February 17, 2010

Tips for Choosing a Calgary Realtor for Listing your Home

Spring has sprung in Calgary, and I don’t just mean the milder weather we’ve been enjoying. The Calgary real estate market seems to be off to a healthy start for 2010.

At GreenApple Staging & Images, we’ve been busy giving pre-market consultations to home sellers looking to maximize their home’s potential. We’ve also been doing tons of MLS photography shoots as our regular clients seem to be listing up a storm. And, we’ve also done a lot of home staging and furnishing of properties for sale that would otherwise have sat vacant.

The reward of all our effort? Homes are selling! We’re so excited to be part of our busy Calgary Realtor teams that are making a difference to many home owners in selling their properties.

Are you thinking of listing your home sale, but don’t know who to call? How do you go about choosing a Real Estate Agent to list your home with? With some 5000 Realtors in Calgary, this is not an easy task! Here are a few of our best tips:

  1. Insight – Pricing a home is part art and part science. All Agents have access to current statistics, but applying it appropriately to any given property is a little trickier. You want an Agent who will help price your home accurately. Go too high, and buyers lose interest. Price too low . . . well, no one wants to leave money on the table, but you could end up with multiple offers to help correct that.
  2. Investment – The real estate game has changed dramatically in Calgary. Houses no longer sell themselves, just because you put the sign on the lawn. With over 90% of home buyers now starting their home search online, you need an Agent that understands the importance of great photography and properly preparing a home for sale. It has to be visually appealing for today’s home buyers! Ask about an Agent’s value-added services. Better yet . . . check out the properties they currently have listed to see for yourself. Can you see the rooms in the photos? Do you like what you see?
  3. Impact – When an offer comes in, you need a skilled negotiator! What might look like a straight forward sale can get complicated very quickly. It’s not just about the dollar value — terms, conditions, home inspections, closing issues — as a Home Seller you need someone on your side to navigate these treacherous waters and help save you costly mistakes!

Of course, we whole-heartedly recommend the Agents that we work with! Looking for someone who is a good fit for you? Just ask us and we’ll pass on a qualified referral.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Ping.fm
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Add to favorites
  • Posterous
February 1, 2010

What is Your Clutter Costing You??

In Pre-Market Consultations, I often recommend to Home Owners that they start the process of moving and packing before they list their home. And nearly as often, I get a surprised and somewhat reluctant reaction! It gets even worse when I suggest that they look into some additional off-site storage to clear out excess boxes and furnishings from their home.

While I totally understand how unappealing all that work is, the reality of selling your house means that you will have to deal with your stuff . . .  and moving it . . . sooner or later.

But would you be more willing to start moving out of your home a little early if someone was going to pay you to do it?

Did you know that is exactly what a buyer will do? They will pay you to pack up your stuff.

In HomeGain’s latest survey (2009), they published the top 12 low-cost Do-It-Yourself home improvements that pay off when selling your home. And guess what the number one Return on Investment is?

Cleaning and De-cluttering!

They estimated the effort at a cost of $200, with a $1500-$2000 price increase!

In fact, most of this job is absolutely free, aside from the effort — which you have to do eventually, anyway.

Even if you need additional storage space, you can rent a 10’x10′ mini-storage unit for about $238/month . . . or look into renting a private garage with more space for even less money. Clearly, the couple of extra grand you’ll get, makes it worthwhile. 

And the more clutter you have, the more it will cost you to not deal with it. One of the top selling features of a home in today’s real estate market is organized storage. Our lives are so hectic and crazy busy, that we really need our homes to “work” for us. Buyers value a home that holds some promise of a more organized life. Even if your home does have a lot of storage, if it is over-stuffed and the picture of chaos, it leaves a buyer with the impression that whatever it is, it’s not enough.

Order is serenity.

Keep saying that to yourself as you sort through closets, fold and stack your linens like a store display, and turn the labels in your pantry to the front.

Order is serenity . . . order is serenity . . . order is serenity.

And better yet . . . let a wide grin spread across your face as you further remind yourself . . . serenity means money in your pocket! Ahhhh, there’s a thought you can fall asleep to.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Ping.fm
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Add to favorites
  • Posterous
Filed under: Home Selling — Tags: , , — admin @ 7:39 pm
January 25, 2010

GreenApple Staging & Images makes a Great Debut at the Calgary Real Estate Tradeshow

Wednesday, January 20th was the 6th annual Calgary Real Estate Board Conference and Tradeshow. GreenApple Staging & Images was proud to be one of 102 exhibitors contributing to the theme, “A Brave New World”.

The GreenApple team had a great time mingling with both the attendees and other exhibitors. We had tons of traffic at our booth and got a chance to meet many hardworking and forward thinking Realtors.

There is definitely an increased interest in Home Staging, professional Real estate Photography, and pre-market Consultations as part of an individual Realtor’s marketing plan — all part of the new economy. I believe these strategies are not just trends. They are definitely here to stay as our consumer oriented society continues to respond to visual appeal.

We staged our booth with our brand colors — black, white and apple green, of course — and we were happily surprised that GreenApple was declared one of the top 3 Staging Exhibitors! We were all tied with an Honorable Mention for booth design and service.

We also held a draw and gave away a Pre-Market Consultation package and an MLS Photography Package. When I called the winners, they were thrilled and are eager to apply these services to their next listing. 

It’ll be all work and no play for awhile, as the “Spring” real estate season seems well underway in Calgary already. But that is exactly what we bargained for!

Thanks to everyone who visited us at the event, and all others who supported us behind the scenes!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Ping.fm
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Add to favorites
  • Posterous
January 18, 2010

Let’s Give to the Relief Efforts in Haiti!

It has been nearly a week since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, which occurred on January 12, 2010. Measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, and being just 10 km below the earth’s surface, marks this particular quake as one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in an already impoverished nation.

Today’s news continues with stories of hope. Rescue workers are still finding survivors amidst the rubble. I find that nothing short of amazing to think that people can survive for that length of time — probably injured, and without food or water . . . just waiting for someone to dig them out before they draw their last, weakened breath.

While there is that ray of light in this terrible situation, the bad news is still really bad! Death tolls are estimated to be between 50,000 and 100,000. Tens of thousands of more people are without even the simple homes they once knew.

At GreenApple Staging & Images, we have a particular soft spot for the homeless. While we help others to make their homes a place of beauty, or an appealing place to live, we remain conscious of the fact that there are many who do not have a single room to call their own.

Would you join us in donating to the relief efforts for the nation of Haiti? Here is a link to a special website set up by CBC that lists reputable organizations for us to direct our giving through. Let’s pause for a moment, looking around at all we have, and allow ourselves to be moved to do what we can to help those in a state of emergency and peril.

And remember that your donations will have twice the impact since the Canadian government has generously announced that it will match donations through the organizations linked to above! I don’t know about you, but I’m really proud to be Canadian!

In the meantime, let’s also keep these dear people in our hearts and in our prayers.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Ping.fm
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Add to favorites
  • Posterous
Filed under: In the News — Tags: , , — admin @ 9:49 am
January 12, 2010

Black and White are Back!

I’ve been out in the stores for the past week between appointments looking for new inventory going into the Spring real estate and staging season. I was really surprised to see so much black and white everywhere! It is back as a popular choice in upholstery, bedding, linens and accent pieces.

The new interpretation of this classic decorating theme is in large, graphic prints. One application in particular that I saw over and over, is the “statement” chair with a large scale black and white damask fabric. These pieces will look absolutely stunning and elegant in a living room, home office or the bedroom.

The best part of the whole black and white theme is that you can really dress it up with any colour that you want. At GreenApple, we’re kind of fond of black and white and green :-), but it’s just as easy to pair the combo with some juicy citrus colours, pink, teal (it’s back, too!) or the all-time classic, red.

I was also loving the black and white bed linens. Again, a very elegant look for a master bedroom . . . or totally fun for a kid’s room.

If you’re looking to change up a room in your house, consider this great duo! When else can you be right on trend with such a timeless design?!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Ping.fm
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Add to favorites
  • Posterous
Filed under: Home decorating,What's New — Tags: , , — admin @ 7:16 pm
January 3, 2010

GreenApple is going to CREB Forecast 2010. Are you?

January 20, 2010 marks the 6th annual Conference and Tradeshow for the Calgary Real Estate Board. This year’s focus is on the “brand new economy, brand new consumer, brand new technology” for today’s real estate market.

GreenApple is proud and excited to part of the changing face of real estate! Our business focus of home staging and professional photography is all about helping home owners more effectively market their property to today’s consumer. And not only do we follow Calgary’s real estate market and trends, we are also part of national and international networks that allow us to see how larger influences will affect us locally.

If you are a Real Estate Professional, drop by and visit us at the show! Enter our draws for complimentary services, including free pre-market consultations and full real estate/MLS photography packages. Multiple winners will be announced following the show, just in time for the busy Spring market.

We look forward to seeing you at the Telus Convention Centre on January 20th!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Ping.fm
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Add to favorites
  • Posterous
Filed under: Home Selling,What's New — Tags: , , , — admin @ 1:34 pm
December 30, 2009

Who Should You Call First? Your Realtor . . . or a Home Stager??

When you’re thinking of selling your home, this question might be on your mind, with a chicken-and-egg kind of quandry!

Calling your Realtor first will give you the information you need as far as pricing and comparables are concerned, helping you out with budget considerations. Contacting a Home Stager will help you get on the right track to properly prepare your home for today’s real estate market. Sometimes this can even influence your Realtor’s opinion on the value of your property! (No joke.)

That being said, some Realtors now work with Home Stagers, and even include a Pre-Market Consultation in their listing services. So, why pay for this yourself ahead of time? At GreenApple, we work with those forward thinking Real Estate Professionals, and can recommend one to you in your area.

The biggest mistake home owners make in the area of timing is not starting the process soon enough. Getting your home ready takes longer than most people allow.

So often we are called by home owners who want an appointment today, because they need to get on the market by Friday. Unfortunately, it’s just not possible to get any home prepared in this short of a time frame! Why? Because we don’t live in our homes the same way that we need to sell them.

The standard in selling a home today is to have it look like a “showhome”. Merchandised, like any product for sale. Buyers want move-in ready, and don’t want to do your little fix-ups any more than you do. (Interestingly, more people put more effort into detailing their cars when they sell them, than their homes!) Ideally, getting a pre-market consultation done two months ahead of your projected list date, gives you ample time to get all those little jobs done at a do-able pace.

So who should you call first? Call a Realtor who works with a Home Stager (and professional photographer!) for the best marketing plan . . . or a Home Stager who works with many Realtors. Either way, you’ll get the best of both worlds.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Ping.fm
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Add to favorites
  • Posterous
Filed under: Home Selling — admin @ 6:53 pm
December 21, 2009

Got the Holidays all wrapped up? Think again . . .

The holidays seem to be the time when people throw in the towel  in just about every area of life. We eat more, exercise less, spend more, ditch budgets, and even waste more than usual.

According to Eco-Chick.com, 25 million tons more waste is created over the holiday period, than a typical period during the rest of the year (in the United States . . . there’s most likely a similar amount per capita here in Canada).  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like an awful lot to me!

Well, if you’d like to avoid contributing to massive amounts of holiday garbage, here are a few alternative ideas for wrapping up your Christmas gifts:

  1. Use cloth gift bags
  2. Invest in re-usable hard-sided gift boxes (one of my favs!)
  3. Re-purpose used materials that you already have around the house (newspapers, fabric)
  4. Hide gifts instead of wrapping them, and send the recipient on a treasure hunt
  5. Make re-usable gift tags for each family member

If you must purchase wrapping paper, keep these points in mind:

  1. Only purchase wrapping paper made from recycled materials
  2. Avoid papers that have non-recyclable content (glitter, metals, coatings)
  3. Save and re-use wrapping paper from year to year
  4. Go easy on other materials like ribbons, tape and other adornments

It’s the small changes that we make with consistency, that end up making the biggest, and most lasting, difference! Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas season.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Ping.fm
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Add to favorites
  • Posterous
Filed under: Living green — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:04 pm
December 16, 2009

Tips for Selling your Home over the Holidays

It might not have been your first choice, but here you find yourself on the market during the month of December. But don’t fret! Although there tends to be less buyers at this time, there is also less competition — a real bonus for the serious home seller. In addition, the buyers who are out there shopping also tend to be of the serious kind, making showings a much better opportunity.

 

Another advantage of selling your home during the holidays is that most homes look their best with the added warmth that holiday decor can bring. Just be careful not to over do it. Here are a few more suggestions of how to have your home looking its best for December showings:

First Impressions

Put out a new welcome mat and hang a pretty, but simple, wreath on the door. Make sure that the outside lights are turned on at dusk for that extra sparkle in case an unexpected buyer might drive by. Of course, always turn on the lights when you know a showing is going to happen.

Keep it Simple

It’s definitely okay to decorate for the holidays for your own enjoyment, but be sure to keep it more simple than usual. This means avoiding little knick-knack type “collections” and removing non-seasonal items from rooms to compensate for the additional holiday decorations. We are still aiming for a generally uncluttered look and feel! Consider a monochromatic theme for a simple, but elegant, impression. It is also wise to keep your decorating to just the main rooms only. Oh, and it’s best to forego the big blow-up items in the yard!

Warm and Cozy

 If you are just stepping out for a showing, leave the fireplace on (with a safety screen), and leave the window coverings partially open in the evening so the indoor lights sparkle just that little bit more. This is also a great time of year to take advantage of the smells of the season. Have a pot of apple cider simmering on the stove. Or a batch of fresh gingerbread cooling on the counter. Keep the atmosphere warm and inviting! Emotions run especially high at this time of year–take full advantage!

Stay Flexible

While any buyer will understand your desire to refuse a showing a day or two around the big days of celebration, keep in mind that they wouldn’t be asking for the showing at this time if they were just kicking tires! Remaining flexible may be just the thing that helps cinch a deal.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Ping.fm
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Add to favorites
  • Posterous
Filed under: Home Selling — Tags: , , — admin @ 4:34 pm
November 22, 2009

Who values Updated Decor more when buying a Home? Women . . . or Men?

Surprising results were found in Royal LePage’s House Staging Poll (2006). While 36% of home buyers said that they would be willing to pay a premium for a home with an updated decor, it was the men who favored this feature more strongly! Forty-one percent of men said it was an important feature, while only 30% of women said updated decor made a home worth more money to them.

Doesn’t that go against every preconceived notion we might have had about a home buying couple?!

It causes me to ask why would this be so? If most men are like my Hubby, they admit that they just don’t have a clue about what goes with what.

But maybe that’s it! Perhaps more men value purchasing a home that is already “decorated”, precisely because they feel incapable of doing it themselves.

While the Poll didn’t get into the why’s of the results, senior manager of Royal LePage Services, Diane Usher, did say . . . 

“A contemporary and minimalist space with neutral coloured walls and a limited number of personal items appeals to most buyers and ensures the best results when selling a home.”

Both genders agreed that they would far rather spend more money on a home that was move-in ready, than to purchase a lower priced home that required updating and renovating. A full 63% of today’s home buyers would rather spend their money . . . than their time.

What does this mean to home sellers?

If we want to maximize the value in our homes, we need to be willing to go that extra mile to prepare it for sale. Not sure where to start? Ask about one of our Staging Consultations to get you started on the right track.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • NewsVine
  • Ping.fm
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Add to favorites
  • Posterous
Filed under: Home Selling — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 5:08 pm
« Newer PostsOlder Posts »