Realty Executives Gallery Properties (Orlando)

Pam Ransone

REALTOR® (407) 484-7911

Pam Ransone


Selling your First Home

(Published on - 11/30/2019 2:22:49 AM)

     selling your first home

The Home Selling Process

Are you planning to sell your home? Regardless if this is your first time as a homeseller, or maybe you’ve sold many homes, understanding the selling process can assure you that things are going smoothly. Successful transactions don’t justhappen; it takes experience and professionals to navigate from staging to closing.

Who Are The Experts?

  • Real Estate Agent – Before you start, do your homework and find an experienced listing agent in your area.

  • Escrow Officer – Your escrow officer is a neutral 3rd party, they take the terms agreed to by the parties and ensures they are fulfilled properly.

    Timeline For Your Home Sale

  • Meeting With Your Agent – Your agent will tour your home and discuss your market value (including a comparative market analysis), timing and financial goals in order to create a custom plan for selling your home.

  • Preparing Your Home For Sale - Typically even a dated home can be spruced up with small changes in furniture placement, fresh paint, new lighting and/or minor repairs.

  • Listing Your House - Once your home is ready for buyers, you will list your home and your agent will implement their marketing plan.

  • Offers - Once receive offers, you will meet with your agent to review them together and determine how to respond.

  • Escrow Process For Sellers – The buyers will complete funding requirements, obtain an appraisal and home inspection. As the seller you will also complete any conditions you’ve agreed to, such as repairs ortermite work.

  • Closing – Once all conditions have been completed, you will close the sale and receive the proceeds.


The sales process is a series of steps that you and your agent will take together. Knowing what to expect, and when, can alleviate the uncertainty you might feel as a seller.

4 Reasons to Sell this Fall

(Published on - 10/16/2019 1:30:19 AM)


Traditional lore says that the best time to list your home for sale is spring and if it hasn’t sold by the end of summer, you’re out of luck. Along the same lines, homeowners across the country are often advised not to list in the fall and wait until after the holidays to list. The truth is that a great home will sell at any time of year and in fact there are some very good reasons to list in the fall, while everyone else is busy doing other activities.

4 Reasons to Sell this Fall

1. LessCompetition–Asmentionedabove,mostsellerslistinspringsoasa seller, fall provides you less competition which increases the opportunity for buyers to view your home.

2. SeriousBuyers–Homebuyersinfalloftenhaveatimelinetomovebefore the holidays. They tend to take the home search seriously and move to write offers faster and avoid wasting time.

3. CurbAppeal–Fallisabeautifultimeofyearandhomesalwaysseemcozier as the weather turns. Fall colors in the trees and the scent of baking entice buyers to feel “at home” which encourages offers.

4. ClosingisEasier–Thepaceofhomesalesslowsduringthefall;assuch lenders can move faster and the process tends to take less time.

The last and best reason to sell this fall is that it’s the right time for you and your plans. Regardless of whether you are relocating, moving up or scaling down, if this is the right time to sell, then this is the best time to sell.

12 Steps to Buying a Home

(Published on - 2/6/2019 2:15:56 AM)


Buying Step #1: 

Figure out what you can Afford (Search for Homes)

You know by now that home buying complex process. Buyers will often feel troubled because of the huge home rates. 

So before buying a home, consider its affordability. In other words, you need to know if the particular home is in your budget or not.  

The actual cost of the home will end up being more than the selling cost indicates, because there are added agent fees, as well. 

Upon first glance, a home may seem affordable to you, but there are hidden expenses involved in buying. These expenses may lead you into financial problems.  

You need to take a detailed look at the housing market to figure out your price range. You will also need to figure out requirement issues. 

Do research on schools, districts, impending constructions, crime statistics, or anything else that could increase or decrease a home’s value. 


Buying Step #2: 

Make Sure you can get a Loan (Contact a Lender)

Buying a home requires a huge amount of money that is normally not possible for a buyer to have in their pocket or bank account. 

For this reason, buyers may contact lenders for loans. There are lenders who will provide you with loans outside of your budget. For potential homebuyers, it is important to stay disciplined and go for an affordable home buying.  

Buying a home is expensive, but it can also be an emotional process. It requires careful thinking about your current financial situation.

There needs to be emotional control and you have to make decisions solely based on your budget. Do not go out of your budget because it could cause you to experience financial problems. 


Buying Step #3:

Create a List of Wants and Needs

A certain amount of energy is required when deciding your list of wants and needs for the home. 

Based on your specific budget, you must figure out what’s important to you and what you are willing to compromise.

Wants and needs play an important role in the buying decision. If our dream home is outside of our budget, we may need to settle for something cheaper. `

When estimating all your needs and all your wants, it can be productive to put a value on the items that are important to you. While visiting homes, you can then see which homes have the highest value to you. 


Buying Step #4:

Looking at Homes

After making a list of needs and wants, a complete search should be done on all houses available for sale. 

Home inspection is very important work to do for the buyer of the potential house. 

The houses that come under our budget requirements should be visited and everything within them should be inspected. 


It is the duty of the buyer to inspect everything in the house before buying. This includes: the sanitary system of the house, garden, porch, electricity and water connections along with doors, windows and cupboard locks and durability. 

When buyers have selected a home to purchase, they must not assume the selling cost of the house as the actual cost. 


Buying Step #5:

Deciding the Location

One of the choices people must make when deciding on a home is the location. 

Before buying a home, the buyer is required to visit the home and consider every aspect of it. This includes what the other members of the family think of the house.  

Every family has different demands for their home. Home is a place you are connected to, not only physically, but spiritually and mentally, as well. 

It’s a demand of every buyer that their home be in a peaceful location. There are some very successful places in the city that facilitate this need for tranquility. 

Every place has its own specifics related to the water supply, sanitation and market access. These things can increase the market value of the property (or decrease it). Look at all surrounding areas to see if this is the place in which you can see yourself and your family.


Buying Step #6:

Decide Home Location and Design

After the price of the home has been discussed, home design is the next most considerable aspect. Every buyer wants their demands met and for the house of their dreams. 

Location and commute to work are also important factors to be looked at before purchase. 

The rooms should have a proper design and up-to-date ventilation system. All these investigative points are necessary to ponder when buying a home. 


Buying Step #7:

Contact an Agent

Searching for a home on the internet is an easy job, but it could lead to scams. 

Contacting an agent is necessary. The agent will find a house for you, according to your demands. It is not easy to go out and search for homes. Let a person who has a deep knowledge about homes help you find the right one for you and your family.

Agents will note all details about the houses and will find a perfect home for you. 

By contacting an agent, it’s possible to find a less expensive house. Agents will have all kinds of details and listings you may not have found on your own. If you don’t contact an agent, then you may find yourself in trouble. It can be difficult to make a correct and viable decision on a home, all on your own.

Agents not only have all kinds of different choices and options to present you. They can show you various quality locations and guide you through the buying process without any scams involved. 


Buying Step #8:

Making an Offer

The first step to buying a home is to make an offer. This means proposing a price to buy the property. 

In the real estate arena, oral promises never carry any legal validity. In this sense, you will find the assistance of experienced real estate agents highly useful. 

There are some standard kinds of forms you need to comply with, like Residential Purchase Agreements. 

If you chose to work without an agent, there are a few things to keep in mind. Real estate laws vary from state to state. These laws can also change after time. You must keep yourself up to date on the latest home buying information available. 

Some states require disclosures. This means the seller must answer any questions the buyer may have. 

The offer made must conform to the local regulations. It must also make a mention of the price, including the terms and conditions governing the purchase. 

For example, if the seller says they will help with a given sum of money on your closing costs, make sure to mention it in the proposal. 

Upon drafting and signing the offer, it is forwarded to the seller through your real estate agent or through the seller’s agent. In some places, the sales contracts are drafted by the lawyers representing both the parties. 

Know that the purchase offer is nothing different from a sales contract that has a binding. If it is accepted, it is something equivalent to a money agreement or a deposit receipt. 

Therefore, the offer must contain every aspect, like a blue print, guiding towards the final sale. 

There are many important aspects to be included in the purchase offer. 

