Real Estate Chatter

I am Abby Lee and I am proud to be associated with the largest and most trusted real estate company in the world, RE/MAX. Check out the chatter and allow me to be your home source in Jonesboro.

40 bright and modern kitchen hacks (In honor of my 40th birthday!)

41534357_10155676494891027_9038868204687982592_nToday is my 40th birthday! What is better than a list of 40 things to do when in my favorite room of the house?! Besides eat cake and drink Diet coke…This is it! The kitchen is the heart of the home, particularly for families and is a key part in the buying decision. Buyers want bright and modern with good storage and counter space.

If your kitchen looks great already read the steps below to make it look amazing with a bit of work and very little investment.

If you have a dated and cluttered kitchen, do not despair – there are lots of actions that you can take that will improve it greatly and, if you do decide to invest in a re-paint or new flooring or counter tops, be heartened by the fact that you will get a higher return on your investment when you remodel your kitchen than any other room in your house. You will sell your house quicker too.

OK, here are the 40 things in honor of my 40th birthday!!

  1. Completely clean off the front of the fridge – your magnets, photos, invites, menus and pictures are way too personal to be out on show for buyers.
  2. Go through your kitchen cabinets and keep only the items that you will need while the house is on the market. Pack away everything else – the big serving platters, the piles of bake ware, your ever expanding Tupperware drawer , the bread maker you were given as a present.  Aim to cull 30-50% of the items. Packing up a kitchen takes time so you will already be getting ahead by doing this. Neatly arrange what remains.
  3. Start ‘running down’ your freezer, fridge and pantry.  You don’t want to be taking all those tins & frozen stews with you so start eating them now. This will have the added benefit of decluttering your freezer and pantry ready to be staged (and yes you will need to stage your pantry!)
  4. Take down any shelves or spice racks you have put up as these suggest that you don’t have enough room in your cabinets (this may be true but you don’t want to make it look obvious). It also keeps the visual clutter to a minimum
  5. Get your waste and recycling under control – move all those empty bottles and piles of newspapers out of the house.
  6. Empty your trash daily while it is on the market.
  7. Although most kitchens are ‘mission control’ pack away anything that doesn’t belong in a kitchen such as bills, files, tools, kids toys and dog baskets while it is on the market.
  8. A few cookbooks or accessories are fine in a kitchen but pack away any big collections that are getting in the way of your streamlined kitchen
  9. Lose the dried flower arrangements – they say old and dusty!
  10. Remove fussy window treatments such as curtains and nets and pull back blinds to let in the light. No window treatment is better than a fussy window treatment
  11. Clean everything so it’s spotless – even the best kept kitchens are dirty when you look really closely. Don’t forget the walls, windows and inside and on the tops of cupboards. This will also help remove your kitchen smells
  12. Clean everything means all the appliances too – oven, fridge, freezer, dishwasher, microwave. Clean gives the impression of well maintained and all buyers want to buy a well maintained property. Also, you may want to use your appliances as a bargaining tool later so make sure they look like they’re worth something.
  13. Remove all signs of cleaning from around the sink. Buyers don’t want to be reminded that there will be work to do.
  14. Remove any signs of normal household problems.  Buyers want to think about the life they will lead in your house, not that they will be chasing out the bugs from the kitchen.
  15. Turn on the lights for viewings and increase wattage if needed to make the kitchen look brighter. This is especially important if you expect evening viewings.
  16. Re-paint the walls if the color is dated, hasn’t been painted in a while or there is wallpaper or a border or stencil. A Fresh coat of paint always works wonders. Keep it neutral.
