The Decision to Sell

Your home is a huge part of your life, both financially and emotionally. So the decision to sell your property is not one to be made lightly. You need to determine a marketing strategy. Price the house to attract buyers interest, and there are a million other details to sort out.

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When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price for it with the least amount of hassles along the way. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is actually getting their homes sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the percentage of buyers who used the internet in their home search increased to 94%.


However, the report also revealed that 96% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their homes directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (50%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (36%), or to help understand the process (61%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers that reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who have used agents to buy their homes has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.


If you’re planning to sell your home, it’s probably crossed your mind to try to sell it yourself and save the sales commission. But, there are some very good reasons why that would be a mistake. According to housing industry experts at and, more homes listed by real estate agents are sold than homes marketed by owners, and they sell more quickly and for more money. Homes listed by real estate professionals get more exposure and their sellers get more support. Real estate professionals offer many advantages:

  • They’re trained and licensed professionals.
  • They have experience in your neighborhood and your market.
  • They have oversight from brokers and state licensing officials.
  • Their job is to advise you the best way to reach your goals.
  • Their continuing education keeps them up-to-date on housing issues.
  • They know how to present your home and deal with buyers.
  • They know how and where to market properties.
  • They know how to overcome typical snags that occur in all real estate transactions and closings.
  • They understand state-required disclosures and look out for your best interests.
  • They understand personal safety and security for your belongings during showings.
  • They know the best resources to make transactions go more smoothly, from bankers to home-stagers to contractors.
  • They have the most accurate data sources – the MLS, the only data repository that has the most up-to-date listing and sales information.
  • They know how to negotiate.
  • Their job is making real estate transactions successful. When you market your own home, you have to make the time to do all the jobs a real estate professional would do, and you’ll be competing against other sellers who have real estate professionals by their sides. If you can’t leave work to show your home, or you feel it requires more knowledge and experience than you have, you can’t go wrong by hiring a well-respected real estate professional.


Timing is everything when it comes to selling your house. Luckily, Coldwell Banker Advantage has the information and real estate advantage you need to sell your house with confidence. Contact us today for more information.

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Make the transition a little less RUFF~ How to Prepare Your Home for New Pets

Congratulations! You’re considering getting a pet, or you’re about to bring a new furry friend home to join the family. This is an exciting moment. Of course, it also requires some preparation — part of which includes readying your home for the new addition. Here’s how to prepare your home for new pets:

Kitchens and Bathrooms:

Install childproof locks on your cabinets so your new pet can’t open them and get to potentially dangerous items.

Put anything your pet can reach — medicine, chemicals, etc. — on a high shelf.

Invest in covered trash bins that can’t be knocked over easily.

Keep food and other edibles out of reach.

Living Room:

Hide wires from TVs, stereos and other electronics to prevent animals from chewing on them and shocking themselves.

Hide any small items your pet could chew on or knock over and break.

Move potentially poisonous plants outside, or place them out of reach.

Give them something comfy to lay on, whether it’s a bed on the floor or a blanket on the furniture.

Put machine-washable slipcovers on your furniture.

Certain types of furniture are easier to clean than others; have the right cleaning materials on hand for messes and accidents.


Put clothes and shoes in closets — and close the door so your pet can’t get to them.

Keep any medications or cosmetic items in drawers.

Any household cleaners that you keep in the master bathroom need to be well-hidden or kept behind childproof locks.

Secure garbage cans with lids or store them underneath cabinets.


Keep your animals away from pools or ponds to avoid drowning.

Check your fence for any holes to ensure your pet can’t escape from the yard.

Designate a certain part of the yard as your pet’s bathroom. Keeping it to the same spot helps prevent damage to your bushes or grass.

Move hazardous chemicals and sharp objects to your garage — and keep your pet away from the area.

Other General Areas to Consider:


If you can, replace vertical blinds and window treatments that incorporate draping tassels or cords; these could become choking or strangulation hazards.

Avoid using mini-blinds in your home; pets frequently bend and break them when they’re curious and want to see outside.


