8 Popular Home-Staging Trends

home stage tips when selling

Thinking of selling your home? Read about some current decor trends for staging your home:

(1) OUTDOOR SPACES 
Do you have an attractive “outdoor room” that needs to be highlighted? Show off how this space can be used for entertaining purposes. Set out a few dishes to set the table for an outdoor meal or barbecue. Add a hammock with a book and a comfy blanket.

Look at some of our outdoor rooms on Pinterest here. Go here for porch ideas.

(2) KITCHENS: BRIGHT AND WHITE 
A new trend for kitchens is white and bright. If you are not willing to paint your cabinets, perhaps consider showing off spare, white accessories that will make your kitchen seem brighter.

(3) GOLD/BRASS 
Gold and brass are back in style! Think framed mirrors and brass bar carts. Use these types of accents sparingly. Get some inspiration here.

(4) NAVY BLUE 
Navy blue is an easy color to work with and is popular. This is a strong, neutral hue to use as an accent wall. Navy blue looks great with yellow, tan and chartreuse.

(5) BLACK 
Black elements can be found in lighting, framing or a statement piece of furniture. It’s good to use as a focal point. See ideas using black here.

(6) DINING ROOM – NO MATCHY MATCHY
Is your dining room an empty space? Do not worry about staging this room with a full suite of matching furniture. People are using unique pieces in their dining rooms. Chairs do not have to match the table. The side board can be an old dresser. Get some ideas here.

(7) HOME OFFICES 
Home offices are coveted rooms. If you have a home office, be sure to showcase it. If not, think about converting a rarely used corner of a spare bedroom into a mini office. Many people have used their dining room tables staged as desks when selling their homes.

(8) NATURAL ELEMENTS 
Live, indoor plants, macrame and Scandinavian-style furniture are current design trends that reflect natural elements. Plants add energy to rooms and a neutral look is calming and appealing to home buyers. (Think IKEA designs.)

Need help staging your home to sell? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can put your in touch with professional stagers who can provide consultations or temporary use of furniture.

 

Thinking of Selling Your Home on Your Own? Don’t Make “that” Mistake!

FSBO selling your home

This fast-paced real estate market has some homes selling in just days or even hours. Many home buyers are lining up to make offers. Perhaps with this type of real estate market, you have considered trying to sell your home on your own (FSBO – for sale by owner) without the services of a real estate agent?

Here are some reasons why you should not sell your home by yourself:

Can You Attract Lots of Buyers?
The National Association of Realtors® reports 97% of all home buyers use the Internet throughout the home-buying process. Real estate agents and brokers (like Sibcy Cline Realtors) have a strong Internet presence already in place with strategies to promote homes for sale. Bypass a real estate professional and your reach to the home-buying market will be much smaller. You will, therefore, receive less offers and may lose out on stronger offers and possibly more money for your home.

Another important item to consider is the photography of your home. Properties for sale will have rooms staged to appeal to the largest segment of home buyers. This is part of your agent’s responsibility in marketing your home. For example, your agent will guide you to clear the kitchen counters of most appliances and to stow away hand towels and the garbage can from sight. The potential home buyer can then focus on your kitchen’s features instead of items found in that room.

You will have expenses with promoting your home that an agent normally covers. Items such as signs, flyers, professional photography, attorney fees, contracts and advertising all add up.

Lots of Details in the Home-Buying Process
When selling a home, there are lots of details that happen such as negotiations, home inspections and appraisals – to name a few. Real estate pros are trained to navigate all of these hurtles. Once you have a purchase contract on your home, your real estate agent is there to also make sure the mortgage process for the home buyer is handled smoothly. Your agent represents you and has a goal to to make sure your home closes with all of these type of details are taken care of.

Legal Items
There are other details when selling your home that are important such as mandatory legal disclosures and lead paint documents. If you are selling your home on your own, you need to be aware and follow the law. Real estate agents have error and omissions insurance in place in case a legal error is made. If you hire an attorney to close on the transaction, that professional may not have that type of insurance. (Example: You inform a buyer the floor under the carpet is wood and it ends up being another material. That’s a mistake.)

Safety
Opening your home to strangers is another reason you should reconsider selling on your own. Your agent will have protocols set up for personal showings. Buyers can be asked about mortgage pre-approvals to prevent “we’re just looking scenarios”. During COVID-19, protocols include wearing masks and gloves, wiping down doors that are touched as well as using digital tours as a way of promoting your home. Real estate agents who show your home follow a code of ethics to make sure your home and its contents are safe during showings.

