Tag Archives: sell a home

Sellers: Great Ways to Make a Room Look Larger

Making a room look larger than it really is, is an art – an art that anyone can do. It is simpler and easier than you might think just to change some little things that can make a big difference.

1. Don’t use bright or dark colors for the color scheme of a room, used white, pastels and neutrals for that larger feel.

2. Use s single color and select different shades and textures to fill the room.

3. Lighting is key in make a space open up. Try using spot lighting or even a torchiere lamp to bounce some light off the ceiling. Skylights and solar tubes can be excellent for adding natural light to a room.

4. Keep a limit on the accessories in the room. This will make the room feel less cluttered.

5. Make sure colors on the ceilings and floor are light. Use light colored wood and carpet for that open feel.

6. Add wall mirrors to increase the largeness of the room. This reflects images, light and color. Double the size of a room by adding mirror tiles on a full wall.

7. Consider using a love seat instead of a full size sofa in a smaller area. Place furniture closer to the wall when not in use.

8. A single painting works better than a group buy giving a bigger feeling.

9. Using glass in any kind of table will give the feeling of more openness.

Pricing Your Home Properly

The number one reason a home sells is for the price.  How can pricing come into play when selling your home?

1)Â Compare other homes in the neighborhood by gathering data on recent homes sold generally in the last 90 to 180 days.

2) Consider Short sales and Foreclosures when pricing. Sometimes these are sold below market value but can bring comparable prices down.

3) Negotiate with Decisiveness. Buyers are not interested in negotiations where talks go back and forth.   They are more savvy and willing to walk away if things get to picky.

4) If your house is not selling it could be the price so know when to drop the price.  Buyers will not even look and even loose interest if the price is too high.

Remember your first 30 days on the market are the most critical. That is when you home gets the “most” attention because it is a new listing. So if you have it priced very competitively and it is a great house, you may command list price. I have seen it happen.

Never Think you Have Seen It All

Last evening I showed a couple a home. It sounded so wonderful. The home is probably about 3500 square feet or more on 4 acres on a dead end road in the country. Very few neighbors. It has a pool and about 2 acres are grass. The house had been added on to at one time. It appeared to have an in-law suite on the side. There were three kitchens in the house. The third being in what appeared to be a basement apartment. Lots of work needed to be done but maybe the place had some potential. The floor plan was so chopped up but looked so awesome from the outside.

So when we got to the upstairs the master bedroom, we found out that it had two bathrooms and one it shared with what the another bedroom connected to it (being captured). One things that did not make a whole lot of sense to me was that it had laundry hooks-ups in the middle of the master bedroom and the washer was still there. Now keep in mind the home had first floor laundry and there were no doors to the outside as if this was an apartment. Then we go into the next room connected to the master (that shares the second master bath) and there is a working, built-in, jacuzzi tub in the corner of this caputured bedroom.

I have included a rough sketch of the floor plan and some photos.

Is Composite Decking a Selling Point?

Here is a question I received online:


I am building a small deck on the back of our house this summer and wondered if there is any reason to consider Trex (composite) over traditional treated wood from a resale perspective? As an agent, do you find that a deck adds value and does a composite deck add even more value?

Would appreciate a simple answer if you have the time.

Chad B.


Hi Chad,

Thanks for your question.  The answer to this question can vary depending on which market you are in.

I do find that a deck adds value. I have heard anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of what it cost you to put on. If you do the work yourself then possibly you might come out ahead in the end.  But in this market, I would not be using this to get money back. I would be more concerned with getting the house sold by using the deck as a selling point than something to increase the price. It is still a buyers market and there is a lot of inventory. You want to be competitive with your features.

Consider what the other homes in your area have that are for sale. If they all have decks and you don’t, then yours may look less appealing. If you have a deck and others do not, then that is a definite selling point. Personally, I have never heard any buyer say they thought a deck that was not made with composite materials any less desirable. I think if the deck is new or in good shape then that is great – the deck will be appealing. Consider spending the money on the composite for a home that you are staying in the in the long term. You will be the one to reap the benefits because of the low maintenance rather than possibly not getting your money back for an upgrade in materials when selling.

I hope that helps you. Have a great day!


Mistakes for Sellers With Dogs

Many home owners think of their dog and other pets as a part of their family. A seller needs to keep in mind that a potential buyer for your home may not share your feelings. Unfortunately for you, some may not even prefer pets for various reasons, some reasons may even including allergies. So the key thing is not to loose this potential buyer at the front hall because you have dogs or other pets.

There are several things that sellers with pets should do to get the most out of the sale of their home.

1.  Never leave your dog at the home when there is an open house.

2. Make sure you always clean every day avoiding pet smells from dander and food.

3. Make sure you clean up after your dog in the yard.

4. Don’t assume your home has not smell from your pets. When you are used to it you don’t smell it.

5. Try to not leave any hints that a dog even lives in the home.

6. Try to creatively market your home to other dog or pet owners.

7.  Don’t note in advertising of the home that it is “dog friendly”. This may keep people from showing the home.

8. If your dog has to be at home when there is a showing, then make sure you are there too. Although, it is best that all members leave to make the buyer feel more comfortable.

Tips for Selling a Vacant Home

When there is a vacant home for sale, often times it is obvious. For security reasons and normal sale tactics, you do not want it to appear this way. Sometimes it is actually harder to sell a vacant home. Here are some great ideas to prepare your home.

* If you are able to afford a lawn service, get someone to maintain your property. Sometimes if you have family or a neighbor willing to do that for you, it may give you a reduced cost. Your real estate agent may even know someone willing to help you out. Don’t forget if possible, get someone to clear the walks in the winter. You know, I was so impressed when I went to show a foreclosed home after a big snow and the walk to the house was already for guests. I really think a neighbor did that one out of the kindness of their heart.

* When your furniture is not occupying the house, this really points to small imperfections in the walls, carpet or other places. So take care of those things that are now more obvious, otherwise they will stick out like a sore thumb. I saw a home recently that was vacant and a seam in the wall is coming undone. It was much more noticeable due to not furniture and white walls.

* If at all possible, try to leave a few items for accent pieces at the home. I do have a seller that is borrowing her grand daughter’s bedroom set temporarily.

* Also, if at all possible try to leave the utilities on – Electric and Gas if you can swing it. I have show some homes in the winter that have been so cold that no one wanted to stay in the property very long and if you can’t see that does not help the sale either. Even make sure all the light bulbs are working. If you did have a sale on the property, in most cases the buyer is going to need all utilities on for inspections.

* Have someone keep the home clean. One house I would go into often to show ended up having several dead flies around the house over time. This and a layer of dust on the counters and make the home appear that it has been sitting a while.

* To make the home lived in, see if a neighbor would be willing to park their car in the driveway, make any mail would be taken in, and even have the blinds open or shut on occasion. Having a lamp or two on a timer is helpful. Many times I see old door handle flyers and telephone books sitting on vacant porches – make sure you don’t let that happen.

*Â Always check your home owner’s policy and make sure you understand your coverage if your home is vacant.

Closing Costs – Transfer Tax

In my last post, I mentioned title insurance as a big part of closing. Another larger fee in closing is transfer tax. This fee is also based on the sale price of a home. The amount of the fee can depend on your county and municipality. In Pennsylvania, the buyer and the seller typically split this fee at closing and it can range from 2-4 percent of the sale price.

A few years back I was involved in a sale and was delighted to know that at that time State of Pennsylvania had waived the property transfer tax because the buyer was the brother of the seller. At that time the state was waiving transfer tax for next of kin. It saved them both $750 each at the closing table.

Here is some info from Wikipedia

“Real estate transfer tax is a tax that may be imposed by states, counties, or municipalities on the privilege of transferring real property within the jurisdiction. Total transfer taxes range from very small (for example, .01% in Colorado) to relatively large (2.2% in the District of Columbia).[1]

Some states have a variety of transfer tax laws which may include specific exemptions for certain types of buyers based on buying status or income level (e.g. Maryland exempts certain “first time buyers” from a percentage of the total [2] or excludes a portion of the property’s sales price from taxation altogether).

Another variation which exists is either the legal requirement to split the taxes between the parties or the local custom to do so. Thus, in Washington, DC, the 2.2% is generally split between the seller and the buyer. Prior to buying or selling, it is advisable to check with the Recorder of Deeds, a Realtor, or title company to confirm a specific jurisdiction’s practices.”

Here what Realtor.org has to say.

Mortgage Rates Hit Historic Record in 2009

There are so many great reasons to buy a home now. Mortgage rates were at a historic low already this year and are still great. There is also the first-time home buyer credit and a large amount of inventory. With all the incentives, you won’t want to pass this point in time without buying that home.

Check out a recent news statement on the mortgage market:

“Share Loan Apps Rise as Rates Dip Below 5 Percent
Average mortgage rates dipped below 5 percent last week, driving mortgage application volume up 11.3 percent to 723.4 from 649.7 the previous week on an adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly survey.

On an unadjusted basis, the index increased 11.6 percent compared with the previous week and was up 5.7 percent compared with the same week a year ago.

The increase was reflected in the government purchase index (mostly FHA), which rose 10.4 percent. The overall purchase index was up 7.1 percent. The refinance share increased to 67.9 percent, up slightly from the previous week when it was at 66.9 percent.

Mortgage rates were down to the second-lowest rate in the history of the survey, with the record low being 4.89 percent for the week ending Jan. 9, 2009.

30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.96 percent from 5.14 percent
15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.54 percent from 4.73 percent
1-year ARMs increased to 6.21 percent

Source: Mortgage Bankers Association (03/11/2009)”

Quoted from: Realtor Magazine at Realtor.org

Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

When dealing with first time home buyers, I often have many questions asked of me. It is a good thing for a buyer to ask a lot of questions because buying a home is a major life’s decision.  You will see from the list below it is important to shop around, find a good agent, and be ready to make an offer quickly and part of being able to make in offer quickly is have your pre-approval ready.

Here are home buying mistakes that Realtor Magazine lists as the most common:

“5 Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

1. They don’t ask enough questions of their lender and end up missing out on the best deal.

2. They don’t act quickly enough to make a decision and someone else buys the house.

3. They don’t find the right agent who’s willing to help them through the homebuying process.

4. They don’t do enough to make their offer look appealing to a seller.

5. They don’t think about resale before they buy. The average first-time buyer only stays in a home for four years.”

Quoted from Realtor Magazine

Item number 4 is something that a good agent should help you accomplish. If you really want the house, you should make a strong and healthy offer.

Homes are More Affordable than Ever!

Great News! The National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) says that homes are more affordable than ever.

“NAR’s Housing Affordability Index rose 13.6 percentage points in January to 166.8, a new record high.2 The HAI, a broad index of affordability using consistent values and assumptions over time, shows that the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income is the most favorable since tracking began in 1970.

The HAI indicates a median-income family, earning $59,800, could afford a home costing $283,400 in January with a 20 percent down payment, assuming 25 percent of gross income is devoted to mortgage principal and interest; affordability conditions for first-time buyers with the same income and small downpayments are roughly 80 percent of that amount. A year ago, the typical family could afford a home costing $263,300.”

Quoted from the NAR