Smart Home Features

Google homeDo you have a “home assistant”? I’m sure many of you have one like we do, we have a Google Home on our kitchen counter. We use it to set timers and ask her to play bluetooth from my phone. We can also can use voice activation to control one of my other smart home devices like the temperature on our Nest thermostat. During the Phoenix summers, Nest helps us save money with intuitive temperature control when we are in and out of the house. Smart thermostats, home assistant speakers and door locks are popular and well-known products, but did you know there are even more smart devices available?

Smart Vacuums
Now vacuuming can be as simple as literally just lifting a finger. If you have an Apple Watch, you can set up a Roomba vacuum so all you need to do is tap to start the device in your home.

Smart Light Switch
You may have heard of the lightbulbs you can control color and intensity of with your voice, but what about the light switch you can talk to? Smart light switches are wired into your existing switch configuration and allow you to set nightlight settings, responsive times to turn on and off, and integration with Alexa voice activation, all from your phone.

Smart Plugs
Are you ever at work and wonder if you unplugged your curling iron, never fear – you can now switch it off from your phone! Smart plugs are simple to use, they plug into the wall, your device plugs into the smart plug, and now you’ve got full access to control it from your phone. TVs, lamps, crockpots and more can all be controlled remotely!

Smart Scales
Smart scales do way more than just tell you your weight. They help users more effectively monitor and track their weight and health by reporting proportions of fat, muscle mass and other metrics straight to your phone. If you wear Fitbit, there’s even a special scale that connects with your tracker.

Smart homes are increasing in popularity as people are more willing to invest in homes and devices that save time and money. Are you looking for a smart home? Let us know and we can begin your search today. Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

The Importance of Curb Appeal When Selling

front entrance
First impressions are everything when preparing your house for sale. Curb appeal is the initial preview of your home for potential buyers. In today’s real estate market, potential buyers will first view your home online. Then if your home matches the criteria they are using in their home search, these buyers will drive by your home. If the exterior of your home isn’t well-kept or your landscaping isn’t on par with the other homes in the neighborhood, your home showing may turn into a drive-by only with those potential buyers.

Implementing a few steps to update and maintain your home’s exterior is critical to prepping your home for sale. Doing so will invite more potential home buyers to come closer to check out all that your home has to offer. The first step is to take an objective look at your front yard’s landscaping. A desert landscape littered with weeds and overgrown trees implies deferred maintenance in all areas of home care and upkeep. Trimming trees, weeding, and pruning shrubs will also allow potential buyers to actually see your home. Planting fresh flowers or desert plants in pots near your walkway or front door is also another quick and inexpensive step to freshen up your home’s exterior and landscape. Power-washing, hosing down, or simply sweeping your driveway, walkway and front entry way are other inexpensive steps that will pay off with a big impact when showcasing your home’s exterior. While you’re at it, be sure that your windows sparkle with a fresh cleaning inside and out.

If you’re lucky enough to have a front patio area or large entry way, stage this area by placing a couple chairs to showcase a conversation area to your potential buyers as they are walking into your home. Furthermore, the simplifying rule that applies to the interior of your home also applies to the exterior and landscaping, so remove any yard or lawn art from your front yard and entry way. Keeping the door clean and free of decorations is another way to showcase the architecture and beauty of your home without providing unnecessary distractions.

As realtors, we can give you more specific advice unique to your home and neighborhood, to help you maximize your home’s curb appeal. Give us call today to learn more how we can help sell your home for top dollar! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Appliance Disposal Tips


When preparing your home for sale, we often suggest to replace your old appliances with new ones or you may have just bought a home with old appliances and you replaced them…so what do you with the old appliances?

You can recycle your smaller appliances with most cities. The Cities of Scottsdale and Phoenix both offer quarterly electronic recycling events, look for announcements of these events in your monthly water bill.

Give Away
Check with local charities to see what their policies are regarding used appliances donations. Charities that accept appliance donations will often offer free curbside pick-up service. You may also be able to write your donation off on your taxes.

Have It Hauled Away
You may decide you just want the appliances out of your home. When that happens, you can call services for responsible appliance removal. There will be a fee, so you might want to go through your house and find any additional items in need of being hauled away to make the fee worth the money.

Sell Them
Are your appliances still running? Head over to Craigslist or to sell them. There is a growing market of shoppers looking for a bargain. There are also customers who want to strip your appliances for parts to re-sale. Fielding offers from bargain shoppers can be a more time-consuming option, but with a little effort, you could put some cash in your pocket!

