Buying Out of State?

moving

 

So you are thinking about relocating and need to find an out-of-state real estate broker to help you find your dream home… but where do you start?

The beauty of the Pacific Northwest is one of the main reasons people choose to move to Skagit County. Having the right real estate broker who understands the importance of staying up-to-date with the market and latest real estate trends can make the home buying experience enjoyable and stress free.

If you’re relocating to Anacortes or anywhere in Skagit County, choosing a reliable out-of-state real estate agent can seem a little bit overwhelming. You should always take your time researching the right real estate broker, and that involves interviewing a few before you make your final decision.

So how do you choose the right real estate broker for the job? Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice when searching for the right real estate broker in a market that you’re unfamiliar with.

  • Ask for referrals from family, friends, and even other real estate brokers that you know
  • Check and compare online presence of your potential real estate broker
  • Ask all candidates about their real estate experience and their familiarity with the area
  • Find a real estate broker who will communicate the same way that you do – text, email, fax?
  • Ask all candidates about their availability – full time, part time? 

 

It will be a little time consuming, but the right  real estate broker will help you find the perfect home even if you are miles apart!

If you or someone you know is moving to Anacortes or anywhere in Skagit County, give us a call! (360) 941.3734. Let us show you how our 5 star real estate service can help you find your dream home.

 

Info@JeanGroesbeck.com

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Home Inspections

Home Inspections
Many wonder why such an emphasis is placed on home inspections when they are not mandatory in the home buying or selling process.

The bottom line is: buying a home is already an expensive process- it is best to have a third party check for potential (unseen) problems before you are fully committed, rather than signing without knowing what you could be getting into.

One of the biggest indicators that the home inspection is important is that it can be used as a contingency in your purchase offer. This means that it can be used to back out the deal if certain significant defects are revealed by an inspection.

 

While inspectors may vary in thoroughness, there are certain key elements they should look at:

  • Whether or not the problems they find are safety issues, or major/minor defects.
  • Which items require replacement or servicing.
  • Which items should be monitored closely for possible repair/replacement in the future.

 

As a general rule, some of the items an inspector might look at include:

  • Foundation
  • Exterior Walls
  • Pest Problems
  • Roof Damage
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical Hazards
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
  • Water Heater
  • Kitchen Appliances (provided any are staying with the home)
  • Laundry Room (proper ventilation)
  • Potential Fire Hazards
  • Bathrooms (proper ventilation, mold issues, water damage, etc.)

 

Potential safety concerns that should absolutely be addressed in the inspection are:

  • Radon
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Mold

 

Inspections may not always identify everything wrong with a property, but they can point you in the right direction if something appears amiss and if anything, you will have the opinion of an “expert” to back you up.

If you have any questions about home inspections (how to schedule, why they are important, etc.) give us a call! We would be happy to walk you through everything you need to know about buying or selling your home.

Budget-Friendly Home Upgrades

Budget-Friendly

Home upgrades can typically bring on feelings of dread and come with big spending. Fortunately, there are numerous budget-friendly home upgrades that can be done through simple changes around the home- some of them only involve cleaning!

While cleaning your entire home should be at the top of your list if you are planning to sell, deep cleaning places you wouldn’t normally think of can make a huge impact on the overall feel of the home.
One or two times each year, be sure to give all of your kitchen cabinets a good scrub, as well as the walls of your kitchen and in rooms in which you spend the majority of your time. It can be surprising how much dust and dirt collects on the walls of our homes.

Speaking of the kitchen, did you know you can face lift your appliances? Many dishwasher panels are white on one side, and black on the other- just remove a few screws and turn things around! Check with your manufacturer to see what options you have, and whether or not they sell replacement panels. While you’re at it, give the insides of your appliances (including your dishwasher) a good scrub.

Brighten up your bathroom easily by checking first to make sure things are functional. Have you checked the caulking around your tub, sink, and baseboards recently? If it is discolored or peeling, redo it! Next, look at small items such as faucets, shower heads, and light fixtures. These are items that can easily (and fairly inexpensively) be replaced, yet will give the whole room a different feeling. This is also a good time to wipe down the front of your vanity to freshen it up without replacing it entirely.

Whether you are showing your home to sell or having a party, flooring is something that everyone looks at when they enter your home. If your carpet is worn and you are not willing or able to replace it, have it professionally cleaned! You can even rent a quality rug cleaner and take care of it yourself. If you don’t have carpet, be sure that you keep the floor swept and cleaned regularly; stepping on a sticky or crummy floor makes the whole room feel icky.

Anacortes, WA is home to many beautiful properties. Let us know if we can help you sell yours so we can give you even more information on cost-effective ways to update your home!

Selling a Home with Pets

selling a home with pets

We love our pets and can’t imagine a world without them, but not everyone shares our sentiments. This can make things tricky when it comes to selling a home that has housed our furry friends. The main reason for the nervousness is because your pets are not their pets; potential home buyers only witness what the pet may or may not have done to the home, and no one wants to take on the task of removing pet smells and fur from their newly purchased home.

Fortunately, there is one way to ease the minds of those who view your home: remove pet evidence.

Yes, this includes your pet. When showings are scheduled, before anything else, make arrangements for your pet to be elsewhere while a potential buyer views your home. Home showings rarely take very long, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to send Fluffy on a walk with your spouse or children. If weather doesn’t permit this, perhaps ask a neighbor if they would be willing to dog or cat sit for an hour or so- even if it means keeping your furry loved one in a kennel in their yard for a while. You can also be held liable if Fluffy decides to get defensive and either bites or scratches someone entering your home.

Remove negatives associated with pets. If you have a cat litter box or doggy potty pad, clean it and remove it from sight completely. Clean and sanitize the area in which it is generally housed, as pet urine really is a huge turn off in every way.
Same goes for feeding areas; remove water and food bowls, as well as any signs of saliva around the bowls.

Floor stains. Get rid of them. Cover them with an area rug, rent a rug cleaner, or replace it altogether. You can even hire a professional who is well- experienced in removing stubborn pet stains. It will keep buyers from forming unfavorable opinions about the rest of the home and will absolutely pay out in the end.

Repair other damage. Unfortunately, bigger pets can cause other damage such as holes in the wall or scratches on the furniture. This is the time to repair those drywall issues and put away that wooden end table with the obvious teeth or claw marks.

Clean your yard. This isn’t just limited to picking up pet waste. Make sure any damage to the fence or sod is repaired and not noticeable to the buyer.

Last but not least; remove pet clutter. You may be in love with the cute basket you picked out to house Fluffy’s toys, however this is just one more sign to potential buyers that pets live there. Put them in a box or in your car so they are out of sight and out of mind.

The most important thing to remember is to not take any pet advice personal; your goal is to sell your home, not to make buyers fall in love with your pets!

Moving or travelling with pets? We can help with that too! Just check our out post on Moving With Pets to put your mind at ease.

Planning Your Garden for Spring

PLANNING YOUR GARDEN

 

Enhancing curb appeal includes enhancing your garden! Time for fresh flower scents, new plants, and working outside. Many bulbs have already begun to bloom, however the good news is that you can buy flowers and plants that have already bloomed and your yard will instantly look great! This is also the time to consider any fall bulbs or crops you want to have around once the summer is over.

Our Favorite Ways to Begin Planning Your Garden

Make a Sketch of Your Yard
You don’t necessarily need accurate measurements to do this (although if you want a to-scale sketch of your yard, feel free!), but it is necessary to visualize where you want everything to go. Drawing it out will help you determine how your yard will look once everything is in place and allow you to better allocate your money.

Plant Trees First
As trees typically take up more space in yards and require a little more work, it is best to get them done first and plant smaller items around them.

Year-Round Plants and Upgrades
Some plants such as shrubs and bushes that don’t “bloom” can provide aesthetic appeal to your yard year-round. If you plan to implement any of these, plant them when you do your trees to again get bigger items out of the way. This is also the time to work on any yard enhancements such as new pathways or retaining walls that will add dimension to the yard as a whole.

Perennials, Bulbs, and Annuals
This is the time to have fun and add color to your yard! Many spring bulbs are available for purchase and already in full-bloom by May first. Determine what feel you want your yard to have and browse a couple of nurseries and garden centers. If you are unsure of how to care for the plants you are looking for, the individuals that work there will likely be happy to share their knowledge.

Having a well-planned garden always attracts the eyes of passersby, especially those eyes that are interested in purchasing your home.

Contact us for more tips on how to enhance your home and garden for the market! If you are looking to buy in Anacortes, WA or anywhere in Skagit County, we can be your guide in finding a great home in a beautiful part of the Pacific Northwest.

Understanding Real Estate CMA’s

real estate cma's

In Real Estate terms, CMA stands for comparative market analysis; in other words, the report provided by a realtor when they conduct an in-depth analysis of a home’s worth in your market. If you are considering selling your home in Anacortes, we can conduct an in-depth comparative market analysis and help you make the most of the information. Use our checklist below to make sure that you have an adequate understanding of real estate CMA’s.

cmas

Before committing to anything, be sure you are working with a real estate agent you can trust. Our goal as your agent is to make the Anacortes home buying or selling process stress free and smooth. After all, we work for you! If you would like a complimentary market analysis of your home in Anacortes, please call, text or email us today! We will provide you with an up to date market value of your home in Anacortes.

 

 

 

 

The Best Moving Checklist

Moving Checklist

You’re almost ready to move into your new home!

Moving day can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Our moving checklist will help you effectively pack up your belongings to make your move as easy as possible. We recommend printing it and keeping it on hand in a central location in the house so you can easily cross things off as you go.

Just click HERE to print out our full moving checklist!

1684876_2778970_m

Moving with pets? Check out the rest of our blog for other great moving tips!

The Benefits of Staging a Home For Sale

staging
As real estate brokers with home staging certifications, we see firsthand the effect a well-staged home can have on the mind of a home buyer. If you are thinking about selling your home, we offer complimentary home staging services that might just make you fall in love with your home all over again!

Home Sellers Are Biased
• Staging one’s own home is like asking them to be objective about their children. Unless you have truly hated your home since you bought it, it will be difficult for you to let go of your own decorating style and the emotions that have been cultivated since living there.

You Will Learn!
• Have you ever looked at a home magazine or watched the DIY Network only to fantasize about being able to decorate the way they do? Now you can learn! Stagers work with you to properly display items in your home to bring out the best features possible. It might give you the chance to learn how you want to decorate your next space!

First Impressions Must Be the Best
• Buyers will only get one first impression of your home- make it the best! You get a good feeling when you walk into a home that has been properly staged. It isn’t fake, it isn’t dirty, and it allows potential buyers to develop their own sense of comfort and connection to the home.

Look Better than Other Homes
• When a home isn’t properly staged, buyers are only driven further from your listing and closer to your competition. Keep your buyers connected with your property!

Appears Move-In Ready
• Proper, neutral home décor allows buyers to visualize living there. They will imagine their own possessions in each room, and how their family will fit into the space. It will also lessen the impact of any maintenance issues that may arise during inspection, as they are already pleased with the home’s overall aesthetics.

Looks Well-Maintained
• Again, issues have the potential to arise in almost any inspection, and a home that appears to be well-maintained from the outside will help the buyer feel more comfortable with any “internal” work that may need to be done, rather than focusing on changing things like countertops or radical paint jobs.

Looks Better in Photos
• These days, homes are typically first viewed on the internet. Well-done staging allows for better quality photos and allows a potential buyer to fall in love with the home before viewing it in person.

It’s Free!
• We offer free staging services from a certified professional to all who sign with us. Our staging professional is experienced in making a home comfortable for anyone who views it.

For more helpful staging tips or information on selling your home, reach out to us today and be sure to check out our page that explains the staging process.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Washington

carbon monoxide detectors

What is Carbon Monoxide?
• Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that cannot be seen or smelled and can kill an individual within minutes of contact. Carbon monoxide can quickly build to unsafe levels in enclosed or poorly ventilated areas.

What Are Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
• Initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, confusion and nausea. Low-level carbon monoxide poisoning can include symptoms similar to illnesses such as the flu.
As these may be difficult symptoms to diagnose, they could be a sign of carbon monoxide poisoning if:
o Symptoms go away when you leave your home, and come back when you return.
o Everyone in the home experiences similar symptoms at the same time.

What Should You Do if You Suspect a Carbon Monoxide Leak in Your Home?
• If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak in your home, gather your family outside in the fresh air and immediately call 911.
During power outages, never use charcoal or gas grills indoors or in enclosed spaces. Do not burn charcoal in a fireplace, as charcoal does not produce a draft strong enough to push the carbon monoxide outside.
Never use a generator inside your home, garage, carport, basement, or near an opening into your home while outside. Generators should be kept at least 20 feet from buildings in the hope that airflow will direct carbon monoxide flows away from the home.
Never use a gas range or oven to heat your home and do not sleep in a room using an unvented gas or kerosene heater.

Washington State Law
Washington State law requires carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in new residences. As of January 1, 2013, carbon monoxide alarms are required in existing apartments, condominiums, hotels, motels, and single-family residences (with few exceptions). Owner-occupied single-family residences, legally occupied before July 26th, 2009, are not required to have carbon monoxide alarms until they are sold.

Spring Cleaning: Natural Cleaning Products

Spring Cleaning

The first day of spring has come and gone, and it is time to get that layer of dust off the furniture and clean out those closets!

The purpose behind spring cleaning is to create a clean home that feels welcoming and happy. Why not add “healthy” to that list? Around this time we are often still working on those New Year’s resolutions to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so this might be the perfect time to consider incorporating health into your cleaning regime as well.

Certified Organic cleaning products have become increasingly popular with the rise in use of essential oils and home remedies. Home owners are taking into consideration the ingredients that are in most household cleaners and the effects they might be having on themselves and their families.

When it comes to household cleaners, GreenHome.com advises us to choose cleaning products that “are made from naturally occurring, non-toxic substances. Be sure to avoid cleaners containing phosphates, chlorine, and VOC’s, all of which are toxic to humans or damaging to the environment.” And let’s face it, for those of us that have bleached anything and experienced its lingering lung-stinging aroma, it probably isn’t the safest substance to use in abundance around the home.

Now that we know a few of the ingredients we should be looking for, which products are genuinely the best options? We’ve compiled a list of our top five natural cleaning brands, using factors such as affordability and availability.

1. Mrs. Meyers Clean Day
2. Method
3. Seventh Generation
4. J.R. Watkins
5. Honest Company

Looking for more of the DIY approach?

Try some of these common household items to take care of some of your cleaning needs:
• Baking Soda- Use as a water softener or add to your dishwasher to help remove stuck-on food.
• Vinegar- Easily dissolve calcium build-ups in coffee pots, and sinks. Vinegar also gets rid of foul odors in drains by taking odors with It as is evaporates.
• Lemon Juice- Not only does it smell great, but it removes stains, deodorizes toilets, and inhibits mold build-up. Try slicing off an end and rubbing it around the edge of your sink, then simply wiping away the dirt and leftover juice.

Want more Spring cleaning tips?  Email us at Info@JeanGroesbeck.com and let us know! We are always happy to provide helpful home tips.