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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Selling Your Home? Be Informed of the Seller’s Disclosure!

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The seller’s disclosure form is an important form that must be completed by everyone selling a home.  The form is comprised of various questions about your home that you may not have considered since you purchased the property yourself.

As it is one of the documents that the buyer will most closely look at, all questions need to be answered to the best of your knowledge. If they are not, it may delay the closing process and prompt even further questions from the buyer.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to put your mind at ease while completing this very detailed, legally-binding document!

  • Research your home. If you have recently moved into your home then you likely have much of the necessary information accessible, as it was made available to you when you purchased the home. If it has been a decade or so, you may have to do some digging through old paperwork to find information such as the make, model, and age of various components of your home (HVAC system, water heater, etc.). Buyers will want to note this information to see what kind of money, if any, will need to be spent upon moving in.
  • Be as accurate as possible. You hopefully had an inspection done when you moved into the home, which should be able to give you information on the roof, plumbing, electrical, etc. While doing your research, try to be as accurate as possible rather than guessing when something may have been installed or replaced.
  • Honesty is the best policy. Answer all questions to the best of your ability. If there is information to which you do not have access or a question is not applicable to your property, note that in the seller’s disclosure form. You do not want to appear ill-informed about your home and want to offer up as much information to the buyer as possible.

Remember, the seller’s disclosure form is a legally binding document that is required of all home sellers; however there is no reason to be intimidated by it! Just make sure you are aware of what has been done in your home and which things potential buyers may take issue with. This will help both the home selling and buying process go smoother than you can imagine!

Contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC daily for more information on what to take into consideration when buying or selling your home at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

First Mortgage Payment & Automatic Payment Set-Up

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Content provided by Dean Hayes, Bay Equity Home Loans

This article outlines making your first mortgage payment and how to setup automatic payments on your mortgage.

Congratulations! You have just purchase a home or completed a refinance of your current home, and you have a shiny, brand new mortgage that you will need to start making payments on.

What’s next?

Click here to learn more and to view the blog in its entirety.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Home to Be Listed for Sale

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Will your home soon be listed for sale?  Here are some tips to consider to make your home look its best!

Repaint the Trim
Fresh baseboards, crown molding and trim around doorways and windows make a big impact. Focus on the interior of the home first and if you are able, do the same for the exterior. Adding a new layer of paint to the trim can bring instant life back into your home, making the space feel fresher and cleaner.

Hire a Professional House Cleaner
A professional can undertake a thorough top-to-bottom scrub down, which includes cleaning the grout, polishing the faucets, wiping down the ceiling fan blades, and dislodging every crumb out of that irritating gap between your stove and counter top and beyond. A clean house makes a difference in the eyes of a buyer and can lead to the “wow” factor that may help put your home sale over the top.

Steam Clean the Carpets
When was the last time you had the carpets in your home professionally steamed-cleaned? This type of cleaning can lift the smallest stains and imperfections out of your carpets. Your carpets will look as new as possible, at a substantially cheaper price than the cost of a replacement.

Clear the Clutter
Clutter overwhelms a space, distracting from your home’s more beautiful elements. Many people won’t notice the high ceilings or large windows if their attention is refocused on a pile of old magazines, heaps of unopened mail, and random wires, cables, tools, board games and DVDs scattered about everywhere. Clutter also makes a space feel smaller. Your walk-in closet might be amply sized, but if it’s overstuffed with old clothes, jackets, boxes, suitcases and bags, your prospective buyers will think the closet space is insufficient. It doesn’t matter that the closet is actually bigger than the buyer’s first apartment; all they’ll see is the mess. You don’t want to showcase an empty closet – this looks uninviting – but you don’t want one that’s bursting at the seams, either.

Stage the Home
Professional investors often hire ‘staging companies’ to fill a home with furniture in order to showcase its potential.  If you’re still living in your current home, you’re already one step ahead of the game: your space is already furnished. Now you just need to up the ante by a notch, so that your home looks magazine-worthy.
Do you know that Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC offers its clients staging services? We know the impact a staged home has on a potential buyer and we believe in staging your home to sell!

Based in Anacortes, Team Groesbeck can be reached daily for all of your real estate needs at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGreoesbeck.com.

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