Seller Tips

Home Staging Tips That Will Help You Display Your Home in the Best Light

Your home may be one of your largest assets, and you certainly want to take steps to get the best price possible for it when you sell. In addition, you may have plans to purchase a new home when you list your home, so you may need for your house to sell quickly. Staging your home is a great way to present it in the best possible light for potential buyers. While there are dozens of staging tips and ideas that you may use, here are a few that are rather simple and affordable.

Give Each Room a Single Purpose

You may have several rooms that have multiple uses. For example, you may have a work desk placed in the master bedroom, or a section of the living room may be designated as a kids' play area. While this may be functional for how your family lives, it can confuse buyers. Buyers need to be able to walk into a room and imagine their own family living in the area. They may not have a need or use for a desk in the master bedroom, and this can confuse the use of the space.

It also can make a room look smaller and more cramped than it is.

De-Clutter Your Rooms

In addition to defining a single use for each room, you should also de-clutter everywhere. Depending how long you have lived in your home and how significant your periodic spring cleaning sessions have been, this can be a major undertaking. As a good rule of thumb, items that have not been used in more than six months may need to be donated or tossed away. The exception to this rule is seasonal items, like winter coats, pool toys or holiday décor. Keep in mind that buyers may open cabinets,drawers and closets, so your cleaning session should be thorough and not superficial.

Pack Away Personal Belongings

A final step is to pack away personal belongings. Everything from religious symbols like crosses, to a family photo over the mantel, should be packed in boxes and hidden away in the attic or basement closet. Your goal is to make your home look like any family could live there rather than to make it look like your home. Only decorative items that have a broad or universal appeal should remain.

When a home is properly staged, it may feel as though your home is not your own and even as though you are camping out in your own home. Keep in mind that staging can help you to sell your home as quickly as possible and to get the highest bid possible. Therefore, your effort is well worthwhile.


4 Tips to Improve Your Home Without Breaking the Bank - JTRealty

With housing prices increasing, now is the time invest in your home to capitalize on its value. However, like most home owners, the thought of renovations and home improvement probably feels a little discouraging. With these low-budget tips it doesn’t have to be!

Tip #1 – Paint, Paint, Paint!
A couple fresh coats of paint makes an entire room feel clean and updated One of the biggest and simplest improvements is paint! A little bit of paint can go a very long way. A couple fresh coats of paint makes an entire room feel clean and updated — and that means more value. When selecting paint colors, neutral colors appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. Another alternative is an accent wall, it can be a perfect way to break up a large room, or to emphasize an architectural feature. Here’s an example of an accent wall that receives ooh’s and ahh’s at showings. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $30, so go buy a few gallons and get busy!

Tip #2 – Low-maintenance landscaping

(click photo to see property)

No question that shrubs and colorful plants will add curb appeal to any home, but when shopping at your local garden center, make sure that you "think green." Purchase plants that are native to your region or plants that are drought-tolerant; these require less water and maintenance, which means more savings to you and more green in your wallet. Your grass is important to keep in mind, overgrown or patchy lawns and outsized bushes will cause your home to stand out — in a bad way. A little landscaping goes a long way.

Tip #3 – If you're short on square footage, make it FEEL bigger!
The size of your home is a huge factor, as I'm sure anyone selling their home is aware of. The size of your home is a huge factor, as I’m sure anyone selling their home is aware of. However, it’s not just the square footage that makes an impact it’s also about visual space and how big the buyer FEELS the room is. Replace your old dark, heavy draperies with vertical blinds. Vertical blinds allow much more light into a room – and sunlight always makes a room feel bigger. Also, try to find space for a large mirror in the room to visually double the space.  Last but not least, clutter. Your buyer needs to walk in and feel like they are already at home, so pack up the personal photos, and ditch the vintage collection of Beanie Babies on the top shelf and the less cramped it will feel!


Tip #4 –  Replace Worn Carpets or rugs

WOW -- a 6 Bedroom 4 Full Bath Contemporary home for less than $500, 000!
(click photo to see property)

Sometimes the problem is right under your nose, or in this case your feet. Are your carpets and area rugs stained or worn? Nothing turns buyers off more than the thought that they will immediately need to replace all of the flooring in a home. Ideally, you may want to replace them all, but if a limited budget puts a snag in that plan, start by having the carpets professionally cleaned, or replacing the carpet in the room that shows the most wear and tear and the others as your finances allow.  
If your home has hard wood that appears scratched and damaged, look into a fun area rug. Not only will it help disguise some cosmetic imperfections, but it will add some extra sizzle to the room.

3D Virtual Property Tours Are Now available in the Mt Washington Valley!


...And our company is the first to implement them in marketing our luxury homes!

3D Real Estate Tours North Conway NHHome sellers and buyers of million dollar properties have super busy lives. Many of my clients juggle homes on multiple coasts and spend in Europe and the Caribbean. When shopping for a vacation property, or another primary home they often have limited availability to preview the property before making an offer. As a member of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing and a long-time seller of distinctive homes, I understand how important it is to provide an extraordinary experience to meet the goals of these very busy, and often very discerning buyers.  

I have written in previous blogs about the benefits of global marketing in attracting international buyers to luxury homes. I have also stressed just how important professional photography can be in attracting interested Buyers to listed properties. In that regard, when you are working with large, unique properties, a flat dimension photograph is sometimes just not enough. So I went in search of other ways to help showcase my most unique listings.

Through my contacts at Keller Williams, I discovered the 3D Virtual Tour, and am the first Realtor to introduce this new marketing concept to the Mount Washington Valley.  The Matterport 3D Virtual Tour transforms the property preview experience.

Only JT Realty / KW Lakes & Mountains is using this powerful marketing tool. The tour starts in the interior of the home. You use your mouse to “walk through” each room, zooming in and panning out, and spinning to 360 degrees. You can climb the stairs and enter each room just as if you were on the ground, touring the property itself. It’s a very cool feature.

I decided to put it to work first on a $1,575,000 luxury log home new to market. This home was built by NH Log and Timber Homes for the Builder’s own use. It is an amazing property with over 5700 SF and views to the ski trails on Attitash which are just minutes away.

Click HERE to enjoy the very first 3D Tour offered in the Mount Washington Valley.

For a limited time, a 3D Tour will be provided for all exclusive home listings of $1,000,000 or more. Contact me today for a copy of our marketing presentation, including details on how you can get a Matterport 3D Tour of your home when you list with us.

To Learn More About This Luxury Log Home

456 Glen Ledge Road, Bartlett, NH. Click HERE

456 Glen Ledge Rd Bartlett NH 03812Luxury Log Home

Getting Your House Ready For Market

For the first time in quite a while we are seeing the market move away from a Buyer's market to a Seller's market. As the economy has improved, the unemployment rate has dropped and people are once again feeling confident enough about their future to purchase a vacation home or make a lifestyle move to a year round recreational haven like the Mount Washington Valley, NH.

Here it is not uncommon to a take a midweek morning off to go skiing, take a long lunch with a friend, or an afternoon hike with your dog. The lines between work time and play time are blurry in the White Mountains of New Hampshire which is why so many of us love to call it home. The lure of the area has resulted in more Buyers than we have inventory in many price points in the market, making it a good time to list your home! The myth of the selling season starting in June no longer applies as inquiries keep coming in from folks looking for a home to own before the start of summer so they can enjoy all that the area has to offer.

If you are considering putting your house on the market, then Spring is the time to declutter, and contemplate how your home should be staged for a potential buyer. Start by getting rid of paper files. All those decades of financials you thought you might someday need can either be scanned or shredded. The days of needing paper back up for everything we do are largely over. Our local STAPLE'S offers shredding services; just take your box full of unneeded records and they will do the work for you, securely!

Your next step is to start to depersonalize your home. If you have a collection of figurines or beer steins, antique quilts or model cars, they should be packed up before putting your house on the market so that your home makes it as easy as possible for a potential Buyer to imagine their own possessions in place.

Finally, you need to make sure your house is priced correctly. One of the hardest thing to communicate to potential Sellers is that fact that it is not how much money you have invested in your home that determines its value. Market Value is how much someone is willing to pay for your home at any given point in time. I have seen some homes in original condition, with no money invested, sell just days after listing. Other beautifully remodeled homes that are move in ready sit on the market for months with little to no interest from potential Buyers because they did not price it properly. How fast a house sells--or whether it will sell at all--is directly related to how it is priced in the marketplace. Getting it right is the first step towards hearing, "Congratulations! Your house is under contract!" 

So if you are thinking of selling your home this year, contact me for pricing and staging recommendations--and I will pay for professional photography in the months of April and May!

Happy Spring everyone!

Some recent Homes Sold by Joy:

34 Mountainside on Attitash. Under Contract 5 days after listing with Joy! Listed at $435,000. SOLD for $428,000.







20 Adams Rd, Jackson, NH  Under Contract in 20 Days after listing with Joy.

Before Joy -- on the market for 589 days! Listed at $259,900 SOLD at $255,000!






8B-4 Summit Vista, Bartlett, NH Under Contract 26 Days after listing with Joy. Listed at $215,000 SOLD for $212,000!









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Now is the Time to Sell Your Trailside Home

Attitash CondoDon't wait for spring to get your trailside ski home on the market. That is the mistake many sellers make. They want to enjoy one last season on the mountain and then list the property at season's end. The problem with that approach is that your best pool of buyers are the folks who travel to the area to ski ... who love the mountain already and just need to find the right property to transition from renter or hotel guest to ski trail living.

I recently worked with a buyer who made an offer and closed in less than a month on a Mountainside on Attitash condo in Bartlett, NH. At the closing he came up with his family and was able to literally move in and enjoy the property minutes after closing. I have worked with other buyers who have closed on a property and inherited renters who stayed until Spring giving the new owner some nice income. And still others who have bought a vacation property and immediately started renovations to make it their own.

63 Mountainside on AttitashThe important thing is to list your ski home while the people are here and can literally see what it would be like to own a slopeside home during the ski season. You want them to be able to walk out on the deck and watch the skiers go by, envision gathering in front of the fireplace in the evening, or picture themselves enjoying open floor plan living in the afternoon. The date of the closing can always be negotiated to meet your needs or desires, or to accommodate outstanding commitments.

If you know you are going to have renters in for the season and are concerned with how the property will show, I recommend getting professional pictures done before the tenants move in. It is less intrusive for them and buyers will get a good idea of how the property looks with a minimum of personal items. And don't forget, if the new buyer needs a mortgage, it will take 2 months to close anyway, and you'll get that one last season after all! 

So don't wait to list your ski home. You can still enjoy it while it is on the market and it will greatly improve your chances of selling it!

Joy Tarbell RealtorJoy Tarbell lived on Attitash's Cathedral Trail for 25+ Years. She has represented clients in 6 Attitash sales in the last 12 months and has current Attitash Listings ranging from $42,000 - $450,000 with access to others up to $1,625,000.

Email: to talk about listing your property.


Don't Forget the International Buyer

Bearfoot Creek Home Bartlett NHDid you know that 1 out of every 12 properties sold in the United States is to an international buyer? International buyers purchased $104 billion worth of property in the U.S. in the past year. They tend to pay more for the properties they buy, with 55% of the purchases made as all-cash transactions.* Just last year one of my Attitash Bear Peak listings sold to an international buyer for over $1.4 million! This buyer also purchased the adjacent lot and a construction contract for another $2.5 million.

In fact, I have met so many people from around the world who vacation in the Mount Washington Valley, I recently became a Global Property Specialist with Keller Williams in order to take advantage of new ways to market my resort and fine home listings to this somewhat untapped market. This program gives me a network of over 500,000 agents in 100 countries to work with. It allows me to translate my property information into 19 different languages before it is syndicated to the top international real estate sites around the world. Think of these sites as the Zillows/Trulias for other countries. This means my listings are being marketing to potential international buyers on websites they are familiar with, and in their own native language.

I'm excited about the opportunities for my clients with this new global exposure for their properties. So if you are thinking of listing your lakefront, mountainside or luxury home property, contact me at  I won't just think locally when marketing your property. There's a whole world of possibilities out there!

*Source: National Association of Realtors Profile of International Home Buying Activity 2015

Seasonal Photos Can Make the Sale

NH Property for Sale in FallDon't underestimate the value of a good photo when marketing your home, commercial property or lot. Good property photos can be the difference between making a sale and literally years of no activity.

Just recently I took on a multifamily property that I had been following for a few years. What made me interested in this property was not just its location but the fact that over several years its listing photos had not been changed. Taken on a grey winter day, a snow photo was what you saw if you looked at the listing, even in the heat of the summer. Once the listing had expired, I contacted the owners, who asked me to sell their property. One of the first things I suggested was that we get a professional photographer to take fresh, seasonally appropriate photos. Three weeks after I listed the property, it was under contract and is now sold. Photos do make a difference.

I have a unique way of looking at real estate. I am a licensed Broker and have listed and sold thousands of properties during my 39 year career. But I am also a Buyer. I invest in real estate. So I look at every listing in my area with a discerning eye. As if I might buy it. That helps me when I go to market my clients' properties. As a Buyer I want to see a property in all four seasons. Not just a snap shot in time. 

Taking and posting seasonally appropriate photos is key because it tells potential buyers you are not hiding anything. It tells them you want to give them all the information you have about the property so they can understand what it is like to own it year round, not just in the height of the summer, or at peak skiing time if it's a ski resort property. You also want to have current photos so that when a potential buyer calls you for a showing they are not walking up to a house with a different vision of the property then what might greet them at that particular point in time.

And most importantly, what does a buyer think when they see a snow photo in July ... old listing. Why hasn't it sold? Right away that buyer is discounting it in their head, wondering what's wrong with it.

Don't be afraid to show snow photos in winter or summer photos at a ski resort. Presenting the most accurate picture of a property for sale at that given point in time has helped me close countless transactions for my clients. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. So put your boots on at first snow and go out and get those winter pictures! It will pay off in the long run for both agents and sellers.

NH Properties in the Winter: 

New Hampshire home in winterNew Hampshire ski condo in winter

NH Properties in the Summer:

NH Home in the SummerNH Home for Sale in Summer



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Countess Mara ... The Stone House legend in Intervale, NH


Designed ties for stars, became an actress, married 5 times and called Bartlett home for many years


You’ve no doubt noticed this grand, gorgeous property behind the gate on Hurricane Mountain Road in Intervale. Especially this time of year, either going to Fryeburg or to hike Black Cap. Each time you pass the home – you’re passing by a piece of Mt Washington Valley history. Within the wrought iron gates of 361 Hurricane Mountain Road lies The Stone House, former residence of Countess Mara de Bninski. This is a woman who lived life to the fullest – and some of it right here in Intervale.

Countess Mara began life as Lucilla Mara de Vescovi, born in Rome, Italy in 1893. She was the daughter of a professor at the University of Rome. She married Malcolm Whitman, an American singles tennis champion in 1926. The couple made their home in New York City. Four years later, Lucilla found she had a flair for making mens’ dress ties. She discovered her talent after a “flair up” with her husband. The couple had an argument about Whitman’s “dull” ties and she created a silk dress tie.

After Whitman’s death in 1932, Lucilla travelled throughout Europe, where she purchased fabrics and brought them back to New York with the intention of launching a career making men's ties.  While she was in Europe, Lucilla, a talented woman, appeared in several films that were filmed in Paris.


Following her return to New York, Lucilla de Vescovi Whitman founded her men's upscale neckwear company in 1935. That’s when she branded herself "Countess Mara". Pretty good marketing for back in the day. There was some family history as royalty however. Her mother was born Baroness Elizabeth deGleria, of Trieste, and her maternal grandmother was a Hungarian countess, Maria Hatvany. 

Countess Mara was a natural business woman and her company thrived. In 1944 Countess Mara was awarded the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award in recognition of the influence her ties had had upon fashion. One of the most famous wearers of Countess Mara neckwear was Frank Sinatra.                                                                                                                         

Countess Mara became an official countess when she married her fifth husband, Count Victor Vitold Jean Maria Bnin-Bninski, a Polish nobleman. Thus the transformation into Countess Mara Mathilde DeBninski.

The countess apparently loved New England – and especially homes made of stone. Castles, no doubt, held a certain appeal to this woman of many talents. She bought the Wentworth Castle in Jackson in 1959. Countess Mara then hired 30 workers to restore the castle to its former beauty. After the 2 year project was complete, the Countess made the castle her home.

Countess Mathilde Mara De Bninski, a socialite, businesswoman and philanthropist, died Dec. 22, 1996, in Bartlett. She was 96.

Many thanks to Warren Schomaker of the Jackson Historical Society for his generous contribution in providing the Wentworth Castle information.