6 Home Inspection Myths

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Many real estate deals are dependent on a home inspection, so it is common that inspections cause a lot of anxiety for a buyer.  Here are some of the top myths surrounding home inspections that may help buyers adjust their expectations:

Having a license ensures a good home inspection – NOT TRUE

Not all states require home inspectors to be licensed, so make sure to check on the requirements in your state, in addition to other components of the inspector’s credentials, such as past clients, years of experience and customer reviews.

You can use a home inspection to identify problems that might be used as a tool to negotiate purchase price – NOT SO TRUE

While this is not the primary objective of a home inspection and the inspector is an unbiased, third party opinion, they inform buyers and sellers with an understanding of the physical condition of the home so the best decision can be made.

A home inspection tells you what your home is worth – NOT TRUE

An appraisal is intended to do this, not an inspection.

All home inspection certifications and professional education are created equal – NOT TRUE

Some programs are online certifications only without ever stepping into a home to conduct a real inspection.  The best certification offers both in-class and hands-on training, in addition to exam requirements.

Home inspections are not needed for newly built homes or condos – NOT TRUE

No home is perfectly built and its best to have an inspector pinpoint potential issues or future repairs.  Most inspectors can also give inspections during each construction “phase” of the property during development.

Home inspections are solely used on the buyer’s side – NOT TRUE

Although most inspections are performed for buyers, there are many advantages to a pre-listing inspection for sellers – including knowing about major issues before the house is listed for sale, which increases negotiating power to get the best sale price.

Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, is located in Old Town Anacortes at 809 7th St.  We proudly serve Anacortes, Skagit, Island, San Juan counties and beyond and are available daily to assist with all of your real estate needs.  Whether buying or selling, please contact at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

New Year’s Resolutions for Home Sellers

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Planning to sell in 2018? Here are some things to prepare you for getting your home ready to list:

Get a home inspection – Many buyers who make an offer will get a home inspection to determine the condition of your house, and then use that knowledge to negotiate pre-close repairs or a lower price.  Be proactive and get your own inspection so you can remove or address issues that may be obstacles to selling your house.

Appeal to mobile and online buyers – Most home searches today begin online.  Hire an internet-savvy broker, like Team Groesbeck, to ensure your listing is optimized for web viewing and mobile apps.  Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC will also ensure professional photos and marketing will get your home noticed.

Make a good first impression – Fix things around the house that don’t work, touch up paint, update landscaping, depersonalize, deep clean, and consider hiring a stager.  Team Groesbeck even offers staging services to our clients to give your home a professional touch!

Be realistic – Educate yourself about your local real estate market and have realistic expectations of your home’s worth.  Your broker will price your home accordingly based on this information as well as comparable properties.

Treat your home like an investment – Be sure you are ready to sell before you list your home.  Moving can be a sentimental and emotional journey, so be prepared for potential buyers to look at your home and make an offer!

With any questions or for your real estate needs, contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC in Anacortes daily at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

Check our blog tomorrow for New Year’s resolutions for home owners!

How to Avoid the Top 5 Home Seller Mistakes

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When you are selling your home, it can be easy to be in a vacuum. You have a certain idea of what the market should pay for your home and what may or may not be an issue. However, when buyers and agents are coming through your home, it can be where distorted perception meets reality. Here are the top mistakes sellers make and how to avoid them.

Overpricing Your Home

If your home is overpriced, two things won’t happen: showings or offers. The price is what sets the tone for showings. If it is too high, buyers that can afford it may be interested in something else, as they can go higher in price range, and the audience for whom it was intended price-wise are usually shut out. Team Groesbeck can guide you to list your home for the best sale price and inform you of the current market.

Making Showings Difficult

Restricted showing times, no lockbox or having to be present for all showings can impact the ability of showing traffic through your home. If there are many instructions or restrictions, agents and their buyers will simply move on to those properties with less rules. Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC will also guide you to make showings most convenient for you as the seller, as well as potential buyers.

Not Countering an Offer

While everyone would love to get the most for their home, it is too easy to get hung up on the starting number in an offer when the focus should be on what the end result is. The opening offer is simply that –a starting point. It gets a conversation going and results in hopefully a happy medium that is amenable to the buyer and seller. Failure to counter sends a discouraging signal to the buyer that can create an uncomfortable situation, perceived or real. Buyers want to do business with sellers who are eager to do business with them and responding with a number is a step in the right direction.

Property Condition Denial

Would you as a buyer pay top dollar for a home with original systems approaching the end of their life? In today’s real estate climate, buyers, lenders, appraisers and inspectors are more scrutinous than ever. It is not only the buyer, but the lender, appraiser and the buyer’s insurance company that could be making the call on a home’s condition. Before you sell, be realistic about the condition of your home. Unless the home is deeply discounted below market value, which realistically means it would be far too low pricewise that you would agree to accept, the buyer will care about it and if they don’t, their home inspector certainly will.

Selective Memory

Sellers often fear that if they disclose too much or provide too many details, it could affect their ability to sell for top dollar; however, failure to disclose could open you up to liability after the sale. Leaving questions blank, or not being clear on the age of certain things only creates more red flags and concern for a potential buyer. If you answer the questions honestly and fully disclose any known issues or repairs that were made (with receipts to document and provide a history) it will eliminate buyer fear and doubt.

For all of your real estate needs, contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, in Old Town Anacortes: (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

Get the Most Out of Selling Your Home During the Winter

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There is no need to wait until spring to sell your home throughout the Anacortes or Skagit County areas.  Even if you are on the fence about selling, contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC for a complimentary, no obligation comparative market analysis of your home.  It is never too early to begin the process to ensure things run smoothly later.

Here are some tips to get the most out of selling your home during the winter:

Price competitively – There is often less completion in the winter, but if your home is priced too high people will look elsewhere.  Price appropriately from the start to get the most attention!

Get professional photos – Studies have shown that homes listed using professional photos sell for more money.  Even if your lawn is covered in snow and the leaves have fallen off the trees, high quality photos taken with professional cameras look best.

Keep up with exterior maintenance – Make sure the “for sale” sign is free of debris and visible, snow and leaves are clear from the walkway, driveway, roof and deck or patio spaces.

Let light in – Keep your home inviting by allowing the light in, even when the winter months can be dark and gloomy.  Keeping the heat and lights on (indoors and outdoors) allow for the home to be properly seen at all hours of the day.

Stay tidy – Winter can be tricky to keep a home tidy with the holidays and visitors, but by keeping coats, boots, umbrellas and other items out of view and regular cleaning up kept, your home will always be ready to be shown.

Plan open houses accordingly – Knowing the schedule of the local football team and being aware of local events can ensure that people will be available to attend your open house, free of distraction.

Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC can assist with all of your real estate needs.  Proudly serving Anacortes, Skagit and San Juan counties and beyond, call us today at (360) 941-3734 or email to Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.  We look forward to working with you!

Tips For Living in a Staged Home

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Your home is on the market, pristine and expertly staged to get it sold. Now what? How do you still live in your home and keep it in perfect condition – especially for the unexpected showing?

Here are some simple tricks to keeping your home spotless:

KEEP IT CLEAN

 

Kitchen:

  • Remove all of your kitchen appliances from the counters. Do not use them; keep clean and hidden.
  • Have one set of cups, plates and utensils for each family member neatly stored in a cabinet. Use only these dishes and hand wash after every use. Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink or out in a dish rack. Eat, drink, wash, dry and put away.
  • Use recycled paper plates and cups to limit dishwashing.
  • Keep only the essentials in the refrigerator and pantry (potential buyers are known to look inside). Unused pantry items can be donated to your local food bank.

 

Bathrooms:

  • No personal care products (soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrush, etc.) should be left out. Give each family member a bathroom tote to hold their daily-used products, to be put away into a closed cabinet after each use.
  • Keep antibacterial wipes under the sink for quick and easy cleanup after each sink and shower use.
  • Use stick-on toilet cleaners inside the bowls to keep toilets clean and smelling fresh.
  • Only guest towels should be displayed in the bathrooms. Each family member should have his or her own set of towels, to be washed regularly and kept out of sight.

 

Bedrooms:

  • Keep all nightstands and dresser tops clear of personal items. Purchase plastic containers with lids that can easily slide under beds to store reading glasses, books, journals, medications, tissue boxes, etc.
  • Be sure to make the beds each morning; that way there is one less thing to do when a showing is scheduled.
  • Keep all clothing items neatly put away and laundry baskets hidden in closets.
  • Wash, dry, fold and put away laundry on a daily basis if necessary.

 

Living Room:

  • To maintain a tidy living room, keep daily-used items (remote controls, DVDs, video games, children’s toys, etc.) hidden away in closed drawers, cabinets or storage ottomans.
  • Do not let newspapers, magazines or mail stack up; file away or recycle immediately. Perhaps keep the latest newspaper in your car; it may come in handy when showings are scheduled and you need to head out to a coffee shop or other fun destination.

