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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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It was a lovely day today in Salem, Oregon.  The sun was shining and it was just a beautiful day.  I had scheduled today off to enjoy the Wine, Cheese and Pear Jubilee at Willamette Valley Vineyards, and let me just say, we were not disappointed.  The wines were great, as were the pears and cheese.  The view was awesome from the deck at Willamette Valley Vineyards.  The Jubilee is still going on tomorrow from 11 am to 6 pm.  We highly recommend buying the cheese box and a glass of wine once you are done tasting, and enjoying the lovely view.



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HOW DO I LOVE THEE THIS VALENTINE’S DAY??  Still looking for that perfect Valentine’s Day gift for the one you love? Let your SALEM OREGON REAL ESTATE AGENT give you some tips for a couple of local ideas, and a coastal one.


The first one involves fine wine and chocolate.  What woman doesn’t love good Pinot Noir and chocolate?  This is the one that my husband and I will be trying this year.  So, if you decide to try it also, and are there around 11 am on Saturday, please come up and say hi!!  We would love to meet you!!21187883_thm

This wonderful Valentine’s Weekend Event will be held at Willamette Valley Vineyards, and runs from 11 am to 6 pm on the 13th and 14th.  General admission is $5 and includes a complimentary Riedel wine glass. Upgrade to the Cellar Pass for an additional $5 for barrel tasting of the 2008 Quinta Reserva Port Style wine with our winemakers.

33043521_thmWine and chocolate not your thing, or looking for something to continue on the weekend?  How about the Valentine’s Day special going on at Prudence Uncorked?  This year they have two options to make your sweetheart happy.  The first one, She’ll Love You Forever, includes a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride and a four-course dinner including a bottle of wine for $150.  The second option, She’ll Love You For Quite Some Time, skips the ride and goes straight to the four-course dinner and bottle of wine for $100.  Reservations for either option can be made by calling 503-362-0888.

33369859_thmOf course, there is always our old stand-by.  Heading to Lincoln City, Oregon for a couple of days to enjoy the coast. Check out these great escape ideas Part 1 and Part 2.

What are your plans this Valentine’s Day?

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So, I may have already “showed my hand” on this blog by my title, but really-this needs to be addressed!  For the sake of Real Estate Agents and Buyers everywhere.

I have this wonderful family that has been searching for “the home” for a few months now.  We are limited to a small town in the Salem Oregon area/Polk County.  The amount of listings that come on the market each month is limited because it is a smaller town.

We had a good one, or so it sounded, come on the market.  So, we immediately set up a time the following evening to view this wonderful home.   I arrived before the buyers and obtained the key from the contractor’s box on the front door.  I then proceeded to open the front door.  What happened next, I cannot even describe with appropriate words.  Here is this lovely home, in a well established neighborhood, where all of the other homes are kept up.  The door opened and I immediately was blown over by one of the worst dog/urine smells I have encountered.  So, okay, I am a trooper, and my buyers were really excited about this home from the outside.  I knew right away, there is NO WAY I would be able to spend any time at all in this home without some fresh air.  So the first thing I did was open all outside doors for some air, and then bravely sauntered through to turn on the lights.

Shortly thereafter, my wonderful buyers arrived.   I met them at the door to welcome them, and they stepped inside.  Now, in some areas of the home, the smell was not as bad at this point.  Mind you, the sellers did have the carpet cleaned, and had two rooms that they were going to replace the carpet.  Unfortunately, those are the two rooms that do not have the extra thick carpet.   My buyers liked the layout, the backyard is fabulous…. we have discussed the smell somewhat, and that my buyers would rather have a flooring credit than new carpet in the two rooms that are planned to have new carpet.   As we spend more time on this other plush carpet… we are really noticing that the biggest smells are coming from these rooms.  As we stand in the kitchen, where there is no carpet, debating on an appropriate offer, considering all the flooring will need to be replaced, and possibly some sub flooring….  I am now itching, really itching…. and trying to be cool about changing from one foot to the other, scratching my legs…. one of my buyers says….. “I’m sorry, I have to go outside”.  Okay, I had been feeling a little itchy, okay, maybe a lot itchy.   All of sudden we are all scratching madly as we make our way through to be sure the doors are locked, and the lights are off.  By the time that we are outside discussing the home, I am scratching everywhere, not just my legs, as are the buyers.

Sellers, when people cannot even remain in your home…. that may be a sign that you need to replace all of the flooring, or at least set off a bug bomb or two.

Needless to say, as much as my buyers loved the layout and the backyard.  We will not be making an offer on this home. Yes, once I shook off my pants legs and entered my car, I did lift up the legs of my pants in between scratching my head to see if there was anything crawling on me.   Thankfully, it was my last appointment on Friday night and I headed home at high speed.   I am blessed to have a hardwood entry on my main level that leads to the laundry room where I immediately put my clothing in the washer, wrapped up in a folded towel from the top of the dryer, and hit the shower. To my great delight, after the shower, the itching had stopped.

Sellers, smell is a very important part of getting your home sold.  If your real estate agent makes suggestions for you because of the smell of your home due to pets, or anything else…. listen to them!  If you have animals, be prepared that you may have fleas or other irritants….   take care of these issues before you list home and you won’t lose good buyers……

Thanks for listening to my vent for February….  I don’t think I can top this one, this month….. at least I hope not!!


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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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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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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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