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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 10/23/2018

No matter how you look at it, putting your home on the market is a life-changing experience!

Not only will it change your future circumstances, but it will have an impact on your day-to-day routine, right now.

If your home is actively being shown by real estate agents, there are a few things you may need to do on a regular basis to make the best possible impression on potential buyers:

Keep it clean: Ordinarily, most homeowners aren't inclined to thoroughly clean their house every day -- or "at a moment's notice." Very few people have the time or motivation to keep their home's immaculate on a constant basis; it's exhausting just thinking about it! However, when your house is being viewed by prospective buyers, cleanliness -- or the lack, thereof -- will be noticed. Although "old habits die hard," it may be necessary to enlist the help and cooperation of your children (and spouse) in keeping the house looking presentable at all times. While it's unrealistic to expect your home to look immaculate day after day, it might be necessary to establish some new rules and standards for your family to follow about picking up clothes, toys, snack wrappers, and food residues. If you can maintain a "semblance of order" on an ongoing basis, then it shouldn't be too difficult to prepare your home for the next showing. While you'll usually get at least 24-hours notice before a house showing is scheduled, there may be the occasional request for a same-day visit.

Appearances count: "Keeping up Appearances" is more than just a popular British sitcom; it's a necessary goal for anyone hoping to sell their home within a reasonable period of time. Doing your best to stage your home in an attractive, inviting way is a key ingredient to a successful home-selling strategy. Setting priorities for curb appeal will also help you put your best foot forward in a competitive real estate market. Although many aspects of home staging are based on common sense and simple home decorating principles, it's difficult to be objective when your family's home is involved. There's certainly a lot of credible information online concerning the benefits of reducing household clutter and leaning toward neutral paint colors, but you can also turn to your real estate agent for tips on enhancing your home's curb appeal, interior appearance, and overall marketability.

Unless the home you're selling is relatively new or completely updated, there are a lot of decisions to make about how much time, energy, and money should be spend on upgrades, repairs, and enhancements. While everyone's situation, budget, and timetable is different, it's usually necessary to correct issues that might be considered a glaring problem or a deal breaker. Sometimes those issues don't come to the forefront, however, until you get specific feedback from agents and prospective buyers.





Posted by Monica Kavanaugh on 11/29/2016

Are you familiar with "curb appeal"? If not, you could be missing out on the opportunity to generate interest in your home. Curb appeal refers to the attractiveness of your home in relation to a homebuyer's first impression of your residence as he or she passes it. For instance, a home with a great exterior, pristine front lawn and other dazzling exterior features likely will appeal to homebuyers the moment they see it. On the other hand, a home that includes a front lawn loaded with high grass and weeds, an exterior that consists of chipped and faded paint and other negative qualities is unlikely to garner significant interest at first glance. For home sellers, you'll want to do whatever you can to increase your home's curb appeal. Luckily, we're here to help you do just that Ė here are three tips you can use to boost your residence's curb appeal: 1. Use plants to your advantage. Who says you need to have a green thumb to set up a garden in front of your home? Fortunately, many wonderful plants are available that can help you add a splash of color to your home's exterior. And ultimately, these plants will enable you to bolster your residence's curb appeal as well. Ready-made plant containers are available, or you can try to grow your own plants with seed kits. Either way, incorporating plants into your home's exterior is sure to help your residence generate attention from a wide range of prospective homebuyers. 2. Replace old gutters and downspouts. Installing new gutters will help you enhance your home's curb appeal as well as provide another feature that may help you differentiate your home from others on the real estate market. Gutters will deteriorate over time, but home sellers who install new snap-fit vinyl gutter systems can enjoy high-quality gutters that will look and perform well consistently. Remember, the benefits of replacing gutters and downspouts are two-fold, as they will allow you to improve your home's curb appeal as well as give homebuyers yet another reason to consider your residence over others. 3. Add outdoor lighting. Curb appeal represents a 24-hour phenomenon, and those who want to ensure their residences look great at night should add outdoor lighting. Low-voltage landscaping lighting often is easy to install and can brighten up your residence's exterior at night. Plus, this lighting can provide extra security Ė yet another feature that may help your residence stand out in a highly competitive real estate market. Lastly, don't forget to consider the homebuyer's perspective as you explore ways to enhance your residence's curb appeal. And if there is a flaw that stands out as you look at your residence's exterior, prospective homebuyers likely will see this problem too. As such, you should work to eliminate any issues that may damage your home's appearance as quickly as possible. Dedicating plenty of time and resources to improve your home's curb appeal is essential, and home sellers who understand the importance of curb appeal can work toward making home exterior improvements and generating significant interest in their residences.





Posted by Monica Kavanaugh on 9/6/2016

There are a lot of reasons you may want to line your house with plants. Maybe you need curb appeal to attract buyers to your home. Perhaps you have a foundation you want to cover. You could just like the piece of mind that comes with taking care of living plants. Whatever your reasons, I have the plants for you. There are a few things to keep in mind when planting around your house. Remember you should leave at least two foot between the side of your house and your plants. This may mean a little maintenance to your garden beds. There are a few reasons for this. You do not want plants rubbing up against your house and bringing moisture, animals, bugs, and general wear and tear to your siding. Pick the right plant for your house. What style are you looking for here? Depending on the style of your home, you may want a plant that compliments this. Letís talk about a few good options that will suit you, no matter what you are looking for.

  • Hydrangeas are a great pick for the front of your house. They attract the eye without being too ostentatious with their bell shaped pink and purple blooms. You will need three to five feet in height and spread to let them grow to their full potential. These are a great full plant to cover your plain or dare I say unsightly foundation.
  • Blue Angel Hostas love the shady spots of the yard, and are a great pick for the tree lined portions of your home. They like living in moist mulch as most shade plants do, and will need about 3 feet in height and 4 feet in spread. These hostas have big leaves and small stalk blooms. Hostas are perennials, which means they will come back each year and, bonus, they will continue to spread throughout the years. This may mean dividing the plant every few years. They make a great housewarming gifts for your friends and family at times like these.
  • Knockout Roses will last from the spring to the fallís first frost--perfect for continuous beauty. These roses are very low maintenance and easy to maintain. Make sure to cut these roses back in the winter and this will give them a great chance to come back healthy each spring. Knockout roses will need four feet in height and three feet in spread. There are a great choice for any home.
I know creating curb appeal can seem very daunting. It doesn't have to be with a few great choices, no matter your reason for sprucing up your yard. Remember, with a little bit of maintenance any homeowner can be a successful gardener. If you are ready to list your home, I am here to help you. Even if you are just want some attractive plant beds for years to come, I am happy to help you!




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