Tuesday, April 21, 2020

5 EASY Improvements to Sell Your House (after COVID Quarantine)

The Headlines: 

Stuck in Your House?

Has it made you realize... you need a Home?  

April 2020 is the month we all spent inside.

I wrote a blog on this a few weeks ago explaining why I think this could be a good thing for families all over the world.  You can check that out HERE

But I also predict 3 other things will happen during this time of "quarantine":
  1. Agoraphobia cases (a type of anxiety disorder which can eventually lead to a fear of leaving your home - going outdoors) in the U.S. will rise.  While people will soon get the OK to go back to normal, some won't feel comfortable doing so and sadly it could impact them... for a long time.   
  2. There will be more Divorces.  The number of cases in China have already gone up.  Typically, a bad marriage won't get better in isolation.  It will end.   
  3. People will want to move.  Left in their place of residence long enough - essentially trapped - they will decide it's time for a change of scenery.  Let me explain this one a little more.
There are two kinds of residences.

One is a house.  Simply used as a place to rest your head and eat a couple meals.   Many of us currently live in a house.  Why?  Because we're too busy working.  Keeping up with kid sports.  Shopping.  Catching a movie.  Going out to dinner.  Meeting people for coffee.  Going on vacations.  All of the things that have stopped happening for now.

The other place people live is a home.  This is a place where those inside really enjoy being.  They bought it because they wanted to be there as much as their schedules would allow.  They decorate, cook, play sports in the driveway, swim in the backyard.  They have friends over.  Watch Netflix.  It's a place that they leave because they HAVE to... now that's a home.

It's my contention that after the COVID conclusion... many people will be determined to leave their House and look for a Home.  Suddenly finding a home will become a priority,

If that's you... you may be thinking about selling sooner than later.  So here's some food for thought...

5 EASY Improvements to Sell Your House 

1 - Paint Baseboards
They immediately make your house pop.   The difference is worth the time & low cost.

2 - Install new Light Fixtures/Fans  
I'll be honest, I've taken buyers into homes and they immediately are smitten with the cool chandelier/pendant.  Do you then know how many times sellers will say, "light fixture does not convey."   Really?  That was one of the reasons my buyers perked up to begin with... it won't necessarily kill a deal but a scene stealer light will sweeten it!

3 - Take DOWN Curtains
Many curtains either scream - I'm dated or are too heavy for the room.  There are definite exceptions to this rule... but not many.  If you have curtains that truly enhance the room and you don't mind parting with them, leave them up.

But consider this, if you really like them and take them down before you market the house - YOU can keep them for your next place!  See, win-win.

4 - Replace faucets
It's easier than replacing a counter top and can give that extra sparkle that buyers will notice.

5 - Change the Door Handles/Knobs
This could cost a bit of coin, depending on the quality.  But if you've got old, perhaps brass knobs - you know what I'm talking about.

Consider doing it.  It's like sporting an awesome outfit and wearing old jewelry.  Conversely, put on some fabulous new earrings, throw on an amazing bracelet and it completes the new look!  SOLD!

This is a no brainer but it warrants mentioning.  Spring cleaning is great for selling a house.  The less stuff in it, the bigger it looks.  Think closet.  Stuffed closet means you don't have enough room.  Closet with space looks bigger.

And do a deep clean.  I mean get out those Magic Eraser Sponges and clean your place up!  You'd be surprised how many people DON'T do this and it's not good.

Finally tonight, I will say one more thing.  I've said it before multiple times.  I did a blog on it HERE  but it doesn't hurt to talk about it again in this forum.  Since we're on the subject and all...

Paint all your Walls White.   This, if you really want to take it up a notch and give your house the most opportunity to SELL FAST.  Painting clearly takes a little more work and possibly time and money...  But, WHITE walls go a loooooooong way.

I know everyone has a white obsession right now.  I always have (see above Blog Post).  But the reason is bigger than that.  No doubt White makes rooms looks larger.  But even more than that, color, even the slightest bit of it... can be offensive.  Think orange accent wall or purple bedrooms.

You may love it - but that potential buyer... hates it.

If you're thinking about buying or selling and want help doing it... don't hesitate to call or email me nicole@onepickychick.com or my brokerage Posh Properties.  Until then, stay safe, healthy and busy!  You may have some work to do...

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

When Life Gives You Lemons...

The Headlines:

Since COVID-19 our entire country is stuck inside.

Are you going to panic? 


The other day my neighbor asked me if I wanted some lemons.  Her trees produced too many and she wanted to share if I was up for some.

Ahhhhh.... YES!

See, I like to "decorate" with produce.  It just brings a fresh, Spring feel to the house.  Little did I know that those lemons would come in handy.   I would not just use them for decoration.

Since the Corona Virus, aka COVID-19, came racing into our lives it's pretty clear these are  unprecedented modern times. We've heard much about past pandemics.  Like in a far off, historical way.  Including the Asian Flu, Spanish Flu, AIDS.  For the record, turns out Ebola was not a Pandemic but an epidemic since it was confined to West Africa.

With today's Medicine many of us thought this day would never come.  But it's here.  And it has a lot of us concerned, uncomfortable and downright scared.

So now the question is... how are you handling COVID-19?  What are you showing to your kids?  Who are you becoming?  Really?  Think about it.  Are you fighting for toilet paper or picking up some goods for your neighbor.  Taking or giving?  Are you praying or pouting?

Do not get me wrong.  It's bad.  Some people are affected greatly and sadly by this virus.  My cousin is one of them.  She was in the ICU in the west side of Washington State for about a week, doctors say she almost didn't make it.  She is not 75.  She's my age.  Which means a young chick.  Just kidding.  Let's leave it at - not 75.  She's now healing at home and is expected to be okay.  We continue to hope.

I'm really not trying to be some high on herself Mom who has no worries or concerns.  I know this is not good.  I am aware people are losing their jobs, struggling to make ends meet, worried for their children and their grandmothers.  I am one of them.

But I'm also choosing to see beyond all that is horrible. Stop and think: Has there ever been a time or will there ever be a time again that we will be with our families with nothing to do but be together?  In fact, quite the opposite.  When this is over - because it will be over - we're all going to have to get to work.  We'll have a lot of catching up to do.  The appointments will come back, sports will start, work will pick up.  YOU WILL GO TO THE MALL and OUT TO DINNER.

Until then, consider this - those lemons -  know what we did with them?  We made lemonade for the first time.  We made lemonade.  Something so simple.  Something we have never had the "time" to do before.  What else are we doing?  We're sleeping in.  I am writing in this blog (which I never get to do)!  We discuss, together, what we're having each night for dinner.  I've seen families walking in our neighborhood.  Never seen that before.  We hang out in the backyard, the front yard.  We watch TV shows together.  In fact, we're running out.

Any ideas?  Seriously, let me know.  What do families watch these days?

I'm even playing basketball with my son (a first).  My daughter is creating art for her room.   All of these things were not happening 2 weeks ago.  Instead, we were on a hamster wheel trying to catch up.  Never stopping.  Constantly running.

The world is a different place and while it's a change we didn't see coming it may be the 180 we needed.  I ran in to my friend at Target today.  We stayed (almost) 6 feet away and she said something I believe is true, "God is trying to get our attention."  I agree with her.  Someone (I choose to believe it's God) desperately wants to remind us to take a break, slow down and look up.  See what's right in front of you.  Appreciate what you have.  Pay attention to it.

Now... grab hold of it.

Yesterday I watched the local news.  I live in Arizona so I was watching CBS 5 and my good friend Paul Horton (we did news together years ago in WA state and then re-connected here) was doing the weather forecast FROM HIS HOME.  His two adorable children were climbing all over him and it was precious.  When will that happen again?  Maybe never.  But it's happening now.

This time will come to an end.  We will be healthier.  People will go back to work and school (thank you Jesus).  The alarm will wake us up at 5:45 again.  And then, this one moment in time, will be gone.  That brief period of your personal history when we got to be together with no strings attached, nothing to do, no where to go...  will be all over.  We'll tell our grandkids about it in story book fashion and, contrary to popular belief now, one day, we may actually long for it.

Because the bottom line is, if you stay healthy, have food (toilet paper/paper towels) as long as you have some dollars (which lawmakers are about to roll out a stimulus) if you have a roof over your head... you and your family will be ok.  You'll be fine.  Remember that.  Believe it.  Tell your kids that... they need to see and hear it.  Not from President Trump.  From you.

Finally tonight, Sunday I saw 60 minutes.  Haven't watched that show in a while either.  They had a man by the name of Neil Kashkari, the current president of the National Reserve Bank and a former Treasury official who helped get us out of the 2008 economic crash and what he said was good.  He admits this Corona Crisis will be a difficult financial situation that could get better or worse, depending on how long we stay "sick."  But he also said something we need to hold on to - a message that is so important for us to remember right now (which covers yet goes beyond the financial assessment he was speaking to)... he said: we got through the last devestating financial crisis and we will get through this one.  


And while we're waiting... make some Lemonade.
Here's to being cautious and careful, my friends, but not crazy.

Love and blessings,

To see his Neil Kashkari's full interview on 60 Minutes click HERE

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Transform Your Office


Find your STAR

Follow it.

Change what's bugging you.


Sometimes you look up and find a guiding light... it will shine brighter than you knew possible.  And make a simple dream become reality.  This is true with anything... even a room!

An office is a big deal.  This, may not occur to you since most people think about kitchens and bathrooms first.   Or if you go to someone else's building and do work this will not pertain to you.  This is for the person with the home office.  Because if you have one and use one, there's a good chance you spend most of your days in it.

Therefore, an office needs to be 2 things:  functional AND cool looking.  Promise, you'll work better in here.

Let's take the 3-2-1 approach.

Like you're blasting off, into greatness.  Below was what I had to work with.  Not much.  We had already painted this room and put in new wood floors.  So at least there was that.  Everything else was... bad.  This desk was my husbands old work desk from when he first put his home office together in let's say the ripe old year of 1998.  It had to go.  We also had the chair that we rocked our kids in for like 4 -5 years, maybe more, I'm not sure.  So... we had a clean slate.

Countdown begins...
THREE - Define It.  As I always say when decorating.. first you have to Define Your Style.  See that full explanation by clicking HERE.  Basically, you just decide: What's your style?  What do you want your home to be?  Modern-Minimalist?  Rustic-Romance?  Desert-Farm-Cottage?  Beach-Casual-Chic?  You need at least 2 to 3 words to describe what you're aiming for.  Typically this is done for an entire house but sometimes... it's just one room.  As in my case.  My house is very light and white - for which I have coined the term - Desert Cottage.  But for my office I changed it up a bit.  It's the only room painted an, obviously, different color. I wanted it to be warmer, more masculine and highly functional.

Therefore, my Defined Style here became Rustic Ranch (w/ color).  Now that I've got "Defined Style" it's time to get moving!

TWO -  Gather it.  Clear out your current room and shop for your new one.  On-line, in stores, look for what will fit your above plan.  Gather all of it up, sell it, buy it, give it away... whatever means you need.

***TIP  Get especially friendly with your tape measure - bring it everywhere with you!

I bought two desks so I could wrap around the room.  I contemplated making desks (which shouldn't be that hard) but knew my husband would never get around to that...  the key here though was making another work space and opening up the room.  The way the desks hugged the wall accomplished that as opposed to the old huge desk that took up the whole space.

What else did I gather?   I found a comfy leather (leather always screams office to me) chair to watch some TV if someone needed a break!

I looked for fun accessories like in the form of this side table.  I just love the (fake) cowhide look.  It works in so many "defined styles"!!! 

I also housed all my office pens and paperclips in jars to bring some flair while adding practicality.  I'll need those things often and they'll be easy to find now!

We put up some wood shelves (found on Etsy) held up with pipes and added a lot of boxes (Ikea).
I run my household and business out of this room.  I practically live here.  So lots has to be stored.  All those Boxes allow me to do that,  But I also wanted some extra pendants to shine, well, more light on the writing spaces.  Plus, add to the look...

 ***TIP set up pendants in already existing canned light spaces to make install easier!

Now, the super fun part...
THREE -  Set it.  Sometimes this takes a day, sometimes 4 weeks.  Depending upon how efficient your planning is... this is also where some mistakes can be made.  Like... something might not fit.  Or doesn't sit well with you.  Then it goes back.

***TIP Check the return policy before you buy,  sometimes there's a re-stocking fee or no returns at all.

If you don't take it back... it gets re-purposed.  That's what happened here...

I love this rug.  But it just didn't work at all with this room.  The room needed more texture and warmth.  And the return policy on the rug stunk.  Therefore, I had to Plan B it.  In this case, I knew if I couldn't use this rug here I could use it outside or where it ended up...

in the dining room.  This is where it belongs.  And when I'm done with it... it can head to the patio!

P.S.  Note the new large light fixture over the dining table - I happen to love that new addition too.

Finally tonight,
Getting rid of that rug made me look for what became the clear STAR of the show.  You know, whether you're choreographing a dance, putting together a company or decorating a room you have to have one STAR - to shine!  This often happens when you start a project.  An old heirloom, a special piece of art, something that just makes the place.  Then, all decorating centers around that one STAR! But sometimes, like in this case, it comes later.

When I got rid of the striped rug I found the one that belonged...  it brought everything together.  It was the STAR and it made the room sing.  The new rug also gave me some colors to play off of and add to the room... which is why I brought in the flowers and candies.

It was a perfectly well priced, colorful, low pile, large piece that my chairs rolled over while my heart "swooned"...

And the STAR takes a bow... Now blast off!

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