The Art of Home Staging

Staging is the art of using marketing and decorating techniques to create an environment that buyers can aspire to. “If I buy this house, I can live like this.” Stagers use the art of “positioning” to create several “emotional connection points” throughout the home so that when a buyer steps into the house they “feel home.” “This is it.” “This is the one.” What does feeling home look like? For Home Stagers it’s a combination of eight elements analyzed in each room in order to create a lasting impression for the home buyer:

1. First Impressions – Room by room, we will walk through and take note of our first impressions, what grabs us, what glares at us and what gives to us a feeling of home?

2. Eliminating Clutter – The packing starts now as we pack away a good percentage of everything in the room in order to create a more clean, open and spacious feel.

3. Emphasizing the Positive – While Downplaying the Negative – Finding your beautiful focal points, we will emphasize what we love about the room and hide or distract the negative aspects of the rooms.

4. Lighten Up – Focusing on lighting and color, we will make each room into a bright, warm and inviting space that buyers can respond to.

5. Home Buyers Appeal – In order for a buyer to “feel home” they need not be reminded of this being your home. We’ll depersonalize the space while retaining the warmth and fun of photos.

6. Odor free/Cleaning/Repairs – The dirty work speaks for itself but is many times overlooked because you’ve lived here for so long. Let’s get rid of the buyer’s mental “repair list” by doing it ourselves.

7. Modernizing – Updating your style and building simple accessories out of what you already have to create clean lines and form. In some cases, we’ll recommend purchases as valuable “investments” in the staging process.

8. “Emotional Connection Points” – Creating the “Wow Factor”. This is the fun part and is a huge focus of our positioning strategy. We’ll show you how to build in these subtleties in order to make the buyers subconsciously desire to live here and “feel home”. The “emotional connection points” are where marketing strategy really comes in to play

You are eight critical steps away from selling your home quickly and for more money. The process is started in the consultation by having the seller put on “buyers eyes” as a first step in transforming their home into what home buyers will desire and buy.

What Being Honest With Yourself Can Do!

Courage for self honesty

‘I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination’ Jimmy Dean

My daughter encouraged me to join FarmVille on Facebook. If you aren’t following this, I have my own virtual farm. I can buy crops and animals, but friends can send me gifts. Last week I was sent four   elephants . It started me thinking about how silly my  elephants  looked on my tiny farm.

Now I have these big  elephants  which I can’t ignore. By the way you might be wondering why I am wasting my time playing FarmVille. When I am not feeling well it is an easy occupation distracts me.

We all talk about it but do you know where the expression the  elephant   in   the   room  comes from? I didn’t know the origin of the saying.

“An  elephant   in   the   room ” is based on the idea that an  elephant   in  a  room  would be impossible to overlook; obvious I know.

What helps me to move on? What helps me to adjust my sails?

I have certainly needed to have some very tough and honest conversations with myself. It is not that I have lied to myself ever it is just that sometimes I would prefer if my life had taken a different direction. This delay has been a good protection mechanism for me. I dealt with the implications of my illness when I was ready to move on.

The truth for me is there is no one way to handle a chronic illness; no quick fixes and no easy answers. It’s my life and ultimately the buck stops with me. My doctors can guide me  in  making medical decisions but I am still left with choices.

What obvious truth are you ignoring  in  your life? What  elephants   in  your life do you need to face? You don’t need to tell anyone else you will know your own answer to this question. You don’t need to feel bad either most people I have coached over the years have had at least one  elephant   in   the   room .

I haven’t asked myself why I got sick. For that would be pointless and would be looking back. Instead I have been focusing on what i can do today to look at the choices I have now not what might have been or what I could or should have done. Honesty with myself has opened new doors.

Maybe you are not facing chronic illness. Perhaps you are in a job or relationship that you feel has come to an end.

What’s the hardest conversation you can imagine having?

Who would it be with?

What is stopping you having this conversation?

