Home Staging Tips

Buyers are out in force right now. This is something that is happening all over the county. Here in Connecticut we are seeing a rise in buyer activity that hasn’t been seen in recent years. As we get into the Spring Market, which is when most people decide to list their home, it is really important to make sure your house stands out to these buyers among all the other homes. The best way to accomplish this is by making sure your house is market ready. While your house can be listed in just a few days once you sign with a Realtor, I always recommend that my clients contact me 2 months prior to wanting to list so that they can take full advantage of the time and services I provide to get the home market ready. 90% of buyers find their house online these days – make sure your house looks its best in pictures!

I did a seminar with one of our team stagers at Brookfield Library about staging a home for sale. These tips were so well received by the audience, so I thought I would share them with you. The goal is to get your house market ready for free/cheap.

Tip #1 Kitchen Decluttering. Lets be honest, when did you last use the huge stand mixer or the indoor grill that is taking up real estate in your cabinets? Pack these big kitchen appliances away and free up some space in the cabinets. When you have a showing or an open house you can quickly remove the appliances/sponges/soap you DO use from your counters and put them in the cabinets, leaving your counters clear and open.

image-01

“Before” and “After” of a Decluttered Kitchen. (Also important to note – PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS are a MUST!)

Tip #2 Exterior. A buyers first impression of your home will stick with them. I can not tell you how many times people get turned off because the siding is dirty or the landscaping is dreadful. Spend the money, power wash your house, repair any obviously damaged trim and put out some nice potted plants. 

before-after-vinyl

Don’t leave buyers wondering, “what else has not been maintained”? 

Tip #3 Keep Buyers Focused on the Bones of Your Home. Buyers are nosy and get distracted easily. Too many personal photos, too many books, too much furniture – all take away from what the buyer will actually be BUYING! Do you have beautiful hardwood? Pull up your area rugs to show them off. If you have an office, make sure the shelves are sparse and organized, especially if they are built ins!  

untitled

I have seen buyers read the titles of books on bookshelves! Keep them focused, remove the clutter!

Tip #4 Paint Colors. Paint is a relatively inexpensive way to transform and space and make it more current. Today’s buyer will be looking for a fresh, clean pallet. If your hallway is a deep red, paint it! I have a few go-to colors that I always recommend, but I also have a fantastic stager on my team who will offer a free color consultation!

centsational-girl-living-room-benjamin-moore-tranquility-tweaked

Benjamin Moore – “Moonshine” is a timeless, crisp, clean color that can work in ANY room! (more of a blue/gray undertone)

aggreable-gray

For a more “Greige” color, Sherwin Williams “Agreeable Gray” is another of my favorites!

The goal is not to take away ALL the decor to make your house feel cold, but to take away enough to allow the buyer to see the beauty of your HOME, not your STUFF. Our team stager can take any space and transform it with your current furniture and decor.

Adventures in Real Estate with Lauren Auresto, Coldwell Banker- Mortgage Tips (Video)

Applying for a mortgage can seem a little overwhelming, so I sat down with Steve Greenberg, VP of Mortgage Banking at Newtown Savings Bank to get his take on what NOT to do when applying for a mortgage.

A few things to learn from this short video…

  1. Do not apply for any new credit cards, or make big purchases when trying to buy a home.
  2. You can get a pre approval very quickly and easily. This is a good first step when looking to buy a home so you know your realistic budget. Once you have your credit score run by a BANK, you can then go shop the rates at other banks, but DO NOT have them run your credit again.
  3. I need to work on my camera skills or perhaps invest in a selfie stick!
  4. Do not creep around in the hallway at Newtown Savings Bank like I did, it looks super sketchy.
  5. When holding the camera and greeting someone do not kiss them on the cheek…as you will see, it looks funny! LOL

A mortgage lender makes up 1/3 of your Real Estate team. (a Realtor and an attorney being the other 2/3rds) It is so important that these three people are in constant communication from day one. If you already have a Realtor, ask them for some recommendations on lenders and attorneys. A Realtor will have experience to know who is the best to work with and who gets things done without a hitch!

 

So, in summary….wait to buy that car until AFTER closing 🙂

a2e1951cf0591b3cc49201d5ea4bc407.jpg

Thanks for reading and sharing, in case you wanted Steve’s contact information, it is below!

Steve Greenberg
VP-Mortgage Banker
Newtown Savings Bank
30 Main Street-Danbury CT 06810
(203)733-0456
Sgreenberg@nsbonline.com
NMLS#371117

Amazon Fresh? Yes, Yes, Yes!

So this isn’t exactly “house” or “real estate” related, but its something I was curious about myself, so I figured I would share my experience ordering from Amazon Fresh. Before ordering Fresh, I would go to the grocery like 3 times a week and always forget items, it was a PAIN. Also, since my schedule with Real Estate is so crazy, the only time I could go to the grocery was when I was with my kids. Needless to say, our cart was then full of “lunchables” and fruit snacks and whatever else they got their hands on in order to bribe them to behave! Enough was enough, and I decided to research other peoples’ experiences with Amazon Fresh. It seemed that depending on where you live, people had very different experiences ranging from “excellent” to “awful”!

I decided to take the plunge and order. My first order was small. Just a few pantry items and organic apples and pears and some lettuce and salad items to check out the quality. I was skeptical. I was able to pick a day and time of delivery. I ordered on a Thursday, and first available day and time was Sunday 7-10AM porch drop off. On Sunday, at 8AM my first delivery arrived. (VIA a Post Office Van for some reason?!)

img_4740

Amazon Fresh Delivery #1 On time!

I was pleasantly surprised! The items were packed carefully in a insulated bag with ice packs and packaging to keep it safe. The note on top says to leave these bags out with the next delivery and the driver will take them away. How easy is that?! My order was complete and very good quality, almost. They substituted cauliflower for lettuce. Hmmmmm, how can I make SALAD with cauliflower?! I wrote a quick email to Amazon expressing my concern, and was quickly given a $10 credit (more than the price of the lettuce). This was great, but, I was still left without lettuce – which meant a trip to the dreaded grocery store for some lettuce, lunchables and whatever other deplorable, sugary treat my kids threw a fit over!

img_4741

Items were packaged carefully and fruits and vegetables were fresh and really good!

So I ordered again the following week, same delivery time (you are suppose to be able to get next day delivery, but I guess that’s not available near me because its usually two days at least.) And the old bags were taken away and new items left. I got more adventurous this time and ordered chicken (for the hubs) and some more vegetables, all were excellent, as if I had picked them out myself. AND, I didn’t have to go to the grocery that week! It was amazing!

I am NOT a planner and I rarely know what is for dinner before I look in the pantry at 5PM…. but I have been meal planning for two weeks now because of Amazon, and only ordering what I have on my list. Let me tell you, not only are we spending less, but also I am not stressed at dinner time because I know I have all the items I need, because they were delivered to my door. Literally a game changer!! All in all, the $15 delivery fee and maybe paying a little more for some items is TOTALLY worth it for my sanity! I do NOT miss pushing my screaming, crying kids through the grocery store trying to play defense as they throw Lucky Charms and Oreos in the cart.

All in all, I am a big fan of Amazon Fresh!

Additional Tip- We have Amazon Echo, so when I’m running low on something I can ask “Alexa” to add it to my shopping list and then when I log on to order from Fresh, my list comes up to remind me what I need – that is AMAZINGLY helpful!

img_4742

“Alexa, add strawberries to my shopping list”

Pro’s – Easy, good quality items, saves a trip to the grocery

Con’s – $15/ month is charged for unlimited amount of deliveries, next day delivery was not available, Amazon will take liberty to “swap” out items that they don’t have available. Finally- I am high maintenance with my dietary restrictions (gluten free, vegetarian) and Amazon does not yet have many of the items I would want, but they have enough options for me to get by!