Toilet Maintenance

Sooner or later you will need to repair your toilet. Here are some instructions on how to do so. Please note that when I referred to putting Lime Away in the pump I meant to refer to the hollow tube in the tank not the pump where one can insert Lime Away or vinegar to clear the toilet rim jets of sediment which can impede the strength of the flush. This instructional video goes over all the aspects of a toilet to make it perform better aside from actually pulling the toilet.

To Stage or Not To Stage? That Is The Question.


Posted in Staging


"To be, or not to be that is the question" echoes the opening lines of the soliloquy spoken by Shakespeare's Prince Hamlet. Just like the orchestration of a seamless masterpiece a successful transaction of real estate requires the same careful attention to detail. 

"To many real estate pros, home staging has gone from a luxury to a necessity. The National Association of REALTORS® found in a recent survey that sixty-two percent of sellers’ agents believe staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market, and a third say it increases the selling price. The survey also found that staging can help buyers envision themselves living in that home. NAR’s Home Staging Report found that another 77 percent say that staging makes it easier for the buyers to visualize the property as their home. Staging can help transform a home into the type of residence that is demanded and desired in the market." *

I will be honest with you: the decision to go forward and delve into the abyss of staging depends on several factors. Number one being price point. What is the dollar amount that the property is being marketed for and how does that price compare to other similar properties in the neighborhood? Currently the median price for a single family home in Sarasota Florida is $287,053** therefore if you are wanting to get your property listed at $150,000 under contract and sold and you have it priced appropriately it is very probable that to successfully consummate a sale you will require minimal to no staging. Of course, it is essential that the home be well maintained with the larger issues addressed and the interior be tidy and free of any unpleasant odours or visual distractions. In comparison if your goal is to sell your home at a price point of let's say the $500,000 range and other properties in the subdivision are sitting on the market for upwards of 100 days before getting into contract in addition to undergoing multiple price reductions here is where you will want to pay attention and enlist in an expert who has an eye for detail.  I say this with confidence because you are facing the prospect of selling your property with a great deal of competition and where there is competition you have to make sure your investment stands out from the crowd to get noticed. Not only do you want to be better than your competition but you want to price your home appropriately from day one so as not to lose your best pool of buyers in the first month of the listing. There should be an undeniable pull to your property and a solid decision in the minds of the buyers that they would choose your property above all others. 

As you may know from personal experience a buyer's decision making is primarily emotion based. Just like a first date, we only have an opportunity to make a first impression once and that first impression is crucial. Any off putting visual sore spots or strange odors in a property can turn a prospect off and you will never be able to convince them once they have made up their minds should they have objections to your property they just can't get past. To remedy those issues it is essential to enlist the help of a qualified person who has a knack for detail. I know what you are thinking...this is going to be expensive and painful. Well the answer to this is varied because yes you can enlist in an interior designer and pull out all the bells and whistles and get stuck with a hefty bill and would it be worth it? The answer may well be no, not if your property is not commanding a price range in the millions. So what do you do if you need to stage but don't want to pay an arm and a leg for the service? This is where I come in. Having a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Concordia in Montreal, Quebec I have an eye for detail, color and proportions.  I also happen to love to save money where possible without compromising on taste. How is this possible you may ask? There are resources and shops that one can access that don't necessarily have a high price tag. For example you may find many treasures at second hand stores or brilliant low cost ideas on Pinterest or you may have just the right things to stage already in your home only they need a little updating, resurfacing or better object placement. As long as you have a facilitator who understands how to balance and encourage a natural flow you are in good hands. It is safe to say that not everyone has this instinct, often times living in your home day after day year after year may actually cripple your ability to see that space for what it "could be" as you have become so used to seeing and accepting it for what it "has been".  That isn't to say you couldn't become an active participant with me in the journey of transforming your home as I will most certainly enlist your ideas and of course your permission before any changes are made. 

Is the project going to be stressful and laborious you may ask yourself and you have every right to feel hesitant. In fact it is a natural human inclination to feel this way when you are faced with the very real and daunting task of giving your environment, that you may have known and acquainted yourself with for years, a face lift. Who wants to bother and who could even be motivated to begin and how is one even going to find the enthusiasm? This all depends on the understanding, resourcefulness and energy of the expert helping you. I admit it, I get excited when I come up with solutions for home decorating. I have an inner glee when I can find just the right spot for your furniture and objects that may have avoided the limelight because they simply weren't showcased where they could shine. What really gets me ecstatic is when I can figure out an affordable but yet ingenious solution and transform an eyesore into a pleasing aesthetic focal point of a home. Take for example old and outdated chairs with cushions that have unflattering patterns. To purchase a whole new set of dining room chairs would no doubt put a significant dent in your wallet but finding slipcovers for those dining room chairs for under forty dollars was a real life solution that transformed a client's dining room along with just the right color of turquoise in plateware from the Dollar Store. I was like a kid in the candy store when I realized what I had landed upon to make the dining room showing worthy for a very small investment. 

