Seller’s “Train Hard, Fight Easy” Approach to Listing a Home

Real Estate Sales Representative with William Raveis Real Estate

Anna Maroselli could write the definitive book or teach a master class on preparing a home for sale.

While normally it is a matter of a month or two from the time a seller and realtor engage in the process of listing a home, there was a gestation of more than two years from the time I was called by Anna for a comparative market analysis until last week when her six-bedroom, raised ranch in Yorktown Heights was listed.

In the intervening months, there was a methodical system of activity that might have been ordered by a drill sergeant. “One of my favorite expressions is ‘train hard, fight easy,’” she told me early in the game, noting the origin of the quote aptly as Alexander Suvorov, an 19th century military leader in the Imperial Russian Army.

From the first of my two interviews with her, along with invitations she extended to two other realtors for consideration, her journey to listing her home has been painstaking. Only after the fact did I learn that, before retirement, Maroselli had been a legal secretary for a major multi-national corporation and was responsible for communications with foreign diplomats, government officials and top business executives. “I was always detail oriented, always made check lists and everything had to be perfect,” she said.

The process started with her taking my suggestions, some from my columns which she had carefully read and saved in a folder, and from our frequent conversations, first to update her kitchen with a granite countertop and new backsplash, to remove wallpaper there and from two bedrooms, and the need to paint her interior in neutral tones.

On her own, Anna needed to “re-purpose” some of the rooms of her home. The lower level of her raised ranch had been utilized for her daughter Adrienne’s family, her husband and son, in a three bedroom setup. Now that her daughter was leaving, the lower level would be reconfigured for the flexibility of a new owner.

Anna also hired a stager and decorator, Susan Atwell, whose function it was to help Anna declutter, depersonalize and rearrange furniture. For the painting, I recommended the stalwart “Fireman Joe” Pascarelli.

While Adrienne was leaving, she stayed on to help her mom accomplish her long checklist, including selection of interior colors. She chose different shades of grey, today’s favorite neutral which Anna says “seem to reflect and blend in with whatever color is near them, much as hazel eyes do.”

Adrienne also helped with paring down furnishings and simplifying window treatments by removing drapes and replacing them with plain valances with grosgrain ribbon trim.

There were a couple of stumbles, then corrections along the way. For instance, when Anna went to a large retailer to choose the granite kitchen counter top, she found it too complicated to coordinate selection of the granite with installation of the sink. Someone suggested to her a “one-stop” way to handle that by going to Westwood Stone and Granite in Cortlandt and asking for “Anthony” who deftly coordinated the whole job for her.

To read the rest of this column, click here. Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester ( His real estate site is, and his blog is To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.


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