Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 4/15/2019

Creating curb appeal is an essential ingredient to attracting potential buyers to a house for sale. Similar to the concept of "dressing for success," when you make a strong first impression, your chances for producing positive results are greatly enhanced.

Looking good from the outside is the first step to capturing people's interest, but that's only the first of several hurdles that you have to clear. The last thing you want to do as a home seller is disappoint prospective buyers when they start looking around inside. That's why it's important to start strong and finish strong! While that may be easier said than done, it's a principle of success you can't afford to ignore.

Once you put your house on the market, there are two factors that could potentially work against you: the elements of time and competition.

  • Time is of the essence: Time can either be your friend or your adversary, depending on how long your house has been on the market. When house hunters see the words "just listed," it creates a feeling of excitement and urgency. For many eager home buyers, those two words mean there's a fresh opportunity to discover the house of their dreams... or at least a reasonable facsimile! It's especially enticing to frustrated buyers who have already looked at a lot of homes, without having found the right one yet. When a new house is listed and put on the market, couples will be thinking and saying "Maybe this house will be the one!" Your challenge as a home seller is to do everything possible and cost-effective to live up to their expectations! An important factor to keep in mind is that the longer a house is on the market, the less appealing it generally is to prospective buyers. Once a house has been languishing on the market for more than a couple months or so, it also puts the sellers at a negotiating disadvantage.
  • Competition is a fact of life: Buying a house is weighty decision. No one takes it lightly, and few buyers are going to make an offer on a house if they haven't looked at several others, too. Well-organized house hunters will have wish lists, "must have" requirements, and detailed notes and recollections about how each house stacks up. So it's important to work with your real estate agent to present your home in its best possible light. When your home compares favorably to other similar properties on market, your chances of getting it sold within a reasonable period of time are greatly improved.
Maintaining an appealing exterior will help give you an inside track in the competitive real estate market, but making sure your property is in good shape from top to bottom will often be the deciding factor in how soon you get to the finish line!





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 1/7/2019

Preparing your house to sell can mean different things in different markets. You want your home to be competitively priced and attractive to the buyer, so you put some extra effort into staging and end up with no takers. What happened?

Despite what you see in decorator magazines and on television, sometimes less is more, way more when it comes to staging your home.

Here are some areas to watch out for when following staging “advice.”

  • Over the years, real estate agents have shared the notion that freshly baked cookies or bread evoke a warm and welcoming atmosphere. But unless you're offering the treats to share, leave the baking to the shop down the street. The idea has run its course and appears to be just what it is—a sales tactic that might backfire on you.
  • In the same vein, don't light scented candles all over the place. What seems delightful to you may be overpowering to your potential buyer. They may be wondering just what you're trying to cover up. Instead, open the windows and air it out. Or use an odor-removing spray with a "fresh" or "linen" scent.
  • Don’t cover the windows. Don’t buy new blinds, new drapes, new valances, or sheers. Just don’t! Your windows should be as lightly-dressed as possible. Remove or pull up shades to let the dazzling sunlight stream through the clean glass. Chances are, your buyer has different taste from you, so spending money on new window coverings would be a lose-lose!
  • Leave the music and television off. Since you don't know your buyer's taste in music any more than you know their taste in candles, allow the home's everyday sounds to become music to the buyers' ears.
  • Don’t decorate every surface. It’s easy to do when using magazines or home décor shows as your guide, but savvy buyers want to see the nitty-gritty surfaces. They want to know what they’re buying, and not worry about what you’re covering up with all that stuff.
  • During holidays or events, don’t overdo the celebratory decorations. These become distractions and may turn off your buyers.
  • If you've painted a room a deep shade of red or purple, consider painting it light and bright before your open house. Regardless of how popular they are in theory, homes with darker shades don't sell as quickly as lighter hues.• Don't leave family portraits and very personal items hanging on walls or filling display spaces. You want the buyers to imagine themselves there, not to see you.

When staging your home for sale, opt for less, not more. Less furniture, fewer window coverings, and limited décor give your home its best chance. For more ideas on home staging, talk to your local real estate agent.





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 7/23/2018

Home staging is one of the most tried-and-true methods of selling your home faster. It can also help you increase the purchase price of your home by between one and five percent.

However, working with a professional home stager--while a good investment--is not always in everyone’s budget.

The good news is, there are a lot of simple and inexpensive ways to stage your home that will give visitors a good first impression, make for great photos for your online listing, and hopefully help speed up your home sale.

In today’s post, we’re going to break down six of the most effective and inexpensive home staging tips to help you sell your home faster.

1. Declutter everything

Cleaning out your home is one of the best ways to make it appear more spacious and welcoming. It gives you the chance to start packing items you won’t need until you move into your new home, and it opens up space to use a few choice decorations around the home.

For things like cabinets and closets, remove all of the items you won’t need until you move. A closet that is half-full will look much larger for guests viewing your home.

2. Clean carpets and polish wooden furniture

Carpets, flooring, and furniture make up a large percent of the visible space in your home. Leaving these items dirty or worn when selling your home is missing out on a huge opportunity to make your home look up-to-date and well-maintained.

You can rent a carpet cleaner for as little as $20, and a gallon of wood polish costs around $15, making these two items a solid investment for staging your home.

3. Paint with bright colors

When we paint our homes we usually choose colors that we like, rather than ones that appeal to the largest number of people. And although that’s a great thing while you own a home, it can be detrimental when it comes time to sell. Repainting dark walls in bright, neutral tones will make the room feel larger and well-lit.

4. Paint the front door while you’re at it

A freshly painted, bright colored front door can be the secret weapon when it comes to making your home stand out amongst your neighbors. It is a cheap way to quickly freshen up the exterior of your home and increase curb appeal.

5. Purchase a new welcome mat and mailbox

Welcome mats tend to get a lot of use and wear down. Similarly, mailboxes often get dented and faded over the years.

These two items can be excellent accents to improve the curb appeal of your home. Choose colors that match the overall color scheme of your home to establish a sense of continuity.

6.  Rearrange furniture to allow foot traffic

When someone comes to view your home, you’ll want to sure they have ease of access to each part of the house. Rearrange the furniture in your kitchen, dining room, and bedrooms to make it easy to tour the home.





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 3/9/2015

You are about to make a big decision; putting your home up for sale but there are some very important things you need to do before the sign goes in the yard and you open your doors to potential buyers. Getting these things checked off the list will help get you to a quicker and more profitable sale. Here are some tips to get you started: 1. Sit down with your real estate professional. Come up with a game plan and set a realistic asking price. Make decisions about marketing and showing availability. Pre-scheduling meetings or times to catch up with your agent will help keep the lines of communication open. 2. Get your paperwork in order. Prepare a list of repairs, upgrades that have been done to your home. Assemble all maintenance records, warranty information and user guides for appliances in the home. If you do not have them many are available on the internet. It will show potential home buyers you care about your home. 3. Clean your home top to bottom. Wash the walls, shampoo the rugs, touch up the paint and get every cobweb from the corners. Remember your home will be looked at very closely and the last thing you want is a buyer to be turned off by a little dirt. 4. Organize and declutter everywhere. You have probably acquired quite a bit of stuff. Go through every closet, cabinet, and start clearing out. You may want to have a yard sale or donate unwanted items to charity. For the things that you must keep consider a storage unit. 5. Get a home inspection. Have a pre-sale inspection of your home. This will prevent any surprises and help you identify any problem areas in your home. Repairs can affect the ultimate sale price of your home. For problem areas, make repairs or get estimates. This will help you determine what the ultimate sale price or items you may need to be prepared to negotiate on. 6. Stage the home to sell. Hire a professional stager to dress your home for sale. You will want to stage the home inside and out. Research shows that staged homes typically sell for more money. Congratulations you are well on your way to a successful sale.  





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 6/27/2014

Candles can make a home look inviting, cozy and warm. They can also give a glow to many people’s skin tones. Candles come in many sizes, shapes and scents. Burning of candles during a showing can make the home feel warm and inviting making the buyer feel relaxed and calm. Try to pick out colors like maroon (cinnamon) orange (pumpkin) these scents are soothing and relaxing scents and will help make the potential sellers feel like home. The placing of the candles is very important. The best places to put them are in the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen table, window sills, and fireplace mantel. If you have a fireplace, lighting a fire is a sure way to give that room a warm and welcoming feeling. Everybody loves a fireplace and your buyers will too. Bake something delicious smelling. The Real Estate experts swear by the just baked smell when showing a home. It makes your potential buyers feel right at home. Things like Apple pie; chocolate chip cookies or fresh baked bread all will create that warm and inviting feeling. Family photos in the home make your home feel like a house full of love. Potential buyers who see photos of a family having fun, and enjoying life in their home will create a sense of a home that has a lot of memories and love. Bottom line, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere can help you sell your home.