Negotiation
If you try to sell your home on your own, you are in charge of negotiations. A real estate pro is trained and used to negotiating on your behalf. If there are challenges before you close on your home, your agent will work through those details – anything from results of a whole-home inspection, an appraisal snafu or problem with your home’s title.

Do you know your home’s true value? There are many tools on the Internet to get a “guestimate” of your home’s value. In this seller’s market, you may be surprised, however, how much your home is actually worth.

A Real Estate Agent is Going to Cost Me Money
You do pay a real estate commission when you sell your home with an agent, but will selling your home on your own really save you money?

People who seek out FSBO homes are also looking for a savings and will probably make low offers. In some situations, a FSBO seller can make less money from a sale. (See this report.) The reason? Homes listed with a real estate company are promoted via the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) with other real estate brokers – thus marketing the home to a large sector of home buyers. The more buyers who see your home, the greater the chance for a bidding war that will drive your home price higher. Your agent has a goal to obtain the highest possible price for your home with terms that work in your favor. They want you to make a profit on your home!

Statistics also show that FSBOs who sell to someone they know end up selling for thousands of dollars under market value. Additionally, FSBOs take longer to sell when not sold to someone the seller knows.

Here are some 2020 stats from the National Association of Realtors about selling your home FSBO:


• 89% of home sellers in 2020 sold their homes with the assistance of a real estate agent
• 8% of home sales in 2020 sold via FSBO – 4% knew their sellers
• FSBO homes typically sell for less than the selling price of other homes (median price of $217,900 FSBO vs $295,000 with an agent)
• FSBO homes sold typically in under two weeks (agent-assisted sales took three weeks)
• Preparing and fixing the home up for sale as well as understanding and preforming the paperwork were the two most difficult steps for FSBO sellers
• 25% of FSBOs typically used yard signs to promote their homes for sale (46% did not actively market their home!)









February Local Home Sales Report

February Local Home Sales Report Sibcy Cline Realtors

February 2021 saw lots of snow and ice with winter in full force upon the region. With such fierce winter conditions, homes still sold! In Cincinnati, the median sales price increased (over the prior year) for the 22nd consecutive month. The median days on market was just three days – a 57% decrease from February 2020. In Northern Kentucky, home sales for February rose by 6% and sales prices increased by almost 14%. In the Dayton region, home sales units increased from last February by almost 2%. Sales volume increased by almost 13%.

Mortgage rates are low. Home values are high. It’s a great time to list your home for sale and for buyers to find their dream home.

Here is a report by region of homes sales throughout February 2021:

CINCINNATI OHIO / SOUTHEASTERN INDIANA

February 2021 vs February 2020

  • -1.4% Decrease in homes sold (1,570 homes)
  • 13.3% Increase in median sale price ($199,900)
  • -57.1% Decrease in median sales on market (3 days)
  • -52.6% Decrease in active homes for sale (1,376 units)
  • -20.7% Decrease in new listings (1,825)

Statistics courtesy of Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors® February 2021 Home Sales Report

DAYTON AND SPRINGFIELD OHIO

February 2021 vs February 2020

  • 1.8% Increase in homes sold (1,020 units vs 1,002)
  • 10.83 Increase in average sale price ($194,047 vs $175,085)
  • 7.14% Increase in median sale price ($159,900 vs $149,250)
  • 12.82% Increase in gross sales volume ($197,928,332 vs $175,434,750)
  • -26.10% Decrease in new listing units (1,056 vs 1,429)

January–February 2021 vs January–February 2020

  • 5,78% Increase in homes sold (2,050 vs 1,938)
  • 12.25% Increase in average sale price ($193,507 vs $172,389)
  • 10.34% Increase in median sales ($160,000 vs $145,000)
  • 18.74% Increase in sales volume ($396,689,451 vs $334,089,446)
  • -21.62% Decrease in new listing units (2,190 vs 2,794)

Statistics courtesy of Dayton Realtors February 2021 Home Sales Report

NORTHERN KENTUCKY

February 2021 vs February 2020

  • 6.21% Increase in homes sold (513 homes vs 483 homes)
  • 13.56% Increase in average sale price ($236,556 vs $208,307)
  • 21.04% Increase in median sale price ($210,000 vs $173,500)
  • 20.61% Increase in sales volume ($121,353,541 vs $100,612,415)

