Five Home Design Ideas to Ditch in 2017

Living RoomEach year interior designers come out with lists of what is trending and, more specifically, what is O-U-T.  According to Elle Decor, below are five tips on what NOT to do if you are looking to spruce up your space in 2017.

All White Kitchen
All White Rooms
We know.  At some point, someone said the stark, all-white kitchen or living room was the next big thing for contemporary homes.  If you just updated your space, don’t despair. Designers are now suggesting to add pops of color to break up the boring.  On trend for 2017, navy and other “moody” blue tones, but any solid color will work. Experts say this will add warmth and freshness and avoid a clinical feel.

Edison Bulbs
Edison BulbsThe industrial chic look still has legs, but the Edison bulb trend has run its course. “Old-fashioned” is out but vintage and retro lighting is still on point. For example, bare bulbs are now being phased out for more luxurious pieces like glass chandeliers.

Smooth & SleekSmooth and Sleek Design
2017 is moving towards texture.  Meaning, find furniture pieces and decor that are less about sharp edges and clean lines and more about folds and chunky stitching. The great thing about this trend is that it can apply to many different design aesthetics. Experts suggest approaching your design around the “emotion” of a room. This way, you can avoid the “flat” feel a more modern makeover may give.

Chunky Furniture
Chunky Furniture
This one is pretty cut and dry. The smaller your furniture is, the less space it takes up.  We’re not saying buy a smaller bed, but the giant headboard and frame are not as necessary. 2017 is about space-efficiency and not overwhelming your room with multiple pieces that over-power the area.

Let’s face it, do you really want to do-it-yourself?  DIY DesignRegardless of the project, the idea always starts off great, and while the videos make it seem so simple, it rarely goes as planned!  DIY designs may save you some money, but if you’re not handy with the tools of the trade, chances are your project will take a lot longer than anticipated and look homemade.  Instead, consider purchasing artisanal crafts. Not only will you get a well-made piece by an expert, you’ll be helping give back to small business owners!


The Smart Sell: Closing the Contract

contractAs experienced home sellers can attest, getting a contract is one thing; CLOSING on that deal can be entirely different. You can do your best to improve your home’s curb appeal, de-personalize and stage you space, but if a buyer doesn’t sign on the dotted line, it does not matter. Below are a few tips to increase your chances on going from contract to close with (relative) ease!

Not all real estate agents are created equal, yet two-thirds of homeowners interview only one broker before they agree to list.  It is critical to vet at least two different agents and ask the right questions.  It’s best to find an agent who frequently works with residential sellers.  Also, he or she should know your neighborhood and be up to speed on market trends. Find out how many homes the agent has sold over the past two years, and at what price-points. The real estate agent should come to your meeting prepared with comps and a plan, yet ask how he or she intends to specifically advertise your home.  Once you get an offer, experienced agents are critical, as they know how to expertly negotiate.

Once you sign with an agent, he or she can guide you when fielding offers. That said, it is a good idea to let your broker know, up front, you are interested in requesting the financial details of potential buyers. This can come in the form of a simple “pre-approval” letter from the buyer’s lender.   While it may seem obvious, details can be overlooked during the stress and excitement of selling a home. Pre-approval confirms a preliminary financial analysis has been conducted, including background, credit and employment checks.

Many buyers insist on doing a home inspection of their own, but this doesn’t happen until after an offer has been accepted. This should not be the stage where you discover your property needs major repairs.  You don’t want to be in the position to allow a buyer to re-negotiate, or worse, walk away entirely.  This puts your sale back to square one, and potentially on pause, as you fix what is broken. It’s best to have your own inspection done prior to listing so no surprises pop up later. Plus, it gives you something to compare if a buyer’s inspection indicates a problem. Ensure you find a reputable inspector who will review both the interior and exterior of your home, including the roof, fireplace/chimney, decking and foundation.

While not all consumers are lucky to entertain multiple offers on their home, it is best to avoid “challenging” buyers.  Difficult buyers can be flagged early on during a walk-through.  If possible, try to have a representative from your side attend the buyer’s home tour.  He or she can listen for comments and gauge what types of concerns may arise during negotiations.  If a buyer seems demanding at the onset, chances are they will make the entire process lengthy and arduous.

McCleary Group has over 20 years of real estate experience, including working with luxury listings looking to close quickly. If you have any questions or would like to request a meeting, you can contact McCleary Group here.

Why Location Matters When Buying Real Estate

McCleary Group Hinsdale Real Estate
When it comes to buying a home, location is an important, but sometimes overlooked, value. The mantra “Location, location, location!” is truly key. There are four elements of location to keep in mind: convenience, efficiency, schools and resale value.

A property that is “convenient” may mean something different to everyone, yet it all relates to overall quality-of-life.  Consider what factors are important given the context of your surroundings. Most home buyers are looking to be in close proximity to shops, transportation, dining and entertainment.  That said, an urban homeowner without a car may want to be within walking distance, whereas suburban homeowners with transportation may prefer less congestion and pedestrian-friendly shopping areas.  Once you venture too far away from what is deemed convenient, the more it impacts other areas of your day-to-day.

The importance of distance to schools, work and home is not only convenient, it is also more efficient.  According to the National Association of Realtors’ home buyer profile, 57% of buyers would forego a home with a larger yard in favor of a shorter commute. If you purchase a property close to work, not only will you save time, the financial burdens of gas and wear-and-tear on your vehicle are also lessened.  Over the years, improved efficiency will positively impact your bottom line.

Families with school-age children look for quality schools which are close to home. Parents may desire a variety of options when checking out schools in an area such as access to public, private or charter schools, and opportunities for kids to get engaged in activities such as sports, the arts or other programs. provides reviews, demographic information and snapshots of schools in your target market.

Resale Value
While you may be weighing the cost vs. benefit of living outside a main town or city, experienced real estate agents like McCleary Group can assist clients with assessing the true value of a home.  While home prices tend to be higher in prime locations, the future return on your investment can be much greater than properties which are not as convenient, efficient or close to schools for future homeowners. So, while you want to be conscious of property taxes and not overpaying, considering an well-valued  home, or even a fixer-upper in a great location, will benefit you in the long run.

By identifying what is important in your home search up front, the more productive you can be with your real estate agent as you tour homes for sale in your area.