Why Curb Appeal Matters

Like it or not first impressions matter, when a buyer sees your house for the first time they are already forming an opinion of your home and whether or not they would like to purchase it. If all they see are weeds in the flower bed and grass too high they are making a mental list of things they’re already going to have to work on, even before they step foot into the house. At first glance you want your home to leave potential buyers excited to go inside, not wondering what they will find.

The term “curb appeal” generally means everything you can see from the street or the car as you are pulling in. This means everything from trees, shrubs, the paint on your house, grass, flowers, and any other additional landscaping. Previous generations of sellers would spend hours making sure these details were taken care of because they knew it mattered.

Curb appeal also helps the seller when it comes to the bottom lined. Two houses could be exactly the same but if one has an overgrown lawn and dying shrubs then the second house is much more likely to be sold for a higher price. Buyers see value in the second home because curb appeal sends a message that this home has been taken care of. They want to know they are making a wise investment.

A well taken care of lawn and surroundings can also set you apart from other sellers in your area. Look at who your competition is and gauge what their yards look like compared to yours. Could your porch use a new coat of paint? What about your scuffed front door? Small details can add up to where your home is more memorable for not a lot of money.

Curb appeal is something often overlooked by potential sellers. However, just like you should never try and list a home with clutter to the ceiling, you should do your best to make the outside of your home as presentable as possible. It can be a dealbreaker for potential buyers at worst and at best it can add value to your home without spending nothing but a little time and hard work. Keep in mind that first impressions are often everything and hard to change once they’ve been made, you want your home to reflect as positively as you can.

Don’t let your home be a “Drive by”, entice them to stop to take a closer look.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Reflecting on 2016

2016 is behind us now and we’re all looking forward to the New Year. I’ve always said “You can’t know where you’re going, until you know where you’ve been”, so let’s take a look back at the Real Estate market in Lewis County.

The Real Estate Market in Lewis County is looking up, with a total number of Single Family Residence (SFR) homes sold at 1086 this past year while 2015 only resulted in 1046 homes sold. This is an increase of nearly 4.5% in the number of sales and our average sales prices have steadily increased since 2014 as well. We closed 2016 with an average sales price of $170,000, just over an 11% increase.

July of 2016 was our hottest month with 179 homes “SOLD” per the NWMLS, while May through September remained strong. What really surprised me was the lack of decline in the number of sales even through the end of the year, look at the rise in the number of sales in November. The market stayed “Hot” through the end of the year.

Who knows what our future holds, but I’m the forever optimist. There has never been a better time to purchase a home than now. Interest rates remain relatively low, there are numerous loan programs available to qualified buyers and rental rates are sky rocketing so why wait.

We are so lucky to live here in Lewis County where our growth is slow & steady (remember the Turtle & the Hare story?), it always wins the race.

Now that we’ve peeked backwards, lets focus on what’s ahead.

Optimistically yours,
Janet

If you’re looking to buy or sell, I’m here to help.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Fall is the new “Peak Season” to sell your home

leaves-in-fall-janet-simonsOctober is quickly becoming the most popular month for weddings, are these Autumn-loving newlyweds on to something?

Spring months have notoriously been the best time for buying real estate (as well as have a weddings), Fall is now becoming the “New” season to buy a home.

Let’s take a look at a few reasons this change is taking place:

There is less competition

Fall is a time many people consider to be the “Off-Season” in real estate so competition drops off. It provides buyers with new inventory and repositioned old inventory that didn’t sell during the summer months.

Qualified home buyers are in a great positon to negotiate aggressively. Many sellers are highly motivated to sell prior to the holidays. When possible, buyers can let sellers know they close before Thanksgiving or before the winter break is over.

Sellers are worn-down

Sellers who had their homes on the market during the prime selling season of Spring and Summer may have listed their homes above market price, resulting in an expired listing. After months of no action, these sellers are often ready to make a deal. Sellers who placed unrealistic prices on their homes earlier in the year may now be more willing to reduce the price come Fall. There are fewer buyers, fewer showings causing sellers to become frustrated and eager to sell. They are tired of maintaining a home in “Show Condition” and don’t want to wait another six months before selling their home.

