|Real Estate Ruminations...

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.


Deck 08

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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.

Kitchen 03

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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.

Dining Room 02

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