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.

Do You Need a Real Estate Agent?

3 Reasons You’ll Be Glad You Didn’t FSBO!

FSBO SignEver since the DIY fad took off, amateurs everywhere have attempted almost anything all on their own. It isn’t shocking that a few homeowners are wondering, “Do I really need a real estate agent to help sell my home when I can try to sell it myself?”

Sadly, you will see many DIY fails on projects that are way less complex than selling a home. While it may seem amusing when a soufflé falls you won’t be much laughter when FSBO errors cost you thousands of dollars and months of time.

Selling your home is your real estate agent’s job! Attempting to sell your home by yourself is difficult when you’ve got your own job.

Are you equipped to answer all phone calls and questions from buyers? Can you always arrange showings and keep your home pristine? Are you knowledgeable enough to evaluate offers, make counter offers, and negotiate all on your own behalf? Can you do all the above while keeping up with the demands of your regular work day?

The must do list of an FSBO seller is demanding and endless. Fortunately, a real estate agent’s regular work day consists of taking care of that list for you. While you’re tied up with work and prepping to move, your agent is busy working to coordinate with buyer’s agents and negotiating the best offer for your home.

Knowledgeable real estate agents devote countless hours to marketing, networking, and actively selling their listings. A frequent misunderstanding is thinking that a real estate agent just puts up a for sale sign and everything is done. FSBO sellers don’t understand that you’ve got to get prepare the home, market it, and much more.

Successful real estate agents will financially invest in marketing your home and will make sure that your home shows marvelously. They do this by paying for various things such as professional photography and quality staging. The amount of time and work it requires to sell a home FSBO is exactly why not many even try.

Now, let’s get down to the basics as to why utilizing a real estate agent is the logical choice.

#1 – A real estate agent is essential for prepping your house for sale.

RE AgentYou might take a glance at your home and feel that it’s in outstanding condition, but homes that are sold as-is will receive as-is offers, despite how excellent their condition is.

Real estate agents know that making modest investments in home improvements can increase the value of your home by 35%. Regrettably, some FSBO sellers will invest funds on upgrades that will not increase the home’s value enough to cover the money they have spent on those upgrades.

Just like each home is unique, so is each real estate market. Even if all the research you have accomplished is telling you that certain upgrades are guaranteed to increase your home’s value, that may not be true for your area.

A knowledgeable, experienced, and local real estate agent that has plenty of active listings will know what improvements or upgrades are going to be worth your investment to help your home sell.

#2 – A real estate agent will help you set the right listing price.

Listing PriceExperienced real estate agents know that listing a home at the right price is one of their most important tasks. If the price is set too high buyers will not come look at the home, which obviously means they won’t make any offers. If you lower the price too soon or too often, buyers and their agents will assume there may be something wrong with the home and only submit lowball offers, or no offers at all.

Regrettably, some FSBO sellers still believe that they will know how to price their home without assistance. Some sellers feel that they know the value of their home, but most often an FSBO home is priced incorrectly and as a result they get an even lower offer when it finally does sell.

Your real estate agent will examine numerous details to find your correct listing price, for example: regional and local market trends, nearby comps, days on market, upgrades, plus seller concessions (closing costs, home warranties, credits for repairs, etc.).

#3 – A real estate agent is your go-between.

FSBO sellers frequently feel hopeful enough to make improvements and listing price decisions without a real estate agent’s support. They often mistakenly think that pricing and prepping are the roughest part. Then they may pay a listing service to put their home on the MLS, believing that’s all they need to do to get their home sold.

ContractBut there are numerous more things that need to occur. Without a real estate agent, you won’t have anyone to advise you through the process. When you list your home with a real estate agent, they will be your go-between through the entire home sale process.

Your real estate agent will negotiate the sale and renegotiate after the inspection and appraisal occur. They will be working to find concessions that won’t cut into your bottom line.

Having a real estate agent to be your go-between isn’t just essential during the closing process, but you will need that buffer as soon as your home is listed. If you don’t have a real estate agent, then you won’t have anyone to arrange showings or even put a lockbox on your home. Rather, you will have to be present at every showing and you’ll won’t have any way to evaluate those buyers.

Are you as an FSBO seller willing to just open your home and let anyone who calls you walk through? That is one of the many reasons why you need a real estate agent. They provide privacy, protection, and facilitation of the transaction for a stress-free closing.

Buyer’s agents realize that FSBO sellers are emotionally involved in the selling process. When a FSBO seller plays hardball during the negotiation process, they may be labeled as a difficult seller who is not willing to be flexible and thus end up walking away from the deal.

When you list with a real estate agent, you will have them as a buffer between you and the buyer and you can prevent any emotional negotiation disagreements.

Are you still wanting to DIY with being a FSBO seller? Now at least you are aware the risks. But the bottom line is if you desire a uneventful sale that will bring you the best profit then you definitely need to hire a local and knowledgeable real estate agent.

Fall Gardening Tips

Siberian Squill

Fall garden planning is key to a fabulous garden come the spring season. this is the perfect the time to clean up beds, manage soils and plant spring-blooming bulbs. Here are some tips for prepping your garden during the fall:

Water all your plants thoroughly, in particular, your trees. Their roots need an abundance of precipitation to endure the approaching months.

Shop for Bulbs
Browse catalogs or frequent garden shops early for the perfect assortment.

BONUS TIP: If deer, rabbits, or other wildlife are a nuisance to your garden, you can choose pest-resistant bulbs like Siberian squill, fritillaria, and daffodils.

Clear Debris Away from Roses
Decaying rose foliage provides disease a haven over winter and can cause complications in your garden next year.

Plant Evergreens and Shrubs
Prompt planting in fall provides young plants ample time to establish their roots by winter.

Amend Your Soil
Prepare the ground so it is primed for next year’s beds and fall bulbs by tilling the soil and adding compost.

Plant Fall Annuals
Flower Bulbs
Increase color in your garden by planting fall annuals, for example pansies, mums, and ornamental kale.

Lower Your Lawn Mower Height
Grass grows slower in fall, but it will still need to be trimmed to make ready for winter. A shorter cut assists the soil in drying out more briskly in spring.

Feed the Birds
Keep in mind your feathered friends; their food supply becomes meager in fall.

Cut Back and Separate Perennials
At the same time that you’re digging them up to separate them, rearrange plants that haven’t been doing well in their existing location.

BONUS TIP: Delay separating chrysanthemums, asters, and other fall-blooming perennials. It’s better to separate them in spring.

Forced BulbsDig Up Summer Bulbs
Do you love how your esteemed summer bulbs bloomed this year? Put them aside for a repeat next year! Dig up and store cannas, callas, dahlias, caladiums, and other delicate bulbs in peat moss or sand. Put them in a cool, frost-free spot for the winter.

BONUS TIP: If you reside in a region where your bulbs are hardy, you can go ahead and leave them alone. Digging up and storing summer bulbs is only crucial if they can’t handle the winter cold that your region encounters.

Rake and Mulch
If left neglected, fallen leaves may smother your yard. Shred them and utilize them as mulch.

Get Bulbs in the Ground
Now is the time to plant your best-loved bulbs.

BONUS TIP: You can pull off procrastinating on planting bulbs until the soil freezes hard enough that you can’t get a shovel into it.

Force Bulbs for Winter Color
Get a head start on spring by planting bulbs indoors in January or February. Bulbs such as hyacinth and narcissus will do exceptionally well if you plant them in fall and keep them cool until you’re set to delight in the colored blooms.

Feed Your Yard
Don’t allow your grass to start winter without the essential nutrients it needs to combat the winter weather.

Bring Sensitive Container Plants Inside
Remove any deceased foliage and break apart any hard soil before transporting your treasured tropical plants inside for the winter.

BONUS TIP: Be on the lookout for pests. Before escorting plants indoors, spray them to keep harmful insects out of your home.

Garden HoseEmpty Hoses, Fountains, and Drip-Irrigation Systems
Confirm that all standing water is drained from your watering apparatuses and store these items in a dry place.

Clean Up the Vegetable Garden
Pull any weeds
and remove any debris so pests are discouraged from making your vegetable garden their winter home.

Dig Up Annuals
Exhausted and deceased, your summer annuals can now cultivate and nourish your compost pile.

