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Tips for Holding a Successful Open House

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

For Sale Signs are popping up like tulips and National Open House Weekend is This Saturday and Sunday.  

Every home seller should take advantage of the tremendous amount of buyer traffic that will be on the street this weekend.  The Realtors Association is doing the advertising for you.   Don’t pass up the opportunity to show off your  home, too!!

What Time Should You Hold Your Home Open?

  • Open your home to the public for 3 hours, both Saturday and Sunday.   On Sunday, don’t start before 1:00.

Idea’s for Advertising and Marketing Your Open House. 

  • Place an ad in your Newspaper Classified real estate section.  Check to see if your local paper has a special Open House section, many do.  You should run your ad the morning of the Open House and if budget allows, run your ad a few days in advance of the Open House.
  • Edit your InfoTube ad and include the date and time of your Open House on your free internet ad.  Be sure to remove the dates from your ad, once the event has past.
  • After editing your ad to include your Open House date, Print new brochures with the date and time, then refill your InfoTube.   (Tip:  Make sure you print plenty of brochures to hand out at your Open House.)
  • Open House Directional Signs.  Nothing boosts attendance as much as directional signs placed at all key intersections and the routes traveled to reach your home.  You can purchase directional Arrow and Open House signs at most major home centers.  Please collect all signs after your Open House to avoid possible citations.  Many towns consider left over signs as “littering”, after the event has passed.
  • Attract more attention.  Purchase an Open House sign for a few dollars at your local hardware store.  Tie brightly colored balloons to the sign the day of the event.
  • Post your Open House on  Place a post on Craigslist.  Send out an email.  Use the internet to gain as much attention as possible.

Tomorrow we will address Setting the Stage for the perfect Open House.   Topics will include setting the scene, staging, how to give a tour, how to work with buyers and much more….so please check back in with us!

Thank you for visiting  Get outside after work today and start sprucing up that front yard.  Nothing  draws buyers like great curb appeal.

Adding a video tour of your home can attract more buyers and hold their attention longer than still pictures.   But, before you grab your camera and start shooting…take a minute to learn how to present your home in it’s best light.

9 Tips for Staging a Virtual Home or Video Tour: 

1. Understand the camera’s perspective.
The camera’s eye is very different from the human eye. It magnifies clutter and poor furniture arrangement.  Make a home camera friendly in a virtual tour, cater to the lens.

2. Make the home “White Glove clean.”
Because the camera magnifies grime, each room must be spotless. Don’t forget floor coverings and walls; a carpet stain might be overlooked by prospects during a regular home showing, but that stain becomes a focal point for online viewers.

3. Pack up the clutter.
But leave three items of varying heights on each surface. For example, on an end table you can place a lamp (high), a small plant (medium), and a book (low).

4. Snap pictures.
Get an idea of what the home will look like on camera. Closely examine the photos and list changes that would improve each room’s appearance: opening blinds to let in natural light, removing magnets from the refrigerator, or taking down distracting art.

5. Pare down furniture.
Identify one or two pieces of furniture that can be removed from each room to make the space appear larger.

6. Rearrange.
Spotlight the flow of a 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.

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

 8.  Film Outdoors.

Outdoor amenities sell homes, too.   Buyers love views, pools, landscaping, creeks, tree lined streets, waterfronts, decks and porches.  Use video to show off property features that words or still photographs can not adequately convey.
9. Keep the home in Show Condition.
You want buyers who liked what they saw online to see the same home in person.

Thank you for visiting homes for Sale and Rent website.   Search pver 21,000 home listings from the privacy of your home.  And, Sellers Place a FREE property listing, today.   Buyers are waiting!

InfoTube has been showing homebuyers the beauty of what’s inside since 1988.     And, it’s made 100 percent in the USA!   Seller’s, what’s not to Love????

If you love fun tidbits about real estate…check out for Real Estate Facebook Page.  Post Before and After Pictures, Ask a Question, Brag about a Genius Real Estate Deal, Check out Your Agent…Become a Fan Today. on Facebook and Twitter

Friday, February 12, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow announced some recent updates to it’s website that make it easier for homeowners to share information and property details on the internet.

Share Your Property Information with One Click has provided a direct “Share” link on every home listing.  The “Share” link automatically feeds your property listing to all major sharing websites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.  If you use social networking or RSS feed websites, simply select where you want your property listing posted and click.  It’s that easy.  (The Share Link can be located under the “Email Seller” link on every home listing.)

Sellers and Buyers Communicate, Learn and Get Advise for Real Estate has an Offical Facebook and Twitter page where you can post pictures, questions, idea’s or funny real estate stuff you want to share.  Become a Fan and Contributor Today. 

Thank you for visiting for Real Estate.  We hope you like the new improvements.  If you don’t already have a FREE property listing on, post one today, you’re missing buyers.

I’m thinking Turkey.  The leaves have fallen, lawn mowers are stored and furnaces are in use.   It’s at this time of year that many of our customer’s ask…  “Should We Take Our Home Off the Market During the Holidays?”

The answer is definitely “NO”.  There are a lot of reasons to keep your home listed right through the New Year.  And, there’s a special timely reason this holiday season!!

  1. The First Time Buyers Tax Credit has been extended until April 30, 2010 AND it’s been expanded.  Step Up Home Buyers, who make a lot of money, can also receive $6500 in Tax Credits until April.   Big tax incentives mean that smart buyers will be house shopping vs mall shopping this holiday season.  
  2. Interest Rates are at Record Lows.  30 year fixed rate mortgages are below 5 percent.  But, with the dollar weak and falling, low rates may not be around for long.   Serious home buyers are aware of the difference that even a small interest rate increase would make in their house payment.  The combo of Tax Credits and Low Interest Rates create strong urgency among buyer’s.  Smart seller’s spruce up their homes and play into the pressure.
  3. Holiday Shoppers are Serious Buyers.  Trust me.  Everyone of us loves the holidays.  So, the people who are out looking for homes in November, December and January are SERIOUS Buyers.  Do you really want to pull your house off the market when the most serious people are shopping??  Think about it and gear up!!
  4. Less Competition.  Many sellers don’t read our blog.  They foolishly pull their homes from the market during the holidays, and this year will be no exception.  Less competition and MLS exposure could make the difference between For Sale and Sold, this Christmas. 
  5. Houses are Pretty during the Holidays.  Staging your home is easy during the holidays.  The mood is festive.  Holiday colors are warm and inviting.  Candles, centerpieces and decorations touch the heart and convey a peaceful lifestyle.  Light the candles, make a roaring fire, bake some goodies and turn on some relaxing holiday music.  Buyer’s love to see a home decorated and looking special.  Don’t let this once a year opportunity pass you by.
  6. Curb Appeal.  If your landscape and lawn isn’t that great, breathe a sigh of relief that no one else’s is this time of year, either.   Add seasonal color, a wreath, perhaps some decorations.  Just keep it subtle and classy.  No mowing, no weeding and trimming, and best of all snow covers all…

Thank you for visiting FREE homes for sale and rent website.  Thanks to all Veterans and Active Military Personnel!!!  Call us today and receive a FREE Property Listing Upgrade as our gift to you.

FREE Stuff and Thank You Veterans.

Monday, November 9, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11th is a very special day for all Americans. 

It is our special time to say thank you to all the men and women who serve and protect this country.  It is our special time to say thank you for keeping America free.  It is our special time to take a moment of silence for all who paid the ultimate price for us to protect this nation.

As our special way of saying thank you to all Veterans and Active members of the military, is offering FREE Featured Home Listing Upgrades on Veterans Day!!!   Just phone 1.800.858.6000 or send an email to with your ad number.  It’s that easy!! 

We are happy to report that other Businesses are joining us in giving back to Veterans and Active Military Personnel on Veterans Day!!!   Check out the Free Offers of Food, Goods and Services for all Veterans on Wednesday.

  • Applebee’s, McCormick & Schmicks and Golden Corral are serving up FREE meals.  Drop by and enjoy a juicy steak, shrimp, chicken or whatever makes you happy.
  • Outback Steakhouse may be from “down under”, but they love US Vets!!   Stop by Outback for a FREE Blooomin’ Onion Appetizer and Beverage.
  • Krispy Kreme donuts will sweeten up your life with FREE Hot Ready Now Donuts.  YUMMY!
  • For Vet’s in the mid-west, Hy-Vee Supermarkets is providing a FREE, all you can eat, Breakfast Buffet.  Stop by start your day right!
  • Home Depot and Lowes are offering a 10 percent discount at the register!!  Save big on your home improvements or holiday needs.
  • The Federal Government offers FREE access to all Federal Parks and Recreation Sites.  Grab the family and enjoy a day together.

Thank you for visiting homes for sale and rent website!!  To all Veterans and Active Military, THANK YOU and please don’t forget to claim your FREE Home Upgrade on Wednesday.

Home Buyer Tax Credit Extended.

Thursday, October 29, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Great news for home buyers, sellers and owners, alike.  The homebuyer tax credit has been expanded to include step up buyers, who have owned a home for 5 years.  It also extends the tax credit through the end of 2010.  


It appears that Senate Democrats have recognized the tremendous value of the First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit and odds are it will be renewed soon. At this time, it is believed that the credit will allow anyone purchasing a home, by April 30, 2010, to participate and receive the full credit available.

The credit will continue until the end of 2010, but the amount of tax credit will drop by 2 percent every 90 days.  The graduated benefit should help the housing market recover into and through the 2010 summer selling season.

Here is the text of the story as reported in Bloomberg News today:
Senate Democrats on Board with Credit Extension

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) says Senate Democrats have agreed to extend the first-time home buyer tax credit.  The latest version extends the program to home sales signed not closed by April 30. Purchasers would have another 60 days to close the sale.  The credit will also be expanded to include so-called step-up buyers who have lived in their current home for at least five years.

The credit would be cut slightly to a $7,290 cap.  Income eligibility for first-time home buyers would stay the same, but it would rise for step-up buyers to $125,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.
Source: Bloomberg News, Dawn Kopecki and Ryan Donmoyer (10/27/2009)

Virtually Stage Your Home to Sell

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Marketing a vacant home can be difficult challenge, because empty rooms are hard to size up and they don’t stand out in a buyer’s mind.  This leaves every vacant home looking like the one next door, with the only difference in a buyer’s mind being, which home has the lowest price.

This problem may have been solved by Krisztina Bell, a smart Atlanta Realtor, who invented and patented a software program that will “virtually” stage any vacant property for around $250.  Her company has been heralded by the Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronical and other publications as the answer to giving the effect of a professionally staged home at a fraction of the cost.

With 90 percent of home buyers doing their shopping online, and thousands of vacant homes on the market, Ms Bell’s idea is smart and timely.  Her technique transforms listing photo’s of vacant homes into homes with professionally designed interiors, using a library of attractive furnishings, accessories and artwork.   The resulting “after” photo’s are realistic, authentic and hard to distinguish from a home that has been actually staged with furnishings.

To view the Photo Gallery of some impressive Before and After Pictures, please visit her website, by clicking this link.  You will be amazed.  And, if you have a vacant home to sell, you should seriously consider this inexpensive option and make your home pop.

Thank you for visiting homes for sale and rent website.  If you virtually stage your home, be sure to upload the slideshow to  Thousands of buyer’s search our site daily for new information on properties.

A frequent question we receive about correctly pricing a home is “Should we use Comparable Listing Prices or Comparable Sales Data to correctly price our home?”

The answer is overwhelming, Comparable Sales Data.

Looking at the prices of listed property is a big mistake, when determining the correct asking price for a home.  Take a moment and think about it.  If the neighbors list price was motivating, the property would be Sold, not Still for Sale. 

Always use accurate a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) to correctly price your home.   A CMA features only properties that have sold for all cash or a funded loan.  This is important because many properities aren’t appraising or closing for anything near their “under contract” price.   In our declining market, a home that is worth $250,000 today, may only be worth $220,000, 60 days later when it closes.   Appraisers are aware of this fact and generally appraise very conservatively these days.

Click here To Read more about Appraisal Problems and What you Can do About it.

To obtain accurate Sales data about competing properties in your neighborhood, visit your local county tax assessor website.  Or, research MLS data which can be viewed at sites like

Thank you for visiting  We are here to help you sell your home.  Feel free to place a free property listing on our site or search for a great value on your dream home.

Bad Strategy for Home Sales

Monday, July 20, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow


Question:  What is the worst home selling strategy ever???

Answer:  “Let’s test the market”.   “Let’s throw it up for sale at a high, unrealistic price and just see what happens…”

Testing the market…whatever that really means is the worst idea, ever.  Buyer’s don’t live in a fantasy world.  And, if they did, their home buying fantasy is finding a mansion for $100.  

“Testing the market” by overpricing a property means that the listing loses its “honeymoon” period.  As a rule, properties receive more interest and more showings in the first 30 days, than they will ever see again.   Why?  Buyer’s who haven’t found the right home, rush to see new listings as soon as they appear on the market.  And, new buyer’s coming into the market always look at new listings first. 

If you overprice your home during the honeymoon, chances are high that it will sit on the market for a long time, eventually becoming a “stale” listing.   It is possible to stir up more interest later by substantially dropping the price, but seller’s can never again recreate the attention the property would have received, had it been priced right when it made its debut.

Thank you for visiting  One GREAT IDEA for buying or selling real estate…Place a free property listing on our site or browse through thousands of great deals from the leisure of your home.  Don’t be afraid, we never sell or distribute information to anyone, for any reason.

To place a property on the MLS, and a dozen other websites for real estate, CLICK HERE.

