Sell Faster in 2018: Design and Staging Tips

sell faster

Selling your home can often be stressful as you live life in limbo. Once the house is listed, you want to receive a good offer as quickly as possible. Here are tips for staging and upgrading your home for a faster sale in 2018:

Start With the Basics

Buyers are going to be turned off if they see a leaking roof or furnace on its last leg. It’s not going to matter how impressive your kitchen is if your home has major issues. While new siding isn’t glamorous, the improvement can return nearly 92.8 percent of your investment, according to Remodeling magazine. Window and roof replacements also return a high investment of around 80 percent.


Cleaning Your Home

Getting every nook and cranny clean is the cheapest way to increase appeal. Potential buyers need to picture themselves living in your home. Dirt, grime and disrepair can distract them from the highlights of your home. Make sure your home is spotless for each showing, vacuuming floors and double-checking surfaces for streaks before leaving.

Hiring a professional to deep-clean and get into the crevices may not be a bad idea. You won’t want dirty dishes or laundry sitting around, so make sure they are either done or taken with you during the showing.



Photogenic homes are more likely to excite buyers and get them placing bids faster. Here are a few ways to make your home photo-worthy:

  1. Dramatic Color Accents: Purple is a big color for 2018. Update your home with trending accents. Lavenders are projected to be a popular decorating color and Pantone announced Ultra Violet as the 2018 Color of the Year. Using jewel tones in your floral arrangements, including mixed metal decor and choosing the right faux fur throw can help modernize your house to appeal to buyers.
  2. Light and Bright: If at all possible, brighten your spaces with natural lighting from windows, unique light fixtures and bright walls. Brighter interior spaces are easier to photograph.
  3. Moody Interiors: If natural light isn’t readily available, dark charcoals and navy colors can exaggerate the furniture and room features; however, buyers can be easily scared off if they feel like they need to repaint the walls. While moody can be a big payoff for the right house, it can be a devastating choice for the wrong house.
  4. Two-Tone Cabinets: Finishing upper and lower cabinets differently can create an interesting dynamic in the kitchen. A HomeAdvisor survey says the national average cost of refinishing cabinets is $2,600. Bleached wood lower cabinets can be contrasted with a vibrant paint color on the cabinets above.



All clutter has to go. If you have to rent a storage space offsite to house your items until you move, then do it. Clear clutter from your closets, cupboards and garage, as well—buyers are going to be looking at the storage spaces in your home. If you really can’t move the clutter to another site, box it up and put it in the garage or attic until moving day. You want everything looking move-in ready and showing off what your home has to offer.


Staging the Home

Set up every room to show off how it can be used by the new buyer. Even though a spare bedroom might feel larger if it’s empty, adding a bed and dresser that fit the space can make it more inviting to a potential buyer. Photographs, memorabilia and themed rooms, like Disney princess or a favorite sports team, should be swapped out for decor that keeps a personal touch without feeling exclusive.


Curb Appeal

When potential buyers arrive at the home, what kind of first impression is your home presenting? Curb appeal is typically a low-cost upgrade that can lead to faster sales. Make sure the exterior is clean by power washing the siding, driveway and walkways. Keep the lawn mowed, bushes trimmed and trees pruned back from the house. Keep the gardens free of weeds, mulched and edged. Spruce up the entrance with potted flowers or cute furniture that makes the space feel inviting and inspiring. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint and hang house numbers that are visible from the street.

Selling your home can be a very stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be!  Follow these tips and up your chances of having solid offers come in quickly.

Althea M.  –  RISmedia’s Housecall   Mar 15 2018 

Posted on March 20, 2018 at 12:06 am
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Sellers |

Spring Maintenance Tasks for Your Rental Property


spring maintenance



In some locations across the country, March snowfalls are breaking records, so it’s strange to already be talking about spring. But the “spring forward” time change and the Spring equinox reminds us that the flowers will start blooming soon! This seasonal change means more than just fresh rain, new flowers and renewal. As a property owner, it’s also time to consider spring maintenance activities for your real estate investment.




