Whether you’re starting a family, moving for your job, getting ready to retire or embarking on a new chapter in your life, when your home no longer suits your current situation, it’s time to think about selling it. Although this can be a bit complicated, with the help of your agent, you can minimize the hassles, get the best possible price, and shorten the distance between “For Sale” and “Sold”.
Price it right
If you want to get the best possible price for your home and minimize the time it stays on market, you need to price it correctly from the beginning. Your agent can give you a clear picture of your particular market and can provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA). A CMA contains detailed information on comparable homes in your area, including square footage, date built, number of bedrooms, lot size and more. It lists pending sales and houses sold in your area in the past six months, along with their actual sale prices.
By comparing your home to similar homes in your neighborhood and reviewing their list prices and actual selling prices, your agent can help you arrive at a fact-based assessment of your home’s market price.
Prepping your house for sale
You want to make a positive first impression when you list your home for sale. Here are some tips on how to enhance your home’s best features:
Work on your curb appeal
Get rid of moss on your roof. Power wash your front walk, porch, deck and patio. Mow the lawn, trim the hedges, weed the flowerbeds and add spots of color with container plants. Clean all the windows inside and out and repair them if they don’t open and close easily.
Refresh, repair and repaint
This goes for interiors and exteriors. If you see peeling paint, add a fresh coat. If your living room is bright lime green, consider painting it a more neutral shade. Make necessary repairs. You don’t want to turn off a buyer with a dripping faucet, a broken doorbell, a clogged downspout or a cracked windowpane.
Deep-clean, from floor to ceiling
Clean rugs, drapes and blinds and steam-clean carpeting. Get rid of any stains or odors. Make sure kitchen appliances, cupboards and counters are spotless and that bathrooms shine.
Declutter and depersonalize
Clean, light-filled, expansive rooms sell houses. So be sure to downsize clutter everywhere in your home, including cupboards, closets and counters. You might also consider storing some furniture or personal items to make rooms look more spacious. Take advantage of views and natural light by keeping drapes and blinds open.
Make an impact on the market
If you want to sell your home, you need to go where the buyers are, and today they’re on the Internet. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, in 2012 90 percent of homebuyers used the Internet as an information source, and for 41 percent of homebuyers it was the first step in the home-buying process.
By working with your agent, you can list your home on Windermere.com and other relevant websites. He or she will put together a listing with attractive photos, an appealing description and all the information a potential buyer needs. Your agent will also market your house, which may include advertising, direct mail and open houses.
Show your house
After you’ve taken care of all the repairs and cleaning tasks outlined above, your home is ready for its close-up: an open house. It’s actually best for you and your family to leave when potential buyers are present so they can ask your agent questions. But before you go, you might want to:
· Take your pets with you
· Open the shades and turn on the lights
· Light a fire in the gas fireplace
· Bake cookies
· Keep money, valuables and prescription drugs out of sight
Be flexible in negotiating
If you get offers below your asking price, there are a number of strategies you can try in your counteroffer. You could ask for full price and throw in major appliances that were not originally included in the asking price, offer to pay some of the buyer’s fees, or pay for the inspection. You could also counter with a lower price and not include the appliances. If you receive multiple offers, you can simply make a full-price counter.
Your agent can suggest other strategies as well and help you negotiate the final price.
If your house doesn’t sell or you’ve received only lowball offers, ask your agent to find out what these prospective buyers are saying about your house. It might reveal something you can consider changing to make your house more appealing in the future.
Breeze through your inspection
When a buyer makes an offer on your home, it’s usually contingent on a professional inspection. A standard inspection includes heating and cooling, interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; and the foundation, basement and visible structure. The inspector will be looking for cracks in cement walls, water stains and wood rot.
You can always opt for having an inspection done prior to putting your house on the market, so you can address any potential problems in advance. Your agent can give you several recommendations for qualified inspectors in your area.
Close with confidence
Whether this is your first time or your tenth, your agent can help guide you though the complex process of selling a home. Moreover, he or she can answer any questions you may have about legal documents, settlement costs and the status of your sale.
Your agent’s expertise, resources and extensive network also work for you when you’re buying your next house. Even if you’re moving out of the area, your agent can refer you to a professional agent in your new community.
