Visions of the Perfect Listing

Spruce up your listings with advice from the experts.

February 1, 2009

By the time February rolls around, we Chicagoans have endured two or three months of cold weather and have another two months to go. We've been spending an inordinate amount of time inside our houses. Naturally, we're dreaming about tulips and fantasizing about home improvement projects.

For those planning to put their home on the market this spring, such thoughts are now taking on a real urgency. With that in mind, our second annual House & Home issue opens with a piece on the two most important rooms in the house: the kitchen and bath. We asked design experts for insights on making the most of these high-traffic rooms.

Even if your listings don't have the features most sought by today's buyers, you can help sellers plan economical upgrades or give buyers a vision of what those outdated rooms could become.

To help you make a great first impression online, where most buyers get their first look at your listings, we offer a curbside makeover planned with the camera in mind. Sellers on a budget—and who's not today?—will appreciate our tips on wise color choices for every room, plus our low-cost and no-cost design tweaks and highlights of a new National Association of Home Builders' survey on how long home appliances and other components can be expected to last. And because everyone is talking about the importance of eco-friendly living, we share some of the coolest and smartest products that can help home owners do their part for the environment. The whole package, brought to you once again this year by REALTOR Benefits® partner Lowe's, begins on page 22.

From there, go online for our exclusive video tour of a dream green kitchen. And be among the first to read our dispatches from the 2009 International Builders Show in Las Vegas, Jan. 20–23. We've posted news from the show at our new Home & Design blog, "Styled, Staged, & Sold." Whether or not design is your passion, you'll want to check back regularly with the blog; our team of design experts will be offering tips for getting your listings in showing shape, ideas about remodeling, and design news including trends in green design. We welcome guest bloggers, too. So if you want to share a staging success, tell us about a trend in your area, or offer tips for handling design challenges in a sale, contact Melissa Dittmann Tracey,

Enjoy this special House & Home issue—and don't hesitate to write to us at with your feedback and with story ideas you'd like us to pursue.

Update: The Lowe’s Program for REALTORS® is no longer available through the REALTOR Benefits® Program. For questions, please call NAR’s REALTOR Benefits® Help Line at 800-627-5233.

Stacey Moncrieff

Stacey is director of content strategy for the National Association of REALTORS® and editor-in-chief of REALTOR® Magazine. In addition, she oversees the quarterly REALTOR® Association Executive magazine and manages a variety of e-communications for REALTORS® and REALTOR® association executives. She has been with the NAR for more 30 years, starting as an associate editor with Real Estate Today magazine, where she covered sales and finance topics.