Seller’s Edge

  1. Home Staging: See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Smell No Evil

    By Andrew Hill @ http://NewHomes.Move.com/

    We’ve all learned about the five senses- touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell. And chances are you’ve heard the old phrase, “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” While these are good things to know and understand for everyday life, when it comes to staging your home, the most important senses you must appeal to are sight, sound and smell. By providing an experience that engages these three senses, you are sure to stage your home in a way that will attract many buyers to make an offer.

    The first rule is see no evil. By this we mean that your house must always be well kept when you are staging. This essentially means that all of your typical cleaning must be accomplished to the best extent possible. That means the lawn needs to be cut, the broken window replaced and the front porch swept. The interior should have mopped and vacuumed floors, dusted furniture and shelves and no clutter to be found. And although not necessarily evil, you are advised to keep family pieces to a minimum. Have enough items to show that someone lives there, but not so many pictures of your family that it inhibits those touring from imagining themselves living there.

    Next on the list is hear no evil. If you have animals, please don’t put them in the garage and expect them to stay quiet. Chances are they will make noise and on a chilly or warm day it’s uncomfortable for your animals. Likewise, make sure your kids are out of the house so they won’t be making too much noise either. Finally, do your best to allow buyers to visit at their own pace. You can provide answers if they have questions, but you shouldn’t feel a need to give them a guided tour. When buyers visit homes it is important that they imagine themselves living there. And while you know the house better than anyone else, most buyers will prefer touring the home without your guidance.

    Finally, and most importantly, is smell no evil. While this may seem like a strange requirement, smell is a very powerful sense that can ruin even the best staged homes. If your carpet or upholstery has pet smells, strongly consider replacing them. If you are a smoker, chances are your walls have also absorbed the smoky scent. Luckily, a fresh coat of paint will quickly fix this problem. Whatever you do, go the extra mile to make your home smell as pleasant as possible. It will go a long way when it comes to sealing the deal.

    As you begin to stage your home, be sure to keep these three senses in mind and you will greatly increase your chances of selling your home. Once you’re done selling your home, you can move on to the next step: getting excited about enjoying your newly built home from Heartland Homes!


  2. Which Season is the Best to Sell a House?

    The Summer

    The Summer is arguably the best time of the year to sell your home. (or Spring)  The sun shines longer and hotter, and people are generally more active during the long summer days.  In this blog post we have compiled a list of why summer is the best time of the year to sell your home, and some helpful tips that will help you list and stage your home for a buyer’s market!

    Summer Selling

    Time is Money

    In real estate timing is everything.  Sometimes it is just in the stars whether or not your home will sell within one month.  But do not believe for a second that real estate is a waiting game. Be aware of the local market.  Pay attention to trends in your area as well as local news (job hirings, major developments, etc.) Contact a realtor and be aggressive, selling your home can be as simple as posting a couple of advertisements when the weather and the market is hot!

    Too Cool For School

    Schools are a major driving force behind buying and selling a home during the summer season.  In regards to scheduling parents typically do not have to worry about picking the kids up from school in the afternoon. Freeing up there schedule to visit a home, meet with a bank, close a home, and move into a home without worrying about the little kiddies schedules.

    Speaking of moving, parents typically hate to move their children into a new school district mid-school year.  There is an overwhelming pressure to beat the August 31st deadline that benefits you, the seller!

    Summer Sitting

    If you find your home on the market a little bit longer than you anticipated. Don’t freak out!  The summer can be a busy time of the year.  Look at your own schedule- how many vacation days, graduation parties, and projects do you have planned?  Real buyers are out there and if you stage it, they will come!

    The summer is also filled with other great homes on the market, or as we like to call them…the competition.

    Follow our tips when staging your home, and you will be moving out in no time!

    *Building a Heartland but Need Help Selling Your Home First? Try our Seller’s Edge Program

    SUMMER TIPS

    If You Got It, Flaunt It

    If you have a beautiful yard, or great outdoor amenities like a large deck, cozy front porch, or a charming outdoor living space now is the time to showcase these features.

    Green=Green

    Be sure to water your lawn! A green lawn can add green to your wallet, or at least prevent losing curb appeal from potential buyers.

