Staging for the 5 Senses

Home staging is the most effective way to showcase your home in its best possible light. It allows potential buyers to envision themselves living in the home and opens up the possibilities for what that life could look like.

With that, home staging has two goals – sell the house faster and for as close to full price as possible (if not more). We know home stagers help us declutter, re-group furniture or bring in new furniture. But the really good stagers, like really good marketers, know how to create an experience for a buyer that makes them feel at home immediately. We do this by appealing to the 5 senses.  Here are some simple examples to help you stage your home and sell it faster and for more money.

1. Sight

Obviously this is the big one. From the time a potential buyer steps out of their car, they have “entered” your home. You only get one chance to make a great first impression. Make sure the lawn looks great and that you have a welcome entrance to your home. Often it isn’t what we add, but what we take away that makes all the difference. Remove magazines, personal items, family photographs from most rooms except the bedrooms, remove between ½ to 2/3 of the furniture. Clean, clean, clean and paint if your walls have scuff marks or even if a new trendy color is on the market.

before and after

2. Taste

If you schedule an Open House, splurge a little on some fresh home-baked goods like chocolate chip cookies. If possible, bake them at the home so that the whole house smells good. In the winter, a fresh pie on the stove reminds potential buyers that your house is a warm, inviting home.

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3. Touch

Although most potential home buyers won’t walk through the house touching the homeowners possessions, you do want to appeal to the sense of touch through the use of textures. Plush towels in the bathrooms and kitchen, rugs on the floors, pillows on the sofas and luxurious coverings on the beds remind potential buyers to relax and retreat from the stress of daily life. The use of natural elements such as stone, water, a fire in the fireplace, a cross breeze with open windows or sliding doors open will provide a pleasing memory for your potential buyer. Plants will create the same relaxed state. Use them sparingly. If you don’t have house plants, bring in some fresh cut flowers. Or, if you have to use artificial flowers, make sure they’re very realistic looking.

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4. Sound

This one is tricky and is the most frequently neglected, but when used wisely, makes a great impression. I suggest using a speaker connected to a device with a playlist specifically created for several hours of showing of your home. I like to select music in keeping with the style and overall theme of the house, but not too extreme. And if you aren’t certain, stick with upbeat classical piano or tunes without lyrics, which tend to be the most inspirational. I’ve used jazz for a home build in the 1940s, Carolina Beach Music for a home on the coast, classical for a traditional Tudor Style home. I’ve always received positive feedback for adding the musical component. If you don’t want to play music, consider sounds heard in nature (birds chirping, a bubbling brook).

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5. Smell

After you’ve made certain there are no offensive odors in the house, you’ll want to add some pleasing ones that are popular with a wide range of people. Lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus and other essential oils are very popular these days. Or, if you had a chance to bake cookies, a pie or you have a stew on the stove, be careful that you don’t mix too many odors together. The fresh cut flowers you bought may smell wonderful, but their fragrance wont emanate throughout the house. Candles appeal to the sense of smell as well as touch, so light plenty of candles throughout the house. If you don’t want to use candles, an electronic essential oil diffuser works wonders.

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For more tips, or to let us help you stage your own home to sell, just fill out the contact form below.

Happy staging!

XOXO,

The Three Tall Girls

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Get in the Game: How to Get Started in Real Estate Investing

There’s a story Jane Fonda tells about why she likes to support small businesses owned by women over those owned by men. In it, she says that in her experience, when you invest in a business run by women, they tend to take the profits they make and invest them back into the community, supporting things like schools and charities, thereby growing the local economy. When you invest in men, they’re more likely to take their profits and spend them on themselves, like by buying boats and new cars.

And she may be on to something. More and more studies are coming out that show women are actually better investors than men. They see higher returns on their investments, they’re better savers, and they invest for the long-term.

But then why is it, when we think of real estate, we still think of women as the real estate agents and men as the investors? If we know women make better investors than men, and make arguably better choices with the money they make from their investments, then maybe it’s time for that to change.

Actually, we know it’s time.

And we’re here to help.

The idea of investing in real estate can seem daunting- especially if the idea of even just owning a home still sounds like a pipe dream. Trust me, I was an under-employed college grad not too long ago. I get it.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Regardless of how much money you have, and whether you see yourself as an “investor,” there are dozens of ways you can jump into real estate investing and grow your portfolio and net worth to ultimately meet your financial goals.

