Thursday, May 21, 2009

Congrats to our Hot Rods & Harley Day Winnners

Saturday May 16th, 2009 turned out to be a beautiful day after all. CENTURY 21 JRS Realty spent the day out side at the annual street fair in down town Rahway New Jersey, Hot Rods & Harley Day. This year CENTURY 21 JRS Realty gave away 5 bicycles, temporary tattoos, bouncy balls, and many other free items to the public. CENTURY 21 JRS Realty was the only Real Estate company to attend this years street fair, and they made the most of it. Pictured above are some of our winners and hard working agents attempting to help the crowds of people.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Selling in Spring

Spring is the optimum time to sell a home. Regardless of whether it's a buyer's market or a seller's market, inventory almost always rises in the spring. Why? Because the largest number of buyers are actively searching for a new home during the months of April, May and June.

Tip: If your home has been languishing on the market since the holidays, take it off the market. Give it a chance to "cool down" for a few weeks before putting it back on the market. Nobody is going to look at your home in the spring if the DOM show it's been on the market for several months. Buyers gravitate toward fresh, new listings!
Here are 15 things you can do to improve the odds that your home will stand out among the sea of new listings flooding the spring-time real estate market:

1) Wash windows inside and out / polish all mirrors
Sparkle is free, and sparkle sells homes. A potential buyer may not realize why your home seems so inviting but will feel drawn to it if the windows are spotless and your mirrors reflect sunlight. Cleaning is the first step to preparing your home for sale.

2) Rake the yard / trim back bushes
Clean out dead leaves and debris in your lawn. Don't let overgrown vegetation block the windows or path to the entrance. Cutting bushes and tree limbs will let the sun inside and showcase the exterior of your home.

3) Mow diagonally and edge lawn along driveway / sidewalks
Artfully manicured lawns are edged and tell buyers you pay attention to small details. Diagonally mowed lawns make your yard appear larger.

4) Transplant tulips and daffodils or buy flowers in containers
Yellow flowers stimulate buying urges. After a long winter, everybody is anxious to see the first signs of spring. Yellow tulips and daffodils induce feelings of happiness and contentment. Arrange containers in groups of three or five near the entrance.

5) Clean drapes, curtains & blinds and open every window
Send your window coverings to the dry cleaners or wash, dry and press. Toss blinds into a soapy bathtub for a quick wash. Get rid of all accumulated dust and spider webs. Crisp linens and a spring-time breeze through the windows invites the season inside.

6) Set out fresh-smelling flowers such as just-clipped lilacs branches or peonies
Why not flatter your neighbors and ask if you can borrow flowers from their yards? Natural scents are more appealing than artificial and trigger fewer allergies among those susceptible. Peony vases are designed to hold peonies upright, but wash the flowers first to avoid carrying ants inside. Clever home staging brings color and fragrance indoors.

7) Polish floors to a high gloss
Your hardwood floors should be refinished, if necessary. Make your ceramic and linoleum floors twinkle and shine. Bleach dull grout. Thoroughly clean all area rugs.

8) Utilize towels, throws, pillows in light colors – yellows, pinks, pale blues, lavenders
Even if it means replacing items, towels, linens, throws and sofa pillows are inexpensive accents you can buy. In soft spring colors, they will light up a room. Layer towels on bathroom towel racks and place rolled wash cloths on the counters in a fashionable pyramid.

9) Offer an outside mat for cleaning shoes & put umbrella stand at entrance
No matter where you live, spring weather is often unpredictable. In some states, it can be 72 degrees one day and snowing the next. If it's raining, give buyers a place to stash umbrellas and wipe their feet before entering your home. Some sellers lay down plastic runners across floors for protection, but that tends to ruin the effect of a glittering polish job.

10) Buy brightly colored helium balloons
Stationery and party-supply stores sell helium balloons for about a dollar each. So, there's no reason not to pick up a couple dozen balloons to tie to your open house signs. Balloons build excitement and will get your home noticed by home shoppers.

11) Set out four-color flyers & financing options
Don't skimp on your marketing materials. You want home buyers to select your flyer among the dozens they pick up. Color sells better than black and white. Show home buyers how easily they can afford to buy your home by giving them two or three financing options. The first thing on buyer's minds when considering a home purchase is the monthly mortgage payment. Don't make them guess.

12) Use a color photo for display advertising
Spend a little more on newspaper and online advertising by including a color photograph in your ad. Remember: a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Look through your photo galleries for a seasonal photograph that flaunts your home to its best advantage.

13) Mail four-color postcards with UV coating
Call a local title company to obtain a free direct-mail list of your surrounding neighbors. Print four-color oversized postcards and include a UV coating to give the marketing oomph. Use first-class postage.

14) Fill sink with ice to chill bottled water for guests
Put a couple dozen bottles of water in a sink of ice for buyers. You can also tape labels to the bottles, printed from your computer, with your phone number, a photograph and address of your home.

15) Set out treats, individually wrapped in cellophane & tied w/ribbon
Touring homes makes buyers hungry. Give them a snack. It will give buyers an opportunity to linger in your kitchen and marvel at its elegant appointments, which might otherwise be overlooked.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prepping and staging a house. Every seller wants her home to sell fast and bring top dollar. Does that sound good to you? Well, it's not luck that makes that happen. It's careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home that will send home buyers scurrying for their checkbooks. Here is how to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home.

1) Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.
Say to yourself, "This is not my home; it is a house -- a product to be sold much like a box of cereal on the grocery store shelf.
Make the mental decision to "let go" of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours.
Picture yourself handing over the keys and envelopes containing appliance warranties to the new owners!
Say goodbye to every room.
Don't look backwards -- look toward the future.

Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can't see past personal artifacts, and you don't want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can't do that if yours are there! You don't want to make any buyer ask, "I wonder what kind of people live in this home?" You want buyers to say, "I can see myself living here."

People collect an amazing quantity of junk. Consider this: if you haven't used it in over a year, you probably don't need it.
If you don't need it, why not donate it or throw it away?
Remove all books from bookcases.
Pack up those knickknacks.
Clean off everything on kitchen counters.
Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.
Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.

4)Rearrange Bedroom Closets and Kitchen Cabinets.
Buyers love to snoop and will open closet and cabinet doors. Think of the message it sends if items fall out! Now imagine what a buyer believes about you if she sees everything organized. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well. This means:
Alphabetize spice jars.
Neatly stack dishes.
Turn coffee cup handles facing the same way.
Hang shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction.
Line up shoes.

5)Rent a Storage Unit.
Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Since your bookcases are now empty, store them. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room's purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don't want buyers scratching their heads and saying, "What is this room used for?"

6)Remove/Replace Favorite Items.
If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, she won't want it. Once you tell a buyer she can't have an item, she will covet it, and it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.

7)Make Minor Repairs.
Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
Patch holes in walls.
Fix leaky faucets.
Fix doors that don't close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls.
(Don't give buyers any reason to remember your home as "the house with the orange bathroom.")
Replace burned-out light bulbs.
If you've considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now!

8)Make the House Sparkle!
Wash windows inside and out.
Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.
Clean out cobwebs.
Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
Clean out the refrigerator.
Vacuum daily.
Wax floors.
Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
Bleach dingy grout.
Replace worn rugs.
Hang up fresh towels.
Bathroom towels look great fastened with ribbon and bows.
Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.

Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you?
Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer.
Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense.
Make sure window coverings hang level.
Tune in to the room's statement and its emotional pull. Does it have impact and pizzazz?
Does it look like nobody lives in this house? You're almost finished.

10)Check Curb Appeal.
If a buyer won't get out of her agent's car because she doesn't like the exterior of your home, you'll never get her inside.
Keep the sidewalks cleared.
Mow the lawn.
Paint faded window trim.
Plant yellow flowers or group flower pots together. Yellow evokes a buying emotion. Marigolds are inexpensive.
Trim your bushes.
Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.