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Staging Your Home on a Budget

by The Hat Team

Chances are, if you are getting ready to sell your home, you are also preparing to purchase a new home. So, the last thing you want to do is spend more money on your current property.  However, you certainly want to get the best price possible when selling it, and per the National Association of Realtors, for every $100 invested in staging, the potential return is $400. As you can see, it will pay off in the end to stage your home to entice potential buyers.

Some people will hire a certified staging professional to get the job done.  While it might seem easier than doing it yourself, it is not the only way to get that SOLD sign planted in your front yard.  There are some simple, yet effective home-staging hacks that won’t break the bank:

  • Roll Out a Welcome Mat - Sounds simple, right?  It is!  First impressions mean everything when selling your home.  Also, prospective buyers tend to linger by the front door before the real estate agent opens the home for viewing, so an inviting entrance is crucial. A new welcome mat can cost as little as $15.  Purchase a modern mat that compliments the style of your home.  To further enhance the entryway, add a little green with some fresh plants.  An enticing entrance will make buyers want to see more!
  • Mount Mirrors in Strategic Spots - Every home has spaces like a dim hallway or small space that lacks natural light.  To spruce up these areas, hang a few mirrors.  They add extra light to rooms that look dark, and create an illusion of space. They will pack an extra punch if placed next to or directly across from a window because they will pull in more sun.  For a more decorative look, create a collage of several mini mirrors in different shapes and sizes rather than just slapping one large mirror on the wall. You can find inexpensive mirrors at craft stores and discount home stores. How to Use Mirrors to Create More Space
  • Set Tables and Serving Areas for Entertaining - A home filled with friends, food and laughter is a happy one!  Paint a picture of what entertaining in your home will be like for potential buyers.  Keep it simple, but aesthetically pleasing.  Lay out cloth napkins, wine glasses and solid plates in the dining room. Use matching mugs and bowls in the kitchen to produce the feel of family meals.
  • Replace Personal Photos with Art Work - Over the years, you have turned your house into a home by decorating with family portraits and personal mementos.  But potential buyers are going to want to be able to envision themselves living there and that is hard to do with your family members present in the form of pictures in every room.  So, get a head start on packing up your house by putting your pictures away and replacing them with art work that compliments the style of the home.  You can find inexpensive art at discount stores or you can print beautiful landscape photos to put in frames.
  • Make the Bathroom Look Elegant with White Linens - Spruce up your bathroom with crisp, fresh, all-white linens.  White towels, bath mats, and shower curtains give the room an instant update.  They inspire the feeling of a luxury spa without spending a lot of money.  Take it a step further by including some "spa like" displays. Simple additions like an orchid, candles and special soaps will go a long way. Spa-Like Bathrooms
  • Arrange Decorative Scenes - Decorative displays can give a cozy, lived-in ambience to a house.  Assembling classy vignettes of colorful vases, lanterns, books, plants, baskets, and other items atop dressers, counters and bookshelves will make a house feel more like a home. Group items in odd numbers and in varying heights and shapes while keeping them in the same color family. You will be amazed at what you can find to use in your house, but if you need to buy some things, you can mix in inexpensive pieces from craft and discount stores.  Done properly, these displays will have people feeling like they are looking at rooms right out of home décor magazines…and that is a sure way to impress prospective buyers. Staging Your Home with Inexpensive Decor

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of Professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

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Staging Helps Get Top Dollar

by The Hat Team

If you’re considering selling your home in the near future here are some things to be thinking about. Staging your home most commonly refers to paying attention to how your home shows on the inside to buyers. Curb appeal refers to how it looks to buyers on the outside. Staging and curb appeal are often thought of as separate issues.

stagingHowever, if you think of them together the results will often be more than just the sum of the parts. The things you do to improve on by staging and curb appeal may even enhance your enjoyment of your  home for the time before you sell. Let’s consider staging for selling in this blog…

There are a of lot things you can do yourself without spending big dollars, especially if you start well ahead of selling.Streamlining is a new term that encompasses “de-cluttering.” Things that we all get used to living with do not always make a positive impression on a buyer. So, look around your living environment and be honest about what you could maybe do without, especially for the short term.

You might find that you would enjoy a little less stuff around right now. That includes things that are in storage. If you haven’t used something in 2 or 3 years maybe you could do without it? For the things that you really do want to have handy, is there a better way to store them? Here are some easy staging ideas you can do yourself.

Talk with your favorite Realtor to get some suggestions. They may even know a reasonably priced staging professional who can help. But, if you’re the type to do it yourself there are all sorts of tips on the internet. A good start is to do some planning. Make a checklist for yourself to help organize the effort for the big picture.

Also think about things that can make a big impression. An example of a high impact effort that looks at both indoors and outdoors is dressing up the entry into your home. That idea and 12 other tips are included in an article you can access here. Work your way through your checklist and keep thinking inside and outside together. Over a relatively short period of time you’ll find you are making significant changes toward selling your home.

Information courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Experts Sandra Nickel Hat Team.

Selling During The Holidays - Good Idea Or Not?

by The Hat Team

Contrary to popular belief there are actually some advantages to selling your home during the holidays. And many home owners really don’t have a choice because of a necessity to relocate. Most of us do tend to want to have our time free to enjoy all the activities that surround the year-end holidays. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t make the best of the opportunity to market your Montgomery, AL home.

houseThere are some definite advantages to consider if you either chose to sell or you find that you have no choice but to sell. Here are just a few advantages that you can find out more about here:

  • Business moves are very common in the month of January. Remember, it is a big work transfer time of the year…and that goes both ways.
  • Buyers generally have more motivation to buy if they are looking during the holidays. They probably wouldn’t be looking if they don’t really intend to buy.
  • Competition tends to be lower due to other potential sellers not wanting to market during the holidays if they have the choice. Less inventory for sale means your chances are better of getting buyers’ attention.
  • Decorating and staging your home for sale is easier if you are decorating for the holidays anyway. Staging your home for sale any other time of year can be a chore. But, decorating for the holidays can actually turn staging into fun.
  • A warm and cozy feeling of a home in the winter can contribute to a positive experience for the potential buyers touring your home.

In addition to advantages of selling during the holidays, here are just some of the 13 tips for selling in the winter offered by

  • Take advantage of natural light. Encourage your Realtor to push for daylight times for showings and get your windows washed so they sparkle in the lower winter sunlight angle.
  • Give your Montgomery, AL home a nice holiday aroma. The No. 1 favorite is chocolate chip cookies. Especially if you enjoy baking, make the effort to leave cookies for the showings when you can. This is especially important for open house tours.

No matter what your motivation for selling your Montgomery, AL home, don’t shy away from marketing it during the holidays. Turn your holiday decorating into a fun staging activity for marketing your home.

Search all Montgomery AL Real Estate And Homes For Sale.

Sandra Nickel and the Hat Team have distinguished themselves as leaders in the Montgomery AL real estate market. Sandra assists buyers looking for Montgomery real estate for sale and aggressively markets Montgomery AL homes for sale. Sandra is also an expert in helping families avoid foreclosure through short sales and is committed to helping families in financial hardship find options. For more information you can visit

Interested in buying a bank-owned home? Get bank-owned listings alerts FREE!

You can reach Sandra by filling out the online contact form below or give her a call anytime.

Selling Your Montgomery AL Home: Set The Stage

by The Hat Team

theaterIf you’ve ever been involved in a theatrical production, you are well aware of the many hours of planning, practice, and preparation that precede the actual performance.  You hope to gain rave reviews from your audience and will thus be sure to put forth much energy and effort in order to do be successful. 

In much the same way, you, as the seller of your Montgomery AL home, have aspirations of wowing potential buyers with your stellar presentation and being rewarded by appreciative applause in the form of a quick sale.  Just practice the following script and stage directions for dramatic results…

The curtain opens on a tastefully furnished room with adequate, but not overcrowded, furniture.  There is ample room to walk between the moderately-sized pieces, and doors and windows are not blocked.  Flowers and bowls of fresh fruit add color and a pleasant scent.  Personal photos and memorabilia are not present, and the few paintings that adorn the walls contribute to the overall light and airy atmosphere.


  • Clean, clean, clean and de-clutter even more!  Create an impressive stage set by buffing floors and washing walls. This is the time to donate, throw away, and organize the many items that take up too much room, distract from positive features, make your Montgomery AL home appear smaller, and create a feeling of chaos.  Let your granite countertops, roomy closets, and ample cabinet space take center stage for potential buyers.


Audience members will now be milling about the area

outside your theatre, so be sure that you have taken steps to

make it attractive and appealing.



  • Concentrate on stage lighting.  Wash windows, open curtains and drapes, illuminate darker spaces. Put away winter bedding, accessories, and area rugs. Bring in spring with soft colors. Consider investing in inexpensive staging items like towels, throw pillows, candles and table settings in lavender, yellow, sage green and pale blue.   


Final curtain:

Time to take a bow, accept the flowers, bask in the applause, and enjoy

the accolades. Your presentation has been a complete success, and you

 will soon be entertaining offers for your Montgomery AL home.

Search all Montgomery AL Real Estate And Homes For Sale.

Sandra Nickel and the Hat Team have distinguished themselves as leaders in the Montgomery AL real estate market. Sandra assists buyers looking for Montgomery real estate for sale and aggressively markets Montgomery AL homes for sale. Sandra is also an expert in helping families avoid foreclosure through short sales and is committed to helping families in financial hardship find options. For more information you can visit

Interested in buying a bank-owned home? Get bank-owned listings alerts FREE!

You can reach Sandra by filling out the online contact form below or give her a call anytime.


Staging Tips For A Montgomery Open House

by The Hat Team

You are selling your Montgomery home and the first Open House only a week away. The house is filled with clutter and things you don’t want to throw away. But the clutter is not appealing to potential Montgomery home buyers. What do you? Here are staging tips for an Open House.

8 Staging Tips For A Montgomery Open House

1. Remove the clutter.

open houseHaving a garage sale is out when removing clutter because the Open House is only a week away. You don’t want to stuff the garage or closets to the gills either. One solution is to rent an off-site storage facility or stack boxes neatly in a basement or crawlspace.

2. Stage each room.

The first thing to do is clean from top to bottom. Make sure windows and light fixtures shine and are in working order. If the room is crowded, put some furniture in the storage facility. Finally, pick a focal point that will attract buyers when they see the room. For example, the focal point of a bedroom is usually the bed, and for a music room, it’s the piano.

3. Use the rule of three.

First, remove everything from counters and table tops, including coffee tables and side tables. Then re-accessorize using the rule of three…using 3 items of varying heights. For example, on an end table you can place a lamp (high), a small plant (medium), and a book (low).

4. Make a child’s room more appealing.

Your goal is to appeal to the largest number of buyers and allow them to see themselves living in your home. Not all buyers will have children. Growth charts, posters, and school projects are personal items become a distraction and should be removed. Also, de-clutter shelves and closets. If you have time, tone down the colors. Bright wall colors can make a room appear smaller.

5. Remove signs of pets.

Not all potential Montgomery home buyers are pet lovers. Remove pets from the property and put away water bowls, food dishes and pet beds.

6. Make it odor free.

Cigarette smells, pet odors and distinctive cooling smells are not pleasant for buyers. Make your home odor free by airing out the house for a few days prior to the Open House or rent an air purifier.

7. Make the outside shine.

First impressions are important. If buyers are turned off by the outside of your home, they will never go inside. Clean off the driveway, mow the lawn, trim edges, pull the weeds and put down fresh mulch in the flower beds. Plant colorful annuals in beds or pots. Make sure the house is clean and paint the front door if needed.

8. Welcome buyers home.

Remember you want your home to say ‘Welcome Home’ to potential buyers. You want them to mentally move into your home and make it theirs. Bake a fresh batch of cookies and leave them on the kitchen table with a pitcher of lemonade. Then go to the park with the kids or visit friends. Somehow remove the family from the house and let your Realtor show the home off to its next owners!

Learn more about selling your Montgomery home.

What’s your Montgomery home worth?

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