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There’s no doubt about it. If you want to keep your home safe from break-ins, you should have good locks on all doors and windows and ideally have an alarm system in place.

But home security doesn’t end with locks and alarms. There are other less obvious ways to keep your home safe. For example:

  • Install exterior lights with a motion detection feature. A light suddenly going on will almost always send a potential intruder away.
  • Look for – and, if possible, eliminate – potential hiding spots around your property.
  • Always leave some lights on in your home when you’re away for an evening.
  • Never announce that you’re on vacation or otherwise away from your home on social media sites. (Ask your kids not to do this either!)
  • Don’t leave tempting valuables where they can be easily seen through a window.

In addition to good locking systems on doors and windows, simple precautions like these will significantly lower the risk of a break-in.

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When you show your home to prospective buyers, there is probably a long list of things you’re hoping they’ll notice. For example, you’ll want them to see the beautiful chandelier in the foyer or the spacious backyard and large deck, or the kitchen with the island big enough for a whole family to sit down for breakfast.
But what about those things you’re hoping buyers will not notice?

Every home has some features that are less than enticing to the typical buyer. You may not be able to do much about a small kitchen or a home backing onto a noisy main street.

However, there are several things buyers don’t want to see that you can change. Here are five of the most common:

  • Clutter. Closets stuffed full of clothes or rooms crammed with too much furniture are distractions. Clutter of any kind makes buyers feel uneasy – and gets in the way of showcasing the wonderful features of your home.
  • Maintenance issues. Buyers definitely don’t want to see a lot of things that need repairs or replacement, such as dripping faucets, faded or chipped walls, or overgrown lawns and shrubbery.
  • Smells. Of course, you can’t see smells. But buyers will notice the lingering aroma of exotic cooking, cigarette smoke, and pets. These smells may even limit the amount of time they want to spend exploring the home.
  • Personal items. Buyers will understand that a family is living in the home they’re viewing. However, constant reminders – in the form of vacation pictures, trophies, or scattered children’s toys – can make a buyer feel like an intruder.
  • You. It’s nothing personal, but buyers prefer to view your home without you in it.
    Fortunately, all these things can be easily dealt with before you show your home.

Looking for more ideas on selling your home quickly and for the best price? Call me today.

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Whether you’re considering buying a particular home, selling your current property – or doing both – a home inspection can help.

This inspection is conducted by a qualified professional who takes a close look at every aspect of a home – structure, wiring, plumbing, and more – and identifies issues you may not have noticed yourself.

For example, a home inspector can determine that a furnace will need to be replaced soon, or that there is a water leak that needs to be fixed.

You’ll definitely want to get a professional home inspection before you buy a particular property. That’s why most offers to purchase a home are conditional upon passing a home inspection. (The last thing you want is to buy your dream home only to discover that the wiring needs to be updated!)

You may also want to get a home inspection on your own home before you list it for sale. A certificate from a qualified professional that states that your home passed inspection will make your property more attractive to buyers.

Many reputable home inspectors are members of a professional industry association. However, it’s important to note that certification or licensing is not a requirement in many jurisdictions. So, select a home inspector carefully.

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New synthetic fabric dumpsters offer a flexible method of holding and disposing of renovation waste – without the need to order a large and unsightly metal bin that sits on your front lawn or driveway for weeks on end.
The industry calls them FIBC’s, or Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers, but they’re more commonly known as big bags, bulk bags, bagsters and super sacks.

These durable trash containers can be purchased and taken home (or delivered) for indefinite use, then picked up for a preset fee when full.

When the bag is picked up, another bag is dropped off. Available through specialty suppliers or through some home renovation stores, these “soft bins” are easy to move when empty, and they take up much less space than large metal dumpsters. They also take much less time to fill up, so you’ll have a tidier renovation site and less of an eyesore on your property.

