Tag Archives: depersonalize

7 Tips for Successfully Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Marti Reeder's Real Estate Blog: 7 Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays
When we think of the holidays, we often think of shopping, cooking, decorating and spending time with friends and family. We don’t want to think about moving, but sometimes selling your home during the holidays is the right time for you to sell. If that’s the case, make it easy on yourself by following these seven tips.

  1. Focus on curb appeal. There are fewer homes on the market this time of year, making a tight market even tighter. That’s no excuse to skimp on the curb appeal though. In fact, tasteful holiday decorating can make the exterior of your home very inviting. Don’t go overboard though – a natural wreath, simple holiday lighting and a well-groomed lawn will get the attention of potential buyers.
  2. Choose an experienced Realtor who knows your market. Ask for referrals from friends, and check out real estate websites like Zillow for reviews and testimonials.
  3. High quality photos and staging will showcase your home’s best features. A good Realtor will have a top notch photographer on speed dial, and will know what staging is appropriate for the time of year.
  4. A cozy atmosphere will make potential buyers feel welcome. This includes everything from curb appeal to the staging of your home’s interior. Choose a warm color palette, depersonalize your home, clear the clutter and choose soft lighting. Inviting smells like a fresh baked pie, scented candles or holiday greenery can also help create an inviting experience for potential buyers.
  5. Clear your calendar. The holidays are a busy time for all of us, but make sure your home is available and accessible as often as possible to accommodate the schedules of prospects who want to tour your home on their own schedules.
  6. Keep it clean and clutter-free. It can be hard to keep your home clean and clutter-free while you are preparing to move and to host holiday gatherings, but this is essential to help buyers imagine themselves in your home. A dirty or messy home will distract from your home’s best features, and may even send your buyers scrambling to find a well-maintained home instead.
  7. Price your home to sell. With the right Realtor, you’ll be able to choose the right price point to your home attractive to possible buyers. She’ll know what comparable homes have sold for, what your home is worth and what you are hoping to get out of it.

For more tips for selling your home during the holidays, call Team Marti at 206-391-0388 or 253-859-8500. We’d love to help!

Happy Holidays and Happy Selling!

5 Reasons to Sell Your Home This Fall

5 Reasons to Sell Your Home This FallThis summer was a great time to list your Kent, Covington, Maple Valley, Auburn or Black Diamond home, but if you missed your window, don’t despair. Fall is in the air, and in our current market, it is still a good time to sell. In fact, here are five reasons to consider selling your home this fall.

  1. Demand remains strong. According to the National Association of Realtors, buyer demand is strong across most of the country. In our area, home inventory is low, so buyers are competing for homes on the market, so sellers often get multiple offers once they list.
  2. There is less competition now. While inventory is low, experts anticipate that a new wave of homes on the market is coming. Why? The average number of years a homeowner would stay in their home was six, but it is now now, so homeowners who bought in 2008-2010 will have accumulated equity, giving them the freedom to put their homes on the market. If you wait until that happens, demand will drop, and so will prices.
  3. The selling process is quicker than normal. Because the housing market is competitive right now, buyers are doing their part to stand out from the crowd, so sellers will choose them. This includes getting pre-approved for a mortgage, so when they are ready to buy, they’ve already got a tentative commitment from their mortgage lender. This speeds up the process for closing.
  4. Now is the time to move up! According to CoreLogic, prices are expected to appreciate by 5.2 percent over the next year. That means if you want to upgrade to a larger home or purchase a luxury home, you will get a better price on that home now than you will a year from now. The longer you wait, the higher that luxury home will cost.
  5. It’s time to move to the next stage of your life. Right now buying a home makes more sense than renting one, so selling your home to purchase another one with appreciating value makes sense. Is your family growing? Did you just get married? Are you downsizing because you’re now an empty nester? These are all good reasons to sell your current home and to buy one that better suits your changing lifestyle.

If you have questions or would like to discuss whether or not this is the right time for you to sell your South King County home, let us know. Team Marti would love to help you understand your options!


7 Tips for Selling Your House in the Fall

Kent Realtor Marti Reeder: 7 Tips for Selling Your House in the FallThough the real estate market slows down a bit in the fall, it is still a good time to sell your home, especially in the greater Seattle area where home inventory and interest rates are both low. Here are some tips to help you prepare your home for sale.

 1. Clean up the exterior of your home. This means keeping your lawn, trees and shrubs neatly groomed, clearing out any flowers and plants that didn’t survive the summer, and keeping the leaves raked. It is also a good time to wash exterior windows, power wash the outside of your home, your front porch and deck.

2. Make the front of your home inviting. Don’t underestimate the value of curb appeal. You want the exterior of your home to be neat and clean, but you also want it to be inviting. This might mean putting flowers or plants (pumpkins even!) on your front porch, adding a seasonal wreath to your front door, giving your mailbox or front door a fresh coat of paint or replacing the old faded address numbers with something more attractive.

3. Clean your home’s interior, top to bottom. We always hear about spring cleaning, but fall cleaning is just as important. Give your home a thorough cleaning, including windows, blinds, ceiling fans, baseboards, floors, walls, if needed, etc. If you don’t have time, ask your Realtor® to refer you to a professional house cleaner in your area. It is well worth the money.

4. Declutter, depersonalize and organize your home, garage and any outbuildings. By doing so, potential buyers can more easily envision themselves in your home.

5. Prepare your home for fall weather. Take out or store window or portable air conditioners, replace screens with storm windows if your home has them, clean out your gutters, store your patio furniture, and consider having your furnace serviced.

6. Do minor repairs. This goes hand in hand with preparing your home for fall weather. Do the windows need caulking? Do any of the screens need repairing or replacing? Are any of your light fixtures broken or in need of an updated look?

7. Add seasonal touches to your home’s interior. This could mean a fall floral arrangement in your entryway, cozy autumn-colored throws in the family room, or a bowl of fall fruits on your kitchen counter. You could also take advantage of fall scents with candles or air fresheners – apple, cinnamon, pumpkin, etc.

During the initial walk-through of your home, your Realtor® can make additional suggestions for improving and staging your home to put the focus on its very best features. Happy selling!


14 Garage Sale Tips for Home Sellers

14 Garage Sale Tips for Home Sellers

Thinking about selling your home? One of the first steps to preparing your home for sale is organizing your home’s contents, decluttering and depersonalizing, so prospective homebuyers can imagine themselves in your home. A great way to get rid of stuff quickly – and make a little money – is to host a garage sale or yard sale.

Here are 14 garage sale success secrets to help you get started:

  1. Clean out your closets to find clothes, shoes and accessories that you never wear anymore. If they’re in decent condition, set them aside for the garage sale. If they are in poor condition, toss them. It will save you from packing them later.
  2. Declutter your kitchen cabinets to find unused appliances, extra vases, kitchen décor, baking pan duplicates and other items that you don’t really need.
  3. Go through one room at a time, selecting items that you no longer want, need or use, and price as you go. This will make it so much easier when it is time to set up.
  4. Get your kids and their friends to help. Whether your kids are 5 or 15, they can be useful. Younger ones can help put price stickers on items for sale, while older ones can help promote your garage sale online.
  5. “Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs1.” Everybody loves a good garage sale, so make sure you post signs in and around your neighborhood to list your garage sale, including days, hours and locations. The bigger and brighter the better. If you have an HOA though, make sure you follow any signage guidelines.
  6. Put larger price tags on bigger items like furniture, sporting equipment, etc., so prospective buyers won’t have to hunt for the price.
  7. Keep track of what you’ve sold and for how much. Consider lowering prices as the day comes to a close, so you can get rid of as much stuff as possible. Remember, whatever doesn’t sell has to be disposed of or packed up!
  8. Have lots of change on hand – small bills and coins – so cashing out customers is convenient and easy.
  9. More is better. Consider partnering with your neighborhoods to host your garage sales on the same days and times. This will draw more potential customers to your garage sale.
  10. Be flexible with your pricing. Sure, you paid $1,500 for that dining room set 15 years ago, but it has depreciated over time. Think about what you’d be willing to pay for an item in similar condition and scout other garage sale ads or Craigslist to see what similar items go for.
  11. Offer bulk pricing where appropriate. For example, you might price books at $0.25 each or the whole box for $3.00.
  12. Have a FREE box for smaller items that you want to get rid of. Happy Meal toys come to mind.
  13. Display your items as attractively as possible, on tables where possible, and in groupings of like items (e.g., books, record albums, shoes, etc.)
  14. Have a Plan B for items that don’t sell. Is there a local nonprofit where you could donate clothes and household goods too – maybe a local women’s shelter or Goodwill store? After the sale is over, pack it all up and haul it over. Don’t take it back into your house or garage. That just means more work later.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

1“Signs, signs, everywhere a sign” (“Signs,” song and lyrics by Tesla)


10 Easy Ways Organize to Your Home for the New Year

Organize closetThe New Year is right around the corner, and many of us are vowing to start the year off right by exercising more, eating better and being more organized. The first two won’t help you sell your home, but the last one will.

Getting organized and decluttering your home is also a great way to showcase your home’s best features. Try these tips for making home organization a priority this January:

  1. Focus on one room at a time. The idea of tackling the whole house can be overwhelming. Set realistic goals by focusing on one room at a time, and for larger rooms, break them into segments. For example, if you have a large kitchen, maybe one day you clean out your pantry and another day you rearrange the seating area.
  2. Set time limits and small, achievable goals. Even if you are only organizing one room at a time, the process can be overwhelming. To make the process more palatable, set time limits. “Today I’m going to spend 30 minutes organizing the linen closet.” This is particularly important for perfectionists who aren’t likely to even start a project they know they can’t finish in one sitting.
  3. Keep, toss or donate. As you go through each room, you’ll run across items that aren’t where they belong or that you no longer use. Evaluate each item to see if it is something you will use again and want to keep, something you don’t want but someone else might, and things that have outlived their usefulness.
  4. Have everyone in the household participate to make the process less time consuming. Even teens and toddlers can evaluate their favorite items to see what they want to keep, toss or donate. Put them to work with age-appropriate organizational tasks.
  5. Evaluate each cabinet and closet to see if it is functional as is. If you’re lucky, it just needs tidying. If you’ve neglected it for a while though, you may need to better utilize the space. Consider using adjustable shelves, closet organizers, glass jars, bins with labels, etc. to keep similar items together. For storage ideas, check out sites like Martha Stewart, Real Simple and HGTV.
  6. Store things close to where you’ll use them. For example, store pots, pans and cooking utensils near the stove, or store bathroom cleaning supplies in a portable tote or bucket under one of the bathroom sinks.
  7. Organize the entryway, inside and out. Since this is the first area a prospective homebuyer will see, you want to be sure that your front porch and foyer are appealing. Use door mats inside and out for guests to wipe their feet on and a shoe rack or mat for wet or dirty shoes. Hang up coats and umbrellas, use a bowl or hooks for keys, and identify a designated spot for mail and newspapers.
  8. Declutter and depersonalize. Yes, we mention this a lot, but it bears repeating. Prospective buyers want to be able to imagine themselves in your home. That’s hard to do with family photos, personal collections and other knick-knacks around your home. Pare down to the essentials, and perhaps choose one area to showcase. Maybe putting a seasonal centerpiece on your dining room table or a festive wreath on your front door.
  9. Create a centralized home office. Whether you have an actual home office, or everyone gravitates to the breakfast nook to do homework, it is important to have a central location for office supplies, mail, bills and other important paperwork.
  10. Utilize hidden storage. Store items between shelves, on the insides of cabinet doors, under your bed – anywhere there is the potential for a better use of your space. Just remember where you put things…or keep a list of items you’ve moved on your computer (e.g., summer clothes in underbed bin).

Organizing your home can be strangely cathartic, freeing up your mind, and helping you to emotionally transition away from your current home into your next one. It is a lot of work, but it is worth it. Good luck!


Declutter & Organize: 10 Things to Toss

Declutter & organize: 10 things to tossWhen preparing your home for sale, it is important to stage your home as a clean, organized living space that another individual or family can picture themselves in. One way to do this is to declutter and organize your home. To get you started, here are 10 things to toss out, compliments of Style at Home and My Domaine.

  1. Outdated technology – TVs, DVD and video players, old cell phones, chargers, etc. Check with your local recycling station to see how and where to best dispose of these items. In King County (Washington), visit the county’s e-cycle website. {Bonus tip: If you are tossing computers or cell phones, be sure to restore the device to factory settings or destroy the storage component, so no one can steal your personal information.}
  2. Old files. Whether personal or from your home office, scan needed documents and shred the originals, except for items like birth certificates and Social Security cards where you will need to hang onto the original.
  3. Bedding and mattresses. Mattresses are only good for about 10 years. If yours is older, replace it. Check pillows, sheets, towels and blankets to see which ones are ready to toss or donate.
  4. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers. Replace these items periodically (check manufacturer’s recommendations for life span) with newer models to ensure your safety equipment will work when you need it.
  5. Medicines and vitamins. Dispose of outdated medicines and vitamins safely. Check to see if your town has a prescription take-back day, or visit FDA.gov for ways to safely dispose of these items.
  6. Make-up, nail polish and beauty products. Throw away old and outdated make-up, nail polish, lotions, perfumes, and other beauty products.
  7. Chipped or broken items. We know you really did plan to have the chipped handle of Grandma’s teapot and the upstairs vacuum repaired, but you couldn’t find the time. Toss them all. If you haven’t needed them yet, you don’t need tjem now.
  8. Extra furniture, chairs, rugs and drapes. Extra furniture, etc. has a way of collecting in our spare rooms, basements and garages, because you just never know when you might need them. These items are collecting dust and taking up space. Get rid of them. If they are in good condition, you can turn your clutter into cash by selling them on Craigslist, or donate them to a local nonprofit for a possible tax deduction.
  9. Unused gifts. Aunt Gladys had the best of intentions when she gave you the frog-shaped flower pot, but that was three years ago and you haven’t used it or regifted it yet. Toss it or donate it.
  10. If you haven’t read the Better Homes and Gardens issue from October 2012, you probably aren’t going to. Recycle it and anything that isn’t for the current year.

Parting with once-prized possessions can be difficult, but it will help your home to look its best and make your packing and moving easier.

6 Ways to Depersonalize Your Home So Buyers Can Make It Their Own

6 ways to depersonalize your home so buyers can make it their ownYou’re getting ready to sell your house, and you want buyers to be able to visualize themselves in your home. As hard as it can be to let go of what makes your home yours, depersonalizing it is crucial for a successful home sale. Seeing less of your personality can help prospective home buyers to see themselves living there. Here are some easy ways to depersonalize your home.

  1. Put away family photos, diplomas, certificates, etc. Store them carefully in their frames, so the photos and other keepsakes don’t get damaged in the move. Exceptions: photos of the interior or exterior of your home that show other views or seasonal features like blooming gardens, flowering trees, your home during the holidays, etc.
  2. Strive to make your home neutral. While your daughter may love having a bright pink room, it might deter prospective buyers who don’t have children or who don’t want the added work of repainting before the home can be move-in ready. Consider repainting your daughter’s room and other boldly-colored rooms a neutral shade and add neutral decorations (e.g., candles, decorative lighting, etc.) to add character and depth to your home without being overly personal This may attract more serious buyers.
  3. Pack away and store things you don’t need out for a while, particularly seasonal items and sports or exercise equipment you aren’t likely to need or want before your proposed move-out date. Remove extra throw blankets, pillows, books, or even electronics that are just taking up space and adding clutter.
  4. Store collections that can detract attention from the home – figurines, models, antiques, crafts, etc. Keep your collections safe in a storage unit, and keep the focus on your home rather than the things in it.
  5. Depersonalize your bathroom. Remove cosmetics, toiletries, etc. and keep the décor, towels, rugs, shower curtain, etc. simple. Be sure to always keep the bathrooms clean, so you aren’t caught off guard if a Realtor® schedules a last minute showing.
  6. Remove anything that is potentially offensive, including artwork, political memorabilia, hunting trophies, etc. You may love your Richard Nixon and beer can collections, but others may not.

For additional suggestions, consult with a local Realtor® with expertise in successfully selling homes. She will have specific recommendations for your home, and may be able to refer you to a staging company. By depersonalizing your home and staging it the right way, you are more likely to get top dollar for your home. Good luck!