 "What sellers who have put a fortune into their homes don't often understand is that a buyer will make a decision on whether or not to buy within maybe the first 20 to 30 seconds."*** 

 Placing the above sentence into context means making a good first impression within the first 20 to 30 seconds of the buyers entering the home is imperative. And where are the buyers located within the first 20 to 30 seconds? This time lapse would begin at threshold of doorway to the foyer and everything within that vista, so make sure to pay extreme attention to the areas where the buyers will initially set their eyes upon within the first 20 to 30 seconds. One of the first things a buyer notices when entering a home is the way it smells. Here you will have to be careful to use natural, subtle scents such as electrical candle warmers and whatever you do: do not overload the air with the toxic and noxious chemical scents which many people mistakenly think buyers like which is overkill and to some a health hazard. Chemical scents are not pleasing, much like cheap perfume they are a turn off. Whatever negatively distracts buyers will also take them further away from making a commitment on your property. 

The property I was assisting my seller prepare had a front entrance where the doors had a flat and unexciting grey. As you can imagine these doors were not winning any popularity contests.  Because the original paint didn't have a sheen to it I wasn't obligated to use a primer which saved a significant amount of time. I got open a pint of midnight blue can exterior paint with a slight gloss and went to town. The transformation was incredible, it was beyond satisfying and it made a world of difference. Two weeks later the seller and I are still talking about the front entryway and how the blue contrasts perfectly with the magenta Bougainvillea out front. The time invested into painting those doors was worth every hour it took to accomplish as they are they are the starting point of forming the buyers' impression of the property.

Honestly I could go on and on regarding the facelift that took place in this particular home but I will spare you all the details because there are many and the excitement rests in being the owner and assistant to the transformation and securing a successful sale from the investment. I would say if you can find an agent that is willing to go the extra mile for you and gets excited about the process you have found a gold mine because the shorter time on the market your house sits translates into less mortgage payments and bills for yourself and a smoother and quicker transition to your next goals. The work doesn't have to be painful or treacherous because if you have happened upon a real estate agent who is your biggest cheerleader and encourager you are not simply faced with a long list of "things to do" but you have a friend by your side celebrating each victory when an eyesore is remedied and items you didn't know how to place find just the right spot to create a refreshed and inspired place where prospective buyers can dream of owning and enjoying. It's the little things that make all the difference....

Please don't hesitate to contact me seven days of the week from early in the morning until late at night to see how together we can transform your property and make your goals and dreams into a reality. You'd be surprised, you may even enjoy the process as much as I do after all being able to celebrate success is much sweeter when you have someone by your side. 

***Realtor Association of Manatee and Sarasota Market Statistics ***

Below are some before and after photographs of the home:


Recovered Dining Room Chairs with Dollar Store Plateware. 



Preparing Your Home For Sale

  Ready to launch a costly and expensive remodel before you put your house on the market?  You may want to reconsider how much money you are going to invest into improving your home in order to get top dollar for your property. Many people mistakenly assume they will get back 100% or more on their remodel investments put into their homes but that simply is not the case. 

"The 29 projects found on this year’s report paid back an average of 64.3 cents on the dollar in resale value. Looking at the 24 most tracked projects (projects consistently tracked for the last six years), their payback for 2017 was also 64.3 cents—only three-quarters of a penny higher than 2016 projections. Curb appeal projects like changes to doors, windows and siding garnered a higher ROI (return on investment) than work done inside the home. Replacement projects, like doors or windows, scored higher among real estate pros than did remodels." *

So before you decide to do a total major revamp on your home consider the following:

1. What have the comparable properties in your subdivision sold for? Take into account the square footage of the properties when comparing them to your home.

2. Did you purchase your home for a much lower price than it is currently worth? In other words if you purchased your home for $150,000 several years ago and comparable homes in your subdivision are selling for $300,000 it may be worth investing in updating your home as it is realistic to forecast a large return on your investment due to the appreciation of your home value since the time of purchase. 

3. Remember not all homes need major revamping in order to garner the profit margin you are looking for. Sometimes it is best to adjust only the major eyesores and to find the most economical path to do so in order for you to not make the mistake of over investing in a property in which the market will not give you back a return on your investment. After all part of the renovations should ideally be for you as the homeowner to enjoy within your time of home ownership. 

So before you spend your hard earned savings on a remodel  be sure to tackle projects that will give you the highest return on your investment. Eye catching granite and quartz kitchen counters have become popular among home buyers but don't forget to peruse stores that sell demolition inventory that may have deep discounts or see if you can purchase remnant pieces from granite suppliers if your counter dimensions allows for it (the smaller your counter space the higher the likelihood  that you will be able to find remnant granite pieces for it).

Staging and interior painting can go a long way in creating a lasting impression on buyers as well. Subdue overbearing colors with warm earthy tones and grays. You may love your magenta walls but buyers won't be able to look past jarring colors. So go ahead and declutter and invest in some pretty outdoor flowers, mulch and a door mat for your front entrance because as you know good first impressions make lasting impressions. Make sure there aren't any noxious pet odors or smoke odors in the home either, remember your goal is to please all the senses when preparing your home to be viewed. Scents should be subtle not overpowering. A lot of people are sensitive to chemicals so instead of having plug in air fresheners which can be too much try placing a scented candle on an electric candle warmer. The delicate and light fragrance will waft gently throughout your home invoking positive feelings from the prospective buyers without an assault of overpowering chemicals.

I have a large resource of stagers and handy men which I would enthusiastically help you with to get your home ready to market and sold. I love to help and see you succeed at getting your real estate goals met. Please feel free to contact me at 941-681-8062 so that I may be of assistance.


*Cost vs. Value: Which Home Improvements Offer the Highest ROI in 2017? Author, Nick Caruso.





How to Fix up and Flip Investment Properties in Sarasota, Florida

 Do you think that it has to be expensive to remodel properties? Think again. Focus on getting building materials that are recycled. Let the purchaser buy the items at top price the first time and then buy them at deep discounts from the following stores in Sarasota: Used Stuff, Sarasota Salvage and Habit for Humanity. My favorite store of the three is Used Stuff. It is located at 1404 Central Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236. It is a locally owned store and I have picked up toilets, fridges, light fixtures, tiles, sink faucets and my best purchase was gorgeous slabs of top of the line granite that came with a drop in sink. I had my heart set on a white based granite that would allow me to keep my white appliances in the last remodel.
 I renovated this whole home by going to these three stores and buying the base essentials like flooring and paint from Lowes and Home Depot. My total costs including renovations and labor did not exceed $5000.
 It goes to show that all you need is tenacity and focus and you can make this happen too!
Please contact me at 941-681-8062 and I can show you how to achieve your real estate goals.

Note that since the writing of this article Used Stuff has since discontinued their business however there are other sources of preowned construction materials such as Habit for Humanity, Architectual Salvage and Goodwill.

How To Achieve Glorious Flower Blooms


 Now that you have your dream home how do you maintain beautiful blooms? Florida affords their lucky residents 365 days a year of sunny weather which is ideal for keeping flowers year round. The question becomes how to keep one's flowers as pretty and abundantly in bloom as when you first purchased them. I was curious to know how to achieve glorious blooms at the same time as respecting the earth's elements and not upsetting the ecological balance in the soil. After doing some online research I came across a simple recipe of putting banana peels in a blender and blending the concoction with water. It sounded simple enough, the question was would it really produce the results I was looking for and give me flowers that bloomed with enthusiasm? My pansies were all but green leaves without any buds or blooms, it was a painful sight to see. Sure enough within days of pouring the banana peel shake on the flower beds my pansies and other varieties of flowers were producing prolific amounts of blooms. The plants were literally bursting with blooms within a matter of days of the application. Due to the potassium content of the bananas it makes for an ideal nutrient boost to vegetables and flowers alike. Although I have yet to challenge myself to tackle growing roses it is said that roses also benefit from a banana peel feed and enjoy potatoes as well as epsom salts. 
There is nothing quite as satisfying as delighting in the earth's beauty as flowers in all of their glory. 
 One of the most heavenly scents is found in the Gardenia flower. The candy like perfume that wafts through the house when you cut one of it's blooms and place it in a vase by your bedside table is like no other. It's smell is so pungent that it can send a once occupied mind into a blissful and peaceful state. Such is the power of nature and it's beauty can be shared and enjoyed if we only tap into what it needs to flourish.