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Le-Ann Vicquery's Blog

By Jean Gillin & Le-Ann vicquery | Agent in Hauppauge, NY
  • HOW TO MAKE REAL CONNECTINS WITH BUYER'S DURING AN OPEN HOUSE

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Smithtown, Home Selling in Smithtown, Property Q&A in Smithtown  |  January 26, 2011 9:32 AM  |  1,753 views  |  No comments

    How to Make Real Connections with Buyers During an Open House

    In today's technology-centric world, the idea of hosting an open house to help find a buyer for your home may seem antiquated. As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, however, we, along with my team, have learned from experience that an open house -- when done correctly -- can go a long way toward getting your home sold quickly for an optimal price.

    Why? Because while technology is integral to marketing your home, no video or virtual tour will ever compare to viewing a home in person. That's why it's essential to focus on the very tangible assets of your home during an open house -- the things that will connect with a potential buyer's senses. Work with your real estate agent to make sure you emphasize the following areas of your home so that open house visitors can connect in a very visceral way:

    • Fragrance - Move beyond the played-out strategy of baking cookies in the oven and instead, seek to emphasize potential natural fragrances associated with your home. Have your open house while your magnolia tree, hyacinths, lilacs or rose bushes are in bloom. Make sure your lawn is freshly mowed. Open windows to let in sea or lake breezes. Arrange some freshly cut pine branches from a tree in your yard decoratively in a vase. Make sure your hardwood floors are cleaned and polished. All of these are subtle, yet powerful, scents associated with the true meaning of home.
    • Warmth - Nothing says home better than a room basking in sunlight. Make sure curtains are pulled aside and blinds raised to let natural sunlight bathe key rooms in the home. Take advantage of a home's woodstove or fireplace when appropriate.
    • Touch - Open house visitors will open all sorts of doors, cabinets and drawers and come in contact with banisters and window frames. Make sure all metal substances, like brass door knobs, and wood finishes, such as your master staircase, are brilliantly polished, clean and smooth to the touch.
    • Sound - Every home has certain sounds associated with it -- good and bad. Take advantage of any natural water nearby by keeping a strategic window or two open, or install indoor and/or outdoor fountains. Hang a birdfeeder in close proximity to an open kitchen window. If you own a grandfather or cuckoo clock, make sure it's wound. Conversely, unplug any electronics that might make disturbing humming or beeping noises, and close any windows that let in displeasing street noise.
    • Sight - While odds are most visitors have already seen your home online, nothing compares to this in-person visit. Inspect your house from all angles, starting at the front curb or driveway, all the way through to the basement, attic, and back door. Make sure your home looks its best from every angle -- even inside closets and cupboards. As you can imagine, less is more. Clean out the excess and arrange subtle vignettes that help visitors envision themselves living life in the various nooks and crannies of the home.

    Thanks to technology, we can narrow down who is truly interested in our home prior to an open house. But make sure your open house grabs potential buyers on a deeper level than what they can experience online. For more ideas, please e-mail our team, and feel free to pass these tips on to others who might be interested in selling their home.

    Sincerely,

    Jean Gillin & Le-Ann Vicquery
    Coach Realtors, Inc.
    Office: (631)-360

  • TIPS FOR SAVING ON HEATING AND COOLING

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Smithtown, Property Q&A in Smithtown, Home Insurance in Smithtown  |  December 19, 2010 6:28 PM  |  1,804 views  |  2 comments

    Tips for Saving on Heating and Cooling

    With the holiday season now in full swing, you are undoubtedly busy ... whether it's shopping for gifts, preparing for guests or gathering with friends. What you probably won't notice through the hustle and bustle of the season is your heating bills rise. Did you know that as much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling?

    As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I, along with my team, can offer you some vital information that will help you make smart decisions about your home's heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system...all of which can have a big effect on your utility bills -- and your peace of mind.

    Here are some tips from ENERGY STAR to help you increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system:

    Change your air filter regularly
    Check your filter every month, especially during heavy-use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every three months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool -- wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system -- leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.

    Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly
    Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.

    Install a programmable thermostat
    A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.

    Seal your heating and cooling ducts
    Ducts that move air to and from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20% -- and sometimes much more.

    Focus first on sealing ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement or garage. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal the seams and connections of ducts. After sealing the ducts in those spaces, wrap them in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter. Next, look to seal any other ducts that you can access in the heated or cooled part of the house.

    Consider installing ENERGY STAR-qualified heating and cooling equipment
    If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping your house comfortable, have it evaluated by a professional HVAC contractor. If it is not performing efficiently or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR.

    Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR-qualified equipment can cut your annual energy bill by nearly $200. But before you invest in a new HVAC system, make sure that you have addressed the big air leaks in your house and the duct system. Sometimes, these are the real sources of problems rather than your HVAC equipment.

    Ask about proper installation of your new equipment
    Replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with new, energy-efficient models is a great start. But to make sure that you get the best performance, the new equipment must be properly installed. In fact, improper installation can reduce system efficiency by up to 30% -- costing you more on your utility bills and possibly shortening the equipment's life.

    Taking a few small steps can be all you need to save some energy and a bit of money. If you are interested in more helpful tips, such as these, please e-mail our team. Also, please feel free to forward this information along to anyone you believe might be interested as well.

    Sincerely,

    Jean Gillin & Le-Ann Vicquery
    Coach Realtors, Inc.

  • TIPS FOR SAVING ON HEATING AND COOLING

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Smithtown, Property Q&A in Smithtown, Home Insurance in Smithtown  |  December 19, 2010 6:28 PM  |  1,777 views  |  1 comment

    Tips for Saving on Heating and Cooling

    With the holiday season now in full swing, you are undoubtedly busy ... whether it's shopping for gifts, preparing for guests or gathering with friends. What you probably won't notice through the hustle and bustle of the season is your heating bills rise. Did you know that as much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling?

    As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I, along with my team, can offer you some vital information that will help you make smart decisions about your home's heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system...all of which can have a big effect on your utility bills -- and your peace of mind.

    Here are some tips from ENERGY STAR to help you increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system:

    Change your air filter regularly
    Check your filter every month, especially during heavy-use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every three months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool -- wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system -- leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.

    Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly
    Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.

    Install a programmable thermostat
    A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.

    Seal your heating and cooling ducts
    Ducts that move air to and from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20% -- and sometimes much more.

    Focus first on sealing ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement or garage. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal the seams and connections of ducts. After sealing the ducts in those spaces, wrap them in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter. Next, look to seal any other ducts that you can access in the heated or cooled part of the house.

    Consider installing ENERGY STAR-qualified heating and cooling equipment
    If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping your house comfortable, have it evaluated by a professional HVAC contractor. If it is not performing efficiently or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR.

    Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR-qualified equipment can cut your annual energy bill by nearly $200. But before you invest in a new HVAC system, make sure that you have addressed the big air leaks in your house and the duct system. Sometimes, these are the real sources of problems rather than your HVAC equipment.

    Ask about proper installation of your new equipment
    Replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with new, energy-efficient models is a great start. But to make sure that you get the best performance, the new equipment must be properly installed. In fact, improper installation can reduce system efficiency by up to 30% -- costing you more on your utility bills and possibly shortening the equipment's life.

    Taking a few small steps can be all you need to save some energy and a bit of money. If you are interested in more helpful tips, such as these, please e-mail our team. Also, please feel free to forward this information along to anyone you believe might be interested as well.

    Sincerely,

    Jean Gillin & Le-Ann Vicquery
    Coach Realtors, Inc.

  • Top 5 Ways To Spend Less This Holiday Season

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Smithtown, Home Selling in Smithtown, Property Q&A in Smithtown  |  December 11, 2010 11:19 AM  |  1,772 views  |  3 comments

    Top 5 Ways to Spend Less This Holiday Season

    While the holidays should be a joyous time for all, unfortunately, financial pressures can make this time of the year stressful and depressing for many. There are countless ways, however, to stop holiday spending from spiraling out of control in order to get back to the true meaning of the season.

    As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I -- along with my team -- often play the role of financial advisor to many clients. After all, owning a home is most likely the biggest investment you'll make, so being prudent regarding spending is a must ... especially in today's economy.

