Are You Gambling with the Sale of Your Home?

Are You Gambling with the Sale of Your Home?

Listing a vacant home is a gamble.  You can roll the dice and hope that the right buyer – the one with the “vision” – will come in and fall in love with the place.  The reality is that only 10% of buyers (and homeowners in general) are able to envision the rooms with their furnishings and decor in them.   Consider that statistic…only 1 in 10 buyers can see the potential and the remaining 90% of buyers see the house at face value.   Often times, this means that any/all flaws (i.e. peeling wallpaper, scuffed flooring, worn paint on walls) in the home become the focal point because that is all there is to be seen.

3 Tips to Up the Ante & Reduce the Odds Against Sitting on the Market

TIP 1:   Address the visual reasons you would be offered less for your home – things like peeling wallpaper, nicks/dings on painted walls & trim, brightly painted rooms and scuffed/stained flooring.  When these things are taken out of the equation…buyers view the home as “move in ready” and will not try to offer less money because they think it will be costly to address them.

Wallpaper Example 2

Before – Peeling/Missing Wallpaper

Wallpaper Example 3

Before – Peeling/Missing Wallpaper


Wallpaper Example 1

Before – Peeling/Missing Wallpaper

TIP 2:  Everyone enjoys spending time in homes that are clean, welcoming and comfortable.  Help buyers see how warm & inviting the rooms can be by adding furniture and decor.  This also allows them to see how their furnishings will fit into the spaces.


AFTER (Wallpaper Removed and a Fresh Coat of Paint Added)

TIP 3:  Have professional photography done so that the charm of your home is truly reflected online. This is very important because approximately 95% of buyers begin their search online.  They will complete their drive bys and first showings on their computer and handheld devices.  We are such an app driven, visual society so it is important to tell a strong visual story of your listing to prompt more showings in person.

Recent Example

This house was on the market for 6 months with no offers so we were called in to consult.  The room above was surrounded by updated spaces…a new Kitchen and Bath as well as an additional Family Room that had had wallpaper removed and paint.  Since it was empty, the missing and torn wallpaper was very obvious.  The sellers were willing to make changes so they removed all the paper and painted the room.  Once that was completed, we added in the furniture and decor seen in the “after” photo.

One of the other rooms that we addressed was the Dining Room.  We removed the small scale table & chairs to bring in a larger table, chairs, updated window treatments and decor.  Here are the results:


Previous Listing Photo



The great news here is that this house had several showings and was under agreement in 30 days!

It’s another example of how Staging & Professional Photography make a huge difference in how homes show online and welcome buyers in when they come for showings.

“After” photographs captured by the talented Alison Payne Bellaud – 603.320.2295.

Designing in Stages – Step 1

Designing in Stages – Step 1

I’ve been working with a client for several months to update her small lakeside home.  Her goal was to create cozy spaces for her along with enough eating and visiting space for when she has friends and family visit.  The facelift included a fresh coat of paint, new window treatments and 3 new furniture arrangements.  Here are the “before” pictures:







I took measurements and offered a variety of functional furniture plans and we decided on this layout:

Refined Drawing 2

Next came the fun part…SHOPPING!!  We used the drawing as a guide while ordering the new pieces at New England Furniture in Farmington, NH.  The only decisions we needed to make was about the fabrics and we had a color scheme in mind that would coordinate with the wall color and window treatment fabric seen below:

Paint_Window Treatment samples

It would be several weeks before the furniture was due to arrive.  In the meantime, a built-in storage bench was installed/stained and the walls were painted by the awesome guys at Azer Renovations.  The customization kept going with a one of a kind table that was created to fit into the space perfectly.  Once those steps were done, we hung the window treatments and saw it all come together when the delivery arrived.  Take a look at the “after” photos:



2016_01_26 161 Nicola Rd-022-SMALL






AFTER photos by Matthew Yeaton Photography

After this project was completed, the homeowner decided to add on a 3 season porch to extend her living space.  That will come in a future post (Click Here to check it out).

This project has been such a pleasure ~ I’m so grateful that I have been able to help a wonderful person transform her home into the warm retreat that she had been dreaming of.



