|Real Estate Ruminations...

Why Some Homes Sell Fast

Having just reviewed offers on another wonderful listing of ours, I am again reminded just how important it is to have everything ready and clean & tidy before a home hits the market.  Over the years I have found that when there is  a strong sellers market, the amount of inventory increases and the attention to details can fall off.  When a seller says “I can’t loose in this market” and lists their home in half-done condition, they often aren’t happy with the results.  I’ve found that if your property looks amazing, the offers will come in the door and the strongest one will rise to the top.  If you don’t get ready before listing, or don’t take the time to have great photos that showcase the home, you can end up waiting for buyers to notice you and slow activity can lead to no offers on the review date and worse – getting shop worn, leading to price reductions & concessions when an offer does come in.  I still believe that the best advice for sellers is to look at the home with a critical eye, correct anything your broker points out, and try to present it in the best possible light.  With good staging, photography, marketing and strong buyer appeal, this is the perfect time to be selling you home.  Attached is a kitchen shot of the home we sold earlier today in a multiple offer scenario.  Enjoy touring properties out there and be sure to follow my blog for more current real estate advice.

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The magic that makes a home sell . . .

I’ve been asked over the years why some homes sell in a week and how you create that “magic” touch.  It comes down to a few elements that are critical – the price being first and foremost.  If a home is fairly priced the buyer response will be tremendous in an up market.  If it is overpriced by 10% the sellers may miss their mark, and in the end may need to reduce the listing price.  Right Brain/Left Brain to me means price and feelings. There are some other things that are more gut instincts or feelings that matter as much as pricing.  One of those is the vibe, or how does it feel when you step out of the car and walk up to the porch.  Buyers will tell you they knew they were walking into their new home the minute they arrived.  So my advice is that a well tended garden and fresh pots of flowers creates a wonderful first impression, as does a new door mat, a wiped down front door and sparkly windows.  They all add to the image buyers prefer when they are shopping for their new ‘dream’ home.  Can they see themselves living there when they walk inside?  Is the furniture well placed so you feel comfortable and relaxed inside?  A home with clutter or too many personal things makes it challenging for buyers visualize living there.  Before you list your home make some choices and pack up, organize, donate and recycle whatever is not adding to a positive first impression.  Buyers are enthusiastic to be buying but are generally busy individuals and they may ask themselves if there are just too many projects to take on with a home that has potential.  Some homes have bad carpeting, unattractive window treatments, popcorn ceilings, dated appliances, unfinished projects and more surprises as you look around.  The result of not being market ready is that buyers feel they might be exhausted trying to make it into the home they wish they were buying.  If you take the time to prepare your home for buyers before you list it, your activity on-line, in person and at the offer table will be far better.  I love the soul and personality of a handsome classic home and see buyers respond to them with enthusiasm and excitement.  I’m especially partial to Bungalows that truly say “welcome home” when you walk in the door.  This week we are featuring one of those homes at 2841 NW 60th Street for $619,000.   It is a very special place and has lots of magic for some lucky buyer.

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The best Open Houses have buyers lingering . . .

You know someone is pretty interested in a home when they’re hanging around and don’t seem to want to leave.  That’s what happened at my Broadview Open house this weekend at 12215 9th NW.  The home is one of those “fall in love” types of places with a sweet garden.  The feeling inside is casual, so when you’re there you tend to want to stay awhile.  We had over 60 groups come through, and we noticed that some groups tended to linger.  Watching them wander through the home and garden, they’d return with a question about one area or another.  They were collecting information about how this home might be the one that checks off all the boxes on their list.  When you feel like a home is the place for you, you tend to get a gut instinct almost immediately after walking in the front door.  It is probably a combination of light, space and vibe,  but in real estate lingo it translates to the layout of the home, the interior color palate, the natural light and indoor/outdoor flow.  If you have ever walked into a home, be it for sale or perhaps when you were visiting a friend, and you just physically felt your shoulders relax, and when you sat down you thought I’ll stay a bit longer, that is the effect that a really happy home has on buyers, or even neighbors for that matter.  The best Open Houses have buyers lingering, and it is a pleasure to represent a home with that special magic.

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Springtime Sales Sizzling

It’s that time of year when everything on the market is selling.  Once again we are in the Spring frenzy, with lots of buyers looking for the “right place” to call home, and a shortage of inventory that makes home sellers happy.  March saw very little inventory on the market, so many homes brought in multiple offers as buyers went after their favorite properties.  I found this especially true in the heart of the city where the biggest pool of buyers are shopping.  Four to seven offers on a home was not unusual in the past few weeks.  What makes Spring such a hot time for sales?  It’s a combination of five elements: 1) light inventory, 2) low interest rates, 3) Brighter sunnier days help homes show better and improve buyer appeal, 4) sellers are able to make cosmetic improvements before listing their homes with the better weather, and 5) optimism blossoms in the Springtime.  My thoughts are that the Spring Season is a perfect time for making life changes and after coming through a very damp and drizzly Winter we are all glad to be seeing the seasons turn.  I plan to have some very special homes on the market in April and I hope you will visit me at one of my open houses. Meanwhile I’ve enjoyed another walk under the cherry trees on Sunset Hill.

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Loving the mid-century Vibe

Open & light interiors, spacious rooms, banks of windows and crisp colors all bring to mind mid-century homes.  These homes, especially those built in the early 1960’s, have a unique vibe that is very special for buyers.  Built a bit bigger, they often have a two-car garage, extra storage, a couple of baths and big yards.  A mid-century modern home may be just the answer for you as you think about where to live for the next 10 years.  I’ve just sold a 1961 home that had just two owners since it was built over in NE Seattle in the Meadowbrook community.  Having a sandstone fireplace, an open flow from the Living Room to the Dining area and out to the deck makes it very easy to enjoy and brings in wonderful afternoon sunlight.  The original tile countertops and oak floors were cleaned up & refinished but not replaced because they suited the home.  If you’re trying to find a home with more of a horizontal feel, I’d recommend searching for a mid-century in one of your favorite neighborhoods.

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The “Best Room” is often outside

We are all sun lovers to some degree, and as Spring begins to blossom I always feel the desire to spend more time outside. This photo is from an East Ballard home we listed and sold last summer that had a delightful deck with hot tub in the backyard. The old tree created a canopy for shade and privacy that made this space so very inviting. Having a tree, or swooping strings of garden lights, makes a fake ceiling for the garden room that is very comforting. Bringing in a few anchor pieces to sit on is the first step in building this space out, be they a picnic table, Adirondack chairs or beach chairs for that California vibe. Add some bright accent pillows and pots with Spring flowers and the space will transform into your favorite room. The look can be entirely different each year, even each month if you have a creative flair. Mostly, it is about making an outdoor spot that is your new destination for those sunny afternoons.  Often the “best room” is outside where you can get away from everything and enjoy an hour or two of sunshine and solitude. As Spring arrives early this year, I’m excited to get started on our sunny spot in the garden and have just the mystery book to dig into once it is ready.

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I spell it “Adorable”

When a home has that special feeling and you just like hanging out there, that’s what I call “Adorable” and we have that on the market today.  This sweet North Ravenna home was built in the 1940’s and it sits up off the street with a coveted Southern orientation.  As you walk up the path to the front door the garden and plantings are thoughtful and the backyard is absolutely amazing with a sweet patio under a wonderful old tree, no neighbors really looking into the garden and a sense of privacy seldom found in the city.  Inside all the cute 1940’s details are there from the fireplace to the vintage tile accents in the kitchen.  The place isn’t large, but it doesn’t need to be.  What won’t fit inside can be stored in the attic or the partial basement.  Mostly when you see a home that feels right it reflects who has enjoyed living there before and it’s really more of an emotional or gut feeling that you get when you walk in the front door.  Makes you want to have a cup of coffee and stay for a while.  This darling home, at 2224 NE 83rd Street is listed for $449,000 and offers will be reviewed next Friday, Feb. 26th.  For more information about it, just touch bases.


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Prep your Home to be Ultra Popular

When you’re planning to list your home, even in a fast market, think about first impressions and get everything tuned up.  Walk across the street at take a look at your home with a critical eye, as if you didn’t live there.  Any clutter to remove?  Dead plants in pots or an unfinished project?  Do you have a spot of colorful bulbs coming up in a pot? Is the front walk manicured and the porch inviting?  Nothing makes a better impact than a good first impression, and it includes getting spider webs off the outdoor lights, a new door mat, freshly washed windows and a crisp presentation.  I’ve found that buyers have three pivot points that make them want to buy a home or not:  the first is how it looks on-line, the second is curb appeal as they come up to the front door, and finally how they feel during the first minute or two when they walk into a home.  If those three points click, you’ve likely got an interested buyer.  When those impressions are great on-line but not so good in person, the end result can be that the buyers are lukewarm, are concerned there may be maintenance issues, and often pass on the home, waiting for the “right one” to hit the market.  Even in this fast paced real estate market, there is nothing as powerful as being ultra popular with buyers.  I’ve got more ideas about making your home shine when it hits the market so feel free to touch bases with me if you’d like more information.  My feeling is when it is priced right and well presented, you’re likely to get more agents showing your home, and more buyers bidding on it.  Details, details, details . . . they really pay off!

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Winter Sweater Drive On Now!

Now is a great time to donate any sweaters that you’re not wearing and help out those in need in our community.  The Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood sweater drive is in full swing at PCC Markets and I am collecting sweaters at our office (311 North 85th Street) to bring over there up until February 3rd.  If you drop off sweaters with me, leave your name with the receptionist and you might win a $25 gift certificate to Coyle’s Bakery in Greenwood.  Thank you in advance for sharing what you are not using.  It is wonderful to be able to help out those in need during our winter months.

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When to list your home?

Is there really a “best time” to put your home on the market?  The old saying about selling in May does not ring true in our current market.  Today home buyers are looking throughout the year, with January pulling in as many brokers and buyers as a home listed in the Spring or Summer.  During our winter months the weekends are key for getting buyers through the home.  The gardens are not yet blooming, the school year has not wrapped up, but the inventory is very low and the number of buyers in the current marketplace is high.  This year I predict January through July will be spectacular months for sellers to list and sell their homes.  Location and price remain very important to buyers, so presentation and a fair listing price are key.  I have found that a strong listing at this time of year, with an appealing photo gallery presence on-line and easy tour access during the week, and especially on weekends, should bring in just as many buyers as our old fashioned “Spring selling season” of years past.  Here is a look at our wonderful new listing in North Beach, mls #882812, located at 2825 NW Golden Drive for $775,000.  Open this Saturday and Sunday 2-4, it has all the bells and whistles and is a gem of a home.  Near the beach, updated, and boasting views, it is an easy one to fall in love with.  Swing by and see if you agree with me that this home in January is just as wonderful as it will be in May.

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