Friday, December 19, 2008

Trees For Toys 2008

We would like to take a moment to thank all of our friends and clients who made our 2008 Trees for Toys event so successful. Every year we give trees and wreaths to our clients and friends when they bring an unwrapped toy to donate to our drive for the Toys for Tots campaign. Together, our office collected over 600 toys!

We would like to thank you for your generosity, support and friendship and for making 2008 such a great year.

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy 2009!

Another Large Price Reduction!!!

We received another large price reduction on our listing on 7269 Bent Bow Trail in the Demand Longacres neighborhood of Chanhassen. This great family home has been freshly painted from top to bottom and features a Two Story Great room with a wall of windows; granite counter tops and a fully finished lower level walk out. We are now offering this home for $4854,000. Check it our on our Website, or call us today!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

We have two Great Opportunities for you to come and see this weekend!

We are holding two great properties open this Sunday, December 7th, 2008, both of which are rare opportunities.

7269 Bent Bow Trail, Chanhassen: Only available due to a corporate relocation, this Two Story, Walk Out is located in demand Longacres. Recently reduced by $30,000 and freshly painted from top to bottom, amenities include granite counter tops, a 2-Story Great Room and a fully finished Lower Level. This is your Chance! Open 2-4

1340 Alpine Pass, Golden Valley: Sited on a heavily wooded, private double lot in Tyrol Hills, this updated home has been updated with many high end amenities including stainless steel appliances and a new bathroom. This home is the perfect alternative to a condo. Open 12-2

For more information on these properties or our other listings, please visit

Home Rehabs can put Money back in a Seller’s Pocket

Even in these rough economic times, investing in your home still pays off. According to REALTOR® Magazine, despite home price drops in many cities, remodeling projects are holding their own as a way for owners to add value.

Remodeling magazine's annual report, 2008-2009 Cost vs. Value Report, shows that maintenance-related projects and moderately priced upgrades are providing stable paybacks, even in a slower market.

Responding to a survey in the summer of 2008, REALTORS® said that home owners could expect to recoup a national average of 67.3 percent of their investment in 30 different home improvement projects.

Top 10 Project Paybacks

Exterior remodeling projects lead the way for recovery on dollars spent in this year’s Cost vs. Value survey. When compared against the national averages, replacement projects that boost curb appeal (i.e. siding, windows, and decks) give you the greatest chance of recouping your money. Inside, only kitchen remodels can compare, at least on a national level.

1. Upscale fiber cement siding (86.7% return)
2. Midrange wood deck (81.8% return)
3. Midrange vinyl siding (80.7% return)
4. Upscale foam-backed vinyl (80.4% return)
5. Midrange minor kitchen remodel (79.5% return)
6. Upscale vinyl window replacement (79.2% return)
7. Midrange wood window replacement (77.7% return)
8. Midrange vinyl window replacement (77.2% return)
9. Upscale wood window replacement (76.5% return)
10. Midrange major kitchen remodel (76.0% return)

Despite declines in overall remodeling dollars spent and a still shaky housing market, "people’s homes are still one of their best, most solid investments," said Paul Zuch, president of Capital Improvements, a designing, building, and remodeling company in Dallas. "Even though the markets have gone through some adjustments, it’s still smart to invest in your home."

… excerpts from REALTOR® Magazine article by G.M. Filisko / December 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Opportunity Knocks!

Here is your chance to get into the demand neighborhood of Longacres!

We are pleased to announce that we have reduced the price on 7269 Bent Bow Trail in Chanhassen. We are now offering this wonderful, single family home in a demand neighborhood for $499,900.

That is a $30,000 price reduction! This home has been freshly painted from top to bottom and includes features such as; Granite Counter Tops, a Two Story Great Room with a wall of windows, and a fully finished Lower Level Walk-Out.

Just minuets from both downtown Excelsior and Chanhassen, this is your perfect place to call home.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Open Houses for November 16th

We are excited to announce our open house schedule for the weekend of November 16th. We are hosting two great properties open from 2 – 4 PM.

