Trends, Testimonials, War Stories & Other Real Estate Related Adventures

Archive for April, 2013

Quick Tips for Staging Your Home

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Staging your home is essential in today’s Real Estate market.  You don’t need to spend a lot of money to stage your home, just use the quick Tips below, and you’ll reap the benefits.  It has been proven that staged homes sell faster and for money than those homes not staged.

Tips for staging the interior of your home.

Take a good look at your house room, by room.  Paint any room that needs painting.  Clean carpets, draperies & windows.  You want your home to show like a model.

Clear all unnecessary objects (eg., knick knacks, personal family pictures, etc.) from furniture throughout your house.  Limit decorative items to 3 per grouping.  If an object overwhelms a table or area, remove it.

Rearrange or remove some of the furniture in your home.  Less furniture will make the room appear larger.  You’ll want a clear path through all your rooms, so the buyer can walk through with ease while viewing your home.

Clear unnecessary or unused items from your kitchen counters.  If you use an item daily, make room on a shelf below the item to store it after use.

Remove magnets, pictures, messages from your refrigerator & wipe down all appliances, so they are “finger print” free.

Reduce the number of pictures on your walls. If a picture is one of  personal nature, it is always best to remove it.  Patch & paint the walls as needed.

Keep only necessary items in the bathrooms that you use daily. Store these items in a decorative basket in the vanity below and take it out only when needed.  Coordinate towels in one or two colors only.  Wipe down shower stall & counter top each morning to maintain bathroom cleanliness.

Maintain bedrooms as tidy as possible.  Store clothing, shoes, etc. in closets or dressers, and make beds daily.  You may want to consider updating your bedspreads or comforters prior to putting your home on the market.  New bed linens show nicely in the pictures and you’ll be able to take these with you to your next home.

Tips Provided by:  Kelly Malagari, ASP – Accredited Staging Real Estate Professional



What is Fair Housing?

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On a recent visit to a New Home Subdivision a question arose: “Are there other families like us buying here?”  This was an innocent question from a young couple who have a young child. They were not concerned about race, color, national origin, gender or religion, they just wanted to know if their child would have other children to play with, to grow up with. But, it IS a violation of our Fair Housing Laws for us to ask or answer this question. 

It does not seem “fair,” quite frankly. Does it? I mean, in an established neighborhood, the buyer can drive up and down the streets and see for themselves – they see the bikes in the drives, the swing sets in the back yards. Then they can get on line and do a little research to discover complete demographics. They can call the sheriff’s office to find out criminal stats. (We are, after all, a society with Way Too Much Information at our fingertips.) But in a new home subdivision, unless it is labeled a “senior/over 55 community” there is no such information unless it can be obtained from the sales representative. And it can’t, due to our Fair Housing laws.

 As a person who has no personal bias toward any protected or non-protected class, it is frustrating to know – in 2013 – there are still people who do, to the extent we can’t even answer a simple question for fear of legal reprisal.

Have a Question? Read the Contract!

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Our Team Leader, Bonnie Winkler, is our “Go-To” Question-Answerer & Problem-Solver whenever something comes up in our day-to-day dealings with buyers and sellers. Every time we explain our situation & ask a question, the response is “Well: What does the contract say?” As Realtors, we have a tendency to over-analyze & over-control the deals we’re involved in. We’ve learned it just doesn’t need to be that complicated if, when there is an issue or a question, we refer back to the contract to read how we handle it. 

An average Fully Executed Contract has about 50 pages of pre-printed, fill-in-the-blank forms. It’s impossible to read and expect a buyer or seller to comprehend every sentence and its implications when preparing or reviewing an offer. After all, half of it is not even applicable to any given transaction, so we skim the contents and offer a brief outline of the offer, obligations & pertinent disclosures. If an issue arises, the answers to 99.9% of our questions are within the contract – and actually easy to find!

Bottom line – when an issue or question arises during the course of a transaction, don’t just ask your Realtor to tell you the answer. Ask your Realtor to show you where the answer is within the contract!

Testimonial from Stewart & Linda Smith

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We were recently faced with the daunting task of selling a house in a very difficult market.  The experience ended up being extremely successful, due in large part to the knowledge, experience and dedication of Mt. Airy RE/MAX Agent, Maureen Nichols.  Maureen worked tirelessly to make sure all obstacles were overcome and we couldn’t have been happier.  We are extremely grateful to Maureen for everything she did.  We would highly recommend Maureen Nichols to anyone looking for a top-notch, hard-working, real estate agent.
Stewart and Linda Smith
April 2, 2013

Testimonial from Stacey

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“Over the last ten years, Maureen Nichols has served as an exemplary agent through five of my real estate transactions.  She knows her market well, is a veteran at policy and procedure, and relates and works very well with the community.   The buying and selling process becomes easier and less complicated with an agent like Maureen.”
Stacey Smith
March 30, 2013