Viewing entries tagged
real estate agent

Comment

Puget Sound Spring Real Estate Selling Season: it’s Sprung!

When the first spring day comes along (as opposed to the first day of spring), a goodly proportion of Bainbridge Island’s residents feel the annual pull toward the garden store aisles. Even those who’ve stoutly resisted ordering seeds, gardening tools, or any of the other back yard paraphernalia the catalogs kept hawking all winter can succumb to this particular Call of Nature.

Burpee, Scotts and Miracle-Gro shareholders can relax: spring has sprung.

The local spring real estate selling season starts stirring, too, pretty much in lockstep with the appearance of the tulips. Whether or not the tulips have succeeded in poking up out of the ground, it’s a cinch that by this time they will have made colorful appearances on store shelves everywhere, just like the Peeps and chocolate bunnies. Unlike the rest of the early spring’s trappings, though, the spring real estate phenomenon doesn’t disappear from sight once Easter Sunday is a memory. In fact, it picks up steam.

There are any number of explanations why spring real estate in BI is always expected to ramp up. Part of the reason is the calendar. For families with children, if a move is going to involve a change in school districts, summer vacation is the least disruptive time of year for it to happen, so spring is the time to start house hunting. Part of the reason is due to the comparative difficulty of selling a home in wintertime: not only can foul weather make it harder to keep a home at its showy best, it also can throw a monkey wrench into property maintenance and the few cosmetic fixes that almost every home could use before it hits the local listings. The result is a certain amount of bottled-up inventory that bursts onto the scene all at once—and springtime is the single time of the year when that happens.

Then there is the automatic momentum effect. When you sell a Puget Sound area home, most families need to turn around and buy the next. The National Association of Realtors® tells us that the spring real estate selling season may actually be stronger than the numbers indicate, because many sales that really did begin “in season” don’t actually close until summer begins. Spring real estate as a phenomenon is “real” enough that you can’t blame them for lines like “Spring brings rain and flowers—and possibly extra green in the final sales price of your home.”

The spring real estate selling season is indeed underway, so if you are planning on listing your own home anytime soon, now is a great time to give me a call. It’s the best way to take advantage of the traditional boom in prospective buyers!  

Comment

Comment

A Real Estate Agent on Bainbridge Island—Willing to Share a Thing or 3!

Real estate agents in Bainbridge Island are true veterans when it comes to every aspect of what needs to take place for a home to be sold. We know in advance what all the pieces of the puzzle are, and what needs to be done for them to fit together properly. We’ve also seen why some homes stay on the market for too long, while others get snatched up right away. And the best part is—we want our clients to know all those same things!

Every rule may be made to be broken, but here are three generalities that just about every Bainbridge Island real estate agent will probably agree are worth knowing:

1. Where speed is important, price your house just under the market. As real estate values strengthen, sellers are growing more confident about the value of their offerings—even as prospective buyers continue to believe it’s a bargain-hunter’s market. That’s a terrific opportunity for sellers who realize that by simply setting their asking price just below what an optimistic, “let’s just see what happens” price, they can peg their offering to attract the serious buyers ASAP. It’s axiomatic: the longer a house is on the market, the less likely it is to close at its asking price. The best strategy, always: sell as quickly as possible.

2. A buyer needs to walk into your house and find that it looks great. It may seem like a trivial detail to you, but real estate agents on Bainbridge Island know that even incidental atmospherics—little things that you’d think a buyer would know they can easily rectify—can instantaneously repel buyers. So make your home smell great! Establish a clean, fresh scent and be diligent in renewing it for every showing (after making sure any clutter is tucked away!)

3. Your Bainbridge Island real estate agent will help speed the process of selling your home, but there are some parts of the timeline that can’t be rushed. Know in advance: the process takes time. It takes time to get your home in shape, make the necessary repairs, list it on the market, negotiate an offer, then proceed through all the paperwork, observing successive deadlines set to allow proper execution. Here’s another area where your real estate agent will be a great resource for dependably establishing exactly what to expect—and when to expect it.

If you will be seeking the right Bainbridge Island real estate agent to make this summer your own hot selling season, I’m standing by to make it happen. Call me!

