5 Super Simple Ways to Sell Your Home Fast

Coldwell Banker Real Estate professionals share their tricks of the trade for how to sell a home quickly without sacrificing profit.

When you need to sell your home fast, there are a few simple ideas that can help. We asked Coldwell Banker Real Estate professionals to share their tricks of the trade for how to sell a home quickly without sacrificing profit.

PRICE IT EVEN
“Price it even! I find pricing a home at $350,000 rather than $349,900 is much more effective. We are in the digital world and Realtors set up searches online and the consumer searches online for homes. When everyone searches, they set parameters (for example $350,000-$450,000) if you are at $349,900 you will not be in the search! It creates the most exposure for the seller, which translates to a quicker sale. Let’s stop pretending people don’t know about the $100 mind game and price it for the day we live in!”- Nathan Morrissette, Coldwell Banker Momentum Realty, Brokerage in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada

5520 Mossy Creek Drive, Dublin, OH / $174,000 / Listed by Tamara Oakley with Coldwell Banker King Thompson

FIND THE RIGHT BUYER
“CBx + Facebook Targeting. As a Coldwell Banker agent, our exclusive CBx [app] has allowed me to have one more tool in my belt.” Using the CBx buyer profile, we’re able to not only dynamically evaluate what the price of the home should be listed for, but also use big data to know who the buyer is going to be so you can appropriately target the right buyer using powerful tools like social media marketing. – Lev Shalomayev, Coldwell Banker Kueber Realty in Glendale, NY 

OPTIMIZE FOR THE ONLINE SHOWING
“Amazing pictures and floor plans are essential since the first showing is now online. Make sure you have that money shot. A bad image online equates to bad curb appeal creating an obstacle to overcome with the consumer.” – Andrea Geller, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chicago, IL

“I was told once that the first 8 seconds sells the house. So from the curb, to the door and often just the first few feet inside the door, are the most important; Clean, bright and appealing. Online photos need to be exceptional or buyers may rule out a property without ever stepping inside.” – Marcella Manuel, Coldwell Banker The Brokers in Red Lodge, Montana

“Pictures are a thousand words…inviting pictures on the internet, after serious decluttering will benefit the seller! Curb appeal…some new plantings and a freshly painted front door set the stage and invite the buyer home! Pricing that excites the buyers to want to see the home and make an offer! There is always a magic number so carefully prepare a CMA for the seller!” – Leila Chaucer, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Milford, CT

“Maximize your listing visibility by doing two things, which cost you zip: schedule an open house and…record a walk-through video. Do these two things and watch your online traffic soar.” – Brandon Tate, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

627 E Lincoln Park, Cranford Twp., NJ / $800,000 / Listed by Sharon Steele with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

FOCUS ON THE DETAILS
“We had a client that would have soft jazz playing quietly in the home when there was a showing scheduled. People looking at the home always remarked how great it showed and how homey it felt. Not an expensive listing, but what a great (free) way to improve showings.” – Amanda Ashley, Coldwell Banker Faucette in Rogers, AR

“I put a ton of detail into each and every listing prior to it hitting the market, garden beautification, house cleaning, staging, special scent throughout, open houses that impress with excessive open house signs and marketing collateral that will impress the pickiest critic! Details really matter!” – Laura Steffen, Coldwell Banker West in Bonita, CA

218 Calle Diamante, Sedona, AZ / $1,399,000 / Listed by Gina Tartamella with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

PRICE IT RIGHT

“Market price is a neighborhood. Offers are open to negotiation.” – Rose Indon

“Bury gold in the backyard.” – Jimmy Rose, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

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Green Remodeling Projects With Major Aesthetic Appeal

Green Remodeling Projects With Major Aesthetic Appeal

These green home renovations have big design potential!

The following is a guest post by Erin Vaughan with Modernize.com


Let’s face it: some remodeling projects are a lot more fun than others. Rearranging the living room? Count me in! But blowing in insulation in the attic? Meh, I’ll pass. And unfortunately, the home projects that have the most environmental impact usually don’t exactly let you bust out the Pinterest boards and interior design magazines. There’s nothing exciting about air sealing, after all.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any green renovations with big design potential. Upcycled and reclaimed goods especially can add a certain editorial panache to your home—while diverting cast-off materials destined for landfills. Or you can go for a new lighting feature, landscaping design, or window treatment that will help you reduce your water and electricity use. Take a look at these five remodeling projects that are all super eco-friendly and pretty easy on the eyes, too!

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Redo the Kitchen Countertops in Terrazzo
Every week, US residents throw away enough glass bottles and jars to fill a 1,350 square foot building. Terrazzo, a countertop material made from crushed glass suspended in concrete, helps give some of that glass a purpose—and it has a unique, glittery look, as well. The majority of terrazzo countertops come from post-consumer products, like wine bottles or car windshields. For an extra modern edge in your kitchen, go for sharp, clean lines and install a tiled backsplash in an unexpected pattern behind it for extra oomph.

Terrazzo Floor texture background pattern and color

Install a Solar Tube in Place of Recessed Can Lights in the Hallway
As experts have begun to study the effect that light has on our productivity, alertness, and overall well-being, they’ve noticed that interior lighting that more closely matches the intensity and hue of natural daylight consistently demonstrates the best responses from study participants. A solar tube is what it sounds like—a small, rounded tube cut into the ceiling that reflects natural light from the outdoors into your home’s interiors. Use them in place of recessed lights in a sunroom, hallway, or powder room, and enjoy the positive affect they have on your circadian rhythm—and the electric light they offset, as well!

Repaint Your Furniture with Homemade Milk Paint
Milk paint is exactly what it sounds like—an ancient surface covering mixed from lemon juice, color pigment, and of course, milk. Painted on furniture, it gives pieces an edgy, distressed feel. And it doesn’t contain harmful fumes, like VOCs, that can affect the air quality throughout your home. You can buy milk paint ready-made, or make it yourself using this recipe. Try it on an aging bureau, dresser, or on a side table that could use a lift—and pat yourself on the back for not adding to our landfill footprint!

Install a Solar Shade to Ward Off the Heat
If you live in a warm climate, you may already be aware of how excess solar radiation can affect your cooling bills. The sun raises the interior temperature of your home, meaning your AC has to work harder to keep things cool. And if you have old or outdated windows, the environmental toll may be even greater. While eco-friendly frames and glazings do exist, if you aren’t ready to spring for new windows for your whole home, you can at least protect your HVAC and furniture from solar heat by installing a solar shade over your most sun-prone areas. These green window treatments use specialized materials to block excess light and heat from entering your home. And they come in a variety of styles and colors as well!

Real young girl in casual wear illuminated by the setting sun near the sea with her hand covering her face from sun light. black and white

Replant a Patch of Lawn with Native Grasses
Here’s one just for you, green thumbs! Every year, thirsty lawns pull billions upon billions of gallons off the water table. In fact, the EPA estimates that lawn irrigation accounts for 30 percent of residential water use—or 9 billion gallons per day. That’s a shocking statistic, and it means that our outdoor spaces could really use some help when it comes to cutting back on the sprinklers. Ornamental native grasses add an eclectic verve to your landscape design—and go well with other water efficient features, like hardscaping or manmade dry creek beds. What’s native will differ according to your area, of course, but reedgrass, oatgrass, and maiden grass are all popular choices—and grow without too much encouragement in many climates. They make the perfect accent next to a line of bushes or along pathways. After all, why shouldn’t green look good?

Winter is Coming. What Shape is Your Roof In?

Winter is Coming. What Shape is Your Roof In?

Winter is a tough season for roofs. But, it doesn’t have to be with these tips from Sunrun!

