Travis Levi | Silver Spring Real Estate


Getting your home ready to sell entails quite a lot. Staging, taking photos, stocking the toiletries, and--in the case of an open house--entertaining guests. You want the visitors to your home to feel welcome and like they could live there someday.

To achieve this it takes planning and an eye for what really “works” in your home. To do this you’ll have to let go of everything you’ve made your home into and turn it into a blank slate where others can imagine it fitting their personal taste.

In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on preparing your home for an open house or showing to leave the best possible impression on your visitors.

Remove yourself from the picture

It might be sad to take down your family photos and personal effects, but imagine yourself in a visitor’s shoes. When you enter a home you’re thinking of buying, you don’t want to be distracted by what the previous family did with the home. Rather, you want to look forward and imagine your own family making a life there.

Declutter

Even the most minimalistic of homeowners tend to accumulate a lot of stuff over the years. However, walking into a home filled with items is distracting from the features of the home. You want to draw people’s eyes toward the best characteristics of your home--whether that’s spaciousness or architectural features.

We suggest packing your belongings by room and renting out a storage facility while you wait to move into your new place.

Stage appropriately

Working with someone to stage your home is a guaranteed way to make sure your house looks welcoming for your guests and photos. However, if you plan on doing the staging yourself take a look at some similarly styled homes online to find out what looks good in their photos. When we furnish our homes, we do it based on our personal taste, comfort, and utility. Staged homes are about aesthetics and atmosphere.

Once you’ve finished staging, it’s time to clean up after yourself. Wipe down surfaces, polish wood, and clean the windows.

Don’t neglect the exterior

The outside of your home is as important as the inside. It will be visitor’s first impression when they arrive at your driveway. To prepare, make sure your siding and windows are clear of dirt, the lawn mowed, the gutters cleaned, and the doors freshly painted, if necessary. Sweep the driveway and remove any yard tools from sight.

Welcoming guests

Your real estate agent knows how to run an effective open house. However, here are a few key things to remember on the day your guests will arrive.

First, light a candle and use air fresheners where necessary. A neutral smell is the best option, but an air freshener is better than a bad one if there are parts of your home that are prone to bad smells.

Next, make sure the bathrooms are stocked with toilet paper, tissues, and clean towels. If yours are getting old, it could be a good time to replace hand towels altogether.

Finally, welcome your guests with a new welcome mat at the front door to make a great first impression.



A first-time home seller likely faces an uphill climb if he or she wants to stir up plenty of interest in a house. However, a home seller who plans ahead should have no trouble overcoming any potential hurdles along the home selling journey.

When it comes to selling a house, it is important to remember that a residence's interior can make a world of difference in the eyes of homebuyers as well. If a home seller fails to allocate the necessary time and resources to improve a house's interior, he or she risks missing out on opportunities to stir up interest in a residence.

Lucky for you, we're here to help first-time home sellers find the best ways to transform an ordinary home interior into a stellar one.

Let's take a look at three tips to help first-time home sellers upgrade a house's interior.

1. Remove Clutter

Home clutter adds up over the course of many months or years. But a first-time home seller who understands the impact of clutter can take the necessary steps to remove it.

Ultimately, clutter is an eyesore that may make your home actually appear smaller. Clutter also may make it more expensive and time-consuming than ever before to relocate from one home to the next.

A first-time home seller who hosts a yard sale can sell unnecessary items. Or, a home seller may be able to donate excess items to charity. And if there is lots of junk that fills a house, a home seller should dispose of it as soon as possible.

2. Conduct Extensive Cleaning

A first-time home seller should clean a residence from top to bottom. That way, a home seller can give his or her house a fresh, pristine appearance that homebuyers are sure to appreciate.

Be sure to wipe down kitchen counters, mop the floors and vacuum rugs in each room of your house.

In addition, if you need extra help, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional cleaning company. With professional cleaners at your side, you can speed up the process of upgrading your house's interior.

3. Meet with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent understands what it takes to enhance a house's interior quickly and effortlessly. As such, he or she can help a first-time home seller get a house ready to add to the real estate market.

The right real estate agent will evaluate your home's interior and offer honest, unbiased home interior improvement recommendations. Also, he or she may be able to offer tips to help you differentiate your house from others that are currently available in your city or town.

Of course, a real estate agent is an expert resource who can guide you along the home selling journey too. And if you ever have home selling concerns or questions, this housing market professional will be happy to address them immediately.

Ready to improve your house's interior? Use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time home seller can boost a home's interior and increase the likelihood of a quick, profitable home sale.



There are several items included in a regular home-cleaning arsenal. The common ones you would find are cleaners, vinegar, and dishwashing soap. Hydrogen peroxide is gradually becoming more popular in the cleaning industry because of its invaluable uses. If you are well informed, then you would know it's hard to beat hydrogen peroxide in price and results. Here are five smart applications of hydrogen peroxide in house cleaning.

  1. Clean cutting boards and disinfect home surfaces.In the kitchen, hydrogen peroxide can clean cutting boards and disinfect surfaces. Use it to wipe down cutting boards after use periodically. The chemical bubbles away germs, and grime left by cutting meat or fish. Hydrogen peroxide also disinfects surfaces such as countertops. Use a spray bottle to distribute hydrogen peroxide on home surfaces, then wipe down after a few minutes.
  2. Clean the toilet. A high number of germs and dirt hide on the toilet. Skip buying a separate toilet cleaner and pour a cup of hydrogen peroxide in the toilet bowl. Wait for a few minutes, then scrub and flush clean.
  3. Eliminate grout and mold. Grout and mold can develop from the build-up of moisture in the bathroom. Thankfully, hydrogen peroxide serves as an excellent cleaner to eliminate them from most parts of the bathroom. Spray a substantial amount of hydrogen peroxide on affected areas and leave to sit for a few minutes. Use a toothbrush or cloth to clean it afterward.
  4. Remove Stains. Hydrogen peroxide acts as a mild bleach. Use it to remove most stains on clothing, carpets, and furniture. Mix two parts of hydrogen peroxide to one part of dish soap and apply it to a stain with a soft brush. Allow the mixture to absorb into the fabric and sit for a few minutes. Rinse off with cold water and the stain should be gone; if not, repeat the process.
  5. Safe cleaner for toys. Unlike most cleaners, hydrogen peroxide is safe for cleaning personal items such as toys. It is not a lung irritant, nor does it cause allergic reactions in most people. Soak a clean cloth in hydrogen peroxide solution and use it to clean toys. It kills germs and eliminates dirt. 

 Hydrogen peroxide is cheap, available in almost every store, and easy to use. Upgrade your cleaning arsenal with a few bottles with a visit to the store. Clean stains out of the carpet with hydrogen peroxide before putting your house on the market.



For homebuyers, a home inspection is paramount. This inspection enables you to look closely at a house and identify any problem areas. It also may force you to rethink your decision to buy a house, particularly if you discover a wide range of problems during the inspection.

Ultimately, it pays to consider your options following a home inspection. In fact, if you take an in-depth approach to potential home repairs, you can determine whether to ask a seller to complete these repairs before you finalize a purchase agreement.

Before you ask a seller to perform home repairs, there are several questions that you should consider, and these are:

1. How much will it cost to complete assorted home repairs?

A damaged roof is much more expensive to repair than a defective light fixture. Fortunately, if you assess the costs of potential home repairs, you can differentiate major home repairs from minor ones and plan accordingly.

If a home requires thousands of dollars in repairs, it may be worthwhile to ask a seller to complete these repairs. Otherwise, you'll be responsible for allocating the necessary time and resources to perform costly home repairs after you finalize your house purchase.

On the other hand, minor home repairs may be easy to handle on your own. If you feel comfortable completing minor home repairs, you may want to avoid submitting a request to a seller to perform these repairs. Because if you ask a seller to complete myriad minor home repairs, he or she may walk away from a potential home sale.

2. Are there any required repairs that must be completed right away?

Required repairs, i.e. repairs that will address hazardous conditions in a house, sometimes will need to be completed following a home inspection. These repairs include water penetration issues and local code safety violations.

If required repairs go unaddressed, your lender is unlikely to provide you with the financing that you need to acquire a house. Thus, you should request a seller complete these repairs as soon as possible.

3. Is it worth my time to ask a seller to complete home repairs?

There is no right or wrong answer to the aforementioned question, as every homebuyer and home seller is different. If you are uncomfortable with a house following an inspection, you should examine the inspection report and determine the best course of action. And if you feel that asking a seller to perform home repairs is essential, it is important to do just that.

Lastly, if you need assistance throughout the homebuying journey, it helps to work with an expert real estate agent. This housing market professional usually will attend a home inspection and help you assess a house. Plus, an expert real estate agent is happy to provide recommendations and suggestions to ensure you can make an informed home purchase.

Take the guesswork out of evaluating a house following an inspection – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can determine whether to ask a seller to complete home repairs after an inspection.



When you’re buying a home, there’s a lot of excitement that surrounds the search and purchase of the property. In the process of buying a home, however, there are many things that buyers forget to take into account during their search and budgeting. Below, you’ll find some information to help you be prepared as a buyer to consider your home purchase from all angles without missing a beat.  


The Expense Of Closing Costs


Remember that closing costs will be somewhere in the 3-5 percent range of the purchase price of a home. Amidst all of your savings, you’ll need to consider this a part of your expenses. Closing costs need to be paid upfront in most cases. You can roll your closing costs into the financing, but it depends on the circumstances. There are no guarantees that the lender will agree to it. Your realtor can also sometimes negotiate for the sellers to pay the closing costs, but in a seller’s market this is quite rare. Be prepared with your closing costs and understand how much you’ll need to spend so that you have an appropriate amount for the downpayment and the other expenses that you’ll incur during the process of buying a home.  


The Cost Of Maintaining A House


Many buyers forget about all of the costs that they will need to pay for after they finish buying the house. In addition to a monthly mortgage payment, you’ll need to pay for things like utilities, routine home maintenance, furnishings, and more. If you completely deplete your savings for the purchase of the home, there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room for you to pay for additional needs in the house. 


The Cost Of Furnishing And Decorating A Home


You may move into a home with a few pieces that you have previously owned. You could also need a lot of things from a bed to a sofa. All of these items can add up. You may even have to worry about little things like window shades, curtains, lamps, light bulbs, and more. 


Home Repairs Can Cost A Pretty Penny


If something needs to be done in your home, the repairs can cost you quite a bit. If you’re not paying attention during the home inspection, you’ll be in for some surprises. That’s why you need a good realtor to help you through the process. A new roof can cost thousands of dollars. New appliances are an expense you should plan for. Other major work that needs to be done around the house can also dip into your savings significantly. As a buyer, you need to be prepared for any of these expected or completely unexpected costs.