Comment

Comment

Staging Needn’t be Limited to Professionals Only

With summer already upon us, we stand in the thick of Bainbridge Island’s first major selling season of 2014. If you are preparing to add your own property to the Bainbridge Island home listings, the International Association of Home Staging Professionals would like to draw your attention to some statistics that bolster their members’ proposition. None is more compelling than this one: non-staged homes remain 79 days longer on market than their professionally-staged neighbors.

Still, since not everyone hires a professional staging company to work their magic, you’d think there would be a few DIY alternatives that would well worth doing. Of course, there are: and some go beyond the most well-known staging rules that are basic to any home sale:

 
1. De-clutter (then de-clutter again). The stagers’ single most important line item remains this: de-clutter. There is little cost to de-cluttering a home (usually no more than a storage unit’s rental). The professional insight is that once you have done it, go back through the house and do it again! That second round might only involve boxing up a few remaining personal knick-knacks, but it can also suddenly reveal items that clash with a room’s overall color palette.

  
2. Light(en) it up: Neutral colors are the rule for staging a home, but good light can be equally important. Make sure every room is well-lit, with clean windows, bright light bulbs (some do dim over time), and plenty of lamps or fixtures. If possible, disperse the height of lighting sources by mixing floor and table lamps, windows and overhead fixtures.

  
3. Find the focal points: The largest item in the room does not always have to be the focal item. If you have an antique chest or a captivating painting, see if you can arrange the room so that it’s the first thing your eye picks up as you enter the room. A strong focal point gives a sense of character to a room. It works to your advantage, since the focal point naturally emphasizes the strongest feature of the room. 


These are approaches that do take some time and effort—but imaginative staging really does make an impact on perceived value, and, as a result, time-on-market. For more Bainbridge Island home selling insights, give me a call anytime to discuss your own real estate plans!

Comment

Comment

Success Belongs to a Patient, Cool Bainbridge Island Home Buyer

Wasn’t it just yesterday that we seemed locked into a classic home buyer’s market on Bainbridge Island? Bad economy, bad job numbers, tanked real estate values were all we heard about…until it eventually shifted. Over the past year or so, it’s become a very different landscape. If you’ve been out looking to become a Bainbridge Island home buyer, it’s possible that you’ve found yourself putting in offers on multiple houses…and also possibly watching from the sidelines as another Washington home buyer walked away with a deal. If this isn’t a true seller’s market, to you the difference may not be apparent.

In any case, when a prospective home buyer on Bainbridge Island finds themselves vying for one of the plum homes that are now appearing in this summer’s listings, there’s no need to passively watch as others get the nod. If you are sure of the value of the property you are going for, there are straightforward tactics for improving your chances of winning the day:

  • Offering at or above list price is the time-tested way to give you the best shot of getting your contract accepted over bidders who offer less than list. Real estate prices are again on the rise, increasing your likelihood of being able to recoup the extra money if you decide to sell several years down the road. Look at the comps with your agent to determine what an aggressive—yet realistic price—will be.
  • Ask your real estate agent what the recommended earnest money amount would be; then double or triple that deposit amount. It’s a sure way to signal that you’re a serious and financially able home buyer. This tactic has the advantage that it doesn’t really cost you anything in the long run, assuming you hold up your end of the contract. It is a way to stand out from other Bainbridge Island home buyers without actually spending more.
  • In a buyer’s market, it’s almost expected to ask for add-ons like fixing a staircase or leaving the swing set. But in a seller’s market, you can beat the competition by not asking for extras beyond what is offered in the listing. Home sellers may be fully occupied with many outside details (like looking for their own next home!) and often assign high value to an offer that looks uncomplicated.
  • Along the same lines, another way to set yourself apart from every other home buyer is to offer to give the seller more than the usual time to move out of their house. Many other bidders won’t think of this—but it can make the deal if the sellers are having to cope with difficult deadlines for their own move.

Above all, don’t let yourself get discouraged. The right house is out there, and you will get an offer accepted! Particularly in a seller’s market, any Bainbridge Island home buyer will be rewarded by just remaining patient and cool-headed. First step if you will be looking to buy this summer: call me today to get started!

