The Dirty Secrets of Home Staging

The Dirty Secrets of Home Staging

Home staging is nothing new. Thanks to HGTV and home flipping frenzy, It has simply been rebranded with a new emphasis on home decor and design enhancements. With this overwhelming supply of ideas, many home sellers are overlooking the simplest and the most cost effective ways to stage their homes for sale.

Deep cleaning is an essential part of home staging. A homebuyer will not care about a trendy new paint color or accent rug if the house isn’t deep cleaned. Look at the detail in your home such as windows, ceiling fan blades, light globes, and the yucky crevices around your water faucets, drains, and sink edges.  Not only are these clean details important in your staging, it will be helpful in the second phase of your home sale process. After a home buyer has written a contract to purchase your house and they return for inspections, they will begin to see the details they missed the first time.  You are essentially selling your house twice.  Therefore, it only makes sense to make these items part of the staging process. You don’t want your home buyer to get cold feet, change their mind, and cancel the purchase.

Impress the inspector. This is part of good home staging too.  Clean out your hot water tank and furnace closets. Wipe down your furnace and hot water tank to remove dirt and dead bugs. This will do more than make your appliances look better. It will show you have properly maintained them. You may even discover problems you should correct before a buyer sees them. This is yet another area where you are thinking ahead of the game to get the maximum benefit for both marketing your home and during the escrow process.

Buyers who are more sophisticated will notice these items just as much as the superficial decor and furniture placement.  By starting with the end in mind and working your way backward, you can make sure your home selling plan is solid.

Here are a few things to review to stage your home that are just as important as the fancy rug…

  • ___ Replace any burned out bulbs. Inside and out
  • ___ Clean windows (especially those with attractive views.)
  • ___ Clear out corners that tend to collect junk. These can make rooms seem smaller in photos.
  • ___ Clean Bathroom mirrors. Spots above sinks tend to show in photos.
  • ___ Clear counters in bathrooms and kitchen.
  • ___ Fold hanging towels neatly.
  • ___ Close shower curtains and toilet seats.
  • ___ Make the beds.
  • ___ Pick up kid’s toys and move any excess toys out to storage.
  • ___ Check the fireplace mantle – free of clutter?
  • ___ Arrange furniture neatly. Remove anything unsightly for photos and you can place it back afterward.
  • ___ Clear back porch of debris and arrange furniture.
  • ___ Put away yard tools.
  • ___ Trim trees and bushes.
  • ___ Mow lawn.
  • ___ Mulch flower beds.
  • ___ Open curtains and blinds to let in ample light.

When you are finished, step back and take a look as if you were looking at a magazine.  Would a photograph of your house right now (bathrooms, living room, exterior) look good in a magazine?  If so, you have succeeded!  Turn on the lights and we are ready to go!

For some laughs, take a look at this:

Preparing you for success,


Darryl Baskin is a 30 year veteran in Tulsa real estate and host of KRMG’s Future of Real Estate advising Saturdays at 1pm.  Broker/Associate with eXp Realty and has hosted The Future of Real Estate has can be heard Saturdays at 1pm on, fm 102.3, am 740

Which is the Best Part of Tulsa for You?

Which is the Best Part of Tulsa for a First Time Home Buyer?


“Image courtesy of koratmember /”.

6:32  First-time Home Buyer Loan Tulsa–  Midtown or South Tulsa?

Which Homes are Better- South Tulsa or Mid-Town? For first time home buyers, selecting a home can be a daunting task. There are many new things to learn and on top of everything you must decide whether to purchase a new home or older home and in what area of town you want to live.  For many young professionals, Midtown is the place to be.  It’s especially popular for those wanting to live near Brookside and Cherry Street. The Midtown area is about the lifestyle. It draws people.   There are many locally owned shops and unique stores and restaurants in Midtown arTulsaea.  It can also be good for those who work downtown.

Downtown Tulsa is developing more residential living options but the Midtown Tulsa area puts you near downtown Tulsa but in a lower density living environment that downtown Tulsa.  The walk score- how walkable a neighborhood is- is good in Midtown as well.  Midtown is quite different from South Tulsa though.  There is lots of growth in the South Tulsa and Bixby area.

In South Tulsa and Bixby, you are more likely to find chain restaurants and stores. There are many new restaurants, stores, health food stores, and fitness centers.  These have been great for South Tulsa and Bixby economic growth.  There is also lots of new construction.

The types of residential real estate in Tulsa vary  in Midtown versus South Tulsa and Bixby.  Midtown homes are generally older homes built from the 1920’s to the 1970’s.  These homes can often be pricey for first time home buyers.    In South Tulsa and Bixby you are most likely to find newer homes than those in Midtown.  For many Tulsa home buyers, especially first time Tulsa home buyers, purchasing a home in Midtown might seem a little out of their price range. Purchasing a home at a lower price and fixing it up can be a great opportunity to get a  home in the area you want, whether Midtown or South Tulsa.  When thinking about what type of home to buy and in what area, ask yourself:

  1. What type of lifestyle are you looking for?  Want to bike or walk to work?
  2. How much risk you are willing to take?
  3. How willing you are to work with a contractor? or How much work you can do yourself?
  4. How much down-payment or equity do you have?

There are lots of great homes for sale in the Tulsa area, talk to your Tulsa Realtor for more advice.

Read,  “What is an As-if Tulsa House Loan” for information on a special type of Tulsa house loan that can save you lots on closing costs.



Funding Options for Limited Credit Tulsa, OK Home buyers

Darryl and Dan Newberry of TTCU discuss the differences between interest rates and APR

When it’s time to get a loan, for a new house or to refinance your current mortgage, there are key terms worth understanding so you can be an informed consumer and make the best decisions for your financial future. Two terms which can be confused but that have distinct meaning are Interest Rates and APR, or Annual Percentage Rate.

Interest rate refers the actual amount of interest you will pay on a loan. This is akin to a fee due to your lender for providing you with the funds to buy your house or refinance your mortgage. Interest rates will vary depending on the current market, in particular the bond markets around the world. A person’s credit will impact the interest rate as well. Those with good credit scores can expect to pay less in interest than those with lower scores. The extra interest helps lessen the risk of lending funds; which is a key reason to keep your credit score in check.

Annual Percentage Rate also known as APR reflects the total cost of a loan over its lifetime. This figure is calculated with a mortgage loan amount, the interest rate, and all fees associated with a loan. Taken all together, an APR reflects how much you are paying to have a loan in place. A key piece of information to keep in mind is, the closer in number an APR is to the Interest rate, the better your loan in terms of costs to you.

APRs creep up when additional fees are included. Lenders can add their own fees to loans, and many have a wide range of fees which may or may not make sense to have in terms of a consumers’ point of view. By checking the APR and comparing to the interest rate, you have a checks and balances way of knowing if you are getting dinged with a lot of extra fees or not.

Another way you can save money on the cost of a home loan is through a flat-fee servicer such as TTCU, which has just one flat fee for all their mortgage loans. Visit  to learn about the different options available and apply for a loan. For real estate questions, contact The Baskin Real Estate Specialists of eXp Realty at 918-732-9732 or



Listen to the Electrical Expert: Get a General Contract when Remodeling

Darryl & Steve from Murray Electric talk about the importance and benefits of hiring a general contractor

If you have remodeling plans or are ready to make some updates in your home, before you begin, it’s highly recommended that you search for, interview and hire a general contractor to spearhead the project.  Take it from first-hand advice, as noted by Steve, from Murray Electric, a general contractor knows the order of how things should be done, and how to get them done well and properly. Electricians work a lot with general contractors, being able to get into a home project at right time based on the expertise of a contractor can make a big difference in time and money expenditures.