    Like the Other Side of the Pillow

    Keep your house coooool when showing your home.  During the dog days of summer, a potential buyer will stay in a cool home longer to avoid the grueling heat. If your home is hot, forget it! They will be out of there faster than you can “Summer Solstice”

    So Fresh and So Clean

    Be sure to give each room a fresh coat of paint, and to clean each room like the In-Laws will be in for an inspection at a moment’s notice.  Neutral colors are the safe and recommended choice for paint color. And be sure to clean your kitchen and bathroom until they **sparkle** these two rooms are most likely to receive more scrutiny than any other room in the house

    Quick Hints for a Last Minute Open House

    –          Open the drapes and blinds for maximum sunlight

    –          Remove excess items and put them into storage

    –          Burn candles or bake cookies to fill you home with delicious aromas

    –          Make small adjustments to your landscaping to increase curb appeal

    –          Do everything you can to make your home look like it is easy to maintain

    Selling in a different season? See our articles on tips for fall and winter

     


  3. Advantages and Disadvantages of Selling Your Home in the Spring

    Spring might be everyone’s favorite season, but for realtors, builders, and anyone with their house on the market Spring is by absolutely the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Sorry Christmas!)

    The weather is usually perfect, not too hot or not too cold. (we said usually)  And everyone is full of energy and ready to relieve their cabin fever- often through visiting open houses and taking community tours!

    So over the next week we will discuss in our Seller’s Edge: Spring Edition, the Pro’s and Con’s of listing your home in the spring, as well as some tips of the trade that will help you stage your home, prepare your home for a tour, and sell your home during the Spring.

    So Why is Spring the Best Time of the Year to Sell Your Home?

    Weather conditions are ideal for selling and buying a home.  Warmer weather means that more people are outside.  And our senses are heightened during the spring.  You hear birds chirping, you smell the combination of fresh cut grass and barbecue, you feel the soft spring breeze, and the sunshine brings everything back to life.  And now you just need is them to taste a little sample of your home’s awesomeness!

    Let’s face it the Spring is a busy time of the year for everyone.  If you are not getting out your house just for the sake of getting out of your house, than you are still out to get groceries, drop the kids off at soccer, baseball, dance, lacrosse, track, and everything else that little kiddos play these days. And chances are if your home is properly marketed, they will either see your advertising or at least plan a second or two out of their busy life to take a tour between baseball and track, or lacrosse and dance, or grocery shopping and little Susie’s birthday party on Saturday.

    If you are selling a vacant home, you usually do not have to heat or cool an additional home like you would in the winter and summer months, saving you money in utility bills for a home you no longer live in.

    REMEMBER: If your home is too hot or too cold, your home will easily be eliminated by home buyers.  Your home should always be at a comfortable temperature for every prospect that tours your home.

    Another advantage to selling your home in the spring is that no one wants to move their children mid-school year.  When a buyer purchases a home in the spring, they are most likely to move in during the early summer. Plenty of time for your kids to adjust and adapt to the area before the new school year begins.  They may even make a friend or two with the neighborhood kids before the first day of school.

    Some Things to be Aware of When Selling Your Home in the Spring.

    April showers bring more than just May flowers!  Rain can bring out the worst in a home.  From areas of standing water in your yard, to leaky basements, clogged gutters, and if your home is really outdated you may have the ol’ indoor waterfall. Be sure to patch up, repair and prevent any of these issues. General contractors and the internet are both great resources.

    All of the cool kids are doing it! Another road block to selling your home during the spring is that everyone else is putting their home on the market too.  And if more people are selling their home, there is more competition.  You may find yourself in a price war with your neighbors if they are trying to sell their home as well.  Be careful not to undervalue your home.

    Garden of  weEden! Maintaining your yard in the spring can be more work than other months.  When there is snow on the ground the majority of your outdoor staging is shoveling the driveway and clearing the walk from ice.  But in the Spring you have to spend more time and effort on curb appeal. Weeds, leaves, tall grass, weeds, brown dry grass, weeds, overgrown bushes, and did we say weeds?  All of the for mentioned plant details should be your focus as well as decluttering and painting your home. These are generally problems that you do not have to focus on when selling your home in the winter.