Here’s how to get started:

1. Build your Knowledge Base

They say it takes 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” in order to become an expert in something. While you don’t need to have 10,000 hours under your belt before you finally decide to take the leap into real estate investing, you do want to take a few months to learn as much as you can. Listen to a real estate investing podcast every morning on your commute to work. Learn the terminology. Attend monthly meetings at your local Real Estate Investment Association (REIA). Research your local real estate market. There are plenty of free resources that will help you learn and build your knowledge base so that when you want to take the next step, you know you’ll be ready. You can find some of these at BiggerPockets and The Balance.

2. Find your Specialty

While you’re building your knowledge base, actively think about the type of real estate you want to get involved in—and what works best in your local real estate market. One great tool to use when you’re thinking about this is a Strategic Plan. We show you how to create one here, but basically, it’s creating your list of ultimate real estate goals, and charting your path to reach them. (Ex: your goal is to own vacation rentals throughout the world, now you need to make a plan to get there.) From there, you can choose the type of investing you’re most interested in—rehabbing (a lot of times called fix and flipping), owning long-term rental properties, vacation rental ownership, and wholesaling are some of the most popular options, and once you’ve gotten a handle on one type of investing, you can add more types to your portfolio.

Let’s break them down:

Rehabbing

This is basically every show we love on HGTV. Taking a distressed house, giving it a total makeover, then selling it to make thousands in profit. It’s both a ton of fun, and a ton of work. If you’re in charge of the project, you’re the one deciding the changes, setting the budget, creating the timeline (and making sure it’s followed), overseeing the contractors, and getting the house back on the market to make a profit. Just to name a few. One great advantage of rehabbing homes as a woman is that women are generally the ultimate decision-maker when their family is house-hunting. Doesn’t it make sense then that the people designing these houses for buyers should be women, too?

Buy and Holds

So you want to be a landlord. This can be a great way to increase your wealth, especially if you live in a growing market. Let’s say you know a huge live-work-play development is set to be built near you in the next couple of years. You can pick up a few different properties in the area, hold onto them until the development is finished, and watch as home values grow. Then, when you’re ready to sell, you’ve made a great return on your investment. The main challenge with growing your portfolio of rentals is making sure you’ve got great tenants. You’re getting into real estate to make money, not headaches. Luckily, there are great resources for learning how to get the right tenants into your houses. You can find some here.

Vacation Rental Ownership

This is a great option if you live in a touristy town. Or if you want to have properties in multiple cities or states. With the surge in popularity of vacation and short-term rentals, there are plenty of ways you can make the most out of your investment. Plus, with the number of vacation rental management companies that have sprung up alongside this growth, you don’t have to worry about having to be a “landlord” like you do with traditional rental properties. You should know that management companies do charge a management fee of about 20-40% of your revenue. Also, some cities are starting to crack down on vacation rentals with stay length and location requirements. So, before you invest in this kind of real estate, you’ll want to make sure you know your local regulations.

Wholesaling

Often, when a homeowner doesn’t think their house is in any shape to sell on the MLS, they’ll resort to turning it over to a wholesaler. This type of investing usually relies on bandit signs, door-knocking, and the ability to spot a vacant home just by driving past it. It takes tenacity and the ability to take rejection and just keep rolling. This isn’t the most glamorous side of real estate investing and it’s not going to bring you the most money. It’s a hustle. But it’s a path many successful investors take to get started. Plus, if you do other types of investing enough, you’re bound to pick up a few, so it’s great to understand the wholesaling process.

Based on the amount of capital you have, some of these are easier investments to make than others. A good idea once you’ve decided on a specialty is to assess where you are now, financially, and use that to help you decide what kind of investments to start with, and how to grow to meet your ultimate investing goal. Then, as your wealth grows, you can expand into more types of investments.

3. Make Money, No Matter Your Financial Stage

Chad Carson of the real estate investing site, coachcarson.com, has a great exercise for beginning investors. He asks you to start by pinpointing your current wealth stage—Survivor, Stability, Saver, Growth, and Income. You can find more on the specifics of each stage here. Once you’ve got this figured out, you can use specific strategies to invest that help you grow your wealth and reach the next stage.

Here’s the basic breakdown:

Stage 1 & 2: Survival and Stability

At these stages, your goal is to make some extra money, learn about the industry and stay away from anything too risky.

