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Posts Tagged ‘home staging’

It’s Time to Start Thinking About Beautifying Your Yard: Part One of a Two Part Series

beautifying your yardAs winter becomes more of a memory and the weather turns to sunnier days, it may be time to take a peek at your landscaping and start the plans for beautifying your yard. Does it require some TLC? Not sure what it may need to become that beloved, family-friendly space again? I can help! My next two articles will be highlighting yard beautification, including an interview with Tony Range next month. Range is the lead horticulturist for the St. Louis Zoo and will offer his suggestions on how to maintain a yard that will be the envy of your neighbors, all season long.

If you are looking to enhance the overall look of your home, a beautiful, outdoor living space also increases the value of your home. A relatively recent and increasingly popular trend for homeowners is the creation of a backyard retreat, turning a home into a wonderful place for entertaining, hanging out and enjoying when the weather is inviting and the days are longer.

Homeowners who add a deck to their property or enhance their custom deck prior to selling, usually recover the cost in the sale of their home. Decks that need repairs or seem neglected can often turn away buyers because they will see additional expense and future maintenance projects. If you have a deck, it may make sense to paint or re-stain it, add some new, brightly colored cushions to your outdoor furniture, and display some potted plants and flowers. Investing in your deck and outdoor living area also adds additional space to your home, making it appear larger for potential buyers.

Even if you own a home with no future plans on selling it, Consumer Reports indicates that today’s consumers are thriftier and stay home more to entertain and to spend family time. Homes with outdoor living spaces are cited as one of the most appealing ways to spend a nice evening with those you love! When weather is prime, many clients love the idea of “outdoor living rooms. Turn off the iPad and head outdoors to toss a Frisbee in the backyard, sharing stories of the day with your kids. When you invest in your backyard, you are investing in so much more: time with family and friends.

Another way to enhance the beauty of your yard and create a more welcoming atmosphere for your guests is by adorning your entrance, driveway and more with assorted annuals and perennials. Flowers like Petunias, Snapdragons, and Knock out Roses are great additions to your landscaping. A Southern Living article cites putting a low fence between your house and the street to give an illusion that your house is farther away from the road than it truly is andit’s also a great space for planting flowers and vines.

If you have unsightly structures in your yard and you’re not sure how to hide them, strategic planting can help! Some sheds, garages, outdoor work spaces and utility boxes in subdivisions can be less than attractive. Adding window boxes and flowers to work sheds, setting attractive planters filled with flowers atop structures, and placement of potted ferns can be great additions to your outdoor ambience. Incorporating plants and flowers close to the structure, and incorporating planters onto the walls of the structure will make it seem like a seamless accompaniment to your landscaping.

As a licensed Realtor® it’s my goal to help make your real estate dreams come true, offer tips to enhance your home’s beauty, and share my knowledge of our local market. The real estate process can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be with my guidance! And don’t forget – next month’s blog will offer additional landscaping tips from Tony Range, St. Louis Zoo horticulturist. In the meantime, you contact me for all of your real estate needs at (618) 978-2384 or email me at Sandie@SandieLaMantia.com.

Spring Time Tips For Buyers in Real Estate

Tips for buyers in real estate

The real estate industry is bustling in the spring months, beginning as early as February! With even the thought of temperatures rising, people in the market for a new home or looking to sell begin to become motivated. Homes are hitting the market and in our area, if the home is priced right, they can have an offer that same day. If you are looking to make a change or looking for your next “home sweet home”, Spring can be a perfect time to find the perfect match.

We’ve focused on tips to sell your home in the past, but if here are some Spring time tips for buyers in real estate.

Realtors rule!

Hire a real estate professional to help in your next real estate adventure. In today’s market, a professional Realtor® is experienced in many, many transactions. If you want to find a home in your ideal location, using a Realtor® can make your entire buying process easier. A Realtor® does a lot, going beyond just the home search. We help with contracts, negotiations, inspections and any other unforeseen obstacles that may pop up. An agent understands trends in the market today and can help you navigate this fast-paced buying/selling season. Keep in mind that it costs nothing to hire an agent because the seller of your new home will pay the commission.

Pre-approval for a home mortgage helps.

So, your budget is prepped and ready to go. If you know exactly what you can spend and what you may consider a “comfortable” budget for that next home, you’re heading in the right direction. You can also meet with a mortgage specialist to determine an accurate budget for that new home, and then take steps to obtain loan pre-approval. Of course, it’s okay to go to open houses and scan the web for homes for sale, but there are benefits to getting a pre-approved loan. When buyers are already pre-approved, sellers are more likely to take notice of an offer because they know you are serious at making a purchase.

