Home Staging Helps Sell Your Home

October 9th, 2009 by admin

Think back to when you last were house hunting. Try to remember which houses made you say “Wow!” and which ones made you say “Whoa!” More than likely, the “Wow!” homes were organized, clutter-free, and each room in the house felt open and warm. If you are like most families in America, you are on the go 24/7 and your home (sad but true) does not capture that “open and warm” feeling. That is where home staging becomes beneficial.

The goal of home staging is to improve your home’s appearance with the ultimate goal of selling the home faster and for the highest possible price. Why home stage? We are in a buyer’s market right now and putting that little time and effort into staging can make all the difference.

When staging your home, think of all the aspects that require some changes: the yard, entryway, living areas, kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms. A room that might not be important to you may be important to a potential buyer. A general rule of thumb is to keep your house clean and free of clutter. Make sure the yard is weeded, mowed and maybe plant a few fresh flowers. If you have kids, make sure their toys are not strewn about the yard or house. Have a friend help you look over the house. Patch up any knicks in the walls, peeling paint or holes.

Once you have tidied-up, it’s time to survey your furniture options. A majority of families spend most of their time in their living or family room areas and bedrooms. Keep in mind: Potential buyers want to imagine themselves living in your home. Make it easy for them by keeping the house warm and inviting with these helpful hints:

• Remove any family portraits; the buyers need to envision living there, not you.
• Make sure each room is open and easy to walk through. Remove furniture if it’s necessary.
• If you have a mantle or bookshelves, keep it simple; a couple items is all you need displayed. Remove and store the rest some place else.
• If your furniture seems outdated or grungy, you might want to consider contacting your local Hometown ColorTyme Rent-To-Own store to rent some furniture for a few weeks or months. Spending that little extra on a nicer sofa and loveseat set could make all the difference to a potential buyer.
• If the furniture in your bedrooms takes up more space than there is walking room, it’s also wise to contact ColorTyme and rent some smaller furniture.
• Make a trip to a local thrift store or find a good sale and replace worn out curtains, bedspreads and/or linens. This will help freshen-up the room and make it feel more up-to-date – even if the house was built 10 years ago.
• Keep the closets free of clutter. Closet space is a key benefit for most women. Place excess clothing, shoes and any other items in storage boxes.

Moving on throughout the house, another major stop along the way is the kitchen. This may actually be the place some families spend most of their time and can become the messiest. Be sure to thoroughly scrub down all appliances, walls and countertops. Everything should sparkle – even the kitchen sink.

If you plan to take your appliances and you have avoided buying new ones, now might be the right time to shop for something new. This is also a good time to contact your local Hometown ColorTyme Rent-To-Own store to see about replacing that old refrigerator. Your kitchen can look new and alive by just adding a refrigerator. If you later decide you don’t like that refrigerator model for your new home, you can return it hassle-free or exchange it for something else.

If you’ve already moved into your new home but haven’t sold your previous home, don’t fret – ColorTyme can help. Most people can’t leave their own furniture in the old house while it’s sitting vacant. Stop by your local Hometown ColorTyme Rent-To-Own store to temporarily rent (with low weekly or monthly payments) some small inexpensive pieces of furniture to adorn your house with while it’s up for sale. Think about including a loveseat and chair set for the living room with an end-table and lamp. In addition, think about including a kitchen table with four chairs. Potential buyers don’t want to try too hard to visualize what their potential future home may look like.

A crucial part of the selling experience is to have your home ready for every home seeker that stops by. Your home can stand out from the rest by adding a few minor touches here and there. Also, you’re more likely to sell it for your asking price if it’s properly staged. Try following these easy steps and make your home the next “Wow!” home for someone else.

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Today’s HDTV, Video Game Console, and Blu-Ray Trends

October 5th, 2009 by admin

The upcoming holiday selling season will be all about high-definition TVs, Blu-ray Disc players and video game systems. This probably isn’t news to everybody because the same was true last season, more or less. What you didn’t know are some interesting tidbits about how these industries are performing in the marketplace today. In some instances, what’s coming down the pike might be surprising.

Here are some brief research points that could shed some light on what’s to come:

*Because of the digital TV transition on June 12, many consumers made new TV purchases. According to research firm Retrevo Pulse, more and more households are adding high-def TVs to multiple rooms. In addition, HDTV purchases are soaring because of the availability of HD programming: terrestrial broadcasts, cable, satellite and Internet TV.

