You have the best of intentions of choosing thoughtful, practical gifts. So why do all your clients get the same cheesy keyring with your contact information printed on it? In this world of overconsumption, who wants to clutter up their brand new house with useless tchotchkes?
And, in a world increasingly dominated by Kindles and iPads, there’s some downright homey about a real book on a shelf.
The first items I pack when moving are my books. In fact, before I’m even sure I’m going to move, I first try to purge and donate as many books as I can, knowing I’m going to have to pack the rest. And they certainly aren’t the first things to be unpacked when I’m setting up in a new space. What does that give me? A long timespan living with empty bookcases. What could be more satisfying than sliding a new book that reflects my ambitions for my new home onto those empty shelves?
Consider the books on this list—paired with some hard-to-shop-for personality types—as a jumping-off point for finding the perfect literary closing gift for your clients.
And when you find the perfect book, be sure to leave a handwritten note congratulating the new homeowners (including your phone number or e-mail address) on the front flyleaf. Then, when they start looking through their bookcases for donations before their next move, they’ll remember your thoughtfulness, and know just how to reach you.
Perfect for artists wondering how to decorate their new, empty loft space:
Sid Davis, author of Home Makeovers That Sell (AMACOM, 2007), responds to your staging questions.
What do you suggest [in terms of staging] for a house that is vacant?
DAVIS: If a vacant home is freshly painted, clean, and smells good it should sell. Buyers also won’t have a problem imagining where their stuff is going to go, and a quicker closing can be a plus. I don’t think it’s necessary to leave furniture or move some in to make a home look “lived in.” Many times I’ve had a home sell soon after the owners moved out and had the home professionally cleaned. Personally, I would rather have a vacant home listing than one with owners cluttering it up.
While I agree with all your suggestions, there are instances where the home owner cannot afford to make improvements or repairs. What is your suggestion for this instance?
DAVIS: Can a home owner afford not to do the repairs? If a home won’t appraise because of problems or the owner is uncooperative, I would rather walk away from the listing. If there’s equity, the owner should be able to find a short terms loan. Government agencies, church groups, and other sources often have programs to help people fix up their homes who can’t qualify for financing. You may have to do some digging, but they’re out there. Continue reading »
By Barbara Ballinger, REALTOR® Magazine
Rooms: Creating Luxurious, Livable Spaces By Mariette Himes Gomez (Regan Books, 2003)
Buy this book from Amazon.com
Good decorating is about finding your own personal style. If that style falls into the category of luxury, it’s not always the amount of space you have but how it’s detailed and furnished, according to Mariette Himes Gomez, the well-known New York interior designer who authored this book. Any space can be made luxurious through the right architectural framework—molding, doors, hardware, floors—and the right furnishings, arrangements, window treatments, lighting, palette, and accessories, she says. Himes Gomez illustrates her points with examples from her own simple house in the country and comfortable Manhattan apartment, which are both low-key but tasteful and luxurious.
By Barbara Ballinger, REALTOR® Magazine
First Home With Style By Brian Kramer and the editors of Better Homes & Garden Books (Better Homes & Garden, 2004)
Buy this book from Amazon.com.
New homebuyers may have had a tough time taking the plunge and finding the home of their dreams within their price range. But once they move in, they face another challenge of choosing which home improvement and decorating projects to tackle first—a daunting task, especially if funds are tight. This book is a good primer to help your prospects understand the dos and don’ts of settling in, from figuring out their overall decorating style to choosing carpet and paint, and deciding what types of furnishings and arrangements they want for each room. It goes into all the nitty-gritty, too, such as window treatments, pillows, nightstands, and bedroom lighting. A good chapter focuses on arranging furniture when space is tight, such as in a multipurpose dining room or a den/guest room; installing art; sewing window treatments; and dividing a room with storage systems.