|Real Estate Ruminations...

Staging creates the Strongest Emotional Appeal

Having listed & sold homes for many years, I’ve always been a big proponent of making a strong first impression on buyers, and nothing can create that emotional appeal as readily as good staging.  This handsome Loyal Heights home sold a while ago, in a week with multiple offers,  and the staging had a lot to do with raising the bar and the way you felt when you entered the home.  Terrific color choices in the oak floor refinishing and strong contrasts from the calming green Living Room into the bright white accents in the Kitchen were dynamic, but setting a theme or style really brought this to another level to enjoy.  Remember when you’re getting ready to sell your home to think about 1) how does it look, 2) how does it feel, 3) how does it smell, 4) are there calming & relaxing elements like Eucalyptus scent and soft jazz music playing, and 5) when you walk in the door, do you feel like you’d want to stay there all day?  You’ll notice some agents and buyers seem to speed up when they tour open houses, and then certain homes seem to catch them in a trance and they really don’t want to leave.  When you’ve got the best elements working together, with the right staging, pricing and presentation, buyers become more relaxed, more in tune with the home, and more likely to want to make it theirs.  It’s all about making the magic happen and creating happy buyers & sellers.

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Healthy Eating Tips from a Pro

I followed through on a New Year’s resolution and met with Lauren yesterday to talk about food.  I’ve been wondering about what choices to make and having a chance to get advice from a nutritionist seemed like the best place to go.  If you’re interested in this, get in touch with me and I’ll share Lauren’s contact info with you.  Mostly it’s nice to have a plan so I can make better choices in the new year.

Worried about your metabolism slowing down?

The easy answer here is “exercise” because the best way to be fit is to build muscle, rather than worry about what you’re eating and if your metabolism is slowing down.  That goes for people in many age groups.

Concerned you’ve been drinking too much coffee?

The amount of coffee you drink is fine so long as you are matching it with water.  Keep a balance going and you should be fine.

What’s the best focal point on my dinner plate?

Let’s make vegetables the start of your main course and have meat & protein be the extra topping.  If you don’t focus on meats as the main part of the meal, you’ll have a healthier dinner.  Boost your vegetables, for example have Spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, or other veggies as the main part of your dinner plate, then add protein as an extra.  Remember Fish is a great protein so keep eating your fish.

How can I make vegetables yummy?

A little flavoring can turn them around.  Roasted Brussel Sprouts with just a bit of maple syrup, salt & pepper and a touch of basalmic vinegar is great.  You can add a little roasted red peppers and corn to your sliced cabbage and it comes to life.  Dark green veggies are super good for you, but Kale can be bitter so add lemon juice and really mix it in so it’s coated – it won’t get soggy and can last in the fridge for a few days.  Add Spinach and other veggies to as many meals as possible.

Should I buy Organic produce & organic dairy?

Yes.  Especially important on fruits like strawberries, apples, etc.  If you can afford Organic, buy it.

What about cutting out Carbs to get thin?

Don’t cut out carbs, you need carbs to get energy and so they shouldn’t  be eliminated.  But if you want to stay full longer between meals be sure to add some fat to your meals so that you stay full and be aware of food labels on anything processed – that is where there can be some bad choices with the amount of sugar & calories in foods.

What are some good lunch options?

Cheeses that I like are Feta Cheese & Parmesan Cheese for flavoring.

Turkey Chicken and Vegetarian Tempe are great proteins

Fruit as a side item on your plate is ideal at lunch

You can enjoy grain based options like Barley, Quinwa and Farro with some roasted veggies on top.

If you plan to work out or go for a walk after lunch, eat a banana or apple for a boost first.

Avoid those high sugar Cliff  Bars unless you’re training for a marathon or something like that.

Some food options we forget about that are easy and good for you as snacks include:

Hummus with cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, snap peas.  You can have apple slices with cheese or nut butters.

 

That’s my take-away from my first session with Lauren.  I’ll have other nutrition tips from her posted on my site from time to time.

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Let your “New Home” be a Perfect Match

Let your “New Home” Be a Perfect Match

By Liz Talley, Windermere Managing Broker, Greenwood Branch

The subliminal messages you get touring Seattle homes has a huge impact on how you select which one you want to buy. Have you noticed that some homes seem to say “sit down and stay awhile” while you’re looking them over? They feature spots to sit and read, or to enjoy a conversation, or to reenergize, be it on a cushioned window-seat or an inviting Adirondack chair near the entry. Other homes seem to feel utilitarian and rush you through them because they feel bland and not very special.  I always gravitate towards the ones that are so emotionally inviting that buyers, agents, even the neighbors seem to want to linger.

As a buyer when you tour homes, ask yourself if you’d enjoy opening the door everyday and living there.  Does it seem to fill your needs and are you comfortable with the energy in the home, the other properties around it, and how the light filters in the windows. Can you find a place to stash your Kayak or stroller?  Is there a nice park nearby you could walk to or a bus stop that would get you to work if you chose to ride?  All of these elements play a role in which home best fits your needs.

What is the secret to making some homes more inviting?

It’s actually how it looks, feels and smells that creates an overall inviting haven. Sometimes that fresh smell of hyacinths in the kitchen, or seeing a favorite cookbook sitting on the kitchen counter makes a connection and you can see yourself enjoying the place.  The colors inside can always be changed but how the flow is in a home impacts how comfortable you are when you walk through it.  If you are a tall person you might find yourself drawn to new construction, big boxy 1960’s homes and also possibly turn of the century Farmhouses with their high ceilings.  If you love cozy nooks and window seats, the old world charm of a Brick Tudor or Craftsman Bungalow may be the home that speaks to you.  How it is laid out and feels when you walk through it will send you a message and might suggest to you that this is your new abode.  When it’s a match, you know it almost like a gut instinct.  It just feels right, and that is something that can’t be determined seeing homes on-line.  You must walk through the door to sense if the place is “home” for you, and it just takes a few minutes to know once you arrive.

Getting the house keys into your hands.

Once you’ve found the right place, how can you compete to buy it in this fast paced real estate market?  Well first off, take the advice of your professional real estate agent who can help you craft a strong offer for the seller.  If you’re able to be flexible and can allow the seller to pick the dates for closing and possession that is generally helpful.  Having a solid earnest money check, in excess of 3%, is another way to show you’re serious about buying the home.  Finally working with a local trusted lender that other agents have had a good experience with may give you an edge.  We’ve all heard about submitting love letters to the sellers with offers, but they’re only credible if they are sincere so be thoughtful if you write one and have it focus on the seller and what they’ve created in their home, rather than the same letter you use on every offer you write which goes on and on about you.

If you’d like to learn how to improve the energy and feel in your new home I’d recommend doing a little reading on Feng Shui and the art of feeling relaxed in a home.  Your favorite interior colors will make your furniture look perfect and sometimes installing new lighting and putting on a fresh coat of paint can lighten and brighten a home.  If you’re picking one room to target for DIY projects, I’d recommend the kitchen since you’ll be creating meals there each day and it’s a great room to improve in terms of return on investment. Creating that special something is what I try to do with each listing before it hits the market, and I hope that these ideas and suggestions will help the right home find it’s way to you.

Green Lake Arts & Crafts Home

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ABC’s of selling your condo . . .

We’re getting ready to list a really nice condo and like many condo owners you may wonder what do you need to do before it hits the market.  Here are some of the things on our list.  First impressions make a difference so wash the front door, refresh any pots near the outdoor entry with attractive living plants, sweep the entry area and add a new door mat by your front door.  Your windows are your view to the outdoors so if you can, have the windows professionally washed right before you list your condo.  We recommend putting window screens into storage, wiping the interior window & sliding door tracks so they’re clean, and opening up all drapes and blinds for showings.  The vibe inside needs to be bright and inviting, so check and change out any blue-tint or dim light bulbs, remove clutter behind doors and in closets and make sure that the condo smells fresh – we like citrus so try a citrus cleaner as you wipe everything down.  On the day you hit the market consider having a bouquet of fresh flowers on your kitchen counter, nice relaxing music playing, and lamps turns on so all your potential buyers and brokers feel welcome and inspired by your condo.  On surfaces, three is our favorite number so if you have more than three items on coffee tables, dressers or other furniture, edit and pack them up.  Fewer items create a crisp look, and after all, most everything needs to be packed anyway if you are moving.  These tips will help create an inviting and attractive impression on your buying audience and we hope the combination of light real estate inventory, affordable interest rates and great presentation helps you get your condo sold promptly.

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A Vintage Farmhouse

In busy Seattle where homes are scraped for new construction faster than you can believe it, we have listed a vintage farmhouse that really is calling out to be saved & restored.  Located in the heart of Crown Hill this little home, 8519 12th Ave NW, is affordable at $439,900 and offers a quiet reprieve from all the hustle & bustle of the city.  It sits on a big level lot, oversized by city standards, and has a spacious detached garage.  The upstairs is a finished attic that could easily house a third bedroom and the unfinished basement while rough has a ton of space.  If you know someone who has wanted to roll up their shirtsleeves and take on a project, this home boasts many of the old world charm features of old Seattle homes.  MLS #1048830 for more info, open today until 3:30 and Sunday 1:30 to 3:30.  Offers reviewed Thursday Nov. 10th.

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Our Weekend Open House

What a busy weekend it will be, yet I believe I will be swamped at our open houses over in Blue Ridge on Saturday 1:00 – 3:00 and Sunday 1:30 to 4:00.  Between picking up groceries, getting kids to sports activities, and running errands, it only takes a couple of minutes to swing through an Open House and when you walk in the door you get an immediate feeling about the place.  Just doesn’t happen with photos on-line.  What I love at 2048 NW Blue Ridge Drive, listed at $1,250,000 is the open layout, big 1950’s style rooms with picture windows, nothing but garden between you and the water, watching George the Heron land in a nearby tree, and feeling like you can breathe.  While Ballard is hot, there’s something to be said about having a little more room around you, and this home is on a lot over 8,000 sq. ft. so you just feel relaxed when you’re there.  Built to enjoy, with view covenants, this home is an easy one to love – come see it Saturday or Sunday.  MLS # 1032484

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Are you thinking of moving?

All I know is one day you wake up and you’ve decided – it’s definitely time to move.  So when you’re ready to move, where do you go?  The home I’ve just listed at 2048 NW Blue Ridge Drive for $1,250,000 could be that  home because it is a level entry home with big comfortable rooms, picture windows of the views, oak floors and a handsome bedroom/bath combo.  There is the two-car garage, no grass to mow, a lower level for Seahawk games and bedrooms for company.  The scale is just right, the kitchen has a nook for morning coffee and the dining room is casual.  Not a neighbor looking in, a short meander down to the private beach on sunny afternoons and while you’re still near all the great restaurants in Ballard, you’ve managed to slip away to a quiet area the moment you drive into Blue Ridge.  Sound like something you might enjoy?  Come by today, Saturday Oct. 8th, from 12-2:30 and see for yourself.  More info on-line at mls #1032484 on the Windermere site.

Blue Ridge Family Room

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When is the “best time” to sell your home?

I’ve been watching market trends for 25 years now as an active realtor in Ballard / Greenwood and beyond.  There is always a flurry of activity between Martin Luther King day in January and Mother’s Day in May.  That’s when the number of buyers always seems to outweigh the amount of available inventory.  The past two years have been a little crazy here in Seattle because of the huge number of buyers moving to Seattle each month.  Our current growth has translated to busy real estate figures regardless of the time of year, however, that being said – I think August as usual was a bit slower this past year.  Now that Labor Day has come and gone, the inventory has again risen dramatically and agents are putting together deals right and left, so I would assume that between mid-September and mid-November you’ll see a lot of sales activity.  If you’re ready to sell this year, do it now and have the escrow buttoned up pre-election.  If it were me, I’d recommend buying in August, early September,  mid-November, and all of December when other buyer activity seems to slow down a notch, and as a seller if I’m ready to go I’d list it in the next 30 days or if I need to make improvements to your home in order to be market-ready, I’d make those improvements now now with plans to beat the rush and list it mid- January when inventory is low but the buyers are out, ready to buy.  That’s my advice for the best time to sell and the ideal time to bring in top dollar on your home sale.

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How does it look now?

Often when we’re trying to decide how to set up a home to hit the market, it is a good idea to be brutally honest and suggest that some furniture go and often some staging come in to create the best way to showcase the home.  The camera doesn’t lie and some rooms just look better after they’ve been redesigned with less going on, crisper lines and often smaller-scale furniture.  The photos below are a case in point on a recent listing where the owners agreed that the most comfortable couches around probably weren’t helping with the look we were hoping for.  We found new owners for those couches across the street and our stager brought in a simple, contemporary ensemble that really worked well with the classic lines in the room.  We had our stagers redesign the look in the home, relying on their eye to details, color and design and that  helped us create a consistent theme that made the home really shine.  With a couple offers in hand our sellers were able to select their buyers a week after listing the home.  If you want to know if it matters how it looks in person and on-line, the answer is yes it does, it matters a ton.

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How outdoor rooms sell homes . . .

As a native, I know why outdoor rooms are so critical to enjoying life here.  After all the cloud cover burns off, and you have a totally amazing Sunny afternoon, the first thing many of us think is where can I catch a little sunshine.  Cafes with patios & decks around town offer great options, yet putting a little “oomph” into your own backyard will reap rewarding times for you again and again.  What’s involved?  Not all that much.  I helped set up the deck arrangement here on a home now enjoyed by friends of mine in Blue Ridge, and we incorporated a couple of teak recliners with pillows, a typical white garden umbrella and a few pots with seasonal plantings.  They worked well together and created an invitation to grab a good paperback and sit right down.  If you have a spot in your garden that lends itself to this, now is the perfect time to bring in outdoor furniture and accessories that you’ll likely enjoy through September.  Add to that a little something on the BBQ, perhaps some background music, and you just created your new favorite room.  Do buyers love this sort of thing?  All day long!  For more tips on how to create inviting homes, visit my real estate blog at www.liztalley.com.

 

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