These include: the physical address and the legal description of the property, the terms of purchase (whether it is an all cash transaction or a mortgage purchase), the promise by the seller to give the clear title to the buyer, target date of closing the deal, the value of the earnest deposit associated with the offer and the mode of depositing the same (whether through cash or check), the implications of the earnest deposit of whether it would be returned if the deal fails or kept as damages if you happen to back out from the deal for no good reason, the plans for adjusting the taxes, rents, fuels and water bills between the buyer and the seller, information on who will pay for the title insurance, survey, inspections and others, the kind of deed that will be granted, the other legal requirements pertaining to the state, attorney review of the contract if needed, disclosure regarding the environmental hazards and the time after which the offer will expire. 

The most important aspects of a purchase offer are the contingencies. 

For instance, say your offer was given contingent upon a particular event. This means you will go ahead with the offer only after that event is satisfactory. 

 In this regard, we can make a mention of two kinds of contingencies, namely financing and home inspection. 

This means the home buyer must succeed in getting the specified financing from a lending organization. It also means the recommendations made after the home inspection must be satisfactory. 

If any one of these two contingencies is not realized, then the contract would be void. Also, it is important to mention all of the inspection conditions in the purchase offer. 


Buying Step #9:

Putting Money in Escrow when you Make an Offer

While purchasing a home, the buyer is expected to put money in escrow. This makes the contract a binding one and also moves it subsequently through closure. 

Escrow is the period occurring between the time a property enters into the purchase offer and the time when its title is transferred in the name of the new owner. 

The initial deposit amount collected as part of escrow is also referred to as good faith earnest money. This is the payment that will follow the home purchase process subsequently. 

How much is to be deposited in the escrow will depend on the terms mentioned in the purchase offer. 

The escrow agent is a kind of third party, enjoying a neutral state between the two parties. He carries an assurance to both the parties. The escrow agent is involved in the transaction so that the different clauses of the offer will be met completely. 

In the real estate arena, the escrow process is essential in cases where the ownership title is to be changed. The escrow is the manager of the trust account that holds the funds that will cover the value of the transaction. 

The money collected from the buyer is held in escrow till the seller completes the obligations and transfers the title to the buyer. After this, the payment is remitted to the seller.   

Actually, the earnest money is the first deposit the buyer makes through escrow. 

This marks the interest of the buyer to acquire the property. 

The earnest money is used to cover all or parts of the spending towards down payment, purchase price and closing costs. If for some reason the buyer or the seller is not able to fulfil their corresponding obligations, then they must mutually agree on how to deal with the deposit. 

The other payments from the buyer include the advance down payment, as needed by the purchase contract and the closing costs estimated.


Buying Step #10:

Negotiating with the Seller

Perhaps this is the toughest aspect of a home purchase. In this step, you will find the help of the real estate agent highly useful. 

You must always know how to make a winning kind of negotiation. This requires thorough market research and is achieved through successful negotiation strategies. 

Once you find your dream house and intend to make an offer, you must first review the comparable sales in the area. This validates the asking price. 

You must be able to compare the comps with the target house. Once you have researched properties similar to the one you wish to buy, take the average price of all the homes and mention it in the offer. It is important to visit the homes you are using as comps before deciding on a price. 

If the target home has some additional features, then you need to consider them in the price quote. It is best to mention the comparable sales deals in the purchase offer. It will give the seller an idea that you have done your research on this.

A purchase offer can evoke three possible responses from the seller. First, the home owner might accept your offer as it is. Second, he might counter act the offer by demanding some changes. Or third, he might reject the offer altogether with a counter proposal. 

To deal with the response effectively, you must first have the idea of the maximum amount you are prepared to spend on the deal. You have made the offer come down from the listed price (as guided by the comps) and now the seller comes down on the price through a counter offer. Now you need to figure out how badly you want to go ahead with the deal.  

If you persist with your offer price when there is high market demand, then you might lose the property to some other buyer. 

Always remember home buying negotiation is a professional business transaction, so don’t approach it with personal sentiments. 

If the price that the seller demands is too high to the comparable value of the property, then you must know when to walk out of the deal.


Buying Step #11:

The Closing Process Begins

Also referred to as settlement or escrow, the closing process is highly automated and computerized. These days, the signed papers can be forwarded to the closing agent in no time. However, the closing process is meant to bring all the parties involved to the same platform. 

 During the review of the property ownership, there might be some errors, unreported claims, or flaws in the review. These issues necessitate the title insurance. 