2280 South Parkway, Victoria

This 4 Bedroom / 4 Bathroom custom built executive home located in the tranquil countryside of Victoria is bounded by the quiet waters of two lakes & wetlands and is just moments from Deer Run Gold Course. Only Available due to relocation in the demand neighborhood of Watermark. Come and check out this wonderful property!

7269 Bent Bow Trail, Chanhassen

Sited on a corner lot in demand Longacres of Chanhassen, this single family home has been freshly painted from top to bottom. Amenities include a 2-Story Great Room, Granite Counter tops, and a fully finished Lower Level Walk-out. This is the perfect place to call Home.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Enduring Home Design Trends

Katherine Salant, nationally syndicated columnist and author of The Brand-New House Book,says houses designed with both a master and second bedroom on the first floor have become the most popular because they appeal to all age groups.

Young couples use the second bedroom as a nursery. Middle-age couples use it to keep aging parents close by, and older couples like the design because their differing sleep patterns make sharing a bedroom difficult, Salant says.

Here are other trends Salant points to:

  • The newest variation on the home office is a completely separate office space, connected to the house by a hallway or a breezeway.
  • Kitchens are getting smaller, but they are connected to much larger dining areas, often with a center island where family members can sit while they have an informal meal.
  • Oversized family rooms with high ceilings are giving way to smaller, cozier rooms with lower ceilings.
  • Home theaters have lost much appeal because people don't want to watch television in a separate area of the home. TV viewing is a more informal activity that people engage in while they're doing other things like cooking or getting ready for work.
Source: The Washington Post, Katherine Salant (10/18/2008)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cities Where Your Dollar Goes Furthest

Money goes further some places in the United States than it does in others.

Housing, in particular, has remained most affordable in the South and the Midwest. That’s because of less stringent building, an abundance of land and growing populations in the South, says Daniel McCue, a research analyst at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

To determine the cities that offer the best quality of life for the least amount of money, Forbes magazine calculated the ratios between a city’s median home price and its median household income. It also factored in projected job growth. And it compared median income to Moody’s’s cost of living index.

Here are the 10 cities that it found to offer the best value, and the cities that it believes offers the worst value.

Cities Where Residents Get the Most for Their Money
1. Austin, Texas
2. San Antonio, Texas
3. Indianapolis, Ind.
4. Houston, Texas
5. Charlotte, N.C.
6. Columbus, Ohio
7. Dallas
8. Minneapolis/St. Paul
9. Denver
10. Portland, Ore.

Cities Where Residents Get the Least for Their Money
1. Los Angeles
2. Providence, R.I.
3. New Orleans
4. Philadelphia
5. Cleveland
6. New York
7. Milwaukee, Wisc.
8. St. Louis, Mo.
9. Washington, D.C.
10. Sacramento, Calif.

Source: Forbes, Abha Bhattarai (10/10/2008)

Monday, October 13, 2008

As Seen on TV...

Have you hear the latest news from Coldwell Banker Burnet? Our company is currently running a SALE, something that is a little out of the ordinary for a Real Estate firm. Yet, here we are, with a 10 Day Sales Event. Beginning on October 10th and ending on October 20th, Eric and Sharla Stafford are featuring the property located at 6553 Bartlett Boulevard in Mound for $1,899,000.
Local news station, KSTP featured the Bartlett home on its 5:30 PM and 10 PM news casts Sunday evening. Eric Stafford made an appearance in the video which is linked below.

For more information on the property or for more on other properties, please contact the Stafford Family Realtors at 952.470.2575 or visit our Website at

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Open Houses for October 12th

Stafford Family Realtors present our Open House Schedule. We have two properties participating in the Coldwell Banker Burnet 10 Day Sales Event along with a few other great options.

Sunday, October 12th:

1340 Alpine Pass, Golden Valley 12:00pm-2:00pm
This home is the perfect alternative to condo style living. Just minuets from shopping, dinning and downtown.

2280 South Parkway, Victoria 12:00pm-2:00pm
Situated in the tranquil countryside of Victoria this custom built home is only available due to relocation.

7164 Harrison Hill Trail, Chanhassen 12:00pm-2:00pm
Located in demand Longacres, this home is being featured in the 10 Day Sale Event!

6553 Bartlett Boulevard, Mound 2:30-4:30
Come out and visit this beautiful Craftsman home on Lake Minnetonka. This home has been reduced to $1,899,000 for the 10 Day Sale Event.

Good News!

In the middle of the current financial turmoil,
Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Report has some
good news regarding home prices in the Twin

The Case-Shiller report, which was released
Sept. 30, notes that home prices in the Twin Cities
rose for two consecutive months this summer.
From May to June, prices rose 0.9 percent,
and from June to July, prices rose 1.3 percent—
the largest increase of all 20 metropolitan areas
surveyed in the report.

In other good news, the Minneapolis Area Association
of REALTORS® (MAAR) has been reporting
an increase in home sales in the metro area over
the summer and early fall, and in some cases
dramatic increases. For the week ended Sept.
20, MAAR reported that the number of pending
sales rose 42.8 percent compared with the
same week last year. MAAR noted that during
the last seven weeks, there were 5,866 signed
purchase agreements, an increase of more than
1,500 units compared to the same time period
last year.

The Case-Shiller Report reviews home prices in
the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. The report
is based on thousands of repeat sales of
the same single-family houses. The MAAR report
studies the median sale prices of all singlefamily
homes, condominiums, and townhomes
on the Regional Multiple Listing Service that sold
during a specific period.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Substantial Price Reductions on two Beautiful Properties!

6605 Pointe Lake Lucy, Chanhassen
MLS # 3598690
This custom home built by Denali is located in an executive neighborhood and award winning Minnetonka school district. The current owners recently updated and remodeled the home in the Modern Prairie Style using sophisticated finishes including imported fixtures and hardware.


6563 Bartlett Boulevard, Mound
MLS # 3540067

Enjoy cottage style living in this picturesque, Lake Minnetonka setting.
This modern take on a classic design features four Bedrooms and four Bathrooms, complimented by a Nanny Quarters/ Mother in Law suite and Tram to the 64’ of sand bottom Rip-Rapped Lakeshore.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What the Government Takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Means to Housing Industry: NAR Statement:

In short-term, home sales should improve as mortgage rates fall.

Washington, D.C. (September 8, 2008) — The federal government's takeover of secondary mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should cause a drop in mortgage rates in the short term that benefits home buyers, but the long-term outlook is too early to call. NAR fully supports the action of the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The federal government had no choice. The capital situation of the tow companies was not enough to handle the fallout from rising mortgage defaults in the near future. In addition, investors who purchase Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt have lost confidence in the two.
In a statement, NAR commended the Treasury's action, announced yesterday, to bring stability and continued liquidity to the mortgage market. "The plan will help restore confidence in the secondary mortgage market," said NAR President Richard F. Gaylord. "We appreciate the steps taken to calm the market, make mortgages more widely available and protect taxpayers. We look forward to working with the administration and Congress to ensure the continued vibrancy of the secondary mortgage market."

Summary of what the Treasury actually did and what it means:

In the takeover, Treasury placed the GSEs into a conservatorship — similar to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy — which fully protects taxpayers from conflicts of interest between taxpayers and shareholders or current management.

The federal government is authorized to take up to an 80 percent stake in the companies, will review their financial condition quarterly, and inject money into the operations as needed. That means the market for GSE securities will be treated more like Treasury obligations, which should push mortgage interest rates down. That in turn, is expected to speed up home sales and help stabilize home prices.

The GSEs will be allowed to increase their mortgage funding over the next year and a half to help stabilize markets. Starting in 2010, the plan calls for them to reduce their portfolios.
The heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been relieved of their duties. Treasury selected HErbert Allison, former Merrill Lynch vice chairman, to lead Fannie Mae and David Moffett, former U.S. Bancorp CFO, to guide Freddie Mac.

Talking Points

  • NAR, as the leading advocate for homeownership and housing issues, has closely monitored the market turmoil affecting the stock and debts of the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Their mission is crucial to the economy to make fair and affordable mortgages available to home owners and home buyers. That mission must not be interrupted.
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac play a vital role in the U.S. economy by making fair and affordable mortgage loans available for home buyers and owners. That must not be interrupted. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and James B. Lockhart III, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency that regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have issued strong statements assuring the public that credit will continue to flow over the next 12 to 18 months.
    Short term, the takeover will result in government money driving down interest rates, which is expected to spur an increase in home sales.
  • Long term, the action will lead to a major reorganization of the two GSEs as privately owned models. The brunt of that work will fall to the new administration and new Congress. NAR will help shape that process and the association is already working on a plan to do that.
    The action taken by Treasury and FHFA, which regulates GSEs, makes clear the government will not let the deteriorating conditions of the GSEs disrupt the flow of capital to the housing sector, or harm the national and international financial system.
  • The GSEs guarantee more than 40 percent of the nation's mortgages and own or guarantee more than $5 trillion in mortgages. Since the credit crunch began in August 2007, the private sector mortgage securitizatation market has virtually disappeared and the market share of the GSEs has jumped to about 70 percent.
  • NAR will continue to follow events closely and develop recommendations on the future of the GSEs' mission to ensure there will be a robust secondary mortgage market in all markets.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Open Houses for Labor Day Weekend

We are happy to announce that we will be hosting two open houses in the demand Watermark Neighborhood in Victoria.

8121 Krueger Court

4 Bedroom \ 4 Bathroom \ 3 Car Garage

Built by Reggie Award winner Kerber Homes, this stunning home is sited on one of the premier lots in demand Watermark and enjoys a spacious lawn, pond views and quiet, cul-de-sac setting.

2280 South Parkway

4 Bedroom \ 4 Bathroom \ 3 Car Garage

2280 South Parkway is a beautiful custom home with many amenities from the granite counter tops in your Gourmet Kitchen to the Custom Built-ins on every floor. The home features a two story Great Room with tray ceilings; built-in entertainment centers, and a ceiling to floor stone front fireplace and opens to a spacious Gourmet Kitchen with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. Just off the Kitchen is the 4 Season Porch. Four Bedrooms are situated on the second floor and the Junior Bathroom features a Jack & Jill vanity. The Lower Level Game room is outfitted with a full service Wet Bar, for all your gaming needs. Another stone faced fireplace is the corner stone of the Lower Level Family Room. Walk out of your lower level to the large backyard with plenty of room to roam and play. You can entertain on the custom landscaped fire pit all summer long.

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Price Reduction on Beautiful Lake Home

6563 Bartlett Boulevard, Mound, MN
We have just taken a large price reduction on this wonderful Lake property.
Now Listed at $1,475,000
~Open House ~ Sunday, August 24th, 2008 ~ 1-3:00 PM ~

Enjoy cottage style living in this picturesque, Lake Minnetonka setting.

This modern take on a classic design features four Bedrooms and four Bathrooms, complimented by a Nanny Quarters/ Mother in Law suite and Tram to the 64’ of sand bottom Rip-Rapped Lakeshore.

The gorgeous Kitchen has beautiful granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Just off the Kitchen is an open and airy Sun Room. Adjacent to the Sun Room is your Family Room with a gas burning fireplace and views out to the lake.

The first floor also features the Suncrest Builders signature “Flex Room.” This room is yours to use in any way you want from a Formal Dining room to Home Office, the possibilities are endless.

Beautiful stone and workmanship accentuate this like-new construction Storybook style.
The Master Suite looks out on the lake with long, southerly views of Halstead’s Bay. A great sight to wake up to every morning.

Living at home is a Year-Round Vacation when you call 6563 Bartlett Boulevard “Home.”

Come and visit us this Sunday!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Weekly Market Activity Report

For the fifth consecutive week and ninth of the last twelve, there were more purchase agreements written on homes than one year previous.

For the week ending August 2, there were 820 pending sales—an increase of 2.2 percent from the same week in 2007. Over the last three months, pending sales have held relatively steady, posting an increase of 0.6 percent from the same period last year. With sales tantalizing the marketplace with slight upward jiggering over the past several weeks, some might want to predict that we've reached bottom. While the news is encouraging, it's a bit premature to stake that claim. Meanwhile, housing supply is clearly in decline. New listings from the most recently reported week were a stirring 19.8 percent lower than last year and were down 12.8 percent over the last three months.

This week's edition of the MAAR Weekly Market Activity Report features updated figures for several key metrics. Days on Market Until Sale in July fell slightly to 146 but remains up 13.3 percent from July 2007. Percent of Original List Price Received at Sale decreased to 92.6 percent, also down from last year. Months Supply of Inventory is up 8.6 percent from last year at 10.5. And our Housing Affordability Index (HAI) fell 4 points from last month to 144 due to another increase in interest rates and seasonal increases in home prices. Despite the drop, the HAI remains much improved from 2006 and 2007.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Weekly Market Activity Report

There are fewer homes to choose from for today's prospective buyers than there were a year ago. There are currently 32,978 residential housing units up for sale in the Twin Cities region, down 5.5 percent-or about 2,000 units-from this time last year. The cause of the lessened supply is a decrease in new listings combined with more homes coming off the inventory list by way of "sold" signs. For the week ending July 26, there were only 1,816 new listings, a drop of 16.5 percent from one year ago. Newly signed purchase agreements (pending sales) for the same year-over-year comparison increased by 5.1 percent.

Less supply coupled with promising signs of demand have created a new market picture. In August, our Supply-Demand Ratio (SDR) indicates that there will be 8.68 homes for sale per buyer, a decrease of 4.2 percent from one year ago. This is the second consecutive month of downward year-over-year movement in this metric, which is a good thing. A well-balanced market for the month of August would show an SDR of about 5 homes for sale per buyer. We have a ways to go, but we're on the right track if this trend continues

Monday, August 4, 2008

How the New First-Time Buyer Tax Credit Works

Under the new housing bill, home buyers who have not owned a home in the last three years will be eligible for a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the property up to a maximum of $7,500.

Here’s how it works:

The credit is $3,750 for married couples filing separately. Unmarried people who jointly purchase a home will be able to divide the $7,500 credit.

This program is actually a loan, which home buyers must repay over 15 years at zero percent interest beginning in the second year after they purchase the home. A home buyer who qualified for the whole credit would pay $500 for 15 years or about $41.67 per month.

The credit applies only to homes purchased on or after April 9, 2008, and before July 1, 2009.
High-income home buyers don’t qualify: Eligibility begins phasing out for single filers with adjusted income of more than $75,000 and $150,000 for joint filers. It completely phases out at $95,000 for singles and $170,000 for married couples filing jointly.

Source: The Washington Post, Michelle Singletary (07/03/08)

Rates Expected to Hold Steady Until '09

Former Federal Reserve officials and economists believe the central bank will hold short-term interest rates steady at least in August and September and that rates likely will not be raised until early 2009.

Recent reports on inflation have been dismal, but the central bank has also taken a tough stance in its language of late. The financial markets are more of a concern because of the problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the housing slump and tight credit conditions remain key economic issues for the Fed, analysts say.

"They need to see financial markets settled, some good growth numbers, or good employment numbers," says Mike Moran, chief economist at Daiwa Securities International in New York.

Source: MarketWatch, Greg Robb (07/28/08)

Weekly Market Report from MAAR:

In the Twin Cities housing market, sales are flat like a New York pizza and supply is down like grandma's comforter. Fortunately for us, the data confirms our kitschy similes. Pending sales for the week ending July 19 are ahead of the same week last year by 3.8 percent, while new listings fell by 13.0 percent for the same time period—positive signs of a market in transition.

The total number of active listings for sale currently sits at 33,410, (comfortably) down 1,722 units—or 4.9 percent—from this time last year. Since the number of new homes coming on the market remains in decline and sales appear to have hit bottom, we can expect total inventory to remain lower than last year for some time to come.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

23 Days and an Area Rug

Every seller wants their home to sell fast and bring top dollar. Does that sound good to you? Well, it's not luck that makes that happen. It's careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home that will send home buyers to the writing table.
According to, 94% of Staged Homes sell in one month or less and spend less time on the market than those who don’t stage. The average days on market for a home that has not been staged is 165, a home that has been staged can sell with an average of 33 days on market.
7920 Orchid Lane N. is one example of such an instance. Sharla was tapped to stage this two-story, single-family home in Maple Grove, Minn.
The home was listed on the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, for 310 days before it was pended. What finally sold the home on Orchid Lane?

Sharla Stafford of Twin Cities Interiors was tapped to outfit this home with furniture, accents, area rugs and throw pillows. It was amazing what a few lamps, a decorative table and a rug did for the entry way of this house, or what a kitchen table and a few plants did for the kitchen.
So how long did it take for this home to sell once Sharla worked her Staging Magic?
23 Days

That’s right, after a few days of situating furniture, placing throw pillows and a little artwork, this home was off the market.

So if you are putting your home on the market and are wondering what you can do to help sell your home, think about staging. If the example of Orchid Lane did not sell you on the idea, think about these numbers:

If you Replace or Shampoo your Carpeting, it can typically cost you $562 - 808. The benefit for you is that the cost of your home will go up by $1,532 – 1,950. That is a 154% increase!

If you Stage your home it can typically cost you $403 – 584. The benefit for you is that the cost of your home will go up by $1,938 – 2,431. That is a 343% increase!

But if you want to really see a difference, a simple project to undertake is cleaning and de-cluttering.

If you Clean and De-clutter your home it can typically cost you $190 – 318. The benefit for you is that the cost of your home will go up by $1,505 – 1,937. That is a 578% increase!

For more information on Twin Cities Interiors, a division of Stafford Family Realtors, visit our Website.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

July 4th, 2008

James G. Blaine once said “The United States is the only country with a known birthday.”
Come out and help us celebrate our Nations birthday at Chanhassen’s 25th 4th of July Celebration. With our Friends and Family, we will be walking in the parade and handing out flags to all those who attend. The event, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Chanhassen, has been voted the best in the Twin Cities. We are excited to celebrate this momentous occasion with our clients, friends and neighbors.

The weekend will kick off on July 3rd with many activities and will continue on July 4th. Check out the website for more information on the events and activities.

The parade will begin at 2:30pm. It has been recommended that you come early to get the best curbside seating. There will be bands, clowns, floats, fire trucks, classic cars, horses, local celebrities and more. The parade route is through downtown Chanhassen on West 78th Street from Chapel Hill to Kerber Boulevard to Santa Vera Drive to Laredo Drive to Chan View.

For more information on the festivities, visit the City of Chanhassen’s Website.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Land on 10,000 Lakes Welcomes You Home

With our business going strong and many of our clients relocating to the Twin Cities from all across the United States, we though that it might be a good idea to offer a few resources to better prepare you for you next big move.

Whether you are moving to Eden Prairie, Waconia or Chanhassen or heading to Texas, Florida or Ohio; these Websites are great resources for information on what to expect from your new Home.

Sperling’s Best Places is an extensive site featuring side-by-side comparisons of two cities of your choosing. You can get information on Cost of Living, Schools, Crime, Climate and Homes. Sperling’s claims to be responsible for “more "Best Places" studies and projects than any other single organization."

The other site we like is The report you will receive from this site provides an in-depth view of the people, places, and conditions of two cities. Some of the useful information you will receive will focus on demographics, finances, economics and real estate, all things that will impact your quality of life. It also features tons of links for services to help you move.

While these sites are great, they might not give you all the information you are looking for. The best way to get to know an area is to talk to the people who live there. If you have any questions or would like more detailed information on Lake Minnetonka or Minnesota, please feel free to contact Eric or Sharla Stafford or visit our Website.

As Relocation Specialist, we can help make your move as seamless as possible.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

8 Tips for Low Cost Staging

8 Tips for Low Cost Staging

In a tough sales market, staging can help move a property. Barb Schwarz, who claims to have invented home staging in the early 1970s, estimates that about one in four homes nationwide are now staged.

Julie Dana and Marcia Layton Turn state in their book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Staging Your Home to Sell, that a seller stands to gain as much as $9,000 on a $200,000 house if it's staged.

Shelly Wagner, a Detroit-based stager, estimates that the cost per room for staging is $100 – small potatoes if it really helps a home sell.

Here are some ideas from Wagner for effective, low-cost staging:
  • Remove scatter rugs and knickknacks from every room.
  • Get rid of everything on the kitchen counters, including appliances, except for the coffee maker.
  • Remove as much as you can from closets.
  • Hire a cleaning service if necessary to make the house spotless. Scrub floors, walls, and windows. Pay special attention to the microwave, oven, and refrigerator.
  • Focus on the feature rooms, the living, dining, and master bedrooms. Additional bedrooms are best left empty or minimally furnished.
  • Arrange the furniture to show off each room’s best features.
  • Set the dining-room table with napkins, plates, and flatware.
  • When showing the house, turn on soft instrumental “buying” music, preferably classical or jazz.

Friday, May 2, 2008

It is Mother’s Day again, are you ready?

Happy Mother's Day
Stafford Family Realtors
This Mother’s Day we have teamed up with Gatherings at Excelsior Florist this year to offer you a way to celebrate the special ladies in your life. If you mention this ad you can receive $5 off your purchase of $25 or more. Gatherings at Excelsior Florist’s beautiful flower arrangements will surprise and delight!

Keep checking back here for more great offers in the future.
We hope to offer a great new deal every month.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Low-Cost Kitchen Updates

Sellers whose kitchens are old and outdated, but who don’t want to spend money gutting and remodeling, should consider these tips from interior designers for updating inexpensively.

1. Buy new lighting. Replace fixed ceiling lights with modern movable track fixtures.

2. Replace the hardware. Handles on today’s cabinets are large and sleek instead of small and ornate. Also, brass is out. Replacing the outmoded ones can make the whole room look more modern.

3. Buy a new faucet. A stylish faucet can make a big difference.
Update the backsplash. Colorful mosaic tiles are better than plain boring tile.

4. Buy new seating. If sellers can’t afford that, then they can certainly reupholster or replace the cushions.

5. Clean up the clutter. Get rid of the canister set, the breadbox, and all the appliances on the counters. Leave only one bowl of fruit and a plant on the countertops.

Source: The New York Times, Stephen Milioti (03/06/08)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Some characteristics of Minnesota home buyers:

  • Median age of all home buyers was 36 years old. For first-time buyers, the median age was 28.
  • Household income of home buyers was $69,300.
  • 69 percent of home buyers said there were no children under 18 residing in the property.
  • 56 percent of home buyers were married couples, 24 percent single females, 11 percent single males and 9 percent were unmarried couples.
  • 6 percent of home buyers were born outside of the U.S., compared with 9 percent nationally.
  • First-time home buyers accounted for 42 percent of homes purchased in 2007.
  • 66 percent of first-time home buyers were between 25 and 34 years old.
  • 30 percent of buyers use social networking websites (e.g., Myspace, Facebook, Linkedin).
  • Among home buyers aged 18 to 24, 59 percent reported using social networking sites.
  • 19 percent of homes purchased were new construction.
  • 64 percent of homes purchased were detached single-family.
  • The typical home buyer purchased a home 14 miles from their previous residence.
  • The median price of homes purchased was $221,900 compared to $215,000 in the U.S.
  • The typical buyer purchased a home that was 1,850 square feet in size.
  • Recent homebuyers plan to live in their home a median of 10 years.

    Source: Minnesota Association of REALTORS®

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

5 Simple Ways to Increase a Home's Value

Good home maintenance is key to creating and preserving a home’s value. Not to mention, it also impresses potential buyers. Here are five basic steps that every home owner ought to take — before spending money on dream bathrooms or gourmet kitchens.

1. Safety. Make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and in good working order. Check fuel-burning appliances to make sure they are properly vented and no gas connections leak. Make sure the electrical system is adequate. Flickering lights and popping breakers are the sign of a problem. Anchor handrails and grab bars adequately.

2. Preventive maintenance. Repair any leaks in the roof, seal gaps in the siding, paint bare wood, replace damaged decking, patch cracks in concrete, and caulk around tubs and showers.

3. Conserve energy. Install a programmable thermostat, weatherstrip doors and windows, fix leaking faucets, upgrade insulation, and replace leaky windows.

4. Go green. Consider environmentally friendly materials for windows, doors, siding, decking, fencing, roofing, flooring, and insulation.

5. Improve comfort. Get rid of clutter, open up spaces, update window treatments to allow in more light, and organize closets and storage.