Category Archives: Selling a House

Key Things to Keep in Mind When Buying and Selling Your Home

By | Buying a House, Selling a House, Uncategorized | No Comments

When it comes to buying or selling a home, here at Morrison Home Team, we are experts. Our goal is to help our clients get as much value for their dollar. Below, we outlined a few things to keep in mind in order to get there whether you are buying or selling your home.

You can find this gorgeous home at 28436 Heritage Oaks, listed by Liz Sincox

Things to Keep in Mind While Buying a House

Get Your Finances in Order

Obviously buying a home is a big financial decision. Before you even start looking, your Morrison Home Team agent can refer you to a trusted mortgage lender who can help you figure out your budget based on several financial factors. Using this knowledge, you can focus on looking at houses that you can comfortably afford. Another tip we recommend is not making big purchases prior to buying a house because it could result in your lending ratios changing. Therefore, try to avoid buying a new car or signing as a cosigner on anything that could really affect your debt and credit level.

Be Open Minded

This is something that is always easier said than done when it comes to house hunting. That is why you need a Morrison Home Team agent to be able to see the diamond in the rough (aka the house’s potential). This principle also is important when figuring out what you are looking for in a house. We suggest creating a list of “must haves” and “want to haves”. Make sure to keep your non-negotiable “must have” list brief but specific, otherwise your MHT agent will have a hard time narrowing down homes for you to look at.

Consider Resale Value

This is an aspect of selling that we always recommend to our MHT clients. Whether you are buying a temporary home or your forever home, at some point, these homes will go back on the market. Our goal is to get you as much bang for your buck as possible. That being said, we always tell our clients to consider things such as location or floor plan. Location concerns factors such as is the property situated on a busy road or is it near transportation. We suggest considering the floor plan to make sure that while the home may be perfect for your family, will it be perfect for others as well? Finally, if an area is desirable, it means that more people will want to buy your house in the future, hopefully allowing for a higher resale value.

This home at 748 Prairie Ave in Barrington is in a prime location walking distance to schools and downtown Barrington! Contact John Morrison for more information.

Things to Keep in Mind While Selling Your House

A great example of a beautifully staged home that shows off the size and versatility of the room. Contact Liz Sincox to see this house on 141 Pheasant Trail in Deer Park.

Stage Your Home to Sell

We are big believers in the power of staging your home prior to listing it. As part of our services here at MHT, we recommend professional stagers who will help to clear away clutter, brighten up the space, make it appear larger, and ideally, help the house sell faster. If you want more information on staging your home, check out our other blog posts on the topic: MHT’s Show-Ready Checklist & Staging Your Home to Sell

Be Flexible with Selling Times

The best way to sell your house is to allow people to come see it! It is also important to note that a lot of people look at houses during inconvenient times such as after work or on weekends, since that is when they are free. While they could really get in the way of schedules, we recommend being as flexible as possible. The more people who see your home, the higher the probability that someone will buy it! At MHT, we always suggest our clients keep their homes show ready at all times, so they can be available at a moment’s notice. We understand that this can be hard with pets and children at home, so we have written a blog post about this as well: How to Stage Your Home With Pets

Be Willing to Negotiate

While your Morrison Home Team agent is an expert negotiator, it is important for our clients to be willing and open to it. We recommend having a bottom line in mind and keeping a short list of non-negotiables handy. After that, though, be willing to stretch your negotiation limit to fulfill what the buyer is looking for. The end goal is to sell your home and we can’t get to that goal without reaching a mutual agreement.

Looking for a stunning, unique home in Barrington Hills? Contact John Morrison for more information about his listing at 2 Far Hills Road.

We hope that this advice has helped anyone looking to buy or sell their home! Do you know someone going through this process currently? Please pass this post on to them!

Morrison Home Team of @Properties in Barrington. For business inquiries, contact John Morrison at 847.409.0297 or via email at john@morrisonhometeam.com.

How to Stage Your Home with Pets

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Here at Morrison Home Team of @Properties, we know you love your pets and we understand that they are another member of your family. But we also know that there are some people who don’t always understand that: Potential buyers. Therefore, we recommend hiding evidence of your pets while your home is on the market. To help make this task seem less overwhelming, we have made this list to help streamline the process and make sure everything is show ready when the time comes to sell your home. We have also provided cute pictures of puppies and kittens to make it more enjoyable.

Get rid of any stains or damages from pets

First impressions are important, which is why eliminating stains and repairing damages is the first step. Stains, especially carpet stains from puppy accidents, can lead to odors, which can deter potential buyers from wanting your home. On top of that, damages to furniture or baseboards (from puppy teeth) can make it look as though the house isn’t cared for. Feel free to ask your MHT agent for a reliable carpet cleaner or contractor to get these tasks checked off.

Clean, clean, clean!

This is obviously vital to making sure your home is show ready whether or not you have pets, but a few extra steps should be taken if you do. We recommend vacuuming the floors and furniture every day to make sure there is minimal evidence of shedding. If you dedicate just 15 minutes daily, then you will always be ready for a last-minute showing! Another area to check often: air vents. Pet hair can get trapped and built up in there, which makes it a great spot to clean them out whenever possible. Finally, if you have an adventurous cat, it would be worth it to dust of shelves frequently.

Tidy up after your pet

Since we can’t tell our dogs and cats to put away their toys, we recommend finding a hiding spot for them during showing times. This will also help your home to generally look less cluttered. A basket next to a crate or hidden in the laundry room is the perfect place to get these toys out of sight and mind.

Be a Super Pooper Scooper

Pick a day, perhaps twice a week, where you venture into the backyard and clean up after your pup. Nothing ruins a day, or the opinion of a home, than if potential buyers decide to walk through your backyard and step in a sizable…present…left just for them!

Air out the house

Sometimes you get used to the scent of having a pet around, but that is the first thing that will hit potential buyers when they walk through your door: the smell. Since we’ve already agreed that positive first impressions are necessary for a positive experience, why not make it a neutral or enjoyable smell? Open up the windows to bring in some fresh air, invest in odor neutralizers, and even bake some fresh cookies if you know that you have a showing later! Taking these measures will ensure that potential buyers have a positive experiences when viewing your home.

Finally: remove the pets for the showing

When the time comes to show the house, do everything in your power to get your pets out of the house. This will eliminate the possibility of a dog barking throughout the showing. Or even worse: if someone is allergic to dog or cat dander, this will eliminate the risk of them breaking out into an allergic reaction! Hopefully this will provide some bonding time with you and your pets while you’re out with them!

We hope this checklist will help eliminate some overwhelming feelings about making sure everything is perfect with a pet while your home is on the market. If you or anyone you know is currently experiencing this, please share this post with them!

 

Happy Holidays, Happy House Hunting!

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Happy Snow Day! Today we are bundled up here at Morrison Home Team and bringing you a blog post about ways to adjust your home buying and selling techniques for the chilly season ahead.

Winter Tips for Sellers:

 

All is Clear, All is Bright

No one is looking for an adventure when they are walking up to your front door, so make sure it isn’t a treacherous path. Be sure to clear walkways and driveways so there is no risk of slipping, and consider laying down salt to keep the snow and ice melted. Also, lighting up the outside of the house is a brilliant way to make people feel welcome, and to help people see walkways at all hours, since the nights are longer now.

Who says you can’t have lights inside too? These add so much to this already warm basement space at our listing on 2 Far Hills Road in Barrington Hills!

Baby It’s Cold Outside

…But it doesn’t have to be inside! Keep the thermostat set to a warm temperature to make it a lovely oasis for everyone walking into your home from the freezing outdoors.

Deck the Halls!

Whether or not you decorate for the holidays, it is always a great idea to add extra cozy elements in your home. A chunky knit throw on a couch, or a fluffy comforter on the bed give the illusion of a warm and intimate space that will draw people in. Throw a few logs in the fireplace (even if they aren’t burning) and turn on some flameless candles to add to the cozy winter ambiance. If you’re really feeling the holiday spirit, bake some chocolate chip cookies for buyers to enjoy while they tour! Your home will smell wonderful, and they will definitely appreciate the fresh baked goods.