 During closing, all of the prevailing transfer taxes must be paid. You must also settle all other claims, such as closing costs, legal fees and adjustments. In several cases, it is the responsibility of the closing agent to do the documentation regarding the loan. 

When compared to the other processes connected to home buying, closing is a brief one. It only involves the completion of the transaction agreed upon. 

In most cases of closing, the buyer and the seller are present in an official setting. They commit themselves to completing all the papers concerned. The objective of the closing process is to transfer the title of the property to the buyer. 

While the buyer receives the keys, the seller gets the payment. The closing agents deduct the costs to pay the existing mortgages and other costs connected to the transaction. 

During the closing process, the deeds, loan documents and other papers are prepared, duly signed and submitted to the offices maintaining the property records. 

Before the closing process, the buyer needs to inspect the property personally. You want to check nothing has changed with regard to the property following the signing of the agreement. 

Since the closing agents take care of the documentation with regard to the title companies, lawyers and the lenders, the buyer will have little work. 

The paperwork will enable the parties connected to the transaction to verify their interests. 

The outcome during the closing process is that the buyers receive the titles to the property, the lenders get their loans documented in the public records and the state governments get to collect the taxes towards the transaction.


Buying Step #12:

It’s not yours Until You Close

While all looks set and going well, nothing can be worse than the deal falling apart. This could be due to multiple reasons including home inspection, low appraisal etc.

It would be easy for buyers to ensure the deal goes through if they know these potential pitfalls beforehand:

It is better to have a preapproved loan to make sure finance is not a problem. Many applications get rejected during the mortgage approval process. 

As you are finalizing the deal with the seller, it is a good idea to be in contact with the agents to know the status of your finance. 

Finalizing the deal with the seller, but faltering in getting loans will send the deal in a rut. Low appraisals are one of the major breakers of these deals. 

If the appraisal is low, the lender will not give you a loan for the deal, which may cause problems for the buyer.

Title insurance and home inspections should also be expected. The lender will make sure to check whether the seller fully owns the house or not. 

 Defaulters will not own the house fully. If during the home inspection physical damage is noticed, the deal could be called off. 

All these cautionary things need to be kept in mind by the buyer. If anything goes wrong, some contingency measures may be taken and the deal could be sealed



Where to Spend When Remodeling

(Published on - 10/9/2018 11:28:56 PM)

The best return on remodeling projects is not even given by full-scale remodeling projects. It is by replacing already existing things like windows and doors with usually a mid-range upgrade.

We are going to take a quick look at several of the best places that you should spend your money at. We’ll also dive into details of where and how much you can expect to recoup when you decide to place your home on the market. We’ll begin by going over some of those replacement projects and continue with an overview of some of the other big hitters: the kitchen and bathroom remodel.


These projects are relatively simple and low-cost, placing them within the reach of most homeowners. The top four improvement projects in terms of ROI are the following:

  • Entry Door – 101.8%
  • Manufactured stone veneer – 92.2%
  • Garage door – 88.5%
  • Siding – 84.3%

As you can see, these things are not spectacular. You should first notice where they are. They are all on the visible exterior of the home, creating a positive first impression in the minds of potential buyers, an impression that helps set the value of the home in their minds.

Other replacement projects with a good return include replacing old windows with new vinyl or wood ones and installing a new roof, with returns of over 71% and 62% respectively.

It is also worth noting that the ROI numbers will vary depending on what market you are in. The Pacific Northwest (including Alaska and Hawaii) tends to show the best return on remodeling/improvement projects, with Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee also showing strong returns according to the 2015 Cost vs. Value report from Remodeling magazine.


Naturally, there can be much to be gained from work on the inside of the home as well. One chief benefit of redoing a room or two inside the home is that it will increase your own enjoyment of your home.

Another pro is that if you are selling, it is important to carry a good impression that was formed as a result of your exterior and interior improvements of the house. As with all other aspects of home improvement, there are better and worse ways to spend your money. And as the adage goes kitchens sell houses.

Citing Remodeling magazine once again, kitchen remodels average a return of 79.3% nationwide, making it the best investment for a total remodeling project.

