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Archive for the ‘Improve Curb Appeal’ Category

How to Get Rid of an Ugly Swimming Pool

Monday, August 30, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Paul Bianchina
Inman News

Q: I found a house I would love to buy, but the problem is it has a pool. I would love to get rid of the pool and just plant trees in the back, but friends tell me the value of the house would fall.

I don’t care; I had a pool once and it took too much effort to take care of — and nobody used it. My husband says it is so easy — he would just put dirt in the huge hole. Is it that easy? –Zein G.

A: You certainly can fill in the pool, but it’s a little more involved than just filling it with dirt. First, you need to disconnect all of the plumbing and electrical wiring associated with the pool and its support equipment. This is something that should be done by licensed professionals — especially the electrical wiring.

From there, you would want to break off the upper portion of the pool itself — the tile, concrete, etc. — down a couple of feet. That will get any of the hard surface around the top and upper edge of the pool out of the way so that it doesn’t eventually begin to show above ground again. Now you can proceed with filling in the pool itself.

To prevent dangerous settling, filling in the pool needs to be done in a succession of layers, known as “lifts.” Dirt and rock would be placed in a layer on the bottom of the pool, then compacted. Another lift of dirt and rock would be added and compacted, etc. The final lift would be all topsoil, allowing for the placement of new landscaping.

You will definitely want to talk with an experienced, licensed excavator about the exact steps required for your particular situation, and also get a bid for the cost of the work — preferably before you make your final purchase decision. You’ll also need to check with your local city building department to determine what permits might be required.

As to the purchase and the value of the house, you stand to take a hit in three different areas. You’ll be buying the house based on its value with a pool, a value that will then typically decrease when the pool is removed.

And, you have the expense of the removal and the new landscaping. I would discuss this with a real estate professional who’s experienced with your area, and make sure this makes financial sense.

Finally, be aware that the removal and filling of the pool is something that will need to be disclosed to a future buyer when you go to sell the home, and could have a potential impact on a future sale.

Thank you for visiting a FREE homes for sale website!!   Ask us a real estate question…we will answer!

What Fickle Homebuyers Want…Today!

Thursday, May 27, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Homebuyers are a very fickle bunch.  Home features and ammenities that were once “expected” have now become yesterday’s news.   So, what is it that makes today’s homebuyer salivate???   Some of the answers may surprise you, as buyers return to their roots…

Click Here to See the List of What is In…and What is Out!

Thank you for visiting homes for sale and rent website.  Take a look at over 20,000 Seller to Buyer properties on the market now!  No dead links, no pop ups and no registration required!!!

UP the Odds of Selling Your Home this Spring

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow


Every single home seller can Up the Odds of Selling their home this season.  And, best of all…we aren’t recommending  lowering your price….

To learn how successful seller’s got the job done this spring…CLICK HERE….for details with Before and After Photo’s.

Thank you for visiting   Homes that have languished on the market in the past are now Under Contract!!!  If you need help selling your home, we are here to help you!  Call 1-800-858-6000 or visit our site today.

Tree FAQ’s for Earth Day!

Thursday, April 22, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Did you Know ….

Tree FAQs:

“Over the course of 50 years, a single tree can generate $31,250 of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycle $37,500 worth of water, and control $31,500 worth of soil erosion. ”

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”Anonymous

“One tree can absorb more than a ton of carbon over its lifetime.”
Via:  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Trees reduce storm water runoff and erosion, and they remove harmful chemicals from the soil to prevent them from running into streams and rivers.
Via:  USDA Forest Service

It doesn’t take a lot of money or time to plant one tree for Earth Day!   In addition to being good for the earth…planting a treel also adds green to your bank account when you sell your home.   Mature landscape has no subsitute. planted 7 tree’s for Earth Day this year and we hope to plant more next year.   Thank you for visiting and please plant a tree today!

Let’s face it, not all plants can stand up to dogs, bouncing balls, kids and all around foot traffic. But there are some plants made for the feet-whether two or four.

These creeping perennials are very low growing ground covers that, when stepped on, bounce right back, and they come in a wide variety of color. Some favorites include blue star creeper, stonecrop and creeping wire vine. Miniature rush resembles grass but holds up to foot traffic. The choices are endless.

Before you rush out to buy your creeping perennials, you need to make an assessment of where you’ll plant them. For sunny locations, select something like thyme or stonecrop. If the soil is wet, choose plants like viola and Lysimachia. And also, how much foot traffic will the plants really get? The rule of thumb is this: The more delicate the leaf structure, the less traffic they’ll be able to withstand.