  17. Kitchens take a lot of wear and tear so see what needs mending and get it fixed. Buyers do not want to take on your ‘to do’ list and they will always over estimate the cost.
  18. Check out your competition and think about the price point of your home.  What counter top material will buyers expect?  (laminate or granite?) What appliances are they looking for?
  19. Re-paint your cabinets to bring them up to date or get someone to do it for you.
  20. Re-place, resurface or re-paint your counter tops or the backsplash. Style and size of countertops in a kitchen are a key selling factor.
  21. If you want granite counters then price them and see if it’s worth the investment.
  22. Re-placing dated handles can make a big difference in a kitchen for next to no money. Match to the style of your kitchen.
  23. Re-placing faucets is also a good idea.
  24. If your floor is dated, the wrong color or damaged consider laying a new one. Think about your competition and the price point of your house before making the change. Don’t go for expensive tiles if a tile effect vinyl will do the job. Keep return on investment front of mind
  25. Match your appliances. Stainless steel is the most coveted and try to get them to match.
  26. Appliances can date a kitchen, especially the oven.  Think about whether to buy new now and take with you to your new home (or use as a bargaining tool in negotiations) buy new now and include in the house sale or rent while your home it on the market.
  27. Many kitchens have fridges that are too big. Is this you? replacing it with one that fits will make the kitchen feel more spacious.
  28. Appliances that are too small for their place in the kitchen look very unbalanced. Discuss this with your Realtor (me!)
  29. Look at your lighting. Does your central light match the style of the kitchen and is it still on trend? If not invest in a new one. Buying under cupboard lighting also brightens the space and gives a quality feel for not much investment. Make sure you turn them on during viewings.
  30. Don’t cook anything that leaves a strong smell while you are on the market – fish, curry, anything fried.
  31. Think about your most likely buyers. Will they be looking for an eat in kitchen? Can you fit a table into your kitchen, or can you borrow some stools to put up at the counter?
  32. Take pictures of your kitchen before you do anything.  Imagine it appearing on the internet. What needs to change?
  33. Style your pantry so it looks like a grocery shop. The message you want to give is “if I lived here I could be this organized”  Sadly this won’t be the case but we can all dream! Keep the floor of the pantry clear to give an impression of space.
  34. If you have glass cabinets, place your pieces to each side so that they aren’t cut in half by the doors when closed. Keep the look streamlined and the colors in keeping with the kitchen. Remember, show off your best, and generally bigger bits not all your bits.
  35. Choose an accent color for the kitchen: you can then accessorize your artwork, cook books, tea towels, to match
  36. Only put 3 items out on the counter to maximize the space. Examples are a kettle (make sure it’s shiny!), a bowl of fruit and an open cookbook on a stand.  Counter space is the number 1 seller in kitchens – make sure you don’t hide yours.
  37. If you have open shelving then arrange the objects neatly e.g. a couple of cookbooks, a small bowl or vase or an edited collection of kitchen related items such as decorative tins.
  38. A couple of tea towels that tie in with the decor are always a nice touch.  Bring them out just for viewings to keep them looking good.
  39. If you have a table in the kitchen, then resist the urge to set it (no one lives like this and it shouts ‘staged!’). However a nice bunch of flowers or bowl of fruit always look good.
  40. Think about the size of your table. You may need a smaller one, or you may just need to store a couple of chairs out of the way. You don’t need to show all your chairs for people to understand that they will be able to get a table in the kitchen.

If you need help staging your kitchen, call me! Thanks for helping me celebrate my 40th with a list of 40 important tips when selling a kitchen! Now go eat cake in your kitchen in my honor!

Chatter on,

Abby Lee

 

Abby Lee

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Fall Is A Great Time To Buy A home

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1. There’s less competition

Competition for houses drops off in the fall, a time many people consider to be off-season in real estate. But there are still homes for sale — and in some cases, there’s just as much inventory as there was during the spring and summer.

This puts you in a great position to negotiate. Many sellers are very motivated to sell before the end of the year. If possible, buyers should let these sellers know that they can close before Thanksgiving or before the school winter break.

2. Sellers are worn-out

Some sellers who put their homes on the market during the prime selling times of spring and summer might have been a tad overconfident by listing their homes for more than buyers were willing to spend. After months of no action, these sellers are often ready to make a deal.

3. Sellers are serious

Not all homes on the market in fall are summer leftovers. Some people need to sell in the fall because the timing is right. Maybe they were having a home built, and it’s now ready. Maybe they need to relocate because of a job. The sellers with houses on the market in the fall tend to be serious.

4. You can take advantage of tax breaks

First-time homebuyers, take note: Although you can’t escape paying income tax, you ca make a dent in what you owe when you become a homeowner. Property tax and mortgage interest are both deductions you can take for your whole year’s worth of income, even if you closed on your home in December. Any payments that are made prior to the closing of the loan are tax-deductible. This can make a serious difference in the amount you owe the government at the end of the year.

5. You’re the center of attention

Because spring and summer are ideal times to buy a home, real estate agents are usually busier then. And that could mean you might not always get the attention you want.

The same goes for movers. Because summer is peak moving season, people often experience more delays and service issues, such as moving companies reaching capacity and running out of trucks to pick up shipments. The probability of experiencing a delay goes way down in the fall season.

6. You can take advantage of end-of-year sales to outfit your home

There are bound to be improvements after buying a house. You’ll also probably need to buy items to maintain your home, and if appliances weren’t part of the deal, you’ll need those too. Wouldn’t it be great to coordinate your home purchase with sales on items you’ll need? The calendar determines when it’s a good time to buy all sorts of consumer goods. In particular, September is a great time for buying carpet and paint. October means lawn mowers go on sale, and appliances and cookware are cheaper in November.

If you are ready to buy or sell this fall, call me! 219-3732
Until we chat again,
Abby

Ten-Signs-Your-Home-is-Priced-Too-High-2

If you’re selling your home, you need to understand that pricing your home correctly from the beginning is absolutely critical. The most common reason a home doesn’t sell is because it is overpriced.

Overpricing a home can create damaging effects, period. The probability is that if you price your home too high in the beginning, you will likely end up with less money in your pocket, which is obviously not the goal when selling a home.

When selling your home, it’s absolutely critical you do not overprice it. If you happen to make the mistake of overpricing your home, it’s important that you identify this mistake right away and make a change immediately.

How does a seller know if their home is overpriced? There are actually many tell tale signs to know if what you are asking does not meet market expectations. Below are the top 10 signs that your home is priced too high. If you’re selling your home and have experienced any of the tell tale signs below, make sure you make an adjustment as soon as possible!

Your Home Is Priced Much Higher Than Your Neighbors

Generally speaking, in most neighborhoods, home values will be relatively consistent and close. One tell tale sign to know that your home is overpriced is if your home is listed $100,000 higher than other homes for sale in your neighborhood.

While it’s not impossible that there can be homes that have a $100,000 value difference, it is quite rare. One of the most common methods that real estate agents will use to determine a homes value is by completing a comparative market analysis. A comparative market analysis, also known as a CMA, is best described as a detailed analysis of sold homes in the past 6 month time period in a given neighborhood.

If your home is priced much higher than your neighbors, it’s very possible your real estate agent didn’t complete a detailed analysis of value. If a CMA wasn’t completed, this will not only lead to your home being overpriced, but also can create issues with bank appraisals.

You’ve Had Very Few Or No Showings

Excitement is a very common emotion that is experienced by a seller. Sellers are generally happy their home is listed for sale and being advertised all over the internet. Weeks pass by and there have been a couple or even worse, zero showings.

That excitement now turns to concern and frustration. If this sounds familiar, the likelihood that your home is overpriced is high. If your home has been listed for sale for a few weeks and you’ve had only a couple showings, you need adjust the price in the hopes to generate some activity and showings.

You Haven’t Received An Offer

In most real estate markets, if a home is priced correctly a homeowner should receive at least one offer within the first two to three weeks. If you haven’t received an offer after a couple of months, this is a great way to know your home is most likely overpriced.

If your local real estate market is currently in the midst a sellers market, you should expect an offer on your home within the first couple days on the market, if it’s priced correctly.

Certainly there are types of properties that may take longer than a couple days or a month to receive an offer on but it is fairly rare. This exists typically when selling a luxury home or waterfront property.

You Hired The Agent Who Recommended A Much Higher Price

In any given real estate market, there can be hundreds to thousands of real estate agents. When you are interviewing prospective Realtors to sell your home, it’s important that you know what questions yo should ask.

One of the most important questions relates to the pricing. It’s critical you understand how the prospective real estate agent came up with the listing price of your home. If you interview 3 real estate agents and one of the real estate agents suggests a price that is $30,000 higher than the others, you need to know how they came up with that number.

There are many real estate agents who will “buy a listing” by suggesting a list price much higher than the market value. If you made the mistake and hired the real estate agent who suggested a much higher listing price, it’s very likely your home is priced higher than it should be.

Neighbors Homes Are Selling & Yours Is Not

One of the most frustrating things for a seller is when the neighboring homes are selling and theirs is not. If you’re selling your home and this is happening, this is a sign that your home is priced too high.

A common statement from homeowners who are selling their home is, “My neighbors home just sold for $200,000 and mine is much nicer than theirs, why isn’t my home selling?”

One thing that many sellers fail to understand is that there are so many things that can influence the sale of a home. If this sounds familiar, a couple things to keep in mind when it comes to comparing your home to your neighbors include;

  • Was your neighbors home a different style of residence? Ex; ranch vs. two-story colonial
  • Was your neighbors home larger?
  • Did your neighbors home have high end upgrades and amenities? Ex; granite counters, building additions, etc…
  • Is the location of your home inferior or superior to your neighbors? Ex; corner lots or private/wooded lot
  • Were the mechanics of your neighbors home newer than yours? Ex; new roof, windows, furnace, etc…

Bottom line, if your homes are selling in your neighborhood and yours is not, it’s probably overpriced.

Open Houses Are DUDS

One decision that should be made by homeowners who are selling their home is whether or not they want open houses. Statistically speaking, less than 2% of homes actually sell as a direct result from an open house. Open houses do provide potential buyers the opportunity to look at homes without feeling high pressure that some real estate agents may place on them.

If you believe that open houses are necessary to sell your home, what does it mean when the open houses are DUDS? If your real estate agent markets the open house and not one person walks through the door during the 2 hour open house, then your price could be an issue.

Like most, buyers have busy schedules, but a buyer will make the time to visit open houses if they are interested in a home. A buyer will however not waste their time if they feel a home is overpriced.

Internet Traffic Is Very Low

The internet has changed real estate industry over the past 10-15 years. The majority of home buyers are beginning their home search online. When a buyer is interested in a home they see online, they will reach out to either the listing agent or will contact their own real estate agent to schedule a private viewing.

One way to know your home is overpriced is if there has been little to no internet traffic or property inquiries. An experienced real estate professional who has a strong understanding of how to market homes for sale online should be able to provide traffic statistics as well as property inquiries.

Showing Feedback Indicates Your Home Is Overpriced

One of the biggest benefits to hiring a top real estate agent is they know the importance of receiving feedback on their listings. Feedback from other real estate agents as well as buyers who are viewing a property can be a huge help. If you’re not receiving feedback from showings, it maybe time to think about firing your real estate agent.

Feedback is important because it allows a homeowner the chance to correct things a buyer may object to. For example, if a prospective buyer indicates the paint colors are too “bright” it maybe time to consider repainting the room.

If the feedback from showings is that a home is overpriced, this gives a seller the opportunity to make an adjustment in the price.

You’ve Received Low Ball Offers

Most overpriced homes will not receive any offers, however, it is possible. Homeowners who overprice their homes and still receive a couple of offers should feel somewhat fortunate.

It’s a good chance that if a home is overpriced, the offers received are “low ball” offers. If a home is overpriced and offers are much less than the listing price, is it really fair to consider them “low ball” offers?

If you’re selling your home and have received several offers that you would consider “low ball” offers, you may need to reconsider whether your price is appropriate.

Your Home Didn’t Sell & Expired

Possibly the most obvious way to know a home is priced wrong occurs when it doesn’t sell and expires. If a home doesn’t sell and becomes an expired listing after 6 months, it’s not because there are not ready, willing, and able buyers in your local market.

Instead of blaming it on the lack of buyers or the local real estate market, it’s important a seller looks in the mirror and realizes that their home was overpriced. Every home has a price tag that is accepted to home buyers. If a homes listing price is relatively close to the number a buyer considers fair, it will sell and not expire, period.

