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It’s time to move on. You’ve decided to sell your home and embark on a new adventure.

Unfortunately, potential buyers don’t care about how long you obsessed over choosing the perfect bathroom tiles or the number of carpenters you interviewed to make the perfect built-in bookcase. To the buyer, those items may not matter to the value of the home, even if you think they should.

When it’s time to sell, you have to price your home right, using tangible factors. Here are six rules to remember:

1. Price is king

Your asking price determines how long the home will sit on the market. Pricing the home too high may reduce the number of interested buyers, which can cause your home to sit on the market too long. If your house is on the market too long, it may create the perception that there’s something wrong with it. It can also lead a buyer to think that you’re desperate for an offer. You want to avoid these outcomes and not overvalue your home.

On the flip side, pricing the home too low may create some skepticism and raise unwanted questions about the home’s true value. This will hit you in the bank account if multiple offers don’t drive the price up to its true market value.

2. Use comparable sales 

The simplest way to figure out the right price for your home is to compare similar homes that have sold in your neighborhood. Instead of skulking in the shadows and casing the neighbor’s house, use to check out nearby stats.

Compare your house with those with the same number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage. If you find comparable homes with similar floor plans and outdoor space, all the better. See how many homes in your area have sold recently and what they went for. You can also work with a real estate agent to help you compare houses.

3. Compare fairly

Make sure your comparison is fair. If there are neighborhoods in your city that are more desirable, consider that in your comparison. Also consider your location and what buyers want. If a similarly sized new-construction townhouse sold for top dollar down the block, you may not get the same amount for your cute ’40s bungalow.

4. Check the market history

To get a more comprehensive picture of the real estate market in your neighborhood, check the listing history of a home. Compare the original asking price with the final sale price, and note the amount of time the house was on the market until it sold. A REALTOR® can help you with this step.

If you’re looking to speed up the process, you may want to price your house a bit lower. However, if profit is your motive, you may need to wait a few months for a sale on the high end of the spectrum.

5. Consider special improvements

Consider whether major improvements you’ve made warrant a higher asking price. If you’ve remodeled the kitchen and put down a new parquet floor, or if you really feel the special woodwork details will clinch the sale, make sure those enhancements are reflected in the price of the home. Be reasonable. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get as much money as you expected—improvements don’t always recoup their cost.

6. Don’t ignore supply and demand

In a buyer’s market, with many homes for sale and sellers competing for attention, you may want to ask a bit less for your home to make it more attractive to potential buyers. In a seller’s market, where there is little home supply and much buyer demand, you may want to ask a bit more and maximize your profit.

by Mark Mueller

Take that, Jersey-bashers!

Often ridiculed on the national stage as a place teeming with toxic waste, political corruption and gauche reality TV stars, New Jersey has landed at the top in a recent ranking of the best states to raise a family.

Niche, a Pittsburgh-based company that mines and analyzes all manner of government data to produce “best of” lists, found the Garden State had just the right alchemy of factors to push it to number one.

The report card included “A” ratings on education, typically one of New Jersey’s strongest draws, and on access to libraries. Three more categories — crime and safety, access to daycare and community involvement and investment — received “A-” scores.

In the company’s weighting, safe communities and good schools accounted for 40 percent of the overall score. Daycare and access to grocery stores were worth 5 percent each.

The state fared poorly on housing, a category that incorporates home values, property taxes, housing costs, and the age of new home buyers. Niche rated New Jersey a “C” on that front. But because it accounted for just 10 percent of the overall score, housing was not enough to dislodge the state from the top spot.

Cost of living, typically one of the biggest complaints about New Jersey, was not considered in the ratings.

The Northeast in general made a strong showing in the assessment, with Connecticut ranking fifth, Massachusetts sixth, New Hampshire 10th, Vermont 12th, New York 16th, Pennsylvania 19th and Maine 20th.

Virginia, which scored poorly only on access to grocery stores, finished just below New Jersey, followed by Minnesota and Utah.

Hawaii — land of luaus and white sandy beaches — was not considered because of insufficient data, Niche reported.

The worst state to raise a family?

Louisiana, according to the company, which gave the Pelican State grades of “D+” for crime and safety, “C” for education and “C-” for community involvement and investment.

New Mexico, Tennessee, Mississippi and Nevada rounded out the bottom five.


170 Smoke Rise

Our newest Listing! Open House tomorrow, Sunday April 12th, from 1 to 4pm.

170 Smoke Rise Road, Basking Ridge – In The Hills! Yours for $899,000

Here are the details:

Our photographer has taken some great photos.

Here’s a most unusual home, located in Rutherford, NJ. Bargain-priced at $699,000, it represents an interesting period of modern architecture.

“…built in the 1940s and owned by the family behind one of North Jersey’s best-known food brands.

This is the Thumann house, with a past as unusual as its profile. It’s an International-style limestone house owned for 60 years by the family behind Carlstadt-based Thumann’s Deli Meat.”

5 Tips For The Best Home Showings

Home routines tend to come to a standstill while your home is on the market. The need to keep the house clean  – and not scare potential homebuyers away – means that kids can’t throw their school books on the dining room table, Dad has to pick up his stinky socks, and even the pets need to toe the line.

Keeping the house clean is a good first step toward presenting the home in the best light. But it isn’t the only step.

1. Odors

Have you ever walked into a home and been immediately assaulted by nasty odors? Cigarettes, grease, cooking odors, diapers and pets all leave their mark on the way a home smells. While it’s almost impossible to rid the home of cigarette smoke without painting, there are ways to get rid of other odors.

Have the carpets professionally cleaned and deodorized.

Launder or dry-clean all curtains and drapes.

Consider having your upholstered furniture professionally cleaned.

Clean the grease from the range hood.

Keep the dog bathed and groomed to keep doggy smells at bay.

Place dishes of potpourri or scented candles in random areas throughout the home.

2. Sounds

Like the smell of a favorite perfume, we become habituated to certain things, including sounds. If you’ve ever lived under a flight path or next to railroad tracks, you understand how quickly one can get used to annoying sounds and not even hear them after a while. Strangers in your home, such as potential buyers, will hear the yappy dog next door, however, so here are some tips to mask the noises in your home.

Play some music, softly, while the home is being shown.

Invest in a white noise machine.

Play a sound-effects CD softly in the background.

3. Sights

Light and bright are the operative words when considering the ideal way to present your home to buyers.

Change all the light bulbs in the home to higher wattage bulbs. Leave the lights on for showings, including closet lights.

Paint the walls. If you can’t paint, clean the walls.

Remove heavy drapes and replace them with lightweight fabric that allows natural light into the home.

Don’t neglect the outside of the house. Before a showing, make sure that the planting beds look clean and attractive and that the lawn is mowed.

4. Set the Scene

If you’ve ever toured model homes, you are familiar with the concept of staging – the art of carefully crafting interiors that appeal to homebuyers. If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford a professional designer, make some simple changes that appeal to buyers.

Create vignettes throughout the home. Set the dining room table with attractive dinnerware or create a cozy nook in the bedroom with a small table and chairs. Group items in threes, use different heights, and keep it simple.

Fresh flowers add so much to a home, from masking odors to adding pops of color and texture. A gorgeous bouquet on the dining room table can take the place of a fussy centerpiece. Night stands are ideal places to set small vases of flowers.

Bathrooms are important, so pay close attention to how you stage yours. Get rid of the countertop clutter and add fluffy towels and a new shower curtain.

5. Security

Since sellers should make themselves scarce when the home is being shown, it’s important to take security measures. Lock up or remove valuables, weapons, prescription drugs and money.

Don’t leave personal items – especially paperwork with your financial information – lying around in plain sight.

Whatever you can do to make your home appear move-in ready will appeal to buyers.


Buyers are swarming. Inventory is low. So what are you waiting for? Experts say there may be no better time than now to post that for-sale sign.

Sell Your Home                  

 Real estate agent Eileen Opatut was sizing up the market for a couple who had decided to sell after 23 years in their Montclair home. Her clients, whose two grown children had not lived in the house fulltime for five years, were finally ready to downsize. Opatut knew there was strong demand for midsize homes in Montclair, but this four-bedroom former carriage house on a side-facing lot could strike some potential buyers as offbeat.
The homeowners, Anne-Marie Nolin and Bob Adler, had imbued the house with plenty of charm. Buyers would appreciate the floor-to-ceiling shelves in the living room and a windowed wall overlooking the decorative garden. The kitchen was a bit on the cozy side and two of the bedrooms were small, but the 3,300-square-foot house had three full baths and two half baths, and it was tucked away in a neighborhood where conventional colonials can go for as much as $1 million—or more.
Opatut advised her clients to price it conservatively, at $589,000, to bring in as much traffic as possible. The tactic worked even better than she hoped.
“Buyers were flocking,” Opatut says, “and yes, they all had the down payment together.” The house garnered four offers in the first week, three of them for more than $600,000.
As Opatut’s clients discovered, in many New Jersey neighborhoods, now is a great time to sell. In today’s suddenly hot markets, there simply are not enough desirable homes available to meet the pent-up demand of potential buyers eager to pounce before mortgage rates inevitably begin to rise.
Opatut, an agent with Keller Williams NJ Metro Group, has a personal reason to be buoyed by the strengthening market. She and her spouse, Joan Garry, have themselves decided to downsize, now that their kids are out of their ample seven-bedroom, 4-½-bath Montclair home. They plan to put the house on the market this spring.
“There are clearly more strong buyers than great houses on the market right now,” Opatut says. “Every seller gets to ride that wave as long as it lasts.”
Experts concur that New Jersey real estate is recovering strongly. After years of crisis and stagnation, sales volume is sharply up, and prices are rising.
In 2013, the median home sales price rose by a projected 5 percent statewide, according to East Brunswick-based market analyst Jeffrey G. Otteau, publisher of the oft-quoted Otteau Valuation Report. The increase occurred despite Superstorm Sandy, which dragged down the selling price in devastated Shore communities by as much as 7 percent in 2013.
What’s more, the fourth quarter of 2013 was on track to be the most active sales period in the state since 2007, Otteau says. In October alone, home sales were up 19 percent compared to October 2012—and this despite the 16-day government shutdown that month.
Otteau says these positive trends—more homes selling and prices rising—should continue for at least 12 to 24 months. Still, he warns that uncertainty in the national economy and the potential reduction of federal stimulus programs could sour the marketplace.
The hottest markets the past year generally have been traditionally desirable suburban towns in North Jersey, such as Chatham, Glen Ridge, Glen Rock and West Caldwell, each of which, Otteau says, saw selling prices for homes gain an average of 8 percent for the past 12 months. At least one urban market, the condo haven of Hoboken, enjoyed a similar gain.
In all these communities, tight inventories are helping drive up prices. According to Otteau’s projections, Glen Ridge has only 1.7 months of inventory in the past year (that is, homes for sale in relation to anticipated demand). Glen Rock has 2.2 months of inventory; Chatham, 2.1; Hoboken, 2.3; and West Caldwell, 2.8. Other North Jersey towns identified by Otteau with limited inventory (2.9 months or less) include Summit, Montclair, Wyckoff, Maplewood, Midland Park and North Arlington.
Central Jersey as a whole has not been as active as North Jersey. “It’s picked up a little bit here, gotten better over the past two years,” says Charles J. Hendershot, a veteran broker in Bernardsville. “I think it will be a little longer before we see price hikes except in very, very select communities.” Hendershot, who is with Exit Realty, says the market for homes priced over $1 million is “absolutely dead” in his town, although it is showing some life in Basking Ridge. The only bidding wars in the area, he says, are for condos and town homes under $300,000.
Some Central Jersey towns did have show a healthy 7 percent average price gain in 2013, according to Otteau. They include Bedminster, Bernards Township, Fair Haven, Little Silver, Metuchen, Milltown, Plainsboro and Rocky Hill.
The marketplace is slowest in South Jersey, where unemployment has persistently run higher than the state average, which is itself higher than the national average. But even in the southern counties, certain real estate pockets are heating up, such as Mount Laurel in Burlington County and Manchester in Ocean County, where prices in 2013 rose 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively. In rural Gloucester County, Logan Township saw a 5 percent rise in home value that matched the statewide gain, according to Otteau. In the desirable Moorestown area—a Burlington County suburb about 15 miles east of Philadelphia—bidding on choice listings is often intense, says Pam Engle of Century21 Alliance. “There has really been a turnaround in the last six months,” she says. “It is still a market where the houses need to be perfect—ready to move in—and priced right at the asking.” But in early November, when the market usually goes quiet, Engle had one buyer who had just lost out on three mid-priced houses—in Moorestown, Riverton and Haddonfield—and another buyer who was outbid on two $270,000 single-family homes in Delran.
As hot as the market is, some potential sellers are still dragging their feet, hoping to take further advantage of rising prices. Analyst Otteau says this is not always the best strategy. Currently, he says, New Jersey is in a “window of opportunity”—that is, a period when homes are affordable.
but the time when a seller can capture the most value is much more likely to be now than later, when prices normalize at a higher level that is less affordable to the average buyer. s median income of $66,692 could afford a house or condo priced 24 percent higher than the median home value at the time, $299,140. Later in the year, the index remained strong, although it had dropped to 114 percent as the median sales price rose to $315,693.
