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Articles Tagged "home staging"

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October
16

For many homebuyers the kitchen is the focal point of the household. It's where friends and family gather after a long day, loving memories are shared, and yummy meals are prepared. Making small, easy updates to your kitchen can do wonders for attracting the right buyer when selling your home. It's important to make the right changes when listing your home. Your Choice Properties real estate agent will guide you through the process while making suggestions and tips along the way. Consider these 5 budget friendly ways to update your kitchen before selling your home. 

Install Fresh Backsplash

Current backsplash, if any in the existing kitchen, may be outdated or caked with dirt from the previous years. Consider adding or replacing with brand new backsplash for a clean, polished look. Adding new backsplash easily adds a tasteful design that can dramatically improve the aesthetic of the space, at a reasonable cost. Adding brand new backsplash will increase of grabbing the eye of an interested buyer, having them overlook smaller flaws in the kitchen. 

 

Update Your Cabinets

A fresh color of paint can go a long way when it comes to your kitchen cabinets. Consider opting for a neutral color that most people would find attractive, opposed to a bold paint color. After your cabinets have dried and been re-hung, swap out old hardware for sleek, modern pieces that compliment the painted cabinets. Adding new knobs and pulls to a kitchen is a budget friendly way to make your cabinets look brand new. 

 

Add New Lighting

Light bulbs and fixtures are easy to overlook. Broken or burnt out bulbs can make any kitchen feel dark and unappealing. Consider swapping out old, dim bulbs for cool white bulbs for a brighter, open feel in the space. Make sure to double check the lighting before listing your home. 

 

Replace Countertops

Countertops are the main element of a kitchen. With the wide variety of materials and options, you can then choose a kitchen countertop that is budget friendly while tying in the space. While making small upgrades to other elements in your kitchen, this is one to keep in mind the most. 

 

Install New Flooring

Unfortunately, a bad floor holds the ability to mark down the selling price of your home. If you find yourself needing to replace your floor, don't fret! There are a number of budget friendly flooring options. This may be:

  • Linoleum 
  • Tile
  • Vinyl
  • Carpet 

 

Choice Properties offers you a chance to find the home of your dreams. We work with your budget and ideas in mind to support your ultimate vision. Call us if you are ready to check out the available inventory or to speak with a reputable agent who can assist you with your home buying needs.

September
18

 

For those who spend Saturday mornings with a cup of coffee and HGTV, home staging may seem like a piece of cake. However, when selling your home this may be the most important factor in the selling process. Staging your home for potential buyers allows them to view themselves and their family within the space, increasing the chance of them making an offer. It's important to be careful and make the right moves when staging a home to avoid missing out on a sale. Of course, when working with a Choice Properties real estate agent, we will assure all home staging needs will be addressed properly. The next time you're binge watching a home show, ask yourself, are they making these home staging mistakes?

Not Taking the Potential Buyers into Consideration

The first thing one should do when staging a home is take a minute to consider the audience. Who is most likely to show interest and purchase the home listing? Will they be a young family? An older, retired couple? Answering these questions will help the design process go as needed, according to the demographic. 

Overdesigning the Space

Contrary to belief, there is a such thing as over designing the space. In these scenarios, less is more. Staging a home to sell is about creating a space that the buyers can imagine themselves in for years to come. Take this moment to remove a majority of personal items from your home, although it may feel emotional. Easy ways to make the home inviting without overdoing it is to paint an accent wall, update window blinds, and minimal accent pillows and rugs. 

Personalising the Home Staging

Staging a home is without a doubt the best way to draw in potential buyers, intriguing them to make an offer. But, be careful about personalizing the home and scaring interested families away. Refrain from having your style and personality shine through on the home staging, as everyone has a different taste. For example, avoid repainting the kitchen any bright colors, or leaving small knick knacks lying around. Although these are important to you, it may feel loud and cluttered to others. 




Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. 

Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

 

April
3

Tips on Boosting Curb Appeal This Spring

Whether you just purchased your new home or you are interested in listing to sell, curb appeal can greatly influence the exterior of a home. Curb appeal refers to the level of attractiveness one may have on a property when viewing it from the outside. There are many ways to add pops of color and a fresh look to the exterior without having to keep up with maintenance. Consider these tips on boosting curb appeal this spring, greatly enhancing the aesthetic of the home.

Power Wash the Exterior

Winter is sure to leave a layer of dirt and debris on outside windows and siding. A bucket of hot, soapy water and a long soft-bristled brush will easily remove dirt from wood, vinyl, metal, stucco, and brick. Perhaps consider renting a power washer to scrub harsh dirt from your driveway, revealing the true cleanliness. Take this time to wash outside windows as well, while clearing gutters of fallen leaves and sticks.

Freshen Up the Paint

Although you may not want to completely repaint the outside of your house, there are still small steps you can take to give the fresh, new look. Giving the front door a new coat of paint will do wonders for your front porch. Go bold this spring with a deep violet or bright yellow paint color!

Tackle the Lawn

A well-manicured lawn includes fresh mulch, pruned shrubs, and cut grass. Replacing overgrown bushes with leafy greens and colorful annuals is great to add a pop of color to curb appeal. Surround any trees with dark or reddish-brown mulch for an easy, yet classy look. Pulling weeds and planting seasonal flowers in your garden beds makes your home feel welcoming and well-groomed.

Keep Up With Maintenance

There are certainly steps you can take each spring to make your home feel new, but keeping up with yearly outdoor maintenance is key to maintaining curb appeal. Tending to hanging gutters or peeling paint as it is occuring will save you time, trouble, and money.




Choice Properties offers you a chance to find the home of your dreams. We work with your budget and ideas in mind to support your ultimate vision. Call us if you are ready to check out the available inventory or to speak with a reputable agent who can assist you with your home buying needs.

December
6

Staging Your House to Attract Buyers

Staging your home to attract buyers is perhaps the most important point during the selling process. In a well-staged home, you are putting the home in the spotlight and inviting potential buyers to imagine their families within the space. The expert agents at Choice Properties are here to offer you the best home-staging tips and tricks, sure to gain attention from buyers.

Staging Tips for Selling Your Home: Where to Start

According to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, 82 percent of urban sellers, 71 percent of suburban sellers, and 61 percent of rural sellers say that staging their home is one of the top pre-listing activities to complete. If you're wondering where to start the process, here are few ideas.

Declutter. Go through each room, removing any items you won't need from now until moving day. Pay extra attention to cabinets and drawers, as most homeowners seek ample storage space.

 

Depersonalize. While it might be emotional, it's important to let buyers to imagine themselves in the space. Taking down family portraits and keepsakes allows this to happen.

Erase signs of pets. Although you love your pet, those viewing your home may have an allergy. Clear the house of pet toys, food and water bowls, and fur to eliminate any concerns.

Deep clean. Taking time to deep clean is crucial. Wiping away smudges on windows, cleaning dust from ceiling fans, and scrubbing baseboards can really make your home feel brand new.

Preparing to Sell: 5 Best Staging Ideas

Once you have decluttered and opened the space up for new visions, it's time to start staging. Read on for the best staging ideas.

 

Increase lighting in every room. Staging a home is no time for poorly lit rooms. Home buyers want to see a bright, naturally lit room with the best overhead lighting. Swap out bulbs for those with higher wattage, open blinds and curtains, and don't forget to turn on lights before a scheduled showing.

 

Create conversational furniture arrangements. Go through each room to play with the arrangement of furniture to create more of a conversational layout. Pointing loveseats and couches toward each other gives the illusion of a bigger space.

Stay neutral for broad appeal. Although the brightly colored accent wall may show off your personality, it may affect the feeling of home buyers. Introducing a neutral color to the walls broadens the appeal to those interested.

Tend to the exterior and lawn. The exterior and lawn should not be forgotten during the staging process of your home. The curb appeal is the first impression to those visiting, and is worth caring for by power washing or planting flowers.

Make the space appear larger. If you are working with a confined space, there are a few hacks to make the rooms feel larger. Adding mirrors will reflect natural light flowing in and doesn't make the room feel closed off.

Once your home is ready for staging, it's bound to sell in no time! The agents at Choice Properties are here to help you during the buying or selling process, taking the weight of stress off your shoulders.






Choice Properties offers you a chance to find the home of your dreams. We work with your budget and ideas in mind to support your ultimate vision. Call us if you are ready to check out the available inventory or to speak with a reputable agent who can assist you with your home buying needs.

August
31

 

A jam-packed garage filled to the gills with boxes, unused items or storage can leave a person feeling defeated before the process even begins. Break down the mountainous task into little pieces to get a better focus with some storage tips for transforming a chaotic space into one that is functional, organized and easy to use.

 

Set Realistic Expectations

Cleaning out the garage can feel like an onerous task but it will take more than one sweep to get rid of the clutter. Take the pressure off by assuming it will all get done in one fell swoop. Start by tossing perfection out the window before starting and break down the task into manageable chunks. Eventually a clean garage will appear (with small victories along the way).

 

Reconnaissance Mission

Go in with a focused mind. Worrying about sorting or removing items may ramp up anxiety about cleaning. Have a look around and note what is present. Do what needs to happen to feel organized in control. The following tips may also help:

  • Note big, bulky pieces

  • Research where to take the items

  • Take photos and create a Craigslist ad or other resource in the area

 

Use Local Resources

Compile a local resource list by looking over notes or photos made during the reconnaissance mission. Once a list is made, it is easier to figure out where to put it all. The following ideas are just a few ways to help get ideas started:

  • Consider renting a refuse container for trash

  • Find consignment shops to drop off clothes (or other charitable organization)

  • Chart details in advance to make process feel more smooth

 

Storage

Investment in proper storage is never a waste of money. Storage cabinets and wall-mounted storage can make a huge difference in accessibility of stored items and help protect items over time. Plastic bins also work well for hard items. Three main types of storage to consider include:

  • Overhead. If space is tight and there is alot to store, use overhead space to stow away least-frequently used items (holiday decor, seasonal items) in lidded bins. Overhead storage racks need secure mounting for safety so call a pro if needed.

  • Wall-mounted. Keep gear and bins off floor to prevent moisture damage and save floor space.

  • Locked cabinets. Essential for safely storing hazardous materials (antifreeze, motor oil, etc) keep them away from children and pets.

 

Some other tips to experience a successful garage clean out include moving frequently used gear near the entrance. Bikes and ball games or frequently used items should be easily accessible. Have storage handy to keep things in a proper place. Bike hooks for bikes, wire mesh baskets for balls and shelves for gardening supplies help keep things organized long-term. Maintain the clean state of the garage by continuing to purge items no longer used and creating storage for new items for a better overall feel in the home.

 


 

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June
14

The start of seller season in real estate begins April 1st, which also happens to be April Fools' Day. The time to sell a house is list it now and get ready. Homes show better in springtime. A seller is more likely to move a house quickly at good market value this time of year. In a competitive market, sellers may make a mistake by waiting to list property. Spring is a great time to showcase a home's best assets and help people envision living in the property. Some simple, yet effective, tips can position a seller's home on the market, save stress and help retain power of negotiation for fair market value.

 

First Impressions

Curb appeal is very important when selling a property. Landscape can take time to maintain. Instead, go with low-water grass and drought-tolerant plants. Visit the local garden center and explore native plants. Spruce up the front yard and back patio. Potential buyers love to see how relaxation and entertainment is possible in a new space. Make the front porch and entryway as attractive as possible as potential buyers will stop at this point to get into the home and have time to look at surroundings.

 

Model Home

The emotional connection to a home is an important selling point.. A home that sells fast is one which follows these get-ready tips:

  • De-personalize the space to help potential buyer envision living there

  • Remove family photos and kids artwork

  • Edit collections, books, closets, cabinets, pantry and end tables

  • Make home look as big as possible to showcase rooms

  • Focus on big spaces in the home which will be used often like the kitchen (functionality, neutral design choices)

  • Splurge on a few main spaces which have a lot of resale value (master bath, living room)

 

Marketing

A house will not sell itself without some help. Think of the process in three parts: pricing, listing, showing. View comparable properties in the area then set a competitive price point to ensure a quick sale.

 

Get more people to the open house by listing the property on a Friday before opening the home the following Sunday. The long exposure helps before showing. Following the open house, compare all offers on Sunday night. In a good market, multiple competing offers will be given and the home can sell at or above the list price.

 

Competitive markets may be more aggressive. Direct mailers may be needed to potential buyers to let everyone know about the property for sale. A 'broker's open' invites brokers and real estate agents to view the property before an open house to receive feedback on selling more quickly.

 

Forget Perfect

Highlight the positives of the property such as access to schools, health clubs or green space like parks. A positive approach will help the property sell quickly and easily, a win-win for all parties involved.

 

Get more advice on how to get ready for this years selling season. It's a hot one!

Contact one of our agents today.

June
7

The entryway is a high traffic area in most any home. Coats, backpacks, shoes and accessories tend to be dumped as soon as people enter the door which leads to an accumulation of stuff which makes it difficult to wade through. Learn some practical tips and ideas to help manage a high traffic hallway with minimal effort.

 

Display accessories. Outdoor clothing is usually stored near the exit but does not have to be hidden from view. Find attractive hooks to hang coats, hats and scarves to avoid a messy pile up. Swap out the winter accessories for sun hats, beach bags and blankets in the summer.

 

Add furniture. Create more surfaces to place items such as an upholstered bench, basket and coat rack for the hallway to provide spots for outerwear. The space will also look more cozy and welcoming with a personal touch.

 

See through a child's eyes. Kids need dedicated pegs to hang coats and hats easily without throwing items in a heap on the floor. Let kids choose a hook and give lessons on how to install safely for a fun learning opportunity which can motivate kids to use the hooks.

 

Repurpose dishes. A small dish or plate on a table can create order with minimal effort. Creating a small space to drop items quicklysuch as keys or loose change keep things orderly.

 

Use ledges or shelving to elevate items. Install a small shelf or ledge to place bags or purses on the wall. Not only will this save space but makes it easier on the body by not lifting heavy objects off the floor.

 

Opt for open. Rather than hiding the family's items from sight, create a system of open storage that makes it easy to grab and go. Separate pieces can add character to the hallway.

 

Line up baskets. Crates, baskets and salvaged drawers are an affordable yet visibly appealing way to create extra storage. Make the most of a series of containers against the hallway wall.

 

Make a feature. Get creative by making a beautiful backdrop for coats and bags and other bobbles which accumulate around the hallway. Frame the space with antiques such as a dressmaker's mannequin to hold coats or hats and similar pieces which add a bit of fun and flair to any space.

 

Stay hidden. Large pegs and shoe racks help keep items hidden with minimal fuss behind doors. Install shelves and hooks where needed and work out where the family will place individual shoes, gloves, helmets and other items to keep the space clutter free.


Upgrade the umbrella stand. The messiest item in the house (aside from muddy boots, children coming in from outside and pets) is a dripping wet umbrella. Leave it by the door in a fancy stand which keeps water from the floor, avoiding a potential slipping hazard.

 

Get more advice on unique ways to keep your hallways tidy!

Contact one of our agents today.

November
24

When staging your home to sell, there are a couple of key points you want to keep in mind. First, is that first impressions really do mean everything. Second, less is more. A potential buyer wants to walk into an aesthetically pleasing space which they can easily imagine themselves living in, not some place that is cluttered or decorated with bold bright colors or other personal touches.

Any professional stager will tell you it's all about selecting great décor pieces which utilize the existing space. The ultimate goal is a positive impact on potential buyers.

 

Here are five staging suggestion tips to turn a home listing into a sold home;

Spend some time with your realtor and get to know your potential audience. Remember, you aren't selling to yourself but to a broad market. Trust your realtor to help you stage to the buyer demographic most likely to be viewing your home.  

 

We can't stress enough that you want to remove your personal touches when putting your home on the market. First thing you should do is pack up the family photos. Empty walls are much easier for a potential buyer to see as a canvas of possibilities should they decide to purchase the house.

 

Design trends do tend to have a short lifespan; however, a well-staged and marketed home should have a short list time as well. Taking a gamble on a current fad, like airy aqua or bright Mediterranean blue accents, could give you the leg up with a 'fresh' feel to the property, so don't be afraid of trends.

 

While you want a space to overall be neutral—a blank space for the buyer to visualize with—adding a splash of color can go a long way to making a property memorable. Think subtle, but striking. A room with the main walls painted a beige tone with an accent wall in teal can then be finished with teal and cream accent items throughout the room. The result will be a chic, trendy space where the buyer has room to add their own personal touches, but can see the potential the space has because of the decorating start.

 

Continuing the idea of showing the buyer a space's potential, you'll want to stage a space with as many functional pieces as possible. Avoid overcrowding. Simple, practical, and functional furniture pieces will demonstrate how livable the space is.

 

For more tips on how to stage your home with the buyer in mind.

Contact one of our agents for special advice.

 

November
10

Want to give your home a face lift but don't have a magically refilling wallet? With a budget of about $5,000 and a solid game plan, you can get a fresh new feel for your home this winter!

Home Improvements on a Budget

When working with limited funds, it's best to focus on the kitchen and bathrooms. These are the areas which are used the most, and if there's a chance you'll be selling your home anytime in the future, these are also the areas that buyers will show the most scrutiny over. With some finesse, you can even look at adding living space by enhancing your available outdoor areas.

Kitchens

A functional kitchen is a beautiful kitchen so start by assessing your cabinet situation. How practical are they? Could you use deeper cupboards? Taller? Wine-racks and spice storage might be beneficial, as well as a walk-in pantry to not only make better use of the space, but give you better control over your food supplies. Knowing what you have on hand will ultimately help out your grocery bill!

