Thursday, January 29, 2009

House Staging Tips From The Elpaso Times

When you move into a house, you make it "yours" by displaying exotic trophies, putting up cherished photos and painting walls in your favorite colors.
But when it's time to sell a home - guess what?
Interested buyers may not want to see a den full of dead animals, walls cluttered with pictures and knickknacks or kitchen walls painted in mustard yellow. No offense.
Most real estate agents say the average homebuyer is looking for a home with a good price in a good location. But if the buyer can't get past the dying elm tree in the yard or the singing fish above the fireplace, your house may be on the market longer than you'd like.
Milly Burkett, co-owner of Century 21 Paul Todd on the East Side, said staging - a popular term used for depersonalizing a home - can make a difference in selling a new model or used home. And homeowners are becoming more savvy about this practice, thanks in part to television shows such as HGTV Network's "Get It Sold."
"It does make a 100 percent difference," Burkett said. "Our model homes are very popular, and people do come to see how they're furnished."
Experts say the furnished rooms give people an idea of how the new home can look and how to make the home appear more spacious.
In addition, in the difficult economy, real estate agents must use every advantage they can to clinch the deal.
"We do have to show more homes, and people are looking for a longer period of time," she said.
Lynn Coyle, a former Kern Place resident who sold her home in a few days, said she is a firm believer in staging.
"I think good color choices matter, and well-placed furniture and lighting as well. You want to be able to have good lighting," Coyle said.
She said her home had a very nice porch and was near Madeline Park. But she also made sure to keep it uncluttered when potential buyers came by.
"I think the most important thing was clearing out the kids' stuff," she said. "We had two small children, so they had piles of toys."
Sylvia Amaya, a real estate agent at One Realty El Paso who has 14 years of experience selling older homes, said staging highlights the home's best features.
"Especially with older homes, people want to see original hardwood floors that have been refinished," she said. "A lot of people go to the expense of putting in aluminum, double-paned windows, but that takes some of the charm of older properties."
Amaya suggests replacing the windows with styles that have exterior molding, which blend better with the style of these older homes.
Realtors also say it's important to declutter a home, whether it's a collection of plates taking up space or a bounty of children's toys strewn around rooms.
"You really need to take all the magnets and artwork from the refrigerator and clean the counters," Amaya said. "I tell people, 'You're going to be packing anyway when you move, so go ahead and start clearing some stuff out.' "
It's a good idea to walk around the home looking for minor things that can be changed or fixed. Wipe baseboards and clean windows, glass doors and mirrors.
Fresh flowers also go a long way toward making an area more favorable and creating an inviting feel. Remove the tablecloth from a dining table and polish it. Then add a pretty vase with fresh flowers.
"Smell is huge," Amaya said. "You want to have a clean smell. Or buy those plug-ins and put them in kids' rooms and bathrooms."
Last, make sure the home is full of light. Open windows and add lighting fixtures if needed.
"If you don't have natural light, you want to have lamps that are easily accessible," she said. "People don't want to walk into a dark room."
María Cortés González may be reached at; 546-6150.

Staging tips
Here are tips for staging a home from

· Consider the curb appeal. At minimum, lawns should be freshly mowed and leaves raked. Consider a hanging or potted plant for the entrance. Sweep the porch, deck and all walkways and make sure garbage and recycling bins are tucked neatly away from the front of the house.
· Get rid of clutter. Pick one closet or area at a time so the task isn't so daunting. Remember that how you live in your home and how you sell your house are two different things. You're going for a "show home" look.
· If rooms and closets still look cramped, rent a storage locker.
· Watch where the eye goes. If the eye is drawn to the chipped white paint on the door frame, take some "white out" and fill it in. If it's those old nail holes in the wall, see whether you can hang a picture to cover them.
· Glue any peeling wallpaper. Fix any door handles that are loose or have fallen off.
· Ensure that cupboards open and shut and no water taps are dripping.
· Clean, clean and clean again. Or hire a professional service to deep-clean everything.
· Don't neglect hallways. They lead potential buyers through your home and should be bright and clutter free.
· Appliances should sparkle even if you're not including them with the house. After all, you might throw them in later as a negotiating tool. Countertops, taps, sinks and bathtubs should be shiny and free of water spots.
· If you have a pedestal sink, don't forget the dust that collects on top of the plumbing where it attaches to the wall.
· Dust shelves and vacuum floors. All beds should be made.
· Remember that clean windows let in more light and look newer. Dimly lit rooms tend to look small and dingy - especially in the day.
· Don't forget fresh flowers. Even a daisy in a bud vase brightens a bathroom counter.

written by: Maria Cortez Gonzales/ElPaso times

Monday, January 26, 2009

Why Use Mr. Sandless?

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