Staging Tips That Will Help Present Your Home’s Best Side to Buyers!

If you are planning to put your house on the market this summer, it goes without saying that you are hoping to sell your home as quickly as possible and get your asking price. Set the stage for success with these 21 tips for styling and upgrading your home.

Boost curb appeal. This is something you always hear, and with very good reason. Many people thinking of touring your home will do a quick drive-by first, often deciding on the spot if it is even worth a look inside. Make sure your home is ready to lure in onlookers with these tips:

  • Power wash siding and walkways
  • Hang easy-to-read house numbers
  • Plant blooming flowers and fresh greenery
  • Mow lawn, and reseed or add fresh sod as needed
  • Wash front windows
  • Repaint or stain the porch floor as needed

Welcome visitors with an inviting porch. Even if you have only a tiny stoop, make it say “welcome home” with a clean doormat, potted plants in bloom and — if you have room — one or two pieces of neat porch furniture. Keep your porch lights on in the evenings, in case potential buyers drive by. Illuminating the front walk with solar lights is a nice extra touch, especially if you will be showing the house during the evening.

Get your house sparkling clean. From shining floors and gleaming windows to clean counters and scrubbed grout, every surface should sparkle. This is the easiest (well, maybe not easiest, but certainly the cheapest) way to help your home put its best foot forward. You may want to hire pros to do some of the really tough stuff, especially if you have a large house. Don’t skimp — this step is key!

Clear away all clutter. If you are serious about staging your home, all clutter must go, end of story. It’s not easy, and it may even require utilizing offsite storage (or a nice relative’s garage) temporarily, but it is well worth the trouble. Clean and clear surfaces, floors, cupboards and closets equal more space in the eyes of potential buyers, so purge anything unnecessary or unsightly.

But it’s my style! Guess what? It may not be the style of those seeking to buy a house in your neighborhood. So even if you have an awesome vintage-chic look going on, rein it in for the sake of appealing to the most number of people. You can bring your personal style back into play in your new home.

Strike a balance between clean and lived-in. Yes, I know I just said to get rid of all your clutter (and you deserve a big pat on the back if you did it), but now it’s time to judiciously bring back a few elements that will really make your home appealing. Think vases of cut flowers, a basket of fresh farmer’s market produce on the kitchen counter or a bowl of lemons beside the sink.

Style your dining room table. The dining room is often a blind spot in decorating the home. Between dinners, a large dining table can look bare and uninviting, so styling it up with visitors in mind can increase the appeal. An oversize arrangement can look too stiff and formal, so try lining up a series of smaller vessels down the center of the table instead.

Take a good look at your floors. At the bare minimum, give all floors a thorough cleaning (and steam clean carpets), but consider having wood floors refinished if they are in poor shape. If you don’t want to invest in refinishing floors, the strategic placement of area rugs can go a long way.

Rearrange your furniture. In the living room, symmetrical arrangements usually work well. Pull your furniture off the walls and use pairs (of sofas, chairs, lamps) to create an inviting conversation area.

Choose sophisticated neutral colors. Now is not the time to experiment with that “fun”-looking lime green. But that doesn’t mean you need to go all white, either. Rich midtone neutrals like mocha and “greige” create a sophisticated backdrop that makes everything look more pulled together.

Create a gender-neutral master bedroom. Appeal to everyone with a clean, tailored master bedroom, free of personal items and clutter. You can’t go wrong with clean, crisp linens, tasteful artwork and a blanket folded at the foot of the bed.

Open those closets! Open-house visitors will peek inside your closets. Closet space can be a make-it-or-break-it selling point for buyers, so show yours off to their full advantage by giving excess stuff the heave-ho. Again, this is really important, so even if you need to store a few boxes elsewhere, it’s worth it. Aim to have 20 to 30 percent open space in each closet to give the impression of spaciousness.

Clean up toys. Of course there will be families with children looking at your home, but just because they have kids too doesn’t mean seeing toys strewn everywhere will sell them on the place. When people are house hunting, they are imagining a fresh start. Show them that in this house, it is possible to have a beautifully organized kids’ room, and they might be swayed.

 Use “extra” rooms wisely. If you have been using a spare bedroom as a dumping ground for odd pieces of furniture and boxes of junk, it’s time to clean up your act. Each room should have a clearly defined purpose, so think about what potential buyers might like to see here. An office? A guest room? Another kids’ room? Whether you buy inexpensive furnishings, rent them, or borrow some from friends, making a real room out of a junk room will have a big payoff.

