My Proven Program: How to Sell Your Home in One Day

As I pointed out in my summer Market Activity Report, sales are UP over last year. There are plenty of buyers looking to buy with these low interest rates. The number of homes for sale is actually low which makes for more competition for those homes that come on the market. My proven program – selling your home in one day for TOP DOLLAR – consists of the following elements:

Updates – Today’s buyers want a home that is move-in ready–they do not want to do much, if any, work to fix up a house. They will wait for the right house and will pay a good price for it. Buyers want a house that has many cosmetic updates completed (especially the kitchen, master bath, flooring and paint) and they want newer internal systems such as furnaces and AC units.

Presentation – Buyers are attracted to a property that is in immaculate condition, both the interior and exterior (including yard and pool). A house that is super clean, clutter-free, styled, and in no apparent need of maintenance will show well and make buyers say “Wow!” when they enter the house. A home like this will also photograph well which will stand out as buyers are searching for properties on the Internet. (I am also an architectural photographer and my photographs are extremely high-quality, striking images that rise above the competition.)

Price – In order for a buyer to want to purchase a home in today’s market, the price must be “right.” It must appraise according to the surrounding recent sales. Buyers will not overpay. I have been able to get most of my sellers 98% of list price or better. Do not overprice or people will not even look at it – they will just pass it by on the Internet. Surprisingly, a property priced low (below market value) in an attempt to entice buyers is difficult to sell in today’s market if it is need of much updating and/or repairs.

Strategic Marketing – My proven marketing program has enabled me to sell 3 homes in the past few months in fewer than 2 days. Why does my program work? (1) My sellers take my professional advice and streamline the home by removing personal belongings so the property presents clean, de-cluttered, and de-personalized; (2) the sellers take my professional advice and allow me to price the property relative to recent market sales; (3) I use my unique marketing talents not available to other agents.

The most recent sale was 6409 Wickerwood which sold in ONE DAY for 99% of list price. This home was not updated at all! And it was priced right!

Put it all together and MY PROGRAM IS A PROVEN WINNER. If homeowners will follow my program, they can get their homes sold in 2 DAYS OR LESS! Talk to some of my successful sellers. They will tell you how it worked for them. Read my client reviews on this website.

Call me now so you can sell your home in 2 days or less, just like your many of your neighbors have done. 214.632.3957

Buyers Waiting to Buy: On the Hunt for Homes in Prestonwood Area

On behalf of some very nice families I am working with, I am proactively searching for homeowners in the Prestonwood area who want to sell their homes.

Wouldn’t it be nice to already have potential buyers lined up to buy your home?

I have a waiting list of folks who want to move here as soon as the right home becomes available.

If you want to sell your home or you know folks who do, please contact me immediately!

Families waiting for the right house include some with children and some planning a family in the future and want to be in an excellent school district.

Claire is on Mission: Making Sales Happen Results in Buyer & Seller Success Stories


6929 La Manga – Beautiful young couple with new baby asked me to help them buy their first home. Their success story:

“Claire has a wonderful balance of knowledge, patience, and readiness. As first time home buyers, Claire did a great job making us feel comfortable with the process, and she wasn’t afraid to speak up to prevent us from buying the wrong house. I have already recommended her to my friends, and will continue to do so.” ~the Twilley’s

5822 Glen Heather – Call me the Italian Matchmaker! Recently L & R hired me to find a certain style of house which is sort of hard to find. A few days later I matched them with a house I knew would suit their taste. The next day they bought it! Their success story:

“We met Claire at an open house and knew right away she was the Realtor for us. She is very professional and…was a delight to work with – we would certainly recommend her.” ~ Larry & Rhonda


10141 Fieldfare Ct – Brought back to life with today’s look by a talented remodeling team, this 4-bedroom home located on a huge tree-lined cul-de-sac lot in Northwest Dallas is right in the heart of the private school area.

Who do you know ready to buy or sell a home that would like their expectations exceeded? Refer them to Claire.

Top Prestonwood Realtor: Claire Cavalieri Earns the Distinction

News flash! Award-winning Keller Williams Realtor, CLAIRE CAVALIERI, has earned the distinction as the TOP PRESTONWOOD REALTOR in 2010. Based on multiple-listing service (MLS) data from NTREIS (North Texas Real Estate Information System), Claire listed and sold more homes in the Prestonwood neighborhood than any other agent.

This special recognition validates Claire’s experience and expertise in successfully marketing properties for sellers in Prestonwood and also matching the right new home in the community with in-coming buyers.

Prime Selling Season is Near: Stage Your House Like a Pro for Free

With a little work, you can stage your house yourself to make it stand out from the competition

Source: Investopedia; Revised by CLAIRE CAVALIERI, REALTOR

Successfully selling your house in today’s real estate market requires keen preparation. Your property must look its best to stand apart from the competition, which means you need to stage your home in order to get top dollar. Staging services can cost thousands, but with a little work and minimal investment, you can do it yourself. Here are seven staging secrets to help you sell your property faster and for a higher price.

(1) Say Goodbye and Depersonalize
Cost $0

Selling a house and living in it are two very different things. If you’re like most people, you have family photographs to make you feel at home. Now that you’re selling your house, however, it’s time to make room for buyers to imagine themselves living there, which means that all of your family photos and personal items must go. While you’re packing away baby pictures, take time to say goodbye to your house. If you have children, get them involved in this process as well. It’ll make it easier to start looking at your house as an asset you’re selling, rather than an extension of you.

(2) Get Packing
Cost $0 to +/-$50 a month for a storage unit

Once you’ve packed your family photos away, it’s time to clear your clutter. You want to show buyers the space, not your china collection — however beautiful it may be. Holiday decorations, memorabilia and books — anything you can do without for a while should be packed away. Cut back your kids’ toys. Use baskets or containers to store toys and keep things tidy. Consider renting a storage unit; the cost will be worth it, since your home will look much bigger (and considered to be worth more) when it has less stuff in it.

(3) Add Curb Appeal
Cost $0-$100

The outside of your home is the first thing a buyer sees — does your home stand out from the street? Clean the exterior of your home, touch up any flaky paint and add some bright annuals to your garden for a quick sprucing up. If you have a porch, set the stage with a potted plant or a chair with a colorful outdoor pillow. First impressions are vital, so don’t lose your chance to get buyers in the right mood from the moment they see your house.

(4) Demonstrate Each Room’s Purpose
Cost $0-$500 if buying furniture

Most of us use our spaces in ways that suit our lifestyle: dining rooms become offices, family rooms become playrooms and spare bedrooms become storage areas. Now that you’re selling your home, it’s time to restore those spaces to their original purpose. Look around your house for furniture that could fit the space, ask a neighbor or friend to borrow furniture or look at thrift stores or online bulletins for inexpensive staging props. Paint, slipcovers or a decorative tablecloth are easy fixes for dated or worn furniture. For example, it’s easy to turn a spare bedroom into an office with a simple table, chair and notebook. Or, an empty basement becomes a game room with a table, chairs and a chess board staged to play. Use what you already own, and stage each room so buyers can easily see what its purpose is.

(5) Unify with Color
Cost $0-$100

If you’ve ever been to a new, builder-staged home, you’ve probably noticed that decorators picked a color scheme throughout the house. It’s a stager’s trick: homes that have a repeating color scheme seem bigger and more organized. Chances are that you already have a favorite color you like to use in your home — just take a look at your curtains, bedding and towels to find a recurring color. If not, pick a subtle color and repeat it in each room in small ways. Scented candles, towels, framed postcards (you can use your family photo frames) and throw pillows are inexpensive items to help unify your décor.

(6) Furniture Placement
Cost $0

Hopefully, when you packed away your clutter, you also stored excess furniture to help make rooms look bigger. Here’s another important tip: if possible, avoid putting all your furniture against the wall like many of us do — it actually makes a room seem smaller. For example, if you have a fireplace, position your furniture facing it and “floating” (away from the walls) in a conversation configuration so visitors can sit close and enjoy the fire. Keep pathways clear and remember: LESS IS MORE. When in doubt, REMOVE IT. You want buyers to see your home’s space, not your stuff.

(7) Spic & Span

Cost $0

It goes without saying that the entire property inside and out must be spotlessly neat and clean. Buyers will perceive your house as more valuable and will be willing to pay a higher price if it looks and feels immaculate.

Ready, set, sell!
When you’re done, ask your Realtor and an honest friend or neighbor to tour your property and give their input for any final touches. Remember to keep the house staged and looking its very best until it’s under contract. With these inexpensive staging tips, your home will be the most desirable in the neighborhood – it will surely sell faster and for a higher price than other houses not staged. Studies and my own professional experience have proven this to be true.

If you need help staging, I am happy to consult with you to help make your property look like a page out of Better Homes & Gardens.



When Selling Your Home, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Dollars or More

Being a professional photographer as well as a Realtor, I am a firm believer in the use of professional photography as one of the key marketing tools with which to sell properties. Today’s buyers are almost exclusively shopping on-line for houses. Naturally, buyers are attracted to photos that are large, sharp, bright, and artfully composed—as opposed to small, dark, blurry, and crooked shots that are too often found on property listings.

Not long ago, an article on this subject appeared in the Wall Street Journal. I feel this information is well worth further broadcast, so I am re-printing the data and some of the text while also writing original copy.

Attention home sellers! Do you want the highest price for your house? Consider top-quality photos. According to a recent analysis by Redfin Corp, a Seattle-based brokerage, properties marketed with high-quality photos command higher asking prices: if you believe your property is worth investing in good photography, you will likely ask a higher price for it. The data clearly illustrate that your property will sell for thousands of dollars more if your marketing photos are produced using a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera rather than pictures taken with a point-and-shoot or smartphone camera. See the following chart:

At the closing table, listings with high-quality photographs gained between $935 and $116,076–measured by the difference between list and final price—over listings marketed with lower-quality, amateur shots taken by low-end cameras.

What’s the difference between a DSLR and a point-and-shoot camera? It’s primarily about 2 things: the user and control. Of major control is the lighting: a DSLR is much more sensitive to measuring the light intensity and also allows for an external flash unit to be used to fully light up a room. Another important control distinction is that various lenses can be mounted on a DSLR camera; in particular, a very wide-angle lens which is ideal for shooting architectural images. Further, a DSLR produces a much larger digital file (in other words, higher-quality imagery) than a point-and-shoot or smartphone (for example, 12 MB on many of today’s new DSLRs vs. 3 MB on some smartphones).

But what’s the biggest difference between a DSLR and a lower-end camera? THE USER. It is highly likely that a skilled photographer is shooting the DSLR and knows how to operate the camera to capture the best-quality images. In contrast, it takes no talent to click the button on a smartphone or point-and-shoot. The result? An experienced photographer shooting a DSLR will produce large, well-lit, sharp, color-saturated pictures that capture all four walls of a room. Small, fuzzy, dull, off-balance shots that show only a portion of a room will be the usual product taken by an amateur on a low-end camera or smartphone (which is not even a real camera). No comparison in quality!

Given the obvious advantage to marketing listings with high-quality photos, it is shocking that only 15.4% of homes in this data were marketed using professional photos. The majority of the listings, 81%, were shot using point-and-shoots cameras and still another 0.7% used just a smartphone camera. Listings featuring high-quality photography receive 61% more on-line views than the competition using low-quality photos across all price ranges. Let’s be clear: if you are not using professional photography to market your home, you are not seriously marketing your home.

So, what does this mean to someone attempting to sell his/her home? Invest in high-quality professional photography to market your property. Doing so will dramatically increase the likelihood that a potential buyer will view your listing, resulting in more showings which will then lead to a quicker, higher-priced contract.

A picture really is worth a thousand dollars or more.

Contact me if you are interested in beautiful, high-quality photographs to market your property. (See the quality of architectural photographs I’ve taken on my Home page.)

If Oprah and Santa Can Do It, So Can We! Ten of My Favorite Things

Since 1996, Oprah has put out an annual list of her favorite things. In this season of list-making (“and checking it twice”), I’ve decided if Oprah and Santa can do it, then so can I – and so can you! Below is a random list of ten of my favorite things. Take a few minutes to make one for yourself then post it in a Comment – I’d love to know what things you value.

(1) Person – my Hairstylist, Furgie. (972.898.3107) She has been styling my hair for 19 years. We collaborate, then she cuts with finesse and I always love the results. Strangers even comment! She would be the person I would miss the most if I ever had to move!

(2)Place/Travel – Washington DC Photo Safari. Most of you know that I am a professional photographer and that it is my passion. Recently I took a one-day workshop from a recognized photographer in Washington DC which “focused” on improving the quality of travel photos. It was time very well spent visiting less popular landmarks and monuments in DC and learning several “tricks” to obtain pro-quality images no matter the location, weather, time, or busy surroundings. Highly recommended.

(3) Wine – Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Napa ($45). I rarely drink or buy wine priced over $25/bottle. But I really wanted to try a Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cab because I had read that it won first place for reds in the little-known 1976 Paris wine tasting that catapulted California wines onto the world stage. It truly is delicous! Worth the price for a special occasion.

(4) Food – My family Chicken Cacciatore recipe – one of my favorite homemade Italian dishes and perfect in the winter months. Contact me for the recipe. Delish!

(5) Software Program – Cook’n Recipe Organizer and Menu Planner software. My new favorite project! This is a cool program that enables you to: organize all those loose recipes you have stuck here and there, plan and store menus, and search for recipes from lots of different e-cookbooks. It also automatically generates nutritional information, grocery lists and calculates recipes for the number of servings you need. The best thing is that you can produce your own cookbook!

(6) Music – Blue Rodeo. My new fave music group. Our friends turned me on to this Canadian band and now I’m sort of obsessed with their songs – so easy to sing along to! So odd for me because I usually stick to good ole’ rock and roll. Their music is a combination of light rock and country/blue grass and features great harmonics in poetic style. My favorite CD is “Five Days in July.”

(7) Restaurant – Seasons 52. My new fave restaurant. (Located in Shops at Legacy, Plano, and many other cities) Their specialty is seasonal dishes of no more than 475 calories prepared with fresh foods. The food and wine menus are interesting, the restaurant décor is so beautiful, prices reasonable. Everything I’ve eaten there has been really good. I just keep going back!

(8) Book – Judgment of Paris: California vs France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine. Did you see the movie “Bottle Shock” a few years ago? The movie was based on this true story (see reference above under Wine). If you are interested in wine tasting, collecting, and wine country, you will likely enjoy this book. It’s a fascinating, almost unbelievable account of an obscure event that instantly changed the global wine industry and essentially started the popularity of California wines. Provides interesting background on the origins of the wine industry and the history of the Napa Valley. I loved learning so much about one of my favorite pleasures in this book!

(9) Artist – Candice White, Photographer. I love many kinds of art, but especially photography. It is so nice to know a portrait photographer who has the talent to combine creativity and the technicalities of photography to produce beautiful artsy images of people. You just don’t find this talent too often with commercial portrait photographers. Look at the gorgeous images she created of my daughter, Grace – one when she was 4 years old, and her recent high school graduation portrait. I’m not biased!

(10) Website – MyPublisher . I love to create professional-quality photo books at this website. Easy to use program, lots of options available to make a stunning book, and there is always a discount offer going on. Every time I travel or go to an event I want to document, I take lots of photos, then create a beautiful photo book as a memento. It is fun to do and people love these personal books. Great gifts! I’ve tried other photo book websites, but this is my favorite.

This ‘Bump’ is Not a ’70s Dance!

Beware of ‘Bump Key’ Burglaries

by Claire Cavalieri

Several years ago, my home in Plano was burglarized while I was out. It was so frightening, arriving home and seeing the house torn up and valuable belongings missing. I felt violated, angry, and unsafe. My doors were locked, and I believed the house was secure when I left. It wasn’t. The burglars gained entry by breaking a window, a most common method used for ages to break in.

A recent article in the Dallas Morning News exposed a burglary method that has been around a while: breaking into homes using a BUMP KEY to quickly and easily unlock a door. It is a modern version of the old skeleton key and opens over 90% of locks. Bump keys have actually been around for quite awhile—they are basically a filed down version of a regular key—and used mainly by locksmiths to open locks for stranded people. The key works by ‘bumping’ the pins in the lock’s chamber causing them to move out of the ‘locked’ position for a moment–enough time to turn the lock. Access to this tool is quick and easy now with the widespread use of the Internet. The keys can be purchased cheaply and often come with a ‘how-to’ video demonstration.

In the past several months, police around the metroplex have noticed a rise in home invasions linked to bump keys. Lewisville and Coppell have both suffered a costly rash of break-ins police attribute to the simple little instrument. However, it is difficult for authorities to absolutely prove a burglar used a bump key to unlock a door since it leaves no evidence of tampering. Police can’t be sure a homeowner didn’t leave the door mistakenly unlocked. As a result, it is harder to prosecute the crime.

What can you do to protect yourself from being a victim of a bump key burglary?

  • Install high-security locks that don’t have bumpable pins. (Call me for information on the cost and where to obtain these.) Although somewhat pricey, feeling safe is priceless.
  • Use your security system regularly; if you don’t have one, consider getting one.
  • Install a simple chain or sliding lock to protect yourself when you are in your home.
  • Confirm that your homeowner’s insurance provides replacement cost for special belongings like jewelry and electronics. (You may need a rider for certain valuable items in order to get replacement cost in the event of a loss–check with your insurance company.)