The Perfect Paint Job

When preparing to sell your home, spruce up the house with a fresh coat of paint. No one knows more about revitalizing old buildings than the pros from This Old House, which offers valuable tips to help you paint like a professional. They won’t save time, but the results will look terrific.Brushes and paint-roller on a colour guide

  1. Empty the room and protect the floor. Move everything out of the room. Be sure to spread high quality drop cloths over the floor to catch paint splatters.
  2. Repair cracks, dents, and holes. Fix cracks, dents, and holes before opening that first can of paint. Damaged wood requires specialized treatment separate from drywall. Then sand all walls to smooth out chipped paint and surface variations as well as to create a better surface for paint to adhere.
  3. Tape off edges, windows, trim. Take the time to perform this step toprevent paint from spreading onto surfaces where it doesn’t belong. Use a utility knife to cut the skin of paint before removing the tape to ensure a clean edge of separation.
  4. Use primer. Primer establishes a solid, even base for the paint and seal stains that might bleed through the paint. Experts advise priming the entire wall surface, as primed spots will show through the paint against unprimed areas.
  5. Use top quality paint. High quality paint offers better coverage and protection. The Family Handyman recommends mixing multiple gallons of paint in a bucket to avoid color variations between cans. Latex paints work well for interior walls and new trim; however, oil-based paints work best for restoration work and exterior walls and trim. Apply at least two coats for adequate coverage. Sand any rough spots and bumps between coats to ensure a smooth finish. Paint that dries too fast leaves a streaked or spotty finish; therefore be careful not to spread too thin a coat on the walls.
  6. Use the proper equipment. For covering large areas of blank wall, nothing beats a roller. Rollers need not be expensive. Remember that rollers with a deeper nap hold more paint and leave more texture behind. Invest your money in a top quality paint brush. Select brushes with softer, tapered, angled bristles for a smooth and even spread.
  7. Work from the ceiling down. DIY Network advises painting the ceiling first, then the crown molding, then the walls, then the trim around windows and doors, and finally the baseboard. The top-down progression avoids carrying dust and grit from the floor up the walls.

Color Trends

When choosing paint, color comes a close second sherwin williams grays 2to quality. An outdated or unattractive color can be worse than no fresh coat of paint. The “gray craze” so popular on the West Coast has begun to fade, and new palette preferences may take about three years to travel from the coast to Ohio. Ask Amy Staging sees a shift from gray to grayish colors, specifically taupe, which is a combination of tan and gray. Our top picks for paint colors are “Analytical Gray SW7051,” “Amazing Gray 7044,” and “Mindful Gray SW7016.”

poised-taupe-sherwin-williams-2017Sherwin Williams predicts that that the go-to color for 2017 is “Poised Taupe 6039.” This neutral color avoids the blandness of beige and imparts a cozy feeling, aligning with hygge, the Danish buzzword that inspires interior designers these days. Sherwin Williams also predicts that “cornflower hues,” greens and reds inspired by nature, and “vintage pastels” will not only coordinate beautifully with taupe, but also see popularity as this year’s favored colors. For more inspiration, the Sherwin Williams 2017 Colormix offers contemporary options to suit every palette.

Consider these colors when choosing that perfect paint color for your house. It will keep your color scheme updated even as fashionable palettes change.



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6 Tips for Curb Appeal

6 tips for curb appeal (1)
Talk to any Realtor®, it’s hard to sell a house that doesn’t look good from the curb. HGTV concurs: “According to the National Association of Realtors, 63 percent of homebuyers will drop by after viewing a home they like online.” Even more important, 88 percent of homebuyers begin the search for a new house online. Therefore, home sellers must not only think like prospective home buyers, but they think like photographers, too. Not only does the house have to present an attractive and welcoming appearance to people pulling up to the curb, but it must also look good in pictures to persuade home buyers to drive out to see the house in person and discover its other great qualities.

Frame your home with your hands, thumbs to forefingers, and look at your house. What do you see? This snapshot is the first thing potential home buyers will see, because they’ll most likely see that picture online. If the first impression from that snapshot is “Ugh,” then your chances of selling plummet. Act like a prospective home buyer and drive slowly past your house from both directions. Walk around the house with a critical eye and write down the defects. Once you’ve done that, you can sort out those problem areas that can be quickly and simply rectified.

Following are the top tips recommended by Ask Amy Staging to improve your home’s first impression. The best thing: none of these tips will break the bank.

  1. Clean the exterior. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can rent one. Use the blasting power of a pressure washer to remove mold, mildew, and dirt from siding, porches, and decks. Cleaning also involves tidying those flower beds, sweeping debris off that front porch and walkways, and picking up
  2. Fix anything broken. The harsh weather of winter can wear on a house’s exterior. If the roof is missing shingles, the gutter sags, a window screen is torn–whatever it is–fix it. Keeping the exterior in good repair builds confidence in prospective buyers.
  3. Make a statement with a blast of color by painting your front door and/or shutters. Touch up dull or faded paint on trim. Don’t forget to include the mailbox post.
  4. Replace hardware. Has that doorknob seen better days? Are the house numbers faded or missing? What about the outdoor lighting? Does it project the image you want potential homebuyers to see? Replacing outdated and dingy hardware adds style and interest. Experts recommend coordinating hardware finishes for a unified, cohesive look.
  5. Install outdoor lighting. Low voltage lighting to illuminate pathways not only add to the house’s safety and security, but also contribute a positive visual impact.
  6. Add interest with plants. Especially if the exterior of your house is in good shape, but drab, use Mother Nature to add drama and interest with container plants and flower boxes. Group varying sizes and shapes of pots and plants. Vivid colors, wonderful textures, alluring scents, and little or no weeding or mulching all add to the home’s visual appeal with the added benefit that you can container plants all with you.

The primary focus of curb appeal is to make your house look like a place where people want to live, not a place people want to leave. That first impression can make or break the sale. If the first impression your house invites prospective buyers to come on in and make themselves at home, then you’re more likely to make the sale.
#staging, #askamystaging

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Cleaning Up for Home Sales


Many factors affect home buying decisions. Prospective buyers must not only consider what they want in a new home, but how much inconvenience they’re willing to endure and can afford. Renovations and other tactics that showcase a house’s positive attributes can influence a decision in the seller’s favor. The simplest improvement, says Claire Roscoe writing for RightMove’s Property Blog, is a thorough spring cleaning.

Before beginning with the “big clean,” make a plan. This endeavor takes time to do it right. Ask Amy Staging offers the following tips that will not only help the homeowner to sell the house for the desired price, but also streamline the moving process.

  1. Culling the contents of your closets and drawers not only helps your clothes look better and your closets look roomier, but also reduces the sheer amount of stuff you’ll transport from the old house to the new. In order to painlessly sort through closet content, at the beginning of the season reverse your hangers. Then, when the season ends, those items still hanging from reversed hangers are those that no longer see any use and should be donated, sold, or otherwise discarded.
  2. Kitchen items. Note in writing which small appliances, pots, pans, dishes, and utensils you use and sell or donate the rest. Again, this will declutter your kitchen cabinets and drawers while reducing the quantity of stuff to transport. Check the expiration dates on all food items. Anything past the expiration date should be discarded and anything nearing the expiration date should be consumed. If there’s too much to consume, donate the surplus to your local food pantry.
  3. Hall closets. Clear the hall closets of all those board games, the vacuum cleaner, sports gear, and other stuff crowding that small space. Rededicate the hall closet for coats only and make sure you leave sufficient space to hang guests’ coats.
  4. Restore and brighten fiberglass tubs, showers, and surrounds. Nothing discourages a prospective buyer like a dingy bathroom. Ask Amy Staging recommends using Gel-Gloss products to clean, brighten, and restore well-used fiberglass tubs, showers, and surrounds so they look like new again.
  5. Clean and shine stainless steel. When they’re new, they look fabulous; but, stainless steel surfaces quickly become scratched and dull and look tired. Professional residential cleaner Jan M. Dougherty recommends using Old English lemon oil to clean and polish stainless steel as well as wood furniture.
  6. Clean hard surfaces. For hard surfaces that require something a little more aggressive, Proctor & Gamble’s Magic Eraser® scrubs like fine sandpaper to remove dirt. Use this only on scratch-resistant surfaces; no shine will stand up to this product.
  7. Remove carpet divots. Furniture crushes carpet fibers. Those divots which can thwart efforts to restore the carpet to original, springy state. Ask Amy Staging recommends this simple fix: Place an ice cube in the divot and let it melt. Then use a spoon to lift the carpet fibers.
  8. Clean carpets. Hire a professional for best results. Steam and dry cleaning offer pros and cons; however, dry cleaning—which isn’t truly “dry”—has the advantage of drastically reduced drying time and won’t draw up nasty odors from the pad beneath the carpet.
  9. Clean and shine hardwood floors. People love hardwood floors; however, wood can be surprisingly delicate. Ask Amy Staging recommends Bona products to clean, maintain, and polish hardwood floors to restore their beauty and keep them looking great.

A fresh, clean house should look and smell like an inviting place to live and will command stronger consideration from prospective buyers who won’t be eager to have to clean their new residence before they move in.

#staging, #sellingahouse, #realestate


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Declutter When Moving

People collect stuff throughout their lives. That truth never becomes more apparent
until faced with moving. The hoard of possessionsDeclutter blog graphic surprises them, from items of sentimental value to things one just never quite had the willpower to throw away.

Moving to a new home means that much of that accumulated stuff must go. The big questions are: (1) How do I choose which items to relinquish? and (2) Where can I re-home
items too good for the landfill?

Even the most dedicated hoarder can tackle this challenge by breaking down the hoard into categories: keep, sell, and donate. Anything that doesn’t fit into one of those three categories should be transported to your local landfill.


This category includes the items you just can’t live without: clothing in good repair that fits well and looks good; books you read; household appliances that work and which you regularly use; toys your children still play with and that aren’t broken; artwork that still makes your heart go pitter-patter; heirloom pieces of special sentimental value; and the like. When moving, do not hold something back because someone in the family might use it.


Anything that you can live without, that doesn’t fit, that doesn’t look good, that is outdated, won’t integrate with the new décor, that isn’t regularly used, or for which you have duplicates needs to go. Items that fit into this category range from clothing and mugs, to yard implements and toys your children have abandoned, to furniture and unopened food items. Make sure all donated items are clean and in good repair.
Food items should be unopened.

Food can be donated to any of the many local food pantries, such as the Second Harvest Food Bank. Or check out Move for Hunger, which works with over 700 relocation companies to collect nonperishable food items and delivers it to food banks across the entire United States and Canada.

The Miami Valley offers myriad options for donating or selling unwanted items in good repair. offers a list of 501(c)(3) organizations, foundations, community groups, charities, trade organizations, and other nonprofit organizations that accept donated items. The same site offers a list of churches, many of which run their own thrift tablestores, food pantries, and community service ministries that accept donated items. Many public libraries and school libraries will also accept used books, music CDs, and movie DVDs.

If you live in a community near Dayton and are seeking local nonprofit organizations to donate your unwanted items, check out your local village or town’s website for information. Other online options that have state or city listings include and


If you have the time and don’t mind the effort, you may wish to first try selling your excess hoard. Try a garage or yard sale. Find a used bookstore or used electronics shop. Online resources for selling or donating unwanted stuff include Freecyle, Craigslist, Gigoit, Ebay, and more. MoneyPantry offers a list of 17 sites that can be used instead of the
ubiquitous Craigslist. Listings on most of these sites can be posted to specific locations.

Before selling, ensure the item’s good condition. Anything mechanical must be clean and in good working order. Wipe personal data off anything digital and restore devices to their original default settings. Clothing, bed linens, and towels should be clean and in good repair–no missing buttons, no nonfunctional zippers, no tears or stains.


Discard whatever doesn’t fit within the three categories above.  These items include anything broken, stained, torn, or nonfunctional. If you wouldn’t pay money for something, then don’t assume you’ll find a buyer for it.

Trimming a lifetime’s accumulation of stuff will take you down Memory Lane and demand some difficult decisions; however, reducing your stuff saves time and exasperation after the move.

#homestaging, #moving, #declutter




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7 Tips for Buying Home Decor


The number one challenge most of our clients face is selecting and pulling together home decor. So, we thought we would share some tips and tricks to selecting home decor.

  1. Know your size limits. The very FIRST thing we do when focusing on decor for a specific space is to measure the space. If it is a shelf, we are looking for how tall the accessory can bookshelf-1be. Width is equally important so we know how much we need to fill. Take notes of these measurements and carry with you so that when you are shopping you can easily refer back to your space.
  2. Identify. We have all been on pinterest and houzz to get inspiration. Take note of those inspirations and identify what you are searching for when shopping. For example, a basket, a vase, 3 books, 2 plants, etc. Having a soft list of items you are looking for will make the hunt a little less overwhelming.
  3. Choose items that are meaningful or tell a story. A beautiful home is only as good as the family living there. Your home decor should tell your story. Try to incorporate items into your home decor that are important to your story, your travels, the important people in your life, etc.
  4. Shop your home. Before you shop, look around your house and try to use items you already have. We love to repurpose items from around the house and place into new spaces. This offers a newfound love for these old pieces and is less of a blow to your budget.
  5. Alternate heights. This tip is more for after you buy your items and start styling but it is helpful to bedside-tableknow when you are out shopping for those new items. One of the most important styling tips we use is incorporating pieces with a variety of heights to add visual interest and depth. Layering tall things with medium sized things with short things is important, so try to buy items of all sizes and shapes. The more diverse in height, shape, texture, even color (to an extent) the better.
  6. Add books. Books are an important component to a styled space. When picking books for your decor space, look for titles that may help “tell your story” or for spine colors that work with your room. Books offer multiple purposes in decor spaces. Their color and texture provide some variety. They can also help elevate other decor pieces to meet the alternating heights tip we mentioned earlier.


