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Prepare…Prep…Show…Sell!!

Once you have made the decision to sell your home on your own, the next step is to prepare the home for showing and determine the venues you plan to take advantage of in the process.

1. Get Rid of All the Stuff (This can be your most difficult task as emotions definitely can interfere in your decision making)

By clearing out the overstuffed closets, the jammed crawlspace, and the packed garage, you not only make your house appear larger, but you also make it easier to move once the home does sell. Also make sure the front of your home looks clean.  Check out the landscaping and give it a little pruning if necessary.  It isn’t a bad idea to ask a family member or friend to wander through your home as a “prospective buyer” to create a different perspective.

2. Decide How You Will Show Your Home. 

Do you want to do an open house where you could have a lot of people wandering through your home at once or do you prefer to show it individually?  Either way works, but open houses do draw people in.  Even if they aren’t interested in your home, they may know someone who is.

3. Consider an Open House.

If you choose to have an open house, the first step is to pick a time and date.  Next, walk through your home and arrange a mini walking tour for your guests to follow.  Print out information sheets that showcase the Buy Owner text and photographs you’ve received. Present these sheets to everyone who walks through your home so they can take it with them, study it, or maybe even pass it on to someone else.

4. Do Last-Minute Prep Work.

Before every showing, do a quick walk through of your house and check for wires that run across the floor, uneven carpets or small toys, anything that could create a walking hazard.

4. Place Signs around Your Neighborhood.

Make sure and post your open house on the ByOwner.com site and if you’re using the MLS options, request it be posted there as well.  Signs should be placed at busy intersections and nearby corners leading potential buyers to your open house. If there are other Open House signs advertising events nearby make sure you have signs right next to theirs.

5. Give Buyers Space.

If you choose to show your home individually to buyers, walk through the home with them, but provide them some space to discuss with each other during the tour. But, make sure and let them know you’re happy to answer any questions they may have along the way.

6. Get a Team.

If you are showing during an open house, do not do it alone. Encourage a few family members or neighbors to help you while people wander through your home. Someone should be at the front door welcoming potential buyers and passing out brochures, while other people are scattered throughout the home. Not only will this prevent someone from stealing a treasured item, but it also will create a place to turn in case a potential buyer has a question.

With a little bit of planning, a home showing can accomplish what you hope it will: someone falling in love with, and buying your home.

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Yes you can sell your home and still enjoy decorating your home and table for Easter, one of the prettiest holidays for using splashes of colors and fresh flowers. Go ahead and add some bunny or Easter egg decor but at the same time use fresh, beautiful, spring flowers on your table. Once Easter is over, remove the eggs and bunnies BUT leave the table set with your loveliest china enhanced by breathtaking spring flowers. You’ll not only increase the beauty of your home, you’ll allow the buyer to imagine their own holiday celebration. Once of the best ways to get an offer is to create an environment where theSetting a Simple Easter Table (With Decorations You Can ... prospective buyers place themselves in your home imagining it as their own!!

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STRATEGY FOR A HOT MARKET!

If you’re in Florida, Metro Denver CO, North Carolina or Texas, you have certainly discovered, particularly if you’re a buyer, that as fast as homes are coming on the market, they are under contract. SO, if you’re a buyer what does this mean for your strategy? What if you’re a seller?House For Sale, Real Estate SOLD sign | House For Sale ...

If you’re a buyer in a hot market like those mentioned above, one of the smartest moves you can make right now is to get pre-approved (not pre-qualified which is a lesser guarantee that you’ll get the mortgage you need) so when you present an offer to a seller, you can also offer them a copy of your pre-approval letter from your lender giving them confidence that your offer is legitimate and solid.

If you’re a seller, one of the smartest moves you can make is to price your home a bit below the market value to incite multiple offers which will typically bring your final price well above what you’re asking. This is a typical strategy of home flippers as it encourages more activity immediately which in turn brings about multiple offers generating a best end price.

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, being smart and strategic will give you your best opportunity to achieve your marketing goals!

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Take A Break with the Kids/Grandkids for Valentines Day!

Take advantage of Valentines Day falling on a Sunday to take the weekend off from selling or buying your home and spend time with the kids or grandkids creating these fun and surprisingly simply heart filled cupcakes! They’ll love the end result and you’ll relish the special time (that can get pushed aside when selling or buying a home) with those special little people who love nothing more than spending time with you! Create…Bake….Laugh….Enjoy!!Surprise Raspberry Heart Cupcakes

  • 1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons McCormick® Raspberry Extract With Other Natural Flavors, divided
  • 24 drops McCormick® Red Food Color
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick® All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 5 tablespoons heavy creamPreheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cake mix as directed on package. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the batter to medium bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the raspberry flavor and red food color. Pour into greased 8-inch square baking pan. Reserve remaining batter.