Comment

Comment

Selling a Home: What Makes Your Property Stand Out?

This summer, success in selling a home on Bainbridge Island will depend upon the same factors as always: location; quality; buyer appeal.

A home’s location—short of calling in the house movers—is pretty much what it is. The structural quality of workmanship and the level of maintenance that it’s received though the years can be gussied up where it shows (and should be!), but that, too, is largely a done deal.

Which leaves that other factor in selling a Bainbridge Islan home—the little things that reach out to appeal to buyers. The difference between receiving a swift offer and not can hinge on what makes your home more desirable than others in its price range.

A good example is with closet space. Any property with a closet organization system will carry great appeal to a large number of prospective buyers. Likewise, advanced technological touches can stick in buyers’ memories at the end of a long day of house tours. They don’t even have to be expensive or whole-house systems: a simple programmable thermostat that can be accessed on a smart phone can be an interesting selling point that sticks in the memory. It’s the kind of touch that isn’t a great deal of trouble to install—but it can provide the edge that makes selling your home that much easier.

More extensive tech-savvy features, like tricked-out media rooms or home offices wired to the hilt, are also very hot right now (especially for today’s younger homebuyers) and can provide the edge you’re looking for—if.

What’s the “if”?

If when you are readying your home for showings and open houses, you-

  • Prep to emphasize each of these special features (like leaving that system-organized closet door open with the light on);
  • You make sure your agent is in the loop, ready to showcase key elements; and
  • Stage to bring out less visible features—whether it’s printing up a list of newly-refurbished utilities or setting out a wine bottle and glasses with a note to “be sure to check out the killer wine cellar downstairs”

It’s also possible that some appealing features are ones that you take for granted; you’ve simply gotten used to them, yet they ought to be emphasized. Often those are details that your agent will be helpful in pointing out. Whatever is unique and desirable will make selling your home that much easier.

If you will be selling your own Bainbridge Island home this summer, I hope you will give me a call. There’s never an obligation, but if you wish, we can go over your property to uncover the marketing options that will make it a stand-out: the one with the edge!

Comment

Comment

Staging Approaches to Boost any Bainbridge Island Home Sale

With summer already upon us, we stand at the threshold of a major selling season of 2014. If you are preparing to add your own property to the Bainbridge Island home listings, the International Association of Home Staging Professionals would like to draw your attention to some statistics that bolster their members’ proposition. None is more compelling than this one: non-staged homes remain 79 days longer on market than their professionally-staged neighbors.

Still, since not everyone hires a professional staging company to work their magic, you’d think there would be a few DIY alternatives that would well worth doing. Of course, there are: and some go beyond the most well-known staging rules that are basic to any home sale:

 
1. De-clutter (then de-clutter again). The stagers’ single most important line item remains this: de-clutter. There is little cost to de-cluttering a home (usually no more than a storage unit’s rental). The professional insight is that once you have done it, go back through the house and do it again! That second round might only involve boxing up a few remaining personal knick-knacks, but it can also suddenly reveal items that clash with a room’s overall color palette.

  
2. Light(en) it up: Neutral colors are the rule for staging a home, but good light can be equally important. Make sure every room is well-lit, with clean windows, bright light bulbs (some do dim over time), and plenty of lamps or fixtures. If possible, disperse the height of lighting sources by mixing floor and table lamps, windows and overhead fixtures.

  
3. Find the focal points: The largest item in the room does not always have to be the focal item. If you have an antique chest or a captivating painting, see if you can arrange the room so that it’s the first thing your eye picks up as you enter the room. A strong focal point gives a sense of character to a room. It works to your advantage, since the focal point naturally emphasizes the strongest feature of the room. 


These are approaches that do take some time and effort—but imaginative staging really does make an impact on perceived value, and, as a result, time-on-market. For more Bainbridge Island home selling insights, give me a call anytime to discuss your own real estate plans!

Comment

Comment

The Larger Case for Smaller Houses on Bainbridge Island

It just might be that a groundswell is spreading throughout the home-buying public. On Bainbridge Island, smaller houses that used to be difficult to sell are rising in popularity, and I can guess why.

