Make Your Home LOOK Expensive

We each want our home to look like it could be featured in a design magazine. However, accomplishing that look can be daunting, until now. There are 6 inexpensive steps you can take to make your home look expensive.


This is something that I tell my clients when they are putting their home on the market. You may love your collections and knicknacks and completely understand your pile filing system. But that clutter communicates chaos to others. Edit your collections, and use organization systems like those from Ikea above to find a way to display or store in an organized way.

Eliminate grunge

Once or twice a year deep clean to keep your home looking luxurious. A little elbow grease focused on baseboards, ceiling fans, windows, floors will upgrade the overall look of your home.

Add or rearrange lighting

Lighting is a great way to make a home look expensive, but it doesn’t really cost that much. Use light to define spaces, separate rooms, make a small space look grand or a large space cozy. Consider using warm-colored light bulbs to make a home look luxe.

Upgrade your hardware

This can change the look of a room in a day and cost very little. If you have a larger budget, consider updating your faucets or maybe even your countertops.


There’s no easier way to make an old home look expensive than by painting. You don’t have to stop at your walls either. Add color to your front door, window trims or even your ceiling and floors.

Decor details

Consider creating vignettes – combining decor items like vases, frames and objects to add visual interest to an otherwise bland area. Don’t do this everywhere. Pick one or two locations that need some sprucing up.

Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time

In an ideal world, you’d buy a new home, move, and then deal with the turmoil of selling. But for most people, that’s just not possible for both financial and logistic reasons. So if buying and selling a house at the same time is your only option, here’s what you need to know to make sure both processes go as smoothly as possible.

Know the market first

Before you start make sure you have a solid understanding of the housing market in your area (and the area where you’re planning to buy). Is the market weighted toward buyers or sellers? I can help you with this.

This information will help us fully strategize the best plan of action.

Also, you’ll want to hire an appraiser and price your old home fairly. Two extra months on the market because you couldn’t humble yourself to lower the price means two months you’ll be paying double mortgages.

Plan your schedule carefully

Should you buy first, then sell—or vice versa? Selling first makes getting a mortgage easier, but it also means you’ll need to find a temporary place to live. Buying first means moving will be easier, but it also skews your debt-to-income ratio, making it harder to qualify for a new mortgage—not to mention the difficulty of juggling two monthly house payments.

When determining whether you should sell or buy first, think beyond “How can I make the move as easy as possible?” Instead ask: “Can I handle two mortgages? What if my home sells for less than its listing?”

Whichever option you choose, make sure you’re prepared to accept the consequences: having to store your stuff and rent temporarily, or undergoing the financial burdens of dual mortgages.

… but don’t rely on timing

Remember, you’re not the only party in this equation. For every seller there’s a buyer, for every buyer a seller. While things might appear to be working smoothly when viewing your master plan from above, that doesn’t take into account the varibilities of other people. Closings are rife with delays. Your buyers might have difficulty securing their mortgage; your home inspector may bring up issues that need to be fixed

So even if you’ve planned to sell your home first and are prepared to rent while buying, know that even the best-laid plans go awry—and you might end up juggling both mortgages. Preparing yourself for this possibility ahead of time will ensure a smooth transition.

Know your financial solutions

For those who choose to sell first, the process is relatively straightforward other than the additional cost of a rental between homes. However, there is the option of a rent-back agreement, where you negotiate with the lenders and buyers to be able to remain in the property for a maximum of 60 to 90 days—often in exchange for a lower selling price or rent paid to the buyers. This can relieve some of the pressure of finding a new home, giving you additional time to house hunt.

But if you’re buying first, talk to me about ways to decrease your financial burden and risk. Here are the two most popular options for buyers:

Contract contingency: Buyers can request that their new home purchase be dependent on the successful sale of their old home. If you’re looking in a competitive market, this may not be a good option; however, if the seller of your intended home has had difficulty attracting interest, this may be a good deal for all parties involved—assuming you can convince them that your home will sell quickly.

Bridge loans: Bridge financing allows you to own two homes simultaneously if you don’t have deep pockets for a second down payment. This option is especially attractive if you’d planned to sell your home first and use the proceeds to buy the second. It functions as a short-term loan, intended to be repaid upon the sale of your original house.

Don’t let fear rush you

If your home has sold but you haven’t found a new place to live, don’t let anxiety push you toward a bad decision. It is best to plan on a short-term rental from the start so you don’t feel stressed or pushed into something.

