Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sunday Tour of Homes, June 3rd, 2012

Join me this Sunday for a Sunday Tour of Homes!

1:30 PM 26300 Freeport Avenue Wyoming, MLS#4147190
2:15 PM 11883 Marigold Way Lindstrom, MLS#4135779
2:45 PM 32470 Nottingham Court Lindstrom, MLS#4137163
3:30 PM 38125 Pine Avenue Center City, MLS#4113917
4:00 PM 38610 Pine Avenue Center City, MLS#4102486
4:45 PM 8227 Iris Avenue North Branch, MLS#4081194

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Get detached! Take a vacation!


Repeat after me: It's not my home
When you list your house for sale, it goes from being your home to being a product. What would you do if trying to sell your car? Get your stuff out, clean it up, fix the major issues and show it to everyone able to buy it. Same goes for your house!

Repeat after me: I am living in a hotel on a wanna-be vacation
Think of all this de-cluttering  and cleaning as the start of an extended wanna-be vacation. Most vacations are not spent at the hotel so if you have your house stripped to the bare essentials like a hotel, it will be easier to keep in check and available for short-notice showings.
Use this as an opportunity to spend time away from home. Check out the area you are moving to. Visit the library, drive the neighborhood, check out the park and get acquainted with your NEW home and neighborhood.
If your new place is too far away, use this time to visit local friends, visit the zoo, eat at your favorite restaurants and other activities you may not have available at the new house... Anything that will keep you (and your kids) occupied away from the house.

Just think, if you do this upfront and your home sells fast, it's a very small sacrifice to make for a short period of time. :)

getting the best price for a home, home organizing tips, Showings, Staging, Tips to sell my house

Friday, May 18, 2012

Top 10 house landscaping tips for before a sale

Let's be honest, one of the most stressful parts about selling a house for many people is getting it "showing ready" and keeping it that way.

The outside of your house is the first thing people see when I drive up so let's start there.

Here are 10 tips to enhance your curb appeal without breaking the bank or eating (all) your time.

1. Don't waste your money on a big project. Your house is for sale and you won't recoup the money.
2. Remove all weeds.  A buyer will think that if you don't care enough about your house to remove the weeds, what else did you neglect. Consider your budget and time and decide if you need to hire a professional or do it yourself.
3. Cut the lawn every week. Maybe twice if your lawn grows quickly. again you may need to hire a service if you can't do this yourself.
4. Trim bushes. A buyer should be able to see your house; the windows shouldn't be covered up by overgrown bushes.
5. Trim the trees. Get rid of all those little saplings at the base of the tree and trim any low branches. Climb up on the roof, trim any branches that touch and remove any sticks that fell on it. This also eliminates any issues with the inspection later. While you're up there, clean out the gutters, too.
6. Clean your front door. Wipe it down so it's free of dust and grine and remove cobwebs. Replace the welcome mat or remove it all together.
7. Freshen up the mulch in flower beds and clean debris from rock gardens. Remove any dead or dying plants. No need for planting anything new. Let the buyer see the "potential".
8. Group potted plants at the front door if you have the space. Remember if your house is for sale, the landscaping at your front door area should be welcoming. Keep it simple.
9. Whether you have a deck, patio, porch or lanai think about this area when you are landscaping your house for a sale. Think of it as another room in your house -declutter and keep it clean. Simple patio furniture with room to move around is all you need to show off the space.
10. Stay on top of seasonal landscaping duties. Shovel the snow. Rake the leaves. Keep the lawn watered. Buyers are not going to trudge through the snow to see your house. In fact, they probably won't even get out of the car.

Though it's not in the top 10, if you have a blacktop driveway consider a fresh seal coating.
Now that wasn't so bad was it? Most of these items are part of your normal maintenance routine already but give them just a little extra attention because you're selling.

Home Renovation  |  Curb Appeal  |  Home Selling Tips

Come find me!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

10 Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes

Would you like to be a greener cleaner? Try these can non toxic cleaning recipes!
Doesn't it feel good to be a
"Greener Cleaner"?

Soft scrub - 

Add enough dishwashing liquid (dye-free, fragrance-free if possible) to ½ cup baking soda. Stir until it forms a paste. Perfect for tubs, tiles and toilets.

Fabric softener - 

Pour ¼ cup white vinegar into the final rinse cycle. Caution: Do not use vinegar if you use bleach.

Glass cleaner - 

Add ¼ teaspoon of natural dishwashing liquid and 3 tablespoons white vinegar to 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Just shake, spray and dry. Recycle old newspapers to dry for a streak-free shine. Caution: Wear gloves when using newspaper so you do not stain your hands.
All-purpose spray cleaner - Combine ½ teaspoon washing soda, a dab of liquid soap and 2 cups hot water in a spray bottle, then shake.

Furniture polish - 

Mix ½ teaspoon oil, such as olive or jojoba, with ¼ cup white vinegar or lemon juice in a glass jar. Dab solution with a cloth and wipe wood surfaces.

Air fresheners – 

Open the window ;)

Disinfectant - 

Add 1 teaspoon of essential oil, such as clove or tea tree, to 2 cups of water in a spray bottle; or add 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract to 1 quart water.

Oven Cleaner- 

Sprinkle baking soda over the bottom of the oven. Spray with water. Let sit for 8 hours. Next, scrub and rinse clean.

Drain cleaner - 

To open clogs, pour ½ cup baking soda down drain, then pour ½ cup white vinegar and cover the drain. Caution: Do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener.

Silver Polish – 

Use a natural toothpaste; preferably one without baking soda so it will not scratch your silver. Just rub, rinse and dry!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's just the laundry room! (Or is it?)

I must admit…I’ve got a thing about nice laundry rooms

 The kitchen may be the heart of the home but many hours are spent each week in the laundry room. And THAT makes this room a very important space to feature when selling your home.

Many times when I am consulting with sellers and we get to the laundry area, they’ll ask if I want to see it because after all, it’s only the laundry room. In their minds, it’s that space that’s a catch-all for dirty clothes, cases of water bottles, dog food, cat litter, the vacuum and old paint cans... But I ABSOLUTELY want to see what’s behind that door.

The Laundry Room needs some attention and staging too. This is one space you don’t want to overlook when selling. The biggest issue is getting rid of everything that is not needed so the room can breath and look spacious. Yes, that means you have to bring all that "stuff" you were storing there to the thrift store or storage and the 40lb. dog food bag has to go and you’re going to have to store all that water neatly in the garage.

Here’s a few Staging Tips that can help you transform your laundry room into a fabulous space that buyer’s will love:

DE-CLUTTER: Get everything out that you don’t need (as mentioned above). The only thing that should be in there is the stuff you need to do laundry (detergent, softener, etc.). Now is not the time to buy the HUGE bulk size bottles of detergent.

CLEAN LIKE CRAZY: Wipe down that washer and dryer from top to bottom. Push it back against the wall if needed. I’ve seen a lot of washer and dryers pushed out with all those hoses showing. Tuck the hoses in while you’re at it. Wash out the laundry tub and put away the scrub brushes. Think ORGANIZED.

PAINT: Most laundry rooms need a fresh coat of paint and a different color. For some reason, I see a lot of sponge painting in these spaces. Probably because it was a safe room to try your hand at the technique years ago. I’m speaking from personal experience here -I picked good colors but it still looked just dreadful because it was way too busy for that small room. Trust me, a fresh coat of neutral paint goes a long way.

STAGE: Matching bins and Baskets make a HUGE DIFFERENCE visually when used to store all those detergents on the shelves above the washer and dryer. Buyers do not want to see all those bottles that look like clutter and they don't need to focus on the brand you use. It looks so much more organized and fresh staged with these pretty bins and baskets. This is why you don’t want to hit Cosco for the jumbo size detergents....easier to hide!

KEEP UP THE LAUNDRY: Not letting the laundry get out of hand during selling can be a challenge. We lead busy lives. Doing a load a day keeps you on top of the process. Buyers should NEVER see dirty clothes in piles, in a basket, anywhere. EVER. The same goes for clean laundry. It should not be sitting out on the counter or top of the dryer waiting to be put away or hanging around. Buyers want to see the space. Show them an organized room they can emotionally connect to….NOT how much work laundry can be. If you have a last minute showing or you are just behind, make sure you get it out of sight and HIDE those baskets. Is it just one load? Put it in the washer but do NOT start the washer! Many loads behind? Maybe this is your opportunity to throw them in your car and take them to the laundry mat and get caught up during the showing. :)

HANGERS, DRYING RACKS AND CLOTHES BASKETS: Yes…we need them to do the laundry but during showings, they should not be anywhere in sight. Storing all those extra hangers on the clothes rack/shelving is not an option either. Throw them in one of the bins or baskets or if you are lucky to have a closet in your laundry room, store them there.

Does your laundry room need a facelift?  Get inspired HERE.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Asian Chicken Salad

This came to me in an email newsletter so I can take no credit for it but it is yummy!
Asian Chicken Salad
Serves: 4
The fruit that tops this salad packs this already healthy dish with even more vitamins. Reprinted with permission by Public Health - Seattle & King County.
INGREDIENTS 2 cups cooked chicken, skin removed, cut into bite-size pieces 4 cups cabbage, shredded 1 cup mushrooms, sliced 1 cup carrots, grated 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped 1 cucumber, thinly sliced 3 green onions, thinly sliced 1 mandarin orange or tangerine, divided into sections 1/2 cup nonfat Asian-style salad dressing black pepper
DIRECTIONS 1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, cilantro, cucumber, and dressing. Toss well. 2. Top with green onions and tangerine sections. Pepper to taste.
NUTRITION INFO Calories: 125.5 Fat: 0.9 g Carbohydrates: 19.5 g Protein: 10.9 g

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Price To Good to be True?

Every buyer is looking for the "perfect house" or "killer deal" and they have likely read something somewhere or heard somebody say they can get a "great deal on a foreclosure" or "offer low becasue it's a buyers market".

But what makes a home a good deal?  If the price looks "cheap" you should probably be asking why.  Is it the condition?  The neighborhood? The amount of time it has been sitting empty? Are they trying to generate a bidding war?

Houses marketed by a reputable real estate agent will most often be priced in line with properties of comparable condition, lot size, location, etc.

When you do find that home that looks "perfect" for you, be sure to get a sane-day showing and do a little research with a good agent.  Chances are you aren't the only one who thinks it's great and you will want to beat those other buyers out!

Bottom Line: If the price looks too good to be true, you might be missing something. Jump on "the deal" but make sure you do your research!

Need more help determining which houses are priced right?
Call Sarah! 651-964-0289