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Creating the Best First Impression with Your Front Yard

by Ethel Curbow

Gray two story house with manicured lawn

Where to Freshen Up the Front of Your House

Selling a house means taking care of a bunch of different areas that you may not have paid attention to for a while. One area that many people forget about when selling a house is the front yard and everything that comes with it. Today, we discuss three areas in the front of your property that could use a little TLC as you work on a plan for selling your house.

Driveway

Your driveway is the first part of your property that a potential homebuyer sees and experiences. Driveways can be made from several different materials, so the maintenance you need to do depends on what type of driveway you have.

 

If your driveway is made of concrete or asphalt, there are a few things you can do. First, if there are weeds growing between the cracks of the slabs, you should either pull them or use a weed killer to remove them. You should sweep the drive and consider power washing to get rid of any caked-on dirt and debris.

 

If you have a dirt or gravel driveway, there are still several things you can do to clean up the area. Like with the concrete and asphalt driveways, you should get rid of any grass or weeds that are growing on the driveway by either pulling them or treating them with a weed killer. If you can, clean up the edges of the drive by raking the dirt and gravel back to a more uniform line. It may take some extra work, but it can really freshen up the look of your driveway.

Landscaping

Landscaping can truly transform the look of the front of your house. While you don’t necessarily want to invest a ton of money in landscaping since you’re selling your house, a little budget can go a long way. Something as simple as flowers in flowerpots and a few ferns or tall grasses can brighten up the front of the house and make it much more appealing to potential buyers. If you’re willing to do a bit more work, you can use mulch or decorative stone to bring a bit more color to the space and make everything look more polished.

Front Porch

Once you have your driveway and landscaping figured out, it’s time to focus on the porch. Sweep off the dirt and debris and clean any stuck-on stains the best you can. If you have a large porch area, consider staging the space with some outdoor furniture and plants. A bench or a few chairs and a small table can really make the space feel warmer and more welcoming. And don’t forget a welcome mat! There are plenty of welcome mat options available at big box stores for less than $20, and they are the perfect finishing touch to your porch.

Selling a House with Ethel Curbow

These are all just small things you can do when selling a house to show the potential homebuyers the best version of the property. If you are interested in selling a house in the southwest Missouri area, contact Ethel Curbow today! With over 20 years of real estate experience, Ethel and her team have what it takes to make selling your house a breeze. Schedule an appointment today!

 

 

Ways to Emotionally Detach When Selling a House

by Ethel Curbow

Taping Boxes for a Move
Selling a House: Ways to Emotionally Detach

Oftentimes, selling your home and moving someplace new is a great adventure — maybe even a dream come true. However, it can also be a sad time, especially if you have a deep emotional connection to the home you’re selling. Perhaps you’re selling the home in which you raised your children, and maybe it’s even the house you grew up in yourself.

When it’s time to sell, deep emotional attachments can work against you, sabotaging your chances for success. In today’s blog, the team at Ethel Curbow offer some advice on ways you can emotionally detach when selling a house.

Remove Your Personal Items

Taking your most personal items out of the house will make it easier to sell. When potential buyers are looking at your home, a clean slate makes it easier for them to imagine their own things in the house. It will also make the process easier for you. When you remove family photos and heirlooms, the house begins to feel less like your home, and more like the product you are trying to sell.

Think About Your New House

Whether you have chosen your new property or not, it’s time to start thinking about your new house as your future home. It will take time, but eventually you will begin to transfer the emotional connection of your old home to your new one.

Think of Your Home as a Product You Are Marketing

If you haven’t detached emotionally from the home you are selling, it’s difficult to see it as a product. If you are having trouble thinking of your home as something you will sell and something someone else will buy, then your attachment might get in your way. Often, when a seller isn’t emotionally ready to sell, they will insist on a listing price that is beyond what the market will bear. One way that scenario can play out is with an overpriced home that has been on the market a long time until it ends up selling for a bargain so the seller can unload it.

If You’re Not Ready, Wait

You should certainly cherish the memories you had in your home, but you should also be focusing on the future, and all of the memories you will make in your new home. If you find that this is not something you are ready or able to do now, you should wait. Giving yourself some extra time may allow you to begin letting go, and, in the end, letting go emotionally is in your best financial interests.

Are You Ready to Sell? Ethel Curbow Can Help

If you are planning to sell your home, you will want an expert on your side. With over 30 years of experience, Ethel Curbow will dedicate her entire team to meeting your needs. Contact Ethel Curbow today.

How to Decorate for the Holidays When Selling a House

by Ethel Curbow

Couch and sofa with fall holiday decor

Holiday Decorating When Selling a House

If you are selling a house in the cooler months of the year, you may have one question weighing on your mind: to decorate or not to decorate? You want to get into the holiday spirit but you also don’t want to do anything that could hinder the chance of selling your house. With the holiday season almost upon us, this topic is becoming more relevant than ever. Today on the Ethel Curbow blog, we discuss whether or not you should decorate — and how to decorate if you do decide to get festive for the holidays.

Should You Decorate?

Before you decide how to decorate, it’s important to decide if you should decorate at all. There are differing opinions on this, but it’s hard to tell people not to get in the holiday decorating spirit. If you live on a street where most of the houses decorate the outside, for example, it may look odd if you didn’t do at least some decorating. Plus, the holidays in the Midwest are a big deal and it could potentially hurt your chance of selling if you don’t have at least simple holiday decor. Be sure to talk to your real estate agent before you make the final decision.

Decorating Tips

If you’ve decided to go ahead and decorate for the holidays when you’re selling a house, you probably shouldn’t decorate in your usual fashion. We’ve gathered some tips to help you make your home festive while also making it welcoming to buyers.

Stick to the Basics

When selling a home, the phrase “less is more” can be applied to many situations, especially when it comes to decor. Holiday decor is no different. Most families have a lot of holiday decorations that are very personal and have sentimental value. When decorating while selling a house, it’s better to leave those decorations packed away. Too much personal decor can make it difficult for potential homebuyers to see your house as a place they could live.

It’s also important to keep the overall amount of decorations you use to a minimum, as well. Too much decor can be overwhelming and distract from the beauty of your home. Take a minimalist approach to your decor to add some holiday spirit without taking it too far.

Keep Scents in Mind

The holiday season is full of wonderful smells, from the delicious food to festive candles that bring in the feel of the season. That being said, you should be a bit careful with scents if you’re trying to sell your house. Pick something simple that makes your home feel welcoming but doesn’t overwhelm the senses. A popular option for many people is to create a simmer pot mixture of a few drops of vanilla extract and some orange peels, or orange peels, apple peels, clove, and cinnamon sticks. Just bring water in a pot to boil, add your ingredients, let it boil for a few minutes, then bring the heat down to a simmer. It will release a lovely aroma in your home without relying on artificial scents that can sometimes be irritating.

Don’t Leave Out Presents

This may seem obvious, but with strangers coming in and out of your home, you don’t want to leave anything out that they may take. So if you’re selling a house around Christmas or Hanukkah, you may want to keep your presents tucked up and out of sight.

Let Ethel Help You Sell Your House

If you’re looking to sell your home, contact Ethel Curbow today! As one of the Springfield area’s top Realtors for over 20 years, she and her team have the experience to make sure the home selling experience goes smoothly. Call her office at 417-557-4968 to schedule an appointment.

Three Areas to Pay Attention to When Buying a Home

by Ethel Curbow

Interior view of house with wood floors

Home Areas that Can Indicate Bigger Issues

Homes are complex. A small issue with one part of the house can quickly turn into a costly repair situation if not caught in time. When shopping for a house, you may not know all the places to pay attention to that could indicate bigger issues. Ethel Curbow and her team have been helping people in the southwest Missouri area buy and sell houses for over 20 years. Today, we have picked three places that homebuyers should take a second look at when they’re shopping for a new home.

Ceilings and Roof

Ceilings are a good indicator of many issues that may be hiding within the home, particularly with the roof. Look for water spots, especially around light fixtures and corners where the ceiling meets the wall. Most water stains are a light brown color, similar to a dried coffee stain. Stains like this can mean that there is a leak either in the attic or in the roof itself. You should also check the corners for settlement cracks. A small crack isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, but larger cracks — or multiple cracks in the same area — can indicate structural issues.

 

Speaking of roofs, that is another area that you should really pay attention to when looking at a potential new home. Look for obvious issues like holes and missing shingles, but also take the time to look at the roof in its entirety to see if there are areas that sink in or look off-color. Those can be indicators that the roof will need to be replaced soon.

Closets

Most people don’t spend much time checking out the closets of a potential new home except to see how much stuff they could fit inside. Taking a moment and looking closer at these spaces is a smart idea for any home buyer. Closets are often up next to bathrooms, meaning if there are issues with plumbing, there will often be evidence in the closets. Look at the ceilings and back walls for mold or any other indicators that there are water issues.

Under the Sinks

Another place you should check for potential plumbing issues is under the sinks in the house. Look under every sink — in the kitchen, in the bathrooms, and in the mudroom or laundry room — and search for signs of leaks, mold, and other issues. If there are water stains that seem old, it’s likely that there was an issue that the homeowners fixed. If the water stains seem fresh or if there’s an abundance of mold, there’s probably a current plumbing issue that will need to be addressed.

 

 

4 Overlooked Areas of Your House to Clean

by Ethel Curbow

Wooden Blinds with Sunlight

Four Areas in Your House that Probably Need to be Cleaned

It’s no question that selling a house means doing a deep cleaning before putting it on the market. If you shift your perspective to that of a potential home buyer, you may notice places in your house that aren’t quite as clean as you’d prefer. Today in the Ethel Curbow blog, we discuss four areas you may have forgotten to clean when selling a house.

1) Window Blinds

Your window blinds build up dust and dirt over time. The slats are a perfect place for tiny dust particles to make themselves at home and go unnoticed for quite a while. Luckily, cleaning them is fairly easy. One of the simplest methods to clean blinds is to take a dry rubber sponge — available at most hardware and paint stores — and swipe each slat with firm pressure. If there is dirt that sticks to the blind, spray a clean microfiber cloth with a multipurpose spray and gently scrub the area until it’s clean.

You may see tutorials online about dunking the blinds into the bathtub to clean them, but that can potentially harm the blinds depending on the materials they are made from. If your blinds are made from wood, do not submerge them in water because they will warp.

2) Cabinets

Cabinets are often one of the most used parts of your home — but how often do you really clean them? Constantly touching the doors causes grime to build up, and their location in kitchens and bathrooms means they are likely to need a good cleaning. Take a few drops of concentrated dish soap and add it to a bowl of warm water. Using the soft side of a sponge, dip it into the water, squeeze until suds form, and then wipe down the cabinets to remove the grease and grime. Don’t forget to wipe the cabinets dry to prevent streaks from forming.

3) Baseboards

The baseboards are another area you probably don’t pay a lot of attention to when cleaning. Unfortunately, this means they collect a lot of dirt and dust over time. To clean them, move all the furniture away from the walls, then dust the baseboards with a microfiber cloth or a vacuum attachment. Then dip a microfiber cloth into a mixture of warm water with a few drops of dish soap, wring out the cloth so it’s damp but not dripping, and wipe the boards. Let everything dry before moving the furniture back — if you’re in a hurry, you can use fans to help dry the baseboards faster.

4) Fans

Have you ever looked up at your fan blades and noticed the line of dust on the sides? Not only is that gross to see, but every time you turn it on, some of that dust is released back into the air. Luckily, this is an easy fix! You can either purchase a special fan blade cleaning tool, or you can use an old pillowcase to do the work. Use a ladder to comfortably reach the fan when it’s turned off. Then take the pillowcase and put it around the fan blade, covering it much like you would a pillow. From there, pull it back toward you, collecting the dust into the pillowcase. Repeat these steps for the remaining blades, then carefully go outside and shake out the pillowcase and then throw it in the wash. To add a bit of shine to the blades, take a microfiber cloth and clean the blades with your favorite dusting polish.

Selling a House? Ethel Can Help!

If you’re getting ready to sell a house in the southwest Missouri area, make sure you have one of Springfield’s best real estate agents on your side! Contact Ethel Curbow today to find out how she can help throughout the home selling process.

 


Handing Over House Keys

Ethel Curbow: Tips for the First Time Home Buyer

Shopping for a new house can be fun. You will enjoy going to open houses, thinking about design ideas, and picturing the future you could have in the new homes you are considering. You will want to enjoy the process, but don’t forget to focus on all the details as well. In today’s blog, Ethel Curbow offers some advice on details that first time buyers should be aware of.

Make Sure Your Dream House is in the Right Neighborhood

You may have just seen a home that has everything you wanted. It may have a nice backyard, an updated kitchen, and plenty of natural light. However, sometimes the home can be just right, yet the neighborhood can be all wrong. As you look at neighborhoods be sure to:
 

  • Research nearby schools. Even if you don’t have kids, schools can affect home value

  • Look at crime and safety statistics

  • Know where essential facilities are like the hospital and the grocery store

  • Visit the neighborhood at different times on various days to look at activity levels

Fully Utilize Open Houses

When you’re touring homes during open houses, pay close attention to the details. Look at the home’s overall condition. Be aware of any odd smells, stains or areas of disrepair. Be sure to ask questions. You’ll want to know when the home was built, when items such as the stove and refrigerator were last replaced, and how old are key systems like the heating and air conditioning unit. If multiple people are visiting the house at the same time, don’t hesitate to make an appointment to make a return visit to get a closer look and to ask more questions.

Stick To Your Budget

Look at properties that cost less than you were approved for. Even though you can technically afford your pre-approval amount, it is the ceiling. Spending your maximum doesn’t leave room for other monthly or unexpected expenses, like the dishwasher breaking a month after you move in. If the market is highly competitive, you may end up bidding on a house that has multiple offers, but don’t let your emotions take over. Stick to a budget and avoid a mortgage you can’t afford.

Work With the Right Agent

You will be working very closely with your real estate agent, especially if you are a first-time buyer. Find someone who you get along with well, and with whom you are comfortable communicating. The right buyer’s agent should be highly skilled, motivated and know the local area.

Need a Buyer’s Agent? Call Ethel Curbow

Ethel Curbow has over 30 years experience buying and selling homes in Springfield and the surrounding markets. If you are interested in buying a home, the Ethel Curbow team knows this market, and they know how to put their customers first. Contact Ethel Curbow today for more information.

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.

Landscaping

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.

School

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.

Location

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.

Amenities

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!

 

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