How Social Media Can Help Sell Your Home

Typically I write all the posts for this blog, but I’ve got an article by Maxime Rieman, that’s perfect for home sellers. Maxime writes for the personal finance website, NerdWallet. whose insights for finding the best products, services and organizations have been featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

For those who would like to quickly get the word out far and wide that your home is for sale — this article is for you: 

Woman thinking about selling her homeSocial media has weaved itself into so many aspects of our daily lives. For many, it is engaging, fun and important, for some it is of no significance — and for others it is simply bothersome. However, social media attracts a captive audience and interestingly, many transitioning homeowners have not posed the question, how can social media help you sell your home?

If done right, the mere attempt at social media will create buzz, let alone bring contacts directly through such platforms as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, G+ and more.

Link It: Just announcing your home is for sale on every social media site is fruitless. You must create a link. The easier it is for a person to access your information and forward it to friends, the better. If you are selling through a good real estate company chances are they have photographed your home and posted it on their listings page, Facebook, and possibly other home selling websites. All your social media should link to this information.

If somehow your home selling information is not on a website, set up your own page using one or more of the social media platforms available, or create a site using one of the many easy to build website creators. And make sure you include pictures and a room by room video tour of your clean house.

Use Twitter and Instagram: These two social media platforms are the best choice for real estate information blasts. Using photos and videos with clever, even humorous comments helps people understand who the seller really is. Many potential buyers are fearful of people hiding behind problem homes, so when a true personality shines through, viewers are more apt to want to do business with that individual. Home Selling Strategy - use Twitter and Instagram

Keep your posts short, to the point and minimal. It’s also important not to repetitively post your home. Some friends (i.e. potential buyers or friends of potential buyers) may get annoyed and end up hiding your news feed or unfriend you altogether. Usually once or twice per week will keep the ball rolling by providing updates on possible renovations, price changes, curbside appeal and other facts about your home and area. If you are careful and savvy, buzz can really start to pick up.

Think Outside The Box: Go beyond only posting your home and send out pictures and/or videos of your neighborhood. Mention the school rating, how far public transportation is from your door and other attractive amenities that will make purchasing your home more appealing.

Some home sellers have even gone as far as identifying celebrities that live nearby, or historic landmarks in the area.  Others show images of their home during different seasons. All of these are clever additions that real estate agents may not have thought about including.

A man announcing he is trying to sell a home.Appeal to Your Friends: Without sounding desperate, it’s worth a try to post a well-crafted call for help to your social media friends. Describe in as few sentences as possible how you are reaching out to anyone interested or who may know someone interested in your property. You may be surprised at how many people step up with names and ideas that will help you.

Safety: Social media is still the wild west of the Internet, therefore be very careful how much information you hand out. Tell your friends to share your house selling information with only their trusted friends, and never to post comments about when you are out of town or if your home is vacant.

Finally, keep your posts fun and to the point. Make your social media friends feel like they are part of the big picture and you may be able to sell your home faster than you ever expected.

Quick, Fun Home Selling Uplifts

Your house may already be attractive, well-located and in pretty good shape… or then again, maybe it could use a little help. In either case, if you want to increase the chance of your home becoming the center of a bidding war, or selling faster than you may have expected, here are five quick tips for perking up your home — and potential home buyers!

Decorative wooden blinds can make home selling easier1. Install wooden blinds. There’s nothing that gives a home a finished, put-together look like wooden blinds. It’s the equivalent of a house wearing a well-tailored jacket. Instantly your room looks luxurious and… well, like it’s worth more. I know, you might be thinking, “but those are expensive!” Actually, wooden blinds are now very affordable, because they can be customized and shipped to you directly from online sites. For example, wooden-blinds.com offers assistance every step of the way, helping you select high-quality custom fit blinds in many styles and colors.

Wooden blinds, vertical blinds and roller blinds aren’t just decorative either. They can provide solar protection to keep your room cooler and protect expensive furniture, rugs and artwork from continuous sun exposure. You can also get blinds that roll up or roll down, which will give you greater privacy.

I once had a house with a great view of the mountains — as well as the busy road in front of our property. Using “top down” blinds, I was able to block out the view of the road below, giving the room a sense of privacy, while simultaneously framing the mountains and sky.

