Shaker Heights Renovation – Remodel – Successful Home Sale Back to top Contact


Shaker Heights Renovation – Remodel – Successful Home Sale

 Seller’s Goal:

This home was on the market for six months by the time the seller contacted us.  The home was vacant and was located on one of Shaker’s finest streets. The seller was at a complete loss as to why this fine home had no offers over the previous six months and why it hadn’t sold.  The seller both wanted to maximize their sales price as well as sell it quickly.


After a walk-through of the property, we determined this home suffered from three distinct areas to be addressed:

  1. Two major design flaws. A) Master bedroom did not have a private master bath — it shared a full bath with an adjoining bedroom. B) Kitchen remodel was a bad design — huge peninsula that impeded traffic in an awkward space. Kitchen also suffered from lack of natural light as it was very boxed off with only one small window.
  2. Tired/Dated. While this substantial, 1920s, brick and stone beauty was architecturally significant, this home has very dated bathrooms, and odd kitchen renovation, old carpeting, tons of wallpaper, funky colors, and a hodgepodge of elements that were at odds of the natural beauty of this fine home.
  3. Home Staging. Since this home was vacant, with a smattering of random furniture spread out through this 3,500 square foot home, because of all three of these major category of issues, home staging as the final icing on the cake after the first two items were addressed would go a long way to showcasing the fine attributes this substantial home offers a discerning buyer.

Olsen Ziegler Solution:

  1. Master Bedroom-Master Bath Re-design. Create Two-Room Suite with Private Bath.
    Create a true, private master bath for the master bedroom. Removed a 2nd entrance into the shared bath from adjoining bedroom #2.  Minor cosmetic makeover of the master bath by framing an unframed mirror, painting, and a new light fixture. Bedroom #2 had back-to-back closets with a tiny bedroom #5 (way too small to be used as a bedroom by today’s standards) which had it’s own small private bath. Remove the back-to-back closets separating bedrooms #2 and #5 to create a two-room suite with a private bath.  There was a linen closet in the hall that we created an opening into it from bedroom #2 so it could have it’s own closet.  Problem solved. Master bath with more wall space for storage, and a a cool, new 2-room suite with it’s own private bath. This change converted a 5-bedroom home into a 4-bedroom home — but this lack of an extra bedroom did not pose an issue as the old bedroom #5 was way too small.
  2. Kitchen. The layout of the cabinetry and counter tops was odd. We removed an awkward peninsula, moved some cabinetry around, created a pass-through opening from the breakfast room to allow natural light to stream in this dimly lit kitchen, and replaced buckled Pergo flooring in the kitchen and breakfast eating area with the same red oak flooring found throughout the remainder of the main level. Paint and a chair rail accent wall tied everything together. Design issue solved. Lack of natural light solved. Aesthetics issue solved.
  3. Dated Elements Updated. We did a cosmetic makeover of a jack-n-jill bath, removed/replaced old carpeting in the basement and stairs, refinished the worn hardwood floors on the upper level, removed wallpaper, painted, updated the finish on the banister, removed out-of-place, 70s, modern glass shelving in an old-world paneled wood library, updated numerous light fixtures  and exterior tree trimming.
  4. Home Staging. Brought new furniture and accessories in. Re-purposed existing furniture and accessories.

Please visit our companion Shaker Heights Renovation Success Story to see the actual renovation, remodeling, re-design work done on this fine home.  This post is the home staging portion of preparing this home for the market.


  • Agent Recommended Staged List Price: $500,000
  • Agent Recommended Non-Staged List Price: $450,000
  • Seller’s Actual Chosen Actual List Price: $499,000
  • Actual Sold Price: $487,000
  • Agent Estimated Non-Staged Sales Price: $430,000
  • Days on the Market: 91
  • Total Staging Cost: $2,415.  ($1,440 labor and $975 3-month furniture rental)
    Note: The renovation costs totaled $19,941 for a combined total project cost of $22,356.

Home Staging:

Please read our Shaker Heights Home Staging page to view home staging part of preparing this home for sale.


Every property has pros and cons. When a property has been on the market for a long time with no offers and no solutions are being offered to help the homeowner solve the problem, there are real dollars on the line.  With property taxes on this property at 15K per year, plus mortgage and utility carrying costs, carrying a 400-500K home in Shaker Heights can easily cost a homeowner an extra $4,000-$5,000 per month in monthly operating expenses, not to mention should anything else need to be addressed that may break and require repair, let alone if a market is also declining in value (a general trend in not only the region, but also the country.)

Identifying the issue(s) from a buyer’s point of view is critical to either overcoming and/or eliminating potential obstacles that can have a serious impact on a seller’s financial bottom line, or even worse (which applied to this seller), kept the home from selling.

Even if the owner had been able to identify the issue(s), the next challenge would be: How do I cost-effectively and quickly solve it? Remember the huge monthly carrying costs?

Since we have done this work many times, we know both how to transform a Shaker Heights home quickly, whether it’s minor home staging, to full-blown staging of a vacant home, to minor cosmetic updates, to minor and major remodeling and renovation.  We also have the resources to ensure your dollars are spent very wisely and cost-effectively and with good quality workmanship. Sometimes renovation is not the option. It all depends, each sub-market, seller’s goals and constraints, and each property is unique.

Managing multiple contractors, preventing work-flow issues to ensure contractors aren’t impeded or creating extra work or delays, and ensuring everything gets done on time, on budget with good quality.  While this may seem easy in theory, anyone who has done major construction work with multiple contractors can tell you it’s not easy.  We make it easy. We do it on-time. We do it on-budget. Every single time.  We have plenty of references you can talk to.  We help homeowners that are having a hard time selling achieve success, as well as owners who simply want to protect their financial bottom line and have some dollars to invest to ensure they are well position. We also help buyers who want to transform their home after purchase.

We make our clients successful.

Total Seller Investment




Positive Net Return on Investment (ROI) by choosing to renovate and home staging.

Seller Kudo

“Chris not only helped me with suggestions and contractors to make my house more market ready and coordinated a lot of the work to stage my house.  My house closed within 5 months of the work being completed during a very stagnant housing market!”

Tom G-

“Chris walked into a challenging situation with my house.  It had been on the market for 6 months, empty, and my husband and I had recently divorced.  This was a nice large home on a lovely street, with a pool, and several other attractive homes for sale nearby.

Utilizing his experience with demographics, market conditions, desires of new buyers, and experience in remodeling, Chris pulled it all together.  He got the house remodeled to a more desirable configuration, repainted and updated some of the older features and fixtures.  Most of the work happened during the winter months, not the easiest time of year for contractors to get in and out.

I was pleased and surprised when an offer came in early April, and delighted when the sale went thru in mid-May.

Aside from his business experience and capabilities, Chris is a very pleasant person to work with.  He is calm, low-key, prompt, and does what he says he will do in a timely manner.  I always walked away from an encounter with him feeling well cared for, and that he knew what needed to be done.
In today’s difficult economic climate and real estate market, these are all important qualities that one needs to have in a realtor.  I would always highly recommend Chris and I’m sure his customers would agree with me.  I am grateful and pleased to have had the opportunity to work with him, and to benefit from his professional expertise.”

Sue G-

Expand Kudo

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