    In our next post, I will discuss helpful tips to staging your home for the Spring Selling Season.  In the meantime leave us a comment on our Facebook Page about your selling experience. What time of the year did you decide to move? And if you have any funny stories about selling your home we would love to hear them! 


  4. Seller’s Edge: Listing Your Home During Winter

    Family Having Fun Snowy WoodlandThere are a million and one reasons we all put our houses up for sale. You might be moving into a better school district, or have accepted a new job offer, you might be expanding or downsizing your home.  Whatever the reason, listing your home for sale during the harsh winter months may be unavoidable.  So to help your home sell during the days of snow, salt, and grey skies we have compiled some of the best tips to help you sell your home in our Seller’s Edge.

    The Winter

    Soon the snow will be falling, the roads will be bad, and everything will look slushy, grey and cold.  Gaining the motivation to get of the couch is tough enough on a cold winter’s day, so how will you convince potential home buyers that your house is worth the energy to brave the weather and tour your home?

    WINTER TIPS

    The most important thing to do is list your home with a realtor.  The days of staking an orange and black “For Sale by Owner” sign in the front yard are long gone. Realtors have the tools, clients, and resources to sell your home.  With listing websites, social media, thousands of buyers in databases, and a professional background in real estate, the secret weapon to selling a home in the winter is your local real estate agent.

    Besides the basic rules of staging your home, keeping it clean is the most important tool to selling your home in the winter.  You might have cabin fever, the winter blues might have hit hard, but keeping your home beautiful and ready for an inspection at a moment’s notice is the best game plan. Rule of thumb: Make sure your home will pass the unexpected visit from your mother in-law test!

    Shovel, Scrape and Salt, if a potential buyer struggles to pull into the driveway, slips on the sidewalk, or has to walk through a pile of snow; chances are they are thinking that maintaining your home is too much work.  Make your home appear to be low maintenance. Shovel that snow and do whatever it takes to get rid of that ice!

    Sparkle! –   Make sure that your kitchen and bathroom sparkle! These areas will receive more scrutiny than any other room in your home.  Rule of thumb: Clean these rooms 3 times better than you normally do.

    Say Cheese – If you know you will be listing your home and it could potentially stay listed into the winter, take pictures of the exterior of you home year round. Create a photo album of your home, and showcase how beautiful your home looks when it is not covered in 42 inches of snow. Keeping a photo album next to the paper work and information sheets during an open house is a great way show off your beautiful yard or your deck that is perfect for a summer BBQ.

    If you have moved out already and are selling an old vacant home, remember to keep your home warm.  Potential buyers left their warm and cozy homes to visit yours, and will leave in a heartbeat if your home is freezing.  A warm home is a sold home- it can be that easy!  Having a second utility bill for a home that is empty doesn’t make that much sense either! Use timers or stop by and turn the heat on the night before a scheduled showing.  If a buyer sees their breathe before they see the upstairs, they probably will not buy.


  5. Seller’s Edge: Winter Season Home Selling Tips

    Sellers-Edge-ICEThere are a million and one reasons we all put our houses up for sale. You might be moving into a better school district, or have accepted a new job offer, you might be expanding or downsizing your home.  Whatever the reason, listing your home for sale during the harsh winter months may be unavoidable.  So to help your home sell during the days of snow, salt, and grey skies we have compiled some of the best tips to help you sell your home in our Seller’s Edge.

    The Winter

    Soon the snow will be falling, the roads will be bad, and everything will look slushy, grey and cold.  Gaining the motivation to get of the couch is tough enough on a cold winter’s day, so how will you convince potential home buyers that your house is worth the energy to brave the weather and tour your home?

    WINTER TIPS

    The most important thing to do is list your home with a realtor.  The days of staking an orange and black “For Sale by Owner” sign in the front yard are long gone. Realtors have the tools, clients, and resources to sell your home.  With listing websites, social media, thousands of buyers in databases, and a professional background in real estate, the secret weapon to selling a home in the winter is your local real estate agent.

    Besides the basic rules of staging your home, keeping it clean is the most important tool to selling your home in the winter.  You might have cabin fever, the winter blues might have hit hard, but keeping your home beautiful and ready for an inspection at a moment’s notice is the best game plan. Rule of thumb: Make sure your home will pass the unexpected visit from your mother in-law test!