 2. Paint and finish kitchen cabinets. Cabinets get so much wear and tear from being open and closed for years by wet hands, exploding spaghetti sauce on the range top, and over-enthusiastic blenders. We might not notice how much our cabinets have aged during their years of service, but house hunters will. One quick way of polishing them up is to smooth a coat of paint over them… whether that means a wood stain or an attractive color. Sometimes old banged-up cabinets can get that sought-after “shabby chic” appearance with a simple coat of paint.

I remember going into an old house with a kitchen that hadn’t been remodeled in decades, however the owners had painted the cabinets a sunny yellow color and they’d installed sunflower door pulls… I wanted to buy that kitchen. Unfortunately the real estate agent told me I’d have to buy the rest of the house that came with it.

Consider painting kitchen cabinets when selling a house

3. Spiff up your floor. Look down right now. What do you see? Are you looking at a bedraggled carpet, ugly tiles or mismatched vinyl? It may be time for some spiffing up. But this doesn’t have to be expensive. You can rent a steam cleaner at your local market, which will quickly take the bedraggle out of your carpet.

I know this to be true because I walked into an Albertson’s supermarket a few weeks ago, rented a machine for $35, read a couple of lines of instruction before turning on the power, and an hour later the house looked fresh and well-kept. You can also take the ugly out of faded, cracked or headache-inducing patterns on flooring by applying stick-on vinyl squares in light colors, subtle patterns or wood-like finishes.

 4. Dress up your yard. A very small investment in landscaping can make a big difference in a home buyer’s ever-important first impression. A freshly mulched yard is much like a newly cleaned carpet — it makes your property look uniformly well-kept. This first impression can translate in a buyer’s mind into confidence that the entire home is equally well-maintained… from the basement to the roof.

Of course you still need disclosures and inspections to provide your house’s full story, but there’s nothing wrong with staritng out on the right foot by showing how well you maintain your yard. A few strategically places bushes or small trees can also do double or triple duty — providing beauty, privacy, and blocking out unsightly views beyond your property lines.

 Use a toothbrush to uplift your home on the market5. Get handy with a toothbrush. Two of my favorite home selling tools are Shop Vacs and toothbrushes. I dedicated an earlier article to my beloved Shop Vac, so it’s the toothbrush’s turn in this post. Save your old toothbrushes because they can become one of the most useful and inexpensive tools in your home selling arsenal.

Their small, slim size and durable bristles make them the perfect tool for scouring scores of tricky places… behind, beneath, and in-between spaces, corners and tight-fitting places where mortal hands don’t fit easily. They’re also great at cleaning grout, ledges, window screens, crown moulding, you name it. And best yet, we have great natural dexterity for using toothbrushes after years of daily practice.

 

Home Seller’s Blues Blog in Top 100 Real Estate Blogs for 2013

 

Every now and then it’s nice to get a public “At-A-Girl” for the work you do. So I was delighted when the Home Sellers Blues Blog was selected amongst the top 100 Real Estate blogs to follow in 2013 in an independent survey!  What made this surprise even better is that it’s rated #54, following such giants as Redfin, National Association of Realtors, Zillow and a variety of large real estate company blogs from all over the world.

Gold Star for Real Estate BloggingWhat this tells me is that it pays to be a little crazy and take risks. I know my writing tends to be a little humorous when it comes to business topics such as how to sell your home — but I also know that we all enjoy reading something that brings us an unexpected smile. And when it comes to selling a home, no matter how the market is doing… we need a reason to smile.

Home selling is a labor-intensive and often emotional process — and it can feel quite personal. This is especially true if your home has been on the market for a while and it just isn’t moving… while a house down the block sells in the first week. You can’t help but feel, “Hey, what’s wrong with my house? What am I doing wrong?”

So for all the home owners out there who are about to put your home on the market, or are waiting for your house to sell — this blog is for you! I hope it cheers you up, gives you inspiration, and makes you laugh when you need it most.

And if you need a little courage and inspiration to take a risk that’s been holding you back from getting something you want in life, check out my ebook about intelligent risk-taking: Instant Guts! How To Take a Risk and Win in Every Area of Your Life.  It’s also available as an audio through Amazon.com.

