Real Estate Information Archive


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5 Inexpensive Home Updates to Complete before Listing Your Home

by Lisa Johnson Sevajian


There is no perfect formula for selling your home efficiently, but by following these five tips prior to listing you can increase your chances to close quickly at a higher price.

1.) Update your old garage door(s). Garage doors seem like a non-issue, but many times they make up a significant percentage of the front of a home. Because of this, they are one of the first things that buyers notice when they pull in the drive way. Replacing, or even just painting, these central fixtures will do wonders when it comes to instantly impressing perspective buyers and standing apart from your competition. The market has changed drastically since many of us purchased our homes here in town. I frequently hear buyers say that they have taken a house off their list because of the lack of curb appeal. This issue is especially important to people on busier streets, corner lots, or near a neighborhood eyesore.

2.) Replace old windows. Outdated windows age a home significantly, and you can often upgrade standard windows to vinyl for a reasonable $300 per window. The average home has 8 windows, so this upgrade doesn’t cost nearly as much as you might think and it will make a huge difference to the value perceived by prospective buyers. Key point to remember is that when buyers view a home they love, if they see it has older windows, they consider it a time consuming and costly headache. First time buyers have never replaced windows and often dramatically overestimate the cost to cure this issue. By replacing pre-listing you an actually save money. A well priced, move-in condition home will sell for far more than one with windows in need of repair.

3.) Assess your floors . If you have hardwood flooring, it’s worth the investment to have them refinished considering buyers put an extremely high value on them; you’ll get the most bang for your buck if they are refurbished. Carpets should be shampooed and replaced if they are stained or look worn. You don’t need to spend large amounts of money on the highest grade or most modern name but something inexpensive and neutral will certainly bring you a return on the investment. Even the smell of new carpet will make buyers set your home apart from the comparables.

4.) Paint the trim. If you can’t afford the daunting task of painting your entire house, painting just the trim will still make a big difference when it comes to curb appeal. Painting the whole house can be expensive, time consuming, and delayed by weather conditions; painting just the trim will give your home a fresher look. Interior trim is equally as important.

5.) Update fixtures. Keep an eye out for sales at home improvement stores and replace outdated lighting, plumbing and hardware fixtures. Simple replacing lighting fixtures and knobs in the bathroom or kitchen can update the entire look of the room. You can find many modern brand name fixtures online on contractor supply websites by just searching for terms like sale faucets, sale plumbing fixtures etc.

By Lisa Johnson Sevajian


Healthy Home, Room by Room

by Lowes Creative Ideas


Before you tackle each room, consider these overall tips to make your home healthy:

• Favor harder surfaces, which are healthier because they attract less dust and are easier to clean. Bare floors are better than carpet; leather chairs and sofas are better than upholstered furniture.

• Choose shades for window treatments. They don't gather as much dust as blinds and fabric curtains and are easier to keep clean.

• Keep your home tidy and organized. Neat homes are cleaner and healthier. Pick up messy rooms and keep items off the floor.

• Place a floor mat or rug at every door. People track in all sorts of chemicals via the dirt on their shoes. A mat helps to keep pollutants from entering your home.

• Make your home a no-smoking zone.

• Test your home for radon. This colorless, odorless gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. today.



Consider this: You spend a third of your life in bed. If you wake up with a runny nose or itchy throat, dust mites might be the problem.

Say "goodbye" to bed bugs: Wash sheets weekly; blankets every two weeks in hot water. Freeze non-washable stuffed animals for two or three hours. Opt for washable pillows and comforters over those made with down or feathers. Replace pillows every two years.
Laundry baskets and hampers can be a playground for germs -- don't forget to clean them regularly.

Keep a healthy level of humidity. Dust mites and mold love moisture. Keeping relative humidity around 30 to 50 percent helps keep these and other allergens under control.
Install CO detectors close to sleeping quarters. Replace after five years.

Keep closets organized and clutter at bay. Remember, tidier = healthier.

When choosing paints look for low- or no-VOC products to avoid head aches and respiratory problems.


The living room is where the whole family goes to relax, unwind and feel good. Keep it healthy and happy by following these tips.

Houseplants work as a natural air filter by adding oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide. Some of the best houseplants for treating indoor air pollution: philodendron, English ivy, spider plant, dracaena, weeping fig, peace lily, bamboo and reed palm.

Make sure to open your windows from time to time and air out the house. Fresh air will help clear allergens from a room.

For safer fires, install a fireplace insert and check the chimney yearly. Install carbon monoxide alarms and store firewood outside the house.

Using a vacuum cleaner that has strong suction, rotating brushes, and a HEPA filter ensures that dust and dirt won't get blown back out into the room. In high traffic areas, vacuum the same spot several times. For best results, vacuum two or more times each week and clean your filter regularly according the maker's directions.

Even if routinely change furnace and air conditioner filters and vacuum regularly, you may still want the extra insurance of an air purifier, especially if members of your household have respiratory problems. When shopping for a system, look at the CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) number -- the higher the number, the stronger the cleaning power.

If you have pets, keep them out of the bedroom. After all, that's where we spend the majority of our time at home. Bathe your pets regularly as well, and keep them off of the furniture.



Kitchens are the hub of the home. Keep these tips in mind for a healthy kitchen.

Mopping picks up the dust that vacuuming leaves behind. New microfiber mops and dust cloths reportedly capture more dust and dirt than traditional materials and don't require any cleaning solutions whatsoever.

Filtering your water has never been easier, thanks to the variety of purification products available, including whole house water filtration systems, under the sink filters and faucet-mounted devices.

Don't forget to replace the filters on your refrigerator's water and ice maker.  Thoroughly clean and disinfect your refrigerator monthly.

Wash wooden boards in the sink with a brush and hot soapy water; non-porous boards of plastic, acrylic or glass can be tossed in the dishwasher.

The best strategy for keeping countertops and other kitchen surfaces healthy is two-fold: first, wipe away any visible messes with a paper towel. Then follow up with an anti-bacterial wipe or a diluted solution of bleach and water.

A clean home is a healthier home and cleaning with eco-friendly friendly cleaners is the healthiest.



Basements can make or break a healthy home. If they're too damp, they can become a haven for mold. Neglected furnace filters and air ducts can send allergens throughout your home. Follow these tips for a healthy basement.

Use a HEPA furnace filter and remember to change every month (or follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

Look for fragrance-free or naturally-scented laundry products.

To prevent mold from taking hold, don't let wet clothes sit in the washer for long periods of time.
A dehumidifier (and air conditioner during summer months) helps reduce indoor humidity levels and effectively controls allergens.


Article from Lowes Creative Ideas


2011 Ulster County Real Estate Statistics

by Team Ulster

The final numbers are in for 2011 home sales in Ulster County.   Here are some highlights from the charts shown below:

• The number of homes sold in 2011 was 914, down from the high of 1,711 homes sold in 2005 – a 45% decline.

• Home sales in the $400,000 to $900,000 range declined by 61% from 2005 to 2011.

• In 2011, home sales were most active below $400,000, with sales under $100,000 being at their highest level in the last eight years.

• There was a 22% drop in the median price of homes from their high in 2007 of $250,750 to $199,000 in 2011.

• The number of days a house was on the market from listing to closing was 188 days in 2011, up from 126 days in 2004.

• It is a great time to buy a home, as interest rates are at their all-time low, and prices have dropped to there lowest level in 10 years.


The following charts were compiled based on information taken from the Ulster County Multiple Listing Service.
















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Contact Information

Photo of Laurel Sweeney Real Estate
Laurel Sweeney
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nutshell Realty
1209 State Route 213, PO Box 452
High Falls NY 12440
Office: 845-687-2200
Toll Free 877-468-5783
Fax: 845-687-4162

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