Strategies:

  • House Hack. Become the primary lessee of a residence and rent out the other bedrooms to lower your payment, or cover it altogether.
  • Rent your residence out as a vacation rental on weekends you’re not there (if your lease or HOA allows for it). For example, if you live in a college town, see about staying with friends or going back home on game day weekends and renting your apartment out.
  • Get your real estate salesperson license. You can do this in a class setting or online. Not only will you learn the rules, regulations and terminology, but once you get in to the real estate industry, you’ll be able to make great contacts, learn more about your local market, and learn about the sales and acquisition process. Plus, you’ll be able to earn commission on any real estate purchases you make by representing yourself.
  • Become a Bird Dog. Wholesalers and investors love to hire people looking to get their feet wet and learn first hand about the industry to act as “bird dogs” finding deals for them.

Stage 3: Saver

At this stage, you want to be able to create ways of drastically increasing your savings.

Strategies:

  • Any of the above
  • Flip the house you live in. Here, you buy a fixer-upper, renovate it while you’re living in it, and then sell it for profit.
  • Rent your residence. Live in a house for a couple years, then keep it to rent out when you move.
  • Wholesale. This will usually bring in smaller amounts of money, but can help you gain an intimate knowledge of your local market and build relationships with other investors in your area.

Stage 4: Growth

Expand your portfolio and make large gains in your net worth.

Strategies:

  • Rehab Houses. Fix and flip houses to make large amounts of profit. If you want to build your portfolio, a great rule of thumb is to buy 3 houses to flip and 1 as a buy-and-hold rental property. Once you sell the flips, repeat.
  • Invest your Retirement. New regulations let you use your self-directed IRA or 401k for private money loans (for ex: as a private money lender for a fix and flip project), buying rentals, or your own rehab projects.

Once you’ve expanded your knowledge base, decided on your niche and figured out how you want to start making your money, you’re on your way to the next steps- starting your business, securing funding, and finding the right properties to purchase.

Look out for our upcoming blog posts on how to do just that, send us your questions, and #LetsAllBeLadyBosses.

XOXO,

The Three Tall Girls

 

Put Down the Avocado Toast and Pick Up a Strategic Plan: How to Turn Your Real Estate Goals Into Reality

Creating a Strategic Plan is the best way to turn your real estate goals into reality. And we’ll show you how.

We’re officially two days away from 2018! *I’m not panicking, you’re panicking.* But really, we all know that being on the brink of the new year is the best time to not only take stock in what you accomplished last year, but also to start creating your goals for next year- especially if you want to take the plunge into real estate. But is just jotting down a list of anything and everything that pops into your head, only to be lost under a stack of papers two weeks from now really the most productive way to go into the new year? Probably not. Having a list of goals is great. It’s the first step. But then you’ve got to take those goals and make them a reality. You’ve got to do it with purpose. Because, how else are you going to get to where you want to go if you don’t know the steps on the path?

So, you take those goals and you turn them into a Strategic Plan. It’s a great tool that some of the most successful, goal oriented companies and people swear by. And we’ll show you exactly how to do it.

Basically, a Strategic Plan is a way of taking your giant dreams, turning them into a-little-bit-less-giant goals, and strategizing and breaking down each of these goals into bite-sized pieces that you can work toward regularly to actually accomplish those dreams. It’s not something you can do in a morning. It isn’t something someone can do for you. It requires certain essential elements to keep it honest, personal, motivating and achievable. You’ll need to devote several hours over the course of at least two days to do this properly. And ideally in a venue where you feel inspired.

One critical, but often overlooked element is sleep (Yes, we’re advocating sleep as a way to achieve your goals). We won’t go into the neurochemicals that are released during the strategic planning process, but you can learn all about it here. The goals you set via the Strategic Plan need to be processed by your brain and accepted internally. In order to get you from where you are now to where you possibly could be, your subconscious needs to buy into the concepts and changes. Allowing 24 hours and a good night’s rest will help solidify your plan. You’ll toss out some ideas and embrace others. You’ll feel exuberant, exhausted, exuberant again, then finally excited and committed to start the year.

For the purpose of this post, we’re focusing on becoming a real estate investor. And, it’s something you can begin today without quitting your job or having to go back to school, spending tons of money or gaining new certifications or licenses. Whether you want to be the next Barbara Corcoran or you just want to buy your first home, the best way to make that happen is to start with a Strategic Plan. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Blue Sky Dreaming

Ask yourself, “If I were wildly successful, what would it look like?”

Blue Sky Dreams are the things you’d want to accomplish if you could imagine your best self, living your best life. If you were wildly successful (like, even more successful than being able to afford both avocado toast and a house.) Do you want to run a real estate empire in 10 years? Put that on there. Do you want to own vacation rentals across the globe? Yep, that goes on the list too. Nothing is too big for this list. Because, like we said earlier, you’ve got to know where you want to go in order to start taking the steps to get there.

