Exterior Staging for Fall

Most sellers think the best time to put your home on the market is in the spring. That is most likely true in a market where buyers’ moves center around the timing of the school year, but that is not typically the primary driving force in our market. In the spring there is more inventory on the market and more competition.

If you want to sell your home this fall, or next fall here are things to do in addition to the regular exterior staging we recommend. If you would like a list of our staging checklist, please call us at 360-899-5027 or click here to email us.

1. Wash the outside of your house. Clean windows are an obvious must, but before you wash your windows, clean the gutters and wash your house. The weeks of heavy forest fire smoke and pollen has left a film on your house and you will be amazed at the difference of a clean exterior.

Cutter2. Exterior lighting can make a dramatic difference, and with the shorter days there is more opportunity to make your home stand out. You will need to make sure you have house numbers and a driveway that are well lit. If you don’t have good lighting, you have plenty of time to get them in by next year. If your home is on the market now, you may want to consider solar lights.

3. Color in the yard is easy in the fall. Chrysanthemums add huge blasts of color economically. If you are selling next fall, purchase them now and you can enjoy them this year and next year they will be larger. If you’re selling next fall, mark you calendar to plant fall bulbs in the spring.

4. Does your home need paint? There is still time to paint this year. The dry summer naturally prepared homes and fences to absorb paint or stain. If you plan to paint next year, book your painter now before they are booked.

5. Is your roof at the end of life? Don’t risk a leak, replace it now. The market value of 30-year roof that is 3 months old vs. 9 months old is virtually the same.

The best time to sell your home depends on supply and demand of the type of home you own. The best time to sell might surprise you. Contact us now so we can work together to develop the best strategy and plan of action.

15 Packing Tips for Moving

There are tons of things that you’d rather be doing than packing. But when you sell your home, moving is no longer a matter of if but when… it’s time to accept the inevitable.

Before you look around and panic, take a deep breath. We’ve consulted knowledgeable real estate agents and moving professionals to collect the best packing tips to facilitate and simplify your move.

packing1. Start by assembling your all-star team. The first thing you can do is rally the troops. Many hands make light work, and you will need all the help you can receive. Use this event as an excuse to be together.

2. Inquire as to what the moving company will do for you regarding packing. Ask if the service package includes wrapping the furniture in plastic, including dressers, nightstands, and end tables.

3. Stock up on all of your moving must-haves such as boxes, packing tape and bubble wrap. If you’re packing up a whole house, it’s better to have extra packing materials than not enough.

4. Sort items into three separate piles: sell, donate, and toss. If you’re hurrying, you might want to start throwing random items into boxes. But you can streamline the process by keeping the focus on simplifying and downsizing down before you move. It is never too early to start planning your move. Smart sellers know less is more when it comes to showing a home and start the decluttering process well in advance.

5. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Why not host a pre-move party? Before putting perfectly good items in the trash invite friends, family, and neighbors over to go through your unwanted items. Give them your half-empty liquor bottles, cleaning supplies, and perishable foods. It will be less expensive to restock once you’re in your new home than moving those items.

6. Hold a weekend yard sale for the final purge. Plenty of people enjoy shopping at good old-fashioned garage sales.

7. Create a moving itinerary and take a home inventory. You can choose to write one or download one from the internet. A basic home inventory can help keep you on track before and during your move. We have a printable template to make things easier just let us know, we will gladly share it with you.

8. Calculate the number of boxes you’ll need in advance. Boxes are essential when preparing for a move. Keep an eye out for free boxes.

boxes

9. Get creative with items that you already own that can be used as boxes. Use storage items such as plastic totes, recyclable grocery bags, storage containers, sturdy baskets, etc. This can cut down on your box expenses.

10. Label each box with your last name, its general contents, “Fragile” if necessary, and what room the box belongs in.

11. Begin by packing nonessentials, seasonal items, or anything you don’t regularly use such as art from the walls, clothing that is out of season, holiday decorations, or dishware for special occasions.

12. Take a photo of the back of your TV and any other electronics that need various cords or cables. You’ll need to know and where to plug everything in and it will save time setting up at your new home.

13. Be sure to plan for your first days in your new home. Just like it takes time to prepare for your move, it’s going to take the time to unpack and get situated in your new home. It helps if you have necessities ready and easy to locate such as your pillows, laptop, your favorite sweatpants, and snacks. Typically, these would be items that you packed last and transported with you.

 

new home14. Use a binder to store your important and sensitive documents. Make a file for critical personal documents and put them in your fireproof safe and transport that with you during the move.

15. Be sure to inform every one of your new address. Alert all your utility companies about your change of address a few weeks prior to your move. Organize a shutoff date at your old home and a start date at your new home. Be sure to change your address on all accounts and subscriptions.

Moving doesn’t have to be dreadful, but it can be a chaotic and nerve-racking time for some people. Outsource what you can and plan in advance as much as possible. Any stress will be well worth it once you’re enjoying your new home!

Moving with pets? Here are some tips to make the transition easy for your best friends!

Not sure where to start? We can help! Click here to start searching for your new home.

How to Avoid the Top 5 Home Seller Mistakes

mike-gustus-saskatoon-sk-real-estate-mistakes-600x400

When you are selling your home, it can be easy to be in a vacuum. You have a certain idea of what the market should pay for your home and what may or may not be an issue. However, when buyers and agents are coming through your home, it can be where distorted perception meets reality. Here are the top mistakes sellers make and how to avoid them.

Overpricing Your Home

If your home is overpriced, two things won’t happen: showings or offers. The price is what sets the tone for showings. If it is too high, buyers that can afford it may be interested in something else, as they can go higher in price range, and the audience for whom it was intended price-wise are usually shut out. Team Groesbeck can guide you to list your home for the best sale price and inform you of the current market.

Making Showings Difficult

Restricted showing times, no lockbox or having to be present for all showings can impact the ability of showing traffic through your home. If there are many instructions or restrictions, agents and their buyers will simply move on to those properties with less rules. Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC will also guide you to make showings most convenient for you as the seller, as well as potential buyers.

Not Countering an Offer

While everyone would love to get the most for their home, it is too easy to get hung up on the starting number in an offer when the focus should be on what the end result is. The opening offer is simply that –a starting point. It gets a conversation going and results in hopefully a happy medium that is amenable to the buyer and seller. Failure to counter sends a discouraging signal to the buyer that can create an uncomfortable situation, perceived or real. Buyers want to do business with sellers who are eager to do business with them and responding with a number is a step in the right direction.

Property Condition Denial

Would you as a buyer pay top dollar for a home with original systems approaching the end of their life? In today’s real estate climate, buyers, lenders, appraisers and inspectors are more scrutinous than ever. It is not only the buyer, but the lender, appraiser and the buyer’s insurance company that could be making the call on a home’s condition. Before you sell, be realistic about the condition of your home. Unless the home is deeply discounted below market value, which realistically means it would be far too low pricewise that you would agree to accept, the buyer will care about it and if they don’t, their home inspector certainly will.

Selective Memory

Sellers often fear that if they disclose too much or provide too many details, it could affect their ability to sell for top dollar; however, failure to disclose could open you up to liability after the sale. Leaving questions blank, or not being clear on the age of certain things only creates more red flags and concern for a potential buyer. If you answer the questions honestly and fully disclose any known issues or repairs that were made (with receipts to document and provide a history) it will eliminate buyer fear and doubt.

For all of your real estate needs, contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, in Old Town Anacortes: (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

Tips For Living in a Staged Home

Female hands holding small black chalkboard in front of the body closeup with words Home Staging. On gray background with copy space

Your home is on the market, pristine and expertly staged to get it sold. Now what? How do you still live in your home and keep it in perfect condition – especially for the unexpected showing?

Here are some simple tricks to keeping your home spotless:

KEEP IT CLEAN

 

Kitchen:

  • Remove all of your kitchen appliances from the counters. Do not use them; keep clean and hidden.
  • Have one set of cups, plates and utensils for each family member neatly stored in a cabinet. Use only these dishes and hand wash after every use. Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink or out in a dish rack. Eat, drink, wash, dry and put away.
  • Use recycled paper plates and cups to limit dishwashing.
  • Keep only the essentials in the refrigerator and pantry (potential buyers are known to look inside). Unused pantry items can be donated to your local food bank.

 

Bathrooms:

  • No personal care products (soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrush, etc.) should be left out. Give each family member a bathroom tote to hold their daily-used products, to be put away into a closed cabinet after each use.
  • Keep antibacterial wipes under the sink for quick and easy cleanup after each sink and shower use.
  • Use stick-on toilet cleaners inside the bowls to keep toilets clean and smelling fresh.
  • Only guest towels should be displayed in the bathrooms. Each family member should have his or her own set of towels, to be washed regularly and kept out of sight.

 

Bedrooms:

  • Keep all nightstands and dresser tops clear of personal items. Purchase plastic containers with lids that can easily slide under beds to store reading glasses, books, journals, medications, tissue boxes, etc.
  • Be sure to make the beds each morning; that way there is one less thing to do when a showing is scheduled.
  • Keep all clothing items neatly put away and laundry baskets hidden in closets.
  • Wash, dry, fold and put away laundry on a daily basis if necessary.

 

Living Room:

  • To maintain a tidy living room, keep daily-used items (remote controls, DVDs, video games, children’s toys, etc.) hidden away in closed drawers, cabinets or storage ottomans.
  • Do not let newspapers, magazines or mail stack up; file away or recycle immediately. Perhaps keep the latest newspaper in your car; it may come in handy when showings are scheduled and you need to head out to a coffee shop or other fun destination.

 

Eating & Entertainment

  • By now you may be thinking, “How does my family eat?” It is best to go out to eat during this time. Even take-out is a no-no; the goal is to keep your home smelling like fresh flowers, not fried chicken.
  • To stay on a budget, visit websites like Groupon or Restaurants.com for deals and coupons. Also, look into daily/weekly meal deals at your local restaurants, like $2 Taco Tuesdays or where kids can “eat free.”
  • Get your whole family involved and make a list of activities to do on the days your house is scheduled to be shown. Ideas include bowling, going to the beach, zoo, museums, amusement parks, or even visiting relatives.

 

Pets

  • Perhaps a family member, friend or neighbor can take care of your beloved four-legged family members, or designate 1-2 rooms for your pets to live in. This will keep the fur cleanup to a minimum.

 

With any questions or additional moving resources, please contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC daily! We are available to assist with all of your real estate needs and can be reached at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.  Our office is located in Old Town Anacortes at 809 7th St. and are proud to serve Anacortes, Skagit, Island, San Juan, Whatcom counties and beyond.

Selling Your Home? Be Informed of the Seller’s Disclosure!

17

The seller’s disclosure form is an important form that must be completed by everyone selling a home.  The form is comprised of various questions about your home that you may not have considered since you purchased the property yourself.

As it is one of the documents that the buyer will most closely look at, all questions need to be answered to the best of your knowledge. If they are not, it may delay the closing process and prompt even further questions from the buyer.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to put your mind at ease while completing this very detailed, legally-binding document!

  • Research your home. If you have recently moved into your home then you likely have much of the necessary information accessible, as it was made available to you when you purchased the home. If it has been a decade or so, you may have to do some digging through old paperwork to find information such as the make, model, and age of various components of your home (HVAC system, water heater, etc.). Buyers will want to note this information to see what kind of money, if any, will need to be spent upon moving in.
  • Be as accurate as possible. You hopefully had an inspection done when you moved into the home, which should be able to give you information on the roof, plumbing, electrical, etc. While doing your research, try to be as accurate as possible rather than guessing when something may have been installed or replaced.
  • Honesty is the best policy. Answer all questions to the best of your ability. If there is information to which you do not have access or a question is not applicable to your property, note that in the seller’s disclosure form. You do not want to appear ill-informed about your home and want to offer up as much information to the buyer as possible.

Remember, the seller’s disclosure form is a legally binding document that is required of all home sellers; however there is no reason to be intimidated by it! Just make sure you are aware of what has been done in your home and which things potential buyers may take issue with. This will help both the home selling and buying process go smoother than you can imagine!

Contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC daily for more information on what to take into consideration when buying or selling your home at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

The Benefits of Staging Your Home to Sell

Kevin McManus Photography & Design, High Dynamic Range Photography, HDR Photography, Real Estate - Architectural Photography

As real estate brokers with home staging certifications, Old Town Anacortes-based Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC sees the firsthand effect a well-staged home can have on the mind of a home buyer. If you are thinking about selling your home, we offer complimentary home staging services that might just make you fall in love with your home all over again!

Home Sellers Are Biased – Staging one’s own home is like asking them to be objective about their children. Unless you have truly hated your home since you bought it, it will be difficult for you to let go of your own decorating style and the emotions that have been cultivated since living there.

You Will Learn! – Have you ever looked at a home magazine or watched the DIY Network only to fantasize about being able to decorate the way they do? Now you can learn! Stagers work with you to properly display items in your home to bring out the best features possible. It might give you the chance to learn how you want to decorate your next space!

First Impressions Must Be the Best – Buyers will only get one first impression of your home – make it the best! You get a good feeling when you walk into a home that has been properly staged.  It isn’t fake, it isn’t dirty, and it allows potential buyers to develop their own sense of comfort and connection to the home.

Look Better than Other Homes – When a home isn’t properly staged, buyers are only driven further from your listing and closer to your competition. Keep your buyers connected with your property!

Appears Move-In Ready – Proper, neutral home décor allows buyers to visualize living there. They will imagine their own possessions in each room, and how their family will fit into the space. It will also lessen the impact of any maintenance issues that may arise during inspection, as they are already pleased with the home’s overall aesthetics.

Looks Well-Maintained – Again, issues have the potential to arise in almost any inspection, and a home that appears to be well-maintained from the outside will help the buyer feel more comfortable with any “internal” work that may need to be done, rather than focusing on changing things like countertops or radical paint jobs.

Looks Better in Photos – These days, homes are typically first viewed on the internet. Well-done staging allows for better quality photos and allows a potential buyer to fall in love with the home before viewing it in person.

It’s Free! – Jean Grosbeck & Assoc. LLC offers free staging services from a certified professional to all who sign with us. Our staging professional is experienced in making a home comfortable for anyone who views it.

For more helpful staging tips or information on selling your home, reach out to Team Groesbeck today and be sure to check out our page that explains the staging process.

How to Cancel your Mortgage Insurance

Dean-Hayes

Content provided by Dean Hayes, Bay Equity Home Loans

Nearly 4 out of 10 people don’t know that you can buy a home with less than 15% down. When you do, you will be paying mortgage insurance – an insurance policy that protects the lender in case you don’t make your payments and default on your home loan.When-can-I-Cancel-my-Mortgage-Insurance

Many people believe mortgage insurance is a waste of money and want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Actually, I can show you the math where mortgage insurance is a very inexpensive alternative to the cost of waiting, but that’s another post.

If you have mortgage insurance on your home mortgage and want to get it removed, we have to first start by identifying the type of mortgage that you have.

Click here to view this blog in its entirety.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Home to Be Listed for Sale

Checklist With Green Checkmark Icon

Will your home soon be listed for sale?  Here are some tips to consider to make your home look its best!

Repaint the Trim
Fresh baseboards, crown molding and trim around doorways and windows make a big impact. Focus on the interior of the home first and if you are able, do the same for the exterior. Adding a new layer of paint to the trim can bring instant life back into your home, making the space feel fresher and cleaner.

Hire a Professional House Cleaner
A professional can undertake a thorough top-to-bottom scrub down, which includes cleaning the grout, polishing the faucets, wiping down the ceiling fan blades, and dislodging every crumb out of that irritating gap between your stove and counter top and beyond. A clean house makes a difference in the eyes of a buyer and can lead to the “wow” factor that may help put your home sale over the top.

Steam Clean the Carpets
When was the last time you had the carpets in your home professionally steamed-cleaned? This type of cleaning can lift the smallest stains and imperfections out of your carpets. Your carpets will look as new as possible, at a substantially cheaper price than the cost of a replacement.

Clear the Clutter
Clutter overwhelms a space, distracting from your home’s more beautiful elements. Many people won’t notice the high ceilings or large windows if their attention is refocused on a pile of old magazines, heaps of unopened mail, and random wires, cables, tools, board games and DVDs scattered about everywhere. Clutter also makes a space feel smaller. Your walk-in closet might be amply sized, but if it’s overstuffed with old clothes, jackets, boxes, suitcases and bags, your prospective buyers will think the closet space is insufficient. It doesn’t matter that the closet is actually bigger than the buyer’s first apartment; all they’ll see is the mess. You don’t want to showcase an empty closet – this looks uninviting – but you don’t want one that’s bursting at the seams, either.

Stage the Home
Professional investors often hire ‘staging companies’ to fill a home with furniture in order to showcase its potential.  If you’re still living in your current home, you’re already one step ahead of the game: your space is already furnished. Now you just need to up the ante by a notch, so that your home looks magazine-worthy.
Do you know that Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC offers its clients staging services? We know the impact a staged home has on a potential buyer and we believe in staging your home to sell!

Based in Anacortes, Team Groesbeck can be reached daily for all of your real estate needs at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGreoesbeck.com.

Global Luxury Logo (Cool Gray 9U)video and digital

VIDEO: How to Avoid Wire Fraud

For all of your real estate needs, contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, in Old Town Anacortes: (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

Global Luxury Logo (Cool Gray 9U)video and digital

Tips for Traveling Safely with Pets

jingle and belle2

Taking a trip with your pet this summer? Here are some things to consider to make sure everyone is ready!

1 – The most important animal-travel tip is to never leave your pet alone in a parked car. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), when the outside temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the interior of a parked car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes and 120 degrees within half an hour. And that’s even if you leave the windows cracked an inch or two. ASPCA also warns that the dangers are not limited to the warmer months: “In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing an animal to freeze to death.” Be your pet’s advocate and always remember their safety.

2 – Consult your veterinarian before embarking on a trip, especially if your pet hasn’t traveled before or if you have any health concerns. Before a long trip, take some shorter drives around town with your pet to see how they respond. Take longer and longer ones as you get nearer to your departure date. If your pet gets really anxious, consult your veterinarian to see what they suggest may to help.

3 – If you’re traveling across state lines, bring along your pet’s vaccination record, especially rabies. Some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings and they are required if you travel into Canada!  Check in with your veterinarian to make sure your vaccinations and records are up to date.

4 – Always take breaks! Make sure to check that your pup is welcome everywhere you plan on stopping. Check in with bringfido.com while visiting new areas to find restaurants, parks, and fun activities that are dog friendly.

5 – Book pet-friendly hotels! GoPetFriendly.com is also great site to check for tons of information on traveling with pets.

6 – Always prep a pet-friendly travel kit. Bring food, water, bowls, a leash, plenty of potty bags, grooming supplies, any prescribed medications a pet-friendly first-aid kit, and any travel documents. Don’t forget your dog’s flea, tick and heart worm preventatives. If you need medication or supplies on the road, your veterinarian has an online store to shop from that can ship anywhere in the US!

7 – Put your leash somewhere accessible and put your dog’s leash on before you open the car door. Also make sure your pet wears a collar and tag imprinted with your name, phone number and any relevant contact information. Some states also require that your dog wears a tag with his state dog license information.

8 – If you are camping or doing lots of outdoor activities like hiking, make sure to do nightly tick checks, and it doesn’t hurt to give your pup extra pets and treats while you’re at it!