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.

Anacortes Community Profile

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Anacortes has the enviable reputation as the playground of the Pacific Northwest. Despite its miles of waterfront and forested trails, mountaintop vistas, festivals, charming shops and restaurants, a welcoming community and easy access to adventure beyond, Anacortes remains one of the country’s best-kept secrets.

Anacortes lies equidistant between Seattle, Washington, to the south, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to the north—each about 80 miles away. Located on Fidalgo Island, Anacortes hosts the Washington State Ferries terminal, making it easy to get away for an afternoon or an extended stay to the San Juan Islands or Victoria, B.C.  Although Anacortes boasts all the assets of an island community, residents enjoy the ease and convenience of being connected to the mainland and neighboring Whidbey Island by three picturesque bridges—including the famed Deception Pass Bridge.

Natural attractions include pristine lakes, world class waterways, great scenic vistas, tide pools and beaches, abundant wildlife, and more than 2,800 acres of public forestland. There are also seven local marinas making Anacortes the boating capital of the Pacific Northwest.  Many Anacortes home buyers are first attracted to Anacortes because of the natural beauty of Fidalgo Island, and as they spend more time here they decide they want to purchase Anacortes real estate and make Anacortes their home.

Abundant recreational activities for all ages include boating, whale watching, hiking, kayaking, golf, biking, beach combing, and much more.

Local culture can be found at Anacortes art galleries, language clubs, numerous daily music venues, a three-screen movie theatre, delightful restaurants, and more.

Several major events mark Fidalgo Island community’s annual activities calendar: Waterfront Festival (May), Fourth of July Parade (July), Anacortes Arts Festival (August), Jazz Festival (September), and the Holiday Boat Parade (December). Each, in its own way, reminds us that, while very much connected to the present, Anacortes remains an appealing connection to a slower, simpler way of living.

Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC knows Anacortes! Contact us today for more information and for all of your real estate needs. We can be reached daily at (360) 941-3734 or at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

New Year’s Resolutions for Home Owners

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Not necessarily planning to move in 2018 but need to change things up? Here are some ways you can make your home feel a little bit newer and easy to maintain:

Make an extra mortgage payment – If you want to own your home faster and save money in the process, make just one extra mortgage payment each year and you’ll shave years off the term of your loan and save thousands of dollars in interest.

Refinance your mortgage – Even though interest rates vary, sometimes refinancing may be in your best interest to lower your monthly payment.

Draft a home maintenance plan – To ensure your house gets the love it deserves, draw up a list of the annual maintenance chores your home requires then come up with a plan to handle one or two each month.

Make your home safe – Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test their batteries regularly, in addition to checking your home for radon (a colorless and odorless gas) and be sure your home has proper ventilation.

Clear the clutter – Overwhelmed with all the stuff in your home? Getting organized and donating items you no longer use will go a long way in giving you and your home a fresh start in the new year.

For all of your real estate needs or with any questions, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC is available daily and can be reached at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.  The Team Groesbeck office is located in Old Town Anacortes at 809 7th St. and we proudly serve Anacortes, Fidalgo Island, and the counties of Skagit, Island, San Juan, Whatcom and beyond.  We look forward to working for you in 2018!

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!

New Year’s Resolutions for Buyers

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A new year means new possibilities!  Thinking of buying a new home this year?  Here are some things you may consider to assist with making it happen:

Get your finances in order – You’ll need good credit to get a mortgage, so knowing your credit score will ensure you getting a good rate.  If you know your credit score needs improvement in advance, you can make the necessary steps to improve it ahead of time.

Gather your paperwork – Keep documents handy that you’ll need for your home loans, such as W2s, tax returns, credit report, pay stubs, bank account statements, etc.

Research mortgage options – Shop around for the best loans with the best terms.  Talk to multiple lenders because all have different terms.  Find out if you are eligible for any state or local home buyer programs, etc.

Get pre-approved – Not only does having a pre-approval letter from your lender indicate how much mortgage money you qualify for, it makes it easier to shop for homes within your price range and strengthens your position as a buyer for your offer being accepted.

Work with professionals – Rely on a qualified, experienced broker to help you find the home you desire. The team at Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC in Old Town Anacortes is full-time, professional real estate brokers who are available daily to work for you.  Contact us for all of your real estate needs throughout Anacortes, Skagit County and beyond today!

Check back tomorrow for our blog about New Year’s resolutions for sellers!

Upcoming Anacortes Events: Dec. 2

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On Saturday, December 2, the public is invited to attend the following community events around Anacortes:

  • The Chamber Art Walk begins at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. throughout downtown Anacortes.
  • St. Mary Church in Anacortes will celebrate the St. Nicholas Feast Day with the Croatian Cultural Center beginning at 10:30 a.m.  The celebration schedule is as follows:
    • 10:30 a.m. – Feast of St. Nicholas Mass at St. Mary Church. Entrance procession with icon of St. Nicholas by the members of the Croatian community
    • 11:45 a.m. – End of Mass; car procession with St. Nicholas icon to the Seafarers Memorial Park.
    • Noon – Assemble at Seafarers Memorial Park for placement of icon and the laying of wreath and roses at Our Lady of the Sea.
      • Eternal Father – Navy Hymn sung by the An-O-Chords.
      • Blessing of Mariners and fleet by Fr. Marion, OSB, pastor of St. Mary.
    • 12:30 p.m. – Return icon to Croatian Cultural Center located at 801 5th St.  Children to meet with St. Nicholas and be gifted with tangerines and chocolate gold coins. Listen to the story of St. Nicholas as narrated by Michael Petrish, and then enjoy a no-host luncheon of Croatian food and seasonal pastries.
      Please call the Croatian Cultural Center at (360) 299-2525 if you plan to attend the celebration so that enough food will be prepared.
  • Open to all, the Anacortes Lion’s Club Christmas Parade set-up begins at 11 a.m. for all interested in participating and the parade will begin at Noon. Lining up on Third Street, between “O” and Commercial Avenue, are floats, vans with passengers, walkers and bicycles. Lining up on Second Street are horses and horse carriages. Lining up on Third Street, between “N” and “O” Avenues, are fire department and emergency vehicles. Lining up on Commercial Avenue, next to the rope factory are cars and car club entries.
  • Beginning at Noon until 5 p.m. at the Port of Anacortes Event Center, it is opening day of Celebrate the Season.  Admission is $5 per person or $20 per family at the door. Enter a winter wonderland with activities for the whole family at the annual event, held by the Anacortes Schools Foundation, which features photos with Santa, hot chocolate & cookies, crafts & games, unique gifts, and gift wrapping. All proceeds benefit students in the Anacortes School District.

Additional information regarding the above events can be found here.

Located in Old Town AnacortesJean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, is proud to support Anacortes events.  For any of your real estate needs, please contact us daily at (360) 941-3734, (360) 899-5027 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

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.