 Try a pedestal sink to maximize space. If you have a small bathroom but a huge cabinet-style sink, consider swapping it out for a simple pedestal version. Your bathroom will appear instantly bigger.

 Use only perfect personal accents. Especially in the bathroom, it is important that anything left out for visitors to see is pristine. If you have a gorgeous fluffy white bathrobe, hanging it on a decorative hook on the door can be an attractive accent —but if your robe is more of the nubby blue floral variety, you might want to hide it away. Look at every detail with a visitor’s eye — bars of soap should be fresh and clean, towels spotless, the garbage always emptied (you get the idea).

 Entice people to explore the whole house. By placing something that draws the eye at the top of the stairs, in hallways or in corners, you can pique curiosity and keep potential buyers interested throughout a whole home tour. A piece of artwork, a painted accent wall, a window seat, a vase of flowers, a hanging light or even a small, colorful rug can all work to draw the eye.

Show how you can use awkward areas. If you have any room beneath the stairs, or a nook or alcove anywhere in your home, try to find a unique way to show it off. By setting up a small work station, a home command center with a bulletin board, or built-in shelving, your awkward spot becomes another selling point.

Think seasonally. Make sure your garden is in beautiful shape in the summer, and that any extra features you have, like a pool or a fire pit, are cleaned and ready to go. Take advantage of the cozy vibe of the season in autumn and winter, by building a fire in the fireplace and simmering hot apple cider on the stove.

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What Should You Look For When It’s Time to Buy

Take the long view when you’re buying your next home. If you plan to start a family in a few years, set your sights on a single-family with plenty of bedrooms.

One house you’re looking at has the wraparound porch you’ve fantasized about, but it’s on a high-traffic street.

If you plan to stay single or don’t choose to have children, should you choose an urban setting with less yard maintenance?

It’s not every day that you buy a home and make decisions about the next three, five, or 10 years of your life. Since you can’t exactly take a home on a test drive, how do you decide? With so many choices on the market, how do you choose?

Be Willing to Compromise for Your Priorities

Make sure your practical and functional priorities don’t get lost in searching for all the home buying pleasantries such as sparkling granite counters, new hardwood floors, a steam shower. Remember, you can always add the pleasantries, but you can’t make a home fit all priorities, such as location and price.

Dig Into the Details

If one of your priorities is to minimize your maintenance costs, make sure to find out if the house has a newer roof, good siding, and a newer ac unit/furnace. But you should also go even deeper to uncover a home’s not-so-obvious maintenance costs:

  • Scope out the sewer line — especially if you’re interested in an older home — to make sure there aren’t any tree branches or other debris clogging up the works. Otherwise, you might find some nasty sludge in the basement.
  • Look at the trees. How mature are they? Roots from older trees can invade the sewer line; untrimmed branches can pummel your gutters during storms.
  • Know what’s not covered by homeowners insurance. “I learned seepage isn’t covered. Shame on me,” he says.
  • Ask how old the appliances are. You might need to budget for something new in a few years. Sellers are only required to fix what the inspector finds is broken; they’re not going to upgrade working appliances for you.

Focus on Lifestyle

You get the biggest value from owning the land. In a single-family home, people aren’t telling you what to do with the investment.

Think of your lifestyle preferences and how those might change in the next few years. After all, the typical homeowner lives in a house for a median of 10 years before selling.

Filter Your Choices Through the Lens of Resale

Don’t buy or build something unique that you can’t resell. If you’re not in an area with log homes, don’t choose a log home. If you’re not in an area with dome homes, don’t choose a dome home.

Likewise, don’t overspend for the neighborhood if you buy a home priced higher than average for the area, it’ll be difficult to resell at a higher price. Don’t buy a home that’s not in line with the neighborhood’s average price . When you go to resell, you’ll find yourself in an uphill battle to maintain your higher price.

Watch out for unfixable flaws that could affect resale, like:

  • What’s next to the home, such as vacant land that could be developed, high-traffic businesses, noisy power generation stations, a cell tower, etc.
  • Lot issues, such as a steep driveway that could double as a ski slope in winter, or a sloped yard that sends water special delivery to your foundation.

Of course, a home isn’t just about resale. It’s just one factor to consider. Remember the first point: Be willing to compromise for your priorities. If the home meets your priorities and you’re going to stay there awhile, then resale might be where you compromise.

 

Finding happiness and why work life balance is important.

Work is demanding ― you’re expected to show up for a full day to complete your tasks, and sometimes, the expectation is set to be available 24/7, especially with the constant availability of smart devices. Though it is desirable to excel at your career, when it bleeds into your personal life it can affect your mental and physical well-being.

