What’s All This I Hear About Domestic Violence and the NFL??

September 14th, 2014

Domestic Violence in the NFL? La-La-La-I Can't Hear You!The bigger they are, the brighter they are, the harder they fall….the pendulum has swung mightily in the last 10 days re: Ray Rice and the issue of domestic violence.

It’s not news-OR any more wrong than it’s ever been, but now that the proverbial finger is being pointed at Roger Godall I think we need to look at the other 4 fingers that are pointing back to all of us.

He protects the interests of the people he works for…the people who make money from $10.00 beers, $70.00+ jerseys for kids, and absolutely insane ticket prices…so they can attract the best…to get more money….to build the best…to make more money…etc. (Best seats for even the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars command north of $400, it’s $1200 for the Broncos, and you don’t want to know about the pricing in MetLife stadium.)

But they charge those prices and make that money because they can, because we, the people are willing to pay for it.

I DO like football (TOM!!!!) >the sport as well as the social event that breaks up miserable winters here in the northeast. But maybe we should each take a look at our own part in what we do to over-glorify hundreds of pounds of muscle and bone smashing into each other? Channeling Louie from “Casablanca”can we really be  shocked, SHOCKED! to hear violence on the field comes home at the end of the day?

This is not a simple problem, or sadly, not a new one. Thanks to technology, Ray Rice is just the one who’s ended up in the spotlight. But I bet if each of us dialed it back a bit, and remembered to stay horrified past this news cycle (ie throughout the season, ESPECIALLY during the holiday buying season), it’d be the start of some real change. How about we give it a try?

Two of My Staged/SOLD Properties This Year Were FSBOs!

August 30th, 2014

imagesCAXV8RT0Compiling my YTD business numbers, surprised and gladdened to realize I had a new category of properties to track-FSBOS!

FSBOs-For Sale By Owner-are properties sold without the representation of an agent or brokerage. There may be a few reasons a seller chooses to go this route, but not paying sales commissions is almost always a big part of it.

Getting a property sold in Westchester County  is much more than 2 parties agreeing on a number, and for the record, The Refreshed Home never, ever recommends a seller go it alone. I actually dedicate a good amount of time in the Staging classes and workshops I give to explaining the agent-seller relationship. But, like any of my suggestions, they are just that, suggestions; ultimately clients make their own choices.

In recent years FSBO properties were both plentiful and panned: sellers often priced by need>not their market, and were rarely of the mind or ability to make the property look its best,  a deadly combination in a down market.

Realtors had numbers on their side, too.  NAR reported  9% of homes sold in 2013 were FSBOs, but the typical FSBO sale of $184K was still 14% less than the agent assisted sale of $230K – i.e. a net sale of $216,300 after deducting 6% sales commission.

Now, about that surprised and gladdened part about these two houses being sold..it’s much more that just being part of good numbers. Like crocuses in early March,  this Westchester County Home Stager sees it as a  harbinger of continued good things to come for sellers, buyers and YES< REAL ESTATE AGENTS in Westchester County-namely buyers and sellers doing what it takes, and the return of balance, reason, and reality-based transactions.

  • Surprised and gladdened because both properties were nice, average houses in areas where there was a reasonable amount of comparable  inventory, and buyer interest/activity. Neither would be considered a trophy or luxury property; each had been lived in, but maintained.
  • Surprised and gladdened because combined, their average price of $659,250 is impossibly close to the 2Q median selling price for single family homes in Westchester County of $651,250, and well below the average of $874,026.
  • Surprised and gladdened because their average DOM was about 1/4 of Westchester County’s average of 142 days.
  • Most of all, because I got to know the parties involved pretty well during this process-I am uber-gladdened-but not surprised!-to know that 4 sets of  nice, average, reasonable people worked out all the practical logistics of these sales, and are now quite happily getting on with the rest of their lives.

How you buy or sell-and at what price is your business. My business is to help you make your best decisions, so you will have the best and most options, to move on and enjoy your next adventure.

Will Staging consults for FSBOs be sweeping the nation? Not likely, but how cool is it that it proved to be a viable and successful option for some sellers in my little part of the world??

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Selling, buying, or staying and fixing up?  Coop or condo; an estate, divorce, distressed, or  FSBO sale, downsizing or upsizing;  a home or an investment property?

An interactive consult will help you untangle your thinking, make the most of what you have, and get you going in the right direction. The Refreshed Home is Westchester’s most innovative source for specific, realistic and reasonable solutions for your buying, selling and decorating needs.  Talk to me TODAY about how I can help make your space work better for you!

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Buyers Can`t Buy It If They Can`t Find It

August 24th, 2014

Prosepctive buyers always talk about looking for a house, but could they be talking about your listing, literally?2014-08-23 14.45.47

Problems with actually finding a listed property happens a lot more often than you might think, in both rural and urban settings. Many communities and HOAs do not allow broker signs, and GPS is imperfect, reception can be sketchy in all sorts of areas.

The Refreshed Home looks at ALL aspects of preparing Westchester County properties for sale, and yes, that does include making sure the property is easy to find, because buyers can’t buy it if they can’t find it.

There are communities I work in where buyers buy expressly for the privacy,  NOT  to be easily found. If that is your property and your buyer, your agent will know the best way to proceed. But if your property and buyer will fall into the other 99%-where being easily find-able counts,  take this  Westchester County Home Stagers’ counsel:

The Approach

We rarely notice what is familiar, why such simple and obvious things get overlooked. Next time you’re on the way home, slow down, really  look at what buyers will see as they try to find your house.  What catches your eye? If it’s your gnome collection, trash cans on the side of the house, or holiday lights anytime between January 15th and November 30th>that will hurt you.

Regular readers know I push yellow flowers.  It’s the highest visibility color, and represents hope, optimism and change>all happy thoughts. Use that to direct buyers,  draw them to the proper entry, even signal where the lockbox is. Very helpful if there are a few visible entrances, or you’re on a corner lot, with the driveway on one street, with the front entrance on another.  Deer tend to be averse to marigolds and mums, but natural repellents can ensure longevity.

Street signs

  • Are they pointed the right way>or still reversed, courtesy of a local prankster  from three Halloweens ago?
  • Are they there at all?
  • Are they  readable and unobscured? Glad I’m not trying to sell a house on this street!!

House numbers

DSC03937If you have a mailbox at the curb, have big new contrasting-even reflective- numbers  on each side.

If it’s a corner property with the driveway/walkway on the other  or on a road that changes names,  the street name on the mailbox and numbers on the garage wouldn’t hurt, either.  Bright yellow flowers at the base will increase the visibility

Days are getting shorter-whether on the house, a light post or a free-standing sign: is your house number in obvious place(s)? Are they well-lit, and large enough to be seen from the road?

If you live in an apartment or multi-residence property, are all the things that will get agents with buyers in, and to your door in place, and in good working order: a clearly marked directory, a working intercom, etc.

Getting In

Big fences, overgrown shrubs, shared driveways, un-obvious walkways, and agents’ favorite-where the *#%! is the lockbox!-will all cool down a buyers’ interest while you all try to figure things out.

Home Staging makes it easy for buyers to say yes…but buyers can’t buy it, unless they can find it!

Coloring Your Wold: YELLOW-Letting the Sun Shine In

 

More Worthwhile Things to Do In Westchester County (While Everyone Else is on Vacation)

August 21st, 2014

dreamstime_13206519The best summer events include fun, novelty and tradition, with at least a smattering of redeeming value in there somewhere.  If the Ice-Bucket Challenge thing is starting to wear thin (just send in the money!!) adding to yesterday’s list, more worthwhile things to do here in Westchester County-while eveyone else is on vacation!

Get. Out.

The weather’s been beautiful, before the season’s end, seek out, and enjoy at least a few of these summer staples. Some Westchester County ideas:  A drive -in movie, an outdoor concert, fireworks,  a farmers’ market, craft fair, a ball game, or maybe just stop by Walter’s for a couple of dogs and a root beer float?

Sign Up for a Class

Learning something new has never been easier, or more reasonable, and fall sememsters start soon! Local municipalities like Scarsdale and Bronxville along with Westchester Community College offer classes on almost anything you can imagine…from Belly-Dancing to Photoshop, Gardening to Film and Current Event Discussions. As the days get shorter, a few weeknights off the sofa and out, mixing it up with new people will be a good thing.

Buy Some New Patio Furniture!

…or a grill, or an air conditioner…a laptop or a 42″ LCD TV. These are some of the best deals to be had this month, according to Lindsey Sakraida of  DealNews …and is there anything more fun, worthwhile or traditional than scapping up end of season values??

Clean Out, and Donate Stuff

Parting with stuff can be hard: there is the actual deciding, then the need to get them to the right places that will accept and benefit from them. But the payoff can be huge>freed up space in your home and your head, not to mention knowing you helped with a worthy cause.  Now is the time to go through, sort and then actually follow through with getting your items to their best destination. Whatever you’ve got, just google around a bit, and always call before showing up. Here are some popular links

Do Something Really Touristy

Because something is close to us, we figure we can go anytime, right? I was in my 20s before I went to the Empire State building, my 40s before seeing the Statue of Liberty. Don’t wait!

 

Some Worthwhile Things to Do (While Everyone Else is on Vacation) Part One

August 18th, 2014

fallon-ice-bucket-hed-2014Other than participating in the white-hot and very worthwhile Ice Bucket Challenge, it seems many of us are grasping for some worthwhile things to do  here in Westchester County as summer ’14 winds down.

We all have things we keep meaning to do, but we get busy and forget. If you have some time on your hands in the days to come, here are some ideas guaranteed to make you feel good, and the easy links to get more info.

How’s  Your Voter Registration Status?

National Voter Registration Day is September 23rd, but why wait?? If you’re a new voter,  if your circumstances have changed (name, address) or if you’ll be in school, the military or traveling this election season,   this link will get you whatever info you need to register, change your info or request an absentee ballot. You can also volunteer at registration drives with the League of Women Voters, even just raise awareness in your own circles by asking if people are registered!

Give Blood

Every 41 seconds someone needs blood in the US, and each pint can help save up to three lives, but donations fall off sharply in the summer.  If you are in good health and qualify, it’ll probably be the best 45 minutes you’ll spend in a while, and there are even cookies and juice after! Here’s more info  including where to donate from the Red Cross, but trust me, any hospital will welcome you with open arms.

Snag  Some Free Tickets

Before everyone comes back from vacation, get your bid for tickets to the taping of your favorite shows in now. The SNL ticket lottery for 2014-15  season ends 8/31, but tapings for other NYC area shows go on year-round, lots of choice days around the holidays are still available.

Hit Some Museums

Yes, art can make you happy; quieter and less-crowded museums in late August can make you even happier. In lower Hudson Valley, the hands-down best deal is the Fairfield Westchester Museum Alliance: Membership to one gets you free admission to all 8, for a full year.

Get Your Safe Driver Discount

Besides just being a smart thing, this can pay off big. Here in NY one 6 hour course ( $40.00 or less)  will reduce your insurance by 10% for 3 years, and take points off your license…AND  now you can do it online!

TOMORROW: Donating, Drive-Ins and more!

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