Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Guest Blogging!

I have been asked to be a guest blogger for a real estate blogger that lives in my area. So for my debut next Monday, check out his blog link!

I will be sharing my real estate and staging insight now with my readers as well as with his! I hope you will check out his blog too! He has been blogging about the local real estate market since 2003! Who knew there were blogs in 2003?

I will be blogging there every other Monday!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Top 10 Reasons to hire a home stager

  1. You want it to sell quickly!
  2. You want it to sell for top dollar!
  3. You want your house to look great before the Realtors see it.
  4. Your nose doesn't work well in your own home and you want it to smell nice before it hits the market
  5. You want someone to do the cleaning for you.
  6. Their are lots of unfinished decorating projects you don't have time to finish.
  7. Your house has lots of tiny boo boos that buyers will hate.
  8. Your house is decorated very personally and you love it and hate to change it.
  9. You have to move out right away and don't have time to worry about it.

And # 10. You only have one chance to make a great first impression on buyers and you want your house to stand out from the crowd!

For help in Templeton, Paso Robles, Atascadero, San Luis Obispo or the rest of the Central Coast please call Light, Bright and Airy Home Staging and visit our website @

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Real Estate Wis-dumb!

Every time I blog, I try to share tips that I have learned from my 10+ years buying, selling, managing and flipping real estate. Today is no different! Today is about the importance of honing your craft! Too many people pick Realtors and lenders because they are friends and neighbors, of course that doesn't mean don't use your friends, it just means DO YOUR HOMEWORK! A good realtor will continue to hone their craft every year. They will not only sell houses, but they will also attend continuing education classes in areas that pertain to the local real estate market and the economy.

Here are some important ways to make sure you are getting the best REALTOR for you!
1. Check their references
2. Call their past clients
3. Check the State and County Board of Realtors website to make sure their license is in good standing!
4. Talk to friends and lenders to check realtor reputations
5. Have the realtor show you what they have represented for buyers and sellers over the last 24 month, if it similar to what you are looking for, that's helpful! If its not, think about whether or not you want this person helping you spend hundreds of thousands of YOUR dollars.
6. Your Realtor should be a wealth of knowledge not just a salesman!! He/She should thoroughly understand the market that you are shopping in. Good Realtors spend time looking at houses and knowing their market!

On the other side of buying real estate is the Lender or Bank. Most people have traditionally shopped for a lender based on interest rates that they lure you in with. Interest rates are important, but honesty at the beginning of the lending process could save you months of anguish in the end. I am here to say that not all lenders are created equal!!! Much of the current real estate crisis can be blamed on dirty banks and dirtier lenders!! Shop smart when looking for a lender, you aren't buying a used car, you are buying a payment for 30 years that will be the roof over your family's head!!! Make sure it is a commitment you are ready to make! Conventional wisdom still comes to play here... use your best judgement, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Here are some tips for watching your back and finding the right lender, so you don't end up down the foreclosure road!!

Important tips for picking the right LENDER!
1. Ask the lender to provide you with a list of all the fees for their services as well as fees through the life of the loan.
2. Just as important as interest rates are POINTS, those are loan fees tacked onto the loan, that are really similar to paying a higher interest rate, but sneakier! So make sure when a lender gives you a quote that you are actually comparing apples to apples!
3. Check the lenders reputation, can they close the deal! With so many banks having trouble these days, you need someone to be straight with you from the beginning, can you afford what you are buying, can you pay all the fees and close the deal?
4. Get REAL about what you can afford! How much can you put down? Can you afford the payment? Does it include impounds (property taxes and fire insurance)? Is their mortgage insurance? Too many people over buy to keep up with the Jones' not realizing that getting an interest only or negative amortization loan will come calling in 3-5 years and your payment could double!!! Are you ready for that?
5. Don't be sold on a loan that is too risky for your family. Remember this is your HOME! Don't let the lender sell you the wrong situation for your family, just so they can get a $1000 commission on something you are stuck with for 30 years!

All the pessimism aside, I very strongly believe in the use of Realtors and good lenders, just do your homework, so you don't get stuck in a bad situation!

Good luck and happy home buying!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Staging for Living

So many people these days fall into the trap of over spending on remodels and over personalizing their construction decisions because it seems like the thing to do at the time. I am here to tell you - in order to have a fighting chance at getting that remodeling money back when you sell - make choices that will hold value and think of budget saving choices everyday!

I watch too many remodeling shows and see too many displays at home improvement stores that seem to express that everyone should spend at least $15,000 remodeling their kitchen. I am not sure where all those statistics come from, but in a declining market $15,000 is a lot of money to spend out of pocket on any house, even the very best neighborhoods should check all of the numbers before spending that kind of money.

Here are some easy steps to insure success:
1. Evaluate!!! Check the values in you neighborhood before you start any home improvement project. There are lots of places to estimate home values these days, 2 good options are local Realtors and Make sure that your updated value after the price of your remodel is still at least 10% more than you owe plus what you have spent!!
2. Check the neighbors! Look at the houses in your neighborhood, is yours already the nicest? If that is the case then spend very cautiously! If yours has room for improvement to catch up to the neighborhood, you have a little more room to spend, but in today's market, spend cautiously.
3. Paint!!! Remember that paint is something that many home owners can do themselves and it can make big changes without much expense.
4. Do-it-yourself... If you can. But keep in mind that if you don't have the time, patience or know how to make it look professionally done, you might be wasting your time and money. You can really save on labor costs by doing some of the hard work yourself, but a poorly done remodel is worse than an outdated house!
5. Always get at least 3 quotes!! And always get referrals from happy customers!! You are the only one who will keep your budget in mind! Most contractors get paid a percentage of how much you spend, so keep in mind that the more you spend, the more they make. They have a vested interest in getting you to spend top dollar, whether its right for you and your home or not.
6. Stick to your budget! Most importantly make a realistic budget from the beginning! Make sure budget at least 10% over what you expect to spend, because there are always items that will come up that were not accounted for. That doesn't mean find something on the first day to spend that extra money on because its in the budget!!
7. Neutral, timeless choices are best! Keep the materials and colors modest and timeless. Don't spend over the top or on ultra personal touches unless money is NO object and you know that you are for sure going to live there for a VERY long time. Odds are high that your job could change or you will need to move for some reason and ultra custom touches cost a fortune and don't always help you on the resale. Too custom can narrow your marketability when selling or become a sticking point that buyers see as an expense because they will need to change it out.

Good luck with your property remodeling on a budget! If you would like to contact us for more info or specific questions or to view photo examples of remodeling on a budget please visit our website @ or if you live in our area: Paso Robles, Templeton, Atascadero or San Luis Obispo county please feel free to have us out for an evaluation of your project.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

recent observations

Great News! I am headed to a trade show to pick up some new staging fun in Las Vegas! Hopefully that means lots of new ideas and lots of great savings I can pass on! This is a one of a kind home decorating show unique to Las Vegas, so keep your fingers crossed that we will come home with lots of great new resources and ideas!

Staging your house to sell or redecorating to keep, both require you to be budget conscious and go for a timeless appeal. There are so many great ways to maximize the house you live in and love without breaking the bank, let us take the time to show you how!

Here are some quick tips from recent observations!
-Wallpaper is out!
-Things that sparkle (counter tops and mirrors with gold flecks) are out!
-Colored coke bottle glass window panels are out!

Some easy cheats:
-remove wallpaper and paint with neutral colors: tans and browns, whites, blues and greens.
-new counter tops transform a kitchen or bath, you can even leave the shower enclosure outdated to save money, but fix the counter tops!
-coke bottle glass can be removed and replaced with smooth painted wood, glass or plexi-glass panels, all for a more modern look, for very inexpensive!
-Another great idea to obscure an unsightly cupboard with a glass insert is to frost the glass to hide the contents. Easily done with roll on or spray on window frost.

For local help in our area of the Central Coast of California please contact us through our website: or everywhere else you can get our insight through a virtual staging service from Good luck to you in making the most of your home!

Your house only gets one chance to make a strong first impression on buyers! Make the most of it!