Found the perfect home right on schedule? That’s great. But don’t feel like you have to compromise on things that are important to you just because you need to find a home. Conversely, don’t accept a bid that you feel is too low just because your finances are strained by two mortgages. If you have a temporary apartment set up, you’re less likely to compromise.

Certainly, selling and buying a house simultaneously will be stressful—but I can help you carefully consider and plan for the hurdles and help reduce the stress.

Do You Really Need a Realtor?

People ask me all they time if they really need a realtor to buy or sell their home. My wife and I even had that discussion when we were looking for our first house. Hey, it’s a valid question. But there are definite benefits in working with a real estate professional.

Here’s just some of the services that I offer to my clients.

I shop properties online with full access to the industry’s MLS listing system. That goes beyond just looking a listings. I also research neighborhoods, comps and even the sales history of a property for my clients.

I hit the road and see properties in person before I show them to my clients. That helps me become familiar with the property, its benefits and its challenges so that  I can point that out when you see see it.

I invest in marketing for my clients. Remember, I don’t get paid until your real estate deal closes. So I am committed enough to my clients to invest in open houses and marketing knowing that it will all pay off, for you and for me, in the end.

I’m there to help my clients, even through the sometimes bumpy real estate transaction.

As a general rule of thumb, for every hour an agent spends in your presence, he or she will spend an average of nine hours out of eyesight working on your behalf.

Let me help you find your dream home in NWA!


Winter Landscaping Can Help Sell Your House Quickly

Winter landscaping can help sell your house quickly, but you have to know how to make your home stand out from all those other sad, cold houses on the block. Here are some easy solutions to improve the appearance of your snow-covered yard this winter.

Maintenance Matters

To achieve a winter wonderland of a yard, the most important ingredient is some good old-fashioned sweat equity. If the leaves are still falling, get out your rake; if it’s winter, make sure to neatly shovel your sidewalks, porch, and driveway. And don’t neglect your bushes and shrubs during the cold months—pruning them occasionally gives the landscape a well-kept look.

Your beds may not be filled with flowers, but that doesn’t mean they should look dreary. While adding mulch won’t help plants grow when the ground is frozen, it will give your garden a visual makeover and help you catch a buyer’s eye.

Add some color and greenery

There are a number of hardy plants that can survive the winter. Some require forethought—shrubs such as the vibrant, red flowering quince need to be planted no later than fall, and the imposing boxwood requires time for growing and shaping. But others, such as Christmas greens, can be found at your local nursery and do well potted on porches.

If you have these on hand, you can also use them to make quick arrangements for the inside of your home.

Shine some light on it

As the days get shorter, lighting up your home’s exterior becomes more important. Start with path lighting—which helps with navigation—and build up your lighting scheme to highlight your home’s best features.

Spotlight obvious focal points, and add small lighting at the bottom of your water features or showstopper trees such as the Japanese maple.

Make your house look like a postcard, and it can sell even during the snowiest winter. Whether you are looking to buy or sell in any season, give me a call.

6 Essentials You Need to Know About Home Inspections

I get a lot of questions about home inspections from both home buyers and home sellers.

inspectionFor sellers, impending home inspections can be a reminder of all those small issues with the home that they haven’t taken care of over the years. And many buyers are concerned that home inspections might uncover some serious issues with their dream home.

Here are 6 tips that can make home inspections go smoother for all involved.

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Trends in New Home Amenities

Just like in fashion, certain new home amenities move in and out of vogue. One day your in and the next you are out. New home builders have to stay up on the latest trends in new home amenities to make their homes appealing to new buyers.

Here are the 10 features builders are least likely and most likely to include in a home built this year based on findings from a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders.

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Staging A Home

Most people have heard about staging a home to help it sell. However few people believe THEIR HOME needs to be staged.

The reality is, we love our homes, and they reflect our personalities and our hobbies and even our quirks. But when you are trying to sell your home, removing some of the things that are unique and personal to you can help a buyer picture themselves in the home. That can help the home sell faster. Continue reading Staging A Home

9 Home Repairs To Make Before Selling

Anyone who owns a home usually keeps a running list of repairs that need to be made. It’s just a part of home ownership. But before you put your home on the market there are 9 home repairs that you really should take care of.

These are repairs that will typically show up in a home inspection, so you might as well go ahead and fix them before you list your home.

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Top 7 Home Improvements for 2015

Any improvements will add value to your home, right? Wrong. Some improvements are safer bets than others. Here are the top 7 home improvements you can make in 2015 according to research conducted by Redfin real estate brokerage.

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