Monthly Archives: April 2011

Staging Your Home to Sell


A potential buyer knows within 15 seconds of walking into a home whether they want to continue the tour or not.  That is why staging your home is so important!  Statistics show that staging your home sells it more quickly than if you did not stage your home.  Here are some DIY tips on staging your home prior to putting it on the market:

Get Rid of Clutter: It’s hard to see the charm of a house if there is clutter everywhere.  A truly lived-in look is not a plus when it comes to selling a home, so clear away everyday clutter including paperwork, collections and personal photos. The buyer needs to be able to visualize themselves in the space, and they won’t be able to do that with constant reminders that you’re still very much in residence.

Make the Space Feel Bigger: The objective of home staging is to leave potential buyers with the impression that a home is spacious.   This may mean removing some of the furniture in a room or rearranging so that the space does not feel cramped.

Minimize the Flaws: Potential buyers may see minor flaws which detour them from looking any further.   Find the flaws and fix them or pay someone to fix them.

Paint if Necessary:  Dirty walls or brightly colored walls may detour potential buyers, so you might want to consider paining.  Neutral tones are best because they appeal to the masses and they make the room look larger.

Spring Cleaning:  Every inch of your home should sparkle with the kind of clean that tells buyers the property is cared for and in tip-top shape. Remove corner cobwebs, keep windows squeaky clean and banish any odors resulting from pets, cooking, smoking and the like.

Clean  & Organize Garage:  Believe it or not, potential buyers also want to see a clean garage!  Get rid of all the things you don’t need anymore and organize your garage.  The most inexpensive way to get organized is to buy the large plastic bins and categorize the things you keep in your garage like Christmas decorations, camping gear, etc.

Less is More:  After you’ve cleaned, painted and repositioned furniture, carefully select the art and accessories you choose to replace in every room of the home. Remember the rule of threes to create pleasing, uncluttered groupings of items, and add welcoming vitality with a few thoughtfully placed plants. Stow away all personal items and limit wall decorations to fewer and larger pieces, including strategically placed mirrors that expand spaces and reflect your best assets.

Curb Appeal: Get potential buyers in the door by creating a grand entry. A front door that’s energy efficient as well as beautiful makes a great impression, and polished hardware, a tidy new doormat and planters overflowing with colorful blooms complete the look. And don’t forget to trim the lawn and tend to landscape plantings, because these chores can bring you a different kind of green: according to the Professional Landcare Network, lush landscaping adds as much as 15 percent to the property value of a home.  Don’t forget about the backyard as well!

Posted by:  Sheri Negri


Home Inventory Low


Wonder why you are not finding the house you want lately?  Right now it could be tougher than you think!  Home inventories in Sacramento have been down since March, and there are no signs things will change any time soon.

Trends currently shows that the inventory decreased 1.5 months from February to March.  And it seems the inventory is dropping further still. This also has an impact on the purchase price of the home.  The gap is closing between list price and actual price sold.  See graphs below which include Sacramento County, Placer County and El Dorado County.


Home Inventory in Sacramento AreaAVERAGE PRICE FOR SALE VS. SOLD:

Keep Your Home Program



CalHAFA expanded eligibility criteria of $2 billion for the Keep Your Home California Program to allow more homeowners to qualify this year to avoid additional foreclosures.

This program was designed for low or moderate income levels.  The income limits for Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado Counties are $87,700.  For other counties, check the Keep Your Home California website.

The following are brief summaries of the programs available under Keep Your Home California.   To see full program descriptions, click on the program name below.

Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (UMA) – Intended to assist homeowners who have experienced involuntary job loss. UMA will provide temporary financial assistance in the form of a mortgage payment subsidy of varying size and term to unemployed homeowners who wish to remain in their homes but are in imminent danger of foreclosure due to short-term financial problems. These funds can provide up to six months of benefits with a monthly benefit of up to $3,000 or 100% of the existing total monthly mortgage, whichever is less.

Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program (MRAP) – Intended to assist homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments due to a temporary change in a household circumstance. MRAP will provide limited financial assistance in the form of funds to reinstate mortgage loans that are in arrears in order to prevent potential foreclosures. These funds can provide benefits of up to $15,000 per household.

Principal Reduction Program (PRP) – Intended to assist homeowners at risk of default because of an economic hardship coupled with a severe decline in the home’s value. PRP will provide capital to reduce outstanding principal balances of qualifying borrowers with negative equity. Principal balances will be reduced in an effort to prevent avoidable foreclosures and promote sustainable homeownership. The principal reduction program will most likely be a prelude to loan modification. (Servicers that contribute through matching funds increase the benefit for homeowners).

Transition Assistance Program (TAP) – Intended to promote community stabilization by providing homeowners with relocation assistance when it is determined that they can no longer afford their home. TAP will be used in conjunction with a servicer-approved short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure program in order to help homeowners transition into stable and affordable housing. Homeowners will be responsible to occupy and maintain the property until the home is sold or returned to the servicer as negotiated. Funds will be available on a one-time only basis.

For more information, go to the Keep Your Home California website:

Posted by:  Sheri Negri

How to Use and Generate a QR Code


QR codes…QR codes…QR codes…Everyone is talking about them!  What are they and what are they used for?  Well a QR code is basically barcode technology that was originally designed by a subsidiary of Toyota to track vehicle parts.  Now QR codes are being used for marketing in many different ways and in different industries–including real estate. There are many QR code readers that are designed to be used with smartphones.  The most common apps I have seen are QuickReader, QuickMark, NeoReader, BeeTag, and I-Nigma.  You will have to find out which QR code reader app works with your smartphone.

 Sample QR Code:

I have read a lot of articles and blogs about whether or not QR codes are useful in the real estate industry.  I personally see the value as long as they are used appropriately.  I would say putting a QR code on your website would be an oxymoron move.  The whole idea is to direct people online whether it be your contact information, your website, a web commercial, or a video tour of a home.  If they are already on your website, then what’s the point? When using QR codes, you have to think of whether or not it’s going to provide value to the consumer.

I do not consider myself an expert by any means, but I have been playing around with QR codes enough to give a few pointers to those who are new to QR codes.  So for what it’s worth, here are some basic instructions on how to use QR codes:

1) First determine your purpose for using the QR code.  What URL do you plan to attach to the QR code?  I am using QR codes to place on my business card and direct to my website.  Eventually I would like to create a video commercial that will replace it.  Everything in due course!

2) There are many free QR code generators online, but I used  To use, you need to have a gmail account.  Once you setup a gmail account, login and go to  It’s free!

3) Paste the URL you want to attach to the QR code and click on “Shorten”.

4) You will see the long and short URL versions with a “Details” link below where you enter the URL.  Click on the “Details” link, and you will see the QR code on the right-hand side of the screen.

5) Right-click on the QR code and save as a JPEG to your computer.  Then you can import the JPEG into your marketing materials.  However, first you need to test it to make sure you get the desired results.  Test it in first using your QR code reader app on your smartphone. tracks the activity of people who scan your QR code which is really cool.  Other QR code generators track activity as well.

Posted by:  Sheri Negri