Real Estate, Community News & More from My Desk to Yours

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

100 Great Ways to Stage Your Home

1. Create a list of items needing attention. Start at the curb in front of your house with a notepad and pen and walk through the house. Jot down anything that "leaps" out at you.

2. Have a friend perform a walk-through of your home. Add their ideas to your list.

3. Repaint the front door and trim.

4. Open the front door and make sure it doesn’t squeak, groan, or drag.

5. Wash the mailbox and paint it if necessary.

6. Get an attractive mat for the front door for people to wipe their feet. Replace worn, badly stained, or personalized ones.

7. Clean out the flowerbeds. Make a distinct border between the beds and lawn.

8. Invest in a few flats of flowers that will last the entire growing season and will add color and beauty to the front of your home.

9. Prune bushes and trees. Remove any dead shrubs or low laying tree limbs.

10. Buy a flowering plant and place it in a window that is passed by frequently.

11. Remove any personal or family photos hanging on the wall but leave up any art or landscaping framed pictures.

12. Along with personal photographs, remove most religious paintings, statues, crucifix, especially in the public areas.

13. If you don't have any artistic wall hangings, just go to your local flea market or Wal-Mart and buy just a few cheap classy wall hangings to go into the entry, living room and dining area.

14. Replace curtains with sheers that let in more light, so potential buyers can see your home in the best light.

15. Shampoo and deodorize the carpets.

16. Wipe down walls to remove smudges; paint walls if they look worn or are an unusual color. Choose a neutral color if you repaint, but avoid white as it is too stark.

17. Rearrange and remove some furniture throughout the house to make rooms appear larger.

18. Remove all unnecessary objects on the furniture throughout the house.

19. Declutter, Declutter, Declutter!! Remove all knick knacks, souvenirs, personal items, messes, etc.

20. Place all money and jewelry and other valuables in a secure, out of sight location.

21. Put away mail which distracts buyers from the fine points of a room.

22. "Rule of 3" - no more than three items on top of tale, dressers, kitchen counters, etc.

23. Kids' toys, tools, stacks of old magazines, and all other unsightly objects need to be packed away.

24. Cupboards, cabinets, and closets should be organized.

25. Consider removing the bulk of your clothes from closets and pack them away in storage. You will need to do this soon anyway.

26. Buy new pillows for the sofa.

27. Make a centerpiece for your table that includes fresh or artificial flowers.

28. Purchase 3 or 4 potted plants from your local home store to add a nice green color around your home.

29. Clean all bathrooms, and bleach any mold or mildew you find in the bathtubs.

30. The bathrooms and kitchen can be brightened by adding a few hand towels, and a nice pump hand soap dispenser.

31. Buy new bath towels if potential buyers can see the towels you use.

32. Remove any fixtures that you do not want to include with the sale. For example, an antique chandelier in the dining room should be replaced before showing your property or it could (and probably would) become a key negotiating item for the buyer.

33. Clear all unnecessary appliances from the kitchen countertops.

34. Remove messages and artwork from the refrigerator or other kitchen appliances.

35. Clean all kitchen appliances especially the oven. It can make or break a buyer’s opinion of a kitchen.

36. Locate operating manuals for all appliances. Have warranty information available.

37. Remove all extra items from tubs, showers, commode top, and countertop in the bathroom.

38. Make sure the caulk in the bathrooms, showers, and sinks is in good condition. Re-caulk if necessary.

39. Replace shower curtain if necessary.

40. Display colorful soaps.

41. Replace shower doors if needed.

42. Keep toilet lid down.

43. Keep beds made.

44. Wash all windows and make them sparkle. Clean windowsills and window jams.

45. Wash any blinds.

46. Take off any screens if they are not alarmed and give maximum exposure to the view outside.

47. Clean the fireplace and hearth. Winter logs stacked ready for the fire OR summer flower arrangement.

48. Sweep the garage and keep it tidy. Consider renting a small storage space rather than fill the garage with boxes, making it look smaller.

49. Put pets and pet food dishes and litter box outside or in the garage. If not using a clumping litter, do so. It keeps odors to a minimum.

50. If you don’t have time to clean your house it is strongly recommended that you hire a professional cleaning service to clean your house from top to bottom.

51. Dust baseboards, lamps, fans, and shelves.

52. Clean all the mirrors, windows, bathrooms, floors, stairs, and parts of the kitchen.

53. Leaky faucets, jammed drawers, and broken light switches are just a few of the several repairs you can make.

54. Move tables, lamps, throw rugs, and whatever else to make rooms look spacious and inviting.

55. Borrow furniture to use for staging.

56. Lighting fixtures are the focal point of many rooms – but replacing them can cost hundreds of dollars. You can update your existing ones with a new, more attractive and popular stainless steel finish.

57. Painting dull, dirty or chipped register covers or light switch plates can give any room a quick pick-me-up.

58. Clean all rooms from top to bottom, and ensure everything is dust free.

59. Deodorize, this is particularly important if there are pets, smokers or cooking smells.

60. Organize closet and storage areas.

61. Countertops and shelves should not be filled with food - your kitchen space should appear large, clean and functional.

