All posts by Marti Reeder

About Marti Reeder

I am a full-time, full-service REALTOR® for John L. Scott, Kent-Covington, Washington. Serving primarily the South Puget Sound, my goal is to provide my clients with first class service and to make the home buying or home selling process as simple as possible.

SEVEN SURE-FIRE STRATEGIES TO FIND A SUPER-STAR AGENT

SEVEN SURE-FIRE STRATEGIES TO FIND A SUPER-STAR AGENT

(Adapted from the Seattle Times “Your Money” Section: “How to determine agent who’s best for you”)

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Buying or selling a home is big deal! A complex process, it’s fraught with possibilities – both good and bad.

It’s in your best interest to work with the best agent you can find. But how do you actually do that?

I’m glad you asked!  Here are seven sure-fire strategies to find the right agent for you.

#1      Talk with the agent’s recent clients.

This is easy if you happen to know them personally. If you don’t, check the agent’s Facebook business page and/or any customer reviews on Zillow.

#2      Check for license and disciplinary action.

Ideally, the agent should have no actions. Occasionally rules are broken because an agent isn’t aware of them (we operate under a very LARGE set of rules). If you find a potential problem situation, ask the agent to explain.

I’ve been licensed as a real estate since 2004, and as a managing broker since 2016, and have had no disciplinary actions.

#3      Ask about professional awards.

Ideally, your agent would receive recognition from their company (if they provide that), their clients, and their peers.

I’ve been blessed to have been recognized for my excellence in the industry as follows:

·       Top residential resale broker, 6th largest city in Washington: Kent (2014-year to date) 

·       Top producer, residential sales, Kent-Covington John L. Scott Office (2012-year to date)

·       Seattle Magazine’s “Five Star Best in Client Satisfaction”, multiple years

·       Received John L. Scott’s prestigious “Chairman’s Circle Award”, (3 years running)

·       Voted “Best Realtor” by the readers of the Covington/Maple Valley/Black Diamond Reporter (2 years)

·       Voted “Best Realtor” by the readers of the Kent Report, for the 10th year in 2018

#4      Select an agent with the right credentials

Many agents get licensed, and then simply complete the bare minimum of continuing education.

A great agent invests in their business by learning advanced skills that benefit their clients and belongs to strong professional associations.

·       I am a Managing Broker (a step above a “real estate agent”), meaning I have a higher level of skills and experience as dictated by WA State Department of Licensing.

·       I am a member of the National Association of Realtors. Not all real estate agents are Realtors, who are held to a higher standard of work and professionalism.

·       And I have earned my Certified Residential Specialist designation – an honor held by only 3% of all real estate agents nationwide.

#5      Find out how experienced an agent is

I get it. Everyone has to start sometime in the business. But you don’t want new agents practicing on your purchase or sale … do you?  Experience matters. Find an agent with a minimum of five years of experience and experience in the local market you live in (or want to move to).

I have been a licensed real estate agent for 14 years as of October 2018, and I’ve focused almost exclusively on Kent and our surrounding communities. Add to that an additional 19 years of experience in affiliated industries (mortgage, property management, remodeling, and inspection) and you can see that I bring a wealth of knowledge that pays off big time for my clients.

#6      Look at the agent’s current listings and their track record of selling

How is the agent marketing their listings? Do they use high-resolution, professional photography? Video? What is their average days-on-market time? Are they skilled at pricing and presentation, or do they simply follow a “3-P” strategy – put a sign in the ground, put it in the MLS, and pray?

I’m highly skilled at effectively marketing homes for my sellers, and my average days-on-market time is 17 days, including quick-selling median priced homes and longer-selling high-end listings. My sold price versus the listing price is 101.6%, meaning homes I list are selling on average, at or above the list price.

#7      Gauge the agent’s knowledge of the area

Too many agents are willing to drive here, there, and everywhere in a desperate hunt for business.  Wouldn’t you rather work with a market expert?

I live and work on the east hill of Kent. That means that I am typically no more than a 20-minute drive to any of my listings.

I transplanted from Seattle where I was raised, and I love this area! My husband & built a house and raised our own four children here. Now I have two grandchildren living in this area. We work, play, and live this in Kent & the surrounding community. It’s ingrained in my DNA!