Take advantage of those Tax breaks

Property tax and Mortgage interest are both deductions you can claim for the entire years’ worth of income, even if you close on your purchase in December. You can’t escape paying income tax, this can make a big difference in the amount you owe the government. This may amount to a significant savings, especially for “First time Homeowners”.

Fall is a safer

Did you know that July and August are the peak months for burglars? Waiting until Fall gives you the advantage to learn about your new home and neighborhood. You can get settled in your home and take precautions like installing a home security system.

Be the “Center of Attention”

Real estate agents are typically swamped during the Spring and Summer season. You might not get the attention from your agent that you deserve. Many other service providers that are related to the real estate industry such as Lenders and title companies also feel the heat during the summer.  Falls allows agents and related professionals the time to dedicate to their clients making YOU their priority.

The probability of experiencing delays and service issues from moving companies goes way down after the summer peak season too.

Save some $ with end of year sales

According to consumer reports, September offers sales on carpet & paint while October may be the best time to purchase lawn equipment. November brings sales on appliances and cookware. Fall home purchases coordinates well with sale items you may need for your new home. Often appliances are not included in the sale of a home or there are improvements you’ll want to make.

Not only does Fall bring a change in the season, it may bring you a change of homes. Please let me know how I can help you this Fall.  


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Curb Appeal

Everyone – including potential home buyers will want to see what’s inside, if your home’s curb appeal makes a great first impression!

Curb AppealIf you are thinking buying a new home or selling yours, you may want to consider the power of “Curb Appeal”.  This simple fix can provide you with a sense of satisfaction every time you pull up to your home.

Even though the interior of the house is where you most of your time will be spent, updating the look of the outside will definitely increase the sell-ability of your home. Homes that have “Curb Appeal” may have an increased value, it may even help increase neighboring home values.

With a few cosmetic changes and possibly the addition of a small portico to the front will give it a whole new look which is pleasing to the eye and more enticing to a potential buyer.

Dress up the front entrance!

The focal point of your home is the front door, make a statement by adding a splash of color. Make sure your entry way is clean, the door hardware is polished and a welcoming swag or wreath that reflects the interior is hung.

PorticoInstalling window boxes and symmetrically placing flower pots near entrances and walkways is an easy and fast way to add charm to your home.  Tasteful yard art such as fountains, metal sculptures or wind chimes are good choices.

Curb appeal may be the difference between a potential buyer deciding to take a closer look or just passing by.

One of the most important factors to be considered is Curb Appeal. Creating an attractive home exterior gives the homeowner satisfaction and a sense of pride.

If you’d like more ideas for enhancing the sell-ability of your home, don’t hesitate in contacting me, I’ve got more great ideas.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Selling Your Home During the Holidays?

As the year starts winding down, many people are thinking ahead to the coming year. Should we relocate, move up to a bigger home, or even downsize? Is now the time to list our home with the holiday season under way?

Selling your home during the holidaysThere are pros and cons with listing during the holiday season, but ultimately you have to decide what is to your advantage.

Having your house on the market during the holidays can be restricting for some as your home is constantly being invaded.
On the other hand, the market is limited and buyers shopping at this time of year are serious about purchasing a new home.

If you decide to sell your house through the Christmas season decorating can be tricky so you aren’t driving away potential buyers.

 
Remember less is more…if you cover your entire yard and home with lights and decorations you will detract from what the buyer wants to see – your home. Your role as a seller is to help homebuyers see themselves in your house. When buyers enter your home they want to visualize their own furniture in each room, making it theirs, and they can’t do it if holiday decorations are dominating rooms. Store wrapped gifts in a closet or in one corner.

Remember one man’s ‘Merry’ is another man’s ‘tacky’, so tone done any garish light displays and over abundance of holiday scenes.

