oak lawn heightsNestled on the west side of Dallas’ vibrant Oak Lawn area is a delightful enclave of cottages and Tudor-revival homes in the area’s  Oak Lawn Heights neighborhood. This is the largest single-family neighborhood in Oak Lawn, and it was developed in the 1920s.

Our Thursday Three Hundred at 5114 Bradford Dr. is a 1935 Tudor with 1,674 square feet, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms. It has many hallmarks of the Tudor revival style, from its stucco exterior with half-round arches to a steeply pitched, asymmetrical roofline.

It was listed Feb. 8 by Ryan Booth with Ebby Halliday, Realtors, for $349,900. There’s an open house from 2-4 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, this Sunday, Feb. 14. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to fall in love with this Oak Lawn Heights Tudor.

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Luxury Home Staging

This luxury home at 17615 Cedar Creek Canyon Drive was completely staged for the seller.  Photos: Lance Selgo/Unique Exposure Photography.

Home staging has been receiving some nice press lately. The New York Times ran two articles in January about the art and necessity of staging to bring top dollar for your property. Do you need to spend $45,000 and replace all of your furniture to get that longed-for list price?

No, not in general but there are instances when it happens. While staging is the norm on the West Coast, and certainly in the luxury market on the East Coast, the rest of the country falls somewhere in between, thinking either staging is a must or that it’s not imperative.  The issue lies largely in the perception of the term. What is staging?

It’s not an easy answer.

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Need to keep your hardwoods looking brand new? Stagers from all over have staging tips and tricks to keep your home looking its best while it’s on the market. (Photo: Cort)

Stagers work their magic daily. They turn empty lifeless houses into beautiful showstoppers, edit occupied homes, advise on colors and updates, and help Realtors get homes sold. They do it with a lot of knowledge and a pretty big bag of tricks. Of course, they carry the usual measuring tapes, furniture sliders, tools, picture hooks, and steamers, but they also pack things that show staging and ingenuity go hand in hand. We surveyed stagers around North America and had over 70 responses to the question: “What’s in your bag of tricks?”

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Photos: Shoot2Sell

It’s a hot market in Dallas, that’s for sure. CoreLogic’s most recent report, detailing the Dallas-Plano-Irving MSA’s housing price index, showed tremendous growth in prices. The housing price index increased 9.1 percent year-over-year in January including distressed sales, which is a new high for our area. Dallas-Plano-Irving is only second for growth to Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland at 10.9 percent. That has everything to do with limited inventory, CoreLogic President and CEO Anand Nallathambi says.

“A dearth of supply in many parts of the country is a big factor in driving up prices,” Nallathambi said. “Many homeowners have taken advantage of low rates to refinance their homes, and until we see sustained increases in income levels and employment they could be hunkered down, so supplies may remain tight.”

Still, does that mean you can list any home in any condition and have it sell? Not so much. Staging has been shown to help homes sell quicker and at a higher price. And staging doesn’t have to break the bank, either. Jump to hear some secrets from staging expert and real estate columnist Karen Eubank.

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Godwin Front

Does staging to sell have to be an expensive strategy to help your home stand out? Not so much, says Karen Eubank of Eubank staging. She consulted with Ebby agent Carolyn Albers Black on 5242 Godwin, a Vickery Park home that has tons of character.

Photographed by real estate photo pros Shoot2Sell, this property shows like a dream.

Godwin Front Porch

“This is another great example of a staging consultation DIY where I consult, send a detailed report and the seller does the work,” said Eubank. “I did go back for an hour to hang pictures and rework a few pieces but the sellers did a fabulous job of following the report.”

Godwin Living

The staging definitely helps some of the home’s fantastic details stand out, such as the spacious front porch, beautiful fireplace, huge windows, and lovely kitchen. This 1926 Craftsman-style home in Vickery Park has more than 1,900 square feet, three bedrooms, two baths, and a huge walk-in master closet that the owners added on. It’s listed for $439,000.

Godwin Dining

Other incredible details include the beautiful kitchen floor, which is made of cork, and the lovely apron sink with gorgeous green backsplash that really sets off the kitchen cabinets and granite counters with an eat-in peninsula for a quick breakfast.

Godwin Kitchen Breakfast Godwin Kitchen

“For an M Streets-area home, they’ve done everything that buyers look for,” Eubank added. “I was very impressed by the size and the updates and I’m a hard sell, as you know!”

The master suite will really impress, as it includes a huge five-piece bath with a gigantic double vanity. And of course, in an area with homes that have little to no closet space, you’ll have to pick your jaw up off the floor when you see the gigantic walk-in closet.

Godwin Master Godwin Closet Godwin Master Bath

The backyard is spacious, too, and has an elevated deck with room for a hot tub. There’s a carport, but no garage here, which isn’t a bad deal when you consider it.

There’s no question about the value that staging a home like this will add! What do you think of the final result?

Godwin Backyard

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Eubank Staging: Image courtesy of Jim Olvera

The National Association of Realtors’ Field Guide To Preparing & Staging a House for Sale hit our inbox last week. It’s a compilation of staging tips and information gathered over the course of the past two years. There’s some great information and some ridiculous information. So let me break it down for you.

Probably the most ludicrous information I read was from one of the Extreme Makeover designers. Note I said “designer” not “stager.” While this show is a favorite of mine it is not remotely related to selling a home. They are creating a design, a plan for a specific family. That’s about as far from staging as you can get. I’ve worked in television and you do things differently for TV than you do in real life. Unless a stager has done both, they have no business handing out staging advice.

The bad advice included the idea of using a TV as artwork. It was referred to as the “modern family hearth.” That is completely absurd. The focal point of a room for sale is always architecture not a television that will be moving with the seller. This designer also advocated using window treatments and not using artificial plants. Stagers ditch window treatments in favor of light and revealing architectural detail constantly. We also love our “fake” plants. At last count I had 35 gorgeous artificial orchids that look so real they almost fooled my horticulturist neighbor! There is bad fake and good fake, stagers know how to fake it!

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Some really questionable advice about staging a home in the winter included lighting a fire and not showing the house at night. Just stunning. Definitely get your MLS photos with that roaring fire but leave the house for work with a fire going? Never! An agent could be delayed and then you’ve got the potential of a real safety issue at home. If you have a remote starter that would allow a Realtor to immediately turn the fire on and off that’s one way to handle it, otherwise do not fan the flames! Advising sellers not to show their house at night in the winter just blew my mind. Really? Let’s be serious here. The majority of folks see houses after work. There is nothing more inviting than a snow covered lawn with a freshly shoveled walkway, some great landscape illumination and lights glowing from every room in the house.

The Field Guide had a great article on staging garages. Now garages really never mattered until this market. Stagers will always tell you to store your excess off site. It’s worth the money and right now garages are definitely turning away buyers. They should be clean, no oil stains on the floor and no cobwebs on the walls.

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We’re all pretty sophisticated about holiday decoration when it comes to selling. It’s a no brainer to keep the 200-piece Santa village packed and just have a tree and a wreath. I was glad to see a tip about using timers in the winter months, which is one I’ve always suggested regardless of the season. Walking into a home with lamps lit equals instant ambience. Another useful piece of information is to ensure holiday decorations are not in the MLS photos! You do not want Valentines Day buyers looking at a bathroom with a snowman toilet seat cover.

Now one tip I loved and I’ve never come across was in an article on staging your laundry room. If your dryer vents outside as opposed to under the house you can have some nasty build up on a side of the house you seldom visit. No one wants to see that! Clotheslines are something else I consider. We’re all trying to be green but it’s worth reeling it in for showings!

We have a lot of multi-million dollar homes in Dallas so I was pleased to read that Ryan Serhant, an agent often seen on the reality show, “Million Dollar Listings New York,” advised luxury listing need staging too! Price point is irrelevant when it comes to creating that emotional connection. Every buyer wants to see “home” when they walk into a house.