    Shovel, Scrape and Salt, if a potential buyer struggles to pull into the driveway, slips on the sidewalk, or has to walk through a pile of snow; chances are they are thinking that maintaining your home is too much work.  Make your home appear to be low maintenance. Shovel that snow and do whatever it takes to get rid of that ice!

    Sparkle! –   Make sure that your kitchen and bathroom sparkle! These areas will receive more scrutiny than any other room in your home.  Rule of thumb: Clean these rooms 3 times better than you normally do.

    Say Cheese – If you know you will be listing your home and it could potentially stay listed into the winter, take pictures of the exterior of you home year round. Create a photo album of your home, and showcase how beautiful your home looks when it is not covered in 42 inches of snow. Keeping a photo album next to the paper work and information sheets during an open house is a great way show off your beautiful yard or your deck that is perfect for a summer BBQ.

    If you have moved out already and are selling an old vacant home, remember to keep your home warm.  Potential buyers left their warm and cozy homes to visit yours, and will leave in a heartbeat if your home is freezing.  A warm home is a sold home- it can be that easy!  Having a second utility bill for a home that is empty doesn’t make that much sense either! Use timers or stop by and turn the heat on the night before a scheduled showing.  If a buyer sees their breathe before they see the upstairs, they probably will not buy.


  6. Seller’s Edge: Selling Your Home in the Fall

    Can you believe that it is the first day of fall already?  It’s time to put away the fun seashell and beach decorations and dust off those wreaths and scarecrows!  Fall is by far one of the best seasons for decorating a home, but if your home is on the market this autumn you might want to consider reading our tricks of the trade.

    The Fall

    Even though this season is named Fall, there are quite a few Ups to listing and selling your home as the leaves change color and the air starts to crisp. So we have put together some key selling points to remember when selling your home in the Fall.

     Learn From the BestHave you ever looked at a picture or visited Fallingwater? Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece is mesmerizing year round, but in the fall it is even more breath-taking.  The fall foliage and nature’s organic art exhibit contrasting with Fallingwater’s natural building materials truly combines nature and architecture. And even though your home may not be considered a “masterpiece”, you can take a few fundamental ideas out of Wright’s blueprints.
     
    Photo Courtesy of Trekearth.com

    One with Nature 

    If there is anything that we can learn from Frank Lloyd Wright it would have to be his philosophy of combining nature and home.  When designing or decorating your home, think about natural elements.  Think about how you can make your home stick out, by fitting in (with nature). When designing a home, Craftsman Elevations with natural stone foundations and wood plank siding (real or faux) seamlessly mesh home with nature. Which might be something to keep in mind when building your home, but what if the home you are trying to sell isn’t a Craftsman-style?

    With brick and vinyl exteriors this “natural home” concept might be a little more difficult to pull off, but that is no reason to give up! Look at what you can change.  Make sure your lawn is short and clean.  If a couple shopping your home sees a yard full of leaves and grass that hasn’t been mowed in ages, then they immediately conclude two things. Either this home is either too difficult to maintain, or the owner’s did not take care of this home at all. Do not let your home be disqualified before potential buyers even make it inside.

    The Summer Price War is Over

    Another reason why the Fall may be a great time to sell your home is simply because there are less homes on the market.  You will find yourself at a “Price Peacetime’ because you are (more…)


  7. TGIF: Thank Goodness It’s Fall

    Welcome back to Heartland Today and a very special TGIF edition!  In today’s post we will fill you in with all of the hot stuff that is going on this weekend!  If there was ever a weekend to get up and go out THIS IS IT

    The Canonsburg Oktoberfest

    OktoberfestSeptember 17th -19th

    Dubbed America’s 6th-largest Oktoberfest, Canonsburg hosts one of the best fall festivals you will ever attend.  Popular polka acts, two of 2009’s top draws and a legendary disc jockey are headlines at the 2010 Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest in Canonsburg this weekend. The festival, which AOL picked as one of America’s Top 10 Oktoberfests a few years ago, was this year featured in USA Today Magazine.

    There are dozens of food booths, a classic car show, crafts and vendor booths and an entire block of carnival rides and games, plus an endless amount of entertainment for the full schedule of events CLICK HERE

    40th Annual Washington and Green County Covered Bridge Festival

    September 18-19 Festival Hours : 10:00am to 5:00pm

    Enjoy a weekend packed full of fall festive fun! Spend the weekend touring ten great historical covered bridges each with their own charming allure.  Spend the day shopping through (more…)


  8. The Seller’s Edge: All the World’s a Stage

    Sellers Edge

    At Heartland Homes we understand that selling your home is not as easy as staking a sign in the front yard and accepting an offer.  Selling a home takes some serious preparation, anywhere from a touch up of paint here and there to a complete renovation, and of course a few modifications to the way you live while strangers parade through your home on the weekends.  Although this time in your life is just a temporary hindrance, it does not have to be so stressful.

    Our Seller’s Edge program is designed to make the selling process easier on you. At Heartland Homes we want you to be able to enjoy living in your new custom built home.  We love to see our new homeowners enjoy their new home, without stressing over the burden of a 2nd mortgage because they could not sell their old home.  So here on the blog we are putting together the best tips in the real estate business to help you sell your home.

    Get Pre-Inspections Done EARLY

    This will help you to avoid any unexpected costs in the future and will give you the confidence in knowing how to negotiate with offers as they come in.  It will cost a small amount up front, but the piece of mind is worth it.  Inspections to consider include:

    –  Home Inspection

    –  Radon Inspection

    –  Pest Inspection

    Staging Your Home

    In order to make your home more appealing to potential buyers, you will need to make small changes.  Some will require adjustments to your living habits, while others may involve minimal costs. (more…)


  9. The Seller’s Edge: The Not So Secret Agent

    Seller's EdgeBuying and Building a new home can be one of the most exciting experiences in your lifetime.  We have all heard a few horror stories here and there, but all in all there is nothing more heart warming than moving into a brand new home that you have been dreaming of your entire life.  Well that’s unless you have the burden of still selling your old home.

    There is a lot to know about selling a home, and trying to sell your home during a “buyer’s market” can be a difficult mission, but with the help of our Seller’s Edge program, you will have the knowledge to attract buyers and sell your home for the value it is truly worth.

    The Not So-Secret Agent

    Real Estate Agents are the best un-kept secret to selling your home.  Also called Realtors and Brokers these individuals are one of the most popular resources used to sell a home.  They are in the business of selling houses, and only get paid when they do, so rest assured if you have a home for sale, they want to sell it.

    All Agents Are Not Created Equally

    Research agents in your area, and find out how many homes they have listed. Not only will this tell you how much time they have to showcase your home, but it will also tell you how many homes you are competing with in the local market.  It is suggested that you interview at least TWO Realtors for the job.  You might be in a hurry to sell your home, but entering a contract with the first realtor you see in the Sunday Clipper might set you back months if he or she is a poor performer.  Two baseline qualifications you should look for when hiring an Realtor include: A full-time agent and  an agent that is an expert in your geographic area. If you are trying to sell your townhome in Moon Township, you wouldn’t want an agent that specializes in rural real estate that works out of Beaver County would you?

    Obtain a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

    Your realtor should provide this to you free of charge. It should include homes currently on the market and homes that have sold in your area.  Price your home at or below what the CMA suggests.  The lower you go, the faster your home will sell.

    Develop a MARKETING PLAN with Your Realtor

    Listing your home on the MLS and putting a sign in the yard are no longer enough!

    • –  Create a direct mail piece that will be sent out consistently
    • –  List your home on the MLS and Realtor.com with a minimum of six photographs – the more the better!
    • –  Host two open houses per month (these should be advertised in the MLS, local newspapers, and with directional signs). Make sure you ask for feedback on all showings and make adjustments accordingly.
    • –  Ask for your home to be included on the local Realtor tour
    • –  Don’t forget to include your home in additional FREE online sites such as zillow.com, craigslist.com, and trulia.com.  These sites are gaining in popularity every day, and the calls will still go straight to your Realtor.

    Finding an agent is only one step when preparing your home for the market.  Continue to check out our blog for more tips about helping you sell your home, or contact Sara our New Home Specialist, and ask about our Seller’s Edge Program!


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