Seven Staging Secrets to Sell Your Home, FAST

Design by Marcelle Guilbeau, Interior Designer

Design by Marcelle Guilbeau, Interior Designer

Seven Staging Secrets to Sell Your Home, FAST

How You Live In Your Home Is Totally Different Than How You Sell It


Paint the front door.

Invest in a new, larger, plain doormat.

Install flowering plans in pots.


Carpets, counters, sinks,  shelves, baseboards, and appliances should be cleaned. Hire a cleaning service if necessary. If an item cannot be cleaned satisfactorily, toss it.


To make rooms appear bigger, remove everything from coffee tables, counters, and cabinets and take out a few pieces of furniture too.


Keep the lights on even in the daytime.


You want prospective buyers to imagine themselves living happily in your house. They cannot do that if your personality and hobbies are too strongly in evidence. Eliminate all family photos, refrigerator art, religious items, trophies, and diplomas.


Ideally your pets need to go to grandma’s house or the kennel while your home is on the market. If that’s not possible, at the very least make sure the pets are kept in their cages, the garage, or in a fenced area in the back yard.

(As for odors, since you live there you probably don’t notice the smells. Ask a friend to honestly tell you if your house smells like dog/cat/ hamster.)


Easy, cheap, and effective. White, mostly.

For more tips, ask me for a copy of Savvy Staging Sells, my complete guide to staging your home including resources for recycling, selling and disposing of all of your extra stuff.




Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

I’ve been a fan of Anna Quindlen’s work for years.   I was an avid reader of her Pulitzer Prize winning  column for The New York Times, “Life in the Thirties,” and  most recently I enjoyed her memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, her wry musings on life after the thirties.

Quindlen’s latest book, Still Life with Bread Crumbs,  is fiction although the themes will be instantly recognizable to all female baby boomers, regardless of your specific circumstances.

The novel’s protagonist Rebecca Winter is a formerly famous and currently broke photographer.

Unable to afford her chic NYC apartment, she moves to a dilapidated cabin in the country, meets a roofer named Jim, and starts over. (The initial premise reminded me a little of the Diane Keaton/Sam Sheppard movie in which Diane, a disgraced corporate hot shot, moves to a dilapidated cabin in the country,  meets hunky Sam Sheppard, and starts over— Baby Something? )

So the plot may be a bit predictable, but there are a few unexpected twists, and Rebecca is very good company. In fact, the book goes down so easily you almost don’t notice Quindlen’s formidable prose skills.

Crashing an Open House

Design by Marcelle Guilbeau, Interior Designer

Design by Marcelle Guilbeau, Interior Designer

Crashing an Open House

You know you’ve done it. We’ve all done it at one time or another.

You visited an open house solely in search of decorating tips! You had no intention of buying this house or any other house for that matter.

Relax,  it’s OK.

Follow these tips and you can enjoy your next Sunday snoop guilt free.

Be honest. Tell the real estate agent up front that you are just looking for decorating ideas.
Be quick. Don’t linger.
Be respectful of the sellers’ privacy. Ask permission before you take a photograph.
Be tactful. Keep bad decorating comments to yourself.

Savvy agents know that word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. If you have a nice experience and love the house, you’ll probably tell your friends.

And that’s a win/win for everyone.


Is Now The Time to Sell Your Home?

Architect-David Baird, Building Ideas, LLC

Architect-David Baird, Building Ideas, LLC

Are you wondering if this is the right time to sell your home?

You hear the gossip in the ‘hood about how so-and-so’s house sold in one day, but still, you are unsure.

Is there someplace to get accurate information, not just rumor and innuendo?

Yep. A quick look at the local housing inventory tells the real story.

The what? Don’t worry–I have it right here.  Read on Macduff!

The significance of inventory is related to a measurement real estate professionals call absorption rate, which is the rate at which the market is selling properties. How long would it take to sell the current inventory if no other homes came on the market? A balanced market is considered five to six months.

In Davidson and Williamson counties, the inventory of homes priced under $500,000 is less than two months. This is a solid sellers market, meaning there are more buyers than there are homes for sale in this price range.

In Williamson County specifically, the inventory is less than six months regardless of home price.

In Davidson County, the supply of homes is more price sensitive. Over $500,000, the inventory ranges from six months to eighteen months.

If you own a home in Williamson County or in Davidson for under $500,000-sell, sell, sell!

High end homes in Davidson County require a little more marketing and pricing savvy, but the market is strong in this category too.

Talk to a trusted real estate professional (that would be moi!) about your options.

If you’d like a comprehensive report on this subject,  just drop me an email, and  I’ll send you the March sales stats for single family homes in Davidson County, Area Two (I-65 to Charlotte Pike), Williamson County, and condominium sales in Davidson County.  

Pimento Cheese Spiced Up

Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese

Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

Pimento Cheese Spiced Up!

I love pimento cheese! One of the great joys of moving back to Nashville was its presence on every lunch menu!

Unlike chicken salad, the recipe for which is subject to wild and unfortunate interpretations, pimento cheese is reliably consistent, and I say this with affection, even a bit bland.

So I was intrigued when my friend Tom Bailey launched Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese which heats up the traditional recipe with the inclusion of fresh jalapenos, roasted red peppers, and a blend of spices. Wow! As Tom says, “less mayo and more kick!” Bland be banished!

Now as yummy as the spread is (and be sure to check out the recipes on the website), my favorite product is the tiny pimento cheese biscuits, which served warm make irresistible hors d’oeuvres.

You can find Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese products on-line, at the Nashville Farmers Market, The Produce Place, Boone & Sons, and Lazzaroli Pasta Shop and Italian Market in Germantown.!


Are Luxury Homes in Nashville Shrinking?

Are Luxury Homes in Nashville Shrinking?

There has been plenty of talk lately about the “small” house movement.   Today’s buyers –fed up with McMansions, the drafty double height foyers, the acres of granite, and the unnecessary rooms-are looking for more intimate space and higher quality construction.  

Really? Is this a trend in Nashville, specifically in the luxury home market of $1,000,000 homes?

In short, YES.  But small is a relative term.

A new luxury home built in Davidson County in 2005 averaged a whopping 6263 square feet. By contrast, new million dollar homes in 2013 clocked in at a mere 5615. In Williamson County, new homes built in 2005 averaged 7170 square feet and last year only 6162.

So the luxury home is shrinking.   Although 6000 square feet seems entirely sufficient,  some space was sacrificed. Was it the gift wrapping room, the dog washing station, the wine cellar tasting room, or the caterer’s kitchen?

Home Sales Davidson County February 2014


Tony on Tyne! Call Courtney Jenrath 278-6210  for more info.

Tony on Tyne! Call Courtney Jenrath 278-6210 for more info.

Home Sales Davidson County February 2014

In Davidson County, there were 484 home closings reported for the month of February. This figure represents a slight increase from the 478 closings reported for the same period last year.

The average sales price increased to $237,334 from $227,702 in February 2013.

Wendell Berry Comes to Nashville


Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry Comes to Nashville 

Award-winning author and academic, environmental activist and farmer, Wendell Berry will be the special guest at Siloam Health Services’ May 2nd fundraiser. The evening will feature an extended interview of Berry by Professor Norman Wirzba (Professor of Theology and Ecology at Duke Divinity School) on the subject of “What Makes a Healthy Community.”  

Author of more than forty works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry , Berry lives on a farm in Henry County, KY. Many of his novels and short stories concern the fortunes and families of Port William, a  fictional town in Kentucky “less than a mile from the river on an upland deeply grooved by branching valleys and hollows.” 


For more information, visit the Siloam Family Health Center website or contact Lisa Ellis:


The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri


The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

The latest novel from Jhumpa Lahiri, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake, concerns Subhash and Udayan, two brothers growing up in post Partition Calcutta.

Located down the street from their low-lying home are a mosque and the exclusive British-only Tolly Golf Club, symbols of a pre WWII India and a way of life that is undergoing rapid and violent change.    Despite their closeness, the boys choose different career paths. Subhash turns to science and Udayan to revolutionary politics.

Subhash  immigrates to the USA in pursuit of a quiet academic life. While he is gone, tragedy strikes. Subhash rushes home to consol his family, even taking responsibility for his brother’s troubled wife, but he is a stranger in his country and to those closest to him.

How the brothers’ individual  actions come to define their family across generations and borders make a  rich, emotionally complex  family saga.