Value Comes Before Price

When selling your property you need the most money you can get for it. Here are some great ideas for making sure you are on top of the REALTOR® priority list. Put together a budget for how much you would like to spend before leaving. Is it going to be a couple grand? Five hundred bucks? No matter what it is, you have to be realistic and goal oriented. What is going to be the selling point of the property? Put the most of that budget toward the goal and thin things out on the other items. Here’s a list of some lesser expensive ways to put your home first.

  1. Call a pro. In order to be sure on what people are looking for at the particular time you are selling, it is a great idea to contact a lisenced REALTOR® who not only knows the market and how it is currently trending, but how it will be changing in the coming months. It won’t do you any good to take a few months spending your budget on the back yard in the middle of the autumn season if it’ll just be covered in snow when you’re selling. Find out what people are buying and shape your property to that market.
  2. Inspect. There are no inspections that are required by law before you can sell a property but this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be done. Hiring a professional general home inspector to help you with an assessment on the beneficial and trouble spots both. If you have great windows and doors throughout your home and this is rare for the current market, you want to know so you can emphasize this! If the furnace is old but still in great shape, you may want to spend your money on other areas as old doesn’t mean bad.
  3. Paint. The first place most people begin to freshen up a property is with a nice paint job. If you aren’t seasoned at painting- CALL A PRO. It’s not uncommon to spend a couple hundred dollars per room getting a color change to something more neutral. If you already have neutral colored walls, the price can go down by just painting the same color a single coat rather than two coats to change the color. Cleaning the trim is always a great idea. If you clean the doors and trim it’s likely you will see that they only need touched up with paint rather than completely repainted. This can save you several hundreds of dollars. In the end, the home can completely transform in appearance, thus value.
  4. Touch it up. Though there are some things in housing markets that fluctuate in and out of popularity and favor, some things stay the same. Everyone seems to want a nice kitchen with lots of cabinet space. Then off to the bathrooms- if the bathrooms look modern, many other things won’t be questioned. Next is closet space. Is there enough room for expansion or is what they get all there is to be had? Finally, yard maintenance. Are there bare spots in the yard from the family dog repeatedly using the same spot to relieve themself? Have the kids decided to dig for gold at the end of your patio? These are places to focus on. Don’t assume that just because you’ve grown used to seeing things like this, it means a prospective buyer will- because they won’t. If you don’t show you’ve put things back together on the outside, they can only assume you haven’t done proper maintenance on the inside.
  5. Keep it bright and light. When repainting, be sure to choose light colors that reflect light. This gives appearance of a larger space rather than a cave-like atmosphere. Clean the walls and floors and get rid of any items that aren’t completely necessary. The less there is to clutter the scene, the more open the space appears to be and the more square footage shows rather than is covered up thus not usable. Using plants to give a feeling of outdoor freshness is great because it provides a feeling of outdoor spaciousness.
  6. Keep it together. Starting with the curb appeal we have already touched on bare spots in the laws. What about trimming the trees? Have you really looked at the bushes lately? Is a good window cleaning in order. Making a good checklist of items that you would like to get a handle on is always the place to begin. It’s just so easy to get sidetracked by a beautiful day or spend all of your time on one project and overlook another. The checklist will help keep things in line. If a bush or two have died- dit it up! Just remember to not leave a dirt pile in its place. Decorative rock or even mulch is an affordable way to enhance any part of a landscaped yard.
  7. Seasonal maintenance is different than weekly maintenance. Picking up doggie poop and blowing off the leaves from your air conditioner unit are completely separate priority items. Check out our nice list of winter maintenance duties you may want to see in our Winter Maintenance Time article. Be sure to think in both short and long term when completing maintenance. Wind up the hoses, clean out the fire pit, pick up the branches, what ever it takes to make the yard look like a pleasing place to spend time.

Do what you can to step outside of your daily life to see what is actually around you rather than what you’ve built your home around you to become. Everyone will see the property differently from you, to your friends and family, to professional contractors, to a prospective homebuyer. Take the help when it comes, stay positive on the experience and remember that everyone gets stressed doing this phase of property sales. It’s normal and it will all be a memory soon if it’s done right. Make the best of it!


As we wrap up the first week of the new year, Winter is in full swing with only a couple of months to go before we start hearing the sweet sound of love-birds chirping in the back yard. Until then, IT’S COLD OUT! While the birds fly south for the winter, we stay hunkered down in our homes to stay nice and toasty and we’ve made a winter home maintenance checklist so you can make sure you stay that way!

Furnace: First thing first, have you had your furnace checked in the last few years? It’s always a great idea to keep up on preventative maintenance on the main thing your family counts on to keep warm this winter. Many companies will come out and do an inspection for free, so check it out and see what you can come up with. Finding out too late is how things get expensive quickly. While you’re in the area, you may as well flush and insulate your hot water tank. Additional insulation can save big bucks in the long run. Typically not far from your water tank may be a sump pump. Checking this is as simple as pushing the trigger with a yard stick or broom handle. Making sure your pump is running properly can save thousands.

