Monthly Archives: January 2013

Why stage your house?

So you’re getting ready to put your house on the market. You’ve determined a price, considered a REALTOR and are ready to sign the papers. You’re ready, but how “ready” is your house?

It’s time to consider S T A G I N G. Staging is not interior decorating, but it is about fixing up, cleaning up and “dressing up.”  It’s about preparation and transforming your “home” into a “product” for the marketplace and the focus becomes about the features that make your home special!

Here’s a word you’ve probably heard… “decluttering”…which means “ start packing…NOW!” You’ll be packing things up anyway, so you might as well get started and start making a difference.

If you like the deer head hanging on the living room wall or that your kids’ rooms are overflowing with every toy imaginable, a potential buyer will probably have a hard time seeing themselves living there!  They’ll leave feeling like they just walked through “Cabela’s or TOYS R US?   What you want is for them to feel they left the home they can picture themselves living in. Too Clarkedrbeforemuch “you” can mean not enough room for their imagination about what works for them!

The idea of turning your home into a “product” can be difficult especially since it “works for you.” Stark white walls that you say “go with anything” probably won’t be as inviting as a soft neutral color that says “inviting and updated.” Making allowances for old carpet and walls crying for paint, won’t work for the majority of buyers looking for “move in ready.” Even if the flooring and colors aren’t exactly what someone else would pick, “up-to-date” is more of what buyers are willing to live with for the moment!


Put away the “foo foo.” Plastic flowers and knickknacks can be more distracting than they make a statement. Pack up your grandmother’s dishes stacked in the hutch or the oveClarkedrafterr flowing book cases and your collection of “every Precious Moment ever made” in the corner curio.  “Bare” is better and MUCH easier to keep tidy. If someone calls on short notice to show your house, it takes less time to make it presentable!

Lots of things on the wall may distract from the room. It can also leave buyer’s thinking “holes, patching and painting.” And what will they remember later…you want them to remember the ROOM!

Painting is one of the cheapest things you can do to give your home a facelift. Once you’ve patched and painted; why hang a bunch of stuff and put all the holes back in the walls?  Let the next owner do that!

And if you don’t think “staging” is for you…whatever you do, don’t underestimate “clean.” Even people who live in a dirty house don’t want to buy a dirty house. They want to feel that the hard earned money they’re going to put into a home is going to get them something that has been taken care of!

Article by Carol Foht of American Realty. Carol retired from John Deere after 35 years of service and chose being a REALTOR as a second full-time career. She has enjoyed a very successful career in residential sales since 2004.   Realizing selling a home is not just about getting the listing but counseling sellers on preparing their home to sell, she began staging homes.

“It’s important to have upfront conversations with sellers about what should be done to get their home prepared to sell. Even if it’s as simple as “cleaning”…it’s important to have that talk with the seller. Afterall, the seller and REALTOR are working as a team to get the job done. It doesn’t make sense to know what should be done and not share that with the ‘the rest of the team’. I wouldn’t be doing my job,” she says.  Carol offers staging as a part of her listing service. You can contact her by email at or by cell at 563-542-0520


Actually I don’t think I addressed this issue in a previous posting.  Here is a summary of what that posting might have looked like – IF YOU LIVE IN ANY OF THE 29 NORTHERN STATES, AS OF MAY 2013 THE DEPT. OF ENERGY (FEDERAL GOVT.) WILL DICTATE TO YOU THE TYPE OF FURNACE YOU MAY PUT IN YOUR HOME!!!
Here is the follow up – after being sued by the American Public Gas Association the feds have backed off  this ruling. The APGA maintained in their suit that such a ruling would force low income homeowners to swap their gas furnaces for electric and kerosene space heaters. I would like to know how they arrived at that conclusion.
It’s worthy to note that the ruling does not apply to boilers or hot water heating systems;  just gas forced air furnaces.  Also, it looks like these rules will be remanded to a commenting process so look for them to return in some form or another in the future.
Here are some interesting points!  The DOE claims that these new rules, if they go into effect, will cut our country’s residential energy use by 20% between 2013 and 2045.  If this is true this would be quite significant and certainly something to consider.  It also claims that a high efficiency furnace can save the average home owner about $100.00 a year in energy costs – again, something significant.
Those who are supposed to be “in the know” claim that the higher cost of installing a high efficiency furnace will force some to abandon their gas furnace for other options – don’t know if that’s a reasonable statement or not.
No matter what, the bottom line here seems to be that the DOE at some point in time is going to finalize some rules on furnace replacement so if you  think you may not want to pay the extra $ to have a high efficiency furnace installed you may want to give some thought to replacing your furnace now or at best start putting a little $ away for when the time comes and your furnace takes a nose dive -GIVE IT SOME THOUGHT!


1. Most people are quite optimistic about home values going up – they are not going to shoot up but I believe there will be positive movement.

2. There should be more new households formed this year.

3. Home buyers seem to have a greater sense of urgency – see # 6 below.

4. Home ownership still remains a goal for members of the “Millennial” generation.

5. Foreclosures look like they may fall to pre-housing-bust levels.

6. Interest rates should remain relatively low during this year -informed home buyers are aware that rates will begin to rise soon. Many of them want to beat the clock and are earnestly looking for a new place to call home.

7. Loan demand for purchases seems to be on the upswing.

8. More homeowners seem to think this year will be a good time to sell.

9. The number (and location) of improving housing markets is on the rise.

10. New job opportunities are expected to provide a must-needed boost to the commercial sector.

12. As the economy improves and values rise equity will return and fewer home owners will be underwater.

13. Real estate is contributing to the overall economic recovery.