Monthly Archives: March 2013

Tips for selling your home fast

Selling a home is stressful. Fortunately, we didn’t have to stress for too long; our house sold in six days. I think this was due to luck, perfect timing, and a little bit of effort. Since the former two can’t be planned in advance, here are a few tips to get you started with the latter.

Do your research. Before listing your house, get familiar with the market in your area and price range. What other homes will yours be competing against? Determine what you can do to help yours stand out. For example, there was a home listed for sale two streets from ours, in the same development, and within $3,000 of list price. Same builder, same neutral decor, same size. Our home had a fence. The photo of the large fenced in backyard helped attract our buyers who had a dog.

Price to sell. Buyers will be more likely to visit your home and make an offer if they are confident it will be considered. Plus, it lets buyers know you’re serious.

Purge. Before we listed our house, we began the process of purging. We’re by no means hoarders, but there were areas within our house that needed some clean out and reorganization. The listing and showing process happens so quickly. Save yourself the rush of doing it before your first showing.

Take the right outdoor pictures. We listed our house for sale in the middle of a Cleveland, Ohio January. Our lawn was covered in snow and our trees and shrubbery were dead. Fortunately, I had an attractive picture of our house taken during the summer and sent it to our realtor to use for the listing. It certainly helped the curb appeal factor.

Compile a binder of user manuals and warranty information. Our house was a new build five years ago, and being the original owners, we had all of the user manuals and some warranties for everything from the siding to the microwave. It took one hour to organize them in a logical order and put them in a binder for visitors.

De-personalize. All HGTV shows recommend you de-personalize your space. I agree and disagree with this suggestion. Our home was a cookie cutter build. We loved it while we were there, but it’s true. There was little character and no history prior to us. When we were house hunting, we looked for both of those qualities. The height markers on a wall, handprints cemented into a driveway, or a family photo on the mantel was not a turn off. It showed that the house had stories to tell and memories made within it, and we really liked that. This is probably only acceptable to an extent so if there seems to be too much “you” in the house, there probably is. Scale it back a bit.

Remove all evidence of Fido (or Josie in our case). It’s hard to believe that someone could be turned off by Josie. She’s so sweet and gentle. But, there are people who just aren’t pet lovers. Clean up the toys, dish, crate, and pet him/herself for showings.

Plug in your candle warmers and/or air fresheners. Make the house smell fresh and welcoming. Open the windows before a showing (even if it’s cold) for a few minutes to air out the stuffiness.

Get ready to hang out at places other than your home. This was the biggest challenge for us, so thankfully it only lasted a week. The sellers are expected to vacate the house during showings. This got tricky with an 8-month old and dog in the middle of winter. We enjoyed time at a local restaurant and over-stayed our welcome at my Grandparents’ house. Figure out where you’re going to loiter and go prepared.

Turn on the lights and open up the blinds. People like light. Give them light and worry about the electricity bill later.

Clean, clean, clean. Make your house look cleaner, more organized, and larger than it ever has before. It sucks to live like a guest in your own home but it’s a necessary evil of selling. This includes making your bed…every morning.

Be flexible. When you get a showing request, accept it, even if it means inconveniencing your schedule. You never know if it could be your buyer.

Consider a pre-selling home inspection. When buying and selling, there are many unexpected costs. Having a pre-selling home inspection is not required and may be $400 you don’t want to spend, but it may help you know what you’re up against for the likely home inspection by the buyer.

Don’t lose your sense of humor. The process of selling is life consuming. Find time and reasons to laugh and give yourself a break.

Leave the house in style. Take time to clean up after yourself. We left our house cleaner than when we moved in and a personal note to our buyers with some tips for settling in to the house and neighborhood: our favorite restaurants, garbage day to-dos, quirky street laws, etc., plus a bottle of floor cleaner that worked best for the floors. We received a sweet thank you note from the buyers’ realtor which made the extra time and effort well worth it. It makes you feel good about “passing the torch.”

If you’re planning to sell your home, I hope some of these tips will be helpful. Good luck!

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Image Source: Google

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Happy National Single Parents’ Day

A few years ago, Brian and I were chosen to represent the newlyweds (married less than five years) on a cruise game show, Love & Marriage. The contestants who had been married for 40+ years were asked how they did it. The husband’s response (in a Spanish accent) was: “50/50. Everything’s gotta be 50/50.” His statement was simple, yet wise; and much appreciated as a young couple early in our journey.

The same could be said for parenting, which Brian and I have adopted as a practice with Bridget. Brian drops her off at day care, I pick her up. I feed her in the morning, Brian feeds her at bedtime… So far, so good.

But what about those parents who are 100, 100% of the time? Today, March 21, is National Single Parents’ Day as declared in 1984, ironically the year I was born to a single mother; and a fabulous one to boot.