Other good remodel projects to consider include:

  • Attic bedroom – 72.9%
  • Bathroom – 70.3%
  • Basement – 70.3%

These projects can be costly, with national averages for job costs running in the tens of thousands of dollars, so be sure to carefully consider just how much you are willing to spend and what is in demand in your particular market.


One other thing to consider to add value to your home as well as make it more functional for yourself is to consider the addition of certain rooms. Clearly, in most cases this is a large step with an even larger investment involved.

Therefore, do not consider this if you are planning on selling within the next few years. That said, if you plan on staying where you are for a while to enjoy your additions, they can result in a reasonable ROI, though some are more worthwhile than others.

Take a look below.

  • Master suite – 63.2%
  • Deck – 77.3%
  • Bathroom – 54.8%
  • Sunroom – 46.5%
  • Garage – 63.7%

As you can see, there is a fairly large range in your ROI involved, though not as large as a less ambitious remodel. And a careful reading of the data actually shows that some of the most expensive projects (a sunroom addition averaged over $72,000 nationwide) actually provide the lowest returns.

The simple fact is that buyers may not have the same taste as you, and even if they do, they only see the finished product with little understanding, or interest, of what went into creating it. That last point brings out the need for having a slightly deeper understanding of the way these statistics often play out in real life. For example, a roof replacement is often cited as having a high ROI.

While this can be true, it is important to understand this in context. After all, you have heard others asserting that a new roof doesn’t really add value to a home. How to square these seemingly contradictory statements?

A roof is much like a bass player in a rock band, you should only really notice it when it isn’t doing its job. That is, a roof isn’t something you should really need to think about unless it is leaking or has a colony of moss growing on it. Therefore, a bad roof can certainly detract from a home’s value.

A solid, trouble-free roof is simply expected. Its chief value as a seller is how it may favorably compare with other, similar homes with older roofs that are showing clear signs of wear.

Keeping this in mind, don’t replace your roof with an eye toward selling unless your home clearly needs it. One caveat to include is that things like energy efficient, architectural shingles with a transferable warranty may be highly attractive to the right buyer.

Also, more money does not necessarily mean a bigger return. Going back to the kitchen example, a relatively minor remodel of $20,000 yields a much higher ROI than a $55,000 remodel.

While buyers certainly love a large kitchen complete with island and shiny stainless-steel appliances, they won’t be as quick to assign significant value to the best hinges, custom stained cupboards and imported Wolf appliances that money can buy.

At some point, things like very high-end appliances can even be a turn off either because the buyer is unfamiliar with them or because he is and knows how hard it is to get parts when they fail. Basements are also tricky. A nice big recreation room is certainly a draw but often it will not be counted as living space in an appraisal or in the square footage when the home is listed.

People also tend to have their own ideas of exactly what a rec room should be. If you have not finished your basement already or are planning on leaving in less than five years, it is best to either leave it alone or just put up walls along the outside of the basement, and put in a cheap but decent looking carpet and inexpensive drop ceiling, allowing the buyer to customize to his own tastes.

It is also important to never forget the basic systems. When people are looking at a home, they do not expect to find leaky pipes, a furnace that doesn’t work or electrical outlets that pop a breaker as soon as something is plugged in.

These and issues like mold, the aforementioned leaky roof or stained and damaged carpet are things that will generally turn off a buyer, regardless of how amazing the kitchen and bathrooms may be. Some of these, especially less visible issues like an aging furnace or water heater may seem like a waste of money if you are planning on selling soon.

And indeed, a buyer may not notice such issues on the initial walk through. But even if an offer is made and accepted, that is not necessarily the end of the story. Appraisers and inspectors will both almost certainly be coming through the home as part of the process and either of these can derail a sale. An appraiser will notice such aging equipment and other factors like old carpet and flooring and adjust the home’s value based on the current market.

Home inspectors are less concerned with market value but they will point out that even if it is running flawlessly at the moment, a 25-year-old furnace can give out anytime, leading a buyer to want to subtract the value of a new one from the price of the home. So, even if you are intending to move in the near future, it is worth to pay the extra money to fix or repair the basic systems of your home. Certain systems do provide a good ROI.

The furnace and air conditioning units in particular can be a selling point if they are the new, energy efficient models. An additional bonus here is that there are often tax credits associated with them, lessening your initial investment. And don’t forget, even if any of these repairs do not add additional value in the eyes of a buyer, they don’t subtract value and will aid the fast sale of your home.

