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Getting Ready for the Spring Selling Season

Ask any real estate professional why March is so exciting, and they will tell you it is more than just better weather, longer days and more sunshine. It is the start of the spring selling season. For the Hudson Valley, this year is full of promise.

A very active year is projected for real estate sales in both Rockland and Orange counties. Right now, we are in the most ideal time to list a property. The spring market season runs from March through June and is known as the unofficial start of the real estate year, characterized by an increased number of home sales and new listings.


635 South Mountain Road, New City, New York

Last year, home sales increased about 20 percent compared with 2014 in Rockland and about 24 percent in Orange County. I believe we will see a 16 percent increase in Rockland and 20 percent in Orange because inventory levels in both counties are down – 11 percent in Rockland and 7 percent in Orange – compared with 2015.

Low inventory puts more pressure on existing homes to sell. My advice for those considering listing is to beat the trend and get listed on the market earlier to stand out from the clutter of new listings. In addition, it is important to be realistic about listing prices.

18 Summit Road, Tuxedo Park, New York

18 Summit Road, Tuxedo Park, New York

There is more potential sellers can do to set their homes apart from the competition, however. First, give your property an overall spring cleaning followed by staging. Staging refers to the art of decorating a house to sell quickly and for the most amount of money as possible. Cleaning should focus on the inside and outside, from landscaping to touch-up paint to making the windows sparkle.

According to HGTV’s “10 Best-Kept Secrets to Selling Your Home,” the number-one tip is to focus on curb appeal: “You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers.”

Finally, once a home is clean and personal effects are removed, it should be staged with universally appealing furniture. As tempting as it might be to have a batch of cookies baking in the oven before a showing, or a new candle burning, the lack of aroma is actually the best scenario. By following these simple steps, sellers can make the most of a blooming spring selling season.


Home Staging: Why is Home Staging Important in Today’s Market?

Jane Livingston Founder, Stage and Sell

Jane Livingston
Founder, Stage and Sell

Today we are discussing the importance of home staging in today’s market with expert Jane Livingston. Last week she offered us her top three tips, and prior to that we talked about the biggest misconceptions associated with home staging.


Why is staging important in the home sale process?

JL: Since nine out of 10 buyers in all demographics decide if they want to look at a house based on online photos, staging is more important than ever.

Professionally staged properties look better –it’s that simple. Staging is a marketing tool that gives the seller an edge in capturing a buyer’s attention as they click through online MLS photos. And then when the buyer must see the property, good staging maintains that good first impression from start to end. Typically, staged homes sell for more money, are perceived as well maintained and have fewer concessions requested of the seller. Now when you see a property that is filled with clutter or crowded with old furniture, it is an open invitation for a buyer to give a low-ball offer due to a perception that could be easily reversed. Buyers don’t want to do work unless they can get a bargain price.

26 Woods Road, Snedens Landing (before staging)

26 Woods Road, Snedens Landing (before staging)

26 Woods Road, Snedens Landing

26 Woods Road, Snedens Landing (after staging)

How did you get involved in staging?

JL: Home renovation and interior design have always been my passion. For years, I produced and directed home makeover and interior design TV shows on TLC, HGTV and BBC America.  My production crews and I designed interior makeovers for small bungalows to multimillion-dollar estates throughout Westchester, Rockland and Fairfield counties.

During that time, I learned what appeals to a given demographic and what doesn’t. Meeting tight time and budget constraints while delivering a high-end result was a necessity, and I gained valuable knowledge that only time and experience can teach. At the same time, I bought, renovated and sold homes in New York and Maine. Finally, the idea to start a staging business hit me two years ago after I staged my daughter’s house. The house sold immediately for asking price. Her agent, impressed with the amazing interior and exterior transformation, asked me to stage another house and I’ve been busy doing what I love ever since.

For more staging tips from The New York Times, click here. Jane can be reached at stageandsellny@gmail.com.