*The research company In-Stat says that digital media adaptors, pay TV set-top boxes, Blu-ray players/recorders, HDTVs, and media-center PCs are delivering Web video into households. However, all this will be overshadowed by the popularity of video game consoles. In-Stat says that consoles are currently “the most utilized devices for bringing Web video to the TV and will remain so through 2013. By 2013, over 10.7 million consoles will be used as Web-to-TV mediation devices in the U.S.”

*In-Stat also said that more than 66 million people are “using the Internet while camped out on their sofas watching TV.” Nowadays, TV has become more interactive for exactly this reason: Broadcasters know that households’ PCs aren’t too far away from their TVs. Many TV shows are asking viewers to vote online, register for contests, visit a program’s Web site for more information, and more. These networks know that they can access viewers on TVs and PCs, simultaneously. As time goes on, this becomes more the norm rather than the trend.

*Starting November 1, the new Energy Star TV specification for TVs takes effect. TVs with the compliant Energy Star specifications will be available for the holiday shopping season. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the new specifications account for both active and standby power consumption across all types of TVs.

*According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if all TVs purchased by consumers in 2009 met the new Energy Star standards, the savings in greenhouse gas emissions would be equal to removing 1 million cars from the road. Also according to the EPA, TVs that earn the Energy Star label under the new requirements will be up to 30 percent more efficient than non-qualified models, making it easier for consumers to select an efficient model based upon the government-backed criteria. The EPA projects that approximately one quarter of the TVs currently entering the market will meet the stricter specification for efficiency. A list of models qualified under the new Energy Star TV specification can be found online at www.energystar.gov.

*According to research firm The NPD Group, Blu-ray Disc video technology is moving further into the mainstream. First quarter sales of stand-alone Blu-ray players in the U.S. grew to more than 400,000 units, an increase of 72 percent over the same period last year.

*A recent PC World article said that Panasonic recently unveiled a prototype 50-inch TV and companion glasses that together give the viewer the illusion of three dimensions. Expect more 3D products from Panasonic – and other manufacturers – this year and in 2010.

*Want to know what HD programming (by service provider) is available in your zip code? Visit www.whereisHD.com and enter your zip code to find out.

Beyond conventional retail, flat panel TVs, game consoles and computers have been favorites in the rent to own industry – especially among ColorTyme customers. Multi-tasking and multi-use hasn’t been overlooked either in this market. In some cases, TVs can double as educational devices and represent the central entertainment resource for many families.

Sources: Media Business Corp., Retrevo Pulse, PC World, In-Stat, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The NPD Group, and the Consumer Electronics Association

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Video – Why ColorTyme Rent to Own?

August 10th, 2009 by admin

The below video was originally created by some folks at ColorTyme for marketing purposes, but it does a great job of explaining why so many people choose to rent to own great merchandise for their home. It also explains why ColorTyme is different from other rent to own or lease ownership stores.

If you are looking for a way to get the things you want without ever having to worry about debt, watching this video is an excellent place to start. The video stars Bruce Emory, a ColorTyme franchisee in Atlanta (not a spokesperson). He generously volunteered to speak on behalf of all ColorTyme store owners.

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Rent to Own HDTVs: Know Your High-def Technologies

August 10th, 2009 by admin

You’re ready to finally get that high-definition television (HDTV) you’ve been flirting with at your Hometown ColorTyme. It’s that 47-inch flat panel HDTV that comes with…1080p full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, 15,000:1 contrast ratio, ATSC/NTSC/Clear QAM – 1 tuner, XD engine, 178 true wide viewing angle, SRS TruSurroundXT, 3 HDMI, and USB 2.0.

There is no doubt, it can get confusing. It can also become frustrating for somebody who doesn’t know how to differentiate between LCD, Plasma and DLP HDTVs. Forget about all the bells and whistles; it’s the core technology that’s important. So, here’s what you need to know before you make your rent to own television decision.

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)

LCD technology incorporates liquid crystals that are squeezed in a space between two glass plates. The images shown on the screen are created by varying the amount of electrical charge applied to the crystals.

In general, consumer interest in LCD HDTVs has increased over the past few years. Moreover, LCD is the most widely produced (and appreciated) TV technology in the world. Consumers find LCD TVs to be more versatile. And, now that prices have dropped, it’s also the most sold TV technology.

The benefits:

Resolution – The number of pixels horizontally and vertically create a display’s resolution (typically measured in pixels or dots per inch, such as 1920×1080). The greater the resolution, the more information or images you’ll be able to view. For instance, text is easier to read on an LCD (compared to other technologies) because the resolution is refined.

Flexibility – Most LCDs can also be used as PC monitors (requiring the correct input and computer connection cable). Additionally, many LCDs can be mounted on the wall (an installation not provided by ColorTyme) or placed on a flat surface so the screen can tilt and swivel. This allows the TV to be low-profile and not as bulky in the room.

The drawbacks:

Viewing angles – One of the main disadvantages of LCD technology is its limited viewing angles. Sometimes the screen will appear washed-out or dim if you look at the display from an extreme angle.

Fragile backlights – Since they’re fairly fragile, and more likely to break, LCD backlights usually come with a limited one-year warranty. The LCD screen is also fragile and sensitive to its environment. In fact, when cleaning the screen, wipe only in one direction (no circles) with water and a soft cloth. Don’t use windex! Over time, using windex can damage the LCD screen.

For more information about owning a LCD HDTV, visit http://www.lcdtvbuyingguide.com.

Plasma

Plasma screens use a matrix of tiny gas plasma cells charged by precise electrical voltages to create a picture.

Allowing for more flexibility, the plasma display panel is only about 6 centimeters (2.5 inches) thick. However, the total thickness, including electronics, is less than 10 centimeters (4 inches). Similar to LCDs, you can hang a plasma HDTV on the wall or from the ceiling.

The benefits:

Response time – Faster response times make plasmas ideal for fast motion video. They handle quick movements and graphic displays better. Most LCDs have a slower response time and can leave trails on the screen when fast motion video is present.

Viewing angles – Plasma screens have wider viewing angles than most LCD TVs. This means that images do not degrade at high angles. This is ideal for active home theater rooms where many people are watching the same TV.

The drawbacks:

Burn-in – Although not as prevalent today, many plasma screen HDTVs can suffer from screen burn-in or image retention. However, newer model plasmas include technology that prevents this from happening. High altitudes are also problematic for some plasma screens. Higher elevations cause an air-pressure differential and the pressure of the gases inside the plasma display increases as the outside air pressure decreases. Under such conditions, most plasmas emit a slight buzzing noise. Nowadays, many companies are manufacturing plasma HDTVs that can handle higher altitudes.

Glass screen – Because of the glass screen that holds in the gases, plasma TVs are heavier. Furthermore, damage to the glass screen can be permanent and far more difficult to repair than an LCD TV screen. When transporting a plasma TV, be sure that it’s standing up and not lying down. If the TV is lying on its face or on its back, the plasma inside the screen will move and compromise its image quality.

For more information about owning a plasma HDTV, visit http://www.plasmatvbuyingguide.com.

Digital Light Processing (DLP)

Texas Instruments created DLP technology in 1987. Only available as a front- or rear-projection TV, DLP uses millions of micro-mirrors that reflect light onto the surface of a screen.

DLP has become the preferred TV technology today. More than 30 TV manufacturers and other consumer electronics companies use DLP within their products.

The benefits:

Resolution – Because the DLP technology is so advanced, the screen resolution on a DLP HDTV is crisp, clear and provides a true high-definition display. The DLP technology also prevents the possibility of a screen burn-in and provides a fast response time (most likely a faster response time than most plasma screen TVs).
Price – DLP rear projection TVs are considerably cheaper than LCD or plasma displays and can still offer 1080p, high-definition resolution. Plus, DLPs don’t suffer from many of the downfalls of plasma and LCD TVs – such as color decay and viewing angle problems.

The drawbacks:

Size, thickness – If the DLP HDTV is rear-projection, it’s generally more bulky and not as low-profile. A front-projection DLP TV – appropriate for large home theater rooms – is more low-profile and boasts a thinner screen. However, many of the DLPs that ColorTyme carries are rear-projection. Front-projection models – on most occasions – can be ordered by customer request.