Protect Cold-Sensitive Plants
Roses, perennials, and shrubs that might capitulate to cold weather should be sheltered with mulch or another cladding.

Contact us for more tips on how to optimize your garden and enhance your home’s curb appeal for the real estate market! If you are looking to buy in Anacortes or elsewhere in Skagit County, we can guide you to finding a great home in this beautiful part of the Pacific Northwest.

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.

Fall Preparation List

autumn-speed-bumpsHere in Anacortes the leaves are falling, and cool breezes are blowing as fall has arrived. Now is the perfect time for homeowners and sellers to get their homes prepped before winter to aid in avoiding issues in the coming months. On the following list are some suggestions that you can use to assist in protecting your home.

  • Seal and caulk around exterior doors and window frames. Check for gaps where pipes or wiring enter your home and caulk those as well. Not only does heat escape through these openings, but moisture can enter and cause mold or structural damage.
  • Check the roof for missing or flawed shingles. Water, wind, ice, and snow can cause serious damage to a susceptible roof, leading to a greater chance of damage to the home. It’s best to have a qualified professional inspect and repair the roof if needed.
  • Clean out gutters and eaves of leaves, sticks, and any other debris. Using leaf guards can be a real time saver and can prevent damage from clogged gutters. Check the joints between sections of gutter, as well as between the gutter and downspouts, and make any necessary repairs.
  • In regions where there is freezing weather, garden hoses should be drained and stored inside to safeguard them from the weather. Turn off outside faucets and be sure that exterior pipes are drained as well. Faucets and pipes can easily freeze and break, causing leaks and serious water damage.
  • The furnace should be inspected to ensure that it’s safe and in good working order. Some utility companies will provide no cost inspections, but there can be a long waiting list in fall and winter. You should replace disposable furnace air filters or clean the permanent ones according to the manufacturer’s instructions. By using a clean filter, you will help the furnace run more efficiently, saving money plus energy.
  • Homeowners can safely enjoy their fireplace on a chilly evening but be sure the firebox and chimney are professionally cleaned before use. Creosote, a byproduct of wood burning, can build up and be at dangerous levels and cause a devastating chimney fire if not removed.

With these easy steps you can enjoy the comforts of your home all season long and know that you are protecting your investment too. Not a homeowner yet but are contemplating buying your dream home? Check out Anacortes homes for sale.

Pocket These Heat Waves Safety Tips

heatwave

Summer is finally here and the sun is out! While you enjoy the great outdoors as the temperatures are rising, we want you to be safe when a heat wave strikes. Here are a few important tips to cool down while you’re at the beach, in the garden or in the great outdoors.

First, let’s talk about what is a heat wave. In the previous years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather conditions, including floods. A heat wave is a prolonged period of abnormal heat, generally, 10 degrees or more above average, often combined with excessive humidity.

Now, before you head out to enjoy that lovely sunshine, here are a few tips:

  • Always listen to the local weather forecasts and be aware of upcoming temperature changes.
  • If you don’t have any air conditioning, make sure to choose a place to go for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day such as malls, stores, schools or libraries.
  • If you have a furry little friend, make sure you give them plenty of water and shade.
  • Get trained in First Aid, just in case, to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies.

You’re probably asking yourself, what do you do during a heat wave? Well, here’s how:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. The most common tip, but the most important even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in an enclosed vehicle.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid wearing dark clothing because they absorb the heat rays
  • Take frequent breaks if you are working outdoors
  • Check your animals frequently to make sure that they are not suffering from the heat

Hope these tips help you survive the scorching heat wave and help you enjoy the rest of your summer!

If you would like more information about Anacortes or any other questions, please contact us : (360) 899-5027 or jean@jeangroesbeck.com.

Jean Groesbeck & Associates LLC

6 Home Inspection Myths

a2

Many real estate deals are dependent on a home inspection, so it is common that inspections cause a lot of anxiety for a buyer.  Here are some of the top myths surrounding home inspections that may help buyers adjust their expectations:

Having a license ensures a good home inspection – NOT TRUE

Not all states require home inspectors to be licensed, so make sure to check on the requirements in your state, in addition to other components of the inspector’s credentials, such as past clients, years of experience and customer reviews.

You can use a home inspection to identify problems that might be used as a tool to negotiate purchase price – NOT SO TRUE

While this is not the primary objective of a home inspection and the inspector is an unbiased, third party opinion, they inform buyers and sellers with an understanding of the physical condition of the home so the best decision can be made.

A home inspection tells you what your home is worth – NOT TRUE

An appraisal is intended to do this, not an inspection.

All home inspection certifications and professional education are created equal – NOT TRUE

Some programs are online certifications only without ever stepping into a home to conduct a real inspection.  The best certification offers both in-class and hands-on training, in addition to exam requirements.

Home inspections are not needed for newly built homes or condos – NOT TRUE

No home is perfectly built and its best to have an inspector pinpoint potential issues or future repairs.  Most inspectors can also give inspections during each construction “phase” of the property during development.

Home inspections are solely used on the buyer’s side – NOT TRUE

Although most inspections are performed for buyers, there are many advantages to a pre-listing inspection for sellers – including knowing about major issues before the house is listed for sale, which increases negotiating power to get the best sale price.

Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, is located in Old Town Anacortes at 809 7th St.  We proudly serve Anacortes, Skagit, Island, San Juan counties and beyond and are available daily to assist with all of your real estate needs.  Whether buying or selling, please contact at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

New Year’s Resolutions for Buyers

resolutions

A new year means new possibilities!  Thinking of buying a new home this year?  Here are some things you may consider to assist with making it happen:

Get your finances in order – You’ll need good credit to get a mortgage, so knowing your credit score will ensure you getting a good rate.  If you know your credit score needs improvement in advance, you can make the necessary steps to improve it ahead of time.

Gather your paperwork – Keep documents handy that you’ll need for your home loans, such as W2s, tax returns, credit report, pay stubs, bank account statements, etc.

Research mortgage options – Shop around for the best loans with the best terms.  Talk to multiple lenders because all have different terms.  Find out if you are eligible for any state or local home buyer programs, etc.

Get pre-approved – Not only does having a pre-approval letter from your lender indicate how much mortgage money you qualify for, it makes it easier to shop for homes within your price range and strengthens your position as a buyer for your offer being accepted.

Work with professionals – Rely on a qualified, experienced broker to help you find the home you desire. The team at Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC in Old Town Anacortes is full-time, professional real estate brokers who are available daily to work for you.  Contact us for all of your real estate needs throughout Anacortes, Skagit County and beyond today!

Check back tomorrow for our blog about New Year’s resolutions for sellers!

Get the Most Out of Selling Your Home During the Winter

snow-globe-house (1)

There is no need to wait until spring to sell your home throughout the Anacortes or Skagit County areas.  Even if you are on the fence about selling, contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC for a complimentary, no obligation comparative market analysis of your home.  It is never too early to begin the process to ensure things run smoothly later.

Here are some tips to get the most out of selling your home during the winter:

Price competitively – There is often less completion in the winter, but if your home is priced too high people will look elsewhere.  Price appropriately from the start to get the most attention!

Get professional photos – Studies have shown that homes listed using professional photos sell for more money.  Even if your lawn is covered in snow and the leaves have fallen off the trees, high quality photos taken with professional cameras look best.

Keep up with exterior maintenance – Make sure the “for sale” sign is free of debris and visible, snow and leaves are clear from the walkway, driveway, roof and deck or patio spaces.

Let light in – Keep your home inviting by allowing the light in, even when the winter months can be dark and gloomy.  Keeping the heat and lights on (indoors and outdoors) allow for the home to be properly seen at all hours of the day.

Stay tidy – Winter can be tricky to keep a home tidy with the holidays and visitors, but by keeping coats, boots, umbrellas and other items out of view and regular cleaning up kept, your home will always be ready to be shown.

Plan open houses accordingly – Knowing the schedule of the local football team and being aware of local events can ensure that people will be available to attend your open house, free of distraction.

Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC can assist with all of your real estate needs.  Proudly serving Anacortes, Skagit and San Juan counties and beyond, call us today at (360) 941-3734 or email to Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.  We look forward to working with you!

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.