Know what you want in a new home.

If you are ready to buy, it makes sense to sit down with family members and discuss your needs as well as your wishes. Whether it’s finding a new home in a certain school district or having an unfinished basement so you can add your personalized touch, what you want in your new home should be listed and prioritized. We’ve all watched House Hunters on HGTV when a couple can’t seem to agree on their perfect home! One wants a big back yard in the outskirts of town, while the other wants no yard in an urban environment. When buying a home, you should have a strong understanding of your requirements, and if there’s any conflict among other family members make sure you rank them in order of importance.

Keep in mind, it’s helpful to be flexible because your wants may shift based on availability in the market, market trends and budget, but the better you understand the most important features you desire of your new home, the smoother this process will be.

Be prepared to compete when buying a home.

In today’s market, it’s not unheard of that buyers compete for their dream home. You may need to prepare yourself to either back down during negotiations or pay more than you had originally anticipated paying. Bidding wars have been on the rise for a while. By working with your agent, you can think of unique ways to stand out from the other buyers, going beyond just price. Maybe you offer the sellers an extra week to move out? Or honor other stipulations when looking to close the deal? I can help you find ways to create incentives when making an offer on your next home.

If it’s time to buy or sell that new home, I can help! As a licensed Realtor® it’s my goal to help make your real estate dreams come true, sharing my knowledge of our local market as well as offering recommendations during the real estate process. Now is a great time to buy a house that your entire family will love! Contact me for all of your real estate needs at (618) 978-2384 or email me at Sandie@SandieLaMantia.com

7 Best Apps For Preparing to Sell Your Home

apps for preparing to sell your homeNavigating the housing market can be difficult, but most people have a tool in their pocket that they don’t realize can help get them through this stressful time: their smartphone! These powerful tools have come a long way from just making phone calls or sending text messages. Check out these seven apps that can make preparing to sell your home a breeze!

1) ColorSnap

Imagine you’re walking down the sidewalk of your hometown main street and a bluebird catches your eye. That bluebird is the most perfect shade of light blue – a shade that would look exquisite on the walls of your guest room. Luckily you have the ColorSnap app by Sherwin-Williams. With a simple snapshot, this app can match your photo to find paint colors. You can then see how that particular color looks in sample scenes, in day or night lighting. ColorSnap makes painting your home even easier with its paint calculator. Simply enter your room dimensions, and it will estimate how much paint you need.

2) Panorama 360

This free app allows you to take high-quality, 360-degree panorama pictures and videos for free. Do not underestimate the power of panoramas, especially in the housing market. Capture the essence and personality of your home with a panorama picture or video, and let the home speak for itself.

3) Homesnap

Good for both home buyers and sellers, Homesnap allows users to see home value estimates, taxes, lot boundaries, school zones, interior photos and more just by taking a picture. This can be used to the seller’s advantage by scoping out the competition. Based on your findings, you can adjust your selling price, increase your promotion efforts, or even up your interior design game.

4) Houzz

Houzz is an app favorite for designers, home owners, and renovators. Its genius lies in the technology that allows you to see what furniture and products look like in your actual home. Browse through over 5 million trending products and materials, then simply use the “View in My Room” feature to see what they look like in your space. Read hundreds of articles written by design experts, and get professional advice on your home project in the “Advice” section. Houzz also has a vast database of active home improvement professionals for you to find, hire, and collaborate with.

5) MagicPlan

Measuring room spaces and dimensions are probably one of the biggest hassles of home selling. MagicPlan makes this process a breeze: no need for measuring tapes, no need to move furniture, no need for expertise. It measures the space and draws floor plans by simply taking pictures. The app itself is free, but if you want to download your floorplan in PDF, JPG, SVG, DXF, CSV, or PNG formats, there is a one property plan purchase for $2.99.

6) Pinterest

Okay, of course everyone who isn’t living under a rock has heard of Pinterest. But did you know you can use their app to browse for design inspiration? If you are selling your home, your interior design should be stylish, trendy, and organized. Pinterest can help create the space of your dreams! Not only does it give inspiration, but you can search for furniture and products based on your needs. If you are more of a Do-It-Yourself person, there are many projects with step-by-step instructions on how to upgrade your home.