We love the coziness emitted from this stone fireplace in the living room at our listing at 716 Bark Court in Lake Barrington! The wooden beams on the vaulted ceilings also give the home a rustic feel.

Winter Tips for Buyers:

 

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful

Indeed it is! Be respectful to the owners of the properties you are visiting and remove or cover your shoes upon entering. With all of the snow, mud, and wet weather we see yearly, this is an appreciated action!

Do You See What I See?

To be honest, sometimes snow is magical and stunning, but other times its dirty, drab, and gray. When you’re searching for a house this season, keep in mind that most homes might not all be in the best shape to show off their curb appeal in the middle of the winter. This is when using your imagination will come in handy. What would this home look like in the middle of spring when the grass is green and the flowers are blossoming? Or, even better, how could you make this home cozy and welcoming in the winter, if you decide to buy it? We believe in seeing past the flaws and keeping your mind open to find the best option for you.

We are happy to say that our listing at 25143 N Cayuga Trail in Lake Barrington shows off it’s beauty very well in the winter!

Help to Make the Season Bright

It is important to remember that winter weather can be quite unpredictable and sometimes problems with that can arise. Be willing to be more flexible over this season than others when it comes to house hunting. Maybe the weather will prevent you from seeing a home so you have to reschedule a showing, or a heavy snow has led to a power outage so the home owner is forced to reschedule. Keeping a calm and understanding demeanor when these situations happen will save your sanity and make the process less frustrating!

We wish you all a happy holiday season, and happy house hunting as well! If you or anyone you know is looking to buy or sell a house, get in touch with John Morrison and the Morrison Home Team today!

MHT’s Show-Ready Check List

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Here at Morrison Home Team, we know that it is hard to live in a home while you are trying to sell it. Constantly tidying up, leaving the house at a moment’s notice, and trying to impress people who you don’t know is exhausting! Here is our list of tasks to help you out when it comes to getting your house show-ready for any type of buyer:

Make it Less Personal

This neutral space in our listing at 1 Jane Lane is so relaxing and welcoming to anyone.

Do your best to make the home as impersonal as possible. Family photos, artwork on the refrigerator, even framed pictures on the desk. All of this can distract buyers and could keep them from being able to picture themselves in your home. Along with depersonalizing, it is also wise to neutralize aspects of your home. For example, any shocking wall color or busy wall paper might intimidate potential buyers if they think they will need to repaint the entire home because it doesn’t match their décor. Creating a neutral environment will help welcome all sorts of potential buyers.

Make it Squeaky Clean

We love the simple, clean, elegance in this bathroom at our listing at 241 Biltmore Drive in North Barrington.

This might be the cheapest way to stage your home: getting your hands dirty to make sure everything is clean! Dust those shelves, vacuum all that pet hair, bleach that bathtub, is it time to have those carpets cleaned? If you work hard to make your space as bright and shiny as possible, it will pay off! Decluttering also falls under this category. Take some time to box up and store items that are just taking up space in closets and other hidden spots throughout the house. The effect will make the storage spaces seem larger without so many things stuffed in there. Decluttering also goes for surfaces: only keep the necessities. For example, in your bathrooms, keep soap and maybe a hand towel out on the counter by the sink. Put away anything else such as toothpaste, toothbrush holders, makeup, etc. Making everything less “busy” will make the space more calming to those walking through.

Make it Fresh

This updated kitchen at our listing at 239 W Russell Street is absolutely stunning!

Is your wall color looking a bit bland? Or maybe you have some cracked tile in the bathroom? Sometimes tackling projects like these can breathe fresh air into an otherwise tired home. Even something as small as purchasing new pillows for the couch or bedding for the beds can make the space look more updated. Think about what buyers are currently looking for, what colors are popular right now, what decorating styles? This will not only catch a buyer’s eye, but hopefully attract them enough to make an offer.

Make it Bright

We love this sunroom at 23630 Glenbarr Lane!The numerous, large windows, light furniture, and light walls effectively bounce more natural light throughout the home.

Looking for another easy way to stage your space? Just add light! That can be a lamp or light fixture, or simply opening up the blinds and window treatments all the way. Another trick we tell our clients is to add a mirror to a small space to bounce light across the room and to make it feel larger. Having lighter colored furniture can also trick the eye into making a space look larger by enhancing the effects from the lighting.

Make it Noticeable

Just look at the pops of color out on the patio of our listing at 14 Longmeadow Drive! We love how bright and happy this space looks. Definitely draws our eye!

Create focal points in every room that draw the eye towards spots you want to be noticed. Would you like buyers to notice your beautiful brick fireplace? Place some bright flowers on the mantel to draw the eye there. Or, hold attention in the relaxing master bedroom by adding a headboard to the bed. This maximizes space and adds a more luxurious feel to the room. Want to show off your beautiful patio or deck? Add some brightly colored pillows to the outdoor furniture and disperse a few potted plants! These tricks will show off the best features in your home without taking the focus off the other positive aspects!

Are you thinking about listing your home? Contact John Morrison of the Morrison Home Team at 847.409.0297 with any questions about beginning this process.

How to Make a Strong First Impression with Curb Appeal

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You have recently listed your home, congratulations! Now you are tasked with the daunting project of keeping your space show ready at all times so that perfect buyer can see it at a moment’s notice. When it comes to making an impression, here at Morrison Home Team, we believe that curb appeal should be a priority. Think of it as the hook, drawing potential buyers in to see more of your house. With the exception of Chip and Joanna Gaines, buyers want a pretty house. We are here to help you make that first impression last with a few tips on how to boost your curb appeal!

Shutter Up!

These photos right here is a great example of what a difference adding shutters can make to your home! This listing at 239 W Russell in Barrington looks naked without them! If you have been going back and forth about if they are worth it or not, we highly recommend them! Shutters do wonders for the outside of your house.

Freshen Up

Is your façade looking tired or dirty? How about a fresh paint job? This is a great excuse to check out the current housing trends and see which colors buyers are drawn to the most. By changing the color, it could breathe new life into a home, and make it noticeable!

Paint the Front Door

If you don’t want to take on a paint job on the entire house, why not just freshen up the front door? There was actually a study done by Zillow earlier this year that showed homes with black front doors sell faster. Now if that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is!

Here is a lovely example of a black painted front door at 636 Lill Street in Barrington! The contrast against the yellow is just perfect.

Upgrade the Landscaping

Whether you replant your garden, or add some extra color, it’s up to you. It has actually been proving that gardening is a great way to calm your mind and connect with nature. Since selling a home can be a daunting process, what a better way to calm your mind and make your home look more beautiful!

Now we don’t expect you to go as over the top as these incredible gardens as 14 Longmeadow in Barrington Hills, but talk about curb appeal, right?!

Small but Noticeable Changes:

Sometimes, you don’t need a big change, but rather some small details that could add to your curb appeal. Here are a few of our ideas for some economical and easy updates:

  • Add a welcome mat to the front porch
  • Add potted plants around the door
  • Flowers around the mailbox, this is the first part of the house that is seen!
  • A front porch bench to make the space look warm and welcoming
  • Hang a seasonal wreath on the front door to add some color!

We hope these tips helped!

Are you currently looking to buy a house or sell your house? Contact John Morrison and the Morrison Home Team at 847.409.0927

Why to Buy and Sell Your House in the Fall

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When it comes to the housing market, the general consensus is to buy or sell in the Spring and Summer, since that is the busiest time for real estate. While it’s true that the warmer months tend to see more action, that doesn’t mean that you should omit fall and winter completely! Why not continue your buying and selling process when the rush has died down and you are able to take your time and make the best decision for you and your family?

John and the Morrison Home Team, believe that Fall and Winter are the best, secret times to buy or sell. We broke down the reasons for both buyers and sellers below:

Buyers:

Fewer people searching for houses

Like we mentioned, spring and summer are the busy, busy times in the real estate world. But in the fall? We tend to see a fewer number of buyers actively searching. This trend continues through the winter, until the cycle picks back up again in the spring (by the way, our Spring Market starts the first week of February). So why not use this to your advantage? With fewer buyers, John and your Morrison Home Team broker can devote more time to you and your needs. The other perk? There is a lower chance of someone going up against you in a bidding war on your dream home!

This incredible home at 63 Brinker Road looks even more incredible in the fall foliage!

Sellers are serious

This is a huge plus when it comes to fall purchasing. With a smaller number of houses on the market, more often than not, it means that these sellers aren’t experimenting or “just trying to see what they can get” for their house. They are truly looking to sell, which will make the negotiation and closing process so much easier, since both parties are 100% interested in closing the deal! And if coffee is for closers, then we want that coffee!

Sellers:

Competition leaves the market

Since Spring and Summer are such hot months to have your home on the market (literally and figuratively), we tend to see a lot of the remaining homes leave the market for the colder months. Therefore, there is less competition when buyers are searching for their dream home. Now is the time for your house to stand out from the crowd and for sellers to have more of a chance to achieve the sale that you have been looking for!

This village listing at 200 W Russell Street is a great spot to jump on as the leaves change!

Buyers are serious

Much like the fact that you, as a seller, are more serious, buyers are as well! They aren’t just “shopping around” to see what they can find. If they are out and about, trudging through chilly rain, snow, and freezing temperatures, they are serious about buying! Use this to your advantage to negotiate a deal that will satisfy both parties and you will be very glad you kept your home on the market during this time!

Are you thinking about starting your home buying process this fall? Contact John Morrison or another Morrison Home Team broker to get started!

Four Projects to Tackle Before Listing Your House

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When it comes to selling your home, sometimes you just don’t know where to start. At Morrison Home Team, we don’t want you to feel overwhelmed, this should be an exciting time! To help with that stress, we had compiled a list of 4 projects to start and finish before listing your house. By checking these off your list, you will not only diminish your stress, but also gain a competitive edge against other houses in the market.

Keep Up With The Small Things

Let’s face it, sometimes we get used to living in the same place for a while. This could lead tp us not noticing when something small needs to be fixed or updated. Before listing your house, we urge you to walk around and check up on projects that haven’t been a priority lately. Change light bulbs, fix your mailbox, paint the window panes, fix that one drawer in the kitchen that is a bit cockeyed, cover old nail holes and touch up the paint in the bedrooms. These little fixes go a long way!


We love how simple and elegant this bathroom is in one of our former rentals. If you have a tiled bathroom floor, make sure to check for any chips in the tile!

Spruce Up Your Floors

This is a bit of a bigger project, but one that could really help the sale of your house. When it comes to sprucing your floors, there are a couple of options:

  1. Clean your carpeting
  2. Freshen up your hardwood floor

Hiring a carpet cleaner, especially if you have pets or children, will go a long way with minimal effort. This will also ensure that the carpeting will look “fluffy” and the rooms will seem all around brighter! With regards to hardwood floors, consider restaining, if you feel the color is outdated, or refinishing them to give the room a bit of extra shine.

This contrasting dark floor is beautiful against the light walls and décor in another one of our former rentals!

Clean Out Your Closets

We are very sorry to tell you, but when your house is on the market, gone are the days of shoving things in a closet and calling the place clean. Closets are a huge selling point for homes and because of that, buyers like look inside to see how big they are. The best way for them to gauge the size is by cleaning out and reorganizing everything in the closet. Throw out or donate items that aren’t needed anymore and purchase storage containers to tidy up the space for everything else. This will do wonders!

Amp Up Your Curb Appeal

The outside of your home is the first thing that buyers will notice when they pull up, so give them that wow factor! We recommend trimming the bushes, weeding the yard, even planting a few flowers or adding some mulch if the yard really needs it. If it’s warm, make sure your grass is well watered and green. Something else that is a quick fix: repainting your front door. A study from Zillow earlier this year stated that homes with black front doors sell faster than other colors! Add a welcome mat and some potted plants, and you will successfully wow your buyers.