62. Keep blinds / drapes drawn.

63. Use warm, incandescent bulbs inside for more of a homey feel.

64. Replace burnt out light bulbs.

65. Have soft background music playing in the background.

66. Ensure each room has a set function and not make it just a storage area. If you have a third or fourth bedroom that you are just using for storage (like I am) just box up everything and put it in the garage or storage rental unit and put a bed, nightstand, lamp, and some paintings on the walls along with lovely linens to make it appear as a true guest room. Four bedroom homes sell better than three, three better than two. Give the room a definition.

67. Rent some furniture if necessary. We keep a supply in storage for our home sellers to use if they need anything for the two or three months we have the property on the market.

68. Ensure traffic flow is smooth and uninterrupted by ensuring proper placement of furniture.

69. Keep the lawn cut short.

70. Trees and bushes near the house should not be more than two feet taller than the roof line.

71. Buy mulch to pour around trees and shrubs.

72. Clean the siding, bricks, gutters, doorways, decks, by renting or borrowing a neighbor’s power washer.

73. Exterior lighting showcases the beauty of your home, so make sure that your light fixtures are just as attractive. Update faded, rusty or outdated finishes with a fresh new finish for a minimal price and maximum impact.

74. Move all garbage cans, extra building materials and gardening supplies from the yard into the garage or shed.

75. Sweep all areas and walkways.

76. Clean the swimming pool, spa or hot tub.

77. Keep patio furniture to a minimum.

78. Use driveway cleaner to remove oil stains from the driveway, paths and garage floor. Laundry bleach for concrete. Or put a fresh coat of paint on your driveway.

79. Clean gutters and or roof from dry rot, leaks and debris.

80. Repair, repaint, or clean sheds, awnings, gazebos.

81. Check and clean all screens and windows. Repair or replace as appropriate.

82. Test all fences, gates, and latches. Repair or replace any weakened areas.

83. Edge the grass around walkways, sidewalks, patios and trees. If you do the grass yourself, invest in a professional company once or twice to really edge, trim, and clip before the open house. Keep shrubs below windows so buyers can see outside as far as they can and not block view.

84. Hide your garden tools and other tools from eye-view.

85. Buy a new mailbox for that added curb appeal.

86. Polish or replace your house numbers (if you have them).

87. A clean exterior wall and roof line is always attractive to buyers. You can choose to paint the front only for that important first impression to save some time and money.

88. Another common visual problem is rust stains from well water. These usually look like brownish orange stains in weird patterns. There is an easy solution for this! Your local hardware store has a product that you spray onto the rust stains and they simply disappear!

89. You can buy a gallon of bug killer that you spray along the perimeter walls and edges of your patio, sidewalks, and driveway. This will take care of live ants and keep them from coming back.

90. Another great thing to do is use degreaser to clean the shell of your interior air handler, water heater, and circuit breaker box.

91. If you have a screened patio, make sure the screens are in good condition and secured.

92. Put a seasonal wreath on your front door for that great welcoming feeling you want your home to have.

93. For listing the home on the MLS, take photos inside and out in the afternoon when the sun is out. Start at the front and walk through the house as you would during a showing.

94. Put in as many photos as possible in the MLS since we are allowed 25 now instead of eight. It is surprising how many agents only use eight and perhaps they don't even realize you can have more.

95. Apply orange oil to cabinets that appear dry, which will renew their original luster.

96. Put out large bowls of fruit such as polished apples, bright oranges, luscious grapes.

97. Arrange colorful and fun cookbooks on the counters.

98. Make sure not to have any unfinished remodeling projects.

99. If you have vinyl railings outside your home's entrance, give them a good washing. All you need is a bucket, a hose, and some concentrated car wash liquid.

100. Visit model homes to see how neutrality and spaciousness are made to feel so inviting.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Inventory Drops in Coral Gables

It finally has happened! Our inventory of single family homes in Coral Gables dropped  to less than 300 properties (295)...the lowest it has been since the peak sales period of 2005-06 when prices were at their highest and we were down to less than 200 homes. Then inventory slowly expanded to over 650 homes in the sluggish years of 2007-08 and buyers were scarce. Today, of the 295 homes on the MLS, 123 properties are less than $1M, and 172 homes are at $1M or above. Now is the time to buy in the Gables while you still have a selection of affordable properties.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

International Real Estate Shoppers Bought $82 Billion Worth of Residential Property in 2010

In terms of international real estate sales, California used to be at the forefront of the market in 2007 and 2008; but in 2009 it was Florida that took the lead – and still has it. Almost one-third of international real estate bought in the U.S. in 2011 was in Florida. 30% of those deals took place in the Miami/Miami Beach/Fort Lauderdale market according to the National Association of Realtors. Residential inventory in Miami-Dade County fell from 25,769 in August 2010 to 15,405 in August 2011: in Coral Gables it fell from 746 to 506, respectively. The top five international buyer markets are Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and Colombia. Condominiums continue to be the international shopper’s residence of choice accounting for more than 70% of purchases (August 2011).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Coral Gables Inventory Update

FACTOID:  310 homes are currently for sale in Coral Gables (September's # was 323). Inventory continues to drop. 
Take a look at our new listing on 1509 Palancia.