Are you thinking of selling your home? Our complimentary home stagers will help you make the decisions needed to get you top dollar! Call today for more information. Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Build Your Dream Backyard with These Online Tools

Picture this: Your perfect backyard, as designed by you. When we had our vision for a backyard revamp, we started with a pencil and paper to try and capture our thoughts. But the availability of free online tools taught us there’s a better way to get your ideas out there and start building your dream backyard. Here are a few tools that we came across that were useful:

1. Garden Planner Online

This versatile planner lets you change the size and color of everything in its arsenal, which is a lot. Bushes, trees, flowers, pavers and ponds, furniture, walls, herb gardens and more are just some of the things you can drag, drop and edit. You can even draw your own shapes and paver paths.

Tip: You will need to download free software if you would like to save your work. If you want to keep what you are working on, you can print it from the browser (just don’t close it before you are done!)

2. Plan-A-Garden

Offered by the well-known Better Homes & Gardens publication, this resource requires some personal sign-up information, but the app is worth it. All items you can drag and drop on the screen appear 3D over a changeable background of a home’s exterior in real space. You can sort plants by the amount of light they’ll receive, and even color on a base texture. 

Tip: You can save your project any time right in the browser to come back to it later. 

3. Marshalls Garden Visualiser

3D space and plenty of useful objects make this garden planner a breeze to use. It also effectively captures the dimensions of your space, and allows you to move around inside the garden to get an idea of how it will look. You can add features like paths, fences and buildings as well.

Tip: This online planner specifically does not work in Chrome and requires download of the Unity Web Player to work.

If you are looking for even more powerful tools, there are plenty of options for paid software to help you landscape and design your yard.  But for something simple and free, these resources should do the trick.  Having an inviting backyard is not only a great extension of your home but also a huge part of your curb appeal when trying to sell.  Our team offers a free one hour home staging consultation.  Contact us for more information.

Happy planning!


Decorating Trends Beyond Everything Gray

decoration items photoDid you just recently buy a new house, or just reconsidering your interior décor? Wherever we go, we are seeing everything from minimalist midcentury modern to bold bohemian. If you’ve got an eye on the decorating world (or just Pinterest), you know everything gray (we are talking everything – even the wood floors) has been in the spotlight for a while. Now, there’s a hot movement for colors, bold shapes and other trending decorating styles that you might find inspiring.

Geometry: Backsplash tile, wallpapers, bold rugs and even lampshades: If it’s angled, it’s in. The increasing popularity of a simple geometric form adds a modern flair and a bold edge to almost any space. 

Macrame: Not just for the 70s anymore, macrame is back in action prominently as plant holders, but inside the home it also is adding a vintage touch hanging on walls and as textured fringe.

Bold sofas: Is it red? Wonderful. Is it velvet? Even better. Design trends are eschewing the plain for something that pops in the living room (and is actually comfy to sit on). 

Warm color palette: Design is shifting this season from cool tones to embrace warm browns and earthy, light accents. Yellows and browns make spaces more inviting while still retaining a minimalist sense of style. 

Marble, terrazzo and stone: Two are bold, the other sparse. But all are making a comeback in design trends, from lavish marble countertops to austere stone tables to funky, chunky terrazzo tiles. 

Metallics: Take a few picks from silver, gold or copper to achieve a trending penchant for mixed metal accents (or even rose gold).

Colorful cabinets: Move over, white. Kitchen design is all about the blue, green and other cool, moody shades for a cabinet look. 

Southwest inspiration. Lucky for us, cacti are cool. The modern Southwest feel is especially trendy, so break out that ceramic pot, woven rug or rough-hewn basket. 

Let us know what type of a home you are looking for.  We can find you a home that meets your needs and lifestyle.  CONTACT US

5 Quick Bathroom Updates to Sell a Home Faster

modern bathroom photoIs your hoe not selling as fast as you would like, or are you getting ready to list your home for the first time? Either way, you’re probably looking for a way to get your property to snag the interest of potential buyers. There are a lot of different upgrades and changes you can make to your home to encourage people to look twice and even to make an offer, but the bathroom is a great place to get started with these. Check out the list below and see for yourself just how quick and easy it is to make some upgrades that will make your home sell faster than you may have expected.

New Lighting
Replace old, outdated, dirty, or damaged light fixtures with new ones that will make the space look bright and inviting. Be sure to choose something that matches the hardware and faucets in your bathroom to create a cohesive look. Always make sure the bulbs are new and functioning before showing your home.

New Paint
You may want to consider repainting everything in the bathroom, depending on what’s already there. A fresh coat of neutral colored paint on the walls and attention to repainting the trim around the bathroom can make a huge difference in its appeal to a buyer. Be sure to paint the cabinets if this is relevant to your particular bathroom, too.

