Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Listing Your Home During The Holidays: Do or Don't?

As we enter this holiday season, I thought I would address the debatable act of listing/keeping a home on the market during this oh so important time. Many consumers, and real estate professionals alike, may agree that listing your home during the holiday season can be a mistake. Sellers are extremely busy during this time, and having your home on the market will certainly not make you any less busy. Some may also think that since sellers are so busy, buyers must be too, therefore why add to all your already mounting stress by listing your home, when it may not even attract any buyers!

Well that's one viewpoint, and here's mine (along with many of the top agents throughout the country):

  • So what if there are less buyers searching around the holiday time! If everyone agreed with the above message, there would also be less listings. This means that there are fewer options for buyers and lower competition rates for your home. Quite a few individuals have vacation time they need to use up toward the end of the year, and save it for time around the holidays. Extended time off definitely gives buyers plenty of time to view homes, especially the serious buyers. Did I mention, buyers searching around this time, tend to be more serious, rather than buyers just starting to look? These serious buyers give you a much better chance of getting a deal on your home closed!
  • People relocate from all over the country, all year long. If they have to relocate from Orland to Minneapolis, they don't get to say, "I'd like to wait until next spring to move." They go where they're told, when they're told, and they'll need a new home when they do. That home will not be yours, if it isn't on the market.
  • I do understand keeping your home show ready during this time could be a hassle (especially with little ones around; see previous post). Not a problem. You would most likely be cleaning your home to have company over any way right? Well there is something you can check off your list! Clean your house once, and make it a habit to keep it nice and tidy after that, which should include help from everyone living in the home. Now your all ready for showings, and your guests! Never be afraid to ask your agent for help as well. After all, it is their job to get the highest possible return for your home, and that can only come when your home is showing at it's best, and it's cleanest. Worried about showings at inconvenient times? You can have your agent set up customized showing instructions, around the dates and times you choose you would like to allow or not allow showings.
  • Now you sold your home (oh no...), and you don't want to move around the holidays! Not to worry. One of your terms in the purchase agreement, can be the closing date. This tends to be flexible, and one would assume that the buyers wouldn't like to move around holiday time either.

There are always two sides to a story, and definitely different view points. But let me ask you this: If you want to sell your house, how would you expect to do that by keeping it, or taking it off the market?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Its Been One Year - Here's What I Have Learned!

Today is my daughter's first birthday. It has been an incredible year of learning, laughter and adjustments for me. My daughter is truly the most amazing gift. In honor of her, I thought I would take this opportunity to share what I have learned over the last year as it pertains to real estate.

First of all, sellers with children have my highest admiration. I pride myself on being a good housekeeper but my home could not be shown to a prospective buyer on anything less than a full day of scrubbing, organizing, catching up on laundry and dishes. I have no idea how sellers contain the "stuff" that comes with having one tiny extra person in the home!

As far as desired features in a property, I have definitely changed my tune. Open floor plans are no longer on the top of my list. What I wouldn't give right now for doors to close off space that can't be entirely child proofed and to have smaller rooms that can contain a very curious child. An entire level of hardwood floors may look great but I now envision the many falls and tears of a newly walking baby when I see them. Stainless steel appliances are no longer a sleek and stylish amenity but a display fingerprints that appear faster than I can wipe them off. I am already dreading the day she discovers that the loft provides a perfect opportunity to play her favorite game of dropping things and watching them fall.

This first year was definitely an eye opener and I look forward to the adventures ahead!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Looking for Activities To Enjoy With Your Baby?

I feel fortunate to live in an area that offers some good programs for families. I have tried three programs for me and my infant daughter through School District 196 Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) and intend to continue to participate. Their Aquatics program offers swim lessons for ages 6 months to 36 months. I liked being able to swim with my daughter and help her get comfortable in the water for a reasonable cost. We took eight 30 minute lessons for $54 at the indoor pool at Scott Highlands Middle School in Apple Valley. It was a small group of parents with their babies and a very friendly instructor. My little girl was 9 months old at the time and only cried when we had to get out of the pool to give you any indication of how much fun she had at the classes.
We also attended the baby shower sponsored by ECFE. All parents with children born in the last year were invited to attend at no cost with their baby. I received an overview of the early education program, played a few games and even received a gift bag with presents for the baby including a rattle, blanket, PJs and a book. It was so good to meet other parents with a baby around the same age and to see everyone interact with their child.
Last week I took my daughter to the family playtime. She enjoyed "playing" (she is now 11 months old and mostly walked around delivering toys to the other parents and trying to kiss the babies). There is a wide array of toys, costumes, books and activities. I really liked meeting the other parents in an informal setting. The teachers seem to enjoy what they do. I think I'll try one of their classes next.
If you want to check out these activities or any other ones offered by ECFE, here is the 2011/12 winter catalog .