Category Archives: Entrepreneurial Attitude

5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Home’s Resale Value

Are you getting ready to sell your home? Do you want to get it sold quickly, and for the price you want? Did you know that most buyers form their first impression of your home within minutes of first seeing it? Years ago sellers would list their homes for sale in “as is” condition. In today’s market, that no longer works. Today you need to make the best possible first impression to get the sale you want – and you only get one chance to make a great first impression. If you’re getting ready to put your home on the market, here are 5 great tips to help you sell it fast and get what you asked for–or maybe even more!

1. Deep Clean

Graciela Rutkowski - sell your home 6 Buyers want to see a fresh, clean home – a dirty home will turn buyers off.

  • Kitchens sell homes. Give special attention to countertops, grout lines, appliances, and cabinets, inside and out. Clean the refrigerator and pantry, and hide any trash cans.
  • Clean floors until they shine, and clear away pet areas. Dust all surfaces, including those above your line of sight. Don’t forget the ceiling fans!
  • Make bathrooms look good and smell fresh. Scrub toilets, and clean shower doors. Invest in fresh bedding, linens, and towels. Odors will turn off buyers. Refresh the space with room deodorizers, but don’t use heavy scents.
  • Clean corners, doorways, and window frames. Don’t forget the garage!
  • Clear out closets, and store what you’re not using. A half-filled closet looks much larger than one that is stuffed.

2. Add Curb Appeal

Graciela Rutkowski Interiors - curb appeal When buyers drive up to your home, you want them to be excited to come in!

  • Invest in professional landscaping. Make sure the lawn is mown, re-seed where the grass looks thin, and trim hedges, trees, and anything that blocks the view to your home. Add colorful flowers along pathways and by the front entry.
  • Power wash the outside of your home, including paths and driveways. Wash windows to make them sparkle and let in light, and clean gutters and walkways.
  • Give your front porch a makeover. Add a bench or chair and a decorative touch. Don’t forget the mailbox! Give it a touch of paint, and be sure it’s standing up straight.
  • Park cars in the garage–or even better, out of the way entirely.

3. Fix What’s Broken

Graciela Rutkowski Interiors - sell your home 3 You want buyers to focus on the best features of your home, and not on problems from deferred maintenance. This is the time to do those ‘fix-it’ projects that you’ve been putting off. It may cost a bit up front, but it will pay off in the long term.

  • Walk through your home with a fresh eye to see if there are obvious maintenance issues. Fix the things you can yourself, and hire a handyman for larger projects. A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color will go a long way!
  • Small details add up. Replace worn, dated hardware and knobs with new pieces that suit the style of the home. Replace worn switch plates and old heating and air conditioning registers with new ones that are clean and uncracked.
  • Lighting makes all the difference. Replace old bulbs with higher wattage, full spectrum light bulbs. Open curtains to let in natural light.
  • If the weather allows, open the windows for fresh air.

4. Stage It!

Graciela Rutkowski Interiors - sell your home Home staging is one of the best steps you can take when preparing to list your home. Statistically, a staged home will sell 80% faster, and for 10% more than an un-staged home! The cost of staging is one of the best returns on investment a seller can make over any other improvements. If you can afford to, hire a professional stager. You will be surprised at the difference they can make for a small investment. A stager will:

  • Showcase the best features in your home, placing furniture to define focal points and maximize the space.
  • De-clutter to help create a feeling of spaciousness.
  • De-personalize the home so that potential buyers can envision themselves in your home, rather than focusing on the things you own
  • Highlight the best features of your home–a beautiful kitchen, a stunning view, a great fireplace, or whatever it is about your home that makes it special.
  • Organize furniture placement so that it helps to create visual space and good flow, and define rooms, so that buyers can see how each room in your home can be used.

5. Invest in Professional Photos

Graciela Rutkowski Interiors - sell your home 2 Today’s buyers are more likely to see your home for the first time on the internet. Great professional photos will make your listing stand out over similar homes, and encourage potential buyers to come see your home. Once you get your home looking its best, be sure to keep it “show ready” for a quick sale. Put out some fresh flowers, and you’re ready to go! All photos courtesy of Graciela Rutkowski Interiors

FUTSAL and Life in Real Estate

I was at a FUTSAL clinic with my daughter this evening and, among other things, the coach was trying to get these aspiring soccer players to understand that when on defense, the should be playing a “tighter” formation and when on offense they should play in a “loose” formation with more space between them. Which almost seems counter-intuitive, especially as a little kid. They want to run to the ball, steal it from the opponent and then kick/dribble/run it down the field to score a goal. What they need to do is play intelligently, watch the ball, but also read the opposing player to determine what his options are and anticipate where the ball is going to be after his next kick or pass.

There is a lesson that many adults in the business world could take from this clinic. It is an experienced, knowledgeable, and confident individual who understands “the game” of business (or real estate in my case) and intuitively knows when to play in a “tight formation” and when to back off and play in a “loose formation”. Sometimes you cannot force a transaction to consummation. It may fall apart if all parties are not ready to consummate, or you may get your wish but the outcome is not what was expected (that usually means you lose money). Life, business and real estate are not always as simple as offense and defense in soccer. However, it is extremely important to know when to play in a “tight formation” aggressively pursuing the “deal”, and when to back off, gain some perspective, and “see where the ball is going to be when it leaves your opponent’s foot.” Maybe this isn’t the “play” for you, maybe there is another opportunity to “steal the ball” or make the deal that you cannot see when in the middle of the “scrum” – to borrow a term from rugby.

So whether you are looking for that next house to “flip”, a “buy and hold” investment, or another big move, maybe you should consider taking a step back, play a “loose formation” and see if it helps score that goal.

​Joseph Luca, CDPE
Associate Broker
Realtor
RE/MAX Preferred
The Mercurio Group
1417 Douglas Ave
North Providence, RI 02904

Remax Preferred – A Great Move

This past Autumn, I made the move from a local real estate brokerage company to Remax; an international organization with 90,000 agents that made over $290 BILLION in commissions last year. This past week I was given the opportunity to attend their 40th Anniversary Convention in Las Vegas and all I can say it – WOW. Great classes every day, dynamic speakers from within the industry as well as internationally recognized speakers like Condoleeza Rice. The caliber of agents was impressive and their level of success, regardless of where they are from, is admirable in these challenging economic times.

Going forward, I will be more diligent with my posts and hopefully will give readers a reason to want to come back and read more.

Social Media Marketing – It’s Not Just For Kids

It has been said that the impact of Social Media Marketing on commercial enterprise is going to be similar to that of the Printing Press on the publishing industry. Going forward, Business Marketing Strategies MUST incorporate some aspect of Social Media Marketing in order to be relevant and effective.

While many use Twitter to inform their “Followers” of activities they engage in, and pompously expound their opinions, many entrepreneurs recognize its potential as a marketing tool. As part of a good Marketing Strategy, the savvy entrepreneur will have a Twitter account that includes a well cultivated, refined list of Followers which would allow the entrepreneur to Test the effectiveness of a promotion, drive consumers to a website/blog, or get the word out about an important announcement.

Facebook, Groupon, Yelp, Foursquare and other social media sites are an effective platform for sending out coupons, announcing special promotions, or daily food specials. REALTORS have increasingly been using all of these for marketing properties and soliciting new business. The Home Buyers have responded. In fact, real estate has now become the most searched for item on the Internet; even surpassing pornography. There are Social Media and promotional sites for many industries; food/beverage, entertainment, real estate, health/fitness, job/career related, and others continually pop up. Additionally, there is no financial barrier to entry. A small business owner can do it without hiring someone or having to buy advertising. The learning curve is minimal and the results can be almost immediate.

Those who dismiss Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare et al, as “something for kids”, are missing the boat – and do so to their detriment. This is the advent of a new day in marketing and advertising; the difference between success and failure could be Social Media Marketing.

Double Dip Recession Or Two Scoops Of Optimism?

We have been hearing a lot lately about the possibility of a “Double Dip” recession lately from President Obama on down to local news reports. It seems like Economists, Prognosticators, Politicians (I know, what do they know) Pundits, Talking Heads, and every other “Tom, Dick, and Harry” seem to have an opinion on the status of our Economic Recovery. What I have found, empirically and anecdotally, is that there are multiple “right” answers to the question.

Many “Leading Indicators” foretell a path to recovery, but there are certainly many statistics that one could cite which inidicate that we are at the beginning of a steep, and/or long, decline. What I have observed is that both may be occurring at the same time; it depends on the “when and where factor” when the number measurement was taken and where you are – your perspective. There certainly are indications that our economy is improving – GDP Growth, Industrial Output, and Retail Sales are all up, but Diesel Fuel Sales have stalled1, our National and Trade Defecits are at records levels, and the number of Americans receiving food stamps is expected to rise from 40 to 43.3 million in the next year. Perhaps, what matters is how each one of us individually is impacted. Personally, I know individuals who are doing quite well financially, in a lousy economy in a state with one of the highest unemployment and foreclosure rates in the country; and others who are unemployed, under-employed, or whose businesses are struggling. Believe me; both groups have a different take on the state of our economy. These are people who work hard, work smart, and are resourceful – but with different outcomes.

Does it matter if the economy is up or down? As I write this I am watching numerous different breeds of birds “attack” bird feeders, fending off rivals to take advantage of an opportunity for an easy meal. If food is scarce or in abundance elsewhere in the neighborhood doesn’t matter. They are all amply fed now, as they have been for years; by the bird feeders. If the bird feeders disappear these little feathered friends will do what’s necessary to survive. Until then, they make sure they eat what they can to remain healthy and strong. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned from these finches, hummingbirds, woodpeckers and sparrows. Double dip recession or two scoops of optimism? Who cares! Let’s just do what we need to do… and cherish each day as we do it.

1UCLA-Ceridian Pulse of Commerce Index

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May You Be Healthy, Wealthy, & WISE.

Happy Monday! How Positive Is Your Attitude?

Welcome! This is my first entry in my new Blog. Hopefully this Blog over time will pique the interest of my friends, colleagues and business associates so that you will continue to stop by to read and perhaps leave comments.

In today’s 24-hour news cycle, we are continually bombarded by information: sound bytes, financial data, news images, and plain old chit-chat from friends, family, and clients. Unfortunatley, much of what we are bombarded with is negative. Politicians complain about the other political party, economists and pundits drone on about the “worst economy in dacades”, friends/family/clients complain about one thing or another.

Yet, in the face of all this, it is important that we remain positive and upbeat. It is challenging, because we all have, or know someone who has, to overcome difficult circumstances. Brian Tracy, the Self-Help author, advises us to avoid the bombardment of negative information. We must stay positive by being positive; and surround ourselves with positive people. According to Mr. Tracy, the most powerful influence n your attitude is what you say to yourself and believe. Personally, I have found this “Self Talk” to be a great first step because it is not dependent on someone or something else; I have complete control over my thoughts and attitudes. Besides, it simply takes too much time and energy to always debate people with a negative outlook. Many people engage in physical activity to stay focused on what’s important; others attend religious services, read or do some combination of the above. I would like to close with a quote from Abraham Lincoln “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be”

What works for you?

Thanks for stopping by.

May you be Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.