 

 

Ten Home Improvements NOT to Make When Selling Your House

Make more money selling your homeIn our last blog post, we talked about making home improvements that could raise your home’s sale price by tens of thousands of dollars.

And it’s good to know exactly what these are — because some improvements can do the opposite — they can actually make it more difficult to sell a house. And the more difficult, the greater the chances you’ll eventually have to lower your home price.

So what upgrades should you avoid? If you’re planning to put your house on the market, avoid making improvements that are personalized to your particular taste and lifestyle. Home Selling Style

Here are ten home improvements NOT to make:

1. Take the doors off your kitchen cabinets: No! Don’t do it! Some people are really fond of their dishes and see them as an art form — that’s understandable, if you’ve got beautifully color-coordinated plates, bowls and crockery that make your home look like an expensive Italian restaurant. But, many home buyers have chipped, mismatched plates, plastic bowls and sippy cups they’d prefer to keep hidden behind closed doors.

Many homeowners also use their shelves to house Cheerios boxes, ramen cakes and cans of baked beans – which are much harder to elevate to an art form. So if you want to keep house hunters from backing out of your kitchen, keep those doors on their hinges.

2. Turn a bedroom into a permanent home office: You might not need that extra bedroom, and a sleek workspace with built-in wooden desks, shelves and cabinets does look pretty nifty. However, many house hunters have multiple family members and guests who prefer sleeping in a bed over laying across a desk, or blowing up an air mattress. So please, for your home selling sake, don’t open a permanent branch office is your third bedroom.

Home Selling Advice: Keep at least one bathtub in your house3. Replace all your bathtubs with showers: Yes, you may not be the bathing type and it might be nice to have a giant double-headed spa shower instead. But if you remove all your bathtubs, many home buyers will be sadly disappointed and cross your house off their want lists. Soaking is still a national past time and if potential buyers have little ones, a bathtub may be essential. So I’d recommend leaving at least one tub in your house… it might make all the difference to a serious buyer — and bather.

4. Take the bathroom door off:  For heaven’s sake don’t do it! Sometimes home owners like the idea of a big bathroom suite incorporated into their bedroom and they think all they need is a door to the master bedroom itself. Once that door is shut, it’s their own private domain anyway.

Well, that may be okay if you’re single, or you’re a couple who is comfortable admiring each other’s ablutions — but that doesn’t go for everybody. Many home buyers prefer a little more privacy. So before you go ripping the door off so you can admire your partner flossing… or the light bouncing off your bathroom mirror and into your bed space, think twice. You can always just leave your bathroom door open. Home buyers like having a garage not a converted bedroom

5. Turn the garage into an office or bedroom: What? Didn’t you just say home buyers want extra bedrooms? Yes, they do, but not when you sacrifice the garage to do it. House hunters like to keep their cars clean and sheltered, and they need a place to store their Christmas lights, shovels and extra toasters.

Besides, if you keep your car outside, pack rats move in under the hood. Take it from me, this does happen. (Depending on where you live, of course.) These little critters build ingenious nests made of chewed up pieces of your car’s inner workings, which are then blended with plants and weeds from your garden. They depart when you turn on the engine, but eventually, you’ll notice the car doesn’t start — and the pack rats have won. So keep your car in the garage and let the pack rats park outside.

Home selling advice: grow a garden6. Pave over your grass and yard: Who would do a thing like that, you ask? Believe me, this happens too. One such neighbor I knew, in an attempt to save time, money and resources, paved over his entire front yard in cement — giving him ample room to park. (I think he deserved pack rats.)

He was very proud of this, but the neighbors across the street sure weren’t. Their view was forever changed and they knew it could make it harder to sell their houses. Luckily, the paved-over neighbor put his house on the market first — and then discovered he had very few interested buyers. Eventually he did sell the house (for less) to a family who… replanted the front yard.

7. Cut down the trees: No! Don’t do it! Well wait… if your trees are threatening to destroy your roof, crack your driveway, eat little animals and tap into your plumbing to highjack your water — then you should do something about them. But in general, people love trees.

