Color Is Fun, But Not Always When You’re Selling

Color is Fun, But Not Always if You're Selling

Color is fun. Growing up I remember we didn’t have colors on the walls of our home.  Our house was painted eggshell, which really isn’t a color.  It’s considered off white, but not quite as stark as white. As a kid, I remember always wanting a bedroom that was painted a “fun” color.  

My 13 year old, Sam told me a couple of months ago that she ready for a change from her pink room  with fairies on the wallpaper border. I had to agree, that it was time for something a bit more sophisticated.  However, being the individual that she is I was waiting to hear what color was coming next.  She decided on red with black and white polka dots.  The red came as no surprise, as I know that’s her favorite color.  I told her that I thought that the red would keep her up at night and give her nightmares. We laughed and opted for something a bit more subtle.

At the beginning of Spring Break I told Sam that if she wanted her room painted, she’d have to get right on it.  She and her sister have painted many a rental house with me, so she has no problem with prep work and painting.  She spent about 2 days from start to finish and did 85% of the work on her own.  Her room turned out beautifully.

We live in our homes and enjoy our own tastes and decorations.

As I look at Sam’s newly painted violet blue room, which she loves, I am reminded that some of the colors in my home would not be suitable if I were going to sell. Some of the colors would be too bold and too personalized to appeal to the tastes of a broad range of buyers.

But, for now, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the “fun” colors in my home.

This article is authored by

Sandy Shores Realtor, Melbourne FL Real Estate

Brevard County Real Estate & Investing

Palm Bay Florida Real Estate News

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Seller(s) Your Home is Exactly What My Buyers are Looking for But…


dear mr. and mrs sellerDear Mr. and Mrs. Seller(s),

You have a beautiful home in an area of well maintained homes.  And, I would love to bring your listing agent an offer to purchase on your property. Your home is EXACTLY what my buyers have indicated that they are looking for…


Your dogs are cute and oh, so friendly. I know that all three of them are a part of your family, but my buyers don’t care for dogs. The wife is allergic to them. They don’t want to see your ‘dancing, singing’ poodle jumping up and down when they walk in the front door.  So, we would have appreciated it if you could have removed your pets before we came to visit.

The floor plan on your home is perfect. No wasted space, just what my buyers are looking for. But, your 20 years of furnishings and belongings have taken over.  The furniture dwarfs the rooms and the buyers can’t get a “feel” of just how spacious your home really is.

And, those exquisite paintings in the main living areas of the home are phenomenal.  Someone in your home is indeed a top notch artist.  But, we can’t see the walls.  We feel like we are walking through a museum.

Your children’s rooms are adorable. A life size Winnie the Pooh on the wall in one room and a 6 ft Barney the Dinosaur in the other room are so cute! Your kids must love it here!  But, the buyers are older and have no children.  They know that those rooms, in addition to the lime green room with purple curtains, are just adding to the list of things they must do before they can move into your home.

Your brand new carpeting is gorgeous.  It shows off your blue couches perfectly. We know that you spent extra money to get the highest quality carpeting, but my buyers want a home with all wood floors.  So, within the first three months, the new carpeting will have to go.

Thank you for spending your time telling us how much you love your home. It was nice to meet your whole family. But, now my buyers feel like it is truly YOUR home and they felt a bit uncomfortable.

My buyers are looking for a deal!  Their main concern is that they don’t overpay for a home in your area, based on comparable sales. It doesn’t really make any difference to them what you paid for the home or what you owe.

So thank you Mr./Mrs. Seller(s) for allowing us to see your property today. We must get going. We have 20 more homes to look at, in your area, just like yours, in the next three days.



Sandy Shores, Realtor

FOOTNOTE: This article is written as a combination of some of the many different scenarios we can and have seen over the years in showing houses for sale.

This article is authored by

Sandy Shores Realtor, Melbourne FL Real Estate

Brevard County Real Estate & Investing

Palm Bay Florida Real Estate News

Combo or Electronic Lockboxes…Is One Better Than Another?


