Sunday, June 17, 2007

Staging your condo to sell

The thing that always drives me crazy is the way that people always have articles and info on staging your home that start with "your yard must be freshly mowed" Well if you have a condo you have no yard so why not look at the condo and the buyers of a condo differently than you look at a house. The priorities for staging a condo to sell are much different than the priorities of staging a house to sell. Here are some great tips.

When staging condominiums there are fundamental principles which MUST be applied. Too often sellers believe the art of home staging and condo staging is exactly the same thing. This way of thinking will cause them to make their FIRST mistake . . . which could result in their condo sitting along side countless others . . . long after the buyers have gone home!

The following is a list of additional mistakes to avoid when staging your condo for sale:

Think Square Footage - Many condominiums have limited space. When planning your furniture layout, instead of thinking square footage . . . think square inch, and make each one count!

Size Really Does Matter - When shopping for furniture focus on scale and proportion, NOT bigger is better! Oversized furniture may look great on the showroom floor, but when you get it home it will look much different. You will swear that the "elephant in the room" is definitely not what you ordered!

Flex Areas - Condo living calls for carefully planned, creatively designed, multifunctional spaces known as flex areas. Because of the growing demand to meet the diverse needs of today's condo buyer, more and more manufacturers are offering proportionately scaled, multipurpose furniture to their lines. They include upholstered slipper chairs that fold out into guest beds, ottomans that serve as extra seating and storage, high-low tables that instantly transform from cocktail tables into dining tables for entertaining . . . just to name a few. And for the savvy targetted condo buyer, staging a multi media/home office area is always advisable.

Defining Spaces - Whether you prefer the clean, contemporary lines of ultra urban or the graceful warm feel of timeless traditional - remember to use COLOR to define your spaces and create memorable WOW effects. Too often sellers believe that by keeping the walls neutral, it will make the limited space of a condo look larger. Actually the opposite is true. By bumping out a few accent walls with well chosen COLORS you not only will add excitement to the room, but visually add depth, giving the illusion that the space is larger than it is.

Presentation Is Everything - Choose fewer, but larger, more dynamic artwork and accessories. This is one of the most frequently made mistakes by sellers who believe you should do quite the opposite. Just remember . . . scale down your furniture and scale up your artwork and accessories to successfully stage a condo with limited space. Your presentation and end result will certainly be more dramatic . . . and memorable!

Jeannene Edwards, owner of Interiors Defined, Inc. is a professional home stager and licensed interior designer in Orlando, Florida., and

There are a few tips here to better understand why your condo is different and what to do to get it sold easier. Again, your condo is not a detached house so do not stage it that way.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What makes your home sell for more?

I see this all of the time. People try to sell their home and find that they can not get as much as the neighbor did a little while ago. Why not? The marekt seems the same? Well here are a few answers.

When we try to determine property value for your home, we compare your home with old listings and active listings on the Charleston MLS. No two properties are completely alike, but some properties are similar enough to compare prices. So, we look at comparable homes that have recently sold in your area (sold listings), homes that were for sale on the market but never successfully sold (expired listings), and homes that are currently for sale (active listings). Aside from these comparisons, we also take other factors into consideration when determining a home’s value.

1. One of the most important factors that affect value is location. Homes that are closer to the beach or to downtown Charleston sell at a higher price. You can install all of the Brazilian cherry flooring and stainless appliances you want, but you cannot change the location of a home!

2. While we’re on the topic of upgrades, another major factor is what improvements the owners have made to the house. Updating kitchens, replacing flooring, repainting walls, and adding landscaping can add to the value of a home. However, sometimes homeowners can spend too much on a house and not get all of their money back when it comes time to sell the house. Before making drastic improvements to your house, be sure to talk with your real estate agent so that you use your money wisely on your investment.

3. The neighborhood or general area surrounding your home can greatly affect your home’s value. Some neighborhoods are more desirable than others. Also, some areas are avoided because of major traffic, large roads, or flooding.

4. If a seller needs to sell the house quickly, he or she may be willing to take a slightly lower asking price for the house. For this reason we talk with our clients to find out why they are selling their home and by what date they need to move.

5. The time of year also can affect a home’s current market value. People generally tend to avoid major holidays when it comes time to buying a house and moving. The most active time of the year is probably March to August. So, if you are trying to sell your house in late November, you will be in a less active market and may have to wait longer or accept a lower price for it.

So, location, improvements, general area, the seller’s time frame, and the time of year can affect property value.

Lee Keadle is a full-time real estate agent in Charleston, SC. He works with a team of three agents to give buyers and sellers the best services possible. You can search for homes and vacant land on our website at

Does this anser some of your home sales problems? Do you think that you have a better idea why you have had trouble? I hope this is good for you as I have found this info invaluable.

Friday, June 15, 2007

What to look for in a home sale contract

When you go to sell your home you will have a contract that will be negotiated. After you finish the negotiations you will need to remove the subjects on the contract before you have a firm deal. Here are a bunch of things to look at in the contract.

Anyone who has ever purchased or sold a home should be familiar with the concept of contract subjects. For those who have never heard the term, I will explain in more detail. During a home sale there are a number of negotiations that happen between the concerned parties. Sometimes they are detailed on paper if they are of enough importance, these are known as subjects. Subjects occur after the initial offer for the home is made when the buyer would like certain changes made to the home. Below we will explore some of the more typical subjects involved in real estate contracts.

