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.

Merry Christmas!

All of us at Jean Groesbeck & Associates LLC would like to wish you a very merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy New Year!

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!

Skagit County Saturday Events

AnnieAre you pursuing something melodic to entertain your Saturday evening? Do you fancy musicals and just can’t get enough? This local Skagit Valley event may be just the activity that you desire! The musical Annie will be presented on Saturday, December 14th at 7:30pm at the Lincoln Theater located at 712 S 1st St in charming downtown riverside Mount Vernon, WA. Tickets for this local theatrical event start at $15.

Would you like to pursue a new home in delightful Mount Vernon, WA? Click here to begin your Skagit Valley home search today!

NutcrackerDo you admire a classic, traditional holiday season? Do you appreciate dance and ballet? This local Mount Vernon soiree may just suit your definitive taste. The Nutcracker will be performed on Saturday, December 15th beginning at 2pm in McIntyre Hall located at 2501 E College Way in the splendid Skagit Valley town of Mount Vernon, WA. Tickets to this beloved and treasured local event start at $15.

Are you still contemplating selling your Skagit Valley home this season? Click here to discover why this is a fantastic season to list your home!

NoelAre you craving a unique twist for the holidays? Do you enjoy something offbeat this time of year? This local Fidalgo Island performance may be just the unconventional happening to appease your desire. Noel Noir is a Christmas hilarity intertwined with winter charisma and edgy conversation, abounding in enigmatic bewilderment. This program will keep you hypothesizing and entertained with messages of giving and compassion. Noel Noir will be held on Saturday, December 15th from 7:30 to 9:30pm at the Anacortes Community Theatre located at 918 M Ave in Anacortes, WA. All seats are $20 each. Additional date and time for this event is Thursday, December 20th from 7:30 to 9:30pm.

Are you interested in relocating to charismatic seaside Anacortes, WA? Click here commence seeking your Fidalgo Island home!

SantaBkfstHave you experienced your official annual appointment with the cheerful man in red? Do you have a hankering for a satisfying and scrumptious breakfast? At this local Mount Vernon, WA even you can immerse yourself in both! Breakfast with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be held on Saturday, December 15th from 9am to 1pm at the Fireweed Terrace, part of the Eaglemont Golf Course located at 4800 Eaglemont Drive in the scenic farmland town of Mount Vernon, WA. Cost for this local Skagit County breakfast event is $10 for 12 years and under, $12 per adult. Delight in a mouthwatering meal, compose your letter to the North Pole, craft an ornament to take home, decorate some cookies, and don’t forget to get your picture taken with Santa!

Do you have a hankering for a satisfying 5-star real estate experience? Click here to compose your letter to Jean Groesbeck and Associates LLC to discuss selling or buying a home!

FrozenDo you feel like you can’t hold it back anymore? Are you ready to just let it go? At this local Skagit Valley function, you can! Saturday, December 15th from 11am to 12pm is your chance to meet Anna and Elsa from the hit movie Frozen. The cold doesn’t bother them anyways, so they will be visiting the La Conner Christmas Tree that is displayed in Gilkey Square located at 103 Morris St in the alluring waterfront town of La Conner, WA.

Are you ready to just let go of your house? Click here to find out how much your Skagit County home could be worth!

Are you positively enamored with where you live? Do you have a passion for indulging in all things local? At this local Fidalgo Island evening gathering you can commemorate the holiday season in the community that you love! RockinYuleThe Rockin’ Yule Bizarre will be on Saturday, December 15th from 7 to 11pm at the Anacortes Arts Depot located at the corner of 7th & R Ave in the lovely island town of Anacortes, WA. Everything is local at this winter celebration including music, food, treats, crafts, plus beer and wine. Admission to this all ages event is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and kids 12 and under are free.

Are you not local to the sublime seaside town of Anacortes, WA and wish to be? Click here to get your Fidalgo Island home search underway!

CascadiacsDo you enjoy flaunting your dance moves? Are you ready to rock around the Christmas tree? This local Skagit County show may be just the thing you’re looking for! The Cascadiacs will be rocking in Big Lake on Saturday, December 15th from 8:30 to 11:30pm at the Big Lake Bar and Grill located at 18247 State Route 9 in the delightful riverfront town of Mount Vernon, WA. Have a good time boogying to classic radio dance music from the 1950s to 2018. Unwind, enjoy fun and entertainment at this free event!

Are you ready to rock and roll with a home purchase but not sure what moves to make? Click here to kick off your Mount Vernon, WA home search today!

BowmanBayDo you take pleasure in indulging with a delightful cup of hot chocolate? Do you find it near impossible to resist enticing holiday time baked goods? This local Deception Pass experience will be difficult to avoid! Bowman Bay Holiday will be held at Deception Pass State Park, located off Bowman Bay Rd, just north of Deception Pass bridge on Saturday, December 15th from 4 to 8pm.

During this 4th annual family friendly holiday event you will be able to savor the hot chocolate and baked goods that you crave. There will also be opportunities to take photographs with Santa Claus, make fun crafts, sing along with carolers, and write encouraging letters to our service members who are overseas during this time. The Bowman Bay cabins will be festively decorated with sparkling lights. Suggested donation for this event is $5 per car.

Are you finding it near impossible to resist the enticing allure of Fidalgo Island? Click here to make a start on your endeavor for your sparkling Anacortes home today!

 

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.

10 Things To Do Before Summer Ends

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1. Go for a picnic
It seems a little old-fashioned, but a picnic can still be a lot of fun. Put some food in a basket or a cooler, go find a grassy spot somewhere, plop down, and have a meal. Take your friends or your family along and make an experience that you’ll remember.

2. Go find your nearest body of water
Water is an amazing thing and you can do a lot with it. Go visit a body of water this summer like a lake, an ocean or a river. Go fishing, swimming, lying on the beach or go on a boat ride. There are a hundred things you can do once you hit the water. Visit Double Bluff Beach down in Freeland or Rocky Point in Oak Harbor, just to name a few.

3. Walk somewhere
We are always sitting in front of our computers or sitting down on the couch after a long day, but why not switch your routine around and go for a walk somewhere! We have legs that we are using less and less these days. Do your body a favor and pound some pavement this summer. Find a park or a trail and walk around while enjoying the outdoors. Whatever it may be, a little exercise won’t hurt. Visit one of our parks in Anacortes such as Cap Sante Park, Washington Park or John Storvik Playground.

4. Try something you’ve never tried before
When we were kids, summer was a time of exploration. We took the time off of school to try a lot of new things and begin to compile the experiences that would eventually become treasured memories. That doesn’t stop there just because we are adults right now! There are a lot of things left to experience and you have one more month to do them! Take a road trip somewhere or take a ferry to the San Juan Islands. The possibilities are endless, and they’ll be your treasured memories years from now.

5. Have a BBQ
Fire up the grill and the smoker because it’s summer! There is no better time to have a BBQ and invite your friends, neighbors, and family over. It’s a fun time and it’s a great way to bond with the people you care about. BBQ is also delicious and with all of the activities you’ll be doing, it’ll be easy to keep the weight off too.

6. Go hiking and camping
Enjoying the great outdoors is always a good suggestion. Grabbing the old tent and sleeping bag, trekking out to the middle of nowhere, and sleeping there can be a liberating and refreshing experience. You’ll be away from civilization, away from the internet and cellphone, and bonding with nature. It’s great exercise too! Try checking out the Deception Pass Bridge or hike down on Bowman Bay on Whidbey Island.

7. Volunteer
It’s never too late to help those in need or to volunteer in places around your community. Volunteer to be a lifeguard or to help clean up trash out of your local parks and woods. It’s your community, so why not help keep it safe and clean? We’re sure your local church and school have an activity list long enough to fill your entire summer.

8. Have a garage sale
During the winter, there Is no doubt that you stocked up on stuff during the holiday season. That means it’s time to climb into the attic, venture into the garage, and dive into the basement to find all the old junk you don’t need anymore. You could throw it away, but one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Drop it out on the lawn, put some for sale signs on it, and make yourself a few bucks while you remove some clutter from your house. Try visiting Stanwood, Washington at the NOAH Center to donate your things for the Howling Garage Sale!

9. Go to an outdoor concert
Summer is a great time to go see an outdoor show. A lot of artists tour during the summer and most large cities have an outdoor venue. There is even a boatload of festivals available where you can go see acts from multiple genres. Outdoor shows have more freedom than indoor shows and there is nothing that isn’t enjoyable about sitting in the grass with a beer and listening to music you enjoy. Make sure to come into Anacortes, Washington for a FREE summer concert series on Friday and Saturday nights in August!

10. Find a movie drive-in
You can find your local drive-in theater at the Blue Fox Drive-In Theatre in Oak Harbor, Washington, and the Wheel-In-Motor Movie Drive-In in Port Townsend, Washington. If you’re up for it, it’s totally worth driving out a couple of hours. There is something that is just fun about lying on your car or the bed of your truck while you watch a movie on a gigantic screen. It’s an experience that won’t be around for much longer, so it’s recommended you try it at least once.

Those are our top 10 things to do before the summer ends and we hope these ideas help you enjoy the rest of the summer!

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

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Whidbey Island: Washington’s Largest Island

Deception-Pass

Deception Pass Bridge, a National Historic Monument since 1982, is actually two spans that link Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island (Anacortes) over Canoe Pass and Deception Pass. The bridge is one of the scenic wonders and destinations of the Pacific Northwest.

With a population of nearly 72,000 people, Whidbey Island is the largest island in Washington State, sitting between Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula. Whidbey is home to the cities and towns of Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Langley, Freeland, Greenbank, Clinton, and Bayview; all of which fit snugly into Island County.

Oak Harbor is Whidbey Island’s largest incorporated city and home to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Named for the Garry Oak trees which grace its skyline, the city’s growth coincided with two major events: the building of Deception Pass Bridge on July 31, 1935, and the completion of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island on September 21, 1942.

Whidbey Island’s popularity stems from the amazing views of Puget Sound and the plethora of tourist activities available. Explore the waters of Puget Sound on a scuba diving adventure, glide across the sea in silence on a kayak trip to visit the orca and gray whales, sea lions and seals, starfish and crab, and eagles and the porpoises!

For thousands of years, the only people who occupied Whidbey Island were the four Pacific Northwest Indian Tribes. In the spring of 1792, Captain George Vancouver explored the area and named every mountain, island, and waterway he could find. Whidbey Island was named on June 10, 1792 after Joseph Whidbey who proved it was an island when he discovered Deception Pass.

Aside from the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, the island has a strong military history. In 1890, the construction of Fort Casey began. The three-fort defense system was built by the US Army to protect the entrance to Puget Sound. Along with this fort, Fort Flagler and Fort Worden, which are located on the Olympic Peninsula, make up the “Triangle of Fire.” Twenty years after Fort Casey was built, it became the fourth largest military post and was no doubt the most beautiful. Fort Casey is open to the public, allowing visitors to climb on the ladders to inspect the guns, walk along bluff-side bunkers, and through the dark tunnels of the past.

Located in Old Town Anacortes, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, is happy to assist with all of your real estate needs throughout Skagit, Island and San Juan counties. Please contact us daily at (360) 941-3734, (360) 899-5027 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

6 Home Inspection Myths

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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.

Anacortes Community Profile

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Anacortes has the enviable reputation as the playground of the Pacific Northwest. Despite its miles of waterfront and forested trails, mountaintop vistas, festivals, charming shops and restaurants, a welcoming community and easy access to adventure beyond, Anacortes remains one of the country’s best-kept secrets.

Anacortes lies equidistant between Seattle, Washington, to the south, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to the north—each about 80 miles away. Located on Fidalgo Island, Anacortes hosts the Washington State Ferries terminal, making it easy to get away for an afternoon or an extended stay to the San Juan Islands or Victoria, B.C.  Although Anacortes boasts all the assets of an island community, residents enjoy the ease and convenience of being connected to the mainland and neighboring Whidbey Island by three picturesque bridges—including the famed Deception Pass Bridge.

Natural attractions include pristine lakes, world class waterways, great scenic vistas, tide pools and beaches, abundant wildlife, and more than 2,800 acres of public forestland. There are also seven local marinas making Anacortes the boating capital of the Pacific Northwest.  Many Anacortes home buyers are first attracted to Anacortes because of the natural beauty of Fidalgo Island, and as they spend more time here they decide they want to purchase Anacortes real estate and make Anacortes their home.

Abundant recreational activities for all ages include boating, whale watching, hiking, kayaking, golf, biking, beach combing, and much more.

Local culture can be found at Anacortes art galleries, language clubs, numerous daily music venues, a three-screen movie theatre, delightful restaurants, and more.

Several major events mark Fidalgo Island community’s annual activities calendar: Waterfront Festival (May), Fourth of July Parade (July), Anacortes Arts Festival (August), Jazz Festival (September), and the Holiday Boat Parade (December). Each, in its own way, reminds us that, while very much connected to the present, Anacortes remains an appealing connection to a slower, simpler way of living.

Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC knows Anacortes! Contact us today for more information and for all of your real estate needs. We can be reached daily at (360) 941-3734 or at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

New Year’s Resolutions for Home Owners

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Not necessarily planning to move in 2018 but need to change things up? Here are some ways you can make your home feel a little bit newer and easy to maintain:

Make an extra mortgage payment – If you want to own your home faster and save money in the process, make just one extra mortgage payment each year and you’ll shave years off the term of your loan and save thousands of dollars in interest.

Refinance your mortgage – Even though interest rates vary, sometimes refinancing may be in your best interest to lower your monthly payment.

Draft a home maintenance plan – To ensure your house gets the love it deserves, draw up a list of the annual maintenance chores your home requires then come up with a plan to handle one or two each month.

Make your home safe – Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test their batteries regularly, in addition to checking your home for radon (a colorless and odorless gas) and be sure your home has proper ventilation.

Clear the clutter – Overwhelmed with all the stuff in your home? Getting organized and donating items you no longer use will go a long way in giving you and your home a fresh start in the new year.

For all of your real estate needs or with any questions, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC is available daily and can be reached at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.  The Team Groesbeck office is located in Old Town Anacortes at 809 7th St. and we proudly serve Anacortes, Fidalgo Island, and the counties of Skagit, Island, San Juan, Whatcom and beyond.  We look forward to working for you in 2018!