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Sell Your Home Faster With These 9 Tips

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Ever wonder why some homes sell in a day and others linger for months? We’ve got tips from the experts to get your place off the market, stat.

1. GET A NEW HUE FOR YOUR FRONT DOOR.

A fresh coat of paint for your front door sets the tone of a well kept, updated place, says Julea Joseph, lead stylist and owner of Reinventing Space, based in Palos Park, Illinois. Joseph likes a line of paint by Benjamin Moore called Grand Entrance (it comes in 11 colors), which was designed specifically for the front door. “I always choose a color that makes a bit of a statement, yet complements the home’s existing exterior colors,” she says.

First, prep the door by cleaning it and give it a light sanding to smooth out any old paint lines. Use a good brush to apply the paint.

2. UPDATE YOUR KITCHEN ... A LITTLE.

Buying new cabinetry is expensive, and full custom cabinetry can take months to complete. But you can update your existing cabinets by painting them white, says Sheri Schueller, broker associate with Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty in Chicago. Schueller also suggests painting the island cabinetry gray (she recommends Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Grey), which will contrast nicely with the white.

The most luxurious homes have Calacatta gold marble kitchen countertops, but if you’re updating for a sale, Schueller says to consider swapping out old granite with less expensive marble that has a similar look. “Carrera marble is one of my favorites for a more reasonable cost,” she says.

3. CHANGE YOUR BEDDING.

The focal point of any master bedroom is the bed, and the bedding has to look magazine-worthy, like something you’d want to jump right into, Joseph says. “People buy homes because they fall in love with them, so make that master bedroom an emotional statement with an irresistible bed,” she says. A duvet cover set will allow you to slipcover your existing comforter and a few of your pillows.

To make your bed look irresistibly cozy, create layers by adding another comforter folded at the end of the bed, plenty of pillows, and a few accent pillows, Joseph says. If you don’t have a headboard, or if your headboard isn’t a statement maker, a few Euro-size pillows (26x25) will fill the gap. And Joseph says you should never be able to see under a bed or to see sheets hanging down, so if needed, use a bed-skirt and proper bed-styling on days your broker takes photos or shows the house.

4. LIST YOUR HOME ON THE RIGHT DAY.

Homes listed on Thursdays sell faster and for more money than homes listed on other days of the week, according to a 2015 study by Redfin. Redfin's study shows homes listed on a Thursday have a 22 percent chance of selling above list price (compared to the 17.5 percent chance they have when listed on a Sunday).

5. DO THE DISHES DAILY.

You never know when your broker might call you about scheduling a last-minute showing, so you need to be prepared, says Greg Jaroszewski, real estate broker with Gagliardo Realty in Oak Park, Illinois. “The beds should always be made and the dishes should never be left in the sink,” he says.

6. HAVE AN OPEN HOUSE IMMEDIATELY.

If you’re willing to have an open house, do it within the first week: The Redfin study found that holding an open house during the first week that the home is listed will help your home sell for 2 percent more than what it would sell for if you held your open house later. It will also help you sell your home within 90 days.

7. HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER.

Your home will sell up to three weeks faster if your pictures are amazing, and you’ll get $3400 more for it, according to Redfin.

8. TAKE COMMUNITY PICTURES.

Your photographer should take a minimum of 40 pictures, and some should include the community, says Michael Mahon, president of First Team Real Estate in California. For example, if your home is near a beach, make sure the photographer includes a picture of the surf. If it’s near a popular shopping mall, include a photo of the mall, Mahon says.

9. PRICE THE HOME CORRECTLY FROM THE START.

Your house will get five times more visits the first day it hits the market than it does a week later, which means everything has to be perfect the first day. Testing the waters with a higher price and planning on a price drop later could scare away prospective buyers.

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Love Hygge? Meet Lagom, Your New Favorite Scandinavian Philosophy
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The Danish concept of hygge is all about indulging in simple pleasures during the cold, dark winter months. In Sweden, people take a different approach to living their best lives: They focus on lagom, an idea that roughly translates to “not too much, not too little, just the right amount.”

As Condé Nast Traveler reports, lagom can be found everywhere in Swedish culture. Swedes might use it to describe the strength of their coffee or slip it into conversation with sayings like lagom är bäst (“lagom is best”). But you don't need to speak Swedish to embrace the concept. Condé Nast Traveler has a few tips for how to incorporate lagom into your own life no matter how far from Scandinavia you live.

One obvious place to practice lagom is in the home. Get rid of the clutter you haven’t used in years and hold onto items with practical value. But because lagom is all about balance, you should leave room in your house for objects with special aesthetic or sentimental value as well.

Lagom also has a place at work. If you’re someone who works non-stop from 9 to 5, remember to schedule time for breaks and really disconnect from your job during those times. It may feel like slacking off, but your work performance will actually benefit.

Finally, one of the most important ways Swedes express lagom is through day-to-day personal interactions. If you live according to the lagom philosophy, dominating the conversation isn’t a priority. Giving others room to speak, and even allowing comfortable silences to form, is more important.

Looking for another untranslatable European life philosophy to adopt this winter? In Scotland, Còsagach is how people stay cozy.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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California Startup Pays Users to Consume Less Energy
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You may know that turning off the lights when leaving a room or lowering the thermostat before bed are smart habits, but with no way to see their immediate impact, they can be hard to keep. OhmConnect is built around the premise that more people would follow through with these actions if they had a little motivation. As Fast Company reports, the San Francisco-based startup rewards California residents for their green choices with real cash.

The mission of the company is to prevent energy grids from using costly and dirty emergency power plants by encouraging customers to conserve power when demand outweighs supply. During “OhmHours,” users receive a text suggesting energy-saving practices. They can choose to opt out or agree to make an effort to lower their consumption. If their usage in the next hour is lower than the average for their home on that type of day (weekdays are compared to the weekday average; weekends to the weekend average) they receive points which can be redeemed for money. The more people participate on a regular basis, the more points they’re able to earn.

Participants in homes equipped with smart devices like a Nest thermostat or Belkin smart switches can program them to automatically consume less during those times. Nearly a fifth of the user base chooses some type of automatic response.

Someone living in a small apartment participating once a week has the potential to make $40 to $50 a year, while a family living in a larger home can earn up to $200. The California energy grid has also reaped the benefits: Since launching in 2014, OhmConnect has saved the state a total of 100 megawatts (the equivalent of not running two emergency power plants at high-demand times). California residents who get their energy through Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, or San Diego Gas & Electric can sign up to participate online. If you don’t live in the state but are interested in the service, you may get a chance to try it out soon: OhmConnect plans to expand to Texas, Toronto, and potentially the East Coast.

[h/t Fast Company]

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