Staging Your Home For Sale

Statistically 49% of buyers are influenced in their decision based on whether or not a home is staged for sale or not according to buyers agents and the National Association of Realtors. We offer a complimentary walkthrough with our personal staging expert as apart of our services!

Here are some tips to getting your home prepped for sale:

Paint- a fresh coat of paint makes a huge difference! neutral colors are always a good choice, off whites, light blues and green etc. You would be surprised how much a fresh coat of paint will brighten up the interior. Painting the exterior can be costly, so you may want to paint your front door over and give the home some curb appeal, a high gloss will give an extra shine to the front door and give your buyers a good first impression. Kitchens and bathroom’s sell homes, so instead of replacing tile work in the kitchen or bathroom you may want to consider using some ceramic epoxy.

Declutter- You want to allow a purchaser to envision themselves living in the home, therefore remove any personal belonging such as family photos, refrigerator magnets, and any other Knick knacks that can be stored away. Less is more, and you want to open the space so a prospective buyer can visualize their own unique wants.

Light- Allowing adequate light into your home is very important and your home shows much better when the sun can do its job and brighten the space. You want to make sure that all windows are thoroughly cleaned and the blinds are opened to allow as much natural light as possible to come in.

Odors- You may not realize it, but almost every home has a unique scent, especially if you have pets. Before you go to market and while showing the home, make sure your home ventilates properly by opening the windows and leaving them open for 24 hours, their are also many non scented odor eliminators that you can place around the home, be careful to not overdo any deodorizer you spray if you choose to do so, and no funky flavors, use typical air fresheners.

Kitchen and Bath- If your budget allows, updating the kitchen and bathrooms will be money well spent. Stainless steel appliances can be purchased used for bargain prices, and re-tiling the backsplash and bathroom can go along way, just make sure if you decide to renovate, that you commit, it does not make sense to have outdated cabinets and countertops and stainless steel appliances, and in the bathroom it does not make sense to re-tile if you are not going to replace an old vanity. Kitchen and Bathroom are good places to see a return on investment.

Spruce Up- If your budget is tight, some Murphys oil to the flooring can go a long way if you have wood floors, if you have carpeting be sure to have it professionally steam cleaned. Check the tile work in your bathroom for any grout or caulking that needs to be replaced, buyers notice these things!

Curb Appeal- You don’t get a second chance to give the buyer a first impression, so make sure your lawn and shrubbery is well maintained and put some potted plants on the porch in front of the door, as stated above, remember high glosses for front doors for an extra shine.

Define the room- If you have nooks or extra rooms it is important to give it a purpose and define it for the buyer, and extra room can be staged as an office, library, or sitting room.


We hope this information was useful, and if your thinking about buying or selling in the Westchester area, keep us in mind!

Frank Morris

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

71 Pondfield Road

Bronxville NY 10708




Conventional Loan Interest Rates

Most buyers will choose a conventional loan to purchase their new home. Conventional loans follow guidelines that are set forth by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

There are several types of conventional loans that vary in the loan term, anywhere from 10 to 30 years, along with how interest is accrued. Their are fixed interest rates for up to 30 years, as well at Adjustable Rate mortgages available that change according to the prevailing rate of interest.

The down payments also vary and can go as low as 3% with some loan programs. Typically, anything below a 20% down payment would require mortgage insurance at an additional monthly cost. Lower down payment mortgages are referred to as FHA (Federal Housing Authority), these loans are associated with mortgage insurance throughout the life of the loan and more fee’s than your typical conventional loan. PMI (Primary Mortgage Insurance) can also be based on your credit history and debt to income ratio.
Generally, if your credit score is 680 or higher and your debt to income can cover your mortgage, you should not have to pay additional fee’s. If your credit score is lower, you may to incur extra fee’s or have to be covered by mortgage insurance.

Your debt to income usually should not exceed 50% (your monthly debts should be no greater than 50% of your monthly gross income). Most banks will request 60 days of banks statements, 2 years of w-2’s or tax returns for those who are self employed.

Investment property can be purchased with conventional loans, although the interest rates and down payment requirement are often higher.

There are private lenders and large corporate lenders such as Chase Bank and Wells Fargo. When shopping for the right bank, it is also important to consider interviewing more then one Loan Officer, as there may be certain programs that other banks offer unique to you. For instance, there are some banks that offer special loan programs for civil servants.

The next step is to reach out to your bank and get started in the pre-approval process for a conventional loan!

Frank Morris

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

71 Pondfield Road

Bronxville NY 10708

Eastchester 350th Anniversary

Eastchester recently celebrated its 350th anniversary as a township, the town pre-dates the revolutionary war, and was settled originally by puritan farmers who moved from Connecticut. The first area of settlement was in the Northern Bronx, Eastchester once encompassed a much larger land mass and stretched as far South as the present day Bronx, and covered the entire area of what is today known as the City of Mount Vernon. Most of the people whom lived in Eastchester traded crops in the nearby market in Central New York City. Eventually much of the land that was known as Eastchester would become annexed by the Bronx borough and the City of Mount Vernon at and around California Road in Eastchester.


At the time settling in this area was not what it would be like today. The winters could be deadly, and the families often came under attack by Native American tribes. The local wildlife, which included bears and rattlesnakes, offered another obstacle for the settlers. The reason that the settlers came to Eastchester is widely speculated, though often a movement was inspired by issues arising in local churches or a lack of food and or water.


The towns original peoples were of Christian belief, and the these values were virtually embedded into the township. The first document recorded is known as the Eastchester Covenant, which is symbolic of the new settlers of the Americas striving for independence from tyranny in Great Britain. The document reflected a governing body that was made up of the citizens of Eastchester.

A deeper understand of the roots of the town definitely make one feel more connected to its history, and it is pleasant to know that the original settlers held dear to their hearts the same principles that present day Americans do, such as freedom of speech, the right to vote, and equality amongst all individuals.

We hope this blog was informative and helpful to those who are interested in learning about the roots of this awesome town.


Barhite and Holzinger Inc

Licensed Real Estate Sales and Property Management

71 Pondfield Road

Bronxville NY 10708



Property Negotation 101

All homebuyers want the best deal that they can possibly get, while all sellers want to sell their property for the best possible value. There are a few things that we believe distinctly separate good negotiators from bad ones.


  • Many people believe that you must be a ruthless competitor in order to negotiate well, that you must make yours terms clear and present it as a take it or leave it, and you must do it with aggression. In our experience, this is in fact more counterproductive than is widely believed. Aside from the money and terms of the agreement, the relationship aspect is important for negotiation, so it is wise to establish rapport with the party you are negotiating with and show recognition for their position. No one likes to feel dominated during negotiation, and it often drives people away.
  • We recognize that their are some folks who just cant be reckoned with, and who do have that strong personality in which it seems like a deal can never be made. While keeping in mind the tip above to be courteous and considerate of the other sides wants and needs, we have found the old “mirror and match” sales phrase effective when negotiating or communicating with anyone, if you are negotiating with a hard headed individual, you may have to step into character yourself while maintaining composure so as not to blow the deal. People often times have the easiest communication with people who talk or act like themselves, this tactic is very useful.
  • Time. Use time to your advantage, if you are lucky enough to not be competing against other purchasers or sellers you should take your time. The first reason is because usually things become tense during a negotiation, and you want to make sure that you issue a response to an offer with a clear head. As the buyer, you don’t want to seem to desperate, and as the seller, your property sitting on the open market creates buyer urgency to get the deal done. Expect there to be some issues that arise during a negotiation, don’t run from them or try and jump down the other parties throat, take a step back, think over your options, and resume the negotiation. In Real Estate, you often have at least 24 hours to respond to an offer.
  • Keep in mind all of the things that you want out of the deal. The best price, the best terms, closing date, inspection, closing costs. With all the different factors that effect a real estate deal there are many concessions to be made. Perhaps it is more important to you to close quickly rather then obtain your price, if that is the case, then you should offer the buyer or seller “ok your price, but my terms, I need to close this as soon as possible”. Perhaps you may want the buyer to waive the property inspection, or maybe there is a piece of furniture in the sellers home that you would like, this is all subject to negotiation, and should be added by your attorney to the contract of sale.
  • Most people believe they will have to scream their terms at the other party and hang up on them or walk away from the conference table to really get their point across. In fact, we have seen successful negotiators as much more keen to listening rather then doing most of the talking. When the other party is talking, they reveal key information that you can use to your advantage. For instance, if it is revealed during your talk that the sellers must sell the property to purchase another home they have in contract, then it has become pretty apparent that these sellers are highly motivated, and must make a deal quickly. If this is the case, you can offer to expedite the closing as quickly as possible in return for a price reduction.

We hope these basic tips are helpful on your next property negotiation!


Frank Morris

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

71 Pondfield Road

Bronxville NY 10708


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