Expert Advice: Staging Your Home for Selling Season

If you own a home, it is likely one of your largest investments. When the time comes to move up or downsize, you want to do everything in your power to protect your equity and get your asking price – or more. One way to ensure your home is listed, and purchased, at the right price point is to work with a real estate agent to boost your home’s buyer appeal. Check out these home-staging tips from experts across the country.

  1. Depersonalize and Neutralize

A home filled with someone else’s personal belongings and clutter can make potential buyers feel as though they are invading private space.

“Neutralizing the atmosphere encourages buyers to envision themselves living there,” says Leslie Cain with RE/MAX Realty Affiliates in Carson City, Nevada. “Think of staging your home as an investment – it typically costs less than a first price reduction [if the home doesn’t sell].”

  1. Focus on Feature Rooms

Your real estate agent can help you see your home from the buyer’s eyes. Focus on the dining and living areas as well as the master bedroom.

“A common mistake is relocating clutter to closets – buyers will look there, too,” said Kathy Henne with RE/MAX Finest in Piqua, Ohio. “It’s best to move all unnecessary belongings out of the house and keep the space as sparsely furnished as possible. Once you have a cleared space, make sure to give it a deep cleaning.”

  1. Go Virtual

You want your home to be clean and decluttered, of course, but not having enough furniture can also be a problem, says Cynthia Fazzini with the Fazzini Group at RE/MAX Realtec Group in Palm Harbor, Florida.

“Since most potential homebuyers begin their home searches online, we often recommend digital staging to our clients with vacant homes,” said Fazzini. “Adding in furniture, artwork and rugs gives the home warmth and helps the buyer envision how the space can look with their belongings and decorations. We recently took on a new construction home that was vacant and had been on the market for six months with multiple price reductions. After digital staging, the house was under contract in seven days.”

Three Big Reasons to Get a Home Inspection

canstockphoto29793303It seems like the list of things to do when you’re shopping for a house is endless. No matter how tempting it may be to skip some of those items, a home inspection is one action that should always be on your must-list. If you’ve been thinking about skipping this step, take a look at our top three reasons to get a home inspection.

  1. A Home Inspection Helps You Avoid Surprises

Perhaps the most obvious reason to get a home inspection is to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting. No one likes to get a lemon, and as bad as that might be when you’re shopping for cars, it’s even worse when it comes to a house. Some of the things a home inspector looks for are:

  • Age and condition of roof
  • Age and condition of major home systems like HVAC, electrical, and plumbing
  • Cracks or other issues with the foundation
  • Adequate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Proper insulation and ventilation
  • Exterior issues like cracks, missing caulk, or water seepage
  • Proper setup and function of all appliances
  1. A Home Inspection Can Give You an Edge In Negotiations

After the home inspection is completed, you’ll get a detailed report that lays out any improvements or repairs that are needed to bring the home up to current standards. This report can be your greatest tool when it comes to negotiating the purchase contract.


  • If major repairs are needed: In the event that something big (an item that is required to bring the house up to code) is discovered during the inspection, you have a few options. You can elect to purchase the home as-is, but reduce the amount of your offer to compensate for the repairs you need to make. Or, you can ask the seller to complete the repairs prior to purchase as part of the deal. Either way, you may be able to reduce the price of your offer accordingly.
  • If minor repairs are suggested: Sometimes inspectors makes  suggestions for repairs or upgrades that aren’t required. This might be something like updating a water heater even though the existing one works and is up-to-code for the age of the home. When things like this come up you can choose to note the input for later or try to use the suggestion as part of your negotiation. Just keep in mind that the seller may be less likely to give you what you’re asking for if it’s a want instead of a need.


  • If no major flaws are found: The good news is that the house you love is in tip-top shape. In this case, the inspection won’t really affect your negotiations, but it can provide peace of mind about the soundness of your investment
  1. A Home Inspection Helps You Protect Your Investment

Buying a home is the largest purchase most of us will ever make, so you want to make a good decision that will pay off in the long-run. A home inspection gives you crucial information to help you make the right choice upfront, plus it also provides a clear idea of what costs may come up in the future.


  • It can give you a way out: If you’ve already initiated the purchase, the results of a home inspection may provide you with a last chance to get out of the deal. This protects your earnest money and the hundreds of thousands of dollars you would be investing in the home over the years.


    • It gives you a roadmap for the future: In addition to letting you know the current state of the home, a home inspection can also give you an idea of what big costs may be coming up in the future—and when you can expect them. This helps you forecast upcoming costs, which lets you decide if you’ll be able to afford the cost of the house now, as well as its upkeep.


  • It can save you money over the long-term: Home maintenance is a key to protecting your investment, and a home inspection can provide insights and tips about regular maintenance habits that can end up saving you thousands over the years.


A home inspection isn’t just one more item on your neverending to-do list. It’s an expert assessment of your home that lets you make smart choices today, and for your future. We know firsthand the benefits buyers gain from an expert home inspection, so don’t move ahead without one.

HOA: Are they worth it?

Homeowners associations (HOA) are essentially small governing bodies over a particular neighborhood or community. The HOA board consists of homeowners in the development or complex. This governing body establishes the rules and regulations that members adhere to along with the amount of dues or fees to be paid monthly, quarterly or annually. Although membership in the HOA is mandatory, there are many positives and negatives that go along with community living.canstockphoto40967861


  • An HOA offers low maintenance. Usually, trash, snow removal and landscaping services are handled by the association and included in the dues. This means less work for the home owner.
  • Many appreciate that the HOA regulates community appearance. Ensuring that your neighborhood will look good. Everyone must meet certain standards, which means no unkempt lawns or peeling paint.
  • Access to amenities including pools, fitness centers, parks and security gates all add to the appeal of an HOA.
  • Having a disagreement with your neighbor? No problem, third party management provides you with a built in mediator. You can easily take your grievances about next doors barking dog to the HOA board.
  • Everyone shares the maintenance costs. Maintenance of common areas, snow and trash removal, of the pool and other areas are shared responsibilities covered by the dues.
  • Living in an HOA reduces your responsibilities. Along with handling landscape, trash and snow removal, HOA sometimes carry insurance on the properties and cover roofing and other costs.


  • Naturally, the fees required by some associations turn people off. Although HOA dues vary, they can be in the hundreds per month. Make sure and budget not only for your mortgage payment, but the dues as well.
  • HOA rules, restrictions and dictations somewhat ties your hands. Some HOA have restrictions regarding paint colors and any additions or changes you want to make to the property must be approved by the board.
  • You could be hampered by the HOA financial woes. This means that an HOA facing financial problems or a lawsuit could hurt the sale prices of homes and the community and effect your ability to obtain a loan.
  • You might lose some of your freedom. Just as your hands could be tied, you will have to follow the rules and regulations of the HOA no matter how ridiculous you might think they are.
  • Surprise – they can spring assessments on you! The HOA board can decide to impose special assessments when needed for improvements or repairs.
  • They can limit your ability to rent. In order to get a loan for a property in the community the owner to renter ratio must be retained. Different lenders and HOA have differing standards, but these communities prefer that renters live somewhere else.
  • They can foreclose on your home if you get behind on your dues and assessments. This is usually a last resort. However, it can be done.

Making a decision:

First, weigh the pros and cons against your own lifestyle choices. Then, familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the rules of the HOA before you buy to avoid surprises. Finally, you may find that HOA living can be equally satisfying and then again, you may find that it’s not for you.

Important Tips To Keep In Mind When Starting a Home Project

With the chill and the snow outside, this is the perfect time to get all those home and other DIY projects done. If you’ve been contemplating finishing your basement, remodeling the bathroom, or doing a more simpler project like repainting your bedroom.confused-880735_640

While you begin your project, take some time to prioritize your to-do list. What do you want to accomplish and by when? Set some goals and bring the whole family in to help and throw out their ideas. This can be a great family bonding moment and having everyone share their suggestions will be fun to see what you can create.

As you plan your projects, you’ll want to determine all the supplies and stuff you’ll need to complete the project. This is good to do to help to avoid any unexpected surprises or plan your budget accordingly so you don’t get sidetracked or unable to finish the home project.

Use a calendar or other time management tool to help  you stick to a timeline so you don’t get discouraged with your project. With a calendar you can set specific goals throughout the project to ensure your staying on track and moving forward. By managing and tracking your time, you’ll be able to make the necessary adjustments and stick to your remodel goals.

If you’re getting ready to sell your home, taking time to do little projects around your home can help increase your home value and improve the curb appeal. The better you can make your home look and feel, you’ll have a greater chance of selling your home quickly.

Ready to sell or buy? Give us a call today to find out how we can help and to answer all your questions.

3 Tips for Selling Your Home Around Pets

We all love our furry friends. When comes to selling your home, having pets can sometimes cause some stress, but if you follow these 3 simple steps, you can keep potential home buyers interested without sacrificing your pet’s happiness.kitten-1154693_640

  1. Repair your fences. If you’re fencing is scratched or chewed on, take some time to repair and replace parts of your fence. Not only does this make your home appeal stronger but it keeps your pets safe from getting out of the yard.
  1. Clean up your yard. The fact of the matter is, pet’s leave little landmines around your yard. While showing your home and getting potential home buyers serious in making an offer, clean up those little minefields to protect your home from having those unwanted droppings tracked through your home. Plus, a clean backyard is appealing to home buyers and will boost your chances of an offer.
  1. Hide any evidence of your pet. Because you want potential home buyers to picture themselves living in your home, it’s important to remove any personal items (i.e. family photos, kids artwork, etc) which includes hiding any evidence of a pet. Not all people are pet people so you want to create the image of a pet free home for them.

Are you ready to buy or sell your home? Give us a call today and let us help you move forward in the home owning process. We are here for you and look forward to working for you.

Do You Really Need An Agent?

tie-690084_640Have you been considering hiring a real estate agent, but aren’t sure if that is the right move? If you’ve been hesitant to hire an agent, here are a few things to know about what an agent can do for you.

With the ever changing housing market, an agent can help you keep up with market changes, negotiations, and paperwork. An agent can also help you navigate through the home buying and selling process.

Curb appeal is important when trying to sell your home and your agent can assist you in staging your home and making it inviting to potential buyers. Agents can help you improve the stage appeal, lightening, and can recommend some professionals for any repairs that need to be made.

Real estate agents are required by law to be licensed (passing a state exam) and must take mandatory classes to stay up on current market trends. In addition, an experienced agent has a lot of inside knowledge, connections, and resources to help you find your dream home.

Ready to buy or sell? Or just have some questions? Give us a call today and let us help you find your next home.