Posts

[PART 3] Guide To Getting Permits In Chicago: Residential Remodeling

Remodeling Permit
In part two of this article series “Guide to Getting Permits in Chicago”, we talked about why you may need to pull a permit for a residential remodel.  In this article, you will learn more about the necessary paperwork you have to prepare, how each process of securing a permit works, the cost of building permit fee, and the penalties for failure to obtain one or having an expired permit.

Step by Step Process: How To Get a Building Permit

After identifying what type of permit you need, you’re ready to go through to ordeal of obtaining it. Here are some of the options:

Easy Permit Process Program

How it works:

  • Fill out the application form. You can then submit this together with additional documentation (requires PIN no.) in one of the City Hall offices.
  • Be sure that the owner of the house duly signed the Easy Permit application form.
  • Also provide a copy of contract signed by the owner and the contractor together with a signed letter of intent for general contractors and/or plumbing contractors, as it may be applicable.
  • In this process, no appointment is required and and usually you may get the permit the same day you applied
  • A detailed flowchart containing the instructions for every step of the process is found here.

Standard Plan Review

How it works:

  • The application is submitted through E-Plan.
  • Only the architects, structural engineers and expediters are allowed to apply for a Standard Plan Review.
  • A detailed flowchart of the instructions to take when applying for plan review is found here.

Homeowners Assistance Program

This program is for owner-occupants of single-family homes who will personally apply for a building permit that requires plan and drawings (not subject to Easy Permit Process Program).

The permit registration may be done by your contractor but a representative of the City may still want to speak to you about your project. Make sure to always follow up with them and ensure that they actually got it before starting any construction process. Oftentimes, it is best if you arrange for your designer or contractor to pull permits, as they better understand the city’s timeline for approval and the requirements for the permit process and which project really needs a permit.

Residential Remodeling Permit Requirements

Here are the list of general and specific requirements you (depending on the scope of your home improvement project) need to accomplish for a successful application of Residential Remodeling Permit:

Easy Permit Process Program

Here is the required information that may be applicable for your residential remodelling project:

  • EPP Application including
  • Cook County PIN #
  • Electrical Application
  • Signed contract between owner & contractor
  • Original Letters of Intent from contractors
  • Proof of building ownership
  • Certificate of Responsibility for owner occupied residential bldgs.
  • Certificate of primary residence for owner occupied residential buildings
  • Photographs of areas of work
  • Plat of survey
  • List of required contractors
  • Notarized letters from owner and contractors for contractor changes
Note: *Also see this list on the flowchart, link provided above.

Homeowner’s Assistance Program

As this kind of application may include plans and drawings, it has a long list of requirements

General Requirements:

  • Building Permit Application
  • Plans
  • Project address printed on each sheet
  • Excavation certificate (for projects that include new or reworked foundations)
  • Plat of Survey
  • Certification of Primary Residence (certifies that the
  • Notarized Certification of Responsibility (only when The homeowner intends to act as the general contractor/subcontractor)
  • Aldermanic Acknowledgement Letter
  • Photographs of proposed area of work

Zoning Items Required:

  • Driveway Application (only if the project include alteration or addition of new driveway)
  • Zoning Approval for projects with drawings and plans

Energy Conservation Code Items Required

  • Energy Conservation Code Worksheet

Landmarks Commission Items Required

  • Landmarks Review (If the house is a landmark or is located in a landmark district

Architectural Items Required

  • Site Plan
  • Architectural Floor Plans
  • Wall Sections (provide a full wall section showing the elevation of all floor levels and the foundation wall for alteration and additions)
  • Building Elevations
  • Code Notes
  • Light and Vent Schedule

Structural Items Required

  • Porches (for porch plan)

Plumbing Items Required

  • Plumbing Fixtures (Plumbing fixtures on floor plans)
  • Plumbing Riser Diagrams
  • Plumbing Fixture Schedule (Specific details of all new fixtures)

Ventilation Items Required

  • Complete HVAC Plans
  • Ventilation Equipment Schedule

Electrical Items Required

  • Electrical Permit Application
  • Electrical Plans

For further information about the requirements , you can refer to this checklist. Always remember that if all of this is overwhelming, you can hire a contractor or an expeditor to do this for you.