433 Route 11(Farmington Rd)

Farmington, NH 03835



2299 Woodbury Avenue

Newington, NH  03801

(603) 431-2315


Chris Pike & Eric Bygd

Newmarket NH, 03857 | 603 534 3946


North Berwick, ME

Phone:  603-312-3252


Home Staging 101:  Sprucing Up the Exterior

Home Staging 101: Sprucing Up the Exterior

Whether you have a long drive or a simple set of steps to the entry of your home, focus on these 5 updates to do before listing to make a great first impression…through your photos online and when you have showings.

1. Be sure the house number is visible. House numbers are extremely important when perspective buyers are trying to locate homes to view.  Make sure that they are a large enough scale to be seen from a distance.  They can be on a mailbox, at the end of the driveway (both are best for longer driveways when the house is not completely visible), or on a front door.

Red Door
2. Provide a clear path to entry door. When having guests, it’s important for them to know how to get into the house.   When a landscaped path is not in place, you can improvise by adding plants, lawn lighting or crushed rocks to lead the way.  They also make for a prettier, more welcoming entrance.

Yard of suburban home
3. Add a new Welcome mat. This can be inside or outside.  After long seasons at your entry, the Welcome mat can get a bit worn and tattered.  Invest in a new one as you get ready to list your home.  What a great first impression buyers will have when they get to the entry.


4. Put a fresh coat of paint on the door. Not only do red doors look good, but they also make the house look more approachable. “In Feng Shui, a red door means ‘Welcome.’”  Here are some great options for reds you can use to update the front door in no time.  If red doesn’t work on your front door, a fresh coat of the appropriate color makes just as much of an impact.

RED COLORS FOR FRONT DOORS_20155. Add/freshen your lighting.  If you have lighting in place, start with a good cleaning to get rid of cobwebs and dust, then confirm that the bulbs are working and at the highest wattage they can be.  If you do not have lighting at the entry, you may want to consider adding in a fixture either next to the door or hang it from above if there is a roof covering the entry steps.

Exterior shot of a Wooden Front Door

Quote from…

Lighten Up

Lighten Up

When it comes to Home Staging, it is very important to address the lighting within a home to ensure that all rooms are light and bright.  The goal is to create open and airy feel throughout a home where each room appears spacious, warm and welcoming.

Here are a few tips to make sure your listing photos shine:

  • When there is no overhead lighting, bring in lamps to brighten things up!  A combination of floor and table lamps will help to lighten up the corners and show off all the great features of the room.
  • Always use the highest wattage bulb possible in overhead lighting, bath vanities and lamps.  Choose bulbs that emit a warm glow vs. a cool, flourescent which can make a space feel cold and antiseptic.
  • Open those window treatments…or remove them all together. Long, heavy drapes or lacy curtains are a triple threat because (1) they are overly formal and style specific which will limit who the home will appeal to, (2) they are covering the trim work and filtering all the natural sunlight from the room and (3) they block the views to the outside which can be a major selling point in a home.  We live in a rural area where the majority of homes have beautiful views of forest settings, mountain overlooks and lake side scenes.  If there are blinds or shades installed, be sure to open them up all the way when you have photos taken and for each “showing” of the house.
  • Use professional photography whenever possible to get bright, crisp photos that truly represent your home.  This is especially important if you have invested in the items noted above.

Here are a couple of examples:

Dark Room without a View

Dark Room without a View

Rooms with dark colors appear smaller so lighting is especially important in these spaces.  In this example, the room looks small because the closed window treatments act as a continuation of the walls.  When you open up the window treatments, the room immediately opens up and allows your eye to travel further and see the outside benefits of the property.

Bright Space with Nature Filled View

Bright Space with Nature Filled View

Here is an example of how the natural sunlight bright and spacious a room can look when you can see and appreciate the outside spaces.

There are a lot of issues to consider when Staging your home for sale…this is just one aspect that can make a big difference and can be done at a minimal cost.


New Year – New Adventures

New Year – New Adventures

Happy New Year!!  Parker House Designs has officially embarked on our 2015 adventure and are excited to have you along for the ride.  We’ll be sharing our stories and projects (complete with Before & After pictures) with you over the coming months.

My husband and I took the leap into the world of investments a few short months ago.  It’s been a dream for some time but we hadn’t expected it to come along for a couple more years.  You know, when the kids were both in college and we were “ready” to take on the role of landlords and/or maintenance workers.  Ha!  Don’t they say that the best laid plans often go awry.  When a great opportunity showed itself, we took the leap.

So, here is a picture of our 1910 gem…she’s a little rough around the edges but she is undergoing some exterior renovations to become more energy-efficient along with some fresh paint (in the Spring) to show off the unique architectural features on her face:

Building 1 Building 3

The building is located in the center of town and was a commercial building next to the railroad route that ran through the Lakes Region Area years ago.  One of the items on the To Do list is to connect with our local Historical Society to learn more about the property.  We’ve heard through the grapevine that one of the storefronts was the first postal location in town so I look forward to getting the scoop.  I’ll be sure to share what I learn along the way!

As I thought about how this process has been wild, overwhelming and a little scary, I realized that these are the same feelings that many of my clients have.  They are worried about the unknown when they are trying to update their homes or are trying to sell their homes to move onto their next phase of life.  In every case, when they made the decision to move forward, break away from their anxieties and embraced the change, they flourished and met their goals.  I’m so grateful for being a part of this special evolution.  This is where my theme for 2015 comes from:

Embracing Change = Positive Growth

What’s new in your world?  What changes are you going to embrace in 2015?


Timing is Everything

Timing is Everything

When you are in the process of selling a home, there are several times when you must meet certain goals within a specific time frame in order to move forward with the process.

One of the most common questions I am asked when people are getting ready to list their home is:  “When is the best time to Stage a home for sale?”  The simple answer is…prior to having the listing photos taken.

A general guideline is to have a Home Staging consultation as soon as you know you will be selling.  Having a professional come into your home will help you create a comprehensive “to do” list that is prioritized by importance.

Often times, the list can be completed in a week or less but if there are updates that require more extensive work, it may take longer (i.e. painting, flooring updates) so you will want to plan accordingly.  Keep in mind that contractors, painters, plumbers and the like tend to get very busy in the springtime so it may not be easy to get them to your project quickly.

Planning ahead and preparing your home will create the strongest first impression when your home is posted online.  Telling a great visual story through the photos is key to getting perspective buyers to move beyond their computers and/or mobile devices and through the front door to view the home in person.  The more people come through the door, the higher the chances for a faster sale. 

Home Staging Header copy

A Revealing Update

A Revealing Update

I am so excited to be sharing a project that was sent to me by a local couple, and previous clients of mine, who recently updated their kitchen and got a surprise that they were not expecting.

Beverly &  Fred decided that they wanted to add a little something to the kitchen and opted to paint the back splash.  It had been the same creamy white color for many years and they wanted to add a “pop” of color so they started pulling color samples.  After much toiling about which color to choose, they decided on red…a deep red.

They knew that it would be wise to use a gray primer on the wall as a darker primer allows deep colors like red and purple to go on in fewer coats.  On a white wall, those colors may take many coats to achieve proper coverage.  The good news was that Fred remembered having some leftover gray paint from a previous project so he used that to apply the base coat on the walls.

Once the gray color was on the walls, both of them noted how much they liked it!  They agreed to shift to Plan B…the back splash became gray and Fred’s creative juices started flowing.

Counter Close Up

Gray Back Splash Steals the Show

To bridge the two colors in a non-traditional way, Fred took a piece of white birch from their yard, cut it in half the long way, coated it and attached it to the walls.  Simply gorgeous and full of character!

Close Up View of White Birch Branch

Close Up View of White Birch Branch

Sometimes, we are surprised by the little things that can have us shifting gears in life.  How often can you say that you agree with your partner wholeheartedly when it comes to Home Improvement updates?  Bev and Fred knew a good thing when they saw & agreed on it.  I’m so grateful that they shared their story with us.  Many thanks to them!!

Sink and window vew

Beautiful Evening Glow

If you have a project that you would like to share here, please send me all the information by email: and I’ll highlight it in a future post!!

Home Staging 101:  The 90%

Home Staging 101: The 90%

Did you know that only 10% of people, including your perspective buyers, are able to visualize how an empty room would look when furnished?  The same applies to rooms that have an overwhelming amount of furniture or distractions (clutter, personal items).

This means that 90% need to be “shown” how rooms would function for them in order for your listings to seen at an optimal level – both online and in person.

Master Bedroom

In this example the “before” photo was the first impression, seen in the online listing.  It was benign with no sense of space.  If buyers had moved beyond the online view, to do a physical walk through, they may have wondered:  “Will our furniture fit in here?” or better yet…”How?”.

