sell more quickly and for more money than empty properties,” says Swift, “And many agents agree that the investment for staging is less than the cost of the first price reduction.” Though you might consider yourself an amateur designer, it might be difficult to separate yourself from your home. “When it’s your home, you place things where they make sense for you. When you’re selling your home, furniture may need to be rearranged or replaced to allow buyers to walk through easily and to get a sense of flow and space,” says Swift.

Any cons? It’s definitely an extra cost which grows depending on the size of your apartment. Also, if you’re staging, it means you have to live with this neutralized home while your place is on the market. If you have another place to crash, it usually makes it easier on everyone. Knowing the basics of how staging works will hopefully give you a better perspective on whether it’s right for you when selling your home.  Curbed University

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NY Times – Rental as Alternative to Foreclosure

Deal B%k – Bank of America Tests Rental Program as Alternative to Foreclosure

by Nelson D. Schwartz

Bank of America said Thursday that it would offer a small number of customers facing foreclosure the option to remain in their homes and rent the property instead. The program highlights how investors are increasingly interested in becoming landlords on troubled properties.