Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Stage Your Home To Sell

Staging a home is very important! There are so many homes on the market today, your home must be staged properly to stand out among the rest. You want your home to be something for buyers to remember.

Staging can bring the price of your home up by 5%. The emotions people feel when they walk into a clean, clutter free home will make them want to buy. The mistake many sellers make is thinking their beautifully decorated home will sell because they spent a lot of money using an interior decorator. However, when a home is on the market it no longer needs to please the owner's eye, but it must please the buyer's eye. Buyers did not come to see all of your collectibles, they came to look for space! Too many collectibles will take the buyer's attention away from the features in your home that they need to be focusing on.

When potential buyers walk into your home, they will decide within a few seconds whether or not it feels like a home they could be comfortable in. I personally have bought several homes and during my search I would usually look at my husband and say, "This doesn't feel like home." As a Realtor, looking at many homes, I notice even more how the little things make a BIG difference.

Here are a few ways to make your home go to the top of the buyer's list:

*If the paint on the front door is weathered and chipped, paint it! It is the opening to your home. If the front door looks a mess, the buyer will wonder if the home is in the same bad shape.

*If you do not have room in your basement or attic to store things, rent a storage unit. Remove pieces of furniture that make your rooms look small.

*Remove exercise equipment the main living area, especially master bedrooms.

*Create an open, spacious feel by packing all clutter and collectibles. I know you like to show off your collectibles, but wouldn't you rather the buyers look at your home?

*If you have pretty hardwood floors, roll up those rugs! Show those pretty floors to the buyers.

*De-personalize your home. Pack up most of the family photos, especially if the hallways are filled with framed photos. When you take down those photos, patch the holes and touch up the paint.

*Remove children's stickers from light switches, doors, and furniture. (Goo Gone works wonders.)

*When window blinds have too many slats, take the time to untie the knots at the bottom and slip off the extra slats. Make it appear that the blinds are custom made for the windows.

*Turn on all lights and lamps and open all blinds when your home is being shown. The brighter the better!

*Remove plungers and toilet brushes from beside the toilets. Always keep the lids closed.

*Remove all pictures and children's drawings from the refrigerator. The refrigerator should be completely clear and clean.

*Buyers are looking for counter space. Remove small appliances from the kitchen counters. The general rule is you are allowed 1 small appliance on the counter. Put away all clutter and keep the mail in a drawer.

These are just a few things you can do to properly stage your home. Hopefully your home will only be on the market for a short time. As soon as you get a contract on your home you can do whatever you like. The most important thing to remember is that sometimes you have to spend a little money to get your home ready to sell, but it will be worth it in the end. Happy staging!

*I will gladly help you stage your home if you choose me as your Realtor. I have staged many homes and I've even been known to paint trim to help get a home ready to sell. Call me and let's get started on your home!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Saw Some Beautiful Homes On My Road Trip!

My husband and I decided to take a road trip! We enjoyed several days of sightseeing in Savannah, Georgia (yes we did eat at Paula Deen's restaurant), and three cities in South Carolina - Hilton Head Island, Beaufort, and Charleston. I have always wanted to see Beaufort and it was well worth the trip. I saw some of the most beaufitul homes I've ever seen there. While on Hilton Head Island, I got to see the famous lighthouse that's pictured in many magazines. And I loved driving by the homes overlooking the water on South Battery Street in Charleston - Magnificent!

I want to share some pictures of the beautiful homes I saw on my trip!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's A Great Time To Buy A Home!

Ty Dodge, President & CEO of RealtySouth, recently made a statement I thought was really good and I wanted to share it with you....

"I've been looking at the latest real estate data and I am convinced that BUYERS now have a WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY they'll never again see in their lifetimes:

1. Housing affordability is at an all-time high
2. Lowest interest rates since President Eisenhower
3. Plenty of money available
4. $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers
5. Wonderful selection of homes
6. Reasonable prices

Does it get any better than that?"

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Time To Get Organized!

Life is about to change! Your usual, everyday schedule becomes very different the moment you put your home on the market. You never know when someone is going to call, so you must keep your home in showing condition at all times. It is much easier to straighten an organized home where everything has a place. It's hard to clean around clutter!

Before you list your home, you must set aside some time to get organized. Buyers will look inside your closets, pantries, basements, and some will even look in your cabinets. If closets are over crowded and basements look messy it will say to the buyer, "There is not enough closet space or storage space in this home!"

Here are a few organization tips that will make a difference:

*Clean, organized closets help sell homes!

*Take everything out of the closet. Dust the shelves and vacuum.
*Touch up the paint if the walls are scuffed.
*If the space allows, add more shelves.
*Add robe hooks on the door.
*Use baskets to conceal small clothing items, flip flops, belts, bags, etc.
*It's springtime and it's time to put away those winter clothes! Keep only seasonal clothes in the master bedroom closet. If you have a closet that is not being utilized, move all of your out-of-season clothes and shoes into it. If you do not have extra closet space, nicely fold the clothes, place them in plastic containers, and store them in a climate controlled area in your home. If you have no other place to store them, fold them nicely and place them in the top of the closet.
*Remove all items from the floor of the closet. Neatly place shoes on racks. It you do not have racks, you can purchase plastic shoe boxes at the dollar store. Place your shoes in the boxes, label them, and stack them in your closet.

* Every woman loves a walk-in pantry in her kitchen!

*Pull everything out and look at the expiration dates. It's probably time to toss some things!
*If space allows, add more shelves.
*Add a rack to the back of the pantry door. It creates unbelievable space.
*Group like items together.
*Create a space to hang table clothes.
*Use baskets to organize paper goods.

*Every man dreams of a clean, organized basement!

*If possible, remove all items from the basement and clean.
*Clean out all spider webs, leaves, dirt, and trash.
*Pressure wash the floors.
*Throw away broken sports equipment.
*Use plastic tubs to conceal toys, paint supplies, pool equipment, etc. Stack neatly along the walls or on shelves.
*Hang yard tools and hoses.
*Purchase heavy-duty, ceiling-mounted hooks to hang the bicycles on. It looks much neater to have them hanging than to have a pile of bicycles on the floor.
*Make room for cars! Believe it or not, garages were originally built for cars! Buyers must be able to envision that there is enough room to park their car inside the basement.

I hope this will get you started. It takes time to get your home ready to sell. There are so many homes available for buyers to choose from, yours must be the one they can't forget. Happy organizing!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Help Me Find My Dream Home!

Make yourself a cup of coffee, relax, and think about what you really want in a home. Here is a list questions you can answer to help you decide what's important as you begin the search for your dream home.

1. What part of town do you want to live in?

2. What price range have you been pre-approved for? What is the top dollar amount you will not exceed?

3. Do you have a specific school system you want your children to be in? Are there other school systems you would consider?

4. Do you want an older home or a new home?

5. How much renovation would you be willing to do? None, a little, or a total redo?

6. Do you have a preference of a one story, two story, split foyer, townhouse, or condo?

7. What style of home appeals to you most? Traditional, colonial, contemporary, Mediterranean, southwestern, or no preference?

8. Do you need to be close to public transportation?

9. How many bedrooms do you need? How many do you want?

10. How many bathrooms do you need? How many do you want?

11. What features do you want the kitchen to have?
*Double ovens
*Gas or electric cook top
*Granite counter tops
*Tile back splash
*Eat-in area
*Walk-in pantry
*Keeping room

12. What important features do you want the home to have?
*Hardwood floors
*Tile in bathrooms
*Jetted tub
*Walk-in closets
*Bonus room
*Finished basement
*In-law suite

12. What exterior features are important to you?
*Special view
*Professional landscaping
*Fenced yard
*Hot tub
*Screened deck
*Extra parking

13. Do you want to live in an area with community features? Which ones are important to you?
*Gated community
*Community pool
*Tennis courts
*Golf course

14. Are there any other features or needs that you want to consider when you’re looking for a home?
*Square footage of home
*Size of rooms
*Age of roof
*Age of heating and air units
*Condition of carpet
*Condition of paint inside and out

You probably will not find a home with all of the features that you want, so decide which ones are the most important to you. Which ones can you absolutely not live without? Some people will sacrifice square footage for a view, while others don't care about anything but lots of space. The most important thing is that you find a place you can call home.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Want To Sell? Don't Overprice Your Home!

Overpriced homes do not sell! Don't make the mistake of overpricing your home when you list it. Your home will sit on the market and you will end up making less money from the sale because of the carrying costs you will incur. Look at the true market value of your home instead of letting emotion take over. If you price your home right, you will sell it quickly and come out on top!

If you really want to sell your home take these points into serious consideration before deciding on a price:

*A CMA (comparative market analysis) prepared by a realtor is a great starting place to get a close estimate of the market value of your home. A CMA uses homes currently on the market and recently sold homes in your area.

*The first 3 weeks your home is on the market are the most crucial. Experience has shown that most of the calls and activity occur during this time. When an inquiry is made, your home will be marked off the list if the buyer and/or agent thinks it is overpriced.

*Realtors form very strong opinions about homes they believe are overpriced. They do not want to lose credibility with their clients, so they will give their honest opinion about the price of your home. Most of the time realtors will not even show homes that are overpriced.

*Most sellers have the idea that they have to plan for "negotiating room." It is okay to leave a little room, but when you tack on a lot of extra when pricing your home, it may exclude buyers who are trying to stay within a certain price range. Most people have a certain amount they have been pre-qualified for and they will not look at homes that exceed their approved amount.

*A seller has the right to price their home at any amount they want, but the home is required to appraise for the contract price. If it doesn't appraise then the buyer will have to come up with extra cash and most of the time they don't have it. This will cause you to lose a sell.

*A good realtor will do whatever possible to market your home and bring in buyers. If your home is overpriced, your realtor will waste a lot of time and money advertising your home.

*When your home sits on the market for months it begins to come under question. People will ask, "What is wrong with this home and why has it been sitting on the market for such a long time?" Remember, your goal is to sell the home in the shortest amount of time possible.

*You cannot decide on a price for your home by calculating what you paid for your home, adding all the extras you have put into the home, and adding the commission you will have to pay. You must price your home by looking at the market value.

If your home has been sitting on the market for a long time, you have to ask yourself the question, "Why has my home not sold?" If it is clean, well staged, and in a good location, then it is most likely overpriced. If you really want to sell your home, price it to sell!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sell My House!

The Top Ten Things You Need To Know To Sell Your House

1. First impressions are everything! Cut the grass, rake the leaves, pull the weeds, trim the bushes, and put fresh pine bark around the bushes.

2. A dirty house will turn buyers off! Clean your house, especially the kitchen and bathrooms. Make sure the tile and grout are spotless and make the appliances look new.

3. Dirty or damaged carpet is a selling hazard! Spend the money and clean the carpet. If there are wrinkles in the carpet, have it stretched. If the carpet is in really bad condition, have it replaced. You don't want your house to sit on the market while buyers choose houses that have new carpet.

4. Make sure your house smells fresh and clean. Use wall plug-ins or spray air freshener before your house is shown. Bad pet smells make houses not sell!

5. Make all necessary repairs. I did not say to remodel you house, but fix anything in need of repair. When a buyer sees something he will have to spend money on, he immediately begins to think of how much less he will offer for your house.

6. A fresh coat of paint works wonders. You need to paint with warm neutral colors. Bright colors and outdated wall paper will scare buyers off!

7. Always say yes when an agent wants to show your house. Don't ever turn someone away or tell them to wait until tomorrow. When a buyer is ready to buy, he will move on to the next house if you turn him away. We live in a society that says, "I want to see it now."

8. When a potential buyer is coming to view your house, it is best for you to leave and take your pets with you. Buyers will be uncomfortable asking questions in front of you. Pets can be a distraction and sometimes buyers are afraid of animals. I have seen a buyer walk away and not look at a house because she was afraid of the family dog.

9. Price your house to sell! A house that is overpriced will not sell quickly and when it sits on the market too long the excitement wears off. People will call to inquire and then forget about your house if the price is too high.

10. Staging your house to sell is one of the most important things you can do. Put away the clutter and anything that makes your room look smaller. Rearrange the furniture to make the rooms look bigger. If you don't have an eye for decorating get help. Buyers must walk in and say, "Now I could live here!"