Ellen McLaughlin - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 4/18/2021

If you're in the process of preparing your home for the real estate market, get ready to roll up your sleeves and make your home as irresistible as possible!

While this may sound like an enormous undertaking that you don't have the time or energy to tackle, remember one thing: When you put your home up for sale, there's a lot at stake!

Generally, the longer your house stays on the market, the less marketable it becomes. If potential buyers learn that your house has been on the market for longer than, say, a few months, one of the first questions they'll ask or think will be "What's wrong with it?" Once questions like that start arising, the overall appeal of your home begins to decline. As you can imagine, your ability to get the highest possible price for your house also weakens over time. That's why it's important to do everything possible to enhance the look and feel of your home.

Home Staging Counts

Although effective home staging can be a crucial aspect of selling your house quickly, there is a point at which diminishing returns may come into play. Few home sellers have unlimited time and money to invest in staging their home, and it's easy to go above and beyond what's actually necessary to secure a buyer.

There are dozens of variables that affect a house selling strategy, including the real estate market and the condition of your home. If it's a "buyers' market" and there are a lot of comparable houses for sale in your neighborhood, then you might have to work a little harder to make your home stand out and attract offers. If you're fortunate enough to be in a desirable area and not facing a lot of competition from other home sellers, then the law of supply and demand should work in your favor! However, it's still important to make the most of your property's curb appeal and the overall appearance of your home's interior.

The cost of home staging can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, but your real estate agent can provide invaluable guidance on how to cost-effectlively maximize the "eye appeal" of your house and property. While perfection is generally an unattainable standard in home staging (or anything else), optimal results only come from putting your best foot forward.

Several words to remember and be guided by when preparing a house for sale are "immaculate", "spotless", "manicured" (lawn), "fresh" (looking and smelling), "updated", "well-maintained", and "charming". If prospective buyers are using those words and phrases to describe your home, then you know you're on the right track! Your agent can provide you with helpful insights and suggestions for making a great impression on potential buyers -- without having to spend more on home staging than necessary!





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 10/11/2015

With the recent growth in telecommuting, home offices are also becoming a necessity rather than a luxury. Home buyers are looking for a place where they can work, a place to pay bills or simply surf the net. Investing in a home office will help you now and may pay off later. Have you always dreamed of a home office? Do you have an office that is overrun with papers? A home office is usually the place where junk finds its home. Getting that room into a place where organization is king can be easier than you think. Implementing an organizational system that has you working in peace with everything at your fingertips is easy if you follow these simple tips. 1. Choose the space. Think of all the things that you'll need to work comfortably in your home office. You want to make sure the space will allow for your desk and chair and anything else you will need in your office. 2. Organize your space. Part of organizing means decluttering. If you have three staplers, six pairs of scissors you will need to get rid of anything extra. Clutter is very distracting and reduces efficiency. Identify a space for all the necessities. You need to identify a place for the printer, file cabinet, reference books and supplies. 3. Schedule the date and time for your office organization. Set aside a specific time and date to plan your space. If you have lots of files and file cabinets, make a decision on how much you want to get done in the initial session. You may need to plan several dates to complete the whole task. 4. Reorganize. Clean and organize your office at the end of each day. It will only take a few minutes and keep you on track to staying organized. Plan on reorganizing your office every three months or so. By planning your home office space and getting it organized you'll enjoy it more. Your work will be better, you'll appreciate being at home, and you'll have the perfect place to work--your home. Now focus on success!





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 8/23/2015

Staging your home for potential buyers can be quite the hassle. You may start moving your furniture around spontaneously, or become tense when your children or spouse make messes in a room that you just prepped for show. With all of the planning that one can put into making their home shine, one crucial step in home staging is often overlooked: your family pet. For the sake of simplicity, I will outline a few things that you must keep in mind when cleaning up after your pet in a home for sale. Pet presence - For obvious reasons, some pets can't leave the house. Giant enclosures, aquariums, and disabled pets are hard to relocate sometimes, and a lot of people will be understanding of this. But if your dog or cat is healthy, then you'll want to strongly consider relocating your pets temporarily. Many people aren't pet owners, and don't like being around an excitable golden retriever or a yippy chihuahua when they are trying to imagine their family occupying your home. Remember....You are trying to make the potential buyer as relaxed as possible. Ask a friend if they wouldn't mind looking after your loved one for a bit, and if all else fails, look into a reputable boarding service for your pet. Fur - Fur can get everywhere. Even in places that you, as a resident of your home, don't necessarily notice all of the time. Be sure to give your couches, chairs, and love seats proper attention. That means taking the pillows and cushions off, and using a hand vacuum or brush to remove all of the fur you see. After you are sure that they are thoroughly cleaned, use a fabric freshener to finish it off. Try to do this well in advance of the potential buyer, as some people have sensitivities to fabric fresheners. Litter - No matter what kind of animal you have, odds are you have do deal with some form of waste. It may sound pretty obvious, but make sure your litter beds are clean and well hidden. Even if you own an exotic pet like a reptile of amphibian, this includes you too. Many people don't like snakes, but they'll like a messy snake cage even less. Another important thing to remember as an exotic pet owner is this: even though you may not be able to smell anything offensive coming from your reptile's cage, that doesn't mean that there isn't an odor. Many people who live with reptiles get used to the subtle odors that emit from the cages, and will tend to spot-clean their animal's cage without giving it the proper scrub-down that it needs. Odors - Don't use air fresheners to mask pet odor. It is meant to freshen the air...Not cover pet odors up. Instead, use powdered cleaners on carpets and rugs that your pets frequent. These can be purchased at your local pet store in the cleaning isle. Odds are, if someone has a severe allergy to animals, then they are going to be at risk of having a reaction. The cleaner the house, the less dander will be in the home.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 12/7/2014