Staging Solutions and Options

(Published on - 6/26/2018 10:57:46 AM)


If you don’t have the furniture that best compliments your home so that it’s dressed to impress, renting some can be a convenient option.  Also, if the house that you are selling is completely vacant, renting furniture might not only be convenient, but the smartest move.

Before getting started on the selection process, take into account what you have at home.

Storing away worn or dingy items is strongly recommended. Even just removing an old coffee table or couch can brighten up the space.

After you have done your best to comb through your house to rearrange or clear out furniture in each room, you can reassess to figure out whether or not you could use a few more pieces.

Whatever money you carefully spend on obtaining furniture will pay off when the home sells.

Much of the time, some renting is required to really create the effect you want, and even staging experts hired by homeowners resort to renting when in need of furniture.

How does one rent furniture?

  • Furniture rental companies. We don’t often hear about these types of companies unless we’re looking for them. Churchill Furniture Rental, Cort Furniture Rental, Brook Furniture Rental and AFR Furniture Rental are big names in the business.

These and other rental companies normally provide the furniture, the trucks, and the man-power to get it to its destination.

The only downside is that they also normally require a three-month minimum rental period.

Of course, if you happen to sell your home sooner, you’re not out any extra money for returning the furniture early.

  • Thrift shops or antique shops. If you have any of these in your area, you might consider asking to rent larger pieces of furniture.

You will not always be successful at this, but if you find something that would fit your needs, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Instead of renting furniture, some experts suggest using cardboard furniture for a comparatively lower cost.

You can dress it up as standard furniture without anyone necessarily seeing the difference.

A lot of this furniture is durable enough to be sat upon, however, so that’s also a plus.

Whichever furniture option you choose, make sure that it is indeed the best for your particular situation and that it will bring you the greatest return on investment by either selling the house more quickly than expected, or selling for a higher price.

Affordable Options

Let’s talk a bit about budget. When exploring staging options, it’s possible to become overwhelmed by the price tag of renting furniture.

The great news is that by taking the time to re-evaluate and rearrange your current possessions, you will find that you may not have to rent much - if any - furniture at all.  This can save you money.

What else can save money and help make the sale? Here are a few tips:

  • Re-establish boundaries. If your living room is also the playroom, the toys need to go into hibernation. No one enjoys seeing colorful dolls and cars all over the floor – except the children, of course.

Do you golf in your hallway? Pack up the putting green.

  • Polishing. Do a deep and thorough cleaning of every single room, and pay attention to the smallest details. When was the last time that you polished the wood or washed the windows?

It’s time to do it now. Even the toilet should shine. Don’t forget the ceiling fans with their dusty blades.

  • Put away memories. It might be difficult to do if you are staying in the house until it sells, but it is now time to take down all of your family photos, certificates, sports banners, and anything else that has a personal touch.

You want the potential buyers to see the house as an immediate home for them, not to have them subconsciously weighed down with the need to clear the house of all your belongings.

  • Fresh air. There are those people who love to open the windows every morning to let the breeze rush through, and then there are those people who couldn’t be paid to open the windows.

Well, it’s time to think seriously about getting paid by potential buyers.

If you never allow fresh air to blow through your home, then it has most likely developed an unappealing odor. Open up!

Step back and look at your house with the eyes of a potential buyer who has never entered through the door.

Do a walk-around on the outside, and then go slowly through the house to see what can be cleared away or scrubbed down.

All of this might take some time, but it will save you money whether you are hiring a staging expert or doing it yourself.


Pinterest has become a great online resource for learning how to improve your living space through creative projects such as using picture frames to create attractive wall molding.

If you find out that you have enough furniture but just need to embellish your home a bit more, here are some ideas:

  • Brighten it up. Do you have a sad paint color in any or all rooms? Is the house monochromatic?

Consider re-painting rooms according to their purpose, such as using soft neutrals like mild yellows or creams that set off a glow when the sun shines in the dining room.

Add an accent wall in the living room by choosing a complementary color such as a calming sage green or a deep red against taupe walls. Whatever you do, make the home welcoming.