Seasonal maintenance may be a chore, but routine inspections and proactive upkeep will keep your costs down and ensure that your rental property does not require preventable expensive repairs.

As the old adage goes, spring usually brings showers. You can prepare for this extra moisture by completing some of these simple tasks:

Roof inspection

Check out the interior walls and ceilings for signs of water stains, cracks and settling of foundation walls. During an exterior roof inspection, you should be looking for curled or missing shingles; rusted and pitted flashing; and cracked caulk around pipe collars, skylights and other roof penetrations. Last winter, many in the Northwest experienced ice dams due to the extended cold weather. This can cause significant damage to a home. It’s always a good idea to double-check for any lasting impacts from a rough winter season.

Eradicate moisture

Remind your tenants to check for mold that can build up in the winter from interior humidity. Heavy rains may cause small puddles or dampness in the basement or attic. It will soon begin to smell musty. You may need to install a dehumidifier to dry it out before mold develops.

Clean the gutters

A debris-clogged gutter can cause a leaky roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. Most people use a sturdy extension ladder and scoop out the gunk into a bucket. There are tools at home improvement stores that allow you to accomplish removal from the ground. If winter storms have left debris in the downspout gooseneck, force it out with a garden hose.

Clean recessed foundation vents

Just like gutters, vents can become catch-alls for leaves, twigs and assorted debris. Clean the vents by hand or with a shop vacuum.

Of course, there is always landscaping to do in springtime. Common tasks include lawn aeration, overseeding, fertilization and pruning of shrubs. Early spring is also a great time for pruning flowering trees and fruit trees since they will start budding soon. Despite our best efforts in the fall, there are usually some leftover leaves to finish cleaning up, as well.

Taking extra care of the exterior of your property as the seasons change can help prevent structural damage, save energy and keep the property’s systems running properly. While some maintenance tasks must be completed seasonally, don’t forget about your annual tasks, as well. Maintenance, cleaning, servicing and landscaping guarantees that your property remains in good shape and your investment is protected for the coming years.


Brentnie Daggett  –  RIS Medias Housecall   Mar 7 2018  


Posted on March 12, 2018 at 5:46 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home TIPS, Sellers |

How To Attract More Buyers









These tips will help you convince buyers your property offers top value for their dollar.

 Amp up curb appeal.

Look at your home objectively from the street. Check the condition of the landscaping, paint, roof, shutters, front door, knocker, windows, and house number. Observe how your window treatments look from the outside. Something special—such as big flowerpots or an antique bench—can help your property stand out after a long day of house hunting.


Enrich with color.

Paint is cheap, but it can make a big impression. The shade doesn’t have to be white or beige, but stay away from jarring pinks, oranges, and purples. Soft yellows and pale greens say “welcome,” lead the eye from room to room, and flatter skin tones. Tint ceilings in a lighter shade.


Upgrade the kitchen and bathrooms.

These are make-or-break rooms. Make sure they’re squeaky clean and clutter-free, and update the pulls, sinks, and faucets. In a kitchen, add one cool appliance, such as an espresso maker.


Add old-world patina to walls.

Crown molding that’s at least six to nine inches deep and proportional to the room’s size can add great detail on a budget. For ceilings nine feet high or higher, consider dentil detailing, which is comprised of small, tooth-shaped blocks in a repeating ornamentation.


Screen hardwood floors.

Refinishing is costly, messy, and time-consuming, so consider screening instead. This entails a light sanding — not a full stripping of color or polyurethane — then a coat of finish.


Clean out and organize closets.

Remove anything you don’t need or haven’t worn in a while. Closets should only be half-full so buyers can visualize fitting their stuff in.


Update window treatments.

Buyers want light and views, not dated, heavy drapes. To diffuse light and add privacy, consider energy-efficient shades and blinds.


Hire a home inspector.

Do a preemptive strike to find and fix problems before you sell your home. Then you can show receipts to buyers, demonstrating your detailed care for their future home.


NAR – REALTOR Magazine


Posted on February 26, 2018 at 10:04 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Sellers |

What to Know About Title Insurance


Title insurance protects your ownership right to your home, both from fraudulent claims against your ownership and from mistakes made in earlier sales, such as misspellings of a person’s name or an inaccurate description of the property. In some states it is customary for the seller to purchase the policy on your behalf.





Your mortgage lender will require it.

Title insurance protects the lender (and the secondary markets to which they sell loans) from defects in the title to your home—which could include mistakes made in the local property office, forged documents, and claims from unknown parties. It ensures the validity and enforceability of the mortgage document. The amount of the policy is equal to the amount of your mortgage at its inception. The fee is typically a one-time payment rolled into closing costs.


There are two different policies to consider purchasing.

The first policy, the one your lender will require, protects the lenders investment. You may also purchase an owner’s policy that provides coverage up to the purchase price of the home you are buying.


You have the right to choose your provider.

You can shop around for a lower insurance premium rate at a wide variety of sites online. You should first request quotes from a few companies and then reach out and speak to them. Ask about hidden fees and charges that could make one quote seem more attractive than another. Also, find out if you’re eligible for any discounts. Discounts are sometimes available if the home has been bought within only a few years since the last purchase as not as much work is required to check the title. You can also ask your lender or real estate professional for advice or help with getting quotes. Make sure the title insurance company you choose has a favorable Financial Stability Rating with Demotech Inc.


Even new construction needs coverage.

Even if your home is brand-new, the land isn’t. There may be claims to the land or liens that were placed during construction that could negatively impact your title.



NAR – REALTOR magazine

Posted on February 19, 2018 at 6:26 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buyers, Buying and Selling |

How to Prepare for the Photo Shoot








With the majority of buyers shopping for homes online, high-resolution slide shows and video tours are a must. Here’s how to make your home shine on camera.

Understand the camera’s perspective.

The camera’s eye is different from the human eye. It magnifies clutter and poor furniture arrangement so that even a home that feels comfortable in person can look jumbled online.

Make it spotless.

Cameras also tend to magnify grime. Don’t forget floor coverings and walls; a spot on a rug might be overlooked during a regular home showing, but it could become a focal point online.

Know what to leave.

You want to avoid clutter, but try to have three items of varying heights on each surface. On an end table you can place a tall lamp (high), a small plant (medium), and a book (low).

Snap practice pictures with your own camera.

This will give you an idea of what the home will look like on camera before the photographer shows up. Examine the photos and make changes to improve each room’s appearance, such as opening blinds to let in natural light, removing magnets from the refrigerator, or taking down distracting art.

Pare down.

Removing one or two pieces of furniture from each room, even if just for the shoot, can make your space appear larger on screen.


Spotlight the flow of your space by creating a focal point on the furthest wall from the doorway and arranging the other pieces of furniture to make a triangle shape. The focal point may be a bed in a bedroom or a china cabinet in a dining room.


Include a healthy plant in every room; the camera loves greenery. Energize bland decor by placing a bright vase on a mantle or draping an afghan over a couch.

Keep the home in shape.

Buyers who liked what they saw online expect to encounter the same home in person.


REALTOR magazine


Posted on February 12, 2018 at 7:11 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Sellers |

Checklist: For a Better Home Showing



















Remove clutter. Clear off counters and pack unnecessary decorative items. Put extra furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season items. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.

Let it shine. Cleaning windows and screens will help bring more light into your home. Replace burnt bulbs, and consider higher wattage in low-light areas. Clean the walls or brush on a fresh coat of bright, neutral paint. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones and show off your view.

Keep it clean. A deep clean before listing your home will make upkeep easier. Consider hiring a cleaning service to help.

Maximize comfort. In summer, shut A/C vents on the first floor so more air will get upstairs. Reverse the process in winter.

Perform a sniff test. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate odors. Open the windows to air out the house. Consider potpourri or scented candles and diffusers. For quick fixes in the kitchen, cotton balls soaked in vanilla extract or orange juice can instantly make the fridge a nicer-smelling place. Boil lemon juice in your microwave, then add it to your dishwasher to eliminate odors. You can also run lemon rinds through the garbage disposal for a similar effect.

Take care of minor repairs. Sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.

Tidy up outdoors. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. A pot of bright flowers near the entryway adds great curb appeal.

Set the scene. A bright afghan or new accent pillows easily jazz up a dull room. Pretty dishes or a simple centerpiece on the tables can help buyers picture themselves living there. Try staging a chess game in progress. If you have a fireplace, lay fresh logs or a basket of flowers there.

Make the bath luxurious. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight, along with old towels and toothbrushes. Add a new shower curtain and fancy guest soaps.

Send the pets to the neighbors. If that’s not possible, crate or confine them to one room, and let the real estate practitioner know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises.

Lock up valuables and medication. Agents can’t watch everyone all the time.

Head out. It can be awkward for everyone if you’re home at the time of a showing.


REALTOR magazine   Jan 2018


Posted on February 8, 2018 at 11:07 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Sellers |

Single Family Homes by Area – SOLD in January 2018

Source:  iTech MLS

   Location # Homes Average Average Average  Avg.  Days
 SOLD Square Ft. Price/SF    List   Price   On Market SP % LP
La Canada 10 4129 $ 647 $ 2,746,180 31 98.10%
Montrose 2 1526  $ 520 $ 735,100 12 107.54%
La Crescenta 20 1725 $ 585 $ 924,095 31 102.35%
Tujunga  16 1571 $ 426 $ 625,056 63 99.63%
Sunland  15 1500 $ 448 $ 616,246 26 103.98%



Posted on February 5, 2018 at 8:40 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Market Stats |

Homeowner Safety: How to Create a Home Inventory

home inventoryWhen moving into a new home, one of the most important things you should do is create a home inventory. In the event that somewhere down the road your valuables are lost or stolen, having visual evidence of your property is the best way for insurance adjusters to determine what they’re worth. Unfortunately, many people skip this task.

Very often, homeowners learn of the importance of a home inventory after a loss.

With all the technology we have today, you shouldn’t feel like this is a monumental job. Creating a home inventory can be as simple as walking around your new property and filming your valuables with a smartphone. Also, there are several helpful apps that you can use to document and categorize your valuables.

Here are five tips to keep in mind when creating your home inventory:


Don’t get overwhelmed.

A decade ago, you would’ve had to use expensive camera equipment in order to create a home inventory, but that’s no longer the case. Most cellphones today have video capacity, so creating an inventory is as simple as hitting record and walking around your house.

“This does not have to be beautiful, perfectly lit or even that lengthy,” says Jason Hargraves, managing editor at “Remember, you’re taking an inventory, not making a documentary.”

Know what qualifies as a “valuable.”

When creating an inventory, most people understand that things like jewelry and laptops need to be documented, but there are other items around your home that you might not immediately think of as a “valuable.” Even if they’re older, be sure to film all your furniture and electronics, as well as smaller personal items that may be in closets or drawers. The cost of those will add up if an insurance adjuster is trying to determine what you should be compensated for in the event of a fire.

Use an app.

Encircle, Belongings and Stuffanizer are just a few of the more popular inventory apps available right now. They all come with their own set of features and levels of usability, so take a look at some reviews and find out which is right for you. Keeping your home inventory stored on a drive in your home is the last thing you’d want in the event of a disaster. You should always back your home inventory up on a cloud service, but apps also have the benefit of allowing you to access your inventory from anywhere by logging into a phone that has the app downloaded onto it.

“They say there’s an app for just about everything, and that goes for taking a home inventory, as well,” says Hargraves. “If an app is the route you want to go, just pick one that you’ll be most comfortable using. Even the most basic app should suffice for a home inventory.”

Get a rider for expensive items.

When dealing with things like jewelry, rare antiques and high-end art, you should first have an insurance rider, which is additional coverage offered at an extra cost for your homeowner’s policy. For items that are worth thousands of dollars, you should still shoot a video from as many angles as possible, but you can’t rely on the inventory alone. Hargraves suggests taking photos or videos of any appraisals related to these items and documenting them digitally, as well.