Calculate The Cost of A Permit

The cost of securing a building permit from the Chicago City government is dependent on the type of construction project, the type of building and occupancy of the house, and the scope of project.

As of December 11, 2016, the building permit fees were increased. For ease of checking how much the permit fee may cost, a cost of permit calculator is available in City of Chicago website.

Important note:

To avoid penalties, start your construction within six months after the issuance of permit. If the construction did not start within the period, you should apply for a reinstatement of permit to carry on the construction. Note that this application is subject to approval by a City Hall Building Department supervisor.

Here are the details on the applicable fees:

  • After 6 months up to 12 months, 25% of the original fee is charged to extend the permit.
  • After 12 months and less than 3 years, 50% of the original fee is charged to extend the permit.
  • After 3 years and less than 5 years, 75% of the original fee is charged to extend the permit.
  • After 5 years, 100% of the original fee is charged to extend the permit.

(source)

What Happens if You Fail to Get a Residential Remodeling Permit

Failing to get a residential remodeling permit might subject you to certain circumstances such as:

  • The City issuing a stop work order on your project;
  • If there is a loan to finance the project, lender may decide to end the contract
  • A prospective buyer, who has the right to ask about the obtained permits, backing out of a deal

While we made this guide to assist in the permit process, please realize that you should always review the updated requirements, as these can change frequently. You can check for updates from the Chicago City hall website.

[PART 2] Guide To Getting Permits In Chicago: Residential Remodeling

Guide To Getting Permits In Chicago

In the previous article, we covered the types of projects that require securing a building permit in Chicago. In general, things that do not involve electrical, plumbing or excavation work, are often waived from the permit requirement. That said, it is important to check the requirements, per your unique situation.

If you decide that you need a permit for your next home improvement project, this article from Lugbill Designs, a Chicago-based high-end residential remodeling and interior design firm, will help you identify the permit application process you have to apply for.

1. Easy Permit Process

As a rule of thumb, a home improvement project that does not need an architectural plan will fall under the Easy Permit Process. This is a streamlined process of securing building permit for small and simple improvement projects. It allows replacement or repair of some or existing features of the building.

You can use the Easy Permit Process for the following project types:

A. Interior Projects :

  • Replacement of drywall that measures more than 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Furnaces
  • Replacement of existing plumbing fixture
  • Electrical work from a licensed electrician
  • Replacement of cabinets and countertops
  • Scaffolding

B. For Projects Outside the Building:

  • Replacements of doors and windows in same location within buildings with 4 or more dwelling units
  • Non-masonry fences with a height of greater than 5 ft. or above
  • Sheds that have electrical permit and greater than 70 sq. ft.
  • Detached garages
  • Wood trash enclosures
  • Porches
  • Masonry work from mason contractors
  • Tuckpointing from mason contractors (may require a pollution prevention permit for masonry cleaning and grinding)
  • Roofs (For additional layer, hire a general contractor to perform the work. For total tear-off, employ an Illinois-licensed roofing contractor)
  • Fire damage to buildings with 24% damage or less
  • Repairs for lintel with a maximum opening of 6’-0” (may require mason contractor)

2. Standard Plan Review

This is for renovation projects that require drawings and plans. A standard plan review is needed when there is new construction, additions, alterations, rehabilitation, and repairs for all building types, with the exception for residential hi-rise and commercial buildings that are 80 ft high. It requires architects to prepare drawings and documents for the review process

Note: *Remember that all building permit applications require a Zoning approval.

 

All Standard Plan Review applications are submitted through the city’s Electronic Plan review system, E-Plan. To ensure compliance, each project is assigned a Project Manager, who serves as the applicant’s point-of-contact throughout the permit process.

For the steps in the Standard Plan Review, see the Standard Plan Review Flowchart.