That type of buying power—and continued low interest rates—has fueled a two-year surge in home sales across the Garden State. The New Jersey Association of Realtors says sales volume for the 12 months ending September 30 was up 18 percent compared to the previous 12 months. Otteau, who issues monthly market reports to brokers and every spring and fall runs seminars on industry trends, says sales volume over the past two years increased by an amazing 43 percent over the previous two years.
Otteau warns that the window of affordability could close before the end of 2015 as prices and mortgage rates make a slow but inevitable climb. “Every 1 percent rise in the mortgage rate equates to about a 9 percent increase in purchase price,” says Otteau. “That is what it feels like to a buyer confronting the higher rate.”
Ken Baris, who runs Jordan Baris Real Estate based in West Orange, the firm founded by his father 61 years ago, predicts prices will indeed continue to rise, albeit slowly. He also thinks the next year or two will be the best time to sell—unless you can wait a really long time, five years at minimum, for prices to return to the peak level of 2006.
“The train is pulling out of the station” for buyers seeking affordable homes, Baris says. These buyers “will have to start running and try to jump on the train before it gets to full speed.” Yes, there could be some hiccups in the market—periods when prices remain static or even drop a bit—but Baris says a reversal in the upward spike is highly unlikely.
He advises buyers to dismiss any regrets they might have about not snatching up a bargain when the market tanked from 2007 to 2009. “I can tell you the bottom for prices has passed. I can tell you some people paid lower prices. But that’s a timing game. That’s just a lot of luck….If you are moving up, it is clearly better to do so now, rather than to wait. If you are buying a more expensive house, you want to do it before prices rise further.”
Otteau predicts sales prices again will rise roughly 5 percent in 2014. Slow-but-steady appreciation is a good thing, he says—it keeps the window of affordability open as long as possible. Once the average buyer can no longer afford the average-price home, Otteau explains, the marketplace becomes dependent on other factors, such as rapid economic growth and the creation of new high-paying jobs. “They’re working on it,” he says of the Christie administration, “but this is a really long, really difficult battle.”
When the market was down just a few years ago, many thought it inconceivable that price wars would ever return, but that is exactly what is happening in quite a few towns around the state.
It certainly has been so in Glen Ridge, a perennially sought-after Essex County borough of 7,500 with top-rated schools, direct train service to Manhattan and quiet streets illuminated by working gas lamps. Roberta Baldwin, a broker with Keller Williams NJ Metro Group, says the average sales price in Glen Ridge last year was $654,689. Nevertheless, multiple listing figures show that 100 percent of the homes there sold for the asking price or more.
“Gen X and Gen Y buyers are stacked six deep to buy, once one of their friends buys here and they hear about it,” Baldwin says.
Maplewood is another in-demand Essex County community. Baris says 40 percent of homes listed in the town of 23,000 in the last 12 months sold within a month for over listing price. The average sales price was $475,000. In neighboring South Orange, where average sales price was $534,000, about a third of the homes sold within the first month for full asking price, but not over.
Baris points out that in the suburban communities, the most in-demand homes tend to be in the most highly regarded school districts. Other brokers and market specialists describe a growing breed of home buyer: those without children. For these buyers, both young professionals and empty nesters, proximity to mass transit and a short commute are high priorities. The latest Nielsen/Claritas demographic report says that 65 percent of households in New Jersey have no children under 18.
That explains the strength of certain towns in Hudson County, where the commute to Manhattan is notably quick and easy—and home values rose 22 percent in 2013. There, 93 percent of sales in 2013 were townhomes and condos, including a penthouse condo at K. Hovnanian’s 77 Hudson waterfront tower in Jersey City, which went for a record-setting $2.8 million in October.
Of course, not all of New Jersey is riding the same wave. Superstorm Sandy’s arrival in October 2012 depressed much of the Shore market, particularly in hard-hit sections of Monmouth and Ocean counties.  Mantoloking has recently staggered under as much as 18 months of inventory; in Loveladies, it’s 24 months, although the situation is starting to ease as buyers step up to snag bargains, Otteau says.
New Jersey’s four southernmost counties—Cumberland, Salem, Atlantic and Cape May—are still in the grip of a foreclosure crisis that is actually growing worse  even as other parts of the state—and even more so, the nation—get ready to kiss that problem good-bye. Last spring, researchers from Rutgers University reported that the Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton area of Cumberland County had the highest rate of foreclosures and delinquent loans of any large metropolitan area in the country.
Unemployment in Salem and Cape May counties continues to hover above 8 percent, reflecting the statewide rate, which is 1 percentage point higher than the national rate of slightly more than 7 percent, according to the U.S. Deparment of Labor. But in Atlantic and Cumberland counties unemployment tops 11 and 12 percent, respectively.
Other nightmares could be waiting in the wings. Proposed federal tax reforms could eliminate all second-home income tax credits. (“That could finish off the Shore market,” says Otteau.) Federal stimulus programs could be halted, possibly slowing economic growth nationwide. Or another superstorm could strike; who knows? Extreme weather and flooding promise to pose escalating threats and uncertainty as the millennium unfolds.
These dark clouds could provide more reasons to sell soon. “As long as nothing crazy happens with the economy, things should continue to look up,” says Engle, the Moorestown broker. It’s an optimistic take, but in the current real estate market, it is also the prevailing wisdom.


Check out our new exclusive listing in Basking Ridge’s Hills section:

neighborhood_v12The shortage of homes for sale earlier in the year created an imbalance of supply to demand which resulted in double digit year-over-year price increases nationally. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the inventory of homes for sale is now beginning to reach more normal levels. The article reported:

“Housing inventories increased in August and stood just 2.5% below their levels of a year ago, offering the latest sign that more sellers are testing the market after swift home-price gains over the past year.

Nationally, there were 1.98 million homes listed for sale in August, according to a report released Thursday by That was up by more than 24% from the low point in February and up 1% from July. Inventories have increased for six straight months.”

What about Home Prices?

This doesn’t mean prices will collapse. The inventory levels are still depressed, just improving. As the article mentions:

“While the overall level of homes for sale remains relatively depressed, the report suggests that inventory may have hit a bottom earlier this year after an extended two-year decline.”

However, as we mentioned last week, properly pricing your home in this market can be tricky. You should depend on the advice of your real estate agent.

With the housing market showing signs of a recovery, sellers may think they can list their homes at a higher price and adjust if necessary. That may not be a good strategy. This is a post we ran last year by Ken H. Johnson, Ph.D. — Florida International University (FIU) and Editor of the Journal of Housing Research. To view other research from FIU, visit – The KCM Crew

The Research

Are there any negative effects from changing the listing price of a property?  This question haunts Brokers/Agents as well as sellers of property every day.  At present, there does not seem to be a consensus answer to this question within the professional real estate community.  Fortunately, this question was scientifically investigated by John R. Knight. Unfortunately, few know the results of Professor Knight’s research.

In Knight, the impact of changing a property’s listing price is investigated.  Additionally, the types of property that are most likely to experience a price change are also estimated.  The findings from this research indicate that, on average, properties which experience a listing price change take longer to sell and suffer a price discount greater than similar properties.  Furthermore, bigger price changes are found to experience even longer marketing times and greater price discounts.  Finally, as for which properties are most likely to experience a price change, Knight finds that the greater the initial markup; the higher the likelihood that any given property will experience a listing price change.

Implications for Practice

Sellers as well as Brokers/Agents should therefore be aware of the critical necessity of getting the price correct from the start.  Sellers wanting to over list will ultimately take longer to sell and will sell their property for less, on average, according to Knight.  Brokers/Agents’ desire to take a listing and get the price right later will ultimately lead to their working harder according to Knight, and they are not doing their sellers any favors.  Thus, an initial and detailed analysis of the proper price is much more critical than many originally thought.

Interestingly, I have found in my own research that the direction (up or down) of the listing price change does not matter.  A listing price increase and decrease both lead to similar results found in Knight’s work – longer marketing times and lower prices.  Therefore, get the price right from the beginning.  It is best for all.

Everyone wants a unique home that fits the way they live.
Everyone wants their house to sell easily and quickly – someday.
Are those two statements contradictory? You might think so, if you listen to some of the conventional wisdom from the real estate and homebuilding industries.
If you’re selling houses, you’re obviously interested in ones that will appeal to the widest audience possible. Houses similar in size and style, and with similar floor plans.
Theoretically, that should lead to greater exposure and a greater chance of a quick sale.
If you’re buying a house, however, you want something much more personal – a home that has all of the things you need to support your unique daily life.

If you have lots of kids, you need bathrooms and casual space. And a vacation.
If you’re an empty-nester, you probably want more living and entertaining space, and less maintenance. You don’t want it to look like the house next door, either. That doesn’t sound too difficult, does it?

And yet I’m routinely asked by my clients to include things that they haven’t been able to find in any “spec” home or any online house plan.
Things like decent-sized laundry rooms and mudrooms. Things that families need, like a walk-in pantry.
They also ask me to leave out the stuff they don’t need – the formal living rooms, dining rooms, the powder rooms with the little balls of soap in the seashell bowl.
So how do you get a house that fits you, without being stuck with it forever?

What you really want
The whole point of this article is that a unique and interesting home, designed to closely fit the needs of your particular family, will very likely appeal to other families someday, too.
And maybe in a big way.
About fifteen years ago, I was hired to create a custom home for a client on a difficult property (the last lot available, the one that no one wanted) in a very nice subdivision.
The client had some specific needs, including accommodating a handicapped family member. We designed an unusual home with a screened porch facing the street, no formal entry foyer, a first-floor home office that converted to a handicapped-accessible bedroom, and a garage you could park sideways in.
They also wanted the home to have a character on the outside that was unlike anything else in the neighborhood.
Not exactly mainstream.
Six years ago, they sold the home. Here’s what they had to say:
“[We received] far better-than-average appreciation of the property when we downsized some nine years later. We sold the home by ourselves with no realtor involved, and we heard from many that the unique design and curb appeal attracted them to contact us. We had no problem selling our fine home ….”
And since they’re too modest to mention it, I’ll add that they nearly doubled their money on the sale.

That’s what I want – how do I get it?
That’s the easy part. Figure out what you want, and put aside notions about what you think the next family living in your home might want. Tune out the people telling you what you should have.
Focus on what works for you, not what works for the real estate market.
Make a quality home that works – whatever “works” means to your family and your life. Make it interesting and attractive, but above all make it fit your unique needs and wants.
Get a whole new attitude about what a unique and interesting home could be.

Sources of (better) inspiration
The key is to change how and where you’re looking for new home and remodeling ideas.Stop looking at house plan websites and home-improvement-store plan books. Most of those are recycling the same basic plans over and over again, so you’re not going to find much that’s unique. And forget the idea that you’re going to find one complete design that does all you need it to do.
Instead, look for the parts and pieces you want – find a cool kitchen, a knockout exterior, a screen porch you simply must have. A mudroom with a built-in cubby for each child.
You’ll find that kind of inspiration online at sites like Yahoo! Homes,,, and You’ll also find it in some of the better home design magazines, like Traditional Home, Residential Architect, Fine Homebuilding, Dwell (if you like contemporary design), and many others.
Don’t worry about finding exactly what you want, or whether you can afford what you see. Keep a very open mind; we’re tapping the power of imagination and brainstorming here.
And don’t worry about how those pieces fit together. Sorting through what’s feasible and what’s not, and working with you to assemble your ideas into a unique, cohesive whole is my job, right?
Best of both worlds
You’ll discover something else when you change your sources of inspiration. You’ll see that there are lots of unique homes out there and that those homes are often more valuable than most – maybe because they’re unique.
If you prefer a “middle of the market” home design, this probably doesn’t make much sense to you.
But if you get excited by living in a house that stands out from the crowd, a home that does things that most homes don’t, a home that you can fall in love with, then when the time comes to sell, you might find that “sold” sign out front a lot sooner than you’d thought.