7) Ikea

After spending hours on Pinterest (or is that just me?) you may be ready to start furnishing and staging your house. Ikea not only has affordable prices, but their sleek, modern style looks great in almost every space. Get inspired with their catalog, browse through furniture, optimize your space with every organizational device made on earth, and do it all while sitting in bed. Does it get any easier than that?

The time has come and gone where a home seller has to sit and worry about whether their houses will sell. Take matters into your own hands (literally) and try out one of these cool apps! If you need an extra set of eyes, a professional opinion, or help with staging your house I can help with that, too. As a licensed Realtor, it’s my goal to help you feel comfortable and confident in the selling process, so give me a call at (618) 978-2384 or email me at Sandie@SandieLaMantia.com

Stage Presence! The Importance of Staging To Get Your House Sold FAST

Staging To Get Your House Sold FASTSelling your home can be an exciting yet (sometimes) emotional time. If you’ve been in your home for a while, every part of the house tells a story. Strolling from room to room, you can vividly remember rocking your baby to sleep in the rocker in the bedroom’s corner, your first puppy’s favorite sleeping spot in front of the fireplace, and your daughter’s Sweet 16 party in the backyard pool. So many wonderful memories have happened over so many years! With those years and memories made, you’ve also accumulated a lot of “stuff” and perhaps some spots in your home that need to be freshened up. Because it’s impossible to sell those memories with your home, it’s important to rely on staging strategies to entice the new homeowner with images that can be completely their own.

I recommend to clients that it’s best to de-clutter and thoroughly clean the home prior to placing any home on the market. It’s okay to leave a few family photos up, but best to remove most of them because when selling your home, you want to make sure the potential buyer visualizes where his or her photographs will be displayed. Straighten closets; pack up unused items and scattered toys or accessories. Today’s buyers prefer neutral colors, walls and floors, so if you have time and money in the budget to paint, it’s not a bad idea to spruce up the main living spaces.

Why is staging important? A properly staged home creates something called “lifestyle vignettes” (RealtorMag.com) for interested homebuyers. When buyers walk through a home and see a chessboard on a comfortable ottoman, placed directly in front of the stone fireplace with drinks on the end table, they begin to see themselves in the scene. As a Realtor® in the Metro-East, I know which trends are working depending on local demographics. I can help you work with current trends, letting you know which ones are working locally, so you can create a buyer’s dream house. Depending on the home, it may only require organization and some fresh paint.

When you set the stage for potential buyers to see a home filled with fun and friends, it usually also involves food. Many stagers recommend setting the tables and the bar areas with nice plates, cloth napkins and drinking glasses, using a lovely centerpiece to tie it all together. The set up doesn’t have to be overly fancy, either. Simply use matching tableware to create a home that appears perfect for entertaining, whether it’s a family breakfast or a larger gathering with friends and family in the dining room.

Simple staging techniques don’t have to cost a lot of money, either. If you want to entice buyers to walk through that front door, it’s best to stage your entryway with a nice, new welcome mat, colorful flowers or greenery and a clean, welcoming entrance. Potential homeowners often drive by homes even before they schedule a walk-through, so it makes sense that you spend some time and energy on sprucing up the front of your home, helping to make a positive first impression.

Have a dark hallway or a wall that needs a new look? Maybe you’ve taken down some family photos and need something to replace the wall decor? Mounting mirrors in strategic places of the home can do a number of wonderful things. Mirrors enlarge spaces, add modern touches to the home, and light up hallways that lack natural lighting. Mirrors hung directly across from a window or placed next to one add even more lighting to the home, pulling in more sunshine. Many stores even sell mirrors in multi-packs and sizes, creating an impressive collage display that anyone can create.

Other staging tricks that work include outfitting a bathroom with white linens, fresh new shower curtains and some spa-like accessories. After you de-clutter the bathroom, it’s easy to update any bathroom with items that turn your outdated bath into a luxury spa. To set the stage, you can roll and stack new bath towels, place special soaps in a dish on the counter, and even add an orchid or other flower next to the sink.

Staging your home may require a little bit of forethought and some financial investment, but sellers will be happy to know that most staged homes sell faster than homes without staging methods. Look at photos online or in magazines, pay attention to displays at furniture stores, and think about items in your home that you can use (and items that may need to be placed in storage) to create a cozy, lived-in ambiance in your home that’s picture-perfect. Colorful vases, lanterns, books and plants can all be used to produce those “lifestyle vignettes” buyers are looking for in a new home.