    Bake 12 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Cut out 12 heart shapes with 1-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. Set aside.

    Stir vanilla into reserved batter. Pour 1/2 off the batter evenly into 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Press 1 cake heart vertically into center of each muffin cup. Pour remaining batter over top. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until top of cupcake is set. Cool cupcakes on wire rack.

    Recipe by: McCormick Foods

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Don’t Let Fear “Interfere” with Finding Your Dream Home!

Sometimes fear can be so overwhelming that it interferes with us being able to move forward into the next part of our life journey.

  • If you’re thinking of buying a home but you spend most of your time writing down why you shouldn’t do so instead of why you should, you may be succumbing to fear.
  •  If you think of a negative every time someone gives you a positive reason to proceed, you may be succumbing to fear.
  •  If you constantly cancel appointments to see homes you feel may be perfect for you, you may be succumbing to fear.
  •  If you convince yourself you can’t afford a home even though your accountant and mortgage broker have given you avenues you can easily take advantage of to do so, you may be succumbing to fear.
  •  If you sabotage your own credit by running up some bills so as not to qualify, you may be succumbing to fear (and need a little therapy).

I can go on and on with circumstances you can manipulate to convince yourself why you shouldn’t proceed, but only you can determine if they are legitimate ‘reasons’ or fearful ‘excuses’.  The key to any decision making process, including buying a home, is right from the start, you much give yourself the authority to move forward. Once you do, you’ll find you make better decisions and enjoy new adventures that you might have missed experiencing. 

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Ready to Clean Your Garden? WAIT!

It might sound bizarre, but it’s important to not just jump right in and start cleaning out the remnants of your garden as we roll from winter into spring (regardless of what the ground hog said). There are many very important insects that have been laying dormant that need time to revive before you accidentally destroy them and their habitat. Did you know that some types of monarch butterflies actually survive the winter in certain parts of the country in lieu of migrating to warm climates? They need to be protected as we move into spring.

So when should you clean up? The most important step you can take might be to delay garden clean up until full spring. Since spring weather varies across the country, when certain trees bloom can actually be your best guide.

When plum trees are blooming in early spring, some native bees will begin to emerge. However, other types of bees may not do so until the end of April when apple trees bloom. Over the last few years, important bee populations have been challenged, so this particular insect is very important when considering preservation.

Though this should be a consideration not just for insects but all outdoor creatures along with your pets that go outside, pesticides should be used sparingly. Even organic pesticides can still harm beneficial insects. Lawn pesticides are especially harmful to firefly larvae.

Leaving a portion of your landscaping covered with natural leaves will protect some insects that stay dormant until the end of June.

I know that I have always had a tendence to clean and mulch pretty early on but have now discovered that it’s important to leave some areas unmulched as many insects burrow deep underground during the winter and need time to emerge. Go ahead and lay down some compost but leaving the soil bare is crucial.

If you truly want to prepare your spring garden for maximum growth of your plantings while still protecting many valuable insect assets, take some time to explore gardening websites or if you’re like me, grab a book at the library, and learn specifics for your particular location. You’ll enjoy a beautiful garden and feel good about doing your part to protect even the smallest of valuable life forces!

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Twas the Night Before Closing

Twas the night before closing

And all through the house

Every creature was stirring

Even the notorious mouse

Boxes were piled as high as could be

Folks yelling to each other

Because none could be seen

Feelings of stress

Were compounded by tears

Walking room by room

Remembering the years

Kids measurements on the door trim

Will be a photo from here on out

And the laughter that was rampant

Fills the air all about

Memories come flooding

As you roam room to room

And again the tears flow

Knowing you’re leaving it all soon

But as strong as the memories

Fill your head and your heart

Step with joy and anticipation

Into your brand new start

The journey continues

As this last one began

And with blind excitement

In your new home you’ll soon stand

The tears may still fall

From time to time

But gatherings of laughter

Will help leave the sadness behind.

So go fill your truck

From bottom to top

Say your final goodbye

Then move on and don’t stop

When you reach your new home

Don’t just open the door

Open your heart and your mind

And enjoy what’s in store!!

(Mary Witkowski 12/18/20)

Moving can dredge up a lot of emotions. Allow yourself to feel them all so that your journey will never lack any chapters.

Copyrighted poem may not be used or duplicated without permission of author.

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Winter Wonderland Selling?

The holiday seasons are upon us and inevitably, whether selling or buying, you may be asking yourself; “Should I continue to market my home/search for my new home from post-Thanksgiving until post-New Years. Review the pros and cons of both.

SELLING PROS:

  • Many other sellers remove their homes from the marketplace during this time which reduces your competition. Lower inventory means that you can stand out to those that are shopping and possibly be rewarded with a higher price.
  • The fact is that regardless of the season, there are always buyers in the market to purchase due to job transfers, divorces, end of leases, seasonal closing on their own home that they’ve sold and people who want to take advantage of the current low interest rate before it goes up.
  • As long as you don’t go overboard, the sights, sounds and aromas of the season cause buyers to imagine what it will be like to enjoy their own holiday gatherings in front of your roaring fire and beautifully displayed Dining Room table.

SELLING CONS:

  • The number of buyers shopping during the holidays is smaller than in the more active spring season.
  • If you live in an area that experiences extremes of cold, snow and ice, you have the added task of making sure your exterior areas are clear and safe to travel. You also need to prepare yourself for the frustration of no shows and reschedules in the event of inclement weather.
  • If you do a lot of entertaining, you might have to be more diligent with regard to keeping your home “show ready”.
  • In many areas affected by the time change, it gets dark a lot earlier making evening appointments more challenging thus you should prepare yourself to be doing more weekend showings.

BUYING PROS:See the source image

  • The reason someone may have their home on the market during the holidays is because they have a “need to be sold by” deadline ie: starting a new job, moving to help out with a family situation, downsizing due to a job loss or reduction in income, etc. This may provide a great opportunity to purchase your dream home at a reduced price.
  • Due to less homes being sold during the holiday season, title companies may have a more open schedule to ensure the closing date you prefer.
  • Like the “Greek restaurant dilemma” of a menu that is so large it’s hard to make a decision, by having fewer homes to choose from, your shopping process may be far less stressful and more effective.

BUYING CONS:

  • Since many people take their homes off the market at this time, you will have less inventory from with to choose.
  • Due to holiday entertaining, viewing appointments may be more difficult to schedule BUT keep in mind if someone is choosing to sell during this season, they will most likely work with you to find a convenient time.
  • If you live in an area with inclement weather, getting to and from appointments might be more challenging.
  • In many regions, with the time change, it gets dark a lot earlier making evening appointments more difficult (hard to see addresses, hard to see exterior negatives about the home) which means you will most likely want to schedule viewings for the weekend, which can be more difficult. That said, if the seller is motivated, they will understand the local weather impediments and most likely be willing to be accommodating. See the source image 

Whether you’re selling or buying, you can take advantage of the holiday season to achieve your desired result and toast in your Happiest New Year!!

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Virtual Staging Provides Cost Effectiveness and Results!

With the onset of Covid and a desire to make staging more affordable for sellers, virtual staging software is a new and exciting part of the staging industry. This allows sellers to upload photos of their vacant rooms to a computer program and then literally furnish those spaces like a model home. If you would like to stage your home but have not done so due to the often very high cost of bringing in a staging company and paying rental on the furniture along with the labor cost of using a physical company. If this is something that you have been wanting to pursue, I’ve listed below several national company websites. You can also search online for local companies that offer this as part of their services. Happy Selling!

https://stuccco.conm/virtual-staging

https://3dstagers.com/virtual-staging

www.padstyler.com/virtual-staging

virtualstagingrenderinggroup.com

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Create Your Own Pumpkin Patch Fun!

With Covid-19 still being an issue in many areas, the fun and joy of hay rides to the pumpkin patch, laughing with strangers seeking the same perfect pumpkin and warming up with hot apple cider has been cancelled. But the season has not and the enjoyment of ringing in autumn is still in our hearts so here are a few ideas to help you create your own “waiting for the great pumpkin” event.

  • If you have a few friends or neighbors who are in your ‘safe’ group, plan for the adults to each bring a few to several pumpkins (depending on the number of children) to your home (or one of the other’s homes). For extra fun, have all the kids wear their halloween costumes.
  • Decorate your yard with scarecrows, gourds and scary spiders/skeletons/black cats. Set up a couple of decorated tables or picnic tables with bundles of markers or paints as a pumpkin decorating area.
  • Create a few different piles of pumpkins around the yard and let the kids go on a pumpkin hunt….littlest children getting first dibs.
  • Once all the pumpkins have been chosen, let the kids enjoy hot apple cider or hot chocolate (you can certainly enhance your own cider or chocolate with a bit of libations) while decorating their pumpkins. If there are older children let them go ahead and have their own carving station and provide safe pumpkin carving tools. They can even take on the role of helping to carve the little kids’ pumpkins if they want them to do so.Image result for free images of kids decorating pumpkins
  • If you feel so inclined you can also enjoy a fun version of dunking for apples by having a bucket full of apples in water and letting them “fish” for their apple. Then let them dunk them in melted caramel and walnut pieces to make perfect taffy apples.
  • As the evening draws near and the darkness of dusk falls, light up the jack o lanterns so all the kSee the source imageids can see their fun creations together then they can take them home to create their own home pumpkin show.

No matter what is going on, it’s important to still create wonderful memories for ourselves and our children. This can be done with as big a group as you feel comfortable with having together. Kids and grownups alike will have a special memory to enjoy and remember! Happy Autumn!!