By far the most common subject is "subject to the home passing an inspection." This means that the buyer's offer is subject to the home's passing of a legitimate inspection. Therefore the buyer has the right to rescind the offer if the home does not pass the inspection. Although it is also true that if the home fails inspection the buyer may still want your home. IF a home does not pass the inspection then the buyer may alter their subjects to incorporate the necessary repairs to ensure that the home does eventually pass. These will typically read some thing like "subject to the necessary repairs being made to the home at the cost of the buyer." Now, usually the subject will go into more detail about the fixes that are necessary; but as we aren't making an actual offer here the preceding statement is a bit of a blanket statement. Let's use the example of a faulty roof on a home.

The buyer has an inspector come in and do their thing. The report comes back saying that there are leaks in the roof and on that basis the home does not pass. The buyer can then make the subject of "upon completion of a new roof with warranty." If the seller accepts this subject they are then responsible for the installation of the new roof and upon completion the sale can go ahead as outlined in the contract.

Sellers can also utilize subjects during the contract process to put rules or guidelines on the transaction. The most common of these is a subject to omit certain items from the sale of the home. For instance, the seller has just purchased an expensive custom range and grill and when they move they are planning to take it with them. Their subject will clearly state that in the sale of the home, the new range is not part and parcel of the deal. This kind of subject can also apply to window coverings, other appliances, or indeed anything that the seller wants to take with them, provided that it is agreed upon by both parties.

Joshua Keen is a real estate agent located in Atlanta, Georgia. The Keen Team specializes in the sale and purchase of Intown Atlanta real estate. When looking for Atlanta MLS Listings, contact Ben and Joshua for the best Atlanta realty services!

This info especially as far as home inspection subjects go is great for your to think about throughout the home selling process

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sell your home by getting rid of pet smells

Have you had trouble selling your home? Well maybe there is a bit of a smell problem. Try getting rid of that smell with these tips.

It has been well established that when people are house shopping they buy what they see. What you may not have been told however, they also buy what they smell!

As a professional home stager, my primary job is to meet with Realtors and home sellers, go room by room with a critical eye, and tell them honestly and exactly what needs to be done to best prepare their home for a quick, profitable sale.

I have written many articles on the art of home staging . . . addressing demographics, and how to use them to target your broadest spectrum of buyers . . . outlining the importance of creating warm, inviting environments with emotional connections strategically positioned . . . I have talked about preparing your home as a 'product to be sold', depersonalizing and decluttering each room, as well as updating both interiors and exteriors . . . and stressed the importance of creating memory points and WOW factors. Above all I have stressed the fact that . . . there are no second chances to make a 'great' first impression!

The following are a few suggestions to help you combat offensive odors:

1. Have your carpets professionally cleaned. For extreme cases when this does not eliminate the problem, replace the carpeting, INCLUDING the padding! This is where most pet odor is absorbed. Note: Before replacing the carpeting make sure you heavily treat the affected bare cement with baking soda or the odor can reappear.

2. Bathe your pets, and change litter boxes often! Because you are desensitized to the odors in your home, you should always go the extra mile 'just in case'. You may not smell anything, but your buyer might . . . a chance you can't afford to take! And when showing your home don't forget to send the cat to grandma's house if at all possible. When people see pets, they will immediately start looking for the smells! The same rule applies for all pet dishes, toys, beds etc. Remove them. Remember the old saying, "Out of sight, out of mind . . . !"

3. Place open boxes of baking soda (inconspicuously of course) in smell-prone areas. Good old fashioned baking soda is still considered one of the best 'odor absorbers' on the market. Use in kitchens, baths, under beds, inside trash cans etc.

4. Open it up . . . Air it out! This one is a tactic that is centuries old and pretty self explanatory. Fresh air can do wonders for any home, especially one that has been closed up for the season. I am aware this is not always a possibility, but when you can . . . do!

5. Introduce pleasant smells . . . naturally! Before you show your home bring in fresh flowers, potpourri, bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies to leave for your guests, or have a large vase of eucalyptus leaves attractively displayed. I don't recommend the use of scented oils or deodorizers to mask offensive odors. First of all they don't cover them up, and secondly, many people have allergies and are sensitive to perfumes and artificial fresheners. (This is also an area where many have mistakenly applied the "more-the-merrier" rule instead of "less-is-more". Then scented deodorizers take center stage and are as offensive as the odors they were trying to mask!)

Having once again addressed all of these very important steps that will lead you to a quicker, more profitable sale . . . let me now discuss the issue that will make all of the above "to-do's" obsolete, and keep your house on the market long after the buyers have bought elsewhere. If your home SMELLS . . . nothing else you do will really matter! This is a problem that, unfortunately, rears it's ugly head . . . or should I say nose, more than I would like to admit. I am called into homes in all price categories, beautifully decorated, well manicured and maintained . . . but, they SMELL! What do I do? I tell them. Because this is a sensitive issue, (especially if it involves "Felix" or "Fido"), I am as tactful as possible, but they must be told. Usually odors caused by family pets, or just everyday family use, are not detected by family members. They have become desensitized, and are unaware of the problem. But to outsiders walking in, this is the first impression they will form, and it will linger in their mind, (and nose), long after they leave the home!

You know there are no second chances to make a great first impression, so make your first chance count by remembering . . . people not only buy what they see, they buy what they 'smell'!

Jeannene Edwards, owner of Interiors Defined, Inc. is a professional home stager and licensed interior designer in Orlando, Florida. Please contact Jeannene Edwards or David Edwards at:

If you are still having trouble getting rid of those smells there is always the opportunity to paint or change carpets. The problem of course is that the future buyers of your home may not like your choice of paint and carpet so try to make sure that you pick very generic colors that no owner would have a problem with.