Guest post from Sunrun, a leading home solar energy & solar panel company

Winter is a tough season for roofs. In snowy areas, snow and ice add a lot of weight to the roof, and excess water can cause leaks. In areas where there’s a big winter temperature swing between day and night, those temperature variations cause the roof material to expand and contract, putting stress on the materials. Few roofs last longer than 25 years – with most having an average useful life of roughly 20-50 years, depending on materials, maintenance, local weather and other factors.

Before winter arrives in full force, it’s a good idea to perform a roof inspection. The good news is that they don’t take very long.

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How Do I Know If I Need A New Roof?
Inspect it! Luckily, if you have an attic, doing an inspection on your own is fairly easy. According to GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, there are four key things to look for while doing an inspection of your roof from the attic:

1. Water leaks
2. Ventilation – make sure vents are clear.
3. Animal damage
4. Structural problems

If you don’t have an attic, an outdoor visual inspection is the next best thing. You can do this from the safety of your yard without the risk of going up on a ladder.

Which Roof Type Is Best?
If you need a new roof, how do you choose which type of roofing material to use? Asphalt shingles are by far the most common in the U.S. There’s also tile, wood, stone, and metal, each offering their own pros and cons. Realtor.com has a pretty detailed overview here.

If you’ve been considering home solar, note that most solar companies won’t install on certain roof types. Why? Usually it’s because either the roofing material is too fragile (in the case of clay tile for example) or the material is too difficult to seal up properly after the solar installation. The most common roof type – asphalt shingle – is ideal for solar installations. Sunrun offers an overview of our qualification process here.

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I’ve Been Considering Home Solar – How Should I Factor That In?
If you’ve ever thought about adding solar to your home, you’ll first need a healthy, stable roof as a foundation. For that reason, it’s a great idea for homeowners who are considering a roof replacement to consider going solar during that process. In fact, a great home solar company will actually work with your roofing contractor on your behalf to make sure your new roof is solar-ready. Sunrun has a strategic partnership with Power Home Remodeling, one of the fastest growing home remodeling companies in the U.S. Together, we offer a streamlined process for Power’s roofing customers that decide to go solar with Sunrun. Power Home Remodeling has also been designated a Master Elite® Dealer by GAF, a recognition only given to companies with a track record of quality and professionalism.

Home Decor Style Tips for Seasonal Transition

Home Decor Style Tips for Seasonal Transition

Embrace fall as a welcome change agent in your home with tips from the seasoned pros at Ethan Allen

The calendar tells us it’s time to prepare for the cooler season inside and out. It’s also time to make some seasonal style changes, according to the design professionals at Ethan Allen.

And they should know; the company has been furnishing beautiful homes for more than 80 years. Ethan Allen designers love fall because it presents so many opportunities for warming things up! Their toolbox is overflowing (fine furniture for every room in the house, art for your walls; rugs for your floors; draperies for your windows; mattresses for sweet dreams; decorative pillows; gorgeous bedding, exquisite accents—the list goes on and on).

Because “cozy and comfortable” are at the top of everyone’s wish list at this time of year, we asked them to help us create a “blueprint” for a gracious, warm, and welcoming home.

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SAY HELLO IN STYLE
No matter your design style, you have only one chance to make a good first impression, so be sure your entryway rocks. It’s both a stage and a place of transition, providing an opportunity to set the bar high for the rest of your home. Choose from Ethan Allen’s diverse lineup—from timeless, traditional, and tony to fresh, fun, and modern—and discover a style that’s all your own. Select a dramatic focal point—like a console with a sweet silhouette—to draw the eye in. Add accents that complement the vignette for balance and a feel-good welcome!

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LIGHTEN THINGS UP
An abundance of pure light is one of the best-kept secrets of fine design. There’s a reason why Ethan Allen’s designers always try to place things “in the best possible light.” And because good interior lighting mimics sunlight, it puts guests at ease in subliminal ways, creating an ambience that feels warm and inviting. It enhances your furnishings, too. For fall—and throughout the year—we recommend lighting that is both quiet and flattering. Think of a room bathed in the glittering lamps of a show-stopping chandelier, or a sophisticated living space lit by versatile clear glass lamps. It’s illumination at its best.

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SIT AWHILE

Don’t you just love it when guests linger at the dinner table? Some say the trick is good wine, good conversation, and a delicious dessert. Ethan Allen’s designers suggest adding comfortable chairs to the mix! Because craftsmanship and quality are of paramount importance when selecting chairs that will get a lot of use, Ethan Allen is a great source. Did you know they still build many pieces by hand, in their own workshops in Vermont and North Carolina? Whatever your dining style, they make it easy to choose refined, well-designed dining chairs for a gracious touch and an eat-in experience that doesn’t get any better—or more beautiful.

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CREATE COMFORT
The look and feel of a guest room can make or break an overnight stay. Furnish yours around an elegant bed (a sheltering sleigh style is nice) to create an effortlessly romantic retreat. A tranquil palette (think mineral blue, white, and taupe) adds elegance. Don’t forget creature comforts: a relaxing chair, roomy chest, night table with good lighting, and sink-in-worthy bedcoverings (Ethan Allen offers all of the above). And remember: Luxury is on the house at Ethan Allen, where professional design services are always free of charge.

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INVITE CONVERSATION
Love the idea of a personal “chat room?” There are many ways to design a room around conversation, but furniture placement is always key. Give sofa and chairs equal time to encourage face-to-face-to-face interaction, but don’t crowd them—and don’t forget to elevate the space with a sophisticated palette. In a hurry to get the conversation started? Ethan Allen’s Custom Quick Ship styles are designed to have your guests kicking back in 30 days or less.*

  • *Delivery times may vary based on your location.

The 7 Do’s of Holiday Decorating When Your Home Is for Sale

The 7 Do’s of Holiday Decorating When Your Home Is for Sale

You can still be festive. These tips will help you celebrate — without alienating would-be buyers.

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Houzz Contributor, Neila Deen

Selling your home through the holiday season can certainly come with a few challenges. Chilly, wet weather and falling leaves in November and December might mean more raking and shoveling to keep your home pristine. However, the damp weather and dark skies don’t have to squelch your holiday spirit. In fact, the holidays are a perfect time to showcase the warmth and character of your home to prospective buyers.

If you’ve already got the basics of staging under control — meaning you’ve pared down, freshened up and added a splash of color — you’re ready to follow these seven do’s to create an appropriately festive home for sale.

M&S Christmas 2014

1. Do choose appropriately sized holiday decorations. Be thoughtful about the size of decorations you use. A good question to ask yourself is whether the piece helps to positively showcase the space, light and charm of the room. Or does its large size detract from the best features? Your goal is to be festive while honoring the value of your home.

Autumn Decor

For example, displaying a large multipiece holiday installation might be a family tradition for your living room, but doing so won’t highlight the value and space of that room. Perhaps find a new home for this piece on the front porch, or display only a smaller portion of the installation on a table.

Traditional Living

Similarly, you might have to trade in that huge fresh evergreen tree that you look forward to every year for a slightly smaller version. Large trees and decorations, while festive, may make the room look smaller. Choose an oversized tree only if you have a really large room.

Hill Section Residence

2. Do mind the light. Be sure your holiday decorating efforts don’t block any natural light from windows and doors. Though this may be a common sense tip, it may not be as easy to adhere to as you’d think, since windows are one of the most common places to place holiday decor. Just think of what you see when driving through your neighborhood during the holidays: Many residents affix decorations directly to the windows, place large, brightly lighted trees directly in front of them or install candles or figurines on the windowsill. We just love to showcase our holiday spirit to the world.

Christmas Trees

For the selling season, try placing your holiday pride far from the window. You might put decor outside your front door or, if inside, in an unobtrusive corner. If you absolutely must locate decor near a window, then place it far enough away that the natural light still flows in. Otherwise, by reducing the natural light, you’ll detract from the value of the room.

Scandinavian style on a budget in a small city apartment

3. Do coordinate with the colors of the room. Maintaining a color-coordinated design scheme matters, even when all you want to do is deck the halls in red and green. Remember, every room of your home should be as appealing as possible to prospective buyers. So, if your favorite holiday decorations clash with the colors in your room, think twice about using those specific pieces. Fortunately, there are tons of creative ways to add holiday accents without throwing off your palette.

Home for Chanukah

Metallics are one nonintrusive way to add a little festive holiday flair. Gold, silver or copper holiday accents pair well with almost any color scheme. White is also a peaceful, festive, yet still neutral accent color for almost any holiday decorating effort. Try replacing multicolored tree lights with sparkling white lights to give your room a more elegant feel.

Winter Holiday Decor

4. Do keep movements and sounds to a minimum. Moving parts, loud noises and even festive music will be a distraction for potential buyers. So please don’t welcome buyers with a singing toy soldier or dancing snowman. But if you must have those items on your mantel, then be sure to turn them off during showings. The same goes for flashing lights. Opt for simple white static lights that cast a beautiful glow, creating a neutral holiday feeling for many buyers.

Stoll Christmas House

5. Do decorate to showcase your home’s architectural features. Holiday decorating can give you a brilliant opportunity to highlight your home’s most attractive architectural features. For example, you might wrap a tasteful garland around a beautiful curved staircase. You can showcase your fireplace with accents such as knitted stockings or a strand of lights.

Christmas Decorating

Be mindful not to cover up any valuable structural details such as a beautiful wood floor or crown molding. Remember, less is more when staging, even when decorating for the holidays.

Christmas Holiday Decor

6. Do use exterior holiday decorations to add curb appeal. Holiday decorations are a fantastic way to spruce up the exterior of your home and add some color. Wreaths, thoughtfully lighted shrubs and the occasional ribbon or bow on a mailbox can be tasteful ways to deck the exterior for the holidays. These elements will certainly add curb appeal and pleasantly welcome your potential buyers.

Holiday decorations

While a frenzy of flashing lights and rooftop ornaments might be fun and playful, try not to embrace your inner Clark Griswold. (“National Lampoon” movie-fest, anyone?) Your goal is to sell your house, not distract or even turn off your buyer by creating a neighborhood spectacle.

A perfectly pale interior with Nordic influences

7. Do celebrate the holidays and create a warm, joyful feeling. There’s an advantage of offering your home for sale — and decorating it — during the holidays. If you strike the right balance, your residence will exude a positive energy and charm that can’t be felt at any other time of the year. Done well, your decorated home will offer the kind of warmth that appeals to potential buyers and helps them to imagine living there. So go ahead and celebrate what is likely your last holiday season in that home. Happy holidays!

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Tips and Tricks for Living in a Staged Home

Tips and Tricks for Living in a Staged Home

Feeling like you are walking on eggshells in your staged home? Try these tips and tricks.

Guest Post via by NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm

Your home is on the market, pristine and expertly staged to get it sold. Now what? How do you still live in your home and keep it in perfect condition – especially for the unexpected showing?

First and foremost, you have to change your mindset; it is not “your home” anymore. Treat the house as if it were a five-star hotel; you need to maintain the staged look and keep everything spotless. You do not want it to appear that anyone is living in the home; there should be no dishes, family pictures, or piles of personal stuff visible. You want your potential buyers to easily envision themselves living in the home. The good news is that keeping your house like a five-star hotel will also enable you to treat yourself and your family to a mini-vacation – no cooking and lots of fun outings!

So how do you and your family eat, sleep and live in your home without leaving any evidence? Here are some simple tricks:

KEEP IT CLEAN

Kitchen:

Remove all of your kitchen appliances from the counters. Do not use them; keep clean and hidden.
Have one set of cups, plates and utensils for each family member neatly stored in a cabinet. Use only these dishes and hand wash after every use. Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink or out in a dish rack. Eat, drink, wash, dry and put away.
Use recycled paper plates and cups to limit dishwashing.
Keep only the essentials in the refrigerator and pantry (potential buyers are known to look inside). Unused pantry items can be donated to your local food bank.

Bathrooms:

No personal care products (soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrush, etc.) should be left out. Give each family member a bathroom tote to hold their daily-used products, to be put away into a closed cabinet after each use.
Keep antibacterial wipes under the sink for quick and easy cleanup after each sink and shower use.
Use stick-on toilet cleaners inside the bowls to keep toilets clean and smelling fresh.
Only guest towels should be displayed in the bathrooms. Each family member should have his or her own set of towels, to be washed regularly and kept out of sight.

Bedrooms:

Keep all nightstands and dresser tops clear of personal items. Purchase plastic containers with lids that can easily slide under beds to store reading glasses, books, journals, medications, tissue boxes, etc.
Be sure to make the beds each morning; that way there is one less thing to do when a showing is scheduled.
Keep all clothing items neatly put away and laundry baskets hidden in closets.
Wash, dry, fold and put away laundry on a daily basis if necessary.

Living Room:

To maintain a tidy living room, keep daily-used items (remote controls, DVDs, video games, children’s toys, etc.) hidden away in closed drawers, cabinets or storage ottomans.
Do not let newspapers, magazines or mail stack up; file away or recycle immediately. Perhaps keep the latest newspaper in your car; it may come in handy when showings are scheduled and you need to head out to a coffee shop or other fun destination.
Eating & Entertainment

By now you may be thinking, “How does my family eat?” It is best to go out to eat during this time. Even take-out is a no-no; the goal is to keep your home smelling like fresh flowers, not fried chicken.
To stay on a budget, visit websites like Groupon or Restaurants.com for deals and coupons. Also, look into daily/weekly meal deals at your local restaurants, like $2 Taco Tuesdays or where kids can “eat free.”
Get your whole family involved and make a list of activities to do on the days your house is scheduled to be shown. Ideas include bowling, going to the beach, zoo, museums, amusement parks, or even visiting relatives.

Pets

Unfortunately, Fido and your feline are not staged-home friendly; it may be best to find another place for them to stay while your home is staged. Perhaps a family member, friend or neighbor can take care of your beloved four-legged family members. Another option would be to send them to a kennel-free boarding “resort” for their own vacation.
If they must stay in your staged home, designate 1-2 rooms for your pets to live in. This will keep the fur cleanup to a minimum.
Living in a staged home may not come naturally, but if you and your family can adjust your daily routine, it can be a lot of fun. Take the opportunity to go out, explore and do things you all had always hoped to do. Motivate every family member to get in on the challenge and it can turn out to be a memorable time spent together!

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services. http://www.northstarmoving.com

How to Decorate Like a Christmas Elf on a Budget

How to Decorate Like a Christmas Elf on a Budget

Get your elf on with these affordable DIY ideas.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!! Break out that rubbermaid and dust off your ornaments because it’s time to decorate your home like the elf that I know you are. Here are five affordable and totally adorable ways to decorate your home with Christmas ornaments.

Christmas Shadow Box

Adding Christmas Cheer to your home couldn’t be more easy than this easy DIY Christmas Shadow Box idea.

 

Christmas Ornament Wreath

This project may look difficult but in just four easy steps you will be humming jingle bells. Learn how here.

Window Display

Show your neighbors that you are ready for a Holly Jolly Christmas with this simple hanging ornament idea.

In a Glass Vases

Remind your family it is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year with these easy Vase ideas.

As a Tree

Your guests will be rockin’ around the Christmas Tree when they see this adorable DIY Ornament Tree craft.