This post originally appeared on the Windermere Blog.
The Windermere Foundation had another banner year in 2017, raising even more than it did the prior year thanks to the continued support of Windermere franchise owners, agents, staff, and the community. Over $2.4 million was raised in 2017, which is an increase of eight percent over the previous year. This brings our total to over $35.5 million raised since the start of the Windermere Foundation in 1989.
A portion of the money raised last year is thanks to our agents who each make a donation to the Windermere Foundation from every commission they earn. Additional donations from Windermere agents, the community, and fundraisers made up 66% of the money collected in 2017. These funds enable our offices to support local non-profits that provide much-needed services to low-income and homeless families in their communities.
SUMMARY OF FUNDS, GRANTS & DONATIONS IN 2017
- Organizations served: 472
- Number of individual grants fulfilled: 644
- Average grant amount: $2,964.04
- Average donation to the Windermere Foundation: $116.08
- Total amount disbursed in 2017: $2,249,357.14
- Total disbursed through grants: $1,908,843.54
- Scholarships: 5%
- Youth/Child Programs: 33%
- Emergency Assistance: 24%
- Shelter: 11%
- School Assistance: 5%
- Education/Counseling: 12%
- Administrative Expenses: 2%
- Fundraising Expenses: 8%
So how are Windermere Foundation funds used? Windermere offices decide for themselves how to distribute the money in their local community. Our offices have helped support school lunch and afterschool programs, housing assistance for homeless families, food banks, homeless shelters, and non-profits that provide basic necessities, such as shoes, clothing, toiletries, and blankets to families in need.
A very notable day in 2017 for the Windermere Foundation was November 15, when a record-breaking $253,782 was given in a single day. A total of 35 non-profit organizations benefitted from that day’s donations, including Attain Housing in Kirkland, WA, which received $56,000 from the Windermere Real Estate East, Inc. group of offices. Other organizations that received donations were Boys and Girls Club of Contra Costa in Walnut Creek, CA, and the Shady Cove School in Shady Cove, Oregon.
2017 also marked the second year of our #tacklehomelessness campaign with the Seattle Seahawks, in which Windermere committed to donating $100 for every Seahawks home game defensive tackle to YouthCare, a non-profit organization that provides critical services to homeless youth. While the Seahawks didn’t make it to the playoffs this year, they did help us raise $31,800. When added to last year’s $35,000, that’s a total donation of $66,800. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide additional support to homeless youth thanks to the Seahawks, YouthCare, and the #tacklehomelessness campaign.
Thanks to our agents, offices, and everyone who supports the Windermere Foundation, we are able to continue to make a difference in the lives of many families in our local communities. If you’d like to help support programs in your community, please click the Donate button.
To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation.
What lies ahead for the local housing market in 2018? We sat down with Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner to get his thoughts. Here are some highlights:
Home prices will continue to increase, but at a slower pace
The strong local economy, high demand and very low inventory will continue to boost home values in 2018, according to Gardner. However, he believes that the double-digit growth of 2017 will moderate, and predicts home prices in King County will rise by 8.5% in the new year.
Mortgage interest rates will rise slightly.
Gardner admits that interest rates continue to baffle forecasters. The rise that many economists have predicted the past few years has yet to materialize. His forecast for 2018 sees interest rates increasing modestly to an average of 4.4% for a conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
More Millennials will enter the housing market.
Despite the relatively high cost of homes in our region, Gardner expects more Millennials to buy homes in 2018. They are getting older and more established in their careers, enabling them to save more money for a down payment. Many are also having children and are looking for a place to raise their family.
The tax reform bill will have a limited effect on our housing market.
The recent changes to the income tax structure will have an impact on homeowners, but Gardner does not believe that impact will be significant here.
The mortgage interest rate deduction will be capped at $750,000 – down from $1,000,000. But according to Gardner, just 4% of the mortgages in King County exceeded $750,000 in 2017. Most buyers of more expensive homes have been making larger down payments, or buying homes for cash.
Since the $1,000,000 mortgage deduction cap is grandfathered in for those who have already purchased a home, some homeowners may opt to stay put rather than move. That could result in fewer homes being placed on the market.
- The tax bill eliminates the deduction for interest on home equity loans. This is bound to slow down the trend of homeowners choosing to remodel their home rather than trying to find a new home our inventory-deprived market.
The increase in home prices may moderate, but inventory will still be very tight. 2018 is on track to be a strong seller’s market.
This post originally appeared on the Windermere Eastside Blog.
Every year, Windermere offices throughout the Western U.S. host events to help make the holidays a little brighter for our neighbors in need. From food drives to fundraisers, here are just a few examples of how our offices are giving back this holiday season.
Our office at Windermere Redmond participated in the Friends of Youth Giving Tree by setting up a tree in their office with gift tags for youth aged 16 to 25 that are either homeless or transitioning into a home for the first time. Brokers then selected gift tags and purchased the gifts to be delivered to Friends of Youth. Friends of Youth provides services to at-risk youth and homeless young people at 25 sites in 18 cities. In 2016, they helped over 6,500 youth and their families in crisis.
The Windermere Seattle-Ballard office has been busy hosting events to raise money for the Windermere Foundation. The first was a Sip & Swap event where they hosted a holiday dresses/clothing swap and asked for donations for each item. Proceeds benefitted the Ballard Senior Center and a total of $651 was raised. They also hosted a Monday Night Football event at Lagunitas Brewery where beer proceeds from that night, totaling $827, were donated to the Ballard Food Bank. In December, they held a Windermere Boutique Day, where 13 local craft vendors came to sell their goods. A portion of all sales were donated to the Windermere Foundation.
The Windermere Ballard office also hosted their 13th annual Santa Photos event for the community. Over 100 people/families visited the office that day, with a suggested donation of $10 for each Santa photo taken. Around $1,000 was raised from the photos, along with an additional $316 in cash and checks.
Oak Harbor, WA
Agents with the Windermere Whidbey Island – Oak Harbor office are supporting Whidbey’s Hope For Christmas, an annual gift program made up of community volunteers providing special Christmas memories for all eligible children on Whidbey Island, through DSHS in Oak Harbor. The office is sponsoring several children by purchasing and donating $2,000 worth of gifts.
Windermere Real Estate & the Redmond Team would like to thank our offices and everyone that supports the Windermere Foundation. Through these events, as well as a variety of other fundraisers like the ones described above, the Windermere Foundation is able to support non-profit organizations that provide services to low-income and homeless families throughout the Western U.S.
If you’d like to help, please consider donating to the Windermere Foundation. To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation.
This blog post originally appeared on the Windermere Blog.
As part of Windermere’s #tacklehomelessness campaign with the Seattle Seahawks, 37 Windermere offices* in King and Snohomish Counties collected new hats, scarves, gloves/mittens, and warm socks for Windermere’s “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive. The recipient of these donations was YouthCare, a Seattle-based non-profit that provides critical services and support to homeless youth throughout the Puget Sound area.
Over 3,000 items were collected during the four-week drive, which included some 737 pairs of socks, 391 hats, 467 pairs of gloves/mittens, 111 scarves, and an assortment of other accessories and cash donations. Two agents out of the Mill Creek, WA office even made 32 scarves by hand for the Winter Drive. We are thankful for these generous donations which will go a long way towards helping keep homeless youth warmer this winter season.
The folks at YouthCare were all very thankful to receive the delivery of eight bins full of donated items. And to make the day even more exciting, Blitz, the Seahawks mascot, was on site to oversee the delivery of the items to YouthCare!
Brittny Nielsen, Communications and New Media Specialist said, “We were thrilled to see our friends from Windermere and Gentle Giant dropping off a semi-truck full of donations for homeless youth this season. Having Blitz from the Seahawks show up to help us celebrate was icing on the cake! This crucial donation from Windermere brightens the holidays for youth in need. We’re so grateful!”
All of us at Windermere are very grateful to Gentle Giant Moving Company, who partnered with us on this drive, and generously donated their time and trucks to pick up all of the donated items from our offices and deliver them to YouthCare.
Thank you to our participating offices, the Seahawks, and all those who donated, for making Windermere’s Winter Drive a success!
