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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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.

The Benefits of Staging Your Home to Sell

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As real estate brokers with home staging certifications, Old Town Anacortes-based Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC sees the firsthand 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 dĂ©cor 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! – Jean Grosbeck & Assoc. LLC offers 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 Team Groesbeck today and be sure to check out our page that explains the staging process.

How to Cancel your Mortgage Insurance

Dean-Hayes

Content provided by Dean Hayes, Bay Equity Home Loans

Nearly 4 out of 10 people don’t know that you can buy a home with less than 15% down. When you do, you will be paying mortgage insurance – an insurance policy that protects the lender in case you don’t make your payments and default on your home loan.When-can-I-Cancel-my-Mortgage-Insurance

Many people believe mortgage insurance is a waste of money and want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Actually, I can show you the math where mortgage insurance is a very inexpensive alternative to the cost of waiting, but that’s another post.

If you have mortgage insurance on your home mortgage and want to get it removed, we have to first start by identifying the type of mortgage that you have.

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Fall Home Maintenance Tips

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Before the Anacortes weather grows colder it’s important to prepare for the winter months to prevent costly damage to your property. Below are the suggested fall preventative home maintenance steps for homeowners from HomeAdvisor.com.

 

Gutters and Downspouts

  • Clean gutters and downspouts frequently throughout fall to prevent build up of leaves and other debris.
  • Neglected gutters can lead to wood rot problems and pest infestations, not to mention ruined gutters.
  • Be sure water is not coming down behind gutters and that all support brackets are securely in place.
  • Ensure that water drains properly and doesn’t pool. Pooling can cause damage to foundations, driveways, and walkways.

 

Windows and Doors

  • Change summer screens to cool weather storm windows and doors.
  • Inspect and repair any loose or damaged window or door frames.
  • Install weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors to prevent drafts and to lower heating bills.

 

Heating Systems

  • Replace the filter in your furnace.
  • Consider having a heating professional check your heating system to ensure optimal performance and discover minor problems before they turn into costly major repairs.
  • Clean your ducts to better your heating system’s efficiency as well as to reduce household dust and to provide relief to those with respiratory problems.

 

Plumbing

  • To prevent pipes freezing and bursting, ensure that the pipes are well insulated.
  • Know how to locate and turn off the water shut-off valve in case pipes do freeze.

 

Chimney and Fireplace

  • Call a professional in to inspect and clean your chimney. Fireplaces that are regularly used during the season should have an annual cleaning to prevent dangerous chimney fires.
  • Test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when closed.

 

Attic Ventilation

  • Be sure attic insulation doesn’t cover vents in the eaves to prevent winter ice dams on the roof.
  • Be sure ridge vents and vents at eaves are free of plants and debris.
  • Check bird and rodent screens for attic vents to prevent any unwanted guests.

 

Landscape and Yardwork

  • Although grass appears to stop growing in the fall, the roots are actually growing deeper to prepare for winter. Now is the best time to fertilize and reseed your lawn.
  • Prune your trees and shrubs after the leaves turn to encourage healthy growth.
  • Trim any tree limbs that are dangerously close to power lines or the roof of your house. Heavy snow and ice can cause damage in the winter.

 

Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC is the Anacortes real estate experts. Located at 809 7th St. in Old Town Anacortes, Team Groesbeck is available daily for all of your real estate needs throughout Anacortes, Skagit County, Island County and beyond. Please contact us at (360) 941-3734, (360) 899-5027 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com 7 days a week.

Improving Your Credit Score

Dean-Hayes

Content provided by Dean Hayes, Bay Equity Home Loans

One of the biggest misconceptions about buying a home is that you need perfect credit in order to qualify. In fact, many programs allow much lower credit scores when qualifying a home buyer. But there are still certain minimums that you have to meet. So, how do you go about improving your credit scores?

Click here to view the blog in its entirety.

 

6 Home Projects That Cost Less Than a TV

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Looking to revamp your home without breaking the bank?  Here are 6 home projects that will dramatically improve the looks of your home for less than the cost of a new TV:

  • Update your entryway: A new welcome mat, house numbers, plants, doorknobs, lighting or painting the front door are all quick fixes that will spruce up your home for an affordable cost!
  • Modernize your bathroom: You do not need to do a total remodel to make a large impact.  Use reclaimed materials, paint and update linens to achieve a new look.
  • Repaint your interior walls: For $200-$300, repainting an entire room or adding an accent wall will revive a dull space, or paint the trim or built-ins with subtly contrasting colors to give the room a pop of color.
  • Upgrade cabinet hardware: Install stylish hardware to jump start your kitchen’s new look.  If your kitchen has a contemporary design, go with sleek, understated hardware. Ornate, classically inspired aesthetics work best for traditional cabinets.
  • Light fixtures: Before you install new fixtures, it’s important to consider your dĂ©cor. If you have a flair for the modern, go for the subtle-but-stunning aesthetics of pendant lighting. If your home has more of a traditional design, consider the lavish ornamentation of baroque-inspired chandeliers or candle wall sconces.
  • Clean the carpets: Unblemished carpets make a huge difference in the appearance of your home — especially if you experience a lot of foot traffic. Spot cleaning small stains is a simple do-it-yourself job, but it’s best to leave larger jobs to the pros.

For all of your real estate needs, contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, DAILY at (360) 941-3734 or at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com, or visit our Old Town Anacortes office at 809 7th St.