Nebraska Realty Agents Offer Advice for Selling a Home Fast


So, you decided to sell your house? Before even thinking about pricing, the first thing to consider is curb appeal, followed by … a sharp-looking garage? Absolutely true, says Brian Carlin of Nebraska Realty, the second-largest Omaha brokerage with over 425 licensed agents.

Putting your home on the market is a bit like dressing up in your Sunday best. But don’t forget the garage. An organized and clean garage is the true measure of a well-kept home, and not just for the purpose of a sale,” said Brian, a 14-year Omaha-area home-sales veteran who holds a contractor’s license and the Realtor designation as a Certified Residential Specialist.

Fellow Nebraska Realty agent Dave Maloy chimed in: “I wouldn’t be quite as strict as Brian on the garage presentation. I’ve told clients to utilize their garage as a staging/storage area while their house is for sale. Buyers understand what people are facing and what it takes to sell a house, especially buyers selling houses themselves. But, to agree with Brian, that garage usage does need to be orderly.

Dave noted: “The most important task, though, which isn’t as common-sense as you would conclude, is to deeply clean the home before buyers walk through. A couple hundred bucks spent on professional cleaning will go further than thousands spent on staging. Neutralize offensive odors – don’t cover them up with ‘fresh-baked-cookie’ or body-spray air-freshener smells – by cleaning the home. If you aren’t good at cleaning, admit it – don’t skimp and save $200 on one of the most important financial transactions you will make.”

Brian couldn’t agree more with Dave on the cleaning and added: “The most often overlooked areas of a home during the big spring clean are ceiling fan blades and HVAC cold air return vents. Apparently, everybody forgets to look up while they clean. Cold air return vents sometimes located on walls near ceiling and ceiling fan blades collect a ton of dust during the winter months.” 

Nebraska Realty agent Molly Amick offered her tack: “I always advise sellers to depersonalize the setting so potential buyers can fall in love with the house instead of trying to figure out the residents’ story with pictures, medications and mail on the counters, children’s items and more. Those things can give pointed information about why people are moving or how motivated they are. I also tell people instead of decluttering, ‘get packing!’ Every horizontal service should be clean and free of accessories, pictures, knick-knacks and things you don’t use every day. In fact, everyday items should be put in drawers. Sellers will be so amazed how beautiful their home and listing photos look that they may decide not to move!

Nebraska Realty agent Deda Myhre added: “I always ask my sellers to clear out closets, under sinks or any storage areas and then organize them to make the spaces appear as big as possible. Fold and stack towels, and organize smaller items in inexpensive baskets for the biggest impact.”

Furthermore, the Nebraska Realty agents agreed: “Repairs, absolutely yes (never leave a repair project unfinished). Improvements, not so much,” pointing out sellers shouldn’t get carried away with improvements. Most important are getting the house on the market quickly and then being sensitive to prospective buyers’ feedback to guide the most needed improvements. Sellers also may offer to negotiate credit and let the buyer decide where to spend money.

Among other advice to consider:

  • To improve the curb appeal, consider new paint, replace rotting wood or add landscaping mulch. Don’t forget to sweep the entry or porch and knock down any cobwebs.


  • Don’t replace the carpet, clean it. The new owner might want flooring and would possibly rip out new carpet anyway. Consider giving a carpet or flooring allowance.


  • Update or replace electrical items such as ceiling fans. Have electrical panels checked for replacement, especially Federal Pacific or Zinsco panels.


  • Paint or remove old wallpaper as needed, and opt for neutral colors.


  • Roof replacement. It is the most common repair on a deferred maintenance list, and a repair that is one of the highest concerns for a lender, insurance company or buyer.


  • Small details: Use door stoppers to protect walls; move furniture that may be hit by a door opened too quickly or fully.

Finally, get an inspection from a professional who is certified by American Society of Home Inspectors and make the recommended repairs yourself or hire a handyman. If the buyer hires an inspector, things could get far more expensive because they will dictate using licensed professionals who will have to warranty the work.

To learn how Nebraska Realty helps in the home-buying process, check out: See why working with Nebraska Realty is different:

For additional information, contact Nebraska Realty at or reach any agent at or call (402) 491-0100. The Nebraska Realty Building is located at 17117 Burt Street, Omaha, NE 68118, north of the Village Pointe Shopping Center.

More to Design Than Meets the Eye

Despite the overwhelming popularity of home improvement shows like Fixer Upper and Property Brothers, most people still want a move-in ready home versus a fixer upper. It can be daunting to consider buying a place that needs major renovations but no matter how new a home is, it’s not really home until the resident’s style signature is on it. With the help of Interior Designer, Courtney Otte, owner of The Modern Hive, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming to add personal flair and unique design options to a home.

Courtney is an Omaha-area interior designer who works in both commercial and residential design. Her knowledge and creativity shine when she shares design ideas and decorating tips. She has a real passion for her work and her vision is inspiring. During a recent visit to Nebraska Realty, Courtney shared some of the most current design trends like white cabinets are on their way out, blue is currently a very popular color in paint and décor, but green is up and coming. When it comes to accents, global spice mixed with white tones, as well as nature-inspired prints are what’s next. Go check out the wares in any chain home décor and furnishings store and you’re sure to see these trends waiting for you to take them home and try them in your current space.

To hire Courtney is to allow her into your mind to explore your personality and style preferences. Each new client completes a survey that allows her to get to know her clients tastes, whether casual or formal, relaxing or always ready for entertaining. For the more eclectic tastes, Courtney said, “I recommend that one room be tackled first to help narrow down the client’s style rather than taking on the whole house at once.” This helps ensure time and resources are spent wisely and the final product is as expected.

As with most segments in today’s world, interior design also has a tech version to it. For those who are on limited time and maybe even a limited budget, Courtney provides her services through E-design. E-design requires measurements of the rooms to be designed, but once Courtney has those she can provide recommendations for furniture placement and décor.

Courtney provided stellar tips for staging a home to sell. In any market, you want your home to be presented in the best light possible to increase interest and perceived value. “I offer a walk-thru service where I give advice on light renovations such as replacing countertops and flooring, and furniture placement,” Courtney said.  

Here are Courtney’s top 5 tips for preparing a home for sale:

  1. Apply a fresh coat of paint. To keep things neutral, Courtney recommends a warm, mid-tone gray.
  2. Make sure there is consistent flooring. While a transition from hardwood to carpet is okay, it’s best to avoid multiple rooms having different types or colors of carpet or flooring.
  3. Clean up the clutter. Once you’ve cleaned up each room, go back and do it again. Less is more when it comes to making your home a showcase.
  4. Take drapes down, but leave blinds and shades on the windows. If drapes are neutral then they can be left up, but if they are part of a very personal design style with unlikely patterns or colors, Courtney advises it’s best to take them down.
  5. Reconsider the furniture arrangement. Oftentimes moving a few pieces can help open up a space making it seem larger and more aesthetically pleasing.

Looking over that list, we'd say those are tips we could all use whether we are in the market to sell our homes or not. Studies show that freshening up our living spaces helps to invoke creativity, elevates mood, and creates resourcefulness. One call to Courtney could result in a change that brightens your living space and also renews your mind.     

10 Tips for Moving With Pets

Experts at the Pet Realty Network in Naples, FL, offer these helpful tips for easing the transition and keeping pets safe during the move:

(1) Update your pet’s tag. Make sure your pet is wearing a sturdy collar with an identification tag that is labeled with your current contact information. The tag should include your destination location, telephone number, and cell phone number so that you can be reached immediately during the move.

(2) Ask for veterinary records. If you’re moving far enough away that you’ll need a new vet, you should ask for a current copy of your pet’s vaccinations. You also can ask for your pet’s medical history to give to your new vet, although that can normally be faxed directly to the new medical-care provider upon request. Depending on your destination, your pet may need additional vaccinations, medications, and health certificates. Have your current vet’s phone number handy in case of an emergency, or in case your new vet would like more information about your pet.

(3) Keep medications and food on hand. Keep at least one week’s worth of food and medication with you in case of an emergency. Vets can’t write a prescription without a prior doctor/patient relationship, which can cause delays if you need medication right away. You may want to ask for an extra prescription refill before you move. The same preparation should be taken with special therapeutic foods — purchase an extra supply in case you can’t find the food right away in your new area.

(4) Seclude your pet from chaos. Pets can feel vulnerable on moving day. Keep them in a safe, quiet, well-ventilated place, such as the bathroom, on moving day with a “Do Not Disturb! Pets Inside!” sign posted on the door. There are many light, collapsible travel crates on the market if you choose to buy one. However, make sure your pet is familiar with the new crate before moving day by gradually introducing him or her to the crate before your trip. Be sure the crate is well-ventilated and sturdy enough for stress-chewers; otherwise, a nervous pet could escape.

(5) Prepare a first aid kit. First aid is not a substitute for emergency veterinary care, but being prepared and knowing basic first aid could save your pet’s life. A few recommended supplies: Your veterinarian’s phone number, gauze to wrap wounds or to muzzle your pet, adhesive tape for bandages, non-stick bandages, towels, and hydrogen peroxide (3 percent). You can use a door, board, blanket or floor mat as an emergency stretcher and a soft cloth, rope, necktie, leash, or nylon stocking for an emergency muzzle.

(6) Play it safe in the car. It’s best to travel with your dog in a crate; second-best is to use a restraining harness. When it comes to cats, it’s always best for their safety and yours to use a well-ventilated carrier in the car. Secure the crate or carrier with a seat belt and provide your pet with familiar toys. Never keep your pet in the open bed of a truck or the storage area of a moving van. In any season, a pet left alone in a parked vehicle is vulnerable to injury and theft. If you’ll be using overnight lodging, plan ahead by searching for pet-friendly hotels. Have plenty of kitty litter and plastic bags on hand, and keep your pet on its regular diet and eating schedule.

(7) Get ready for takeoff. When traveling by air,check with the airline about any pet requirements or restrictions to be sure you’ve prepared your pet for a safe trip. Some airlines will allow pets in the cabin, depending on the animal’s size, but you’ll need to purchase a special airline crate that fits under the seat in front of you. Give yourself plenty of time to work out any arrangements necessary including consulting with your veterinarian and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If traveling is stressful for your pet, consult your veterinarian about ways that might lessen the stress of travel.

(8) Find a new veterinary clinic and emergency hospital. Before you move, ask your vet to recommend a doctor in your new locale. Talk to other pet owners when visiting the new community, and call the state veterinary medical association (VMA) for veterinarians in your location. When choosing a new veterinary hospital, ask for an impromptu tour; kennels should be kept clean at all times, not just when a client’s expected. You may also want to schedule an appointment to meet the vets. Now ask yourself: Are the receptionists, doctors, technicians, and assistants friendly, professional and knowledgeable? Are the office hours and location convenient? Does the clinic offer emergency or specialty services or boarding? If the hospital doesn’t meet your criteria, keep looking until you’re assured that your pet will receive the best possible care.

(9) Prep your new home for pets. Pets may be frightened and confused in new surroundings. Upon your arrival at your new home, immediately set out all the familiar and necessary things your pet will need: food, water, medications, bed, litter box, toys, etc. Pack these items in a handy spot so they can be unpacked right away. Keep all external windows and doors closed when your pet is unsupervised, and be cautious of narrow gaps behind or between appliances where nervous pets may try to hide. If your old home is nearby, your pet may try to find a way back there. To be safe, give the new home owners or your former neighbors your phone number and a photo of your pet, and ask them to contact you if your pet is found nearby.

(10) Learn more about your new area. Once you find a new veterinarian, ask if there are any local health concerns such as heartworm or Lyme disease, or any vaccinations or medications your pet may require. Also, be aware of any unique laws. For example, there are restrictive breed laws in some cities. Homeowner associations also may have restrictions — perhaps requiring that all dogs are kept on leashes. If you will be moving to a new country, carry an updated rabies vaccination and health certificate. It is very important to contact the Agriculture Department or embassy of the country or state to which you’re traveling to obtain specific information on special documents, quarantine, or costs to bring the animal into the country.

Source: The Pet Realty Network