Semi-gloss paint is washable and easy to clean.

Vinyl-backed wallpaper is also easy to clean; you might consider this option in rooms in which your dog may be training.


Area rugs are easier to keep clean than carpeting. If you have carpeting, use enzymatic cleaner to eliminate urine and poop smells.

Tile and linoleum flooring are easy for handling pet accidents. Keep this in mind when deciding where to put your pets during the day.

Make sure your hardwood floors are sealed before your pets walk on them.

For more tips on how to prepare a home for pets, check out this article from Adopt a Pet on pet proofing your home.

Posted in Adopt A Pet, Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Advantage, Home Buyer, Home Improvement, Home Sellers, Homes for Dogs Project, Millennial Buyers, Millennial Sellers, Millennials Buyers, Real Estate, Real Estate Agents, Relocation, Residential Real Estate, Sell, Southwest Michigan, Spring, Uncategorized, Where Home Begins | Leave a comment

A Home with Somebody to Love

Coldwell Banker and renew a partnership to help find homes for adoptable dogs.

Ralph Waldo Emerson most notably penned the phrase “A house is made with walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.”

While a roof over our head provides shelter, it is the love inside the home that makes it a refuge. While the walls of a house protect us from the elements, it is the love inside the home that protects us from everything else. While the foundation of a house keeps our feet out of the mud, it is the love inside the home that carries us over all of the other obstacles in life.

At Coldwell Banker, our calling is to help people find a place to call home, and if love is what makes a house a home, we wanted our campaign to highlight how even the smallest of things can fill it with love. This year our campaign was created to remind everyone that home is the place where love resides, and those looking to add more love into their lives need only look at adding a small addition to it – a four-legged one.  For the past two years, we have worked with to help find homes for more than 20,000 adoptable dogs. A dog’s unconditional love, eternal forgiveness and innate ability to help you melt the day’s stress away is what can turn any day, regardless of its troubles, into a joyful occasion upon entering that front door.

The physical and emotional shelter that home provides is one of the single greatest investments anyone can make, and adopting a dog into it makes it even more valuable. Find out how you can help find homes for adoptable dogs through the Coldwell Banker Homes for Dogs Project at

Whether love is represented by family, friends, passion or even a furry friend, we hope your home is filled with “Somebody to Love.”

Posted in Adopt A Pet, Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Advantage, Condos, Father's Day, Home Buyer, Home Sellers, Homes for Dogs Project, Millennial Buyers, Millennial Sellers, Millennials Buyers, Real Estate, Real Estate Agents, Relocation, Residential Real Estate, Sell, Southwest Michigan, Uncategorized, Where Home Begins | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Housing Market Has Already “Sprung Forward”

The-Difference-a-Hour-Makes-KCMDon’t forget to set your clocks forward this Sunday, March 12th at 2:00 AM EST in observance of Daylight Savings Time. Unless of course, you are a resident of Arizona or Hawaii!

Just like our clocks this weekend in the majority of the country, the housing market has already “sprung forward!” Similar to tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale in the market right now is what is holding back the market.

Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest, and traditionally they would have been right.

Buyer demand has seasonality to it, which usually falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic temperatures and conditions.

That hasn’t happened this year.

Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows.

Every hour in the United States: 649 homes are sold, 177 homes regain equity (meaning they are no longer underwater on their mortgage), and the median home price rises $1.86.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the top 10 dates sellers listed their homes in 2016 all fell in April, May or June.

Those who act quickly and list now could benefit greatly from additional exposure to buyers prior to a flood of more competition coming to market in the next few months.

Bottom Line 

If you are planning on selling your home in 2017, discover your real estate advantage and meet with one of our Coldwell Banker Advantage Realtors to evaluate the opportunities in our marketplace.

Posted in Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Advantage, Condos, Home Buyer, Home Improvement, Home Sellere, Home Sellers, Millennial Buyers, Millennial Sellers, Millennials Buyers, Real Estate, Real Estate Agents, Relocation, Residential Real Estate, Sell, Smart Home Technology, Smart Homes, Southwest Michigan, Spring, Technology in Homes, Uncategorized, Where Home Begins | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cupid’s Counting Down! Great At-Home Date Night Ideas

at-home-valentines-day-ideasCan you believe it?! Tuesday is Valentine’s Day!  Yes, it’s the day Hallmark is king and restaurants are filled to the brim.  If you haven’t made dinner reservations yet, you may be standing for hours at the door. For many of us, knowing that Valentine’s Day is the busiest night of the year for restaurants, we have choose to stay home and keep the home-fire burning instead. Think you might want to do the same?  If so, then maybe some of these at-home date night ideas may be an inspiration for you as well.  After all, the cost is usually cheaper, the atmosphere is often quieter, and the intimacy has no limits…well, unless you still have kids awake.  In that case, I’d just send them to bed early with a good book!

Here is to a Happy Valentine’s Day!


Spend the night on the living room floor. Set up the air mattress.  Roast marshmallows in the fireplace.  Have a picnic dinner on the floor.

Make dinner together. Choose the menu and get the ingredients ahead of time, then have fun cooking, taste-testing, and eating together.

Have a board game night. Choose a favorite board game and feel free to play the traditional way or with an extra romantic twist.  The choice is yours.

Watch a romantic movie together.  

Turn your living room into a ballroom.  Move the furniture out of the way, turn on the music and dance like prom night all over again.  Don’t know how to dance?  Rent an instructional DVD from your local library and use the night to learn together!

Read a book together.  It could be something as romantic as a book on marriage or a silly as a favorite picture book from your childhood.

Set the mood. Think candles.  Think flowers.  Think multiple-courses or fondue. What would you expect to see and taste at a fancy restaurant?  Try to recreate that atmosphere around your own dining table.  For extra gusto you may even want to dress up in your finest attire.  Woowee!valentinespic

Revel in wedding day memories.This one will probably mean more to us girls than our hubbies but looking at old wedding albums or watching our wedding video is a great way to rekindle the fires.

Enjoy hot chocolate/tea/coffee on the back porch together.There’s nothing like sitting together in the peace and enjoyment of God’s creation to build a deeper level of communication.

Get your sport on.  While it may not sound very romantic to start, playing soccer in the backyard or a round of H.O.R.S.E. in front of the basketball goal does wonders for relationships.

Give each other a massage. 

Play a video game together.I remember when Goose and I used to do this when we were first married.  We loved it.  I think this may be one of our choices for Thursday, no doubt!


Create a campfire in the backyard or light up the grill. Roast hot dogs, wrap up in a warm blanket and just enjoy watching the fire burn.

Go star gazing.  Put a blanket on the ground or wrap up in sleeping bags in your backyard and just enjoy gazing at the stars.

Go back and read your journals, letters, and memos from when you were dating.  

Have a karaoke night.  Get out your favorite romantic songs and have fun lip-syncing to each other.

Order in.  Have pizza or Chinese delivered but be sure to use the chopsticks

Have a spa night.  Think bubble bath…foot massages…the works!

Put a puzzle together, then glue and frame it.

Create sugar cookies.  Bake them.  Decorate them.  And eat them.  For an added Valentine’s Day flare you could even write your own little sweetheart messages on top and exchange them.

Write your lifelong bucket list together.

Look through your old high school yearbooks or baby photo albums together.

Get artistic.  Try drawing or painting each other’s portraits and then framing them!

Make a list of all the places you want to visit together were money no limit.

Create a blueprint of your dream house.  

Have a dessert cook-off.  Each of you find a new dessert recipe you’d like to try, bake them side-by-side in the kitchen, and then taste test them both to see which you like better.

Write a gratitude list together.  Make a list of everything you are thankful for as a couple and then tell God about it!

Create a love scavenger hunt

Have dinner on your roof.  Talk about something you’d never forget.  Make sure the roofline isn’t too steep though.

Choose a new hobby to try out together.  For added inspiration you can always check out the World’s Longest List of Hobbies.