First, a little history. Back in 1950, what we would consider smaller houses were the rule: the average square footage came in at just 983 (try to imagine the ‘average’ family with 2 kids, 2 adults and Lassie all shoehorned in there!). By 2006, that figure had blown up to 2,248 square feet—and we all know about the bigger McMansions—just in time for the financial meltdown. Within the next few years, for the first time ever, the upsizing trend had begun to reverse. Only three years later, average square footage was 2,135.

In terms of size, today’s buyers and sellers are meeting in a much more balanced market. Bainbridge Islands smaller houses are no longer automatically spurned. In fact, smaller houses are the first choice for a growing number of buyers. Why?

When you really analyze it, a surprising amount of housing space is seldom used. Lifestyle changes dictate that formal dining and living rooms are much less frequently occupied. And it’s a fact that we only use a small percentage of the things that we own, so in actuality, some of many homes’ area amount to extremely high-end storage space. By getting rid of some of that unused stuff, the space it takes up can become unneeded.

The old rule of thumb nationally is that property taxes average about 1% of the value of a home. Smaller houses mean lower tax bills.

Maintenance bills can be substantially lower in smaller Bainbridge Island houses. It varies greatly by age and style, but one estimate has it that annual maintenance bills usually run between 1%-3% of total value.

Whether your hire help or handle it yourself, a smaller home can be much faster to clean. This may be less true when clutter is allowed to take over, but for those who are vigilant clutter-clearers, it means freeing more time for doing the things that you love. If you are paying someone else clean your home, it can easily equate to significant savings over the course of a year.

According to the American Psychology Association, money is the largest single contributor to stress. Nearly three-quarters of Americans admit that financial problems are their biggest source of stress. Purchasing a smaller house with an accompanying smaller mortgage can directly translate into a mellower quality of life.

A smaller Bainbridge Island house may not be for everyone, but today’s buyers are considering the advantages with a much more open minds. If you are giving some serious thought to buying or selling a home, let’s talk about the wide range of possibilities on the market today.

Comment

Comment

Taking Advantage of Bainbridge Island Commercial Property Opportunities

This year, it looks as if the busy spring real estate season extends beyond the residential arena. Latest reports show commercial property sales on the rise throughout the nation—and in volumes that make it one of the main contributors to the overall economic upturn.

The most reliable data comes from the National Association of Realtors®, whose latest quarterly survey shows year-over-year sales increasing a full 11% (with prices rising 4%). It’s an encouraging backdrop for businesspeople and individual investors who are gauging the opportunities in today’s Bainbridge Island commercial property market. Despite the vagaries of the tax and political climate (it is an election year, after all), with rental rates increasing and leasing activity up across the nation, the market does invite a closer look by anyone considering a fresh entry into Bainbridge Island’s commercial property arena.

While working with a buyer’s agent to find and purchase a Bainbridge Island commercial property isn’t an absolute essential, it certainly can be more efficient to have professional assistance and guidance throughout the process. When you choose a Realtor who has specifically commercial experience on Bainbridge Island, you make the same kind of choice as when you seek expert help in any other area of your business or personal endeavors—an expert’s insight can be priceless!

 Whether you are buying or selling a commercial property, it’s also important to avoid fixating on short-term impacts. Today’s cash flow may be your leading financial factor, but balancing with the long-term impacts is a juggling act worth mastering. Buying or selling a commercial property has long term impacts that spread out well beyond this year’s bottom line. Don’t hesitate to discuss your current business model with your accountant or tax professional. They are sure to have concrete ideas about potential impacts that will be quite real five and ten years from now. The right commercial property on Bainbridge Island will be one that is able to accommodate your needs both now and into the future.

With the right agent and clear-cut financial goals, your search for a Bainbridge Island commercial property can result in the best financial move you make this year—or for many years to come.  If you’re weighing the value of purchasing a commercial property or placing your own for sale, call me to open the discussion about the opportunities in today’s market.

Comment

Comment

A Real Estate Agent on Bainbridge Island —Willing to Share a Thing or 3!

