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Stage Your Home for Thankgiving Sales

Thursday, November 20, 2008 posted by tommi

Happy Thanksgiving

Home Sellers need to carefully plan how to enjoy Thanksgiving, while making their property attractive to buyers.   Keep in mind that while you may have fewer showings during the Thanksgiving season, the people that are actively shopping for a home during the holidays are the most serious buyer’s.  You certainly want them to remember your home, not your blowup, gobbling lawn turkey.

Consider our tips for decorating and enjoying the season, without overwhelming prospective home shoppers.

Tips for Staging at Thanksgiving

  • When decorating your entrance, think simple.  Add a pumpkin, gourds or a few strands of lights, but this is not the time you want to bring out the full display.  Keep the decor seasonal, but allow the character of your house to come through.

  • Update worn out holiday accessories.   Accessorize at Thanksgiving with throw pillows, candles, tablecloths and place settings that bring peaceful, fall colors indoors.

  • Use natural items to decorate your home.  Pumpkins, gourds, flowers and fruit make an attractive centerpiece, as long as they are not overdone.   Try to avoid plastic, sparkling or childish appearing decorations.  

  • Never hide important architectural details, that may be a selling point to your buyer, behind contruction paper turkeys.

  • Instead of entertaining at your house this year, consider going to the home of a friend or relative.  Restaurants also provide a great dining experience without the mess of cooking at home.

  • If you do your Christmas shopping early, keep wrapped gifts neatly stacked in one closet or provide a special place to store them that is out of sight.

  • Light a fire in your fireplace, or stage it to look good, even if it isn’t burning.  Try adding decorative logs or pillar candles to an unused fireplace.

  • Although clutter busting is always extremely important when marketing a home, holiday decorations make anti-clutter a greater battle to overcome.   This year may be a good time to skip decorations, entirely.

It is possible to enjoy the holidays and successfully show your home.  Just remember that less is more, and if you add seasonal touches, do it sparingly.  

Thank you for visiting, your flat fee MLS listing company.  Happy Thanksgiving!!

No Easy Thing- A Short Sale

Thursday, July 31, 2008 posted by haline


 Short Sale: An alternative to foreclosure for down-on-their luck homeowners. It’s a sale for less than the owner owes on their home, and is never easy. 

A short sale is not a simple process and it requires the lender’s approval at every stage. If an offer is made, the bank needs to decide if it is within the range they will accept. If they do accept it, the owners need to find out for sure if their remaining debt will be absolved. Some lenders will do this but others may force the seller to pay their remaining debt by selling off their other assets.

Foreclosures mark one’s credit rating for seven years and the impacts of foreclosure are far reaching and negative. The chance of being absolved of debt is very appealing to down-on-their-luck home-owners, considering the alternative is to foreclose. However, even though a short sale shows up differently on your credit report it can still have a negative impact. 

Most banks prefer to accept a short sale than to foreclose, as they must pay taxes on every property in their possession. Taking a small cut in the sale of the home may still save them the money and hassle involved in foreclosing. So short sales are a better option, but they can end up taking months longer than conventional home sales.

A short sale is a serious thing, and won’t be accepted by the lender without proof that the market drop has created a situation wherein the homeowner will absolutely not be able to sell the home for what they owe. Also, a short sale usually can’t happen until the homeowner is in default, or is about to go into default. The homeowner will probably be expected to show, in writing, why they are unable to make further payments or pay the remainder of their debt. Suitable reasons include a death or critical illness in the family, divorce, loss of a job or bankruptcy. Homeowners will also need to show the lender that they have little or no assets. Ultimately, it’s in the lenders hands whether or not a short sale is accepted.

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Recycle-Your Patio

Wednesday, May 7, 2008 posted by haline

        lds506a_new_e.jpg      If you like to collect old stuff, such as salvage yard finds, you  might want to use your imagination and use recycled materials to build a unique, creative custom patio to replace a boring square brick patio. Landscape designer Diane Bloom devised a plan for a curved patio using some recycled materials.

A professional would charge about $6,000. to design and install a recycled patio, but a do-it-yourselfer can design their own patio and install it for about $700, assuming that they already have some recyclable materials on hand. The project can be completed in three weekends, with the help of friends for the concrete work.

Bloom designed a patio that reused some of the existing bricks, incorporated several wrought-iron treasures, and added colorful Three Rivers and Arizona flagstones and river rocks for an electic mix of materials, colors and textures. She curved the patio boundary to soften the landscape and grouped the wrought-iron artifacts for balance and visual impact.

Here are the steps to completion:

1. Preparing the site

2. Building the concrete form

3.Pouring the concrete

4. Placing the recycled objects

Bloom rates this project a 3 on a difficulty scale of 1(easy) to 5 (difficult).

Check out to view a video on Landscape Smart: Episode LDS-506

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Tips for Buyers in a Cooler Market

Thursday, May 1, 2008 posted by haline

howmuchisitworth1.gif                                                  Now is the time to buy! You have the luxury of waiting to capture the better deals and negotiate your terms. If you drive around your area, you’ll see that there is six to eight times the inventory on the market right now as there was a year ago and homes are taking longer to sell.

Here are some tips for buyers:

1. Check out pre-foreclosures, foreclosures properties and distressed home sales, it’s time to take advantage of the  “creative financing” that many buyers abused.

2. If  you’re an investor, you will be able to buy distressed properties at low prices and properties with tremendous appreciation potential at the same time.

3. Target markets where speculation has run rampant over the past few years while also focusing on markets that are likely to boom in the next few years.

Take your time, make smart offers and stay cool!

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Going Green is more Mainstream Today

Friday, April 4, 2008 posted by haline

    hippy.jpg          More than ever before, going green is about how we live our daily life and make small improvements that have a big impact on the earth. Going green in the home is no exception.

Here’s some simple tips to make your home more eco-friendly:

1. Start by making your kitchen greener by upgrading to energy efficient ENERGY STAR appliances. These will provide savings of up to 30% in greenhouse gas emissions and will save energy costs.

2. Go green with style-install a kitchen faucet that has sustainable features and turn it off when you step away from the sink. The Muirfield with ChoiceFlo filtering kitchen faucet is a great eco-friendly addition. It provides both filtered and tap water from one spout. The  activated carbon block filter reduces many impurities, such as lead and chlorine. This also allows you to eliminate the environmental strain associated with bottled water packaging and delivery. Muirfield with ChoiceFlo is available at Lowe’s stores nationwide.

3. Incorporate more green fixtures in your bath. After  toilets and washing machines, showers are next in line as residential water hogs.  Low flow showerheads  offer a 30%  water savings from the industry standard showerheads.

You don’t have to go to extremes to be green,  just make some small changes and you can make a big impact today.

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A Minor Remodel That Yields A Major Return

Friday, March 7, 2008 posted by haline

      bathroom-remodeling1.jpg         Beautify your bath!  Let’s face it, of all the rooms in your house, the bathroom is the workhorse. There is lots of wear and tear, so you want to keep it functioning well and make good looking upgrades along the way.

Here are some tips to help you achieve this look:

1. Focus on your faucet. Bathrooms are not utilitarian anymore. People like to feel relaxed, like they are in a spa. Drop sinks are old news, people want the under-mount sinks.

2. Go granite or marble with your countertops. If you are toying with the granite idea, your bathroom counter is most likely smaller than your kitchen counter and less expensive. This is a great place to start your first granite project.

3. Nix the overhead lighting in favor of wall mounts to add warmth and value to your bathroom. Make sure that around your mirror you have even lighting with no side shadows.

4. Heated floors attract buyers like bees to honey.

5. Upgrade your bath area. With an 85% return, install a shower with body sprays and stone surround tile. If you are not selling right away, you will feel like you are in a Zen garden every time you step into your bathroom.

6. Keep it clean. Dirt and grime can become embedded in bathroom surfaces very quickly. Freshen it up with new grout.

Remember, even a minor remodel will yield a major return on investment.

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Take Good Home Photos and Draw Buyers

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 posted by haline

camera_woman.jpgYour property’s photos “pix appeal” or attractiveness in photos posted in online listings is as equally important as “curb appeal” is from the street. Over eighty percent of home buyers used the Internet last year to search for a home, and nearly 25% reported that they first found the property they purchased on the Internet, according to a National Association of Realtors survey.

Without pictures buyers are much less likely to go see a house. In most cases-85% of the time-online photos are the first  view of a home. Photographs are powerful bait. Good ones can lure buyers; poor ones can turn them away.

Follow these tips to create flattering photos of your property:

1. Lighten up-shoot exterior shots in the middle of the day when the sun is shining and the sky is blue is your best bet. Interior shots are best with all the lights on and using a flash. The flash adds color correction and eliminates the shadows, making the room look brighter.

2. More is better-Buyers want to see more than just the front of the house. They want to see all the rooms and the backyard. Include your home’s best features, such as a home theatre/media room or an exercise room. For condos include shots of your unit’s interior, as well as photos of amenities such as a pool, tennis court or gym. If you have spectacular views, by all means, include them.

3. Get clear shots-remove clutter before photographing it. Remove all distractions, fridge magnets, children’s toys, dirty dishes and clear all counters. Spend some time moving things around. Outside shots-remove garbage cans and take the car out of the driveway. Try not to include utility poles, wires and other homes in the scene.

4.Go Pro- If you are selling without a real estate agent or aren’t handy with a camera, hiring a professional photographer may be the way to go. Examine samples of their photos before you make your choice. You can use Microsoft Live Search Maps at no cost to show buyers a bird’s eye view of your community.

5. Give it your best shot-Quality counts when taking photos, a camera with wide angle lens is ideal, but point and shoot digital cameras can also do the job.

For a clear photo, place digital cameras on a tripod or something solid so the camera doesn’t shake when the shutter goes off. Set the camera on its highest resolution. Never use less than 72 dots per inch for online photos.

6. Edit-If you didn’t get a good shot, you can fix it with basic photo editing software. Crop out ceilings or unnecessary background and adjust the brightness and contrast or edit in a sunny day.

There are a number of free Web sites that can make editing a snap. Some to try are and

Remember, clear out the clutter and then snap the shutter!

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