If you're happy with the cabinetry, other areas you can consider upgrading/updating are lighting and plumbing fixtures. Again, look for replacements that are not only 'pretty' but have 'green' benefits. These will eventually pay you back in utility bill savings, not to mention you can claim eco upgrades on your taxes. Win-win: help the environment AND put money in your pocket.

Bathrooms

Carry the green theme into your bathrooms. Update lighting and plumbing. While you're at it, consider giving the outdated tub/shower a facelift. Nothing says luxury like a tiled shower area, complete with a bench and a shelf area to house your assorted soaps and shampoos.

Outdoor Improvements

Create an outdoor living area to give your usable living space a boost. Actually building on new rooms can get quite costly, but a few dollars can go a long way toward turning a bland patio into an oasis. Things you'll want to keep in mind when creating your outdoor escape:

  • granite, pavers, or flagstone for the 'floor'

  • mulch landscape beds for visual appeal (if you don't have landscaping, consider a few potted plants)

  • provide shade by building a pergola or installing a retractable awning

  • if in a hot climate, consider installing outdoor fans and/or a misting system

  • water features will help with temperature as well, and can provide an audible escape


If you're looking to bring some life and energy to your home, a $5,000 budget can add quite a bit of flair and improvement to your house. Homes in Logan County are always beautiful but the upgrades keep them fresh. If you've recently updated your home, let us know!  Send us a picture and we'll feature it on our blog!

 

For more tips on how to upgrade your home with the buyer in mind.

Contact one of our agents for special advice.

 

November
6

As time marches on we tend to collect, some might even say hoard, so many "things." They might be personal mementos such as letters or various and sundry memorabilia from our school years, they might be "fangirl" collections from a book series, shot glasses from every state in the country, or baseball cards. Regardless of what is collected, humans like to gather.  It's in our nature.

Effects of a Cluttered Living Space

The problem with this is that eventually all this gathering leads to clutter, and clutter can lead to mental unease or distress. We're all very sensitive to our surroundings and the state of our living space often has a dramatic impact on our own emotional and mental state.  Cluttered closets and messy houses make for a lot of pent up anxiety and emotional baggage.  It might not seem obvious but the subtle effects of your surroundings have been studied and observed in cultures around the world for centuries, from Asian Feng Shui to modern Western Architectural Design principles. However, it's not always easy to part with our treasured collections of stuff.

 

Some of the most common reasons people refuse to get rid of these "things" are:

1. This is a family heirloom, so it would be wrong to let it go.

2. But it was a gift.

3. What if I need it someday?

4. I paid a lot of money for it.

 

Chances are, if you find yourself having to make excuses to yourself to keep the item(s), then you probably don't need them in your life or home. It's perfectly okay to have special mementos, but you don't need to hold onto every last thing you encounter in your life. Nor do you have to just throw away those relics.

Choose a few key pieces and create a shadowbox or a scrapbook. Consider donating your great-grandparents clothes to a local theatre organization where they can be used and appreciated by helping to bring the past to life . . . on stage. Perhaps you have some valuable china or crystal, or even art pieces, but they don't fit the style of your home and you never really liked the piece anyway . . . check with museum curators. You might have something that would be perfect for one of their displays (and this way you can go visit the stuff anytime you feel the urge to lay eyes on it again). Schools are always happy to take donations of gently loved books, toys, and clothes.

Minimizing, and thereby decluttering, your home will make you feel better. Don't keep things out of guilt or feelings of obligation. This is YOUR home, YOUR life, so make it a sanctuary. A happy place to be. You'll thank yourself for it.

 

Get more advice on ways to declutter your home and life.

Contact one of our agents today.

October
7

Selling a home rarely happens overnight, yet sellers can find it frustrating if it seems that too much time is passing without closing the deal. On average, a home shouldn't take more than six weeks to sell—if the market is strong and the property is priced appropriately. If it sits much longer, buyers can become wary, so let's look at some ways to generate interest if your home isn't selling as fast as you'd like.

 

Location, Price, and Condition

While you can't just move your home to a different part of town if traffic is low, you can reassess the price you're asking, and whether it's comparable to other homes in the area in addition to what the property itself offers.

If you've got some time, and have received consistent feedback over issues with the house, then you may want to go ahead and take the house off the market for a short time to address those issues. There are low-budget fixes you can do to make a house more desirable. Sometimes it's as simple as decluttering, slapping on a coat of a fresh paint, and putting out fresh flowers. In other instances, it could take a little more . . . maybe updating the kitchen and/or baths will be what it takes.

If you are unable to spare the time or money for a remodel, or the location is out of your hands no matter how nice the house actually is, another option is to go ahead and reduce the asking price.

 

Do You and Your Realtor Have the Same Goal?

As large an investment as a home is, you want to be sure that your Logan County real estate agent has your back. Be honest with your expectations from the first meeting with them. Also, be open to their suggestions and recommendations. Remember, they do this for a living and it's their job to know the market you're trying to crack. A good agent won't let you undersell or overprice, and will be willing to pursue offers by following up with any potential buyers who've shown interest.

 

If you are having trouble selling your home, let us help!

October
7

Before you take on any kind of major redecorating, you're going to want to take some preliminary steps. Like determining what your working budget for the project is, and taking a good long look at not only your likes and dislikes, but those of the other people living in the space with you, especially your significant other. If you aren't both on board, one of you could end up miserable in your home—the place that is supposed to be a sanctuary.  Discuss these home decorating tips with your family and see what ways you can spruce up your living environment.

 

"Spend an hour or two on the computer and look at some things together and talk about them. Ask your partner: 'What do you like about it? What don't you like about it?'"~Alana Homesley, interior designer (Woodland Hills, CA)

 

Having a plan in place before you begin will help make the process smooth and painless. 

That being said, there is no reason not to go after your 'dream space'. Have fun collecting pictures and ideas of what you would do if money and time were no object; create a wish list of sorts. Investing time—months, if necessary—in this step will give you a jumping point and allow you to really figure out what appeals to you, and what doesn't. This can also be an insightful tool in the event that you hire a professional home decorator.

 

"If you don't have that master list, it's hard to prioritize." ~Amy Luff, interior designer (Viva Luxe Studios in Bristol, VA)

 

Good questions to ask yourself when creating your vision:

  • What colors are comforting, welcoming, and relaxing?

  • Do you have pets that need to be accommodated?

  • What building materials 'speak' to you? Sterile and clean (marble, travertine, silk), warm and inviting (wood, bamboo, cotton and linen), et cetera.

  • What era, or style, are you most at home in? Victorian, French Country, Museum Chic . . . the choices are endless.

 

With the ideas flowing, now you need to start narrowing down your home decor ideas in order to achieve a realistic budget. Review what you have in terms of furniture and large décor pieces, and decide what can stay and what absolutely has to go. A whole new room can be created around existing pieces. Maybe you adore the design of your sectional couch, but the upholstery doesn't fit the new color palette you're considering . . . it may be cheaper to have that couch re-covered than it would be to go buy a brand new one. Love the frame on your mantle artwork, but the image itself isn't going to work with your new theme? Reuse the frame by replacing the print.

Think outside the box and be open to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Your pocketbook will appreciate it, as will mother Earth.

 

If you need an experts advice on decorating tips,

Contact one of our agents today.

October
7

Fall is in the air and the days are getting cooler. Time to pack up summer, then pull out the winter gear. This is also the perfect time to give your closets a good tidying. Here are some suggestions from professional organizers for organizing your closet space.

 

Sort 

The chief design officer for California Closets, Ginny Snook Scott, suggests the first step you need to take on is pulling everything out of your closets and then sorting the stuff into four distinct piles.

  • Now Pile—often used and worn

  • Someday Pile—special occasion clothes that still fit

  • Never Pile—face it, you're never going to put these items on again (Geralin Thomas, who is the president of Metropolitan Organizing in Raleigh, North Carolina, recommends that any "trophy garments," those that do not fit or you're keeping only because you paid a small fortune for it but are honestly never going to wear again, need to go. The money isn't coming back and all these items are doing are cluttering your space.)

  • Seasonal Pile—self-explanatory

Ms. Scott recommends going through your Someday Pile once again, see how much you can move to the Never Pile.

 

Sort Again

The first step is always the easiest, but now comes the hard part. Eliminating. For real.

Most people find that their Never Pile is often much larger than they anticipated it would be—up to 40% or more of the closet content. With this discovery usually comes motivation to keep going, to do more. Use this mindset to revisit the Now Pile; see just how much of it you can shift to the Someday and Never Piles.

 

Keep Up Your Resolve

Get that Never Pile boxed and bagged, ready for repurposing by either donating them to a goodwill store, passing them on to friends or family who can and will use them, or setting aside for a garage sale. DO NOT STORE these bags where you will be tempted to sift through or have 'one last peek'.

 

Organize the Seasonal Pile

  • Wash (or have dry cleaned) anything that is getting packed up. You don't want any lingering toiletry products on the clothes as this will draw insects. **Make sure all items are completely dry before they get stored. Unpacking your clothes to discover them threaded with mildew is nobody's idea of fun.

  • Use air tight, clear plastic containers which have been clearly labeled with what is inside.

  • Store the bins out of sight, but in an easily accessible place.

 

"Never store clothes in plastic bags like those from dry cleaners. Store them in cotton zip-up bags. No mothballs. No exceptions."  ~ Geralin Thomas

 

You're Almost Done!

 

Take advantage of the fact that the closets are empty by getting in there with the vacuum. You want to suck up all those lingering dust mites which destroy fabric and play havoc with people's allergies.

This is also a good time to evaluate your hangers. Wire hangers should go back to the dry cleaners or get recycled; these are meant for temporary use, using them long-term will stretch and ruin the shape of your clothes.

As you return the Now Pile items to your freshly cleaned closet, professional organizers suggest you "group" like items, i.e. shirts, dresses, pants, et cetera. If you want to go all out, you can do each group by color or style.

 

Enjoy the fruits of your labor. It's okay to go treat yourself to one or two new items, just don't go too crazy.

 

Get more advice on organization in any space.

Contact one of our agents today.

 

October
5

 

Plants are essential to the human way of life. We produce carbon dioxide, a poisonous gas which the plants take and convert into the oxygen that we need to breathe. Pretty important.  And they're beautiful, so why not decorate your Logan County home with a splash of life.

 

Strategically Place Plants to Maximize their Aesthetic Functionality

Kitchen. Herb gardens are functional while cooking, as well as pleasing to the eye—and perfect for apartment living where space is limited and major decorating may not be allowed. Also consider low-maintenance plants which are vine-like or create long tails as beautiful additions to upper alcoves (if you're willing to climb up and water them once a week).

Use tall, open-styled bookshelves as plant stands—they are decorative and practical. Avoid bookcases for clustering as any plants you put toward the back will not get the light and ventilation they need.

Create an oxygen-rich lush atmosphere in your dining room with a few well-placed large potted plants. If you like the 'jungle' look, you can also cluster smaller pots on windowsills or side-credenzas. Consider hanging one or two from the ceiling with macramé plant holders for a bohemian feel.

If continually changing out floral arrangements isn't your thing, consider a planted centerpiece. Wheatgrass, cat grass, and herbs are good options for the dining table, though any small, low-lying potted plant will work (you want to see the person across the table from you). Protect the table from drips with saucers underneath the plants to collect water.

Are you fortunate enough to a sun room or greenhouse? Load that bad boy up, and even have a go at something exotic or tropical. These rooms are often humid and full of direct sunlight.

Fresh greenery in your bedroom will help clean the air, refreshing the atmosphere while you sleep.

 

Not Everyone Has a Green Thumb (and even those who do, don't have it all the time)

At one time or another we've all killed a plant, it happens. Don't get discouraged. Go ahead and give it another try with these growing tips:

  • Look for healthy plants at a reputable nursery (knowledgeable staff will help you choose the right plant for your situation)

  • If you're bad about watering, use the alarm feature on your smart phone to set TIME TO WATER reminders

  • Fussy plants (like ferns) love to take a bath … or at least be in the warm "tropical" atmosphere created by steamy bathrooms.

  • If you don't trust yourself to spread the plants out, cluster them up. You'll have one place to stop and water, plus this allows the plants to create their own little ecosystem and micro-climate (good for preventing water loss).

July
22

Has the time arrived for you to put your home on the market? Buying or selling a home in Bellefontaine and Greater Logan County is considered one of the most stressful events you can experience in your lifetime. Here are a few tips to reduce the stress and help you stage your home to sell in Central Ohio.

 

Tip 1: Invite a Pro In

Getting a realtor or interior designer to check out the property is the best way to make plans which will work with your home. Most realtors are happy to do this as a courtesy, but if you seek out an interior designer, then plan on paying a consultation fee (check around, average rates should be about $100/hour, and an hour is all you should need with them at this stage). What you're looking for are suggested improvements, such as paint colors or furniture placement, which can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.

 

Tip 2: Get a Home Inspection

While it would be nice to think that a little elbow grease and a fresh coat of paint will make your house buyer friendly, not every homeimprovement is cosmetic. If you don't know something with your structure is damaged (like deteriorating roofs, possible termite infestations, plumping issues, or outdated electrical systems) then you can't fix it. An inspector will come in and check out the areas that you don't think about or normally see.

 

 

Tip 3: Now It's Time to Paint

You've met with the professionals and have a game plan; you're first step will probably be paint—one of the simplest, most cost-

effective improvements. Freshly painted rooms give a clean updated feel, which says value to buyers. Keep in mind that neutral tonesappeal to the greatest number of people when choosing your colors. You can bring in a professional or save a few bucks and do it yourself, or even plan a block paint party!

 

Tip 4: Inspiration is All Around

A professional designer not in your budget? Have no fear, you can always browse design-themed magazines, books, TV shows, and websites. When you find an idea you like, tear it out or write it down and start your own shopping list. Keep it simple when remodeling or fixing up on a tight budget.

 

Tip 5: Cleanliness Counts

First impressions are priceless. Don't ruin yours by not having the house clean and show ready when your Choice Properties Realtor begins scheduling viewings. If it's in your budget, consider bringing in a cleaning service to give the house a thorough top to bottom scrub to make it shine.

 

Tip 6: Increase Square Footage Visually

While you can't physically increase your home's square footage without building on, there are some things you can do to give the appearance of a bigger space. Replace weighted draperies with vertical blinds or shutters to let light in. A sunny room feels larger and more open. Mirrors are a great accessory to double the optical space; strategically placed, they can give the impression a room is twice as big as it actually is. Lastly, get rid of the clutter and knick-knacks to diminish the cramped feel an abundance of these items can leave behind.

 

Tip 7: Make the Bathrooms a Priority

Bathroom remodels or updates are always a good idea. Even if you can't afford a full overhaul, tiny changes like addressing old wallpaper or faux finish treatments, replacing light fixtures, or bringing in new linens will make the space welcoming. We spend a lot of time in our bathrooms, so buyers are extra picky about these rooms.

 

Tip 8: You Can't Go Wrong With Energy-Efficient Fixtures

How modern are your light and other ceiling fixtures? Is your thermometer digital? Besides upgrading these to be aesthetically pleasing, by replacing outdated fixtures with energy-efficient ones you'll lower the overall cost of running the household and be helping the planet.

 
July
17

 

Your home is an investment, and protecting your asset—whether it's a short term or long one—should always be a consideration. Maintenance and regular upkeep of your home and landscaping will save many headaches down the road. Here are a few suggestions for getting the most out of your investment while enjoying your Logan County home.

 

INSIDE:

  • Check with your utility company about having a free energy audit done. They can make improvement suggestions for maximizing the energy efficiency of your home. Not only will keeping your house updated put more pennies in your pocket now, it'll make the property appealing to future buyers.

  • Want a bit luxury without spending a lot? Install a water filtration system in your kitchen. These systems purify your water, they'll lower your grocery bills if you're a bottled water consumer, and once again, are appealing to potential buyers.

  • Are your ceilings outdated? "Popcorn" is no longer a desired design element. REMEMBER! Older ceilings could contain asbestos, so if there is any uncertainty in yours before taking on this project, get it tested by professionals. Tackling popcorn DIY style? Click HERE for a how-to.

  • There's nothing worse than bad air quality—which can have many culprits from outside seasonal allergens to hidden filth in your home. Older carpets might be harboring contaminants and allergens, especially if you have pets. You can hire a professional company to test the indoor air quality. If the results call for replacement, choose natural products like tile or laminate floors that are friendly on the environment. BONUS: Non-carpeted floors are easier to clean and will give your home an updated look.

 

OUTSIDE:

Curb appeal is everything, even if you aren't in the immediate market to sell. A satisfied Home Owner's Association along with happy neighbors translates to a quality way of life for you as an Indian Lake homeowner.

  • Short term: If it's in your budget, hire a lawn care company to be responsible for weekly grooming on your lawn and any shrubbery. If it's not in your budget, then do it yourself. Or put your teenager to work. Keep your lawn watered, trimmed, and free of insect infestation.

  • Long term: Landscaping. Mature shade trees provide curb appeal, reduced cooling costs when strategically located, and help the environment by providing habitat for wildlife, something that is dwindling the more we develop lands. Another thing to consider for enhancing curb appeal are shrubs and colorful flowers. Purchase plants that are found in 'your neck of the woods' for best results. If possible, look at drought-tolerant varieties as well to help your water bill. Here are some suggestions from Better Homes and Gardens for native plants.

May
12

 

A beautiful home in Logan County is only partly about the house itself. A great deal of the value of a real estate property is the level to which you maintain and care for the lawn and landscaping. With summer getting here and the grass starting to grow again, now is the time to get some control over your landscaping in order to present the best possible homes on the market in Logan County. In order to help you prepare for lawn mowing season, we've prepared a few general tips and best practices to help you get in the spirit of summer.