 

Eating & Entertainment

  • By now you may be thinking, “How does my family eat?” It is best to go out to eat during this time. Even take-out is a no-no; the goal is to keep your home smelling like fresh flowers, not fried chicken.
  • To stay on a budget, visit websites like Groupon or Restaurants.com for deals and coupons. Also, look into daily/weekly meal deals at your local restaurants, like $2 Taco Tuesdays or where kids can “eat free.”
  • Get your whole family involved and make a list of activities to do on the days your house is scheduled to be shown. Ideas include bowling, going to the beach, zoo, museums, amusement parks, or even visiting relatives.

 

Pets

  • Perhaps a family member, friend or neighbor can take care of your beloved four-legged family members, or designate 1-2 rooms for your pets to live in. This will keep the fur cleanup to a minimum.

 

With any questions or additional moving resources, please contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC daily! We are available to assist with all of your real estate needs and can be reached at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.  Our office is located in Old Town Anacortes at 809 7th St. and are proud to serve Anacortes, Skagit, Island, San Juan, Whatcom counties and beyond.

Modern Ways to Upgrade Popcorn Ceilings

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Realtors across the nation agree that popcorn ceilings repulse buyers as they are viewed as outdated and often give buyers suspicions of asbestos in the home.  Removing asbestos has the potential to raise your home value and keep buyers interested!

Simple updates, like replacing popcorn with a different texture, can as cheap as $1 to $3 per square foot according to HomeAdvisor. These easy-fixes might do the trick but can underwhelm new buyers.

While the tarps are down, you have an opportunity to make room-changing, home-value-increasing updates. Here are some fantastic options to bring your ceiling into the 21st century:

Coffered

To make the coffered style, beams are installed in a grid pattern with panels in between. The result is dynamic while the beams make each panel look recessed. Thicker beams will create more depth, while thin ones will be subtle. You can use one uniform color for the beams and panels, or you can make dramatic color choices to further accent your ceiling.

Beamed

This design will take your ceiling miles away from the manufactured look of popcorn texture. Beautiful wood or faux-wood beams can be installed across your ceiling in a variety of ways to accomplish your desired look. Select a natural wood stain for a cozy cabin feel, or paint the beams and the ceiling one color. You can also create the illusion of fully exposed floor beams, to turn any room into a rustic escape.

Painted

Paint is a great way to incorporate your ceiling into a design scheme, rather than leaving it out entirely. Match the ceiling to the walls or paint it a strong accent color. Build dimension with flourishes like faux medallions, ceiling rings and moldings, and paint them in either the same color or one that contrasts. Interior designers suggest bold finishes, like metallic or lacquer.

Tiled

Ceiling tiles come in a variety of materials, including Styrofoam, wood and tin, and can completely change the atmosphere of a room. Styrofoam and faux-tin tiles are light and easily installed, and they can add instant beauty and structure. These tiles can be as ornate or simple as you prefer.

One of the purposes of popcorn ceilings was to dull sound. If you’re concerned that the acoustics of your room will go haywire after you remove this texture, acoustical tiles are a great replacement. They are specifically designed to mute or muffle sound and can be applied directly to your ceiling.

Paneled

Beadboard and wooden planks are perfect materials for a paneled ceiling. You can maintain the raw wood stain of the planks or paint them to fit your color scheme. Panels have a streamlined and organized appearance, which is in strong contrast to the splotchy look of popcorn ceilings. They can make a room seem more put-together and calming.

Mix and Match

Having a hard time deciding which design you want more? You can mix some of these styles together for an even stronger impression. Wood-paneled ceilings look excellent with thick beams hung across them. Coffered ceilings pair well with faux-tin tiles in place of panels. It might be best to consult an interior designer, so that you get choose the materials and colors that work best.

For all of your real estate needs, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, is available daily at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com. Located in Old Town Anacortes at 809 7th St., Team Groesbeck proudly serves Anacortes, Skagit, Island, San Juan counties and beyond.

Thinking of Listing Your Property “For Sale By Owner”?

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Homes for sale by owner, or FSBO, transactions are commonly seen in seller’s markets or whenever homeowners want to maximize their profits by not having to pay commission.

Statistics show that selling your home with the assistance of a professional real estate agent like Anacortes-based Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. will garner you a higher profit, enough to cover the commission as well as put more money in your pocket. According to the National Association of Realtor®’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average FSBO sales price was $185,000, while the average price for a home represented by an agent was $245,000. That’s a difference of $60,000!

Houses for sale by owner leave a seller to do the negotiating. You’ll be relying on your own skill to finalize a contract, leaving yourself open to potential legal problems and a smaller profit when all is said and done.
Here are some of the top reasons why for sale by owner homes can cause major headaches.

Marketing your home online isn’t as easy as you think
Using an agent automatically offers widespread exposure for your listing through the multiple listing service. Your real estate agent will also have the means to promote your house to fellow agents to share with their clients. FSBO sellers would have to shell out big bucks for advertising and still might not reach the most important audience.

Homes for sale by owner could be priced wrong
Those who put their homes on the market as FSBO tend to set a price based on an online assessment tool or the lofty sum that the neighbor down the street claims they were offered—two methods that are liable to put the listing price way off.

A real estate agent will provide an accurate home value based on a comprehensive market analysis to help you arrive at the right listing price. The goal is to make sure you’re pricing your home in the sweet spot—not too high so that you are turning off potential buyers, and not too low so you are leaving money on the table.

You could underestimate (or overestimate) how much money to spend on curb appeal
Even if you’re not up for a full home makeover, your agent has an eye for detail and can recommend simple, budget-conscious swaps that can translate into real dollars when it comes negotiation time.

Showings
FSBO sellers don’t realize how draining it can be to set up showings. And on top of scheduling actual potential buyers, you also have to deal with both looky-loos, whereas your agent will handle all the scheduling and staff for the tours for you, so all you have to do is quickly tidy up and vacate.

In fact, that is another key reason to have an agent: Buyers can get uncomfortable with a seller hanging around during the showing. Agents also will weed out unsuitable offers and collect feedback that potential buyers might be unwilling to share directly with the seller, which can make subsequent showings even stronger.

Preparing your own paperwork can be tricky
The closing process can entail more than 20 pages of complicated paperwork, including the contract and addendums designed to cover all of the situations that could go wrong. Your agent will take care of all property disclosures and corresponding documentation to avoid future liability.
Considering selling your home, or are you ready to list now? Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC can help! Located at 809 7th St. in Old Town Anacortes, Team Groesbeck can be reached daily at (360) 941-3734, (360) 899-5027, or at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com for all of your real estate needs!

We look forward to working for you!

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Top 4 Turn-offs for Buyers

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If you are thinking of selling your home or are in the process of selling your home, there are a lot of things to consider. Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC based in Old Town Anacortes has compiled a list for you of the top four things to avoid doing when listing your home for sale.

1. Don’t intimidate the buyer! This seems like a no brainer, right? However, you may not realize that you are in fact, intimidating the buyer, simply by giving them a tour of your home. It seems innocent enough, but when you are with them every step of the way, perhaps pointing out hand crafted features you made with your own two hands, the buyer may feel obligated to seem appreciative of these additions, when in fact they prefer a different style. In short, the buyer can’t be as open and honest as they would be with a Realtor®.

2. Get rid of those unpleasant odors!  Avoid cooking strong-smelling foods like broccoli, cabbage, fish, or garlic on showing dates. Make sure all clothing is freshly laundered and put away neatly. Wash pet items like towels, beds, toys and keep these items out of sight. Also, make sure you don’t go wild with air fresheners or incense. What smells wonderful to you might be quite unappealing to the nose of your buyer or they can even be allergic to some fresheners.

3. Don’t overprice your home! We don’t mean to be offensive here, but because of sentimentality, you might have an elevated sense of how much your home is worth. Talk with our experienced Jean Groesbeck & Associates LLC real estate brokers to find out how much your home is worth in the current market. When potential buyers see an overpriced home online or in a flyer, they often won’t even bother to look at it. Those who do, will expect certain standards of a home in this price range.

4. Be careful with home improvements! Your house may have some years on it, and perhaps the walls need to be painted, or the master bath needs an update. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Bright colored walls in the guest bedroom, or an exotic themed bathroom may be lovely to one person, but not so much to someone else. It’s always better to go with understated than overstated. If your home needs improvements before you sell it, consult with us! We can help you make choices that will get you the most return on your investment.

Contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC any time with any questions you have on selling your home in Anacortes, or other areas in Skagit County. Our team of full-time real estate agents are here to help you with any questions you have. If you are thinking about selling your home in Anacortes or Skagit County, contact us today!

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Buying or Selling Soon?

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Are you going to be buying or selling a property soon? There are expenses that you may not have considered yet; such who’s responsible for paying which fees, what does a real estate professional do, or other common questions including:

What is the standard compensation structure for real estate professionals?
For the most part, real estate professionals are compensated by commission, based on a home’s selling price. Commission rates vary, as does how the sales commission will be divided between the agents on the selling and buying side of the transaction. When a seller signs a listing agreement, their contract is with a brokerage firm. All fees must pass through that brokerage firm. Typically, the seller’s representative—and your buyer’s rep—will be paid by the listing broker after the transaction closes.

What services can I expect to receive?
The terms vary from state to state, and each buyer’s representative can set their own guidelines within their state parameters and their brokerage practices. So you should clarify, preferably in writing, the services you are entitled to receive before you start viewing properties.  It’s also important to understand that if you do buy a property, your buyer’s rep will probably receive compensation through the listing broker.

Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC in Old Town Anacortes has a full-time team of brokers who are available daily to work for you, whether you are buying or selling. Not only do we negotiate pricing based on trends in similar homes or within the area, we market your home to sell using professional photography, advertisements and online marketing, in addition to hosting showings, open houses, tackling the paperwork, inspections and more.

Do you know that statistically homes sold using a real estate professional net more of a profit than those transactions that are for sale by owner? Team Groesbeck can address any questions you have about the buying and selling processes, as well as put you in touch with local lenders and more!

Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC is licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain and can be reached at (360) 941-3734, (360) 899-5027 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

 

Real Estate Terms Defined

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Both buying and selling a home can be intimidating experiences, especially if your Realtor® begins using terms with which you are not familiar, before really explaining them. Team Groesbeck’s goal as your Realtor® is to make the home buying or selling process as smooth as possible, beginning with defining a few terms for you!

Adjustable Rate Mortgage – An adjustable rate mortgage is one that has a fluctuating interest rate; they typically have a lower initial interest rate for a set time, then adjust according to an index.

Certificate of Title – This proves that the property is legally owned by the seller, and that no other party has any claims over it.

CMA – CMA’s (Comparative Market Analysis) are done by agents when you are looking to sell your home. They will put together a report to determine a fair asking price based on the current market and how other homes are doing in your area.

Comps – The term “comps” refers to properties that are comparable to your property. This takes into account the home’s size, close amenities and location, in addition to other factors.

Deed – The deed is a legal document proving transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer.

Disclosures – Disclosures are details about the home that a seller must provide to a buyer. For example; if the basement often floods in heavy storms or if there is lead in the home, the seller would need to disclose this information.

Due Diligence – Due diligence refers to the buyers’ responsibility to research and verify details about the transaction. For example, it is the buyer’s responsibility to coordinate an inspection, and confirm that the information coming from the seller’s attorney and broker are legitimate.

Escrow – Escrow is the time period when purchase funds are released from one party to another and the transfer of the home is completed. The escrow company is a neutral third party who executes the transaction utilizing the purchase agreement and other documents.

Firm Commitment – A firm commitment is a promise from a lender that they will enter into an agreement with another entity (typically a buyer) within a certain period of time.

Fixture – Fixtures are items of value that are permanently attached or a part of a property. This can include lighting, carpeting, or landscaping; these items have the potential to cause disputes between the buyer and seller and are sometimes used as leverage for negotiations.

HOA Docs – Some homes fall under the jurisdiction of a Homeowner’s Association. In this case documents outlining the association’s regulations will be provided either by the association, or through your Realtor®.

Pre Qualification – Borrowers (home buyers) must go through a process where the lender confirms that the borrower qualifies for a loan, based on their credit history and current financial standing. This is done using only the information the buyer provides the lender. The amount for which one is pre-qualified is to be considered an estimate, and is not set in stone. This information does, however, show your Realtor® and the seller of the home in which you are interested that you are serious about the home buying process.

Pre Approval – Getting pre-approved is the next step, and is more involved than the pre-qualification process. The buyer will complete an official mortgage application with their chosen lender, and supply the lender with necessary documentation so an extensive check can be done on their financial background and current credit rating. You will be given an exact amount for which you are approved and completing both the pre-qualification and pre-approval process will allow you to know how much you can actually afford.

While these are only some of the many real estate terms, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC will guide you along the way to ensure your transaction runs smoothly.  Located in Old Town Anacortes, Team Groesbeck is available daily to work for you and can be reached at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

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