Blog :: 02-2014

7 Buyer Turnoffs

bad landscape

1. Haunted-House Landscaping

If your yard looks like the set of a Tim Burton film -- before Edward Scissorhands has done his handiwork -- you need to tidy up or face rejection by buyers who will drive by and never get out of their car or come back. Besides mowing the lawn, your to-do list should include trimming scraggly trees and shrubs, and removing anything that's dead or beyond resuscitation. Edge, weed and mulch garden beds. Plant annuals in a plot or pot for color .

room green

2. Your Personal Paint Palette

Paint over colors that reflect your taste but may put off potential buyers, such as a scarlet-red accent wall, a lemon-yellow child’s bedroom or a forest-green den. "Fun colors are for living, but neutral colors are for selling. That being said, you should avoid using stark-white paint. Choose a warm neutral color -- beige, ivory, taupe or light gray -- that makes your rooms look inviting, larger and brighter. Redo painted trim in white.

popcorn ceiling 3. Popcorn-Finished Ceilings

If you've lived with a popcorn ceiling, you know that it accumulates dirt, defies cleaning and is hard to paint. Worse, if your home was built prior to the mid-1980s, it may contain asbestos. (It was banned in ceiling products in 1977, but existing supplies may have been used later.)

You should have the ceiling sampled and tested for asbestos by a licensed inspector and if the test result is positive, hire a certified asbestos abatement contractor to seal it with spray paint if it's in good shape. Preferably, you should remove it or sheetrock over it - people just don't like it.

4. Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

Buyers these days expect hardwood floors, even in starter homes. If carpet hides your home's floors, remove it to expose them, even if the wood isn't in the best condition. If you don’t have hardwood, you may want to consider having it installed in a first-floor living area. If you must keep the carpeting, make sure it looks and smells its best by having it professionally cleaned, especially in high-traffic areas or if you have pets. If the carpet is beyond hope, you may have to replace it.

5. Brass Fixtures

From switch plates to chandeliers, builder-grade, shiny yellow brass is out. Replace it with chrome- or satin-nickel-finish fixtures for a contemporary look, or an oil-rubbed bronze or black finish to update a traditional room. This is a pretty straightforward do-it-yourself job.

6. 'Crystal' Faucet Handles

Acrylic knobs in the bathroom look cheap and can be hard to grip by young, aged or soapy hands. Replace them with a faucet-and-handle set that matches the existing fixture's configuration (centerset or widespread) and meets the standard of the Americans with Disabilities Act with flipper- or lever-style handles. A polished-chrome finish will cost you the least and still be durable. Plus, the National Kitchen & Bath Association says that the finish is enjoying a surge in popularity over brushed or satin finishes.

hollywood lights

7. Vanity Strips

Nothing says 1970s like a Hollywood-style strip of bare, round lights over your bathroom mirror. Replace it with a fixture that includes a shade for each bulb in a style and finish that complements your faucet set. If you have a one-person mirror, you could replace the vanity strip with a wall sconce on either side of the mirror to achieve better lighting for shaving or applying make-up.

Give me a call to see if there is anything specific you should be addressing. (203) 536-2232.


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        10 Most Popular Home Improvements That Buyers Will Pay More For

        hammer and nail blue man

        If you've tried to sell a home in the last few years, you know how hard it can be to get the price you're asking for. Even now as the housing market heats up, it's still an uphill battle selling for the right price. If your home has the right features, that can help score a higher bid from buyers.

        According to a recent National Association of Realtors survey, 24/7 Wall St. analyzed the top 10 home improvements that homebuyers are willing to pay more for. Many of these features center around the kitchen, and some of these improvements could snag a seller thousands more. Of course, these features aren't necessarily the most important deciding factor for homebuyers. The location is also a major factor influencing a buyers decision. However, having some of these features inside the home can't hurt:

        10. One or More Fireplaces - Strong appeal to 40% of buyers

        Some 40% of homebuyers without a fireplace said they would spend additional money for at least one. These people find the fireplace a good place to cozy up and enjoy their homes.

        9. Eat-In Kitchen - Strong appeal to 40% of buyers

        The people who are most interested in an eat-in kitchen tend to be in the 35 to 54 age range, with 30% of those prospective home buyers indicating this is “very important†in a house. Meanwhile, just 21% of those under 35 years of age and 20% over 55 feel the same way. More people want kitchens that look into family entertainment rooms for a more inclusive environment.

        8. Stainless Steel Appliances - Strong appeal to 41% of buyers

        Like most features, stainless steel appliances are most important to people between the ages of 35 to 54, with 23% considering them to be a “very important†investment, compared with just 16% of those under the age of 35 and a mere 11% of those over the age of 55. From a cost perspective, stainless steel appliances are not necessarily the best investment. Stainless steel wears out far easier than most other common materials. Also, the children in the house can get their fingerprints on the appliances, requiring more cleaning (club soda works beautifully on fingerprints!). However, people are primarily driven to buy stainless steel appliances because they look more attractive.

        7. Kitchen Island - Strong appeal to 48% of buyers

        Kitchen islands are most important to people ages 35 to 54, with 24% of them indicating that it is a “very important†characteristic. Just 19% of people under 35 and 13% over 55 considered this feature important. They provide additional room to put out food for family and entertaining plus allows the kitchen to become more organized.

        6. Ensuite Master Bath - Strong appeal to 49% of buyers

        The ensuite master bathroom tends to be more important to people ages 35 and older. It goes to the ‘home is my sanctuary’ mentality. This, along with a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, has become more important in the past 10 years or so. The fact that many master bathrooms have two sinks is also an appealing option for married couples.

        5. Hardwood floors - Strong appeal to 54% of buyers

        53% of buyers up to the baby boomer generation, considered hardwood floors “very important†when looking for a home. In previous generations, carpets were considered better for conserving energy. Even today, older people are more likely to feel more comfortable with carpeting because the insulation makes the home a little bit warmer. For everyone else, hardwood floors are desirable because they are easier to clean and hold less allergens than carpet.

        4. Granite Countertops - Strong appeal to 55% of buyers

        Although just one in every five prospective home buyers, (locally the percentage is much higher) said granite countertops were very important, 55% of those who bought a home without such a countertop said they would pay extra for it. Granite countertops seem to be more of a style issue than anything else. There has been more emphasis on the beautiful kitchen these days, and granite countertops are an integral part of that.

        3. Walk-In Closet in Master Bedroom - Strong appeal to 60% of buyers

        A whopping 60% of homeowners were willing to pay extra for a walk-in closet in the master bedroom for two main reasons: space and status. The space is very desirable for people allowing them to be more organized. Having a walk-in closet in the master bedroom is also a status symbol - especially when they are systemized.

        2. New Kitchen Appliances - Strong appeal to 69% of buyers

        About 69% of homeowners said they were willing to spend more money for new kitchen appliances. People do not want to have to deal with the stress of broken appliances. They don’t want to come home after a horrible stressful day at work and find the dishwasher isn’t working or the fridge is making noises.

        1. Central Air Conditioning - Strong appeal to 69% of buyers

        Nearly seven in 10 homeowners said they would be willing to pay more for central air conditioning - the same as new kitchen appliances and more than any other feature. Central air conditioning was considered “very important†by more than 60% of people in all age groups.

        Need advice on things you can do? Give me a call (203) 536-2232

        5 Simple Ways to Turn Your House Into a Home You Love


        The difference between a house and a home is really quite simple, a house is a structure you live in that provides for your basic needs and safety. A home, however, is a place that provides you mental and emotional support, a place you look forward to being in to get away from the outside world. Do you feel that way about your home?

        Let's look at some of the things that can help in creating the difference between the two, things that not only create a kind of sanctuary for you, but are also easy, free, and within your grasp.

        Letting Go: Don’t focus so much on decor, design, and picking the perfect furniture to reflect your personality and interests that can turn your house into a place of stress. It’s more important to not allow that stress to enter your home. It doesn’t have to be a race-trust it will all eventually come together and just let it all happen when it does. Cherish your home in all its different quirky stages. Your mind and wallet will thank you for it in the end.

        Make It a Refuge: Do you have a place you go to in your mind that's a no-stress zone? A place that you sneak away to that just calms you down and clears your mind? Now wouldn't it be incredible if that place was your home? Try taking a few deep breaths before you open the door, or leaving all the negativity outside on the front steps. What can you do to eliminate stress and worry from your house and make it a peaceful, happy place?

        Spend Time There: This seems like a no-brainer, right? But it's not all that easy. How much time do you just spend in your home enjoying it? Do you hang out there and get to know it better? Or do you run out every chance you get? The more time you actually spend in your house, the more you may grow to love it. Even if it's not your ideal space, you can start to appreciate it and make it work for you.

        Share It: Do you share your home with others you love? Do you have friends over for dinner or a movie? Or do you very rarely invite guests over because your house isn't perfect? The more happiness and laughter that enters your house, the more it is going to feel like a home.

        Make Memories: This is a direct result of the previous tip. If you fill your home with people and laughter, you will be making memories all along the way. Filling your house with memories will quickly turn it from a mere dwelling into a home. You may not look back and remember this house for its amazing picture windows, or French doors, or balcony to the pool, but you will remember the birthday party where your best friend baked their first three layer cake and then the dog promptly knocked it off the table resulting in impromptu ice cream cookie sandwiches with candles stuck in them.

        What kind of things do you do to turn your house into a home?

        5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional


        We are often asked if it makes sense to hire a real estate professional when buying or selling a home. We always emphatically answer - YES!

        Here are five reasons why:


        An agent will help with all disclosures and paperwork necessary in today’s heavily regulated environment. This helps remove much of the liability a buyer or seller could face.


        Navigating today’s real estate and mortgage processes can be like walking through a minefield of challenges. Real estate professionals are well educated in and experienced with the entire sales process.


        Negotiating such a large financial transaction can get tricky. Agents act as a ‘buffer’ in negotiations with all parties throughout the entire transaction.


        Real estate professionals help buyers and sellers understand the true real estate value of a property in today’s market. This is crucial when setting the price on a listing or on an offer to purchase.


        There is a plethora of housing information available today. The challenge is that some information appears to be in direct conflict with other pieces of information. A true real estate professional can simply and effectively explain today’s real estate headlines and decipher what they mean to you.

        by on February 3, 2014 in For Buyers, For Sellers