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Home » NOT SOLD IN STORES! (September 2019)

NOT SOLD IN STORES! (September 2019)

Last month we discussed what steps to take to sell your home for top dollar. This month we will cover what NOT to do when selling your home if getting the optimal price is your goal.

If I could stress anything in particular concerning last month’s newsletter it would be the idea about “letting go”. This concept is paramount to a successful house sale! When a decision is made to update or upgrade, the market should be considered first and foremost over your own personal style or
taste. Maybe you love carpet in your bathroom, for example, but this move is a real deal breaker for most buyers! Again, do your research as to what is selling in your local housing market.

You may have a specific or “offbeat” style you adore, but you MUST be willing to tone it down or get rid of it altogether. You have to pack it up anyway when you move, so pack it up early and enjoy it in your new home. You don’t want to be remembered as “that house” with all the taxidermy on the walls or rooms filled with your doll collection! Hopefully, they will remember your house for all the right reasons. Offer your home as clean, simple and clutter-free as possible.

Another mistake sellers make is skimping on photography. Most people shop the internet and fall in love with your home before ever stepping one foot in the front door. Hire a pro who knows how to stage your home using ideal angles and lighting. Taking your own photos on your phone may turn off the perfect buyer, who may not even bother visiting your home. If a seller presents a home on the cheap with substandard photos, the expectation is diminished for a quality home.

We’ve all heard not to leave family photos and mementos sitting around and here’s why: They are simply a distraction. Buyers will spend time looking at your personal photos, which reinforces the feeling of visiting your home, not theirs. You want to be sure buyers can see themselves living there and the more personal items you have, the more difficult this becomes.

Along those same lines, don’t show day to day life.

There can be no dirty dishes in the sink, no laundry on the line or lying around and no toys left scattered about. Beds should be made and personal items properly stored away. We get that you live there, we just don’t want to see evidence of it!

Do you have a spare room that is a dumping ground for wayward items? Clean it out, pack it up and stage the room as an office or bedroom. Try to avoid the impression there is not enough storage elsewhere. The lack of storage is always a problem in Hawaii. You will set yourself apart from competing properties with addressing this issue. Add closet dividers and use space wisely.

Do not block views or light with furniture or curtains. Open the curtains and rearrange furniture, if you must, to open the room up and allow more light in the space. The room will automatically feel more modern, brighter and spacious-all things buyers are looking to see.

Now this tip is a biggie! Don’t leave evidence of pets! You may love your furry friends, but some buyers are allergic to pets and some simply can’t be bothered with animals of any kind. Insure the pets are OUT of the house during showings. It may be inconvenient, but nevertheless wise, to remove your animals from the property rather than crated in the garage or elsewhere on the site.

Your pets may take their job as “watchdogs” very seriously! Buyers surely don’t want to be confronted by a barking or growling dog, who will reinforce the notion that you are not welcome on this property. A hissing cat can also convey this sentiment, for that matter! ( I once owned a cat who would not allow a carpet installer up the stairs! Hilarious! Not for the carpet installer, mind you!) Make sure all animal droppings are removed from the yard, as buyers will go out there!

Please note: buyers tour your home with all senses on alert, including their olfactory input. If your home smells bad, especially from a pet, have carpets cleaned to eliminate any odors. This may mean the difference between “for sale” and “sold.”

Inconsistent upgrades can be a turnoff for buyers. A beautifully renovated kitchen is certainly a buyer’s dream. Please note, upgrades should be consistent within the home with a similar style and quality. If the budget does not allow major renovations in the bathrooms, for example, at least have them immaculately cleaned and consider less expensive updates, changing the mirrors and vanity is a welcomed improvement.

Another common mistake is not properly presenting your home. If your realtor suggests staging your home, go for it! It is not a criticism of your decorating skills, it is the act of strategically placing neutral furnishings to draw attention to the features of your home. You may borrow furniture
temporarily from friends or family, rent pieces or even have your house professionally staged. This is especially useful if, for some reason, your home will be shown empty. Buying a house has feelings involved, a vacant home gives off cold vibes! Frankly, some people just can’t envision furniture placement, as they may lack spacial relations. This is not a criticism, just a fact! We need to help them see their furniture in your home! If they can’t image how to squeeze their king-sized bed in the bed room, your home is no longer a contender.

A couple more suggestions to consider: Don’t be a nuisance during showings. We get that you want to know how buyers really perceive your property and probably have a million stories you could share. BUT, potential buyers don’t want to see you and they especially don’t want to interact with you! This is a profoundly awkward position to endure. How can they imagine their future home with you hanging around? They may be reluctant to say anything negative, which is not fair to them. Be gracious, give them as much alone time in the house as they need.

Don’t expect to recover the costs for invisible improvements. For example, installing new HVAC or a new plumbing system. Home buyers expect these systems to be in good working order and will not pay extra just because you recently installed a new water heater. Consider these improvements part of regular maintenance, not an investment in your home’s value. It is difficult to imagine spending thousands of dollars on a home-improvement project that will not be reflected in the home’s value when it comes time to sell. Your real estate professional can help you avoid costly projects that don’t really add value to a house. Above all, listen to their advice. Most realtors are keenly aware of projects that provide no upside for the sale and no return on the investment. Keep those ideas for your next house.

Don’t forget to save communications from any professional who deals with your home sale. This includes emails from your realtor, the termite company, the surveyor and the escrow company. You may not hear from any of these people other than your own agent, but take care to save everything that may come your way. This could prevent any unforeseen misunderstandings down the road.

I hope these tips have been of some value to you if selling your house is in the near future. Oh, you can buck the system and keep your hot pink walls and leopard print carpet, but if it turns buyers off (and it will!), don’t say we didn’t warn you! 🙂


Last Sunday night in Washington, DC. I had the pleasure of dining with my two best friends and my son, Alex. We were at A Rake’s Progress. No, we were not in an English painting or an opera. This restaurant is located in the Line Hotel. The chef/owner is Spike Gjerde who has served the Obamas both in
his well regarded Baltimore restaurant and here. This place is a highly recommended fine dining experience in a lovely old stone church. The décor is
awesome with the restaurant on the second floor with a wide opening to the lobby. The church organ is converted into a chandelier. The light streaming through the two beautiful stain glass windows in the setting sunlight was incredible, as was some of the food. The restaurant prides itself on local ingredients: no limes for a gin and tonic, locally sourced craft spirits; the bourbon was very tasty. The butter is from an Amish farmer in Pennsylvania and the salt from West Virginia.

My son and friend shared a huge, delicious and perfectly cooked rib-eye steak grilled over an open fire hearth and accompanied by beef gravy, grilled carrots & beans, steak sauce butter and house rolls. By the way, Barack and Michelle reportedly raved about the rib-eye steaks. Both of my friends had to send the fig appetizer back to the grill, because it had not seen the fire. I had a fresh soft shell crab dish that disappointed too, as it was overwhelmed by a spicy buffalo sauce. Maybe I should have been alerted by the sauce description, since I prefer to be able to taste fresh crab. On
the other hand, I really enjoyed my spicy rabbit & cavatelli fennel, smoke cheese and breadcrumb entrée. Service was average, we had to ask for water repeatedly. Having said all of that I really enjoyed the experience of dining with my friends and son in such a lovely place.

Reservations: online or call

Sunday: 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Monday – Thursday: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Friday – Saturday: 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am – 3:00pm

A Rake’s Progress
1770 Euclid St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 864-4190

September 2nd is the 50th Annual Waikiki rough water Swim. It is not too late to sign up for this challenging event. Expect to share the water with a thousand swimmers. For more information, checkout their website:

September 21st is a date to remember if you love veggies. The Frank Fasi Civic Grounds (just past City Hall on King Street) will be the site for the VegFest Oahu from 11 AM until 5 PM. There you can enjoy plant-based food, cooking demonstrations from expert chefs, dance and yoga classes and live music.

The third Saturday of every month is the date for the Kailua Night Market at 340 Uluniu Street from 5 PM until 9 PM. For more information about this event go to: If you love the excitement of a parade, don’t miss the Aloha Festival Floral Parade on September 28th from 9 AM until 12 PM. In addition to marching bands, there will be pa’u riders with lei on horseback, floats adorned with beautiful Hawaiian flowers and much more. It is a festive event for the entire family. The parade begins at Ala Moana Park and ends at Kapiolani Park.


The Hawaii Craftsmen Statewide Exhibition began August 30th and will continue until October 4th at the Honolulu Museum of Art School on 1111 Victoria Street in Honolulu. This is the 51st year for the exhibit and is a must see if you appreciate handcrafted art.

September 6th and 7th Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons will perform at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. Baby Boomers will probably remember some of their hits from the sixties, including “Walk Like a Man”, “Rag Doll”, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and many more. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.

September 17th and 18th Hillsong United will be in concert at the Blaisdell Arena. Hillsong United is a worship band that originated at the Hillsong Church in Australia. They play contemporary Christian music. Tickets are available at

The Diamond Head Theatre will present “Kinky Boots” a comical musical about a down- on- hisluck shoe store owner and Lola, who turns his business around with her love for stiletto heels. This play will run from September 20th until October 13th.

Janet Jackson will be performing at the Blaisdell Arena on November 20th and the 21st. If you plan on going, you should probably purchase your tickets soon from Ticketmaster.

Kind regards,
Cathy, Mary and Jeff