The Importance Of Pricing In Real Estate

The number one reason a home sells is because the price was right! Determining the list price of a home is such a critical piece of the home selling “puzzle.”

If you put the correct price on a home, it will sell in a relatively quick time frame. If you choose to overprice your home, it will either not sell or will take several months to sell. If you choose to overprice your home, remember that you will likely receive less money for your home than if you were to correctly price it from the beginning! Call Abby Lee to get it priced right! 870-219-3732.

Until We Chat Again,

Abby

 

 

 

You Need A Real Live Browser

home-buying

According to the National Association of Realtors, 42 percent of homebuyers start their home search online, and 92 percent use the Web during the home search process. While the Internet can be a good place to start looking, there are things real estate agents know about the process of buying and selling a home that can’t be found in any Web browser.

Here are a few.

1. How to price a home

When setting a listing price, agents consider scores of factors, from local and national market trends and neighborhood development activity to the latest buyer preferences for kitchen appliances and landscaping. Every home is unique, and an agent with a track record of success knows how to price it attractively in the market.

The Internet isn’t always much help when it comes to comparison shopping, either. Many of the same factors that help an agent set an appropriate listing price aren’t available in an algorithm, so online estimators aren’t always accurate – and could be costly if you purchase without consulting a real, live professional.

2. Marketing offline

While online marketing can certainly be valuable, agents have networks of contacts and years of experience to round out their marketing plans.

And, for buyers, agents often can tap into their network to learn about great properties before they hit the real estate websites or even the MLS.

3. Key points in the process

If you find a home you love online, the website won’t be there to guide you through a mortgage application, find a home inspector or advise you what to do if an inspection reveals issues.

4. How to negotiate

Having an experienced, professional negotiator drive your transaction can be vital to reaching a fair price for the property you’re buying or selling. A website can give you an estimate of how much a property should cost, but it can’t evaluate whether that’s a great price or not.

Until we chat again,
Abby

So Much More Than A Door

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Give your front door a colorful boost

Your home’s entry is much more than just a door – it sends a message to every visitor, including yourself. If your front door is looking worn, or if you’re looking for a fast, affordable way to spruce up your home’s curb appeal, brighten it up with a new and welcoming color.

Painting your front door sends a colorful message about your household’s personality. Here are some examples of what certain hues say about you.

Blue – This provides a calming effect as it suggests stability and trust.

Yellow – logical, but creative, you look at life with a positive, happy attitude.

White – you like to keep things simple, organized, and neat.

Red – You’re a bold go-getter who lives life to the fullest.

Green – A traditional choice. You value ambition, growth and security.

Brown – You’re warm, reliable, and down to earth. (my front door is brown!)

Try it before you buy it. If you want a preview of your front door after it’s painted, you can download a free app to your cell phone for a fast preview. Just take a photo of your door and you can “try on” new colors. For example, the Front Door Paint app is available for both iPhone and Android. And to get a professional opinion, call me at 870-219-3732 or visit my websiteJonesboro, Arkansas is full of personality and color.

Until We Chat Again,

Abby

Roll Out The Red Carpet

Roll Out The Red Carpet

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As an agent this is one of my biggest pet peeves….a cluttered, dirty, unkept pathway to the front door of a listing. This is the first impression. It can make or break the rest of the showing.

How does the front door look? Does it need to be painted or replaced?  Does the door unlock easily for the agent? If you think it is dated, dirty or not in good working order, than so will the buyer. The front door needs to be in perfect condition. It sets the stage for the buyers first impression of your home and how you have maintained it. There is nothing worse than being the agent who has to force the door open with a wedge sandal or knee boot with buyers watching with a, “you got it girl! you can do it” because the door will not open correctly. It is unattractive in every way possible!

Power wash the front porch and make it shine. Add a clean or new welcome mat, get rid of leaves, cobwebs, and anything on your porch that is not needed in helping give a buyer a great first impression to your home. Paint any thing that needs to be painted on your porch and don’t go with loud, off the wall colors. Stay neutral.

