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Ethel Curbow


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Staging Your Outdoor Space when Selling a House

by Ethel Curbow

Outdoor Living Space

Selling a House: Staging Your Outdoor Space

An important selling point to prospective buyers is indoor-outdoor living space. Even in climates where the space is not used year-round, buyers love the idea of having a comfortable outdoor area to enjoy during the warmer times of year. Today’s home buyers see the patios, decks, and yards as an extension of their living and dining rooms.

In today’s blog, the pros at Ethel Curbow will offer some tips on marketing your outdoor space. Whether you have a large sweeping lawn or a small simple patio, there are a few things that you can do to help prospective buyers see the space as their own.

Outdoor Furniture

A great way to impress homebuyers is by offering them outdoor spaces that seem to be a natural flowing extension of indoor space. You can show them this by arranging comfortable outdoor furniture in a lounge and dining setting on your deck or patio. An outdoor sofa and coffee table can make your patio lounge area more stylish as well as more functional. Add a couple of side tables and you have created an outdoor living space with all the comforts of an indoor design. By using an outdoor rug, as well as some planters and creative lighting, you can create an outdoor space that feels like an extra living room for the home. Add a patio umbrella or an awning overhead to finish defining your outdoor living space.

Grill, Fire Pit and Lights

If prospective buyers are viewing your outdoor space, the hope is that they begin to picture themselves and their family there. If the home you are selling doesn’t have a built-in fire pit, you can purchase a metal one, add some logs and arrange some welcoming chairs around it. If you have a grill, shine it up and make it a part of your staging area so buyers can picture their first backyard party in their new home. Also, consider lighting. All-weather rope LED lights are a popular way to make outdoor spaces look festive after sunset.


In the right season, flowers are a wonderful way to improve the look of your outdoor space. You want flowers to be lush and vibrant with pops of color, but never overgrown or out of control. To create a welcoming feeling on your porch or patio, choose clean, neutral pots and planters of various heights. Be sure the plants you choose are hardy, so you don’t have to replace them if they begin to wilt before you move.

Keep Things Looking Tidy

From the day your listing goes public to the day you close the sale, you never know who is going to be driving by. Be sure the grass is neatly mowed and trimmed. Ensure weeds along walkways and patios are kept in check. Trim bushes, neatly stow hoses and consider a layer of fresh mulch if it looks dried or faded. You should also sweep your porch, patio, and walkways regularly, and don’t forget to knock down those cobwebs.

Thinking of Selling Your Home? Consider Ethel Curbow

For over 30 years, Ethel Curbow has been helping people list and sell their homes. If you are selling a house let the team at Ethel Curbow help. If you have questions contact the friendly experts at Ethel Curbow today.

Ethel Curbow Offers Tips on Decluttering for Selling a House

by Ethel Curbow

Woman Overwhelmed by Clutter

Selling a House: Tips on Decluttering

When selling a house, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Market conditions, local economy, location and price bracket are just a few of the many things that you, the seller, have no control over. However, one thing you can control is how your home looks when potential buyers walk through the front door.

When a potential buyer walks into your home to decide if they want to make an offer, first impressions count, and an uncluttered home is the best way to greet house hunters. In today’s blog from the team at Ethel Curbow, we take a look at ways to declutter your home to improve saleability.

Remove Personal Pictures

Of course, you are proud of your family and the history you all have had in your home, but a home that is filled with your family photos doesn’t leave much room for buyers to imagine the home as their own. It’s important for potential buyers to imagine their own pictures on the walls. So when buyers leave your house, make sure they remember how great your kitchen looked, rather than your family vacation pictures.

Make the Bedrooms Feel Bigger

One of the biggest reasons people start shopping for new homes is space. They feel they have outgrown their current home, and they are looking at yours and imagining all the additional space they could have. In the bedrooms, remove all seasonal clothing from the closets. Remove unnecessary books and magazines. Take a second look at your bedrooms and remove any excessive furniture. Try to limit furnishings to a bed, one bedside table and one dresser per room. If there are larger furnishings — like a desk, for instance — consider removing them and putting them in storage until your home is sold.

Kitchen Counters and Cabinets

A good rule to remember when selling a house is that kitchens sell homes. When buyers look at your kitchen, they are looking for space. Only keep what you absolutely can’t live without over while you are waiting to sell your home, and clear out everything else. Every cabinet, drawer, and area of counter space needs to look like you have room for everything you need with plenty of space to spare.

The Living Room/Family Room

First, get rid of any obvious clutter and personal items, then start working on details that might be less obvious. If you have heavy window treatments, lighten them up or remove them altogether. You should remove any furniture you can live without, to make the room look as big as possible. If your primary living space has large items like a piano, bookcases, or an expansive entertainment center, these things should go into storage before you start showing your home. Space is what most buyers are looking for.

Bathroom Cabinets

Only keep what you need. This is a good time to throw out old expired medications, as well as tattered old linens. Same with linen closets and broom closets. Keep only what is absolutely necessary. Make sure everything is neatly arranged, emphasizing space and cleanliness.

Interested in Selling Your House?

Ethel Curbow has over 30 years of experience in buying and selling houses in the Springfield area. She and her team give all clients the attention and expertise needed to sell your home and buy your next one. If you have questions about buying or selling a home, contact Ethel Curbow today.

Buying A Home In A Good Family Neighborhood

by Ethel Curbow

Choosing A Good Family Neighborhood When Buying A Home

When buying a home, it’s important to take a look around your area and inspect the neighborhood. Whether you want kid-friendly schools, safety and security in the community, or convenience to your workplace, there are many things you should be looking at when you’re buying a home. Read on in today’s blog from Ethel Curbow to learn what to look for in neighborhoods when buying a home.

Age Of Neighborhood

How old is the neighborhood? Although older neighborhoods aren’t necessarily a bad thing, sometimes the streets might be in disrepair or the houses are a little less kept up with. If you’re looking for a kid-friendly neighborhood, you might want to stay away from older areas due to the fact there may be fewer kids in the neighborhood. However, every neighborhood is different, so take the time to visit and see if it feels right!

Crime Rates

If you want to make sure the neighborhood you’re moving into is perfectly safe, check the crime rates of the neighborhood online or make a call to your local police station to check statistics. If the crime rates are higher than usual, steer clear and look elsewhere.

Neighborhood Community

Is a good neighborhood community important to you? Ask your realtor about the average age in the community and find out if there are any get-togethers or weekly events. Some communities have a very involved neighborhood group while others may not even know each other. If that’s something important to you, make sure to ask your realtor for more information.


One of the most important factors when buying a home is knowing how good the schools in the area are. If you have kids that will be attending school in the area, always research the school district and consider a visit to the school to see how your child will feel there.

Future Development

Is there more potential for the neighborhood to grow? What else does the neighborhood have planned for the future? A growing neighborhood is a good sign of of healthy community when buying a home. If you’re looking for more growth and potential in a neighborhood, buying a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood may be just the thing.


Where is the neighborhood located to other things in town? Are you aways away from everything or is your local grocery store just down the road? Location is especially important when looking into neighborhoods if you want everything to be close to home.


What else does your neighborhood have to offer? Is there a community pool? A dog park? If you’re wanting these extra things when choosing a neighborhood, keep a look out when exploring your possibilities.

Interested in Buying a Home?

Contact Ethel Curbow today. With over 30 years of experience buying and selling homes in the Springfield, MO area, Ethel Curbow gives all clients the attention and expertise they need. Reach our office by phone at 417-447-4968 to learn more!

Ethel Curbow Answers: Should I Update the Flooring To Sell a House?

by Ethel Curbow

Ethel Curbow’s Advice for Updating Flooring When Selling a House

Flooring in a home is one of the most important selling features since it is a focal point for every room and ties the overall home design together. As you’re selling your house you may wonder if your flooring in good enough condition to keep or if you should invest in new flooring and recoup the cost in increased home value. If you can’t decide, Ethel Curbow is here with helpful advice you can use.

Is It Outdated?

How old is your flooring? Is it in good condition? Older hardwood floors are usually fine if the condition is good. However, older carpeting may need to be replaced, even if it has been well cared for, because the style may be outdated and carpets retain odors that are off putting to potential homebuyers.

Are There Stains?

Stains are a part of life and everyone is known to make a mess every once in awhile. If there is a small stain or two in your carpet, an affordable carpet cleaning may be worth your while instead of replacing the entire flooring. If stains in your carpet are hard to remove, you might need to consider some new flooring. Even hardwood floors and tile can be stained, so check your whole home for clean floors before it goes on the market.

Does It Smell?

Smells tend to stick to fabric, and that means carpet as well. If you continue to clean your floors and that smell continues to stick around, it may be time to replace your flooring.

Would Alternate Flooring Do Better In That Area?

Not all flooring does the best in every area. Trends in interior design show that hardwood flooring is better for homes with kids and pets due to the high chances of accidents and spills. If you believe hardwood flooring would be beneficial for particular rooms like the dining room, living room and bedrooms, we recommend that you consider working it into your budget.

If You Answered Yes…

It may be time to update the flooring inside your home. There are plenty of affordable flooring options around, and some you can even install yourself! Flooring is important when trying to sell a house, so make the necessary updates before you put your home on the market. If you are still unsure, reach out to Ethel Curbow for helpful advice and assistance with your home sale.

Interested in Selling a House? Choose Ethel Curbow

Contact Ethel Curbow today for help with selling your home. With over 30 years of experience buying and selling homes in the Springfield, MO area, Ethel Curbow gives all clients the attention and expertise they need. Reach our office by phone at 417-447-4968 to learn more!


Landscaping Features To Increase Value When Selling a House

by Ethel Curbow

Increase Value When Selling a House With These Landscaping Features

While exceptional interior design in your house is very important, a house needs to have exceptional exterior design as well if you want to achieve the best selling price. How a house looks on the outside is just as important as how it looks on the inside, so take the time to consider stylish yet affordable steps you can take to beautify your whole home, inside and out. If you’re wanting to spruce up the exterior of your house before it goes on the market and you’re on a budget, read on in today’s blog from Ethel Curbow for some helpful advice!

Fix Up The Driveway

Fixing up the driveway is one project you can make as expensive as you like. Whether you want to rebrick your entire driveway or just seal the cracks, either method will make your property look a lot nicer when selling a house. Even an inexpensive power-washing can greatly renew the look of your driveway and improve the resale value of your home.

Use a Balance of Hardscape and Softscape

Hardscapes and softscapes are types of landscaping that complement each other and create a well-balanced outdoor design. Hardscapes includes decks, patios, pathways and wishing wells. Anything that’s hard, such as stone and wood, and requires a solid foundation. Softscapes include growing things like flower gardens, grasses, shrubs, and succulents. A balance of the two can really bring a home together! So consider planting a small flower garden and adding a small stone pathway to the house.

Update The Mailbox

Mailboxes tend to be overlooked these days, but adding a little extra something can really make the house stand out from the very first impression. Whether it’s adding a fresh coat of paint or completely redesigning the mailbox, potential homebuyers will take notice and remember the design you choose.

Repainting The Front Door

While a front door may not seem important, the new trend is to paint your front door a vibrant color that pops and makes your house memorable. If your house is a neutral color, consider painting your door navy blue or warm red. All it costs is a can of paint and a little sweat equity to make your house look great!

Basic Upkeep

Finally, just keeping up with all the little maintenance necessities outside of the home shows that the house has been well-loved and cared for. By mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges and watering the flowers, you can show that you really care about the home even though you are selling it, and that it won’t be too much work for the new homebuyer to keep up with the outdoor chores.

Interested in Selling a House?

Contact Ethel Curbow today. With over 30 years of experience buying and selling homes in the Springfield, MO area, Ethel Curbow gives all clients the attention and expertise they need. Reach our office by phone at 417-447-4968 to learn more!

These Three Paint Colors Make Selling a House Easy

by Ethel Curbow

Use These Paint Colors When Selling a House

When selling a house, many people might not realize that wall colors and paint choices make a difference in the overall selling process. However, paint colors have proven to be highly influential in the house buying process, and can even be the reason your house sells higher or lower than average. A new study by Zillow researched over 32,000 houses that sold across the U.S in order to calculate the best performing paint colors. Ethel Curbow breaks down these exceptional colors and explains why these select few performed the best.


Greige is a mixture between a light gray and white, making it the perfect neutral tone for any home living space. Plain white paint is typically looked down upon because although it leaves room for potential and creativity, homebuyers find it a little too plain. Greige is the perfect mixture of a neutral tone that goes with everything while still adding a distinctive quality that makes the home stand out from the rest.


The best places to use this color when putting the house on the market would be your living room, kitchen, house exterior and front door. Houses that used these colors sold up to over $5,000 more than normal.

Light/Slate Blue

Blues are in this year! Variants of light blues were very popular among buyers due to the relaxing and calming atmosphere that this color brings to each room. Light blues make a room feel and look larger than it actually is. Slate blue complements many features in many rooms in the home, including bathroom fixtures, kitchen counters, stainless steel appliances, bedroom furniture and more.


The best places to use this color would be in your bedroom, kitchen, dining room and bathroom. Houses that used this color in their homes typically sold up to almost $6,000 more.

Navy Blue

Finally, navy blues are all the rage when you need a standout color for selling a house. While neutral colors go well and complement specific features in your house, nothing makes a house really pop more than the rich depth of navy blue design elements. Navy is a perfect mixture of subtle class and bold design when it comes to decorating your home.


The best places to use navy in your home would be the dining room and front door. Houses that had these colors in place sold for nearly $2,000 more.

Interested in Selling a House?

Contact Ethel Curbow today. With over 30 years of experience buying and selling homes in the Springfield, MO area, Ethel Curbow gives all clients the attention and expertise they need. Reach our office by phone at 417-447-4968 to learn more!

Selling a House: How the Color of Your Home Impacts Buyers

by Ethel Curbow

Color Theory and Selling a House


One of the most effective ways in which you can improve the value of a home that you plan on listing is also one of the easiest — painting it. While it certainly takes some work, it is a relatively inexpensive way to improve the value of your home when you choose colors that accent and emphasize the best parts of your home. Today, the Ethel Curbow team will discuss different colors and how they can impact the way your home is perceived when you are selling a house.

Interior Paint

When selling a house, apply a fresh coat of paint before listing. You don’t want potential buyers to see a worn paint job that appears that it is in poor condition. On top of that, when choosing what colors to paint, select warm, neutral colors. Neutral colors make it easier for potential buyers to imagine themselves living in your home as the paint will likely go with their decor. Warmer colors help to make your home feel more welcoming. Our experts recommend beiges and warm-toned grays. Avoid white as the main color as it often creates a cold, stark feeling. Also be careful to avoid colors that are too dark and bold, as they can make the room feel smaller. If you want more color than just gray or beige, try and find a very soft version of your preferred color.

Exterior Paint

The exterior of your home is the first thing buyers will see when you are selling a house, so it is key that you choose colors or designs that give a great first impression. In general, it is a good idea to choose no more than three colors for the exterior of your home. Use the 60-30-10 rule when deciding on an exterior design. 60 percent of your home will include your main color. That includes siding, brick, stucco, or whatever covers the majority of your exterior. This is the body of your home and should be a consistent color throughout. 30 percent would include your garage and trim. This part of your home should complement the main color your home exhibits. The final 10 percent includes things like your window shutters or door. This is where you can experiment a bit to really make your home “pop.” Don’t get too crazy with these colors, but feel free to have a little fun.


If your home does not follow these guidelines and you have decided to perform a full exterior redesign, consider hiring an expert as most homeowners won’t have all the necessary equipment.

Selling a House? Call Ethel Curbow.

If you are planning on selling a house and want the expert knowledge and experience of a veteran real estate agent, Ethel Curbow is your solution. Ethel Curbow has over 30 years of experience buying and selling homes in the Springfield area and will dedicate her entire team to ensuring your needs are met. To learn more, contact us at 417-447-4968 today!

Landscaping for Selling a House

by Ethel Curbow

Ways to Landscape to Help When Selling a House


When selling a house, it is important to focus on all aspects of your property to ensure you get the maximum value from the sale. One incredibly important aspect is your “curb appeal.” Does your home feel inviting from the outside? As is the case with most aspects of life, first impressions are a huge factor in how we perceive things. This is no different when selling a house.

The way potential buyers view your home at first glance will impact their willingness to purchase. As such, creating an attractive and welcoming landscape may be one of the most important things you can do when preparing your home for sale. Learn ways in which you can use landscaping to improve your chances of selling a house with the Ethel Curbow team.

Maintain Your Lawn

One important aspect of creating a great landscape is to start maintaining your lawn ahead of time. You can’t suddenly create a beautiful yard a couple of days before your house gets listed. It is important to plan ahead and properly prepare your yard months ahead of time to create really great curb appeal.


Find dead or dying plants and replace them — or nurse them back to health. Remove overgrown shrubs that encroach on the sidewalk, and remove flowers that don’t match your decor. These routine maintenance steps are key to creating a clean, welcoming look.

Plant Strategically

It is important that your landscape draws the buyers’ eyes to your home. Remember, landscape pieces are like accent pieces. Have plants and flowers that line the walkway to your home. Trees and tall plants can be used to hide unsightly features. Be careful not to plant them too close to the home or sidewalk — they can make your property feel smaller or can even damage the house over time. It can be worth it to hire a professional landscaper to help you plan for future expansion and design tips.

Don’t Spend More Than Necessary

One important thing to keep in mind is that big investments are difficult to recoup, so stick to inexpensive improvements. Installing an outdoor firepit may improve your home’s value, but not as much as the cost of installation would be.

Interested in Selling a House?

Contact Ethel Curbow today. With over 30 years of experience buying and selling homes in the Springfield, MO area, Ethel Curbow gives all clients the attention and expertise they need. Reach our office by phone at 417-447-4968 to learn more!

How to Create a Budget When Buying a Home

by Ethel Curbow

Creating a Budget When Buying a Home

One of the most important steps a person can take when beginning the process of buying a home is to create and stick to a budget. Knowing exactly what you can afford not only helps you during the mortgage application but also helps you to narrow down your house selection while browsing. It is better to browse realistic options from the start rather than be disappointed when you find a home and apply for financing. With that in mind, the Ethel Curbow team shares some tips you can use to determine your budget when buying a home.

Steps to Create a Budget When Buying a Home

  • Evaluate your current housing budget and how it impacts you financially. One of the most efficient ways to create a future budget is by examining how your rental costs impact your ability to live comfortably. If you can comfortably handle your rent costs while budgeting for potential repair savings, it is likely a good range for your potential mortgage.
  • Document your spending habits. If money is tight and you are unsure if you can afford to buy a home, thoroughly document any spending habits that are keeping you in debt. Re-evaluate the importance of your excess spending habits and “cut the fat” of spending that is unnecessary.
  • Don’t focus on the total price of the home. Instead, focus on what you want your monthly payment to be, including taxes and insurance. Decide how much cash you will have for your transaction and allow your real estate professional to calculate a potential purchasing price for you.
  • Figure out what is a priority for you. The reality is that it is unlikely you will get everything you want from a property. Have an honest analysis of your goals and expectations. Decide on what is most important to you when buying a home and inform your real estate agent of those priorities.
  • Assess your needs versus your wants. When buying a home, your needs have to be met. Factors like the number of bedrooms, commute time to work, and desired school district are “needs.” Things like a backyard pool, large yard, or a cul-de-sac lot are “wants.” While that doesn’t mean they aren’t important — meeting the necessary factors should be foremost in your search.

Contact Ethel Curbow for Your Next Real Estate Venture

Ethel Curbow has over 30 years of experience buying and selling homes in the Greater Springfield area. If you are looking for a team that knows the in’s and out’s of Springfield, MO real estate and will put you first, contact Ethel Curbow today at 417-447-4968 to learn more.

How do Real Estate Agents and Brokers Differ?

by Ethel Curbow


Explaining the Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a Broker

Understanding all of the different roles within the world fo real estate can be difficult for those outside of the business. What is a real estate broker? How does one differ from an agent? What about REALTORS®, associate brokers, and seller’s agents? Real estate has a lot of titles and labels all of which mean slightly different things and can impact your experience buying or selling a home. Today, the Ethel Curbow team will discuss these titles, what they mean, and how they will impact your experience.

What is a Real Estate Agent?

Anyone who has earned their real estate license can be called a real estate agent. That license can be as a sales professional, an associate broker, or a broker. “Real estate agent” basically refers to anyone who is licensed in the real estate business. State requirements vary, but in general, an agent must take a minimum number of classes and pass a test to earn their license.

What is a REALTOR®?

Many people use the term “REALTOR®” in place of “real estate agent,” and those outside of the business are often unaware of the difference. A real estate agent is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. The biggest difference is that these real estate agents must uphold the standards of the organization, as well as a code of ethics.

What is a Real Estate Broker?

A real estate broker is anyone who has taken their education beyond the agent level and has passed the broker’s license exam. Again, the requirements for this license differ per state, but in general, the coursework for brokers covers ethics, contracts, taxes, and insurance at a more in-depth level than an agent’s license. In addition, most states require a person to have a certain amount of experience before applying for their broker’s license.

Differences in Experience

For a person interested in buying or selling a home, the real world difference between working with a real estate agent, broker, REALTOR®, seller’s agent, or the many other titles that exist is likely fairly small. With a broker, you may receive less attention as they often manage a number of agents. Agents, however, typically have less experience than brokers — though this isn’t always the case. The best way you can decide who to work with is to do some research on the agent themselves. Often, you can find reviews of past buyers or sellers experience, or simply meet the agent to find out to get to know them better.

Call Ethel Curbow Today

Ethel Curbow was named in the top 100 REALTORS® by REALTOR Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. If you are looking for an agent who has a wealth of experience and will go above and beyond for her clients, choose Ethel Curbow to represent you. Give her a call at 417-447-4968 to begin the process of buying or a selling a home today!

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Contact Information

Photo of Ethel Curbow Real Estate
Ethel Curbow
Coldwell Banker Vanguard, REALTORS®
1334 East Republic Road
Springfield MO 65804
Office: 417-447-4968
Fax: 417-447-1214