How to Stage Your House Over the Holidays

By Guest Blogger
November 11, 2015
This was originally published on the official blog of Century 21® on November 3, 2015 *

Selling your home during the holidays doesn’t mean you have to hold back on the festivities. Let your home shine while attracting buyers during the most wonderful time of the year with these seasonal touches.


Deck the halls:

Don’t let selling your home stop you from spreading the holiday cheer. Subtle hints like a welcoming evergreen wreath at the front door, mulled cider brewing on the stovetop or hand-sewn stockings hanging from the fireplace awning gives the space a jolt of spirit.

Trim the tree:

Usually the most eye-catching piece of the living room during the holiday season, make sure your spruced-up Christmas tree matches the aesthetic you want to sell to potential buyers. If your living room has a clean-cut scheme with ivories and whites, for example, make sure your baubles fall under the same color palette.

Tone it down:

As tempting as it is to blow up some lawn ornaments to celebrate the season, it’s best to go for a minimalist approach during this crucial selling time. Neatly highlight the defining elements of your home’s exterior with snow-white lights or hang a fresh garland with bright red bows from your rooftop or mailbox.

Warm up:

Before open houses, make sure your home feels as cozy as possible. Now’s the perfect time to light a fire in your fireplace and warm up your home. If your home is lacking the fiery centerpiece, turning up the thermostat to a comfortably toasty level gives potential buyers extra incentive to linger for a while to escape the brutal cold outside—and allows them to fully digest the best qualities of your home.

Tune up:

Fill up the hallways with contemporary holiday classics while potential buyers are roaming the halls. Make a mix of festive favorites: go old-school with Frank Sinatra’s “White Christmas” or Natalie Cole’s take on “The Christmas Song”…or just play Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas (Is You)” on a loop.

Feed the masses:

The best way to make somebody feel at home—potentially at their future home—is through their stomach. Whip up some holiday-themed cookies and mocktails to serve during your open house; the extra hint of hospitality will keep you in the mind of prospective buyers even after the last present is unwrapped during the holidays.

*Article reprinted with permission of Century 21 Real Estate LLC.


5 Places You Forgot Potential Buyers Will Check

By Guest Blogger
October 15, 2015
This was originally published on the official blog of Century 21® on October 14, 2015 *

An open house is a crucial component of the home sale process. Start with these tips for staging an open house, but don’t stop there. Potential buyers are likely to inspect all areas of the house. Yes, even your “junk drawer” and closets. Here’s a list of five often forgotten places that potential homeowners may check.


The sides of your house

When you spruce up your front yard and backyard, pay attention the sides of your home as well. Potential buyers will likely look at the exterior of your house from all angles. One unkempt side may turn them off from the rest of the home. Make sure the paint and landscaping is in good condition from all angles.

Inside your closets

Don’t stuff everything in your closets and hope no one will open them. Even if the potential buyers aren’t fashionistas, they may still care about closet space. Show it off by organizing it. You wouldn’t want a potential buyer to open a closet just to find a hodgepodge of the belongings you stashed there.

Under your bed

Removing the bulk of storage from your closets is a great way to make closet space appear bigger, but that doesn’t mean your stuff should be shoved under the bed. Not only is it an eyesore, but the potential homebuyer might also see it as a sign that there is not enough storage space. Your best bet is to invest in temporary external storage space so that your open house has all the space it needs.

Inside the shower

Chances are no one wants a small, cramped bathroom. Create storage solutions that may make your space appear bigger and brighter to buyers. For example, stash toiletries and cleaning supplies in a separate closet, a dresser, or under the sink.

Your drawers and cabinets

Potential buyers will probably open drawers and cabinets. Spend time getting inspired by these home organizers. Think about all of the details like your spice rack, whether your dishes match, and finally taming your “junk drawer.” In need of more inspiration? Our Pins may help!

Go the extra mile, and don’t get caught off guard. You wouldn’t want to scream a slow motion “nooooo” as a potential buyer innocently reaches to open a closet.

*Article reprinted with permission of Century 21 Real Estate LLC.

Dealing With Multiple Offers

By Jim Stearman, Attorney at Law
August 27, 2015

In a hot real estate market, it is not uncommon for multiple offers to flood into the listing agent’s inbox. Effectively dealing with multiple offers is the sign of a good agent who is looking out for the best interests of his or her sellers. When you receive multiple offers, it is wise to get your manager involved. If a mistake is made, your clients may be put in the position of selling their house twice so you should take the extra step of protecting you and your clients before they start making phone calls to you to find out what went wrong.

By making a counter offer to all offers received, accusations of discrimination or unfairness can be avoided. The sellers, of course, have the option of accepting one of the offers or negotiating with only one or two of the buyers but, in most cases, issuing a counter offer to all prospective purchasers will usually result in a better price for the sellers.


To avoid selling the house twice, it is recommended that you use C.A.R. Form SMCO, Seller Multiple Counter Offer, when counter offers are going to be made to multiple offers. This form contains the necessary language to protect the sellers by informing the buyer that sellers are making multiple counter offers to other prospective buyers and that certain conditions must be met by the buyers for the counter offer to be deemed accepted. Many agents feel that you should not counter back on price but, instead, should ask all buyers to bring back their “best offer”. At that point, the sellers would hopefully be in a position to accept at least one of the multiple counteroffers. You can always negotiate upon terms other than price but you may lose buyers if your sellers counter with another price in response to the buyer’s “best offer” price.

When you’re representing the sellers of a home that will likely receive multiple offers, you can really help them out by getting them ready to make a good decision. Some of the things that could help them would be a review of their financial situation and to find out what is important to them. It could be that your clients would rather receive a lower offer with no contingencies that will close quicker than a higher priced offer that won’t close for several months. Just remember to tell your clients that you are there to guide them through the process and to help them get the result that is best for them but that they are the ones that will ultimately make the decision on which offer is best for their needs.

DISCLAIMER: This article has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information in this article is not legal advice. Since legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation, please contact an attorney for a consultation on your matter if you have any questions.

About the author: Jim Stearman is an attorney in North Orange County, California with over 35 years of experience. His areas of expertise include real estate transactions, general civil law disputes, business and commercial transactions, partnership law, corporate law and enforcement of judgments and collections. For more information about Mr. Stearman please visit his website

4 Reasons Why I Love This Real Estate Market

By Joe Lins

September 23, 2014

I LOVE this real estate market! It’s a great time for all parties involved in the process. It’s markets like this that remind me why I got into real estate…to help people buy and sell homes.

Here are 4 reasons why I love this market:

1) Buyers offers are being accepted

Buyers actually have a chance of buying a home without being out bid by investors. Investors have made a lot of money over the past few years and good for them! As home prices have slowly inched up investors are not as prevalent which allows buyers, especially first time home buyers, to get the home they want.

2) Buyers can afford a home

People who want to buy a home are able to do so because interest rates are still very low. The Federal Reserve recently announced that it would keep interest rates low for now which is good news for borrowers. In addition, in our local Orange County market home prices are appreciating at a reasonable rate.

3) Technology is helping the home buying process

I know there are a lot of people in the industry who are freaking out about the potential Zillow-Trulia merger and the affects of other third party sites on the information available to the public. They think this will take the place of the professional REALTOR®. I don’t believe that mindset. Now, buyers have the ability to make better choices because of the technology available to them. They can research everything from neighborhoods and schools to crime rates and interest rates. Now, sellers can go onto Zillow and get a Zestimate of their property, this provides an opportunity for the REALTOR to educate (or re-educate) the seller on the actual comps for their home.



4) Homes are being sold for fair market value

It’s a true market where neither the buyer nor seller has a distinct advantage over the other. Sellers can still achieve top dollar without the fear of leaving money on the table if they had waited. Buyers can make quality purchase decisions without the fear of being priced out of the market. Both parties are able to achieve their definition of success, which rarely happens in any market.

The REALTORS who truly understand this are succeeding in helping people buy and sell homes through their micro-market knowledge and keen negotiating skills. After all, isn’t that why we got into this business?

Joe Lins photo


About the author: Joe Lins is President and Co-owner of CENTURY 21 Discovery. If you are interested in becoming part of the CENTURY 21 Discovery team contact Joe at 714.626.2069.