 
Accentuate the positive…hanging stockings on a mantle may detract from the beauty of a fireplace, or a wreath hiding a flaw on the wall. Decorations can draw eyes toward its best qualities, like a well-lit tree compensating for a room that is dimly lit, or a slim tree in a small room or even opt for a tabletop tree, a dangling mistletoe can make a bay window seem larger just don’t block a beautiful view. A tall tree can show off your two-story great room, but make sure the base doesn’t overwhelm the floor space. Think about the best features of your home and choose decorations that make those stand out.

Keep it neutral…choose decorations in colors that blend and accentuate your home rather than colors that stand out. Silver, gold, white, and more natural colors can be more complimentary than the traditional reds and greens. If you have an earthy color scheme, accent with rich tones like forest green, gold, cranberry colors. Or a living room that is painted in soothing blue tones can be enhanced with colors like white and silver. Some contrast can be good, but pieces that draw your attention to a faded or discolored wall can make those spaces seem more unpleasant. Try to avoid decorations that belong to a particular tradition or religion. Religious ornaments are likely to drive away more buyers than they attract, so stick to neutral decorations like snow globes and nutcrackers.

Keep it cozy…you might be tempted to scrap the whole idea of decorating, but some seasonal flair can be an effective marketing tool, increasing curb appeal and warming the interior. Serving warm cider and cookies during an open house will make your home even homier. A neutral stark interior might also seem more lifeless during the holiday season. If you’re careful with decorations you can make your home stand out.

People tend to use every spare space in their home when they decorate, but you want your home to look as spacious as possible. Don’t feel you need to hang every last decorations, store some of those gaudy heirloom tree ornaments. If you miss some of your favorite holiday favorites, just remember with a little luck, you’ll be celebrating next year’s holidays in a new home and you can decorate that space however you please!


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Welcome Home to 3704 Pine Creek Lane SE in Lacey

3704 Pine Creek LakeI’m so proud to offer this wonderfully updated 3 bed, 2.5 bath home with attached garage that is sure to please.

Boasting 1,641 sq. ft. of open floor plan, this darling home offers high ceilings & lots of windows providing great natural lighting.

You’re so going to love this neighborhood!

 

Let’s Get Cookin’3704 Pine Creek Lane Kitchen

A gourmet kitchen awaits the chef in the family and the granite counter tops with custom tile back splash are sure to please.

And don’t miss the Stainless Steel appliances, ample cabinetry and room to roam!

The living room is quite cozy with a gas fire place. The stairway to the upper level offers a great place to mount your television visible from both the dining room & kitchen. The open stairway allows you to overlook the main living area.

A newly updated master bath awaits offering tile counter tops, fresh paint and new flooring. You’re going to love having your own private bath.

Excellent location!

This home sits within walking distance to 2 parks and offers a quick commutes to I-5 as well as shopping & schools.

Privacy is a keen benefit of this home as the property backs up to a protected green belt area and the home sits on a dead end street & has a fully fenced back yard & patio.

To learn more about this home and to schedule your own personal tour, please feel free to contact me at the information below.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


How Does a Real Estate Closing Work?

With the roll out of TRID, we are being strongly ‘warned’ that the days of 15 and 30 day real estate closings are a thing of the past for the foreseeable future.

How Will This Change My Real Estate Closing?

Real Estate ClosingWith a whole batch of new forms, disclosures and procedures getting put in place, the ‘learning curve’ in all this demands that every real estate transaction set a closing date of no sooner than 45 days from the moment of mutual acceptance. What that means simply is an additional 2 weeks to wait before you get to move into or out of your house. In more complex terms, there are more ‘hoops you need to jump through’ in order to get to your real estate closing.

So, What is a Real Estate Closing?

For most, it’s a very common term and often tossed around as standard vernacular with all real estate terms. But, what is a closing and what goes into it?

Certainly, first time buyers are curious as anyone but really, if you are in a real estate transaction for the first time or you’ve bought or sold a home but it’s been a while, this can be a confusing time with lots of questions.

First step in any real estate closing is to first have a good Escrow professional working on your transaction. In the state of Washington, we handle all our real estate closings through Escrow. Put simply, Escrow is a third party responsible to watch over the funds and/or documents and then pay out the funds and/or transfer the title only when all requirements of the escrow have been completed.

Once all documents are sent from the buyers lender to Escrow, they get busy ‘working up the paperwork’ for both the buyer and the seller to sign. These docs are a whole litany of items from conveyance of deed to promise to insurance policies!

After both parties have signed all the necessary instructions and documents, the escrow officer will return the buyer’s loan documents to the lender for final review. After the review is completed, the lender is ready to fund the buyer’s loan and informs the escrow officer.

At this point, we are on the cusp of your real estate closing.

The true point of a real estate transaction closing is determined by 2 very important terms:

  1. The Deed is Recorded
  2. Funds are available to the seller

These to points must be met to have a true real estate closing.

If you have any other questions about the closing process or how TRID is going to affect your current or future real estate transaction, please do not hesitate to contact me for helpful real estate info and friendly advise.


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


5 ‘No Brainers’ on Why you do a Pre-Inspection before your Sell or Buy your Home

In this crazy Market, some buyers are doing everything they can to make the best offer possible. In some cases, that means waiving their inspection of the property to sweeten the deal.

Fact is, some buyers feel this is necessary when buying a home. However, you probably wouldn’t buy a car without making sure it was thoroughly checked out…so why would you buy a home without “Kicking the Tires” first?

Have a Pre Inspection Done On Your Home

pre inspection done on your homeIf you know you’re going in to a multiple offer situation, you tend to look at what concessions you can make to give your offer that fighting chance to catch the attention of the sellers. Very often, the fist concession is to waive your inspection. This gives the seller one less thing to worry about and one less thing to get in the way of the seller doing any more work on the home. 

This also means any previous problems with the home are now your problems when the deal closes.

As a home buyer, these are stressful times…but they really don’t have to be! Doing a pre inspection on your home (your potential new home I should say) is not only a smart financial move but it can put to rest any fears of underlying issues the home may have that you don’t or can’t readily see. 

Sellers Too Can Benefit from Having a Pre Inspection Done on Your Home –

Even in this market, with homes ‘flying off the shelves’, home owners can still do something to make the real estate transaction go smoothly as well as have written proof the home is in sound condition so the home buyer can’t come back later with a grievance. 

The other side of all this is with a pre inspection done on your home, the bank and the appraiser will have a very hard time ‘making waves’ or demanding something be fixed as a condition of the loan prior to closing. You have an inspection report in hand…and that can be a nice insurance policy if and when you need it!

Take the guess work out of all this with these 5 simple reasons why you do a pre inspection on your home

  1. Know What You’re Actually Going to Pay After you Pay for the House – Pre Inspections help determine any deferred maintenance issues for the buyer. Ideal for those who are going in this deal with limited funds to make repairs after closing.
  2. Walking Papers – Having a Pre Inspection done on your home gives the buyer a reason to walk away from a potential offer with confidence. If there are too many items to fix or the home is just in rough shape, it’s better to know about it before you commit to a purchase and sale agreement. 
  3. Seller…fix those small items before you go to market – Taking a $100 problem and fixing it keeps the $1,000 problems from ruining your sale. Simply put, don’t give the buyer a reason to say ‘NO’…and they won’t! You may also find more willing buyers who want to make an offer based on your willingness to disclose you’ve had the home pre inspected and willing to let them see the report.
  4. Buyers…make your offer stronger to the sellers – As I mentioned earlier, the waiving of an inspection contingency is something of a common tactic these days to sweeten the deal. However, doing a pre inspection gives you the confidence knowing what you know about the condition of the home.
  5. Lastly, pre inspections are a great way to start the transaction on a good note – If a seller or a buyer have full knowledge of what they are getting, there is less confrontation or nasty negotiations later. Not all markets are so smokin’ hot and it’s a very smart idea for the sellers to have this ‘Ace in the whole’ to help in the overall marketing of their home.

I hope this little tid bit of information was and will be helpful for you if you are in the real estate market to buy or sell. And if you, or someone you know, is considering buying or selling, please feel free to give me a call…I’m always honored to work with you!

 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate