$trategies for the New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year!
Like many people today, you may find "too much month left at the end of your money" - especially after the holidays, implementing both short and long-term strategies to strengthen your family's economic foundation this year makes good cents!
*Know your options. Telephone and cable companies are forever adding to and changing their service options. Routinely contact your service providers to find out what options are available to you. Eliminating services or channels you don't need could make the savings "connection" you are looking for. *Become a savvy grocery shopper. Even if you are not a coupon clipper, you can save on your weekly grocery bill by planning ahead and making a list. Take some time this month to learn about the stores in your area, and tap into the ones that offer good bonuses such as $10 off your next purchase or 2 for 1 deals. Make your list then stock your freezer.
Tips courtesy of Prospect Plus. Have a money-saving tip you'll be implementing this year?
Here's wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!!

Festive Friday!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Since today is NOT the end of the world ~ we're taking a break from the usual "Favorite Listings Friday" for a mini tour of THE house...the White House, that is!
These wonderful pix are courtesy of Powell Brower Home. And...you can visit the White House's official site for even more holiday decor!
Meanwhile, from my house to yours, I wish you the Happiest of Holidays!
Need some help pulling your look together? Planning to to list your home in 2013? Let's talk about it!

Favorite Listings Friday - Hamiliton, VA

Friday, December 14, 2012

Today's Favorite Listings Friday tour takes us to Hamiliton, located in Loudoun County Virginia.
Our first home is 236 years old, sits on 95 acres and is currently priced at $4,330,000.
This living room features hand painted murals.
The stables also offer a separate party room.
And...this serene view:
House #2 is 158 years old, on 147 acres and is priced at $3,200,000.
Another sprawling view:
House 3 is a mere 79 years old, on 152 acres is and listed for $2,200,000.
Only 1 interior photo of this home was provided.
What's YOUR fave this week?
Thinking about listing YOUR home? Let's talk about it and a strategy to get it $OLD!

Do or Don't Decorate - if You're Selling Your Home

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

People often ask: "should a home be decorated for the holidays if it's on the market in December?
Pic courtesy of Ticking and Toile
Houzz.com says: Do decorate for the holidays. Buyers want to be able to envision living in your home, so it pays to make that vision as inviting as possible. Festive twinkling lights, green wreaths or topiary, and a decorated tree near Christmas will strike the right note. That doesn't mean you have to go overboard — in fact, a house overly cluttered with holiday decor can be a real turnoff.
I very much agree with their advice! What's your opinion on the subject? Do or Don't decorate??
Thinking about making a move? Let's talk about your home and a strategy to get it $OLD!

Showcasing a Listing During the Holidays

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

9 Steps for Showcasing a Listing During the Holidays Whether it’s wreaths or menorahs, sellers shouldn’t overdo it around the holidays. Here’s how to stage a listing properly during “the most wonderful time of the year.” December 2012 | By Barbara Ballinger
1. Should we take our house off the market if it’s listed or not list it until the holidays are past? Absolutely keep it in play, say most real estate pros. Those who brave the weather in colder climates and during this busy time of year often are the most serious about buying, says Randy Bell, sales practitioner with HomeSmart Realty Group in Denver. “November and December tend to be two of our best months, since we get folks who are willing to bundle up and head outdoors in cold temperatures; they’re not just tire kickers,” he says. Susan Stynes, GRI, with Long and Foster in Midlothian, Va., agrees, “While sales may go down at this time of year, the buyers looking definitely are among the most serious.” Some buyers also like the idea of purchasing before the end of the year for tax reasons, says broker Jennifer Darby with ERA Justin Realty Co. in Rutherford, N.J. And this year buyers may house-hunt during the holidays for two more reasons, according to Mark Fitzpatrick, broker and CEO of Fitzpatrick + Prince Real Estate Group in Irvine, Calif. “Inventory is going down in California, and rates are still low,” he says.
2. What kinds of outdoor decorations are appropriate? Simple, classy, and classic are the three operative words, according to experts. What that means are trees and bushes with some lights, and potted plants and a wreath at the front door. Too many lights during the daytime can turn wires into an eyesore, says Stynes. The bottom line is to create a festive, warm holiday mood without anything becoming gaudy, says Maike Scherer, CEO of Capital Home Management in the Washington, D.C., area. What crosses the line into tackiness are huge, inflatable Santas on roofs and lawns, oversized Nutcracker soldiers, and human-sized candy canes, as well as so many lights that you think you’ve stepped into Santa’s workshop. The light colors should be kept to white or to discrete pairings of the season, such as red and green or silver and gold.
3. How about inside? What’s best and what’s to be avoided? Again, real estate experts suggest erring on the minimalist side rather than going overboard. “Avoid clutter, and try to stay neutral,” says Gillian Luce, marketing manager of Homes.com, which offers an idea gallery online to inspire home owners how to display their personality subtly throughout the year. Good ideas from her include one tree with a few ornaments and wrapped presents, one wreath, a few stockings along a mantle, some candles and a holiday inspired runner on a dining room table or buffet, and maybe a simple garland up a staircase. But displaying all holiday cards, yards and yards of tinsel, and every single ornament you’ve always owned can become too personal and messy. “The goal is to get buyers to imagine themselves sharing the holidays with their family in the house, and if the rooms are so crowded with your stuff, they can’t,” says Bell. “Use common sense,” he adds, “and stage your house and rooms in the same way you would at other times.” 4. And religious decorations — OK or not? OK, but the key again is not to have too many on display — lots of nativity scenes or menorahs, for instance. “If these objects are very meaningful for home owners, you don’t want to ask them to change their traditions, but it’s better if the house remains more neutral,” says Stynes. It also may depend in part on location. In Denver, Bell describes his area as a melting pot where various religious traditions are respected, welcomed, and celebrated.
5. What about music? Soft music is fine; experts disagree about Christmas music, however, which some buyers may be tired of hearing in elevators and stores and on car radios at this time of year. Most agree that religious music should be avoided to appeal to the widest buyer segment. 6. And those sugar and gingerbread cookies and cinnamon spiced candle smells? Do they entice buyers or are they perceived as a bit kitschy? Baked goods and nice fragrant candles always bring a warm, welcome smell. “They help introduce a nice emotional touch that lets buyers make a connection with the property,” says Luce. But the caveat is to avoid smells that might prove overwhelming.
7. Can sellers say no to appointments if they’ve got family visiting or are having holiday parties, or does that make them seem too Scrooge-ish? Of course, they can say “no.” But if they’re going to say no repeatedly, it might be better for them to wait and list in January, says Darby. If they have a party or two to host, experts advise they do a thorough cleaning right away. 8. When should decorations come down? Sometime in the week after New Year’s Day. “Nobody wants to see a house decorated for Christmas on Super Bowl Sunday,” Bell says. 9. And photos or videos with Christmas images used in online listings? Those, too, should be changed fast, says Fitzpatrick. Darby agrees. “If you’ve got pictures with holiday wreaths and lights at the end of February, it will quickly date that the house was on before the holidays,” she says. Better to use only nonseasonal photos if you’re not going to have two sets.
And remember to wish all buyers and real estate pros who come to look at a listing to have a happy, healthy holiday and new year. Seasonal good cheer is always in style. Content courtesy of Realtor Magazine, the National Association of Realtors.

Holiday Inspiration!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Are you ready?? 20 days to go! Perhaps watching your favorite holiday show or movie puts in the spirit of the season!
If you decorate your home for the holidays, do you do a little or a LOT! I went to a home that was a LOT - from the holly print toilet paper to the collection of Santa salt & pepper shakers. I prefer things a bit more subtle, with touches of nature and great smelling greenery.
I heard several folks say they have more than 1 tree in their homes. 1 for the children, 1 that's perfectly decorated.
This inspiring pix are courtesy of PotteryBarn, Thistlewoodfarms and PowellBrowerHome. Hope you're enjoying preparing for the holidays!
Are YOU preparing for move? Let's talk about your home and a strategy to get it $OLD!