PV luxury pool with view

The decision to sell your primary residence is a life-changing event, especially if it was your home for several decades.  Not only are there preparations required for the sale, there are also a plethora of self-preparation stages an owner must go through in order to become the seller of a house rather than the owner of a home.

Senior couple smiling portrait outdoors. Soft focus background

Moving through the stages of selling a property can be emotionally and physically taxing.  It is a daunting task to wade through years of accumulated stuff, not to mention the storehouse of memories and decision each item requires.  Do you keep it, donate it, or toss it?  When one evaluates the possessions accumulated over the years we can’t help but realign the associated memories in our mind.  This is especially true if the house was your home for many years.

blog moving day photo

There’s no overnight solution, but by breaking your move into stages you can simplify the process.

1)  Step number one is making the decision to move.   Some people talk about moving “some day” for years.  Don’t allow yourself to stay stuck in “some day land” too long.  With the decision to move in place you can begin the process of prioritizing your possessions.  I remember I had a walk-in closet still filled with toys from my children’s early years, although my youngest child was in middle school, when I downsized from a large home in Rancho Palos Verdes.  I saved a few of the family favorites and earmarked the rest for a garage sale.  Ditto for the more than 1,000 children’s books and an equal number from my collection.  Again, I kept the favorites and sold or donated the rest.  Although I love books, I rarely read one a second  time.

Sand timer with vintage mechanical wind-up alarm clocks on white background, shallow focus

2)  Set aside an hour to work on the Move Project six days per week.  If you feel like doing more, that’s great, but don’t skip days unless absolutely necessary.  If you miss a day, then do “make up” time. Procrastination is not an option, and will stall you move and delay the progress life is ready to bestow upon you.  You will be amazed at the progress you can make by devoting as little as 60 minutes a day to your goal.

3)  Change can be scary, but you must overcome the desire to “keep things as they are” because life is always fluid.  Leaving a house that provided shelter for many years requires courage and determination.  A recent seller squared her shoulders after a particularly exhausting week with estate sale representatives, wallpaper removers and painters traipsing through her home from sun up to sun down, and said more to herself than to me, “I’m going to do this.”  She did.  The results were amazing and she is pleased with the accomplishment and excited about the next chapter in her life.  Letting go can be difficult, but it’s absolutely necessary when it’s time to move on.

blog welcome mat

4)  Enlist the help of professionals when you hit a snag in your progress or if you want to jump-start the process.  Professional organizers and stagers can give you some wonderful ideas for sifting through the clutter of decades of stuff. A client hired an organizer to help her tackle the first closet.  She did the remaining closets on her own using the techniques suggested by the professional.  One tip I loved was if an article of clothing has sentimental value but you never wear it–take a photo and put it the donate bag without further ado.  Keep in mind real estate agents know what features buyers want in today’s real estate market and can help you make the right decision about what to do and what not to do.  It’s wise to call your real estate agent before you begin the process of preparing your property for sale.  Not only will they be a tremendous resource for referrals, they can help with scheduling and organizing the entire process.

Sale Pending Sign

5)  Devise a plan, set a budget and timeline for completion of your Move Project. If you have a year to complete the tasks you can move at one speed.  If time is of the essence efforts must be intensified.  Funds must be spent where returns will be highest.  The first walk-though with a trusted real estate professional is promised to be overwhelming.  Grab a notebook and take notes.  Ask for referral suggestions.  Remember, we do this for a living and more than likely have professionals who can help with everything from helping you decide where to begin to making sure the final details are tended to before the For Sale sign announces your decision to the world.


Charlemagne Int’l Properties offers a free one-hour consultation to Palos Verdes sellers.  Book yours today!   Call Norma & Josh at 310-493-8333 or email us at ToeringandTeam@gmail.com

Norma and Josh Luxury 2012

 It goes without saying the smart seller will make sure their property is in tip-top condition before placing it on the market.  We often suggest hiring a handyman to play Mr. Fix It for a day or two. Whether it be a broken fence or a number of burned out light bulbs it’s important to remedy the message they send–deferred maintenance is one of the top reasons buyers ask for cash credits during the negotiation phase of the purchase process.

If the budget permits, a fresh coat of paint can work wonders in giving a house a fresh look.  A house with rooms painted in shades of white not only adds light to a room but sends a message to prospective buyers the walls are ready to receive their decorative colors of choice.  A monochromatic neutral color scheme on both the walls and floors will appeal to a wide variety of buyers. Whereas a red dining room or patterned wallpaper will appeal to only a few.  The goal is to have prospective buyers remember the house, not the decorating or furnishings.

875 S Madison Ave, Pasadena Liv Rm Twilight

After the clutter is under control, the walls are freshly painted and the floors are wearing new carpeting (or at least clean carpet) it is time to decide whether the property will benefit from being staged by a professional staging company.  If the property is a luxury home and is vacant, my advice is to show it in its best light by fully staging the house. The high-end buyer has come to expect luxury homes will be staged.  All that square footage can be cavernous when empty, but warm and inviting when appropriately staged to highlight the home’s outstanding attributes.

875 S Madison Ave Pasadena CA Library

If the property is occupied by the seller during the sale process, we will often arrange a staging consultation.  The end result may be a combination of the seller’s furnishings with accent pieces as well as accessories provided by the staging company.  The right lamp, mirror or rug can transform a room.  Furniture may be rearranged for better traffic flow or to take advantage of a view.  How we live in our home may be quite different from how we sell that “product” to the public.

Sellers often prefer to move to their replacement home first.  This is a wonderful solution if finances and logistics permit.  It is certainly less disruption and allows better access for showings and open houses during the marketing phase of selling a home.  There’s a science and an art to selling homes.  The facts and flair can combine to elevate the property to the best it can be.  At Charlemagne Int’l Property that’s always our goal for your property.


The quality of the photos used to market your home can either cost you money or be the moneymaker in your agent’s secret sauce of finding a ready, able and willing buyer for your property. Buyers search for properties online before they attend open houses or call a real estate agent to see homes.  Yes, they skim the important facts about a property, but they study the photos of homes for sale in neighborhoods of interest.  Let’s face it, every house has a kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms.  Buyers want to know what that kitchen looks like–is it updated, does it have an island and direct access to the garage or outdoors?  Good photos answer these question in a quick and easy manner.  Don’t be short-changed in the photo department.  Request, no demand, professional quality photos be used from day one.

875 S Madison Ave, Pasadena CA twilight back view

Photos are key in determining which homes a buyer will visit.  Curb appeal is visible in a photo.  Property condition is visible in photographs.  Prospective buyers scan through the photos to see the view, the yard and the master bedroom.  You’ll score extra points with buyers if you provide a floor plan of your property online.  A slide show compilation of photos give buyers a feel for the flow of a residence, and the floor plan permits the serious buyer to test the livability of the house without ever stepping inside.

English Door

Once a buyer arrives at your doorstep, whether it’s a castle or a cottage like this one I snapped in England, he/she has most likely already toured your property online.  You know what they say about first impressions, and that’s why the photographs posted really are worth a thousand words and possibly thousands of dollars in your pocket.  Professional photos are worth every penny of the cost.  They are usually the first point of introduction to your property.  Showings and sales are won and lost by the quality of photos used by your agent.

My Fav Castle


Our “Castles” come in every size and shape.  When it’s time to sell yours,make sure no turret is left unprepared. Whether you’re selling a Palos Verdes home with a pool and view, or a Palos Verdes Ocean front estate, we can help you accomplish your highest and best real estate results!  Contact us at Charlemagne Int’l Properties at 310.493.8333 or Norma@CharlemagneProperties.com. Josh Toering may be reached at 310.525.9440 or ToeringandTeam@gmail.com

Norma and Josh Luxury 2012


Charlemagne International Properties uses cutting edge technology and savvy Internet marketing techniques to ensure your property will rank high with search engines and on real estate websites.  Norma Toering has blogged about Los Angeles real estate in the South Bay for past eight years.  Her award-winning real estate blogs are consistently ranked as some of the best in the country.  With over 4000 original articles written by Norma Toering circulating in cyberspace, it’s easy to see why when it’s time to sell your Palos Verdes home the call to Charlemagne Int’l Properties ( 310.493.8333) may be the best thing you do for your property, your peace of mind and your profit and loss real estate statement.

Josh and Ben with gift from client

Josh began his real estate career while still a student at Peninsula High School and continued to work in various capacities while attending college.  He’s well versed in real estate technology as well as the local Palos Verdes and South Bay real estate market.  His market reports are renowned for his creation of the “Little Yellow Dot” that gives a quick update on the movements of the real estate market in Palos Verdes and all neighborhoods on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  Check out his monthly market reports for PV, and several other South Bay neighborhoods, to see what is for sale and what sold in your neighborhood.

We consider ourselves to be educators and experts on the Palos Verdes real estate market.  The “selling” we do is a byproduct of the knowledge and experience we share with prospective sellers and buyers. We study the sales and stats so you won’t have to wade through recent sales and real estate trends to determine the value of your property. It’s what we do on a daily basis for our clients.  We would be honored to become your choice when you need a top Palos Verdes real estate agent to help you prepare your Palos Verdes home for sale.

Charlemagne Int’l Properties is a boutique real estate company devoted to helping its clients maximize the value of their real estate holdings.  We’ve been actively selling real estate in the South Bay of Los Angeles since 1992.  When the Big Box franchise no longer felt like a good fit, or offered the support we wanted to afford our clientele, we opted to create our version of “the real estate experience” from preparing a property for sale to continuing customer service after the sale.  We are well into year two, and we could not be happier with the results.  We are less about Selling and more about Service.  We promise you will notice and appreciate the difference.

We know our clients do not have the time to track the local Palos Verdes real estate market on a monthly basis.  We publish monthly updates of 17 neighborhoods on the Palos Verdes Peninsula as well as several other neighborhoods throughout the South Bay of Los Angeles.

Our “Little Yellow Dot” market snapshot sliders are part of our “brand” and have been for years.  If you only have a minute to assess your local real estate market, a quick glance at this graphic sums of the state of the Palos Verdes and South Bay real estate market.

If you would like to know the value of your Palos Verdes property in today’s real estate market, we can help at no cost.  Contact us at Norma@Charlemagne Int’l Properties or text or call 310.493.8333.