Curb Appeal

Last week I toured several Albany Oregon homes that have been on the market for a LONG time with agents from several different real estate agencies.  Our mission was to establish why these homes hadn’t sold and to make recommendations to the home seller and selling real estate agent.

One home I just can’t get out of my mind, along with the reactions of the group when we entered the living room.  Every one of us said:

Wow!  What a surprise!  or . . . Isn’t this lovely!

Now you may think I’ve lost my mind — home sellers WANT buyers to think their living rooms are beautiful – right?  The problem?

Based on our impressions of the exterior, we were surprised at how the living room looked. 

Yikes!  Now the exterior wasn’t horrible – just rather blah and uninteresting.  The home’s exterior design needed some help to give great curb appeal, the flower beds weren’t interesting or memorable and the lawn needed some reseeding/fertilizing.

When putting your home on the market, curb appeal and web appeal are key selling factors.  You may have the cutest interior in all of Oregon, but if you want to make sure buyers see it the exterior has to be great as well.

Hopefully I’ll be able to post some great before and after shots of this home’s exterior soon! 

Meanwhile, here’s a pic from a prior staging job. 

 Don’t you just want to see more of this home’s interior?

When marketing your home make sure it catches buyers attention from the first glance and provides a continuing good impression in each room. 

No surprises — just a good impression that flows throughout the home!

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

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About the author:

Margaret Oscilia, founder of Creative Concepts and Contracting, has a proven track record of transforming homes that linger on the market to sought after listings which receive multiple offers – yes even in 2010! Oscilia’s personal experience, training, affordable tips and practical approach has kept this Salem Oregon home staging business in demand from real estate agents and home sellers alike.  For more information call 503-881-0886.

We visit several homes each week, giving advice on how homeowners can best prepare their homes for a quicker sale.  One thing we are seeing at nearly all these homes is too much green!

No, the houses aren’t environmentally friendly or painted green . . . but the all have way too much moss and algae!

Yes — we love living in our green Oregon!  BUT — when putting your home on the market, make sure you remove the green so you can make more green($$$)!!

When potential home buyers approach a home and see siding with grunge, gutters with stains and walkways with moss what do they think??

  • It’s been a wet winter?
  • How natural?
  • Poorly maintained?

You’re right — they will automatically get a poor impression before they’ve even stepped in the house!

I’ve heard every excuse – I don’t want to pressure wash!  I’m afraid the plants may be damaged by cleaning agents!  It’s cold outside – I’ll do it in a few months!

Trust me — it is worth doing, and worth doing now.  How?

I’m so glad you asked — I wish I had stock in this company.  30 Second Cleaner.

The first time we saw 30 Second Cleaner used (I thought our neighbor must be crazy) I could not believe the results.  Those stains that you think will have to be painted over probably will be removed just by spraying on this product and rinsing with a garden hose.    It’s a product we recommend frequently with tremendous success.

Roofs . . . don’t you just hate it when the green starts peaking out between the shingles? 

Every home buyer is going to be suspect of your roof condition when they see moss on the roof!  Here’s an excellent  write up on removing moss and algae from roofs if you are a do it yourselfer.  There are also local companies that specialize in moss removal.  (Need a referral –  just give us a call.)

I’ve blogged (okay harped) about gutters before and how important it is to keep them clean and well maintained.  So if your gutters need a little attention zip over and read that blog as well to get some inspiration.

So Oregon home sellers, or home sellers to be — get rid the moss and muck from your homes exterior.  It’s an important component of curb appeal and helping you get top dollar for your home!

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

View our website See our YouTube Videos Connect with us on facebook! Subscribe to our blog

About the author:

Margaret Oscilia, founder of Creative Concepts and Contracting, has a proven track record of transforming ho hum homes to sought after listings which receive multiple offers – yes even in 2010! Oscilia’s personal experience and  top notch training give her a unique edge on the competition.  Her practical  approach and affordable ideas for home owners has this Oregon home staging business receiving rave reviews from home sellers and real estate agents!

Take a typical 3 bedroom 1 bath Salem home in a NE neighborhood (NE is not considered the hot real estate hub of Salem for those not living in Salem).

Add one savy owner who updated the paint and carpet with some good choices . . . and here’s the results:

The curb appeal was challenging – especially the path to the doorway.

And while this home does look nice — as you can see it is just . . . . .

another beige vacant box.

What size are the rooms?

Over 90% of buyers shop first on the internet.

Currently there are at least 40 comparable listings on the multiple listing service . This home and these photos won’t stand out!

So instead of making an appointment to view the home, the potential buyer continues looking online until something more interesting catches their attention.

This house was listed for about $150,000.  Why would anyone stage a house that was in that price range?

Because while the average days on market in this area is over 150 days, this house received an offer within 5 days.

Some simple and affordable staging transforms a beautiful beige box into a welcoming home.

A new path welcomes buyers in – (and was affordable using materials they already had on hand).  The curb appeal is great.  Most buyers want an easy care yard!

When marketing a vacant home help buyers see the room sizes.

Simple furniture and decor showed this room size and made it look inviting.

It showed well on the internet, and even better in person.

We stage homes all over Oregon, and not all of them sell within five days. But we do continue to see the homes that are priced and prepared well standing out from the competition and receiving offers!

Moving or improving in Oregon? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.  What can we do to help you today? Contact Margaret Oscilia at 503-881-0886!

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

View our website See our YouTube Videos Connect with us on facebook! Subscribe to our blog

Thinking about preparing to sell your home? Curb appeal and the entry to your home  are key in inviting potential buyers in and giving them a good first impression!  Front door color may even affect the sale of your home!

Yes to these colors when selling!


A Februray 2009 survey from Co-Operative Bank Mortgages showed that that 29% of home buyers preferred a white front door. However, a close second of 20% of buyers preferred red. The third most popular at 16% was blue, with green coming in at #4 and brown at #5.

Pink was the least favorite, and could possibly keep a buyer from even making an offer. Other offender colors were orange, purple, grey and yellow.

No to these colors when selling!


When recommending door colors for home owners or sellers,  I rarely recommend white, but love red and slate tones.   White paint is a little difficult to keep looking perfect!

What paint color should you choose for your front door? Look at the roof or stonework on the house, can it be highlighted or accented? I love a dark slate grey door and many shades of red as well. If there is stacked stone many times a beautiful dark beige, black or brown works well too. Stay away from the hunter green and mauve tones — they will create a dated look.

Still wondering what color would be best?  Give us a call for a color consultation or send us a photo of the exterior of your home!

Moving or improving? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.  What can we do to help you today?  Contact Margaret Oscilia at 503-881-0886!

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

View our website See our YouTube Videos Connect with us on facebook! Subscribe to our blog

Just count to ten . . . that’s all the time it takes for buyers to create a strong opinion of your home.  Does your curb appeal impress that potential home buyer?

Within seconds, buyers have formed a strong first impression – one that’s hard to change! With buyers choosier than ever, if your curb appeal isn’t fantastic, they may not even set foot in your home. Not willing to take a chance on making a best first impression? Follow these tips to increase your curb appeal!

exterior before Creative Concepts and Contracting

  • Make sure the street, sidewalk, walkway and porch are free from garbage, leaves and moss. Pressure wash if needed.
  • Remove oil drips from the driveway and repair cracks in the walkway
  • Is the exterior paint in top condition? If not repaint a neutral color. Paint shutters and door.
  • Paint/stain fences – replace broken boards and be sure gates work easily
  • Apply new door hardware and a shine up that brass kick plate
  • Buy a new welcome mat and replace the house numbers – make sure they are very visible from the street.
  • Put a planter that does not obstruct traffic flow with seasonal flowers in the porch area
  • Check porch and entry area weekly for cobwebs, dirt and keep spotless.
  • Install a new front porch light fixture – use maximum wattage bulbs
  • Clean windows inside and out – replace any cracked or fogged glass and damaged screens
  • Roof must be in great condition, no missing shingles and moss free
  • Make sure the gutters and downspouts are in good working order.  Pressure wash or paint if needed
  • Lawn must be edged, mowed, weed free and kept green and in good condition.
  • Invest in great landscaping – bark mulch, nice plants – attractive and low maintenance

exterior after Creative Concepts and Contracting

Create an inviting and cheerful entrance and set the tone for a successful showing!

CCC LogoFor more home staging and preparing to sell tips, contact Creative Concepts and Contracting – specializing in home staging, repairs and updating. Licensed, bonded and insured.

fall is beautiful in OregonThinking fall is the time to pull up the for sale sign and wait until spring?  We think it’s time to boost up the curb appeal before foul weather appears and make sure your home is ready to compete for buyers’ attention! Typically winter brings fewer buyers to the market place, but these buyers are generally more serious and focused on buying a home.

Short on time and money?  Here are some ideas that don’t take a lot of time and don’t break the bank.  Your landscaping can have fabulous appeal all winter long by taking a few extra steps now!

1. It’s time to get a rich lush lawn!  Those thin areas can be beautiful quickly by reseeding now.  With the warm days and cool nights seed will germinate quickly and the lawn can be established with less watering and care.

2. Time to take care of those dandelions and weeds!  Weeds germinate in the fall so by applying weed and feed over the yard there will be fewer dandelions in the spring.  Clear flower beds of weeds now and avoid their growth through the winter months.  We use a pre-emergent product after we weed which helps reduces weed germination.  Our flower beds in the spring now take a few minutes not hours.Spice up curb appeal with a splash of color

3. Keep watering and mow, mow, mow! Want a lawn that looks spectacular?  Mow twice a week with the blade set at 2 ½ to 3 inches through October – you’ll be surprised at how much that makes the grass grow.

4. Colorful leaves are beautiful on the trees, but once strewn on your lawn decrease your home’s visual appeal.  They can damage lawns and become slippery on walkways.  Remove leaves quickly.

5. Remove overgrown or straggly plants.  Take a hard look at your landscape.  Shape shrubs, remove dying or overgrown plants.  Flower beds should have a crisp and clean look in winter months.

6. Add some affordable landscaping.  Nurseries are having great sales this time of year and not only can your yard look better all winter, plants started now can be bigger and well established by spring. We love what a few colorful mums planted along the walkway does for curb appeal for months and months.

Creative Concepts and Contracting is a professional home staging and contracting company specializing in helping home sellers prepare their homes to sell quickly and for top dollar.  Home staging starts at the curb!

sidelight and door

Frequently we work with clients who have sidelights next to their entry doors.  These sidelights come in a variety of styles, but the clear glass sidelights pose problems for some home owners.  How do you maintain privacy?  Home owners frequently cover these windows with curtains, blinds or customized stained glass to give them the privacy they desire.

sidelights with window coveringFor home owners, we frequently recommend a product such as this duet blind — it can be pulled up completely letting in lots of light and provides a quality look.  They are also a appealing to buyers if you are considering selling your home in the future, but can be more costly than many home sellers are interested in spending.

For home sellers, its vital to create an inviting entry to impress potential buyers.

this sidelight is too decorative and personalized

Personalized inserts and curtains should usually be removed. For example, this stained glass insert will not be attractive to some buyers and give a poor first impression.

They not only may not be appealing to many buyers, but they block light and can darken the entry area.  Any real estate agent will tell you how important a light and bright home is to creating a great impression.  Here in Oregon we have many gray days, and having more light in entries is important.

How do you maintain privacy, let in the maximum amount of light and still have a contemporary appeal?

Here are  couple of easy and affordable solutions:

spray on frost for glassFrost the window using a spray on product such as this one made by Krylon.  It can be found at hardware or home improvement stores for under $10.  Carefully mask off panes and frames to achieve a good quality look.  It can be removed from the glass with a razor blade.

privacy and decorative window filmAdhere a privacy film to the window glass which is easily removable.  Some great products are found here.  I  love some of the designs they have, but this is more expensive – about $24 per full sidelight.  privacy window filmHome improvement stores also carry a limited supply of these window films.

Avoid films that are patterned or stained glass if you are preparing your home for sale and stick with the frosted, rice paper or etched looks.  Take care when cutting the film and attaching it to the window without any creases or the finished look will not be pleasing!

For pennies, you can prepare a mixture of epsom salts and water which frosts windows as well.  For step by step instructions, see our prior post here.  This works well, but if in an area that is touched or that gets a lot of moisture, it will be easily damaged.

home staging Salem OregonCreative Concepts and Contracting is a home staging and licensed contracting company providing affordable and quality solutions for home owners and home sellers in Oregon.  Home staging is more than arranging pillows and creating a beautiful room!  From curb appeal to repairs and maintenance, contact us with your questions and challenges.

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