“Remember, you’re never fully dressed without a smile!” (Annie)

  • New clothes. What would happen if you wore the same shirt – without washing it - every day for a week? It’s time to re-dress the windows and sofas.

Updating the window coverings to compliment the paint color and re-covering or purchasing new accent sofa pillows that pop can create a quick upgrade to your home.

Also, make sure to update your bathroom collection with clean and bright towels and bathmats.

  • Bring it to life. Consider strategically adding a fresh plant or vase of flowers to the different rooms throughout the home.

The keyword is strategically. This does not mean adding a floor plant in every corner and putting a vase of flowers on every surface.

Also, be smart! You want to be careful to avoid flowers with heavy pollen such as lilies to discourage any allergic reactions among potential buyers.

  • Slow things down. Adding lightly-scented candles here and there and lighting them when showing the home will create a calmer atmosphere.

Again, be careful to avoid heavy scents that encourage sneezing or instant headaches. Recommended scents are cinnamon, vanilla, pine, and citrus.

  • Play music. Have you ever taken the time to notice the varying differences in music choices among the stores that you visit?

A very low background hum of classical music will add a level of sophistication to your home, releasing extra endorphins within the bodies of your potential buyers, and providing them with a sense of wealth as they stroll through the beautifully-arranged home.

Hiring a Professional vs. Doing It Yourself

Time is the most common denominator among homeowners during the home-selling process.

To conserve as much time for yourself as possible, you will want to delegate as many tasks as you can so that you will be free to focus on other important aspects of your move.

A professional home stager could be a real lifesaver. Staging experts often have acquired valuable experience that they can pass on to your home to increase its salability.

The staging professional or firm will create a theme in each room to compliment the layout, bring in the furniture and home décor needed to complete the themes throughout the house, and give you tips to use when showing the house such as what kind of fresh flowers to buy or scented candles to burn.

You might also consider that a staging expert or firm will make sure to provide the manpower needed to do the heavy lifting and moving of furniture throughout the house, and if any damage happens in the process, the stager covers the cost of repairs.

On the other hand, staging the home yourself could not only save you money, but could also allow you to put more of your own personality into the theme.

Having lived in the home yourself, you are more familiar with its pros and cons indoors and outdoors such as the need for more light in a certain room or making sure that the lawn is treated for weeds to keep them from sprouting up overnight.

Your goal is to gain the highest return on investment when your house sells. If you believe you can achieve this by staging on your own, then go for it, otherwise, spend the little extra on a professional upfront to reap the benefits at the sale.

What to Expect with a Pro

True staging pros run a very smooth operation.   Of course, anyone can make mistakes, but fumbling around for something to write on or asking for your pen is already a red flag. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Ask around. Don’t just select a random name from online and hire the stager. Ask your realtor, other realtors, and friends about their experiences and ask for a referral.

Then, interview several pros and select the one who could provide the best value to you.

  • You get what you pay for. If the price tag is low, it’s probable that the quality of service offered will match that price.

If your stager is a well-known expert in the field, your price tag will definitely be considerably higher than someone running a summer gig.

Can your potential stager provide references and photos of successful past projects?

  • They ask you many questions. Just like a doctor, the staging pro wants as much information from you about your needs as possible.

On your part, you also need to ask many questions during the initial consultation to make sure that this is the stager for you.

Ask questions like how do they work out their rates, how long they will take, what you could do on your end to keep the costs down, have they staged homes in the past and how many, and whether or not they’ll expect anything from you during the process.

  • They are staging pros. Not realtors. Not bankers. However, they do need to know enough about real estate to ensure that they know what they’re aiming for in increasing a home’s salability.

Their job is to make your home as appealing as possible to potential buyers, so they will not (and should not) talk to you about negotiating pricing with those buyers.

  • Be prepared to change your ways. The stager will want you to follow certain guidelines if you will be living in the staged house.

This will help keep the rooms in order and ready for viewing. If you won’t be living in the house, it’s going to be much easier to keep the home clean and ready to show. However, make sure to get in and dust regularly.

Real staging pros should make you feel confident about the quality of their work.

If you have any negative internal reaction during your initial consultation, run in the other direction and find someone you can trust. If you want to sell your home, it’s ultimately your responsibility to make it happen.


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Pam Ransone

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