Winter Gardening Dos and Don’ts

Are you wondering if the winter freeze will hurt your plants? Luckily the answer is no! Plants have a sixth sense that detects changes in the weather, giving them time to adjust to the cold.

Here are some quick dos and don’ts for your winter garden:

DO protect your plants from the colder weather by using a commercially made cloth frost cover or an old sheet, especially container plants.

DON’T use plastic to cover your plants when the sun hits it will create a greenhouse effect, which will encourage plants to start growing prematurely.

DO add mulch and compost to your garden. Mulch will help keep roots at an optimal temperature and compost will deliver nutrients to the roots.

DON’T fertilize your garden. Winter is a time of rest for your plants, during the colder weather plants will go dormant. Fertilizing will encourage your plants to grow and freezing weather can harm new growth.

DO keep watering your plants regularly before the ground freezes. If the ground is frozen it will prevent the water from entering the roots.

DON’T skip regular watering. Once a week watering is nourishing for your plants, especially new ones.

DO Take this time of slow growth to plan and prep your spring garden. Make it easy by placing a thick layer of newspapers over the area you are planning to turn into a new garden bed, follow that with alternating layers of compost and organic materials. By springtime, the bed will be more than ready to plant in!

If you are thinking of selling your home in the Spring, right now is a great time to start prepping your garden for a fabulous curb appeal! Give us a call to learn what you can do NOW to get ready to sell in 2019. Contact Jean at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com or 360-941-3734 for a copy of the Prepping Your Home checklist. Proudly providing 5-star real estate services in Anacortes, Skagit Valley and beyond.

Hosting for the Holidays?

The last stretch of the holiday season is upon us. If you are the lucky one who will be hosting family and/or friends this year, you might be starting to feel a little overwhelmed with preparations.

You have come to the right place. Have no fear, team Jean Groesbeck is here! We have selected the top 5 most useful tips to make hosting for the holidays stress-free. No stress=Fun time!

stressed santaMake a List – There is so much going on during this time of the year that the last thing you need is to forget something. Shopping lists and party checklists will be your best friends.

Plan Ahead – Cook and prep as much food as you can ahead of time. Clean your house a couple of days before the festivities, this will save time later.

Stock Up – By keeping a well stocked pantry you won’t risk running out of nibbles. No need to step out to run to the store for something you’ve run out of.

Don’t Stress – If you have a lot of guests buffet style may be a great option. This eliminates the need for a “Pinterest perfect” table, simply put everything out and let your guests help themselves.

Ask for Help – Hosting doesn’t mean that you have to do it all by yourself. Ask a couple of close friends or family that are coming to celebrate if they can come over beforehand to help.

Is buying or selling your home during the holiday season feeling overwhelming? Jean Groesbeck and Associates can help you have a stress-free real estate experience! Contact us at info@jeangroesbeck.com or (360) 899-5027.

Don’t Wait Until Spring to List Your Home

Don’t wait until spring to sell your home. Now is a perfect time to list your home on the market. Here are 5 great reasons not to delay!

#1 – Less Competition
Numerous home sellers think that spring may be the best time to put your home on the market for sale due to buyer demand traditionally increasing during the warmer months. If every seller is thinking the same thing, then the spring months potentially bring more competition for your home sale. A great reason to list your home now is there is less competition, thus giving your home more exposure.

#2 – Serious Buyers
During these colder months only buyers who are serious about purchasing a home are searching for one. This combined with less inventory could potentially help your home sell faster and for the best price.

#3 – Lower Interest Rates
There are still fabulously low interest rates available right now. Rates are expected to go up in 2019 making now an excellent time to sell your home as buyers can take advantage of the lower rates now. Also, VA loan limits have increased in Skagit County, making larger zero down loans available to buyers, in turn helping you sell your home quicker.

#4 – Job Relocations
homes in winter
Most companies tend to relocate employees during the first quarter of the year, meaning possibly more potential serious buyers for your home. Some companies offer moving credits as well, helping home buyers get into their new home quicker so they can get back to work. Talk to your broker about how to market to such companies.

#5 – Utilize a Broker
Of course, the absolute best tip for selling your home during the winter, or anytime, is to use the services of a dedicated real estate broker. If you are contemplating whether or not to buy or sell and want to inquire about the market conditions in our area please don’t hesitate to contact Jean Groesbeck and Associates LLC at info@jeangroesbeck.com or 360-941-3734. Let us show you how 5-star real estate services can help you sell your home!

7 Reasons to List your Home During the Holidays

Each year around this time there are numerous sellers who make the decision to postpone listing their house until after the holidays, while other sellers who already have their house listed make a decision to temporarily take the listing off the market during the holidays.

Here are 7 great reasons NOT to delay!

1. Buyers are still relocating. A great number of companies are hiring through the holiday season and are requiring new employees to start their new positions without delay.

2. Buyers who are home shopping during the holiday season are committed and eager to purchase right away.

3. You are able to restrict showing times on your home during the times you may be busy with guests or family during the holiday season, you stay in control of showing times.

4. Homes that are decorated for the holiday season show better.

5. Home inventory historically slows down in the fall and winter seasons meaning there is limited competition as a seller during the holiday season.

6. The urge to buy a home doesn’t go away just because the holidays have arrived. Home buyers who did not find their ideal home during the busy seasons of spring and summer are still house hunting.

7. Home inventory can grow after the holiday which may decrease the interest in your home during the beginning of 2019.

If you are planning to sell your home or are in search of a new home in 2019 please contact Jean Groesbeck and Associates for 5 star real estate services!

Home Selling Tips for Fall

Home Maintenance Checklist

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  • Clean up any fallen leaves.
  • Inspect your central heating system.
  • Touch up any exterior paint that is peeling or cracked.
  • Clear gutters of any debris and ensure the roof is in good condition.


Curb Appeal Tips

  • Paint your front door an eye-catching color. If you’re feeling festive, try for a pumpkin orange to coordinate with the fall season. More crucially, you should select a color that’s either contrasting or complementary to your home’s exterior paint.
  • Plant mums around the front of your home and step into brilliant shades of burgundy, orange, and yellow.


Showing Tips

  • Adding some festive dĂ©cor can make an immense contribution to the appeal of your home. Why not throw a flannel blanket over the sofa? Or leave out an unlit pumpkin spice candle for that fall vibe during showings.
  • Turn on the fireplace to give potential buyers an inviting and comforting feeling. Ask your agent to oversee turning it off and on. If that’s not possible you can have a clean mantle featuring fall foliage dĂ©cor.
  • Be sure that your marketing materials emulate the season. Displaying summer photos of a listing during fall will tend to make prospective buyers assume that your house has been listed on the market for months.


HDC_Fall_Infographic_3159_1-3Tips for Any Season

  • The number one thing you can do to prepare your home for sale is to deep clean top to bottom and declutter room by room.
  • Price your home accurately by utilizing a comparative market analysis that is based on current market conditions.
  • Market your home with professional real estate photography, a captivating listing description, and presentation amongst real estate websites.

 

If you can follow these basic tips, you will have a “sold” sign in your yard before you know it! Are you ready to sell your home but not sure where to start? Click here and fill out this form to contact us for more information.

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.