Not only do they provide shade and beauty, and can keep your house cooler, homes with mature, well-tended trees tend to sell for a higher price. Yes, cleaning up fallen leaves is a pain, but lush green trees charm home buyers. So think twice before reaching for an axe. swimming pools don't help sell your house easier

8. Add a swimming pool: For some home buyers, a pool is essential — and depending on where you live, a pool can make you quite popular. But, it can also be a liability. Many house hunters view a pool as an eight-foot-deep pit in which to pour time, energy, money and wasteful water. Between the cost of heating and cleaning a pool, and the potential danger it is to toddlers, many house hunters shy away from pool homes.

Plus, some people are scared of water, and some are scared of swimsuits – so a pool only serves to frighten and embarrass them when they have swim-loving guests. (Or it makes them feel guilty about not using the pool.)

9. Add an RV garage:  Just in case you live some place where you’ve never seen an RV garage, let me describe them: They’re incredibly tall buildings that look like small airplane hangers. One major problem with these garages is fewer people buy RVs when gas prices rise. Many home buyers think twice about buying a house with an RV garage if they don’t have an RV, unless they need a place to store their giraffes. So, your return on investment probably won’t pan out.

How to make your house look its best when its on the market10. Paint Greek and Roman Statues: It is tempting for some statue owners to take it a step further and paint colorful faces and clothing on Greek and Roman statues or little angels… but don’t. No matter how good a paint job you give them, it just doesn’t look quite right.

Best to leave your statuary alone. If you want to paint something, put a fresh coat of paint on your front door, your railings, or your shutters. That will give you much greater curb appeal than a Greek god who looks like he’s wearing makeup.

If you’re trying to sell your home, check out my book, Home Seller’s Blues and How To Beat Them, available in paperback and as an ebook from Amazon.com.  It’s filled with inexpensive, easy ways to make your home irresistible and sell for more money — and the jokes might cheer you up too!

 

Home Improvements That Skyrocket Home Values

It’s amazing to finally be able to write this next sentence: Home sales appear to be heading upwards! Many Realtors I know are busier than they’ve been in years!

Get ready to sell your homeIf you’re a home seller — it’s time to get into the game. And, if you’d like to boost your chance of selling your home for a higher price, there’s some things you can do relatively quickly that may help you get tens of thousands of dollars more for your house.

The following article and information on boosting your property price is sponsored by the wise and wonderful Martin Orefice, who specializes in Florida rent to own homes.

The first thing to realize is some upgrades and features in a house matter more than others. Adding fancy curtain rods, door knobs and dimmer switches may make people oooh a little, but they’re probably not going to bring you the big bucks.Lights alone don't raise the price of your property

If you want to entice people to write a bigger check you’ll need to appeal to what most buyers badly want… more space, lower future maintenance costs and a grander first impression.

Here’s four upgrades you can do to help you make more money when you sell your house:

1. Finish Your Basement

The size of your property does matter. In fact, it matters a lot. One of the main factors people consider when buying a house is the total square footage — specifically, finished square footage. If you’ve got a concrete basement, it may be worth spending a “seemingly unnecessary” amount on wall-to-wall carpet and light fixtures because a house with a finished basement can add a serious amount of value to a home sale.

A small house with a newly finished basement may fetch you an extra $50,000. This estimated amount is not attached to a specific house, and can vary depending upon size, location and the condition of the house. But the point is — adding extra space that can be used as a bonus room, a home gym, or the headquarters for a budding business can give your home an edge over other houses in your neighborhood… which can result in higher digits on your closing check.

2. Make a side office or study into a bedroom

Make more money selling your homeAlong with size, one of the most important criteria when doing a home search is the number of bedrooms. The difference between a three and four bedroom home is crucial — especially if you have three growing kids. An additional room may also provide owners with a sought after guest room or, possibly, a room for a paying tenant.

If you are planning to turn an office or extra space into a bedroom, you need to make sure it is legally zoned and you’ve gotten approval from the city where your home is located. This might require adding certain details… such as windows that open, which are a certain number of feet off the ground.

The pain of dealing with these details can be worth if it increases your home sales value by a substantial amount. For example, a 3-bedroom house that would normally sell for $600,000 could possibly be worth $700,000 just by converting your study into a fourth bedroom.

 3. Create a grand first impression

How to sell your house for more by making a grand first impressionLike wrapping paper around a present, presentation is everything. That’s why people get excited if you hand them a Tiffany box instead of a wrinkled brown bag.

Upgrading the exterior of your home can mean tens of thousands of dollars more. When house hunters pull up to your house, the feeling they get is heavily influenced by what they see first. If they like the inside, but aren’t impressed by your exterior, they may feel as if they are “settling” and will want to pay less.

But you can turn this around by investing a little in landscaping and giving your garage and front door a new paint job. It’s amazing what a spiced up yard and an exterior upgrade can do for a buyer’s spirits when it comes to making an offer… and it could save you having to deal with a counter offer.

4. Upgrade Your Roof

Home Improvements That Pay Off When SellingPeople like to know your roof isn’t going to fall in on their heads or cost them a head-banging amount a couple years after they buy your home. Roofs for a large house can cost upwards of $10,000 to replace if something goes wrong, if not more. Assuming the roof on your house is not badly warn, you might consider getting a roof upgrade.

I know this may sound like a boring home improvement project – but upgrades are not as common as one would expect, which actually makes them rather interesting.

Most people wait until something goes wrong to take action. But an upgrade is different than a replacement — it preserves the original roof so you can get more mileage out of it. By upgrading your roof, you are assuring your buyers that they won’t be faced with a $10,000 swipe of the credit card when the house starts leaking… and that’s a beautiful thing when it comes to making your home more valuable.

Home Seller's Blues BookFor a book full of ideas on how to make your home more attractive and get more buyers to your front door, check out my book, Home Seller’s Blues and How To Beat Them, available in paperback and as an ebook through Amazon.com.

How Color Psychology Can Sell Your Home Faster

Using color psychology to help sell your home:

Anxious home sellerAs many people around the globe have discovered, selling your home in a slow economy can be a nail-biting, anxiety-provoking experience. Maybe you’ve considered redecorating your house just to make it more sellable, however that can be expensive and frustrating because you’re doing all the work for someone else… not you.

Well, there’s another way to give your home a dramatic lift at much less cost — and it can make a new family fall in love with your house. All it may take is a few cans of the right color of paint.

By using color psychology you can subtly influence a house hunter’s emotional state. For example, light colors reflect natural light and help a room feel larger. When light colors are combined with clever mirror placement and a good natural light source, a room can look much larger and more alive than it did before. Even a pocket-sized guest room can look spacious with the right combination of color, mirrors and lighting.

Home Selling tricks for small rooms

How to use the “blank canvas” effect to attract home sellers:

By painting your rooms neutral “blank canvas” colors, such as calm shades of white, cream or beige, potential home buyers can more easily visualize a room decorated in their own personal style. This is important because it helps them imagine actually living in your home. Dark colors, elaborate wallpaper and even “pretty decorative clutter” make it harder for people to envision their own belongings inhabiting your rooms.

On the other hand, you don’t want a room to look so bare and neutral that it becomes stark and forgettable. That’s where choosing just the right color comes into play.

What colors should I use in my house?

White: This is the color of purity, cleanliness, efficiency and reflection. But pure white isn’t usually a great choice because it can look so cold and stark. The only rooms where you might consider using it is in the kitchen or bathroom, or corridor… or closet.

Painting rooms redRed: This is the color of excitement and it’s the most eye-catching “wow” color you can use. It’s associated with passion, energy and warmth. However a little can go a long way. Giant walls of red can be alarming. Instead, use it sparingly to highlight specific areas of your home.

Blue: This is the color of cool, quiet serenity. Painting a bathroom or bedroom a beautiful light blue creates a relaxing oasis that many house hunters crave.

Yellow: Cheerful, friendly yellow creates a positive emotional state that can make people want to buy your home. However, too much yellow can be overpowering, so use it in particular rooms, such as a family room or kitchen, not in every corner of your house.

Add green for home selling appealGreen: This is another calming, restful shade because it is the color of nature. Combine it with natural light and a sprinkling of house plants and you can instantly create a comfortable, attractive room.

By simply painting your walls with these colors you can create a fast, yet effective new decorative scheme that just might help you sell your home faster – without spending a lot of time and money in the process.

The information in this post was sponsored by Sam Fisher on behalf of Wooden Blinds Direct, the supplier of quality made to measure wooden blinds.

Five Great Excuses For Not Staging Your Home

Five reasons for home sellers to stage homeAs a home seller, you may have heard that staging your home before putting it on the market can help you sell it faster and potentially for more money.

But then again, you may still not want to do it. You may feel that home staging applies to other people’s houses but not yours.

If this sounds like you, here are five common reasons for not staging. Does one or more of these sound familiar? If so, you may want to reconsider the benefits of home staging.

1. Staging is an unnecessary expense! A home staging consultation typically costs from $200 to $500, depending upon the size of your home — and right now you probably feel that it’s an unnecessary expenditure.

Well maybe… or maybe not. If staging can help you sell your home faster, it might save you from needing to reduce your asking price if your house languishes on the market for months.

In addition, the longer your home is on the market, the more monthly bills you’ll have to pay — which can quickly end up costing you much more than the price of a home staging consultation.

House selling decor must not be too personal2. Our house has personality and we don’t want to change it! You, your family and friends may love your home just as it is; it makes you comfortable and it’s filled with things that make you happy.

But, when potential buyers walk through your door, they want to focus on the house itself. They want to see the rooms, the space, the layout. Staging can make your home much more inviting to buyers, highlighting these key elements so they can see themselves living in your house and adding their own personality, instead of moving into your life.

3. Staging is important for vacant homes. Many people think that staging is just bringing furniture into an empty home, so it doesn’t look so stark. But, if you’re already living in a place, then there’s no need to stage it.

The truth is that many homes on the market, including homes that have been professionally interior decorated, could look and feel more welcoming with just a few simple staging tweaks. In fact, once you see the difference it makes, you might find yourself liking it so much, (sorry!) you won’t want to leave.

 Home selling mistakes - animal heads on your wall!4. Our view is our greatest asset, we don’t need to stage the interior: Yes, you might have a killer view all the way to Ngorongoro Crater or the Hollywood sign, but if house hunters don’t immediately notice your knock-out view because they are distracted by what’s inside your rooms, then you’ve downplayed your biggest asset. A good stager will create “pointers” that draw the eye to what you want them to notice first instead of your couch, your collection of porcelain tea cups, or a wall full of animal heads.

5. We know how to declutter our house, and that’s the same as staging: Um, not exactly. Staging involves calling attention to your home’s attractive details, such as the architectural sweep of a stairway, the height of a room, the lighting, windows, flow, and whatever else makes your home alluring to buyers. It’s like the difference between dressing in a perfectly tailored, elegant suit which highlights your best assets (and distracts from your flaws) instead of wearing a clean white smock.

If the idea of staging has piqued your interest and you see the benefits of staging your home, there’s many ways to move forward. If the cost is still a concern, you can pick up free home staging tips on sites such as RealEstate.AOL.com, you can buy a book on the topic or hire a Realtor who also knows how to stage homes as well as market them. And of course, you can hire a home staging expert in your area who specializes in making homes irresistible to buyers. What home seller doesn’t need that?

Home Seller's Blues BookFor a book full of ideas on how to make your home more attractive, get more buyers in the door and stay happier while you wait for it to sell, read Home Seller’s Blues and How To Beat Them, available in paperback and as an ebook through Amazon.com.

 

Powerful Home Selling “For Sale” Signs

Home Selling Yard SignThe first thing that grabs house hunters’ attention is the “For Sale” sign as they drive by a property. It can be as basic as a bright red “FOR SALE” sign on a stick — or as artful as a multi-color realty banner swinging on a crafted post.

To make these signs even more alluring and informative, Realtors add flyer boxes and QR codes for scanning by smart phones. Or, they can take it a step further and make a home into a “talking house” by installing a radio transmitter which allows people passing by the sign to tune into a radio frequency and listen to an enticing sales message, complete with classical music and English accents.

Still, one of the simplest, most effective ways to make a “For Sale” sign stand out is to attach a rider to it. These are the smaller add-ons above or below the sign that give the name of the Realtor and a phone number, or announce in bold letters that the house has a POOL!

These riders can get pretty elaborate. I saw one recently that said, “Hey Honey Stop the Car!” This really got my attention because I automatically envisioned a man driving and a woman yelling out these words as they drove past the house. But instantly I thought to myself, “Hey Wait! I’m stereotyping!” Why didn’t I envision a woman driving and a man yelling out, “Hey Honey Stop the Car!”

By this point I had driven way past the house without noticing what the house looked like, so ultimately, the sign was lost on me.

That being said, I still think these signs are effective. They can draw attention to various amenities of a house, its financing or its sales status. For example, signs that get attention include:

Another clever idea for signage is to address the season with a decorative rider that says, “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” or “Home for the Holidays!” Or, if sellers wants to motivate a buyers to act toward the end of the year, they can add a rider that says, “A New Home For a New Year!”

Whichever message you choose, the point is these riders can give a property an edge. They motivate people to stop the car and take the next step — whether that’s calling the posted phone number, taking a flyer from the box, or peering over the back fence to check out the “View! View! View!”

If you’ve seen some interesting “For Sale” sign riders, please share them with me in the comment section below. I’d love our readers to see them.

For hundreds of inspirational ideas to make your home stand out, check out my book, Home Seller’s Blues and How to Beat Them. Available in paperback and ebook from Amazon.com.

 

 

Home Selling Tip: Add Curb Appeal with Window Boxes

A home selling problem One of the easiest ways to add curb appeal to your home and wow house hunters is to add window boxes.

Window boxes aren’t usually included in house plans or considered as part of an initial landscape design. Most often they’re an afterthought — but they can make your home stand out dramatically.

Window boxes add depth, dimension, color and texture to a facade, and can change a home’s look from flat and boring to popping with color and charm. Window boxes also help blend the interior and exterior of a home because you can see the flowers and plants from the inside.

Flower boxes can be added to any flat surface that needs livening up, including fences, deck railings, walls or other barren spots that need a little color and interest. You can get creative with window boxes, far beyond putting them under windows in the front of a home.

Choosing a Window Box: There are a number of window box options to choose from, but before you decide, ask yourself these questions: Do you want the boxes to blend into the house or create contrast?  Do you want them to look elegant or rustic? What type of box would enhance the theme of your home?

Window box as a home selling propWhich ever you chose, whether you build them yourself, or buy them,  make sure they are rot resistant and durable enough to stand up to the weight of soil, plants and water. They will also need holes for drainage.

If you like wood window boxes, treated redwood or cedar are popular options. A benefit of wood is it can be painted to match, or contrast with the exterior of your home.

Fiberglass window boxes are pricey, but they’re beautiful and have long lifespans which can compensate for the initial cost. Another option is to get inexpensive plastic window boxes that you can hide under trailing plants.

Decorative metal is another option. When added to the right style of home, metal window boxes can serve as a classy design solution. But keep in mind that if the boxes are exposed to direct sunlight, it can bake and fizzle the roots of your plants…  especially if you live somewhere like Arizona.

You will need to measure the width of your window before you build or purchase the window boxes. A window box should be a few inches longer or shorter than your window for accent.  Most window boxes are about 6 inches deep. The deeper the window box, the more the roots of your plants can grow.

Home selling descriptionMost manufactured window boxes come with mounting hardware. Be sure to follow the recommendations and directions for mounting, leaving space between the window box and the house to prevent water from getting trapped and damaging the siding of your house.

Planting Window Boxes: You can place soil and plants directly into the window boxes, you can insert a plastic liner first that fits the box, or you can fill the box with potted plants that you can easily interchange. Any of these options work as long as there is adequate drainage.

When selecting plants for your window boxes, pick plants that have similar lighting and moisture requirements. You might pick some of the same plants in your landscape or different plants to complement the look.

To add texture and interest to your window boxes, use a mix of plants, including trailers, upright plants, filler plants and bulbs.  To reduce maintenance, use a variety of drought-tolerant annuals that do not require daily watering and primping.