With the addition of a bed it made it obvious to the buyers the a queen or king bed would fit in the room comfortably with plenty of room for dressers and more.  It softened the space and created a more inviting feel.  These are the emotions that you want to capitalize on when you are selling.  You want them to feel like they just walked into their new home.

Conversely, here is an example of a room with an abundance of furniture and busy patterns:

Before_After Craft Room

It was hard to “see” how spacious the room was because it had been filled with furnishings that were not in use.  It was recommended that the seller pack away their personal items and move the excess furniture pieces to storage to open up the room.  One end of the room is a great craft area, complete with an island and plenty of storage while this end of the room now shows a study space as well as a bedroom with the use of a futon.  It is very clear to buyers that this room is very versatile.

If you want your home to stand out among the competition, keep this statistic in mind as you prepare for your listing photo session and subsequent showings.  If you have 10 potential buyers come through your home, make sure that you are visually reaching all 10, not just 1 of them.  Your chances of receiving an offer will increase significantly if you are reaching everyone!

Do You Have an Accent?

Do You Have an Accent?

For this post, I’m so excited to be sharing a photo taken at the home of a special friend.

Bath 2_adjusted

This bathroom has a series of smaller walls that lead to a larger, standard wall where the full sized tub/shower are located.  My girlfriend’s husband finished the wall behind the new vanity with this beautiful tile work.  It is a gorgeous addition to the space and gives the otherwise basic room, an old world feel without being overwhelming.

Do you have a wall like this that is in need of something special?  Consider this classically styled update – it will surely stand the test of time.

NOTE:  Do you have an accent or update in your home that you would like to share on this blog, please email photos and a full description to to be considered for a future post.

Home Staging 101: Staging with Kids

When selling your home, it can be a bit of a balancing act when you have children and a busy life whirling around you.  It can sometimes be a challenge to keep your home in “show ready” condition when you are trying to live your life there.  This post includes a few tips for getting prepared initially and streamlining the process of preparing your rooms for showings when you have kids “stuff” to contend with.

Outside Clean Up – With small kids, there will be an abundance of toys around your home…both inside and out.  Create a storage location with a covered container and be sure to take a look around the yard to make sure that toys are stowed away prior to showings/Realtor Tours.

Inside Organization – Try to pre-pack as many excess toys/games that you can.  Kids will have their “favorites” so keep those toys available but in storage bins, baskets or boxes so they can be tucked away neatly when perspective buyers come through.

Take Out Large Scale Items – Remove the larger scale toys (i.e. plastic kitchens, ride on toys).  They take up valuable floor space in the same way that excess furniture pieces do.  You want to allow the rooms to be seen in their entirety without the distraction of brightly colored toys.

Bedroom Updates – Kids often have fun, theme-inspired decor in their rooms which include brightly colored walls and tend to be gender specific.  It is recommended that rooms be neutralized to allow buyers to have a “blank slate” to personalize the room to their child’s preferences or for another purpose upon moving in.

TIP 1:  Repaint brightly colored walls with warm neutrals and add removable transfers to have some fun elements in place until your move.

Warm Neutral Background with Fun Decals

TIP 2:  Start dreaming with your child about their “new” room.  Pull together a scrapbook of ideas to help them focus on the new home.  This may help with the shift from one home to another.

TIP 3:  In rooms with older kids, try to minimize the amount of items on walls and remove all items that might offend your potential buyers.  Carefully pack these items so the kids can recreate their rooms in your new home.

Clothes/Laundry – Pre-pack the next season’s worth of clothing to pare down closets in kid’s rooms.  Buyers want to see “ample” storage and tidy spaces.  Keep laundry up to date and neatly organized in baskets to eliminate the piles in rooms and bathrooms.  Be sure to remove any/all used towels from bathrooms prior to showings as well.

Bath with Laundry Messes

Buyers do not want to feel like they are intruding in someone else’s home…they want to be able to visualize it as their own. If you have ever rented a home or hotel room, you know the value of a neat, clean space that allows you to feel welcomed and comfortable.

This is the first of the Home Staging 101 Series of blog posts to come throughout the year.  I love your feedback and interaction so if you are interested in a specific topic, please note it here and I’ll be happy to address it in a future post.