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Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Make a Buyer WANT Your House! Staging your house, before it’s too late and you lose the sale

If you’ve shopped for a home, chances are you’ve come across one that you really wish you hadn’t visited in the first place. True, houses for sale ought to have a certain “lived in” quality to them, because they are to be lived in after all, but the art of tactfully balancing just the right amount of homeliness with neutrality is not so simple. You need to know what you’re doing when you prepare to set up your house and show it to potential buyers. We’ve put together some great tips for home-sellers so you can get the same results you’d get by hiring a professional staging company.

Fix Up the Place

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make before putting their house up for sale is to neglect areas in the house that need attention. Don’t leave that faulty step unrepaired, only for a potential buyer to step on, slide off of or worse, get injured on – FIX IT! You might think potential buyers won’t notice but they are walking around on your premises like hawks, noticing each little detail. The good news is that they are noticing the first-rate stuff too, so as long as you have the home’s amenities in order and other major areas in tip-top condition, you should be in good shape. Here’s how:

Get Rid of the Clutter

If you want to successfully sell your house, you need to get those potential buyers to imagine they already live there. Too much clutter, hobby-oriented items or personal possessions that most people may not be able to identify with, can easily get in the way of that vision. Organize things in stylish storage bins or better yet, have a garage sale before the open house and get rid of unwanted stuff. You have to move soon anyway, why not kill two birds with one stone? A clean and organized home will seem like a clean slate to buyers, who can then see themselves moving in without much hassle and settle in effortlessly.

Stay Neutral

Skip the tie and dye sofa cushions, shaggy 70s rug and don’t light incense on the day of your open house. While you’re at it, don’t fill the space with gender-specific things either. Buyers should walk into a neutral ground – literally. Light to medium colors, preferably in beige tones, are the simplest way to pull buyers’ attention away from other personal aspects of your home that they may not be able to identify with. Beige goes with almost anything so if someone considering purchasing your home can imagine their things in the space, then you’ve just crossed one of the most major hurdles in home-selling – making a buyer identify with the home.

Make It a Modern, Inviting Environment

If you don’t already have them, invest in a few modern decorative accessories to improve the look of your space while lending an air of style and taste and making it more enticing. It doesn’t have to take much but depending on how you set it up, you can enhance a given space with a few simple additions and deletions. Take your over-crowded study and rearrange the bookshelf to display only a few strategic but essential books, like a leather-bound set of encyclopedia or some literature classics. In the same way, leave a few children’s toys in a child’s room but be sure to display them tastefully.

Put a Few Finishing Touches in Place

The idea is that you want your house to be sold – and you probably want it sold fast. If you are careful to respect the people who are visiting your space to decide whether it’s the right one for them, then you are doing something that a lot of homeowners neglect to consider. Taking down a piece of controversial artwork that may make a potential purchaser uncomfortable could be the one bargaining chip that could make or break the sale. Arranging for all those who currently live in the home to be away during the open house and while showing the house being dressed in a way to present a good impression are also great ways to tip the scales in the right direction.

It’s very simple. You need to make the potential buyer feel right at home from the get-go. If from the moment they walk in and smell cinnamon cookies baking makes them wish this was already home – then you’re already two steps ahead and can call the open house a success! Of course, a signature on the dotted line is where the real success lies and as long as the buyer feels at home, chances are that if everything else lines up – the sale is a winner!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Maximize Your Space; Putting All That Stuff in Its Place!

Everyone loves a ton of space. Whether in your closet, garage or anyplace else in your home, there always seems to be the need for more room. So what happens with all that stuff we’ve accumulated over the years? It keeps getting piled up, adding clutter and making our space much more uninhabitable than it really needs to be. The easiest way to circumvent the problem of very tight spaces is to open it up. How, you ask? Simple. Play around with creative storage solutions, use any and all unused space around you – and things will start falling into place, literally.

Imagine yourself walking into your home office, only to be greeted by stacks of paper, unruly computer and technology equipment and wires, storage boxes, books and more. It’s not that your obsessive-compulsive next door neighbor with the perfect home office has less stuff. It’s just that he knows how to work with the space he has to utilize it to the best of his needs. With these few simple steps, you can be on the road to being able to focus on the things that really matter, leaving those that don’t to be sitting somewhere safe where it belongs.

Double-Decking and Triple Stacking


The most obvious place we see a ton of wasted opportunity is the closet. On the one hand, a closet is designed to store and maintain our most personal of possessions. But if you take a closer look, nine times out of ten, the closet space just isn’t very functional. Yes, there is some hanging space. Yes, some shoes can be stored on the floor and for most people there is at least one shelf above all this, to put items like folded sweaters and handbags on. Unless you’re one of the very lucky people who have a walk-in closet the size of most homeowners’ master bedroom, chances are you are lacking in sufficient closet space.

By installing simple and easily affordable stacked storage units, the dead space that is typically from the top of your shelf to the ceiling, and also that which is from the floor to hanging clothes – can be utilized. Set up your hanging areas in a way that double-deck your pants storage and other shorter items. The shelf space overhead is a great place to keep seasonal items that rarely need to be accessed.

Stairs and Landings

There is always room under or over staircases. Whether it’s your basement stairs that leave a wide-open opportunity to keep things under wraps or the gaping section overhead where there is a staircase and foyer area – the prospects are limitless. Consider using the basement gaps to house your washer and dryer units. Large, cumbersome appliances are never aesthetically pleasing. So to be able to keep them semi-hidden and devote that extra room to recreation or an entertainment space is very useful to homeowners.


If you’re not careful, over the years the amount of kitchen that can be accumulated is tremendous. One method used to keep homes within reason in terms of stuff is to purge and purchase. Many people employ a policy of donating or selling old items before bringing in the new; a great way to maintain balance. But for the rest of us, that is just not practical. One great way to use extra space in the kitchen is to hang a pot rack. Not only does it add character to your kitchen, it also frees up a ton of kitchen cabinet area.

Staying Together in Groups

Families know only all too well the need for space, space and more space. The larger the family, the more stuff keeps coming in – and there’s a good chance these people are not among those who purge and purchase. So what is the solution opportunity here? Organize, stack, store and keep together items that are similar. If your six-year-old insists on owning every single Matchbox car that ever was, you will need to find a viable and practical solution to store his collection. Keeping all his cars in one large bin is a great way to maintain his room, yet provide him the much-needed accessibility to his possessions. This basic rule of thumb applies to all areas around the house. Grouping kitchen utensils, stationery or a million little hair doodads owned by your very particular, up and coming teenager is the way to maintain available space and use up the dead variety.

Deep Down Under

EVERYONE knows that monsters live under the bed. Ok, well maybe not. But if you install a couple of under bed storage drawers and make that the place where all art supplies are stored, you will be doing your child a huge favor. Not only will it free up her desk but it will also keep her room neat and provide more area for her to hang out.

It’s NOT Always What’s on the Inside

The garage is the single best opportunity to maximize wasted space. You can hang peg board on the walls, put up tools, small bins and other clever storage knick-knacks. Avid cyclists often hang their bicycles overhead in the garage. Floor-to-ceiling garage cabinetry is another way to replace clutter for the cars in your space.

Who says you have to move into a five-thousand square foot expanse? With just a little bit of creativity, an open-minded attitude, some innovative methods and the will to implement, you CAN change the entire look of your smaller home – almost “doubling” it in appearance and tastefully maximize every last bit of space available. The only thing you may find challenging is knowing about and finding all that “hidden” dead space in your home so you can work at making it useful!