Selling your home this spring? A Starter To-Do List.

Invest in Buyers’ Favorite: Exterior Lighting
Are you planning to sell your home this spring? Start preparing now! Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Have Your Home Pre-Inspected by a Professional Home Inspector
One of the most common reasons a home sale falls apart (or the closing is delayed) is problems uncovered during the home inspection. Typically, price negotiations will reopen, but if the problems are beyond the buyer’s budget, they may just walk away from the deal.

If you have your home pre-inspected now, you will have the advantage of avoiding unpleasant surprises in the middle of the transaction. Plus, you’ll have the rest of winter to get repair projects out of the way. 

Get a Head Start on Curb Appeal
Most landscaping tasks will have to wait until spring, but if you have inside space and a sunny window, you can get a head start by growing your own flowers from seed. Just wait until after the last frost to plant them outside.

You can also consider touching-up any chipped paint on doors and trim, creating an outdoor seating area, or updating your front door hardware. Replacing a worn mailbox, installing new house numbers, and purchasing a new front porch doormat are more great ways to spruce up your curb appeal.

Declutter & Donate
If your home is overwhelmed with personal items, has closets bursting at the seams, and furniture blocking the flow, there is a clutter problem. Clutter sends the message to a potential buyer that your home lacks space and ample storage. Start the process now to rid your home of furniture, housewares, clothing, books, and papers that are no longer of use. It’s a win-win: you will have less to move and it will help sell your home. 

Invest in Buyers’ Favorite Features
The National Association of Home Builders surveyed prospective home buyers and learned that the top two desired features in a home are a laundry room and exterior lighting. How to get started? For your laundry room (or nook or closet), take this opportunity to add function. Consider adding a shelf, storage cabinet, or a wall-mounted drying rack.

As your luck would have it, wireless lighting has come a long way thanks to advancements in power and power storage technologies. Does your home have a path that could some extra visibility? A side yard that could use a motion sensor light? Shine some light on those darker areas to delight prospective buyers.

Boost Your Home’s Value Ahead of the Appraisal

Whether you’re planning to sell or refinance, a home appraisal is a necessary step in determining the true value of your home. This means your home should be in the best possible condition, so it will be appraised at the highest potential value. While it may be tempting to swing for the fences with big-ticket renovations, there are smaller things you can do to efficiently raise the market value of your home.

  • Start Small with a Little Spackle
    If you’ve lived in your home for any length of time, you’ve probably hung things on the walls, put up shelves, or simply had accidents that resulted in minor damage. Now is the time to repair those blemishes. Filling these holes and crevices with a little spackle and painting over the area will leave your walls looking like new. While this may not boost the value of your home, it will keep the appraiser from deducting for the damage.
  • As Long as You’re Painting…
    After you’ve touched up your walls, you might want to consider freshening up the paint. Repainting worn trim and moldings around the home can give it a fresh look. Venture outside and touch up the trim around the windows and doors too. This will boost curb appeal and help you add value to the home. Any area where the paint is peeling, chipping, or simply has lost its luster should be retouched with a fresh coat.
  • Do a Deep Clean
    This is also the time to really clean your home from top to bottom. If you have young children and pets, there may be odors and damage that might not be noticeable to you, but strong odors and scuffed hardwood floors will be the first things your appraiser notices. Consider hiring professionals to wax the floors, shampoo the carpets, and conduct an intensive cleaning of the entire home.
  • Be the Buyer
    At some point, you should tour your home with the mindset of a home buyer. This will help you identify problems that you live with every day but just don’t notice anymore. Look for things that need to be repaired, such as a loose handrail, a leaky faucet, or a shorted electrical outlet. 

By taking the time to spruce up the home ahead of the appraisal, you may be able to increase the value by thousands of dollars. The suggestions offered here should give you a head start, but if you have additional questions on how to add more value to your home, don’t hesitate to reach out me.

Hiring a Realtor? 10 Questions to Ask.

Selling your home can be one of the most stressful events in your lifetime. No doubt, working with the right realtor can significantly alleviate that stress! The best realtors serve as advisors and advocates to help their clients navigate this complicated and multi-layered transaction.

To find that perfect agent to represent you throughout the entire process, it is wise to invest the time.  Here’s how: Narrow down your initial candidates by referral and research.  From there, set up interviews.  The interview process should help you identify the agent most apt to  meet your needs.  Aside from feeling a personal connection, the interview should give you a sense of how the entire listing process will be handled. What to ask? Here’s a suggested list of 10 key questions to guide you. 

1. Are you a full or part-time realtor?

This could reveal how much time an agent will be able to dedicate to your listing.  If a realtor is “part-time” and  has other clients, there’s a possibility you could be frustrated on many levels. Will you be able to quickly reach them if needed? How much time will they be able to dedicate to showings, Read more

The Bilane Team | Adapting to COVID-19

This past month has been a whirlwind for many industries. Real Estate is no exception. Since Governor Northam’s stay at home order went into effect, realtors have been able to continue doing business as long as it is in accordance with Executive Order 53.*

Under these guidelines, the Bilane Team has been conducting closings and showings, while also preparing new listings to come on line. To handle my contractual obligations, as well as assist my clients move forward with their home sale or purchase, the following is being implemented to mitigate the risk of exposure of COVID-19 to my clients and colleagues.


  • Abide by safe practices such as using masks and gloves. 
  • Limit touching of surfaces and time spent in a home as much as possible.
  • Research from home: my website is a great place to start your home search. All the tools you need are in one place. Explore communities. Query market data by zip code. Conduct advanced property searches. These and other useful features can be found at my newly updated site,
  • KW Mobile App: This app helps you instantly view properties as you drive through neighborhoods of interest. For instance, if you see a “For Sale” sign on a property, you can immediately access the listing using the KW app (without even typing in an address). If you are interested in the house, simply click on the little heart on top of the listing’s photo. That’s it!  It’s a great way to explore homes while keeping your social distance. Here is the link: As an added perk, enjoy a cup of coffee while driving through the neighborhoods. Download my app and I will send you a digital gift card from Starbucks!

Read more

Thinking of Selling on Your Own?

For Sale By Owner

by Stephanie Bilane, REALTOR®

For Sale by Owner (FSBO) is not as easy as it sounds.  Pricing, timing, and understanding of the entire process are among the many things to take into consideration. So, if you are thinking about selling on your own,

Are you prepared to…

  • make less profit?
  • take longer to sell your home?
  • advertise in various mediums?
  • be available around the clock?
  • waste time with unqualified buyers?
  • handle all negotiations?


Why sell with Stephanie and not ‘For Sale By Owner’ (FSBO)?

Your home will sell quicker and for more! And, you have a reliable partner at your side throughout the entire process. The National Association of Realtors Read more