Diana's Neighborhood

Real Estate in New York & Connecticut – Won't you be my neighbor?

Better Home Showings

Simple Tips for Better Home Showings

Realtor.org – Realtor Magazine

                                                            Flickr.com – granite-charlotte

1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.

2. Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.

3. Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.

4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.

5. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.

6. Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.

7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.

8. Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.

9. Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.

10. Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.

11. Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.

12. Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress.

13. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.

14. Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.

15. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.

16. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises.

17. Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.

18. Leave the home. It’s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.

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January 31, 2011 Posted by | Home, Real Estate, Sellers | , , , | 2 Comments

12 Days of Christmas for Home Sellers

Here’s a different take on 12 Days of Christmas from a Realtor for Home Sellers…

                                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                     Chris_J – Flickr.com

December 1, 2010 Posted by | Christmas, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Home Inspection for Sellers

Home Inspection for Sellers…

Here is another great video from RealEstate.aol.com

                             ~~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View VIDEO  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                     Joanne Maley – Lincoln Maly Marketing

October 16, 2010 Posted by | Home, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

How to Stage a Home Yourself

How to Stage a Home Yourself…

                                                                   Real Estaging – Flickr.com

                                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                     Hidesert – Flickr.com 

Another great post from www.ReatEstate.aol.com

August 22, 2010 Posted by | Buyers, Home, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Mind of an Appraiser

Inside the Mind of an Appraiser – a Video from ~ RealEstate.AOL.com

                                                               Payton Chung – Flickr.com

                               ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View VIDEO  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                      R. Clock – Flickr.com

August 19, 2010 Posted by | Buyers, Home, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Speedy Cleaning Tips

From About.com : HousekeepingSpeedy Cleaning Tips

                                                                sbaracchina – Flickr.com

Whether your entertaining and running late – or your home is up for sale and you have a last-minute request for a showing – here are some great – quick clean-up tips from About.com…

                                                          supershoppertoo – Flickr.com

                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~CLICK TO VIEW~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                              supershoppertoo – Flickr.com

May 14, 2010 Posted by | Home, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Now is the Time to Buy a Home

Betsy Stark on abc News – If you can buy a home, now is the time… 

                                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View Video  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                           Robert S. Donovan – Flickr.com

March 3, 2010 Posted by | Buyers, Home, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Inexpensive Ways to Wow Buyers

If your looking to put your home on the market, here are some great tips from Realtor Magazine ~

10 Inexpensive Ways to Wow Buyers…

Daily Real Estate News  |  January 26, 2010

Ten Inexpensive Ways to Wow Buyers
Now is the time for home owners contemplating a spring sale to spruce up their properties in anticipation of what Mike Larson of Weiss Research calls a potentially vibrant home-selling season. “If you have been beating your head against a wall, this is going to feel a lot better,” he jokes.

Here are 10 cheap ways to make a property more attractive to shoppers.

  1. Improve first impressions. Touch up the paint on the front door and other areas that buyers see first.
  2. Clean up the landscaping. Trim the hedges and trees and plant some annuals in the flowerbeds.
  3. Paint the interior. A coat of light yellow or cream with contrasting white woodwork looks fresh and clean.
  4. Refurbish the floors. Buff the hardwoods. Install new carpets – or at least get them professionally cleaned.
  5. Take care of the big problems. If the house needs a roof or the front stoop is crumbling, get them fixed.
  6. Buy warranties. Putting appliances under warranty gives homebuyers a secure feeling.
  7. Improve energy efficiency. New windows or improved insulation tell a potential buyer the seller is on top of things plus they come with tax benefits.
  8. Replace light fixtures. Updated fixtures, especially at the entrance way and in the foyer, create a good first impression.
  9. Buy a stove. Home owners whose kitchen isn’t top of the line can jazz it up for a few hundred dollars by buying a new stove, which gives the room a fresh feel.
  10. Tidy up the bathrooms. Get rid of mildew, replace caulking and replace stained sinks.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, Luke Mullins (01/21/2010)

 

January 27, 2010 Posted by | Buyers, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

HomeGain.com – Top 5 Home Improvements

House 3

According to www.HomeGain.com survey – The Top 5 Home Improvements that Realtors recommend to home sellers based on cost and return on investment (from highest to lowest ROI) are: 

November 10, 2009 Posted by | Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Home Selling Guide

In today’s market, selling your home can be a challenge.  From HGTV’S FrontDoor.com

Tudor - Hyperfinch                                                                   Hyerfinch – Flickr.com

~ CLICK ~ to view helpful hints and ideas with their Home Seller’s Guide…

SOLD

October 26, 2009 Posted by | Front Door, HGTV, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bedroom Decorating with Kelly Edwards

Bedroom Decorating with Kelly Edwards ~ CLICK ~

Make the most of a small bedroomwatch this helpful video with Kelly Edwards ~ CLICK ~ where she positions furniture to open up the flow in a bedroom to give the illusion that the room is bigger

Kelly Edwards                                                                      Google Imagery

Just some helpful tips for sellers ~ or anyone!

