A NYC-Specific Glossary of Real Estate Terms

Confused by your broker's lingo? Not quite sure of the difference between a coop and condo? This NYC-specific glossary of real estate terms should help explain what he/she is talking about, and might even hurry along the buying or renting process.

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The Importance of Lighting When Selling

The following is a guest post from Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating. Lighting is a key element that should not be overlooked when preparing a home for sale. If not updated, it will convey the age and condition of a home. The right light will not only enhance a home’s features, but […]

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Home Sellers Today Use Their Hearts, Not Just Their Heads

According to a survey released today by Coldwell Banker Real Estate, recent sellers are significantly more likely to choose an offer based on emotion rather than money alone compared to pre-recession years. An infographic details key survey highlights.

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New Apartment Therapy Series Highlights “Selling in Seattle”

With its bustling tech scene and down-to-earth vibe, Seattle has quickly become one of the hottest real estate market in the U.S. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Apartment Therapy – a lifestyle website devoted to helping people make their homes more beautiful, organized and healthy – for a five-part weekly series titled “Selling in Seattle.”

AT Logo

The series, which begins today and runs every Sunday through June 14, will feature Team Franz + Joe (also known as Franz Diessner and Joe Overland of Coldwell Banker Bain). For the next five weeks, we’ll go behind the scenes and see what it’s like to sell in Seattle. We’ll hear stories from some of Franz + Joe’s recent sellers and learn their top advice for selling a home in a hot market.

Franz and Joe Street

Check out the first post of the series today on Apartment Therapy, and learn more about Team Franz + Joe’s top advice at www.coldwellbanker.com/seller-experience.

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Home Improvements to Consider Before Listing Your Home

Preparing to list your home? What home improvements should you do and what ones have the greatest return on investment? When you are putting your home up for sale, you have two main goals; a timely sale, and receiving the best possible price. In order to achieve these goals, your home needs to present itself in the best possible light. While every home buyer has different ideas about what the “perfect home” is, you as the seller need to ensure that your home appeals to the widest variety of home buyers possible.

So What Does This Mean:

  1. De-cluttering: This is always the first thing because it makes your home look much more organized — even down to how many items you have on your fireplace — and it make your rooms look much larger. Organizing goes hand in hand with de-cluttering as buyers want to see how they can organize their stuff.
  2. Paint and Clean: First, you must make certain that your color palate throughout your home equals or is superior to your competition. No, buyers cannot see beyond that. If you seek professional advice, you will paint the correct colors. Touch up, freshen up and clean everywhere! Wallpaper is a huge negative, so consider taking it down prior to listing.
  3. Updating: If you need granite or new appliances, and you are trying to maximize your profit and your competition has it, you better have it as well! Perhaps you need updated light fixtures or door knobs? If so, then do it! Buyers typically consist of two working spouses or partners and have busy lives. You must be proactive and make sure your home equals or exceeds your competition!
  4. Exterior: The same holds true for the outside. Fresh mulch, flowers, and power washing (if required) are essential! Remember, this is the first thing that a buyer sees.
  5. Staging: Professional staging or, at a minimum, a stager’s advice is essential! It is a proven fact that a staged home sells for more money and in a much quicker amount of time. I utilize the service of Julie Pelly, owner of Creative Staging. I strongly recommend to sellers that she and her team evaluate every home prior to going on the market. Some homes need redecorating, accents, or perhaps updated or missing furniture at every price point. Typically, a stager will use items in a seller’s home and redistribute them.

Preparing your home for sale can seem overwhelming at first. Home Improvements may or may not be necessary, but be receptive to doing them — keeping in mind your return on investment. Utilize a real estate professional and home staging expert to help you develop a customized plan of action. The results will be amazing and the return on investment will be worth it! You must do everything possible to make your home stand out from your competition! Lighting rooms before showings and having your home show in the best possible way will pay back dividends. The real estate market in the Philadelphia suburbs including Bucks , Montgomery, and Chester counties changes almost on a daily basis! Put your best foot forward to stay ahead of the curve. Remember, a home buyer may only visit your home once. Are you totally prepared?

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Football Is Over. Time to Kickoff Home Selling Season

The following post is from Guest Contributor: Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating.

The motto “the early bird gets the worm” has more merit in today’s housing market than ever.

For a long time, homeowners have been under the impression that waiting until the end of March, April or even May is the ideal time to put their house on the market. But actually the Super Bowl traditionally kicks-off the spring home buying season on February 1st.

This means sellers should be getting their homes ready sooner than later in order to stand out from

the competition that will inevitably come with the usual flood of listings later in the season. According to JoAnn Coogan, Coldwell Banker, Yorktown Heights, NY, “I always advise my clients that if they snooze, they’ll loose. Getting a head start by taking advantage of the months when there’s less competition will help their property sell.”

That said, sellers who want to get their home to market and sell quickly should put their best foot forward and look at their home with a very critical eye.” Staging a property for sale has become more important than ever before,” says Coogan. “Today’s buyers are looking for move-in ready homes,” she adds.

Family Room Staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Family Room Staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Vacant homes are hard to sell as buyers have no vision.

Another significant factor to consider is the country’s strengthening economy. With oil prices the lowest they’ve been in years, lower mortgage rates and solid job gains, consumer confidence is on the rise. This means buyers will be finding they can afford more and receive more financial assistance than in recent years. “Who wouldn’t want to purchase a mortgage at a very low rate? Buyers and sellers need to work with the market they’re in and jump on the opportunity as rates could easily change down the road,” says Coogan.

Master Bedroom of Home Staged By PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Master Bedroom of Home Staged By PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Simple updates such as stylish bedding and accessories can make a home feel more current.

In addition, National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says, “home prices have risen for the past three years cumulatively about 25 percent, which boosts confidence in the market and traditionally gives current homeowners the ability to use their equity buildup as a down payment towards their next home purchase.”

If you are thinking of selling your home this spring, PJ & Company can help give your home mass appeal and increase your home’s value. For those who aren’t ready to sell, our strategies and decorating tips offer solutions to simply freshen up your own decor this spring season and make your home feel new again.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

patti-sternPatti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home-staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. She also developed an award winning staging program for luxury home builder, Toll Brothers.

Patti has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV.  She is a regular contributor to the National Association of Realtor’s Blog, “Style, Staged and Sold.

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3 Easy Ways to Make Your Deck Shine for Spring & Summer Selling

Guest Blog Post by HomeAdvisor

After a winter full of snow, falling leaves, winds and other climate changes, your deck probably looks a little worn down. If you’re planning to sell your home this spring and summer, the deck definitely needs to look its best to be a selling point.

To save time and avoid spending thousands of dollars on a new deck, here are some quick and easy maintenance steps to reinvigorating your deck for prospective buyers:

  1. Clean by pressure washing: During winter, the deck probably accumulated leaves, dirt and other buildup that would take hours to sweep away with a broom. So why not pressure wash the deck to get rid of it all? Pressure washing pushes enough force against the wood that dirt and grime flow off the deck without a hitch. Homeowners can purchase or rent a power washer for the weekend. Just be sure to wear goggles and gloves as safety precautions. If you’re worried about breaking glass or pieces of wood, exterior power washing costs between $290 and $390 depending on the deck’s square footage.

  1. Stain the wood: When your deck was first installed, it might also have been stained. However, climate conditions and wear might have deteriorated the stain. A deck can really shine under the sunlight and last for a long time with consistent staining. Staining works best for wood like redwood, cedar and pine, but it has to be the right type of coating to accent the grain. By consulting a deck contractor, he or she can help determine the best stain to bring out its natural beauty and last against the elements.


  1. Deck it out: While the deck itself should grab a prospective buyer’s attention, accent it with decorations and other attractions. You could have lighting installed for $125 or more as reported by homeowners to bring out the stain’s sheen at night. Placing furniture will illustrate how cozy the space is for grilling, parties and relaxation. Adding potted flowers and trees will help it blend into the landscape. A buyer who steps onto the deck will feel immediately immersed, increasing their desire to buy your home.

Andrea Davis is the editor at HomeAdvisor, which connects homeowners with home improvement professionals in their area for free. Connect with Andrea on Google+.


See more images from the property featured in the cover photo here.

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