Home buyers don’t want a stranger in their shower

Bathroom Picture.png

Exhibit A

 

My teenage son’s bathroom is a source of angst in my house. No, not from the teenager himself, but the mess left in his wake. Every day I walk past the usual basketball shorts and balled up socks on the floor. The damp towel barely clinging to the rack, deathly scared to join the shorts on the floor. The myriad of personal grooming items scattered on the counter grow in number as a new scent or 10 blade razor system is added and never used. Despite its incredible radius, most of the time I just don’t notice the mess. I call this “Selective Blindness.” My husband, however, does not have selective blindness causing much angst which we shall save for a future post, or my therapist/hairdresser Amy.

Because I don’t see his messy bathroom anymore, I figured this is what it’s like for my clients when they put their home on the market. Thankfully, my clients’ bathrooms are rarely as messy as my teenager’s. Nevertheless, clients will clean up their whole house, install new carpets, paint the walls, and declutter the kitchen, but when I go into their bathroom they still have out their razors, toothbrush and soaps out!  This is another version of selective blindness.

The most important part of making a bathroom presentation-ready is to have ALL personal items put away. Even Shampoo is a very personal item to a buyer who is in your home looking at your shower. To you, it may blend into the natural landscape of the bathroom, but all a buyer sees is the mental image of a stranger showering in their potential new home.

I understand that there’s a practical reason for having these items out. Toothbrushes and razors are used every day. Unfortunately, getting a home ready for sale means suspending some of the everyday comforts of home. Ask anyone who has eaten Teriyaki for dinner five times a week to avoid messing up their kitchen for showings – not practical. Selling your home can sometimes be stressful, but I promise that this part doesn’t have to be!

So… what to do? Don’t worry, there’s an easy solution. Get a shower caddy or basket to hold all of your bathroom items and tuck it under the sink. Pull it out when you need to use it in the morning. Before you leave for work, tuck it back under the sink and out of sight. A quick wipe of the counters and you’re done. The bathroom will stay tidy for the duration of the home being on the market with little additional effort.

Our own son will be a college kid in a few months, but I am not going to bother buying a shower caddy for him…we all know why right?

Posted on May 16, 2016 at 7:31 pm
Jennifer Clukey | Category: Jennifer | Tagged , , , , , ,

April 2016 Events in the Seattle Area

Happy April everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the sunshine as much as I am. Here are some events around the Seattle area and South King County. Click on the image below to make it larger, and make sure to check out our blog while you’re there. 🙂

I’m excited to try out some new places during Seattle Restaurant Week. What are you looking forward to most? Let me know in the comments below!

-Jen

April 2016 Events

 

Posted on April 1, 2016 at 5:15 pm
Jennifer Clukey | Category: Events Near You, Jennifer | Tagged , , , , ,

Why I hate your House Plants

How could anyone “hate” house plants?  I know, I just made some enemies.  As I have come to know over the years, your house plants are these docile, often forgotten looking, affectionate things in random containers throughout your houses.  Many of these “family members” have stayed with you over the years, moved with you, been gifted to you by mothers-in-laws, given to you by neighbors, and are almost invisible comforting treasures you don’t even really think about.  The fact that you don’t think about them is evidenced by at least half of them looking like they almost died last week, two weeks ago, 3 months ago, and frankly, are probably almost always on the verge of dying, except for the last minute watering that revives them and reminds you they are special little things to be loved and cared for.

Blog Pics.JPGI say all of this in pure judgement, finger pointing accusation.  The only flaw in my argument is that I am one of you.  Maybe not to the extreme of some, but I too have 1 house plant I cannot part with. I have a love/hate relationship with it. It is a giant spiky leafy plant/tree (don’t even know what kind) that moved in 12 years ago and since then has made a  permanent mark on my wood floor, is outgrowing its pot, the leaves are always half brown and when I finally water it, it reaches out and hugs me, so I keep it . In addition, my husband Mike has 5 or 6 in our home at one time depending on how well the resuscitation goes each month. His plants live with plastic containers under them to keep from staining the ledge they sit on. For those who argue that plants give oxygen, I’m not sure these particular plants are fully up for their intended duties.

UntitledHere’s where the tough part comes in.  You call me to sell your home.  I come over as any good Realtor and we talk about “Getting the home ready for market.”  One of the tasks is de-cluttering, and turning the house from a home into a product for maximum appeal.  It’s fairly easy for me to talk you into putting away the toaster, the 35 spatulas in the utensil holder, and the kitchen sponge that has been in the family since your first child was born.  But for some reason…..the house plants always cause for pause.  Surely I don’t mean ALL the house plants do I?  Yep, I do.   All of them.  Here’s why.

Home buyers are starting their home search online.  To help sell your home we hire a high-end photographer to take pics and videos that highlight the home and give tours through the home.  Pictures are 2-D and any medium objects such as house plants block the view of the room, the view between rooms, or the view outside.  In addition, the smaller plants look like do-dads in pictures, which are distracting. The goal is to help the buyer purchase the space, not the items in the space.

Plant Staging

Unfortunately there is a genuine cause for alarm. What do you do with house plants that you can’t have in your house?  If you have natural light, and a warm garage, you could put them in there.  If that doesn’t work, it will need to be part of the strategic planning, along with things such as Fido and kiddos.  One tactic might be to ask a friend to watch your kids and your pets, and when they hesitate, offer the house plants instead….they will gladly care for them while you get your house sold.

Posted on February 18, 2016 at 10:34 pm
Jennifer Clukey | Category: Jennifer

Holiday Travel

Twas the week after Christmas and all through the house….not a creature was stirring, except one swimming mouse. Swimming mouse???  Ok, there was no mouse, but if there was he would have been swimming for his life!!  Here’s what happened.

download (2)Some clients of ours, Dave and Wendy, packed up their Christmas and 3 young boys, as they do each year, and headed for their cabin in Montana. They would enjoy cutting down their own tree behind the cabin, waiting for Santa to squeeze down their 3-story chimney on Christmas Eve, and frolic in the vast amounts of snow. As planned, the Christmas holiday went “swimmingly” well until they pulled into their driveway back in Kent, a week later, after a 9 hour drive across treacherous winter roads. The 3 kids peeled out of the car, all needing a bathroom break, grumpy, tired, and on Dad’s last nerve. As the kids piled out of the car, mom Wendy headed toward the door to start the great migration back into the house. As she turned the knob and went to step inside, the water came rolling out the door and down the steps. The entire one-story house held a few feet of standing water and the water was still running.  Thus began the $100,000 home restoration project.  The pipe in the wall had burst while they were away and the water had been running for several days.

So, what is the moral of the story?  Don’t go on vacation? Nope. Dave and Wendy would tell you that every time they go on vacation now, they turn the water off at the water shutoff in their closet. They open the tap in the sink and let the water in the lines run out so no pressure is left.

porchlight.jpgHere are some things your family can do while traveling for the holiday season. Personally, we have joined them in the vacation water shutoff protocol. In addition, we go online and have our mail held by the post office, leave our front porch lights on, leave our thermostat at 60 degrees, and let our neighbors know we will be gone so they can watch the house.

Cheers to a safe and dry holiday season!

Posted on December 15, 2015 at 10:35 pm
Jennifer Clukey | Category: Jennifer, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

5 Ways to Get Your Home Sold this Holiday Season

So, it’s November and you need to sell your home. King County averages about 2,000 home sales in December. That’s about half as many homes as in the Spring/Summer months.  The good news is houses do sell!  There are also less house options for buyers than in the summer, so you have less competition.  Here are the top 5 things to consider when selling this holiday season.

  1. Price it right – This is not the time of year to “test the market.” Prices flatten out in the fall and winter. Stay conservative and price it based on actual Sold Comparables, not homes currently trying to sell.
  2. Pack up – Your Moving!! If you are going to dare compete with the big boys this time of year, make it count. Houses do sell.  Pack your house, nik naks, family pictures, everything off the counters etc.  It needs to look like that sterile, perfectly tidy house that your one annoyingly perfect girlfriend has mastered (I mean that affectionately Wendy.)
  3. Every showing counts – There are less buyers this time of year. Don’t worry, these buyers are serious home purchasers, they are going to buy a house and it might as well be yours. Let them come see the house…when they want to…not when you want them to. They often don’t come back to see it a different time.  It might mean you are kicked out of your house during dinners and have to eat Chinese Food on Christmas like Ralphie’s family.  Ok, that’s extreme.
  4. Holiday Decorations – Yes, you can have them. But keep them minimal and coordinating.  This is not the year to put the tree out with the 22 art projects from your children’s k-6 grade classes.  It’s not because they look tacky (maybe a little) but because it will distract buyers from looking at your home. If they don’t look at your home, they won’t buy it.
  5. Light up your FOR SALE sign with a string of lights. Why not….I just told you basically you were going to have no fun this holiday, but this is one tacky thing that might be good. Helps people see your house is for sale in the dark, which happens to be about 18 hours during the winter.