As a licensed Realtor®, it is my goal to help individuals and families sell their home with confidence. I want the process to be pleasurable and profitable. If you aren’t sure why your home hasn’t sold yet or want tips on staging your home, I can help. Contact me for all of your real estate needs at (618) 978-2384 or email me at Sandie@SandieLaMantia.com.

Home Features: What’s Trending Now

Home Features: What's Trending NowHave you ever stepped foot in a home during the home search process and fell in love instantly with it? Some styles and house plans simply impress us more than others. The type of home you tend to prefer may also be different depending on your stage of life. Just had a baby? You probably want the bedrooms on the same floor. Have an aging parent living with you? Two master suites would be ideal. Individual preferences and styles may change over time, but the following trends have been popular and gaining traction for many new home seekers in 2017.

Outdoor living continues to impress people looking to buy a new home. Whether seeking manicured yards in a simplified living community or finding a home that backs up to secluded woods, homeowners are taking advantage of their outdoor spaces. This trend is reminiscent of “resort-style” amenities for families wanting to enjoy their homes more than ever before. Why go on vacation when you can bring the vacation home? Pools, outdoor kitchens, and big front porches for catching up with neighbors are just some features that really enhance outdoor living. Other trends like landscaped courtyards and four-season rooms also turn a home into a retreat you may never want to leave!

The use of glass is also a popular element in homes that take advantage of outdoor living. Large, floor-to-ceiling windows are just another way to “bring the outdoors in” and enjoy the views. Living areas, even smaller ones, will benefit from added glass to make them feel larger. Some designers even incorporate sliding walls of glass and screens leading to outdoor spaces (like a pool or hot tub). More glass or easy access to the yard is just another way to take advantage of the home’s neighborhood, amenities and green space. If you live in a lovely setting, why not enjoy the beautiful view by adding more windows or French doors?

Although not surprising, the basements of today aren’t being built simply as places to store your overflow items. Nine-foot ceilings in basements continue to be quite popular, even if the homeowner isn’t planning on finishing the basement in the short term. Homes are being built with taller basement ceilings because not only does it add resale value to the home but also makes the basement more inviting and livable when planning for additional living space. Another trend has surfaced and 9-foot and 10-foot ceilings are preferable features for buyers today with a decreased interest in vaulted ceilings.

Homes today are often being built as forever homes, with “aging-in-place” accommodations still being very popular. This is a newer trend and one that has really made an impact on how people are buying and building homes. With people living longer, it makes sense to live in a home that will be comfortable for years to come. Features like main floor master suites, easy access to every part of the home (with little or no stairs) and taller bathroom counters, comfort-height toilets and walk in showers, the aging in place home can come in all sizes and styles to better suit the homeowner.

There are many trends that are popular today, going beyond just wall colors and flooring styles. Builders are also still focused on energy-efficient homes with high-tech tools to help manage the home’s heating and cooling with the intention of using no more energy than the home creates. Whether it’s an energy-saving fireplace or water efficient fixtures and appliances, the energy efficient home will continue to develop with technology.

Trends are fun to talk about, but the most important feature when looking for a new home is defining YOUR lifestyle. Your house should be the place you feel the most at ease, and as a licensed Realtor®, I have helped families find the best home for their personalized style. Whether you are selling your existing home or looking for a more suitable home to reflect your current lifestyle, I can help. Contact me for all of your real estate needs at (618) 978-2384 or email me at sandie@sandielamantia.com.

It’s Spring…We’re Livin’ La Vida Local! Local Activities Near Edwardsville/Glen Carbon, IL

Local Activities Near Edwardsville/Glen Carbon, ILOne of the best aspects about living in Edwardsville, Illinois and its surrounding communities is the many activities that “spring-up” during the spring and summer months. There is so much to do locally when the weather is nice you may not ever have to cross the river into downtown St. Louis! I thought it would be fun to share a sampling of the fun events in this great community. Start planning your weekends now and experience everything there is to love about livin’ la vida local!

Goshen Market, May-October. Love fresh produce and veggies, arts and crafts? Then you don’t want to miss the Goshen Market in Downtown Edwardsville on Saturdays, May through October. At the market, you’ll find fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, farm fresh eggs, naturally raised meats – beef, pork and poultry – along with baked goods, pottery, jewelry, other fine arts, honey, soaps, seedlings, cut flowers and more. Located in green-space adjacent to the courthouse downtown, you’ll love the energy and the family-friendly fun that Goshen Market has to offer. The market fills downtown Edwardsville with a little something for everyone on Saturday mornings, rain or shine. Learn more by visiting there website at http://www.goshenmarket.org/.

9th Annual Taste of Edwardsville, Saturday, May 13. This great event is the biggest fundraiser for Edwardsville Neighbors in Need, an organization that raises funds to ease the financial burdens of local families with various needs. Over the years, Taste of Edwardsville has grown to include 20+ local eateries, live music, and a fantastic silent auction. Money raised goes to local families facing a medical or emergency hardship whether it’s an illness or an injury and helps pay for things like medical bills, mortgages, food or gas cards. Tickets for the event include unlimited food tasting and drink specials. Want to mix and mingle in the community? Don’t miss this delicious affair, with tickets going on sale April 13, 2017. Last year tickets sold out in 24 hours so don’t delay.

Next up, Bonifest! The St. Boniface Bonifest has been a Memorial Day Weekend tradition for over 30 years. Another family-friendly event, Bonifest is filled with carnival rides, food, music, raffles and fun. The 5k run is a favorite for the community and happens Saturday morning of the festival. A great 5k for all ages and abilities, it takes runners through historic Leclaire Park and many other wonderful, tree-lined streets in Edwardsville. The activities are located at the church at the intersection of Vandalia and Buchanan in downtown Edwardsville. It’s a great way to “kick off” the summer months in Edwardsville and Glen Carbon!

Get your “kicks” at Route 66. Celebrating its 20th year in 2017, the Edwardsville Route 66 Festival is one of the best ways to experience the community, offering a classic car show, great food, drinks, vendors and history. Headlining acts rock the stage at City Park, adjacent to the Edwardsville Public Library downtown. There are bounce houses for the kids, crafts in conjunction with the Edwardsville Art Center and more. This year will even be more exciting with 20th Anniversary “surprises” that will surely knock your socks off. Block of your calendar now for June 9-10, 2017 and learn more about the festival at http://www.edwardsvilleroute66.com/.

Glen Carbon Homecoming – Father’s Day Weekend. A great way to spend time with dad is at the Glen Carbon Homecoming that happens every Father’s Day Weekend. This year, June 16-17, Main Street in Glen Carbon, Illinois is blocked off and filled with food, carnival rides and fun. The homecoming parade kicks off the festivities on Friday night, with back-to-back activities to follow for all ages. Whether you enjoy local music or a night out to catch up with friends, the Glen Carbon Homecoming is another tradition you don’t want to miss. They also offer a 5K Covered Bridge Run on Saturday morning that people flock to.

There are so many fun things to do with friends and family in the Edwardsville and surrounding areas in the spring and summer, it’s difficult to list them all. The City of Edwardsville also offers the Edwardsville Municipal Band weekly summer series, a variety of movies shown outdoors at City Park as well as musical entertainment, great shows at the local Wildey Theater, and a vibrant downtown experience filled with top-notch restaurants, boutique shopping and more.

If you or a loved one is looking to relocate to the Edwardsville or Glen Carbon area, please contact me for all of your real estate needs at 618-978-2384. I’d be happy to share more information on the abundance of wonderful places to go and things to do in the area. Springtime brings with it even more to do in the thriving community of Edwardsville!

It’s the 2017 Relocation Resource List!

relocation resource listAll of us know that change can be hard, especially if it involves uprooting our families and moving them into an entirely new town, with new schools and unfamiliar surroundings. There may be mixed emotions filled with excitement about the new opportunity, but also likely some fear of the unknown. Of course, it’s important to find a new home that you love, making you feel comfortable as you adjust to the new environment. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a list of reputable resources that could help acclimate you and your loved ones to this new community? Well, I’ve compiled a list of resources to help navigate you through the beloved communities of Edwardsville and Glen Carbon, with the hope of making the transition even easier (and more fun, too).

Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce. In our community, there are many, many small and large businesses alike that have joined the local chamber. It’s a wonderful organization filled with good people and great resources. There’s a tool on their website that offers ways to search businesses, places and things. Looking for an area restaurant? Most likely, they are a chamber member and are listed on this website with a link to the actual business. Fortunately, most businesses have some sort of web presence today so you can always find more about them online. Learn more about the Ed/Glen Chamber here http://www.edglenchamber.com/home.htm.