September 8, 2009 Posted by | Fun Post, Home, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zillow’s Zestimates

Zillow.com is a popular site for buyers looking for a home or sellers looking to sell their home.  Alot of questions have been asked about Zillow’s Zestimates and how accurate they are.

Watch this video to better understand why a Zestimate is an estimate of a homes value.

August 21, 2009 Posted by | Buyers, Sellers, Uncategorized, Zillow | , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Life as a Realtor – Day 20

My Life as a Realtor ~

Day 20:

Today, my day started with a painter coming to our house.  He looked over and measured each room since we still have smoke damage.  Then, I was on my way to my 1st appointment – in Danbury near the Danbury Fair Mall.  From there I went to Enterprise Car Rental also in Danbury – had to rent a car for hubby-hub since his car is still in the shop – New Fairfield Auto Body – waiting for our Allstate Insurance adjuster to view.

Flew home to grab a bite to eat, made phone calls to 20 listing agents inquiring on  rentals for 3 college students.  Unfortunately, not many homeowners want to rent to college students… and I can understand.  We have a party going on right now with a few college kids – oh my!

At around 4:30, I had another appointment – 2 homes in New Fairfield.  For the first home, we walked in – and 3 minutes later – we walked out.  There was so much clutter and mess – making it very difficult for any buyer to see a home’s potential.   The second home was very well kept and a pleasure to view.

Next, I was off to pick up Jonathan at a friends house and to pick up Joe at Harley Davidson in Danbury.  He had to drop his motorcyle off to get a new back tire.

HPIM2176

For dinner, I ordered from Bruno’s Pizza in New Fairfield – awesome pizza – and with this heat and all the running around I did, it was great to take advange of ordering out – something we don’t do very often.

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August 11, 2009 Posted by | My Life as a Realtor, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Front Door – Top 10 Strategies for Choosing a Realtor

HGTV’s FrontDoor.com lists the Top 10 Strategies for Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent – and I totally agree with all ten!

Sold 2                                                                           ClipArt.com

Click here to view what you should be looking for in an agent – are they a full-time and full-service Realtor?  Are they networking on LinkedIn, Twitter and Face Book?  Do they have a BLOG?  Are they Tech-savvy?  Can and will they think like a buyer?   Are they understanding and do they listen?

Twitter                                                          Find me on Twitter…  DianaSantosC21

FaceBook

 

 

 

 Find me on Face Book…  Diana Alves Santos

LinkeIin                                  

 

                               Find me on LinkedIn…  Diana Santos

Home buying & selling can be a long and frustrating process – so choose someone your comfortable with and that will do their best to smooth the bumps along the way of buying and selling your home.

August 8, 2009 Posted by | Buyers, Front Door, HGTV, Realtor, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Realtor Open House Day in Patterson, NY

Yesterday was Realtor Open House Day in Putnam County.  Here is one of the homes I viewed in Patterson, NY – It’s been renovated inside and out – ready to just move right in!

http://wpmls.rapmls.com/scripts/mgrqispi.dll?APPNAME=Westchester&PRGNAME=MLSLogin&ARGUMENT=y7pbMEzBOk8dTh%2FfGeagBpWTQv8sELLzDIrNWXe15%2Fo%3D&KeyRid=1&Include_Search_Criteria=on

For more information and interior photos – or to view this home – call or text Diana – Cell: 203-648-2619 or send me an e-mail – Diana.Santos@Century21.com 

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April 2, 2009 Posted by | Home, NY, Patterson, Putnam County, Putnam Lake, Realtor, Realtor Open House, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tax Tips for Home Buyers, Sellers and Owners

I receive numerous e-mails daily.  Many are of helpful tips and important information.

                                                               peregrine blue – Flickr.comcottage-peregrine-blue

FrontDoor.com has 10 Tax Tips for Home Buyers, Sellers and Owners <CLICK>

tips-rachaelvoorhees                                                                      Rachaelvoorhees – Flickr.com

Please be sure to check or contact your accountant, to see if these new laws apply to you and if your eligible

accountant

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Buyers, Home, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Search for HOMES like an agent – Free LISTING BOOK in NY

Would you like to search for Homes in the Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess county areas in New York  just like I do?  With listings that are updated every 30 minutes on the Multiple Listing Service, you will see what I do through LISTING BOOK.

listingbook_adclip_dreamhome_boxed

The Westchester/Putnam MLS has been working side by side with Listing Book for 2 years and the phenomenon has arrived!

Click Here for a link to your *****FREE***** Listing Book account!