Add flower boxes for curb appealUse a good potting mix that is rich, organic and well-draining, and line the drainage holes in the bottom of the box with a screen, so you don’t lose all your soil after watering. Also, don’t use regular garden soil in your boxes — it’s too dense and will suffocate the roots of your plants.

To maintain the plants in your window boxes, water and deadhead the flowers regularly. Drip irrigation systems can be set up to water your boxes on a schedule. After all the work you’ve done to increase the charm of your home by adding window boxes, you don’t want them to become an eyesore of dead flowers, spindly vines and runaway weeds.

The number one reason window boxes don’t flourish is because the plants aren’t watered enough. As the plants grow, the roots go deeper and need more water to be thoroughly quenched. There is no need to worry about over-watering though, as the excess water drains out of the holes in the bottom of the box.

Just make sure no one feisty is standing directly beneath your window boxes when you water them.

Home Selling Advice: Words That Sell a House

Home selling descriptionWhen it comes to writing a description to help you sell a house, picking the right words can make all the difference. The reality is that you are in direct competition with experienced wordsmiths who know how to fill a buyer’s mind with beautiful mental images.

The right description drives house hunters and real estate agents to schedule a viewing, as well as positively influencing their first impression of your property.

A dull description puts you in danger of having your home passed over in a heartbeat. This is especially true if there are a lot of listings in your area and house hunters are quickly combing through the possibilities.

The people behind homesales property finder shared their site with me, which includes many examples of charmingly described homes. Take a look at the property details of their featured homes to get some home selling inspiration!

How To Word Your Home Selling Description:

Home Selling Features ListGet Specific:

Starting at the top of your description, include the most important details of your home first. And don’t just call it a gourmet kitchen — describe your pizza oven from Italy, or the soaring Palos Verdes rock fireplace in your bedroom. Drop brand names that signify high quality, such as Sub Zero and Miele.

Describe exactly what you see out your windows. Go beyond saying, “beautiful views,” and write about the aspen forest or sparkling city views spread out like a blanket beneath your living room windows.

Instead of writing “remodeled or updated bathroom,” describe the elegant fixtures, spa shower and radiant heated floor. Even if your home is a small condo, you can still include specific details that will attract a buyer’s attention — such as a walk-in closet deep enough to fit a full-size dresser, or eco-friendly and energy-efficient features.

Paint a Picture of the Lifestyle:

Make it easy for a home buyer to see themselves living in your space. Paint a mental picture of the private shady wooded yard for lazy afternoons in a hammock, or the free-flowing floor plan for easy entertaining. Also include neighborhood amenities, such as “a three-minute walk to side-walk cafes and grocery shopping.”

The more you’re able to tell a story about your home’s lifestyle, the more mouth-watering it will sound. Include features of the garage, such as built in shelves and the large desk for the hobbyist. Describe how the terrace off your kitchen is perfect for morning coffee in the sunshine.

Home selling descriptions that sell houses Use Subjective Adjectives Sparingly:

Don’t describe the house as George Clooney if it’s not. Be careful of how many adjectives you use.

It’s like that blind date where the friend who fixed you up described your soon-to-meet date as gorgeous, brilliant and hysterical, and as a result, your expectations were so high, that it was a let down when you finally met.

In other words, avoid using words like massive, drop-dead gorgeous, and amazing, if that’s not really the case. Instead, focus on the specifics and functionality of your home and its environment (or your date.) Yes, it’s okay to use an occasional “beautiful,” just don’t pepper your description so full of it that house hunters are disappointed when they finally walk through your door.

Price Your Home Right and Tout It:

I can’t stress how important it is to set your price competitively from the start. This is when your home will have the most attention and excitement surrounding its entry into the market place.

Hungry home buyers and Realtors will jump to schedule a viewing if it’s described right and attractively priced. If so, you are perfectly justified in saying something like, “Great price for this area!” or “Won’t last long at this low price!”

Take the time to create an eye-catching home description. Don’t expect the photos to do all the selling for you. Yes, great photos are important, but the combination of the right description and beautiful photos will put you at the top of a home buyer’s “must see” list.

For hundreds of ideas on how to make your home stand out above all the other homes for sale in your area, read Home Seller’s Blues and How to Beat Them. Available in paperback or ebook at Amazon.com.