These are the general projects that requires a Standard Plan Review:

  • Buildings that not exceed 80 feet high
  • 150,000 sq. ft. (maximum) business and mercantile projects
  • Residential projects with a maximum of 40 dwelling units
  • Foundations and excavations of up to 12 feet deep only
  • Removal of non-load bearing walls
  • Includes the Small Project Program and Self-Certification Permit Program
  • Green elements are required to use Green Permit Program
  • Green roof, wind turbines, solar panels, rainwater harvesting, geothermal heating and cooling are not allowed.

3. Developer Services

Moderate to complex construction projects require special needs, and Developer Services is designed to meet them. To manage the application process, a Project Administrator is assigned to serve as a single point of contact. The process also requires the plan to be reviewed by a third party plan review firm, the cost of which is additional to the building permit fee.

E-Permits

E-Permits is a faster means of processing applications. Use this portal to process any of the following.

  1. E-Permitting
  2. Online Intake
  3. Appointment Scheduling
  4. Creating a Permit Application

It requires an individual to establish login information, in order to access these files. It can be used by the homeowner, licensed contractors (i.e. architects, structural engineers, expeditors, electric companies, electricians, plumbing journeyman, etc.

Next up is filling out the necessary paperwork needed to obtain the needed permits for your Chicago remodeling project. This will be the topic of our final article in this 3-part series.

[PART 1] Guide To Getting Permits In Chicago: Residential Remodeling

Guide To Getting Permits In Chicago: Residential Remodeling

Are you planning to remodel or renovate your home? If so, you may have to secure a permit.

To get you around all the ins and outs of getting the necessary permit, Lugbill Designs, a high-end residential remodeling and interior design firm in Chicago, prepared this article to guide you on the different types of permits, the how to’s and the requirements before starting a residential remodeling project.

Read more

Top 20 Chicago Celebrity Houses

Top 20 Chicago Celebrity Houses

Chicago is popular for its amazing architecture, awesome views, and rich historical background.  All of these attributes attract a good amount of celebrities, which call the largest city in Illinois (and the Midwest), their home.  The city’s vibrant business environment, sports, and entertainment options means that residents are graced by movie stars, sports giants, and politicians alike.

A Peek Into the Homes of Famous Celebrities In Chicago

Barack Obama’s Home

Barack Obama's Home Interior

1. Barack Obama’s Home

Before he became president of the United States, Barack and Michelle lived in Hyde Park, located at the near south side of Chicago. Both of the couple’s daughters, Malia Ann and Natasha were born while the family lived in Chicago.

 

Ann Lurie Dearborn Mansion

Ann Lurie Dearborn Mansion Interior

 2. Ann Lurie Dearborn Mansion

The philanthropist and widow of Robert H. Laurie decided to sell her Chicago residence and move to Wyoming after her husband died. However, she lived in Chicago for many years. Their Dearborn mansion was listed for $18,750,000 – and is still on the market today for a cool $11,000,000 less.

 

Vince Vaughn Palmolive Building Penthouse

Vince Vaughn Palmolive Building Penthouse Interior

3. Vince Vaughn Palmolive Building Penthouse

When the comedic legend Vince Vaughn purchased his 12,000 square foot, five bedroom penthouse on North Michigan Avenue, he paid $12 million for it in 2006. It is a spectacular triplex, with plenty of features. It has billiard room, a room for playing cards, a film screening room, two kitchens, four bedrooms and a master suite. It has wood paneled rooms, hardwood flooring, panoramic views of the city, and an office that belonged to Hugh Hefner when he worked there with Playboy Enterprises.

Jonathon Brandmeier River North Mansion

Jonathon Brandmeier River North Mansion Interior

4.Jonathon Brandmeier River North Mansion

Brandmeier, famed for his Jonathon Brandmeier Show, and his wife Lisa purchased their home in 2007 in River North. The house is 11,000 square feet with 5 bedrooms, 6 full baths, and 4 half baths with his-and- hers dressing rooms, a theater, gym, an in-unit elevator for accessing the home’s 6 levels, 6 fireplaces, a gourmet kitchen and formal dining room.