Combo lockboxesAs years have progressed, I have noticed in showing properties for sale their seem to be more and more different types of lockboxes on homes. Do you find that some are more difficult to use than others? Do you also find that some can create different sets of problems than others?

Here in Brevard County Florida we have electronic lockboxes that can be purchased through the local Board of Realtors.  A agent is required to have the GE Supra key to access these types of boxes.  They key costs $185 fee a year to renew.  Last I heard the price for the electronic boxes was close to $100 each.

With the electronic boxes, we call the listing office, they give us showing instructions for the property, indicate there is an electronic box on the door and we have to be sure we bring our special realtor supra display key.  It is programmed in a cradle every night in order to update it. If you forget to update it daily then the key cannot be used. If lost, no one else can use it either, without the special access codes. So, I find that these keys are quite secure. However, often times if it is raining, the lockboxes become damp and they have difficulty communicating with the electronic key.  So, a couple of times I have found myself stuck standing outside of a listing on a wet day, instead of getting in to see the listing. They also can get jammed because too many keys are placed inside of them. So, again, they don’t open.  But, for the majority of the time they work fine.

Or, agents can place combo lockboxes on their listings. There are oodles of different combination lockboxes available. They can be purchased online from a realtor supply company or at a hardware store or Home Depot. They can range anywhere from $25 to $40.  They are much more cost effective than the electronic boxes.

I have noticed in recent years that here, more and more homes have combo lockboxes on them.  We call the listing office, ask for showing instructions, and they give us the combination to access the key in the lockbox. Simple, right?

Every combo lockbox is a bit different, as there are so many designs. Some are trickier than others.  They remind me of a variation of the old school locks on lockers in high school.  They are typically fairly easy to use.  However, in two instances I have been in situations where a buyer entered a property, using the lockbox, without a buyers agent so they could look at the vacant home at their leisure. Unbelievable, right?  One time it happened on one of my rental homes I had listed for sale.  The neighbor called me and told me there were a group of bums inside of my house. I raced over there.  And sure enough there were 4 kids, around 25 years old, that had opened the lockbox and were inside looking around. They told me they had looked at the house with their agent and their agent was meeting them there.  I stood there with them for nearly 30 minutes, talking.  Their agent never showed and after questioning  them they were in no position to buy any house, let alone that one. Unbelievable!

So if you do use the combo boxes, I recommend you make it a point to change the code each month for security reasons.

So, for me I have mixed emotions on the different types of lockboxes.

Money Well Spent, or Money Down the Toilet?

Money Well SpentI recently had a conversation with another agent regarding a soon-to-be-seller.  She indicated that she had just recently met with a local family that are preparing to put their home up for sale soon. They have owned their home for over 20 years.  They know that there are things that must be done to the house to get it ready to go on the market.  So, they started working on things that they felt were important to do, BEFORE consulting with an agent.

In the last couple of months they decided that their landscaping was looking very unappealing.  So they hired a professional landscaper to tear out all of the old plants and trees and start fresh.  They have added some bushes, shrubs and flowers.  They trimmed up the yard and it looks very appealing now.  This home that had no curb appeal, now looks handsomely manicured and welcoming to a new buyer. The homeowners are proud of their new project.

HOWEVER, the inside of this 30 year old home still has original and worn out carpeting and flooring. The inside and outside paint is 15 years old and the wallpaper is 20+ years old and very old fashioned.  The bathroom vanities are original and so is the kitchen.  The inside of the home needs a serious going over to spruce it up and bring some of it to today’s standards.  Now, I am NOT advocating that a new kitchen be put in. We are still in a declining market here.

Come to find out,  the owner spent over $7,000 in the landscaping alone.

So, they have decided that they have no money left to do anything else inside or outside the home.  They are considering declulttering the home of their 20 years of accumulated items, but that’s it! And then they will be putting it on the market.

Now my question is whether that $7000 was money well spent, or whether that was money down the toilet?

Now mind you, I am certainly not discounting the importance of attractive curb appeal on the exterior of a home…In my opinion, if this were my client and I knew they were planning on spending money to put the house on the market I would have advised them to spread the money out. I would have advised them to clean up the outside flower beds, pull the weeds and plant some pretty flowers themselves, declutter, paint the inside and outside, remove all old wallpaper and replace at the very least the carpeting. If I took a closer look and the vanities were terrible, I would have advised them to change them out, money permitting, of course.

It pays to talk to a professional before getting ready to place your house on the market.



Sandy Shores Melbourne FL Realtor

This article is authored by Sandy Shores, Melbourne FL REALTOR.

South Brevard County, Florida Space Coast.

‘I Don’t Care if Buyers are Qualified or Not, I Want Anyone That Wants To, To See My Home!’


I went on an appointment to speak with a seller about professionally marketing her home for sale. 

I met with this kind gracious elderly woman that had lived in her home for nearly 30 years.  She had lost her husband and her house was filled with exquisite antiques. My recomendation to her was to have a large percentage of her hierlooms packed up, and stored away someplace.

She had a quaint, comfortable, nicely maintained home.  It was in the $150,000 price range. If priced properly I did not see a problem with marketing and selling the home for her.

I spent time going over my marketing plan, so she would understand what I would be doing to get her home in front of as many qualified buyers and as many buyers agents as possible.

I got to the preapproved and prequalified section of my marketing plan.  I explained to her that it is important that we be sure that buyers that look at her home be preapproved to buy in that range.  Now, mind you, I understand that there are always exceptions to every rule – an investor that can’t decide if he wants to pay cash or to finance a portion of the purchase.  A buyer with over 50% down.  I understand that.

However, I also understand that over the past several years we have found agents that are putting buyers in their cars that are unable to qualify to purchase a home at this time or any other time in the near future.  So, I indicated to her that I did not want buyers coming in that could not qualify.

My concern also was that she was a much older woman with a house full of beautiful furnishings.

When I told her we would be showing the house to only preapproved buyers she was taken aback. 

She looked at me in disbelief!  I explained to her what I meant and that we must be cautious of who is coming through the home and I didn’t want to waste her time.

‘NO!’  I will not agree to that, ‘ABSOLUTELY NOT!’

“I’m not sure that I understand.” I responded.

‘I want every single person that wants to look at my house to come in and look at it! Period!  End of discussion!’

“But,” I tried to respond. I wanted to be sure she had understood what I was proposing.


“Perhaps you don’t understand,” I attempted to proceed on.

NO, I think that it is you that doesn’t understand!’  She was quite adamant!  Her mind was made up!

‘I told you NO!’

I was a bit unsure how to proceed, but I did, with obvious tension in the air. I had never had a seller tell me they wanted anyone and everyone tracking through their home, no matter what!

I finished up with the presentation and kept it short. I asked if she had any questions.

‘I will not have you, nor anyone else tell me who will or will not come through my home.’

“I understand,” I responded, as I knew that she was not going to hear anything else about it.

I do have to admit, I did think back over the situation more than once.

Two weeks later the home was listed for sale, with another agent, at another company for nearly $200,000.

Ouch, at that price I would never have been able to sell it!

I felt sad for the woman!


Sandy Shores Melbourne FL RealtorThis article is authored by Sandy Shores, Melbourne FL REALTOR.

South Brevard County, Florida Space Coast.

All information is believed to be accurate, but is not warranted.

The Importance of Great Curb Appeal in Selling Your Home

A large percentage of home buyers decide whether or not to look inside a house based on its curb appeal or exterior appearance. What they see when they drive by or arrive for a showing sets an immediate impression and often determines if they want to come inside.

Great curb appeal

First, You Have to Get Detached

We are all proud of our homes, but when you are getting ready to sell it, you must try to detach yourself from the home and remember this is going to be a business transaction. Try to look at your house in the same way a potential home buyer may.

The next time you come home, stop across the street or far enough down the driveway to get a good view of the house and its surroundings.

  • What is your first impression of the house and yard area?
  • What are the best exterior features of the house or lot? How can you enhance them?
  • What are the worst exterior features of the house or lot? How can you minimize or improve them?
  • Park where a potential buyer would and walk towards the house, looking around you as if it were your first visit. Is the path clean and tidy?
  • Start making a list of your positive and negative feelings about the property’s appearance.
  • Take photos of the home’s exterior. If you have a digital camera, view the color versions first, then switch the photos to greyscale, because it’s easier to see problems when color isn’t present to affect our senses.

In the evening and the weekend do a driveby on the house again.  Stop across the street, as you did before.

Lighting is Always a Plus

  • String low voltage lighting along your drive way, sidewalks, and around landscaping elements.
  • Add a decorative street lamp or an attractive light fixture to a front porch.
  • Solar versions of outdoor lights are quick and easy to install, but only work when they receive full sun each day.
  • Lighting that’s visible through front windows should enhance the home’s appearance.

Don’t Forget the Rear View

Buyers doing a drive by will try their best to see your back yard. If it’s visible from another street or from someone’s driveway, it should be addressed as well.

Curb Appeal Starters

  • Kill mold and mildew on the house, sidewalks, roof, or driveway.
  • Pressure wash siding and decks.
  • Keep sidewalks and driveways clean.
  • Stow away unnecessary garden implements and tools.
  • Clean the windows and gutters.
  • Mow the lawn regularly. Get rid of weeds.
  • Rake and dispose of leaves, even if your lot is wooded.
  • Edge sidewalks.
  • Trim tree limbs that are near or touching the roof.
  • If you can budget it, a fresh paint job does wonders.
  • A more attractive front door…or replace doorknob hardware…or repaint /stain the door and polish the hardware?

Selling Your Home – Should Family Photos Stay or Go?

Selling your Home, Should Family Photos Stay or Go?
Selling your Home, Should Family Photos Stay or Go?

I am still on the fence on this one, and have been for a while now.  Which is typically not like me.  But, I have mixed feelings on this subject. 

When placing a home on the market, should the personal, family photos stay in the house or should they go before the house goes on the market? 

And I’m not here to ruffle anyone’s feathers on this topic.

Maybe as a seller this thought has never entered your mind.  Put my family photos away to sell your own home…what do you mean?  Why? What’s the big deal?  Well, it depends on who’s looking at it (or should I say; looking at them).

When placing a home on the market a REALTOR’s job is to make the home  appeal to as many buyers, as we can.  Today, many homes are professionally staged. Kudos to all of you professional stagers, you make our job so much easier!  Those that aren’t staged are typically critiqued by the listing agent, prior to the sign going up.  The idea is to clear out as much “excess stuff” and to neutralize the furnishings in a way as to appeal to the broadest range of buyers that we can.  And many times the feeling is…if there are an excess number of personal, family photos, THEY MUST GO or at least the majority of them must go! A couple of photos can stay.

Selling your home, should family photos stay or go?
Selling your home, should family photos stay or go?

During a showing, we ask that the seller not be home when a buyer is looking at the property.  We want the buyer to feel as warm and comfortable in the home as possible.  We want the buyer to “see and feel” himself living there.  If the seller is there, the buyer often feels uncomfortable being in someone else’s place.  And, if the buyer walks through and it is “filled” with family photos, it can make it difficult for some to envision themselves living there.

In the past I have kindly asked a number of sellers to “thin out” some of the pictures in order to make the home more buyer friendly. I have received responses ranging from polite and agreeable to flaming red hot.  One seller told me in no uncertain terms would she remove any of her nearly 75 family photos. She said she would not even put the house on the market!  She was absolutely furious and wanted no explanations of why it was necessary.  I thought I would be escorted to the door!  She did not list the home for sale.

I have been in a number of homes that felt as if all eyes on the wall were staring at you.  In some cases, it  scared buyers off.

So what is a seller to do?  Should the personal photographs stay or go?  You tell me…