Of course, there are other measures of an agent’s performance. But these questions should give you an idea for where to start your discussion with a potential agent. Please let me know if there are other questions you need an answer to. I look forward to hearing from you!

Marti Reeder

 

 

Spring Household Cleaning Hacks

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Let’s be honest … none of us really enjoy spending our precious free time cleaning our homes (at least I’ve never met anyone who does!).

So I’m always looking for hacks that allow me to spend more time doing the things I love – enjoying my family, helping clients, supporting my community – and less time in the drudgery of cleaning.

DEMOLISH DUST

There are two spots in the house that really tough to clean when it comes to dust – ceiling fans, and window blinds. I’ve got great hacks for both!

Ceiling fans: Fill a spray bottle with water and add a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar. Spray the inside of the pillowcase with this solution. Carefully (so you don’t disturb the dust!) slip the pillowcase onto the blades one at a time, covering the entire blade. Pull the pillowcase back toward you, gently squeezing the blade. The pillowcase will catch all the dust!

Blinds: While some people like to vacuum their blinds, I actually find it easier to use a sock! And the good news is you can use the same solution for this that I suggested for the ceiling fans. You might find it easier to have the solution in a bowl for this, so you can dip the sock in the bowl. Simply spraying the sock with the solution isn’t usually as effective.

SHINE THAT STAINLESS STEEL

Stainless steel appliances remain the most popular choice among homeowners, but boy can they be challenging to keep looking “stainless”!  Here are three easy ways to clean your stainless steel appliance – just pick the one you find easiest and most effective!

  1. Rubbing alcohol. Really! Take a microfiber cloth, add a few drops of rubbing alcohol and, well, rub! To really do it right, follow up with a couple of drops of olive oil on a cloth. Rub in, then buff to shine! Don’t have a microber cloth? Don’t sweat it! Any soft cloth will do.
  2. WD-40. Yes, it really does work. Spray WD-40 on the appliance, and use a soft cloth to buff.
  3. Fancy, expensive stainless steel polish. It really doesn’t work any better than the two suggestions above, and it costs far more, but it’s certainly an option.

EMPLOY THE BRUSH-OFF

Here are two tips for getting furniture smelling fresh and feeling clean.

  1. Baking soda slipcovers. I call them this because you’re basically going to coat the problem areas of your upholstered furniture liberally with baking soda. First, brush your sofa off (it probably wouldn’t hurt to vacuum it, but if you don’t have the time or energy a quick brush-off will do). Next, sprinkle the problem areas liberally with baking soda. Let sit for 20 minutes, then vacuum. Not only will the baking soda remove stains, it will freshen the air. Pro tip: these is much easier to manage if your family and pets are not nearby, as they inevitably want to sit on the furniture you’re trying to clean.
  2. “Paint”, don’t push! Frustrated by those heavy pieces of furniture? Rather than manhandle a nine-foot sofa, or heavy wing chair, simply use a stiff paintbrush around and under each piece. Pretend you’re painting the edges of the furniture, drawing out accumulated dust, dirt, and pet hair. Then follow with a quick vacuuming or a dust pan and broom.

CLEAN UP THOSE COMPUTERS

There are quite a few substances you should never use to clean your computer. Before using any cleaning solution, check to see if they contain the following (and if they do, DO NOT use them on your computer:

  • Acetone
  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Toluene
  • Ethyl acid
  • Ammonia
  • Methyl chloride

To clean your keyboard, use a few drops of white vinegar on a microfiber cloth, and gently, but thoroughly, scrub. A cotton swab soaked in vinegar can be effective on problem areas.

If your screen needs cleaning, take a microfiber cloth, and wipe gently. A circular motion yields the best results. If necessary, a light mixture of water and vinegar can be sprayed on a cloth.

You’ll also want to avoid using paper products to clean your computer, and never, ever spray something directly on your screen!

PRACTICE FIRE SAFETY – CLEAN YOUR DRYER VENT

The removable lint filter in your dryer does not catch all the lint … and every year homes burn to the ground because of fires that start in dryer vents (there are over 2,900 fires that start in vents each year).

If you don’t want to tackle this project yourself, simply Google local companies that offer this service.

If you’re more of a DIY-er, or you’re trying to save a few bucks, you can clean your own dryer vent; however, there are special brushes and tools you’ll need.  There are a fair number of steps involved. If you want detailed step-by-step instructions (including photographs), you can find them here.

I hope you enjoyed those tips and found something new you can use.

Keeping your house clean and well-maintained promotes a healthy life. And keeping your home clean and well-maintained adds to its value, which is something I’m always keeping top-of-mind for my clients.

Have other questions about the value of your home? Please reach out to Team Marti – we’re here to help!

 

 

If Two Heads are Better than One … Just Imagine What FOUR Heads Could Do for You!

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Historically, real estate agents worked in one of two ways – as individuals, or as a two-person team. Typically these teams were married partners, although every once in a while you would run across a parent-child team, or even a team with siblings. And even less often, you would see non-related colleagues teaming up, often women who had other responsibilities in life (managing their households, running kids to soccer practice, volunteering at school) that didn’t allow them to participate full-time in the business.

And then, in the early 2000’s, we began to see the emergence of teams as a business model. Gary Keller, of the real estate firm Keller Williams, was a champion of this model, which has spread to many other companies in various forms.

If you think about it, teams really make a lot of sense. Not just for the team members, but primarily for consumers.

There are nine reasons that I feel a team is the only way to go when you are buying and selling real estate. Here they are:

  1. Increased efficiency. Let’s say you have to build a car. Would you rather have to know how to build an entire car by yourself, or would you prefer to be an expert at attaching the wheels, knowing that the person next to you is an expert at installing a drive shaft, and that another person would add the spark plugs? When individual team members can devote time to working in their area of specialty, they have the opportunity for deep learning and development of skills.
  2. More ideas = better results. Four heads really are better than two!
  3. Drawing upon natural skills and abilities. Each of our team members has things they’re naturally good at. No more trying to do our best at something that doesn’t come easily and delivering less-than-optimal results! Instead, we turn to the team member best equipped to help.
  4. Improved access; speedier turn times. In a traditional sole proprietor model, clients often have to wait for help and/or answers if their agent was on an appointment with another client. That rarely happens in a team model.
  5. Can be in 2, 3, or 4 places at a time. One of the huge benefits of a team is having the ability to accomplish multiple tasks at the same time. For example, one team member can be showing homes, one can be back at the office preparing a purchase offer, and yet another could be helping a seller prepare their home to sell.
  6. Each person can showcase and shine in their area of specialty. Everyone has unique skills and things at which they excel. A strong team allows everyone to feel great about the value they bring and increases their chance to be a superstar in their area of expertise.
  7. Having a team promotes – and actually forces – you to look at things from a different perspective. That often leads to improvements in how you perform your work … and that means a better end-result for clients.
  8. Well-defined structures and processes eliminate confusion. When you manage a team, it’s absolutely critical that there’s a clear process and workflow. Clients benefit from the structure and a “no surprises” experience.
  9. Coverage when “life happens”. We’ve all had those days – you wake up sick (or worse yet, your kids are sick), the car won’t start, or your phone gives up the ghost. Without a team behind you, any one of those things could grind your day to halt and force you to cancel your client appointments and/or work time. But with a team behind you, someone can step in to cover.
  10. It’s simply more fun! Life really is more fun when you’re surrounded by a team of great people. It’s one of my favorite things about teamwork.

After many years of working with my amazing team, I can assure you that it is the most rewarding way for me to work. And based on feedback from my clients, they love the fact that there are four skilled and caring professionals helping them achieve their real estate dreams.

Want to know more about the Team Marti experience? Reach out to us at: teammarti@johnlscott.com | 253-246-8938

 

Vote for me as ‘Best of Kent’ for a chance to WIN!

I am so honored to have been named “Best Realtor” in Kent NINE times. I’d love to have your vote again this year! Just fill out the Kent Reporter’s 2018 “Best of Kent” ballot online, or a paper copy in the weekly Kent Reporter, and submit before May 3rd. You’ll need to vote in at least half the categories for your vote to count, but that will be a fun way to choose your favorite Kent people, places and things. I’ll be voting for my favorites too!

As my thank you for taking the time to complete your ballot, if you share my Facebook post and say “I voted for Marti Reeder,” I will enter your name into a drawing for dinner for two at Paolo’s Italian Restaurant…. the most delicious & authentic Italian meal you’ll ever have – compliments of Team Marti!

Thanks, as always, for your support!

~ Marti

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If you’re thinking about selling your home and are trying to figure out how to select an agent, here are three things to keep in mind.

 

#1: LOTS OF FISH IN THE POND

There are over 25,000 real estate agents currently licensed in this area.

Yes – 25,000+ — and many of them are new to the business.

And I can promise you there’s nowhere near that many homes for sale. What does that mean to you as a seller?

For starters, it means there are a very large number of real estate agents who aren’t doing much business (the old 80-20 rule is at play in my industry, just as it is in many others).

And if an agent isn’t doing much business, you probably don’t want them involved in YOUR business. Right?

This applies whether the agent is new to the business, or a seasoned agent who simply doesn’t transact much business.

SOLUTION: Hire an agent who is both experienced and active in the market.

#2: AGENTS “BUYING” YOUR LISTING

Unfortunately, we see this happen all too often. During a listing appointment an agent who is desperate for the business will, in effect, “buy” the listing from the seller by promising one of two things (and sometimes even both of them!):

  • They overinflate the estimated value of the home
  • They offer to perform a “commissionectomy” on themselves, cutting their commission to virtually nothing

With these kinds of promises sellers can’t help but see dollars signs dancing in front of their eyes. But it’s not quite as rosy as it sounds.

Here are the challenges you should be aware of with both these issues.

A great agent is skilled at pricing homes. They don’t need to try to trick a seller into listing with them based on an unrealistic price. Great agents have proven marketing strategies, collateral that is effective across multiple media, an ability to price accurately, and a stellar reputation.

Great agents also don’t need to win by discounting their fee. They win a seller’s business through a combination of the factors mentioned above. When you’ve had a listing appointment with a great agent, you’re probably not focused on their fee … you’re focused on their results, see that they are worth every penny of their compensation, and can’t wait to sign a listing agreement because you know that their skills and experience (not overpricing or commission-cutting) is what will make them the most money.

SOLUTION: If you’re in a listing appointment with an agent who is overpricing your home (and underpricing their service) it’s time to interview another agent.

 

#3: DO YOU WANT A G.P. TO PERFORM YOUR HEART SURGERY?

In every line of work, there are generalists … and there are specialists. I don’t know about you, but when I have work done – whether it’s on my car, my house, my finances, or my health – I like to work with experts and specialists.

There are many areas of expertise that can apply to real estate, but there’s area in particular that is worth considering – geographical expertise and specialization.

If you live in Kent, does it make sense to hire an agent who works primarily in Queen Anne? (Even though that’s where I was raised!) If you live in Covington, will a Lynnwood agent be a good choice? Got a house in Maple Valley? Why are you interviewing a Tacoma agent?

I think you see where I’m going with this.

Real estate is hyper-local. When you hire an out-of-area agent you risk leaving money on the table because that agent doesn’t understand the nuances of your community and your hyper-local real estate market.

SOLUTION: Hire a listing agent with experience showing and listing homes in your neighborhood.

 

UP NEXT WEEK: The four burning questions EVERY seller has (and a fifth that they should have too!)

Team Marti’s Winter Home Maintenance Checklist 2017

Team Marti's Winter Home Maintenance ChecklistLike it or not, winter is just 10 days away. If you haven’t already prepped your home for winter and freezing temps, there’s still time. Use our handy checklist to make sure you and your home are ready for winter weather:

  • Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans so the blades rotate clockwise. Keep on a low speed to push air down from the ceiling into your room.
  • Have your furnace surfaced at the beginning of the season and make sure you change the filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Lower your thermostat or use a programmable thermostat to save on energy costs.
  • Remove window screens and install storm windows and doors, if you have them.
  • Shut off exterior water sources and cover the faucets to prevent freezing.
  • Insulate exposed pipes to prevent burst pipes.
  • Insulate your hot water heater.
  • Block drafts from doors and windows and seal cracks with door sweeps, door gaskets, calking and weather stripping.
  • Have your chimney cleaned annually to decrease your risk of fire and buildup and residue.
  • Remove any portable air conditioners and cover condensing units.
  • Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear and free of debris. This will be particularly helpful when the heavy rains come.

 

10 Reasons South King County, Washington is a Great Place to Live

If you’re thinking of relocating to the Seattle area, and are wondering which area to choose, consider South King County, Washington. Here are 10 reasons it is a great place to live!

  1. Convenient location. Whether you live in Kent, Covington or Maple Valley, South King County is located between Seattle and Tacoma with either major metro area being a 20- to 30-mile drive, depending on your destination.
  2. Easy access to mass transit. King County has a great mass transit system, including everything from buses and water taxis to trains and SeaTac International Airport.
  3. Breathtaking views. On a clear day, you can view the majestic Mount Rainier from just about any vantage point. You can also see the Green River (Kent and Auburn), the Cedar River (Renton) and Puget Sound (Des Moines, Burien and Federal Way). Most cities in South King County also have lakes. Renton, of course, is on the tip of Lake Washington. Kent has Lake Meridian, Clark Lake and Lake Fenwick, and Maple Valley has the beautiful Lake Wilderness.
  4. Fabulous parks and trails. All of our South King County cities have access to fabulous parks and trail systems, as well as county and state parks and trails. In Kent, for example, we have the Soos Creek Trail, the Green River Trail and the Interurban Trail. In Des Moines, there is Saltwater State Park and Dash Point State Park, both on Puget Sound.
  5. Shopping. We all need to shop, whether we like it or not, and South King County has a wealth of options including The Landing (Renton), Kent Station (Kent), The Outlet Collection Seattle (Auburn) and Southcenter (Tukwila). In addition, we have lots of boutiques, shops, and locally owned stores.
  6. Dining. South King County is home to very diverse populations, bringing people from all over the world together. To celebrate our diversity, we have a wide range of dining options featuring everything from All American diners and Asian flavors to Indian and Ukrainian food. No matter where you choose to call home, there will be dozens – if not hundreds – of options nearby.
  7. Arts and entertainment. South King County is rich with culture, including long-time favorites like free summer concerts and the year-long Spotlight Series in Kent to seasonal festivals like Sausage and Cider Fest in Covington and Renton River Days in Renton. Live music, theatre, art galleries and studios, movie theatres and much more.
  8. Schools. From award-winning school districts to local colleges like Green River College and Renton Technical College, there is a wide range of educational opportunities in South King County, serving students of every age and ability.
  9. Weather. People across the nation have the misperception that it always rains in this part of the state. Yes, we get rain in the Seattle area, primarily in November, December and January, but we rarely have snow. And our summers are breathtaking. In Kent, for example, our average temperature in December is 46, and in August our average temperature is 78, according to U.S. climate data.
  10. People. We love the diverse populations that make up South King County, and we are proud that people from around the world call this area home. We have hundreds of cultures and languages represented here, and we love that sharing that with each other, as evidenced by the many cultural events and festivals here including the Kent International Festival, the Khalsa Day Parade and the Renton International Festival, just to name a few.

If you are looking for a home in Kent, Covington, Maple Valley, Auburn, Renton, Federal Way or Black Diamond, there are countless reasons to live here. If you’re looking for specific information, please let us know. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about the area. We love calling South King County home – we know you will too!

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20 Tips to Prepare Your House for Sale

Thinking about selling your home this summer? We’ve got 10 tips to help you improve your home’s curb appeal to draw in potential buyers, and 10 tips to make your house feel like home to lucky homebuyers. Have questions about selling? Let us know. Team Marti is here to help!

 

Testimonial: ‘Diligent, Proactive and Caring’

Marti FB profile pic“Marti works hard to understand what you want and find it. She keeps you informed in every step of the process, and she will go out of her way to get answers to questions that you have throughout the process.

I just bought my 3rd home, and I have worked with many realtors. I have never worked with a realtor as diligent, proactive, and caring as Marti. I can’t think of any other realtor that I would rather work with. Thanks, Marti!”

~ Sandra Gores on Realtor.com

Testimonial: ‘Full Knowledge’ and ‘Sincere Interest’

Marti FB profile pic“I have had the privilege of working with Marti and her many buyers and sellers. Taking every opportunity to obtain full knowledge of every aspect of her industry. Providing service with a sincere interest in taking care of your every real estate need. I would highly recommend her when deciding to purchase or sell property. You won’t regret it”

~ Angela Taylor Ford on Realtor.com