CHEAP {or free} ways to get your house ready to SELL!

35965881Deciding to sell your home is usually a choice made to improve your life in some way and usually for a positive (happy) reason.  Downsizing so you can travel or fish more, upsizing because you’re expecting twins, relocating because you landed that dream job in North Carolina are all great reasons to move and counter-balance the unpleasant task of getting a home ready for sale.

When you are moving for a greater purpose, normally you can afford to do some of the projects needed to garner top dollar for your home.  But what if you have to move for a difficult reason?  You’re going through a divorce, death of a spouse, job loss, or going into assisted living?  It’s likely that you would not have cash on hand to pull out the old bathroom vinyl and replace with tile, add landscaping to the yard, or purchase new linens for every bath and bedroom. However, you need to net the most money possible from your home.  How do you compete with other homes on the market?

As a Realtor® and an Accredited Home Staging professional, I have been faced with this challenge in my career and these are my CHEAP tips:

The cheapest things ANYone & everyone should do.  Clean & De-clutter.  A home’s cleanliness is the most important impression a buyer has of a home. A very dusty, cluttered high-end, upscale home with every amazing feature possible will not show as well as a tidy, more modest home in the same neighborhood.  Go through each room with a ‘buyer’s eye’.  Note what a buyer might think entering each room. Clean the baseboards, walls and floors. Spot treat any carpet stains.  Clean your carpets if needed (you can do this yourself). If you have a carpet ‘dent’ or imprint, try this trick.  Place an ice cube on the dent and as it melts, it expands the carpet back to its original shape. Make sure your bathrooms are always sparkling clean and toilet lids are down.  In your kitchen, clean the oven, microwave & sink regularly.  Especially if it’s old.  Pack away cookbooks, plastic or silk flowers in vases, ‘vines’ or other foliage lining the cupboards.  Remove any table cloths. Keep table clean & clear of clutter.  Do not feel a need to ‘set’ the table.  A large bowl with fresh fruit is always your best accessory in a kitchen.

Put away collections, personal photos, toys, small area rugs, personal hygiene products in the bathrooms & bedrooms, coats, shoes, etc., out of view.  Decluttering is really the first step to packing up to move-you will have to do it when the house sells anyway, so why not get a head-start?  Utilize plastic bins for kid’s toys for quick clean up.  Now that you’ve removed personal photos, you realize you have blank walls.  A suggestion to add some CHEAP art, is to go through magazines or calendars and pick out some cool pictures of scenes (especially local) and buy dollar store black frames & create a wall collage.

Do any rooms feel cramped?  Try removing a piece of furniture.  You especially want the Family Room or Living space to feel large and inviting.  If you need to remove the recliner to achieve this- do it!  A buyer must be able to feel that he or she has the space to put furniture in and still move around comfortably.  If you can’t afford a storage space, ask a friend or use your garage for storage.

Go through your closets and start packing off-season clothes away. Also, in the Master closet, take the time to organize it so that it feels spacious.  Keep shoes neatly lined up & have a bit of space between all hung clothing.  Clear the top shelves.

Some good ideas to add some ‘designer detail’ cheaply include buying some burlap ribbon to tie around bath or kitchen towels for contemporary impact. Instead of stuffy tablecloths, use a burlap runner or 2 width-wise  across the table.  Utilize white or neutral colored candles lined up on a long, narrow tray as a mantle-top update.  Plants also used sparingly are great additions for vacant corners of the home. A ‘jungle’ of plants is not. Trim old lamp shades with black (or neutral colored) ribbon at the base of the shade.  Paint outdated lamp bases.

Speaking of paint…This is the one place you will want to spend money if able, to get back the most bang for your buck. PAINT a room if it is not neutral, the walls are stained, or the color is outdated…or outlandish (teen’s room).  Check out or other like sites for color ideas.  Especially focus on Master Bedroom & bath, Family areas and kitchen areas.

Curb Appeal:  You may not be able to afford to replace shrubs or hire a landscaper to trim back overhanging trees, but at the very least, you want to have a clear path to your entry and a well-trimmed lawn.   You will need to trim back bushes near the front of your house and if you can spend $25.00, definitely use it to plant a few annuals near the entry and add a flower pot with some cheery flowers near your front door.  The front door area needs to be free of spider webs and dirt and the door itself should look good.  Re-stain or paint it if necessary. Make sure your lawn, front & back, is tidy.  Pick up kid’s toys, lawn equipment, roll up hoses and stack neatly along side of the house.  If you can’t afford to re-stain the deck, see if painting it is an option or at the very least, wash it off so it is clean and add a flower pot or two.  Clean the screen porch and declutter to make it look inviting.

To sum up: Cleaning and de-cluttering do not cost anything and are the priority.  If you have a bit of money to spend, focus on paint & curb appeal.  You can feel confident that your home has what it takes to compete with the rest.



The Charm of Holly Brook

Open concept. Screened-in porch. Newly renovated kitchen & bath. Sought-after location.

Have I gotten your attention yet?

This lovely, low-maintenance, all brick home on a quiet street in the highly desirable Holly Brook subdivision is the perfect home to host your future memories. Don’t you think so too? This home features 4 bedrooms & 2.5 baths within walking distance to the pool! Do you find the sounds of nature relaxing? Enjoy sitting on your large screen porch overlooking your private back yard which backs to natural area! This porch/home offers the perfect atmosphere to read a book, sip your beverage of choice, visit with friends & family, etc.


Do you have children that love the outdoors? Maybe, grandchildren…nieces/nephews? PERFECT! Here…the play set stays!


UPDATED KITCHEN & MASTER BATHROOM that feature gorgeous granite counters and lovely self-close cabinetry. No cabinet slamming here! Large walk-in closet & soaking tub in Master Suite.



This home offers a desired open-concept living & dining area too. The charm of this home is not limited to the home itself. The location is sought-after right on the corner of Apex, Holly Springs and Cary off of Kildaire Farm Road. Just minutes from your home will be a variety of shopping & dining opportunities, as well as main road & highway accessibility.

Come see for yourself! Contact me to set up your private tour! | 919.656.1599


virtual tour

Kick Up That curb appeal

How important is curb appeal really? Quite important, actually. It’s your homes first impression.


While some people have the ability to look beyond a plain exterior, many have a hard time visualizing the “what could it be”. When selling your home, it’s important that your home shows at its very best for potential buyers, this includes the curb appeal. A few touch-ups to your exterior can make a world of difference and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Here is a great montage of videos via that can help bring some life back to your exterior. Enjoy the inspiration!


1st image – a more in-depth facelift to the front of the home gave some big punch to this homes curb appeal {source: unknown / Pinterest}
2nd image – a simple cosmetic transformation by cleaning up the shrubs and painting the front door made a big impact {source: moving mountains design}


What You need to know before you sell

You’ve decided to sell your home. Congratulations! That usually accompanies a new journey in your life. Your home is likely your biggest investment & you want to protect its value & maximize your return on your investment when you sell it. How can you bet on that? Here are some ways:

  • INTERVIEW & HIRE A GREAT FULL-TIME REALTOR®! I recommend interviewing 2 months prior to your intention to list your property. This will give ample time to find the right fit, as well as give your Realtor time to explore the property & come up with the best game plan for your property!
  • LISTEN TO THEIR ADVICE! Why? Because we know what makes a home sell! A qualified broker is up trend in the current market you are in. Think your red kitchen is beautiful? It probably is, but it’s a specific taste & you want to appeal to the widest range of buyers as possible, right? While you are prepping your home, now is a good time to repair that leaky faucet, trim the overgrown bushes, touch-up stain or paint as needed, and put away those personal treasures & photographs. You want your potential buyer to envision themselves living there and some people have a difficult time doing that when they are faced with a lot of photographs of your family. Trust us! Realtors® know the market & what buyers are wanting! They/I study the market every day & we can tell you the best time to put your home on the market, as well as what price range it will likely sell for. We know the value vs. other homes in your market.
  • TIME TO PACK! Pack away as many of your personal items, non-seasonal clothing, tchotchkes, etc. as possible prior to listing your home! As I mentioned earlier, it’s best to create a simple canvas for future buyers to envision their items & themselves in. Don’t worry about doing this before you meet with your Realtor®. We are the only ones who can look past that! 🙂 You will be packing when the house sells anyway, so why not get a head start?
  • REQUEST MARKET DATA FROM YOUR LISTING AGENT. At Better Homes & Gardens | Go Realty, our sellers will have access to the most current information on their neighborhood, with updates throughout the process. Let your Realtor® know your expectations regarding updates & communications methods upfront.

Now, you have the knowledge! You are ready to go, find a Realtor® (I would love the opportunity to speak with you!) & sell that house…



Holidays & Real Estate: Do they mix?

Let’s dive into the Pros & Cons of having your home on the market over the holidays.

You want to move.
You’ve decluttered, painted tired walls, and staged your home for potential buyers.  You’ve found a great Realtor® you trust to put your property on the market.
But, wait…. it’s November.
You are hosting Thanksgiving, Mom & Dad are staying for a week…along with your unpredictable brother (to whom, “tidy” is a foreign language).

Before you toss in the towel on the idea of ringing in the holiday under a new roof, here are some THINGS TO CONSIDER:

  1.  Buyers who are looking during the holidays are usually serious buyers.
  2.  Less homes are for sale during the holidays- less competition=more money for you.
  3. Many buyers relocate in January.   They are looking over the Holiday
  4. Houses can show better decorated for the Holidays (see tips below)
  5. It may not be convenient to show when buyers want to see your home
  6. Less buyers are looking this time of year
  7. Agents may be unavailable when you need them

Now, after reading that and you have decided to run GO FOR IT, keep in mind the following;

  1.  You can control showings.  Let the scheduler know when you need to ‘block’ a day ahead of time so agents can be alerted
  2. Be flexible.  If someone is in town for 2 days to look at a house and you’ve blocked the time, that buyer has probably looked at your home on line and really wants to see it.  Be willing to pack up the family and leave for an hour while the turkey’s in the oven if a serious buyer is in town.
  3. Tone down the decor.  I know! I know! You are thinking “wait a minute, she just listed above that “homes show better decorated!” While that is true, think of holiday decorating as more of a ‘nod to the holiday’ rather than Griswold’s Celebrate the Season. Do you see my point? If you offer too much decor, the beautiful features of your home will be lost in the…..shazaaaam! So, for this selling “season” keep as many artifacts & tchotchke’s packed away.
  4. Keep presents stacked neatly in a corner.
  5. Make touring your home festive!  While you have left the ceramic angel tucked safely in a box…tend to the bellies; buyer’s bellies, that is. Leave a plate of freshly baked holiday cookies and some napkins on the counter with a neatly printed note for them to enjoy. Not only will this create a happy-bellied buyer, but your house will smell delightful.

While these are my best tips for holiday selling, your Realtor® is the best source to advise you if your home should be on the market during the Holidays or not.  They{I} know your market and history of sales during this time.