  7. Only buy what you LOVE. Only buy what you are absolutely in-love with. Don’t ever buy just to buy, especially when you feel desperate to get the job done. Hold off and wait for things you love to ensure you will still love them (and your space) months or even years from now. Finding items that fit the bill is a process.

In short, here’s our advise for buying YOUR perfect home decor accessories:

Quick Tips!

  • Measure
  • Identify
  • Tell your story
  • Shop your home
  • Tall + Medium + Short
  • Books
  • Buy what you LOVE!

Amy Zumberger logo 2015 Color and Black LARGE.jpg




212 W. State St. Botkins, OH

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Photos Speak Louder Than Words

photos speak louder blog title

Photos speak louder than words. Here is a snapshot of our work to let you decide for yourself if staging works.

Curb Appeal
Set the stage with clean, tidy curb appeal.Arn Dr. Outside

A welcoming front entrance invites in the buyer.Arn Dr. Porch

Great sight lines and welcoming entrance welcome buyers coming in the front door.Arn Dr. Front Hall

Focal Point Featured
Placing furniture to accent the focal point of the room and create flow throughout the space is a key to proper staging.Arn Dr. Fireplace test 2

Comfy & Cozy
Properly placed furniture pieces creates a point of reference for buyers allowing them to visualize how their furniture might fit into the space.Arn Dr. Living

Setting the Table
Don’t skip the table, chairs and even the place settings. This helps create the lifestyle the potential buyer is seeking.Arn Dr. Kitchen

Staging the master bedroom is essential. Buyers want a sanctuary for a master bedroom and creating that luxury setting can be achieved with fresh bedding, lamps, and de-cluttering the space.Arn Dr. Master 2

Home Office
What buyer wouldn’t want to work from this adorable office space? Creating a home office helps buyers see the potential of a space that they may not have otherwise thought of.Arn Dr. Office

The Spa Bath
Showcasing a clean, spa-like bathroom will have buyers flocking to your listing. You really can’t go wrong with a beautifully clean bathroom.Arn Dr. Master Bath 1

It is the little things
Small touches to resemble the spa will have buyers wanting to soak away their day!Arn Dr. Master Bath 2

Wouldn’t you want your listing to showcase like these photos? Don’t skip out on the staging, it makes a difference and buyers will be lining up to preview you property!

#stagingworks #homestaging #askamystaging



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Why Hire A Professional Home Stager?

why hire a home stager
There are lots of simple things homeowners can do on their own to decorate their homes to sell. They can get rid of clutter, repaint, clean or put out fresh flowers. So why hire a home stager?

Many homeowners are unsure of what paint colors to choose or where to move the clutter. The process of selling a home can be completely overwhelming. They often lack real estate knowledge about their local markets and how homes in their price range should lookBecker Dining

A home stager has the ability to look at a home with a fresh pair of eyes. They view the home as a highly critical buyer would see it. Home staging expert Debra Gould provides five examples of how a professional home stager can benefit you:

  1. A home stager knows what’s needed to create the right environment quickly and at the lowest cost.
  2. A home stager knows what homes in different price ranges look like and what’s selling. They will give homeowners suggestions that their real estate agent may be afraid to offer because the agent does not want to risk losing the listing.
  3. A home stager is not emotionally attached to any of the home’s contents, which means that they can see the home in a way that someone who has been living there for years simply cannot. Using their fresh vision, they recommend the optimal way to rearrange existing furniture, art and accessories.
  4. A home stager can quickly choose new paint colors, flooring, tile, countertops or any number of finishes. They have a ready source of painters, cleaners, handymen, off-site storage and a myriad of other services that may be needed on short notice.
  5. A home stager can bring in fresh new furniture, art, and accessories if the home is empty.

Becker LivingHome staging is not just for multi-million dollar homes. Even for modest homes, staging can have a dramatic effect on the selling price and the number of days spent on the market. For example, one of the homes Gould staged had previously been on the market for months with the best offer being $350,000. She spent 90 minutes with the owner rearranging the furniture, putting items in storage and telling him what needed to be cleaned. He sold the house the following week for $361,000!

How many other ways can you think of to invest $600 and get an $11,000 return on your investment the following week?

#StagingWorks, #AskAmyStaging,


*Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould is president of Six Elements and creator of the HUStaging Diva Home Staging Business Training ProgramUH. Gold has staged hundreds of homes and uses her expertise to train others worldwide. Visit her at http://www.stagingdiva.comUH and http://www.sixelements.comUH
Written by internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould, The Staging Diva, http://www.stagingdiva.comUH. Copyright Six Elements Inc. Used with permission.
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