 

Mow Your Lawn Weekly

Grass grows at a steady rate in Ohio and most healthy lawns require mowing every week or at least every other week. A good three inch height for grass is healthy and allows it to continue to stay green and lush.  Anything shorter runs the risk of cutting it too close to the roots and it will lose its color and health. The hotter and drier the weather, the slower your lawn will grow so you may not have to cut the grass as often when things get really hot.

 

Water Your Lawn for Health

Brown grass is as bad as no grass at all so when it's hot and dry, it's important to keep the lawn watered.  A well-watered lawn will grow fuller and greener which always looks better when someone pulls up to look at the property. Watering the lawn can make your grass stand out from the neighbors if they aren't giving the grass a good shower every few days. If you use automatic sprinkler systems, set them to go off every other day rather than daily, to conserve the local water table.

 

Fertilizer and Weed Killer

A healthy lawn benefits from organic and natural fertilizer products to provide extra nutrients to the soil that help grass to grow green and healthy. You can always tell the difference in yards that use some sort of fertilizer and those that don't. If your yard has a problem with weeds and dandelions, try a post-emergent herbicide designed to kill broadleaf weeds without destroying the turf grasses.  These are safest on the lawn but should only be applied when temperatures are below 85 degrees.

 

Remember that when home buyers are shopping for houses for sale in Logan County they want to see a well-manicured healthy lawn surrounding your house.  Keep it trimmed and pristine and you'll have better luck selling a house in Logan County.

 

March
16

 

2014 was a relatively strong year for real estate across the farm belt and greater Midwest.  However, the National Association of Home Builders predicts 2015 will be even stronger for single-family homes, despite the continued rise of mortgage rates.  While the recovery seems to be delayed in many states, Ohio is noticing a resurgence of interest in homes and available land.  In the meantime, let's focus on the standard best practices that have kept us strong for decades.

 

It's the Little Things

The best possible presentation of a house is necessary to capture an eager buyer's eye.  Little things like trimming the bushes near the front door, changing out old welcome mats, and de-cluttering closets and shelves will add to an already well-prepared home. 

 

Take Notes

If you're a buyer looking at the home options available on the market, you're probably seeing several properties a day.  In this situation it's helpful to keep a notebook on you and make notes on the properties you visit.  Pros and Cons for each house will help you make a decision later on.

 

Sell for Spring

The winter months are over so it's time to start thinking springtime at your home.  Fresh flowers are always a nice touch for highlighting the rebirth of warm weather and add color and life to the rooms of your home.  Spring cleaning is important, especially to wash away the salt brine from the winter roads and the clutter that accumulates while we're hibernating. Take advantage of the smiles brought on by the sunshine.  

 

Transparency is Trust

A smart home buyer is going to hire an inspector or two to investigate the quality and possible problems with a property so it behooves sellers to be forthright with the state of the home.  Don't try to hide anything because buyers will assume you're hiding even more.  Try to get minor fixes out of the way like plumbing leaks and paint jobs.

 

We're all hopeful this year on both sides of the real estate market so let's keep the enthusiasm rolling and make this a great year for home buyers and sellers!

March
16

 

It's almost here!   So many of us are anxiously awaiting the onset of warmer weather and the energy of spring.  While you get yourself geared up for spring cleaning and swimsuits, we suggest planning an area of the yard for a garden.  Having a garden of your own is a wonderful way to connect with the natural landscape around your home and grow fresh flowers, veggies, and herbs for your home. 

 

Flowers

It's always a boon to have fresh flowers in a vase on the table.  Growing your own flowers around the house gives you a steady supply of luscious color and life to bring into your home each week.   Flowers are a wonderful way to brighten and liven up any room in your home and add extra value when showing the space to potential buyers.   

 

Vegetables

There's nothing quite like eating and sharing food with your family that you've grown and harvested yourself.  Although few of us are farmers these days, we can still enjoy a nice salad from our own gardens if we plant a few heads of lettuce, cucumber, and every Ohioan's favorite: tomatoes.  A vegetable garden brings a connection to the earth that we're all sometimes missing in the modern industrialized world.  Be careful to fence your garden or you'll be feeding the neighborhood rabbits and deer!

 

Herbs

Not everyone is totally invested in the medicinal nature of wild herbs but there are certainly other usesfor standard herb gardens. Sage, Basil, and Chives are common herbs used in the kitchen and are quite simple to grow in anoutdoor garden or even an indoor window box.  Herbs can also be burned as an aromatic, similar to potpourri. 

 

Studies show that working with plants and getting your hands in the dirt of the Earth can actually reduce stress and anxiety so what have you got to lose?   Send us pictures of your gardens this year and we'll post them to our Instagram!

February
23

So you're going to show your house to prospective buyers.  Congratulations on getting everything ready to go up to this point.  You've likely decided on a price and put out some advertising to indicate that you're ready to sell.  Now comes the hard part.  A house that shows well is far more likely to sell, and for a higher price.   Here are our 10 basic tips for getting the most out of your own showing.

 

Clean Everything

A clean home signals to the buyer that the house has been well kept and cared for and is more than likely in good repair.  Messy and dirty homes indicate a lack of attention and consideration on the part of the seller and can dissuade a buyer from interest in your property.

 

 

Unclutter the House

Clear out the place before you invite buyers inside.  Make a trip to the Goodwill, have a garage sale, empty closets, and generally reduce the amount of "stuff" hanging around.  The less furniture and stuff you have in the home, the bigger and more spacious it will look, especially in the closets.

 

Let the Light In

Sunlight sells.  Raise the shades and open the blinds to let as much natural light into the house as possible, in every room.  A bright, open room is much more open and inviting that a dark and stuffy cave.

 

Let the Fresh Air In

You don't always have the option to open a window in February but a house that is closed up for too long can develop musty odors that are unattractive to home shoppers.  Make a point to use fresh flowers, potpourri, incense, and any other means of creating a pleasant, fresh air smell throughout the home.  Buyers are most offended by the odors of cigarettes, pets, garbage, and sour laundry.