Save yourself time and money and lessen your stress by working with a professional. Just as when you’re buying or selling your home, it’s better to work with a Realtor®, who’s there to help and support you, so too is it better to work with a general contractor. Well experienced and trustworthy contractors know how to deal with the permit and inspection processes, and they have their own trusted team of workers to help your remodeling project be completed the way you want it. So how do you find the right general contractor?

Just like hiring a Realtor®, you need to ask questions, and rely on multiple sources for input.  Don’t just go with the friend of a friend option. A friend’s contracting friend may be a great contractor, but the best way for you to find out is to check their references, including recent clients, contact the Better Business Bureau for their rating or to see if complaints have been filed. Another sure way to check on a general contractors’ integrity is to contact the OSCN which can provide you with all public legal documents associated with a person, including as past companies they owned or operated, if there are any liens against them, and if they are fully licensed.

Just as I have created my special FREE report, 20 Questions You Absolutely Must Ask Your Next Agent Before You Sign on the Dotted Line, interviewing general contractors is worth the effort. My ultimate goal is to help educate home owners, seller and buyers, so they can be confident in dealing with their real estate transaction. The same should apply when it comes to being happy with your remodeling project.

The next time you have an electrical issue come up at home, save yourself a lot of stress and time, by having a conversation with Steve at Murry Electric yourself. This is one local service where there is a live person on the other end of the phone. With two locations in Tulsa (918-835-9605) and Broken Arrow (918-254-9771), help is just a phone call away. Find more information at their website:


Featured Properties:

314 E 112th St, Jenks, OK  $280,000, 2,751 SqFt. 4 bedrooms, 3- car garage, Within Jinks school district- A hard to find home for the price and size together!

1554 S. Yorktown Pl., Tulsa, OK $619,000, 6,000 Sq Ft. Historic Home with many original architectural features throughout. 1930s Tudor Style. Full basement, Apartment over the garage and more.

For a complete list of active listings, visit


For real estate questions, contact The Baskin Real Estate Specialists of eXp Realty at 918-732-9732 or


Be a CASA Volunteer & Empower Children with a Voice

Darryl speaks with CASA volunteer Bridget about what CASA is and how they help deprived children through court proceedings.

CASA. Chances are you’ve heard the acronym but aren’t sure exactly what it stands for. You may know that CASA works with children but don’t know what they do. As such an important organization for the community, it’s my goal to help spread the word of what CASA is and how you can help. As a CASA volunteer, I can say this is truly the most amazing, life-changing experience I’ve had, where I’ve also made a positive difference in the lives of some children in great need of support.

CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, are volunteers whom, with special training, are the voice of deprived children dealing with situations through our court system. Life isn’t always full of cherries and an easy road. For many children, there are serious challenges they must face in or out of the home, such as neglect, abuse. These children, deprived of safety and comfort for whatever the reason, often find themselves a ward of the court as the world of adults takes on the challenge of where and how to care for them.

These children deserve a voice, someone to speak up for them when they may not have the capacity to do so. Without a specific support person within court proceedings, doing what’s best for a child can be much more difficult. Within our court system we have judges who need to make informed decisions to help deprived children get the support and care they need. Lawyers, police officers and the Department of Human Services are there to help, but only within the capacity of the laws and regulations they must follow. They are the macrocosm aspect of the court system, but children sometimes need a microcosm of support, a person they can trust to go to bat for them and give them a voice to be heard.

This is what CASA does. CASA volunteers take specific training to learn how to work with children, what questions to ask and things to take note of in interactions with deprived children in a court case. Sure, safety is key to finding a new home for someone whose parents aren’t able to care for them. But does this automatically mean a foster home or a relative? Which is better?  The answers depend in large part in what the child needs which is unique to each one. A CASA helps the judge to understand the specifics for an individual child, providing a better likelihood of a positive future by giving the child a voice.

