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Selling a House: Rooms You Should Stage

by Ethel Curbow

The Most Important Rooms to Stage When Selling a House

Staging a room for selling a house

When you’re selling a house, staging is key. By setting up some simple furniture arrangements in each room, you can help buyers visualize themselves living in the space and increase your chances of selling quickly. Unfortunately, not everyone has the resources to stage every room. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s a good idea to focus on a few key rooms. To get started, follow this helpful guide from Ethel Curbow.

#1. Living Room

The living room is by far the most important room to stage when selling a house. This is the social hub of the home, the place where friends and family congregate and spend time together.

 

To stage a living room, focus on making it look spacious and comfortable. Remove any excess clutter, throw on a fresh coat of paint, and place new throw pillows on the furniture. You can also focus on lighting by using lamps and natural light to enhance the look and feel of the room. When it comes to accessories, add a pot of flowers, some houseplants, or a new rug.

#2. Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home, which means that buyers pay close attention to the way it looks and feels. Buyers look for a kitchen with plenty of space for cooking and cleaning, as well as an area to entertain guests.

 

When staging the kitchen, focus on making the room look roomy and modern. Declutter the countertops, hide away any dirty dishes, and make some minor updates. For example, if your cabinets are out of date, consider painting them and adding new knobs and handles. To make it feel homey, place a cookbook on the counter or set out a bowl of fresh fruit.

#3. Master Bedroom

The master bedroom should be a space where buyers feel that they can sleep, unwind, and forget about the troubles of the day. When selling a house, try to create an environment that feels relaxing and romantic.

 

Removing clutter is incredibly important. You do not want to remind buyers of any responsibilities while they are in the bedroom, so be sure to remove your gym bag, laundry, or anything work-related, such as a computer. To stage the space, consider buying a new comforter or freshen up your bedding with new throw pillows. You should also place table lamps on nightstands and add some inexpensive wall art.

#4. The Bathrooms

Though it may surprise some, staging the bathroom is an important component of selling a house. To attract buyers, this space needs to feel clean and relaxing, much like a spa. To stage the space, put away any personal toiletries, set out new towels, update the shower curtain, and purchase new accessories, such as a new toothbrush holder and soap dispenser.

Selling a House in Springfield, Missouri

If you are selling a house in the Springfield, Missouri metro area, contact Ethel Curbow. For the last 15 years, she has been rated within the top ten Coldwell Banker real estate agents in the 417 area. To learn more, give Ethel a call today at 417-447-4968!

 

 

Buying a Home: Additional Fees You May Encounter

by Ethel Curbow

Fees You May Encounter When Buying a Home 


Couple buying a home with additional fees

When planning a budget, most homebuyers focus on the cost of the home, the down payment, and the interest rate on their loan, forgetting about the additional fees that are associated with buying a home. For many, these additional fees can be a bit of a shock. To help you prepare, Ethel Curbow discusses some additional fees you may encounter in the home buying process.

Appraisal Fees

An appraisal is the estimated value of the house you want to buy. Before you get a mortgage, you will need to get an appraisal to calculate your loan-to-value ratio. Appraisals, which are typically conducted by a third party, require a one-time non-negotiable fee. Depending on the location, this fee can be anywhere from $300 to $1,000.

Home Inspection Fee

You will also have to pay a home inspection fee. Home inspections are an important part of buying a home and ensure that you do not buy a property with structural problems. Typically, home inspections cost about $300 to $500, depending on the location.

Credit Report Fee

When you are seeking a home loan, lenders will pull up a credit report to determine the risk-analysis of lending you a loan. Though you can access your credit score for free through a site like Credit Karma, lenders will want their own report. Typically, you can expect to pay approximately $50 for a credit report.

Title Insurance

Title insurance protects a lender in case an issue arises with the title of the home you are buying. When you are buying a home, most lenders require you to obtain title insurance and is usually grouped into your closing costs or financed into your loan. You can also obtain title insurance for yourself for additional protection, but this is optional. The cost of title insurance will vary depending on your home.

Document Preparation Fee

Creating a loan estimate takes a great deal of time and money. As an administrative cost, many lenders will charge anywhere from $50 to $100 for the time that it took to prepare the documentation. This cost will vary depending on your lender and it is rarely set in stone. In some cases, the cost may be built into your monthly mortgage fees.

Buying a Home with Ethel Curbow

If you are thinking about buying a home, look no further than Ethel Curbow. With over 30 years of real estate experience, Ethel will help you find the home of your dreams. If you are buying a home for the first time, she will help you throughout the process. To get started, contact Ethel Curbow today at 417-447-4968!

 

Tips for Buying a Home and Flipping It

by Ethel Curbow

Advice For Buying a Home to Flip 

Couple in plaid Buying a Home

Flipping houses has been a popular business for years. For some, it’s a full-time job, and for others, it’s a nice way to make some additional income. But buying a home to flip is not always an easy process. To make a profit, it’s important that you choose the right property and make wise financial decisions. With over 30 years of real estate experience, Ethel Curbow knows which houses will flip and which ones will flop. Here, she provides some advice on buying a home to flip.

Don’t Go Too Big

When it comes to flipping houses, it’s important that you keep it simple. Buying a home that is too big or requires too many renovations decreases your chances of earning back your investment. If it’s your first flip, start with a simple single-family home that only needs a few simple updates and renovations. By starting simple, you decrease the risk while you learn the ropes of flipping.

Remember Holding Costs

Many first-time flippers forget about holding costs when they are buying a home. These costs can include mortgage payments, utility bills, homeowner association fees, and more. Forgetting about these costs can dramatically affect your budget and cause you to lose money on your flip. When you are planning a budget, think of all the costs involved.

Get a Home Inspection

An inspection is important anytime you are buying a home, but it is especially important when you are planning to resell a home for profit. To save yourself time and money, you never want to buy a home with any major structural problems. An inspection will help you avoid these pitfalls, save you money, and even help you negotiate with your contractor in the future.

Choose the Right Neighborhood

Buying a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood is the ideal situation of any flipper. This is will ensure that the house will sell quickly and you will earn back your investment. When you are looking for a home, search for neighborhoods where property values are increasing or are near shopping centers and good school districts.

Buying a Home with Ethel Curbow

For the last 15 years, Ethel Curbow has been ranked within the top ten Coldwell Banker real estate agents in the Springfield, Missouri metro area. With over 30 years of real estate experience, she has what it takes to find you the ideal home for your next flipping project. To learn more, contact Ethel today!

 

Selling a House? Add These Features to Attract Buyers

by Ethel Curbow

Selling a House: Features Buyers Want 

Selling a house with Ethel Curbow

If you are selling a house, you may be hesitant to make upgrades and improvements. After all, you won’t be living there much longer. Though you may not necessarily get to enjoy these improvements, making some simple renovations and updates can increase the value of your home and improve the likelihood that it will sell. As one of the top real estate agents in the Springfield area, Ethel Curbow knows what buyers want. Here, she shares some of the top features buyers look for in a home.

#1. Exterior Lighting

Curb appeal is one of the most important aspects of selling a house, and illuminating your lawn with exterior lighting is a sure way to grab buyers’ attention. In fact, exterior lighting is one of the top features buyers look for in a house. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, they also add an important security feature. Burglaries are less likely to occur if your house is bright and illuminated. If you are thinking about investing in exterior lighting, your options include walkway lights, spotlights, uplights, pendant lighting, and more.

#2. Hardwood Floors

The benefits of hardwood floors are numerous. They are durable, last a lifetime, and require very little maintenance. For many buyers, hardwood floors may be the factor that makes them choose one house over another. Unfortunately for the seller, hardwood floors can be pretty expensive. To save money when you are selling a house, consider adding hardwood floors to only the most important rooms, like the living room and dining room.

#3. Ceiling Fans

Though this may come as a shock to some sellers, ceiling fans are one of the most sought-after features in a home. They help save energy, reduce utility bills, and improve the overall look of a house. In particular, buyers look for ceiling fans in the bedrooms. Luckily for sellers, adding a few ceiling fans is a simple home improvement that won’t break the bank.

#4. Outdoor Space

The exterior of the house is just as important as the interior. A well-manicured backyard, nice landscaping, and a deck or patio are features that are sure to attract buyers when you are selling a house. There is no need to go overboard with outdoor renovations. Simply create a space where buyers can envision themselves sitting back, relaxing, and spending time with their family and friends.

#5. Energy Efficiency

Aesthetic features are not the only features buyers want. In fact, many buyers care a great deal about features that will lower their monthly utility bills, such as energy efficient appliances, Energy Star-qualified windows, and geothermal heating and cooling systems. Many of these features can be expensive to install, but making a few small improvements that reduce energy bills will certainly impress buyers.

Selling a House with Ethel Curbow

If you are selling a house, contact Ethel Curbow today. As one of the most experienced real estate agents in the Springfield, Missouri area, Ethel has what it takes to market and sell your house.

 

Understanding Real Estate Listings

by Ethel Curbow

Explaining Real Estate Listings​

couple looking at real estate listings

Real estate listings are the most useful way to find out information about a property for sale. But what information is available? In today’s Ethel Curbow blog, we break down the main sections of a real estate listing and explain the information you can find in each section.

General Information

The first main section you will see on a real estate listing is the general information about the property. This includes details like the address and asking price for the property. In that section, you will also be able to find the square footage of the house, the county location of the property, and directions about how to get to the location from a general starting point — usually via a highway or other main road.

Interior Features​

Below the first section on the real estate listing will be a larger box that provides even more details about the home you are potentially interested in purchasing. You can find much more information about the house, including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as any additional living areas and interesting features that can be found in the living or dining areas, like a fireplace or built-in bookshelf.

 

This section also breaks down the main features of the interior and exterior of the house. This is where you can find out if the house has central heat and air, whether the kitchen appliances are powered by electricity or gas, and whether it is wired for things like cable and high-speed internet.

Exterior Features​

In the exterior features section of real estate listings, you can find more information about everything on the outside of the home. The materials that make up the siding of the house, the type of roof that is on the home, and features like patios and decks are all detailed in this section. You can also find out how big the lot of land the house sits on is, as well as any important features of the land itself — trees, additional buildings, and the like.

Additional information​

Additional information on a real estate listing means any of the information that doesn’t quite fit into the other categories. Here, you can find details like the year the house was built, the type of property it is, and tax information. You can also find what school districts the house is a part of — important information if you have children.

Photos​

A bunch of numbers and descriptions don’t really mean anything unless you can see the property itself. Any valuable real estate listing will have several pictures of the property it is describing. Most listings will at least have a picture of the exterior of the house, along with photos of the kitchen, dining area, living area, and at least the master bedroom.

Check out Ethel’s Real Estate Listings​

If you have found a few real estate listings that you would like to take a better look at, contact Ethel Curbow today! As an expert in the Springfield area for over 20 years, Ethel and her team are ready to help you through every step of the process of buying a home. Contact us today at 417.447.4968.

 

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Looking at Land for Sale in Missouri

by Ethel Curbow

Land for Sale in Missouri: What to Look For

beautiful land for sale in missouri

Land for sale in Missouri comes in all shapes and sizes — especially in southwest Missouri. Owning land is a great investment, but you shouldn’t just purchase a plot of land without doing some research first. Some properties can seem like a great buy at first glance but can easily turn out to be too good to be true. In today’s Ethel Curbow blog, we take a look at five questions you should ask when looking at land for sale in Missouri.

Is the Land Easily Accessible?

When you shop for land for sale in Missouri, chances are high that the property you are looking at was once a part of a larger farm or family plot of land. Through years of dividing the land between children, access to the land can become convoluted. The only access point to a plot of land may be owned by one person, or it may be a long and winding path to get to the property. Before you make an offer on some land for sale in Missouri, check the access points to make sure you can reach the main roads.

Is the Land on a Flood Plain?​

If you’ve lived in southwest Missouri for any period of time, you have probably realized that when it rains, it rains hard. Crazy rains mixed with wide variations in land features can result in constantly flooded areas of land. While having water on your land is a feature that many people search for, having land that is predominantly on a floodplain is an entirely different situation. If a property has been determined to be part of a flood plain, insurance rates will go up significantly, and it can be difficult to get the permits required to build a house or other structure on the land.

Will the Land Work for Your Needs?​

Typically, when you shop for land for sale in Missouri, you want property for a specific purpose. Whether you would like to farm or raise animals or you’re just looking for a beautiful property to build a house on, not all land is created equal. For example, you wouldn’t want property that has a lot of trees if you plan to grow crops on the land, and you wouldn’t want wide open spaces if you would like to hunt on the property. Be sure to do a thorough examination of the layout of the property to make sure it will work for your needs.

Are There Issues on the Land?​

When you’re looking at land for sale in Missouri, there can sometimes be issues with the land that may not be apparent during the initial look at the property. However, issues like sinkholes and unfarmable land can arise. If you are interested in a specific property, look into the different tests and inspections you can have done on the land to make sure there are no underlying issues that may appear after you purchase the property.

Talk to a Real Estate Agent about Land for Sale in Missouri​

If you are interested in buying land in the southwest Missouri area, trust an experienced real estate agent to help you find exactly what you are looking for. Ethel Curbow has been a leading Realtor in the Springfield area for over 20 years, and would be more than happy to help you find your next property. Contact Ethel today!

 

Why You Should Choose a Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agent

by Ethel Curbow

Choosing a Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agent

coldwell banker real estate agent holding out keys

Sometimes, it can seem that real estate agencies are practically a dime a dozen. So, how do you figure out which agent — and which company — to use when buying or selling a home? As a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker for over 20 years, Ethel Curbow and her team know what makes our company stand out from the rest. Keep reading to find out why Coldwell Banker Real Estate is an excellent choice for your real estate needs.

A Company with History

Coldwell Banker Real Estate is one of the oldest real estate agencies in the United States. Founded in 1906 by Colbert Coldwell, the company was created to provide people trying to recover after the devastating San Francisco earthquakes with trustworthy, reliable salespeople to help rebuild their lives. After partnering with Benjamin Banker, Coldwell continued to build their company across the United States. Choosing Coldwell Banker Real Estate means you choose a real estate agency with deep roots based on providing the best service to all those looking to buy or sell a house.

A Name with Meaning​

For over 110 years, Coldwell Banker Real Estate has been synonymous with reliability, innovation, and trust. That basis carries over to every Coldwell Banker agency across the country. Coldwell Banker agencies and agents are held to a higher standard of excellence — a standard that our clients have come to know and expect. When you see a listing posted by a Coldwell Banker real estate agent, you know that the buying and selling of the property is overseen by a name you can trust.

Agents with Experience​

When buying or selling a home, you want to have a real estate agent who has the knowledge, training, and experience to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Coldwell Banker real estate agents go through several personality assessments and trainings to ensure they are a good fit for the Coldwell Banker team. Whether you are shopping for your first house or are an experienced homebuyer, trusting a Coldwell Banker real estate agent puts you a cut above the rest.

Your Springfield Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agent​

If you are in the southwest Missouri area and are looking for a real estate agent, trust Ethel Curbow. As a part of the Coldwell Banker Vanguard team, Ethel has helped thousands of homeowners find their next dream home — and you could be next! Contact Ethel today to get started on your real estate journey by calling 417.447.4968.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Springfield

by Ethel Curbow

Becoming a Springfield Real Estate Agent

female real estate agent shows couple first house

Deciding on a career path can feel extremely daunting and leave you asking yourself a lot of questions. Is this the right choice for my family? Will this provide for my needs? Will I enjoy the work? The choice to become a real estate agent comes with a wide variety of benefits but should also be chosen after careful consideration of all the pros and cons of the job. If you are interested in becoming a real estate agent in Springfield, Missouri, Ethel Curbow explains the steps you will need to take to start your career.

Decide if Being a Real Estate Agent is the Right Choice

Becoming a real estate agent can be appealing to a wide variety of people. Some enjoy the freedom from a typical 9-to-5 office job while others enjoy getting to work directly with people and helping them achieve their dreams of becoming homeowners. That said, being a real estate agent takes a lot of work and isn’t for everyone. Working on your own means that you need to be a self-starter and be able to market yourself. Being a part of the real estate industry means that you should have at least some knowledge about home ownership and what to look for in a property — although that can be learned later. Perhaps most importantly, real estate agents need to be able to balance several different tasks at the same time for many different clients.

 

If you are still interested in real estate as a career, consider talking to an agent you know about their job and what it takes for them to be successful. An insider’s perspective on the work it takes to be an agent will really help you determine if this is the right career path for you. If, after doing research and talking with others in the industry, you choose to continue down the real estate agent career path, it’s time to prepare for the tests.

Take the Required Courses​

Getting your real estate license takes significant time and preparation. The first step in the process is passing the pre-examination course. In the Springfield area, the pre-examination course is provided by the Greater Springfield Board of Realtors, or GSBOR. After you pass the pre-examination course, you have six months to complete both portions of the AMP examination and complete the 24-hour practice course.

 

Once you’ve completed the required practice courses, you then have to pass both the Missouri state portion of the exam along with the national portion. If you have any questions about the requirements, contact the Missouri Real Estate Commission (MREC) at 573-751-2628.

Find a Licensed Brokerage​

Once you’ve obtained your real estate license, it’s time to find a brokerage to work with. Ethel Curbow has been a proud part of the Coldwell Banker team for over 20 years. Regardless of the brokerage you choose, make sure you join a team of reputable, quality agents. Check reviews and do research into the companies. Then you are on your way to a successful career as a real estate agent in Springfield.

Marketing Tactics Every Real Estate Agent Should Know

by Ethel Curbow

How a Real Estate Agent Markets Your Home

A real estate agent selling a house online

Most home searches today begin online, making marketing one of the most important aspects of modern real estate. Without an online presence, your home will likely sit on the market longer than you expected. Luckily, any experienced real estate agent understands the importance of online marketing. Here, Ethel Curbow shares some marketing tricks that every real estate agent should know.

Listing Your House on an MLS

MLS stands for “Multiple Listing Service.” Every home listed by a real estate agent is listed on an MLS, which allows buyers and other realtors to find properties, increasing the exposure your house receives. MLS has always been the lifeblood of real estate. Before the Internet, real estate listings were actually printed and sent to agents, but this proved to be inconvenient. Today, with the internet, it is easier than ever for realtors to share their listings with other agents.

Taking High-Quality Photos

If a home is not gaining much traction from the MLS, the next step is to market it directly to buyers online. This means listing the home on sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and other regional real estate listing sites. To increase the home’s exposure, an experienced real estate agent will take high-quality photos of the interior and exterior of your home. Buyers want to see a home in the best light possible, so before your realtor drops by to take photos, be sure to mow your lawn, clean your home, and open up your blinds to let in plenty of natural light. If you can pique buyer interest through online marketing, your house is likely to sell faster.  

Creating a Virtual Tour

Virtual tours are a great way to set a house apart from the competition. They show the house in its entirety and give buyers the feel of walking through your home, encouraging them to set up a tour and see it in person. Creating a virtual tour can be difficult, but an experienced real estate agent should have the knowledge and resources to pull off this marketing trick.

Selling a House with Ethel Curbow

Selling a house is not always easy, but working with an experienced real estate agent certainly helps. For the last 15 years, Ethel Curbow has been ranked within the top ten Coldwell Banker real estate professionals in the Springfield, MO area, so she has what it takes to market and sell your home. To learn more, contact Ethel Curbow today!

Selling a House: Pricing to Sell Quickly

by Ethel Curbow

Setting the Right Price and Selling a House Quickly

Selling a house quickly

Pricing is one of the most important aspects of selling a house. If a house is priced too high or too low, it is likely to sit on the market longer than you expect. The secret to selling a house quickly is setting a price that makes buyers think they are getting a deal while giving the seller a return on their investment. Here, Ethel Curbow explains how to set the right price for your home.

Study Your Location

When pricing a home, the first step is to look at your location. Figure out the property values of the homes in your neighborhood and price your home similarly. If you price higher than your neighborhood property values, you may scare away potential buyers. If you price too low, buyers may think you are desperate and wonder if there is something wrong with your home. Keeping up with neighborhood property values is a key aspect of selling a house quickly.

Think about Online Searches

When potential buyers look for homes on sites like Trulia or Zillow, they tend to set search parameters so they only view homes in their budget. For example, if a buyer wants to spend no more than $200,000, they will only look at homes that are below that amount. If your home is priced at $210,000, it will be missed in searches and stay on the market longer. To sell quickly, it’s best to round down.

Use the “99” Strategy

The “99” strategy may seem ridiculous to some sellers, but it actually works. Based on basic psychology, the “99” strategy tricks people into thinking they are getting a deal. For example, a buyer at a convenience store is more likely to buy a bag of chips priced at 99 cents than a bag of chips price for a dollar, simply because it is one cent cheaper. When it comes to selling a house, the principle surprisingly applies. So, if you hope to sell your home quickly, consider marking your $200,000 home down to $199,000. This makes your home look less expensive, attracting more buyers.

Selling a House with Ethel Curbow

Setting the right price and selling a house quickly can be difficult. Luckily, an experienced real estate agent can help you find the price the reduces the number of days your home is on the market and gives you the greatest return on your investment. To speak with an experienced real estate agent, contact Ethel Curbow! With years of experience, Ethel has what it takes to set the right price, market your home, and make a sale.

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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