CommonWealth Real Estate Your Way, Brodheadsville
Home Staging

Spring is in the Air and we in the Poconos are getting ready.

March is always the time of year when we get those few warmer days and everyone starts to get excited and ready for the coming beautiful weather. It is also a time when more buyers come out to look at homes and when sellers list their homes in anticipation of the onslaught of buyers. This year because of the extended tax credit which expires on April 15, the next 30 days will be super-busy with buyers wanting to close before the expiration and sellers who want to showcase their home to those excited buyers.

With the spring season close at hand and the anticipation of the tax credit coming to an end, it’s a great time to share some home ideas for spring cleaning and prepping and staging a home for sale.

The agents at Commonwealth Real Estate Your Way pooled their ideas learned over decades of real estate selling along with some Pocono area home staging experts for our three-part series to help you clean and fix your home, inside and out.

The first step and the best way to prepare a home to sell is a thorough cleaning.
• De-clutter, purge and organize first
• Clean rooms to spotless
• Empty and wipe closets
• Shine Appliances
• De-clutter counter tops in kitchen and bathrooms
• Clean leather furniture to remove scratches
• Polish wood furniture
• Clean windows to sparkle
• Find the dust in places you have forgotten – refrigerators tops, under sofas, inside bookshelves
• De-gunk kitchen cabinets, microwave, oven, tile, inside refrigerator
• Dust drapes, mattresses and bed frames
• Dust framed art and ceiling fan blades
• Wipe window panes and home baseboards
The whole house presents better when wiped, vacuumed and mopped.
Some projects will require a little more time but will have big impact especially cosmetic touch ups:
• Professional carpeting cleaning (or, in high-impact area, a new, neutral carpet
• Wipe and touch up paint throughout the home (or put a full fresh coat everywhere)
• Install crown molding
• Install a new kitchen or bathroom countertop

Other items that might not bother you but would indicate poor home maintenance to a potential buyer are the little maintenance problems that you always want to get to, but never do. Now is the time to really pay attention to those little annoyances.
• Fix leaky faucets
• Lubricate windows and doors
• Fix loose handles
• Repair nail pops in dry wall
• Fix weather stripping in doors and windows
• Re-caulk tile near tubs and sinks, windows and doors

You’ve heard the saying “Curb Appeal” – well, you never get a second chance to make a first impression and that impression starts outside of your home.
In early spring:
• Throw the windows open to get the spring smell indoors
• Neaten and trim any damaged winter landscaping
• Add fresh mulch
• Plant some pretty spring flowers already in bloom
• Clean up and arrange patio furniture
• Spray paint chipping planters (even if empty)
• Spray down driveways
• Sweep and clean cement pathways
• Clean and stain decking
• Clean gutters

Now take an objective walk in and around your home. Be a potential buyer. What would you think of this home?

Commonwealth Real Estate Your Way, LLC..... RB# 066860..... Office: 570-972-0155

Home Staging

Is Virtual Staging Deceiving?

August 12, 2009 by · 7 Comments 

For those who are unfamiliar with virtual staging, virtual staging is where you take a photo of an empty room and then digitally enhance the photos with artwork, furnishings, and other finishing touches to make the space seem more inviting. Virtual staging allows buyers to see the potential of the home, while the home owner or agent save money on staging costs.

A recent article from The San Francisco Chronicle (“Virtual Staging Sparks Sales of Vacant Homes” by Judy Richter) took a look at the growing trend of real estate professionals using virtual staging to move listings.

While virtual staging seems like a win-win, some question whether the altered photos may deceive buyers.

There are several benefits to this marketing tactic that make some in the real estate business attracted to virtual staging, particularly the huge cost savings of staging on the Web rather than paying for actual physical staging.
Some real estate agents say they have saved thousands of dollars in staging costs by opting for virtual over physical staging.  Those who have used virtual staging report an increase in buyer traffic after virtual staging photos are posted than if they just posted photos on the Web of the vacant rooms in the house.

But are these altered photos accurate renderings of the space? Or are they misrepresenting the property by sprucing them up digitally?

Realtor, Kirk Lebowe of PreVue Properties in Los Angeles County, said he doesn’t disclose that the home was virtually staged. He sees it as a way to give the buyers decorating ideas. After all, he said, “You’re not selling (the home) with the furniture.”

Are agents who use virtual staging opening themselves up to potential liability issues?

Do you think virtual staging is deceiving, or is the Agent providing buyers with “free” decorating ideas?

Home Staging

It’s Competitive Buyer’s Market… Where does your house fit in?



It is a competitive buyer’s market. More than 3,500 homes are listed for sale through members of the Pocono Mountains Association of Realtors.

Where does your house fit in?


Potential buyer turn-offs:

• Exterior deferred maintenance.
• Moss on roof, unsightly dirt on siding.
• Water marks on the ceiling.
• Moldy, damp basement.
• Stinky odors such as pet, cooking, mildew and cigarette smoke.
• Leaky faucets and dirty, rusty appliances.
• Striking bold colors on walls should be painted neutral, not white.
• Dark interiors. Open the blinds and let the sun shine in.
• Replace burnt-out lightbulbs.
Appealing to the senses:
• People respond more favorably to brightly lit rooms.
• Keep the noise down. Be aware of the barking dog. Avoid vacuuming, lawn mowers and dishwashers while showing your house.
• The nose knows. The smell of cleanliness is the best selling technique.

Try baking cookies or a pie to arouse the sense of heartwarming. No time to bake? Light a candle or apply furniture polish.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to sell your house quickly and get the right price, you may need to take a good look at your house through an extra pair of eyes. Not everyone wants a fixer-upper. Usually those who do are looking for a real bargain.

With the spring weather comes the hope that home sales will start to pick up again. Some tips from the pros can help make your home stand out from the rest and sell in a timely manner.

Vickie Brockelman, broker/owner of Commonwealth Real Estate Your Way in Mount Pocono, advised first and foremost to make sure your home is priced right.

“Using a certified broker or an appraiser is important in this difficult market. In our area, buyers are not looking for a particular style of home, they are looking for the right number of bedrooms and square footage that will suit their needs,” she said.
The seller can do other things to speed up the process. “A motivated seller should consider pre-certifying their home before it goes on the market by having a home inspection done and making any repairs needed. Also, have a title search done beforehand to clear up any title issues you may encounter,” she said.

A title search is done to make sure there are no liens on the property that may cloud the title when it comes time to transfer to the new owner. Once you have your house appraised, inspected and have a clear title, a little staging goes a long way.


Honey, stop the car! This is where it all begins.

Within the first 15 seconds of arrival, the buyer has already formed an opinion of your house. The first impression is the most important to any homebuyer.

“Homes are purchased based on emotions and love at first sight,” Brockelman said.

Does your home have curb appeal? Is it inviting or are buyers going to not even want to get out of the car?

Even if you use the woods as your “natural landscaping,” you can spruce up your front yard by just picking up dead tree branches and place a grouping of potted flowers on the porch.

Act as if your home is on an interview. Sprucing up the front door by painting it can be a quick and cheap fix that really shows the buyer you care about your home. “You don’t want your front door to add to a buyer’s disappointment but to increase their enthusiasm,” Brockelman said.

Fresh mulch on your landscaping gives a new look and well-kept appearance.

Make sure your lawn is kept well cut. Weeds up to your knees is the first sign of neglect.


“Take a box to every room in the house and pack up any personal items that are not being used,” she said. A potential buyer can then mentally place their own belongings in the room instead of being distracted by clutter.

Neutral colors on the walls are best and appeal to more buyers. A buyer may have a hard time visualizing her plaid sofa with your floral wallpaper. Try to stay away from white, except for the ceiling.

Dawn Libecap, an accredited staging professional of Affordable Home Staging in East Stroudsburg, explained that staging a home is depersonalizing. It is not decorating. Decorating is personalizing.
“I truly believe that you cannot stage your own house. You need a fresh set of eyes to see all the things you would normally overlook,” she said.

Not everyone wants the handyman special. “If you have to ask if you should fix the broken fence, then the answer is yes. A buyer will think, ‘What else is wrong?’” Libecap said.

Go through every room in the house and jot down anything that might stand out to you that you always wanted to repair, but never got around to. Then repair them.

Little fixes make a big difference. “Buyers are very savvy now and they want the best. Even if they can’t afford it,” she said.
Want a simple fix? “A fresh coat of paint not only looks nice but can also make the house smell new. Paint is the least expensive way to make a big change,” Libecap said.

Clean the carpets if you cannot replace them to get rid of those nasty pet odors. You might not be able to smell them, but a non-dog lover will pick up on that right away.

Cigarette smoke is the biggest of offenders, so leave your butt outside while the house is up for sale.

Libecap said, “Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. The money you spend fixing up and staging your home will be less than your first price reduction.”

Commonwealth Real Estate Your Way, LLC..... RB# 066860..... Office: 570-972-0155

Home Staging

Staging Your Home – How to get your home from For Sale to Sold

staging your home

Your home is a reflection of who you are, so it’s only natural that it would bear your signature — something that is uniquely your own.

However, when you put your house on the market, it may not be easy, but it’s time to pack away those things that identify your house as belonging to you. You want buyers to “mentally move in” and picture themselves living there, but that’s difficult for them to do if everywhere they look they’re reminded that this is your home.

Do think twice about displaying family photos. In addition to reminding buyers that they’re in your home, every minute they spend eying your precious photos is a minute less that they’re actually looking at your house — the very thing that you want them to pay attention to.

De-personalizing your home may be emotionally difficult, but think about what it is that really makes a house a home. It’s not the “stuff” or the “things” that are proudly displayed. It’s a mixture of laughter and dreams and memories — a combination that no amount of money could buy.

So, it’s time to pack up all those things that tug at your heartstrings, make you smile when you’re down, or just bring you pleasure by simply looking at them. That’s the good news — all of those things will be going to your new home with you.

And believe me, once you remove your signature, you have in deed made room for someone to sign on that dotted line.

By: Tammy Kemp, professional home stager and owner of First Impressions. Tammy has worked with some of the most successful builders, developers, investors, real estate agents, and home sellers in the Lehigh Valley and Pocono Mountains.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can sell your home for more money in less time, please visit Tammy’s website at

Commonwealth Real Estate Your Way, LLC..... RB# 066860..... Office: 570-972-0155

CommonWealth Real Estate Your Way, Brodheadsville