Monthly Archives: November 2011

Creating a stunning holiday table

by Maureen Laning  

The holiday season is fast approaching, so it’s time to think about entertaining. With the focus on the holiday meal, what would be more inviting than a gorgeous table setting?  If the table looks fabulous, the meal to follow will surely be!

When planning your holiday table, start with items you already own – go shopping in your own home. Decide on linens, as they will enhance the mood. Consider using various textures and layers: pair a tablecloth with place mats and then use a coordinating napkin. Next, select a container for your centerpiece. You could use a container not originally meant for flowers – a soup tureen or punch bowl, individual pieces of stemware make great vases or candle holders, or maybe a family heirloom, which has always been used.

Once the vessels are chosen, it will be easier to select what to fill them with. Start with what is available in your own backyard.  Consider using evergreen, boxwood, or ivy as a foliage, which can be picked year-round if you have access. The produce section of your favorite market is another great place of inspiration:  gorgeous pomegranates, lemons, clemantines, grapes or pears will add vibrant color.  Whereas artichokes, kale, and broccoli will add great texture.  Exquisite seasonal flowers will add the finishing touch.  Select flowers that will make a statement, keeping in mind your linens, containers, and produce.  Working in monochromatic or complimentary tones will offer the most impact.  Be sure to involve your local florist, they should offer suggestions and varying price points.  At the Bedford Village Florist, we encourage customers to be creative, and are always happy to recommend flowers and accessories needed.

Adding small details such as place cards, napkin rings, and votive candles will finish the overall design.  Your table will look amazing, your guests will be in awe of your skills and everyone will have a holiday they’ll remember.

For more information contact Maureen Laning of the Bedford Village Florist at (914) 234-7180 or

The importance of pricing your house correctly or…think twice before you price

By Caroline Shepherd

Many home sellers ask “Why not start out at a higher price; we can always come down if we do not get offers?” This is a good question, and deserves a serious answer.

If you WANT TO SELL your house rather than just list it, overpricing can be responsible for the loss of a good sale and quite possibly result in a much lower final price.

You’ve heard the old adage in the real estate business. “One’s first offer is likely to be the best offer.” Surprisingly often this turns out to be true. Here’s why.

When a house is first listed, there are a number of buyers out there who have been looking for some time and are educated about the values of homes on the market in their price range.  Such buyer’s are anxiously awaiting the new listing hoping for that special house. Because it is new to the market, they sense an urgency to see it, and if they like it, they have reason to fear that others will like it as well.  This is the moment when the buyer is most likely to make an offer, but only if the property is well priced.  If the house if overpriced, the educated buyer will know it and will feel no urgency to make a decision.

After a house has been listed for some time, it loses that sense of excitement and the buyer’s drive to move quickly tends to lessen.  Also dissipated is the possibility that two buyers will make offers at the same time….this is the kind of competition that usually brings the best price and terms for the seller. A timeworn listing, especially an overpriced one, will not inspire this effect.

Is it safe to overprice? Perhaps in a briskly rising market, certainly not the market we have today.

Here are some statistics from the Westchester Multiple Listing Service; from 7/01/2009 through 6/30/2011 (2 years of data).  Homes priced correctly sold at 96% list to sale price ratio with only 125 days on market. Homes that had one or more price reduction, (below original list price), sold at 78% list to sale price ratio reflecting 388 days on market. This is sure proof of the importance of pricing your home correctly from the start.

Your Sales Agent is trained to bring you the facts of the marketplace, including recent sales of comparable properties and descriptions of houses on the market as competition. This is your very best indication of what buyers will pay for your property…it is the marketplace which determines the probable selling range of your property and, in our current market pricing realistically with perceived value on the part of the buyers, is of paramount importance.

For more information contact Caroline Shepherd at Houlihan Lawrence: