Archives: June 2010

Staging your Pacific Northwest Home? Common Blunders to Avoid at All Costs!

Good home staging is one of the most important things you can do to help sell your Pacific Northwest home — in many ways it helps the home sell itself, without a word needing to be said.  It allows potential homebuyers to picture themselves living in your home, which is often that first step to buyers really falling in love with a property.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to properly stage a home for sale.  The following home staging blunders are common . . . are you unknowingly driving good buyers away because your home isn’t looking its best?

Here are seven common Home Staging Blunders:

1. Your home isn’t spotless/deep-cleaned (especially rugs, floors, kitchen & bathrooms).

A spotless home communicates that the house has been well taken-care-of. A dirty home communicates the opposite and can often cause a potential buyer to walk right back out the door. All sinks, counters, and cabinets should be in absolutely pristine condition. Rugs and carpets should be either steam-cleaned or replaced.

2. Your home is cluttered.

Clutter is like kryptonite when it comes to selling your home. A disorganized home full of junk makes it hard for buyers to picture themselves living in your home. They will be so distracted by all the “stuff” lying around, they’ll miss the home’s best features. In addition, clutter makes your home appear much smaller than it is. Not good!

3. Your home is full of personal knick-knacks and photos.

This is a very common mistake. People think they should make the home appear lived-in and cozy, but personal memorabilia often has a negative impact on buyers visiting the home, because they get so distracted by your life in the home that they can’t imagine their own life in the home. You don’t want the home to appear lived-in — you want it to look “ready to move in.”

4. You haven’t re-painted using neutral colors.

People’s tastes vary when it comes to color and style, so your best bet is to go with neutral shades (on both the interior and exterior) when preparing to sell. You may love a pink kitchen, for example, but it may be so distracting and unattractive to a potential buyer that they can’t picture anything else. Same goes for that wallpaper pattern you loved. Neutral is the way to go!

5. Your windows are dirty.

Dirty windows are very distracting to people who are visiting your home! Just like with carpets, it’s best to pay professionals to take care of this for you. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes — both in the look of your home, and in potential buyers’ reactions.

6. Your pets — and their belongings — are in sight.

Make sure your pets aren’t around when buyers stop by the house. In addition, hide their crates, their food, their toys, everything. And whatever you do, don’t have a litter box out. In general, the presence of your beloved pet is a turn-off for potential buyers. Even if they happen to be animal lovers, you’re still distracting them from objective #1 — falling in love with your home.

7. Your landscaping isn’t neat and well-maintained.

Just think — before they ever see the inside of your home, buyers see your yard. Does it make the first impression you want? Pretty flowerbeds and a healthy, trimmed lawn do more than you might think. If you don’t have time to do this yourself, enlist the help of a professional landscaper or gardener. It will pay off when buyers instantly warm to your home before they’ve even set foot in the door!

I am an Accredited Home-Staging Specialist, and I can suggest the best (and most affordable) ways to get your home ready to sell. If you’re looking to sell a Pacific Northwest home in Whatcom, Skagit, Island or San Juan County, get an expert Realtor on your side! Call (360) 319-4939 or toll-free (888) 319-4939 today!


Bellingham Concerts in the Park Begin!

Boulevard Park concertOne of the amazing perks of living in Bellingham, WA, is the opportunity to take advantage of all the great live music throughout the summer season! The recreational activities throughout Whatcom County are endless.

From Celtic music to Salsa, Classic Rock to Jazz, music enthusiasts of every kind will find live local concerts to enjoy throughout the summer. Every concert is free and fun for the whole family!

Here’s a list of park venues and times:

At Elizabeth Park in the Columbia Neighborhood:

Thursdays June 24-August 26, 6-8 p.m.

At Boulevard Park in the South Hill Neighborhood:

Saturdays June 19-August 14, 7-9 p.m.

At Big Rock Garden Park in the Alabama Hill Neighborhood:

Selected Sundays June 20-August 15, 3:30-5 p.m.

Children’s Concert Series at the Bellingham Library Lawn in Downtown Bellingham:

Fridays July 16-August 13, noon-1 p.m.

To get more specific details on each concert date, please visit the City of Bellingham.

Senate OK’s New Tax Credit Deadline for Closings in Process

Important news for Pacific Northwest homebuyers currently in the closing process — it looks like you may have an additional three months to finish closing the deal and still be eligible to claim the federal homebuyer tax credit.

As you’ll remember from past posts, the original deadlines were as follows: you had to be under contract to buy by April 30th, and you had to finish closing by June 30th. An amendment to HR 4213, the “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes of 2010,” extends the closing deadline to September 30th to allow lenders to clear a large backlog of thousands of homebuyers nationwide.

The National Association of Realtors supports the amendment to the bill, as they have had widespread reports that one-third of qualified applicants have been told their loans won’t close before June 30th because there are so many loans in the pipeline. This gives homebuyers an added opportunity to take advantage of the valuable tax credits.

The amendment was approved, but a Senate vote still remains on the amended bill itself. So far it looks likely to pass. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more!

If you’re looking to buy a Pacific Northwest home, my team and I can walk you through each step of the process. In times like these, it’s vital to have knowledgeable experts on your side! Call the Susan Stecher team of Real Estate professionals today at (360) 319-4939 or toll-free at (888) 319-4939!

Photo Credit: BAR Photography