Serious About Selling? 5 Steps to Make Your Home 
the Best on the Block

2 Jun

We all want to be good neighbors. But when it comes to selling your home, it’s not just about “keeping up with the Joneses.” It’s about outshining them at every opportunity!

If you’re looking to sell your home fast and for the most money possible, you’ll need a strategy to set it apart from all the other listings competing for buyers in your area. That’s why we’ve outlined our proven, five-step plan for serious sellers. 

Use these five tactics to help your listing get noticed, win over buyers, and net a higher sales price than your neighbors!

STEP 1: Stage Your Home to Show Its Full Potential

The average seller will do the minimum to prepare their home for market: clean and declutter, fix anything that’s broken, mow the lawn. And while those tasks are essential, today’s buyers want more than just a clean house and tidy yard. When they dream of buying a new home, they envision a designer house with modern finishes. Help them see your property’s full potential by staging it.

Home staging is one of the hottest trends in real estate—because it works! According to the Real Estate Staging Association, homes that are professionally staged spend 73% less time on the market.1 

So what exactly is staging? In a broad sense, staging is the act of preparing your home for market. The goal is to highlight your home’s strengths, minimize any deficiencies, and help buyers envision themselves living in the space. When staging a home, you might rearrange the furniture to make a room feel larger or remove heavy curtains to make it appear brighter.

Some sellers choose to hire a professional home stager, who has specialized training and experience, to maximize the appeal of their home to the largest number of potential buyers. Others may opt to do it themselves, using guidance from their agent.

We can help you determine the appropriate budget and effort required to push your home ahead of the competition in your neighborhood. The good news is, an investment in staging pays off. A 2018 survey found that 85% of staged homes sold for 6-25% more than their unstaged neighbors homes.2

STEP 2: Draw Buyers in with High-Quality Listing Photos

You only have one chance to make a first impression with potential buyers. And many buyers will view photos of a listing before they decide whether or not to visit it in person. In fact, 87% of buyers find photos “very useful” in their home search.3 Poor-quality or amateur-looking listing photos could keep buyers from ever stepping through your door. 

Since good photography plays such an important role in getting your property noticed, we only work with the top local professionals to photograph our listings. But we don’t just rely on their photography skills when it comes to showcasing your home.

We go the extra mile to ensure your listing photos showcase the true essence of your home. We’re always on site during the photo shoot to help the photographer capture the best angles and lighting, and to let them know about unique or compelling selling features that they should photograph. The extra effort pays off in the end. In fact, listings with high-quality photography sell 32% faster than the competition … and often for more money!4

STEP 3: Price It Properly From the Start

Even in a strong real estate market, there are homes that will sit unsold for months on end. This can be the “kiss of death” in real estate, as buyers tend to imagine that there must be something wrong with the property, even if it’s not the case.

But why are those houses still on the market in the first place? It’s because they are often priced too high.

Every buyer has a budget. And most will be viewing listings within a particular price range. If your property is overpriced, it can’t properly compete with the other houses they’re viewing that are priced correctly. Which means it’ll sit on the market until you’re eventually forced to drop the price.

Alternatively, if you price your home aggressively, it can be among the nicest homes that buyers have seen within their budget. This can lead to emotionally-attached buyers, who are often willing to pay a premium or settle for fewer seller concessions. And in certain markets, it can lead to a multiple-offer situation, or bidding war. The end result? More money in your pocket.

We can help you determine the ideal listing price for your home in the current market. Pricing it properly in the beginning is the best way to ensure a fast and profitable sale.

STEP 4: Put on a Good Show at Each Showing

Once buyers are interested enough to schedule a visit, it’s crucial that you put on a good show at each showing. 

The first step is to make your home readily available—and often on short notice—for buyers to see it. A missed showing is a missed opportunity to sell your home. If you set too many restrictions on when it’s available to view, busy buyers will simply skip over your listing and move on to the next one.

Part of making your home available means keeping it relatively show-ready as long as it’s on the market. Most of us don’t live picture-perfect lives, and our homes reflect the day-to-day reality of our busy (and sometimes messy) families. But a little extra effort spent keeping your home clean, fresh-smelling, and ready for buyers will help it sell faster … which means you can get back to your regular routine as quickly as possible!

STEP 5: Use a Proven Promotion Plan

Most agents are still marketing their listings like they did 20 years ago  … put a sign in the yard, put the listing in the MLS, and pray that it sells. Yet, we know that 93% of buyers search for real estate listings online.3 

That’s why we invest in the latest training and technology—to ensure your listing appears in the places where buyers are most likely to look. Our dual-level promotion strategy includes both pre-launch activities designed to seed the marketplace and post-listing activities to ensure your home stays top-of-mind with potential buyers. 

By utilizing online and social marketing platforms to connect with consumers and offline channels to connect with local real estate agents, your property gets maximum exposure to prospective buyers.


Are you thinking about listing your home? Get a head start on your competition! Contact us for a copy of our Home Seller’s Guide, which offers a complete guide to the home selling process. Or call us to schedule a free no-commitment consultation. We’d love to put together a custom plan to maximize the sales potential of your property!


  1. Real Estate Staging Association –
  2. Home Staging Resources –
  3. National Association of Realtors –
  4. RIS Media –

The Personality of Each Hawaiian Island

21 May

The Personality of Each Hawaiian Island

Would you believe that 30% of Honeymooners or “Milestone Anniversary” folks would name Hawaii as their destination according to a recent study?!  Visions of tropical palm trees swaying in the breeze, drinks in coconut shells and sexy hula dancers create a very romantic image!
Hawaii has so many different island options for people based on the mood required, likes & dislikes, budget, and pre-conceived dreams of what their priceless vacation will look like!
Three of the top reasons Honeymoon couples select Hawaii are:
1. No Passports Required
2. No language barriers
3. Their vision of America’s own tropical paradise
There are 5 main islands in the Hawaii chain that are open to tourism and each one of the islands offers a totally different experience:

 1. Want to visit Pearl Harbor, Waikiki Beach, and like big city nightlife, and bustling crowds? Oahu is your answer!


 2. Are you more the “country club” type, enjoying luxurious resorts and planning to spend most of your time lazing around the pool or on the beach?

Maui would be perfect!


 3. Want to get away from it all, play golf together, turn in early and enjoy peace and “small town” quiet? Lanai has an amazing newly-renovated Four Seasons resort to offer!


 4. Do you love to hike, paddle-board, kayak and be stunned with the most

breathtaking scenery on the planet? You would love Kauai, the “Garden Isle”!


 5. Are you the type of couple who is fascinated by nature, history, the Polynesian culture and scientific wonders? The Big Island of Hawaii offers active volcanos, telescope observatories on top of snow-capped mountains, and historical and religious landmarks – too many to count!

How in the world can you decide which island, or islands, are for you?  Well, that’s where I come in!  I know the right questions to ask to help navigate the process and make sure that your special trip is custom-crafted just for YOU and your desires!
Hawaii is not a one-size-fits-all destination…and you deserve to be sure that your priceless vacation time and money are spent on the trip that is just right FOR YOU!

Top 8 Home Design and Remodeling Trends for 2019

10 Feb

If you’re a current homeowner, or in the market to buy, you’re probably curious about the latest trends in home design. 

Sellers who make strategic updates before listing a property can generate increased interest from buyers and, in some cases, a premium selling price. And buyers should consider which features of a home will need updating immediately (or in the near future) so they can factor renovation costs into their overall budget.

Even if you have no immediate plans to buy or sell, we advise our clients to be thoughtful about the colors, materials, and finishes they select when planning a remodel. Making over-personalized or unpopular design choices could hurt a home’s value when it does come time to sell. And selecting out-of-style or overly-trendy elements could cause your renovation to feel dated quickly.
To help, we’ve rounded up eight of the hottest home design trends for 2019. Keep in mind, not all trends will work well in every house. If you plan to buy, list, or renovate a property, consult a professional who can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.

White and grey aren’t going anywhere, but expect to see warmer tones and more earthy neutrals popping up in 2019. Cold whites are being replaced by warmer, softer whites. And warmer tones of grey have become a popular alternative to the cooler grays we were seeing earlier in the decade. Dove grey—with a lilac undertone—is a particular favorite with designers this year.

Sherwin Williams chose Cavern Clay, a warm terracotta, as its 2019 color of the year, while Behr selected Blueprint, a mid-tone blue. Benjamin Moore’s selection is Metropolitan, a sophisticated grey.

If you’re preparing to sell your home, consider a light, neutral paint color. Neutral colors provide a blank canvas upon which a buyer can envision placing their belongings, and lighter colors make a room appear larger and brighter.



Don’t feel limited to using one metallic finish throughout your home—or even throughout a single room. Designers are mixing metals in 2019, and their favorites include copper, brass, pewter, gunmetal, and matte black. 

Experts suggest picking one metal hue to dominate your color palette and a contrasting tone to complement it. If your room has a warm color palette, choose a warm-hued primary metal, such as brass or copper. For cool palettes, choose a cool-toned metal, like pewter or stainless steel. You can also experiment with mixing finishes, such as polished and hammered copper.

From faucets to cabinet pulls to accent pieces, swapping out your old or dated fixtures is an easy—and relatively inexpensive—way to modernize your decor. Mixing metals adds depth and gives your room a more curated look. 


Bringing outdoor elements into the home can help warm up a sterile space. And natural materials can soften a modern design esthetic. 

Homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to incorporate these materials throughout their home. Especially popular right now: stone, copper, concrete, and wood. From concrete showers to agate stone tiles, designers are finding unexpected ways to bring the outside in.

One notable exception: granite countertops. Engineered quartz—a combination of ground quartz and resin—overtook natural granite stone as the most popular countertop material in 2018. This durable, low-maintenance, highly-customizable product has won over homeowners and designers alike.



Stainless steel has been the industry standard for years, but the market is trending toward variety and fresh alternatives. Homeowners have more options available than ever to personalize their kitchens with vibrant colors, black stainless, or modern white appliances. Another favorite? Integrated appliances that blend seamlessly into cabinetry. Built-in column refrigerators, which allow you to customize the design and size of your freezer and refrigerator, are becoming a “must-have” in high-end homes.

Advancements in technology have also brought a new wave of appliances to the market. Induction cooktops are replacing commercial gas ranges as a gourmet favorite. And french door ovens and steam ovens are also gaining in popularity—especially ones with smart features you can control from an app on your smartphone.


White will always be a classic choice, but color is finally coming back to kitchens. More homeowners are choosing cabinets in alternative neutrals like black, cream, and grey, along with colorful options like green and blue. Also popular? Wood cabinets in stains like warm chestnut and fruitwood.

Two-tone kitchen cabinets remain a homeowner favorite, as well. To incorporate this trend, try pairing darker lower cabinets with lighter upper cabinets or a colorful kitchen island with neutral-colored perimeter cabinets.



Swapping upper kitchen cabinets for open shelves continues to be a popular choice in 2019. It’s a cost-effective update that can make a kitchen feel larger and brighter. However, it’s not a practical option for everyone. Before you commit, test it out by removing your cabinet doors for a few weeks. See how it feels to have your glasses and dishware on display.

Not ready to give up all your upper cabinet storage space? Replace just one or two upper cabinets with open shelves for a lower-commitment but still-updated look.


The ubiquitous white subway tile is finally fading in popularity. In 2019, homeowners are gravitating toward more colorful choices, creative textures and finishes, and alternative shapes. Especially hot right now: hexagons, arabesques, diamonds, and Moroccan fish scales.

Natural stone remains a favorite, including marble, quartzite and river rock. But advancements in porcelain tile that mimics stone, and even concrete, has made it an attractive, affordable, and low-maintenance alternative. 



Once an afterthought, ceilings are taking center stage. While 2018 was all about statement walls, statement ceilings are shaping up to be the darling of 2019. Designers are using bold paint colors, wallpaper, intricate moldings, fabric, and other materials to transform a ceiling into something truly special. 

Want to incorporate this trend without going too bold? Choose a classic design, like coffered or wooden beams. Or stick with wood paneling or tin tiles for a more timeless look. Even something as simple as painting a ceiling the same color as the walls can make your space feel more modern.


Are you contemplating a remodel? Want to find out how upgrades could impact the value of your home? Give us a call for a free consultation!

Buyer preferences can vary greatly by neighborhood and price range. We can share the insights we’ve gathered from working with buyers in this market … and offer tips on how to maximize the return on your remodeling investment. And if you’re in the market to sell, we can run a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area.

Want to learn more about how to stage your home to sell?  to request a free copy of our report: 10 Staging Secrets From the Pros for a Quick Sale at Top Dollar!   

Contact Meryl at


In the market to Sell or Buy?  Questions on real estate?

Contact me:
Meryl McGhee, Realtor®- KELLER WILLIAMS Realty
Proudly serving VA. & WV
Follow MLZ on Facebook:
“Destination Home”


Leaf Cleanup Made Safe & Easy

20 Nov

Happy November! Yes, the autumn season is winding down. This means saying goodbye to the beautiful fall foliage.  And with that, our lawns are left covered.  Burning the leaves is not the way to go. It is dangerous & can lead to air pollution as the leaves contain toxic materials that you are omitting into the air.  So, how do you get rid of them?

Let’s tackle that question with these 3 safe & easy cleanup tips.

Pile of fall leaves with fan rake on lawn


1. The Lawnmower
For lawns that do not get an abundant amount of leaves, this is a fast & easy way to go. Drop your mower to the lowest setting without scalping. The mower will take care of any leaves that have already fallen. A mulching mower is even better as it turns the leaves into mulch & helps feed your lawn as you mow. Mulching mowers can be found at most Home-Improvement Stores.
2. Bag Them Up (For covered lawns)
This can be a fun activity for the kids. What kid doesn’t like playing in leaves. Parents, just make sure to check for any debris that may be in the leaves beforehand. Check with your local trash company to see if they require certain colored bags for leaves & then leave them on the curb for trash pick-up.
3. The Leaf Blower
Leaf blowers come with multiple settings & are fairly affordable. Raking can be quite strenuous, so leaf blowing may be the best option. Note: Make sure to NOT blow in the neighbor’s yard & it is advisable to wear eye protection.
In the market to buy or sell?  Questions on real estate?
Contact me:
Meryl McGhee, Realtor®- KELLER WILLIAMS Realty
Proudly serving VA. & WV
Follow MLZ on Facebook:
“Destination Home”

10 Money Saving Tips for New Homeowners

19 Oct

Congratulations, you’ve purchased a new home!  This is a very exciting time in your life. Being a homeowner is one of the best financial decisions you will make for growing your personal wealth.  Lets keep it that way with these money-saving tips below.


piggy bank on wooden floor


1. Install a Programmable Thermostat
You simply set your thermostat to be more energy efficient. For example, in the summer, you will want to have your thermostat set higher while you are away & have the air set to kick on around or a little before you are scheduled to arrive back home. The same goes for the cooler months, just vice versa. This can be adjusted at any time. It is a terrific and inexpensive way to save on energy bills.
2. Install ceiling fans
Ceiling fans keep air moving throughout your home. Because of this, in the summer months, you can keep your thermostat a few degrees higher, thus saving money.
3. Insulate your pipes
Virginia winters can get very cold. Be proactive & have your home winterized by a professional plumber. During this, request to have your pipes insulated. This will help prevent them from freezing & potentially bursting causing significant water damage & costly repairs.
4. Plant trees
Shade trees can help cool your home during the summer months, thus reducing the amount of sun that gets in heating up your home & causing your air conditioner to overwork.
5. Check toilets & sinks for leaks
A small leak is costing you money every day. Fix them as soon as you can.
6. Check for drafty windows & doors
Make sure the seals are sealed tightly to avoid drafts blowing through & potentially increasing your energy bill.
7. Replace air filters
Clogged air filters will decrease the air flow in your home. This causes your furnace and/or AC unit to work harder. This could cause costly repairs down the road. Air filters are very inexpensive & can be found at most home-improvement stores.
8. Replace regular light bulbs with LED
They are a little more expensive up front, but they last longer & use far less energy.  The investment is well worth it.
9. Choose energy-efficient appliances
Look for the energy star when purchasing new appliances. You will be glad you did!
10. Have spare keys made
This is oftentimes overlooked.  Make sure spare keys are handy. Hiring a locksmith can run  you $30-90 per visit. Having a key made runs around $2.00
In the market to Sell or Buy?  Questions on real estate?

Contact me: MLZ LUXURY SERVICES, Real Estate


Proudly serving VA & WV
Find me on Facebook:
“Destination, Home!”

10 Fun and Interesting Facts about the 4th of July

4 Jul

The 4th of July undoubtedly celebrates the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and our Nation’s freedom, but it is also a time of fireworks, family gatherings and fun.  Below are 10 fun facts about this wonderful American holiday!

Depositphotos_2553536_s.jpg July 4th stacey

  1. The 4th of July became a national holiday in 1941.
  2. Over 150 million hot dogs are consumed in the U.S. every 4th of July.
  3. The stars on the original American flag were positioned in a circle so they would appear equal.
  4. There are 31 towns in the U.S. with the word “Liberty” in their name
  5. Thomas Jefferson & John Adams both died on July 4th, 1826.  50 years from the anniversary of the declaration.
  6. 50 American flags are flown 24 hours a day at the Washington Monument.
  7. Only John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.  All other signatures came later.
  8. The NYC Macy’s July 4th parade will feature 1800 shells a minute during its 25 min.  Firework show making it the largest fireworks display by a city.
  9. Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey to be our National bird, but was outvoted by Thomas Jefferson & John Adams who later chose the bald eagle.
  10. Red, White & Blue….What do they mean?

    Red-Hardiness & Valor
    White-Purity & innocence
    Blue-Vigilance, perseverance & justice

What are your plans for this 4th of July?  Please share!

In the market to buy or sell?  Questions on real estate?   COMPLIMENTARY STAGING ON ALL OUR LISTING by Bernadette of Kraiman Interiors!!

Contact me: MLZ LUXURY SERVICES, Real Estate


Proudly serving VA & WV
Find me on Facebook:
“Destination, Home!”

New Year’s Resolutions

6 Jan

Happy New Year! 2017 is off to a great start! As you think about ways to improve yourself in the New Year, don’t forget to make travel New Year’s Resolutions!  We share 7 below.

1. I will use my vacation days. All of them.

Don’t be one of the many Americans that leave unused vacation days on the table. Pick a spot, whether it’s the next city over or halfway around the world, and go. (PS – need ideas? We share where to go based on how much time you have!

2. I will stop making dumb travel mistakes.

Forgetting to renew your passport, having to pay excess baggage fees (or load your carry-on with clothes from your checked bag at the counter—the horror!), not telling your bank where and when you’ll be traveling, not buying travel insurance…the list goes on and on. Don’t make these 

3. I will step out of my comfort zone.

Far off destinations sound amazing but many people don’t have the guts to get out of their comfort zone. Skip your go-to spot for somewhere a little more exotic and a lot more exciting. That could mean somewhere within a 2-hour flight or across the world





4. I will make my long term travel plans.

We all have dream destinations, but it takes planning to make those dreams a reality. Look at the next 5-10 years and see where the trips can fit in. When you can see where everyone in your family will be in 5 years (kids graduating college = no more summer, winter, and spring breaks!), you’ll realize that big trip you keep putting off needs to happen sooner rather than later.

And if you’re serious about creating and sticking to a long-term travel plan, ask your me your professional Travel Advisor about the MLZ LUXURY SERVICES Bucket List!

5. I will enjoy the trip and share photos later.

This one is especially hard when we’re all used to being constantly connected with each other. But a vacation is for getting away…from email, social media, text messages, etc. So put the phone down, and take a nap on a beach or go on a hike. You can share photos later!

6. I will embrace different cultures.

Don’t go to a new destination and expect it to be like home. It won’t. The food is different, the customs are different, the dress is different, and the culture is different. And different is good! Don’t compare it to what you’re used to but embrace it. Who knows, you mind discover a new dish, piece of clothing, or custom you want to bring home!

7. I will make travel a priority.

Because material things gather dust, but travel makes memories. Don’t put off getting away and spending quality time with loved ones. Go. Explore. Discover More

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