If your pathway is stone, soften the look of the edges by choosing plants that will give it some old world charm and make it look like it has been there forever. If the area is in full sun and drains well, Potentilla, an aggressive speader, will fill in the cracks quickly.

Space between stepping stones and pavers will vary on type of path. Plant a full plant in wider spaces for faster “fill-in”. In small spaces, use a utility knife to cut your plant into quarters. If the space is very tight, try slicing long slender pieces to tuck in. If your existing path needs more space, chisel out some of the original path to creat more of a gap for your plants.

A good place to visit these plants that are “Good For Your Sole” is

The true test comes with help from the dog. If the plants can  withstand him, they can withstand anything.

Thank you for visiting  Our business is marketing homes.  We have helped thousands of home owners and we can help you, too.  

Tip for Spring Home Sales:   Boost your curb appeal and you will boost your bottom line. 

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!

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)

Los Angeles New Law: NO MORE Graffiti!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow
LOS ANGELES — Under an ordinance just approved by the City Council, all new buildings in Los Angeles including homes must have anti-graffiti coating, unless the owners sign a contract vowing to remove any graffiti on their property within 72 hours from notification.
One, two punch.  Under the new law, anti-graffiti paints would be applied over existing paint on outside walls and doors to a height of at least nine feet.  If taggers strike buildings with the protective coating, the paint would be easier to wipe off.  In addition, LA hopes that quickly removing graffiti will deter “artists”, altogether, when they learn that their “work” will disappear after a couple of days.
The timing of the law may be bad.  Anti-graffiti coatings and paint are not cheap.   Products range in price from $60 to $632 per gallon, depending on the quality of the product.  The cost of complying with the new law will be likely be difficult for some homeowners.
Thank you for visiting homes for sale and lease FREE website.  Visit our website to see some great deals!!!

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.

Reface or Tile Over an Ugly Fireplace

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

A fireplace can be a huge selling point for any home or an eyesore that detracts from the room.  If the fireplace in your home is out dated or just plain ugly, you can transform it into a sexy, focal point without spending a lot of money.

Take a look at this brick fireplace.  It is a fireplace, but it is doubtful that buyers would conjure images of sipping wine by a roaring fire, in its present condition.

Now, take a look at the transformation, after engineered stone was applied over the old brick and a mantle was added.  The fireplace morphs from an eyesore into a floor to ceiling, hearthwarming focal point

In another example, this unattractive, dated fireplace with painted brick got a great makeover.  The homeowner correctly felt the fireplace was out of proportion, due to the narrow sides and tall top.  The mantle was also too small.

The After.  The budget minded homeowner added an “in stock” simple mantel and pilasters from a do-it-yourself center.  The design updated the fireplace, hid most of the outdated, painted over brick and brought the fireplace into correct proportion for under $750.

If your fireplace detracts from your home, get your creative genius in gear and simply cover it up.  Examples of “coverup” materials that are inexpensive and easy to work with are tile, manufactured stone, granite, marble or wood.  Sometimes even painting over old, ugly brick will make a huge improvement. 

Thank you for visiting  We love before and after pictures that we can share with our readers.  If you have completed a project and want a pat on the back, email photo’s to

Pleco Fish Eat Algae in Abandoned Swimming Pools

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

The large number of foreclosed homes have become a blight on the residential landscape.   But, swimming pools in abandoned, foreclosed homes, with no electricity, pose special problems.   Swimming pools become stagnate and unsantitary due to a lack of chemicals, then quickly grow thick with algae that is unsightly, and expensive to get rid of.

Enter the pleco algae eating fish, which are commonly found and abundant in fresh water lakes.   Only 15 pleco fish, placed in an abandoned pool, quickly eat away the algae and keep it away.

The environmentally smart solution leaves pools more sanitary, makes the homes more attractive to prospective home buyer’s and saves thousands of dollars in upkeep.   After the new owner moves in, they can return the fish to the lake or leave them in the pool for backyard fishing fun.

Thank you for visiting homes for sale and rent complimentary website.  Search for some great deals or post your property for more exposure.  It’s FREE!!

Update the Front Porch Light

Thursday, September 3, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

If the light fixtures by your front door are over 10 years old, you need to update them.   New outdoor fixtures are very inexpensive ($50) and they can be installed by any homeowner in less than 15 minutes.  Just make sure to cut off the power before taking the old fixture down.

Your home will not get a second chance to make a good first impression on homebuyers.   Any money you spend on staging and updating your entry will be money well spent.

Thank you for visiting  We have been helping buyers and sellers market their properties since 1989, and we can help you, too.

Home Insulating Paint Additive

Monday, August 17, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Green News Alert:  A new paint additive, Insuladd, developed by the government, cuts energy costs and reduces mold and mildew.

Insuladd insulating paint additive increases the “Mean Radiant Temperature” of any home or office and provides energy savings by reflecting and dissipating heat.   Reports show an average decrease in utility bills of 20 percent (and, as high as 40 percent for in some homes) after a home or building has been painted with the additive.  

Product Features:

  • Increase the R value by making paint insulating.
  • It is safe and non-toxic
  • It can be applied to roofs, walls and ceilings.  Interior or exterior.
  • It works in hot or cold climates.
  • Reduced heating and cooling costs, while increasing comfort.
  • It prevents mold and mildew by blocking moisture and condensation.
  • It can be added to any house paint.
  • Can be used for all residential or commercial paint applications

Tips for Using the Product:

  • Add the mixture to your paint, then stir throughly before applying.
  • If you want a satin or gloss finish, add Insuladd to the primer coat and first coat.  Apply a finish coat without the additive.
  • If you want a high gloss coat on trim, don’t use the additive.
  • Insuladd will leave a very slight texture to the walls that can be felt, but usually isn’t visable.  It may hide cosmetic defects such as gouges, dents and surface imperfections if 2 coats are applied.
  • Insuladd is ideal for light colored paints and you will notice no change in the color of your paint.
  • If you are using a dark paint, Insuladd may lighten the color by up to one shade.   If this is a problem, tint the paint one shade darker at purchase.
  • Don’t pour the mixture into a one gallon paint can to avoid overflow.  The additive will overfill a full gallon of paint.  Pour the paint into a 5 gallon can, add additive and mix.  Left over paint with additive can be stored in the original container for touch ups.

Paint, insulate, save money on energy bills, increase the comfort of your living space, prevent mold and mildew.  What’s not to love.

Thank you for visiting  We have been helping home sellers since 1988 and we can help you too.  Check out all the freebies on our site.

Check out HGTV’s Real Estate Intervention

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow


I have been watching HGTV’s “Real Estate Intervention” for a few weeks now.  As a real estate professional for the last 25 years, I give this program a Big 2 Thumbs up!!  If you are buying or selling real estate, this program is a must see.   Check it out on Thursday nights at 10:30E/9:30C on HGTV. 

The HGTV Synoposis of the Show is:   In this current real estate market, pricing is everything. And the best way to really find out how much your house is worth is to check out the competition. Real Estate Intervention takes motivated sellers on a tour of other listings in the same area and same price range. They’ll get to see firsthand who their competition is and whether they’ve priced their house right. Does the competition have better closets? Granite counters? A bigger backyard? Which home is the best value for the dollar? We’ll help them determine the best way to get top dollar — and in the end we’ll see which home sells first!

Bonus:  Do you want to be on TV???  If you are confused about how to price or market your home and want objective advise, can contact HGTV and be on the show.  Click this link to contact HGTV. and tell them sent you.

Thank you for visiting  We are here to help you buy and sell real estate.   If you like what we do and you want to receive updates about our short, informative articles, click on the RSS feed on the right hand side of the page.

Dispute Between

Neighbors – this is a

true story…

A city councilman in Utah , Mark Easton, had a beautiful view of the east mountains, Until a new neighbor purchased the lot below his house and built a new home.

The new home was 18 inches higher than the ordinances would allow, so Mark Easton, mad about his lost view, went to the city to make sure they enforced the lower roof line ordinance.

The new neighbor had to drop the roof line, at great expense.

Recently, Mark Easton called the city, and informed them that his new neighbor had installed some vents on the side of his home.

Mark didn’t like the look of these vents and asked the city to investigate.



When the city went to Mark’s



to see what the vents

looked like,this is what they



Sorry, but we had to chuckle and thought our readers might enjoy this, especially on tax day.  We’ve heard about neighbors who use spite fences to communicate their feelings about their neighbors, but this was a new one for us.   

Thank you for visiting homes for sale or rent website.  If you have any stories to tell us, please feel free use the comment link below or email to