Comparing Pre-Juno Frenzy, and the WC Real Estate Market

January 26th, 2015

When something is always available, most people tend not to think much about it.  It’s easy enough to make arrangements to  procure it  when they want to, or need to.


However, when circumstances change, when options lessen, people can panic, and leap into action.

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We’re not usually motivated to think or plan proactively when we are comfortable. But that is precisely what  The Refreshed Home  counsels clients: Planning to sell  their Westchester County property?  Get Ready, Now. 

Buying a home is an emotional decision, any number of things could nudge a prospective buyer off the fence and into the buying pool: an unseasonably warm spell or an uptick in interest rates; continued economic improvement/consumer confidence, renters deciding they want the tax benefits of owning, seeing their friends buy, or noticing houses they like being sold quickly, at escalating prices OR EVEN finding their own next home.

Like the incoming winter storm Juno, these things are out of a sellers’ control, could materialize quickly, and are minimally predictable at best. Sellers need their property to be ready when buyers are ready to buy. Those starting the process of preparing their home for sale sooner rather than later will have more options:

  • They can make decisions at their own pace
  • They can shop around, have more choices for any trade or service providers they might need
  • They will be poised to move quickly when circumstances change-any of the above, or even better, they find the next property they want to live in.

Remember, signing the listing agreement and scheduling photos is the easy part, it can happen in 24- 48 hours. Going through closets, packing/disbursing contents of attics or basements, cleaning and refreshing your space-not so much.

The Refreshed Home is Westchester County’s most complete Home Staging service. Flexible, innovative, accomplished and responsive,   TRH brings a thoughtful approach to the creative process  If you are planning to sell your Westchester County property, be ready for when buyers are ready to buy,  talk to me today about getting your property noticed, and SOLD!




Free Home Staging Workshop: Mt. Kisco Library Sat. Jan 10th

January 4th, 2015

Are you planning to sell your Westchester County house in 2015?

Two things engage buyers: Price and condition. How you price your property is between your and your agent; how you can make it look its best is what we’ll be covering  at the FREE Home Staging Workshop in the Mt. Kisco Library Saturday January 10th 1:30-3:00 PM.









The most beautiful property in town will sit on the market if it’s not priced right; and while an attractive number will generate a lot of interest, buyers will leave just as fast if there are too many problems, too much work to be done.

Maybe you think Home Staging is just fine for strangers’ houses on TV…or that it’s only for vacant trophy houses? SURPRISE!  The Refreshed Home defines Home Staging as whatever you can do to improve the position of your property in the market, so it will sell quickly and well. And experience has shown me over and over again, once pointed in the right direction, homeowners can do a lot more than they think they can.

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A well prepared property will not only attract buyers, but buyers who tend to be serious and better qualified. These properties also attract other agents…who represent buyers ready to make a move.

It’s never too early to start the process, so if you want to sell (and get on with your life!)  come to the Mt. Kisco Library this Saturday, January 10th. Bring your questions, and a pad of paper. Among the topics: the 3 numbers every seller should consider, how to prioritize your efforts and resources, and what makes the best listing photos.











Free, and open to the public, but program is subject to a minimum attendance. Please call the library to register 914.864.0137 (you can call right now and leave them a message!)  Hope to see you there!


Colors, Your Realtor and ME: Getting Your Bronxville Coop SOLD!

January 2nd, 2015

Picture1Last of the series on getting your Bronxville coop noticed and SOLD!

Look at your colors Walls are your biggest surface area, followed by floors, then bed coverings.  White walls are the kiss of death in listing photos, period. Wallpaper is almost as bad, closely followed by pastels.

A fresh coat of neutral-colored paint, over walls in good repair makes your space, and all its details really stand out. TRH likes BM’s Historical and Affinity colors in particular. Never harsh or hard, they have depth and nuance, perfect for older buildings.

Cooler neutrals, particularly the grey tones tones are hot now, but be careful, as they can ‘turn’ on you, reading green, gold or even lavender, depending on the light, what else they’re shown with and their undertone. A one-hour color consult with The Refreshed Home can save you from time in the paint store, sample-painted walls and remorse if you guess wrong.

Listen to your Realtor.  Look, all the Staging in the world will not sell an overpriced property.  Yes, even if it’s in Bronxville.  AND a listing price is just a number on a piece of paper. It’s serious business, but you’re not bound to that number. Every days properties sell for over list, as well as less than list.

“Just trying” a higher number is NEVER a good strategy for a serious seller. The market is bigger than any of us, and value is in the eye of the beholder. Your listing has 30 days to be considered fresh and interesting, after that, it’s stale; buyers wonder what’s wrong with it that no one else chose it.

  • Insisting on a number you want, feel you deserve, or think it should be is setting the stage for an arduous path, just look at the DOM and pricing histories of other Bronxville coops. Pricing in this market is both art and science, listen to your Realtor.
  • If you keeping hearing the number you need is just untenable, with all due respect, perhaps it’s just not time for you to sell. The internet has done a lot to level the playing field, but you still want someone smarter than you to represent your best interests. Speaking frankly, the better agents will just pass on taking an unrealistic listing.
  • Fearful of going too low? “Bidding wars” and “highest and best” have a nice ring to them, don’t you think?

Talk with ME!

The Refreshed Home specializes in putting tools in your hands, so you can make good plans and wise decisions, then get on with your life. While ALWAYS welcoming of questions and conversation with curious and interested individuals, TRH leads Home Staging workshops and seminars throughout Westchester County, on a regular basis.

Am very pleased to announce I have been invited back to 4 locations so far this quarter: 

These are confirmed dates, but at this writing not all have been published. All are open to the public, but please do the kind thing and register with each venue, so we all can plan. Hope to see you there!


Getting A Bronxville NY Coop Noticed and SOLD, Step One

January 2nd, 2015

Previously we establishedIMG_4242-550x412

  • How desirable Bronxville real estate is
  • Challenges Bronxville coop sellers face
  • Why expecting buyers to use their imagination is a bad strategy.

Now, rising above, to get your property noticed, and SOLD!

A sellers’ vision is clouded when it comes to looking at their own space. Being so familiar, they just don’t see it (or any options) anymore. And since our spaces are extensions of our selves, OF COURSE they are JUST FINE the way they are.

However, latest NAR Buyer Preference stats  show 92% of buyers shop online, with 50% using a mobile app to aid their search.  Trust this Westchester County Home Stager: Good and quality listing photos are buyer-nip.  They drive traffic, and need to shine from Day One.

Sellers sell for all sorts of reasons, but buyers buy to be happy. Know your buyer, stay focused on their needs and motivation-this is your ticket to selling quickly and well.

Bronxville coop buyers could be singles or  young couples who are perhaps moving up from the city, testing the waters of surburbia. OR downsizers who want to stay local, just not maintain a house anymore. In either case, simple and serene is a big draw; quality, and a polished, and reasonably fashion-conscious look is called for.

Most coops are generally 1000 sf or less:  Demonstrate the most function you can, your coop will be a GREAT value,  no matter if  your buyer is a first-timer (who might be nursing disappointment, hoping for a house), or the downsizer sadly bidding their house farewell.

Too many personal ‘stamps’ get in the way of buyers seeing the function/value of your space. Here is the first of the biggest speed bumps I see in the current listings:

The Furniture

 You’re not decorating, but the wrong pieces send the wrong messages, and narrow your buying pool. Selling is a game, play the game to win. Borrow, trade, even buy or put things in storage if you have to (it could be a deduction!). Take a look around and ask yourself-

Did you bring EVERYTHING from your house when you moved? Lots of carved, leggy, and fragile looking Nanna upholstery, too-big (and filled) filled china cabinets, walls covered in oversize art, tabletops full of tschokes-all big buyer turnoffs.  Often quality in it’s day, today it’s waaay too personal.

Lower sofas, tables and lamps are oddly proportioned to buyers’ eyes.  Too many things  shrink a space and distract buyers; and it does not reflect how people live today. Worse, it could be viewed as an estate sale>bad karma, and inviting of low-ball offers.

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Bachelor furniture?  Oversized (usually) leather upholstery, multiple electronics, a ginormous TV?  Rarely are there amenities like end tables, lamps, window treatments or even matching towels. Your buyer may end up living the same way, but that’s be their choice…AFTER they moved in! As is, you’re alienating buyers who want (and will pay for) grown-up experiences like entertaining, and waking up in a beautiful space.

Bachelorette, or dorm furniture?  No matter your price point, “cute” does not put money in your pocket in 10708. Lots of little things do not read as valuable: Ruffled valences, an Ikea desk, a futon or the infamous Pier One Papasan chair? Ditch’em, ditto for cat hotels, patchwork quilts, or anything in soft pastels. Again, new purchases would not only come to the new place with you, often they are considered a deduction against proceeds when you sell.

NEXT: Your colors, your Realtor, and me!

Getting Bronxville NY Coops and Condos Noticed, and SOLD

January 1st, 2015

By all accounts, Bronxville NY is a lovely place to live.  Just over a mile square, this 6e0ca149c95396d0b4f42bb30d777e7bscenic Westchester County community has been home to some very interesting and influential people.

According to Wikipedia, it ranks as the 20th highest income community in the US. An easy NYC commute, top-notch schools and a vibrant downtown, yesiree, Bronxville real estate is a good thing.

But I’d hate to be trying to sell a coop there! At this very moment Zillow shows Bronxville to have  229 active listings:  45 are rentals. Of the remaining 184 (for sale) listings, a full 68% of them are either coops (109 units) or condos (16 units). The rest are single family homes, with a few building lots.

Getting your Bronxville coop noticed is the first step in getting it sold. Good, and quality listing photos have got to be a sellers top priority; here’s the first of three on how to do just that.

But first, to be clear, Home Staging is not an absolute aesthetic standard.  I explain it’s a unique and interactive process that matches up the most productive actions with the needs, goals and resources of the seller, so the property sells quickly, and for the best price.

Sure there are sellers who have no choices, and sellers who’ve already made their own choices. The Refreshed Home is not out to make anyone feel bad, or debate with them, these posts are not written for them. But curious sellers who-thanks to HGTV-might have assumed Home Staging is not for them, that they can’t really do or fund anything meaningful-read on!!

Two things engage a buyer: price and condition. To sell quickly, and well, sellers need both of these in their corner. A competitive price means little if it’s not an attractive space; and a great looking place that’s priced too high will languish.

Westchester County real estate has been on auto-pilot for many years, just appreciating nicely and regularly on its own. The painful reality is that this party is over. 

Today’s buyers have little time, desire or ability to ponder anything other than exactly what is in front of them.  No matter the ZIP code, selling quickly and well involves doing more than just putting a sign in the ground and having an Open House… or three. Simply, you need to quickly engage a buyer, make it easy for them to see the space/value, so they can say yes.

The really good news is that there are many things a ready, willing and able Bronxville seller can easily and inexpensively do to get their coop or condo noticed, and SOLD. Are you with me so far? Then onward, intrepid seller-to-be!

NEXT: Step One to getting your Bronxville NY coop noticed, and SOLD!

Marie Graham is an Interior Decorator, an Accredited Home Stager, and Owner of The Refreshed Home. Bringing a thoughtful approach to the creative process, Marie has been bettering Westchester and Fairfield county properties for a long, long time.