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.

Production Builders, Semicustom Builders & Custom Builders

When you are looking at purchasing new construction home there are many factors that need to be given consideration. The common decisions like price, area and design all need first consideration, but the next questions become, how quickly would you like to be in your new home, and what type of builder would you like to work with?

Essentially there are four types of home builders but in this article we will be discussing three of the four that home buyers have to choose from; production builders, semi-custom builders and custom builders. Often time’s the desired final purchase price is the deciding factor as to which of these building contractors the buyers end up working with. But having a basic understanding of the differences between them may end up making the decision process simpler.

Production builders, or as they are sometimes called, tract builders usually start out at the entry level price points in residential new construction. In our area over the past few years the price range in homes built and offered on the market by production builders has begun covering a broader price range than it has ever before. With production builders, buyers are at times limited to particular subdivisions, floor plans and designs within these developments. Production builders often translate to few­er choices and decisions for the buyers, but there are still plenty of selections that can, and need to be made. But even these choices may be limited to a smaller group of selections. One of the more common questions buyers ask when considering production built homes concerns the quality and workmanship that goes into the construction of the home. To that question I always remind buyers that production builders adhere to the same minimum code requirements as semi-custom or custom builders. Production builders at times may use a more economical type or quality of materials, equipment, and appliances, in their homes to keep their starting price points affordable. But some products and features offered may also well exceed minimum code requirements. Often time’s production builders offer either a selection studio on site at a model home, or off site at a separate location. The builder utilizes the selection studios to provide buyers a one-stop location to make their available selections. Buyers select items like interior and exterior colors, interior and exterior doors, cabinets, countertops, floor coverings etc. Production or tract builders very much have their place in our real estate market just like the semi-custom, or custom builders. Production builders offer a product to the market that allows many buyers another option other than a resale home that’s best suited to their price range.

Semi-custom builders often offer a wider variety of designs, floor plans, construction packages and features than production builders. Some semi-custom builders may even market or call themselves “custom builders” because they allow more custom changes than their production builder counterparts. Even so with semi-custom builders the buyers are at times limited to particular design packages, floor plan styles and selections. When it comes to semi-custom built homes the quality and workmanship can often times be very comparable to custom built homes. But in certain areas of the homes construction the builder may also be offering a more economical line of products or finishes. For instance the building contractor may offer mid-grade vinyl windows rather a wood clad window, or drywall cased interior windows and doorways as opposed to interior trim finish windows and doorways, or factory built cabinets and bases rather than custom built. There are many areas in the homes construction where the builder may offer a more affordable alternative in order to keep the homes price point at a more moderate range. At times these alternatives can be so subtle they can go nearly unnoticed by buyers unless pointed out by someone more experienced. Some area builders also offer a production built line of homes along with a semi-custom built line of homes. There are also custom builders that offer a semi-custom built line of homes along with a full custom line. At times these building contractors market and offer these different lines under separate brand names. This allows them the ability to work with a wider range of home buyers, and maintain their relationships with former clients who may be upgrading their homes from one line to the next in the coming years. Some semi-custom builders also offer selection studios for their buyers, others employ a consultant or representative to assist the buyers with their selections, while yet others simply provide the buyers with names and locations of local businesses that the builder works with in order for the buyers to stop in and make their selections. Regardless how the selections are to be made it is always extremely important that the buyers make their selections in a timely manner as to not delay the process. Construction delays caused by the buyers can ultimately lead to charges often calculated per day.

Custom home builders at times feature home designs, or styles that they’ve built in the past on their websites or in their marketing materials, or possibly even as model or showcase home, but with custom builders a buyers abilities to make the changes and selections in their new home is only limited by code restrictions, zoning ordinances, construction guidelines associated with a subdivision and the dollar amount that the buyers want to spend. If you are buyers that have their own design ideas that you want to incorporate in to your new home, than a custom home builder will likely be the way you will want to go. If you are looking at a completely unusual concept in a new home design then you may also be working with an architect and/or drafts person in the initial planning stages. Often time’s custom builders have architects they have experience working with or drafts people and designers as subcontractors or as part of their staff that assist with custom designs. The old joke is bring a custom builder one line floor plan on the back of a bar napkin and they’ll turn it in to a reality. On total custom designs buyers need to also prepare for larger possible builder and plan deposits. Custom builders will also often employ or subcontract the services of an interior designer or design consultant to work directly with the buyers throughout their design and selection process. Depending upon the overall scope and design of the home the custom home building process can also take much longer than say a semi-custom home building process. It may require several meetings with the buyers, building contractor, architect and interior designer to iron out all of the details.

The fourth builder type we won’t be discussing at any detail in this article is factory built homes or as they are sometimes called modular homes or panelized homes. Subdivision covenants and construction guidelines, local building codes and community and/or zoning ordinances at times restrict the use of these types of homes. If you are a buyer considering purchasing one of these homes, make certain there are no restrictions in your area to keep you from doing so.

2015 Street of Dreams

Looking for something to do? Looking for new remodeling ideas? See what’s the latest trends in new construction by visiting the Metro Omaha Builders Association’s (MOBA) 2015 Street of Dreams.

MOBA’s 2015 Street of Dreams runs from Friday August 8th through Sunday August 23rd in the Windgate Ranch development 208th and Pacific developed by Tom Falcone Development. The 2015 Street of Dreams showcases luxury home designs offered by 8 different area builders. Each home on the tour is furnished, decorated and landscaped; the 2015 Street of dreams homes are all priced between $650,000 and $800,000.

Home builders featured are as follows:

Castle Brook Builders

Concept Homes & Design

Falcone Homes

Ideal Designs Custom Homes

John Caniglia Homes

Jordan Michael Signature Homes

Landmark Performance Homes

Thomas David Builders

Hours for the MOBA 2015 Street of Dreams are Mondays through Thursdays, 4-pm– 8-pm and Fridays through Sundays 12-pm – 8-pm.  Tickets are on sale at the gate for $12 each for adults or they can be pre-purchased at all metro-area Hy-Vee locations at a discounted price of $10 each. Admission for children is $5.

There will also be a free Realtor® day at the Street of Dreams Wednesday August 12th from 11-am – 1-pm. Real Estate industry professionals will be able to enter the Street of Dreams free of charge to tour this year’s showcase of dreams homes.

The 2015 Street of Dreams is sponsored by Metro Omaha Utilities District and First National Bank.