How to Make Your House Shine in Photographs When Selling

When it comes to selling a house, first impressions are everything. Curb appeal has always been important in real estate, but now that many buyers begin their home search online, having photographs of your home that shine is essential. Capturing the perfect shot and making your house look its best can seem daunting, but following these simple tips will help you get the job done. 

Clean the Windows and Open the Shades – The windows of your house can be one of its defining features, but if they are obscured by dirt or grime, then they will detract from the overall look of your home in photographs. Make sure to give them a good clean before taking any pictures so that natural light can fill the room. 

Perk Up Houseplants – Houseplants are an excellent way to liven up any space and add life to a photo, but they also require regular attention for them to stay healthy and vibrant. If you have any plants inside your home, make sure to give them a bit of TLC before taking any shots so that they don’t detract from the look of your house. 

Remove Counter Clutter – Clutter is one of those things that is easy enough to overlook until you take a picture, at which point it becomes painfully obvious! Clear away all unnecessary items from countertops and tables before shooting so that nothing distracts from the overall aesthetics. This also applies to any clutter on shelves or mantles – less is always more when it comes to creating stunning visuals. 

Polish Wood Floors and Shine Up Appliances – Wood floors often require regular maintenance and polishing for them to really shine, so don’t neglect this step if you want impressive results! Polishing up appliances such as microwaves and ovens can also help create an overall clean feel, which will come across clearly in photographs as well. 

Hide Toiletries and Freshen Bathrooms – One of the most important things is to make sure all toiletries are hidden away when taking pictures. This includes items like shampoo, soap, razors, toothbrush holders, and so on. You also want to make sure the bathrooms are nice and clean; give them a quick scrub if need be. 

Tuck in Bedcovers – Have all the beds made with crisp linens before taking pictures of the bedrooms. It will make your rooms look polished and neat. Also, consider removing any extra blankets or pillows that might be lying around – they can distract from the overall photo composition. 

Switch on All Lights – Turn on all the lights in each room before taking pictures. Doing this will help show off each room’s best features and create brighter images overall. This tip is especially important for darker areas, such as hallways or basements, that may need some extra light for better photos.

Focus on First Impressions – Lastly, focus on creating an inviting first impression by making sure that the entryway looks inviting with a welcoming rug or artwork displayed prominently near it.

With these simple tricks, you can make sure that your humble home shines in any photograph and impress buyers without having to do too much extra work.  If you’re thinking about selling your home, contact us today, and let’s get started on your real estate journey!

Staging Your Backyard to Sell

Staging a property before going on the market benefits everyone – it helps home buyers imagine the potential to make a home their own, and it helps increase the ROI (return on investment) for home sellers. A backyard can be a huge draw for home buyers, even more so when they can picture having the neighbors over for cookouts, entertaining friends around the fire pit, or lounging by the pool.

DEEP CLEAN Deep cleaning and decluttering to make your backyard look spacious and comfortable!

REFRESH LANDSCAPING Landscaping is everything when it comes to creating a polished and inviting outdoor space. Greenery and a few flower beds will liven up any yard or patio.

FURNISH THE SPACE Be intentional about how you furnish your outdoor space. Break large outdoor spaces into cozy vignettes like you would in an indoor living room – Adirondacks around the fire pit, a comfy couch with throw pillows, and a cozy lounge chairs for sunning by the pool.

Not sure where to start? Give us a call, we’re here to help! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Ready to Sell this Spring?

Are you looking to sell your home this Spring? If you answered yes, then here are things you can get started on:

Declutter living areas. Less is more when it comes to getting your house ready to show. Do a clean sweep of counters, windowsills, tables, and all other visible areas, and then tackle behind closed doors: closets, drawers, and cupboards—since virtually nothing is off-limits for curious buyers.

Depersonalize your space. What is the next step on your checklist for selling a house? Sellers should remove distractions so the buyers can visualize themselves and their families living in the property.

Touch up any scuff marks. Even if you’re not doing a full-on repainting project, pay special attention to scrubbing and touching up baseboards, walls, and doors to make the house sparkle and look cared for.

Fix any loose handles. It’s a small thing, but you’d be surprised by the negative effect a loose handle or missing lightbulb can have on a buyer.

Clean, clean, clean. Once you’re done cleaning your house, clean some more. Even if you’re not worried about what buyers will think of your home’s scent, you want your property to look spotless.

Find a great real estate agent. Your real estate agent should be someone you feel comfortable working with and trust to sell your house for top dollar. Give us a call, we’re here to help! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Buyer Turn-Offs to Avoid

Here are some of the biggest turn-offs for home buyers (the good news is, they’re all easily avoidable as a seller!).