Lamp (light source) replacement – Many of the lamp bulbs (or general light source) in DLP HDTVs last for about one to three years; this is based on how often it’s powered on/off and the duration of viewing. The replacement costs for a lamp bulb depend on the brand and model.

For more information about owning a DLP HDTV, visit http://www.dlptvreview.com.

720p,1080i, 1080p

So, what do 720p, 1080i and 1080p mean? And how does this affect the kind of HDTV you rent to own?

Essentially, the “i” stands for “interlaced” lines and the “p” stands for “progressively-scanned” lines. The more lines that the TV displays, the more detailed the images will be on the TV. Most TVs in the past could only display 480 lines (commonly known as standard-definition).

HDTVs have a 16:9 aspect ratio (similar to a movie screen display). Therefore, they require a higher resolution display. A TV that displays progressively-scanned lines will have a high quality image because it’s processing images twice as fast (compared to interlaced lines). This means that HDTVs with 1080p provide a superior image display, while 1080i and 720p provide the next best image displays.

Some talking points for your ColorTyme visit:

Most ColorTyme stores offer a myriad of rent to own high-def televisions. However, it can be intimidating – even with the help of a sales associate. Don’t let that deter you from pursuing your rental purchase. Just do some research and arrive with answers; you might impress the pros!

Before visiting your Hometown ColorTyme rent to own franchise store, to rent to own electronics, answer the following questions:

1. How will you use your new HDTV?
• If you’re looking to entertain guests, it’s probably best to own an HDTV with many features and multiple inputs (for a DVD player, video game console, etc.)
• If you have a lot of sports fanatics in your household, you might want to rent a plasma or DLP HDTV (two technologies that provide a faster screen response time)
• Blu-ray movies and video games are extremely popular. An HDTV without a blu-ray DVD player or PS3 video game console is like a bird without feathers.

2. Do you have a TV size in mind?
• Do you have a home theater room? What are the dimensions?
• If you don’t have a home theater room, what room do you plan to use for this TV?
• If you have an entertainment center, what are the dimensions?

3. What HDTV content source do you plan to use?
• Do you plan to purchase high definition TV service via satellite TV (DISH Network, DirecTV, etc.), Fiber-optic TV (Verizon FiOS), or cable TV (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, etc.)?
• If you plan to use over-the-air high-definition service, do you have an HD-capable antenna?

4. Do you have high-speed Internet service?
• Today, many HDTVs use high-speed Internet service to help with software updates and content streaming. This isn’t a requirement, but a nice feature to have – especially for a blu-ray DVD player and/or PS3 game console.

5. How much do want to spend on your weekly rate?
• Provide the sales associate with a price range to assist you with choosing the HDTV that’s right for you.

Important HDTV tips: Check to see if the TV has a built-in HDTV tuner to receive over-the-air broadcast capabilities. Otherwise, an external tuner must be added.

When you plug in your new HDTV, everything won’t magically become high-definition. To watch HDTV you must lease or buy equipment from a cable, satellite, fiber or phone company and sign up for high-definition TV service.

You may be able to receive free, over-the-air HD if you’re close to a station, have an antenna and an HD tuner in your TV or set-top box. It’s important to connect your box to the TV with component-video or HDMI cables. Composite-video and S-video cables don’t carry HD. Of course, not all channels are high-definition ready. Many still exist as standard-definition channels. Dark bars on the sides of a TV screen image usually indicate a standard-definition channel. Your TV service provider can provide you with all the information you’ll need for high-definition service.

Sources: Wikipedia.org, About.com, HowStuffWorks.com

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Price vs. Value of ColorTyme Rent to Own

June 14th, 2009 by admin

Some would say that rent-to-own prices are too costly to the customer.  This conclusion is reached by those making a direct comparison to standard retailers without considering the added value our rent to own home furnishings model provides customers.

ColorTyme offers brand new, brand name appliances and electronics to our customers, just like standard retail stores, but that’s where the similarities end.

ColorTyme’s rent to own agreements surpass standard retailers’ terms and conditions by providing unparalleled customer service and flexible rent to own payment options, with absolutely no obligations to buy the sofa, television, or washer dryer set they’ve been renting.

Our home furnishings rental agreement policies add value for our customers that they simply can’t find anywhere else in the retail marketplace.