People need time to think, relax and give themselves a break. Otherwise, productivity will decrease.

You need boundaries to achieve balance between your personal and professional lives. However, the subject doesn’t have to be viewed as completely black and white. Balance isn’t about building an impenetrable wall between your personal and professional lives, but finding ways to connect the two.

Here are six actionable ways to help you adjust your attitude and feel more in control.

Recognize the role of work

Work plays a significant part in life. It keeps the lights on, pays the mortgage, makes the car payment, funds retirement and permits yearly vacations. Adopting the right mind-set allows you to celebrate and enjoy the fruits of your labor, rather than making your job seem like endless drudgery.

Don’t be afraid to unplug

We live in a connected world that never sleeps. Turning off from the outside world provides time to recover from weekly stress.

It also gives us space to let other thoughts and ideas surface. When you are always on, you don’t allow other things to surface that might be more important.

Create (and stick to) a daily routine

Like maintaining a calendar, implementing a strong daily routine will help keep you on track to achieve the balance you want. Setting strong habits, such as sleeping 8 hours, avoiding checking your email for the first couple hours of the day, getting outside daily, and taking time to eat right and work out, will make you healthier and happier.

It will absolutely reflect in your mental clarity, emotional capacity, relationships and creativity. Those are the traits that make up the greatest leaders and most successful people.

Make time for yourself

While being good at your job is important, it shouldn’t be your entire life. You were an individual before taking this position and you should prioritize those activities or hobbies that made you happy.

Whether you take a walk in the park, get a massage or take a hot bath, it’s important to always set aside an hour a week to do something for yourself.

Try reading, traveling and fostering hobbies that have nothing to do with your career.

Take your vacation

Sometimes making time for yourself means taking a vacation and shutting work completely off.

A vacation could be a 15-minute walk around the block without looking at your phone, or a vacation could be two or three weeks traveling with family/friends. It’s important to take a step back to physically and mentally recharge. If you are surrounded by good people at work, a vacation should be easy to take.

Be present, consistent and accountable

Being present requires you to be attentive at home, at work and during free time. Where you spend your time and energy has a direct connection to how successful you are in achieving work-life balance.

It’s so easy to get caught up working, but it’s so important to spend time with family, friends or other people who bring joy into our lives Though it might not seem obvious at first, the memories that we create while spending time with those we love help spark new ideas, and ways of thinking.

Seven mistakes to avoid when selling your home!

If you’ve lived happily in your home for years, it can be difficult to detach yourself from cherished memories and look at your house as a commodity you’re attempting to sell.

But no matter how much you love your home, you’ll need to spruce it up before it hits the market.

For a smooth transaction that garners the most possible profit from your sale, avoid these seven common, and costly, home seller mistakes.

1. Skipping a home inspection

Depending on the age of your home, scheduling a pre-listing home inspection could save you a lot of time and aggravation. You can address issues on your own time and budget before negotiating with a buyer to fix problems.

2. Skimping on your sales prep

While you may be tempted to “test the waters” and put your home on the market without painting it or making minor repairs, your home is likely to languish on the market and get a reputation for having a major problem. A thorough, professional-level cleaning should be your bare minimum seller prep. Your eventual sales price is likely to be lower if you don’t sell within the first few weeks after you list your home.

3. Choosing the wrong Realtor®

Instead of picking a Realtor® who’s a friend of a friend, a relative, or perhaps someone who’s great at working with buyers, take the time to pick someone with an excellent reputation for listing homes. Your payoff will be much larger if you list your home with a real estate agent with local market knowledge and sales expertise.

4. Neglecting to ramp up your curb appeal

If you polish and primp inside your home but if you neglect to pull weeds or paint your front door, you run the risk of potential buyers leaving without ever entering your home.

5. Withholding information from buyers

If you hope that the buyers or their inspector won’t find out about the leak under your bathroom sink or the fact that your basement gets flooded every winter, you run the risk of a nasty negotiating period—or worse, a lawsuit after the settlement.

6. Overpricing your home

If you’ve hired the right real estate agent, someone who can give you a strong market analysis and help you determine a reasonable price for your home, then you can avoid overpricing your home. If you don’t listen to a real estate agent and base your listing price on an inflated view of your home’s value, you’re likely to end up selling after multiple price drops for less than you would have if you priced it right the first time.

7. Being unprepared for your next step

Whether you should buy your next home or sell your current home first is only one part of the preparation you need to make to move. You need a back-up plan in case your transaction on either end takes longer or shorter than you think, and you need to understand your mortgage payoff and the closing costs you must pay.