Kelsey Grammer Rented Gold Coast Apartment

Kelsey Grammer Rented Gold Coast Apartment Interior

5.Kelsey Grammer Rented Gold Coast Apartment

When Kelsey Grammer was filming Boss, in Chicago, he rented a Gold Coast apartment for $15,000 a month. He lived in Chicago during 2012, spending several months in the three bedroom condo. The show was cancelled in 2012 and the condo was listed for sale.

Harold Ramis Glencoe Mansion

 

6. Harold Ramis Glencoe Mansion

Harold Ramis, famous for his comedy, directing, and writing, was a native Chicagoan. He and his wife purchased the 8,357 square foot mansion in Glencoe in 1996 for $1.9 million. It has and has beautiful Palladian windows, two sun rooms, a great room, four fireplaces, a bonus room, and six bedrooms. Ramis died in 2014, and in 2015 his widow put the mansion sale on the market listed for sale at $2.5 million.

Mavis Staples South Shore Apartment

7. Mavis Staples South Shore Apartment

Mavis Staples and the Staples Singers are gospel pop legends. She has a Grammy lifetime Achievement award and her apartment walls are lined up with mementos of her 50 years of singing.

Walt Disney Birthplace

Walt Disney Birthplace Interior

8. Walt Disney’s Birthplace

Elias and Flora, Walt Disney’s parents, bought the empty lot on Tripp Avenue in the Hermosa neighborhood of Chicago, paying $700. Elias built it by hand and Flora designed it. It was a simple two story home, and brother Walt and Roy were born in it.

Hugh Hefner's Original Playboy Mansion

Hugh Hefner's Original Playboy Mansion Interior

9. Hugh Hefner’s Original Playboy Mansion

Hugh Hefner, a Chicagoan, bought the 1899 State Parkway manor in 1959 and lived there until 1970, when he moved to Los Angeles. Even after moving, his enterprise’s headquarters remained in the Second City. The original Chicago playboy mansion costs $400,000, complete with a basement pool. The pool was a bit of a challenge to build, as it took quite some time to convince city officials that the pool was purely for his personal use.

R. Kelly Olympia Fields Mansion

R. Kelly Olympia Fields Mansion Interior

10. R. Kelly Olympia Fields Mansion

R. Kelly is a famed singer with a net worth estimated at $150 million. He has a dream home in Chicago, valued $5 million. which has 11,140 square feet. It has 5 bedrooms and 7 baths. It features hardwood floors, a tropical themed swimming pool, outdoor tennis courts, entertainment area under a gazebo, and fantastic views of the lake and surrounding landscape

Billy Corgan Highland Park Chateau

11. Billy Corgan Highland Park Chateau

Billy Corgan, the lead performer in the Smashing Pumpkins, purchased the 9,606 square foot mansion in Normandy chateau style, which was a design of a Chicagoan, architect David Adler. It features 18 rooms on six acres, which includes Lake Michigan beach frontage.

12. Steve Harvey Luxury Penthouse

Steve Harvey rented a 6,400 square foot penthouse at the Trump International Hotel and Tower to film “The Steve Harvey Show”. His penthouse included three bedrooms, five and one half bathrooms, a chef’s kitchen, first class appliances, a butler’s pantry, three fireplaces and 16-foot-high ceilings.

Jennifer Hudson Burr Ridge Mansion

13. Jennifer Hudson Burr Ridge Mansion

Jennifer Hudson is a Chicago girl through and through. Her home base has been Chicago, even if she’s upgraded a bit since achieving stardom. Her current estate was built in the style of a castle. It has stone exteriors and rounded turrets on top, a floating spiral staircase, a movie theater, a laundry room, complete with exquisite Brazilian cherry wood floors. The warm woods are a beautiful contrast to the white grand piano in the music room. It is a 12,000 square feet of luxury surrounded by beautiful landscaping in the Burr Ridge area.

