Little things that make a BIG difference – Sweeping your front entryway

Sweeping-the-deckEvery year my family and I rent the same little cottage Maine. It’s a quaint place that suits us well and we love coming back year after year.

The cottage is surrounded by VERY large trees, many of them pines. The entryway to the house has a small deck and that deck ALWAYS has pine needles on it. Not a ton, just enough to be annoying :-)

Because the pine needles can have a bit of sap residue on them, they stick to your shoes as you walk into the house . That perennially leaves five to ten pine needles somewhere on the kitchen floor (where the entry door is located) at all times.

Needless to say it makes me a bit nuts.

While we were there I took to sweeping the deck entryway a few times a day. It didn’t completely solve the problem, but it certainly helped.

It got me thinking that, if the owners ever wanted to sell this cottage, the needles might be an issue. The few stray needles on the kitchen floor always make the place seem unkempt, even though the cottage itself is spotless.

So, if your house is on the market and the entryway where your potential buyers enter your home has a similar situation…pine needles, leaves, acorns, etc…be aware of it and sweep it clean when you know you have a showing.

Your front entryway really does make a first, and sometimes lasting, impression on a buyer!


Image: Vintage Mama’s Cottage



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Little things that make a BIG difference – Mildew in the Shower

I was recently showing a client a very lovely home. Everything about it was well done. The quality of the construction was superb. The furniture looked as if it were from a design magazine. It was impeccably appointed right down to the perfect amount of tchotchkes displayed.

The whole house was just wonderful…although at a $2.2M price point, you expect things to be that well done :-)

Anyway, the Master bath was positively cavernous! It had all the latest fashionable tile. A deep jacuzzi tub and a separate shower.

The separate shower was big enough for two and had a wonderful floor with tiles shaped like little blue glass bubbles. It also had a steam option, a sitting bench and a rainfall shower head.

grungy grout in shower

You know what else it had…MILDEW!

Nothing HUGELY tragic. Just your ordinary everyday mildew that we all see from time to time in our own showers. The floor of one of my showers is river rock, which is a very uneven surface. The water from the shower can collect between the stones and if I wait even one day too long to clean it, I can see the grout between my stones start to get a bit gray and I know in moments mildew will start sprouting up.

Anyway, this mild mildew really brought down the entire bathroom…a bathroom that probably cost thousands and thousands of dollars to build!

So, if your house is on the market, make sure your shower floors and the edges of your bathtubs are bright, white and shiny clean. If you have to, you can even take out the old grout and re-grout. Trust me, it will be worth the effort.

I promise you, it will make a difference on how your house is perceived by buyers!

 Image: Home Repair Tutor
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Little things that make a BIG difference – Drywall Tape Bubbles

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the past couple of winters we’ve had a couple of episodes of ice damming at my house. We’ve corrected the problem, but what we were left with in the aftermath is some rumpled drywall tape and cracked paint. All is easily fixed with a bit of joint compound and a deft touch with a drywall knife.

That said, have we fixed our rumpled drywall tape yet? NO!

Why haven’t we fixed our rumpled drywall tape? BECAUSE IT’S NOT FUN!

If we were to put our house on the market, what would be the first thing we’d have to fix? THE RUMPLED DRYWALL TAPE!

Why is fixing bubbled drywall tape so important if your house is on the market? Because it just screams the fact that you had some sort of water problem and that’s NEVER good for inspiring confidence in potential buyers.

So, if your house is on the market and you have had some past water penetration, make sure that 1) you’ve truly corrected the problem and 2) you’ve repaired the telltale drywall tape bubbles.

Good luck!

Image: House-Painting-Info



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Little things that make a BIG difference – Window Sills

I have a feature post topic that I really love writing called Little things that make a BIG difference.

I love writing these posts because they are quick, creative, helpful to people trying to sell their homes and just plain fun to write.

I recently realized, that I haven’t been writing many lately. Not sure why…too busy, no good ideas…who knows!?!

In any event, I want to kickstart this series again so this week I will feature a new little thing every day to help sellers prepare their homes for sale.

Today’s topic is window sills.

Specifically, the window sill area between your inside window and your storm window. See one here…



If your house is anything like mine, this area between the inside window and the storm window can get pretty cruddy. Dusty, buggy and just overall nasty. If the sill is in a very sunny place the paint can dry out and chip. OR, if you have a leak in your window, it can make the wood soft and even, God forbid, mildew-y.

dirty sill

The worst part is, you may not have even noticed. At my house we run the AC all summer so we don’t really ever open our windows and thereby, rarely ever look at our sills. They could be a hotbed of nasty activity and I’d never know :-)

If your house is on the market, go through and open each of your windows. Vacuum out each sill and make any necessary repairs.

Plus, if you do get an offer on the house, the buyer will most likely inspect it and an inspector will go through and open every window as part of his/her inspection. Better to look at your window sills before that!

I don’t know why, but whenever I buy a house and the sills are newly painted, fresh and clean, it makes me feel better about the house. So, if your house is on the market, this easy clean up could send a message that the house is well cared for.

Good luck!


Images: Top – Chicago Window Expert, Bottom – First Home Love Life



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Weekly Home Sales Snapshot – 7/31/15

Source: Greater Fairfield County CMLS,  HOUSES Sold = Single Family, Multi-Family, Condo/Co-Op


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Real Estate Dictionaries

Sometimes I lose my way…

I have these ideas for regularly scheduled blog topics, I start them, I devote posts to them once a week, then I lose interest or forget and they trail off into nothingness…

One of my forgotten regularly scheduled topics was Real Estate Word of the Week.

Real Estate Word of the Week was an idea my son gave me and it was actually pretty good. For no good reason, I just stopped doing it.

Today, I was reading an article on My Domaine that detailed several real estate dictionaries.

It reminded of Real Estate Word of the Week and I decided to reinvigorate idea. I may not do a word EVERY week. But I will definitely keep the idea flowing.

And, as a kick off, I decided to feature a couple of the books My Domaine showcased.

If you are in the market for a home, these may be helpful. Click on the each picture for more details.

Good luck!

The Language of Real Estate

Complete Dictionary of Real estate Terms

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Knotty Pine Paneling is definitely making a come back!

I have written about knotty pine paneling A LOT! You can read those posts here, here, here, here, here and here.

Some of those posts were written a few years ago and they STILL get a fair amount of reader traffic!

Well, I was just on a blog I read regularly, Hooked on Houses, and I found a show house that the very well-known and talented Bunny Williams decorated.

Well, lo and behold, within in this designer show house, Bunny Williams created a library with each wall covered in glorious pine paneling!

Take a look…






So, for those of you who have been wondering what to do with your knotty pine…leave it!

I guess what goes around, comes around in the world of interior design!

Image: Hooked on Houses


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Weekly Home Sales Snapshot – 7/24/15


Source: Greater Fairfield County CMLS,  HOUSES Sold = Single Family, Multi-Family, Condo/Co-Op



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Do a Realtor’s looks matter?

Ugly Betty

I just read a very interesting study conducted by the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate (IBERE).

The institute wanted to find out if the physical attractiveness of a Realtor and the type of language they used could truly influence how a buyer feels about a potential home.

According to the study, attractive female Realtors using hyperbolic rhetoric (pretty descriptions) can significantly influence buyer perceptions. More so than male Realtors or less/unattractive female Realtors.

I found the study fascinating as my husband and I continually debate the role the looks of a Realtor can play in a real estate transaction.

His theory is that people want smart Realtors. Period. For him, looks will not trump smarts.

My theory is that people hire aspirational Realtors. That is, they want a Realtor who was most likely at the “cool kids table” in high school. By hiring an aspirational Realtor, buyers and sellers feel like one of “the cool kids” too.

We both are probably over-simplifying our viewpoints, but for purposes of this post, you get what we mean.

This study was designed to show something a bit different, but I say it proves my point, more so than my husband’s :-)

Here is the summary of the study:

Can Real Estate Agents Influence Homebuyer Property Perceptions Through Their Appearance and Hyperbolic Rhetoric?

This study takes 1,594 potential homebuyers on a Web-based audio/visual tour of a typically priced home in their area. Using voice altering software as well as before and after extreme make-over photos, we are able to isolate the effect of real estate agent characteristics (attractiveness, gender, and hyperbolic rhetoric) on their ability to change the opinions of potential homebuyers. We find that attractive female agents who employ hyperbolic rhetoric are significantly able to alter the impression of the property in the minds of respondents primarily through establishing source credibility (trust). The rooms most influenced by the effective agent are the first (curb appeal) and last (back yard/view) impressions of the home.

To read the full results and statistics, you can find the study here.

Perhaps it’s time for a diet and a new hair style :-)

Image: allwomenstalk


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8 good tips for selling a home

Flip this House LogoI recently ran across an article by Than Merrill. For those of you who do not know Than Merrill, he was on the popular A&E show,  Flip This House. One of my all-time favorite shows…not sure why they stopped taping.

Anyway, Than featured an article on his website/blog titled “8 of the Best-Kept Secrets for Selling a Home”.

While I agree with all of the eight points covered, I am not sure they are “kept secrets” rather than just “good tips”. But, I guess “8 best-kept secrets” is a far more alluring title than “8 good tips for selling a home”. After all it got me to read the article :-)

So, if you’d like to read these “8 good tips for selling a home”, you can find them here on Than’s website, FortuneBuilders.



Image: A&E/Wikipedia
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