12 Mistakes to Avoid when Selling Your House

Thinking of selling?

Yes?…No?  Some tips to consider

Not that I think everything you do to your home should be done with the mindset “How will this increase the value of my home?” OR “How will this decrease the value of my home?”  Hardly!  If we had worried about that every time we made a change or improvement in our homes we wouldn’t have done anything.  We always consider the change and how it will affect our pleasure & serenity and how will this affect the pleasure of our family. To heck with the $$$ amount attached to it when/IF we sell.

However, if you know you will be selling soon or someday here are some great tips to keep in mind from those in the realty world.  Someday you may find them useful.

  • Be careful of the exterior color of your home. “Curb appeal is huge, don’t pick a paint color that isn’t common in your neighborhood or doesn’t fit the style of your home.” Pam Baldwin Foarde of Al Filippone Associates/William


  • Always plan ahead when landscaping.  This is a rule of thumb to follow even if you never move. “Planting trees too close to the house or driveway—without considering how big they’re going to get—creates major problems later. Roots can cause breaks in the pavement that might raise your homeowners insurance or make it hard for you get a policy until the problem is fixed. Before you plant anything, think about how it will look in twenty years.” Chris Winn of Kellar Williams/Advantage Group
    • Your entry way is the first introduction to your home.  Don’t ignore it.  Others won’t.  “Having a front door lock that doesn’t work properly or hardware that looks old and pitted makes buyers uneasy and puts them on high alert for what else has been let go in the house.” Donna Marie Baldwin of Coldwell Banker


  • Never assume you’ll recoup every investment.  Like I said, if we had considered the return on some of the investments we have made over the years, we wouldn’t have made any improvements at all.  “People spend a lot of money putting in a pool and want to recoup the value when they go to sell their home. Unfortunately, putting in a pool never gets you back the value or cost of the pool.” Chris Winn of Kellar Williams/Advantage Group


  • Fussing with the fireplace. “Be cautious if you’re thinking about updating the fireplace, especially if you want to paint over exposed brick. [meaning, sheetrocking over, or tiling over.  Painting bricks is a wonderful option at times and will only improve the opportunities to sell] Depending on what the trend is at the time it could lower the value. People tend to like the aesthetic of exposed brick.” Chris Winn


  • Skimping on an AC system.  A mistake many of us have made with much regrets. Always pay for the next system up for your home’s size. Paying more initially will bring down your power bill while you live there and will up the value when you sell.


  • Getting too complicated with paint. “It might be trendy to paint the trim a contrasting color, but it distracts the eye. Keep it the same color as the wall to maximize the space.”  Great advice if you are making preparations to sell.  I love complicated paint and as long as I’m in the house…. color, color, color!


  • Neglecting the small stuff. “Buyers have their eye on details you might forget. Keep up with cleaning and maintaining windows, making sure light switches work, or making sure the garbage disposal runs properly—it all shows that the house has been cared for.” Davida Hogan


  • Not doing a deep clean. “Even the tiniest details matter when it comes to cleaning. The tracks of windows, sinks, grout, ovens, and appliances are all looked at by buyers.” Donna Marie Baldwin


  • Don’t be obsessed by trends. “Buyers aren’t attracted to trendy—they are looking for kitchens or bathrooms in classic, neutral colors. If you want to add color and personality to your home use bright accessories (that are easy to change) to bring in fun details.” Pam Baldwin Foarde


  • Thinking too small in small spaces.   “Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. That being said, you always want to make a small space feel as big as possible. Don’t re-tile a small bathroom with small tiles; they only make the space feel smaller. Use bigger tiles; they’ll open the space up.” Davida Hogan  Who would have thought?


  • Last but certainly not least ~ NEVER, EVER think you will recoup the money you spend in improving your property.  A swimming pool may mean the world to you and your family, but to others it could mean a liability.  NOT ME!! I would love one…..

How to Paint Bricks and Make them Look AMAZING

Painting Bricks………

        ………not a faux pas any more (if done decorously)

Painting bricks used to be considered such a faux pas!  Not so much any more, or maybe it’s just the part of the country you’re from.  But I love white painted bricks and this deco-form seems to be the trendy one right now.  Painted bricks, especially white, can successfully bridge that gap between elegant and rustic.  However, you have to know going into this that restoring brick back to its original form is near to impossible, so before you pick up that bucket of primer/sealer be sure….be very, very sure!

Gardening “Skinny”

Right Plant, Right Place….those skinny areas

……..and don’t forget the hardscapes and mulch

I think some of the most interesting places in a yard are the odd shaped areas that you just don’t know what to do with…yet.  Just like in my home, the smallest places are the most fun to decorate.  Take those skinny spots, between houses, or a sidewalk and a house, or maybe in the side yard next to the garage and the neighbor’s fence; some of the most creative ideas come from having to think outside the box and create a wonderful surprise as you round that corner.

The one thing you don’t want to do is plant a large plant in a space with 2 or 3 feet to work with.  That’s just setting yourself up to fail, or at the very least creating a lot of pruning for you in the future.  You know how important it is to choose the right plant for the right place?  Choose a skinny plant for a skinny space.

If there is a tree you just love and want it next to the brick on your home, talk to your nursery expert about a technique called “espaliering”.  This is training a tree to grow flat against a fence or a wall.  I happen to have an espaliered pear tree.  Not only does it grow flat against my fence but it also produces 4 different types of pears.  It’s so cool!  There are some things to learn about caring for plant like this, and that is how to keep up the pruning so you don’t end up with something really strange looking.

“Skyrocket” evergreens are another great evergreen tree that can be planted in skinny places and give you a large bang for your buck.  The “Capital flowering pear” is another columnar growing tree that has beautiful green waxy leaves in the summer that turn a deep red wine color in the fall.  Great tree!  And it is very low maintenance.   ‘Beanpole’ and ‘Flushing’ soft needled yews grow like green tubes and are easy to keep in the 8-foot by 2-foot range with a single annual shearing. They grow in sun or shade down to Zone 4.  ‘Dee Runk’ and ‘Green Tower’ boxwoods are two of the nicest, newest narrow (semi-evergreen in certain areas) boxwoods that maintain a dense growth in the landscape.

And don’t forget the floor; there are a sundry assortment of ground covers and ‘steppables’ to choose from to decorate your skinny space. Not to mention the hardscape material and mulch.

So many ideas, so little time!

How to Mix Different Flooring Styles Throughout Your House


…………..It’s not the same old matchy-matchy anymore

As I stood in a marvelous “parade of homes” home the other day I looked down and counted FOUR, yes 4 different types of flooring all coming together in a medley of color and texture.  Two types of wood, carpet, and tile.  And guess what?  It looked GORGEOUS! YAY!  Even more endorsed flexibility in design.  Yes! Yes! Yes! Decorating becomes more and more fun as we go!

Now, that being said, there was a common theme color in those floorings.  They were all neutral shades.  The wood tones were DULL (a new thing) not shiny, in a soft chocolate and another in a light tan with darker knot holes.  The carpet was a great shade of taupe-ish, and the tile was another earthy tone.  It worked!

Back to the “dull” thing.  It was fabulous.  I really can’t say what type of finish was on the wood and I didn’t think to ask anyone, but it looked as though there was no finish at all.  In fact, it looked dusty.  Isn’t that perfect?  A floor that is supposed to look dusty?  My daughter would kill for that.  She has a beautiful dark, shiny floor that is the bane of her existence.  It’s like owning a black car (ask me). Nothing looks better when it’s clean and nothing looks worse when it’s dirty.  Not so with these cool floors.  Wide planks, tongue and groove (I know…a sweeping nightmare, but gorgeous none the same.)

So if you are in the throws of remodeling, redecorating, or even buying/building a new home, remember that flooring is once again an almost anything goes (as long as it “goes”) designer’s choice (the designer being YOU!)  Shop around, create your portfolio ala Candace Olson style.  Take your time and enjoy!

Patios and Tropicals

Patios and Tropicals…..

……….I love the feel!

I love our patio!  It’s almost a little getaway for me.  Last year my husband bought me a wonderful set of patio furniture for Mother’s day and there’s nothing I like more than sitting out on a cool or warm evening visiting with family and friends. That’s what we did last night and it was wonderful!

patio and tropical plantsOne of the things I look forward to is decorating our patio with plants.  Especially those tropical potted palms.  Put a couple of those out there and…wow!….I can picture myself on a beach.  (I have a great imagination!)  These potted palms are so inexpensive and are often sold in Costco and Sam’s.  I have only paid about $15.00 for them.  They add such a fun and almost whimsical look to our outdoor space.  Now, I don’t live in a tropical climate, in fact I live in a semi-desert climate with harsh winters, so I know when I buy these little beauties they will not last.  But, I don’t care.  I figure it’s no different buying those as an annual than a flat of petunias.  And we enjoy them so much.


Don’t be afraid to try other tropicals, too.  They are such a fun way to really add some dreamy ambiance to your summertime retreat.  Here are some gorgeous suggestions…….

Flowering MaplePatio & tropicals flowering maple





JasminePatio & tropicals Jasmine





Angel’s TrumpetPatio & tropicals Angel's Trumpet