Oprah Winfrey Water Tower Place

Oprah Winfrey Water Tower Place Interior

14. Oprah Winfrey Water Tower Place

The 56th and 57th floors contain the 9,625 square foot former residence of Oprah Winfrey, located at Water Tower Place. Though it looks like a condo, it is actually a home with four bedrooms. It features two kitchens, several living areas, five bathrooms and two half baths, an entire floor dedicated to her master suite, and access to the Carlton Club at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. She sold the living complex in November 2015 for $4.65 million

Barack Obama Kenwood Neighborhood Home

15. Barack Obama Kenwood Neighborhood Home

Barack Obama’s home in Kenwood was his permanent residence before he assumed his duties as the 44th United States President. Barack’s home features a red brick exterior with white columns and window trim. The front entry door is arched, with beautiful white stone in Georgian styling around it. It is surrounded by lovely evergreens, and a black wrought iron fence. He was State Senator when he lived there, and many tourists now come there to share a bit of history.

Dwyane Wade South Holland Home

16. Dwyane Wade South Holland Home

He had a 7,800 square foot home with his wife and their two children, until he filed for divorce. His wife received a very large settlement and the $1.2 million home. The house features six bedrooms, seven baths, a home theater, a sauna and exercise room, a pool and a guest house with two bedrooms. The home recently went into foreclosure.

Cusack Family Evanston Home

Cusack Family Evanston Home Interior

17. Cusack Family Evanston Home

The family has owned the home for 40 years, and the famous actors grew up in it. It was built in 1910 and had five bedrooms. It sold for $940,000, after John’s father and famous filmmaker Dick Cusack died. The house has leaded glass windows, expansive picture windows, hardwood floors, beautiful crown moldings, two lovely sun porches and a large backyard. The staircase is original to the home, and the master suite is vaulted. There are also elegant fireplaces and beautifully crafted woodwork throughout. It is situated on the lakefront, with a quarter acre of landscape.

John Cusack’s Gold Coast Condo

John Cusack’s Gold Coast Condo Interior

18. John Cusack’s Gold Coast Condo

The actor previously owned a condo located on the 56th floor of the Elysees Condominium building. It is a 2,600 square foot stunner that has unit has three bedrooms, plus three baths, a party room, a fitness center and sauna, an outdoor pool and sundeck, plus 31 windows which reach from the floor to the ceiling.

Charles Edward Ringling Historic Mansion

Charles Edward Ringling Historic Mansion Interior

19. Charles Edward Ringling Historic Mansion

The famous Ringling Brothers Circus ringmaster built this home for his family in 1913, but it was used for nuns and priests for decades as well. The architectural features have been well preserved over the years. The home’s classic features include an arched entry way with beveled glass door, warm wood floors, an entry hall with craftsman style staircase, a sitting room with coffered ceiling and ornate fireplace, a private library with enclosed, beveled glass bookcases and a fireplace, a dining room with wood wainscoting and a beautiful chandelier, an island kitchen fully stocked with modern appliances and lighting, a breakfast room with built-in cabinetry, a sunroom lined with a row of windows and beautiful wood beamed ceiling, an upstairs billiard room, plus upstairs bedrooms and baths fitted with the finest cabinetry and moldings, plus a detached three car garage with upstairs apartments. The home is now for sale for the asking price of $2.9 million

Michael Jordan’s Mansion

Michael Jordan’s Mansion Interior

20. Michael Jordan’s Mansion

Though Michael Jordan purchased a new home in North Carolina, he still owns a spectacular mansion just outside of Chicago in Highland Park. Jordan lived in the mansion for about 20 years and raised his family there. The mansion was built in 1995 and features all the things you would expect from a basketball legend.
It has a regulation size basketball court, a large home gym, nine bedrooms, fifteen bathrooms, a cigar room and a garage with capacity for 14 cars.

Did you find this article interesting? Got ideas to share? Send us your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

A Quick Pick-Me-Up: Window Treatments

Windows are easily overlooked in most people’s homes. By adding a little pizzazz to your windows, you can take your space from drab to fab!  As we’re designing for our Chicago interior design clients, windows are some of the lowest hanging fruit, in terms of making maximum impact for minimal budget.

There are countless options when it comes to sprucing up your windows. Do you want to add curtains just because you think they look beautiful (I am totally guilty of this!), or are you looking for a more functional option (i.e. blocking sunlight, or providing privacy from nosy neighbors)? There are so many fun ways to dress up your windows, from roller & roman shades, to blinds & curtains. Yes, it is possible to have functionality, AND be aesthetically pleasing.

Looking for specifics?  Here are some of the options you have when it comes to your windows.

RollerShade2_Open

Roller Shades

flat-roman-shades

Roman Shades

blinds

Blinds

curtains

Curtains

 

My personal favorite is a combination of roller/roman shades and curtains. The curtains add a soft and beautiful frame for the shades.  Designer tip: Don’t be afraid to mix different window treatments! It’s what give your space character, and maximizes functionality.  For example:

 

Vial_home_1 (1)

Roller shades & curtains combo

wicker_park_bedroom

Roman shades & curtains combo

 

 

 

No matter what you choose, make sure to personalize them to match your unique style and needs.  And of course, have fun with it – go with the option that you think will best suit your lifestyle/space!

In Need of a Free Bathroom Remodel???

Is it time for an upgrade to the room where you do your most important business? Are you fantasizing about a bathroom with all the bells and whistles? Do chandeliers and heated seats sound like the perfect fit for your personal sanctuary?  If you have big ideas and a love of the luxurious or outlandish, you may be a fit for a bathroom remodel paid for by a major cable network.

West Loop bathroom remodel completed by Lugbill Designs.

West Loop bathroom remodel completed by Lugbill Designs.

To apply, please email the following information to
mybathroomtransformation@gmail.com

* Name * City & State * A short description of your
bathroom renovation vision * Approximate budget* * 3 -5
photos of your current bathroom * Recent photo of homeowners

*Please note that Lugbill Designs is not affiliated with the above request.  We simply received it, and thought some of our readers may want to apply.  After all, who wouldn’t want a free, professionally designed/remodeled bathroom!  Best of luck 🙂

 

My Design Philosophy

All design firms specialize in something. They have something that sets them apart.  At Lugbill Designs, we believe in creating beautiful homes that are functional and represent our client’s lifestyles and personal tastes. Our end goal is to transform a home into a space that is visually stimulating and luxurious, while staying livable and comfortable.

How do we do this?  We use our trained eye to combine unexpected patterns, materials, textures, and interesting color palettes to create a truly unique end product.  The truth is, every person is different.  Each person has their own preferences when it comes to paint colors, furniture, and accessories, and so on.  There is no avoiding that fact.  Each person requires different functionality.  Many people have the functionality part down, but design suffers because of it.  We fuse functionality with stellar design.

We believe that each person deserves inspired and individualized design. We work alongside you to create a space that reflects your unique lifestyle and personality, while staying within your budget and time frame. We can find the materials, source the contractors, pull the permits, and manage the entire project from start to finish.  From the initial planning process, to construction, deliveries, furniture, artwork and accessories selection- we are there every step of the way.

Our clients keep returning to us for our passion for design and our ability to make the design process fun and engaging, while getting the job done.

Lugbill Designs offers custom artwork creation. It is a great way to personalize your space.

Did you know?  Lugbill Designs offers custom artwork, created to go perfectly with your space.

We work with all interior design and remodeling projects.  Please love us because of our:

  • Our laid back, interactive approach to interior design
  • Our ability to create a luxurious, yet livable space
  • Our ability to connect with our clients and translate their personality into their home
  • Our upfront pricing that gives you options on where to save, and where to splurge.

 

 

 

LD Introduces How to Design Videos

Ever wish that you had some guidance when picking an accent wall color, or figuring out the best way to hang window treatments? Is it easier for you to understand a concept when you can physically see it? Well, you’re in luck. Lugbill Designs is happy to announce a new design how to video section on our website. Check out this section for practical advice on a variety of topics including:

Interior Design Videos

The Video section of LugbillDesigns.com

Painting, Kitchen & Bath, Bedroom Design, Furniture & Accessories, Home Improvement, Window Treatments, and Design Students.

From the obscure (What color to paint a bedroom wall with a black comforter), to the simple (How to best protect furniture when painting), to the practical (What other finishes go with chrome), we have a collection of over 30 videos, all hosted by top interior designer, Erica Lugbill. We plan to add more videos on a regular basis, so check back frequently, or follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, or Google+ to be informed when new videos are added. If you have a video that you would like to see us us create, let us know and we’ll put it on our list!

How To: Hang Lightweight Artwork

Lugbill Designs offers custom artwork creation. It is a great way to personalize your space.

If you have lightweight artwork that you need to hang, have no fear! Lightweight artwork is easy to install, and shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. You may not know it, but Erica (owner of Lugbill Designs), often creates custom artwork for her clients. Her preferred medium is canvas, which is very lightweight. Check out the simple instructions from none other, than Erica herself!


How to Hang & Display Art Work — powered by ehow

Follow us on Facebook, or @LugbillDesigns, on Twitter

Home Staging 101: Resources, Tips, & Tricks

To anyone getting ready to sell their home, the idea of staging can be an intimidating thought that conjures ideas about feng shui or concepts of interior design. But this need not be a complicated task, and when done correctly staging the home can help give it a much-needed advantage in a difficult marketplace.

The idea of staging is to clean and arrange the home in a way that makes it most attractive to buyers. While there are countless websites or books that can help with this topic, at its heart it is simple—turning the home into a blank slate of sorts, a place potential buyers can imagine their own details. The first step is to take a thorough examination of the home, looking in every room and try to see it as a buyer would. If it helps, bring in a friend or family member to give you a fresh perspective, someone who wouldn’t be afraid to make difficult suggestions to you.

Home Staging ChicagoWhen it comes time to start the staging, address the basics first. The house needs to be clean and free of clutter. Potential buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in the home, but if all they see are the dirty dishes in the sink and piles of laundry, they might not even finish the visit. Eliminating the mess also makes the house seem larger, more open.

Once you have cleaned, it is time to get rid of all the clutter as well. For those who have lived in a home for a long time, this can mean addressing years or even decades of accumulated things that are no longer used and this alone can be stressful. So keep it simple and don’t try to get rid of everything at once. Take a room-by-room look at clothing or boxes, and use the general rule that de-clutter experts suggest—if you haven’t used it or worn it in the past year, get rid of it. Separate things into piles for the garbage, for donation and the last for a garage sale. Don’t think you can just throw everything into a box and shove it in a closet, because potential buyers will want to see what kind of storage space your house has as well. If you have a spare room or other space that is being used as a storage space for all this clutter, move it out and give the room a new purpose like a sitting room or library for your extra books. If it helps keep you motivated, think of the move ahead and how much easier it would be without having to move all the junk you don’t use anyway.

Now that it’s time to stage the house, keep in mind that you want it as a blank slate for the buyer to fill in with details. Remove bulk furniture, big pictures and the other things that might be taking up space. If you have unused space, try to fill it creatively with plants or bookshelves—if you can use something from another, more cluttered room, that’s an even bigger bonus. Some people think that placing all the furniture against the wall will showcase the size of a room, but staging experts say that placing them together in small groupings makes the space seem friendlier to users. Finally, be sure everything is clean, freshly vacuumed and neatly arranged.

Try to keep the rooms simple as well. If your choices of paint color are too bold or personalized, change to a neutral paint. Take a careful look at lighting as well, replacing light bulbs with tints that seem most attractive or adding new blinds that let in more natural light.

Megan Gates is an active blogger who provides written work to the blogosphere pertaining to Nassau Rental Properties, Hamptons Real Estate, home improvement and the latest architecture, design and fashion. Follow her on twitter @MEGatesDesign.

@ 2019 Lugbill Designs   Downtown 211 W Wacker Dr, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60606   North Side 7005 North Glenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60626-2812    (773) 572-9049