My mom, Kathi, sacrificed most of her adult life to raise me. She never once complained; never once made me feel like a burden; never once gave up; never once made me wonder what it would be like if our situation was different. Instead, she worked harder than most, loved me unconditionally and made sure I knew it every day, kept going when times were probably tough, played “Dad” better than many, and made me grateful for our situation.

Today, I salute my dear Mom; my best friend, my biggest supporter, and Grams to my sweet baby, Bridget. Thank you for all that you have done for me and now my family. I love you more than you know.

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My favorite Golden Girls scene

After a busy weekend of moving, Brian and I finally rested our feet to watch a little TV tonight. Unfortunately all of my favorite Sunday night TV shows are no longer on the air so we were left to channel surf. We landed on TV Land that was playing a Golden Girls marathon.

Unless you haven’t met me, you know that Golden Girls is my absolute favorite TV show, past and present. I own all seasons on DVD, have seen every episode at least five times, and somehow managed to find a way to write my college senior thesis paper on the show. I just love everything about it.

While watching an episode this evening, a promo ran to visit a website and vote for your favorite episode. This would be a difficult feat; I don’t think I could choose a favorite. But I know I could choose a favorite scene; one that makes me literally laugh out loud and throw my head back like a little kid every time. Thanks to the online world we live in, I found it on You Tube, watched it for the umpteen time, and had to share.

Watch it here. Enjoy!

Happy Monday!

A warm and memorable Sunday

I love glimpse-of-spring-on-the-edge-of-winter days. They’re full of hope for warm afternoons, breezy summer nights, and family vacations. Yesterday was one of those days.

We received the keys to our new house on Friday and spent most of the weekend hauling boxes. After we finished the last trip, we spent Sunday afternoon at our current home. Since the initial bitter sweet feeling when our home sold, I’ve been focused on the excitement of the new house: the paint colors; wall décor; kitchen organization, etc. It wasn’t until yesterday that the bitter sweet feeling came creeping back.

Once Bridget awoke from her nap, and on the right side of the crib (she’s been a bit of a crab apple the last two weeks, but I think we’re on the upswing), we went for our last walk around the neighborhood. Brian and I have walked the streets of our neighborhood hundreds of times (especially when I was 9 months pregnant and desperate), and waved to this neighbor or stopped to chat with that neighbor. If you live in Ohio, you know what a 65 degree day in March looks like. People are out in shorts, riding bikes, doing yard work, and walking their dog, so we got to wave to that neighbor and chat with this neighbor one last time. When I was on maternity leave from June to August, I had visions of walking every morning with Bridget while she napped in the stroller, but that never happened. She didn’t like the stroller then, but now that she can sit up and face forward, she enjoyed the walk just as much as we did.

Bridget 2

When we returned from our walk, we weren’t ready to go inside. The day was too beautiful not to soak up every minute. So, we slipped on Bridget’s first pair of shoes (thank you, Annie!) now that she can “walk” and let her attempt to take a few steps on the dry, crisp grass.

Bridget 4

While we were playing outside, our neighborhood kids stopped by to visit. In the summer, our street and driveways are a playground for the kids, and it wasn’t until today that Bridget could join. It made me a little sad to think that Bridget won’t ride her bike with them or swing on their swing set. But, she did get to share her first sidewalk chalk experience and loved every minute.

Bridget 3

Bridget 1

We wrapped up the day by grilling burgers for the last time on our deck; the deck that Brian with his Dad and brother built. There were many hours, hard work, and beer that went into that deck and I’ll always remember those long days.

When I woke up yesterday morning, none of this was in plans for our last Sunday at 117. It was thanks to that glimpse of spring and a happy Bridget that made it a day I will never forget.

House

It happened…

It was 5:30 in the morning. We were still half asleep. Bridget was crying. And then it happened.

She took her first steps. There were three of them, well balanced, with her arms out like a walking zombie.

It wasn’t at all how I had envisioned it would be and I, of course, didn’t have my camera (for the first ones, anyway). But, Brian and I both got to witness, and it was awesome.

Another milestone met…go, Bridget!

Now if only I could find the pause button.

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Do the Harlem Shake

I work with a fun and creative group of people. For the busy and stressful days, we always manage to sneak in some fun.

First it was the flash mob (as I shared previously), and now it’s the Harlem Shake. (If you haven’t seen the 537483575 versions of the Harlem Shake on You Tube, grab a bowl of popcorn, kick your feet up, and watch a few. They. Are. Hilarious. My personal favorites are the Sea World, University of Georgia’s men’s diving team, and the Army editions.)

My co-workers and I created our own version of the Harlem Shake. Enjoy!

Can you find me in the crowd? Hint: I may be wearing a snuggie.