Staging Your Home

Empty = Unimaginable 

Moving into a new home is an exciting time but if you’re trying to sell your home you may want to wait before moving everything out.

Though a vacant home is easy to show it can be difficult for potential homeowners to imagine themselves in the space. Empty homes, especially those with a higher listing price, may stay on the market longer than homes that appear lived in.

A unoccupied home can highlight its opportunities such as: chipped paint, cracks and faded walls or floors, making potential buyers more leery to write a contract or they may underbid the home because they know the homeowner has already moved on.

Staging is a term realtors and designers use to discuss options on increasing they overall curb appeal of your home inside and out. Designers will work with the homeowner to create a cozy atmosphere allowing buyers to imagine how they and their belongings would fit in the home.

When you create an inviting, clean, spacious and well-maintained look, you immediately set your home apart from others. The overall effect will increase traffic and ideally a faster sale time.

Staging doesn’t have to be a long or cost-prohibitive process. If you haven’t completely moved yet, designers can help you decide what pieces of furniture to leave behind to create that live-in look. They can also help de-clutter your home to show off its strengths. Depending on the size and challenges your home may face, some designers may recommend furniture rental in addition to painting, landscaping and new flooring options.


Tips for selling your home

We’ve all heard about how “bad” the real estate market is. But what’s bad for sellers can be good for buyers, and these days, savvy buyers are out in spades trying to take advantage of the buyer’s market. Here are 13 thing you can do to help sell your house.

Source: Reader's Digest



A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words- or Not!

When it comes time to market your home, pictures will play an integral part in convincing a potential buyer that they want to take the time to view your property.  It's not rocket science, folks.  Lots of people search for homes on the internet.  Depending on whose numbers you choose to believe, 80-94% of home buyers conduct Internet searches for homes.  Cliche as it may be, a picture really is worth a thousand words.  What follows is my advice, for what it's worth...

Have you ever watched or been a home buyer searching for homes? Try it.  Note how they blow past the lisitngs with no photos.  Virtually every buyer I've watched or talked to just ignores listings with no photos.  Watch and notice what happens when they see the primary listing photo and it kindles their interest.  See the disappointment when they click for more pictures and there are none? Or, worse yet, they are of such poor quality, you cannot tell the true assets of the property.  Or, it leaves you wondering if the photos are vague because they are trying to hide something.  Know what happens in those situations? Yep, they move on to the next listing, rarely giving your home a second thought.

It is our goal at Julie Pogue Properties to supply you with sufficient, high quality photos to properly showcase your home.  Work with us prior to having to having those important photos taken to ensure your home is represented as best it can be.  If you anticipate that you are going to put your home on the market-take photos early and often to capture your home in different light and different seasons when the landscaping is at its best.  Curb appeal used to be the big thing.  These days 'web appeal' may be just as, if not more, important in getting your home sold.  Pictures under or over-exposed, out of focus or taken from the wrong angle will not do your property justice.  And, of course, the more photos the better.  A report compiled by a leading real estate Web site provider showed that there is a direct correlation between the number of photos and how often listings are viewed.  

Great pictures and lots of them will improve the odds of getting your home previewed and more buyers through the door.  We have great photographers with decades of experience that help us market your home.  Consult us early and often so when you are ready to put your home on the market you will also be ready to put your best photographs on the MLS.

Hope you all have a terrific week!


Clean Homes Show Better

Would you rather walk into a clean home or a dirty home? This is not a loaded question.  It is an important one! When it comes to selling a home, many people forget how important the answer to that question really is.  Sellers get busy looking for their new home, preparing kids for a move, packing up their belongings, getting organized for their new life and relocation so much that sometimes their home that is for sale doesn't get the attention that is needed to push it to the top of the buyers' must-have lists.

After the home sits on the market for a long period of time, the sellers realize something has to change.  Sometimes it is the price, but sometimes it's the fact that the home that is being shown isn't clean enough.  Yes, clean homes show better.  Here are five suggestions to help make yours sparkle:

Hard to Reach Windows, Skylights and Ceiling Fans.  These often get overlooked either because they are difficult to access to clean or because they aren't at eye level.  Whichever the case, cleaning windows in high ceilings or skylights provides a brighter light to shine in your home.  Sometimes just getting out the could of dust and dirt that accumulates can make the difference between a murky-looking room and one that is eye catching.  Clean the windows on a cloudy day if you can, but not a rainy one.  If you clean the windows in the direct light of sun, traces can appear on the window, as the cleaning solution gets dry before being cleaned.  Don't forget those paddles on the ceiling fan as well-both the tops and the bottoms.  And, if your ceiling fan has an attached light fixture, make sure the globes and the bulbs are as shiny as can be for maximum effect!