*Participating Windermere offices
Bellevue, Bellevue Commons, Bellevue South, Bellevue West, Burien, Chelan, Issaquah, Kirkland Central, Kirkland Yarrow Bay, Lynnwood, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Mill Creek, Monroe, Property Management – Bellevue, Property Management – Edmonds, Property Management – South, Redmond, Seattle-Ballard, Seattle-Capitol Hill, Seattle-Eastlake, Seattle-Green Lake, Seattle-Greenwood, Seattle-Lakeview, Seattle-Madison Park, Seattle-Magnolia, Seattle-Mount Baker, Seattle-Northgate, Seattle-Northwest, Seattle-Queen Anne, Seattle-Sand Point, Seattle-Wall Street, Seattle-Wedgwood, Seattle-West Seattle, Services-Marketing, Snohomish, Woodinville
This article originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.
|Windermere Redmond brokers Tricia Ebert & Lara Brown had the pleasure of volunteering their time last week with Pantry Packs, a community driven program that provides healthy food for hungry kids to take home over the weekend and school breaks. Through charitable donations and volunteer support, Pantry Packs is able to feed more than 800 Lake Washington School District children who are identified by counselors as being “food insecure” and often come to school hungry on Mondays. Each month 40-50 volunteers come together to “pack the packs” then volunteer drivers deliver the packs to more than 40 participating schools. Each week school coordinators are able then to distribute the packs to hungry children in grades preschool all the way through high school. In addition to packing the packs, Tricia and Lara were honored to grant an additional $3,700 to the Pantry Packs cause on behalf of the Windermere Foundation.|
|Our Redmond brokers would like to thank their clients for enabling the Foundation to grant funds to local non-profits throughout the Eastside and beyond. For the past 28 years, the Windermere Foundation has donated a portion of the proceeds from every home purchased or sold towards supporting low-income and homeless families in our communities. Together, we can create opportunities for a brighter future for low-income children and families in our neighborhoods. Your support really does make a difference! We sincerely appreciate your business and are grateful to be a part of the Redmond community.|
For more information on Pantry Packs and how you can get involved, please visit:
Thanks to the generosity of Windermere agents and the community, the Windermere Foundation collected over $1,537,000 in donations through the third quarter of 2017. This is an increase of nine percent compared to this time last year! Individual contributions and fundraisers accounted for 62 percent of the donations, while 38 percent came from donations through Windermere agent commissions. So far, we have raised a total of $34,643,324 in donations since 1989.
Each Windermere office has its own Windermere Foundation fund account that they use to make donations to organizations in their communities. Year to date, a total of $1,179,202 has been disbursed to non-profit organizations dedicated to providing services to low-income and homeless families throughout the Western U.S.
One organization that has been the recipient of Windermere Foundation funds is SafeHouse of the Desert. Safehouse of the Desert provides a “safe” residential environment for children between the ages of 11 to17 years of age. These young people are the victims of physical and emotional abuse, homeless runaways, victims of human trafficking, emotionally unstable home environments and various other unsafe situations. The facility shelters the children from perpetrators and offers education, therapy, artistic expression, coupled with training for future jobs, skills and coaching in being responsible and making wise choices.
The 16 Windermere Homes & Estates offices in Southern California (Alpine, Big Bear, Del Mar, Escondido, Fallbrook, La Jolla, Palm Desert, Palm Valley, Plaza at Aviara, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Bernardo-The Plaza, Santaluz, Scripps Ranch, South Carlsbad-Aviara, Temecula, and Trilogy) pooled their funds together and donated $5,000 for SafeHouse’s emergency shelter. They presented the donation check to SafeHouse on October 11, where they also spent the day cleaning, landscaping, organizing storage rooms, and providing breakfast and lunch at Harrison House, the 15-unit complex located behind the shelter and houses its transitional living program.
When asked why they chose this organization to help, Selina Sullivan, Regional Administrator for Windermere Homes & Estates said, “We recognize that the youth of today represents the future adults of tomorrow. Asking ourselves what we would want that future to look like, we realized that by contributing to this organization, we were impacting that future and contributing to the welfare of ALL children. In a world that is often covered in darkness, we wanted to serve as a beacon for others and to contribute to future generations.”
Generous donations to the Windermere Foundation over the years have enabled Windermere offices to continue to support local non-profits like SafeHouse of the Desert. If you’d like to help support programs for low-income and homeless families in your community, please click on the Donate button.
To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation.
This post was originally published on the Windermere Blog.