5 Ways To "Turn Off" A Potential Homebuyer

Posted by New England Landmark Realty ltd.

Jan 4, 2015 5:02:37 PM

5 Ways To "Turn Off" A Potential Homebuyer


You want to sell your home, but your presentation may be driving potential buyers away. The appearance of your home is important. It isn't enough to have a solid foundation, a new furnace, and a good roof to interest people in your home. If your home doesn't look good, inside and out, it will be difficult to sell for the price you are asking.

A Dirty House

It is amazing how many people do not "super" clean their home before it is shown to a prospective buyer. If the carpets cannot be cleaned, they need to be replaced. If the house is heavy with pet smells, some buyers will turn around and leave. Tile and grout should be steam cleaned, and every inch of each bathroom must be scrubbed, painted, and shined. Windows and sills are another area owners often neglect. It's also important to know many real estate brokers don't want to show a dirty house and may choose not to give you a listing.

Old Wallpaper

Unless you are selling a historic home with period wallpaper, get rid of it. Sellers tend to look at wallpaper as another chore for the homebuyer to do, but the buyer sees it as a large negative. People who like wallpaper choose designs to match their tastes and interests, and not those of a future homebuyer. Strip off the old paper, and paint the walls a neutral color.  


Outdated Fixtures

There is a difference between old and antique. Old is not attractive and turns buyer's attentions elsewhere. Outdated light fixtures, cabinet handles, ceiling fans, and appliances should be replaced. If your plan is for the buyer's to replace all the fixtures, you are not going to get the best price for your home.



Homebuyers want to see your home, not your collection of 250 sets of salt and pepper shakers or your coffee mugs from every state capital. Pack up your collections if you intend to move them to your next home, or put them in a yard sale. If you like displaying framed photos around your home, reduce the number drastically and pack them up. Buyers want to see space, not the homeowner's personal clutter.  


Leave When Your House Is Being Shown

Don't be anywhere on the premises when the real estate agent arrives with the prospective buyer. Owners who hang around and try to insert information into the conversation between the agent and buyer, can kill a sale in minutes. Your real estate agent is a trained and licensed professional and knows how to present your home in the best light. You are paying for his or her expertise, and it's important not to undermine it by intruding.  

Follow these few simple guidelines and increase your chances of a quick sale.


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Topics: National Real estate trends, VT Real estate trends, Home Improvement, Home Sale Tips

Tips for Creating the Perfect Atmosphere for a Winter Home Sale

Posted by nelrealty

Nov 18, 2014 9:16:23 PM


To successfully sell your home, you must take advantage of every showing. This can be especially hard in winter when the light is poor and your yard is not looking its best.

Luckily there are a few simple things you can do boost your home's charm offensive.  

1. Turn up the heat Impressing buyers in winter means literally turning up the heat. Pop on the heaters at least an hour before potential buyers come round. The warmth will give them a good feeling as they step in from the cold. If you have an open fire, light it. Nothing screams warm and cozy like a beautiful fire.  

2. Banish the gloom Nobody likes dark places. If your property looks good in daylight, try to schedule your viewing when daylight is at its strongest. For evening viewings, switch on the center lights and add table lamps and up-lighters to brighten gloomy corners. A few scented candles in strategic places like the bathroom, the living room or the bedroom can add a homely, romantic feel.  

3. Clean light sources No seller should underestimate the power of a good clean. But if you are selling in winter, you need to pay particular attention to your light sources and window dressings -- window glass, curtains, blinds, shades and light bulbs. A dusty light bulb or dirty shade can obstruct as much as half the light, which will make your home look gloomy.  

4. Exploit the season Christmas is just around the corner and with it comes lights, ornaments and the smell of mulled wine! By using these decorations wisely, you can really sell a lifestyle to potential buyers. Remember that you want to create the illusion of space, so don't go overboard. Buyers want to imagine family celebrations in your property, not get trapped between the sofa and a ten-foot Christmas tree.

