Curb Appeal Is Critical to Prepping Your Home for Sale

front yard photoFirst impressions are everything when it comes to preparing to sell your home. Curb appeal is the initial preview of your home for potential buyers. In today’s real estate market, potential buyers will first view your home on the Internet. If your home matches the criteria they are using in their home search, these buyers will then drive by your home. If the exterior of your home isn’t well-kept or your landscaping isn’t on par with the other homes in the neighborhood, your home showing may turn into a drive-by, with those potential buyers not wanting to bother stepping inside your front door.

Implementing a few steps to update and maintain your home’s exterior is critical to prepping your home for sale. Doing this will invite potential home buyers to come closer to check out all that your home has to offer. The first step is to take an objective look at your front yard’s landscaping. A desert landscape littered with weeds and overgrown trees implies deferred maintenance in all areas of home care and upkeep. Trimming trees, weeding, and pruning shrubs will also allow potential buyers to actually see your home. Planting fresh flowers or desert plants in pots or beds near your walkway or front door is also another quick and inexpensive step to freshen up your home’s exterior and landscape.
Power-washing, hosing down, or simply sweeping your driveway, walkway and front entry way are other inexpensive steps that will pay off with a big impact when showcasing your home’s exterior. While you are at it, be sure that your windows sparkle with a fresh cleaning inside and out, so buyers looking out to the front yard can appreciate and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

If you’re lucky enough to have a front patio area or large entry way, stage this area by placing a chair or two here, to showcase a conversation area to your potential buyers as they are walking into your home. Furthermore, the simplifying rule that applies to the interior of your home also applies to the exterior and landscaping, so be sure to remove any yard or lawn art from your front yard and entry way. Keeping the door clean, and free of decorations is another way to showcase the architecture and beauty of your home without providing unnecessary distractions.
As your realtor, I can give you more specific advice unique to your home and neighborhood, to help you maximize your home’s curb appeal.

Brighten Up Your Interior

family room photoMaximizing the amount of light in your home is a great way to brighten your living areas, whether you are considering selling your home, or just wanting to update your current home.  Here are four suggestions of ways to brighten up the interior of your home:

  1. Are your windows older or inefficient?  Replacing them with more efficient models, and possibly adding or enlarging your window space while you are doing so will lighten up your living spaces instantly.  Making sure your windows are dual-pane will help to keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in the summer months, and if you are listing your home for sale, will be an upgrade that will interest potential buyers.
  1. Is your interior paint on the cool and bright color spectrum?  If not, consider repainting your interior walls in a lighter color. The trend in years past in the Valley of the Sun was darker colors in desert-themed shades.   These colors, while they did the job they were designed to do—accenting walls while being on trend—aren’t the best choice to reflect light and brighten your spaces.  An off-white or light gray shade can instantly lighten your home, with little money expended.  An added bonus if you’re listing your home for sale will be to make your home appear fresher and cleaner.
  1. Have you considered installing solar tunnels?  While skylights were popular in years past, they aren’t necessarily the most economical or waterproof option.    Solar tunnel lights, or tubular lights, are absolutely an economical choice (ranging from $500-$700 each) and they can be installed in a standard, non-concrete tile roof in a matter of a few hours.  A solar tunnel light is a shaft from the roof into the drywall ceiling of your home, and has a reflective coating in the tunnel itself.  A transparent lens sits on top of the roof and focuses daylight down into a lens in the ceiling itself.  Tunnel lights can be utilized to their best effect in kitchens, bathrooms, hallways and utility rooms—anywhere more natural light is needed.
  1. Does your home have an open floor plan?  If not, an easy way to increase the light in your home is to remove cabinets that block light from a kitchen window to an adjacent room, or vice versa.  This is a relatively simple and quick option that will not only increase the value of your home due to the resulting open floor plan feel, but will also increase the natural light throughout this area of your home.

Whether you choose one method or a few of these methods, going light and bright is a winning proposition for updating your home, or getting it ready for sale to maximize your resale value.   I have more tips for you that are specific to your home.

