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      Selling in the Spring? Advice on Getting Your Home Ready to List

      I asked everyone in the office to tell me the one thing people should do to their homes over the winter if they plan to sell in the spring.

      No surprise – they all said declutter. Seems obvious, right? But so many people avoid it – or feel like it’s too overwhelming. Here’s the thing though. A decluttered home feels cleaner, more spacious, and more inviting – therefore more appealing to prospective buyers. And consider this – if you declutter before you put your house on the market in the spring, you’ll have less stuff to move!

      Feel overwhelmed already? Here are a few suggestions.

      1.       Set a time limit – and an actual timer. Allow yourself to focus on getting rid of specific clutter for five minutes (or 10). Start with a pile of papers, say, and recycle everything that is not important. Junk mail. Ticket stubs. Scrap paper. Do nothing else but work for the allotted time, and when the timer goes off, you are done. Knowing it will end makes a big difference. When you are ready, do it again. .

      2.       Look at your closet. If you haven’t worn it in a year, give it away. Salvation Army, Goodwill, The Hospice Shop – there are any number of places that would be glad to take clothes off your hands, as long as they are in decent condition. Put them all in a bag and drop them off. Unless there’s a wedding dress you plan to give to your child, in which case you should have it stored.

      3.       Clean off one surface: a counter or a shelf. Get everything off it, and put it where it belongs, or throw it out. Clean the surface before anything goes back on it.

      Inspired yet? Here are some of the most helpful and probably most creative suggestions I’ve seen in a while.

      There are a few other things you can do, too:

      ·         Plant some spring bulbs.

      ·         Touch up paint, or repaint the front door.

      ·         Get a stool or a ladder, and dust the surfaces you can’t reach. Clean the hood of the stove.

      ·         Make the minor repairs you’ve been putting off.

      And most of all, talk with your agent for advice that’s specific to your home.  Good luck!



      Thinking Outside the Box

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      streetcarNorthampton has a wonderful mix of classic, historic, and contemporary homes -- you can see by the listings on Goggins' web site what I mean. There are even a few eclectic beauties tucked in here and there. When I am looking to see some new home concepts, one source I turn to is Houzz.com, which features dozens of eye-popping creations. In the age of reduce, reuse, recycle, a growing number of savvy, creative souls are thinking outside the box to build beautiful, unique, homes.

      Take, for instance, the sweet little house in Santa Cruz made from a streetcar -- one that once serviced the ocean-side city. Bright and colorful, it's a comfortable home that maintains its historic features. Train cars have been transformed as getaways, such as this cozy beach home in England.

      Then there are shipping containers: Corrugated, rectangular boxes of steel -- who would think you could make much of a house from these? This Quebec build makes a believer out of me. Some modern home owners just start with something simple, like a trailer, and have the building take shape from there. Then there is the tiny house that is a trailer!

      Perhaps my favorite is the floating home in Seattle. Chic, sharp, and elegant, it gives new meaning to "living on the water". But, if these types of houses are just not your style, perhaps something more subterranean is what you are looking for? Think of it as a metaphor for sticking your head in the sand, but in a good way.