• A broken doorbell or cracked screen door: Curb appeal starts the second your buyers pull up to your front door. Make sure everything is functional and not broken.

• An outdated kitchen and bathroom: Though you don’t need to do a full renovation, a few changes can go a long way, like new light fixtures or cabinet hardware.

• Dirty carpets, walls, or windows: A deep cleaning prior to listing your home is always a good idea. Have carpets shampooed, walls painted or touched up, and windows washed from the inside and out before inviting buyers into your home.

• Scuffed hardwood floors: If your hardwood floors are in bad shape, your buyers are going to look at them and see dollar signs. Make sure your floors are clean and polished so your buyers won’t need to replace them.

Staging to Sell – Kids’ Rooms

Getting the kids to clean their rooms can be hard enough on a regular day, let alone during the stress of a big move. Here are 3 quick tips:

DITCH THE THEMES Remove the princess or superhero theme and opt instead for neutral bedding and cheerful accent colors. It’s only temporary and you can unpack their favorites when you get to the new home.

KEEP PRIVACY IN MIND Strangers will be wandering through your home, so pack away any pictures of your kids or references to their names or where they attend school.

KEEP IT SPACIOUS​ Consider packing away any toys that sit on the floor to create more space. Keep them in the playroom or put them in storage while your home is on the market.

Create a Welcoming Entryway

First impressions are everything and an organized entryway can impact the entire experience a buyer has when they tour your house. Even if you’re not on the market and simply want to present your home well to guests, here’s how to create a foyer or entryway that says “Welcome Home!”

ADD AN INVITING AROMA The way your home smells is just as – if not more – important than how it looks because it is one of the first things your buyer will notice.

KEEP THE FLOOR CLEAR Create the illusion of more space by keeping the floors free of boots, shoes, backpacks, and other clutter. A clear path can help make the entryway appear cleaner and larger.

MAKE IT PLUSH Rugs instantly add a layer of coziness and placing a rug will make the space feel inviting and welcoming.

Top 30 Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

If you’re thinking of selling your home, there are a few things you can do to increase its value. No matter what condition the house is in, these tips will help increase property values and get top dollar for it on the market. 

Here are 30 ways you can increase the value of your home. 

  1. Update your kitchen by installing new countertops. 
  2. Add wainscoting below windows, which creates a balance between light and dark colors when decorating the space. 
  3. Add new fixtures to your bathrooms, such as a toilet seat cover, a new mirror, or a vanity. 
  4. Update the banister and staircase with stain or paint to make it feel like a fresh start for any potential buyers. 
  5. Spruce up the landscaping by adding plants, flowers, and trees. Trimming bushes and pruning dead branches also help keep things tidy outside. 
  6. Keep rooms clean of clutter. A messy space can pose an obstacle for prospective buyers who want to imagine themselves living in the home. 
  7. Provide more closet space for clothing, shoes, and anything else that needs a home. 
  8. Create an inviting living room by adding furniture, like end tables or coffee tables, to the space. 
  9. Switch outdated curtains and blinds with something modern and fresh. This could be as simple as switching out colors from light shades to dark shades or vice versa, depending on how you plan to decorate your windows. 
  10. Deep-clean all appliances and make sure they work properly if you’re planning to leave them. 
  11. Take care of any cracks in the driveway and fill in potholes if there are any. 
  12. Paint or replace your front door. This is an inexpensive way to give it a fresh new look that will impress prospective buyers! 
  13. Add or replace shutters on windows for added curb appeal.
  14. Create more space by adding extra cabinets, shelving units, and closets to unused spaces like unfinished basements or attics where you can store things out of sight but still have access to them when needed later. 
  15. Replace damaged or outdated flooring with new laminate, hardwood, or carpet to make it feel like a brand-new home. 
  16. If you’re not replacing your flooring, hire a company to deep clean the carpets, refinish the hardwood, or recoat the laminate with a floor sealer and high-gloss floor finish. 
  17. Update the trim on your windows and doors so they match in color—this includes things such as window frames, door jambs, and moldings around exterior entryways if you have them installed. 
  18. Swap out the hardware on the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen and bathrooms. 
  19. Resurface and paint the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms if replacing them is not within your budget. 
  20. Power wash your house to remove years of dirt and weather residue. 
  21. Give the walkway of your home a pop of light by installing outdoor solar lighting. 
  22. Install smart technology. Investing in products that allow your house to become a smart home can quickly increase its value without doing any renovations. 
  23. Check the insulation in the attic to ensure the house is properly insulated. 
  24. Update your old garage door. This is especially true if the garage is in the front of the house. A new garage door can instantly provide your home with a facelift. 
  25. Organize your garage to make it appear like a functional workspace or area for the new owners to park their cars. To make it really pop, go a step further by painting the floor with acrylic paint. 
  26. Install new faceplates on electrical outlets and light switches. 
  27. Replace the light fixtures in your home with recessed lighting. Recessed lighting will instantly make your house appear brighter. 
  28. Install new faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms. A new faucet can give the space an instant wow factor. 
  29. Don’t have the funds to replace that old tub? Simply re-glaze it to leave buyers looking at a sparkling white place to relax and escape. 
  30. Spend a day deep cleaning and re-grouting the showers. Re-grouting the showers is a fast and easy way to make your bathroom feel brand new. 

No matter what condition the house is in, these tips will help increase property values and get top dollar for it on the market. If you’ve been considering selling your home, be sure to contact us to schedule your free consultation. 

Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

Homeownership is a dream for many. It represents stability, a place to raise a family, and an investment for the future. However, when it comes time to sell that same home, many homeowners make avoidable mistakes that can cost them dearly. Here are five of the most common ones, along with advice on how to avoid them the next time you list your home for sale. 

Not using a Real Estate Agent

Selling your home is a big decision, and it’s one that you shouldn’t take lightly. There are a lot of things to consider, from deciding when to put your home on the market to setting the right price. And unless you’re an experienced real estate professional, there’s a good chance you’re not familiar with all of the ins and outs of the process. That’s why working with a real estate agent is such a smart move. A good agent will have extensive knowledge of the local market and can help you price your home competitively. They can also provide invaluable assistance when it comes to negotiating with buyers and their agents. In short, working with a real estate agent will give you a much better chance of selling your home quickly and for the best possible price. 

Pricing Your Home Too High 

When selling your home, it is important to price it correctly from the outset. A common mistake sellers make is pricing their home too high, thinking that they will be able to negotiate down to their ideal price. However, this often backfires, as buyers are often turned off by homes that are priced above market value. Not only does this make your home less likely to sell, but it can also lead to your home sitting on the market longer, costing you money in the long run. It is always better to err on the side of caution and price your home slightly below market value. This will make it more attractive to buyers and increase the chances of a quick sale. 

Not Making the Right Repairs and Renovations 

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make when selling their property is neglecting to address major repairs or costly renovations. While it may be tempting to save on upfront costs, this can ultimately lead to a lower sale price or a longer time on the market. Buyers are typically looking for a home that is move-in ready or as close to move-in ready as possible, and they are often willing to pay more for a property that doesn’t require immediate repairs or significant updates. In some cases, ignoring major repairs can even result in the buyer’s loan being denied. If you are planning on selling your home, it is important to make any necessary repairs and to avoid making any changes that could deter potential buyers. By taking care of your home before putting it on the market, you can help ensure a smooth and successful sale.

Failing to Stage Your Home 

When you’re selling your home, first impressions are everything. That’s why failing to stage your home is a mistake. Buyers are looking for a home that they can picture themselves living in, and if your home is cluttered or outdated, they may not be able to see past that. A well-staged home will help buyers see the potential of your space and fall in love with it. Staging doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming; even just decluttering and adding a few fresh touches can make a big difference. 

Being Limited on Showing Opportunities 

Showings give potential buyers the opportunity to see your home in person and get a better sense of its size, layout, and features. The more showings you have, the greater the chance of selling your home. While it may be disruptive to have people coming through your home on a regular basis, it is important to be as flexible as possible when it comes to showings. You never know when the perfect buyer will come along, so you want to make sure they have the opportunity to see your home. 

Failing to Negotiate 

When it comes time to negotiate, many homeowners make the mistake of being inflexible. They may have a price in mind that they are unwilling to budge on, or they may be attached to certain terms of the sale. However, it is important to remember that negotiation is a normal part of the home-selling process. In most cases, buyers will try to negotiate for repairs after an inspection is completed, so it is important to be prepared for this. If there are certain repairs you are unwilling to make, be sure to communicate this to your agent so they can negotiate on your behalf. At the same time, try to be open to compromise. By being flexible and willing to negotiate, you are more likely to come to an agreement that works for everyone. 

Avoid these common costly mistakes to make the process as smooth as possible for you and your family. If you have any questions about the selling process or want more information about how we can help you sell your home quickly and for top dollar, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to share our knowledge and expertise with you so that you can make informed decisions throughout this important time in your life. 

Questions to Ask When Touring Homes For Sale

When you’re ready to begin searching for a new home, it’s easy to get swept up by the process. The combination of an exciting prospect of a significant life change and the persuasive tactics of those trying to sell you that life can often lead to you leaving a property tour without any relevant information. It’s always best to come prepared with a list of questions you can ask at the open house. Here are a few of the best hard-hitting questions to help jump-start your brainstorming.