Edwardsvilleonline.com. This handy website is another “go-to” resource for people relocating to the Edwardsville area. Residents of Glen Carbon and Edwardsville, as well as surrounding communities like Troy and Maryville, can also go to Edwardsvilleonline when searching for local events, new businesses that are opening in the area, and more. Local organizations can also submit their own events to the website, so you can find a number of things to do, whether it’s a church craft fair, local 5k, or a larger-scale community-wide event in the area. Here’s the link to Edwardsvilleonline: http://www.edwardsvilleonline.com/. It also offers an easy-to-use search engine if you are looking for a specific business.

Both communities have their own websites. Edwardsville’s can be found at http://www.cityofedwardsville.com/ and Glen Carbon’s link is http://www.glen-carbon.il.us/. City business information is available at both sites, including information on administrative services, public works and parks and recreation. If you are on Facebook, you can also follow both community Facebook pages for up-to-date events as well as other newsworthy information.

District 7 is a wonderful, award-winning school district, and if you are relocating with school aged-children you can find more information about the district by visiting the website http://www.ecusd7.org/. For children aged pre-K through 12th grade, District 7 is known for top-notch education as well as extra-curricular activities, including a variety of team sports. Locally, the area also offers private schools for children, including a recently built Catholic High School in Glen Carbon (http://mcgivneygriffins.com/).

Other resources include the Edwardsville Arts Center, located attached to the Edwardsville High School, offering wonderful, affordable art classes for the community as well as a gallery and gift shop you won’t want to miss. The local YMCA offers not just one but TWO locations (Esic Center and Meyer Center), filled with so many classes it will be hard to choose your favorite. An indoor pool, outdoor pool, tennis courts, gymnasium and fitness centers at both locations make it easy to stay healthy. A class catalog and more is available online at http://www.edwardsvilleymca.com/.

Edwardsville and Glen Carbon offer a perfect combination of small town warmth with all of the amenities you’d find in a larger city. Conveniently located just 20 minutes away from St. Louis, you’ll enjoy the short drive to a larger metropolis but will also soon learn that wonderful dining, shopping and activities are available right here, without having to cross the river! I am happy to answer more questions you may have about the area or offer advice. Contact me here or call me at 618-978-2384 with your relocation inquiries. Happy New Year!

 

 

 

Selling Your Home? Winter Tips to Set the Stage

selling your homeSelling your home in the winter months can be tricky. With back- to-back holidays and usually a lot of entertaining, finding time to do it all can seem overwhelming. It’s also not the most ideal time to put a home on the market because the home, no matter how stunning, may not show as well when it’s cold, rainy, snowy and miserable outside. Plus, if there’s sleet or a snowstorm, it’s hard to get buyers to that Open House on Sunday! Guess what? There are still many things you can do to make your home look welcoming and ready for that perfect “new home shopper” this winter. People still are looking for homes and generally, there’s less competition because of a lower inventory.

Easy access. During the cold, winter months, it’s important to have a safe path to your home that is snow and ice-free. Don’t forget any side walkways or access from your driveway. This is important no matter what time of year it is, but especially important when the path to your home can be difficult to navigate due to snow and ice. When visitors pull up to the home and see you’ve made a hospitable path to the front door, they will notice.

Let there be light! I’ve said it before, but lighting is so important when trying to sell your home. Strategically open up those blinds to give off a pleasing amount of light in the home. If you want to set more of a cozy mood, utilize holiday lights on the mantel and candles at an open house. Today, there are so many variations of wickless candles and battery-powered candles it’s hard to tell which ones are real! Display the lighting properly and it will transform your room. Also, because it can be a bit more dreary outside in the winter, make sure to brighten darker rooms with open blinds and lamps in corners. Use a pop of color with pillows and throws. After all, it’s the holiday season! Take advantage of using tasteful lighting and décor.

Holiday decorations. When trying to sell your home over the holidays, it may not make sense to cover every corner of the home, every open space on the wall, with decorations. It’s best to limit the holiday décor so the potential buyer can still see the “bones” of the home. Too many holiday decorations may detract from the home itself. If you aren’t sure what may be considered “too much”, I’m happy to offer suggestions. There are also many online resources you can use for decorating ideas.

Making sense of scents. When showing our homes off, we tend to want to deodorize it with sprays, candles and oils…especially if we have pets. At some point our noses become immune to all of the smells! For guests, the smells can become overwhelming. Make sure that you keep the scents to a minimum when opening up your home for buyers, especially during this time of year because there are more good smelling, seasonal options available. Another tip is if you burn a sugar cookie candle in the entryway, it’s also a smart plan to offer cookies in the kitchen so as not to disappoint! A clean, well-kept home will always impress the eyes AND the nose. It’s fine to add a holiday scent to the mix, just don’t overdo it.

It’s all in the mood you create. With the winter weather, you have the perfect environment for bringing buyers into your cozy, warm home. Especially during the holidays, most of us relish the time we spend enjoying family, friends, and entertaining. The stage is set! Now is your chance to showcase your home to its best potential. Hang those fluffy robes in the master bath, use fresh pine in the entryway, hang wreaths and place dried, winter flowers around the home. When you sell your home, you are also selling a vision of things to come and memories made within it.

It’s a bustling time of year; so don’t add undue stress to it. There are small things you can do to show off your home’s beauty and potential, without having to start a big remodeling project this holiday season. Adding less stress to this already busy time will let you focus on your family and the year ahead. Want more expert advice? Contact me at 618-978-2384 or by email. I’m sure I can find you the perfect home, making 2017 the best year yet. Happy Holidays!

Why Pet Owners Should Buy In Edwardsville/Glen Carbon

pet ownersNothing beats a lovely, fall day at one of the many parks in any of the Edwardsville and Glen Carbon, Illinois communities. Whether you want to pack a picnic lunch and bike to one of the parks taking one of the miles and miles of bike trails, or stroll to a neighborhood park just two blocks away, it’s easy to see why so many people love the area. Our four-legged friends love the area too, and you can see it in the wags of their tails and friskiness in their play. Want to live somewhere where pets not only have plenty of places to roam, but the best medical care and daycare centers around? Edwardsville and Glen Carbon may be your dream come true!

It’s not just about where you live, but also about your way of life. So many of us have made our beloved pets members of our family. They travel with us when running errands and often are treated to salon services more regularly than we treat ourselves! Having a community that embraces outdoor living at its best, which includes an overall acceptance of our furry friends, is an added benefit to living in the Edwardsville area. Plus, there are many amenities in Edwardsville that offer boutique-like benefits for taking care of your pet at affordable, “small town” prices. Here are some qualities that make Edwardsville and Glen Carbon a pet-owner’s haven!

Outdoor living at its best. Move over, urbanites! It’s not just the big cities that have dog parks! Glik Park in Edwardsville as well as Miner’s Park in Glen Carbon both have very nice dog parks where leashes are optional. Glik Park offers a larger, fenced-in area where your dog can play with other dogs safely, leash-free, while the Miner’s Park area is smaller although large enough to play catch and enjoy the fresh air. Both Edwardsville and Glen Carbon have parks and recreation links on their websites where you can find more information on the two dog parks as well as the many other parks online.

Edwardsville and Glen Carbon offer bike and walking trails that are often accessible from the many neighborhoods and subdivisions, making it easy to get outside with your pet(s) and exercise. Thanks to the Madison County Transit (MCT) Trails system, many abandoned train lines have been paved and turned into pedestrian and bike trails, offering residents and visitors alike more than 85 miles of scenic trails to enjoy. It’s a beautiful way to spend time with your pet and enjoy the changing seasons.

Pet lovers also enjoy the benefits of the outdoors when shopping and dining in downtown Edwardsville. Pull up a chair at one of the many restaurants in the downtown area that boasts outdoor seating. While you’re enjoying a cup of coffee or tasty lunch your pet is able to cool off in the shade by your side. And don’t forget to visit Goshen Market every Saturday morning from May to October, offering fresh and seasonal fruits, vegetables, flowers, crafts and more. You may see just as many pets as you see kids at this fun, family-friendly bazaar held downtown by the Edwardsville Courthouse.

Only the best for our pets! There are many pet options for veterinary services, groomers and more in the Edwardsville and Glen Carbon area. Do you prefer to wash your pet but would like to avoid the mess? Try Four Muddy Paws where they have a separate room with many walk-in tubs for your pooch as well as hair dryers. You can either do it yourself or have one of their professionals help out. They also offer homemade treats, dog food, and so much more. There’s even a new shop in downtown Edwardsville, Whisker Bones Supply Company, that is a dog bakery and shop with exclusive treats for your four-legged friends.