Zero Obligation

ColorTyme rent to own customers are never obliged to make the next payment scheduled in their rental agreement. There is no other industry in the world that provides customers this level of flexibility. Each month, our customers have the option of continuing payments or returning the product, without financial penalty or damage to their credit history.

Flexible Payments

ColorTyme customers have incredible flexibility in making their payments, something our competitors in the retail industry simply do not offer. Whether you want to make weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly payments, the choice is always yours. We also offer an early-purchase option on every rent to own contract, which significantly reduces the price our rent to own customers pay.

Your Investment Does Not Go Away After Returns

We understand that life happens.  It happens to all of us.  That’s why if for any reason a customer needs to return a product during the rent to own payment cycle, their investment in that product will be held at ColorTyme until they get back on their feet.   When they are ready,  a ColorTyme customer can rent the same or similar product from the same ColorTyme store and just pick up right where they left off with their payments.  The original investment never goes away.  Renting to own is that easy with no risks involved.

Unparalleled Customer Service

If a customer purchases products from a traditional retailer, and those products break after the warranty has expired, the customer is responsible for all repairs – even if the customer is still making credit card payments on the damaged merchandise.

On the other hand, ColorTyme rent to own customers are protected. Regardless of the manufacturer’s warranty on a product, we provide repair service and loaners while your product is being repaired at no extra cost on every product covered by an active rental agreement. ColorTyme customers can enjoy a stress-free shopping and ownership experience knowing they will never be stuck with broken or unusable merchandise while making payments.

When you consider the benefits rent-to-own retailers like ColorTyme offer, it’s easy to see why comparing our prices to standard retailers only tells part of the story. The price customers pay for rent to own merchandise may be higher than traditional retailers, but the value of flexible payments, unparalleled service, and zero obligation to keep the merchandise makes up for the difference.

To learn more about ColorTyme’s rent to own products and policies, visit ColorTyme.com and explore the best value for customers in the retail industry.

Source:  www.rtohq.org

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ColorTyme Treats Customers Like Family

June 12th, 2009 by admin

In each of our rent to own furniture stores nationwide, you’ll find a friendly, HomeTown ColorTyme associate ready to provide each and every customer a high quality of service, attention and care. And like your family, we’ll be there for you if something goes wrong during the term of your furniture rental agreement.

Our flexible, rent to own plans include customizable payment options, great quality appliance rentals, rental electronics, and reliable service agreements that cover each item you rent to own from ColorTyme. However, our commitment to superior customer service doesn’t stop there.

Every chance we get, ColorTyme takes “treating you like family” one step further and lends a hand to our neighbors. Here are just a few examples of how ColorTyme touches the lives of individuals and families in the communities we serve:

  • When the town of Malakoff, Texas was hit by Hurricane Ike in September 2008, Hometown ColorTyme store in Mabank, TX came to the rescue. The store’s manager and staff donated a wide-screen TV rental to the local evacuee center so victims of the storm could stay entertained and up to date with the storm’s progress.
  • The Boys and Girls Club of Charlottesville, VA asked the community for contributions to their new clubhouse in November 2008. The Hometown ColorTyme store pitched in by providing brand new TVs, PlayStations, and Xboxes from their rent to own inventory for students in the after-school program. Read the full article here.
  • For the last five years, the Hometown ColorTyme store in Waipahu, HI has served a traditional, Thanksgiving dinner. Anyone who came by the rent to own store was welcomed with open arms and fed until their heart was content. Their Thanksgiving outreach program ensures the holiday is complete for many families and elderly residents in the neighborhood. Read the full article here.
  • In April, a Hometown ColorTyme customer’s family was battling their son’s heart disease in Hanover, PA.  The local ColorTyme store’s manager and staff came to the rescue by organizing and collecting donations to help defray costs of the boy’s medical treatment. Read the full article here.

These touching stories only scratch the surface of the great work each HomeTown ColorTyme rent to own store performs in service to the customers and neighbors in their communities. Our commitment to active participation in your community is just one way we ensure every customer feels like family.

Treating people fairly is at the core of the way we do business at ColorTyme. We believe that doing business with people who truly care about your family and neighborhood makes all the difference in the world to our valued customers. We take our responsibility to be active participants seriously and hope you never regard us as a faceless corporate entity.

To learn more about ColorTyme’s rent to own policies and the products available for rent in our stores, visit ColorTyme.com today.

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