How to live in a Staged Home

As I realtor I often hear this question from my sellers’ who are living in their staged homes ” How can  I manage to keep the house ready for a showing all the time? I will never be able to do it”

I always tell them “yes You can”, just follow these guidelines and you will be fine..”Yes we Can….We can sell this house together”.

This is a process in which the whole family has to be involved and play their parts. It can be a great bonding experience.

Just follow these rules and it will be all OK.

KEEP IT CLEAN

Kitchen:

  • Remove all of your kitchen appliances from the counters. Do not use them; keep clean and hidden.
  • Have one set of cups, plates and utensils for each family member neatly stored in a cabinet. Use only these dishes and hand wash after every use. Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink or out in a dish rack. Eat, drink, wash, dry and put away.
  • Use recycled paper plates and cups to limit dishwashing.
  • Keep only the essentials in the refrigerator and pantry (potential buyers are known to look inside). Unused pantry items can be donated to your local food bank.

Bathrooms:

  • No personal care products (soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrush, etc.) should be left out. Give each family member a bathroom tote to hold their daily-used products, to be put away into a closed cabinet after each use.
  • Keep antibacterial wipes under the sink for quick and easy cleanup after each sink and shower use.
  • Use stick-on toilet cleaners inside the bowls to keep toilets clean and smelling fresh.
  • Only guest towels should be displayed in the bathrooms. Each family member should have his or her own set of towels, to be washed regularly and kept out of sight.

Bedrooms:

  • Keep all nightstands and dresser tops clear of personal items. Keep plastic containers with lids that can easily slide under beds to store reading glasses, books, journals, medications, tissue boxes, etc.
  • Be sure to make the beds each morning; that way there is one less thing to do when a showing is scheduled.
  • Keep all clothing items neatly put away and laundry baskets hidden in closets.
  • Wash, dry, fold and put away laundry on a daily basis if necessary.

Living Room:

  • To maintain a tidy living room, keep daily-used items (remote controls, DVDs, video games, children’s toys, etc.) hidden away in closed drawers, cabinets or storage ottomans.
  • Do not let newspapers, magazines or mail stack up; file away or recycle immediately. Perhaps keep the latest newspaper in your car; it may come in handy when showings are scheduled and you need to head out to a coffee shop or other fun destination.

Eating & Entertainment

  • By now you may be thinking, “How does my family eat?” It is best to go out to eat during this time. Even take-out is a no-no; the goal is to keep your home smelling like fresh flowers, not fried chicken.
  • To stay on a budget, visit websites like Groupon or Restaurants.com for deals and coupons. Also, look into daily/weekly meal deals at your local restaurants, like $2 Taco Tuesdays or where kids can “eat free.”
  • Get your whole family involved and make a list of activities to do on the days your house is scheduled to be shown. Ideas include bowling, going to the beach, zoo, museums, amusement parks, or even visiting relatives.

Pets

  • Unfortunately, Pets are hard to manage when a house is staged; it may be best to find another place for them to stay while your home is staged. Perhaps a family member, friend or neighbor can take care of your beloved four-legged family members. Another option would be to send them to a kennel-free boarding “resort” for their own vacation.
  • If they must stay in your staged home, designate 1-2 rooms for your pets to live in. This will keep the fur cleanup to a minimum. 

     

     

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REAL ESTATE MARKET 2017

January 2017,
OPTIMISM CONTINUES IN NEW YEAR

Happy New Year! We in the real estate industry are very happy to ring-in 2017.  Many real estate industry watchers and economists agree that the real estate market continues to be a bright spot in the economy.

While the results are still coming in, according to the National Association of Realtors© (NAR), existing sales are still expected to close out 2016 at a pace of around 5.42 million, which is an increase over 2015 (5.25 million) and will be the highest since 2006 (6.48 million).

One question is still at the forefront of many minds. Will the housing market continue to improve in 2017?  It’s not easy to predict what the market will do in the coming year. However, NAR forecasts that in 2017, sales are expected to grow roughly 2 percent. Additionally, there are some key indicators to follow, and while the recent uptick in mortgage rates and low inventory levels have been challenging, the overall industry indicators are positive.

Most agree that growth in the housing market is largely based on the stability of the job market.  As reported by The New York Times, the U.S. Labor Department has determined that the U.S. labor market is healthy. In fact, as reported for the week ending on Dec. 24, the Labor Department said it was the 95th straight week that claims were below 300,000, the longest stretch since 1970.

For buyers, the message is clear.  If you want to own a home, you should act now. Mortgage rates have risen, rents are increasing, and home prices are gaining momentum. NAR forecasts that the national median existing-home price is expected to increase around 4 percent in 2017. If you are thinking of purchasing a home, it’s important to start your research right now.

For home sellers, the time to sell could be in your favor as well. With lower levels of inventory, you face less competition.  With prices steadily rising, you may find yourself in a position to take advantage of increasing equity.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, it’s important to discuss these factors now so contact a real estate professional who can walk you thru the whole process.