 

Fix Anything that's Broken

This includes plumbing, electrical wiring, doors, fixtures, and any other cracks or wobbles that may indicate a sub-standard quality in the home.  Leave nothing to chance and present the strongest home possible.

 

 

 

Send Pets Away

Stow pets away in a safe, secure place while prospective buyers are guests in your home.  Some people don't like certain animals and have allergies.  It's a courtesy to the buyer to eliminate this factor while showing the place and increases your chances of selling.

 

Send the Kids to Grandma's

We all love the little ones but a rambunctious group of children can be distracting to someone interested in looking over the property.  Take them for a walk around the block if necessary while your guests are viewing the house.

 

Paint

The easiest way to improve the look of the home (and the cheapest) is to give a fresh coat of paint to the walls.  It's easier than scrubbing them clean.  Use neutral tones like off-white or light creams and definitely avoid black, pink, and anything too outlandish.  The buyer wants to imagine their own style in the house, not yours.  A neutral base allows their imagination to take over.

 

 

 

Keep the Noise Down

While removing pets and children can help to eliminate noise pollution, it's important to silence any offensive appliances or tools that give off unpleasant noise.  If anything, play soft instrumental music like jazz while folks are browsing the home to give it a pleasant atmosphere.  Nothing too loud, of course.  

 

Be a Showman

The last tip is to present yourself with your best face forward.  Greet your buying guests in clean clothes and neat grooming so as to communicate a person whom they can trust is selling them something of value.  Politeness and friendly charm go a long way to make someone want to be the next family to live in your home.

January
12

Some folks in our industry believe you should hold out for spring to put your home on the market, as that's the busiest time of year for buyers to start shopping.  But the reality is that people buy homes every month, in every season, all year long.  Many families are eager to get moved during the summer while the kids are on vacation from school.  This means they start looking as early as February, and you should be on the market to greet them!

 

Selling a home in the winter isn't as difficult as you may have been led to believe.  Here are some tips for optimizing your home for showings in the cold, snowy winter months here in Northern and Central Ohio.

 

Clear Away the Snow

 

It's the time of year when our sidewalks and patios are often covered in sheets of ice or snow but that shouldn't stop agents and buyers from paying you a visit.  If you're walkways and driveway aren't clear, potential buyers may shy away from stopping in to take a look so always make sure you keep things clear and tidy.

 

Spruce up the Outside

Winter gets a bad rap because the grass is brown and the sludgy snow often covers everything in big piles but that doesn't mean you can't make the outside of your home inviting.   Tasteful wreaths or snow-themed décor can give a welcoming appeal to an otherwise drab yard.   Let's get rid of the inflatable Santas and religious holiday decorations so we can be sure to appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers in an elegant and appropriate fashion.

 

Keep it Cozy

 

When folks show up to your door shivering from the cold, there's nothing better than walking into a warm, cozy house.  Don't skimp on the heating this season and, if you have a natural fireplace, always have a crackling fire blazing in the hearth to showcase the winter amenities.  Add some scented candles and fuzzy blankets to the mix and make the home a place your visitors want to be this time of year.

 

Clean the Windows

The winter months are notorious for being grey and dirty so break the stereotype by making sure your windows are spotless and clean.  This makes it look more beautiful and bright compared to the drab exterior.  Keeping the entryway clean and clear of the muck you bring in on your boots is also key for making the house feel as inviting and clean as possible in the months people appreciate it most.

 

Don't be intimidated by the winter, people are still interested in seeing the homes available on the market in the Indian Lake and Bellefontaine areas.   If you have questions, ask one of our award-winning real estate agents for advice on making your property shine during the cold season.

January
19

We're always fielding questions from sellers about the best way to present a home for sale.  Over the years, we've tried many different strategies and crafted our own unique approach to optimizing your home for the market.  As with any sales strategy, you want to present the best possible version of your home to someone in the market to make it their own. 

Here are 7 of our favorite tips for getting home buyers to bite.

 

  1. A Welcoming Entryway

 

Many people are put off by walking right into a living room when they come through the front door.  If your home isn't constructed with an official entryway, try to construct one with a creative placement of furniture.  This gives a subtle mind-change from the outdoors to the indoors and does wonders for how the space feels upon entry.

 

  1. Lay Down Hardwood Floors

More and more buyers are looking for the longevity and clean air feel of hard wood floors.  You can turn any kitchen, dining room, or bathroom into a whole new space with some easy-to-lay synthetic flooring.

 

  1. Improve the Fixtures

It's all in the details and some newly-replaced faucets or door knobs can bring a whole new life to a house for sale.  These are often the quickest and cheapest way to improve your home value and presentation.

 

  1. Clean Countertops

 

Remodeled kitchens are all the rage but you don't have to replace all the cabinets and appliances to really make a kitchen sing.  Sometimes all you need is a new countertop that shines.  Keep it uncluttered and let the slab speak for itself.

 

  1. Closet Organizers

So much of appealing to home buyers is about allowing them to imagine themselves in the space.  If you can bring some sanity and organization to a closet space, you'll help the buyer to imagine themselves in a cleaner, more organized home.

 

  1. Lighting is King

It's hard to imagine something more integral to the appeal of a new home than the lighting.  Few people appreciate the impact lighting has on our assessment of a room and using artfully crafted lighting, rather than a blanket wash of white light from some overhead fixture, can bring depth and shape to an otherwise drab room.  The best interior designers use lighting to sculpt a room.  You can add tremendous energy to your home just by adding a few lamps and small lighting fixtures.

 

  1. Mind the Landscaping

 

In our rush to spruce up the inside of the house, thinking that's what people will live in, we home sellers sometimes forget to keep the lawn and landscaping manicured and beautiful.  The outside of the home is a family's nameplate in the neighborhood.  Make sure it speaks to pride and beauty in order to appeal to today's local home buyers.

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