Category: Home Sellers

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CRS Designation

Logo for the Council of Residential Specialists.

Dawn Dause has earned the CRS designation and is now a member of the Council of Residential Specialists! What does this mean? Dawn has earned her CRS designation by completing extensive training and meeting significant experience requirements. Working with a CRS Realtor means they will provide exceptional service and will use their top notch negotiation skills to benefit their clients.

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15 Minute Home Makeovers


Photo of a modern kitchen for an article discussing 15 minute home makeovers.


  • Switch the plates: Update switch plate and outlet covers.
  • Make touch ups: Touch up scratched baseboards, window and door trim, and marks on the wall that won’t go away.
  • Change out hardware: Putting in new drawer pulls and knobs can give a room an inexpensive face lift. Home improvement stores have a wide variety of inexpensive hardware to choose from.
  • Update the mailbox: Give an old mailbox a makeover by scrubbing it down and then spray painting it, either the same color or a new hue.
  • House numbers: Switch out your old house numbers for new ones to create a custom look. Some numbers are peel and stick and others need to be nailed in. There are different material choices such as wood, plastic, brass, stainless steel, etc. Expect to spend about $6-$30 a number.
  • Toilet seat: A new toilet seat can instantly improve the look of your bathroom without spending a lot.
  • Declutter: Spending 15 minutes a day decluttering a room can really make a huge difference in your home. Start in the kitchen by clearing off your refrigerator door and watch your kitchen instantly look cleaner. Put mail and other paperwork in labeled boxes with lids or other organizers; put school supplies in caddies, etc.
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Home Improvement Projects With The Best Returns


Photo of the exterior of a home for an article about home improvement projects and their expected return.

When thinking about doing a home improvement project to your home, do you ever wonder what your return may be? The Remodeling Cost Vs. Value Report from Illinois Realtor Magazine lays out what type of return you can expect on your projects:

  • Replacing the garage door: 83%
  • Steel entry door replacement: 82.5%
  • Attic bedroom: 81%
  • Wood deck addition: 78%
  • Minor kitchen remodel: 76%
  • Wood window replacement: 74%
  • Vinyl window replacement: 73%
  • Vinyl siding replacement: 73%
  • Composite deck addition: 69%
  • Fiberglass entry door replacement: 66.8%
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Let’s Talk Curb Appeal

Photo of a red front door with a matching doormat for an article about improving curb appeal.

Curb appeal is so important because it is the first impression that people have of your home. Here are some ideas to improve your home’s curb appeal, especially if you are thinking of putting your home on the market.

  • Give the front door and shutters a fresh new coat of paint. Either go with a traditional hue such as black, white, grey, navy blue, etc. or try a trendier shade. Check out Arsenic by Farrow & Ball (a blue/green), Sunburst by Benjamin Moore (yellow), Evening Sky by Benjamin Moore (deep blue), Folly Green by Farrow & Ball, Hampshire Rocks by Benjamin Moore (gray), etc. Just be sure to check with your HOA if you have one to get permission before painting if needed.
  • Install a new mailbox
  • Plant trees, shrubs, and flowers
  • Put up new address numbers
  • Invest in new outdoor lights
  • Paint your garage door if needed
  • Power wash the exterior, siding, and walkways
  • Perform any necessary maintenance on fences
  • Repair or replace the roof if it is needed
  • Clean dirty windows; unclean windows really do detract from the appeal of a home’s exterior
  • Replace any rotted wood
  • Replace any missing siding
  • Once it’s warmer outside, keep bushes and shrubs trimmer and the lawn watered and mowed
    Photo of a new mail box for an article on curb appeal.
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Five Tips For Selling A Home Quickly


Photo of a home for an article with tips for selling a home quickly.

1. Improve curb appeal: The curb appeal of a home is the first impression that buyers see; make sure the lawn is mowed and that porches, exterior walls and the driveway is clean.

2. Invest in small upgrades: Making small upgrades to a home can be a great idea before selling but be careful about spending too much money. Overhauling the entire kitchen may not pay off in the end, but making small improvements such as changing out the kitchen faucet or putting new knobs on the cabinets can go a long way.

3. Depersonalize: Remove family photos (at least some of them), take down eccentric art, and repaint any spaces that have loud colors on the wall. The goal is for the buyer to visualize the space as their own.

4. Price your home appropriately: It’s imperative to price your home correctly; too low and you will leave money behind, too high and your home could sit on the market. It’s important to work with your Realtor to come up with the best price for your home.

5. Sell at the right time: Usually spring is prime home buying season; the weather is nice and families with kids are able to move before summer break, allowing them to make a nice transition. Although plenty of home buyers are out shopping year round, it’s a good idea to have your home market ready by spring.

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Winter Home Fixes


Photo of a home during winter to discuss winter home fixes.
  • Squeaky door hinges: Apply some powdered graphite ($2.50 for a 3 gram tube) around the pin where the hinge turns.
  • Loud floor boards: Use an anti-squeak repair kit such as Squeeeek No More ($23) or for a cheaper alternative, simply shake some talcum powder into the seam where the floorboards come together and the powder will quiet the floor by creating a buffer between the boards.
  • Rusted shut-off valves: Look under sinks and behind toilets to see if the valves are rusted; if so, they may not work properly when you need them to. If they are rusty, spray some WD-40 on the handle shafts and twist the handles back and forth to let the oil soak in. If they won’t budge, spray some more WD-40 on and wait a couple of hours before trying again.
  • Peeling paint on shower ceilings: Since this area sees a lot of heat and moisture it can really distress the paint. Scrape off the old paint and replace it with an exterior grade paint. Also, be sure that the bathroom fan is always running when the shower is being used to help get rid of excess moisture.
  • Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors: Replace the batteries in all of your detectors at the same time once a year.
  • Exhaust filter in the stove: Remove the filter and wash it to remove the grease; this will make the exhaust vent more efficient and can help stop a stovetop fire from spreading.
  • Dryer vent: Pull the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the vent pipe. Vacuum up any lint inside of the pipe and also remove lint from the spot where the pipe connects to the dryer. Clean any lint off of the exterior dryer vent as well. It’s very important to do this periodically; clogged dryer vents are one of the main causes of house fires.
  • Drain hoses: Check the clothes washer, dishwasher, and ice maker.  If any of the hoses are leaking or cracked, replace them to prevent future flooding.
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Moving Mistakes



Photo of moving boxes for a post about moving mistakes.


  • Having to rush: Not leaving enough time to move is a huge moving mistake, can be dangerous and can also elevate stress levels. If possible, leave enough time to plan your move and give yourself plenty of time to get to your new location.
  • Not reaching out: If you are by yourself, be sure to ask friends or family to help you with this big task. Moving is not a one person job so don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for assistance. Friends/family or a moving company is necessary to get the job done.
  • Not researching moving companies: Be sure to do your research when looking to hire a moving company. While most moving companies are legitimate, it’s still very important to shop around, ask for credentials, and get quotes in writing. Good places to start are the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, or Yelp.
  • Packing absolutely everything: A move is a great time to really take stock of your possessions and see what you really need. Packing everything that you own can be costly in the long run so it’s the perfect time to take inventory and sell or donate items that you don’t need anymore including clothing you don’t wear, furniture that won’t be used in your new home, etc.
  • Lack of organization: Not being organized and failing to thoroughly plan can end up costing you more time and money than is needed and can also cost you your sanity as well. Be sure to use a moving checklist, make an effort to clearly label all boxes, and be in frequent communication with your moving company.
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How To Add Warmth To A Room

Beautiful sputnik light fixture for an example of how to add warmth to a room.

  1.  Layer texture: Multiple types of texture in a room really adds both dimension and warmth. Try adding texture via area rugs, pillows, wall coverings, etc. Layering two area rugs under a coffee table can look great and create a warm look.
  2. Add leather: Leather instantly adds warmth to a space. Having a leather couch or even a leather arm chair goes a long way. Use plants and light and bright artwork to counterbalance the leather so that the space doesn’t get too heavy.
  3. Install an interesting overhead light: The sputnik style is unique and is coming back into style.  Intricate overhead lighting casts light in many different directions creating both ambiance and warmth.
  4. Add knits: Knits are automatically cozy. Incorporate knit pillows, throws, poufs, etc. to warm up a space.
  5. Mix glamorous and natural elements: Mixing these two styles lends to a relaxing environment which translates into warmth. Antlers are a popular accessory choice and when mixed with a glamorous touch such as a mirrored lamp base or a beautiful candle the space will be warmer.
  6. Utilize pastels and brass: Mixing these two colors is both attractive and warm. Try painting a room a pastel shade, such as a dusty rose or light blue/gray and hanging brass colored starburst mirrors.

Photo of a cozy bedroom as an example of how to add warmth to a room.

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Decluttering The Kitchen

Photo of a clean kitchen for an article discussing decluttering the kitchen.

When selling your home, it’s important to get the kitchen clean, organized and ready to sell since many consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home.

  • Clear the counters as best as you can. Put away appliances and only take them out to use them.
  • Put rarely used pots, pans, and dishes in storage
  • Clean out any “junk drawers”
  • Create as much empty space as possible in drawers, cabinets, and the pantry
  • If your pantry is crammed full, begin to use as much of it as you can. You don’t want to be moving a lot of food when you leave and it will also help to create a clean space that will appeal to buyers. It’s also a good idea to organize the pantry but utilizing baskets to store items or to group similar items together
  • Clear out as much as possible from underneath the sink. Move any extra cleaning supplies out and make sure that the sink is free from any leaks
  • Give the kitchen a scrub down including the counters, sink, cabinets, floors, etc.
  • If the refrigerator doors are full of magnets, photos, calendars, etc., consider removing all or some of those items
  • If there is open shelving, consider putting items in baskets to create a clean and organized look
  • If some cabinets have glass doors, be sure that those cabinets are clean; consider displaying pretty dishes in those spaces
  • Store potholders and towels in drawers instead of hanging on the oven handle
  • Do you collect teacups, plates, etc? If so, keep a few out but put the rest into storage
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