Archive for the 'Salem Oregon Sellers Top Dollar Tips Series' Category


Sunday, March 21st, 2010


Helpful tips on getting your home sold from your Salem Oregon Real Estate Agent.


Lighting is a very important thing when selling your home.  In Part 1 of Sellers, Lights Please!!  we went over the basics of why lighting is so important. Part 2 will give you some ideas on how to make the most of the lighting that you have.

Do shades or domes have dead insects or dust in them?  Clean them and see how much brighter the room looks.  Are there scratches, dents, dings or tarnish on fixtures?  If they can’t be buffed or cleaned, consider replacing them.

If fixtures need to be replaced, consider your target buyer and the style of your house when choosing the replacements.  For example, if the architecture and furnishings of your home are traditional, modern-style fixtures of polished gunmetal would look inappropriate.  Or if you’re targeting younger buyers, the original circa 1970 pea green mod-style hanging lamp may need to go.   For some great examples of light fixtures that will “light” up your home, visit local home stager, Margaret Oscillia’s blog.  She discusses lighting and gives some good examples of what not to buy.

Lighting can minimize a room’s idiosyncrasies, creating optical illusions that make a room seem wider, a ceiling higher or hallway longer.  Long, narrow hallways, common in today’s condominiums, can be transformed from wasted space to an art gallery with the addition of track lighting to illuminate artistic treasures.  Is there a room that feels like the ceiling and floor are gradually closing in on you?  By avoiding hanging fixtures and using those that throw light up a wall, such as floor can lights, one can make ceilings feel higher.

If your ceiling has cracks or other blemishes, light that flows down to the floor moves the eye in that direction, and away from a negative feature.  On the other hand, bowing walls of older houses require lighting that moves straight from floor to ceiling without hitting the wall.  Here, the lamps or fixtures must be placed away from the wall and face the ceiling.

Often one can take fixtures already used in the house and move them to more appropriate areas.  Life’s little horrors, real or imaginary, tend to disappear when rooms are lit properly.

Have a particularly small room?  A mirrored wall will look double the size that it did when it was only painted.  If the mirrored wall is across from a window, the natural light will be reflected and the room will seem brighter.

It’s important to remember that it isn’t enough to just have the proper light fixtures.  You need to use them.  Even during the day, lights should be on in every room of the house, including hallways, closets, bathrooms, on the stove, in the oven and under hanging cabinets.  At night, be prepared for an evening buyer drive-by with lamps illuminated in rooms with windows that face the street.  Also, remember to leave your porch light on for those after dark showings.  It makes it much easier for the buyer’s agent to program their key card so that they can gain entry to your home.  After all, folks need to know that Dracula isn’t lurking in the shadows.

You can find other articles in the Top Dollar Series for selling your Salem Oregon home under Salem Oregon Sellers Top Dollar Tips Series. If you are ready to sell your Salem area home, you can contact me directly at 503-931-1846.

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Wednesday, March 10th, 2010


Helpful tips on getting your home sold from your Salem Oregon Real Estate Agent.


Lights, please??  You may be asking what your Salem Oregon Real Estate Agent is talking about with this article of  our Seller, Get Top Dollar Tips.  Everyone has lights in their house, obviously-but is your lighting helping or hurting the sale of your home?

Quick example of the importance of lighting:

Professor Von Helsing approaches the house with trepidation – the lone light is from the moon and even that scarcely illuminates the entry way.  He wonders what horrors are hidden in the shadows…

A potential buyer for Count Dracula’s castle might also question what is tucked in the dark corners and hallways of the eerie abode.

Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, and old Hollywood horror-movie directors understood the impact proper lighting has on a situation.  A multitude of horrible, dirty, dangerous, unsightly, disgusting surprises can be lurking about, waiting for the most opportune time to make their presence known.

But while Von Helsing overcame his fears and entered the castle despite them, potential homebuyers may not make it past the unlit foyer, no matter how attractive it is.  If buyers can’t SEE it, they can’t love it.  Even worse, they can fear the unseen (and quite possibly insignificant) qualities, and become uneasy in a home that may be just perfect for them.

Lighting can be a relatively inexpensive but effective way to highlight the positive qualities of your home or downplay areas that are less attractive.

The most desirable and inexpensive lighting is natural sunlight.  The easiest way to capitalize on this natural resource is to show your home during the daytime when the sun is shining brightly, throwing open blinds or shades, de-cluttering windowsills, and washing panes to allow light inside.  This is also a good time to move Aunt Gerties’s antique walnut wardrobe away from the window.  To do its job, light needs to enter a room unhindered.

Unless your window overlooks a neighbor’s collection of rusting cars or a grimy, graffiti-ridden wall of the building next door, it’s good to keep curtains open when showing your home.  It makes the room look bigger and more inviting. If the view is less than attractive, hang sheer curtains over the window that will allow some light in while subtly distracting the buyer’s attention from the unsightly scene.

If the house is dark with few or very narrow windows, take heart.  A trip to your local home improvement store can lighten things up quickly.  Even naturally lit houses can benefit from the addition of appropriate electric lighting.

Begin by slowly walking through your house, taking special care to flip all switches and look at each light fixture and lamp.  Are there burnt-out bulbs that need to be replaced?  Keep a list of all the size bulbs you need to purchase.

In part 2 of Sellers-Lights Please, we will discuss in more detail how to get the best lighting for your home.  Until then, remember, lights are for the living!!

For more tips on getting your home sold visit the rest of this series:

Sellers Top Dollar Series

Thinking of selling your home, or just want to know what it might sell for in the current market?  Call me direct at 503-931-1846.

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Saturday, February 27th, 2010


33378386_thmIt’s time for the second installment of our Spend a Little, Get a Lot series for Salem Oregon Home Sellers courtesy of your Salem Oregon Real Estate Agent.   When preparing your home for sale, there are many quick and easy tips that can get your home in top showing condition.  Here are a few more to get started on:

  • Don’t have the time to keep the house clean?  Consider hiring a cleaning service to keep your house in shape while it’s on the market.
  • If your wall-to-wall carpet looks fine except for a couple of worn spots, have it professionally cleaned and cover the imperfect areas with small rugs.
  • Make sure stairways are safe by freeing them of toys or slippery mats, securing the handrail, and installing good lighting.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to call professional painters because their schedules may be filled.  Hire them as soon as you make the decision to sell.
  • Keep your lawn looking thick and green by fertilizing during the appropriate season.

Now, mind you on the carpet tip-a good buyer’s agent will look under your throw rugs.  So, you aren’t trying to hide anything from the buyer concerning the carpet, you are just trying to give the home an overall better presentation.

If you are considering selling your home and would like more tips on preparing your home for selling, or would like a complimentary market analysis to give you a better idea of what your home will sell for in the current market, you can contact me directly at 503-931-1846.

For more seller tips visit:

Spend a Little, Get a Lot Part 1

Salem Oregon Sellers Top Dollar Series

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Saturday, February 6th, 2010



As your Salem Oregon Real Estate Agent, I’ve been doing a series of articles for preparing your home to sell for top dollar the last few weeks, and I thought the latest report from the National Association of Realtors would be an interesting addition.   Today in Realtor Mag they reported on the top 10 things that buyers want according to Paul Cartus of Avid Ratings who conducts an annual survey of what buyer preferences for must-haves in new homes.

  1. Large kitchens with islands
  2. Energy efficiency including appliances, insulation and windows
  3. Home offices
  4. Main-floor master suite
  5. Outdoor living space
  6. Ceiling fans
  7. Soaking tub in master suite and/or large shower with seating area
  8. Stone and brick exteriors instead of stucco or vinyl
  9. Community walking paths and playgrounds
  10. Two car garages, however three car garages are even more desirable

So, I would like to hear from local buyers and Real Estate Agents from all over.  Do you agree with these must-haves?  I do get many requests for large kitchens with islands, energy efficiency, home offices, at least a two car garage, master on the main, and both a soaking/jetted tub and shower in the master bath.  What are your top requests?

Original source: Source: MarketWatch, Steve Kerch (01/30/2010)

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Monday, February 1st, 2010


In Part 1 of “ Sellers, Let’s Talk About Curb Appeal” we set the groundwork for the basics, in Part 2 we will go more in depth on the subject of curb appeal.


Improving the appearance of the driveway can be as easy and inexpensive as cleaning up oil spills, pressure washing to remove mildew or moving extra cars to another location. For damaged driveways, excessive cracks may be more unsightly if they’re filled with patches. In this case, resurfacing the driveway may be necessary.

Landscaping and lawn maintenance create the backdrop for the house. Like the scenery in a play, it showcases the main attraction. In his book, Sell It Yourself, Ralph Roberts vividly describes the ideal lawn. “You want your yard to look like a golf course fairway – lush, green and meticulously maintained.” This requires filling bare spots with grass plugs or sod, applying fertilizer and bug killer, and regularly watering the lawn.

For those with little spare time, it may be worth the money to hire a maintenance service to shape up your yard and keep it maintained as long as your house is on the market.

Add some color with a flowerbed or two of various annuals. A newly mowed and edged lawn accented with flowers makes a good first impression. The yard should look clean and green…with a few splashes of color.

Of course, once the lawn is golf course quality, you don’t want to spoil the effect with a cluttered yard. Neatly trim bushes and hedges so they accent the yard. Keep leaves raked and walkways swept daily. Trash cans, hoses, yard tools and toys should be stored in the garage or a shed. And while lawn ornaments – pink flamingos, elves, concrete geese or a statue of David – may make your life brighter, someone else might find them offensive. Put them in storage.

Want the most dramatic improvement in appearance for the best value? Paint the exterior of your house, including trim, window frames, shutters, gutters and downspouts, mailbox and front door. Opt for neutral shades of white, light grey, or pale beige, which are more universal.

If the existing paint on the outer walls is in good shape, consider touching up everything else in the list. This will make the house look brighter.

The front door is the transition area. At its best, it carries the pleasant look of the lawn – and the opinion of the buyer – over the threshold of the house. At worst, it undoes everything you achieved with the lawn and casts a pallor on the rest of the house. The buyer won’t miss the entryway, so the seller must not overlook it. Pressure wash the front steps, railings, and door. Clean out light fixtures, replace burnt-out bulbs and fix the broken doorbell. If the door is solid and in good working condition, give it a fresh coat of paint. If it’s damaged, cheaply made or otherwise unsightly, invest in a new, hardwood door. When this is done, add the final touch to the threshold: A brand-new doormat. After all, with all the work you just finished doing to spruce up the place, you want buyers to feel welcome.

By the way, Pam’s place now looks like a European country house, complete with shadow boxes, a wrought iron gate and English gardens. But the very first thing she did was paint the exterior…soft beige.

I hope you found these tips helpful to get you started on some great curb appeal for your Salem Oregon Home for Sale. For more selling tips from your Salem Oregon Real Estate Agent check out:

  1. The Bathroom – Part 1
  2. The Bathroom – Part 2

If you are considering selling your Salem Oregon Home, feel free to contact me for any questions that you may have, and a copy of my free book, “How To Sell Your House For Top Dollar, Fast“.

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Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Let’s face it-if you are planning to sell your SALEM OREGON HOME in the next few months, the competition is stiff. With so many choices for buyers in the SALEM OREGON REAL ESTATE MARKET, your home must stand out. You need to have the best looking home at the best price. This all starts with CURB APPEAL. The first impression that your home makes on a buyer will determine whether or not they set an appointment to view your home.

Here is a short story to illustrate the importance of CURB APPEAL :

Your home is your castle...

The huge, dark gray house was more than unkempt; with a crumbling front wall, missing shingles, thigh-high grass, broken window panes, and household items scattered in the yard it looked sickly. THIS was Pam’s dream house? (names have been changed to protect the innocent ;-) ).

“Ummmm, Pam, with all due respect,” I said with my usual candor, “This place looks like it should have a black cloud and thunderbolt over it.” She sighed.

“But it was cheap, really cheap. You just have to look past the rundown condition and see the potential. How else could I afford a house this size?”

Though Pam, an artist with an incredible eye, was able to look into the future and see what the house could be after cleaning and repair, I was more like the average home buyer – extremely dubious. If I had been the one looking to buy a house, I wouldn’t have stepped a foot on that property. I wouldn’t have even slowed down the car.

Pam did get the house for about half the price of similar homes in comparable neighborhoods, which means the seller made 50% less on the sale because he was unwilling to do the repairs necessary to improve its curb appeal. It also took him over two years to find a buyer.

So, what can you do to make for a quick sale? CURB APPEAL.

“Curb appeal” is real estate talk for the initial appearance, and the impression it makes, of the house as seen from the road. It’s what the buyer sees and feels as she parks her car across the street, crosses the road, strolls up the front walkway and pauses to knock on the door. Curb appeal includes the overall neighborhood, the house’s location on the block, condition of landscaping, the overall look of the house, and attention to details.

A house needn’t sport a cloud and thunderbolt look for prospective buyers to bypass it for another one. Sometimes little irritants – weeds, peeling paint, or tacky lawn ornaments – can create enough doubt to make them go elsewhere.

Luckily, most of the little irritants can be corrected with a little time, a bit of money and an open mind.

Most real estate experts agree that the most important steps to take in preparing a house for listing include

  1. Fixing the driveway.
  2. Landscaping the yard.
  3. Painting the exterior.
  4. Painting or replacing the front door.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we will talk more about curb appeal, and how to make your home stand out for buyers!   Also, be sure to check out the other articles in the Seller’s Top Dollar Tips Series.

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SALEM OREGON REAL ESTATE AND HOMES FOR SALE-Tips for Selling Your Home-Part 2-The Bathroom

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Tips for selling your home-the bathroom

SALEM OREGON REAL ESTATE AND HOMES FOR SALE – Tips for Selling Your Home-Part 2-The Bathroom


Welcome to Part 2 of The Bathroom!! In Part 1 I talked about cleaning the vanity, cabinets and drawers, and also suggested some repairs that you may need to consider when selling your home. In Part 2 we are going to address some other tips to make your bathrooms sparkle and appeal to buyers.

Buyers will notice a filthy shower, and nothing turns a buyer off quicker. So, spend some time here.

Remove personal items – cleanser, shampoo and conditioner, shave cream, razor, body sponges – from the shower/tub area.

Discard items that are unnecessary and store the rest under the sink. Test the faucets and showerhead. Do the faucets turn off all the way? If not, change the washers. Is the water spraying freely from the showerhead? No? Then remove it and check to see if it’s clogged. If it still doesn’t work properly after cleaning, replace it.

Carefully examine tiles and the tub. Does the tub have chips and discoloration? It may need to be resurfaced or replaced.

How do the tiles look? Any loose pieces or chips? Are there cracks in the grout? Scrub the bathtub, tiles and grout until they are mold and mildew free. Regrout gaps between tiles. Scrape and replace discolored caulking.

When the shower and bathtub have been overhauled, top off your repairs with a new, crisp shower curtain or liner in a neutral color.

Take a good look at the ceiling and walls. Do you see any mold, mildew, fingerprints or grime? If so, scrub it with bleach. Cracking or curling paint should be scraped and repainted in a neutral color.
Here is a good rule of thumb: Place only three items on the vanity area. Many real estate experts suggest these include potpourri, a new or clean, filled soap dispenser, and a plant. It’s a good idea to keep the toilet tank top cleared as prospective buyers and inspectors may want to peek inside it.
After the big clean-up and repair job in the bathroom, it’s important to maintain the fresh smell and appearance each day the house is on the market. The space should be kept uncluttered, clean and sanitized. It should reflect well on the house of which it is a part and offer few glimpses of the personalities who currently live there.

At this point, a homeowner enters the sprucing-up stage. After cleaning every nook and cranny in the bathroom, it’s time to add the finishing touches. All dirty towels and wash cloths, bath mats and robes should be removed. A clean set of towels should be displayed before the house is shown. Trash baskets should be emptied and floors wiped daily. All personal grooming items – tooth brushes, make-up, combs and brushes, hair dryers, perfume, etc. – should be tucked away, preferably in a container and stored in a drawer or cabinet.


Now that you have your bathrooms sparkling, let’s talk about something else that is important!  CURB APPEAL!!  That will be the subject of the next blog post in this series of Tips for Selling Your Home.

Wondering what your home may be worth in the current market?  Request a complimentary market analysis from me.  I will also include a copy of my “How To Sell Your House For Top Dollar, Fast”.

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Monday, December 21st, 2009

I am starting a new series of articles based on my Seller Newsletters full of tips for selling your Salem area home for top dollar even in the current Salem Oregon Real Estate Market. If you would like to be added to my free newsletter list, please contact me, and I will get you added right away.

We are going to start this series off with the bathrooms. When a house is on the market, it becomes less the owner’s home and more of a display item. Nowhere is this more important to remember than in the bathroom. Buyers don’t want to see the seller’s personal hygiene items, moldy remnants of steamy showers, or a soap scum-covered collection of empty shampoo bottles. They want to be confident that this most private of rooms is well maintained and sanitized. The trick to make the area seem less, well…private.

Preparing a bathroom for potential buyers is a four step process:

  • Clean
  • Repair
  • Sanitize
  • Spruce

Every surface that can hold something – vanity, toilet tank, shower window, floor – should be cleared of as many objects as possible. The same thing applies for anything that can be opened – medicine cabinet, drawers, and linen closets.

Cleaning begins with throwing out any expired medication, make-up that hasn’t been used in a year, nearly empty containers, and any other useless objects found while emptying cabinets and drawers.
The process continues with wiping each shelf, drawer, and cabinet door. When everything is out from under the sink, take the time to check the faucets and pipes for leaks.
If faucets leak, washers probably need to be changed. In some cases, the faucets may be corroded and need to be replaced. If this is the case, opt for an inexpensive and very plain model. Fill the sink with water. If it drains from the sink slowly, pour in some drain clog remover and see if this helps. When everything is clean and in working condition, neatly return items to the cabinet under the sink, using containers for small objects like bath toys, sponges or cleaners.
While the top of the toilet tank is bare, lift up the top and check the water level and condition of the inner mechanisms. Flush the toilet. Does the water refill to the correct level? Does the water shut off when it reaches this level? If not, then the inside mechanism with the seat and stopper at the bottom of the tank will need to be replaced.

One of the many benefits of listing your home with me is that at Coldwell Banker Mountain West, we have a group of handymen that are employed by our company to do basic handyman repairs on our seller’s homes for as long as your home is on the market, and on our buyer’s homes for as long as they own their home. It’s called our Lifetime Handyman Repair Service. They will take care of any leaking faucets and shower heads, toilets that are not working correctly, and they will put fresh caulking in your bathroom once you have everything else ready to go in the bathroom which helps to provide a cleaner and fresher appearance. Our Lifetime Handyman Repair Service has saved our sellers and buyers a great deal of money by providing free repairs.

So, there you go, some tips to get you started on getting your bathrooms in order before putting your home on the market. Stay tuned for part 2 of The Bathroom.
Would you like a free copy of my book “How to Sell Your House for Top Dollar, Fast”?   Or, would you like me to do a walk-thru of your home to provide you with a pinpoint price analysis of your home, along with a copy of my “101 Quick and Easy Tips to Make Your Home Show Like a Model Home”?  If you would like more information about the services that I offer to my sellers, you can contact me directly at 503-931-1846 or
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