11 Questions for Your Realtor When Selling in Indy

Posted by admin under Home Staging in Indianapolis

Selling your home can be a chaotic time. You know you need a strategic asking price, but you still want buyers to offer top dollar. Interviewing your realtor can help ensure that you’re on the same page from the get-go. If your realtor can confidently answer these 11 questions, there’s bound to be a big “SOLD” sign in your future!


1. Can you show me the CMA for my area?

For the real estate industry, this is square one. You need to understand the lay of the land and selling prices for other homes in your neighborhood if you’re going to get good offers. Cross-reference what your realtor says about your property with a CMA, or Comparable Market Analysis report.


2. Are you working solo or with a team?

There isn’t exactly a “right” or “wrong” answer here, but how realtors answer can reveal a lot. Will they be someone who answers their phone 24/7? Or do they have office staff to help field their calls? Try to get a sense of their communication style upfront to make sure it fits with your expectations.


3. What makes you different from other agents?

If your realtor didn’t make this clear before, now’s their chance to shine. Maybe they have a passion for educating homeowners about the area—which can help highlight your home’s address. Or perhaps they have a niche working with high-end buyers?


4. Can you explain your realtor fees?

mid-century-living-room_Home Matters Staging-0117Real estate agents are typically paid with a percentage of your home’s final sale. This usually benefits sellers because it means your realtor has an actual vested interest in how much your home goes for. The exact percentage can change between realtors, so confirm their rate before you start working together.


5. On average, how long does it take for your listings to sell?

The real estate market is always changing, but looking at the recent seasons can give you a general idea of what to expect with your home—especially if the realtor has worked around your neighborhood before. Can you afford to have it on the market for a couple months? Or do you need to sell ASAP?


6. And when they sell, how close is the final price to the asking price?

If their sellers get the full asking price the vast majority of the time, you’ll probably feel more confident that their listings that are fair. (And have a better idea of what to expect out of your own property.) You don’t want to be tempted with a high asking price, just to get knocked down when buyers won’t bite.


7. How do you market your sellers’ homes?

home-staging_swimming-pool_Home Matters-0117You’re hiring your realtor for their connections and industry resources. The best realtors should have lots of marketing techniques up their sleeve. Check to see if your realtor will hold open houses to get traffic through the door, or if they’ll post your listing online or through other media outlets.


8. In your opinion, what are my home’s selling points?

It’s always nice to get some compliments! Make sure your agent can speak to the good qualities in your home—they might even say things that you hadn’t thought of. If they know what’s “hot” for buyers in your area, they’ll be interested to promote those aspects.


9. What drawbacks do you see for this home?

A good realtor will be able to share the tough love too. It might be hard to trust someone who can’t be realistic with you and (politely) share the cons as well as the pros for your home. If they can help you improve your listing, you’ll want to hear it—especially when it can increase your asking price!


10. Can you recommend any prep work before we list?

Here’s the kicker. Your realtor should be able to give concrete advice for how to move forward and position your listing to sell—all while keeping your timeline and ROI in mind. If they’re well connected, they might even be able to refer you to qualified home professionals.


11. What will it cost to sell?

eat-in-kitchen-staging_Home Matters Staging Company-0117You might need to make a couple investments to get your property in peak “showing” condition. Does you realtor have estimates for sprucing up your front yard? How about for general cleaning services before showings? It’s nice to know these numbers if you don’t want to do the work yourself, but the one thing you don’t want to “DIY” is home staging in Indianapolis.


For today’s sellers, professional home staging is more important than ever before. The area is booming, and professional staging can definitely help your listing stand out in the crowd. Ask your realtor about the benefits of staging, and follow up on these other 11 questions to find an agent that represents you and your home in the best way possible. A little investment upfront can go a long way in getting your property sold on time—and for the best price.


Ready to take your listing to the next level? Contact Home Matters today for all your home staging and design needs!

How to Stage a Brick Fireplace—Any Time of Year

Posted by admin under Home Design, Home Staging in Indianapolis

A fireplace should be the crown jewel of any room. Whether you’re showing your house to sell, or just getting ready for the holiday spirit—staging your fireplace can make a grand statement. Dress it up right to make a great impression in every season.


It’s natural to pay more attention to the fireplace in wintertime. We hang stockings on the mantel and cozy up by the fire in the cold winter evenings. But this home feature can still be a major highlight when it’s warm outside. From fireplaces in the living room to the bedroom, proper staging should be a year-round focus.


The “Rule of Three” for Staging

living room fireplace professional staging_Home Matters 1216Your fireplace doesn’t need to dominate an entire wall to make an impact. Even smaller fireplaces can have a luxurious vibe. In this living room, basic brick is bordered with beautiful crown molding. This simple touch gives the narrow mantel a bolder effect. To help draw the eye upwards, hang a nice piece of large-scale artwork in the very center of the firebox.


Professional stagers will often utilize the “Rule of Three” to create intrigue with fireplaces. Choose items of a similar color scheme or pattern to complement the rest of your room. We decided to use copper-toned vases here with a delicate flower display. By working with accessories that have varying heights, you can create instant intrigue and drama to any size fireplace.

Fireplace Staging Symmetry

classic brick fireplace design_Home Matters Staging 1216Sometimes you need to keep your staging simple. If you’re pressed for square footage on either side of your fireplace, a small side table or floor lamp can help balance out the space. Traditional brick fireplaces with simple mantel shelves can get an updated look with a sleek flat-screen television. Just try to size your technology to your room. A bigger screen will actually make your living room feel cramped if it overpowers your fireplace.


Once you have your fireplace “centerpiece,” you can play with symmetry by using other small, matching décor pieces. Miniature plants or bookends can help frame the television and add balance to your room. If you need help finding the right style or pieces, just reach out to a local staging professional. Their design sense will help you accentuate the positives of your home in every corner.


Modern Bedroom Design

modern bedroom fireplace design_Home Matters 1216Accent colors on your fireside should play off the color palette already in the room. For the master bedroom, you’ll probably want to stick with calming and neutral paint colors—especially around the fireplace. A white-washed effect on this fire surround softens the hard brick and keeps the tone muted.


Bright whites are refreshing any time of year, so the fireplace can easily be the major focal point for this room in winter as well as springtime. The white shelf and molding go great with the darker tones we tend to use for traditional holiday decorating, and the classic design still looks fabulous in the warmer months too. Greenery and garland in winter—with white birch logs or colorful flowers in springtime—are winning combos for this classy white fireplace.


No matter what room your fireplace is in, dressing up your mantel can make a huge difference in your home’s selling price and how you enjoy your space. With the right staging and design style, your fireplace can easily be the one thing that ties your entire room together!


All images on this website are the property of Home Matters LLC. They come from our actual clients and staging projects, so be sure to contact us if you like what you see!

What Will Indiana Homebuyers Want in 2017?

Posted by admin under Home Design, Home Staging in Indianapolis

When you consider all the amenities we have living in the Crossroads of America, it’s really no surprise that the housing market in Indiana is staying strong. One real estate report shows that the number of homes sold in the 15-county region around Indianapolis has jumped 6% from September 2015 to September 2016. That includes a 12.4% increase in Boone County and a 9.4% boost in Marion County. A lot of the features homebuyers want most in 2017 are right here in Central Indy. It’s great news!


That being said, families who want to get the best investment for their home need to make sure that it stands above the masses—especially with the number of home sales are on the rise. You’ll be sitting pretty if your house gives buyers what they’re looking for. When we consider the latest trends and numbers, it all comes down to a few key features.

Modern Style

modern_kitchen_home_design_Home_Matters_1116Homebuyers today are all about the top-of-the-line appliances, kitchen décor, and hardware. But the request for “modern” does come with a bit of a caveat. Families still want a space that truly feels like home—not some sort of uber-modern medical institute. Blending modern design with softened home aesthetics was one of the top 2016 home trends, and it’s sure to continue into 2017.


