Category Archives: For Sellers

Tips For Staging And Selling Your Home With Kids

Tips For Staging And Selling Your Home With Kids

Getting your home ready to go on the market can be stressful. There are things to declutter, possible repairs, fresh paint, and the ability to schedule your life around showings, or even more challenging….keeping your house “show ready” with kids! I have a nice cheat sheet for parents to help them get through this process with as much help and guidance as possible. Here are some of my best tips for staging and selling your home with kids.

Prepare your kids for what it means to sell your home.  Explain the process to them so they can understand. You know your kids best. Think about it, your kids may have grown up in your home, have lots of memories in your home, and have probably made lots of friends in the neighborhood over the years. Let them know before the “for sale” sign goes up in the front yard that you are planning on selling this home and moving to a new one. Make it an exciting adventure for them.  Make them part of the “adventure” by letting them pack away toys. This allows your children to have a job and pitch in, it can make them feel helpful. I also recommend allowing your children to have some “input” on the new home to help them adjust to the change.

Make sure your real estate professional is a good fit for your family and the sale of your home.  Working with someone you like and respect is paramount.  Ask around to your trustworthy friends, one of your friends or neighbors may even be a real estate professional. Meet with a few Realtor’s before your sign a listing agreement. Do not make your decision based on whatever Realtor gives your home the highest listing price.

Selling your home with kids

Declutter, clean, and stage your home.  I typically have a special method for families selling their home with kids to get them on track for this arduous process. I help with giving specific recommendations on what has to go, if we should do any minor repairs, and how to stage the home to get top dollar. This is one of the most time consuming parts for a family with children. Children have lots of stuff and if you plan to get the best price you can fetch for your home, I recommend renting a storage unit or a pod and packing away most things to keep the home as clutter free as possible. It is difficult for prospective buyers to envision themselves in your home if there is too much stuff.  Clear out closets to make them look spacious, keep knick-knacks, photos, and toys to a minimum. Be ruthless about decluttering. Clean up the kids drawing on the fridge, save them in a special folder for the new home fridge! I always recommend keeping 3-5 of the kids favorite toys and let them pick, again so they feel like they have a place in this process.
When selling a home with kids it’s important that the rooms in your home are clearly defined as to what they are used for. For example, a bedroom that has been used as a playroom for your kids should be converted back into a bedroom or home office. “Neat and organized” should be paramount when decluttering and staging your home.
Once things are staged and rooms have been decluttered its time for a deep clean. I suggest taking the kids on play dates, to a babysitters, or family members home and get started. If you have family or good friends that live close by recruit them to help with this. Get plenty of supplies, some beer, and pizza. And don’t forget about the outside of the house as well. Cut the lawns, trim the edges, even plant a few flowers or shrubs for curb appeal. If you don’t have the time or the energy to do a big clean, hire a local cleaning company and/or landscaping company to come in and do it for you.

Styling your home for professional photos and future showings. It is down to this, for photos and showings your home needs to look GREAT! Some Realtors hire a professional stylist for a home, depending on the price point this may or may not be necessary. Even a modest home can benefit greatly from styling especially for photography. Most prospective buyers will look at homes online, so your home needs to look appealing in the photos. There is nothing worse than the dreaded wide angle lens distortion pictures that are absurd and unflattering. I have a lot of experience with styling a home so I often do this with my clients approval.  A good Realtor will take care of professional photos and styling needs for you. Also make sure you discuss with your Realtor if it makes sense to plan open houses when marketing your home. When you have children it may not be something you want but it’s good to weigh the pros and cons.

Get ready for showings! Have a plan! Sometimes you only get minimum notice of three or four hours before a showing. It may not seem like enough time to prepare a home for showings. You need to remember that a seller who is not flexible with showings greatly reduces the chances their home will sell. Make sure you clean floors and counters, clean up all toys, clean up all clothing, check underneath dressers and beds for your kids belongings, Make sure there are no foul odors present in your home and make all beds. Don’t forget, It’s also important that if you have kids that you don’t neglect the outdoor living areas. Before you leave for a showing, do a quick check outside around your home and make sure there aren’t toys laying scattered throughout your yard. The exterior of your home is the first thing a buyer will see.
Last but not least, have a plan for an activity during the showing. Go to the library, go to the grocer, if it’s nice take the kids to a park, or possibly go see a movie if the time works and your kids are old enough.
Selling a home with kids can be a tad stressful. A professional Realtor can take a lot of the stress out of the process of selling your home with kids by giving guidance, being a sounding board, and providing outstanding resources and marketing that is geared towards keeping your kids in mind. Keep things fun, be patient, and be realistic. A little planning and help will make the process seem easier. No matter if you are selling your first home or your 10th, selling a home with kids requires a little extra planning.
If you are considering selling your home, contact Martin Colver 608-335-8376 for a complimentary home assessment.

Pin It

5 Reasons Your Home Isn’t Selling

The Madison housing market has been very good for sellers in 2016. Insanely good. It appears to be a true sellers market. There is not enough inventory for the amount of people out there looking to buy a home (see my article  to learn what “inventory”  means). In this type of market everyone expects that their home will sell right away because the market is “hot”.  That is not always the case.   What if your home isn’t selling?

Here are 5 reasons your home isn’t selling:

1.PRICING! You priced your house too high. I would say without question that pricing a house too high is the #1 reason why your house may not be selling. Sellers often have an emotional attachment to their home and sometimes do not look at things objectively. Just because you need to get a certain price for your home doesn’t mean that is what it is worth. Quite honestly, your home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay.  That is sometimes hard for a seller to hear. If you haven’t had many showings or inquiries in the first 30 days on the market, this could be a sign that your home is priced too high. I like to make sure I know a neighborhood really well and help my clients with determining the best price that the house will sell. A knowledgeable listing agent will have many resources and tools to assist in getting you the best price possible.  At the end of the day the seller has the final say on the price.
2. You’re not marketing your house correctly. Is your home listed on the MLS? Do you have have social media buzz on your home and neighborhood? Do you have a “For Sale” sign in front of your home? Do you have absolutely stunning photographs of your home that stand out online? Does your Realtor have connections and buyers to bring to the table? When I list a home I have a full detailed marketing plan that is tailored to my clients needs and their home.
3. Your house has too much, “you” in it. Let’s face it, our homes are an extension of ourselves. We make our homes to reflect our personalities, put pictures up of people we love, and collect lots of things over our time. If a potential buyer cannot see themselves in the home as “their home” then most likely they will move on to a house that does. I know it sounds cruel but we all don’t have the same tastes. Keeping things neutral, pictures and personal items to a minimal, and a warm and welcoming staging strategy really help.
4. You are not flexible. It’s not easy-peasy selling a home if you want top dollar and a quick sale. You have to keep your home clean, you have to be willing to accommodate showings, open houses, etc… If no one can get in to see the house you wont sell it.
5. You don’t have a professional kick-ass Realtor by your side! Yes, you need a realtor if you want to sell your home for the best price. When I see people try to sell a home on their own, I often see them walk away with a lot less than what could have been. You need an experienced, reasonably competent Realtor.  I’m not just saying that because I list homes and want your business. I am saying that because I believe it!  Would you decide to perform your own surgery if you needed one to save money? Would you undergo a serious renovation without a professional opinion? Yes, you can sell your home on your own and save money but many studies have proven that Realtors get top dollar and sell homes quickly without giving you the headaches of contracts or mistakes that could be a legal nightmare for you.

If you are currently selling your home without Realtor representation and your home isn’t selling, contact me with any questions at 608-335-8798 or email at


Pin It

Buying and Selling for 2015 Real Estate Market

House GraphBuying and Selling for 2015 Real Estate market is poised to be fast paced and full of action this year as median sale prices of U.S single – family homes and condos reached their highest levels since September 2008 this last October.  Listing season is knocking at our door and its time to get prepared for what opportunities await you if you are interested in buying or selling your home this season!

The bad news is that markets across the country are expected to slow to a home value growth of approximately 3 percent per year. This is down from the 6 percent home value growth per year we have been seeing recently. The good news is that median sale price of homes and condos are up, so for the majority of you looking to sell you are likely to do well listing your home in the present market.

With a market that is stabilizing and becoming much more balanced than what it has been for some time now buyers have something to look forward to as well.  A balanced market means that buyers who enter the market can expect to get a home for a fair market price (and sometimes better) as there will be more inventory to choose from.

Mortgage rates are down nearly 0.7% from this time last year according to a recent article at This is great news for those of you who would like to sell your current home and acquire that home you’ve been dreaming about. You know the one with amenities like a screened in patio with an attached deck, a lower level walk-out, or larger lot with mature trees, maybe even a lakefront home!

With rates where they are now, first time home buyers can enjoy finally becoming a home owner and still meet their budgetary needs. For those who qualify, the Federal Housing Administration has lowered many of the associated costs regarding the mortgages they support. For example the premiums for FHA mortgage insurance are to be cut from 1.35% of a loan’s value to around 0.85%!

As you can see 2015 is primed and ready to please both seller and buyer alike. If you are looking to buy or sell a home remember that I am here to help. Click the big green button under “Questions? Ask me, I have answers” to contact me by phone or email.

Lets get started on the next chapter of your life today!

Pin It

Home Improvement Projects to Avoid

If you are thinking about selling your home this year, there are some home improvement projects to avoid.  I say this because they don’t add to the re-sale value of your home. I think home improvement projects can be a fun part of owning a home but do your homework.

Do it yourself, yes or no?
Do it yourself, yes or no?

First, map out a plan and a budget. Would you hire a professional or accumulate a little more sweat equity with “Do It Yourself” (DIY)?  There are pro’s and con’s to each option.  Hiring a contractor to complete a home improvement project is certainly going to cost more money than a DIY project.  The quality of work in most cases will be better than a DIY project. Make sure when you’re selecting a contractor you know they are reputable and you know they can perform the project to the level you’re expecting. Ask for testimonials from their existing clients.  My clients love that I have reliable and fantastic resources to help them. A good Realtor will always have an arsenal of resources.

DIY home improvements are normally more cost effective than hiring a professional.  Consider before tackling a DIY project whether or not you can complete the work and complete it properly.  Many potential home buyers can see sub-par job done from a mile away.  The last thing you want when selling your home is potential buyers thinking they are walking through the home of DIYer that cuts corners when doing improvements.

So, back to the question of which home improvement projects should you avoid if you plan to sell your home?

  • High end gourmet kitchens. I always say kitchens and bathrooms
    Gourmet Kitchen
    Gourmet Kitchen

    sell homes. There is no doubting that. However, depending on the level of a kitchen remodel, it can cost anywhere from a couple thousand dollars up to $50,000+.  Certainly a kitchen with custom cabinets, high end granite counter tops, expensive flooring, and high end appliances will “WOW” a potential buyer but it can also break your bank.  The cost of a high-end gourmet kitchen is the primary reason to avoid this home improvement project when considering resale value. If you plan on moving in a year or two, do not spend $50,000 on a kitchen remodel because you will not get it back nearly that amount of money back from resale.  Don’t completely avoid improving the kitchen though.  Instead of a high-end gourmet kitchen, here are some other kitchen improvements that can be made for less and still have a positive impact on resale value.  Updating light fixtures,  fresh neutral paint, resurfacing cabinets,  and possibly updating counter tops.

  • 3 season sun-room.  The cost of a sun room can be very high.  Of course it can be done cheaply, but you get what you pay for.  A top of the line sun room will cost in the ballpark of $30,000-$50,000, depending on size, amenities, and other factors.
    3 Season Sunroom

    The cost of an added sun room is usually not able to be recouped in a short period of time.  First of all, most sun rooms are unheated space, so they cannot be added to the total square footage of a home.  Certainly if it was to be added to the square footage of a home, it would have a much larger impact on the homes value.  There are certain additions that can be more beneficial like converting attic space into legal living space or converting an unfinished basement into legal living space.

  • Garage Addition. There are some potential buyers who will not look at a home that doesn’t have a garage. There are others who could care less about having a garage.  If you don’t have a garage, adding one is something that you should avoid when considering resale value.  The cost to build a garage will vary from contractor to contractor, however, it’s likely to fall between $20,000-$40,000. Let’s say for example it costs $20,000 to build a stand alone one car garage.  The addition of the one car garage, in most cases, is not going to add $20,000 in value of the home.  It’s possible it could add an additional $5,000-$10,000, but not $20,000.
  • Over personalized finishes.  One of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing a home improvement project and basing it on the resale value of your home is how to make it appeal to the masses.  While you may think it’s a great idea to install a floor with a bunch of pennies, the majority of buyers may think it is horrific. This would be a classic example of over personalizing during a home improvement and one that you should avoid.

Every homeowners situation is unique.  There are different reasons why one home owner may think a home improvement project is the best idea ever and why another may think it is the absolute worse. If you are unsure what a home improvement project that isn’t listed above will do to the value of your home, it’s suggested you consult with your local real estate professional.  Top real estate agents should be able to advise you on whether or not the project you’re thinking of completing is a good idea or if you should avoid it when considering resale value. If you don’t know a local Realtor, call or email me. I will be more than happy to help you!




Pin It