Then break that down to one year. If I were wildly successful, what would that look like on December 31, 2018?

What does my bank account look like? Where am I vacationing? How am I helping others? What am I wearing, driving?  Where am I living?

Step 2: Name Your BHAGs

Or, your Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Once you’ve got your Blue Sky Dreams and have asked yourself how you envision your wildly successful life, then you create your BHAGs as the answers to those questions.

The way you answer those questions is totally up to you: jot them down, make a bullet journal, create a vision board—whatever works best for you.

Remember, specificity is the key here and will be important later in the year. It will let you know if you’re on course to achieving the BHAG or if you have fallen off course. (The Strategic Plan is like a Flight Plan; the BHAG is your destination location. If you set a flight plan for a tropical island, but suddenly find yourself over swamps and craggy mountains, you know it’s time to make corrections.)

Example for a new Real Estate Investor: “It’s December 31, 2018, and as a wildly successful real estate investor, I see myself in my newly updated, open-concept bungalow with my new car parked in the drive. I had a $20,000.00 down payment and I have another $20,000.00 to furnish my new house.  I’m surrounded by my family and friends at the open house holiday party I’m hosting. For the New Year, me and my college roommates are meeting up in Costa Rica to help build schools in remote villages with a non-profit organization I’ve been supporting this year. “

Now that can definitely seem like a big hairy audacious goal. It can even seem like a total pipe dream as you’re writing it down. But it’s beautiful and worthy, and motivating. And that’s what you’ll need to make it achievable. And then, when you couple putting those goals to paper with actually taking the steps to make them happen, that’s how they materialize.

Step 3: Eat The Elephant

You know that saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Do that. Start taking bites out of those audacious goals. Break them down into smaller pieces: quarterly goals, monthly goals and objectives, weekly objectives, and daily tasks.

Go to the local Real Estate Investor’s Association (REIA) meeting monthly. Listen to a real estate investing podcast every day.

You may find people who say it’s impossible to achieve these in 12 months. But it isn’t. You just need to equip yourself with the tools and knowledge of today’s real estate market.

It can seem like a lot, but we’re here to help you. Send us your Blue Sky Dreams or your BHAGs and let us walk you through how to turn those into the perfect strategic plan to make your real estate dreams come true.

And #LetsAllBeLadyBosses

XOXO,

The Three Tall Girls

Three Tall Girls: An Introduction

There’s a gap in the real estate investment market for women-in nearly every facet of the industry. And we’re here to change that.

We’ve always been the “Three Tall Girls.”

As a mother-daughter trio at 5’9,” 5’10,” and 5’11,” no matter what room we walked into, we were almost always the tallest women in the crowd. It’s a moniker we originally were reluctant to embrace, but now one that we wear as a sort of badge of honor. Couple that with three equally large personalities, and we’re bound to stand out wherever we go. We were raised to be strong, independent women with a zest for life and a desire for something more than working a 9-to-5 job. So we became lady bosses.

We took our 15 years of experience designing, rehabbing, decorating homes, and investing in real estate on the side and decided to turn it into a full-time business. We noticed when we were creating our company, Timber & Tide, there was a huge gap in the market for women in nearly every facet of the real estate investment industry-and most women we met had no idea how to break into this business.

We want to change that.

Here, we share what we’ve learned in this typical “man’s” world and empower and equip you with the skills, knowledge, and support to build your real estate portfolio with integrity and style. We created this blog not only to document our experiences in this world, but also to show you how you can break into real estate investing, too. You’ll find posts catered toward the ins and outs and do’s and dont’s of real estate investment, how to DIY some of your home projects, and how to build your financial security and grow your net worth via real estate.

At Timber & Tide, we specialize in fix + flips, real estate investing, and design, catered toward the 20-and 30-something woman. We know home ownership, thriving as a landlord, vacation property marketing, design/decor on a budget, hiring contractors and sub-contractors, and more.

Through our design label, Charlotte James, we offer a thoughtfully curated selection of on-trend home accents and furnishings catered toward first-time home buyers and vacation rental owners who want to find the perfect pieces to complete any space.

Subscribe to our blog, where we’ll keep you updated on our projects, market trends, design style and commentary on the state of real estate and real estate investing.  There is no time like the present to create a better future for yourself and your family.

And #LetsAllBeLadyBosses

XOXO,

The Three Tall Girls