Posts Tagged ‘ditmas park’

Do you really want a for sale sign in front of your house?

August 13, 2011

 Almost every agent will tell you that a “for sale” sign brings in buyers, especially those just passing by.

 I wonder about this logic. I know the sign advertises and helps the agency, but does it help you?

 In has been my experience and I am sure for most other agents that most people buy houses spend some time thinking about where they want to live and do not buy a house just because they walked by the sign.

 Have you ever walked or driven by a block where there are several for sale signs posted? Certainly this does not help your bargaining position. Indeed in the buyers mind a question might be asked. “Why are all these people selling?” “Is there a problem, I do not know about?”

 Because of the economy, many houses are for sale a while and buyer’s often try to take advantage of this to offer less than you want. What happens to a sign that is up for a while? Well simply, it gets dirty or damaged. Can you think of a clearer way to say to the potential buyer? “These people are having trouble selling their house, let’s low ball them”.

 A sign can even be a serious danger. Occasionally criminals use a sign to find an empty house to break into. Also there have been several instances where a criminal rings the bell, inquires about the house then robs or injures the seller.

 In New York, a licensed broker is usually paid by the seller and owes his loyalty to the seller. As a sellers broker, you are often placed in a position of responsibility for the safety of the seller and of their property. Most agents take this responsibility very seriously. A good agent will want to know as much as he can about whom, especially if they are qualified, he is bringing into a property.

 I think signs are good for the agency, but not for the home owner.


Tapas in Brooklyn

August 13, 2011

The Castello Plan

1213 Cortelyou Road
Brooklyn, NY 11218
(718) 856-8888

 This is not your typical restaurant, where you order and appetizer, entre and dessert and then gobble it down. Rather the Castello Plan is based on the Spanish idea of tapas or grazing, while taking your time with wine and good conversation. While there is music in the background the basic ambiance is conversation. At the long bar high tables, similar to those used inBarcelona, it is not unusual for unrelated groups to talk to each other and sometimes share a drink.

 Indeed, we decided to graze, that is instead of ordering large dishes, we would try almost all the appetizers, charcuterie and cheeses. While, the portions were not large, but they were interesting and the cooked appetizers were very nice.

 Besides one of the best selections of wines by the bottle inBrooklyn, there many wines to buy by the glass. We finished our meal with a plate of cheese and an oleoroso sherry, an almost perfect finish. In all the Costello Plan is more an experience, than a hearty meal.

 Two glasses of wine and sherry plus the appetizers, meats and cheeses cost $ 100

After five on Cortelyou Road

May 8, 2009

Spring has at long last come to Cortelyou Road and Ditmas Park. The first warm weekend day saw couples and family promenading down the stately street of Ditmas Park. The Daffodils were admired and critical comments made as to color combinations on the never ending variety of Victorian homes. A discreet photo of someone’s garden, a child admonished about walking on the grass and a smile, when a mention was made of the upcoming Arbor Day Ditmas Park Tree Tour 4/25 ( ).


Little did we know the real spring happening was going to occur that night? We had heard that a 773 Coney Island Avenue a formerly disreputable Irish bar (see a down and dirty bar cleans up its act… 4/22) was having a benefit for CAMBA ( featuring the Blue Law Jazz Group with guest appearance by Candice Hamilton.


Walking down Cortelyou, we were amazed. There was music, restaurants and people everywhere. The Old Cornerstone Bar now call SOLO had a wonderful jazz group. San Remo had an excellent guitar player and was filled to capacity (who knew? Brooklynian 4/19). The Farm at Adderley had people waiting outside on benches. The reopened Vox Pop had Jazz Group and a S.R.O. crowd. The people, who failed to make reservations, did find some consolation at the newly opened Mimi’s hummus ( the Sycamore (, which had a Bar B Que and at Visions (A vision of Cortelyou. Brooklynian, Brooklyn Eats 12/18).


After so many distractions, we almost didn’t make it to 773 Coney Island Avenue, a Bar Lounge. But it was worth the walk  Joel Siegel, our neighborhood association president, was the lead guitar and his Blue Law Group were in top form, their medleys and singles consistently brought standing ovations. When Candice Hamilton got up to sing we knew we were in the presence of Jazz royalty. Animated and great voice she was well worth the cover. Her last song literally caused dancing in the aisles.


As the midnight hour approached, us Cinderella Baby Boomers headed home only to meet by our children and our neighbors offspring coming to Cortelyou Road.

 for more see

Who Knew?!? San Remo Pizzeria, a Restaurant Review

February 13, 2009

Who Knew?!? San Remo Pizzeria, a Restaurant Review

1408 Cortelyou Rd, Brooklyn, NY 11226
In Italy, practically every pizzeria has a sit down restaurant in the back room. They all serve pasta and they almost all are great places for dinner. The food is carefully cooked, the portions large and the prices much lower than the Restorante’s or the Trattoria’s.
San Remo has been a fixture on Cortelyou road for decades and they always made good pizza, but no one would take a date or a spouse there. It was certainly not a place for making a good first impression or quiet conversation with the kids screaming for their slices and sodas.
But things have changed!!!
Cortelyou is now a hot spot with several good restaurants and this marvelous evolution has now spread to San Remo. San Remo has opened up its mysterious back room and is serving beer and wine. While the restaurant room is not elegant, it is clean and homey.
The first three rules about restaurants are The FOOD, The VALUE and The PORTIONS and San Remo wins on all three.
Real standouts are Caveletti with sausage, broccoli rabe, white beans and garlic and the Lassagna, real plate fillers and done with care. The service is friendly and prompt. There are many wines under $30 and a dinner for two, appetizer, pasta, dessert and tip is easily under $40.
for more see

Casa Calamari-a restaurant review

February 13, 2009

Casa Calamari

8602 Third Avenue



I hate warming trays!

When I walk into a restaurant for the first time and I see warming tray, my first reaction is to walk out. Foods left sitting in warming trays loose all texture and remind me a very bad junior high school cafeteria.

Casa Calamari has warming trays as you come in and all I wanted to do was walk out! But, my friends persisted and my health insurance is still in effect so I said o.k.

The décor is simple and clean, sort of an office workers lunch place. The service was friendly and actually knowledgeable. There is some confusion in that there are at least three Casa Calamari’s in Brooklyn. I do not know if they are related.

What surprised me was the food! If you are careful to order the daily specials, not on the warming trays, the food is actually good.

The Lasagna was fresh and plentiful. It needed a little more seasoning, maybe some oregano.

You can tell if Lasagna has been sitting, the edges dry up and the sauce de-emulsifies (there is a reddish water on the plate). My bet was that the sauce was made fresh and maybe even with real tomatoes (I found real tomatoes seeds in the sauce).

The calamari and linguini was also good although I like mine to have some more heat and again the portions were large and inexpensive.

Main courses are about $ 12; there is a three course dinner menu with a glass of wine for $25.

If you can find a parking space in Bay Ridge, Casa Calamari will do nicely.


or more see

Common buyer mistakes

December 26, 2008
Shopping for a new home is an emotional experience.  It is, however, also a business transaction, and must be treated as such.  Three of the most devastating things that can go wrong are:

  • Paying too much
  • Losing a dream home to another buyer
  • Buying the wrong home

When you have a systematic plan before you shop, you’ll be sure to avoid these costly errors. Here are some tips on making the most of your home purchase:

Get the information you need
What price do you offer a seller? Is the seller’s asking price too high? Is it a deal? Your own research is important, as is the assistance of a Realtor®.  A professional Realtor® can offer an unbiased opinion on the value of a home, based on many factors and a great deal of information. Without knowledge of the market, your offer could be too much. Or worse, you could miss out on a great buying opportunity.  Hire the right person and trust that person to represent your interests.

Buy YOUR home
What do you need and want in a home? Sounds simple, but clearly identifying your needs and bringing an objective view to home shopping leaves you in a much better position. How much space do you really need?  Too small and you may feel like you live in constant clutter.  Too big and maintenance may become too daunting.  Outline all of your priorities, and work on finding not just a great home, but a great home for you.

Check the title
Before you sign any document, be sure the property you are considering is free of all encumbrances. As a part of his or her services, a Realtor® can supply you with a copy of the title to ensure there are no liens, debts, undisclosed owners, leases or easements against the title.

Update the survey
Before the purchase is completed, an updated survey is essential. This report will indicate boundaries and structural changes (additions to the house, a new swimming pool, neighbor’s new fence which is extending a boundary line, etc.), and will guarantee that you are indeed getting what you pay for.

Minimize the unexpected
For $300 – $500, a professional inspector will conduct a thorough inspection of the home. Their expertise can mean the difference between uncovering major flaws before or after you own a home. Make the final contract subject to the report’s findings.

Get pre-approved
It only takes a few days to get financing pre-approval. When you are shopping for a home, this gives you more power. A seller is more likely to consider an offer from a serious buyer.

Remember additional costs
Besides the funds for the purchase of a home, you’ll need funds for items such as loan fees, insurance, legal fees, surveys, inspections, etc.

Take a deep breath
Before you sign, ensure that all documentation clearly reflects your understanding and conditions of the transaction. Has anything been forgotten? Don’t rush. You could lose money, financing, or even the sale if you attempt to push things through too hastily.

for more see www.danshapirorealestate,net


How to get your home at your price

December 26, 2008
Whether you are buying your first home or your fifth, the process of buying a home can be an emotional, time-consuming venture.  Feeling that, in the end, you made the right decision and got a good deal can make all the difference.

As with most major decisions, the amount of work and research you undertake before you start shopping can have a dramatic effect on how well you do in the end.

#1  Do you really need that backyard tennis court?
Everyone can picture their ideal home.  If you haven’t thoroughly prepared yourself prior to viewing houses, chances are that you will find what you think is your ideal home, and will wind up paying too much for it.

It is essential to treat the buying process in a slightly detached manner.  Those who fall in love with houses usually pay too much.

That’s why it’s recommended that you develop a list of needs and one of wants.  When looking at houses, make sure that they cover all of your needs – things like adequate space, a good neighborhood, perhaps a garage – and then have fun with items on your wants list.  Treating the process in a regimented manner will help you to make a rational, informed decision.

#2 Get pre-approved
Visit your lending institution prior to shopping.  Be sure to get a mortgage commitment in writing. Being pre-approved gives you a solid price range, and lets your Realtor® and potential sellers know that you are serious and not just a browser.

#3 Get the right people behind you
Buying a home is a complicated process, with many people involved.  Having the right people on your side can make a big difference.  An experienced, dedicated, and knowledgeable Realtor® can put a team of advocates, including lenders, lawyers, home inspectors and movers, on your side immediately.

#4 Communicate
The more you share with your Realtor®, the better he or she will be able to represent you.  Letting your representative know exactly what you’re looking for, in terms of needs/wants, price range, and location, can eliminate unnecessary trips to unsuitable homes and that focus can help ensure that you wind up in the right home.

#5 Location, location, location
It’s still true.  The desirability and resale value of your home depend on location more than any other factor. People want a desirable community that includes character, quality of schools, access to work, major transportation arteries, recreational facilities, etc.

On your viewing trips, take a careful look and ask the following questions: How does this home compare to others in the neighborhood? Are yards fenced? Are there many children playing in the streets? Are the front and back yards and the exteriors of the homes properly maintained?  The less expensive houses in a better area tend to appreciate faster than the most expensive houses in a less desirable area.

Additional factors that affect the property value of a home include traffic, sounds, smells, zoning bylaws, and many others. Be objective. Be sure you are completely satisfied with the neighborhood. If you choose a neighborhood with problems, you likely won’t get as much as you hoped with it comes time to sell.

#6 Use your Realtor’s® knowledge
Your Realtor® is trained in all aspects of real estate, including understanding supply and demand, economics, and the neighborhoods of the city in which they practice. A professional Realtor® can do much of the work for you, by reviewing your needs, reviewing available properties, and making an informed match. A comprehensive knowledge of the available homes in your neighborhood is one of your Realtor’s® strongest assets. With the aid of computerized systems, a Realtor® is notified within hours when a home becomes available.

#7 Pay attention to red flags
When evaluating a home, be sure you know the difference between acceptable and unacceptable problems. Cosmetic items like peeling paint, worn carpeting, or unattractive wallpaper can be easily remedied, and can be used as negotiation items, as there will be costs involved in updating the home.

Major problems, however, are clearly red flags.  Look for items such as major foundation cracks, water damage, outdated electrical systems, and inadequate plumbing. These items could be too expensive to remedy to make the home a worthwhile investment.

#8 Hire a home inspector
A home inspection is an inexpensive way to gain peace of mind, and guard your pocket book. A proper inspection will cover all areas of the house including foundation, electrical, heating, plumbing, floors, walls, ceilings, attic, roof, siding and trim, porches, patios, decks, garage and drainage. A professional inspector can give you an objective view of the property, with a written report, indicating the present condition and items that will need repair.

#9 Be cautious with fixer-uppers

Sometimes, a fixer-upper can be purchased below market value, and once sufficient repairs are made, can be sold at a significant profit. However, not all fixer-uppers will bring in the profits you might expect. 

Consumers often overestimate their level of dedication to doing extensive renovation work, and underestimate the costs associated with such work.  A wall that needs to be replaced can often lead to the discovery of faulty plumbing, electrical, or other major undertakings.  Your Realtor® and home inspector are your best allies when it comes to cost-benefit analyses.

#10 Consider your future needs
A move can be a major undertaking.  Take a good look at your current lifestyle and consider the future. Will you need extra space for a home office, a child, or perhaps a child moving back home? Perhaps it may be easier and less expensive if you purchase a home that can meet these needs now, rather than moving up to a larger home a few years down the road.

#11 Proceed quickly
When you’re ready to buy, act.  Good properties sell.  This is especially true given the current state of most real estate markets. However, when you work with a Realtor®, you have access to the latest technology. As part of the MLS and Agent Handshake networks, a Realtor® has access to properties within hours of when they are listed.

Technology works to your advantage. Many Realtors® now have personalized websites which allow you to sign on as a client, and receive notification of new listings via email. You save time and effort, and you can view only those homes that come closest to meeting your needs.

#12 Clarify relationships
In any real estate transaction, be very clear about who is working for whom, and what the relationship represents. Unless otherwise stated, an agent represents the seller in transactions for the sale of a home. This agent, as part of his or her fiduciary duty, must ensure that the seller’s (and not your) position is represented throughout the entire process.  Get a buyer’s agent on your side, or ensure that someone is acting in your best interests.

#13 Ask for a written CMA
A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is an analysis of comparable homes in a given neighborhood. It shows you the sale prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood, along with asking prices of other homes in the area currently on the market. A Realtor® can request this report for any home and neighborhood.  Ask for this report in writing. With this valuable document, you’ll have solid, reliable information about how fairly a home is priced compared to its real market value.

#14 Know the seller
Understanding a seller’s reasons for moving could work to your advantage during negotiations.  For instance, a seller who has been transferred to another city may be more motivated to sell than someone who is still shopping for a new home.  A vacant house, or a house that has been on the market for several months and has been reduced in price, could also provide the opportunity for lucrative negotiations.

#15 Keep it impersonal
Conversely, information could be used to your detriment. Information about your mortgage, size of down payment, move-in deadline, or circumstances for buying could be used to the seller’s benefit in negotiations. While you want your Realtor® to know these details, maintain your poker face and keep your cards hidden with the sellers and their agents.

#16 Measure twice, sign once
While you definitely want to move quickly once you’ve made the decision to purchase, you don’t want to cave in to pressure for a quick close. Someone who is trying to pressure you into buying a home is likely doing so for a reason. Make sure the reasons for you to buy a home are your reasons, not theirs.

#17 Exercise your negotiating skills
Even if you prefer not to haggle, it’s worth it, especially when it’s your home and one of your biggest investments. Most people expect to haggle over the price. There is always room for negotiation, and your Realtor® should be a professional negotiator.

#18 Avoid bidding wars
In some cases, the seller’s Realtor® may use scare tactics to rush the sale or increase the price. Falling for this trap could cost you money. If there is another buyer, or some other reason this pressure is being applied, whoever wins also loses because they tend to overpay. Let reason be your guide, not passion.

#19 Get it in writing
Legally, sellers must disclose all known material defects of a property. Ask for this in writing. Also be sure to consider the ramifications of these defects. Will they be costly down the road? Are they “serious” defects?

#20 Be aware of hidden costs
While Realtors® often tempt first-time buyers with rent/mortgage comparisons, there is more to a home than simply the mortgage. You will be responsible for other items including mortgage insurance, appraisal fees, legal fees, inspection fees, transfer taxes, title insurance, inspections, property tax, increased bills, etc. Your Realtor® can give you a good idea of the costs associated with buying a home that are beyond its final negotiated price.

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Thinking About Buying Your First Home?

December 26, 2008

With interest rates low, many renters are starting to think about purchasing a home of their own. While simple rental cost vs. mortgage cost comparisons can be very attractive, buying a home is a serious commitment, and there are many factors to consider:

How long you plan to live in the home.
Selling a home costs money.  If you potentially may have to move in the short term, the value of your home may not have appreciated enough to cover the costs of buying and selling.

The length of time that it will take to cover those costs depends on various economic factors. Average appreciation tends to sit at around 5% per year. In this case, you should plan to stay in your home at least 3-4 years to cover buying and selling costs.  The real estate market can be particularly volatile, however, and dramatic swings up and down are not uncommon.

How long the home will meet your needs.
What features do you require in a home to satisfy your lifestyle now? Five years from now? People tend to remain in homes longer than they initially intend, primarily due to the work and expense associated with moving.  Therefore it is worth considering a home with room to grow. Could the basement be turned into a den and extra bedrooms? Could the attic be turned into a master suite? Having an idea of what you’ll need will help you find a home that will satisfy you for years to come.

Your financial health – your credit and home affordability.
Is now the right time financially for you to buy a home? Would you rate your financial picture as healthy? Is your credit good? While you can always find a lender to lend you money, people with poor credit tend to pay far more to borrow.

Some say that you should refrain from borrowing as much as you qualify for because it is wiser not to stretch your financial boundaries. The other school of thought says you should stretch to buy as much home as you can afford, because with regular pay raises and increased earning potential, the big payment today will seem like less of a payment tomorrow. It is, however, important to stay within your comfort zone.  Purchasing a house involves many up-front and ongoing costs, and the stress of worrying about those costs often outweighs the satisfaction that may come from owning a slightly nicer home.

To determine how much home you can afford, talk to a lender or go online and use a home affordability calculator. Good calculators will give you a range of what you may qualify for. Then call a lender. While some may say that the “28/36” rule applies, in today’s home mortgage market, lenders are making loans customized to a particular person’s situation.

The “28/36” rule means that your monthly housing costs can’t exceed 28 percent of your income and your total debt load can’t exceed 36 percent of your total monthly income. Depending on your assets, credit history, job potential, and other factors, lenders can push the ratios up to 40-60% or higher. While we’re not advocating you purchase a home utilizing the higher ratios, it’s important for you to know your options.

Where the money for the transaction will come from.
Typically, homebuyers will need some money for a down payment and closing costs. However, with today’s broad range of loan options, having a lot of money saved for a down payment is not always necessary – if you can prove that you are a good financial risk for a lender. If your credit isn’t stellar but you have managed to save 10-20% for a down payment, you will still appear to be a very good financial risk to a lender. High-ratio mortgages can be a good option for those who haven’t managed to save a large chunk of money (who has?), but naturally, these have additional costs associated with them.

The ongoing costs of home ownership.
Maintenance, improvements, taxes, and insurance are all costs that are added to a monthly house payment. If you buy a condominium or townhouse, a monthly homeowner’s association or maintenance fee will be required. If these additional costs are a concern, you can make choices to lower or avoid these fees. Be sure to make your Realtor® and your lender aware of your desire to limit these costs.

If you are still unsure if you should buy a home after making these considerations, you may want to consult with an accountant or financial planner to help you assess how a home purchase fits into your overall financial goals.

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You can’t eat atmosphere, but you can eat the food

December 24, 2008


9316 Fourth Avenue

Brooklyn, NY


An upscale dinner that had existed on this site died, but this did not deter the owners of Fushimi. Fushimi is an upscale Asian Fusion restaurant and lounge decorated in the style of a hip Japanese disco with a branch in Staten Island. There is a Sushi Bar, a liquor bar, seductive dimly lit bathrooms and even a water lily tank in the floor.


Personally I found the décor over the top and done with less taste than their annoying website. Will some tell the web designer that thin knockout type on a dark background is simply illegible? There us a tiny barely useable parking lot guaranteed to generate lot of parking lot scraps and arguments.


I went for the $15 dollar luncheon and I was very impressed. There was a choice of Miso or Lemongrass w/seafood soup for starters. The appetizer list was mostly sushi, a calamari dish, edamane, shrimp shumai and gyoza. The edamane was cold, the calamari was nicely plated and well done but the portion was very small. However the Sushi was first rate and the spicy tuna was flavorful without burning your mouth,


The main lunch course had a surprising number of choices. The sesame chicken, sliced beef steak in a mushroom sauce, and scallops were stand outs. The scallops fresh and well seasoned, the chicken crisp and not dried out and the beef, the best I tasted in Brooklyn. Alas, the rice was cold.


While the portions were not big and the atmosphere a little over bearing, I am looking forward to dinner at Fushimi’s. While, the economy is not conducive to upscale restaurants in the boroughs, but if I had to bet on a survivor my vote is with Fushimi


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Selling your house-first impressions

December 19, 2008

Remember what first attracted you to your house when you bought it? What excited you about its most appealing features? Now that you’re selling your home, you’ll need to look at it as if you were buying it all over again.

A spruced up house makes a great first impression on potential buyers. An attractive property grabs their attention and makes them excited about finding a house that looks and feels well-cared for. Because buyers know they’ll encounter fewer problems if they buy it, your house becomes more appealing and stands out from the competition. So if you prepare your home correctly, you’ll save time selling it when it’s on the market.

A good first impression makes an impact on a number of levels. It’s not just the way your house looks to potential buyers, but how it feels and smells to them, how their friends and family will react, how they imagine it would be to live there.

With simple improvements throughout your house, you can grab the attention of potential buyers and help them see why your house is right for them.

Plan Ahead

Create a plan to enhance your property. Keep a notebook for your selling project, and as you stroll through your yard, make a list of what needs to be done. Consider what your property looks like to people driving by or walking through your door. What will they like or dislike? What needs fixing, painting, cleaning? What can you improve? Whether you paint your house or fix up the yard, your efforts don’t need to be costly; even inexpensive improvements and minor repairs go far toward attracting serious buyers. But remember, those seemingly insignificant problems you’ve learned to live with can actually discourage potential buyers. Here are ideas for increasing your home’s appeal in order to sell it quickly at the best price.


Clean Everything

Buyers expect a spotless house, inside and out. So clean everything, especially your windows and window sills. Scrub walls and floors, tile and ceilings, cupboards and drawers, kitchen and bathrooms. Wash scuff marks from doors and entryways, clean light fixtures and the fireplace. Don’t forget the laundry room. And put away your clothes.

Cut the Clutter

People are turned off by rooms that look and feel cluttered. Remember, potential buyers are buying your house, not your furniture, so help them picture themselves and their possessions in your home by making your rooms feel large, light, and airy. As you clean, pack away your personal items, such as pictures, valuables, and collectibles, and store or get rid of surplus books, magazines, videotapes, extra furniture, rugs, blankets, etc. Consider renting a storage unit to eliminate clutter in your garage and attic.

It’s hard to get rid of possessions, but cleaning and clearing out the clutter can really pay off in the end. Packing away your clutter also gets you started packing for your next move. Make your garage and basement as tidy as the rest of your house. Simple little tasks such as storing your tools and neatly rolling up your garden hose suggest that you take good care of your house. Don’t let anything detract from making your best first impression.


They’re an important consideration to many buyers. By storing clothing you won’t use soon, you’ll make closets look spacious.


A new coat of paint cleans up your living space and makes it look bright and new. To make rooms look larger, choose light, neutral colors that appeal to the most people, such as beige or white.


Check its condition. If it’s worn, consider replacing it. It’s an easy and affordable way to help sell your home faster. Again, light, neutral colors, such as beige, are best. If you don’t replace it, you can suggest to potential buyers that they could select new carpet and you’ll reduce your price; buyers like to hear they’re getting a deal. At the very least, have your carpet cleaned.

Repairs and Renovations

It’s best to avoid making major renovations just to sell the house since you’re unlikely to recoup those costs from your selling price. Make minor repairs to items such as leaky faucets, slow drains, torn screens, gutters, loose doorknobs, and broken windows. Make sure repairs are well done; buyers won’t take you seriously if your home-improvement efforts look messy, shoddy, or amateurish.

Leaks and Moisture

Water stains on ceilings or in the basement alert buyers to potential problems. Don’t try to cosmetically cover up stains caused by leaks. If you’ve fixed the water problem, repair the damage and disclose in writing to the buyer what repairs were made.


Curb Appeal

The “Wow” factor — that first visual, high-impact impression your home makes on potential buyers — can turn a looker into a buyer. To determine your property’s curb appeal, drive through your neighborhood and note other properties; then approach your own house as if you were a potential buyer. How does it look? Does it “wow” you? Will its curb appeal attract buyers? Note what needs improving, such as trimming trees, planting shrubs, or painting gutters. Little things convey that you’ve cared for your home, and this is your opportunity to sell that important message to buyers who are shopping from the street, simply cruising neighborhoods just looking for houses for sale. To get them through your door, do what you can to make your property look like someone’s dream home.


If it’s peeling or blistering and you can’t remember the last time you painted it, your house needs some attention. That also goes for stain that is significantly faded. A newly painted or stained exterior will help sell your house faster. And whether you do it yourself or hire someone, you’ll also increase your home’s value.

In the Yard

Grab people’s attention by enhancing your yard and landscaping. If your house looks inviting and well-maintained from the street, people will imagine that it’s attractive on the inside, too.


  • Prune bushes and hedges; trim trees.
  • Keep your lawn looking healthy and green by mowing it often, fertilizing it, and keeping it edged and trimmed.
  • Clean up and dispose of pet mess.
  • Weed your gardens; add fertilizer and mulch; then plant colorful flowers.
  • In winter, keep your driveway and sidewalks shoveled, de-iced, and well-lit.
  • Stack firewood, clean out birdbaths, repair and paint fences.

The Front Door

An attractive entry catches a buyer’s eye and says, “Welcome,” so highlight this area of your house with decorative touches, such as a wreath on the door or new shrubs and flowers around the steps. For an even grander entry, clean and paint your front door, or replace it with a new one for a few hundred dollars. Don’t forget to fix and polish doorknobs, repair torn screens, and then put out that new welcome mat.

Keep yourself organized with the following checklist.

Clean and Maintain


  • Windows, sills, and screens
  • Walls and floor
  • Tile
  • Ceilings
  • Cupboards and drawers
  • Kitchen
  • Bathrooms
  • Light fixtures
  • Ceiling fans
  • Carpet and rugs
  • Mirrors
  • Garage
  • Attic
  • Basement
  • Laundry room
  • Yard
  • Gutters
  • Replace furnace filter
  • Dust furniture, TV and computer screens
  • Closets
  • Remove clutter
  • Pack personal items



  • Leaky faucets and plumbing
  • Torn screens
  • Slow drains
  • Gutters
  • Loose doorknobs
  • Deck boards
  • Broken windows
  • Electrical fixtures
  • Water stain damage
  • Broken appliances
  • Damaged walls and ceilings
  • Worn carpet and rugs
  • Damaged sidewalks and steps



  • Stain or paint deck
  • Store tools
  • Roll up garden hose
  • Paint or stain exterior
  • Prune bushes and hedges
  • Trim trees
  • Mow lawn, fertilize, edge, and trim
  • Weed gardens, plant flowers
  • Shovel driveways, de-ice
  • Stack firewood
  • Clean out birdbaths
  • Caulk windows and doors
  • Repair and paint fences
  • Seal asphalt driveway
  • Make sure doors close properly
  • Enhance entryway
  • Replace welcome mat

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