Cheers!!

Posted on October 21, 2015 at 4:02 pm
Jennifer Clukey | Category: Jennifer | Tagged ,

5 Ways to Get Your Home Sold this Holiday Season

So, it’s November and you need to sell your home. King County averages about 2,000 home sales in December. That’s about half as many homes as in the Spring/Summer months.  The good news is houses do sell!  There are also less house options for buyers than in the summer, so you have less competition.  Here are the top 5 things to consider when selling this holiday season.

  1. Price it right – This is not the time of year to “test the market.” Prices flatten out in the fall and winter. Stay conservative and price it based on actual Sold Comparables, not homes currently trying to sell.
  2. Pack up – Your Moving!! If you are going to dare compete with the big boys this time of year, make it count. Houses do sell.  Pack your house, knick knacks, family pictures, everything off the counters etc.  It needs to look like that sterile, perfectly tidy house that your one annoyingly perfect girlfriend has mastered (I mean that affectionately Wendy.)
  3. Every showing counts – There are less buyers this time of year. Don’t worry, these buyers are serious home purchasers, they are going to buy a house and it might as well be yours. Let them come see the house…when they want to…not when you want them to. They often don’t come back to see it a different time.  It might mean you are kicked out of your house during dinners and have to eat Chinese Food on Christmas like Ralphie’s family.  Ok, that’s extreme.
  4. Holiday Decorations – Yes, you can have them. But keep them minimal and coordinating.  This is not the year to put the tree out with the 22 art projects from your children’s k-6 grade classes.  It’s not because they look tacky (maybe a little) but because it will distract buyers from looking at your home. If they don’t look at your home, they won’t buy it.
  5. Light up your FOR SALE sign with a string of lights. Why not….I just told you basically you were going to have no fun this holiday, but this is one tacky thing that might be good. Helps people see your house is for sale in the dark, which happens to be about 18 hours during the winter.

Cheers!!

Posted on October 21, 2015 at 9:02 am
Jennifer Clukey | Category: Jennifer | Tagged ,

Should I scope the sewer line when I buy/sell a home?

What is it? How much? Should I get one? What is a typical problem?

 A Sewer Scope is a type of inspection where a sewer expert or plumber runs a camera through the sewer line between the house and the street connection. They typically gain access through a sewer clean out at the house or they pull a toilet. A sewer clean out is an entry point to the sewer line. “Pulling a toilet” is when the plumber physically lifts the toilet off the floor and accesses the sewer line. He then reattaches the toilet. The goal is to confirm the line is in good condition with no breaks, blocks or trees growing in it. The cost is $200-$250.  This would be done during a buyer’s inspection timeframe, or, on occasion, it makes sense for a seller to get one prior to putting their house on the market.

Should you get one if you are buying or selling a home? If you are selling a home, you would typically not get a sewer scope as it would be part of the buyers due diligence. That said, in the current market there may be an exception. If you are selling a home built before 1980 in Seattle, and you anticipate multiple offers, handing a potential buyer clean sewer paperwork may allow them to feel more comfortable making a stronger offer and/or bypassing an inspection contingency. If you are buying a home, and it’s built prior to 1980, it is recommended to inspect the sewer. After 1980, the type of line material was changed from concrete to ABS and/or PVC which is more flexible than concrete and does not erode It’s also glued at the seams so roots cannot get in the line and block it.

What if there is a problem with the sewer line found? It needs to be fixed and it can be expensive. Repairs typically run $2000-$8000. Most common issues are trees growing into the line, which can often be cleared through a rooter. If there is a break in a line, it will need to be dug up and fixed.

Posted on September 29, 2015 at 1:50 pm
Jennifer Clukey | Category: Jennifer | Tagged , , , , ,