Don’t fret too much over your wardrobe.

Of course, if you have expensive dresses or suits, be sure to film these and take the time to point out the labels, but it’s not worth it to sit and document every piece of clothing you own. Take a simple video of what’s inside your closet so an insurance adjuster will have an idea of the amount of clothes and shoes you own.

“If you have replacement insurance instead of actual cash value, you might want to take care to document any super high-end items,” says Hargraves. “However, if your wardrobe is full of the latest couture, you might want to consider a policy rider.”

With a home inventory, you’re preparing for worst-case scenarios. Most people don’t like to even think about their new home being involved in a disaster, so folks will often push it out of their mind and never create a home inventory. However, if you follow the tips above and create a simple account of your valuables, you’ll be prepared to present your inventory to an insurance adjuster should it ever be necessary.


Jameson Doris – RISmedia Housecall    Jan 30 2018


Posted on February 2, 2018 at 11:58 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home TIPS |

How To Hire a Remodeling Contractor












Shop around for the right company.

  • Get at least three written estimates.
  • Ask for and check references. If possible, look at jobs the contractor recently completed.
  • Check with your local chamber of commerce or Better Business Bureau for complaints.
  • Be sure that the contractor has the necessary licenses and insurance, as well as the ability to obtain permits.
  • Ask if the contractor’s workers will do the entire job or whether subcontractors will be involved.

Read the contract carefully.

  • Be sure the contract states exactly what is to be done and how change orders will be handled.
  • Check that the contract states when the work will be completed and what recourse you have if it isn’t.
  • Make sure the contract indemnifies you if work does not meet building codes or regulations.
  • Be sure that the contract specifies who will clean up after the job and be responsible for any damage.
  • Ensure that the materials meet your specifications.

Seal the deal.

  • Remember that you can often cancel a contract within three business days of signing it.
  • Make a small down payment so you won’t lose much if the contractor fails to complete the job.

Don’t make the final payment until you’re satisfied with the work.


National Assn of Realtors – REALTOR magazine


Posted on January 22, 2018 at 10:25 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buying and Selling, Home TIPS |

How to Hold a Successful Garage Sale


Garage sales can be a great way to get rid of clutter and earn a little extra cash before you move.  But make sure you plan ahead;  they can take on a life of their own.

Don’t wait until the last minute.

Depending on how long you’ve lived in your home and how much stuff you want to sell, planning a garage sale can take a lot of time and energy. And that’s on top of the effort of putting your home on the market!


Contact your local government.

Most municipalities will require you to obtain a permit in order to hold a garage sale. They’re often free or cheap, but the fines for neglecting to obtain one can be hefty.


See if neighbors want to join in.

You can turn your garage sale into a block-wide event and lure more shoppers. However, a permit may be necessary for each home owner, even if it’s a group event.


Schedule the sale.

Sales on Saturdays and Sundays will generate the most traffic, especially if the weather cooperates. Start the sale early — 8 or 9 a.m. is best — and be ready for early birds.



Place an ad in the newspaper, free classified papers, and websites, including the date(s), time, and address of the garage sale. Add information about what will be available, such as kids’ clothes, furniture, or special equipment. On the day of the sale, use balloons and signs with prominent arrows to grab attention.


Price your goods.

Clearly mark rounded prices (50 cents, 3 for $1, or $5, for example) with easily removable stickers.


If it’s junk, recycle or donate it.

If it’s truly garbage, throw it away or place it in a freebie bin. Don’t try to sell broken appliances, and have an electrical outlet nearby in case a customer wants to try plugging something in.


Display items nicely.

Organize by category, and don’t make customers dig through boxes.


Stock up on supplies.

Having a stock of old shopping bags that can be reused encourages people to buy more items. Newspapers are handy for wrapping fragile goods.


Manage your money.

Obtain ample change for your cash box, and have a calculator on hand.  Assign one person to man the “register,” keeping a tally of what was purchased, and for how much.


NAR – REALTOR Magazine

Posted on January 15, 2018 at 5:01 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Sellers |