The Top 3 Reasons to Paint a Home Interior

Painting a home's interior is one of the most popular home improvement tasks for homeowners in Woodstock, Georgia. Using a reliable contractor is one of the most important means of having a home look fresh and clean when the job is finished. The procedure is pretty simple. Choose house painters in Woodstock with a solid reputation. Choose which rooms need to be painted. Pick the paint color and prepare the home. The Woodstock painting contractors will do the rest. Here are three reasons to paint a home interior.

Painting a home interior is one of the cheapest improvements one can make to sell a house when putting it on the real estate market. Today's market is extremely competitive. Sellers need to gain whatever edge they can to make a home look beautiful and well-cared for. They may even be hesitant to put a house up for sale because of the hassles that go along with getting it ready for showings and open houses. The fact is, a freshly painted home helps a house to look inviting and move-in ready. It smells fresh. If everything else is equal, shoppers will choose the real estate that needs the least amount of work, making it an easier sale.

Visual Appeal
Interior painting is just part of general maintenance routines that need to be performed around the house. In about five years, paint colors start to fade and get darker in the corners of the room. Older paint can make a house look dirty. Because paint is a porous material, odors can be absorbed by the paint and make the house smell. Adding a fresh coat of paint will not only brighten a room, it can make it smell like new, too.

Some people paint rooms simply because they have grown tired of the existing room color. Others are changing the use for the room and what is in there now is inappropriate. They may have seen a picture in a designer magazine or in a friend's decor. One thing to keep in mind when changing room colors is to consider how long the current homeowner will be living in this house. Going for the latest color trends can be the kiss of death when it comes to the real estate market, so be careful when choosing colors. Most Woodstock homeowners paint their interior every five to 10 years. Generally speaking, the color chosen should be something that one can live with for the next five years.

Staging Your Home and Selling Your Home

Staging Your Home to Sell!

With the popularity of new furnishing and accessory stores, consumers became adept at decorating their homes to emulate the glossy home magazines. This puts the onus on home sellers to create the cleanest, most attractive space possible to appeal to the most buyers that you can in a tough economy.

That's why it is important to place yourself in a buyer's head. You may even have a friend help you with this. Walk through your home and consider eliminating ANYTHING THAT IS NOT NECESSARY to make your rooms look great and livable. Let me clarify this idea... your toothbrush in a cup on the counter is NOT NECESSARY to show your buyer the countertop and space. Ten photographs on a shelf do not add to the decorating; though they might give you joy. Remember we are trying to impress someone else. Personal touches that reveal your taste and hobbies and family do not attract buyers, rather they remind buyers that it is YOUR house. We want the buyers to picture themselves and their own furnishings in the home.

Even if the buyer is not a neat housekeeper, most cannot imagine living in someone else's mess. Buyers, when faced with a plethora of available real estate, will often choose a home that has been decluttered and smells fresh and clean. Ask that same friend of yours to be honest with you about any smells they can detect, any dirt that needs to be cleaned, or anything that turns them off. Windows need to sparkle, all surfaces should be clear except for just a plant or one decorative item, and your refrigerator needs to be clear of any magnets. Think "shiny and clean surfaces" in every room.

Begin to pack up bookcases and closets - again offering clean surfaces and space. Clearly mark the boxes and store away - knowing you are making progress towards your move. Consider removing bookcases once you have emptied them - most do not add to the beauty of your rooms.

  • Pack up anything you don't need for six months, both furnishings and objects on surfaces as well as things in your closets.
  • Remove personal photos on walls. Have only one piece of artwork or a mirror on a wall.
  • Remove small area rugs and make your space appear larger
  • Clean, clean, clean - carpets and all surfaces in your home.
  • Consider removing furniture. Try taking pieces from a room and see if it improves the appearance and space.

The exterior of your home is also of major importance. Buyers turned off by your exterior will not even come inside your home to see the rest of your house.

  • Does your door need a new paint job? Consider a nice rich complementing color.
  • Is your lawn neatly mowed and edged?
  • Is the pathway or sidewalk to your home clean? Does it need pressure-washing?
  • Does your entry light fixture look nice and not outdated? Consider replacing it.
  • Is your mailbox neat and attractive?
  • Are your windows clean and sparkling? I remove my screens because I love the additional sunlight. Be sure to pack them away safely so you can assure a home buyer that you have screens for your windows.

If you can spend some time taking care of these details, and even some money to paint and make some small changes, you will find your home sells more quickly and for more money.

Selling your home in a market with tons of competition can be done with some strategy.

Adding Curb Appeal To Your Home To Sell Your House Fast

If you wish to sell your home and you are searching for ways to help you sell your house fast, getting your home to be in an excellent condition by improving its curb appeal is the best way to go. Staging your home can be a great solution to help you make reselling fast and possibly earn more money. Preparing or beautifying your house before you put it up for sale in the housing market will help rid off loads of housing troubles.

When you say curb appeal, it simple means the exterior magnetism of a real estate property wherein everything is in perfect condition from the roof to the lawn and to the garden.

Why do homes with curb appeal sell fast?

According to the National Association of Realtors, 49% of residential properties that have been sold are mainly because of its curb appeal. Every potential home owner is on the lookout for a house that has a reasonable market value, good neighborhood, accessible commercial places and most especially a house that is simply relaxing to the eye. You may have noticed that most individuals in search for a home always end up purchasing a house that looks flawlessly perfect and pretty. After all, what most buyers look at first is the exterior of the house. No one would prefer buying a chipped stained house, wouldn't they? They want a place that they can stay for good and one that can stay solid for the years to come.

Admit it, these days most people who go to open houses choose a house that has caught their eye when they were still driving by or pulling up the driveway. Even more, home buyers tend to pay more for a house that has that charm.

Improving Your Home's Curb Appeal

First impressions always last and getting an excellent liking is incredibly important since this will mainly determine if the buyer will purchase you house or forget about it and move on to the next house. As a home seller, it is your responsibility to tend to every detail of your house so do not waste all your time tidying up the inside of your house. The outside matters too.

Another common mistake most sellers make is an assumption that potential home buyers have the same intuition as them. Remember, what may be pleasant to you when you stayed in the house can be distasteful to the buyer. So it is best to view the house as a commodity that you desire to sell for the highest dollar possible.

The following are some curb appeal tips gathered from successful home owners who sold their houses fast.

·Do the curb appeal exercise. It is not your opinion that only matters, this time it is the potential home buyers take on your home. Take a good look of your home from a distance in order to get a good view of your house and its surroundings. Ask yourself these three important questions: what is my first impression of the house and its exterior? What are the best exterior features of the house and are there any more ways to enhance them? What are least appealing exterior facets of the house and how can I improve them?

·Take photos. Bring out your digital camera in order to get clear views of possible exterior house defects. In this way, you get to organize the tasks you have to do. This also eliminates confusion and it makes the job easier.

·De-clutter your yard. Nothing scares home buyers than a messy yard. Pick up the trash and other objects that hinder your yard's beauty. Wipe, sweep and throw unnecessary things. Tend your garden, water the plants, and trim the bushes, plants and flowers. Take off pointless decorations.

·Clean the pavement. No one wants to step on a pathway that is full of dirt. The best way to make buyers buy your house is by having an inviting and happy aura. This must start from your pathway all the way to the inside of your home.

·Re-paint. Nothing spells ugly more than a chipped fence or wall. Home buyers always like seeing a house that is fully painted. Also, you might want to change the exterior paint of the house especially when its color is too drab.

·Repair. Fix broken windows, fence panels, your mailbox and the like. You can do this yourself or hire a handyman in the village.

Have Plans to Design Your House - Do Your Due Diligence

Everybody seeks shelter and everybody wants a perfect house for its perfect family. Today, more and more people seem to be spending money on designing their houses or hiring designers to do the same to own a beautiful house.

You might not have any clue about interiors designing. But you can always hire a designer, tell him or her what exactly you looking for and how you want your house to look like. Even if you have no knowledge about interior designing, you will have to play an active role in getting your house renovated or designed. After all it is your house! You know what you are looking for. You know what things to add and what things to subtract. You know every corner of the house. The home design team will just do their work, but in between, will keep asking you for your suggestions and comments. At that time you should know what you want and how you want it to be done. Just giving a contract to any team will not help. You will have to keep your eyes opened and be equally active as the workers, to shape the look of your house.

Take a tour

It is not that you sit at home all the time. You also go out. While you are out, observe and imagine things that you can always implement on your home designs. When you visit your friends or neighbors houses, look around. See, how they have got their houses shaped with perfection. You can also visit open houses by real estate agents. This can help you in big measures to learn more about home design projects.

Many people spend a lot of time driving around in cities and countryside. You can learn and explore from those drives also. All you have to do is keep your imagination-self active throughout. Any sight or visual can attract you and you can very well start implementing in your home designs.

Stores & Magazines

You might find going through magazines, dedicated towards interior designing, for examples and new ideas, an absolute nonsense. But you forgetting that these magazines sole purpose of publication is to help people like us know more about interior designing. It is wise to allocate some time from our busy schedule to sit and chat with a well known designer or scoop out some time to check out gardens and houses, interiors of our country.

It is important to take interest in your home designing because it is your hard earned money that you will spend on decorating or designing your house. You can also visit a local home improvement store to check out new components that have been launched in the market, how to use and implement those in your home designs.

Many big companies promise to give you your dream home. But how can they know what your dream home should look like? It is your house. You have to plan out how your dream home should look like. After all, your dream home your heaven. So why not spend some time to learn a little about kitchen decorating ideas?

How to Beat the Bursting Housing Bubble

Many say that the housing bubble has burst and it's very difficult for people to sell their homes. Housing sales have decreased dramatically the past few months, and housing prices are falling all across the country. Many homeowners are still holding on to unrealistic expectations and many would-be buyers are making ludicrous lowball offers, so the market is basically at a stalemate. As inventories jump, prices will have to plummet. Many don't expect it to get better until at least 2008.

Last year and part of this year, home prices skyrocketed to ridiculous levels. And now, no one wants to be the last person to have paid way too much to buy a house.

If you own your house and waited too long to sell, I've got a few tips to help get your home off your back:

1 - Start with your Real Estate Agent - Make sure your current agent has a ton of experience. Used to be you could hire any agent, with only 2 months on the job, and the house would sell before her or she pounded the "For Sale" sign into the ground. No more. Get someone with experience, name recognition in the community, and superior sales skills.

2 - A Proactive Agent - Get an agent that will truly "pound the pavement" for your listing. You need a proactive agent that will be out there, moving and grooving on your property. Many of the newbie agents that got into the biz over the last two years will be in "career change" mode in the next few months. The real agents who know how to work will be the ones who survive this cycle. Find one who will work for you!