It’s really good if you’ve already got an updated look in your kitchen. Keeping it clean and properly styled will have your potential buyers swooning. Try to minimize any kitchen knick-knacks and let your cabinets and beautiful granite countertops do all the talking. And if your kitchen is still leaving a little something to be desired—like you’re missing stainless steel or a big ol’ island in your kitchen—fear not. Home staging can help you out. The pros always know how to accentuate the positives in a room!

Home Office Space

home_office_design_Home_Matts_Indianapolis_Staging-1116More and more professionals are working remotely and need a quiet room in their home for work. You’re sure to get brownie points if your house can provide this coveted space. Even a room that you’ve used in the past for another purpose (for say, the kids’ playroom) can take on a new life when you’re getting ready to sell.


Consider staging it as an office or spare bedroom to show buyers that your property can give them what they need. We especially loved this home’s hardwood floors. The French doors give a cozy home-feel to this otherwise traditional office setup.

Energy Efficient

The perks of an energy-efficient home are many. Not only do you spend less on heating and cooling with an efficient space—it’s also means your home is a lot more comfortable throughout the year, even during our unpredictable Indiana weather. If your home was built after 2004, it’s bound to have a great HERS Index Score. (That’s how homes are ranked on energy efficiency.)


For spaces lacking in any of the categories, consider upgrading your HVAC unit, water heater, or windows to give buyers some of the upgrades they’re looking for. Even adding a new layer of insulation to your attic space can make a huge difference on your HERS ranking. It’s widely considered to be the single best upgrade you can make on your home because it has such a fantastic ROI.

Open Concept

historical_Indianapolis_home_staging_1116New home builds have relied on the popular open concept floorplans for years. Lots of couples love the idea of having big living room and kitchen spaces for socializing with friends. Growing families like being able to spend time together as a family after school and on the weekends in these areas too. Of course, not every home has the luxury of being truly “open.”


Older and historical homes have their own set of perks. The unique built-ins and wood detailing are what set these house apart. Even if your house has its rooms in neat little compartments, you can still give homebuyers that open concept sensibility with good home staging. Working with a professional stylist can help you maximize the square footage in every room by using with the right-sized furniture and tasteful pops of color. Show buyers your home has “flow,” and they’ll be more likely to put in an offer.

Location, Location, Location

Neighborhoods all around Indianapolis rank high for location because the cost of living is low and job market is doing well. It also helps that we so close to dozens and dozens of nature trails, parks, and sports clubs. Great schools keep families moving from out of state interested in our region too. When it comes to quality of life, there’s not much these counties are missing! Check out the latest reports on to see how your community is doing.


For other home design and home staging advice, be sure to check out our other blog articles. And if you’re in the Indy area and have any questions about getting you home to be the best it can be, please give us a call! We’d love to hear from you!


All images on this website are the property of Home Matters LLC and come from our actual clients and staging projects.

Top 10 Reasons for Hiring a Professional Home Stager

More and more real estate agents are encouraging their homeowners to stage—and for good reason. When it comes to selling your home, there’s really no better investment. A professional staging company helps put the finishing touches on your home so your listing can stand out in the crowd and bring in the big buyers.

1. Staged Homes Sell Faster

A recent study from the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) reported that homes that were staged before going on the market sold about 90 percent faster than un-staged listings. On average, the staged homes sold in 23 days, but the un-staged homes sat on the market for an average of 184 days (over 6 months) before the sellers decided to stage. Even then, it took another 41 days to seal the deal. Selling in just 3-4 weeks with professional staging sure sounds a lot sweeter!

Home Matters Home Staging Open Concept 07162. You Can Get a Higher Selling Price

When your home makes a great first impression, you’re likely to have some good leverage during the negotiations. In fact, about a third of realtors polled believe that staged homes can increase the amount a buyer is willing to spend by up to 5 percent. (And another 16 percent of buyers’ agents believe that staging can bump the dollar offer up to 6 or 10 percent!) The RESA staging savings calculator can help you figure out how much money you can pocket by staging early.