    There are many great organizations out there that offer wonderful advice on managing your finances, such as The Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), a nonprofit entity dedicated to helping distressed homeowners navigate financial challenges (www.995hope.org). HPF offers the following great tips for curbing holiday spending:

    1. The number-one rule of financial management is creating a budget and the holidays are no exception. Instead of just random spending, create a detailed budget for gifts, travel, entertaining, cards, decorating, etc. Create a budget for each person on your shopping list and don’t go over it.
    2. Stick to this budget by only taking cash, not credit cards, with you when you shop. This will help you avoid impulse purchases.
    3. Avoid the expense of the office grab bag or Yankee swap by suggesting your employer make a donation to a local charity instead; ask employees to contribute gently used clothing, canned goods, winter coats, etc. This will not only save everyone money but emphasizes the true spirit of the season.
    4. If this is your first year in a new home, don't feel pressured to invest in a full set of ornaments for your tree. Collect those gradually over the years and, in the meantime, decorate with paper snowflakes, popcorn and cranberry garlands, spraypainted pine cones, and other homemade ornaments. The effect will be charming and memorable for years to come.
    5. Streamline the preparations and costs of your holiday get-togethers by sticking to appetizers only. Ask everyone to bring an hors d'oeuvre and serve beer and wine only.

    Not only will the above tips help you spend less, but they will help eliminate many of the common stresses that accompany the holiday so that you can truly enjoy the season with family and friends. Feel free to e-mail our team for more cost-saving ideas and please forward this information to others ... after all, we could all benefit from spending less this year!

    Sincerely,

    Jean Gillin & Le-Ann Vicquery
    Coach Realtors, Inc.

  • Top 5 Ways To Spend Less This Holiday Season

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Smithtown, Home Selling in Smithtown, Property Q&A in Smithtown  |  December 11, 2010 11:19 AM  |  1,768 views  |  No comments

    Top 5 Ways to Spend Less This Holiday Season

    While the holidays should be a joyous time for all, unfortunately, financial pressures can make this time of the year stressful and depressing for many. There are countless ways, however, to stop holiday spending from spiraling out of control in order to get back to the true meaning of the season.

    As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I -- along with my team -- often play the role of financial advisor to many clients. After all, owning a home is most likely the biggest investment you'll make, so being prudent regarding spending is a must ... especially in today's economy.

    There are many great organizations out there that offer wonderful advice on managing your finances, such as The Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), a nonprofit entity dedicated to helping distressed homeowners navigate financial challenges (www.995hope.org). HPF offers the following great tips for curbing holiday spending:

    1. The number-one rule of financial management is creating a budget and the holidays are no exception. Instead of just random spending, create a detailed budget for gifts, travel, entertaining, cards, decorating, etc. Create a budget for each person on your shopping list and don’t go over it.
    2. Stick to this budget by only taking cash, not credit cards, with you when you shop. This will help you avoid impulse purchases.
    3. Avoid the expense of the office grab bag or Yankee swap by suggesting your employer make a donation to a local charity instead; ask employees to contribute gently used clothing, canned goods, winter coats, etc. This will not only save everyone money but emphasizes the true spirit of the season.
    4. If this is your first year in a new home, don't feel pressured to invest in a full set of ornaments for your tree. Collect those gradually over the years and, in the meantime, decorate with paper snowflakes, popcorn and cranberry garlands, spraypainted pine cones, and other homemade ornaments. The effect will be charming and memorable for years to come.
    5. Streamline the preparations and costs of your holiday get-togethers by sticking to appetizers only. Ask everyone to bring an hors d'oeuvre and serve beer and wine only.

    Not only will the above tips help you spend less, but they will help eliminate many of the common stresses that accompany the holiday so that you can truly enjoy the season with family and friends. Feel free to e-mail our team for more cost-saving ideas and please forward this information to others ... after all, we could all benefit from spending less this year!

    Sincerely,

    Jean Gillin & Le-Ann Vicquery
    Coach Realtors, Inc.

  • Top 5 Ways To Spend Less This Holiday Season

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Smithtown, Home Selling in Smithtown, Property Q&A in Smithtown  |  December 11, 2010 11:18 AM  |  1,744 views  |  No comments

    Top 5 Ways to Spend Less This Holiday Season

    While the holidays should be a joyous time for all, unfortunately, financial pressures can make this time of the year stressful and depressing for many. There are countless ways, however, to stop holiday spending from spiraling out of control in order to get back to the true meaning of the season.

    As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I -- along with my team -- often play the role of financial advisor to many clients. After all, owning a home is most likely the biggest investment you'll make, so being prudent regarding spending is a must ... especially in today's economy.

    There are many great organizations out there that offer wonderful advice on managing your finances, such as The Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), a nonprofit entity dedicated to helping distressed homeowners navigate financial challenges (www.995hope.org). HPF offers the following great tips for curbing holiday spending:

    1. The number-one rule of financial management is creating a budget and the holidays are no exception. Instead of just random spending, create a detailed budget for gifts, travel, entertaining, cards, decorating, etc. Create a budget for each person on your shopping list and don’t go over it.
    2. Stick to this budget by only taking cash, not credit cards, with you when you shop. This will help you avoid impulse purchases.
    3. Avoid the expense of the office grab bag or Yankee swap by suggesting your employer make a donation to a local charity instead; ask employees to contribute gently used clothing, canned goods, winter coats, etc. This will not only save everyone money but emphasizes the true spirit of the season.
    4. If this is your first year in a new home, don't feel pressured to invest in a full set of ornaments for your tree. Collect those gradually over the years and, in the meantime, decorate with paper snowflakes, popcorn and cranberry garlands, spraypainted pine cones, and other homemade ornaments. The effect will be charming and memorable for years to come.
    5. Streamline the preparations and costs of your holiday get-togethers by sticking to appetizers only. Ask everyone to bring an hors d'oeuvre and serve beer and wine only.

    Not only will the above tips help you spend less, but they will help eliminate many of the common stresses that accompany the holiday so that you can truly enjoy the season with family and friends. Feel free to e-mail our team for more cost-saving ideas and please forward this information to others ... after all, we could all benefit from spending less this year!

    Sincerely,

    Jean Gillin & Le-Ann Vicquery
    Coach Realtors, Inc.

  • 6 Ways To Get Your Home in Tip-Top Shape

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Smithtown, Home Selling in Smithtown, Property Q&A in Smithtown  |  December 11, 2010 11:12 AM  |  1,782 views  |  3 comments

    6 Ways to Get Your Home in Tip-Top Shape

    Understandably, the goal for any home seller is to sell their property quickly, while investing as little as possible in renovations. With a limited budget and a little effort, you can greatly increase your home's appeal by focusing on what prospective buyers can see on their first visit.

    As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I, along with my team, have learned a lot from our fellow members and have access to valuable home-selling information. Consider the following advice from staging expert Kate Hart:

    Curb appeal: First impressions are everything and this has never been truer than in today's market. To leave a positive impression on buyers, take care of any exterior maintenance issues before buyers arrive, such as power washing walkways and patios, cleaning your gutters, touching up peeling paint, replacing broken light bulbs, edging and mulching beds, and adding fresh annuals. Some free things you can do include polishing your front door hardware and sweeping away pesky cobwebs.

    Kitchen: Give your kitchen a mini facelift on a budget by repainting your cabinets instead of replacing them. For a more contemporary look, consider a semi-gloss espresso brown. For a more traditional look, opt for a semi-gloss creamy white. Complete the makeover by adding new hardware. Considering professional help? Ask your local painter if they can spray a lacquer finish on your cabinets. This treatment is more expensive than painting the cabinets yourself but the result looks like a factory finish.

    Bathroom: Give an outdated bath a pick-me-up by replacing your existing lighting, faucets and hardware with updated styles.

    Family room: Make your fireplace or great view the selling feature, not your entertainment center. Chances are, your family room is currently centered around the things you do everyday, such as watching television. Before showing, rearrange your room to showcase the architectural focal point of your family room.

    Dining room: Keep the dining room decluttered and streamlined so buyers can imagine how they can enjoy this space with their families. Before showing, make sure to remove any knick-knacks and extraneous items from your china cabinet or sideboard. A rule to follow: pack up any items that are smaller than a softball, such as salt and pepper shakers, wedding cake toppers and small figurines.

    Living room: Make sure you are selling your space, not your stuff. Give this space a less-cluttered look by keeping no more than three items per surface. For example, go with a piece of art and a pair of candlesticks on the mantle instead of your favorite collection.

    A little bit of work and preparation can go a long way toward selling your home sooner. For more tips and advice, please feel free to e-mail our team. And, if you know anyone else who could benefit from this advice, please share this with them as well.

    Sincerely,

    Jean Gillin & Le-Ann Vicquery

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