CASA is always in need of help. No special degree is required, you’ll have training and support along the way. CASAs are assigned one case at a time, so you’ll be empowered to empower these children in need. This is one way volunteering can truly have a significant and positive impact for both the one being helped and the volunteer directly. Find more information at their website as well For real estate questions, contact The Baskin Real Estate Specialists of eXp Realty at 918-732-9732 or

How to Save 1% and Lose 3% When Selling Your Home

Darryl talks about why it’s important to have a Realtor® at your side as well as the importance of interviewing.

When hiring a real estate agent, many people only consider what their commission rate is. However, when interviewing agents, there’s more you need to consider. You should be sure to choose a Realtor® that has the right fit of expertise, works in the right neighborhood, understands how to interpret the market, is available to help you, and has a system in the background that takes the chaos out of home sales. While paying a higher commission doesn’t always make a difference, paying less can often hurt your situation.

Let’s compare a real estate agents commission to something else. I have a personal experience when I hired an accountant that charged less than others. I thought I was saving money by doing so, but for 3 years, I was paying a large part of my profit back in taxes. Finally, I listened to my friend, and spoke with their accountant. He charged 3x as much as mine. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to afford him and the enormous amount of taxes I was paying at the end of the year. But, this gentleman knew how to do taxes, properly allocate funds, and he was a financial planner. I ended up hiring him, and I received 6x what I’d been paying in. This is why it’s important to analyze the level of skill a professional has when looking at their fees.

Why is it important to have a Realtor® by your side? They serve as a communicator between the home buyer and seller. This is good to have due to the emotional ties we have toward our homes. They help with issues that occur, such as the appraisal comes in lower or a maintenance issue. They can tell you out of X amount of sales, X% accepted an issue that came up during the home inspection. Of course, they get you to the ultimate goal – the closing table. As well as getting everyone to agree to the terms and have the terms be adequate to seal the deal. When hiring be sure to hire someone with the right experience and knowledge as well as someone you trust.

How is your listing price determined? This price is determined by more than looking at what your neighbors home sold for, or what someone said your home is worth. It’s determined by what the buyer thinks, which is more than a standard Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) does. It’s also the job of the Realtor® to educate both the buyer and the seller of the facts and data that determine this amount. This takes the emotional aspect out of the equation to allow each party to make a better decision.

What is the difference between making your house perfect vs. cutting corners? When preparing your home for the market, you may be unsure of how much money you should spend when making repairs. Covering things up instead of fixing, is cutting corners, which I’m not an advocate of. However, there are some individuals that feel if they don’t fix an issue perfectly, they aren’t being fair or honest with the home buyer. But, today’s buyers are looking for homes that are a deal, one with no structural damage. They would prefer an issue being fixed enough for them to be worry free for the next 5-10 years. Otherwise, if you spend an enormous amount of money, the home would be priced out of their market, and not affordable for most. An agent will help you understand the best option for any home maintenance issues that need to be fixed.

Go to to download a free home seller report with no obligation. You can also schedule a call with me at

Featured Properties:

1181 E. 131st, Jenks, OK – 10 acres with an option of 58; over 16,000 Sq.Ft.; This is a beautiful custom design and build home. It completely surrounds a private courtyard and pool. There’s an expansion property and lookout tower. This can be a legacy home, or converted into a business. It’d be perfect to hold wedding receptions.

752 Knobb Hill Dr, Cleveland, OK – Sand Springs – $170,000, Split-level, 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths, 3 acres with a lakeside view, easy access to 412, flexible floorplan, grand entry suite.

4706 S. 178th E. Ave, Broken Arrow, OK – $259,000, 3,000 Sq. Ft. 2-story home with 4 bedrooms, and optional 5th bedroom or game room upstairs. Has 2 dining rooms, breakfast bar, 3 living areas and a 3-car garage. Located in Stonegate neighborhood. You won’t find many homes with these features for this price.

940 E. College St, Broken Arrow, OK – Very affordable condo ideal for convenient living. $68,000. 2-bedroom, 1.5-baths, 2-level unit in Broken Arrow. Live a more care-free lifestyle close to downtown. The best of urban village living within a home-town atmosphere.

For a complete list of active listings, visit

For real estate questions, contact The Baskin Real Estate Specialists of eXp Realty at 918-732-9732 or

What is the Difference Between an Associate, Agent, Broker and Broker Associate?

Darryl talks about the different titles real estate agents are called and what they mean.

Real estate agents have different titles they can be called. You’ve probably heard of the terms agent, associate, broker and broker associate. This can be confusing to the public, so let’s discuss what they mean.

Long ago, we were all called agents, but there were certain duties you’d have to perform which created a mess. The law now states that we are sales associates, and this cleared up some of the duties that are required for a broker and the broker’s agents. While, you can still call your associate a real estate agent, our legal title is sales associate. This new title protects home sellers and buyers, by preventing an agent from performing certain duties that could potentially cause a problem. But, you’ll hear most people refer to us as a real estate agent, associate, broker or broker associate. And these names at times can be used interchangeably.

The difference between a real estate broker and an agent or associate, is the broker has a higher level of experience. They’ve also undergone additional testing. These individuals receive a new license to show that they are a real estate broker. They can have their own company with associates working for them.

Brokers report to the real estate commission. When managing sales associates, they are required to make sure everyone is following the rules and regulations of the real estate commission. This is why, if you’ve encountered an issue, your real estate agent may need to check with their broker. This ensures all laws are being followed.

Sometimes, you can have a broker act as an associate, hence the term broker associate. While they have all the experience, skills and the license required to be a broker, they’ve decided to step outside of the management role, and act solely as a sales associate. And, this is what I’ve done. I am a real estate broker, but I’ve decided to focus on helping home buyers and sellers, instead of managing associates.

For real estate questions, contact The Baskin Real Estate Specialists of eXp Realty at 918-732-9732 or


Should You Consider Purchasing a Home in Surrounding Tulsa Cities?

Darryl talks with eXp Realtor® Jackie Stokes about Dewey and Bartlesville – two cities outside of Tulsa.

When house hunting, it’s important to think about your commute to work. Unless you work from home, or work only 2-3 days a week, it’s a pretty important factor to consider. However, it’s not only important to look at the mileage, but also the time it takes to travel. There are some areas in Tulsa where it takes a good amount of time to drive a few miles. It may take you the same amount of time traveling from Bartlesville to Tulsa as it does from a house that’s within Tulsa boundaries.

Bartlesville and Dewey are two cities outside of Tulsa that could prove to be a viable option for you. Bartlesville is about 15 miles North of Tulsa and 30 miles South of the Kansas line. If you’re working on the North side of Tulsa, your commute would be about 45 minutes. This isn’t too long of a commute, and Highway 75 is less congested.

What do these towns have to offer? Bartlesville and Dewey have more house to offer for the same amount of money that you’re looking to spend in Tulsa. There are beautiful homes available right on the lake. You’ll notice gas and groceries are cheaper. There’s also less crime, pollution, and traffic. The roads are always cleared during winter, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to get to work.

These are small towns that operate at a slower pace, which means shorter wait times at the movies, and restaurants. You’ll get to know the people in the community, allowing you to feel a greater connection. Running into people you know makes for a fun, social environment. There’s also a 12-mile trail that winds through the city of Bartlesville for you to enjoy.

Jackie Stokes is a real estate agent that’s grown up in Dewey and has commuted to work in North Tulsa. Over the years the cities have seen growth, and there are a lot of new businesses in the area. If you’d like to discuss more about the real estate market in Bartlesville and Dewey, you can call/text Jackie Stokes at 918-337-9293, or email her at

For real estate questions, contact The Baskin Real Estate Specialists of eXp Realty at 918-732-9732 or