DeClutter Your Home before Listing

4 Steps To Declutter Your House Before You List It

There are many steps in properly preparing your home for market.  Repairing lights and fixtures, considering curbside appeal, painting and refreshing surfaces, upgrading areas that have high-appeal to buyers, and more.  But all these steps can be for naught if you don’t first consider the challenge of clutter that occurs as we live in spaces over time.

Clutter is one of those things that literally creeps up on you and your space.  Over time, our spaces can become cluttered with unnecessary items, surplus souvenirs, odd gifts, and other items.  Starting your quest to declutter your space will serve both a vital need for presentation when showing the property to potential buyers and will help organize and clear out items before you start packing!

Step 1:  Set Reasonable Goals

The thought of decluttering your entire house can easily be overwhelming.  The first step to diving into the process of decluttering is to trim back your project into manageable mini-projects.  Take on a closet, one area of a room, or a set of cabinets.  Making your daily goals manageable will allow you to feel success and progress, sparking further motivation to keep going!

Once you have your mindset in place, enact a plan that’s easy to follow (see below) and always focus forward.  If you take these simple steps, you are well on your way to creating an environment that is welcoming to potential buyers, and one in which your day-to-day life until sale is less stressful.

Step 2:  Follow Four Simple Rules

Decluttering should be a simple mental process and if you know the rules up front, it’s easier to make decisions and not get side tracked.  Here are four rules to help you sift through items efficiently.

  1. Decide quickly: Don’t dwell on an item for too long.  See the five key categories of decluttering below.
  2. Handle items once: Try not to second guess yourself.  Your first instinct is usually right in these kinds of decisions.
  3. Set limits: Before you begin, decide how many of a type of item is really needed and stick to that rule.
  4. Recognize trash: If you haven’t used it, can’t see how anyone else would buy it, and can’t find a clear purpose to own it…you are likely dealing with something just as easily trashed.

Step 3:  Divide Items Into Five Easy Categories

Each item in your home should quickly fit into one of these categories.  To ease the process further, label boxes or containers with these category labels and literally toss items into their place as you work through a section of your house.

  1. Donate
  2. Sell
  3. Pass on: consider having a stack of post-it notes nearby during sorting and attaching a note with where you will pass on each item as you work through
  4. Trash
  5. Keep: to make it in this category, the item must be something to which you reply “yes” to three questions:  Do you use it?, need it?, love it?

If you get stuck, give yourself a little grace and create a “Maybe Box.”  Allow yourself to place items here about which you are truly torn.  Label the box with a date and after a few months, revisit the box and see what hasn’t been needed, wanted, or missed.

Step 4:  Follow Through

Make sure that your plan includes steps to take those categorized items and to take the appropriate actions.  For example:

  • Empty the trash box regularly to prevent second-guessing
  • Place donation boxes in your car
  • Create bags for each “Pass On” recipient

Need more insight and guidance?  Consider one of my favorite books on decluttering spaces, with tips and techniques for just about any situation!  It’s called “1001 Timely Tips for Clutter Control” .

Ready to Sell Your Home?

Seeking more valuable advice for how to maximize your real estate experience? Give me a call and let’s get started! Just call 336-575-7249 and ask for Ellen Dudley, your realtor with over 25 years of real estate experience.


Posted on December 17, 2018 at 8:07 pm
Ellen Dudley | Posted in Blog |

Closing dates for Business 40 in Winston Salem

On Nov. 11, the following bridges will be closed: Fourth Street (which should open in Jan. 2019), Broad Street (which should open early spring 2019), Liberty Street, Main Street, Church Street and the Strollway pedestrian bridge. The following bridges will be OPEN: Cherry Street, Marshall Street, Brookstown Ave and the Green Street pedestrian bridge. When the first batch of bridges are complete, they will open and then the second batch will close.  More to come when I can scan the map.

 

http://Closing dates for Business 40

https://www.journalnow.com/news/columnists/scott_se\xton/sexton-long-dreaded-day-of-traffic-snarls-is-nigh-so/article_2de5ac11-9eac-5dbc-935a-a7cc066c11fd.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share&fbclid=IwAR1D6AgxNN8qwuY0I6hMF4FVNtg2T_NDxYpnSL19rUbwgxHwG870bxfG4m0


Posted on December 6, 2018 at 8:41 pm
Ellen Dudley | Posted in Blog | Tagged ,

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

The holidays are a time for celebration and community.  Gatherings filled with laughter and love, memories and special recipes.  But bringing together our families and preparing large meals can expose our homes to dangers of fire and safety like no other time of the year.  With an average of 455 daily fires, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association.  We also have general home safety matters that can impact a great time with family and friends.  As we enter the holiday season, a few easy steps and precautions can get you and your home ready for a safe Thanksgiving.

Did You Know?

Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment.  It is second to Christmas and Christmas Eve with four times as many cooking fires as any typical day of the year.  In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to approximately 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving day (source: www.nfpa.org).  It’s easy to get distracted or try to save time by setting timers to bake while we are away, but these kinds of small changes in our habits can lead to fires.

Tips to Stay Safe While Cooking

There are some simple steps you can take to ensure that you and your family are safe during the cooking festivities this Thanksgiving season.  Use these tips to get started and stay safe:

  • Don’t leave cooking unattended. Unattended cooking fires are by far the leading cause of danger.
  • Check your cooking equipment and don’t overload electrical circuits. Cooking equipment was involved in nearly half of all reported home fires in recent years.
  • Create safe spaces for children that keep them at least 3 feet away from stoves. Remember, cooking turkey and pies and other holiday treats keeps your stove on longer and at higher temperatures than most other days of the year. Special precautions to keep children safe and occupied away from the cooking is a simple safety step.
  • Give careful attention to electrical cords from mixers, coffee makers, electric knives, plate warmers, and other equipment to make sure they are stowed safely and not dangling where movement could knock them off counters.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters locked in a high cabinet and only light candles with adults present at all times. Candle wax and flames can easily catch tablecloths, napkins, and other flammable surfaces on fire with little warning.
  • Finally, make sure to test your smoke alarms before you start cooking, simply push the test button and make sure the alarm chirps as needed, just in case a fire does occur.

Other Ways to Keep Your Home Safe

Cooking poses one real set of dangers, but holidays also open our homes up to other dangers, sometimes without us even realizing our actions are increasing our risks.  Here are a few additional tips to help keep your home and guests safe this holiday season:

  • Keep exterior doors locked at all times. It can be tempting to leave a key or door unlocked for the arrival of out of town guests, but thieves know the tricks and can easily gain entry in this manner.  Instead, consider installing code-driven locks so that you can share a code with guests or arrange to have a neighbor hold onto a key for easy transfer when guests arrive.
  • Plan for packages and keep them inside. With the advent of Amazon and other delivery services, it is more common to see boxes and items left on front porches or near doorways.  If you are receiving a package, plan on having a neighbor keep an eye out so that your package can be taken indoors efficiently or consider having packages delivered to your place of work instead of your home.  Packages on porches are tempting for those with ill intent and monitoring cameras and other devices to help ensure your porches are safe can add to your stress.
  • Install motion-detection lighting and regularly keep exterior lights on. With the time change and darker hours earlier, it is easy for those with bad intentions to feel safer under the cloak of darkness.  Disturb their sense of safety, and they will look for another home to target.  Lighting is the easiest way to bring quick attention to anyone who comes on your porches or in your yard.  Make your porch and yard a place that feels like they would be seen and thieves will move on.

Of course, keeping your home safe is about so much more than just fire prevention and locked doors.  Your home is a place of memories and safety, family, and friends.  And no one understands how to turn a house into a home better than a realtor like me.  For nearly 30 years I’ve been helping folks just like you to find, negotiate, stage, and settle into their new houses… that quickly become their homes.  Stay safe this Thanksgiving and give me a call at 336-575-7249 when you are ready to buy your next home.

Give me a call when I can help you!!  Ellen Dudley, RE/MAX Preferred Properties, 336-575-7249


Posted on November 15, 2018 at 1:55 am
Ellen Dudley | Posted in Blog | Tagged

Smiling through your Closing

Did you know that humor has proven therapeutic effects? That’s right, finding reasons to smile and laugh, even in stressful situations, has been proven to be healthy. And one of the most stressful processes that many folks enter involves buying or selling real estate.

It seems there is a month to celebrate just about any type of awareness you could imagine. I’m not sure the exact procedure that it takes to create an “official” awareness campaign, but my recent discovery that April is Humor Awareness Month tickled my funny bone and led me to this blog focused on the more humorous side of real estate.

So, take a few moments to chuckle a little bit and take a deep breath, your real estate challenges could truly be more adventurous. And partnering with a real estate agent with deep experience can make all the difference in keeping humor on your side. I’ve been buying and selling real estate for over 25 years, learning the industry and having a few laughs along the way. Here are three steps that will help you keep things in perspective and make you chuckle as they highlight how great agents make this a fantastic industry.

Step One: It’s All in the Marketing

A great agent knows how to position your property in the most positive light to attract traffic and interested buyers. The following story may be clever, but partnering with an agent with experience will help you find a new perspective on your circumstances. Experience in marketing and buyer desires makes all the difference!

A banker, an accountant and a real estate agent all get made homeless and decide to live under bridge. The banker finds a cardboard box and moves into it. The accountant finds a cardboard box and puts it next to the accountant and crawls into it. The real estate agent finds a cardboard box and puts it on top of the other banker and accountants cardboard boxes. Then slaps a poster reading on it, “Penthouse available in new development for professionals.”

Step Two: Optimism Makes a Difference

It can be easy to feel discouraged during the staging, selling, and searching process. There are a lot of times when the number of requests can seem overwhelming. A great agent will help to inject optimism back into your world when things get busy with showings or staging, inspections or speed bumps.

Two real estate agents decided to start a new career to sell shoes. The two real estate agents go to Africa to open up new markets. Three days after arriving, one real estate agent said, “I’m returning on the next flight. Can’t sell shoes here. Everybody goes barefoot.” At the same time the other real estate agent sent an email to the factory, telling “The prospects are unlimited. Nobody wears shoes here!”

(source: activerain.com: 10 awesome real estate jokes)

Step Three: Appearances Matter

There is an old saying that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. There’s another that proclaims that true beauty is on the inside. These surely apply to our human encounters, but when it comes to your property, appearances matter quite a bit to buyers. Staging, maintenance, and curb appeal all factor strongly into not only a buyer’s consideration, but also how much they value the property when it comes time to make an offer. Good agents help you to decipher which items need attention, and which can wait until later. An experienced professional also has the insights to know where to spend dollars and time. This knowledge comes with years of real estate experience. For now, take a minute to smile at this joke.

An older gentleman is sitting in a bar when a beautiful young woman walks up to him and whispers in his ear, “I’ll do anything you want for 50 bucks.” He immediately puts his drink down and begins frantically going through his pockets. He pulls out a crumbled up ten, two five’s, a twenty and ten ones. He thrusts the wadded up money into the woman’s hand and says, “Here… paint my house.”

Enjoy the Journey

Craving a bit more humor to round out your month? Check out The Lighter Side of Real Estate for fun real estate related stories and jokes. And remember, an experienced agent can keep you laughing when the unexpected happens during sale and purchase. A great agent provides peace of mind that lets you relax, knowing the details are taken care of and that everything is going to work out with your best interests in mind.

Call me for help with finding a maintenance free home and going through the process with a smile. I look forward to hearing from you soon!


Posted on October 19, 2018 at 8:11 pm
Ellen Dudley | Posted in Blog |

Hire a stager or not? Benefits

Living Room with Gas Fireplace

You won’t believe what it does to assist you with your home sale!!  Check out the possibilities!!  Just make sure you are beware of the good and bad ones!!

A lot of real estate agents are looking for a good, reliable home stager that can magically transform their listings into the price point their seller is hoping to achieve.

 

Understanding and questioning about Home Staging in Triad NC


Posted on September 17, 2018 at 7:35 pm
Ellen Dudley | Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , ,

Smiling Through Your Real Estate Sale

Take a few moments to chuckle a little bit and take a deep breath, your real estate challenges could truly be more adventurous. And partnering with a real estate agent with deep experience can make all the difference in keeping humor on your side. I’ve been buying and selling real estate for over 25 years, learning the industry and having a few laughs along the way. Here are three steps that will help you keep things in perspective and make you chuckle as they highlight how great agents make this a fantastic industry…


Posted on August 11, 2018 at 4:06 pm
Ellen Dudley | Posted in Blog | Tagged

Adventures in Cycling in Winston Salem Area

As the weather continues to get warmer and the days are longer, enthusiasts and newcomers alike have plenty of opportunities around the Winston-Salem region to hop on a bicycle for a casual ride or power-packed loop that would leave any cyclist’s legs tired and satisfied. Whether you want a slow paced experience or something a bit faster, our area has a robust cycling culture that receives support from the City, corporations, clubs, and the public. Here are just a few of the ways you can explore our area via cycle.

City of Winston-Salem Parks & Trails

cityofws.org

Located across the city parks, greenways, roadways, and trails, opportunities to navigate Winston-Salem by bicycle abound. See the website for special instructions on how you can even take your bike on City buses between legs of a longer trip. Once you learn the trails and rules of the road, you may find that you want to bike to work or events or even pack a picnic and bike to a park with friends. Check back at the link above regularly to see the initiatives to expand bike paths and rights of way.

Piedmont Flyers Cycling Club

piedmontflyers.wildapricot.org

For those looking for fellowship and group rides, the Piedmont Flyers Cycling Club offers plenty of pick-up opportunities for seasoned and training cyclists to ride together along various loops and routes in Forsyth County and the surrounding regions. Most rides leave from Lewisville Town Square, with cyclists arriving early to get set up and ready to ride. Before deciding to link up with the group, be sure to visit the link above and read the rules of the road and special preparation recommendations for joining the rides. Rides are at least every Tuesday/Thursday (weather permitting), but the club also has special events and discussion boards for smaller groups to meet and ride together as desired. There are fees associated with membership and details are available on the website.

Zagster and the National Cycling Center Bike Share Program

bike.zagster.com

If you don’t have a bike, but want to experience the thrill of navigating city streets on two wheels, then the recently added Zagster service may be for you. Zagster has 8 strategically placed docking stations throughout the Winston-Salem area, offering ride options for adventure and utility uses. Fees are reasonable at around $3 per hour. You are limited to a maximum of a 24 hour rental at any one block of time, so you can’t keep a bike for days without additional fees, but with docking stations across the city, checking in is an easy step. Zagster is supported by some of the areas biggest businesses which all believe that healthier opportunities for transport and convenience should abound in our city.

Coming Soon: CycleBar in Downtown Winston-Salem

winstonsalem.cyclebar.com

For those looking for the pure fitness benefits of cycling, without the added factors of navigating roads and trails, CycleBar has recently announced plans to bring a cycling studio to the downtown Winston-Salem area. The initial facility will feature around 50 bikes for any one class and will offer all the regular amenities of a full service gym in the first floor of a loft-style building with multi-services. Pricing will be set closer to the open date, but will be on par with boutique and private-level personal training. Keep an eye on local news sources for anticipated opening dates as the franchise plans to offer around 2500 hours of free cycling to raise awareness in their first few months of operations.

Until then, consider other fitness facilities in the region such as Gold’s Gym which offers GGX/Les Mills cycling classes and LA Fitness which offers their own style of cycling classes.

Opportunities to jump on a bicycle and experience the Winston-Salem area abound and are growing as our community continues to support cyclists and their love of riding. Once you get into the cycling culture, you’ll find a variety of people from all walks of life and interests and you’ll likely make a few new friends. Cycling is a great way to get involved in the community, get exercise, and explore at a slower pace than cars and trucks. As you get aligned and look at all our amazing region has to offer, give me a call at 336-575-7249 and let’s discuss how you can own a home near or on your favorite biking route!


Posted on June 5, 2018 at 9:19 am
Ellen Dudley | Posted in Blog | Tagged

50th Anniversary Celebration Exhibit at Reynolda House: Georgia O’Keefe

Winston-Salem is known as the City of Arts and Innovation and the current exhibit featured at Reynolda House Museum of American Art truly lives up to the name.  In honor of their 50th Anniversary and expanding presence as a premier exhibit site, the facility has a special Georgia O’Keefe collection on display through November 19, 2017.   This collection is only being displayed in three venues, and Reynolda House is the only site south of New York City.  A true treat for the mind and eyes, it’s well worth the time to visit and explore (and I’ll share a local secret below on admission!).

Georgia O’Keefe Exhibit

The exhibit goes well beyond the famous artwork and explores aspects of O’Keefe’s life that helped to shape her unique perspective and generate the immense creativity in her expressions.  One of O’Keefe’s additional expressions of her art came in her choices of clothing.  The exhibit tells the tale of her evolution through various stages of dressing, each focused on communicating a theme and feeling to those who encountered her.  This is NOT simply a display of framed artwork, and that adds to the depth of understanding and experience.

Reynolda House Museum

Nestled in the middle of Reynolda Gardens and a part of the Reynolda House itself, the Museum experience is much more than one might expect.  The house itself has a rich history in the tobacco-steeped history of Winston-Salem.  Enhance your visit by exploring the nearby trails, manicured gardens, purchasing a plant at the on-site greenhouse, or exploring the quaint shops that snake throughout Reynolda Village.  There are even several restaurants and coffee shops on site if you want to take a break and discuss all the wonders that surround you.

Location

Located at 2250 Reynolda Road in Winston-Salem, the entrance to Reynolda House could be described as out of a fairytale.  Reynolda Road is canopied with aged trees and the entrance to the estate is situated directly across from the luxurious Graylyn Estate.  Check the website below for hours and other details to prepare for your visit, including suggestions on lodging and nearby local events and restaurants.

Admission

Admission is affordable at $18 per person, but there are several ways to gain free admission.  Employees of Wake Forest University and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center can use their valid ID cards to gain admission for themselves and one guest for free at any time.  Free admission is also granted to Museum members, children 18 and under, students with valid ID, and military personnel with ID.  If you don’t fit into one of those categories, the Museum has also recently released admission cards that can be checked out from the Forsyth County Public Library for up to seven days, allowing accessibility for even more of the public!

Use this link to gain immediate access to detailed information about the exhibit, including an online peek at many of the featured pieces and special details on making your visit special.


Posted on October 26, 2017 at 4:18 pm
Ellen Dudley | Posted in Blog | Tagged ,

Dive Into Live Music in the Piedmont Triad

Science has shown that music has the power to tap into our emotions in ways that no other creative expression offers. Music is also a universal expression, seen across cultures around the world. Winston-Salem and the surrounding areas offer many opportunities for live music events, letting you experience the community power of gathering and taking in the creative expressions of artists of all types…


Posted on June 27, 2017 at 1:14 am
Ellen Dudley | Posted in Blog | Tagged

What Are the Best ROI Exterior Home Improvement Projects?

Taking on home improvements can be a fulfilling adventure, allowing you to transform spaces and looks whether you decide to sell or determine that your new space fits you once again! But if you are going to take on projects, my 20+ years of experience in real estate tell me that you’ll enjoy the project, outcome, and long-term effect of a project more if you consider the average return on investment you can anticipate. Here are a few of the best projects to consider to get you the best ROI on your exterior upgrades. It may be that you want to sell your current space and find a new home to customize into your very own…


Posted on June 12, 2017 at 5:48 pm
Ellen Dudley | Posted in Blog | Tagged , ,

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