Monday, August 14, 2006

Real Estate Lessons

I've learned a little about real estate in the last month. This is the second time we've sold a house, but the first time was twelve years ago and I'm a little fuzzy on the particulars. Other than remembering that we had over 50 showings.

I've learned that houses sell best in June. There's a big drop off in September when the kids go back to school. December is pretty dead. (I already knew that, but I sold the last house in December.)

I have read lots of articles about 'staging' the house. So my house is staged. The rugs on the first floor have been rolled up, professionally cleaned and stored, exposing the hardwood, which is in great shape because it was protected by area rugs. We've painted the master bath and the laundry room, replaced all the carpet upstairs, boxed up all the knicknacks, thrown out some old chairs and an old couch...the place has a bit of an echo, but it looks 'spacious' and 'uncluttered.' This weekend we cleaned all the windows. My realtor keeps saying the house is 'light and airy'. This is real estate speak for 'you can see out the windows and the walls aren't navy and burgundy.'

Living in a house that's for sale is a little like living in a museum of your life. An idealized version, so to speak. For example, in order to make sure that the bathrooms look 'crisp' (that's a term from staging) we never actually use the towels in the bathroom. Those are the 'for show' towels. We use towels and then every evening we wash them.

When someone is coming to look at the house, I bake cookies. Then when they walk in, the house smells like cookies. Realtors say buyers are 'buying a home, not a house.' Cookies are 'homey.' Some people put a little vanilla in the microwave. Some people use a bread machine. Because I think this is a real tease, I put some of the cookies out on a plate for people looking at the house.

Tomorrow, my real estate agent (who I think is doing a very good job, by the way) is having a broker's open house. I will be gone, with the dogs, from 11:30 to 3:00. It's hard to figure out where to take a couple of dogs for three hours, but luckily, Twinsburg has a dog park. It's fenced in so you can let the dogs run. I'll take my folding chair and an advance copy of Paul Park's The White Tyger (HAH!) and sit in the park for a couple of hours. If it gets too hot, we'll all pile back in the car and go to a drive thru. Smith really understands the concept of drive thrus. They are among her favorite things in the world. Usually because of the french fries.

Tomorrow is Day 4 on the market. I imagine that in a month I'll be unlivable.


Blogger David Moles said...

And I haven't even got my hands on The Tourmaline yet! Maureen, you suck.

August 15, 2006 4:07 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

David, it's just because I am sooooo cool. (It's really good. Of course.)

August 15, 2006 8:55 AM  
Blogger Beth Adele said...

I would come tour your house on the pretense of being interested just to get the cookies. :)

August 15, 2006 9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is only fair that you share the cookies after they smell them. Besides maybe they will think they will cook as well as you do if they are in that kitchen.

August 17, 2006 11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last post was me.


August 17, 2006 11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tips for Being a Successful Landlord

In today’s apartment rental market there are several things that are “must do’s” for becoming a successful landlord. The reason you’re playing the real estate rental game is to have the check in your mailbox on the first of the month, right? Here are a few tips that can help you to achieve this with as little aggravation and frustration possible.

First and foremost is finding the right tenant to rent your apartment, house or other rental. This is the most important ingredient in the recipe. Checking the prospective tenant’s credit history to make sure they are paying their bills is one of the best ways you can screen. A tenant that pays their bills on time most likely will send you their rent on time. Establish a clear system on collecting rent, handling complaints from the tenant and how you will contact them if you need to gain access to the apartment.

Secondly, get all the important terms of the tenancy in writing. You have the option to have a basic rental agreement or draw up a formal lease. Whichever you decide, the important thing is to document the terms that you and the tenant agreed to. Clarify who is paying the utilities, the rental price and any other agreements made between you and your tenant.

It’s a good idea to stay on top of the repair and maintenance needs of your property. When you are notified of something that is broken or not working, repair it as soon as possible to prevent further damages. You may also lawfully enable the tenant to withhold rent, sue for injuries caused by defective conditions or move out without notice.

On a similar topic make sure you are carrying enough property and liability insurance to cover yourself in any situation. A well designed insurance program can protect your rental property from losses caused by everything from fire and storms to burglary, vandalism, and personal injury lawsuits.

I hope that this has been helpful to you. Just remember, as long as you follow these simple tips you will be on your way to a happy and fulfilling landlord future. Best of luck!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eric Goldstein, associated with which Conveniently Connects All People with All Spaces in All Places, has been dedicated to the real estate rental market for over 8 years. He has assisted over 25,000 landlords with their renting needs. Any questions about renting apartments, houses or other rentals feel free to visit or email him at

September 06, 2006 5:22 PM  
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March 24, 2009 2:10 AM  

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