Posted in CNet, Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Advantage, Condos, Fall Home Improvement, Father's Day, GoFundMe, Home Buyer, Home for the Holidays, Home Improvement, Home Sellers, Millennial Buyers, Millennial Sellers, Millennials Buyers, Real Estate, Real Estate Agents, Relocation, Residential Real Estate, Sell, Smart Home Technology, Smart Homes, Southwest Michigan, Spring, Technology in Homes, Uncategorized, Valentines, Where Home Begins | Leave a comment

Jocelyn Bingaman’s Voice of Rett Syndrome


My Coldwell Banker Advantage family asked me to share my story of ‘Home’.

Hi, my name is Jocelyn Bingaman and I am a sassy 12-year-old girl who loves watching movies, listening to music and attending school. I live in St. Joseph, Michigan, with my mom (Cathy), dad (Mike) and dog (Bear).

I have a rare terminal illness called Rett Syndrome.

Rett Syndrome is a neuro developmental disorder affecting girls exclusively. It is characterized by normal early growth and development followed by a slowing of development, loss of purposeful use of the hands, distinctive hand movements, slowed brain and head growth, problems with walking, seizures, and intellectual disability and many other difficulties.                                           I am unable to talk (although I still rule the roost), walk or care for myself. I used to be able to eat by mouth but this stupid disease took that from me and now I am fed through a feeding tube in my tummy. My amazing parents lovingly care for me 24/7, along with family, friends and caregivers.
Now that I am almost a teenager or diva (as I like to be called), transporting me in a regular car is very difficult as my parents have to lift my cute 100 lb. self and very heavy wheelchair, in and out of the car.  Friends see the strain this has put on all of us physically and want to help us acquire the necessary van with wheelchair lift to get me around while educating others on Rett Syndrome.                                    While we have given Jocelyn a voice, we pray you will read more on Rett Syndrome and help us buy the van with wheel chair lift this family is so in need of.  We had to get their permission to post this because the Bingaman’s were reluctant. This has been a very personal journey they have all taken with no complaints–what a great example of love.

The Coldwell Banker Advantage family asked the Bingaman’s to be able to share with our community their personal journey.  We wish to educate and bring  awareness of Rett Syndrome while at the same time raising funds for our very special child.

Please help us raise $50,000. towards a van with a wheel chair lift.


Here’s an important life lesson: no matter how tough you think your life is there’s always someone who has to face challenges that are even tougher than yours.



Posted in CNet, Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Advantage, Condos, Fall Home Improvement, Father's Day, GoFundMe, Home Buyer, Home for the Holidays, Home Improvement, Home Sellers, Millennial Buyers, Millennial Sellers, Millennials Buyers, Real Estate, Real Estate Agents, Relocation, Residential Real Estate, Sell, Smart Home Technology, Smart Homes, Southwest Michigan, Spring, Technology in Homes, Uncategorized, Valentines, Where Home Begins | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Simple and Cost-effective Ways To Freshen Up Any Room In Your Home

One of the simplest and cost-effective ways to freshen up a room is with a new coat of paint. Unlike painting your house’s exterior, which is a huge undertaking, painting a room is relatively pain-free — if you use the proper supplies and take the correct steps. Good preparation makes the job easier.

 Tools and Supplies1

  • Screwdrivers
  • Drop cloths (canvas and plastic)
  • Ladder
  • Plastic wrap and rubber bands
  • Sponges and clean rags
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Dust mask
  • Spackle or patching compound
  • Putty knife or five-in-one tool
  • Paintable caulk and caulking gun
  • Sandpaper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Brushes (1½-inch to 3-inch angled and straight-edged)
  • Paint roller, extension handle and tray
  • Paint buckets and glass jars for cleanup
  • Paint thinner or other solvents


First, remove furniture from the room or move it away from the walls. Remove artwork, mirrors, window treatments and electrical outlet switch plates. Cover the floor and any furnishings with drop cloths and tarps to protect them from drips. Cover chandeliers and pendant lights with paper and plastic drop cloths. Attach plastic bags around doorknobs using rubber bands.

Canvas drop cloths are ideal for floors because their rubberized coating prevents dripped paint from seeping through the cloth, says Jeff DuPont of Sound Painting Solutions in Seattle. They also prevent slips.3

A clean wall surface is important so the paint will adhere evenly. Benjamin Moore recommends using a sponge and a mild dishwashing detergent mixed with water to remove dirt from the walls and ceiling. If there are cracks or holes in any of the surfaces, fill them with spackle or caulk, then sand the area smooth.4

To Prime or Not? 

Applying a primer isn’t always necessary if the previous color is light and the surface isn’t damaged. Patched areas can be spot-primed. “We prime all drywall patches, damaged areas and stains. We also prime newly installed drywall, older trim boards, raw wood and dirty or stained walls,” DuPont says. If you do want to prime an entire surface, DuPont recommends using a primer that’s pretinted at half the new color.

Apply painter’s tape along the edges of what won’t be painted, pressing the edges as you go with a putty knife or five-in-one tool. That way if paint overlaps, it will go on the tape, not the surface. As you paint each surface, carefully remove the tape before the paint dries.5

Start With the Ceiling

Paint manufacturers recommend dampening brushes and rollers before painting. Pour paint into a small bucket for doing brushwork and into a tray for using a roller. For brushwork, dip the brush about a third of the way into the paint and tap it against the inside of the bucket to remove excess paint.

Using a 2-inch or 2½-inch trim brush, start by “cutting in” — painting a 3- to 4-inch-wide strip on the ceiling where it meets the wall, starting in a corner and working your way around the room.

Switch to a roller with an extension handle to paint the main part of the ceiling. Be sure to remove excess paint from the roller by slowly rolling it over the ridges of the paint tray.

Roll on paint in a “W” pattern about 3 feet wide. Without adding more paint or lifting the roller, fill in the “W,” blending the paint into the cutting-in line. Continue painting across the ceiling in this “W” pattern, loading the roller with paint as needed, until the ceiling is covered.6

The “W” technique helps evenly distribute paint on the wall, according to Behr. Benjamin Moore recommends working across the width of the ceiling, rather than the length, rolling across the body (horizontally rather than vertically) to avoid back and neck strain.

Paint the Walls7

After the ceiling dries completely (latex paints generally take four hours to dry; oil-based paints need 24 hours), apply painter’s tape where needed and paint the walls one at a time. Use the cutting-in technique to paint a strip along the edges at the ceiling, baseboards, doors and windows on the first wall. Switch to the roller and use the “W” technique to paint the rest of the wall. Repeat this brush-and-roller process for each wall.

Paint the Trim Last

After the walls are completely dry, apply painter’s tape to the walls and floor around the trim, pressing it firmly in place.8

A smaller brush, about 2 to 2½inches wide, is best for wainscoting, baseboards and the trim around doors and windows. Use long strokes to cover the trim.

For painting the edges, DuPont recommends dry-brushing over the painter’s tape, which will prevent the paint from seeping under the tape. To dry-brush, use very little paint on the brush and do an extra coat or two.

9Touch-Up Tips

DuPont recommends checking the paint about 10 minutes after applying to make sure there are no runs (drips). “If there are, you’ll want to make sure you roll or brush these out,” he says. “Any necessary touch-ups should be performed within a day or two at most to prevent flashing [shiny or dull spots] or paint not blending.”10

How Many Coats? 

Two coats is the standard when painting a room. Be sure to wait two to four hours between coats, DuPont advises. “With some trim paints, it can be a 24-hour recoat time, as with some oil-based products. Always check the product instructions to be certain,” he says.

After you finish painting, clean your brushes, rollers and other tools with soap and water or paint solvent, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Pour any remaining paint back in its cans and reseal the cans.

Source: Houzz

Posted in Coldwell Banker, Home Buyer, Home for the Holidays, Home Sellers, Real Estate, Real Estate Agents, Relocation, Residential Real Estate, Southwest Michigan, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment