Mudrooms: Should You Stage One in Your Listing?


By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Given the harsh winter across the country this year, more home buyers may have added a mudroom to their wish-lists. Could staging one in your listing win over more buyers’ hearts?

The home owner may already have the perfect space carved out for one. If that’s the case, all you may need to do is bring in a bench and add some hooks or cubbies for extra storage.

The mudroom is a place to transition from the outside to the inside. The idea is to create an organized place for hanging coats and bags, and removing those muddy shoes or organizing the children’s items as soon as you step in the door — and so they’ll be easy to grab when you’re ready to step back out the door too.

As such, the location of the mudroom needs to make sense if you stage one. Mudrooms need to be close to an exterior door or the garage. Otherwise, the purpose is defeated if you have to track your rain boots and wet umbrellas across the house.

Here are some simple staging touches if adding a mudroom — or at least a few characteristics of one — to your listings.


Add some cubbies for extra storage. This can be perfect spot to store shoes, kids’ toys, or all of that ever-growing winter garb.


Offer up a bench where home owners can sit down and remove those dirty shoes, instead of trying to balance on one foot to do it.

Photo credit: Ryan Dressel, Stage Right Design Inc.,




Offer up an easy wipe-off mat or dress it up a bit by trying out this idea of using a tray filled of rocks to store those muddy boots near a door.


Add some hooks for hanging coats or book bags. If the home doesn’t have an entryway closet, your buyers may never miss it.


A mudroom can get dirty with all those outdoor items heading in, but that doesn’t mean it should be coated in mud. Keep it clean, organized, and functional for quick drop-offs as you head into the house.


The mudroom needs staged too. Don’t leave it completely empty or too cluttered that it doesn’t show off its function. Offer just enough touches to paint the picture and make buyers go “wow, that would be a nice space to have!”

Source -

Can You Squeeze an Outdoor Retreat onto a Small Lot?


By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Builders increasingly are squeezing large, luxurious homes on smaller lots, at a time when home owners and home buyers say they crave outdoor retreats.

While buyers say they want outdoor space, they also are motivated by the perk of less lawn maintenance, which smaller lots offer. Also, settling for a smaller lot size may mean more space that can be dedicated to the inside of a home or getting a new home in an urban or historic area.

Whatever the reason, home owners are finding they can still make use of their small lot size and carve out plenty of luxury for dining, relaxing, or creating an oasis.

Take a look at these photos pulled from the remodeling website to get inspiration of how small lots can be used in big ways.

1. Peaceful dining space

2. Squeezing in a pool.

3. Lounging spot.

4. Perfect for entertaining

5. Growing space

6. Kid-friendly

7. Back seat perspective


Source -

Not Using e-Signatures? Here’s Why You Should

Andrew Janso

Andrew Janos

By Andrew Janos

The number of tech savvy clients is increasing every day with the help of the Internet and smartphones. Information is at the consumer’s fingertips, which is why the transfer of documents for signature and information should be just as easy. DocuSign recently purchased Cartavi’s transaction management system and dubbed it DocuSign Transaction Rooms. As a real estate practitioner, you will be able to seamlessly and securely share documents with every party of the transaction (check out deals specifically for REALTORS®). Transaction Rooms can also link to Dropbox and Google Drive, killing fewer tress and storing files in the cloud for access anywhere.

The trend is easily visible among consumers who are becoming more eco-conscious, and the DocuSign suite allows agents to go over contracts and other documents on their iPad or computer. This makes becoming a paperless agent easy. Clients can also read the paperwork at their leisure (within reasonable time constraints of course (insert frantic multiple offer situation here)) and ask questions so that they fully understand the process. It also assists for speedy offers if there is interest from multiple parties on a property. Offers can be put together in a fraction of the time, giving your clients an edge when they are pursuing their dream home.

Currently, DocuSign and DocuSign Transaction Rooms accounts can be linked together so that completed documents can be shared and distributed across each platform. With the redesign of DocuSign’s user interface, something tells me they will integrate in the future to form one place for storage, signature, and sharing/distributing.

The practice of using e-signatures will help clean up your company’s file management. Each individual agent can share their transactions with a master account to allow for all necessary documents to be saved in the company’s filing system. This helps transaction coordinators who often receive countless e-mails with files that are not named correctly, which ensues confusion in the workplace and/or missing documents in the file.

Ever get caught in a deal on vacation or in a seminar without a computer? Have no fear, the virtual office is here – and with its help, you can work from anywhere. Spring may be over, but the time to clean and streamline your business never is.

Andrew Janon is a vice president and salesperson with U S Spaces in Philadelphia. Connect with Andrew at

Source -

‘Coming Soon’ Listings: The Only Question You Need to Ask

Sam DeBord

Sam DeBord

By Sam DeBord

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the propriety of pre-marketing listings. Promoting a “coming soon” listing on Zillow has been widely debated.

I’ll attempt to make the discussion for a REALTOR® as simple as possible. Ask yourself one single question, and you’ll know how to deal with this issue.

If you attempt to sell your client’s listing during a “coming soon” time period on an Internet portal that receives less than 20 percent of all real estate Internet traffic, but not advertise it simultaneously on the MLS and other websites (with delayed showing instructions if necessary): “What specific benefit are you telling your sellers they will receive by skipping the exposure to agents on the MLS, and buyers on agent, broker, and other portal websites?”

I’ve asked this question repeatedly to real estate professionals this week and have yet to receive a response.  If we, as real estate professionals don’t have an answer as to why it is in our clients’ best interests, it will be assumed that we’re doing it to benefit ourselves.

Sam DeBord is a state director for Washington REALTORS®, and managing broker with Coldwell Banker Danforth. Connect with his team, Seattle Homes Group, at and

Source -

How Staging Landed the Most Unexpected Buyer


By Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

My recent clients, Leta and Carl, spent over 20 years in their Hamden, Conn., home. For years they contemplated selling but delayed — hoping someday one of their daughters would want to raise their own family in the home. However, neither of their daughters had an interest in the property. While it is a beautiful home with more than 2,800 square feet of open living space, it was in need of some updating.

Their daughters are like many of today’s younger home buyers, who make up the largest groups of today’s consumers. Indeed, Millennials — the generation under the age of 33 and slightly older Generation X — represent more than 60 percent of today’s home buyers, according to a recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Many of these younger buyers want an already updated home, but with more than 75 percent of the homes in New England built before 1990 that poses a challenge for today’s older sellers, many who likely last updated their home’s decor 10-20 years ago. Older, outdated homes may give buyers a lot of reasons to cross the property off their list.

According to real estate pro Megan Stilwell Posner of Julia B Fee, who we recently worked with on her Irvington, N.Y., listing, today’s younger buyers only see “what is” and have difficulty visualizing how a space may look with a few simple changes.

“I often walk buyers through a property and they’ll comment that they don’t like an area rug or paint color,” she said. “Those things, which are easily changed or not part of the home at all, influence their decision and often will prevent them from considering a property.”

For Leta and Carl’s daughters it was even harder to envision their parent’s home as anything other than what it looked like the past few years.

So with no family buyer, they brought in our team to stage the home and prepare it for a spring sale. We staged and updated several key rooms — painting, removing dated wallpaper, and replacing carpeting as well as updating light fixtures and installing new granite counter tops in the kitchen. We then selected modern rental furnishings to style the home to appeal to a young family.

Not only did the home look great but it attracted a buyer immediately — Leta and Carl’s own daughter and her husband who prior to staging couldn’t envision the home as an option. After our staging they saw the home as move-in ready and chose to purchase the property before another buyer could make an offer.

What we did: A fresh coat of paint, updated light fixtures, and new furnishings turn this open living and dining room into a modern, inviting space perfect for entertaining.

What we did: Our team repaired damage in the kitchen, shifted the island to open up the layout and provide enough room for a new breakfast nook. New modern, granite countertops brighten the space.

What we did: This bathroom was dark and the wallpaper made it feel outdated. We removed the wallpaper and painted a fresh neutral color to update the space.

What we did: We also removed the wallpaper in this master bedroom, painted, and installed new carpeting. Modern furniture placed just right shows off this large room.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is a principal of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, and an interior decorator and accredited home stager. She and her team offer decorating and home staging services for individuals, real estate professionals, builders, and others in the industry. For more information visit or



Source -