5. Reduce noise for a soothing atmosphere A house is a shelter from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Would-be buyers want a home that will make them feel comfortable and relaxed, especially in winter, when they are more likely to curl up with a book in front of the fire than kick a ball around the park. Create a soothing atmosphere by limiting the noise. Do not start the washer, dryer or dishwasher before receiving visitors. Turn off the TV. Background music is fine, but  keep it soothing.    

6. Pay attention to your outdoor space A winter garden need not be a neglected garden. Keep it tidy by deadheading old flowers, raking leaves and mowing your lawn. Consider planting some evergreen or winter flowering shrubs to add a splash of color to a yard or patio. A fire pit or patio heater is a great way to open up you outdoor pace if you are still getting some last-minute winter sun.   

If you make your property as welcoming as possible, you will stand the best chance of selling your property during the quieter winter season. Good luck!

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Topics: VT Real estate trends, Home Improvement

What's Wrong With Modern Home Design?

Posted by nelrealty

Apr 22, 2014 3:47:00 PM

To Keep Or Not To Keep..

Home designs have traditionally been as diverse as the people who inhabit them. From log cabins of the frontier to stucco villas of the southwest, houses were usually influenced in style and design by the building materials readily available in the environment. A few features, however, were universal. Efficiency, room usability, and utilization of outdoor space were a few concepts instinctively considered when building a home.

Today, a home is often built en masse along with dozens of others. Developers are business people whom have contributed positively to the home experience by providing affordable and available homes, but their priority is cost-effective quantity. Even
custom built homes are subject to influence from the neighborhoods and homes already in existence. Property owners take cues from existing homes, thereby perpetuating home features which may not even meet their needs.

Certain home features of the last few decades have served their purpose but are outdated, while others from the past need to be resurrected. With these topics in mind, let's explore some of the possibilities for improving homes.


1. The Walk-Out Basement. Get Rid of It.

The walkout basement became a pervasive feature of many homes in the 1990s and 2000s. Finished basements in the 1970s and 1980s were often unavoidably dark or claustrophobic no matter how luxuriously they were finished. Walkout basements with direct access to the outside and possibility of large windows seemed like an ideal way to make the basement not only an extra living area, but a prominent and comfortable one as well.

This design logically meant putting the main floor of the home a story above the ground
in back. Therefore, with the exception of a deck and a steep flight of stairs, it eliminated the main floor access to the backyard. The habits of people, however, did not change. The basement still felt disconnected and navigating down several stairs to reach the yard took effort. The family backyard traditionally an extension of the home directly off the main living areas -became a thing of the past. Many backyards of homes with walkout basements are barren and underutilized. It is not uncommon to see homeowners trying

to create a backyard atmosphere in their front yard, complete with lawn chairs near the curb and the family pet tied up next to the car. This is based on a natural tendency to walk out the door with the quickest, most level access to the yard.

There is simply little reason for a walkout basement. Basements are meant to be disconnected, and window designs and lighting have evolved to help create a more comfortable space underground. Homes built with easy, direct yard access add to the enjoyment of the property.

2. The Front Porch. Bring It Back.

Regardless of the home style, most homes until the 1980s featured a front porch. Social and outdoor connection was so important that people often used valuable square footage for porches rather than indoor rooms. Front porches present a welcoming image that encourages others to visit. They promote neighborly interaction and allow a comfortable place from which to watch the children and enjoy the fresh air.

At some point in time, homeowners made privacy a top priority in home design. Front porches were eliminated and entrances are often indented into the house footprint rather than built as a central focal point. This discouraged visitors from feeling welcome to spontaneously knock on the door. Screen doors and sidewalks were also eliminated, lending more uninviting aspects to neighborhoods.

The demise of the front porch and the buried front entrance may be the saddest changes in home design. They create an aura of isolation and unnecessary privacy. Bringing back the front porch, repositioning entrances prominently, and creating connecting sidewalks should be strongly considered in new home design.

3. Garages as the Prominent Focal Point. Get Rid of It.

The current trend of garages being the dominating feature of the front of the home is outdated. Entire neighborhoods are built of homes where an enormous garage door juts out from the house footprint and often times nearly hides the home. This feature strongly connects to the problem previously listed in which home entrances are indented into the house footprint while large garages are given prominence.

Garages should ideally be regulated to the side or back of a home and should fit into the main house footprint rather than dominate it. If circumstances demand the garage entrance be in front, then it, rather than the front door, should be built to appear as noninvasive as possible.

4. Architectural Detail. Bring It Back.

Getting the most square footage for the money is a defining factor for most builders. This is an understandable viewpoint, but it often comes at the expense of features than make a home unique. These features are aesthetically pleasing and can add efficiency to a house. Builtin book cabinets with glass doors, strategically placed shelving, or small closets built into "dead space" are some examples of architectural details that were standard in older home designs. These types of features were often whimsical yet functional. Window details or pretty banisters may not have been necessary, but in many older homes they were considered just as important as square footage. Architectural details contribute beauty and functionality to a house and often pay for themselves by using space that would normally be forgotten.

5. Open Floor Plan. Get Rid of It.

By the 1990s and continuing today, one of the top requests for home design is the open floor plan. The open floor plan has become a substitute for good room flow. This plan consists of a large, totally open space that includes all or most main living areas: kitchen, dining, living room, den, and entrance. The design was initially sought after in the hopes it would encourage family interaction, make a home feel lighter and larger, and not isolate those working in the kitchen. It was also a feature intended to promote entertaining.

While the open floor plan might have enabled a few nice parties and created the illusion of a bigger house, there were better qualities it made obsolete. It made privacy impossible. People could no longer mingle in small gatherings without the drone of the entire house. Turning on the TV meant the all main areas were subjected to it. Kitchen smells and messes permeated the entire home. Every inhabitant or guest automatically became a part of what every other inhabitant or guest did or said, whether it was the TV, a conversation, or a sink full of dirty dishes.

Homes are better served by separate rooms, each one with it's own purpose. The light and open effect can be achieved with wide hallways, tall ceilings, large doorways, and ample windows. These features respect the purpose and privacy of each room and still maintaining an easy, unencumbered flow between areas.


6. The Garden Shed. Bring It Back.

Older homes often featured a shed to store items like lawn mowers, garden tools, and yard furniture. They were not only functional but often a charming, outdoor feature. However, at some point in the evolution of America home design, all things outdoor
were relegated to the garage. In some ways this made sense the car is an outdoor thing
so why not store everything outdoor related with it? The problem was the garage became cluttered and inefficient. Some homeowners not only built garages big enough for three cars, but also expanded them in order to store seasonal items. This is a factor that resulted in the enormous garages that contributed to some of the previously mentioned home design mistakes.

Homeowners associations have contributed to this mistake. Many home associations forbid outdoor sheds and other structures. There is no reason for this type of neighborhood rule when common sense guidelines can be followed. Hopefully, homeowners associations will eventually ease up on these restrictions. Small, inexpensive, garden sheds need not be an eyesore. They can free up valuable home square footage, provide easy access to outdoor items, and lend charm to the property.

Home design is a constantly evolving art form. Functionality, efficiency, longevity, and aesthetic appeal must always be considered when creating something as permanent as a house. Today, potential home builders can be better served by adapting a fresh perspective on features that are outdated trends and home characteristics from the past they may wish to revive.

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Topics: VT Real estate trends, Home Improvement

Bringing Fall Into Your Home

Posted by nelrealty

Oct 14, 2013 9:16:53 PM

With over half of all homeowners planning to make some type of improvement to their home this year, the question is, what exactly are they changing? Homeowners are choosing to wait until the high temperatures break and cooler weather hits to begin outdoor work, and home improvement companies are looking to unload new products to prepare for the new season, allowing homeowners to grab some great deals as autumn begins.

The most common fall home improvement projects include fencing, interior and exterior painting, window work, flooring, and roof repair, all of which are in preparation for the cold winter weather when home improvement projects are not at the top of your priority list. By getting these projects done before winter, you can put your home improvement projects to rest until spring without worrying about leaky roofs, cold air coming through cracks in the windows, and maintaining the value of your home with fencing and a fresh coat of paint.

"The cooler autumn temperatures make for the perfect time to focus more on the home and any remodeling projects," says Jeremy Floyd of Fence Center. "Such projects like adding in bamboo or aluminum fencing, not only increases your family's security, but the value of your home. Now that autumn is officially here, people are likely beginning to get these home improvement projects rolling."

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When the weather begins to turn cold, take cues from fall to warm up your world. Think about the decorating styles that appeal to you and use the following tips for guidance:

Look to Elemental Colors: Air, Earth, Fire and Water; nature inspires the most beautiful colors. Colors reflecting air will make your home breathe. Earth inspired colors will ground and calm a room. Colors pulling from water inspire playful fun, and lastly those reflecting fire will say bold confidence.

Take Natures Cues: As the air turns cool, nature gives us clues as to which colors make your home feel warm and cozy in the fall. Look around at the fall foliage and you'll see vibrant golds, rich reds, deep chocolate browns and toasty oranges. These colors inspire life and energy as the days get darker and cooler. Look for ways to incorporate these colors and scenes into your room decor. National Geographic Wallpaper or wall murals can help create this inviting nature setting.

Go Natural: With the increasing focus on the environment, there are abundant products available today that reflect and are good for nature. These products often incorporate earthy colors and textures; a perfect theme for fall. Choose eco-friendly shades which are PVC-free and 100 percent recyclable.

'Tis the Season: Carve out a tall pumpkin and use it as a flower vase or use small pumpkins for candles. A throw pillow, bowl of fresh citrus fruit or a bouquet of cut flowers are inexpensive ways to provide some color pop while welcoming your guests with the feel of nature.

Come Together: Gather around the fireplace. Rearrange your furniture to set your fireplace, instead of the TV, as the focal point of the room. Footstools, ottomans, and floor pillows by the fire create an inviting, warm atmosphere that will get you through the harshest days of winter. If you don't want the hassle of starting and maintaining a fire, try placing tall white candles in the fireplace for a similar glow.

Go Vibrant: Add a few splashes of vibrant color. They enrich any look and keep you from feeling drab. Deep colors also inspire confidence. Use an area rug to add warmth and personality to any room.

Go Circular: Designing a wreath is one of the easiest DIY projects you could hope for. And this time of year there is an abundance of colorful items to choose from at your local craft store or around your home. Get the kids involved and make it a family project.

Prepare for Winter: Now is the time to prep your home. There are several easy steps you can take. Consider insulating cellular shades or lined window treatments such as thermal curtains or foam-backed draperies for older, drafty windows. Insulate your water heater with insulation wrap. Seal leaks and drafts with caulk or weather strips. Clean your furnace and change your air filter. And lastly, but certainly not least, install a programmable thermostat. This allows you to conserve energy during the day while you're at work and at night while you sleep, but still come home or wake up to a warm, cozy home.


A fun fall project: Create an indoor play area

John Powell (powellrenovations.com) at Powell Custom Homes and Renovations of Des Moines, Washington provides these tips:

play-areaImage source: happytobeathome.net

Choose a theme - Plan the entire room around a single thematic element based on a child's favorite subject, game or character. Or use the theme to create variety, such as a “story time” theme with your child’s favorite storybook characters incorporated into the decor. A themed, “special” room will give your child more incentive to spend time there, and will even help him or her to keep it clean.

Go crazy with colors - Neon paint colors are just fine here; don’t worry about matching or clashing.  Think about the fantasy worlds your children are seeing on television - the more outlandish, the more tempting the space will be for them.

Think small - Kids love spaces that are sized for them. Plan the space for smaller people, but think ahead so your kids don’t outgrow the space within the year.

Kids play rough - No matter how bomb proof you make the space, someone is bound to knock his head against the side of any piece of furniture or anything built into the space. Try to find things with rounded edges. If you buy a piece of furniture with hard corners, ask your contractor to sand it down.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

Feature image: thetutorializer.com

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Topics: National Real estate trends, VT Real estate trends, Home Improvement