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5 Ways to Stage, without breaking the Bank!

by Colleen Lawler

So...I just spent about 5 minutes looking for my notes for this post.  I think I need to stage my in basket!

Here are tried and true ways to get your home ready for market, but first, I want to reinforce that it's not easy, it takes time, and the best way to tackle this is to mentally cordon off a small area, tackle, it, make it perfect, pat yourself on the back, and then move on to the next area (even if it's the next corner of the same closet!!)

1.  Closets:

Box up the clutter, use matching hangers.  All the clothes should face the same direction, all the pants should be with pants, the shirts with shirts, skirts with co-mingling!  Ideally I like to tell sellers that their clothes "shouldn't touch"  

Nothing should be on the floor, so get a shoe rack or store shoes in boxes on shelves.  Cute bins can hold purses and "stuff"  But pack up a lot of it, you are going to have to box it up sooner or later, so do it now!

2.  Bedrooms

Paint, change up pillows and bedding, try to make them "gender neutral".  Bedrooms are places to sleep in, so put away the laptops and the ironing boards, office furniture, and the tv.

3.  Living Room

Make sure  the shades open up, the paint is fresh, and the flooring is in good shape.  This space should have a focal point.  ONE. FOCAL. POINT.  (A TV in one corner and a fireplace on another all  = 2 FOCAL POINTS.  A TV is probably easier to locate than the fireplace :-)

4.  The Kitchen 

Clean it like you have never cleaned it before.  Toothbrushes and toothpicks, boxes of Mr. Clean Eraser bars, grout cleaner.  The sink and faucets should be sparkling (Bartender's Best Friend is great) Replace older cabinet hardware (aka "kitchen jewelry").  Target sells packs of 6 or ten knobs or pulls, and that's usually less expensive than Lowe's or Home Depot.  Remove rugs to make the space feel bigger, and organize your drawers and cabinets, because the buyers will be looking in them!  If you are feeling really inspired, new plumbing and light fixtures will more than pay for themselves!   

5.  Bathrooms

All that stuff you used to clean the kitchen?  March it straight into the bathroom!  Caulking and shower doors almost always need some attention.  That Mr Clean bar is just about miraculous in the the tub, shower, sink, tile surrounds...and invest in a squeegey to keep shower doors spotless.  Once you start you might not be able to stop.  Using Rainex after cleaning shower doors to minimize water spots if you like!

ps.  I know the title says "5 Ways" but here's tiny little p.s.  Grab the attachments to your vacuum cleaner and clean all light fixtures, all the cold air returns, vents, and even the exterior of your furnace, a/c and hot water heater.


The bottom line is clean, uncluttered, neutral.  Anything else will cost you time and money in the real estate market!




Moving is Never Easy, but St. Louis is a Great Choice!

by Jaron Clinton

Moving isn’t a simple task, and choosing where you want to live next can sometimes be the hardest part of the process. If you’re looking for a new city that offers good schools, well-groomed parks, noteworthy public institutions, a strong corporate presence and plenty of craft breweries, then moving to St. Louis is an excellent choice.

The first reason to consider St. Louis is that living here isn’t actually too expensive. According to the Cost of Living Index Calculator, in 2010 the greater St. Louis area has the lowest cost of living among the nation’s 20 largest metropolises. Next, the city is well-known for its academic excellence. Even if you’re not attending one of these schools or don’t have children, you will still benefit from the city’s good school programs because they increase the value of your new home to families. The nearby cities of Clayton and Ladue have two of the most reputable and well-funded public school systems in the U.S., and the several colleges, including Washington University which is often ranked in the top 10 nationally. Plus, if you’re a recent college graduate then St. Louis is great for you because it has common high starting salaries and Forbes ranked St. Louis as the happiest city for job-seeking college grads in 2012.

Besides the obvious go-to factors of education and cost of living, St. Louis offers a much more subtle gift, which is literally giving. St. Louis has garnered a quiet, but well-earned reputation as one of the most charitable cities for how it treats its residents and visitors alike. The city is consistently ranked as one of the most charitable cities in the country, coming in ninth last year, and nearly one third of residents volunteer. St. Louis has placed a Victorian emphasis on artistic and cultural institutions as a way to elevate society, which includes the city’s zoo and museums, and consequently most of these are free of charge.

Central Park in New York City gets all the attention, but it really shouldn’t. St. Louis’s Forest Park beats it by miles. Offering nearly 1,300 acres of land that is used for in-line skating, biking, walking, running, golf, tennis, and other sports and activities. Plus, the park is home to five of the region's major institutions: the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, and the Muny amphitheater. 

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Colleen Lawler & The IrvineTeam
Coldwell Banker Gundaker
111 Chesterfield Towne Centre
Chesterfield MO 63005
Office: 636-391-2100
Toll Free: 800-791-3276
Fax: 636-536-3018