|Real Estate Ruminations...

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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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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