#1 Are There Any Structural Issues with the Home?

Being caught unaware of structural issues years from now is every homeowner’s nightmare. Ask this question when you view the home; the listing agent can provide you with an official seller’s disclosure that should help shed some light on the home’s health.

#2 Has the Seller Made Any DIY Renovations?

DIY renovations made by the previous owners are notorious for causing problems down the line. And work that wasn’t completed by a licensed professional is also much more likely to incite a code violation. You should also always schedule a professional home inspection before your closing date.

#3 What (If Any) Updates Have Been Made in the Home Since the Seller Purchased It, and When Were They Made?

Major updates, such as ones to the electrical, roof, or siding, will give you a good idea of what will need your attention in the coming years. A home inspection should also assist with this question, and inspectors can even estimate how long some features have left before they need to be fixed or replaced.

#4 Is there an HOA, and What Are the Fees?

An HOA, or homeowner’s association, comes with a long strip of red tape: fees, regulations, and rules that apply to anyone who lives under the neighborhood umbrella. If the home has an HOA, get more information so you can research their requirements, including the annual fees or amenities cost.

#5 On average, what is the Seller Spending on Utility Bills?

If you care about energy efficiency, you’ll want to make sure you ask this question. Learn what sort of energy the home uses and what the estimated cost of the utilities is. It will help bring the budget for your new home into focus.

#6 How Old is the HVAC System?

Updating a new system can be costly, but old systems could cost you a fortune in utilities and repairs. Ask specifically about the HVAC system, as this will affect your overall comfort year-round. You can also check in with other systems like water heaters and plumbing fixtures.

Be Prepared When Buying a Home

Buying a home is an exciting, thrilling time in your life. But you don’t want to take off the rose-colored glasses years from now, only to wish you had learned more about your home.

These questions should help as a great jumping-off point, but take some time and ask yourself what things are crucial to you living a happy life in a new home. Discuss your list with your real estate agent so you can be on the same page and have an open, direct conversation about your needs.

By advocating for yourself and asking these essential questions, you’re on your way to a more enjoyable, stress-free home-buying journey!

Benefits of Hiring a Real Estate Agent

The real estate market is competitive and confusing, which can make it difficult to know if a professional is worth the commission they charge. Here are three reasons why it’s a no-brainer to decide to hire a real estate agent to help you sell your home, even in a seller’s market. 

Agents Specialize in the Real Estate Market 

Agents go to real estate school to understand how to navigate the real estate market, which means you can trust them to know and understand the nuances of the industry. As experts in selling and buying homes, real estate agents know how to maneuver negotiations to get their clients to the closing finish line. One wrong decision could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars lost or gained when it comes to purchasing a property. If you’ve never been through this process before, an expert can help explain what goes on throughout the entire transaction. Questions will no doubt arise, such as: What does escrow mean? When will it be time to close escrow? What information do I have to legally provide to buyers? You may not realize all the things sellers must disclose when they sell a house. Real estate agents are trained professionals who understand these nuances and won’t let anything slip past them during negotiations. 

Real Estate Agents Have a Fiduciary Duty 

Fiduciary duties are the highest duties under the law, and when you have an agent on your side, you can rest assured knowing they are bound by law to put your best interests first. There are six specific fiduciary duties that an agent must uphold. 

Loyalty: The agent is at all times to act solely in the best interest of the principal, which is you, the client. 

Confidentiality: They’re obligated to safeguard and keep your secrets. Disclosure: They must inform you of all relevant material when it comes to the transaction. No secrets may be kept. 

Obedience: Real estate agents are obligated to obey all lawful instructions that you provide them, which means that even if they think you shouldn’t put an offer on a house if you want the contract written, they must obey. 

Reasonable Care and Diligence: An agent must be dependable and willing to always pursue the best options for their client. Under this duty, agents are to use their superior skills and knowledge of the real estate industry while pursuing their principal’s affairs. Accounting: This duty compels an agent to safeguard any money, deed, or other document entrusted to them that relates to their client’s transactions or affairs.

Personalized Attention

Real estate agents work on commission, and they don’t get paid unless you successfully close on a sale. This alone makes an agent work even harder for you. As a seller, you’ll get an expert who understands what buyers are looking for in your neighborhood, a professional who knows how to stage your home based on its surroundings and potential buyers’ tastes, and someone who will know how to price your home to stand out from the others. There’s no need to be stressed out by all the paperwork and legalities that come with selling a home because you’ll have someone who can explain every part of the contract and offers that you’re receiving. Plus, agents know how to negotiate the best price for your property, which could help sell your home for more. 

Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house on your own, I would love the opportunity to sit down and discuss your needs. Give us a call today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation!