Home Sellers

Why are home prices so high? Seattle has 2nd-lowest rate of homes for sale in U.S. | The Seattle Times

Great article on home prices here.  When I do a market analysis I look at two parts.  The objective data which is the perspective of the appraiser and then the subjective value of the property.  The objective perspective is a look in the rear view mirror to determine value based on what has happened in the past.  The subjective perspective is looking at what top dollar is based on many more factors not the least of which is competition in the market place.  When you are selling your home and you are "the only game in town" you can command a much higher price. 
Why is it so expensive to buy a house in Seattle right now? Everyone seems to have someone to blame: Amazon, priced-out Californians, foreign buyers, developers tearing down old homes to build huge new ones.

via www.seattletimes.com

8 Things That Drive Your Movers Completely Insane | Realtor.com®

During my niece’s last move from Manhattan to Boca Raton, FL, a steak knife she packed carelessly punctured the box … and the mover’s hand. This became a very, very messy move. Luckily no stitches were required, but blood was shed and a pall cast over this already stressful day. Moral of the story: The last thing you need on moving day is to piss off your movers.

via www.realtor.com

Selling Your Home This Winter? You Can Still Make Your Yard Pop - Real Estate News and Advice - realtor.com

Times past I always told my clients I have sold a home every single day of the year except Christmas.  Well as of a few years ago that is no longer true.  One benefit of selling your home during the holidays is you have much less competition but you are also showing your home at a time of the year that has some distinct challenges.  Here are some tips on showing your home at it's best no matter what the weather brings..
Selling your home in the winter is hard enough without snow.

via www.realtor.com

Love at first sight? Pretty much..

In the span of 30 seconds, a person can:

        * Begin to be annoyed waiting for an elevator.

        * Get bored with a Web page and click away.

        * Fall in love with another.

        …. And even fall in love with a house.


        For most of my real estate career.. over 30 years now, I have known that a home often sells in 30 seconds.  Because of this I have strongly emphasized to my home sellers that the home needs to make an excellent first impression.  Here’s the proof. 

        A new study shows that sellers have just seconds to attract an interested buyer online. Curb appeal should really be thought of as Main Internet Picture Appeal.

        The study, by the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA., confirms what real estate agents know: The main photograph of the house's exterior is the make-it or break-it feature of online advertising.

        According to a new study, internet house shoppers, which today is just about everyone, actually spend 2 seconds evaluating the main picture.  If the exterior view grabs them, they'll spend 20 seconds and in that 20 seconds, all things being acceptable, you have a potential buyer.

        That's why it's so important to have a great photos available when you're listing your home for sale.  The study shows that 95 percent of interested viewers spend 20 seconds looking at the photo of the exterior of a home, suggesting that people 'try on' a home just as if they were shopping for a suit or a dress. The lining might matter, but appearance is primary.

        Experts say the photo should be up to date showing the home as it appears today, and showing how the home looks seasonally.

        It goes without saying that the main picture should show the home trimmed and swept and ready for company. The study conclusion suggests that if you need to attract people inside, you'll want to spend some money on the outside. If you want to sell, cut down that shrub you've been meaning to take out.  Perk up the flowers, plant that evergreen. Then take the photo. According to HGTV, research show that investing in curb appeal (or picture appeal) often returns the most value for the money.

        If you are selling a home in the warm months, it doesn't make sense to feature a photo of your home in all its snowy glory. That picture makes it appear that the home has been on the market for a very long time. You might include a snow shot if the home looks especially fetching in the winter, but make sure it isn't the main picture on the page. For spring and summer, stage your main home picture with pots of blooming flowers or ferns. A best practice is to include a photo of your home that matches the season. In fall, feature a picture of your home with that colorful oak. You can even stage your home for fall with simple mums.

        Overall, the house hunter will spend 60 percent of his time on the listing viewing photos. If the main photo catches the viewer, he or she will spend up to 56 seconds viewing all the photos online, according to the study.

        Interestingly, the next most viewed photo will be the backyard. The viewer will spend 8.23 seconds on that photo, just a tad longer than the those of the living room, which attracts 8.06 seconds. Finally, the master bedroom, kitchen and the master bedroom all attract just under 8 seconds each.   

        You should consider the pictures on the Internet as important as what the potential buyer sees in person.  Researcher Michael Seiler found that 76 percent of viewers next glanced at the property description, like the size and number of bedrooms and baths. After the main picture, overall people spent 20 percent of their time on the description and 20 precedent on the agent's remarks.

        Entering the home is another pivotal time. The entry or room they see first can make a lasting impression.

        What does all of this mean for buyers? It makes them feel lucky! The manicured yard and pleasing entry won't raise the price of the home, but the buyers know from the outset that the property is in good condition.

        They can picture themselves living there.


Crowd Staging

Yesterday I was delighted to receive a call from a stager friend of mine, Rebecca Henderson of Alabaster Staging..

Rebecca:  Brian, I have a problem.  I am teaching a staging class this afternoon and the house we were going to stage just canceled.

Brian:  Tell me more.

Rebecca:  I have twenty students and we need a home to stage.  We will go through the home room by room, stage the entire home.  No cost to you or your client.

Brian:  It's your lucky day.  I am listing a home this afternoon at 2:00 PM and I have the most delightful seller in the world.  Let me give them a call. 

Brian, Calling back:  See you at the home 2:30 PM.

So at 2:30 the coolest thing ever.  Rebecca and Brandi Cernohlavek with 20+ of their students show up and start going through the home room by room.  What a blast.


A group of students is assigned to each room..


They go through each room and apply what they learned..


The seller was thrilled, the outcome fantastic.

Kitchen before..


and after..

KI Now

Living room before...


and after..

LR Now

We could go on and on but bottom line is Rebecca and Brandi and the class of February 2014 did an absolutely FANTASTIC job so a big thank you to all from me and a very pleased seller.


By the way.. great new listing in Issaquah Highlands.  Three bedroom in the Outlook.  $245,000 call me for details.

Here's How To Win The Open House Contest

               Experts at BankRate.com say listing your home for sale is like entering a beauty pageant. The contestants are all the other for-sale homes in the area. The judges are potential buyers. The challenge begins at the open house.

               If you've ever been to an open house held by a building contractor, you will remember being impressed by the clean, spacious feeling it offered. Keep that image in mind when you prepare your home for a showing.

               You won't have all new furniture as the builder did, but you can still strive for the uncrowded, spacious feel that made you want to "move in now!"

               Homeowners are used to seeing their miscellaneous items, and they don't realize it's a problem for others. Be sure to store the extra stuff you seldom, if ever, use. Make up your beds; clean and arrange the bathrooms so they are especially nice.

               Make space in the closets. They should look like there is room for the next clothes and shoes you buy.

               Your home's exterior features and yard are a factor in selling. Buyers want to visualize themselves living there. If they don't want to, they might drive by and not go into your home at all.

               In warm weather, put some flowers outside. Make sure your driveway looks nice, and the roof is clean. You'll want to trim the shrubs, cut the grass and wash the windows.

               In fall and winter, have attractive seasonal decorations by the front door.

               No matter how adorable your pets are, get them out of your home during an open house. Pick up the dog dishes and get rid of the litter box.

               Stash your family photos. Buyers want to visualize how they will look in the home, not how they will look with your kids and relatives. It's especially true if the buyer is from a different culture. Always remove religious symbols, political articles and racy art.

 Sometimes a seller doesn't want a potential buyer to see the garage or store room because it's messy. But a prospect won't buy your home if you make any area unavailable.

               You can't be present at your open house. Your real estate agent will guide visitors and answer their questions.

            Rent a storage unit for your clutter, storage items and extra furniture. Make every room in the house spacious and appealing. You'll win the beauty contest and your home will sell quickly.

17 Tips for Packing Like a Pro

Moving to a new home can be stressful, to say the least. Make it easy on yourself by planning far in advance and making sure you’ve covered all the bases.

1. Plan ahead by organizing and budgeting. Develop a master “to do” list so you won’t forget something critical on moving day, and create an estimate of moving costs. (A moving calculator is available at REALTOR.com)

2. Sort and get rid of things you no longer want or need. Have a garage sale, donate to a charity, or recycle.

3. But don’t throw out everything. If your inclination is to just toss it, you're probably right. However, it's possible to go overboard in the heat of the moment. Ask yourself how frequently you use an item and how you’d feel if you no longer had it. That will eliminate regrets after the move.

4. Pack similar items together. Put toys with toys, kitchen utensils with kitchen utensils. It will make your life easier when it's time to unpack.

5. Decide what, if anything, you plan to move on your own. Precious items such as family photos, valuable breakables, or must-haves during the move should probably stay with you. Don't forget to keep a "necessities" bag with tissues, snacks, and other items you'll need that day.


6. Remember, most movers won’t take plants. If you don't want to leave them behind, you should plan on moving them yourself.

7. Use the right box for the item. Loose items are prone to breakage.


8. Put heavy items in small boxes so they’re easier to lift. Keep the weight of each box under 50 pounds, if possible.

9. Don’t over-pack boxes. It increases the likelihood that items inside the box will break.

10. Wrap every fragile item separately and pad bottom and sides of boxes. If necessary, purchase bubble-wrap or other packing materials from moving stores.

11. Label every box on all sides. You never know how they’ll be stacked and you don’t want to have to move other boxes aside to find out what’s there.

12. Use color-coded labels to indicate which room each item should go in. Color-code a floor plan for your new house to help movers.

13. Keep your moving documents together in a file. Include important phone numbers, driver’s name, and moving van number. Also keep your address book handy.


14. Print out a map and directions for movers. Make several copies, and highlight the route. Include your cell phone number on the map. You don’t want movers to get lost! Also make copies for friends or family who are lending a hand on moving day.

15. Back up your computer files before moving your computer. Keep the backup in a safe place, preferably at an off-site location.

16. Inspect each box and all furniture for damage as soon as it arrives.

17. Make arrangements for small children and pets. Moving can be stressful and emotional. Kids can help organize their things and pack boxes ahead of time, but, if possible, it might be best to spare them from the moving-day madness.

Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

What Not to Overlook on a Final Walk-through

It’s guaranteed to be hectic right before closing, but you should always make time for a final walk-through. Your goal is to make sure that your home is in the same condition you expected it would be. Ideally, the sellers already have moved out. This is your last chance to check that appliances are in working condition and that agreed-upon repairs have been made. Here’s a detailed list of what not to overlook for on your final walk-through.


Make sure that:


  • Repairs you’ve requested have been made. Obtain copies of paid bills and warranties.
  • There are no major changes to the property since you last viewed it.
  • All items that were included in the sale price — draperies, lighting fixtures, etc. — are still there.
  • Screens and storm windows are in place or stored.
  • All appliances are operating, such as the dishwasher, washer and dryer, oven, etc.
  • Intercom, doorbell, and alarm are operational.
  • Hot water heater is working.
  • No plants or shrubs have been removed from the yard.
  • Heating and air conditioning system is working
  • Garage door opener and other remotes are available.
  • Instruction books and warranties on appliances and fixtures are available.
  • All personal items of the sellers and all debris have been removed. Check the basement, attic, and every room, closet, and crawlspace.