Windows and Doors: Over the summer months, it’s common for us to take off our wet and muddy shoes and boots at the door. In time, this can deteriorate the doorjamb sill allowing air to leak in. If replacing the wood isn’t a short term option, a quick simple fix for this can be to put in new weather stripping. Just screw, glue, or nail in the rubber to the door and the cold air will stay where it belongs- OUT SIDE. Windows can be a bit trickier. Most times, when a window is leaking air it’s glazing has dried up and needs replaced. This can be replaced with caulk which will seal the glass back to the sash. When you have air leaking from the bottom or sides near the window frame or sill, your options lessen. You can still use weather stripping to slow the wind from coming in, but it may look unsightly. When your frame is leaking, it may be time for some more serious repairs. Experts can replace windows without damage to your siding and walls, so it’s best to leave it to them.

Gutters: We’ve all seen the ice spears hanging off of homes in the wet and freezing cycle of the winter months. As they may very well be beautiful, they are extremely dangerous. Nearly 200 people per year are killed by falling ice. This number can be eliminated by simply cleaning out your gutters so the cold rain and sleet can flow freely to your downspout. Don’t get speared by falling ice!

Ice Expands: Most of us know that when water freezes, it expands. The best example of this is seeing our beautiful outdoor pots crack and break during a surprise freeze. Bringing them in to the garage or a shed is a great way to keep those pots safe from getting below 32 degrees. By simply taking them out of the brisk wind, the temperature is more likely to stay high enough to not freeze through. Also, bringing your hose in or at very least disconnecting it from the house could save you hundreds of dollars in repair bills on frozen and burst indoor piping. Lastly, don’t forget about furniture and tools. As they will certainly survive a few years with no show of wear, ultimately paint will chip off, wood will crack, upholstery will tear, and metal will rust in the harsh winter conditions.

The Small Things That Make it: There are a few things that commonly get overlooked until it’s too late and are more of an annoyance than anything. Have you stocked up on road salt? We’ve all slipped and slid around the driveway or sidewalk heading out to the car or for the mail and wished we had salted. The worst is when we finally go to salt the pavement and we’ve run out of salt. It’s not expensive and it’s certainly worth the purchase. How about when you go to the garage for that salt bag and the light burns out… Been there. Replacing the bulbs every couple of years is not expensive and can save a future moment of expletives in front of the family doggie. A big one for me currently is our humidifier. We had a house humidifier installed on our furnace several years ago but never thought to maintain it. The filter can be replaced or simply cleaned for those as frugal as me.

Real Estate Market Recession in 2020?

Looking forward to 2020, the real estate market will be an interesting watch.

Experts have predicted a recession in 2020 and have also pushed one back as far as 2021. So far we have yet to see this affect the housing market in recent years and honestly, it isn’t likely to fluctuate much even in the event of a recession. If you get used to the fact that a recession is always coming, you’ll realize that it’s just another day in the grind and we will keep pushing forward to make the best of where we are (which is pretty good).

So how can realtors protect and prepare in the event that we are in fact heading toward a recession?

Keeping an eye out for sellers who are more motivated is a great way to keep things in line with fundamentals. Listing prices are always negotiable and everyone likes free stuff. Maybe the yard has nice acreage and the riding mower is something the buyer hasn’t purchased yet. Appliances are a pain to move in and out making them a great means of bartering. Drapery and other house fixtures can also be something easily added into a deal as many home sellers are going to plan on changing their motif anyway. Everyone wins!

Check other markets that are relevant and fairly close by. If you drive an hour and a half to a great find, what’s a little more time invested in a deal you shouldn’t pass? When doing this, keep in mind that real estate markets shift and are not the same from neighborhood to neighborhood, so you can be sure they are different from town to town.  Do the necessary research and bring a creative edge to the selling market that locals may have overlooked. Make time to see their home turf in a light that is enticing to others but perhaps taken for granted by those who see it every day. How is the local dining? What is the historic value of surrounding communities within driving distance? Are the sunsets especially viewable in the area? Anything can be a selling point if it’s viewed as valuable. Understanding the treasures of an area from every perspective is a creative way to drawing the perfect buyer.

Standing clear of listing pitfalls such as bidding wars and clients who aren’t quite ready to swallow the bite on their fork are both ways to make life simpler in trying times. Inexperienced homebuyers who are looking for a quick home flip may be under fire from places they never saw coming. That leaves you to do homework for them that should have been done before they even called you. Help them understand that they need to be prepared for what is in store by investing in a dilapidated home with expectations of making a good profit. Sometimes not selling a property to a client can create a stronger bond than selling them something they aren’t ready for. Never be afraid to steer the situation away from a deal that appears to be putting you or your client at a disadvantage.

The great news is that home sellers and homebuyers have little to worry about in the event of a recession.

Property values have fluctuated very little in three of the past four recessions. With new rules and regulations in place, there is much more shielding to prevent the housing market from being affected on a great scale like it was in 2008. (Seems we aren’t interested in losing everything twice) This still won’t entice clients if you don’t tell them that they’ll be just fine with quality assistance. Reassure yourself and them that you’ll stand by them with your reputation. Keep pushing forward and remember that your local area association of REALTORS is always here to help.