It was uncomfortable to face my own truth. The biggest clue for me now as i look back it was the conversation I didn’t want to have with myself.

When Kissing Cousins Aren’t So Cute

In an article first published by the London Sunday Times this week, Britain’s Environment Minister Phil Woolas again cited the dangers of inbreeding in the Pakistani immigrant community in Britain. Appropriately calling it “the elephant in the room”, Woolas was careful to point out it was the “Pakistani community” – who just happen to be largely Muslim. Despite choosing his words carefully, Woolas, who served previously as Race Relations minister, has sparked a controversy amongst British Muslims.

Woolas, who represents the ethnically mixed region of Oldham East and Saddleworth, said, “If you talk to any primary care worker they will tell you that levels of disability among the… Pakistani population are higher than the general population. And everybody knows it’s caused by first-cousin marriage. That’s a cultural thing rather than a religious thing. It is not illegal in this country.”

“The problem is that many of the parents themselves and many of the public spokespeople are themselves products of first-cousin marriages. It’s very difficult for people to say ‘you can’t do that’ because it’s a very sensitive, human thing,” Times Online reported.

The online blogosphere and other newspapers quickly followed the story, often irresponsibly. Spero published a similar story titled, “UK minister warns of ‘Muslim inbreeding”, even though Woolas said no such thing. That does not seem to matter any longer though as the “elephant in the room” has been uncaged.

Bloggers and readers commenting on the story quickly took sides and argued about “anti-Muslim politicians” or how all Muslim men want to marry their sister and then give her a beating for good measure. Sadly, these vicious, knee -jerk and oft ill-informed debates shift attention from the real problem.

Interfamily marriages and the resulting inbreeding are found in many societies and cultures all over the world. Several states in the US have passed laws banning inter-family relations or marriage as time and science began to show the resulting genetic problems that it causes. It is not a matter of religion, but a matter of culture and being uninformed of the hazards.

British Pakistanis’ inter-family marriages are a concern of public health, due to disproportional representations of birth defects in their population. For British society it puts an added strain on the National Health Service, but short of introducing a law to forbid these marriages, there seems little can be done. The continued attempts to educate people about this seem to have been fruitless thus far.

Woolas is supported by Labour member of Parliament Ann Cryer, who first spoke out on the issue two years ago after research showed British Pakistanis were 13 times more likely to have children with birth defects than the general population. Cryer told the Sunday Times, “This is to do with a Medieval culture where you keep wealth within the family.”

“I have encountered cases of blindness and deafness. There was one poor girl who had to have an oxygen tank on her back and breathe from a hole in the front of her neck,” she added. “The parents were warned they should not have any more children. But when the husband returned from Pakistan, within months they had another child with exactly the same condition.”

A possible answer might lie in going to the source of the cultural problem, to Pakistan. A study more than a decade ago found, “The prevalence of inter-family marriages was studied in 940 families belonging to four different socio -economic groups in and around Lahore, Pakistan. The overall prevalence of interfamily marriages was 46%. The first-cousin marriages were most common at 67%, followed by marriages between second cousins, 19%.”

Marriages between families are often meant to strengthen the bond of kinsmanship. Indeed, women are often more warmly welcomed into the households, less likely to face abuse and retain some status because they are well, family.

The Koran does not have any passages that forbid marrying within the family and inter-family marriages are documented back to the times of the Prophet Mohammad. Herein lays a possibly more effective solution that actually makes Islam a positive force in this debate.

If Islamic scholars and influential mullahs could be presented with the evidence of why this practice is bad for their culture, then maybe sharia law could be amended. Or at the very least have some of Islam’s most influential mullahs in Pakistan offer guidance to Muslims.

Meanwhile, media and bloggers that make this a divisive topic based solely on religion ignore the real victims that this problem creates. But perhaps misinformation and religious banter simply make it easier for people to avoid having to take a good hard look at themselves and their culture.