Top 10 Home Remodeling Projects and their ROI

Wondering what are the top home remodeling projects? This infographic represents the Cost vs Value Report 2013 by NAR and Remodeling Magazine.

Home Improvement ROI isn’t like they show on TV

Watching home improvement TV shows like Love it or List it, give the impression that you will not only recoup all of your money on home improvements, including decor, but that you’ll make a tidy profit. Flippers do this all the time. The thing is that generally speaking, few projects will recoup 100% ROI, and most that do, only do so because they are changing out very dated, broken, or severely damaged areas. In order for this to be successful, flippers also must purchase the home significantly below market value.

Most homes aren’t purchased significantly below market, and most home improvements are often about personal taste preferences, lifestyle choices, or long term gains (like replacing an old water heater with a tankless option).

When it comes to home improvement or remodeling projects done for the sake of preparing your home for market, or when you know that you’ll be moving soon, it is best to contact a professional home stager. When doing them to live in the home, it is still helpful to know what you may expect as a return on your investment

Top 10 Home Remodeling Projects

In the order of the largest to smallest return on investment, here are your top 10 home remodeling projects

  1. Entry Door Replacement (Steel) – 85.6%
  2. Deck Addition (Wood) – 77.3%
  3. Garage Door Replacement – 75.7%
  4. Minor Kitchen Remodel – 75.4%
  5. Window Replacement (Wood) – 73.3%
  6. Siding Replacement (Vinyl) – 72.9%
  7. Attic Bedroom – 72.9%
  8. Window Replacement Vinyl – 71.20%
  9. Basement Remodel – 70.3%
  10. Major Kitchen Remodel – 68.9%

Top 10 home improvement projects

View the Cost vs Value Report 2013 to read more about the top home remodeling projects and the Top 10 Upscale Remodeling Projects

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What do those symbols and pictures mean on the laundry label

Have you seen the new laundry labels? They are full of symbols and pictures with nothing to tell you what they mean. Tonight my husband handed me a new pair of bike shorts and asked me what they meant. (He was going to wash his own stuff…. whoa!) I stared at the symbols and could only figure out two of them. What exactly is an envelope looking symbol or a circle with an x through it supposed to mean when it comes to laundry?

Laundry Symbols and Photo on Labels

Thankfully Google Search isn’t far behind and someone else already has done this same query. (Probably lots of them given how quickly it came up in the auto-fill search bar.) So, in case you haven’t seen the new laundry label symbols, you may want to do what I’m doing it and pin it under your Household Ideas board.

symbols and pictures on laundry labels

What do the new laundry symbols mean anyway

Thankfully I was able to determine from the new laundry symbols that my husband’s bike shorts needed to be washed in cold water, line dried (that was the envelope looking picture), do not iron, do not bleach, and do not dryclean. Too bad almost none of that made sense with out a laundry symbol decoder!

Home Staging for Living: Organizing Your Home Infographic

Home Staging isn’t just for home selling. Often when professional stagers leave a property, sellers wonder why they didn’t live like this all along. If you want to add a touch of home staging for living, this infographic by Greatist my be of great help.

Expanding on Home Staging for Living Tips from the infographic

Following the organizing infographic below will surely start to get things uncluttered. Here are some tips that I use.

how to be an organized professional home stager

Organizing computer files how you’ll look for them

Organizing your computer files can be a daunting task. The infographic below recommends that you organize your files on your computer. Often the best way to do this is to consider how you think about them. Is the item related to your home, office or child’s school? Begin by labeling your digital folders accordingly.

Subfolders come next. In your “Home” folder, you may have subcategories like, warranties, mortgage docs and decor ideas.

Be sure to rename the documents or files to what you’ll be able to remember at a glance. Don’t try to get clever. Think, “If I can’t remember this file location, what will I look for?” It’s kind of like searching. How do you google? Will you try to look for Main St lease when you are trying to find your last rental agreement, only to find out that it was listed as 2012 Rental Agreement Main St? Consider how your mind works when discussing them and name them that.

Finally, consider keeping your files in a cloud instead of your hard drive. Not only will you feel less stressed when a computer crashes or a hard drive fails, but you’ll usually be able to access it from other new devices and ultimately save hours when you upgrade to the latest and greatest technology.

Digital file management can actually be one of the hardest tasks because we often don’t feel in control of where the files are downloaded (usually to the download file). Taking a few minutes a week to organize this will keep it manageable  It’s just like keeping anything else in your home neat and tidy. It’s usually best not to wait until everything is a complete mess before you clean it up.

{keep reading, there is more below the infographic…}


More Health and Fitness News & Tips at Greatist.

Home Staging for living: Move out to move in

One of my best tips, which covers every area in the organizing your home infographic, is to make a promise to get rid of something in your home every time you bring something in. When purchasing a pair of new shoes, consider which old pair you will get rid of first. It may not just save your closet space, but could also save you some money.

Remember to go vertical in your home organization. There are tons of organizers  you can hang behind the bathroom curtain, behind doors, so on and so forth. Figure out how you can best use your space and don’t be afraid to think out of the box.

Spend the money on boxes, bins, and totes. Believe it or not, you will be able to do more with the space if you spend some money on organization tools. You’ll also enjoy your space more. Here are more ideas on how to organize your home.

Organization is all about how you’ll look for it later

Home Staging helps home buyers feel a connection to the property they are viewing. Home Staging for Living is all about creating a connection to the home you live in. Organization will help you reduce stress and often times save money. (You’ll replace things that you already own less frequently because you’ll know where it is, or you may buy less because you know that your space is already well organized and you don’t want to throw off the balance.) Why wait until you sell to enjoy the beauty and lifestyle of your home? Organize your home and find out what home staging for living is really all about.

Designer Model Homes vs Home Staging Models

Designer Model Homes vs Home Staging Models

When new construction builders develop new neighborhoods and floor plans, they often hire interior designers to set up a model home. This infographic, provided in conjunction with Rave ReViews Home Staging, out of St Augustine, FL, shows that builders may be better off hiring professional home stagers.

Using  home stager vs an interior designer, new home builders could save 25% or more on model home costs.


The difference in costs of home staging and model home staging may be more than $11,000 in this simple price model. Of course many model homes actually run well into $60,000 or more, adding to the value of a home stager.

Model Home Staging Infographic

Home Staging infographic

To learn more about the differences between a designer model and staged model, visit my Active Rain blog, or watch my YouTube video.

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Powerful New Home Staging Infographic

What is the cost of home staging? Industry infographic

I’ve been wanting to develop a home staging infographic to showcase the statistics that professional home stagers provide. Today I finally accomplished that! Please feel free to share this with your real estate agents and other home stagers. It would be much appreciated if you would link back to this blog when you do so.

cost of home staging


If you want to learn more, visit my blog post: Underwater Home Staging. It’s all about the Net.  or watch my YouTube Video Underwater Home Staging.

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12 Things to do after you write your next home staging blog…

12-Things to do after you write a blogIf you are like me, you blog a lot. If you don’t, then you need to be sure to maximize each blog. Whichever way you are, there are some things that you should be doing after writing your blogs to get the word out.

1) Make sure you have used your keywords in your blog post. Making sure your blog post is SEO rich will go a long way to helping you get traffic to your blog. Be sure you don’t write just for keyword sake though. Keep it interesting. Need help on SEO? Of course we have a blog and infographic for that!

2) Syndicate your content. Be sure your RSS feed is turned on. You want others to subscribe to your blog to get the information out there.

3) Shorten your URLS. If your blog doesn’t have the ability to shorten the URL for you, you can use a service like

4) Tailor your status update. Don’t just repeat your blog title when sharing it. Be sure you make readers want to click. Tell them WHY they want to read it. Be sure to cater this to individual audiences.

5) Post teasers on other sites. Yes, it is OK to spread your message, so long as you aren’t too salesy all the time. Ask for opinions on your blog (then be prepared to get them, even ones that differ from your own).

6. Bookmark your content through sites like StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc. A huge part of getting new readers is putting it out there for others to see. Remember, the title is what will drive them to it, so keep it interesting!

7. Comment on other’s blogs. This is called being SOCIAL. Don’t expect others to comment on your blogs unless you are also commenting on theirs. That’s just the way this works. Be sure when you do leave comments that you are engaging and not just saying, “wow, great blog” or worse, “great blog, be sure to visit my blog at” That’s the kiss of death right there.

8. Seek and assist. Where you have your expertise, watch for opportunities to show off what you know (and your blog). I love it when someone asks about something and I can send them to a blog I wrote with answers to those very questions. How helpful do you think they find it?

9. Add your latest blog title to the signature of your email. (wow, really? I did not know of this one…. checking it out as soon as I’m done with this blog.

10. Share your blog post with your target customers. Be careful that you don’t become spam though. No one wants that!

11. Add your blog post to your next newsletter. I’ve started doing this recently and I have to say that it is very effective. Often, aside from before and after photos, this is one of the most clicked link in my newsletters.

12. Ask other bloggers to mention your post. Consider forming a group of professionals where you can share each other’s work. The new Google Penguin update has made “shares” a valuable tool!

Shooting the perfect home staging photographs indoors or out.

I’m very excited today because my new Canon EOS D7 18 megapixel camera arrives today. Since I’m starting a new home staging company in Jacksonville, FL, I really wanted to be sure that my portfolio is top notch. As I’ve been using an old Nikon Coolpix P50 wide angle camera for the past couple of years (and the shots have really been pretty good, all things considered), I thought it was time to upgrade.

I was thrilled when I saw this infographic by Digital Camera World. I know it is really about family portraits, but I figure that good lighting techniques are good lighting techniques. I know I will be using it as a quick reference to improve my photography. I hope you also will find it helpful.

MyMove home staging infographic. Statistics to talk about.

MyMove has created a great eal estate infographic to show the value of home staging when selling your home.

MyMove creates a home staging infographic.

Use this home staging infographic to talk to your customers about the value of home staging.

I think this is a great tool for real estate professionals to share with their sellers so they can get a clear image of the real financial picture.

Real Estate Staging Association statistics

The biggest indicator on this, for me, is the RESA statistic that shows that having the home professionally staged PRIOR to putting it on the market can mean the difference between 42 days on market and 198 days on market! That’s huge.

Top 4 reasons to stage your home

  • You will make more money
  • Your home will sell faster
  • You will make your money back
  • Your online photos will stand out

Five keys to staging like a pro

  • Use the same color throughout the home  - this will make it feel larger and more cohesive
  • Maintenance – deep clean everything, be sure that all repairs are made, and that general maintenance is competed.
  • Depersonalize & Declutter – remember you are making your home ready for the buyer, not the seller
  • Furniture placement – home stagers control the buyer’s eye throughout the property as well as control flow, size, and scale.
  • Emotional cues – Create an environment that home buyers will love.
Home Staging infographic

Thank you for reading… MyMove home staging infographic. Statistics to talk about.

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Thinking of starting an email marketing campaign? Here are some tips…

Email marketing has been on of the most income generating activities that I engaged in when I decided to become a home stager. In the first year of business, more than $100,000 of our sales could directly be linked to our newsletters and other email marketing campaigns. I’ve seen some do really well in this and others do poorly. If you follow the tips in the infographic above, you are more likely to have a positive outcome.

10 Ways to Improve SEO on your home staging or real estate website

Looking for ways to improve SEO on your home staging or real estate websites? This great infographic by Interactivity Marketing should give you some guidance.

I loved this infographic because it seemed to go so well with yesterday’s Tech4Biz session when I discussed my favorite WordPress plugin for SEO. Why is it my favorite? Because it helps you remember whether you are doing your SEO right or wrong by actually saying “yes” or “no” to various wickets that you should know.

If you missed our Tech4Biz session, you can get the recorded copy for only $5 or join Conversations with Market Leaders and get unlimited access to more than 80 courses in the next year for only $240.

Home Stagers, Which social media site is right for you?

As home stagers, I know we seem frustrated sometimes trying to keep up with all of the social media options out there. Should we take the time to learn the newest ones? What is the right one to build a successful business without breaking the bank, or living on our smart phone?

This infographic by Mashable may be of help.

Remember that choosing the right social media platform, and then engaging with your circles, friends or fans is far more important than being on each one. 

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Light bulb conversion chart – how to replace that 60W bulb

Wondering what to do when that 60 watt bulb is phased out? Here’s a good infographic that explains the difference between types of bulbs.

Not accounting for cost of wattage, the average annual price of all of the alternatives are pretty similar.

  • CFL bulb costs $1.11/yr
  • Halogen/CFL Hybrid costs $1.49/yr
  • LED A19 costs $1.11/yr
lightbulb conversion chart

These are all in stark contrast to the 60W bulb that costs $3.61/yr plus uses nearly 3 times the wattage to run. Now the question is, how much money do you want to spend initially and how often do you want to change the bulbs out?

Thank you Pagasus Lighting for this wonderful information.

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Pinterest: Are you using it to market your business? A visual from the experts…

You may have joined Pintapalooza last week and if you did, you probably realize just how important Pinterest may be for your business. The beauty is that it’s good for nearly any type of business, not just a home staging business like mine. If that business deals with women, all the better, since women make up over 75% of the traffic. Of course that dynamic is slowly shifting as entrepreneurs break ground and begin using this for more than sharing craft tutorials and fashion tips.

So, what are some tips on using Pinterest for your small business?

Think outside of the box, but inside the boards. Think of each board like a mini Facebook fanpage. You want people to like what they see and follow you. Arrange your boards based on level of importance to what you do. You did know you could rearrange them, right? When someone looks at your boards, they should have a clear impression of what you want them to know about you. You should also be sure your boards are rich in key words. Instead of saying “stuff I made” say “handmade on Etsy by {company name}.”

Let’s talk about some examples of how this might help you. A home staging company in Indianapolis might want to have boards about: before & after home staging photos, Indianapolis Real Estate, Nascar, or Indianapolis Architecture.

Someone who owns a virtual fitness company might want to have boards about:  Upper Body Exercises, Healthy Snacks, or Low-Carb Recipes.

A local real estate agent might want boards about their local area, restaurants, and Things to do  in {insert geographical location}.

Pinterest is a little different than other social media tools because the goal is to visually draw someone to what you are pinning and to get them interested in clicking on the pins to get where you are sending them (probably back to your website).  Since they are now the #3 referring site on the internet, they aren’t a site you should just ignore. You don’t want to get too far behind the curve here.

I know a lot of my friends own businesses and their reaction is often, “Yeah, I need another social media site like I need a hole in the head.” Well, consider the alternative – pay for marketing. That’s what I think too… forget it, I’ll do the free, fun one. Many of us felt the same way when Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn became important. Some of us still feel that way about one or more of them, but this is business. Sometimes  you have to do what you have to do – get over it. The great thing is that unlike Facebook, however, pin boards are being crawled by Google. This means that your board might actually get picked up by search engines.

Before you go pin crazy, I should say that there is a right and a wrong way to pin for your business. I think this article by Pinnable business really says it best.

If you feel like you want to know more about how to use Pinterest to market your business, we have a recorded webinar for that. It is chock full of information that will help you and it’s only $27. It also includes some other great tools that may help your business.

Ok, now as promised, here are your infographic visuals…