Need a boarding service for your pet? There are many to choose from in the area. Traveling Tails offers a “no kennel” approach for pets, with doggie daycare, grooming, and more amenities. You can even watch your pet via live video streaming if you miss them while they are away. There are too many choices for reputable, quality dog groomers and boarders to list here, so it’s always best to ask around to find out which one would suit your pet the best. Only you know what’s best for your pet.

Not only does Edwardsville and Glen Carbon offer plenty of parks and green-space for their residents, it offers lovely homes in historical districts with large yards and overgrown trees where pets can play. Newer communities also offer quality-built modern homes with lovely yards, tree-lined sidewalks, and friendly neighbors. It’s so nice to have so many options for a family home, making memories with our pets along the way.

If you or a loved one is looking to relocate to the Edwardsville or Glen Carbon area, please contact me for all of your real estate needs at 618-978-2384. I’d be happy to share more information on the abundance of wonderful places to go and things to do in the area. Whether you are already a pet owner or would like to be, you can’t beat the Ed/Glen communities!

What You Need to Know about Finding a Realtor

Finding a RealtorWhether it’s your first time buying or selling a home, or you consider yourself experienced in real estate, it’s always important to know what you’re getting yourself into. Buying or selling a home can be quite a task and as a Realtor for many years, I have heard about negative experiences as well as success stories that can go hand in hand with real estate transactions. I like to offer some universal pointers and reasons why I recommend relying on a Realtor instead of attempting to go it alone. It should be an exciting time in your life, so why make it overly challenging?

Choosing a Realtor you feel comfortable with is an important part of buying or selling a home. Whether a Realtor approaches you at an open house or you meet she or he at a bustling office, always check their license and credentials. Many of us in the industry hear stories about professionals still selling homes when their license has been expired or revoked. With the power of Google, searching Realtors online has never been easier. A good Realtor will have more than just a LinkedIn profile, making them appear reputable. Many Realtors have online reviews from those who have worked with them. If the Realtor is newer to the profession, they may not have many reviews but that’s okay too. The best approach is to ask around and get recommendations about any agent you are interested in working with, whether they have a large portfolio yet or not. If you feel at ease with the Realtor and feel that they listen to you, you are likely taking that first step in the right direction!

People hire real estate professionals for many reasons, but one of the main benefits of having a Realtor involved is because the home selling/buying process can be time consuming. If you are thinking you may want to put up that “For Sale by Owner” sign in your front yard, for example, be prepared for additional effort and energy that goes along with selling your home. Do you know if you are selling in a buyer’s market? Are homes sitting empty on your block already? Trying to sell your home on your own, while working a full-time job and raising a family, can be a big undertaking. Balancing your work, life, and family time can be hard enough. Adding additional time and energy required to sell your home may turn into an overwhelming experience. Luckily, Realtors can help make the process a smoother one. Realtors know all of the “tools and channels” for selling your home so you don’t have to.

A good Realtor also knows what price range to list your home within and can work in conjunction with “home stagers” to make sure any walk-throughs or open houses make a great first impression. If you are looking to buy, Realtors often know homes for sale even before they are listed, making it a smart decision to contact a Realtor when you are beginning your new home search. Having a large real estate network, Realtors specialize in knowing everything about the communities in which they work, including which home just added that in-ground pool you may be looking for in your new home!

With any real estate transaction, there is paperwork involved. Learning about the laws of your particular state that govern real estate transfers can be a lot of work if you are not experienced. Different laws mean different kinds of paperwork, and Realtors will handle everything you need to do with a simple “sign here” sticker once you’re ready to buy or sell. There may be encumbrances that are on your home or mandatory disclosure laws involved and a Realtor is happy to take the burden off of your shoulders, walking you through the entire process. When dealing with a more complex transaction, trust your Realtor and take a deep breath! Although the process may seem perplexing to you, a skilled Realtor has seen it all and will know what to do. After all, a Realtor’s reputation is at stake and they rely on your review of their services to be successful.

Finding or selling a home should be an exciting occasion, signifying a change in your life. Whether it’s a new baby, job relocation, or marriage, a trusted Realtor can help make the adventure less stressful from the legwork to the paperwork. I know there will be questions along the way, and am more than happy to share my knowledge with you. It’s better to ask every possible question than to feel confused during the home buying or selling process. Knowing the local market, I have first hand experience in what potential buyers look for in our area. Contact me for your real estate needs while the mortgage rates are still low. 2016 can be the best year yet for finding you and your family an ideal home for making new memories!