The Top 5 Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value Before Selling

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Here are the top five cost-free ways to increase your home’s value before selling it:

  1. Declutter. Everything should be cleared off your kitchen and bathroom countertops and your bedside tables except for a few items. 
  2. Clean everything. Do a spring cleaning on steroids—get into the grout, get under the beds, wipe off the baseboards, wash the windows inside and outside, etc. If you need the services of a top-quality professional cleaner, I know plenty who I would be happy to refer you to. 
  3. Pressure-wash everything on the outside. This includes any decks, patios, walkways, siding, and gutters. Don’t wash the roof, though, because that will decrease the lifespan of the shingles. 
  4. Service the home’s features. Okay, I lied a little bit—not all of these tips are 100% free. You should still service your furnace, your hot water tank, and consider ordering a home inspection so you can get ahead of any items that need to be repaired. 
  5. Stage the house. You can still live in your home while it’s staged, and our team has a fantastic stager who can help you with this arrangement. If you won’t be living in your home, we can also offer full staging services with our own furniture. Almost all home builders stage their homes, and we stage homes differently than how we live in them, so it’s best to hire a professional to help with this tip. 

    Do a spring cleaning on steroids.

If you have any questions about this topic or you have any other real estate needs I can assist you with, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you. 


Posted on July 30, 2019 at 6:20 PM
Randi Szakaly | Posted in Blog |

Renovations That Will Give You the Biggest Bang for Your Buck

If you’re looking to make home renovations with a high return on investment, here are the items to consider.

What are the top five renovations you can make to your home in terms of return on investment? According to the latest Cost vs. Value report from Remodeling.com, here’s the short list:

  1. Garage door replacement. You can get a 150% return on investment when you replace your garage door, and the average cost is around $3,800 here in the Pacific Northwest. 
  2. Stone veneer. If you have a simple facade and you want to add a little pizzazz to it to amp up your curb appeal, installing stone veneer will do the trick. The average cost is $9,400, but the average return on investment is 116%.
  3. Minor kitchen remodel. By “minor,” I mean you don’t have to rip everything out—just replace the appliances, change the countertops, add a backsplash, etc. The average cost is between $10,000 and $15,000, and the average return on investment is 97%.
  4. Front door replacement. For this door replacement, you can expect to spend about $2,000 and get a 94% return on investment. 
  5. Light bathroom remodel/window replacement. Both of these items average a 90% return on investment. 

What’s the lesson here? First of all, you’ll notice that only the top two exceed 100% in terms of total return. This means if you’re thinking of spending a whole bunch of money getting your house ready to sell and assuming you’ll get it all back, you might be mistaken. This is why it’s always a good idea to call an agent such as myself so we can advise you on how to minimize costs and see what kind of return you’ll get for the renovations you’re considering. 

    It’s always a good idea to call an agent such as myself so we can advise you on how to minimize costs and see what kind of return you’ll get for the renovations you’re considering.

If you have any other real estate questions for me, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you. 


Posted on July 9, 2019 at 4:47 PM
Randi Szakaly | Posted in Blog |

When’s the Best Time to Contact Your Agent?

When should you call your real estate agent? Today I’ll answer this often-asked question.

Over and over, I hear some variation of the question, “When should I call my real estate agent?”

There are two ways to respond to this question:

If you’re a seller, I’d ask in return, “How much help do you need? How much preparation does your home need?”

Sellers should contact their agents as soon as possible. Part of my job is to meet with you, understand your needs and your goals, learn as much as I can about your home, and then guide you on what we need to do to make sure your home presents perfectly and sells at an opportune time in the market.

On the other hand, if you’re a buyer, I’ll still need to meet with you as soon as possible, but for a different set of reasons. Ideally, we’d meet to talk about your wants, needs, goals, objectives—what you’re specifically looking for in a home. Then, we’d get you connected with a local lender so that you know exactly how much you can afford and what the payment would look like.

I want to meet with you as soon as possible so that I can understand your needs and get you where you’re going on time and on budget.

Typically, it takes between one and three weeks to find the home you’re looking for. Once you’re under contract, it will then take another 30 to 40 days to close.

Ultimately, the answer to today’s question is the same for both buyers and sellers: The sooner you contact your agent about your transaction, the better. I want to meet with you as soon as possible so that I can understand your needs and get you where you’re going on time and on budget.

If you have any real estate questions whatsoever, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send an email. I hope to hear from you soon!


Posted on May 28, 2019 at 6:15 PM
Randi Szakaly | Posted in Blog |

5 Questions to Ask Any Potential Agent or Realtor


People often ask me, “How do I hire a great agent?” Today I’ll give you a list of questions to put to any potential agent before you hire them.
 

All too often, people ask me how they can hire a great agent to assist with all their real estate needs. Today I’ll share them with you.

The first question you should ask any prospective agent is, “Are you a Realtor?”

This question is important because being a real estate agent and being a Realtor are two very different things. You should be looking for a Realtor; we are held to a higher standard than regular agents and we take a lot more educational courses to become licensed. A Realtor is a professional in the field who may be able to represent you better than a regular agent.

The second question to ask is, “Do you work full-time?”

When you’re hiring someone to represent you in the biggest transaction of your life, it’s important to know that this person does their job over and over again on a regular basis. A full-time agent is more likely to be skilled at their craft than someone who only works part-time. You wouldn’t hire an open-heart surgeon for your procedure if they didn’t do open-heart surgery regularly, would you? The same goes for real estate agents.

The third question you should ask an agent, especially if you’re a seller, is, “Do you hire a professional photographer?”

Buyers fall in love with homes online before they fall in love with homes in person. It wouldn’t be doing you any favors by cutting corners and taking amateur photos of your house, so be sure to look for an agent who understands the value of professional photography and will invest the money to make sure your home looks as spectacular as it is in real life.

Fourth, “How do you market and promote your listings?”

If you’re going to pay an agent commission for their services, you want to know that they have a  strong plan in place that is proven to help sell homes on time and for the maximum amount possible.

Finally, ask a prospective agent or Realtor where you can find reviews on their services.

It’s important to note that there are tons of online websites that provide third-party reviews on real estate agents. Take a look at a few of those websites in their entirety to see what others have said about the agent’s level of service—not just the paid platforms that agents use to generate business.

I could honestly make an entire video to explore each one of the questions I discussed today, so if you’d like to talk about them more in detail, or if you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d love to speak with you.


Posted on May 9, 2019 at 6:02 PM
Randi Szakaly | Posted in Blog |

A Great Agent Is More Affordable Than You Think

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, the services of a great real estate agent, in essence, cost you nothing. Allow me to explain.
 

How much does a great real estate agent cost?

The answer depends on whether you’re buying or selling a home.

If you’re buying, the answer is…absolutely nothing! The commission fee for your agent is actually paid by the seller. This means the costs to buy your home extend only to your down payment and closing costs (which usually constitute 1% to 3% of the overall purchase price).

If you’re a seller, you’re responsible for the commissions of both your agent and the buyer’s agent. But in reality, as with the buyer, a great real estate agent should cost you absolutely nothing.

Working with an agent such as myself will cost you nothing because I can net you more than you’d be able to get if you sold the home yourself.

What I mean by that is, with the tools at our disposal, we’re able to market your home to the broadest audience and present it in a way that’s appealing to buyers so that they’ll have the confidence to offer you the best price possible.

Working with an agent such as myself will cost you nothing because I can net you more than you’d be able to get if you sold the home yourself. I can also guide you through the entire process and make sure you get where you’re going on time and with minimal out-of-pocket expenses.

If you’d like to know more about this topic or you’re ready to buy or sell a home in our market, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you get started.


Posted on April 25, 2019 at 9:02 PM
Randi Szakaly | Posted in Blog |

Do Buyers or Sellers Hold the Edge in Our Market?

We’re still in a seller’s market as we enter the second quarter of 2019, but now is a good time to be a buyer or seller.
 

Now that the first quarter of 2019 is in the books, what’s the state of our current market?

First, let’s talk about our housing inventory. With just two to three months’ worth of available homes, we’re still facing a bit of a shortage. Since a balanced market constitutes four months’ worth of homes and we’re still below that mark, we’re in a seller’s market. Because inventory is low, we’re seeing multiple-offer situations pop up in competitive price points.

As far as interest rates go, 2018 was an interesting year. We expected them to rise multiple times, and they did rise at the end of the year, but they dipped back down again at the beginning of 2019 and gave buyers renewed confidence.

Because inventory is low, we’re seeing multiple-offer situations pop up in competitive price points.

If you’re a buyer, this means you need to have a pre-approval in hand and be ready to make an aggressive offer the moment you find your dream home. Also, make sure you have all your questions for the seller ready so they can be answered up front. If you need to sell your home first, make sure you meet with a great listing agent and you establish your intended list price.

If you’re a seller, you need to have your home photographed, well-presented, and fully marketed so that you can find the buyers who will pay the most for it.

If you have any more questions about our market or you need help buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help you.


Posted on April 11, 2019 at 3:44 PM
Randi Szakaly | Posted in Blog | Tagged

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