Candace Garvey’s Tips on Staging a Home to Sell

While filming at baseball legend Steve Garvey’s Palm Desert home for the upcoming Coldwell Banker Home Field Advantage video series, his wife Candace took a few minutes to share a few tips on how to stage a home to “show” well and sell quickly.

Candace is an expert in the art of staging a home for sale. She’s sold her family’s home multiple times and has even had a few instances of selling them on the first day they’ve hit the market to the first couple to walk through her doors!

In her conversation with SVP of Marketing Sean Blankenship, she reveals some of the easy and often overlooked things that could be done to put your homes’ best foot forward. From lighting to wetting down the sidewalk/driveway; on over to a trick involving cotton balls and vanilla – Candace lets us in on her home staging secrets.

What other simple ways can you make your house feel like someone else’s home as soon as they walk through those doors? Let us know on Twitter @coldwellbanker via the hashtag #FirstHome.

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Will Burying St. Joseph Help Sell Your Home?

Burying a small statue of Saint Joseph has been a little secret that homeowners and agents have kept tight lipped for years. To find out more about this incredible myth, keep reading!

Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, people have been flocking to stores and online in order to purchase a statue of St. Joseph. He has become so popular that pop culture has begun referring to the saint as,  ”The Patron St. of Real Estate,” says The New York Times and even “The Underground Real Estate Agent.” The expectation is, after buying and then burying your Saint Joseph (it supposedly helps to say a little prayer right before you part ways with him) his positive energy and spirit brightens and increases your chances of getting an offer and ultimately a sell.

There is no definitive origin of when or where this superstition originated from nor is there concrete information on it’s success rate. What we do know, however, is that the patron Saint Joseph was chosen because of his legacy of protecting homes and families.

My uncle, is certainly a believer. After struggling to sell his home in 2007, one of the roughest times in housing market history, he was ready to concede to either lowering the price of the home, again, or taking it off the market and waiting a few months to re-list it. My mother, feeling sorry for her younger brother, looked up everything she could in hopes of finding proven tips and tricks that could help sell his home. She came across this exact St. Joseph trick, told my uncle, he hesitantly obliged, and within weeks an offer was placed and he and his wife accepted.

I know this whole thing sounds a little odd and unconventional but the only way to find out if burying St. Joseph will help sell your home is to try it for yourself (have no shame!) If you have tried it already, we welcome you to tell us about your experience.

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6 Tips to Make Your Home For Sale Stand Out

The following is a guest post from Franz Diessner & Joe Overland with Coldwell Banker Bain in Bellevue, WA.

Bringing your home to the market presents a variety of questions, challenges and doubts for every seller.  When it’s time to select your real estate broker, pay careful attention to the suggestions they provide on how to best showcase your home.  An experienced listing broker will provide valuable insight on buyer expectations and guide you on how to position your home against competing properties.

Although many real estate markets across the country are experiencing strong, even robust buyer demand, sellers can’t take that for granted.  Here are some expert tips to make your home stand out against competitors:

Curb Appeal – Take a drive through the neighborhood.  Does your home blend in? If so, how can you make it stand out?  It could be simple fixes like new porch lights, power washing the sidewalks and driveway, fertilizing your lawn, and planting seasonal flowers.  A yard in bloom always sells best.  A yard in gloom means doom.  Take care of those pesky weeds, blackberry bushes, or overgrown shrubs.  Sometimes bigger projects are needed.  When was the last time you painted the house?  You might be overdue.

Interior Condition – What’s that smell?  I’m not sure, but it needs to go away!  Sometimes it’s in the carpet.  Sometimes it’s in the paint.  Wherever it is, find it and fix it.  Before you put your home on the market, make sure it gets a thorough cleaning.  Does your home feel dated?  I keep hearing brass is back!  That doesn’t mean the dining room light fixture you installed in 1982 is relevant now.  It’s time for a refresh!  There’s no need to spend gobs of cash, but a home that feels current will always fetch a higher price.  Simple fixes can help you overcome buyer’s negative feedback before they ever walk through the door.  Sometimes a homeowner’s idea of “style” doesn’t resonate with buyers.  Positioning your home for mass market appeal using neutral paint, fixtures and furnishings will help the offers start rolling in.

Staging – Less is more.  Take down the family photos. Thin out the bookcases, knick-knacks, lace doilies, etc.  You know who you are!  It’s time to admit it, then let your real estate broker help you.  This is the hardest step in the process for mort sellers and typically where brokers get the most push-back.  Coming to the realization that you’re actually moving can be difficult, especially when you’re leaving behind so many wonderful memories.  Just remember, you’re not selling the memories, just the house.  The best approach is to pack like you’re ready to move.  You’re going to have to do it eventually.  If you’re going to live in the home while it’s on the market, it may be a good idea to accessorize with some staging items to help complete your furnishings.  If the home is vacant, talk with your broker about having the home professionally staged.  Buyers have a hard time visualizing furniture in an empty space.  Will it fit?  Give them something to help them envision the space.

Professional Photography – If your real estate broker doesn’t do it… find a different broker! Over 90% of buyers start their search online.  The photos they see are your home’s first impression and photos of vacant rooms are downright boring.  Buyer’s click past them without a second look.  Give them something to focus on and they’ll linger to imagine living in that space.  This is a no-brainer.

Deferred Maintenance – Remember that honey-do list?  Did you ever get any of those things done?  It’s time to start.  Buyers don’t need a home to be perfectly remodeled, but they do want to know a home has been well maintained.  Before you list, make sure to take care of the projects you’ve been procrastinating on. From the roof to the basement, they’re hidden all over.  Walk through your home with your real estate broker and decide which ones should be done before the For Sale sign goes up.  Things like cleaning the roof & gutters, furnace maintenance, paint touch-ups, checking the crawl space & attic, and fixing dripping faucets will help make inspections go more smoothly.

Identify Your Target Buyer – Your real estate broker can develop a buyer profile to determine who the likely buyers are in your area.  Use the buyer profile to assist in deciding which projects to focus on before listing your home for sale.

Regardless of location or home value, these universal tips will help your home stand out against the competition.  It takes a lot of work to get your home ready for the market.  Sometimes sellers find it so daunting that the tasks become overwhelming.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance.  Just remember that all the time and energy you put into the market preparation will often result in a far better selling experience at the negotiation table.

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‘Tis the Season to Sell: Small Projects that Help in a Big Way

With the warming temperatures of spring thawing us all from this winter’s deep freeze, thousands of new homes will be hitting the market within the next few weeks as the selling season kicks into high gear.

As a seller, you can either hope your home will sell quickly in a crowded marketplace, or you can be proactive and take on a few easy DIY projects that will go a long way towards helping your home standout and sell quickly. I’m probably the least handy person I know, and even I would be able to tackle these easy upgrades!

Watch as George to the Rescue’s George Oliphant and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage agent Ronnie Aiosa walk us through some simple and easy ways to get your home in shape for selling season.

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5 Reasons You Should Care Who Sells Your Home

sellers e1396978807952 5 Reasons You Should Care Who Sells Your HomeSelling your home is a big deal. Most people sell a house only a few times in their entire life, and they want it done right and through the right person. You might think real estate agents are all the same, but it’s important to consider why you should care who sells your home.  After eight consecutive years as the #1 Agent / Group in the State of Wisconsin for Coldwell Banker, Karl Volkman has some insight.

Here are 5 reasons you should care who sells your home.

1.) This is Your Home

Whether you’ve lived there 2 years or 28 years, this is a place you called home. Take the time to find a good, honest real estate agent. You need a good person to help you find your home a good home.

Tip: Have a conversation with your potential real estate agent. Do they take the time to get to know you?

2.) Compassion

Selling your home can be an emotional process and you want someone who will understand that. Your real estate agent should take the time to explain things to you and answer any and all questions you may have.

Tip: Let your real estate agent know how you’re feeling. It will help him or her make the process as smooth as possible.

3.)  Marketing Strategy

Does your real estate agent know how to market a home and is willing to put in the time and effort to effectively market your home. A lot goes into selling a home. Are they going to fill you in on the marketing strategy?

Tip: Ask your real estate agent what their marketing strategy will be for selling your house.

4.) Open Communication

Ask your real estate agent the best way to communicate with them and how often they’ll communicate with you. How available will they be to you? And on the flip side, how available will you be to your real estate agent?

Tip: Remember your real estate agent has a life, too. If they say not to call them after 6pm on weekdays, it’s important to respect that and call them the following day.

5.) Honesty

You need someone who is honest. Someone who will tell you the challenges they may face selling your home and how they plan to overcome them. Or, if they believe you need to price your home higher or lower, they’ll carefully explain why so you understand.

Tip: You expect your real estate agent to be honest, so make sure you’re honest with him or her.

The Karl Volkman Group is led by a hands on 30+ year real estate veteran while the agents themselves average 19 years of experience. 8 Consecutive years #1 Agent/Group in the State of Wisconsin for Coldwell Banker.

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Selling a Home Through a Child’s Eyes

In February of 1987 my parents made the journey from St. Barnabas Hospital to our home in Livingston NJ. To this day my mom says it was the most nerve-wracking car ride of her life. It was the day they brought me home for the first time. They have lived in that same house for the past 27 years…AKA my entire life.

By now you have probably realized this post is not in fact written by a “child” but by a 27 year old who just had a “bomb” dropped on her. Just a few months ago, my parents told me of their plans to move. I was outraged. How could they do this? This was OUR home. The home that we spent nearly three decades in. It is filled with memories of “firsts,” backyard BBQs, holidays, family dinners, laughs, love and so much happiness. It is the home that I left as a “Jacob” and returned as a “Listanski.” (picture above from my wedding morning) This was the home that I wanted MY children (one day) to play, grow and explore in.

I won’t lie.  My stomach hurt when my parents told me.  My heart was broken.

For as long I can remember, my parents have been talking about moving but never acted on it.

High school wasn’t the right time. Those are the years where girl teenage friendships are already stressful enough. My parents gave me the incredibly generous gift of paying for college so that certainly wasn’t the right time for them. Then, after college, I returned home and happily reclaimed my childhood bedroom. So that wasn’t the right time either.

After I moved back home it only took me a year to get engaged to my college sweetheart and we moved into an apartment exactly 2 turns and 6 minutes away from my childhood home. I thought to myself, this is it, they are finally going to make the jump…but they didn’t.

Fast forward three years ahead and I purchased my first home, ironically 3 turns and 4 minutes away from my childhood home.  I guess they realized that I wasn’t going to come back home.  It was time.

But how could they do this to me? How, NOW, after all this time could they move? And then it hit me. My parents have moved into the phase of their life that real estate professionals call “empty nesters.” They don’t need a big house anymore, they are tired of taking care of a large property, they want something new and you know what…they deserve it. They deserve it more than anyone I know. They are building a beautiful townhouse that they have always deserved. For years they have put aside their dreams of moving for my own comfort and I couldn’t thank them enough for that.

Despite my heart being crushed that later this year I will have to bid my only childhood home goodbye I couldn’t be happier for them to begin this new chapter of this life together.

Have you gone through a similar experience? Any words of advice before my final farewell?

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VIDEO: Top 5 Tips For First Time Home Sellers

Guest Post by Jessica Edwards

What are my Top 5 Tips for First Time Home Sellers?

1. Remember that the outside is just as important and in some ways more important than the inside. The outside is the first impression and sets the tone for the property tour inside.

2. Be prepared to spend some money on repairs.  You will be expected to address some items needing repairs. In some cases,  a little money can go a long way.

3. Know the number and know your bottom line.  Make sure you know what your mortgage payoff really is and what your closing costs will be.  You also want to make sure you know your numbers if you are going to be buying as well.  If you are selling and buying something else you need to meet with a lender on the purchase before you sell your home because it will effect your negotiating ability.

4. Know your agent and the brand or company that they work for.  Don’t just choose an agent without looking into the real estate company and brand they work and on the flip side don’t just choose any agent because of the company.  All agents work differently.

5. Be prepared for showings.  Make some preparations and plan ahead of time for last minute showings and certain days of the week.  Maybe let you spouse be in charge of some days and you the others if you both work or be sure to enlist the help of a stay at home mom or friend if you need pets removed during showings and you can’t always get home.  A little preparation and planning on the front end will make a world of difference in getting those buyers in your home.  And after all we have to get them in to get it sold!

Check out more great advice for home sellers and buyers from Jessica Edwards with Coldwell Banker Seacoast Advantage.

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Will Appealing to the Five Senses Help You Sell Your Home?

Whether you’re having an open house or allowing a private tour, while your house is on the market it will experience a lot of foot traffic. Realistically, you can’t please everyone but there are at least five things you can do to appeal to the senses that will encourage a more pleasurable showing experience. Keep reading to find out more. 

Staging can be time consuming and expensive, undoubtedly. Try this quick checklist that will definitely make the world’s difference in helping you to spruce up your home and quickly attract the right buyer.

Touch -  A clean home is a must when trying to attract buyers. Do the dust test. When you swipe your finger along surfaces does it come back clean? Also, try to remember not to leave out anything that holds a significant to you. Just about everything that is left out is fair game for contact, so really access what you have on display.

Sight - When you look around your home do you see clutter? Floors should be completely clear of any distracting items. Also remember- the chances of prospective buyers looking through every nook and cranny is highly likely, so no shoving things in the closet or under the bed. People need to be able to visual how your space can become theirs.

Smell -  If I had to choose, this would be the most important sense to pay attention to. A smelly home can be completely discouraging and off putting, not to mention it can totally ruin the chance for a sell. If you have carpets, invest in a good thorough cleaning as this is usually the source of harboring most foul smells. Also, make sure all the laundry is done, you wouldn’t want an offer to pass you by because of smelly socks.

Taste -  If you can, try leaving a little snack for your guests. If your having a morning showing, coffee and sweets can really make an impression maybe not upon your home but on you as the seller.

Sound -  Another good way to spark the interest of prospective buyers is to not be there. Yes, I said it, you’ve (hopefully) followed all of these steps and now the last one is to beat it! Being in the home can be distracting in terns of noise but also in terms of the level of comfort your visitors will feel. They may be less inclined to really get into the nitty-gritty of your home if you are there. They may also feel compelled to limit their line of questioning in hopes you not over hearing.

Let us know if you have any additional tips to add to the list, we want to hear from you. Happy selling!

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What is a CMA?

When you get into the process of buying or selling a home, an entire new world of terminology and acronyms is opened to you. Some may seem familiar while others might as well be ancient Greek.

One of the more common acronyms you’ll come across when selling your home is the term CMA. What is it? Well instead of a lengthy written explanation, we asked Martin Millner with Coldwell Banker Hearthside, Realtors to do a quick video explaining what it is and why it’s important to you when selling your home.

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Should a Seller Get a Pre-Inspection for their Home?

To get an inspection or not get an inspection? That is the question. Whether it is nobler in the minds of sellers to have a professional inspection ready ahead of buyers doing one or not is a debatable point and there are pros and cons to both sides of the argument.

I recently tapped into the Coldwell Banker global network of agents to get some of their thoughts and I found convincing arguments both for and against it. The video above is from Michael Ackerman with Coldwell Banker Bain Seal who gives his take on both getting one and not getting. Below are the responses from some of our top agents to help you make your decision on whether it’s the right thing for you to do to help sell your home.
Rene Guin Salazar with Coldwell Banker Harris Mchaney & Faucette -  A home inspection from a seller is absolutely invaluable! This removes buyers objections, and allows for no surprises when appraisals, other inspections come into play. I much prefer to know what the issues are in advance, for both buyers and sellers. All of my listings have a “homebuyer ready” package added to them that include home warranty and pre-inspect. I believe this gives us an advantage over homes without, and especially in a competitive market.
Craig Hogan with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage (Chicago) - We do quite often in our market. Doesn’t mean there won’t be a buyer inspection but a no surprise buyer inspection is a very good thing. Especially when we are getting asking price and above as we are now. No one wants to pay full price and have issues.
Mike Bowler with Coldwell Banker Hubbell Briarwood – A pre-inspection provides a ready to sell home, however a buyer will still choose to have their own home inspection. What it does do for the seller is provide an opportunity to correct any necessary repairs prior to marketing and gives them the peace of mind that all major items are in good repair.
Gail Carillo with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage (New York) - Conducting a home inspection prior to putting the home on the market will not substitute for a buyers inspection. Further, with each inspector there will be a variety in findings. I also find that many homeowners are already in touch with the flaws of their home & can likely inform us what has been tended to and what has not during their tenure as homeowner. If the homeowner is willing to invest in something I recommend they invest in good old fashioned elbow grease. Do all the things that are free. Clean is free. De-cluttering is free. An investment of time preparing the home for sale in this manner will go a long way & it is important to remember the viewing starts at the curb.
Richard Alpers with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage (Colorado) -  I used to, but I found that buyers didn’t trust it. They felt that the sellers might have hired the inspector to ignore a problem, so they got their own anyway. I still think it’s very helpful for the seller to find out about any issues up front.
Ashley Brooke Houseman with Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty -  I will have the seller make minimal repairs/updates/etc prior to listing, mainly things that will be a major eyesore to a buyer or will be unappealing in photos. The standard Florida contract has a repair allowance (whatever the buyer/seller agree to) or if it’s an As-Is contract, the buyer will most likely ask for certain repairs to be made prior to moving out of the inspection period and onward to closing. Repairs are often used as a negotiation tool in our neck of the woods.
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