Please keep in mind that if your no longer want your Listing Book account, you will always have the option to opt out.

The Dream to Homeownership is just a click away…

porch-douggarner08

February 28, 2009 Posted by | Buyers, Dutchess County, Listing Book, NY, Putnam County, Sellers, Uncategorized, Westchester County | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama Promises More Low Cost Mortgages

I received some positive news today via e-mail.  An article written in “Daily Real Estate News” through Realtor.org

obama

Obama Promises More Low-Cost Mortgages…

President Barack Obama promised Saturday to reduce mortgage costs as a key part of his plan to improve the economy.

Analysts applauded the move, saying that making low-cost mortgages widely available could stabilize housing markets and jump start new home construction.

Beyond that, observers say aid for the troubled housing market will help blunt the anger many Americans feel over the financial bailout as the executives of firms that received billions take bonuses while average people lose their homes.

Source: Reuters News, Mark Felsenthal (01/31/2009)

Any positive news makes me happy for both my buyers and sellers.  My buyerswill be able to possibly take advantage of these historically low interest rates and sellers may see more activity and possibly a SOLD sign in front of their home!

keys-neoliminal                                                                              neoliminal – Flickr.com

February 2, 2009 Posted by | Buyers, Economy, Mortgage, President Obama, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Want to Buy a House?

Do you want to buy a house??  If your answer is YES – Great!!   Interest rates are FANTASTIC – Inventory is HIGH – AND – most sellers are ANXIOUS!

country-house-visulogikvisulogik – Flickr.com

So, if your interested in a single family, multi – family home, condo or townhouse – I’d be happy to assist!

townhouse-sailorbillsailorbill – Flickr.com

December 29, 2008 Posted by | Buyers, Connecticut, First Time Home Buyers, Home, NY, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Decorating Your Christmas Tree

santa-decorating

It’s that time again – to go up in the attic, down to the basement, garage or wherever it is that you stored your Holiday Decorations – Yup!  A whole year has past since you last took them out.

In New York City, it was the 76th Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center

rockefeller-tree-phillie-casablanca Phillie Casablanca – Flickr.com

The show kicked of with a performance by Britney Spears, followed by many great and popular artist – both young and old, attracting all audiences.  There was Tony Bennett, The Jonas Brothers, Faith Hill, Beyonce, Harry Connick Jr., Miley Cyrus and more.

christmas-lights-mandj98 mandj98 – Flickr.com

The 72-foot Norway spruce tree was decorated with 30,000 energy efficient LED lights on 5 miles of wire topped with a massive Swarovski crystal star.

Now, we don’t have to worry about decorating a tree of this size, but it can still be challenging – for some helpful video tips from HGTV – Click here  – and for 31 Ways to Trim Your Christmas Treeclick here for Country Living.

christmas-tree-z170727-liz-kbZ170727  liz kb – Flickr.com

For Buyers looking during this time, seeing  a house tastefully decorated, makes it feel like a HOME to them.  For sellers, selling during the Holidays, decorating the home will enhance it’s beauty.

For Holiday Safety Tips – ABC News – Good Morning America<CLICK> Here for Video

December 5, 2008 Posted by | Buyers, Christmas, Fun Post, Home, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Price Your Home to Sell

In this more challenging market, “Price Your Home to Sell” featured in FrontDoor.com – has some helpful hints and how to list and sell your home.

                                                                

Interest rates are still historically low and there are buyers.  Although, those buyers – even first timers – are very knowledgeable and know exactly what they want – and many want a more move in home.

How can you stand out as a seller without spending too much money that you may not recoup?

  • First impressions are very important and you want a buyer to feel good  when they drive up to your home.  Add a dash of color with seasonal flowers – mums are great now in the Fall. Keep shrubs and grass trim, leaves raked and walkways clean and inviting. To take it a step up, Lowe’s has some great ideas – even if you just use one of these.
  • Keep your home clean and tidy – view HGTV’s Speedy Cleaning & Organizing Tips – Remember, buyers have a hard time getting past the mess!
  • As you all know, the Kitchen and Bathrooms are the most important features that buyer are looking for.  Keep them clean, decluttered and as updated as possible.  Some inexpensive ideas – like changing the hardware and/or painting cabinets, can help bring in more buyers.

                                             

A few other ideas – Reed Diffusers are great – they smell delicious and there is not the worry that you may have with leaving a lit candle.

Light and Bright – Open your blinds, pull back your curtains, have your lights on when you know there is a showing and leave a note for the Realtor to please shut them off when done.

                                                              

Leave a “Treat” for your potential buyers. Some have being viewing homes all day – a Trick or Treat bag is perfect this month!

Show off” your home by having your listing agent take many photos and add all that is allowed to your listing.

Please be flexible when it comes to showings.  You don’t have to leave your home for the entire afternoon – wondering if the agent has come yet.  As soon as they arrive, take a walk, a ride or visit a neighbor.

If your selling your home in the Fall or Winter, have photos of your home during the Spring and Summer seasons.

Also, if possible, have copies of your survey, floor plan, school info, local parks and shops.  Anything and everything that will help draw a potential buyer not only to your home, but your community.

Most importantly – PRICE it right!  Unfortunately, it’s not what you want or need – the market controls the price.  Have your agent inform you of what has recently Sold and any New Listings in your neighborhood as they come up during the entire listing time.  You need to know if a home 3 doors down that is larger and totally renovated, is on the market for LESS than your home.

Lot’s of LUCK!

Thanks to GOOGLE IMAGERY and ClipArt.com

October 9, 2008 Posted by | Buyers, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Century 21 V.J.F. Realty – Our Admin Department

It is a pleasure to introduce our Administration Department – our right hand here at Century 21 V.J.F. Realty Inc. – Anne and Diane.

Our Broker, Vincent J. Ficarra, has been in Real Estate since 1973 and our office sits conveniently right off of 684 on Route 22 in Brewster, NY – which is also just minutes from the Connecticut border.  We are open for business 7 days a week, and the office is buzzing from the minute Anne and Diane arrive.  

Even in this market of change, their responsibilities and work load has not slowed down.  Together with our office manager, Linda Ficarra, they work side by side continuously building our web presence and internet exposure for both our buyers and sellers.  In an office of over 40 agents, the day never ends, it just pauses for a bit and continues the next morning – full speed ahead!  

I am extremely proud to be associated with such a professional and outstanding office who services Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia and parts of Ulster Counties in New York as well as Fairfield and parts of Litchfield Counties in Connecticut. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANNE!!

May 16, 2008 Posted by | Brewster, Buyers, Century 21 V.J.F. Realty, Connecticut, NY, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Selling in the Spring Market

flower

If your considering SELLING in the SPRING MARKET – wonderful!  Warmer temperatures, longer days, flowers peeping from the garden and NO MORE SNOW!!   SPRING is a great time to LIST  your home!

As a REALTOR, putting a home on the market involves many things:

           > Doing a CMA – COMPARATIVE MARKETING ANALYSIS – Here we view  your home to compare it to similar homes that are currently on the market, pending a closing and most importantly, those that have sold in the past few months.

           > Upon receiving the LISTING,  forms are signed and agreements are made – listing time length, commission amount, number of Public Open Houses to expect, marketing material and other items which should also have been discussed during the CMA.

           > And before taking photos and video for the virtual tour – Going over how to show your homes best potential by DECLUTTERING, CLEANING, and ORGANIZING

Bring out that handy tool box.  A screwdriver, glue and touch-up paint goes a long way.  Don’t give a potential buyer many “To Do” things.  Walk around your home and try looking at it through a buyers eyes.  Take your own photos and see what needs to be changed or packed away.  Also, invite a friend or family member who doesn’t live in your home to “pretend” he’s a buyer.  Just remember not to get upset when they tell you to pack away your 152 collection of Unicorns – maybe leaving out 3 of your favorite will make it easier.

      A helpful way is to remember to appeal to all 5 senses:  

SIGHT– organized, clean, decluttered, bright, and a neutral color palate with touches of color here and there by using flowers, candles and throw pillows. 

SMELL – Use candles cautiously, bake cookies – which also helps with TASTE – who’s mouth wouldn’t water while smelling freshly baked chocolate chip cookies?   And better yet – leave out a few!   You can also use Plug-ins or dab light bulbs with vanilla, anything that smells good.  But please remember, if you haven’t cleaned the kitty litter or thrown out the smelly garbage – none of this will really help.

HEARING Soft music playing in the background will help buyers feel relaxed.  But watch your choice of music and don’t have it on too loud. 

TOUCH– have counter tops, door knobs and handles clean.  No one likes to have sticky fingers when they go to open a cabinet – and yes, they will open them along with closets. 

            > Once an agent has a listing – the fun begins!  Many PHOTOS  are taken along with a Virtual Tour VIDEO.  In my office, we use a professional company and I also take numerous photos for my Blog and many other sites that I advertise my listings on.  Most people will first view a home on-line or through a still photo in a Real Estate flyer or brochure – so GOOD photos are important!

Then, the SHOWINGS begin!  – along with a REALTOR OPEN HOUSE and PUBLIC OPEN HOUSES.  Hopefully, you’ll have enough notice before a showing to spruce up  – but if you don’t, there’s nothing wrong with shoving your teenagers dirty laundry under his bed.  It’s better than having it piled on the floor and viewed by a potential buyer.

GOOD LUCK!

WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?                           sold-2

April 9, 2008 Posted by | Home, Sellers | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment