Where can you live for $1,000,000 around the world?

Monaco wins the prize for miniature size at maximum cost; $1.02 Million for a 377 sq. ft. Studio with a “partial kitchen”!  This makes New York and Paris seem like a bargain.  I’ll happily continue staging beautiful condos and houses in Chicago and burbs – we get all the culture of this great city with a little more room to breath!http://realestate.msn.com/what-1-million-buys-in-19-cities-around-the-world

A Beautiful Dream House in Downtown Oak Park

Oak Park Victorian resizedI recently had the pleasure of working in this gorgeous Oak Park home http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/126-Clinton-Ave_Oak-Park_IL_60302_M76121-64218?row=4
Located only 1 block from the train station, the area has a city feel but with space to breathe. There’s a huge wrap-around porch, stone patios, deck, a sports court, numerous fireplaces, beautiful kitchen and baths, art studio, and the kind of architectural detail that has made Oak Park famous.

Selling Your House? Then It’s Time To “Think Spring”!

If you’re selling your house in the Chicago area, then you know that the weather forecast is calling for more snow.  But Real Estate transactions and staging your house can no longer wait for Mother Nature to change her tune. It’s time to take charge and take advantage of the random mild day to get started (and finished) boosting your property’s curb appeal!

Curb Appeal Tips

Yes, regardless of the temps outside, the calendar reads almost-April. It’s time to get busy outside.

For the home seller,   “time is money”, so here goes:

  • Review and complete all of the items from the infographic above.
  • Any paint-able surfaces on the home should look freshly painted in an up-to-date color (unless home is historic property).
  • Gutter, fascia, etc., should be level and properly attached.
  • Windows sparkling-clean.
  • Shingles should be in good order.
  • All retaining walls should look and function as intended.
  • Front door should look beautiful. Freshly stained or painted, glass clean, thresholds, hinges, knobs, and weather stripping clean and in place. Doorbell working.
  • Light fixtures always clean, good quality light bulbs, all bulbs same brand and wattage.  Leave exterior lit at night. Buyers often drive by at night.
  • Fences should be freshly stained or painted and not leaning.
  • Mailbox should look good.
  • House numbers can easily be updated if they look worn or out of style.
  • Trash cans should be uniform, clean, and tucked away as discreetly as possible.
  • Consider adding two beautiful planters of flowers near front door.
  • Patio furniture should be arranged well and cushions cleaned.
  • Plant flowers.
  • Consider whether that favorite statue, bird house, doo-dad, etc., really adds to a pleasing aesthetic, or should it be put in storage until you move?
  • If cement or other hardscape area is discolored, here is a good product to try:
     http://product_wet_and_forget_outdoor.html

A Home Seller Only Has A Few Seconds To Make A Good First Impression:

curb appeal from pinterestA beautiful front entry from Houzz and Indulgy
http://indulgy.com/post/2sUfIwnf91/bodysiding-benjamin-moore-hc-louisburg-green-tri

 

Fear not, transferees: The beautiful side of Chicago winters.

Even Chicago winters have a silver lining!

So yes, it has been a particularly “dramatic” winter in Chicagoland this year.  Nearly record-breaking snows, temperatures below zero, and face-numbing wind chills have reminded us that there are FOUR distinct seasons in the Windy City. Carl Sandburg dubbed Chicago as “defiant”, a good observation, it would seem. So while light snows literally paralyzed other cities, Chicagoans, (and Midwesterns in general), take it all in stride. Appreciating, in fact, the impossibly blue skies that burst out behind glittered tree branches, or the frozen lakes that shine like sheets of glass, or the camaraderie among strangers sharing the knowledge that spring is around the corner as evidenced by this:

https://plus.google.com/104694889098538956315

Once again, winter breaks to  allow the Chicago River to be dyed a brilliant Irish green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

A Beautifully Staged Home Should Also Smell Fresh and Clean


Even cute little puppies like these can wreak havoc when you’re selling your house…

Any unusual or offensive odors can threaten the sale of your home. Take steps now to prevent unpleasant scents from sabotaging your showings:

 

When selling your home, don’t forget the strong first impression that fragrance can make.

 

Any odor perceived as unpleasant or even just unusual can turn off your potential buyers. The same cooking aroma that makes your mouth water when entering your favorite restaurant is considered a flaw (or worse!) when looking at properties to purchase. Odors from smoking, mold, chemicals, strong perfumes, and of course, pets, can make buyers cross your home off their list. To further complicate matters, homeowners adjust to the scents of their own homes and can’t tell when there’s a problem.

 

Large retailers and the hospitality industry routinely use pleasant fragrances when marketing their products. Before listing, create an action plan for a fresh, clean scent ambiance when marketing your product: your home:

  • Professionally clean all carpeting, upholstery, and draperies.  In the Chicago area, we’ve had great results with Executive Green Clean.  http://www.executivegreenclean.net/
  • Launder or clean all bedspreads, curtains, linens, and window blinds.
  • Change filters in furnaces, air conditioners, humidifiers, air cleaning machines, etc.
  • Promptly clean and neutralize any pet accidents with a specialized enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle. http://www.natures-miracle.com/
  • Thoroughly clean (or even eliminate) older silk plants, throw pillows, and crafty decor items that act as dust-catchers.
  • Prior to listing, sweep unfinished cement basement and garage floors with sweeping compound, then wet mop.
  • Bathrooms and tub/shower areas should be cleaned and sparkling from top to bottom.
  • Regularly run a combination of ice cubes and lemon/orange peels through the garbage disposal to keep fresh.
  • Keep pet cages, crates, and litter boxes clean. Bathe dogs frequently while house in on the market to prevent that ambient “doggy” smell.
  • Vacuum floors and furniture frequently.
  • Don’t allow smoking in the house or garage while house is on the market.

Whew!  That’s quite a long list. 

Home Staging in Chicago and Suburbs!

 

Staging in Chicagoland  is more critical than ever! Homes that aren’t staged are not selling or worse…they are hammered on price to desperately find a buyer. There is no need to lower your price when staging is the option!

What is Staging?

Home Staging is the preparation of a home to sell by a trained professional who specializes in understanding the buyer demographic and preparing homes to sell. Many definitions you have seen no doubt stop after the word “sell” and that is part of the big misconception and devaluation of home staging.
Some Realtors and home sellers will say that they have already “staged” their homes only to find that they will be lowering their price within the month. There is a vast difference between a home that was simply de-cluttered and cleaned and one that was professionally staged! Creating the “model home” look is not easily achieved without the help of someone who does this everyday for a living.