In our area this is the time for mosquitoes to take over porches. Please keep the porch sprayed and clear of standing water to prevent buyers being attacked by swarming mosquitoes as they wait for the agent to open the front door. The agent will appreciate that also!

Trim bushes and do landscaping if needed by adding mulch and flowers for a pop of color. keep the grass mowed and yard manicured well. Get rid of all yard clutter and weeded areas. Make sure your mailbox is in working order and looks nice. Go out to the street and look at your house. Would you buy it? If the answer is “yes” than you have done a good job!

I would love to help you if you have any questions or need a professional eye! To see some listings with great curb appeal, visit http://www.jonesborohomesource.com

Until we chat again,

Abby

 

prepare your house to sell, one room at a time

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Just considering selling your house can be overwhelming. Instead of thinking about your new home, you are worried about all the tasks that have to be done just to prepare to sell your house! It seems like it will take forever.

Well, you know how you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. That’s how you will tackle preparing your house to sell, one room at a time. You can prepare to sell your house in just two weeks!

Day One, Home office:
• Create mailbox system on desk with one box for each member of the family
• File away or shred all statements with personal information
• Gather important documents and records and put them in one location.Things like birth certificates, death certificates, marriage records, home movies, memorabilia, medical records and insurance policies. All of these items should be hand carried to your new home and not accessible by prospective buyers.

Day Two, Kitchen

• Sort the pantry. Throw away everything expired and donate anything you won’t be using or that you don’t want to move
• Add freestanding expandable shelves to increase space, even a small pantry can look spacious if organized well
• Evaluate the contents of every drawer with this in mind; items that are used daily stay, items that are used occasionally can be packed and items no longer useful should be donated. This will help to give the kitchen the appearance of space.
• Clear the clutter off counter tops. Only small appliances that are used daily and 3-5 accessory items should remain. All others can be packed.
• Clean everything including the top of the frig and the inside of the oven.
• Remove pictures, magnets, calendars, and artwork from the frig.

Day Three, Living Room
• Remove family photos
• Edit accessories to just twelve favorites that add color and personality to the space
• Add baskets to bookcases. Personalize them for each family member. Baskets can then be used to stash toys, homework and other odds and ends.
• Clean baseboards, ceiling fan, and shelving

Day Four, Rest and catch up.

Day Five, Garage
• Designate a staging area for packed boxes
• Pack all seasonal items that won’t be used in the next 3-4 months
• Keep all sporting equipment and toys contained in large trash can
• Hang bikes
• Clear any work areas

Days Six and Seven, Bedrooms
• Use removable adhesive hooks on the back of the door for kids to hang backpacks, jackets, towels, etc.
• Pack all non-favorite toys
• Remove posters, staples, fill holes and paint as needed

Day Nine, Hobby/Play Room
• Go through all craft supplies and throw away anything no longer in working order
• Sort all small items and place into containers

Day Ten, Bathrooms
• Every family member gets a small caddy to keep personal hygiene items in. When not in use it is stored under the sink. Give everyone a small container of wipes to keep in the caddy and instruct them to wipe down surfaces after use.
• Edit bathroom towels and linens. Keep a two week supply, pack or donate the rest.
• Evaluate all medications and first aid supplies. Toss everything that has expired. All remaining medications should be hidden elsewhere in the house.
• Place a plastic basket in the shower or tub to contain shampoos and soaps.
• Place a squeegee in the shower. Last person to use the shower wipes down the glass.

Day Eleven, Closets
• Pack all out of season clothing and accessories
• Look at each item to evaluate if it can be tossed, kept, or donated.
• Organize shoes
• Nothing should be on the floor

Day Twelve, Media Room
• Tag the cords on all equipment. This will make it easier to put back together in your new home
• Label remotes
• Match cds and dvds to their cases

Day Thirteen, Dining Room
• Pack all glassware and serving pieces that will not be used until after the move.
• Leave just one item per shelf in display hutches
• Remove leaf from table if possible

Day Fourteen, Rest and catch up.

After you get through the list, you will feel so much better prepared to list your house and can focus on what lies ahead for you.

Then you can call me to come list it and get it sold for you!

Until we chat again,

Abby

 

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