Pictures are crucial in motivating buyers and showcasing your property.   In fact, homes advertised with great pictures attract 50 percent more interest and sell much faster than other homes that are poorly marketed.

Taking great pictures of your home is easy for the most novice do-it-yourselfer, if they follow these tips from the pro’s.  

  1. Staging the Shot is Critical:  No People and no pets in the picture help the buyer imagine themselves in the room.  Flowers always help.  Remove all clutter and evidence of anything personal.  Move furniture to look good in the picture, even if you don’t live that way.
  2. Lighting:   Turn on all the lights, but leave the fluorescents off because they distort colors.  Light candles in the fireplace (shown top left) to punch up ambience.  Shoot one exterior shot at twilight (shown below) with all the interior and exterior lights on.







     3.  Camera Angle:  Stand in Corners of the room and aim the shot toward the other corners.  The room looks bigger, if there are no more than 2 walls in the picture.   Crouch down and take the shot from a kids height (may explain why houses get smaller as we get older) to make any space appear larger.   Try to keep the back of the camera parallel to walls or doorways to make the room feel taller.

Thank you for visiting homes for sale or rent website.   If you are serious about selling a home, remember that a picture paints a thousand words and each one should motivate buyer to take a look inside for themselves.  If you aren’t using 20 good photo’s in your home ad, please do yourself a favor, grab your camera and upload some new ones.  You will be very glad you did!

One of the largest obstacles that for sale by owner’s face is a lack of exposure for their home listing.   Whether you have an MLS listing or not, Video is one solution that costs nothing (ie: FREE and Easy to do) and greatly increases web presence.

If you don’t think that video can help you sell your property, just take a look and see what the numbers for January 2009 tell you.

  • 14.8 Billion (yes, Billion) video’s were viewed in January 2009.
  • 147 Million (yes, Million) people watched internet video’s during the month.

If you didn’t think you need video before, these numbers should change your mind.  And, I am not just talking about home virtual tours.  Virtual tours or 360 room views are fine, but they are just the tip of the iceberg.  Homeseller’s can add a lot of variety to their video’s and increase user interest dramatically.    Video tours are fantastic for area’s such as:

  • Subdivision and neighborhood drive thru’s.
  • Parks, greenbelts and nearby outdoor recreation area’s.
  • Shopping Centers that are conveniently located near the property.
  • Schools that serve the area.
  • Churches or government centers such as libraries and public transportation systems.
  • Museums and cultural sites of interest.

All of these local highlight area’s are of high interest to someone looking for a home to buy.  The internet is a world wide web, so seller’s can’t assume that their buyer will be familiar with their town or city.  Make a lasting impression and use video to show buyer’s what your location has to offer. automatically uploads all home video’s to Google and Youtube, the number one search engine for video.   You may not know that Google also searches video descriptive text, so your home listing will show up, even if the word “video” isn’t mentioned in the search term or keyword.

If you don’t use video to assist you in marketing your home, you are falling behind your competition every single day.   But, thankfully spring is coming and it’s not too late!!   Grab your digital camera and give the world a look at your home and location today.

Thank you for visiting homes for sale website.  Click here to learn how to create an internet website for your property, showcase your home with Video Tours and attract thousands of home buyers today!!

How to Improve Your Winter Curb Appeal

Monday, February 23, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Winter can be a challenging season for those trying to sell their home.  The cold weather keeps many buyer’s away and the landscape is anything but exciting.   That is why it is very important to maintain good curb appeal during winter, if you want to draw home shoppers inside.

The first thing seller’s can do to improve the curb appeal of their home during winter is to start with the home itself.   A fresh coat of paint always makes a huge impact, but it really stands out in the grayness of winter.   When repainting, don’t forget the front door, garage doors and trim around the windows.  Seller’s should also take a close look at their roof and guttering.  If these systems need to be repaired or replaced, winter is a great time to do so.  If the gutters are dirty or stained, wipe them clean, or repaint.  

One area of your home that needs special attention is the front porch and sidewalk leading to the front door.   Make your entrance welcoming by updating the lighting or add two wall sconces to frame your door.  Buy a fresh, new welcome mat.  Try adding planters or urns on each side of the door to draw the buyer inside the home.  Make sure your house number is attractive and easy to see from the street.   A colorful, seasonal wreath can also add interest.  Be sure to repair any cracks in the sidewalk and keep the path to your home clear of snow and ice.

Another factor in curb appeal is your Landscape.   Buyer’s understand that your lawn isn’t going to be green and lush during winter, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t look good.  Clean up toys, trash or debris from your lawn and hide the trash cans.   Make sure all bushes and limbs are neatly trimmed away from the house to allow light in.   Evergreen plants like pines, holly, spruce and yews add a lot of interest during the bleaker cold months.  Bird feeders can also add interest and attract life to your home during winter.

Curb appeal is the first impression your home makes when a guest arrives.  It is crucial to your marketing efforts because Buyer’s will certainly draw conclusions about your home, based upon what they see on the outside.  Remember that all your upgrades and special features won’t matter, if you can’t get the buyer interested enough to look inside.

Thank you for visiting homes for sale website.  Feel free to Search for homes for sale or place a free home listing.    We are here to help you.

Your Home Must Make a Good First Impression

Monday, February 16, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

The springtime is when buyer’s begin shopping for a home to buy in mass.   If you need to sell your home, now is the right time to get serious or take it off the market. 

First and foremost, is your home is ready to make a good first impression???  Before you advertise, market or show your property, it is imperitive that you declutter, depersonalize, clean and shine everything from top to bottom.  If you don’t, buyer’s will simply cross your home off the list and move on to your competitor.

We have been following the short stories of an actual, qualified home buyer, Jennifer Fields.  Jennifer offers fun and informative insight for home sellers about what she is seeing and experiencing in the home shopping market.   Good and Bad. 

For a sneek peek inside the mind of a full-time home shopper, take a minute and read I Can Sell this Home.   Jennifer reveals some home shopping war stories of mistakes that smart seller’s can avoid without spending a dime.

A sample of some recent things she saw touring ten homes this weekend include:

  • Dogs left inside in a downstairs room with a note saying not to go in there. There went 100sf we couldn’t see.
  • Closets crammed with all kinds of stuff that needed to be in storage
  • Obviously dirty underwear on a shelf in a walk-in closet
  • Half-finished bottle of Sunny D on the front porch

Thank you for visiting homes for sale website.  If you have a story to share or a question to ask, please leave a comment in the space below.  We will share the information with others who are in the market to buy or sell.

Home Buyer Gives Good Advice to Home Seller’s

Thursday, February 12, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

So, my husband and I are now in the market for a house! It’s very cool, because it’s definitely a buyers’ market, as it was when we sold. Being on the other side of the equation gives me a whole new perspective, of course, and I’ve been trying to look critically at the houses that we have been seeing so I can pass on my observations to you all, as you are staging and selling your houses. I know that you have lost a bit of leverage, since there are so many houses on the market right now, but there are still things that you can do to help your house stand out. And frankly, I’ve been a little amazed at how some of the sellers whose houses we’ve seen haven’t done those things.

First and foremost, and this may sound like a little thing (but it’s not): Keep your infotubes full! I cannot stress this enough. When we are driving around and see a house that’s for sale, we immediately stop to look for “words.” If the InfoTube is empty, our immediate reaction, fair or not, is “They don’t really want to sell this house.” A neglected InfoTube could be just an oversight, or it could be a sign of greater neglect. Either way, we don’t even consider those houses. So, if you are still in the house you are selling, for goodness sake, keep that InfoTube full! And if you’re not in the house, make sure that your agent keeps the tube full. It makes a difference. Remember, I am now your potential buyer, and you’ve already lost me!

Depersonalize, please! I consider myself to be a fairly sophisticated buyer–one who is able to look beyond the stage at the bones of the space, but many potential buyers just see what they see. They see the pictures, not the walls behind them. They see the carpet, not the floor underneath. Make sure that what these buyers are seeing is the most tastefully generic stage you can possibly set. We went into a lovely home last weekend–2300sf, soaring ceilings, lovely staircase, immaculately kept. It truly was a lovely home. We didn’t like the layout; it wouldn’t work for us, so we passed. But the people who live there and are trying to sell have written off a large portion of their potential market. There were family photos all around the house and a lot of art–everywhere–that was very personal to them, because it was all religious art. Whether the art was Christian, Islamic, Hindu or Zoroastrian, it makes no difference. Many people will walk into that house and walk back out because they can’t see beyond the stage. I’m not saying you have to be Peter and deny your religion, but you do have to be sensitive to the fact that not all buyers will believe the same things you believe, and many might actually be put off.

As we continue our search, I will continue to bring reports of what I’m seeing out there. I hope that this new phase in our lives will help to focus your resolve as sellers as you get your house sold!

For more information, or to order a copy of I CAN Sell This House: Secrets to Selling Quickly in a Buyers’ Market.

A BIG thank you to Jennifer taking the time to talk straight with home seller’s as she continues her search for a home.   If you are looking for a home, please check out the home listings on  Seller’s can post property listings for FREE on the site, so the inventory is fresh and constantly changing.