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Let’s face it. Life can get complicated, complex and stressful very easily. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to simplify your life, especially at home. Here are some tips from the experts:

  • Don’t be ruled by the TV guide. Instead, select the shows you want to watch and record them. That way, you can watch what you want at the times that are most convenient for you.
  • Prepare some meals in advance and freeze them. Simply heat them up as needed. That will reduce a lot of after-work, “gotta-get-dinner-ready” stress.
  • Create a weekly dinner menu. It takes some time to prepare, but it allows you to shop effectively, and greatly reduces the stress of figuring out what to cook each day.
  • Don’t accumulate stuff you don’t want or need. Give those things away.
  • Simplify your cleaning by dividing tasks into 10 minute chunks (such as vacuuming the living room.) Then, fit those tasks in whenever you have 10 minutes to spare.
  • To avoid clutter, adopt the “touch it once” rule, which simply means you put things where they belong right away.
  • Limit the time you and others in your family spend checking emails and text messages. Consider having an hour or two of “no screen” time each evening.
  • Develop healthy routines, such as evening walks and family board game night.

These are just a few ideas. If you want to simplify your home life, you can probably brainstorm several other strategies and habits you can try. The idea is to make your home an enjoyable place to be – for you and your family.

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If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship, you know that rough waters can result in a miserable experience. Even on modern ships equipped with stabilizers, choppy seas and bad weather can leave you stuck below deck – and possibly sea sick!
In fact, the expression “smooth sailing” comes from a desire for calm waters.

When you sell your property, you’ll want smooth sailing too! You’ll want the experience to be as nondisruptive as possible, while also having plenty of qualified buyers interested in your listing. In the end, you’ll want the transaction to get done without a hitch.

So how do you ensure that happens? Here are some things you can do to help:

Think of your home as a product. Potential buyers are more likely to become interested in a product that looks clean, uncluttered and well-maintained.

Price it right. If your property is listed too high, potential buyers won’t come. If it’s listed too low, you may leave money on the table. (Potentially thousands.) Setting the price will be one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make when selling your home.

Don’t be there during showings. As your real estate agent, I will take buyers through your property and show them all the great features. If you’re there, some buyers may not feel comfortable and may leave before they have had a chance to become interested.

Be flexible. This is especially important, when it comes to showing appointments, negotiations, home inspections, closing dates, etc. It’s okay to be firm on some things, just not everything!

The best tip of all? Use me as your real estate agent and I will make the entire experience of selling your home trouble-free and successful.

In other words, let me help make it smooth sailing!

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Does your spouse like to practice the drums in the evening? Does your teenager like to play video games, with the volume turned up high? Are there other sources of noise you’d like to minimize?

There are many ways to soundproof areas of your home to reduce noise. Here are some ideas:

  • Furniture placement. Surprisingly, where you place furniture can dramatically reduce incoming noise. For example, a bookshelf that covers one third of a wall can muffle sound from an adjoining room by 25%.
  • Noise harmonization techniques. Soft music, air fans, and other sources of rhythmic noises can actually reduce the unpleasantness of incoming sounds.
  • Area rugs. Adding an area rug, even on top of existing carpeting, can significantly reduce noise coming from the floor below.
  • Acoustic tiles and panels. These are special ceiling tiles and wall coverings that are designed to diffuse and reduce sound infiltration. There are some products on the market that are remarkably easy to install.
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Items that remind us of special people, events, milestones and interests are an important part of what makes a house a home. Pictures on the fireplace mantle, for example, showcase family and friends that are important to us. You might also have trophies, certificates, greeting cards, and other mementos on display in key places.

Of course, all of those things add warmth and meaning to your home. However, if you’re preparing your home for sale, it’s a good idea to pack those memories away – at least until you’ve sold your property and moved to your new home. Why? Those pleasant mementos that mean so much to you may actually turn off potential buyers.

You see, when buyers view your property, they want to be able to clearly picture themselves and their families living there. That’s difficult to do if they see reminders of your family everywhere they look!

So, to help sell your home quickly, make it look great, but not personalized. Think of the showroom displays you see set up in furniture stores. Those displays are most appealing when they enable you to easily picture yourself, with that furniture, in your home. You probably wouldn’t feel that way if it looked like the furniture belonged to someone else.

Of course, buyers will know you currently live in your home. But, helping them imagine themselves living there will help you sell your property faster – and possibly for a better price.

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When you’re shopping for a new home, you want to find a property that has all the features and characteristics you want. Perhaps you’re looking for a large deck surrounded by picturesque landscaping, a beautiful kitchen with gleaming marble countertops, or a cozy living room with a fireplace.

You should be looking for the ideal home. You deserve it! But some home buyers become fixated on finding the “perfect” property, and pass too quickly on those homes that don’t quite measure up.

That can be a mistake, because some of those less-than-perfect properties have the potential to become your next dream home.

First, a home that is lacking some desirable features will probably cost less. Those savings may be more than enough to cover any needed upgrades or renovations.

Secondly, if you look at a home in terms of its potential, rather than the features it happens to have now, there will be more properties available on the market for you to consider.

If you’re determined to have a large wrap-around deck for entertaining, for example, don’t cross homes off your list that don’t have this feature. At least not yet. Instead, view these properties with an eye on potential. Is the backyard big enough to accommodate a large deck? How would that deck look if it were added to this particular property? How much would such a renovation cost?

There’s no doubt about it. You want to find a home that has the features and characteristics you want. But, keep an open mind. Sometimes a “diamond in the rough” can – with an upgrade or renovation – become a home you’ll treasure for years.

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Are you thinking about purchasing home fitness equipment? Owning your own treadmill, exercise bike, or rowing machine can save you a lot of time and money compared to joining a fitness club. However, selecting the right equipment can be a challenge. Here are some tips:

  • Try it first. Ask your home fitness equipment dealer to let you do a few minutes of exercise on the machine you’re considering. Most will agree. Be suspicious if they don’t.
  • Ask around. Staff at local fitness clubs know the best equipment. Ask them for recommendations. Also ask friends and colleagues.
  • Read on-line reviews. Type the name and model of the fitness machine you’re considering into Google along with the word “reviews”. Chances are you’ll find several websites that contain candid customer comments, complaints and testimonials.
  • Make sure it fits. Home fitness equipment can take up a lot of space. Make sure the one you select fits in the room you have in mind. Pay particular attention to the ceiling height. You don’t want to hit your head while working out on your stair climber!
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Unless you’re selling in a strong sellers’ market, you should take advantage of every opportunity to show your home. Say, for example, an interested buyer would like to see your property tomorrow evening. If you say no, they might see another listing in the meantime — and make an offer!


So, being prepared to show your home at the drop of a hat is important.

That doesn’t mean you should agree to be inconvenienced constantly. However, if you can put up with some disruptions in your plans now and then, you’ll increase your chances of selling your property.

Consider these tips:

  • Avoid restricting showings to a particular weekday, such as Monday evening and Saturday afternoon. What if an interested buyer isn’t available those days?
  • Try to keep your home clean and tidy. That way, you can accommodate a short-notice request to see your listing more easily. (Consider temporarily hiring a cleaner.)
  • Make a list of places you can take your family (including pets) on short notice. For example, a park or movie.

Want more tips for selling your home quickly and for top dollar? Call @dianadickeyrealtor today.

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Are you thinking about selling your home this spring?

If so, one factor that may be holding you back is time.

You might be worried that you won’t find the time in your busy schedule to sell your property successfully.

If so, here are four strategies that will help:

  1. Understand what needs to be done

Do you know what you’ll need to do to sell your home? Do you understand the steps involved? Do you have a clear idea of how long it will take to complete various tasks, like getting repairs done and doing some “staging”?

The more accurately you can anticipate your tasks and how long it will take to complete them, the better you’ll be able to plan and schedule.

  1. Keep a “moving” calendar

It’s a known time management fact that using a calendar and blocking out time for tasks will ultimately save you time. So, use your calendar, or create a new one just for moving-related items. With an up-to-date calendar in place, you’ll always have a view of what needs to be done and how those tasks fit into your weekly schedule.

Maintaining a moving calendar also reduces stress.

  1. Ask for advice

How should you stage your main floor? Should you make any home improvements? How should you prepare for a buyer coming to view your property?

You don’t need to guess or Google. Get professional advice. Doing so will expose you to the most current best practices and will save you time.

  1. Hire help

You don’t need to do everything on your own. Instead, consider hiring professionals to do at least some of the work for you. For example, hire a painter, a lawn mowing service or a dog walker.

Hiring professionals during the selling period can save you countless hours. And, those costs may be offset by the sale of your home.

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