3. Less Stress with Professional Staging

Don’t underestimate the value of true peace of mind. Calling in the professionals means you’re getting the best quality and service possible. Staging is an art as much as a science. Hiring a pro lets you breathe easy and take another step back from your current space. When you leave the style tricks to your stager, it’s easier to keep your eyes forward and focused on finding your new dream home.

Home Matters Home Staging Fireplace 07164. It Highlights Your Home’s Best Features

Today’s homebuyers have unlimited access to design ideas and they’re usually pretty informed about what they want. Now
more than ever, your home needs to look polished and move-in ready. Professional stagers work to maximize the flow and feel of every room by placing the right-sized furniture in just the right spot. They know how to arrange rooms so your eye is drawn to its best attributes—like the gorgeous fireplace, or the room’s amazing view of the backyard.

5. Staging Helps Online Photos Pop

Believe it or not, when properly staged, a room is always going to look and feel larger than an empty space. It all goes back to that professional know-how. Selecting the appropriate furniture and décor can make any room feel inviting, and that carries over into your home’s pictures. Fill your online listing with professional pictures to attract the more serious buyers. They’ll fall in love with it online and then want to check it out in person.

6. Professional Stagers Can Work Objectively

Even homes that are decorated or styled can benefit from professional staging. That’s because staging shifts your attention to the actual home and layout, rather than the personal choice in décor. A professional stager knows how to make your home resonate with a variety of design types. They work objectively based on your home’s location and price range, so it doesn’t matter whether your buyer prefers a modern style or a country French feel—they’ll still love the vibe of your home.

7. Good Companies Have Massive Inventory

When you opt for professional staging you’re not just getting their expertise, you’re tapping in to their inventory. Your stager has access to tons of missing puzzle pieces for your home—in the shape of loveseats, mirrors, rugs, and other items that will make your space shine. Plus, an experienced company won’t have to spend precious time tracking down any pieces of furniture. They’ll already have a solid dining room table waiting for you in their storage.

8. It Creates an Emotional Appeal

According to a National Association of Realtors survey from 2015, a whopping 81 percent of buyers agreed that it was easier to visualize a staged property as their next home. No surprise there! People are driven by emotion. Seeing a perfectly balanced master bedroom or a great setup for a home theatre will get them itching to move in. When you let a professional stager work their magic in your space, you’re essentially letting potential buyers know that it’s okay to lust after your home and put in their offer ASAP.

Home Matters Home Staging Bedroom 07169. Staging Sets Your Listing Apart

If you’re still unsure, think about your competition. Other houses in your area are also vying for your buyer’s attention. You can help you home stand out a whole lot more with good staging. Property listings that photograph well, are fun to walk through, and have a clean style almost always leave un-staged homes in the dust. When you’re looking to buy, which homes would you rather visit?

10. You Get an Incredible ROI

Studies have shown that sellers who stage get, on average, a 1000 percent return on investment. They just put 1 percent of their home’s value into staging and let the professionals take care of the rest. The services are specifically designed to increase your home’s functionality and appeal to your ideal buyer. When you’ve got a professional stager you can really amp up your selling power and get more cash to play with in your next space. At the end of the day, staging really doesn’t cost a dime!


All images on this website are the property of Home Matters LLC. Please do not crop or copy.

Looking Back and Moving Forward! The next generation of Home Matters!

Posted by admin under Home Staging in Indianapolis

When I started Home Matters, home staging and redesign in 2004, it wasn’t like opening a dry cleaning operation or another franchise. I was starting a home staging business-a concept that didn’t yet exist in the terminology or the language of Real Estate in the Indianapolis area. I guess, I was a pioneer of sorts in my neck of the woods. Although I was an interior decorator and former Realtor who believed in the service I was selling, there were times in which I didn’t think I could continue. While home staging was a well-respected marketing strategy on the East and West coast, it hadn’t caught on in the Hoosier Heartland. TV shows like “Sell this house”, Flip this house”, or others didn’t yet exist. Real Estate Professionals didn’t understand the psychology or methodology of Home Staging. Homeowners couldn’t see the value of it and more than once, I wondered if I was in over my head.