Toilets.  It may seem like this goes without saying but I am sure any real estate agent you ask will have a horror story about toilets.  Whether they are leaking, continuously running, stained or simply stinky, they pose a major deterrant if ignored.  If you have an older toilet, give it a good inspection and be sure to check under the lid, down the front of the bain and around the seal to the floor.  Buyers sometimes use your toilet when they are looking at your home and nothing is worse than seeing rust stains and other unsightly marks.

Walls and Baseboards. I am sure you have read much about the value of a fresh coat of paint prior to putting a home on the market.  But perhaps you can acheive the same effect with a good wipe-down instead.  Using a wet, midly soapy cloth you can scrub the walls and baseboards to make them look like they have had a fresh coat of paint and for hundreds of dollars less.  I don't normally tout a particular cleaning product but Mr. Clean's Magic Erasers will save you the mess and ease the elbow grease.  These rectangular-shaped cleaning pads can take the grime off nearly everything.  You don't have to spray anything on the surface you are going to clean-just wet the eraser and wipe off the marks.  Whole walls can be celaned with these pads and they will look as though the wall had been freshly painted.  Be sure to get the baseboards too and get down the kids' level to wip off the marks where they place their fingers while walking up the stairs or down the hall.

Tile.  Hopefully you will get lots of foot traffic when your home is on the market.  This, however, can lead to very dirty flooring and grout--especially in times of inclement weather.  The tile and the condition of the grout will matter to buyers should they decide to make an offer.  Really scrub those dirtly lines of grout with a good heavy duty acidic cleaner meant for such purpose.  Doing so will make the tile stand out and not look like it needs regrouting.  

Closets, Cabinets, Computer Areas.  I have written about the value of clean closets before but cannot reiterate it enough.  Buyers love to snoop and will open closets and cabinet doors.  De-clutter closets, hang shirts all facing the same way and even alphabetize the spice cabinet.  The point is to not have junk stuffed inside closets and cabinets so that when potential buyers open them to have a peek, everything comes crashing down on them.  This will give the impression that the closets are too small.  Computer areas are becoming quite popular in homes and behind most of those computers is a tangled web of wires collecting tons of dust.  Organize the wires using Velcro or zip ties and dust them off.  Or, better, yet, if you don't have to use the computer daily, arrange the area like you were filming a movie or shooting an advertisement--you never see wires! Remove all of the computer and accesory electronic cords.  You can leave the monitor display on the desk but taking the wires and storing them will give the area a more spacious, clean and professionally staged look.

When buyers see homes that are dirty, cluttered, disorganized, scoffed and worn, they may think it is an indication that the home may not have received the care it needed for bigger items, too, such as the furnace, disposal, plumbing, electrical wiring, etc.  It gives a general feeling of un-cleanliness and can leave a negative lasting impression and your home still on the market.  Invite your two most fastidious friends to give you a critique.  And ask your agent for his or her opinions as well and really listen to them! A little cleaning and preparation before you market your home will help show buyers that you have cared for the house and that could be just the signal a buyer needs in order to make an offer.

Remember, we are experienced and well-prepared to assist you in selling your home when you are ready.  Don't hesitate to give us a call.

Hope you all have a terrific week!


Five Top Staging Tips

Staging is a way for your home to stand out from the competition.  It's a way for a buyer to see the true potential of your home.  Many real estate agents work with professional stagers.  But if you don't have the money to spend for professional help, then consider these five tips to stage your own home.

  1. Curb Appeal: A first impression happens only once! Prun overgrown plants and remove unnecessary clutter from your yard.  For a finishing touch, consider painting your front door an attention grabbing color like dark blue, red or green.
  2. Remove Clutter:  Knickknacks, doodads and bric-a-brac must go.  When you put your home on the market, a showing could be scheduled at any point.  So, for now, take a box and go from room to room collecting the extra 'stuff.'  These unnecessary items distract homebuyers from seeing the actual room and space.
  3. Edit: It is not just clutter that needs removal from counters and shelves.  Editing is a way of making your rooms look bigger.  In staging you only have the bare essentials of furniture.  Remove heavy pieces that make rooms look smaller.  If you can, put these items into storage.  As a very last resort, you can put them in the garage and cover them with a tarp.
  4. Main functions: This means that a dining room should be staged as a dining room, not as a sewing room or office.  A patio is a place to relax with nature, not a catch-all for outdoor items, toys and grills.
  5. Amiance: You want to create an atmosphere that is welcoming and makes the buyer feel at home.  This is the ultimate goal of staging.  This means the home should smell celan, be light and airy and be a comfortable temperature.  To accomplish these tasks, you can bake cookies prior to a showing to fill the air with yummy goodness.  If you are a smoker or have pets, you may need to take more drastic measures such as repainting walls or celaning carpets and furniture.  To bring your home to light, replace old and burnt out light bulbs and have heavy curtains opened or removed.  If you are shoing during the winter months, be sure to leave the heat set to a comfortable temperature.  The same goes for the air conditioning during the heat of summer.

Use these simple tips to get your home shipshape for your sale.  More ideas can be found on HGTV.  Use your imagination, ask friends for candid advice, listen to your feedback from showings.  All of these will aid you in putting your home in the best possible light for potential buyers.  And, of course, we at Julie Pogue Properties are always ready, willing and able to assist you in all of your residentail real estate needs.

Hope you all have a terrific week!


What's in your closet?


I'm thinking of that Capital One credit card commercial that ran for so long where you would see the Viking family and hear the tagline, 'What's in your waller?' Well, instead I would like to challenge you by asking in the same intonations, 'What's in your closet?'

Sellers often improve the outside appearance of their home, finish all those 'honey do' lists of repairs, remove wallpaper, paint, etc. before listing their home for sale in order to attract potential buyers.  This clean up, paint up, fix up mode is all great in order to make your home shine above the competition.  But what usually happens first when a buyer walks through your front door? They open a closet!

Yes, those new countertops are fabulous and all of the stainless steel appliances are nice but cram all the clutter that you were told to eliminate from your home into the closets combined with out of season items, holiday decorations, board games and a vacuum cleaner in the front closet and guess what the top of mind notation about your home is going to be for this potential buyer? You guessed it--that there is not enough storage in this home!  

Now, instead of enjoying all of the other features your home may have, potential buyers will spend the rest of the tour with their antannae up for further proof that your home has too little storage space for their needs thus causing them to overlook things that they would otherwise have greater appreciation for if you had just cleared out the front closet.

If you are considering putting your home up for sale, or, if it is already on the market and you are not happy with your potential buyer response, start at the front of the house and check every one of your closets with a critical eye.  Look at each one as a potential buyer might see it.  Pack up at least half, if not more out of each closet and let that space breathe! Plus you will be started toward boxing up things for your move anyway.

Your never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Clean those closets before you market  your home!

If you want us to take a peek at your home, give you a market estimate, etc. we are glad to do it.  Just give us a call.  We are ready, willing and able to serve all your residentail real estate needs.

Hope you all have a terrific week!


Getting it Right: Responsibility you might have with selling your parents' real estate

There have been numerous articles and news stories for the past several years about overpriced listings.  Follow these steps to ensure the property of a deceased parent sells easily and quickly.

First of all, make sure that on the will you are listed as a joint tenant 'with right of survivorship.'  So now there is no need to wait for a will to be probated.  You can sell the home by just producing your parent's death certificate.  This varies from state to state so consult your attorney to be sure.  But for most states this will suffice.

The second thing to do is consult with an experienced real estate office who knows the area and the current market conditions.  This is where we come into action and can be of benefit to you--especially if you reside out of the market.  You need to know your realtor is trusted and well-connected to the local market.  They can be your eyes and ears in your absence.

The third thing to do is spend a week getting the home ready to show.  Work to de-clutter the home, remove personal items, clean the house from top to bottom and get rid of frilly ornamentation that would deter buyers from seeing the good 'bones' of the home.  You will find yourself with numerous bags of items going to local charities or the trash.  Don't forget to consider local auction houses, too, for items of value that no family members want to claim.  Extra cash can always come in handy.  Wash the windows, repair and replace what needs attention and make everything gleam.  If you are out of town there are services that do this sort of thing for you that we can easily recommend.  

Fourthly, leave the utilities on so that lights can be activated by throwing a switch or turning a valve.  This is so important.  I cannot count the number of homes I have shown that were dark, hot, etc. due to the complete termination of the electric account.  Trust me, touring homes in the hot Kentucky summer without lights or ac is not fun.  In any case, the utilities will be activated for inspections to be conducted.  Many people will turn the utilities off in order save a few hundred dollars, and in turn, lose thousands of dollars and months of the year while waiting for a buyer.  With all this being said, be sure to winterize a home if it will be vacant during the cold, winter months.

Lastly, listen to our advice about pricing.  We work in the local market every day and understand the assets of your property.  If you want your property to sell before someone else's property you will need to price it a little bit below the competition.  By attractively pricing said property properly, you will guarantee that anytime other homes are being shown in your area, yours will be on that list as well, at a very competitive price.  And once buyers have the opportunity to compare your property to the others, your well-priced home will stand above the rest.  You will find your parents' home sailing toward a smooth closing in a very short period of time.  

Most of the other homes in the area will have been for sale for months, if not years because of stubborn overpricing the prevailing market.  But yours will go in a much shorter period of time and all this during what is considered a tough seller's market.

It just goes to show that when you do preparation right, play the game correctly and work with an expert realtor, you can sell your home in today's market.  And often sell it quickly!

Call me if you or someone you know is ready to sell their residential property.  We are ready, willing and able to assist and advise you on how to move your real estate quickly and get on with your life.

Have a great week!