Updating Your Home With Less Money

Whether your home is updated is often one of the many factors that determines what the price of your home should be.  This calculation is based on a comparison to other homes in your neighborhood (ie, the comparables).  Many home buyers are looking for homes that are updated.  If your home isn’t updated, these buyers may either skip your home because they don’t want to do these updates themselves, or they may start adding up the cost to update your home, and may not offer as much money if they do make an offer to buy.

white kitchen photo

Having said this, updating your home may be an expensive proposition.  Here are a few less expensive ways you may want to consider implementing some updates.  First, bathrooms and kitchens are the most important rooms in a house in terms of updating.  If your bathtub is old and/or overused, a simpler solution than ripping out and replacing your bathtub may be a tub re liner.  These are acrylic shells that are constructed and fitted specifically to the dimensions of your tub, and are installed directly over your tub, along with the installation of a new drain and overflow.  A less expensive option, but often less desirable, is to re glaze or refinish your tub.  In this method, the old porcelain glaze is stripped off with strong chemicals, and a finishing coat is applied.  A muriatic acid wash may also be a method to consider if your tub is porcelain and just has rust stains.

Cabinets are another area in which to consider updates.  By refinishing or re facing your kitchen and bathroom cabinets instead of replacing them entirely, you will save a lot of money.  If the interiors of your current cabinets are free of water damage and are solidly constructed, refinishing or re facing your cabinets will cost you less than half of what it would cost to replace them altogether.  With re facing, the doors and drawer fronts will be removed, and they can be replaced with any style or finish.  A finished wood veneer will be affixed to the cabinet sides, and new knobs and handles can finish the updated look.

If the style of your existing cabinets is relatively traditional or on trend, just refinishing your cabinet doors and drawers is an even less expensive option.  A professionally applied coat of paint (white and gray are popular choices, and are on trend) can brighten up and update your entire kitchen and bath in a matter of a few days.

Finally, consider simply painting the rooms in your home with neutral paint, as a simple and relatively inexpensive way to update your residence in preparation for sale.  Be sure to paint with primer first if you’re covering a dark color with a light color, to ensure that the end results look professional.  Whatever you choose to do with an eye toward updating your home, the results will be sure to help you maximize the final sale price of your home.

Staging Your Home in the Northwest Valley

dining room photoHere are some general tips that anyone can implement when listing their home for sale.  First, walk through each room in your home and look for any personal items that may distract a potential buyer from looking at the actual features of your home.  For example, do you have sports team items or personal collections displayed in your rooms?  Are there family photos displayed around the rooms in your home?   While these items may be things you cherish, they are distracting to buyers and may cause difficulty for a buyer to imagine themselves living in your home.

Next, walk through each room in your home and focus on the floors.  Can a potential buyer see the flooring in each room, or do area rugs cover a large amount of your tile or hardwood?  Area rugs can be an asset if the room is very large, and you’re trying to accent groupings of furniture, but these situations are rare.  Alternatively, if you have carpet, is your carpet clean and in good condition?  Does it smell clean and fresh?  If it doesn’t, a potential buyer will often deduct what they’d otherwise be willing to spend on purchasing your home.

Third, how is the lighting in each room of your home?  Are any of your lamps and fixtures missing lightbulbs?  Are all of your window treatments updated and clean?  If so, are they opened to increase the natural light in your rooms?  Finally, are your windows sparkling clean?

Finally, are all of the countertops in your bathroom and kitchen clear of clutter or personal items?  Have you removed all personal hygiene items from your bathroom counters and showers?  To show off the beautiful features of your home and the spaciousness of these important spaces, eliminating any and all non-essential items from these areas is an easy task to check off the list when staging your home for sale.

All of these steps are general ways to increase the ability of buyers to notice and appreciate all of the features in your home.   However, your home will have specific needs in this regard, and I will help you to address these items in preparation for listing your home for sale.

Contact Elise for more staging tips

Staging & Selling Before the Holidays

Staging & Selling Before the Holidays


Staging & selling your home before the holidays can help save stress and give you time to focus on family and holiday festivities. Getting your home sold before year end is ideal so you can start the new year fresh. There are a few tips to help the process started and assist in running smoothly and effectively.

Take advantage of the tax write-offs. Often, part of staging a home includes purging. If you have a large amount of items you’re having trouble parting with, consider the tax credits for donating. Add up the value of the items you might be willing to donate and look at the tax savings using a Goodwill or Salvation Army calculator. This might be the perfect motivation to help let go of the items you don’t really need.

If you’re relocating or downsizing and won’t be able to take all your items, consider using home listing photos with a list of contents you’re looking to get rid of on Craigslist or other goods selling site as an alternative to donation. Selling before the Holidays is an effective idea especially, because people might be in the market for some gently used or vintage gifts.

Use Online Coupons. By now, we’ve all heard of sites like Groupon, Deal Chicken, Living Social, Amazon Local, etc. These sites offer local goods and services a a discounted price. The cost and effort of staging can be a hurdle for sellers. Search these sites for offers for cleaning services, painting, etc. Affordable ways to get these jobs done may get your home ready to show more quickly and with a lot less effort on your part. Especially during the holiday season, the last thing you want to be doing is a lot of work on the house. Let the professionals help make the staging a success at a discounted price.

Shop Ahead. If you’re selling to move into another property, you likely have either already found that property or at least have a solid idea of housing and new furnishings to make the place your own. If you have the budget, shop ahead for the furnishings. Things like furniture, non permanent lighting, decor, etc. for your new place might help stage the space you’re selling in the mean time.

No matter your situation, staging & selling before the holidays is a great idea and, with a little help from Elise Fay & Associates, you can get a smooth process started right away. Just give us a call!

Easy Luxury Fixes Buyers Love

Easy Update
Easy Luxury Fixes Buyers Love

There are several luxury fixes buyers love. No matter how tight their budget, buyers will have a wish list of features that feel luxurious.

Here, we focus on refining details, outlining the third installment of our ideas for luxuries buyers look for and how to accomplish them effectively. Contact the Fay Team to quickly achieve list ready status.

Adding, improving or tweaking details in your home can add great value without breaking the bank. A few easy and even DIY ideas include:

Updating baseboards or adding crown moulding

Adding interior or exterior shutters to windows

Painting moulding, baseboards, mantles and/or door trims a contrasting color

Replacing doors or light fixtures; a new light fixture can change the feel of a room completely

Replacing dated faucets, sinks, toilets, hardware, door handles

Exterior paint updates; eaves, doors, trims & fences

Built-ins: Adding built-ins for books, in closets, desks or even recycling centers in the kitchen  feels luxurious because it eliminates furniture and offers a polished look and efficient use of space.

Dedicated Spaces: Dedicating a space to an activity can make a big difference in the perception and feel of the area or room. Choosing the right color paint, appropriate furniture and places for supplies are key here. Think office or craft room for example; use bright colors in these spaces as research shows bright colors foster creativity.

If you’re looking for more easy luxury fixes buyers will love, contact Elise Fay or the Fay Team for more ideas on how to make your listing shine.


Easy Luxury Fixes Buyers Love

Solar Panels

Easy Luxury Fixes Buyers Love

There are several easy luxury fixes buyers love. No matter how tight their budget, buyers will have a wish list of features that feel luxurious.

Here, we focus on energy efficiency, outlining the first installment of our ideas for luxuries buyers look for and how to accomplish them effectively. Look for more on the blog in weeks to come. Or, if you can’t wait, contact the Fay Team to quickly achieve list ready status.

Automation:  People love when they can cross remembering something off their list. Or, in today’s technology obsessed world, remove one of the many reminders Siri is managing for them.

In Phoenix, the summer months can hit the pocketbook hard with electric costs. Installing an easily programmable thermostat is a great little luxury fix buyers will love. The Nest Learning Thermostat is a great option. It features auto-schedule, which means it programs itself in about a week, creating a personalized schedule based on changes you’ve made and continually adapting. It also has an auto-away feature, which senses when you’ve left the house and automatically adjusts the temperature to avoid high energy costs. Most convenient of all, you can change the temperature and adjust the schedule from anywhere using a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Cost is right around $200 upfront, more or less depending on home size and number of devices.

Solar:  8 out of 10 homeowners have said they would install a solar system at home if cost wasn’t a factor. In Phoenix, where it’s sunny nearly every day of the year and one of the hottest places in the country in the summer, a solar system is definitely a viable luxury for any home buyer.  Installing a solar system can create a double luxury of allowing homeowners to run their home on a renewable energy source and also to reduce monthly energy costs.

In some areas, costs can be quite low for solar panels. Some companies may pay for the system, install for a low cost and pay for maintenance while the customer only pays for the power used each month. While these deals are not available everywhere, it’s definitely something worth looking into for the energy savings.

Considering one of these energy updates for your home is a little luxury fix that will go a long way. Whether the update is for your own enjoyment or you’re looking for an easy luxury fix buyers will love, energy efficiency is a win-win for the environment and for your listing.

Look for more easy luxury fixes buyers will love next week. Or, contact Elise Fay or the Fay Team for more ideas on how to make your listing luxurious.