I finally realized that if I was going to be a successful Home Stager, education was going to be a key component of my career. I had to help my clients and others in the real estate market understand that while it is a home’s price that gets buyers interested, it is the overall presentation that generates a positive experience and ultimately the offer.

In 2004, I obtained my certifications in Staging and Redesign and continued with many other staging certifications to learn as much as I possibly could about staging and more importantly operating a staging company. From there, I went on to earn my Real Estate Staging Association Professional designation (RESA-PRO) along with an Advanced Staging and Redesign designation with Matthew Finlason of HGTV.

I remembered offering free staging services in the beginning of my business, and began making presentations so that I could apply my knowledge, collect data and measure the results in order to show proof of concept to potential clients and to my real estate partners. I was trying to gain traction in a marketplace where there was no local statistics or what appeared to be a need, but of course I felt differently.   So, I persisted and in time, I was able to build my reputation and my clientele in order to create one of the fastest-growing home staging companies in the Midwest. As Home Matters flourished, I became a certified Home Staging Instructor, served as the technical editor on the Home Staging for Dummies book, served as an officer in my Home Staging professional organization, and was a finalist for RESA Professional Stager of the Year Award, many times. In addition, my company has had the privilege of receiving the prestigious Angie’s List Super Service Award three consecutive years and Houzz customer service award two consecutive years as well as the FC Tucker Home Link service award six consecutive years since 2008 and we are proud to say that Team Home Matters was also named Best of Indianapolis by Indianapolis Monthly Magazine.

Over the years I have met and worked with so many wonderful people that helped me hone my craft and touched my heart in so many ways including Real Estate Agents, Builders, Investors, rental property owners, my staging colleagues around the globe, as well as the home sellers themselves who entrusted me to take their single biggest investment and showcase it in its best possible light. You all have invested in me and I have invested my heart in your homes, treating each as if it had its own distinct personality. By doing so, I have learned the secret of true success…that when you put your heart and soul into something you believe in, you will never become robotic at it and that makes each job a true privilege.

Therefore, I’M VERY PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE that the time has come for me to pass the Home Matters, home staging and redesign torch to the next generation. Certified Interior Designer and Professional Home Stager, AUTUMN JANOWSKI has purchased the business and will be taking it to the next level in Indianapolis. Autumn has worked closely with me for 4 years and has superior design skills and a wonderful laid-back attitude, is extremely organized and along with her husband (Joe) have great ideas and forwarding thinking plans for the future. With Autumn at the helm of the company, and the rest of team Home Matters intact, I know the future will be bright. I know that the transition will be seamless and I am excited to see what is in store for Home Matters, the next generation.

Linda and Autumn

I am so very grateful for all of the support that the Central Indiana community has shown me, especially my real estate partners along with some dear friends: Chris Castetter, Paul Nysewander, Aaron Padgett, Steve Sergi, Cathy Epps, Kevin Elson, Mike Pucket, Vivian Phelps, Cathy Toombs, Peggy Kieper, and Julie Young. I would also like to recognize those in the Home Staging Industry who have been there with me and for me every step of the way; Shell Brodnax, Melissa Marro, Karen Otto, Carole Morgan, Lori Kim Polk, the late Karen Dempski and Mister Craig Schiller as well as so many others, too many to count. I could not have done it without your support. I also owe a debt of gratitude to the Home Matters team–the best team assembled anywhere-Kathy Howe, Autumn Janowski, Hollie Stokes, and Maureen Zumbiel as well as my biggest fan and lifelong supporter, my best friend, my rock and solid ground-Gary whose support has been strong from day one!

As I move onto the next phase of my life and leave Home Matters behind, I wish you all nothing but the absolute best. I am confident that our standards will be maintained, that our clients and partners are in great hands, and that Home Matters will continue to grow and remain a strong business that supports its community needs.

I bid you all a farewell and as always “Happy Sales to You”!


One house, one stage, one success story at a time.

We’re ready when you need us.

Staging Indy homes since 2004.