Tag Archives: organizing & decluttering

Five Steps to a Faster Home Sale

It is true that a seller’s market (like the one currently in southern California) favors the seller, but buyers are still an important part of the sale equation. There are critical steps sellers can take to reach the ideal buyers who are willing and able to pay top dollar, and to ensure a smooth and expedited escrow process. And it all starts BEFORE listing your property. Here are five steps to a faster home sale.

RBH_termiteOne: Work out the bugs     Having a pre-listing pest inspection done before listing your property can help eliminate surprises (like extensive termite damage) that can throw a wrench in the escrow process and keep the cost of repairs lower, giving the seller more control. Completing recommended repairs ahead of time can be a big selling point, and obtaining a termite clearance report by a licensed pest control company (required by many lenders to fund a loan) can help facilitate a faster escrow.

Two: Call in the inspector     Similar to a pest inspection, doing a home inspection before listing your home will give you an idea of any major (and minor) repairs that will be recommended and likely negotiated as a result. Sellers can give themselves an advantage by either making major repairs ahead of time or taking the cost of those repairs into consideration in the asking price. Keep in mind that buyers may (and should) still opt to have a home inspection done, but a home in great condition reassures the buyer as to the value, will help expedite contingency removals, and will keep more money in the seller’s pocket during escrow.

Three: Move Out     While there can be drawbacks to selling an unoccupied home, the benefits can outweighRBHmovingbox them. Vacating your home prior to listing protects your personal belongings, allows your home to be thoroughly cleaned and staged to be showcased at its best, and most importantly, it makes it much more accessible for potential buyers to see. It is also much more convenient for the seller.   Otherwise, you will have the constant headache of having to keep your home in “showing” condition at all times and be willing to drop what you are doing to vacate the property on a moment’s notice to accommodate potential buyers and stay competitive with other homes for sale in the area.

Four: Showcase it with staging     Whether your home is vacant or occupied there is a range of home staging options, but it is always recommended. Ideally, your home will be de-cluttered and de-personalized, and decorated in a tasteful and generally appealing way. If you do not have this talent, you can ask for guidance from your real estate agent and possibly consider hiring a professional. In a vacant home, staging is recommended in the living areas and master bedroom, and any other areas whose function is not well defined in the home to help buyers visualize how to use the space.

Five: Pre-listing marketing     This is where having a great real estate agent can make all the difference. When selecting a REALTOR ask about his or her pre-listing marketing strategies. These can include posting a “Coming Soon” sign in the yard and marketing to neighbors, advertising in local newspapers or websites, and posting “Coming Soon” on social media outlets and websites such as Zillow.com. Your real estate agent should also be promoting your property before coming to the market with other real estate agents who may have potential buyers through networking and broker caravans. Some REALTORS also do “Exclusive Preview” open houses or parties where previewing the home is by invitation only prior to a general Open House to further build excitement. All of these strategies help to build anticipation and demand and often translate into multiple offers.

And multiple offers puts sellers in the drivers seat so you can sell your home faster and with a smoother escrow.

R.B. Haley Fine Homes & Estates

12396 World Trade Dr., Ste. 306, San Diego, CA 92128

(858) 592-4895       http://rbhaley.com/           CalBRE#01843189

How to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar

Selling a home is both science and art. There are the numbers (economics)…and there are the people (buyers). Something magical happens when you get the best of both. Here are the tried and true recommendations for how to sell your home fast and for top dollar.

RBHaleyDollarSignFind the Pricing Sweet Spot     First, start by finding out what has recently sold and what is currently for sale in your neighborhood. Realtor.com can be a great tool for this. The value of your home is based, in part, on the theory that buyers will not pay more for a similar home in the same neighborhood. Ideally, your home will be priced slightly less that what is currently listed (to attract buyers), but slightly more than what has sold recently. A home that is priced too high is likely to sit on the market longer. Potential buyers automatically assume that something is wrong with the property, which may keep them away or only attract the bargain hunters (which may result in a lower selling price).

Downsize belongings     You have no doubt heard about the importance of decluttering your home, but the purpose behind it sends a powerful message. By creating space in your home, you are showing potential buyers that your home is comfortable, livable, and well cared for. What impression do you think it makes when things are jammed into closets and cabinets are overflowing? Think hotel; only the necessities.

Upgrade to move-in ready     Most buyers today have an expectation that the home they buy is going to be move-in ready; most are not looking for a large home improvement project. To appeal to these buyers you want to get familiar with the current trends and follow them. A great tip is to visit model homes, as they often do extensive research on their presentation to appeal to most potential buyers. Take note of popular materials, styles, and uses of space.


Put your best foot forward     In most cases, potential buyers will view photos of your home before ever setting foot in it. Guess which photo they are likely to see first? It pays to enhance your curb appeal. In many cases this may mean simply laying fresh wood chips and planting some flowers. And, don’t forget about the backyard as well.   When it comes to photos of the inside of your home, lots of light and beautifully staging a home can make all the difference to online buyers.

Hire the right agent     A great real estate agent is knowledgeable, professional, and reliable.   Not only should she or he be able to get your home in front of as many potential buyers as possible, but is also someone who brings you value by negotiating a sale that protects and promotes your best interests as the seller…and can help sell your home fast and for top dollar.

R.B. Haley Fine Homes & Estates

12396 World Trade Dr., Ste. 306, San Diego, CA 92128

(858) 592-4895       www.RBHaley.com         CalBRE#01843189

Feng Shui Home Features to Emphasize When Selling

Staging to sell your home can be more than just making your home look beautiful. To some buyers, it is also important that your home shows good Feng Shui. Here are some ways to help emphasize the feng shui features of your home to attract and appeal to even more potential buyers.

Front Entry     While you may not be able to change the lucky direction your front door faces, you can appeal to Feng Shui in other ways. A strong front door- in size and prominence- is important for attracting positive energy (or Sheng Chi). Sometimes simply changing the landscaping can help accomplish this (just be sure no trees or poles point towards the front door so there is no interference with the positive energy). Ideally, the front door would not directly align with the back door so as to prevent loss of good energy.subpage-background-4

Furniture Placement     Each room in your house has specific Feng Shui rules. In general, furniture in the living spaces should be placed to promote conversation but also have a clear path to flow through a room. A mix of shapes and varied textures when decorating will bring balance, and try to decorate in pairs to promote love and nurturing. In bedrooms, the bed should not be directly facing the door and the head of the bed should be against the farthest wall.

Solana Beach

Solana Beach

Kitchen     According to feng shui, the kitchen is the most important room in the home. Ideally, it is not too close to the front or back door. An organized kitchen promotes good health and positive energy (Sheng Chi). Overall, your kitchen should be light, bright, and happy. There should be minimal knickknacks and something living (a plant, flowers, bowl of fruit) present to attract positive energy.

Light         Maximize ambient light and minimize spot lighting, as you want the energy to flow throughout and not be concentrated in one area. Use of sheers over windows with less than ideal views, and use of mirrors to reflect light and pleasant spaces can also be effective.

As a general rule, de-cluttering serves to remove anything that can hold or store negative energy in the home. Homes that take a minimal approach maximize space and flow, but it should still feel calm and inviting. This is true for any house for sale, but a house with good feng shui will leave more potential buyers feeling your home’s positive energy.

For more staging tips or to find an agent to help you sell your home visit RBHaley.com.

R.B. Haley Fine Homes & Estates     123396 World Trade Drive, Suite 306, San Diego, CA 92128   (858)592-4895     CalBRE#01843189     www.rbhaley.com

5 Ways to Freshen Up Your Home’s Curb Appeal

You know the saying…You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Whether prospective buyers are pulling up to your house with a real estate agent, or clicking through MLS photos online, you want your house stand out above the rest. That starts with the first thing buyers see: the front of your home. Here are 5 ways to freshen up your home’s curb appeal so you can make that great first impression.3924 Arroyo Sorrento Rd

  1. Freshen up your landscaping. Laying fresh wood chips and planting a few colorful flowers can go a long way. Make sure your bushes are trimmed, your lawn is cut, and your yard is free of weeds and debris.
  2. Freshen up your walkway and entryway. As a larger project, adding stone or stamped concrete to your walkway can instantly give your home’s curb appeal a major boost. For smaller projects, try lining your walkway with decorative lighting, such as individual solar lights. Add warmth to your entryway by including seating or potted plants.
  3. Freshen up your front door. Your front door gives your home character and tells visitors what to expect once they enter. Make a statement! This can mean simply painting your existing door a contrasting color to make it more inviting, or replacing your old door with something updated and stylish. And, make sure your “Welcome” mat is in welcoming condition. (Note: If your garage door faces the street, you might also consider freshening that up).
  4. Freshen up your fixtures. Outdated lighting fixtures can make a house look less appealing. Consider updating your home’s exterior lighting fixtures to compliment your house and enhance its safety. Coordinate your fixtures with your mailbox and house numbers and buyers will be sure to notice.
  5. Freshen up your paint. Probably the biggest impact you can have on curb appeal is by freshening up your house with a new coat of paint. Coordinate a complimentary trim color and some decorative features, such as shutters, accent colors, or stone, and you can totally transform your home’s curb appeal.

Not sure where to start? Try taking “before” photos of your home from the front and using those to plan out how you would like it to look and go from there. If you’re not up to tackling these projects yourself, you can always ask your real estate agent for referrals to contractors that can help you.   In the end, enhancing your home’s curb appeal will help your home to stand apart and make the memorable first impression you really want.

Investing in YOUR Future,

R.B. Haley Fine Homes and Estates

Did we miss anything? Feel free add comments below with some of your great ideas and/or feedback. Thanks for your input and please remember to share!

R.B. Haley, Inc. 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 306, San Diego, CA 92128

http://www.RBHaley.com   858.592.4895   CA Lic#01843189/01219416

What to Expect When Buying a Home: Moving In


Buying a home is a process. That process starts with working with a lender to get pre-qualified, then shopping around to find an agent and a home. The next stage in the home buying process includes making a purchase offer (and possibly counter-offer), getting acceptance and agreeing on terms, and successfully completing the purchase transaction in escrow. Once you purchased the house…the next step is to become the occupant! Make your move into your new home low stress by following a recommended timeline and using these helpful tips for “What to Expect When Buying a Home: Moving In.”

Moving begins before moving day. A smooth and successful move takes planning weeks in advance, especially if a relocation or sale of another home is involved. Here is a general week-by-week timeline you may find helpful (or use this checklist for moving):

Four weeks prior to moving:

  • Start sorting items and begin acquiring moving materials (boxes, tape, markers, bubble wrap)
    • Tip: every item should be assigned one status of KEEP, DONATE, or DISCARD
  • Make a list of accounts, creditors, insurance, and businesses to contact, and notify of new address if possible
    • Tip: you can start making these updates as you pay the final month’s bill before you move
  • Notify the utilities company of where you are moving to/from so that service can be turned on/offRBHmovingbox
  • File a change of address form with the Post Office
  • Inquire about the registration process if kids are switching schools

Three weeks prior to moving:

  • Decide what items you will move yourself and schedule a moving company to help with the rest
    • Tip: check your homeowner’s policy on whether moving is covered by your insurer and take inventory of all your belongings
  • Continue sorting and packing
    • Tip: color code labels as you pack so that like items are packed together and can be easily unpacked
    • Tip: sketch out a floor plan of your new home so that you have a general idea of where things will go and what may not fit
  • Make a list of important names, phone numbers, and addresses to take with you (and keep it handy)
    • Tip: send out an email with your new contact information to friends and family ahead of time
  • Make any travel arrangements needed for your move (including any arrangements for pets)

Two weeks prior to moving:

  • Dispose of any flammable or hazardous household items (it is usually okay to leave labeled cans of the home’s current paint colors)
    • Tip: check with your community about hazardous household waste disposal locations and hours
  • Consider ordering a curbside dumpster for large amounts of trash
  • Discontinue regular services such as landscaping, newspaper delivery and/or subscriptions, pest control, etc.
  • Finalize plans for moving larger items (TV antenna, swing set, trampoline, etc)
  • Plan to use up frozen and stored food

One week prior to moving:RBHmailbox

  • Determine what items of value (jewelry, etc.) you will keep with you during the move and where
  • Drop off all donation items (or arrange for pick up)
  • Clean appliances
  • Make arrangements to connect/disconnect phone/internet service at your new home and sold home

The day prior to moving:

  • Pack a suitcase or box of necessities that you will need upon arrival
    • Tip: include kitchen and household items such as phone chargers and cords, paper towels, trash bags, hand soap, scissors, drinking water, snacks, and toilet paper


  • Plan to be at your sold home as movers arrive to oversee the loading process
  • Check the condition of items that are being loaded
  • Verify your new address and phone number with the movers, and be prepared for payment
  • Take a final tour of the property, including the yard
  • Lock all doors and windows and turn off all switches
  • Meet your movers at your new home and oversee the process of unloading

Welcome home!

Investing in YOUR Future,

R.B. Haley Fine Homes and Estates

Did we miss anything? Feel free add comments below with some of your great ideas and/or feedback. Thanks for your input and please remember to share!

R.B. Haley, Inc. 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 306, San Diego, CA 92128

http://www.RBHaley.com   858.592.4895   CA Lic#01843189/01219416

What to Expect When Selling a Home: Staging Your Home to Sell

Solana Beach

Now that you have decided to sell your home, found the best real estate agent, and have taken the steps to list your house for sale, what’s next? Let’s talk about “What to Expect When Selling a Home: Staging Your Home to Sell.”

What is home staging? It can take many forms, but to stage a home basically means to emphasize the best features of your home, usually through furniture placement and décor, to appeal to the widest range of potential buyers.

What are the pros and cons of home staging? Most real estate agents will tell you that a staged home will generally sell faster and for more money. A lot of this has to do with the buyers’ expectations; many buyers are looking for a home they can envision themselves living in comfortably (think model home). Some buyers may be able to look past the staging (or lack thereof), but in a seller’s market where buyers are paying top dollar, buyer standards tend to be high.

So what’s the downside? Hiring a professional home stager or interior designer can be expensive. To lessen that cost, some professional stagers can work with the homeowner’s existing furniture and décor, but many prefer to use their own. However, some real estate agents can work with sellers and stagers to deduct the cost of home staging from the sales price, which saves the seller from having to pay this expense out of pocket before the sale. (Read more about how R.B. Haley helps sellers with home staging).

How do I stage a home to sell? First, start by making sure your home is ready to list (in other words, de-clutter, depersonalize, and thoroughly clean). Beyond that, here are some basic home staging tips.

  1. Staging the kitchen: Clear the counter tops (leaving out no more than two small appliances), accentuate with fresh flowers, a cookbook, or fruit bowl, and keep the cabinets, drawers, and pantry neat and organized. (Think pretty, not practical.)subpage-background-1
  2. Staging the living/family room: Place the furniture with the focal point in mind. Group seating for conversations but allow plenty of space to move around the room (this may require removing items). Also, limit items on shelves and replace personal photos with hanging art.
  3. Staging the bedroom: Keep it simple and relaxing (think hotel room). Bedding should be crisp with plenty of pillows. Adding a headboard can be an inexpensive way to add some elegance. Clear dressers of personal items leaving just one or two decorative items. Be sure closets are organized and offer plenty of space.
  4. Staging overall: The goal is warm and inviting. Use neutral colors, maximize space, allow plenty of natural light, and promote pleasant aromas.
  5. Staging outside: Enhance curb appeal by painting the front door, updating the outdoor lighting fixture(s), and accenting the walkway with flowers to make the entry more welcoming. Stage the outdoor furniture in the back yard or patio by opening any shade umbrellas, adding accent pillows to chairs, and placing settings at the table). Landscaping should be clean and neat (such as fresh wood chips and flowers).

If you’re still not sure about staging your home to sell, ask your real estate agent. He or she will know what types of buyers you are trying to appeal to and should have some suggestions about what buyers value. And, if you need a referral to a professional home stager in the San Diego area, give R.B. Haley a call.

Keep an eye out for our next article, which will be covering the next stage in the selling process- negotiating an offer.

Investing in YOUR Future,

R.B. Haley Fine Homes and Estates

Did we miss anything? Feel free add comments below with some of your great ideas and/or feedback. Thanks for your input and please remember to share!

R.B. Haley, Inc. 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 306, San Diego, CA 92128

http://www.RBHaley.com   858.592.4895   CA Lic#01843189/01219416

What to Expect When Selling a Home: Listing Your House For Sale

In our last article we wrote about questions you can ask yourself and the real estate agents you interview to make sure you find the best real estate agent for your situation. In this article we are covering the next step, What to Expect When Selling a Home: Listing Your House For Sale.

Decide on a listing price. Your real estate agent should have several recent comparable sales to help guide you, but it is prudent to do some of your own research as well. Consider your minimum sales price, what you are willing to compromise on, what your time frame is, and what your ideal price is. Does your home need major or minor upgrades? If so, put a plan and a budget together and factor that into your listing and sale goals. And, remember, it is important to be realistic; your home will always hold more subjective value to you than to your buyer.

Photo credit: Fleur Suijten

Start with de-cluttering and organizing, inside and out.Although this step can be arduous, it will make everything you have to do after it much easier. Be sure to go through drawers, cabinets, and closets, as well as your garage, patio and yard. There are several companies that offer portable storage containers if you just don’t have the time or desire to go through everything at once. Just remember, an organized and clutter-free home shows better to potential buyers.

Repair and clean. Are there simple repairs that need to be made? Get those done first, as well as any upgrades or renovations before deep cleaning. When cleaning, start from the top down, inside and out. Don’t forget about windows, windowsills, doors and trim, caulking around kitchen and bathroom fixtures, cleaning out fireplaces, removing all stains from carpets, washing indoor and outdoor furniture, and pressure washing the exterior of your home and outdoor hardscapes. The more your house sparkles, the better it will show in person and in photographs.

Photo credit: Francisco TejadaGot pets? Get a plan. Selling a home can be stressful for your pet too. Before your real estate agent starts scheduling Open Houses and showings, be sure you have a well thought out plan for any furry critters in house. It’s best to keep evidence of pets to a minimum (some buyers may not love your dog as much as you do), so leaving only a food and water dish out is best. It is ideal to have a safe, familiar place where your pet can be temporarily enclosed while potential buyers tour the house (for example, a ventilated garage, guest bathroom, or utility room). Even better, plan to take your pet with you during showings, or arrange to have a neighbor pick up your pet when you aren’t available.

Staging- do I need a professional? Staged homes tend to sell faster and for more money. Professional stagers have an objective eye for accentuating the best features of a room and use universal décor that can help buyers envision themselves in that space. However, if you also have a knack for design and can utilize the many resources available to you, a professional stager may not be necessary. We will cover more about staging your home to sell in our next article, but we encourage you to talk with your real estate agent about the pros and cons of staging.

We hope you feel more prepared to list your home to sell after reading these suggestions. Stay tuned for the next article in our series of “What to Expect When Selling a Home: Staging Your Home to Sell”.

Investing in YOUR Future,

R.B. Haley Fine Homes and Estates

Did we miss anything? Feel free add comments below with some of your great ideas and/or feedback. Thanks for your input and please remember to share!

R.B. Haley, Inc. 12396 World Trade Drive, Suite 306, San Diego, CA 92128

http://www.RBHaley.com   858.592.4895   CA Lic#01843189/01219416