Independent studies have confirmed that deploying particular scents in a home for sale can dramatically increase the home's appeal to a potential buyer.  With that being said, what is the best way to go about changing your home's "scentmosphere"? 1. - The Friend Test - Often times, we get used to particular scents in our home, so much so that we don't even notice that they're there.  Litter boxes, old couches, bathrooms, and bedrooms can all breed their own "scentmosphere", and some can be more noticeable and offensive than others.  Have a friend come over and, well.....Smell your home.    Your friend doesn't live in your home.  They can pick up on things that you may not be able to, like the smell of dirty laundry, a musty-smelling finished basement, or a well-lived-in bedroom.  These "other person" smells can turn off a buyer in a heartbeat.  If you are a smoker, then stop smoking inside while your house is on the market.  Keep children's rooms tidy and clean-smelling. 2. - Kitchen Comfort - There are many scents that can be utilized in the kitchen to make it more appealing.  Candles, lemon wedges chopped up into a garbage disposal, cinnamon sticks in the oven, and fresh-cut flowers can be utilized for this purpose. Some people swear by citrus scents, others by baked goods, but it really boils down to personal preference.  Lavender has been shown to produce a calming effect, and fruit scents like apples and peaches can carry classier undertones. 3. - Subtlety is key.  You want a noticeable "scentmosphere", but not one that is overpowering.  Pick your scents accordingly.  If you overdo it, people may think you're trying too hard to cover something up.  Remember that because we breathe, we smell things constantly.  Each individual smell shouldn't be strong enough to cover multiple rooms in your house.  You don't want your entire downstairs to smell like the cinnamon you have in the kitchen.  Likewise, a fresh lemon scent all over the entire house can make it seem like there are smells that will creep into the "scentmosphere" once the lemon scents wear off.  Less is more.  





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 9/21/2014

In the hustle and bustle of prepping a home to be sold, many people overlook one very important detail; home safety. And while you'd like to think that prospective buyers visiting your home are upstanding citizens, the simple truth remains that selling your home opens your door wide open to complete strangers...Strangers who are going to be encouraged as potential buyers to explore every detail of your home. Luckily, by taking a few small steps, you can rest a little easier. 1. Hide you valuables - This may seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people forget to put away common valuables like jewelery, high-value collectables, expensive perfumes, and high-end designer accessories like handbags and money clips. Be sure to go from room to room, keeping an eye out for anything that may hold appeal for a potential thief, and tuck away anything you think might draw a thief's attention. Do a follow-up walk of your house the next day, just in case you may have missed something. 2. Firearms - If you are a homeowner who is also a gun and/or weapon owner, then you are probably already taking the necessary precautions in regard to gun safety. However, for some collectors, prominent display is one of the things that a gun owner may take pride in. Just because your guns are in a locked, secured display case doesn't mean that they still don't hold risk to you or your loves ones. In a private setting, a locked display case is just fine...But in a situation where you are selling your home, complete strangers will have the ability to see that you are a gun owner, how many guns you have, and the precise location of your collection. Considering the value of a gun collection can run into the thousands, they should be treated just like any other valuable in your home; locked away and out of sight. 3. Personal mail - Things like bill invoices, credit card statements, and social security information should be put out of sight. Identity theft is on the rise, and by taking the proper precautions, you can avoid your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. 4. - Prescription medication - Be sure to remove medications from your medicine cabinet that carry the potential for abuse. 5. Parental safety - If you are a parent, you'll obviously want to take precautions to keep your children safe. Remember...You are allowing complete strangers full access to your home. For peace of mind, consider removing family photos, personalized items such as prominently displayed school jerseys and embroidered pillows, and that A+ math test on the refrigerator. Many people feel this step is either unimportant or unnecessary. If you feel fine with displaying these items, then feel completely free to.  The odds of a person wanting to do your family harm are fairly low.  But if you are a "better safe than sorry" kind of person, then consider this step. As long as a few precautions are met, you have no reason to feel uneasy about your home being shown. The vast majority of the people who are going to be looking at your house are responsible members of society, looking for a home to either start or grow their own families. That being said....Better safe than sorry.