New Hardware
Replace old cabinet handles and door hardware with new, stylish options that match your light fixtures. You may also want to go the extra mile and replace the faucets and showerhead with something new that matches and creates a flowing look throughout the bathroom space, too.  This is definitely recommended if you still have brass hardware and fixtures.

New Toilet
A new toilet may be the most expensive change you’ll want to make before trying to sell your home, but it can go a long way toward encouraging buyers to take a second look. Toilets are one of those pieces of your home that just do not age very well, but a nice, fresh, new toilet in an otherwise upgraded and clean bathroom will wow your potential buyers and give them the feeling of getting an added bonus if they decide to buy.

New Shelves
Many bathrooms are woefully lacking in storage space. By adding new shelves to yours, you may be giving your buyers something they truly want in a bathroom. Build shelves into existing cabinetry or hang durable shelves from the walls to give your bathroom some more storage options all around.

Are you considering selling your home?  We offer professional staging services.  Call us today to get started or click here to request a free home value estimate.

480.754.9477 or 480.754.9077


Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell

living room photoIf you’re planning to sell your Scottsdale area home, there are a lot of things you need to keep in mind. You may start to feel pretty overwhelmed with all the ins and outs of selling a home, and you might overlook one of the most important steps: staging your house before you ever start showing it. Home buyers are much less likely to purchase a messy home that hasn’t been properly staged, so putting a little effort into the look and feel of your house is sure to go a long way toward helping you make that sale quickly. Below are our top 4 tips for perfect home staging, even if you’re working on a budget.

De-Clutter Your Space: Cut back on the clutter throughout your home to help make the space look a lot more inviting. Even if it seems comfortable and cozy to you, others may not agree, and you’ll be a lot better off and make a better impression on potential home buyers if you reduce the clutter. Even if you have to put it all in boxes in the attic or garage for the time being, try to get it out of the living spaces.

Work on Curb Appeal:  Although the weather in Scottsdale can make a big difference when it comes to what you can do with your yard, be sure you showcase the beauty of your home and how it fits into the excellent natural mountain and desert surroundings. Clean your house with a power washer, be sure it’s freshly painted or at least doesn’t show signs of a lot of wear and tear on the outside, and prune any plants in your yard. Plant fresh flowers if your yard is a little barren.

Set the Table:  There’s no need to lay out a full-course table setting for six or eight people, but if you set your table in an inviting way, this is sure to drive more interest in your home. Keep the dining area clean and clear of clutter, and put out around four table settings with an interesting centerpiece that matches your room’s style. This is a little design trick that can make a big difference.

Stage Around Area Events:  Let local events do the talking for you, or at least work with them to help drive more interest in your home. Plan an open house or be sure your home is on the market in time for big area events that draw large crowds, or pick up some interesting décor to place around your home during smaller local happenings. Head to the Old Town Farmer’s Market, for example, and bring home some fresh fruit or flowers grown locally to help spruce up your interior for just a few dollars.

click here to get a free home value estimate

Perking Up with Paint!

dining room paintPaint.  It’s one of the easiest, least expensive ways to instantly update your home’s interior (and exterior) when you’re getting your home ready to sell.  If your home’s interior hasn’t been painted within the past five years, or if your existing paint colors aren’t in a neutral color family, I definitely recommend painting your home before you put it on the market.  Two things to consider before you begin this easy, cost-effective makeover:  color and finish.

Choosing a neutral paint color is the way to go when readying your home for sale.  While accent walls in the Pantone color of the year, or that mirror latest interior design trends can be a fun decorative touch while living in and enjoying your home, these colors aren’t necessarily the best way to go when you are trying to appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers.   Some paint colors that are sure crowd-pleasers, and that are trend-proof, are Amazing Gray (Sherwin-Williams), Manchester Tan (Benjamin Moore), Birchwood (Dunn Edwards), and Warm Butterscotch (Dunn Edwards).   Two strong choices for trim (and cabinets) are Swiss Coffee (Dunn Edwards) and Creamy (Sherwin Williams).

Another thing to consider when updating your home for sale by painting the interior is to paint all of the rooms the same color.  This will create a clean, cohesive look, and will be a blank slate for potential buyers to later decorate or add accent colors if they should so choose.

Finally, the different types of finish of paint is as critical as the color you choose.  The four basic types of paint finish are: flat, eggshell, satin and semi-gloss.  Flat paint is paint that has zero-reflective qualities, and is better suited for deep rich colors.  Because it’s not a washable finish, it’s better used in rooms such as an office or a master bedroom.  Ceilings can be painted in a flat finish.  Eggshell finish is a finish that is very washable, so it’s much better for rooms that see a lot of use, such as the dining room, the kitchen, a playroom, kids’ bedrooms and the laundry room.  A satin finish is also durable, and has a smooth, subtle shine and is also great for higher-traffic rooms.  Finally, semi-gloss is a higher sheen paint that is generally used in bathrooms and kitchens because this paint is very washable.  Semi-gloss paint is typically used for trim and baseboards, as well as cabinetry.  However, semi-gloss paint isn’t forgiving when it comes to flaws on the wall, so that’s something to keep in mind.

While the multitude of color and finishes when it comes to paint can seem overwhelming, the payoff when it comes to readying your home for sale is very quick and satisfying.  I would be happy to assist you in choosing the appropriate paint color and finish that’s specific to your own home.

Contact us for more staging tips

Interior Design Principles

granite-luxury-kitchenThe proportion and placement of items in your home results in good interior design.  The following design principles will help you get ready to stage and list your home for sale, as well as help you set up your new home for optimal living and enjoyment.

Area rugs are a very large component of interior design, where placement and proportion are particularly useful.  In the living room, if you have placed your furniture against the walls, you can either pick a rug size that will allow your sofa and side chairs to rest half on the rug and half off of it, or you can choose a smaller rug where no seating touches it.  If your living area is larger than average, you’re better off with an area rug that’s large enough to have every piece of furniture fully placed on it.  In the bedroom, your aim is to make sure you are stepping onto a rug from the bed.  Therefore, you can position your area rug under the bed so that it peeks out two to three feet on either side and at the foot, without the nightstands resting on the rug.  (A good guideline to follow is 8 by 10 feet for a queen bed and 9 by 12 feet for a king).  Alternatively, consider placing a runner or smaller 3 by 5-foot rug on each side of the bed.

Another area where placement and proportion are important is hanging artwork or design pieces on the walls of your home.  The basic rule of thumb is to keep artwork at eye level, just as museums do.  If most members of your household are on the short side, hang art so the midpoint is about 57 inches from the floor.  Or, in rooms with ceilings higher than 8 feet, hang any artwork a bit higher than 60 inches from the floor from the midpoint of the art.  The exceptions here are if you are hanging your artwork over a headboard or a sofa.  In these situations, make sure the bottom of the frame is 8 to 10 inches above the piece of furniture.  This ensures the artwork is visually connected to the furniture and not free-floating above it.  Finally, if the artwork is very large (taller than 10 feet), disregard the midpoint rule and just position the bottom edge of the piece at least a foot from the floor.

Finally, the placement of lighting is a critical component of good interior design.  For pendant lights over a kitchen island, or a chandelier over a dining room table, for example, aim to hang these lights so the bottom hangs 30 to 34 inches from the table surface.  With regard to floor and table lamps, ensure the bottom edge of the lampshade is at eye level or just above when you are seated.  For a lamp on a nightstand, make sure the bottom of the shade is at chin level when you are seated in bed.  Finally, with sconces, the placement between them is the critical component.  For hallway sconces, position them 8 to 10 feet apart, and for bathroom mirror sconces, position them 36 to 40 inches apart, to ensure an even display of light.

These interior design principles are tried and true, and work in every type of home.  I hope they will serve you well in your home selling or home designing adventure.

Do you know the value of your home?  Click here to get a free no obligation estimate.

Getting Ready for Showing Your Home


granite-luxury-kitchenYour home has been prepped and is ready for listing in the MLS.  Now what?  There are some steps that will make it easy to get ready for all of those showings that will be coming your way.

First, maximize all of the light in your home by turning on all of the lights in your home and open all of the curtains and blinds on your windows.  Buyers love to see bright, well-lit homes, and these quick steps will show off your beautiful home in the best light (pun intended).

Second, highlight your curb appeal in your back and front yard.  Do a quick sweep of your front entryway, and turn on any water features you may have in your backyard, to show off your pool and/or spa.  This will help the buyer visualize how to enjoy these spaces in the future.

Third, do a clean sweep throughout your home to remove clutter from floors and countertops.  Buyers want to be able to envision themselves in the spaces in your home, so removing distractions of your personal items is the best way to facilitate this.  Keep a laundry basket handy before showings, to corral any clutter quickly and to stash in a closet.

Finally, do a quick wipe of your bathroom counters, toilets and mirrors (Windex wipes are fantastic for this), to make these areas sparkle.  Again, the goal is to have buyers imagine living in your home, so keeping these personal areas sparkling clean will go a long way toward this goal.

Your realtor can give you more tips to maximize showings, but this checklist is a good start.