Scents to sell a home!

I know you all have probably heard it a thousand times “bake some fresh baked cookies to sell your home”….well sorry folks but that is just an old wives tale.  FRESH SCENTS are best! Smells that are too complex like cookies, or potpourri make people think too hard, and therefore they will not make a decision.  Organic scents such as lemon, orange, and grapefruit are decision making scents.  Also, be sure and steer clear of the fake plug-ins, or any fake scents for that matter.  A lot of times these strong plug-ins only mask the odor, and makes potential buyers wonder “what are they covering up”? Essential oils have a very clean scent and work very well.  Another great tip is to make sure you clean, but do not use cleaners with too heavy of a scent.  If your cleaners do have a heavy scent, make sure you leave enough time to air out the room.  People want to smell fresh, and clean, not a home saturated with smells.  Baking soda is also your friend, sprinkle some on the couches, in the trash can, and on the carpets.  Be sure and vacuum it off of the couches and the carpet, and you will be left with a nice fresh scent! Selling your home is not always easy, so make it a little easier on yourself and listen to your expert Realtor! Choose wisely my friends, and remember Donna Richardson for all of your real estate needs.



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Open your ears!!! Your Realtor may just know their stuff!

the price is rightEvery so often I walk into a beautiful home, I know it is going to sell, the location is wonderful, and BAM the seller hits me with what they think their home is worth. Well, sometimes that number does not always match up with what the market dictates at that particular moment. I never want to be insulting, and it is not that their home is not worth the higher price. Often times the true value of the home is much higher than what the market dictates, especially in the past few years when the market has been at an all time low. Getting hit with a lower number than you expected as value is a hard pill to swallow for most homeowners. Living in a room, especially if you have lots of fond memories, and having an emotional attachment makes it especially hard to sell. However, do not take the price recommendation of the Realtor to heart, and think they are trying to “give away” your home. Often times prospective buyers look at the pictures online and the price. Therefore you want both the pictures and the price to appeal to them right away. After a home has been on the market a while you usually end up lowering, and the longer a home has been on the market, the more negotiating power the buyer thinks they have, therefore pricing right from the get go is so important!!! Also, in this crazy weird market you have to be concerned with the appraisal. Without the home appraising for the asking price there is no deal anyway. Therefore, look at the comps (comparable homes that are active and have recently sold near you), listen to your Realtor and price your home accordingly. You hired your Realtor for a reason!!

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Don’t Take it Personally

positiveWhen you are in the business of dealing with people it is very hard not to take things personally.  As a Realtor who has been in the business for 20+ years I understand the high stress levels that can go along with sales.  However, over the years I have learned some very good techniques that have helped me cope with the stress, and not worry myself into an early grave. There are going to be good days, and bad, deals that seem too easy, and ones that should not be as hard as they are. One of my great coping mechanisms is when a deal falls through, or things do not go as planned just look at it as the way things are supposed to be, do my best to problem solve, and if all else fails accept what is happening as out of my control and move on to more important items. I have realized that getting upset does not do myself, or my work any good. When I am upset I am disorganized, not focused, and unproductive. If I choose to focus on the positive business in my life I find that good things come my way, along with more business. So, to keep it short, the next time you have a deal fall through, or something does not go your way, take a deep breath, and refocus your energy on the positive aspects of your life. Sometimes the aforementioned is easier said than done, but in sales, and in life it will 100% help you be more productive in everything you do.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn

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Being Grateful Everyday!

being gratefulIn light of the recent tragic events in Boston, I have taken a step back and looked at what I have in my life, and how truly blessed I am. My journey to focus on the positive began a few months back when I began reciting this daily affirmation that I believe has had a profound effect on my life, and the life of my family. Everyday morning this prayer reminds me to be positive, and to focus on being grateful for the good things in my life, and trying not to dwell on the negative. It seems like a very simple thing to do, but for some reason we are all just programmed to dwell. Also, when things are not going well it tends to blind us to the fact that there is still a lot of good in our lives. I have found that when I think positive, that is the direction my life tends to follow. Positive thinking in turn creates positive events, and good things start to happen all around me! So, the next time your life looks to be taking a turn for the worse, stop, think, and maybe even make a list of all the things that you have to be grateful for in your life. I have included below the prayer that I recite daily in the morning, it takes less than 30 seconds to recite, and can only help! Here is to a bright today, and a brighter tomorrow!

“Walk through my home and take away all my worries and any illnesses,
Please watch over and heal my family and friends.
Bless my home, family and friends with peace, love and joy in Jesus’ name

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What do you really want?

home buying

When beginning your search for a home, especially as a first time home buyer, it is hard to know what you really want.  Your best bet is to keep the search criteria broad.  In addition, if you qualify for less than you were hoping, or are looking in an expensive area where your money gets you less, you may become disheartened.  Do not get overwhelmed, and do not panic, the right house for you, within your budget is out there!  So, what is one to do, to not feel overwhelmed, and know where to begin?  For starters sit down and make a list of broad criteria (i.e. 3bdrms minimum, 1 full bath).  Also list areas/towns that you want to consider, some people like to search by school district, others do it by town, or a mix of both.  Keep the list of areas somewhat broad, but definitely eliminate towns that you do not like, or could not see yourself living.  As a first time home buyer I am sure a garage, basement, large backyard, and new kitchen would be nice, but you have to decide if that is realistic within your price range.  Look more towards location, structure/layout of the home, and overall look of the home .  If you can live with the aforementioned then you can always add square footage down the road if the lot is big enough, and redo the kitchen or other rooms.  Furthermore, certain areas for various reasons will be more expensive/desirable than others.  So, you need to decide if you want to get more house for your money, or live in a more expensive area and get less house for your money because area/town/school district is most important to you.  You can look in both types of areas/towns, and see what is out there in both, and then narrow it down once you start seriously looking.  Do as much research as possible in the beginning online, and when it gets closer to physically looking start to narrow down the list.  Once you have your top list of houses, take a half day and drive by these homes on your list.  It may seem frivolous if you plan on making an appointment to see the home anyway, but sometimes if you are not extremely familiar with the area, you may find the home looks great (in person and online), but the neighborhood is not what you imagined.  Doing a drive by of the home, and area will save you, and your Realtor time, so you can spend max time looking at homes/areas that really are of interest to you.  Last, but not least, do not rule out something just because of the way it looks online.  Pictures posted online of a home can be deceiving both ways.  Sometimes the pictures look great, and the home is definitely sub-par in person.  However, the pictures can also be mediocre, and the home is actually stunning in person, or the pictures do not do the layout of the home justice.  So, if you like the area, like what you see in the drive-by, and the home fits your broad criteria, then go take a look, it cannot hurt, and you may be pleasantly surprised!  The spring market is definitely upon us, and there are many opportunities out there for buyers, sellers, and investors!  If you are thinking of buying, selling , relocating, or investing in South Jersey give me a call 609-760-5874, or send me an email for a no obligation conversation about your home buying, or selling needs.  With over 20 years of experience I can help make your home experience seamless, and almost stress free!  Check out my website

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Spring right into spring

housing recovery

It is not that I do not love winter, with the occasional snowfall, Thanksgiving, Christmas, family ski trips, and cute winter attire.  However, as a Realtor it is definitely a slower time in the market.  There are odd years when I am very busy through the holiday season, and into the new year.  More often than not though it is my time to recharge, regroup, reorganize and spring into the spring market refreshed and ready to work!  In the past few years as we all know the market has taken a turn for the worst.  As a veteran Realtor of almost 25 years in the business these past few have been harder than most, and we as Realtors have had to work very hard for every commission.  In addition, while I have not had any real dry spells (I am one of the lucky ones), I have not seen a true “Spring Market” since the market went south.  Low, and behold I have high hopes for the spring of 2013.  The statistics for the 3rd Quarter of 2012 in South Jersey show an increase in home sales, which is very encouraging.  I do not believe that the housing market will magically recover, or that this recovery will happen overnight.  In addition, I do not want the housing prices to reach the astronomical prices they were at before, which made it virtually impossible for first time home buyers to buy anything.  A housing market recovery is on the horizon, and I truly believe that this spring market will reflect that the market is finally on the incline.  If you are thinking about buying a home, relocating, or investing it is still a great time to do so.  Consult with a trusted Realtor in your area and they can get you started in the process, and help you work towards buying  a home.  If you are in the South Jersey area please feel free to contact me via cell 609-760-5874, email, or check out my website  I would love to chat with you about buying, selling, investing, or relocating!  Good luck, and let us make 2013 the best year ever!

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Starting from scratch

goal setting

Although it is completely cliche, it is still a good time of year to make a change in your life. I am not fond of the word “resolution”, for those seem to come and go on a whim. Instead I am an advocate of setting goals, or making life changes. For example, do not just say you are going to lose 20 lbs, because in all honesty I have seen more peers, friends, and family members lose 20 lbs just to gain back 30 in the aftermath. So, why not instead commit to slowly alerting your eating habits to more healthy ones, integrate a few days of exercise a week, and work up to a 5 day a week workout plan. Setting goals, and making changes in your life are not easy, and should not just be thrown out there on the first of the year because you feel compelled to make a resolution! Instead, commit to making a change in your life for good. One of the best pieces of advice I read from an article on how to stick to your resolutions is to make fewer of them. When it comes to resolutions it is quality over quantity. So, step back pick a few changes you want to make in your life, devise a plan, and hit the ground running! Included below is a link to an article on how to set goals and achieve them. You can talk about making changes personally or professionally all you want, but the only way you are going to achieve them is by doing. Make 2013 your best year ever!


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