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Posted by Monica Kavanaugh on 2/26/2019

Selling your home can be an exciting time because it usually represents a positive change in your life. Chances are, putting your house on the market means you're moving up in your career, expanding your family, or even retiring.

Regardless of the reason you're selling your home, one thing's for certain: You'll want the process to go as smoothly as possible!

The first step to making that happen involves choosing a real estate agent who's experienced, easy to work with, familiar with your neighborhood, and ready to help you navigate the many twists and turns of selling your home. If this is the first time you've sold a home -- or if you haven't done it in a decade or more -- you'll need lots of advice on everything from pricing your home correctly to enhancing its appearance and making the best possible impression on potential buyers.

Since you usually don't get a second opportunity to make a great first impression, there are two crucial concepts to remember that can make or break your chances of selling your house at the best price and in a relatively short period of time.

Curb Appeal: One of your top objectives in listing your house is to attract as many qualified buyers as you can. The first hurdle you'll need to clear is making your property look inviting from the outside.

Whether you're selling real estate or consumer products, attractive packaging is what catches people's attention and draws them in. The outside appearance of your home and yard is the first thing that triggers either interest or disinterest among prospective buyers. House hunters often make a snap decision in a matter of seconds about whether to pursue a real estate listing, and that decision is typically based on factors like the condition of your lawn, the neatness of your shrubbery, and the appearance of the exterior off your house.

Basic ways to enhance your home's curb appeal would include applying a fresh coat of paint, maintaining a manicured lawn, and -- if the season allows -- placing colorful potted or hanging flowers on your porch or near your front door. Good curb appeal advice would vary, depending on the style, size, layout, and condition of your property, so the best place to turn for customized curb appeal ideas would be your real estate agent.

Home Staging: Most people are familiar with the concept of home staging, but don't necessarily know how to go about it in the most effective way. Part of the problem stems from the fact that homeowners can't objectively look at their own home and see what needs to be improved or changed. Outside opinions, such as those from a professional home stager, Realtor, or home decorator, can be extremely helpful. If you happen to have a friend or relative with a flair for home organizing or decorating, they may be willing to provide you with some productive suggestions, too!





Posted by Monica Kavanaugh on 2/19/2019

Although your real estate agent will do the lion's share of the work involved in selling your home, there are several things you, the homeowner, can do to help move things along.

By making sure your home is always ready to be shown at a moments notice to prospective buyers, you will be helping to "tip the scales" in the direction of a faster sale. Since making a great first impression is crucial to the sales process, it's important that your home always looks its best -- both inside and out. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you decide to put your home on the market.

Order versus chaos: Every time your real estate agent sets up a showing of your house, it's an opportunity to attract and engage potential buyers. When your house and property look organized, clean, and well cared for, it sends a series of positive messages to prospects.

Admittedly, it can be a little bit of a hassle to keep your house looking (and smelling) immaculate all the time, but doing so can definitely work in your favor when it comes to making a great impression and getting your house sold faster.

To the extent that it's possible, try to eliminate or significantly reduce anything that could be described as "clutter." Clutter can include anything from excessive furniture and wall hangings to knick-knacks on your shelves and too many containers on kitchen countertops.

The ultimate effect you want to achieve is one of spaciousness, tastefulness, and organization. Anything which detracts from those desirable qualities could potentially work against you. As the classic 1980s TV commercial for a well-known dandruff shampoo reminds us: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression!"

Remember curb appeal: Actually the real first impression happens before prospective buyers even enter your home or step on your property. In many cases, it occurs before they even get out of their cars!

Making sure your house and property look as impeccable as possible from the street can help attract potential buyers and put them in a more receptive state of mind. Maintaining a manicured, clutter-free lawn, highlighted by a few splashes of floral color, can be an effective way to create eye-appeal and make a positive first impression.

One thing home sellers are either unaware of or forget about is the fact that prospective buyers sometimes do a preliminary "drive by" before picking up the phone and calling your (or their) real estate agent to schedule a showing. If they do not like what they see from their car, they probably are not going to take the next step and arrange a full tour of your home.

When you come to the realization that every person who drives by or visits your home is a potential buyer, you'll be more motivated to take care of the many details that either attract of send away prospective buyers.





Posted by Monica Kavanaugh on 4/3/2018

If you've recently put your home on the market -- or are considering doing so in the near future -- home staging is a priority which will soon take front and center!

Since "presentation is everything" when trying to catch the interest of prospective buyers, it's crucial to be able to see things through their eyes.

Unfortunately, being able to accomplish that objective is next to impossible because, as a homeowner, you're looking at your home and property through a completely different lens than the rest of the world. The longer you've lived in your home, the more your objectivity is compromised.

Here are a few reasons why it's really difficult to "see the forest for the trees" when it comes to home staging:

First of all, there's the emotional aspect of owning a home and seeing your life unfold there over a period of years. That's especially true for first-time homeowners, parents of growing children, and people who have sunk a lot of money, time, and energy into improvements and customization. Once you've added personal touches to your home to reflect your own tastes, personality, and lifestyle, you're viewing your home through a unique perspective that may cloud your objectivity as a home seller.

Solution: Think Like a Business Owner

For the same reason business owners and executives hire outside consultants to tell them how to improve management efficiency or profitability, home sellers often need professional marketing guidance from a real estate agent or home staging consultant. Getting input from home decorators, landscapers, or home improvement contractors may also provide you with helpful ideas, but their recommendations may not always be the most economical and cost effective.

When staging your home to enhance eye appeal and attract the most potential buyers, a good guiding principle to keep in mind is ROI or "return on investment." While you don't want to sink more money into sprucing up and staging your home than necessary, you do want to cast it in its best possible light. Depending on how recently your home has been updated or improved, your investment in home staging may be relatively inexpensive. On the other hand, if you haven't updated, repaired, or made improvements for more years than you care to remember, the cost of making your home irresistible to buyers may be a lot higher!

One More Scenario

If your tastes could be described as eclectic, "off the wall", or otherwise out of the mainstream, you might need to consider a major overall in the look and feel of your property. Unless you're lucky enough to have it be a "sellers' market" at the time you're putting your house up for sale, it's generally advisable to make your home appealing to as wide a range of potential buyers as possible. An experienced real estate professional is usually in the best position to provide the guidance you need to accomplish that key objective.





Posted by Monica Kavanaugh on 3/7/2017

Effectively staging your home can make a difference when selling your home. It can help you reach your asking price, or it can mean the difference between making a sale and not making a sale.

With so much at stake, itís clear that home staging is a good idea. However, if you plan on living in your home while itís on the market it can cause a big change in your lifestyle. It can mean putting most of your belongings in storage and be constantly rearranging furniture and moving your valuables around.

In this article, Iíll give you some tips to help you get through the difficult time of living in a staged home. Iíll talk about how you can make the most of this situation while still making the important sale on your home.

Decluttering and removing personal items from your home

There are two important things to remember when cleaning out your home before staging it. You want to declutter and you want to remove your personal presence in the home.

In terms of decluttering, not only is this a good time to start packing up items you wonít need until you move into your next home, but it is also a good time to do some cleaning. When going through your home, ask yourself if youíve used the item in question within the last year or two. If the answer is no, you might be able to throw away or donate the item.

When someone views a home they want to be able to picture living there. Thatís hard to do if it is filled with the photos and heirlooms of another family.  If youíre unsure about whether something is too personal to keep on display in your home, thereís a good chance that itís better off to put it in storage.

Use your free time at home to your advantage

Living in your home while itís on the market gives you one important advantage--youíre able to spend more time prepping your home for sale. Use your free time and weekends at homes to paint your walls bright, neutral colors. You can also experiment with arranging furniture in a spacious and welcoming way.

This is also a good time to take care of small issues that might turn off potential buyers. Runny faucets, creaking doors, and other cosmetic fixes are all simple but important fixes to make while still living in your home.

Adopt a ďclean as you useĒ mentality

Since people are coming to view your home, youíll naturally want it to be as clean and tidy as possible. But rushing to clean everything before someone views your home makes it more likely to overlook a dirty countertop or misplaced towel.

A good practice is to simply clean up after yourself as you use items. That means wiping down the counter or oven after use, making sure you donít leave products out in the bathroom, and sweeping the floors at the end of the day.

While it can be difficult to live in your home while it is staged for sale, it also has its advantages. As you go through this process, remember that it isnít forever, and that it can save you time and money in the long run.





Posted by Monica Kavanaugh on 4/7/2015

If you are selling your home or just looking to redecorate, one thing you may want to do is make the rooms look bigger. Here are some tips on how to make the rooms in your home appear larger: Use an oversize mirror to enhance the effect of light. Mirrors reflect both natural and artificial light making a room bigger and brighter. Glass-topped tables and see-through furniture†can create an illusion that enhances the room with a more open flow. Clear the clutter. Thereís nothing that makes a small space feel even more cramped than having too much stuff.†Rooms with everything in place have a certain flow to them. A room without clutter has a more streamline look and a larger appearance. Light colored walls will also make your rooms appear bigger. Colors such as cream, beige, light grayish-blue and lavender will†reflect and multiply the light giving the room an airy feel. Use dual-purpose furniture. Furniture that doubles as storage increases the function of each space. †Pieces like an entryway bench with storage space or a flip-top ottoman are great ways to combine furniture and function. Use vertical space to create storage and†maximize those out-of-the-way areas in your home. Utilize those out-of-the-way nooks like the area under a flight of stairs.