Real estate agents on Bainbridge Island are true veterans when it comes to every aspect of what needs to take place for a home to be sold. We know in advance what all the pieces of the puzzle are, and what needs to be done for them to fit together properly. We’ve also seen why some homes stay on the market for too long, while others get snatched up right away. And the best part is—we want our clients to know all those same things!

Every rule may be made to be broken, but here are three generalities that just about every Baibridge Island  real estate agent will probably agree are worth knowing:

1. Where speed is important, price your house just under the market. As real estate values strengthen, sellers are growing more confident about the value of their offerings—even as prospective buyers continue to believe it’s a bargain-hunter’s market. That’s a terrific opportunity for sellers who realize that by simply setting their asking price just below what an optimistic, “let’s just see what happens” price, they can peg their offering to attract the serious buyers ASAP. It’s axiomatic: the longer a house is on the market, the less likely it is to close at its asking price. The best strategy, always: sell as quickly as possible.

2. A buyer needs to walk into your house and find that it looks great. It may seem like a trivial detail to you, but real estate agents on Bainbrudge Island know that even incidental atmospherics—little things that you’d think a buyer would know they can easily rectify—can instantaneously repel buyers. So make your home smell great! Establish a clean, fresh scent and be diligent in renewing it for every showing (after making sure any clutter is tucked away!)

3. Your Bainbridge Island  real estate agent will help speed the process of selling your home, but there are some parts of the timeline that can’t be rushed. Know in advance: the process takes time. It takes time to get your home in shape, make the necessary repairs, list it on the market, negotiate an offer, then proceed through all the paperwork, observing successive deadlines set to allow proper execution. Here’s another area where your real estate agent will be a great resource for dependably establishing exactly what to expect—and when to expect it.

If you will be seeking the right local real estate agent to make this summer your own hot selling season, I’m standing by to make it happen. Call me!

Comment

Comment

Tradeoffs for Remodeling vs. Moving to a New Bainbridge Island Home

Last week’s Rasmussen Reports survey reported that the majority (52%) of Americans consider their home to be a family’s best investment at the same time that the number of people who are choosing to remodel their home is on the rise. According to the Houzz & Home survey, the number of people who planned improvement projects rose a dynamic 12 % last year. Of those, 40% wanted to remodel their home or build an addition. 

While remodeling may be becoming more popular, there are still plenty of advantages to the alternative route: purchasing a new home on Bainbridge Island. Here are some of the pros and cons of each route:

•     Before you start your remodeling project you should take a personal inventory. Do you have the experience and skills to manage the project…and is the prospect appealing? Remodeling your home will require that you deal directly either with tradesmen, contractors, architects— or the whole bunch! It may be the greatest advantage to purchasing a new Bainbridge Island home: getting the additional space and amenities without the work.

•     The loss of privacy during a remodeling project is not something to be underestimated. Depending upon the scope of the project, it may be months before the dust settles and you have the house to yourself again. There is also the inconvenience of not having access to multiple areas of your home while work is proceeding

•     For most of us, there really is no place like home. If you’re like me, even when you’ve been on a terrific vacation, eventually you begin to yearn for the comfort and familiarity of your good old home base. Although one or two irksome features of your current house make moving seem like a no-brainer…before you commit to a move, be sure that you really want to leave. History, a sense of community, and the roots you’ve established in your current neighborhood are all reasons to opt for a remodel rather than a new home.

•     Selling your existing home and buying a new Bainbridge Island home is a sizable financial commitment. Moving costs, transaction fees, commissions and taxes are part of the equation to weigh against remodeling costs. A sharp pencil is definitely in order before the dollars and cents can be realistically reckoned—particularly if your finances have improved, and the remodel is meant to bring your home up to an improved standard of living.

The danger lies in overcapitalizing a property in a location where the resale won’t support the expense. Even a great home will still fetch a price that’s relative to other properties in the neighborhood, obliterating the wished-for ‘investment’ value of extensive remodeling.

While it’s important to be informed about the factual tradeoffs of your decision, it’s likely the end choice will also be influenced by what just feels right—as it should be. Whether you’re considering a remodel or a purchase, if you’d like to run some numbers, call me today for a confidential price evaluation!

Comment