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Monday, March 28, 2011

Safe & Sound!

Happy Monday!

I'm sure you have received emails about the career criminals and the "tips" they have shared about what made them successful at breaking & entering homes - so this post may be redundant but I received it from my homeowner's association and thought it worthy of sharing.  Please take just a quick moment to review and if nothing else, I hope it just reminds you to set your alarm the next time you leave the house:

1- Keep your valuables in a safe or disguised containers in the KITCHEN.  This is the last place that thieves look .  The first place is the MASTER BEDROOM.

2- Dont tell hairdresser / grocer / mail carrier / yard people or banker of your pending vacation.  They may tell the wrong people.  Ditto for NOT posting you excitement or details on Facebook or Twitter!

3- Keep boxes of newly purchased electronics, or appliances in black bags ready for bulk trash pickup.  Don't let thieves know about your new possessions by putting the 50" television box on the curb in front of your house waiting for bulk trash pickup day.

4- Add security signs in your alley or back fence of your property.  Mention there is visual monitering. Most of the time thieves enter through the back of your property.  It takes ONLY 30 SECONDS to enter your property and the average time the thieves spend inside is less than 4 minutes. 

5-  Make sure your doorbell is working. Thieves, posing as solicitors, will ring bells.  If no answer, they may think no one is home - perfect for thievery time.

6- Make sure your barking dog has a good view of the outside.  Thieves avoid the home with the barking dog.

7- Make sure your mail / newspaper / and delivered packages are picked up daily.  If you are on vacation, stop your mail & newspaper delivery for the duration and let a trusted friend or neighbor know to watch for and pick up any delivered packages.

8- Keep the shrubs trimmed away from the windows.

9- Make sure your alarm system is armed ALL the appropriate times. Homes with an alarm system, did not have it activated 90% of the time. 

We will soon be in the summer vacation period so let's make it fun with only happy memories!
Michelle Lynne

Friday, March 18, 2011

Uncool

Earlier this week, I was visiting with a potential client who reads my blog and she said that she recognized a photo in an earlier post as one from a local competitor.  It was in THIS post where I had written about stagers who just re-arrange or rent you furniture and call it staging.  I had just been scooped on a bid by a local firm offering ridiculously low prices and was on my soapbox. 

I still feel the same way about the topic the blog was written about but my point today is that I want to shout an apology from the rooftops because I did not farm this photo from the local firm's website, as that would be WAY uncool.  (There is a little note at the bottom of the photos crediting the website where I found them.)  I don't know which firm this originally came from but I offer them a huge mea culpa, as well as to my staff, clients, fellow members of the Real Estate Staging Association where I hold the position of VP of our local chapter,  and of course, my reader base - because that is not the kind of person or business owner I am.  There are over 65,000 active listings in DFW on the MLS today - more than plenty to go around between the professional stagers here without getting ugly about it, don't you agree?  I have always operated on the philosophy "do what is right, the success will follow" and have trained my staff to do the same...I'm embarrassed that this could tarnish one of the most valuable tools I have in business and in life:  my honor.  

So, I am going back to the original post and removing it altogether.  I am grateful to the person who brought it to my attention and thankful that she still gave me the opportunity to visit with her in her home.

And look...it's already becoming a hazy memory:


Thank you for understanding!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Out Take #1

You know there are bound to be some out takes on the video series I'm creating so I thought I'd share the first one with you.  As I learn how to edit, I'll be sure to share more because there have been MANY but I wasn't sure how to cut them so you only see the blooper and not have to watch the whole video until the funny part.  Here is 13 seconds of silly:




There are new videos on my YouTube channel!  Let me know if you want my autograph.... 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lights! Camera! Action!

It's the age of social media and immediate gratification so I thought I would produce a series of videos that anybody can access and hopefully garner some good home staging tips from.  Let me tell you that this was not an easy exercise!  You may not believe it, but I am actually a little shy...and very much camera shy so my self talk volume had to be turned up in order to get through these.

I've only completed two but hope to put together some more quickly so if you have any requests, please let me know.  Here are the first two...don't laugh.

Here is the quick introduction to the series:



And here is the first video - chock full of information:


Do you think 7 minutes, 40 seconds is too long?  Goodness knows it took me 99 takes to get one that was reasonably well understood so maybe 5 minute videos would be easier.  What are your thoughts?


Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Forward and SELL!!!

Spring is the time we push our clocks forward and we all lose that precious hour of sleep. It is also a time when some people get the urge to clean and purge their home. So here we are….it’s spring -- are you ready to clean?!! Not only will your house SPARKLE but it will prepare you to get your house ready to put on the market. Here are a few helpful tips to help you clean up and get ready for potential home buyers:
  1. Take a tour: Walk your home inside & outside as if you are thinking of buying it. Take notes in each room on things that need repair, repainted, or removed. You want to get your house back into the shape it was the day you moved in.  If it is difficult to see your house objectively, consider hiring a professional – most stagers will do a walk through “consultation” with you for a nominal fee.  This will help point out what you have learned to live with.

  1. Enjoy the outdoors: Take advantage of the beautiful spring weather and get the landscaping and the outside of your home back in shape. It's the first thing any potential home buyer will see when they drive up, so make sure the following is done:
    1. A well manicured lawn is the first thing any potential buyer sees when they drive up. Colorful flowers in a bed of dark mulch, trimming your trees, as well as just sweeping off the front stoop. 
    2. Gutter, shutter & lighting repair.  Look at your shingles or get a professional roofer to come and give you a free inspection…better to address a leaky roof now than when you’re negotiating the offer.
    3. Don’t forget the back patio and any other outdoor areas that need refreshing.  Often a good sweep or power-wash will work wonders!
    4. Oh…and don’t forget to put out a fresh WELCOME mat.

  1. De-clutter: An inexpensive and effective start is to go through each room and remove excess piles of paperwork, toys, or anything that is taking up too much space.   You are selling real estate and the buyer has to see as much of it as possible so don’t clutter the corners!
    1. Clean your closets and store out of season clothing in the attic or off site.
    2. Do you have excess furniture that you just haven’t known what to do with?  Toys your children have outgrown?  Donate to your favorite charity or give to a friend…many will come and pick it up!
    3. Make sure there are natural and W I D E enough walkways through the house.  You are selling the space of the house, so make sure it feels like they are getting all of it!

  1. Depersonalize: Home-buyers should be able to “see themselves” living in the house.  It’s difficult to imagine that if there are an overwhelming number of heirlooms, collectibles or knick-knacks in each room. 
    1. Keep any collectibles or knick-knacks to a manageable amount of three. 
    2. If you must live with family photos, limit it to only those portraying “the good life” – action shots, vacations, award winning moments…and pack up the wedding & posed family portraits. 
    3. Any high value or irreplaceable items should be packed & stored so there is no worry of accidentally having it damaged during an Open House.

  1. Deep Clean: Every inch should sparkle. This means getting rid of those cobwebs, dust bunnies, and strong odors. The house should be in tip top shape so make sure the baseboards, drapes, light fixtures and other "somewhat neglected" parts of the house get the love they need.  Nobody wants to walk through a house and feel like they need to shower after they leave.

  1. Garage help: Finally, don’t neglect the garage.  Spend some more time outside enjoying the weather and organize it. It may not be a place that gets lived in but it is a major bonus spot and it should be open enough that home buyers can vision their own belongings in. 



Once you have mastered all of these tips I would say.......