Happy New Year!

BUYING A HOUSE =PlANNING A WEDDING

“Buying a house is like planning a wedding.”

There are so many common factors in this process….worth comparing.

Location, Location, Location! It’s just as important in real estate as it is in executing the wedding. It basically sets the mood for the rest of your life. Do you want a country setting? A city high rise? Cozy backyard shindig?

And just like a wedding, there are multiple players involved in purchasing a home. Each has an important role to play in making things go down without a hitch. Here are the main players:

Bride = Buyer

As long as she thinks she’s in charge, it’s all good. Expect momentary flashes of schizophrenia and crazy texts over nothing of actual importance. Normally, a very nice person but always be on the lookout for Bridezilla to emerge.

Groom = Moving Company

Not really an important player until after the paperwork is signed.

Mother of the Bride = Home inspector

“Nope. This house sucks. No good. Needs to be replaced. Might as well start over and find a new dream property. I said no. No means no. Fine do whatever your want.”

Minister = Insurance Agent

Mostly along for the ride after the union passes regulated counseling. Likes to be paid (and fed) handsomely at the reception.

Bridesmaids = Buyer’s Agent

These are the people who will walk hand in hand with you to see 14 different dresses/houses. They will laugh, cry and stress over every little detail with you.

Best Man = Listing Agent

Been buddies forever. Lots of embarrassing stories but we will all try to ignore those because we are serious, sophisticated adults now. Mostly just involved for the drinks and witness the bridal party meltdown.

Father of the Bride = Loan Officer

Also known as the gatekeeper for the whole transaction. Usually bringing all the funds to closing. Don’t lie to this person. Your fate is in their hand


Wedding Planner = Title Agent/Closing Attorney

This is the person running the whole show from behind the magical curtain. Deserves a pay raise and WAY more credit than they usually get.

Flower Girl = Appraiser

Sure, she’s been cute for 6 months leading up to the big day. However, by the bridal luncheon the day of, she seriously needs a nap, a lollipop and a bribe to behave like a sweet little angel until we can get this knot tied up. Pretty please?!

Photographers

Crucial in both weddings and real estate. Overpaid but totally worth every penny.

Oh, and although the following isn’t a “person”, it’s a crucial component of both a wedding and real estate transaction:

Engagement = Due Diligence

During this period you’ll want to check for:

  • Leaky pipes (i.e. a gossip-driven Mother in Law)
  • Roofing issues (how long until hubby starts balding?)
  • Code restrictions for expansion (you promise you won’t get fat, right?)
  • Potential for future development in the neighborhood (KIDS!)
  • Architectural drawings of original site map (dang, you were an ugly kid… sure glad you grew into those ears!)

 

 

DON’T D.I.Y.(do it yourself)

Realtor.com has an ad on the radio saying DON’T D.I.Y. in your real estate transactions. It is a very catchy ad with a lot of substance. It makes a lot of sense and should be elaborated. We all know that internet has brought about a radical change in all aspects of our life. Real Estate has also been impacted by technology. There is so much information on the web that the real estate consumer is very knowledgeable which has lead to the belief that Realtors are not necessary for a real estate transaction.

Statistics prove otherwise.According to the  National Association Of Realtors report 87% of buyers purchased their homes thru Real estate agents or brokers. Only 8% recent Home sales were FSBO (for sale by owner)sales.

Before doing a FSBO take these factors into account.Homes-For-Sale

What Factors are Involved

Understanding the details of paper work is crucial to succeeding. 19% of FSBOs were faced with problems of putting together the terms of the sales and having an in-depth knowledge of the legal requirements involved in the sales of a home.

Over 14% of FSBO sold their homes based on emotions instead of the prevailing market price. It is a rare instance for the owner of the home to have access to reliable data with to compare prices in the area. The internet is a great source but the Realtor is in the day to day market and has more current knowledge of the market. Usually a homeowner tends to overprice their home  and it stays longer on the market.Then they under sell it in desperation.

There are things that must be put in place to make a property worth its full potential. 15% of FSBO lacks this knowledge, hence they invest in the wrong areas.

Connection is key, it is important to get financing and connect buyers to sellers. Realtors can leverage on this because they have the connection but owners cannot. Realtors have a pool of ready buyers which may not be available to FSBOS.

The marketing skills required to make a sale can only be found with realtors. The internet is the best tool for FSBO, but the realtors has a variety of tools.

Selling through the FSBO route is risky because it takes longer to sell through that route. There are serious commitments that need to be made when selling a property like paying attention to every details. This can be a burden especially if you have not sold a property before.

Less than 3% of FSBOs were faced with smaller issues like negotiating, settling property inspectors and other miscellaneous issues needed to seal the deal. Although not every FSBOs have challenges with selling their homes, over 25% of FSBOs did not know the buyers report to have a smooth property sale.

Realtors and Technology go hand in hand and can be combined to get the maximum rewards in your real estate transaction.

 

Home Makeovers for Spring

Spring is perfect time to focus on home-improvements. Windows are one of the most important home improvements. They not only add to the property value and aesthetics but also help in energy savings. While considering windows, screens are often overlooked as homeowners don’t consider them important. This is important information about Window Screens.

Brought to you by Andersen Windows

Window screens, the window’s “wingman,” bring in light and air while keeping out insects and small animals when you want a breath of fresh air. Here are the answers to 5 most commonly asked questions about window screens:

1. Why do I need window screens?
Window screens help let fresh air into a home without letting insects, small pests, or other unwanted visitors into the home at the same time. Not every country has window screens – they are most commonly found on homes in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

2. What do I need to consider when looking for new window screens? Frame? Hardware? Mesh material? Mesh size?
Most screens are made from either a wood or metal frame. They typically are made by window manufacturers and are designed to blend in with the overall look of your windows.

The most common materials used to make the screen mesh are aluminum and fiberglass, but bronze mesh is another premium option that is growing popular. Nylon and polyester screening is typically used on screen doors. At Andersen Windows, we offer TruScene, an insect screen made from micro-fine stainless steel mesh that’s one-third the diameter of conventional insect screen wire – it’s practically invisible.

3. How do I buy the right insect screen?
It varies from window to window, but there are some basic tips in the below video that cover much of what you need to know in order to ensure you find the right screen for your window.

4. How often do I need to replace window screens?
That depends on a number of variables – you might want to replace your screen if there was a recent severe weather event that left small dents in the screen mesh or you notice the mesh fraying near the spline. If you are replacing the window, it always makes sense to replace the screen at the same time.

5. Should I repair or replace?
The primary rule comes down to cost. For the materials and time required to repair the window screen, would it be more effective to order a replacement instead? If the price to repair is coming close to what a replacement would cost, then replace the old screen.

SPRING CLEANING TIPS

It has been a longstanding practice to get the house ready for warmer days….thus the term “Spring Cleaning”.

It has been proven that there are many psychological benefits of organizing, decluttering and refreshing your living space. This should be a great incentive to take on the task of “Spring Cleaning”. In order to make it less daunting and more manageable break it up into segments.

1-DECLUTTER:

It is very important to get rid of extras while cleaning. Be very critical and dispassionate and get rid of excess, whether it is personal belongings or household items. If you have not used and item for a year ,you maybe able to live without it. Try categorizing the redundant items in three piles: what you can give away, what you can use and what you can sell. 

You can give used clothing and books to charities, lightly used furniture can be sold on websites like E-Bay . Or if you have the energy do a garage sale.

2- CLEAN:

Spring cleaning is more than day to day cleaning. The items which are not cleaned regularly have to be cleaned. It include like washing the windows, cleaning the baseboards and carpets.  You also clean the outside like the patio,deck and the garden. Put out the outdoor furniture and clean the garden and the flower- beds.

3-PAINT:

Painting is probably the most cost efficient way to update and refresh your house. What better time to do it, “Spring”. Usually the paints are on sale during spring and with warmer weather the paint dries quicker.

4-ORGANIZE:

Once the de-cluttering  is done, and the home has a fresh look with the paint, you can organize the items that you are going to be using. Organize them in shelves ,closets and boxes. Label the storage containers so that the items are easy to access.

5-DECORATE:

Yeah !  All the hard work has been done, now the fun part starts. Decorate the house. Small accessories like cushions, window treatments, tables etc: can update the home and give it a new flair.

So give these tips a thought and start your “SPRING CLEANING”…..you will feel mentally happy and energized… PUT A SPRING IN YOUR STEP.

 

ABOUT ME

silvatmalik

I am a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Certified Buyers Representative (CBR) and Relocation Specialist at Coldwell Banker in Rye, NY. I understand the relocation process inside and out. Having lived in 15 different countries, I have relocated many times and have the ability to guide my clients step by step throughout the entire process. I am also fluent in several languages, and can her interact with people from walks of all life and cultures.
“Moving does not merely entail a change of scenery. I’ve learned from experience that ‘home’ means the same to people all around the world. Simply, it is not just packing & moving household contents, it involves a huge change in all aspects of life. I want to help make that easier.”
I believe in utilizing a responsive and proactive approach in my real estate career and understand the important of always being available for my clients. In my 15 years of real estate, I pride myself in my many long-term client relationships, not transactions.

My personal relocation experiences triggered my passion to work in real estate. More specifically, Mexico’s unique architecture sparked my interest in interior home design. Shortly after, I decided to get my Florist diploma from Malaysia and became certified in floral design for home arrangements and other general occasions. I also have a Master’s in Political Science .
Wherever I lived in the world, I was always an active member of the community. I have lived in Mexico, Venezuela, in Latin America, London, Greece and Romania in Europe, Saudi Arabia in the Middle East and Malaysia in Asia. Currently, I live in Rye with my husband and three sons.