January–February 2021 vs January–February 2020

  • 5.84% Increase in homes sold (960 homes vs 907 homes)
  • 14.35% Increase in average sale price ($236,702 vs $206,991)
  • 17.14% Increase in median sale price ($205,000 vs $175,000)
  • 21.04% Increase in sales volume ($227,234,294 vs $187,741,312)

Statistics courtesy of Northern Kentucky Association of Realtors® February 2021 Home Sales Report

November Home Sales Report

November home sales report

Home sales increased for all regions in November. In Greater Cincinnati, the area had the most home sales of any November on record. In Northern Kentucky, sales rose by 20% and in Dayton they increased by almost 19%.

Mortgage rates are low. Home values are high. It’s a great time to list your home for sale and for buyers to find their dream home.

Here is a report by region of homes sales throughout November 2020:

CINCINNATI / SOUTHEASTERN INDIANA

November 2020 vs November 2019

  • 13.22% Increase in homes sold (2,167 homes vs 1,914 homes)
  • 11.02% Increase in average sale price ($251,501 vs $226,546)
  • 17.84% Increase in median sale price ($215,000 vs $182,450
  • 25.69% Increase in gross sales volume ($545,002,032 vs $443,609,220)

January–November 2020 vs January–November 2019

  • 1.88% Increase in homes sold (24,348 homes vs 23,898 homes)
  • 9.24% Increase in average sale price ($246,927 vs $226,041)
  • 11.93% Increase in median sale price ($205,950 vs $184,000)
  • 11.30% Increase in gross sales volume ($6,012,183,077 vs $5,401,928,888)

Statistics courtesy of Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors November 2020 Home Sales Report

DAYTON

November 2020 vs November 2019

  • 18.97% Increase in homes sold (1,405 homes vs 1,181 homes)
  • 10% Increase in average sale price ($198,977 vs $180,881)
  • 12.90% Increase in median sale price ($198,977 vs $180,881)
  • 30.87% Increase in gross sales volume ($279,562,150 vs $213,619,991)

January–November 2020 vs January–November 2019

  • 3.42% Increase in homes sold 15,787 homes vs 15,265 homes)
  • 10.91% Increase in average sale price ($196,644 vs $177,296)
  • 11.05% Increase in median sale price ($169,900 vs $153,000)
  • 14.71% Increase in sales volume ($3,104,416,420 vs $2,706,425,382)

Statistics courtesy of Dayton Realtors November 2020 Home Sales Report

NORTHERN KENTUCKY

November 2020 vs November 2019

  • 20.70% Increase in homes sold (659 homes vs 546 homes)
  • 18.06% Increase in average sale price ($241,216 vs $204,323)
  • 23.61% Increase in median sale price ($216,309 vs $175,000)
  • 42.49% Increase in sales volume ($158,961,420 vs $111,560,662)

January–November 2020 vs January–November 2019

  • 5.26% Increase in homes sold (7,098 homes vs 6,743 homes)
  • 10.39% Increase in average sale price ($228,376 vs $206,886)
  • 13.07% Increase in median sale price ($201,257 vs $178,000)
  • 16.20% Increase in sales volume ($1,621,016,065 vs $1,295,035,283)

Statistics courtesy of Northern Kentucky Association of Realtors November 2020 Home Sales Report

Look for homes for sale here.

Why You Should Sell Your Home This Winter

House key winter sell your home in winter

While many people understandably shy away from the housing market during late fall and winter, this actually may be a great time for you to sell your home.  In fact, Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, predicts “…it will be one of the best winter sales years ever.” Here is why:

Low Supply of Homes and Low Rates
With today’s real estate market and so many buyers wanting to purchase homes (as compared with historical norms), and a relatively small number of homes for sale, you could find selling your home in late fall and winter to be the perfect time to sell. Low mortgage rates have given home buyers more purchasing power and empowered them to buy now.

Pandemic Lockdowns
With the spring 2020 real estate market being affected by COVID-19, many potential home buyers delayed their purchases and have created a pent-up demand. The purchase season has extended from spring into winter. Their home search is happening now! 

Serious Home Buyers
People are usually busy this time of year, so if they take the time to see your home, they are probably considering purchasing it. With less competition of homes on the market this time of year, your home could catch the eye of that serious home buyer.

Relocating Buyers
January is the popular month for people relocating to a new area to begin their jobs and they typically need to purchase a home in  November and December. They will have a short time to find their next home – and it could be yours that they want to buy.

Move After the Holidays
If you sell in late Novermber or December, you will probably will not have to move until after the holidays in late winter or early spring.

Helpful Hint about Holiday Decor
If you decorate for the holidays, hold back on pulling everything out from the attic or basement. Remember, people want to see your home – not your holiday decor.

Looking for a home? Start your search now!

Pandemic-Triggered Home Trends

The pandemic of 2020 has changed a lot of things and the housing market is no exception. Perhaps no one predicted that lockdowns, stay-at-home orders and a record number of employees working from home would cause a surge in buying and selling homes, but it has.

Along with this surge has come a change in the reasons why sellers list their homes as well as new trends for what buyers want in a home. Recently, Sibcy Cline President Robin S. Sheakley spoke to the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s journal REALM to share some of her insights into the changes happening across the region. Here are some of her observations.

Staying at home forced people to take a good look at the space they live in.

“When the governor issued stay-at-home orders, you saw people really taking stock of their housing and understanding that if they’re going to be locked inside they want different things for their homes,” Robin told REALM, “People were realizing their houses were too big, too small, too urban, too rural, perhaps too open, perhaps too choppy.”

Home improvement efforts triggered a desire for something new.

“We saw a huge trend in home repair and home improvement, and then a lot of people started realizing I’m ready for something different,” Robin said.

The way people shop for homes has shifted drastically.

“There are plenty of stories of homes that were bought without people ever physically going in them, but purchased virtually,” she said. “With the amount of drone photography and videography now, there are all sorts of ways to get a really great sense of a property without standing there yourself.”

In addition to why people move and how they shop for homes, Robin noted a few trends in what buyers are looking for in homes. Here are the top trends she’s noticed:

Spa-like Bathrooms

The need for stress relief is greater than ever, so people are shopping for bathrooms that offer some space for retreat and relaxation.

Home Offices

In the era of working from home and online schooling, homeowners are in need of more space to separate and focus. “We’ve seen people converting bedrooms to offices a lot,” she said.

Outdoor Entertaining Space

The need for social distancing in well-ventilated spaces has increased the desire for more space to gather outside. “People want to be outside. They’re looking to be able to cook, serve, and entertain outdoors,” Robin said.

Downsizing

Some homeowners spent time during the pandemic assessing their space needs and concluded that they need less space, not more. Some want to reduce the time and money they spend maintaining a large home. “There are many people who spent the past nine months looking around asking, Why do I have so much space?” she said.

Ready to make the move? Visit sibcycline.com to browse homes for sale or find an agent.

Home Features that Buyers Want

laundry room

With more time spent at home this year, you have probably heard the whirl and roar of power tools in action throughout your neighborhood. Google reports that “home-improvement” searches have increased by almost 50 percent during 2020. Thinking of making improvements to your home? Spend your money wisely. It is always a good idea to consider re-sale value with home projects. Read below what features home buyers desire the most:

Laundry Rooms
A separate laundry room tops the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) list of wanted features. If you lack a first-floor space for a laundry room, the lower level (or basement) is the place for this room. Many times all of the utility lines are already in place in the basement. And, if there is unfinished space, there will be no costs to demolish. A basement laundry room will probably start around $1,000. If you plan on installing the washer and dryer on an upper floor, the costs start around $10,000.

Efficient Windows and Appliances
Energy-Star rated windows and appliances are what home buyers want to keep utility costs down. Efficient windows can lower costs by 12 percent. Appliances can save owners even more. For example, an efficient washing machine can save $45 a year. If you replace your windows or appliances now you will personally benefit from these savings!

Patio or Deck (Outdoor Spaces)
Creating more living space outdoors is a must when luring potential home buyers. Everything from a large patio, fire pit to an outdoor kitchen – buyers will be drawn to these details at your home. (Deck construction has risen by 275% in the U.S. in 2020)

Ceiling Fans
Per NAHB, 85% of home buyers desire ceiling fans. These devices help lower cooling costs during warmer months. Fans are recommended for ceilings at least eight-feet tall and work best when hung 10–12 inches from the ceiling.

Garage Storage
Maintain the clutter in your garage. By adding storage units and shelves you will make your home even more inviting to buyers. Think about adding racks to store bicycles, rakes and shovels. You will revel in how organized you are! (And so will buyers when it’s time to sell.)

Outside Lighting
Exterior lighting is what adds ambiance to your home. Think spotlights, walkway lights and pendant lighting. It will be a joy to come home in the evening and your neighbors will admire the lighting, too!

Walk-In Pantry
A large pantry allows you to store canned goods and other essentials near kitchen food-prep areas. Pantries should be located in a cool and dry area. The most common size for a pantry is 5’x5′.

Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors are easy to maintain and are more durable than carpet. They create a clean look for your home and are a very desirable item by home buyers.

Master Bedroom Walk-In Closet
A walk-in closet ranks among the top five features for home buyers. Older homes usually have the most challenges with this type of closet space. If your home does not have a large closet, think about either adding a closet to the room, reconfigure an existing closet or convert a spare bedroom into closet space.

Eat-in Kitchen
Eat-in style kitchens are desired by those who want to gather together for breakfast or an evening meal. To create space for a table and chairs, you may need to knock out a wall. If that is not an option, consider adding bar stools at a kitchen island.

Double Kitchen Sink
Buyers want a sink divided for washing and food prep! This is a relatively easy project to accomplish.

Updated Kitchen and Baths
If you are going to update a few things in your home consider your kitchen and bathrooms. The kitchen is now considered to be the “hang out” room. Make it as large and open as possible. And, remember, home buyers still want stainless-steel appliances. Updated bathrooms will definitely draw the attention of potential buyers. Need some inspiration? Go here and look at some awesome kitchens and baths. On a a budget? Read about these budget-friendly updates for these rooms.

Home Office
More people are now working from their homes. Having a flexible space like a home office will be appealing when it comes time to sell. If there is no room in your home for a formal office, consider creating a hide-away office that is part of a spare bedroom or located in a closet.

Need help with your home project? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can put you in touch with an experienced local, vetted vendor!














When is the Best Time To Sell Your Home?

Have you ever thought about what time of year is best for selling a home? Each season brings different pros and cons. We have broken down the real estate seasons for you:


SPRING
Historically, spring is the best time to sell. It’s warm and buyers will be out looking for a new home. Statistically, studies show homes that sell during May bring in the highest amount and sell the fastest. Think about it – for those with school-aged children – May is when the school year is coming to a close and is a perfect time to make that move. Plus, springtime shows off homes very well. Plants are emerging and the grass is green. Curb appeal is at its best.

Negatives about selling during spring? There really are not any. There will be more competition of homes available for sale, but there are also more buyers during this time.

SUMMER
The warmer months of summer can be a “hot” time to sell your home. Anyone with children may be focused on getting into that new home before the new school term begins in August or September. Those types of buyers may have competitive offers for your home!

The negative about selling during summer is “vacation”. Some potential buyers may be away enjoying their holiday instead of looking at homes to buy.

FALL
The fall season usually has fewer homes for sale as well as fewer buyers. However, with current market conditions of not enough homes for sale, those spring and summer home buyers could still be waiting for your home to come on the market. Also, COVID-19 kept many people inside during the spring and summer. That has caused pent-up demand for homes for the fall season. Remember, there may be fewer people in the market to buy during fall, but they will be more motivated to make an offer.

The cons of selling during autumn? Fall is not as nice weather wise and the curb appeal of your home will not be at its peak. You’ll need to stay on top of raking dropping leaves as well as replace summer flowers with fall versions.

WINTER
Don’t worry if you are planning on selling your home in the winter season. It may be cold and blustery, but the home buyers who come to view our home are usually not tire kickers. They want to buy! They are determined to find a home now and not wait until spring. Winter tends to have fewer homes for sale and that can work in your favor. Again, with the current tight inventory of homes for sale, some buyers may be waiting until this time to purchase when there is less competition to purchase a home. And, if the months of January and February have mild weather conditions, this can encourage people to get out early for that home buying and selling season.

The negatives about selling your home during winter? If it snows, you will need to maintain a cleared driveway and sidewalks. It is also best to keep holiday decor to a minimum – buyers need to be focused on your home’s features and not excessive holiday trimmings. Outside features such as a deck, patio or pool will not look their best. Perhaps have photos of these spaces from warmer months available for prospective buyers to see.


As you can see, each season has its pros and cons when selling a home. When are you planning to sell? Be sure to connect with your favorite Sibcy Cline agent and discuss what is the best strategy for you!

Curb Appeal When Selling Your Home in Autumn

It’s autumn – a beautiful time of year to enjoy, especially when the leaves are bursting with color. If you are selling your home at this time of year, use the season to your advantage when staging it and add curb appeal:

Fall Debris
With the fall season comes falling leaves. Make sure your gutters are free of debris. You will also need to be diligent about keeping the lawn and sidewalk free of leaves. You may want to invest in a leaf blower to make this chore go more quickly.

Flowers
Your summer flowers should be pulled or trimmed. If the weather is still warm, consider planting some fall plants such as mums, asters or marigolds.

Decor
Tasteful fall decor can add appeal to your home’s exterior. Things look best placed in three’s. These little touches will make your home look warmer and more inviting.

Lighting
When daylight hours are shorter, be sure to have adequate lighting for evening showings.

Maintenance
Be sure to keep up on your fall exterior home maintenance list: Touch up paint. Cover up and fill and holes. Store your lawn equipment. Turn off exterior water faucets.


Need Inspiration?
Follow Sibcy Cline’s Fall Decorating Ideas Pinterest board.

Selling Your Home? Read This First!

If you are planning on selling your home, you may have questions about the process. Here are seven tips to read before putting your home on the market:

1. Do I really need to improve my home before selling it? 
You need to consult with your real estate agent to see what improvements makes sense to sell your home at the highest price. Remember, you only get one chance to make a positive first impression when your home goes on the market to sell. If your home is in need of updates, you could have a hard time to get the interest of the buyer. An unmaintained home sometimes indicates it needs lots of work and repair.

Some home improvements just take some time and a small budget. Painting, caulking and cleaning are great (and economic) ways to make your home shine. If your carpet is old and worn, you may also want to replace it. One thing to remember is that home improvements do not  necessarily equate to a higher price, but should result in more showings and stronger offers.

2. I think I will price high and see what happens. 
Everyone’s goal is to obtain the highest price for their home. (Your agent wants that for you, too!) However, pricing your home way over its current market value is a strategy that does not always work. It can result in fewer showings and no offers and you may be perceived to be an unrealistic home seller. (Those potential home buyers who do tour your home will give feedback that it is overpriced or will have lower offers.) Remember, the most attention given to a home is when it first hits the market. Price it correctly and bring in the offers.

3. My home is worth what?
Over-improving a home can backfire when it is time to sell. For example, if your custom kitchen has finishes to meet your specific taste (with special colors or tile for example), it may not appeal to buyers who will want to replace what you have done. An in-ground spa may be a great feature for you to enjoy, but the buyer might not find value with it. Everyone has different priorities with their home. Bottom line – the market will never pay dollar for dollar for improvements to your home, especially taste-specific projects. 

4. Everyone who sees my home wants to buy it!
Oh, if that were the case! You never know what buyers’ needs are. People have different things that are important to them. Their “need to have” list versus a “nice to have” list may not sync with your home. Do not take it personally if your home’s floor plan or features do not meet their requirements. Also, you need to realize, some buyers are just out looking and are not serious about buying. They may be in the beginning stages of looking for a home and not willing to commit.

5. I had an inspection and now I have to make even more repairs?
A home inspection gives the buyer an idea of the condition of your home. Following this inspection, you may be asked about making repairs depending upon what is on the list. At that point, you can either make those repairs or re-negotiate. If the buyer walks away, your home will go back on the market and you will need to deal with that stigma. Another buyer will then have his  own inspection and you will need to address repair issues once more. (Helpful hint: We suggest paying for a pre-inspection before your home goes on the market. The inspector will review: electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems; windows, ceilings, walls, doors and floors; attic, visible insulation and roof; and the foundation, structural elements and basement.)

6. I think I want to include a carpet allowance instead of replacing it. 
You cannot give a buyer an allowance as part of closing on your home. It is better to reduce the purchase price or simply replace the carpet yourself.

7. Do I really need to stage my home?
A staged home presents its best features making it very appealing to buyers. At a minimum, your home needs to have a deep cleanse, decluttering and organization. From there, your agent can guide you as to whether it needs more staging to be market ready to sell. If your home is empty, keep in mind that professionally staged properties for sale tend to sell more quickly.