This luscious green entry is lovely at our listing on 417 N Cook Street! Take a closer look at the details next to the garage, we love that curb appeal!

Do you have more questions about projects to take on before listing your home, or just want to learn about the process? Contact your Morrison Home Team agent, or send us a message in the “Contact Us” tab of the website, we love hearing from you!

Staging Your Home to Sell

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At Morrison Home Team, we know selling your home can be a big undertaking. Especially when it comes to making it “show ready” at a moment’s notice, just like this sunroom is at 210 E Liberty Street. So how do all of those homes you see listed on the MLS always look so picture perfect? The secret: staging.

Staging is the practice of strategically arranging furniture and décor to help the house look it’s best during the selling process. This could be done simply by rearranging preexisting décor, hiring a professional stager to rent and arrange furnishings if the house is vacant or lacking items, or even by giving the house a complete refresh with new paint and other minor modifications to aid the sale.

Why stage? Well, according to a 2017 National Association of Realtors survey, 77% of buyers’ agents say that proper staging helps clients to better visualize the space as their own, which is the goal after all!

In order to make this process less daunting, we have compiled a few of our best tips to get your house ready to sell, and to sell quickly:

Tidy Up

This is definitely the most important step for anyone selling their home! In order for home buyers to best visualize the space as their own, it is best to tidy up the space. Box up knick-knacks and personal items that are cluttering space and neatly store them out of view. This will not only keep the focus on the home, but it will also tastefully show what the room can offer without looking too busy. When that is done, it’s time to deep clean. Dust, vacuum, shine, polish, and bleach whatever catches your eye that you think could have an impact on the sale of your home. Make sure not to use too many scented products, as this could trigger allergies or just general distaste for the smell. This is a great first step to making your home sell ready.

This gorgeous kitchen and eating area at 7 Kaleigh Court. is perfectly tidied! Nothing distracting on the tables or walls, and everything is beautifully cleaned!

 

Stage the Most Important Rooms First

If it comes down to not having the time or money to stage the entire home, simply working on a few rooms could really increase the value. The most “important” rooms to stage are usually considered the most used rooms in the home. These include the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom. If these are the only rooms properly done, then it still gives your home a boost compared to other, unstaged homes. Other rooms such as kid’s bedrooms, bathrooms, and the basement, while they still should be organized and cleaned, they are not as vital to the selling of a home.

This family room at 636 Lill Street is a great example of staging important rooms first. This staging shows how to best use the space

“Float” your Furniture

A common decorating myth is the belief that all furniture should be situated along the walls of the room. This technique, though, generally makes the room look much smaller than it actually is. The idea of “floating” your furniture means creating spaces positioned around an area rug, a coffee table, or a fire place closer to the center of the room. This will not only make the room appear to be larger than it actually is, but also create more of an intimate feel that draws people to a room.

This living room space at 9 Hubbell Court is the perfect example of “floating furniture” around the area rug.

Boost Your Curb Appeal

Staging your home doesn’t just belong on the inside of the house! Curb appeal is an easy way to draw attention to your home from the moment that a possible buyer pulls into the driveway. Entice them with a trimmed lawn, crisp landscaping, lovely gardens, and even a welcome mat! If you are listing in the winter, show that your home can still be lovely in the snow by keeping the driveway and walkways cleared and hanging a winter wreath on the door. A little care goes a long way!


This home at 1626 Dublin Court in Inverness has such lovely curb appeal!

Don’t neglect the backyard, they certainly didn’t at Dublin Court

Now you are ready to start staging your home! If you are currently looking to sell and would like some more information on properly staging your space, get in touch with your Morrison Home Team agent to discuss opportunities available.

Are there any more questions you have about staging a home? Contact us by typing your question into the options on the side of this page (or on our Contact Us menu option) or simply reach us via email at john@morrisonhometeam.com or by phone at 847.409.0297.

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