Miami real estate news and information

Archive for the 'STAGING/DECORATING' Category

Are You Spending Money On The Right Home Improvements?

We all want the latest and greatest in kitchens and bathrooms, but it turns out that spending money on these kind of improvements might not be helping SELL your home. Think of it this way: Your kitchen may look fabulous – but if the roof is leaking, most buyers won’t look beyond that factor.

roofingRemodeling Magazine  says that you are less likely to recoup your investment on a major bathroom or kitchen remodel than you are on a basic home improvement project, like new siding. According to their study, siding replacement recovered 92.8 % of it’s cost, while 80% or more was receovered on replacing windows or roofs. The only home renovation that showed a likelihood of a good return was a minor kitchen renovation (approximately $15,000). Read the rest of this entry »

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Four Secrets to Selling Your House Fast … If You DARE!


“Staging” is a household word these days… BUT HONESTLY… getting your house ready-to-sell does NOT necessarily require staging. 

D…A…R…E         (to try!) Read the rest of this entry »

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What Color Should You Paint Your Miami Home?

Choosing the right color for the exterior of your home can be a daunting task. With the help of HGTV’s Shari Miller, these tips should be very helpful in the painting process.

paint samplesFirst and foremost, do your research a couple months before you actually start to paint. You can walk around your neighborhood and see what color schemes your neighbors have for their homes. If you find a color you really like, knock on the door and complement the owner. Maybe they will give you the color. It’s nice to blend and be part of the neighborhood, but you can add some accent colors to tastefully stand apart from the rest of the homes around you.

Next, flip through home magazines with lots of color photos. Pick up an assortment of exterior paint colors that offer color combination suggestions. Once you have these materials, spread them all out, cut out colors from the magazines and combine the paint color cards to create a scheme you like.

paintingAbout a month before you begin painting, evaluate your home. Figure out what the surfaces are made of. Brick, tile, shingles and stone are materials that won’t change in color, so make sure your paint colors work well with them.

Talk a walk out to the street and imagine the siding color you’ve chosen and how it works with the roof, the shingles or even how it looks in between your neighbor’s homes. Take the color closer to the house and hold it up against the surface. Once you narrow down the siding colors to no more than three, go to the hardware store and buy quarts of those colors.

Right around two weeks before painting, get some samples up on the home. Put good size patches of paint along the front of the house, next to the brick (or any material that you may have), in shaded areas as well as areas of full sun. You want to get a good idea as to what the color will look like on the whole house. If you have trim colors picked out, now is the time to add those as well.

The best way to pick the trim color is to make sure it’s in the same color family as the main color on the house, maybe a couple shades lighter. You can have fun with te front door and create an accent piece that generates great curb appeal. Pay attention to how the colors look in the morning, midday, evening and night. Once you decide which color you like best, head to the paint shop.

paint cansAbout a week before you begin painting, have a footprint with dimensions and picture of your home so the shop can tell you how much paint you’ll need. Now, the fun begins!

Painting the outside of your home gives you an advantage when you are selling. Along with a well maintained yard, a fresh paint job creates nice curb appeal-something important for buyers. Many buyers will drive by homes and will disregard the homes with no curb appeal…even if the inside is gorgeous. It needs to invite the buyers inside.   If I can help you sell your house or find a home to move into, contact me .  I would love to help.

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Curb Appeal- Tips For Selling Your Miami Home!

Curb appeal is one of the most important things when selling your house. Potential buyers can be drawn to your house if the front is appealing and eye catching. On the flip side, buyers can be turned away if the outside doesn’t draw them in. Simple things like flowerbeds and a clean yard can add up to 10% in the sale of your house. It’s ideal to start cleaning up the yard one month before you are going to show the house. Here are some tips to freshen up your lawn and make every buyer want to come in and see the house!

 landscapingSpruce up outdoor containers. Container plants, especially large tropical plants, act as an outline for doorways, where buyers come in and out from. These containers also show the endless possibilites for decorating with container plants.

Touch up the mulch. Put a fresh layer in your flower bed…it will prove to be an instant fix! It makes everything pop by contrasting colors with the surrounding plants and flowers. The best part- it’s pretty simple and inexpensive.

Plant instant color. Go for a mix of several colors or a more uniform color scheme-whichever fits best with the house. Fltas of annuals are relatively inexpensive and make the landscape pop as well.

Shape overgrown trees and shrubs. It’s okay to prune shrubs and deciduous trees all year long. You want to make sure the yard looks maintained, and nothing says it’s not well kept like overgrown and dead branches.

Tend to perrenial beds.  Tidy up plants and flowers that don’t look as good as they should. If a flower bed is in such bad shape that it needs to be romoed, lay new flowers or put a container in it’s place. If you are planning on taking some of the plants with you, now would be a good time to remove them from the yard.

landscapinginmiamiFix any irrigation issues. Irrigation repairs can be expensive, and you don’t want to pass that cost on to the buyer…take care of it now. Leave instructions for the buyer on how to maintain the sprinkler system.

Repair faucet leaks. Leaky facuets can be a turn off for buyers because it can sometimes mean that there are other plumbing issues. When you receive notice from your realtor that the house is going to be shown, turn on the sprinklers half an hour before the buyers come. It sends the message that the yard is well maintained and it also reduces the glare of paved surfaces.

Clean up water features. If you have a pond or water fountain or any other sort of water feature, make sure it looks clean. Remove all algae and leaves and make sure you clean the filter system so the water is clear.

Pressure clean dirty services. You can make grungy paved surfaces look good as new with a bit of pressure cleaning. You can rent a power washer (or buy one if you wish to take it to your new home). The pressure cleaner is also useful on fences and vinyl siding.

landscapeClean up houseplants. Remove accumulated dust off of indoor plants with a damp cloth. Consider making rooms cheery by putting colorful plants like potted flowering plants or fresh cut flowers in various rooms.

With these simple tips, your home will be inviting to lots of potential buyers. I would love to help you sell your home, and give you more tips– send me a note.

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Cleaning Tips For Your Miami Home-Using Everyday Items!

LemonsTired of spending a fortune on cleaning products? Well, the people at HGTV have provided some tips on using everyday household items to clean your home. Homemade cleaning supplies are a good alternative to purchasing expensive cleaning supplies.

The hardest working and most versatile item is baking soda. Eliminating carpet odors is easy with baking soda. Simply sprinkle a full box over the dry carpet, let it sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum it up. It does a good job of elminiating odors and it keeps your vacuum smelling fresh as well.

baking-soda2To open a clogged drain, use baking soda, salt and a little water. Mix 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of baking soda and pour it down the drain. Follow that with boiling water and let it sit overnight. In the morning, let the tap run to flush down the clog. This is a good alternative to the harsh chemicals that we sometimes put down our drains.

If you have black shoe marks (from heels or other shoes) then make a paste of baking soda and water and rub it on the black marks. The marks disappear instantly. This trick also works on countertops.

You can also use baking soda to clean your tub. Rub down the tub with white vinegar and then use baking soda as a scouring powder. Use a sponge with the vinegar and then follow with the powder.

To remove dirt from ceramic tile, brick and stone flooring- dilute white vinegar with water and use it to clean the tilesClub soda works to polish floors (hardwood or vinyl).

green-cleaning-products-1To clean wood furniture, blend two parts olive oil and one part lemon juice. Put it on the wood furniture and wipe it off with a dry rag. Olive oil also works well as a stainless steel and brass cleaner (to prevent those surfaces from tarnishing).

You can also use white toothpaste to clean crayon marks from non-porous furniture as well as to scrub water spots from your wood furniture.

Use these tips to get your house ready to sell or simply to maintain your home. If you are looking to buy or sell, send me a note…I would love to help!

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Turn Your Outdated Bathroom Into A Modern Masterpiece

Tired of your outdated bathroom? There’s a simple remedy to get rid of the old tile on your wall-Wainscoting. The people at HGTV  have given us these step-by-step  instructions.


1. Remove all vanity accessories from the area that will be covered. Read the rest of this entry »

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Miami Real Estate:Home Managers Give Homes a “Lived-In” Look (Higher Offers/Faster Sales!)

With the oversupply of high-end homes in many parts of South Florida (foreclosures and vacant properties) sellers are becoming more creative with  marketing efforts.   Across the country, companies are staging properties for a quicker sale and a higher price… Some rely on “home managers” to give the home a lived-in look.   Home managers are  actually house sitters (of sorts).  They are, for the most part,  executives (who want to get a feel for the area before buying) or people in transition (for one reason or another) who are Read the rest of this entry »

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Quick Tips to Freshen Up Your Miami Home

Does your house need a fresh new look? Want to do something different? There are many things you can do to spruce up your home. The first step is to surf the web for instructional videos with step by step guidance. This helps you decide if you can do the project and often will include a list of tools.

The best project for Do It Yourselfers are painting, outdoor spaces, wallpaper and upholstery, tiling and lighting.

Painting: Designers say painting is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to improve your home, so go for it-paint the walls, furniture, even light fixtures. Even painting cabinets is an affordable way to give your home a fresh look. For it to look professional, clean and sand the surfaces before painting.

Outdoors: One of the simplest ways to give your home a facelift is putting down a walkway or staining a deck. Adding planters completes the new look. Remodeling

Wallpaper and Upholstery: Do all the prep work on your own: sand the walls and then wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove the dust. After, prime the wall with wallpaper primer. You can hire someone to cut and lay the wallpaper, and they can be out in a day. You can upholster your own furniture using fabric and a staple gun.

Tiling: This is one project that could get complicated. Removing tile from bathroom walls is more complicated than it sounds and the wall underneath could easily get damaged (and end up costing you more in the long run). Mosaic tile that comes attached to a net backing can be relatively easy to hang, but leave plumbing to the experts.

Lighting: Try not to move or add electricity, but cosmetic lighting changes are a quick improvement. One idea is to buy a lamp shade, some decorative trip and a pendant light kit. Use a glue gun to add the trim and voila, a fresh lamp shade.

View the complete article  on Do It Yourself Quick Fixes.

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Tips And Tricks To Selling Your Miami Home

In today’s Buyer’s Market, it is essential to make your home stand out from the crowd. A few simple tricks can help attract buyers to your house and make a quick sale. Updating and staging your home creates a great marketing tool and the investment usually pays off in a big way. Here are some ways to freshen your home’s look and obtain a quick sale.

Clean filth from bathrooms. Get rid of surface mold by mixing a spray bottle with one part bleach and one part water. Simply spray it on the wall and watch the mold disappear. With a coat of paint, the walls look fresh and new.

Instead of replacing a grimy shower door, clean it with a mixture of muriatic acid and 10 parts water, scrub it with steel wool and then wipe it down. Your shower door will sparkle. Just be careful to use gloves, as the acid may discolor things it comes in contact with, like skin and other objects.

Is your bathroom tile outdated? Rather than replace the tiles, a low cost alternative is to use paint. Start by coating the tiles with high-adhesion primer and follow by brushing on a special ceramic epoxy covering.

Kitchens are important in the sale of your home, and having it updated will work wonders on buyers. Instead of the high cost of replacing cabinets, stain them instead. Go with the grain of the wood and apply easy strokes. Add stylish hardware and your kitchen will look fresh and new.

Stainless steel appliances are all the rage, and studies show they create a big return for sellers. A quick fix alternative to buying new appliances is a stick on covering. Simply remove the front panels and clean them. Finally, apply a stainless-steel stick on covering and cut to size. Your kitchen will go from dated to ultra modern, and you won’t break the bank.

Freshen up old hardwood floors with a few simple steps. Isolate damaged boards, cut them out and replace them with new pieces. Rent a sander from your local hardware store to sand down the wood. The final step is staining the floors to make them shine.

Curb appeal is essential to getting a buyer to see your home. Most buyers make a decision on whether or not they like the house solely based on the outward appearance. Bring out the color in walkway pavers by using a stone sealer. Add a faux finish to corner stones using two tones of paint. Plant fresh flowers, fertilize the grass and add mulch around your plants.

Staging is key to selling your home. Simple things like clearing out clutter and personal items allow buyers to focus on the home and lets them imagine themselves living there. Paint the walls a neutral color and place furniture to show how functional the room is. Many people aren’t able to imagine what the space would look like with their things in it, yet you can lead them in the right direction by doing these few things.You also get a head start on your packing if you start taking things out now.

Let the sun shine in. Natural light is key to making a room feel light, airy and welcoming. Open window shades and use lots of artificial lighting. In this case, a lot of light is a good thing. Also arrange the space with light colored furniture as it enhances the airy feel.

These simple ideas can make sure your home stands out from the rest of them.There are so many homes for sale in this buyers market, you need to be sure yours stands out from the crowd. With these tips and tricks, prepare to have the offers come in and get ready to sell!

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RX for selling your house FAST… in this TOUGH market!

Intriguing inquiry?  A creative selling tool, perhaps,  when innovative ideas are sorely needed.  question-mark3a I got an odd phone call, with potential brilliance for selling homes.  This proposal has me pondering though:

The “caller” proposes moving into any vacant  South Florida home  I  currently have listed for sale:   furnishing it… decorating it…  maintaining the landscaping, lawn and pool… paying for the utilities…. allowing showings, open houses…. She proposes living there for a maximum of 6 months  and vacating with  30 day  notice once I have a buyer. 

I thought the idea was ingenious… but fraught with potential pitfalls.  The pitfalls are obvious when you  ponder  possible “scenarios”… but intriguing nevertheless.  She’d live for free, making the house more appealing…  “lived-in”.  A possible win-win situation for both seller and caretaker (stager/ “house-sitter”).  Marketing genious?

A while back, FOX NEWS  did a clip on just that.  Realtors and sellers have become increasingly more creative with marketing and showcasing their properties.  It’s a sign of the times.  FOX showcased  people moving into vacant homes,  furnishing them and making them more appealing to buyers by showcasing them as ‘occupied’…  living  virtually for free  themselves, until the house sells.

Houses tend to look  and show  better when furnished and lived in… no doubt.   Most of us have a hard time envisioning what a property void of furnishings will feel like furnished.  Much about buying a house has to do with the emotional component… the connection a buyer has with that home, imagining himself (or herself) there:   A guestroom set up with plush linens and a breakfast tray on the bed… an adirondack chair on the porch or patio;  an open book perched on it….  fresh flowers …  rolled-up towels whispering  ‘spa’…  a couple of wineglasses on a tray… all  create an emotive tie,  and the thought “I could live here”.   It paints a picture.

Houses that are “theme oriented”  detract from buyers  ‘connecting’ with that house.   Portraits and family photos covering the walls “claim” the house, declaring it as “belonging to” the current owner.  (Clutter has the same effect.) 

 Creating  a sense of  ‘This could be mine!’  is the goal.  Depersonalizing any house  listed for sale does that,  increasing (exponentially!)  the potential for a buyer to emotionally “move-in”.   In terms of  ‘staging’ a house for sale…  decluttering  and ensuring that buyers can walk through easily,  is paramount. Defining areas  by purpose (dining area, reading areas, zen-like nook, family room, office, guest room, bedroom) as opposed to catch-alls for multipurpose use or storage makes any house more saleable.

Much about preparing a house for sale has to do with creating emotion… and absolutely nothing to do with how the buyer will ultimately keep it.  Buyers buy on emotion, then alter the house to their own liking. The way we live and the way we set-up our house for sale are entirely different. Your house should welcome buyers with open arms (… think  “hotel “….): Warm, welcoming and ready for the guest to settle in. 

Staging it  to make your potential buyer imagine living there, waking up there, creating memories there…. is key.  Allowing the buyer to sense what it would feel like to live there, as they step through the front door,  may make the difference between selling and not.

You want the buyer  to imagine sitting at that bay window, lingering over coffee in the morning, taking in that view,  puttering in that kitchen,  bar-b-queing on that deck, relaxing on the covered patio and watching the rain,  luxuriating in the spa tub,  curling up on that chaise lounge under the palm tree….  living there… the house being his… no longer simply just a house but  his house… his home.  Two different words,  significantly emotive:  house versus home.   A house is what you sell…  It’s a commodity.  Your home is where you live, wherever that this (even temporarily).  You sell a  house… and buy a home.   When you are ready to buy or sell property in Miami, call us.  Vicki Restivo  (305) 793-1365  …    Alexandra Restivo (305) 632-0164

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