3 - Know an Agent's Quality - A great agent will guarantee his or her service in writing. A bad one would run for the hills from a guarantee. A great agent will not make you sign a long term listing agreement. A bad agent will freak out if you won't sign a fat contract. If it's not working out, you need to be able to cut the cord.

4 - All the World's a Stage! - Hire a "stager" to go through your house and make your house sellable. Many people wrongly think staging is too expensive. Not true. It's about being creative, not spending money. It's actually possible to sell your home "as is" (and not stage) and lose money.

5 - Realistic Pricing Plans - You're not going to get the big profit you thought you would. Plan accordingly for a much more stingy market. Let your agent do the research on the right price for your home, in your neighborhood. I would recommend not leaving your house on the market too long (and expect some really low lowball offers.) If you've already moved and cannot sell, consider renting the house out at a reasonable rate to help provide some relief.

6 - Self Staging - You're a Do-It-Yourselfer, huh? Okay. Know this - any wild and crazy decorations, furniture, fixtures, colors, and designs in your house will turn off the average John Q. Public homebuyer. You might have the most clever and eclectic taste on the planet. Your artsy friends think your house is "to die for!" But dark, rich colors on the walls and ultra-modern furniture can turn off today's picky buyer.

- To save money, make sure you have Curb Appeal: manicure the front lawn, add some colorful flowers, paint the shutters, trim bushes, paint the front door a nice neutral color, brush falling leaves off the roof, etc. Lay down sod if the summer beat up your grass. Add a new doormat.

- Is any room in your house red? Blue? Bright green? School bus yellow? Paint it. Creams, whites, pale yellows, coffees, and light earthy greens. With white trim around the doors. Use an eggshell paint to keep off fingerprints and make it easy to clean before an Open House.

- Declutter. Remove those piles of books, magazines, and newspapers. Less is always more. Remove anything and everything knick-knacky. Take out all your family photos. They want to picture themselves living there. Again, less is more. Makes the house look and feel bigger.

- Check under your 70's orange shag rug and pray someone put hardwood floors there. Pull it up, rent a buffer (or hire someone to simply re-finish the floor), and you've got an inexpensive way to add home value.

- Turn cluttered kid's rooms into a guest bedroom. Not everyone has or likes kids. It could turn them off to see a pink bedroom with ponies and stuffed animals.

- Steam clean the carpets. Remove pets to the Mother-in-Law's house (you might be used to the odors, but...) if you have them. Use new fresh towels, candles, and flowers during an Open House.

- Replace blinds. Keep curtains open during showings - natural light sells.

- Make sure the house has "feature cards" in every major room (sell features, such as 'air conditioning', 'new water heater', 'finished basement') for showings.

- Get rid of dirty clothes, trash in waste baskets, mail on counters, make it look like no one lives there. Or a photo layout in "Metropolitan Homes.

Good luck in selling your house!

Investment in Home Staging

Making an investment in home staging is always a smart choice for home sellers and rental agents, as well. Staging is a proven science that adds tremendous value to a property and can drive up the price paid for purchase or rent simply by optimizing the look, feel and flow of the home's interior and exterior elements. Statistics have clearly shown that investing in property staging is one of the best ways to derive additional profit from a sale or rental.

Home staging is not like interior decorating, landscaping or other design arts. These endeavors seek to improve the aesthetics of the home based on occupant preferences. Home staging falls into the category of real estate marketing strategies and is designed exclusively to satisfy the wish lists of potential buyers. By improving the way a home looks and feels to the buyer pool, the property is distinguished from the competition, bettering the chances for a lucrative offer on the house or apartment. To put it simply... Make the property suit the needs and expectations of prospective buyers and you are far more likely to sell it for more money, rather than try to force your buyers to acclimate to the home's deficiencies.

Home staging is usually performed by a professional stager who works closely with the seller, and their real estate agent, molding the property to suit the latest trends in the area. Although staging can be a daunting task for do-it-yourselfers, professional stagers make it look easy! These highly trained marketing pros will use a wide range of techniques and strategies to bring out the best facets of any property and use equally effective methods of hiding less desirable attributes. When the job is complete, many sellers do not even recognize their own homes and some even reconsider selling once they see the property's true potential!

One of the lesser known benefits of home staging is the fact that staging costs are tax deductible, since they fall under the category of real estate advertising expenses. That's right. The full cost of professional staging can be deducted from taxes. This makes the investment in home staging a very safe and satisfying one. After all, the benefits come at no cost whatsoever, once the fees are written off!

As a home staging consultant, I guide clients through the process from start to finish. I try to educate home owners and management companies about the many advantages of staging properties prior to listing them for sale or rental. I love my job, since I know I am providing a valuable service for my clients and have really come to appreciate just how much I can help them to accomplish their property sale or rental goals. I never feel like I have to sell myself or my services, since they speak volumes for themselves... All I do is present the objective facts and the rest is common sense for any intelligent seller or landlord.

To summarize this article, I urge any and all real estate sellers or rental agents to research home staging as a means of increasing your success rate in sales or rentals, but also as the best method of increasing their profit margin from the transaction. It is not difficult to convince people to make more money! Just show them the way to do it and allow logic to take its course... If I can help you to get more money from the sale or rental of your property assets, please feel free to contact me at any time. I am here to help!

Home Staging is More Than Just a Pretty Face

Gone are the days when homeowners were able to rely heavily on the expertise of their real estate agent to sell their homes. It is essential for homeowners to be more involved than ever and applying the typical "home staging" strategies are just not enough. Preparing a house for sale once meant decluttering, painting walls neutral, and burning a candle or baking cookies prior to a showing, but home staging has evolved into a marketing tool, effectively making it essential as hiring the right real estate agent.

What's made the biggest difference between selling a home today verses only 20 years ago, is that properties are not just homes anymore they are products to be sold in the open market. A traditional investment has become an opportunity to make more money, essentially changing the way properties have to be marketed.

Home Staging applies various strategies to increase the value of the property and its chance of selling faster than any other in the marketplace. It has become a marketing tool.  Three very important strategies are: applying what the marketplace is demanding, such as décor trends and home improvement updates; discovering the property's identity to apply target marketing strategies and applying proven effective furniture arrangement and interior decorating approaches to ensure potential home buyer's feel at home, allowing them to imagine their own belongings in the space.

Ideally, you will need to give yourself at least six months to implement these strategies and your product (property) will be ready to meet today's market expectations and to be marketed by a real estate professional. 

Tips to Sell Your Home Faster

At some point, a home owner needs to get separated to his home sweet home. There could be a reason or two behind this and there may be a sense of urgency to sell it fast. Here are some tips that will let you attract as many potential buyers in a short period of time.

Clean and Declutter

Do you know that a large percentage of home buyers primarily look at the neatness of the house for sale? The reason for this is for them to see how the house looks when dirt and clutters are away from sight. Thus, if selling your house, you may need to perform a general cleaning. This will allow you to remove as much dirt and as much clutter as you can from different parts of the house. Thorough cleaning is essential. You need to exude cleanliness and orderliness from the most obvious parts unto parts that are usually not seen. Do not forget to sanitize the bath rooms. Wipe windows and doors and strip them of visible stains. Throw away what's not necessary anymore. There are old things that can be given away to charities while others can earn money for you when sold to junk yards or when you put them on sale on your garage.

Improve your house moderately

While innovations are generally important to sell your house, it sometimes retards the process and tends to put your property longer on the market. The total beauty and appeal of your house does not depend solely on adding every bit of appliance and furniture that captures your eyes. While putting some adds functionality, over decorating can also destroy the home's beauty. Try to come into balance between the design elements and space for movement. When adding rooms, weight their significance and cost-efficiency. Are they going to add to the property's market value? When the house is sold, are you going to recover the expenses for such rooms?

If possible, give extra offers

Your house will be just one among other homes that are on listings. Some of them might be along your location with features that are somehow similar to your house and yet cost fairly the same as yours. Put your feet on the shoes of buyers and try to picture what would make them choose your house over others. In cooperation with your real estate agent, you can arrive at discounts or rebates. Large fraction of home buyers is still magnetized to promotions like these. Use them at your advantage to sell your home faster.

A Guide to Home Staging - Sell Your Home Faster and for More

Home staging has become more and more popular over the years. Initially a practice only undertaken by the high-rollers in an attempt to move on exclusive properties and portfolios; today it is being used by a far wider range of people.

Staging your home to sell is not only something that helps speed up the sale in times where the scales of power are tipped in the buyers' favour, but can also add value to your property.

So what is home staging? Simply, it is the act of preparing a home, and its contents, for sale. The key principle is to create an attractive environment and portray an assumed lifestyle for prospective buyers. Home staging should not be confused with preparing a house for sale, while making repairs large or small is important staging looks at the aesthetic and design aspects of a house to maximize appeal.

Think back to times when you have viewed a property, too much mess or clutter or, for want of a better word, 'personal' decorative style can make it extremely difficult to imagine how the house would be if you were to move in. The idea is to make appealing to your target audience by decorating in a way that will blow them away or creating a canvass for them to put their own touches into in their imagination. If they can imagine themselves living there, half the battle is already won.

Staging can benefit you regardless of the economic environment. In a buyer's market, every advantage you can muster is important to sell your home for a good price, in a seller's market home staging can help you achieve a sale faster and more importantly, maximize the sale price.

When staging your home you should always think like a buyer. De-clutter, it may not be appealing because of the effort and you may feel like your house isn't your home anymore but you are moving out, right? De-cluttering makes packing easier when it comes to move out plus it makes your home more accessible to potential buyers. Removing unnecessary clutter doesn't cost anything and although it can be time-consuming it doesn't hurt the pocket. You may even find you realize a lot of the items you remove are not needed and can be sold.

The next step is outside, you may think of interiors when someone mentions home staging but the fact as the face of your house is what people see when they look in the real estate ad or drive up for a viewing. First impressions count so maximize the curb appeal. This can mean anything from a lick of paint to weeding or planting the garden. Go outside and note down anything you think stands out, get a friend to do the same and make any reasonable improvements that you can. If you have doors, windows, shutters and garage doors all different colours it can make a huge difference paint them all the same colour. Using mulch in the garden is a cheap and effective way of improving your curb appeal and making the garden look fresher. If you don't have a garden or even if you do pot plants and hanging baskets can be a great way of softening the home's exterior. Remember, think like a buyer. If a buyer notices things that makes them think maintaining the home will be a struggle they may be put off.

Kitchens and bathrooms might provide the wow-factor for many homes but your entrance is just as important. People make up their minds fast about whether or not they like a person; the same applies for a house. Do whatever you can to make the entrance to your home (both inside and out) welcoming, bright and airy. Again, cut the clutter and if possible use light colours to make it appear more spacious.

When it comes to living areas of your home, know your audience. Are you selling to professionals or a young family? Will they be looking for a family environment or a space to host dinner parties? Again comes, or rather goes, the clutter. Remove family portraits and other particularly personal items. You want to make your house welcoming but you don't want the buyer to feel like they're breaking up the family home or in any way put out messages to say you do not live here. You want potential buyers to feel like they could easily move right in. Neutral but warm is always best for living spaces, this doesn't necessarily mean beige, nor does it have to be boring, add splashes of colour to liven up the room. Consider renting furniture and quality rugs if your current décor isn't of the level you wish to portray. Surprisingly to some, if you have a large TV, it may be best to remove it while you try to sell your home. A large TV in a games room or den may be a good idea but not in your main living room. People don't want to think that is the lifestyle they will lead, even if deep down they know it is.

The kitchen is the heart of the home. For families a clean, well working kitchen is essential and to the young professional a stylish kitchen is vital not only to their aspiring lifestyle and image but can be a social point of the home. Remove that old clutter and clean till your hands are raw. Turn lights on and open curtains and blinds as fully as possible, the mantra for a good kitchen is clean and bright. You can make relatively cheap and substantial improvements to the look of your kitchen by changing cupboard doors. Painting or staining them to light colours can be a cheaper alternative. Handles and knobs can be replaced to improve any kitchen; the possibilities are dependent on budget. If you have a kitchen-diner set a small, clean but sophisticated place setting.

Bright and clean also applies to bathrooms. Luxury bathrooms add value and a focal point to a home but this may not be possible given budget considerations. However, there really is no excuse for a dingy bathroom. So many homes on the market with horrible bathrooms could be replaced and sold for a higher price straight away, a lick of paint, a good clean or even a second-hand bathroom set can vastly improve the bathroom. Fresh flower arrangements do a lot for a bathroom, both in appearance and aroma.

Last but not least the bedrooms. Use soft, neutral colours, earth tones are always safe. Limit furniture, remove desks if not needed unless the bedrooms are large. Even removing clothing from wardrobes can be advisable in case someone has a snoop. Cramped wardrobes suggest limited storage. Luxurious bedding and accent pillows can add a real sense of luxury to the home and give it that little bit extra appeal that might be needed. Again, de-clutter and remove personal photos, the buyer wants to see themselves in the room, not you or your kids.

In summary, de-clutter, clean, neutralize and if you have the budget improve kitchens, bathrooms and even rent furniture for living spaces. Do this and your house will sell faster and for a higher value.

Home Sellers! Are You Guilty of the 7 Sins of Home Selling?

Greed: This one is a biggie. It was easy in a seller's market to get in touch with your greedy side. Feeling like Midas, anything you asked for from a buyer turned to gold in your hands. Drunk with that kind of power, buyers were often left feeling helpless to comply if they wanted your home. In a balanced market, or even in a buyer's market, many sellers have not kicked the greed habit. Ironically, greed is costing those sellers money. Ask any real estate agent and they will tell you stories of deals that were blown because of a $300.00 item that could not be agreed upon. No longer with the advantage, many sellers are refusing to make any concessions if it means less money in their pockets, but now the buyer's are free to move along to the next house on their list. A seller may balk at fixing a $500.00 item in the house, or providing an inexpensive home warranty, but when the buyer moves along to an accommodating seller, the greedy seller is left to wait for another buyer - all the while making mortgage payments on the house they can't sell. Bad move.

Unrealistic Expectations: Anyone who has sold a home in a seller's market is going to have a hard time grasping a buyer's market. If you want to sell your house, you have to forget everything you remember about selling your house in the past. Odds are that your home will not sell in a week, nor will you receive multiple offers. Unrealistic expectations are the foundation of blame and resentment, and they keep you from selling your home. The first few weeks of having your home on the market is filled with hope, anxiety, and irrational exuberance. It's completely normal to believe that your home is somehow more special than the others on the market, and yours will be the exception to the tough market. Once it becomes clear that the bidding war has not materialized, and your home still sits along with the others, a home seller with unrealistic expectations is crushed. Stay positive about your home, but don't blind yourself to what selling it will entail. A home seller with a realistic view of what it takes to sell a house in a balanced or buyer's market, can easily adapt to changing market conditions, use constructive feedback to improve their home, and in return sell their home faster.

Pride: If you really want to sell your home, make the promise right now that you will never utter the following phrase: "I'm going to send that buyer a message." If you enjoy sending messages, then perhaps you could raise carrier pigeons. If you want to sell your home, drop that phrase from your vocabulary. The message that sellers send, when they respond to buyers that way is "I don't want to sell my house to you. You have insulted me." In the end, all you are left with is your pride, and that house that just will not sell. As an active Ebayer, I have never witnessed a transaction in which the seller of an item got indignant at the lowest bidder. It's all business. Divorce your emotions from the home selling process, and you have an advantage over the angry sellers in your area, because the buyers that they turn way with their "messages", are going to buy a home - just not theirs! The message to send to a buyer should be in the form of a counter-offer. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Impatience: You want this home sold. Now! The impatient seller can't understand why their home hasn't sold in the first week. By the third week on the market, the impatient home seller is fuming, and wondering how to get out of the listing agreement. Are you an impatient home seller? If you've chosen your real estate agent carefully, and believed when you signed the listing agreement that they are up to the job, then sit back and let the market work. The impatient seller calls their agent more than once a day for updates, even if there has been no activity on the house. The question, "why isn't it selling?" is regularly pleaded over the phone. Are you, the impatient seller, doing everything you need to do to get your home sold? Have you done the things your agent suggested to get your home in selling condition? Did you really listen to the comparable pricing data your agent provided you? Or did you have a set price in your mind and refused to move from it when listing the home? The impatient seller can create an enormous amount of stress for everyone involved in selling the home, and it's totally avoidable. In the end, the timing of the sale of your home will be a combination of price, condition, and luck. No amount of impatience is going to change that.

Ignoring the market: Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is disaster for a home seller. Yes, we know that your neighbor sold their home for the same price you want for your home, but that was four months ago. The residential real estate market is more fluid than ever now. Educate yourself about current market conditions, not last year's market, not even last month's market. A home seller who ignores the market will interview a few real estate agents, read the data provided by the agent, then ignore the data and list with the agent that gives them the least argument about pricing their home unrealistically. Real estate agents do not price homes, sellers do. The agents will provide valuable information and input to help a seller choose a price. Some agents will refuse to take a listing if they feel the seller is unrealistic about pricing, but many others will take the listing with the caveat that the seller be open to reducing the price later. With so many other properties on the market, an overpriced home will sit there like a deli tray at a gathering of vegetarians. Then, the seller will be chasing the market by lowering the price after watching the prices around them fall. Eventually, the house may sell, but the price will be determined by the market, as it always is. If you are guilty of ignoring the market, you can save yourself a lot of time and headache by scheduling a meeting with your real estate agent to go over the current sales data for your home, and setting a realistic price, now.

Stubbornness: When selling your home it's best to imagine yourself as a supple tree gently swaying with the wind, instead of a donkey with its heels dug solidly into the dirt resisting all attempts to be budged. Stubbornness can show up in many situations. When you are contacted to schedule a showing, do you leave the house? Though it's a fact that your home has a better chance of selling if you are not there for the showing, do you refuse to be inconvenienced by having to leave? You may tell yourself that the buyers can work around your schedule. They won't. The chance for a sale often vanishes because a buyer feels uncomfortable with the homeowner in the house, and cannot freely assess the house. Expect to be inconvenienced when you sell your home. It's part of the process.

Being Uncooperative: Are you a partner with your real estate agent when it comes to getting your home sold? Do you resist all suggestions by your real estate agent to make changes to your home that will help it sell faster? I've had this conversation with home sellers many times. Is it fair that people judge your home based on the things that are not going to be in it when you move out? No, probably not. Do buyers judge your home based on those things? Absolutely. I've seen buyers lose their enthusiasm for a home based on a decorating theme that didn't suit them. No matter how many times their real estate agent might remind them that they can decorate in their own style, it's too late. The home is now referred to as the "duck home", or the "doll home", or the "pink home." Every house gets a nickname when buyers are shopping. Don't let your refusal to cooperate stop your home from being the "perfect home."

The sale of your home requires the cooperation of countless people, many of whom you'll never meet. The key word here is "cooperation." We, as home sellers, expect those that are working to complete our sales transaction to be cooperative. What about you, the home seller? Are you willing to meet the buyer halfway in negations? Are you willing to work within someone else's schedule to get something signed? Remember, you may be selling a property, but in the end, real estate is about humans. Be a good one.

The Real Estate Kid

My experience with real estate started when I was a kid. I remember the first house I lived in at Port-au-Prince Haiti. I was 3 years old. My parents argued about the front door every day, the front door that we did not have because my father did not think of it as priority. He felt that a sheet of plywood was enough to keep the passer by from seeing inside your house. A door he said " is designed for your friend to warn you of their presence by knocking before they come in". My mother insisted that a burglar could have easy access to our house without any restrictions. This argument went on for a while...I must have been 5 when my father agreed to install a door. My mother was happy to hear the news about a door, but my father added, " The door will go in the house I am building because this house is sold, we should plain on moving in a month.

A month or so later, we move into a new house with no door and with dirt floor. The scent of fresh concrete stood out. The indoor toilet was at an early stage: The sink and toilet and other accessories were still at the hardware store. The only indication that some day we'll have indoor plumbing was the strategically located aluminum pipe staking out of the concrete floor. We also had one roll of toilet paper right next to where the toilet will be someday....

We had a two bedroom house for us and a back room next to the kitchen for the maid. The outhouse was adjacent to the maid bedroom. Well the maid bedroom and the outside latrine shared a wall.

The plan was to have a two-story house. So the stairway to the second floor was built on top of the outside toilet. As every man needs a refuge, some place to meditate and talk to oneself, the top of the roof was my father's place to dream of the next house he will build or the second floor he needs to add to the existing door less 1st floor with bathroom yet to be installed.

For years that house was a work in progress, slow progress. We had ceramic tiles on the floor one year, some time later we had decorative iron bars and the inside walls were painted. The indoor toilet and shower were finally operative, but reserved for guest or any acquaintance my father wanted to impress. The water supply was limited to two 55 gallon drum carefully placed on top of the house, so we had to ensure that ample water was available at the right moment. As a perk for good behavior, we were allowed to use the indoor toilet or shower: never both the same day by the same person.

I remember one time I was able to enjoy these privileges for a week. My father had his business partner over at the house. It was evening time and they were working on a construction budget. The electricity went out as it does 3 or 4 hours every night. I was doing my homework so I share the same table and the same kerosene lamp with my father and his partner. I lost interest in my homework and started paying attention to their project. They repeated aloud each item needed for an upcoming construction and the estimated price for each item, I wrote down the information. I had a feeling of grown up contributing to a major construction project. I added the different prices without their knowledge and at the end; each one of us had a different bottom line figure. I shared my result with them and my answer was right on the money. The engineer, my father's partner, was a little embarrassed and my father proud of me, so proud he did not reprimand me for any wrong doing for a week. So for a week, I showed indoors, relieved myself indoors, listened to the radio until 10pm ( I had a battery powered radio)....

I grew up watching improvement being made in that house of ours. I got taller but the house never did: the second floor never materializes. That was a good thing because as I got older, it was a safe place to take girls and no one would know and best of all the concrete roof is sound proof and sturdy....

The improvement obviously stopped when my parents divorced. My mother sold a piece of property she had inherited from her father and bought a rental property.

My mother was born handicapped so she never ventured into the job market, outside the home anyway. But my mother always believed in self reliance to a certain degree. She always had some means of making a couple extra dollars. She sews clothes for friends for a small fee. She would buy a pack of cigarettes and sell singles at a profit. After the divorce from my father, she had kept a two-bedroom house that she rented for $25 a month. Her disability did not prevent her from negotiating the highest rent the market would bare.

Her disability restricted her mobility and taking taxi every month to collect the rent was not cost effective. Moreover, when it was time to collect the rent, we were too short on cash to waist it in taking a taxi. The choice was between taking a taxi to go collect rent or have breakfast the next day. It was in fact a great risk because if the tenant was not there or did not have the cash, we would be really hurting.

When we got older, in our teenage years, my sister and I were tasked to collect the rent. This relieved my mother from that burden and gave us some sense of responsibility for the next day's meal. It was up to us to remember when the rent was due to make a point to collect it on time. Of course, at time our mind would be interested in finding a date or fun things teenagers, we would forget to collect the rent.

My mother had a unique way of reminding us: "did you want supper tonight?" she would ask. Of course, the answer would be yes, to what she replies, "if somebody had collected the rent, maybe we all could eat". The guilty party, one of us, would then rush to the tenant's and demand immediate payment.
Collecting the rent has not always been an easy task. At times when my sister or I would go collect the rent, the tenant would have a kid say he is not home. More often then not, no one would answer the door. Naturally, the tenant at times would tell: "I had an emergency, I only have half of the money" and he would ask us to return a different for the remainder.
One particular tenant made a career out of delaying rent payment. Every month, he had a different excuse. Some months he had 2 or 3 different excuses. We would make 3 or 4 trip before the rent is collected in full for that month. That is until my sister made her business to tell the whole neighborhood that our tenant was not paying his rent. She spoke loud enough for the world to hear that the tenant was someone not to be trusted because a con-artist. My sister came home empty handed, but a few minutes later the tenant was at our door with the rent money. He asked my mother not to ever send that loud mouth to collect the rent. He promised in return to be nice to me and make the rent money a priority. He promised to steal to have available on the 1st of each rather than to have the loud one ruin his good reputation.

That property remains a good source of income for a long time. When we all got older and moved to the United States, the rent income became emergency vacation funds. Our trips to Haiti have always been subsidized by the reserve my aunt kept on behalf of my mother. When my mother died, I gave the deed to my father who survived off that rent income until his death in 1998.

For your questions about buying and selling a home email me at

Creating A Home Improvement Plan

You've got your eye on the out-dated kitchen or you think you might want to just tear up your carpeting and install hardwood floors, but before you start to rip out the cabinets or the carpet make sure to establish some guidelines for your home improvement plan. A good home improvement plan should take into account: budget, financing, scope of work, functionality and aesthetics, resale value.

Budget Considerations

One good way to find out what you can afford is to simply get three estimates from contractors. Discuss what you want with the contractor and if the estimate is high, ask them how you can reduce the costs. The estimate should be separated into cost of materials and cost of labor. By getting a professional opinion first, you may find that the bids are very similar and you have a good starting point for the high-end cost of your project.

Now, you can begin to factor in whether there is some work you can do yourself. This will improve the amount of cash outlay necessary to complete the work. Another way to get to meet your budget is to shop for a cheaper source of materials or change the type of material used. Either way, these are highly flexible items in your home improvement budget.

Sources of Financing

If one doesn't have the money, the inclination is not to do the home improvement. Cash, however, is not the only way to pay for a home improvement plan, you can also finance. If you find you don't have enough cash, you can use a home equity loan to finance the remodeling of your home. Try to identify additional forms of financing in case you need additional monies to complete the project. In the end, a home improvement project should add to the resale value of your home for it to be a sound purchase.

Scope of Work

This is where a good plan is essential. If you are planning a major remodel, you will want some basic plans drawn up, preferably by a professional. You don't want to find out later that the wall you envisioned removing for a more open space is a critical weight-bearing wall. Similarly, you don't want to plan for electronic appliances and devices in an area where there are no outlets. If you plan on revamping a kitchen, the dimensions of workspace and appliance real estate are very important. Don't try to eyeball it or you'll end up paying for it later in time, additional work, or wasted purchases. By trying to define the scope of the work on paper first, you can bypass many of the simple problems that arise from not having thought the improvement plan out thoroughly.

Functionality And Aesthetics

Obviously, we don't just want to substitute one thing for another, we want the new home improvement to outshine the old room. We want it to work better for us and we want that "ah" factor too. Have you done your research on the functionality of the appliances and space arrangements? How about the aesthetics and maintenance of the materials you chose? Does the improvement help to accommodate the growing needs of your family? Will it continue to be of service after 5 years? 10 years? These are all factors that should be considered and weighed against budget, scope, and resale value.

Resale Value

This is a tricky value that can't really be foreseen that much. We know that kitchen and bathroom remodels recoup the most on the sale of the house. No home improvement will recoup 100% of the price it took to remodel, however, if you are in a climbing real estate market that might not matter. What you don't want to do is to add a home improvement that detracts from the value of your property. Adding a fifth bedroom in a neighborhood of four bedroom homes would be detrimental to the value of your home. Adding a swimming pool in areas where houses with pools don't sell well would also be considered an investment that could not be recouped. Some people still do it anyways. The point is that most home improvements are done to meet the needs of a particular family and the desire for a more comfortable living space. While resale value is important, it is just one of the many considerations that have to be evaluated in a good home improvement plan.

Looking to Sell Your Home Quickly - Home Tending Services

Introduction - What is Home Tending?

Home tending is a fast growing service for selling homes and real estate, with similar objectives to Home staging (as I featured in a previous article). Home staging is the art of preparing a home for the real estate market. Home staging is all over the media with shows like "Designed to Sell" highlighting the importance of getting your home market ready.

Home tending is different from home staging in that the service continues beyond an initial set-up staging. Home tending provides temporary occupant service for owners of vacant homes. Home tending companies usually provide a qualified and responsible occupant to care for a home while it is on the market. This service is usually provided for free or nominal charge to the person selling the home - depending on their relationship with their real estate agent and service provider.

What are the Benefits of Home Tending?

Real estate professionals agree that a well furnished, decorated home often sells faster and at a better price than a vacant one. Based on my experience in the Houston Texas Real Estate market statistics support that staged and tended homes sell 25-50% faster than in area norms, and often for meaningfully higher prices.

In addition better showings often lead to more favorable offers and quicker sales cycles. Specific homeowner / home sale benefits can include:

o Improved curb appeal - yard, pool and ground maintenance are include.

o Quality decor - quality, staged furniture displays a "model home look."

o Housekeeping - housekeeping / maid service is often included on a bi-weekly basis or more frequently as called for by the home and home tender.

o Pleasant temperature and ambiance smell - initial smell and sensory impressions are often critical. There's only one chance to make a good first impression.

o Easy access for Realtors - unlike renters, home tenders are contractually obligated to be cooperative with real estate agents, showings, open houses and are ready to move upon a home sale.

Benefits for Your Home

o Homes are furnished, decorated and staged with quality furniture at no cost.

o All utilities are paid for.

o Yard, pool and grounds are well maintained at no cost.

o Home tenders ensure that systems continually work throughout the home.

What Do Home Tenders Provide For?

Typically, Home tenders do not pay rent (or modest rent compared to current market value) but home tenders are often contractually obligated to furnish the home, pay all utilities and maintain the home inside and outside, including lawn and pool care.

Usually, home furnishings and decor will be overseen by someone with experience in Home staging, so they can specifically establish and then provide upkeep for the integrity and beauty of your home. In addition to providing quality furnishings and keeping a property in top condition, Home tenders are required to cooperate with real estate agents who conduct showings and open houses for all seven days per week.

How do You Select Home Tenders?

It's important to ensure that the person living in your home is reputable, clean, honest and is will provide their home tending obligations. Most cities have several home tending service business. Most often, you'll want a referral from your real estate agent, as the home tender and real estate agent will need to work closely together to ensure your home sells quickly and for the highest price. For information on Houston home tending services, please contact me, and I'll provide specific recommendations and free additional Houston Home Staging tips.

7 Great Home Improvement Tips For Mortgage Loan Consumers

Consumers and Home Owners - Before you put your home on the market, make sure you read the following home improvement ideas recommended by St Louis real estate agents and how you can spruce up the old place without spending a complete fortune.

1. Heat Up Your Kitchen

Depending on your budget, why not start with the less expensive type of replacements that will make your old kitchen look like new. Remember, this is probably one of the most important rooms in your house to show off to the new family. Start with some new lighting fixtures and do not forget to replace the old cabinet door handles. A new sink or kitchen faucets will do wonders for the perfect open house. And if you have a larger budget, think about re-facing your kitchen cabinets which is still less than buying new ones.

2. A Face-Lift Will Make Your Home Look Younger

Another eyesore you want to avoid is if your kitchen appliances do not match. A simple solution would be to order new doors or face panels from the manufacturer. Most people don't realize this but many dishwasher panels are white on one side and black on the other and they are easy to change.

3. Give Your Bathroom Some Style

The bathroom is another important room in the house that may need updating. And it doesn't have to mean mortgaging the house, so to say. Consider a new toilet seat or a pedestal sink. They are easy to install and can create a whole new look.

If your floor looks old and dingy, replace it with vinyl or sheet tile. Another tips is to replace old, broken chipped tiles with new ones and do not forget to use new grouting if needed. If you have extra money for improvements, put in a new prefabricated tub.

4. Paint, Paint and More Paint

People seem to forget that painting is not only an inexpensive home improvement, but it can bring an old room alive. It will look new and clean. Paint all trim a contrasting color and do the ceiling!

Here's something new to think about. Paint your walls three different shades of the same color. More and more decorators are suggesting this new type of theme. Put the darkest shade on the bottom third with the next lightest shade in the middle and so forth.

5. This Would Be a Good Time To Look Down

What do you see? Old carpeting? Then you need to take some steps in making this look like new which in turn will reflect the same look on your entire home. This is no time to do-it-yourself. Call a professional carpet cleaner and let them do their voodoo that they do so well.

On the other hand, if your carpet is showing serious wear, a quick cover up could be an inexpensive, strategically placed area rug. Replacing wall-to-wall carpet is not always the best idea since most new homeowners moving in will want to choose their own carpeting.

6. The Entrance Says It All

This is the very first thing you, and your guests, will see as they enter your home. If the door is made of wood and in good shape, then a new coat of paint or refinishing it may be the answer. But if you have a steel door and you notice it is dented, replace it with an inexpensive steel door, a fiberglass door or upgrade to a nice wood grain door.

After you paint or re-finish the front door, think seriously about replacing the door knob, lock set and knocker. Another great tip is placing two large planters on both sides of the new door.

7. Your Home and Curb Appeal

These tips may seem obvious but let's go over them anyway. When new buyers pull up to your address, make absolutely sure the lawn has been mowed and manicured. Make sure any bushes you have are trimmed as well. The inside of your home may be immaculate, but if the outside looks like a complete mess, your odds of selling the home just went down.

Consider talking with a professional landscaper. They will no doubt give you some great suggestions on simple and inexpensive ways to make your lawn a masterpiece. The last thing you want is for your home to remain on the market just because it doesn't look presentable. You won't like this, your agent won't like this and of course, your St Louis mortgage broker won't like these avoidable delays at all.

Selling Your House

Presenting your property at its very best can make a huge difference in the response of prospective buyers. Obviously remodel and expensive decoration will increase the value of the house, but there are other inexpensive, simple things that can put a little polish on what is already there.

First impressions are the most important part of any sales strategy. If a buyer drives up to the property and is unimpressed from the beginning, it will take a lot to change their minds. Where as, if they approach the house with a good first impression, they are more likely to be pleasantly surprised rather than critically analyzing everything they see. The outside of the house functions as more than a protection from the elements, it embodies the sense of the house itself.

The lawn should be well mowed and edged, the shrubs neatly trimmed, and the windows clean. You would be surprised how much clean windows can brighten a place. Flowers or other nice plants can really improve the lawn appeal as well. Even if they are a meager effort, it makes the property appear that someone has cared for it. Fifteen to twenty days before putting the house for sale, fertilize and water the lawn and plants well so that they have a chance to revive if they are looking weak. Obviously all junk or construction materials need to be cleaned up and hauled away before showing the house, and any oil spots or stains on the driveway should be cleaned. A swimming pool is a huge asset to a house, so why not let it really make a difference by making sure it is very clean and the water looks nice.

Cleaning the exterior can help make the house look much better if you cannot afford a new paint job. Hose the exterior off from top to bottom and then maybe repaint the trim to really make a difference. The porch area should be cleaned up and repainted if possible, and the door should open and shut easily.

Once you have made it past the front door with the potential buyer, the interior should be completely clean and spotless. A fresh coat of paint on the walls, new paint on the door trim, oiled door hinges, and replaced light bulbs are a good start and will really serve to brighten up the place. It is completely worth it to spend at least $100 on someone doing a very thorough cleaning and also paying for a good carpet steaming. The bathroom needs to shine. All dirt build up, mildew, or anything else should be cleaned from the floors, walls, and tub surround. People love clean bathrooms, and it doesn't take much more than a little elbow grease to make it clean. Remember that most buyers are affected most by the kitchen, bathrooms and closets. Focus on making these rooms as amazing as possible, and the others will not matter so much.

By using a few of these ideas, you can really impact the sale value of your house without getting into a huge remodel project that might gamble away your money on the market. By just making it clean and neat, buyers will be much more responsive.

How to Add Value to Your Home - Practical Tips and Warnings

The real estate market is recovering with both the prices and mortgages being affordable. Now is the perfect time to make an investment and add value to your property. You can readily get the funding now and benefit from the rising prices later on, if you decide to sell. You just need to know how to play your cards right to get the maximum return on your investment. According to statistics, you will get at least 90 per cent of the money invested back if you invest smartly.

Make improvements to the structure of the house. Even though the nicely decorated rooms can impress everyone, if the home inspection report is unsatisfactory, you will not get any buyers. Roof and foundations repairs and improvements are essential. You may even want to change the roof completely if the problems are too many. The walls and siding should get repaired if necessary.

Make your home more energy efficient. This will add great value to it. Besides, you will be able to start saving on energy bills as soon as the improvements are made. Consider improving the wall, floor and window insulation. You do not have to resort to super expensive solutions. Cork wall tiles and insulating curtains can do a really good job. Making your heating system more energy efficient is highly recommended. A simple improvement such as insulating the pipes can readily pay off. Simpler solutions such as planting tall trees in the garden for insulation purposes will work well too.

Make the space in your home more functional. Buyers do not like to see empty basements and attics. You can readily use these rooms traditionally meant for storage to create functional areas in the home. The attic can be turned into a spacious family room, TV room, kids' room or a play room. The basement can be modified into a functional study. You have to keep in mind that the demand for homes with studies has increased dramatically over the past few years as more and more people start running a business from home.

You have to know what not to do in order add value to your property. Do not invest in costly improvements such as extension building without consulting expert realtors. Be careful with the decorations. It is best to stick to popular styles if you want to make your house marketable. Do not spend on attractive features unless your home is already super functional. An additional bathroom will add more genuine worth to a standard suburb property compared to a costly swimming pool.

Improving Curb Appeal for Selling Homes During Real Estate Downturns

Of First Impressions

It may sound cliched, but the truth is "first impressions are the best impressions". First impressions hold a key to a lot of social, interpersonal, and business relations as well as outcomes. Research has established that the first few seconds of your meeting with a prospective employer can determine the chances of your succeeding at getting the job beating out stiff competition.

The age old cliche of "first impressions" can be comfortably extended for homes going on sale as well. A beautifully landscaped "home-for-sale" exudes the confidence of a cool job applicant in a perfectly tailored suit with a firm handshake. Like the sanguine job applicant walking away with the job, the home with a lovely curb appeal finds a taker easily.

When you pull up to an eye catching house, it advertises and sells itself. Additionally, a smart curb appeal job can inflate your real estate value by as much as 12.4%. So even if there is a slump in the real estate market you do not lose out.

Curb Appeal and Professional Landscape Management Firms

The thought of buffing up your home on your own to increase its face value might be an appealing idea. But it is better to leave the job to a professional landscape management firm. They have the expertise to pull the existing and new together for a harmonious result.

Professional landscape management firms will add or remove elements to the landscape for improving your home's curb appeal. Trained professionals from landscape management firms can transform your exterior landscape by re-designing existing plant beds with new shrubs, evergreens and perennials. They can also add curb appeal with flower planters and decorative structures strategically placed throughout the property. Outdoor lighting is another strategic way to enhance the beauty of the landscape.

Curb Appeal in Chicago

A house that may be put up for sale in the future has to have a landscape that will be pleasing to others' tastes. Older people prefer trees in their property and younger people love the lawns. According to Angela Ford, CEO of T.A.G Properties Inc., Chicago, a quicker way to enhancing curb appeal is to add shrubbery, bushes, and evergreens to frame the entrance.

Realtors in Chicago, like the rest of the realtors of the nation, believe firmly in the importance of curb appeal. Nearly 83% of the realtors feel that the saleability of homes listed under $150, 000 is greatly affected by mature trees in the landscape. This perception rises to 98% of realtors in case of properties listed above $250,000.

There are interior design firms that "stage" homes for sale. When planning to put your home on the market, don't forget about your home's landscaping. It too should be staged. Let professional landscape management firms, like many of those in Chicago, provide you with solutions to enhance your homes curb appeal and, therefore, its saleability in a changing housing market.

Traditional Real Estate Business Methods

Traditional real estate business methods are going through a revival. As these methods are revived, the agency will reach a group of people that will not use the new Internet methods. There are still over twenty percent of people who will not use the Internet to find a home. Consider these methods to increase sales and revenue.

1. Work With an Agency
Real estate agencies will get more support and volume when they work with a reputable agency. These agencies have considerable resources that can help real estate agents complete their job faster. Buyers and sellers typically trust a household name over a real estate agent working independently. Many people are into online marketing business methods, but traditional real estate methods are making a comeback in the industry. Try working with a realtor or agency to improve chances of obtaining the best potential buyers and sellers.

2. Posting Open House Flyers
Posting open house flyers can help agents and agencies gain exposure. These flyers can inform the public that a home is for sell. When agents stage a home and get it prepared for showing, they can capture the interest of more investors or buyers. The main point is to leave the buyer in awe and to convince them to want to buy the home. When agents decorate a home that makes people visualize themselves living in the home, then they have accomplished their goals. Post open house flyers in conspicuous places that will attract the most traffic. The cost of flyers depends on the number of flyers purchased. For instance, 90 flyers may be obtained for $5 or less in many instances.

3. Using Yard Signs
Yard signs are one of the most effective forms of traditional marketing. According to some sources, 63 percent of real estate agents use yard signs. An attractive yard sign will stand out to people driving through a neighborhood of interest. Yard signs can hold flyers with specifications about the house and contact information for the agent managing the property. Yard signs may also feature QR codes to provide more information about the property without wasting paper. Some people are reluctant to use paper flyers with yard signs because the flyers can litter the neighborhood, but they are highly effective and are faster to scan than listening to information provided by QR codes.

Experts recommend using borders on the yard signs to attract more attention from drivers passing by. The signs should also use two other strong and bright colors that are appealing to the eyes. Be careful about the use of red on signs because it may keep people away. The colors on the signs should match the brochures and flyers. Graphics should be professional and memorable to help buyers recall the sign and the home being advertised. The signs typically cost less than $200 for 100.

Integrate Traditional Real Estate Business Methods for Optimal Results
Traditional real estate business methods are recommended for use in conjunction with Internet or online efforts. Every agency should consider these methods to increase visibility and also increase sales. With increased sales, agencies can become more profitable and expand to other regions of the country and the world. Consider using traditional business methods.

First-Time Real Estate Sellers Can Relax!

The first time you sell your Toronto house or condo, can be a daunting process. From the beginning to the end, there are many details that you'll want to cover to ensure a smooth and profitable sale. Many potential Sellers underestimate the number of steps taken that lead up to Buyers walking through their front door.

Today you can't turn on your television without finding local channels featuring everything from first-time buyers, home decorating, prep your house to sell, home inspections on bad Reno's, you name it! They've seduced the general public into being transfixed with everything that involves real estate. This along with the Toronto general websites with property listings, and you have a consumer addiction to everything that involves how a property looks to the process of getting it ready for the market. What was once thought to be a "Reality fad" has now for years been entertaining the public. You have to wonder what really happens and is said once the camera is turned off.

While it can be interesting and at times funny, most consumers wouldn't want to share these frantic and frustrating experiences that make for good television ratings.

Much like when you first purchased your property, there are legal details that have to be addressed for your own protection when selling. Everything from verification of your property taxes, mortgage details, condominium fees, proposed changes to the Condo Corporation or building, rental contracts, disclosing property easements, rights-of-way, encroachments, environmental issues, building permits, parking details, material defects within your property, are just a few of the areas that have to be confirmed before passing this information along to a prospective buyer. All of these details are in the background, before the marketing of your property even begins.

You're going to want to work with a Professional Realtor that's on the same page as yourself. Combined teamwork in selling your property is less stressful and helps for a seamless process. Have your Agent go through the steps with you from the beginning to during and after the sale explaining the legal documents, what to expect with showings on your property, the Offer process and what you need to do once your property sells, leading up to the closing. If you're purchasing another property, this has to be coordinated with your sale and depending on the current market conditions, deciding whether to sell first or buy.

Before committing to put your property on the market, you might have begun visiting public open houses, checking your local newspaper or going online to get a sense of your property's value. It's difficult not to have a biased opinion when it's your own home. Sometimes this opinion can be slanted either too low or too high.

This is where your Real Estate Agent's expertise will come into play both in helping you assess your local market conditions along with the price range of properties that have recently sold that are similar to yours. Very few houses are identical, especially in the Toronto area where many of the older housing stock while being similar, have had unique upgrades and renovations done. Condos and lofts while often sharing the same floor plan can differ with views, levels, upgrades, parking and lockers offered. All of these factors are taken into consideration when arriving at a realistic price range.

Your Real Estate Agent should also be familiar with the local community features that will benefit the marketing of your property to perspective buyers. It's often a package deal, when a buyer looking at a house or condo, specifically takes into consideration the surrounding hood. In some cases, a hot or up and coming neighbourhood can be more of a draw that the actual property itself, which can be improved or changed over time. It's the old saying "location...location...location." Usually a buyer's search will begin with narrowing down a neighbourhood or community of choice and going from there.

You might have enjoyed a relaxed lifestyle while living in your home, but now that it's going to become a product to sell there might be improvements and repairs that have to be taken care of first. With your Agent's assistance, you're going to want to assess both the exterior of the property and interior rooms for necessary improvements both mechanical and cosmetic. A pre-home inspection by a Professional Home Inspector can identify areas that can be either fixed or disclosed to buyers. It's not scary, and it's always better for you, as the Seller, to be informed of any problems that you weren't aware of. Often this will save you time and money down the road. Decluttering and staging is another important ingredient for a successful sale. Especially in the urban Toronto market, where competition can be stiff, you're going to want your property to stand out from the others. Condo showrooms boasting designer model suites might entice buyers away, so you're going to have to be at the "top of your game" when setting the stage for your own property.

The marketing material that will highlight your property features should also reflect its type, style and location. Multimedia and Social Media are often used today to grab consumer's attention and nothing stands out more than professional photographs and graphics.

The Toronto Real Estate board is the largest in Canada with a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service that's designed exclusively for licensed Realtors and surrounding shared boards. Over 31,000 working Agents throughout the GTA will have access to your property once it's on the market and uploaded to the system. Your property listing will then be forwarded to the buyers, just as you received when you were looking. Remember what impressed you and was helpful when you were the Buyer. Was it great photos and write-up, floor plans, area information or a pre-home inspection?

It can feel very invasive and weird to have strangers coming through your home when you aren't there, whether it's for a private showing or a public open house. Just like when you were in the buyer's shoes going through someone else's home, now yours will be the focus of attention. Having put all of your personal items and photographs away while staging and preparing it to become a product to sell, will make the experience easier. Knowing what to expect and keeping informed by your Realtor will help for a worry-free sale process. Now you can relax and start to become excited about the new home you're going to buy!

Why You Should Improve Your Current Home Rather Than Sell It

The economy today is a tough one and many say we are in a deep recession only to get worse before it gets better. One huge example of this economic downturn is the amount of homes that are either foreclosed or up for sale for less than the owners paid for it originally. It is definitely a buyers market and not the best time to sell your home if you absolutely do not need to.

That is why many people are now choosing to do renovations on their current home as well as doing various home improvements. This will not only give the homeowner the sense of a new better home but when the market does change in the future it will give them a good return on their investment. One area where foreclosures are particularly high is Texas. Many people are adding on rooms or simply just changing their Pearland HVAC and Friendswood HVAC systems to improve their homes.

The first step in wanting to renovate your home is to come up with a plan and a budget. What types of things do you want to change about your home? What can you afford to do? Can you do some of the projects on your own or do you need the help of a professional to do them? These are all questions you need to ask yourself before you begin. A realistic timeline is also a smart thing to plan for. Typically the budget and timeline go above the original plan so make sure to plan for that to happen as well.

Let's say you decide to convert your garage into a family room. This will involve a variety of projects such as wall construction, heating and cooling to the room, flooring installed, electricity wiring and painting and decorating of the room. Some of the things like laying flooring and painting and decorating are good things the homeowner can probably do themselves if they choose to and can save a lot of money. The actual construction of walls, the wiring for additional electricity and the installation of a Pearland HVAC or Friendswood HVAC system, however will require the service of a professional. You need to start with all of the things you cannot see first such as the wiring for lighting and outlet plugs and the ducts and heating and cooling system.

Adding another room may require you to purchase a new HVAC system to make it run more efficiently as well. Once those things are in place, the framing and walls and ceiling can be built. Before the floorboards are put in, the flooring should be installed. And finally, time for painting and decorating to make your new room feel like home and a great new addition to your house.

This is just one example of how people are choosing to change their existing home rather than trying to sell their house right now in the struggling real estate market. By making home improvements big or small is the wisest choice right now.

It is a Buyer's Market - Learn How to Be a Smart Buyer

It is time for you to purchase a home and you are unsure of what to look for when you go with the Realtor. Be a smart Home Viewer and make sure that you do your research prior to going out on the road to look.

One of the most important aspects of buying a home is knowing what location you want to be in, and research each town that you are thinking about looking in. Learn about the area, the schools, local shopping and the recreational programs and parks if you have children.

After you have picked several towns that you like, then the fun begins. Go onto the websites and take a look at the houses that are on the MLS listings to see what is on the market. Take a look at the listings and the photos of the homes. Know what type of style home that you like, and make a list of the ones that interest you.

When it is time to go to the homes with your Realtor, it is important that you keep strategies in mind. The location of the home is very important. Is it in an area of the town that you like, is it near local transportation (if you are commuting), and are there parks close by if you have kids?

Is there a type of street that you like best? A col-de-sac, a dead end, tree lined?

I know when I was looking for a home 16 years ago, I wanted one that had a feel of the country, so I have a buffer zone to a country club, it is nice because I have woods behind me but no one can ever build on it.

So you are now out looking at the homes and you drive up to the first house. What is the curb appeal to the front of the house like? Is it aweful? Just remember that the trick is to view it with the changes that can easily be made to it. Keep a piece of paper with you and jot down all of the improvements that might need to be made to the home.

Once you go inside, it is important that you do not look at what the present home owner has in the rooms, but try to view it with how you would decorate it with your belongings, or new ones. If the home seems to need a lot of work, jot down what needs to be done.. this will come in handy later when you have to remember all of the homes that you saw on that day.

Keep track of the pros and cons of each home that you are seeing. Later when you sit down with your spouse or partner this will come in handy.

Now that you are making a decision, come up with a budget of what you thinkt he house will need to have done to it to make it YOUR HOME!

Now you must do a little more research and see what the other recently sold homes in the area have sold for. Remember that the market has taken a slight crunch so the homes you are comparing them to should be recent, and have the same criteria.

Take your favorite home that you want to live in, look at the possibilities of what can be done to it, and then think about whether you would be happy living there.

Discuss an offer with your Realtor, but remember that it is a buyers market. The Seller might be motivated to sell, and this would be to your benefit. Make an offer that you can live with, and have enough money to do all of the items on your list to make it the home that you will love living in.

If you have questions on what the repairs and upgrades will cost, get advice from someone in the business.

Good luck and happy home shopping..

Ways to Make A House Ready To Be Sold

Having a particular marketing technique has become a trend in marketing a house. This type of marketing approach involves decorating a home to a certain style to make it easier to sell. Decorating a house to make it more marketable is commonly known as home staging.

The main purpose of decorating a house is to intentionally style it to attract potential buyers. So you are decorating your home not for yourself but for the buyer's needs. These needs include having a good safe place for the family to live and, of course, a house that is worth the money that is being paid for.

First impressions are a determining factor that can help a house easily be sold. In decorating a home, you should create a good impression about the house, the first time the buyer steps into it. Since every part of a home has significance, you should be able to impress the buyer the moment he first glances at each part of the home.

In decorating a house, it will be more marketable if you don't display your personal things. It is important that buyers can imagine it as a place where they can live in and not visiting someone's property. Remove your personal things such as family photographs, toiletries and all personal collections. Also remove extra furniture, such as chairs, cabinets and anything that you can live without to show more space inside the house.

The house shouldn't remind buyers that there are lots of things that must be done in the house such as cleaning and alterations. To do this, make sure to clean everything inside such as washing the windows, and bleaching the tile grout. In that way, the buyer can see the house as a place to live in an easy and relaxed manner.

The above mentioned approaches are effective ways to market the house and sell it at the highest possible price.

Selecting the Right Style of Home As a First Time Home Buyer

When choosing a home everyone has different preferences and goals for choosing the type of home they do. Here are some key questions to consider when choosing your first home. What will the commute time be from the home to my workplace be? Will this home suit my family today and in the next couple of years? How much immediate maintenance is required on the home and do I have the time to do the required maintenance?

Choosing a New Home

Many first time home buyers are drawn to the excitement and beauty of a new home but they fail to consider all that comes with the purchase of a new home. Not only are there wonderful features of a new home but there are responsibilities that you would not have with a resale home. New homes usually are more energy efficient and have a modern design. If you decide to purchase a new home you sometimes have the option of making personalized design and decorating choices.

Many times homes listed with builders that are mid-construction process clients will find a home that is at the top of their budget or within their budget and become quite excited. Then they decide to make a few changes which take the home from the "base" product to more luxurious or custom. These "upgrades" can add up quite quickly and change the overall cost of the home.

There are also other cost considerations like landscaping, fencing, appliances (many builders don't include), window coverings etc. These are costs that you will have to come up with after you have paid for all the initial costs like down payment and closing costs. If you have not already had a surplus of savings set up for these types of things you might want to consider looking for a home that was recently built with these things already done.

Resale Home

Purchasing a resale home also allows for different advantages and cost considerations. The home may be fully finished and have a mature yard and landscaping and it is not uncommon to have appliances included or be negotiated into a purchase contact. Also with a resale home you are not responsible for the GST. With a resale home depending on the age, the cost to heat may be more due to less energy efficiency.

Semi-Detached Homes

Often times clients are not able to initially afford the "dream home" or starter home they had initially thought of. Some alternatives to a fully detached home are duplexes, triplexes or condominiums. They are many types and styles available suited to people of varying lifestyles.

With the rising costs of homeownership during the housing boom many large scale builders increased the building of "Luxury" type multi-unit housing like duplexes and condominiums. These homes often are much more affordable than a detached home and offer perks such as upgraded flooring, garages and upgraded fixtures. For young couples or even new empty nesters these can be very attractive options. Usually the yard is smaller and requires less maintenance (some Condominiums even include yard maintenance in their condo fees). This can be a stepping stone for the first years of home ownership for the young couples that have higher debt obligations and incomes are still at the lower end of their career scales.


Condominiums are big business in Canada and they are popping up in every large centre across Canada. With many styles to choose from like stacked apartment style, row housing it offers first time homebuyers more options. The condominium market is very competitive and often the developer is trying to appeal to a certain lifestyle or demographic. Many complexes offer common space that includes gym areas, pools and common meeting areas that can be used by all tenants. For those seeking less maintenance that have a busy schedule or travel often condominiums can be a very attractive choice.

There are some key things to consider when purchasing a condominium. It is important to know what is and isn't included in the purchase price of your condominium and what is covered by your Condominium Fee. Do you get 1 parking stall or is this an extra cost? Are you allowed pets? Is your water bill included in monthly fees? How often have fees increased in the past 5 years and why? This is an important reason why a Real Estate agent should be a part of your team of experts. Your realtor will ensure that you are aware of the advantages of the complex you are considering as well as anything that could make your home less homey than you thought it would be.

Each Condominium Complex can be different and usually there is an Association that oversees and makes decisions based on the property owners votes on how a Condominiums Reserve Fund is maintained and what it is used for. If you do purchase a condominium I always recommend contacting the Association and meeting one of the members to discuss the bylaws of the Condominiums. Having your lawyer review all the Condo documentation is very important to ensure that you are making a prudent decision based on all the facts and the health of the current association. I recommend doing this prior to making an offer on a Condominium.

Choosing your first home is an exciting and sometimes daunting task. Considering the maintenance on the home, the commute to work and your families future goals are all things that will help you make an informed decision. Including key people like an experienced Real Estate Agent and reputable lawyer will help keep things in perspective and give you an outside view to assist you in the process.

Remember that purchasing your first home is your FIRST HOME. Rome was not built in a day and it may not be feasible to move into your "Dream Home". Becoming a homeowner improves your financial strength and creates an investment that you can utilize later to get you into the "Home of your Dreams".

Great Tips to Decorate the Exteriors of Your House

In the world of real estate, home staging is almost like interior designing. However, home staging focuses not only on enhancing the appeal of the interiors, but also the exteriors of a property. Unlike interior designing, the main idea behind staging a home is to sell it as fast as possible, at the best price. Here are some great ideas to improve your home's outdoor appearance.

* Use your creativity and imagination while decorating the outdoors. Identify what can be the best use of different areas in your yard. For instance, if you like eating outside, then add a set of stylish table and beautiful chairs. But while choosing outdoor furniture, do make sure that it goes well with the design of your house. Besides, if you or kids enjoy playing outdoor games like badminton, volleyball etc then you can consider adding a net stand for such games.

* Apart from the ones suggested above, the backyard of a house can also be decorated using the following - a hammock, garden ornaments, plants like planted trees and flowering plants. You can even add a nice fire pit and statuary to make best use of your garden area.

* It is great to make a right division of your entire background. This can be done using dividers such as hedges, fences etc.

* Sometimes, it can be really hot or really cold, due to the temperature extremes. Thus, it is advisable to put a nice rug in your backyard. There is an extensive range of outdoor rugs available in the market. Choosing an attractive rug would make your house look more welcoming.

* Add colorful fabrics to brighten up your yard. You can very easily find an excellent variety of outdoor fabrics in the market. Choosing the best ones that can match with the exteriors of your house would be great fun and apparently would create cozy atmosphere.

* Add an attractive fireplace in your backyard. It may be used to ward off the coldness during winters and can even be utilized for cooking. For many people, cooking outside their house in the backyard is a hobby. Cooking outside and having the meals together with friends and family, in front of the lit fireplace, sets a mood and increases everyone's appetite.

As decorating the outdoor area of a house is a tough job, to succeed with your plans of staging the exteriors of your house, you need to put equal efforts as you would put in decorating the interiors. Your garden area or porch is an important part of your house and enhancing its appeal can present you with a quick sale. It is the very first part that a buyer sees while making a visit to a house for sale. So, implement these handy tips to make sure your prospective buyers are totally impressed with your property.

Don't Let The Real Estate Slump Discourage You - Take These Steps To Sell Your Home

Be resolute about your goal to sell your house and find your new home regardless of the housing market.

1. Start packing, order some boxes and pack up the things you won't need for the next 6 months. Seasonal cloths, books, memorabilia, extra dishes and kitchenware as well as any items that overly personalize your home such as family photos, awards and trophies.

Feng Shui Tip #1: Clear the Clutter=Improve the feng shui

2. Successfully staging your home for sale requires some detachment. Pack as many of your personal items that you can. The aim is to create space and to showcase each room with an anchoring focal point to hold the attention of a prospective buyer.

Feng Shui Tip #2: Hold the buyers attention/energy=Sale

3. The Front Door must stand out and be distinctive. The path to the front door must be clear and unobstructed. Trim overgrown foliage. Use a pair of brightly colored pots or vessels to flank the front entrance and an oversized rug or mat to create a distinct footprint.

Feng Shui Tip #3: Energize the front entrance= Capture the buyer's attention.

4. Insider Tip-make sure there are no mirrors or stairs facing exterior doors or large windows. This pushes energy out of the house. Doors and windows in direct alignment with one another will have the same effect. Remove mirrors in these locations and use decorative floor screens, pedestals and potted trees to help contain escaping energy.

Feng Shui Tip #4: Don't leak energy-contain it=Sale

5. Is everyone excited about moving? Everyone needs to be on the same page-one family member's insecurity about moving can be a hindrance. Communication and reassurance will help remove these emotional obstacles. Talk about the new house, draw a floor plan and make a list of all the new and exciting features to look forward to.

Feng Shui Tip #5: Create harmony and uncover hidden obstacles=Releasing the house

Home Staging Essentials - 50 Tips To Get You Started on Your Home Staging Journey

"Home staging" was coined by Barb Schwarz back in the early '70s, and the concept has become well known as "house fluffing," "dressing to sell," and "home presentation" to name a few, but the concept has not taken hold among home owners when selling a home because many people do not understand the idea or cannot create a workable plan for staging their home correctly.

The focus of staging is to make a home more marketable by creating the most appealing home to the greatest number of prospective buyers. It should be impersonal enough not to infringe on a buyer's own sense of style.

Decorating is optional. Staging, on the other hand, is essential - that is if you want to sell your house for the most possible money in the shortest amount of time. Staging - it is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary.

Since home staging is truly an essential part of selling your home, I wanted to share these 50 Tips To Get You Started on Your Home Staging Journey.

1. Be sure that your home is staged before you or your realtor takes the photos for the web. Over 70% of all new apartment/home searches are started on the Internet. It is imperative that the property looks good in the photos so that it can attract as many people as possible to see the real thing.

2. You should not have one person look at your house until it has been staged completely. It should not go through the broker walkthrough, MLS, open houses, or anything. Stage first!

3. Kate Hart of Hart & Associates Staging and Design LLC knows that home staging works for all properties regardless of the price point because home staging is about preparing your home for a faster and more profitable sale and marketing your property to the most potential buyers for its target audience. "I have staged homes ranging from $100,000 to $10 million and have had the same result- the homes sell faster and for top dollar compared with the competitors within their price range."

4. If you have dark cabinets, a light colored handle or something in shiny gold will enhance them. If you have light cabinets, you can give them the sleek look by using handles of the same color so that they are hardly noticeable or by using brushed silver handles. With light wood, you can also use darker handles, gold, bronze, or even colors.

5. Sometimes renovations are needed. However, here are five that you should avoid:

· Adding high end appliances to a modest home

· Adding hand painted tiles to the bath or kitchen

· Adding a central vacuum

· Adding air conditioning (unless you are in an area that all homes have it)

· Replacing windows with newer models

6. Be sure to check with your city or county building inspector before beginning a new project. Many departments require permits, even for things as simple as changing a dishwasher.

7. Everything in its place is a good motto to remember. Always find appropriate places to store your items. Litter boxes in the kitchen and trashcans in the pantry are just two examples of inappropriate placement.

8. Julie Dana of The Home Stylist has the following tip: Do not have any cleaning products visible. You want the buyer to think that the house cleans itself. You do not want to remind buyers that there will be work to do in this house, so put away laundry baskets and dish drainers as well!

9. Lisa Wonsey of Space/Lift explains that selling an empty home can be a huge mistake. Buying or renting furniture is especially vital in an empty home. Empty homes do not show well and can sit on the market for months until a buyer with a good visual imagination comes along, or until the seller drops the price so low that the home is a steal.

10. Your refrigerator will need to be cleaned, even if you are not leaving it. People will still look inside and a dirty refrigerator will turn them off. If you are taking it with you, you may as well clean it now. If you are leaving it, then it is imperative to have it sparkling.

11. Ruthanne Hatfield of Art of Interior Placement emphasizes that taking away items is needed, but adding back is essential, too: Each room should be embellished with accessories artwork, mirrors, accent tables, silk trees and florals, as well as dishes, bedding, and towels so all areas look inviting.

12. Check for unusual odors in your house. It may come from a pet or even from your upholstery.

13. Cleaning is rarely fun for anyone, but it does not have to be a terrible chore. Play some fun, lively music. Before you know it, your adrenaline will start pumping and you will be dancing your way through the house.

14. To clean those irritating stains in the bathtub, make a paste by using hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar. Use an old toothbrush to rub the mixture into the stain and rinse thoroughly.

15. To clean the microwave, fill a paper cup with water and a few tablespoons of baking soda. Nuke it for about 30 seconds, or until you see the contents explode. Then just take a paper towel and wipe it all off. The explosion spreads the cleanser over the entire area, and you can even use the moistened rag or paper towel to wipe outside the microwave and its surrounding area.

16. Mary Larsen of Larsen-Trochlil Designs offers the following professional tip: Do not offer money towards painting or installing new carpeting. Remember, if you are not willing to do it, your buyer is not likely to either.

17. Take a look around you. Do you have items in your home that are unused and have no real sentimental value? If so, get rid of them! These types of items can often be found in closets, cupboards, basements, and garages. Sometimes they are on bookshelves or even in your everyday living space. The more you are able to move out the more the next buyer will want to "move in."

18. If you do not have a plan for what to do with the stuff you no longer need, it will get put in the basement or the attic or the garage or simply stay in a pile in the room where it began. If this happens, then you really did not get rid of clutter - you just moved it to another location. When you are clearing the clutter for home staging purposes, you will have many different piles. Some things may go to a thrift store such as the Salvation Army, some things may go to the dump, some things may go into storage, and some things may be set aside for a garage or yard sale. Knowing what you are going to do with the extra clutter is essential to really decluttering your home.

19. Sylvia Beez of m.a.p. interiors inc. reminds us that: A home for sale should always be presented in its best light and immaculate condition, which is not the reality of everyday life. Potential buyers do not want to see how you live, with your children, cats and dogs, and mess. They want to see themselves in a perfect house under perfect conditions and that is how a home on the market should always be presented.

20. If your kitchen cabinets, pantries, and drawers - even your refrigerator - look jammed packed, it sends a negative message to the buyer. This message is that there is not enough room in your kitchen. If they were looking for plentiful storage space, after opening your crowded cupboards, they will believe that they will not find it in your kitchen. The best way to change this negative first impression is to have as much "empty space" as possible.

21. Marlene Feldman of Marlene Feldman Associates has the following suggestion for small dining rooms: If the dining room has an oversized china cabinet, consider removing it. Or, if has a top and bottom, remove the top. This will open up the space considerably

22. Take a look at your bathroom. If you are like most people, you will find half-used shampoo bottles, a jumble of hair accessories, a curling iron, foam curlers, several cans of shaving cream, tub toys, lotions, medication, books and magazines, oils, candles, toilet paper, and on and on and on. The amount of stuff we store in our bathrooms is far greater than the storage capacity for these small rooms, especially, if like many bathrooms, you have just a medicine cabinet and a very small vanity. The "stuff" that is not in use needs to be boxed up and moved out.

23. Katie Joanow of Star Staging explains that: You should remove extra chairs from the tables. Unless you have a massive space, you will not need more than 4 chairs around a table. Also remove extra leaves from the table. This will make the room feel larger.

24. Buyers want to see your carpet or your hardwood floor or your linoleum. Most home stagers suggest removing all area rugs, unless you have a large area of hardwood, where one rug is acceptable. Area rugs make spaces seem more crowded. Without them, your floor plan opens up.

25. Closets are great for accumulating clutter, though you may not think of it as clutter. Perhaps the clutter is wrapping paper, or Christmas items, or an old sewing machine. Maybe you have some keepsakes, or photo albums. Then of course there are the extra clothes and shoes. None of these things are likely to be in the throw away pile, but they should not be in your closet if you want to reduce the look of clutter.

26. Gail Greer of All Rooms Great and Small gives this tip about painting your home: You need to be willing to change paint colors. There are certain universally accepted colors and these should be used when repainting your home. Yellow or shades of gold are warm and inviting. You should also accent with yellow. Your eye absorbs more yellow and therefore sees it first. Green or blue in the bedrooms are great colors because they are restful.

27. Stand a few feet away from the entrance to the bedroom. What do you see? Whatever you see is the first thing that a buyer will see. Is it pretty? Is it bulky? Does it make the room feel small? Move anything from the doorway that is not inviting.

28. A spare room should be viewed as a bonus. It is a "plus" feature of your home, but only if the buyers can view it as such. For example, if your spare room is used mostly as an office, then, during the selling process,you need to make it just that - an office! Get rid of the spare bed and the extra dressers full of last season's clothes. Get rid of the boxes of storage items in the closet. Keep the essentials of your office such as a desk, filing cabinet, bookshelf, and a nice chair in the corner with a small table and lamp.

29. Holly Weatherwax of Momentum Realty explains that whenever possible, she recommends leaving the garage free from storage. If people see that the seller does not have enough storage and has to use the garage, they will begin to wonder if the same thing will happen if they buy the house. People like to think that they might actually be able to use a garage!

30. Find out what organizations in your area pick up items. Such organizations often include Goodwill, The Salvation Army, veteran's associations, and other local organizations. Another good way to get rid of items you no longer need is to use Freecycle. Here, you can list items you no longer need and then choose someone from a list of takers to have them. The best part is the person wanting the items comes to your home on your timetable to get them. You can find a freecycle group in your area by going to

31. Get everything off the counters. Everything. Remove all appliances from the countertops. Even the toaster. Doing so will make you kitchen look larger and more spacious. It will also keep the buyer's eye from stopping on a particular item rather than getting a full view of the room. Put the toaster in a cabinet and take it out when you use it. Find a place where you can store everything in cabinets and drawers.

32. Charlie Ann Taylor of C.A.T.'S ROOMER has a lot to say about these focal points in your home: The kitchen and baths need to be model perfect because the kitchen and baths sell the home.

33. Have you taken away so much that your home no longer has any sparkle? Although YOUR personality needs to be removed, the personality of the house still needs to come through.

34. One of the most important factors to consider when placing items into a room is the idea of transition. As your eye moves around the room, you do not want it jumping from place to place or piece to piece. The movement of the eye should flow - not bounce. To accomplish this, you want to avoid abrupt changes in height.

35. Gail Jackson of Weichert Realtors explains that home staging does not need to be expensive: Paint is very inexpensive and gives you a big bang for your buck. Although a bit labor-intensive, painting is not expensive and gives your home a new, fresh, clean look.

36. Give each room a touch of the unexpected. This can be done with artwork placed in an unusual way, using a piece of furniture in a way that you normally would not use it, or adding a dash of color where the eye least expects to find it. Be creative.

37. Follow the "like-with-like" rule of the thumb. Tall with tall, small with small, wide with wide, and narrow with narrow will guide you throughout the decorating process. Mimic the shape of each space you are decorating. For example, a sofa should be accessorized with horizontal art so you are complementing wide with wide.

38. Marcia Smart's (Smart Interior Styling) tip is to: Recognize that your major competition comes from newer homes. People will take a newer home over an older home if all else is equal. That is why it is essential to give an older home something that puts it above the rest.

39. My favorite decorating tip is to look outside the box. You do not always need to use an item for its intended purpose. For example, do not just use a tablecloth for a table; make it a slipcover for your ottoman. It can save you lots of money and time when you purchase a tablecloth at a local chain verses buying yards of fabric and by purchasing the correct size it can become a no-sew project. Always keep your eyes open for new uses for everyday items.

40. Select a focal point for your room and subtly orient other furnishings and some lighting toward it. If there is a fireplace, it will nearly always be the focal point; other focal points might be bookcases or built-in shelving to house lovely collectibles, or a sofa with a striking painting on the wall above it.

41. Donna Reynolds of Home Rearrangements explains that there are two times that you can angle furniture: In a square room and if a room already has an angle in it, like a corner fireplace or a bay window.

42. In a bedroom, unless you have no other choice, you want to see the foot of the bed when you walk in. You do not want a bed to cross the doorway because it blocks the flow and makes the room look smaller. It is better to see the foot so that you can see the pretty pillows.

43. One of the easiest ways to create color is to add beautiful accent pillows to any room. Introducing a complementary accent color in a room can make a room "pop" and come alive. Accent pillows not only add color but texture and warmth as well. By adding throw pillows in a coordinating or contrast fabric to a couch chair, bench, or bed, you can transform your room and add instant warmth inexpensively!

44. One way to see if your home has curb appeal is to walk across the street and have a good look at your house. where did your eyes go? They should be drawn to the front door and entryway. If they are not, then you need to do something about it.

45. Kimberly Cash of ASPM Tidewater Home Staging Consultants, Inc. offers the following advice: People do not see their house as a product that you have to market and sell. However, selling your home is like packaging. People look at the outside before deciding to come in. Then they look at the inside before deciding to buy, and it is mostly based on looks. It is packaging. You need to wrap up your product, your home, like a beautiful package.

46. Once you have gotten the front yard in shape, it is time to work on the backyard. The most important areas of the backyard are the patios, decks, and porches. Getting these areas up to date will give the buyers a feeling that they are getting bonus space.

47. New window treatments can make a world of difference. They can add value and style to your home and be something the buyers view as a bonus - something they will not have to buy or replace when they move in. The caution, however, is that you keep the treatments neutral (keep your personality out of the room) and that you make sure they do not block the amount of light that comes into a room.

48. Debra Blackmon of Blackmon Design offers the following suggestion for your windows: Many homes have the louvers of the blinds turned down to face the floor. A more enhancing way to use blinds is to turn the louvers up to reflect much-needed ambient light onto the ceiling.

49. Sometimes, refreshing a room can be as easy as changing a light bulb. Bulbs like GE Reveal filter out yellow rays common in ordinary light bulbs, making colors, fabric, walls, and artwork appear richer, crisper, and more vivid.

50. Add pampering accessories! Things like bath bubbles, fluffy towels, and candles not only add the pampering feeling you are trying to achieve, they offer visual comfort with color and texture as well. Psychologically, we all crave that long soak with a good book, and even if we are only in the bathroom for 10 minutes to whip on some make up, just seeing those items displayed promises wonderful baths to come!

As you know, your home becomes a house - a product for sale. Staging your property gives you a more competitive edge in today's market by transforming it into a marketable product. A staged property helps you sell your investment for top dollar and is the first line of defense over lowering the price. Do not settle for less at the closing table simply because you did not understand the value of staging or did not want to take the time or spend the money to do it properly.

In this world of busy buyers, a property has to be staged to appeal to the their imagination. They want to be able to look at your home and know that they can live there. They want to know that their furniture will fit. They want to know that everything is in "move in" condition. That is why staging is so important. It allows buyers to imagine themselves living in your home with their stuff, not yours.

Presentation is everything and staging is presentation! The result is improved functionality and complementary space. Following the techniques in this book will maximize your equity while reducing the market time for your home.