Tracking Down the Food Trucks!!!

by seacoast_ashley 24. July 2015 04:53

Work up an appetite this weekend visiting some of our open houses then find a food truck! The food truck scene in Wilmington has grown exponentially in the past few years. Our family loves to do a good food truck hunt! The best way to love where you live is to explore it. Here are a few of our favorite conquests!

  1. Catch - Sliders, street tacos, and more filled with locally caught yumminess. There is a reason that the movie studios loves Catch so much. It is divine. This is by far one of the best road restaurants out there!! http://www.catchthefoodtruck.com/home#menu

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Image via WECT

  1. Poor Piggy’s BBQ - Specializing in North Carolina BBQ, and you know how seriously we take our BBQ here! Just like strolling into your favorite sit down BBQ joint, Poor Piggy’s serves up the sandwich or plate options (with hushpuppies!!!). http://www.poorpiggys.com/#!

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Image Vis Poor Piggy’s Facebook Page

  1. A&M’s Red Food Truck - If you are out exploring and hit a hankering for brunch food, I would highly suggest that you hunt down this truck! Chicken and Waffle sliders....need I say more? Fresh fruit, crepes, breakfast casseroles?!!?! What?! I know. https://www.facebook.com/Aandmsrft

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Image via A&Ms Red Food Truck Facebook Page

  1. Funky Fresh Food Truck - Funky and Fresh! The name says it all. This truck serves up FRESH! The menu may include corn fritters, snapper, mac-and-cheese bites! You are free to go on your search now! https://www.facebook.com/funkyfreshfoodtruck

  1. Soulful Twist - Need some comfort food? This is the truck that you need to find. Cozy on up with fried okra, cornbread fritters, and so much more made from the heart. Dare I say that it competes with my Mama’s food! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Soulful-Twist/1397800603835622?fref=ts

Anyone crazy enough (and I mean this in the best possible way) to operate a food truck may find it cumbersome to commit to just one menu. I can guarantee you though, that you should trust their menu decisions! Go. Explore your city. Support your neighbors, and fill your belly in the process!!

I know that with so many great chefs taking to the road I have missed quite a few. Who should we hunt next? Tell me what your favorite food truck is! https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty


**After writing this post, I stumbled across this story in the Huffington Post. I love a good read on people doing extraordinary things. Have a look! http://huff.to/1JAQMOl

10 Awesome Things to do This Weekend! Get Out and Explore!!!

by seacoast_ashley 16. July 2015 08:41

 

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One of the greatest things about living in Coastal NC is the abundance of unique weekend events. Whether you have visitors from out of town and want to show them a good time, or you are looking to explore your hometown you have lots of options for this weekend. Here are 10 of the activities going on this weekend that are worth a look! Explore! #lovewhereyoulive

1. Nurishment Class: Homemade Condiments

Learn to make all of the condiments that you need for a summer cook-out. When you are done, grab a bite and shop for your party supplies!

http://bit.ly/1I6sqzt

Tidal Creek

2. Beach Reads Book Sale at the Northeast Regional Library

Pick-up some good beach reads for the second half of summer! Books are only $0.50!!

http://bit.ly/1JkDBkm

NHC Public Library, Northeast

3. Carolina Beach and Riverwalk Farmers Markets

Spend the morning strolling around in the beautiful sunshine! Show your home some summer lovin’ by bringing home fresh flowers!

http://bit.ly/1oOntA2

http://bit.ly/1f83vQA

Carolina Beach / Downtown Wilmington

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4. Historical Southport Bike Tour

Get outside, get active, and gain some knowledge about historical Southport. Southport offers up tons of unique shopping and dining experiences when you are done! See why they are America’s Happiest Seaside Town!

http://bit.ly/1CJHAdj

Southport

5. Cornhole Tournament Benefiting Brandon Bailey

Do you have what it takes to sink the bean bagjQuery15206205183092970401_1437072070443? Then you might want to head out to Sneads Ferry to show-off your skills, win a prize, and support Brandon’s fight against Lymphoma. Triple win!

http://bit.ly/1fMJ8cD

Sneads Ferry

6. Pro-Am Surf Fest

Watch some of the greatest surfers in the world compete at one of the largest surfing competitions on the East Coast! Sun, salt, and surfing sounds like the perfect beach weekend!

http://bit.ly/1K9tNN6

Wrightsville Beach

7. Yoga Fest 2015 : Summer of Hope Fundraiser

Get your mind and body relaxed and ready to face the work week! The best part? Proceeds will benefit Homes of Hope Orphanages in India! Feel good, do good, be good!

http://bit.ly/1CG8x1L

Wilmington Yoga Center

8. Family Park Days “ Bubble Bash”

Who doesn’t love blowing bubbles in the warm sunshinejQuery1520807116371113807_1437072282760 Meet your neighbors while chasing bubbles. Paint with bubbles and make your own bubble wand! And, did I mention it is freejQuery152021012896252796054_1437073018743?

http://bit.ly/1I69Ads

Phillips Park (Jacksonville)

9. US Coast Guard One-Day Safety Course

Living near the water necessitates that you know how to be safe on or when operating a boat. This one day course is designed to get you boating ready. One day inside, is worth a whole summer of safety!

http://www.southport-oakisland.com/index.php/event/3270/uscoastguardonedaysafetycourse

Oak Island / Southport

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10. Summer Pop-up Starry Nights (other themes throughout the month)

Spend time with your family cooling off at the Cape Fear museum participating in various interactive experiences! This is the perfect way to learn about the people, places, and things that create our unique region. This week learn about the constellations in the summer sky!

http://bit.ly/1gDYUXf

Cape Fear Museum / Wilmington

***Bonus Activity! Coast in and Win!!***

Visit some the beautiful homes listed by Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage and enter to win $500! Winning could fund a lot of weekend adventures! For a list of our open houses visit

http://bit.ly/JVRxuj

What to Expect When Selling Your Home: Part Six - The Closing

by seacoast_ashley 13. July 2015 03:35

 

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I was not as smiley as this woman on the side of our UHaul


After packing every square inch of our home, minus the living room curtains (you can read more about this in last week’s blog) we were ready to scrub. My family and I had loved our home and we wanted the new buyers to walk in and love it too.

Luckily, I had the help of my super awesome parents. Everyday for the last week in my home, my mother and I would drop my kids off at a drop-in daycare. We would clean the inside of the house while my father worked on the outside. We had so much stuff crammed into every available space that no less than 10 trips were made to local charities to make donations.


The week was looooong. I had prepared myself to cry from sun up to sun down. I had previously imagined that each piece of artwork coming off the wall, and each memory inducing wall scrape touched up, and each totally empty room would result in an ocean of tears. This was not the case!  The massive amount of work that it took to get the house completely empty and clean made me ready to get out.


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Little things like this set the tears flowing!


The tear-free me lasted until the morning of closing. I woke up early and attempted to make a video of each room so that our kids would be able to remember what the house was like when they were small. This was when the floodgates opened. I could remember memories so clearly in that empty house. I remembered every holiday photo, every scraped knee, and every birthday party. I knew that the new owners would be walking into the house, their house, in just a few short hours. With a couple of deep breaths and spoken thank-yous to the house, I slipped a bottle of champagne into the fridge, and walked out for the last time.


Oftentimes (almost everytime) buyers have the chance to do one final walk-through of the home. This usually takes place on the morning of the closing. I was informed by my realtor that I could be there for the walk-through or not. I chose not to attend. I knew that I would be sad seeing someone critique or make plans of changing what had been mine for so many years. I also wanted the new buyers to be relaxed and excited. I wanted them to “bond” with their new home.


Driving out of our neighborhood was rough, but somewhere between the neighborhood and the lawyer’s office I had made peace with moving out. We did not see the buyers at the closing table. It is my understanding that in some cases the buyers and sellers are at the same table and literally hand over the keys after signing all of the legal paperwork. My appointment to sign was an hour before the buyers’ appointment. The actual closing was pretty anti-climatic.


My agent sat beside me and a lawyer sat in front of me. It was so nice to have the experienced eyes of my agent reviewing everything that the lawyer slid across the table. It was important too, because we found a $200 mistake! Papers were re-done, resigned, and before I knew it my house was no longer mine. The “buyers” were no longer the buyers, but were the “owners.”


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New beginnings, here we come!


Every hardship and minute of work seemed to vanish. The memories stayed. And, in the second that I signed my name on the last of what felt like 1000 pages, my family and I became homeless! The relief of selling our home has morphed into panic again as we search for a new house to make a home. We are in a constant state of looking, number-crunching, racing to open houses! Stay tuned for the upcoming series “What to Expect When Buying a Home”.


Did you feel relief, sadness, pure joy when officially selling your home? Do you have advice for me on buying? Please do-tell!

https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty


If you are looking for guidance in the home buying/selling process:

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/

What to Expect When Selling Your House: Part 5 - Life After the Offer

by seacoast_ashley 3. July 2015 04:33

 

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Pay close attention to these curtains, and read on.


In my last blog post, I talked about the highs, and lows, and long nights of negotiating and accepting an offer. It is an exciting time, but don’t pop that cork (like we did) just yet. Little did my husband and I know, there would be many more hurdles to jump before the whole home selling process was over.


The offer that we accepted put us walking away with a couple thousand dollars. We knew that we would not walk away with lots of money, as we bought our home in the height of the housing market, and although recovering, it was not quite back to the way it had been. We were selling due to a job move, so we were okay with walking away with nothing. The reason that we negotiated our bottom-line at a couple thousand dollars above our break-even point, was so that after the buyers had their inspection and submitted their repair request we would have the money to fix anything necessary. We will talk about that list a little later!


In the Offer to Purchase that we signed, the buyers put down “earnest money.” This is money that shows that they are committed, and if the transaction goes through will go toward their down payment. This gave us peace of mind and let us know that if the deal fell through by some fault of the buyer we would be compensated for the time that the house was off the market.


The Offer also had a due diligence period of three weeks. This time lets the buyer schedule all necessary inspections, appraisals, etc. Some of these inspections were just things that the buyer wanted to check out, and some were necessary for the bank to approve their loan. This three weeks ended up being almost as hectic as the house showing period. Because we wanted the house to make good impressions we continued to clean, tweak, and improve it. Not only were we doing the aforementioned things, but we were also packing. We were moving whether this deal went through or not, so packing could not wait. There was SO MUCH STUFF!


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Renting a POD was one of the best decisions we made. It gave a us a place to put ALL THAT STUFF without making too much of a mess inside the house.


With each inspection (home inspection, pest inspection, roof inspection, inspection of the heating and air unit) came new worries that the buyer might not like what they were hearing. Our stress levels went each time an inspector scheduled a visit. I am sure that the buyer was feeling this same stress and probably second guessing their offer the whole way through.


The day that due diligence was to end the buyer’s agent asked for a due diligence extension... We were floored. Our agent was in constant contact with the buyer’s agent. We were assured that the buyer was no trying to back out, but could not get the all of the inspections that they needed in time. They wanted to extend 3 days. We very reluctantly agreed. One last inspection and the due diligence was ending (at 5pm). We were counting hours.


At 4pm we received the Repairs Request. This is where the deal almost fell apart. Are you stressed out yet? We were!


Having bought and sold houses before, my husband and I both totally expected that there would be a list of things both “biggish” and small that the buyer would ask us to fix. I was expecting things like repair of a crack in the moulding, fixing the light fixture in the bedroom, replacing the back door, etc. What we got went way beyond our wildest dreams!


The repairs report came, and the buyer asked for a new roof, new heat/air unit, gas logs in the fireplace to be serviced, and the list went on and on. In case you missed it, yes I did say a new roof! The estimation for a new roof was $8,000. The estimate for a new heat/air unit was also $8,000. I freaked out! The were asking for well over $20,000 in repairs.


It was time for my agent’s ninja negotiating skills to be exercised. After much sweating and number crunching my husband and I knew that the couple of thousand dollars that we were going to walk away with was all that we could offer. We had our agent call the buyer’s agent and offer $2000 toward closing, we would service the gas logs, and we would service the heat/air unit. There was nothing else that we could offer. We waited, and tried to figure out what we would do with the house when the deal fell through.


We had a response from the buyer within an hour. They would take our offer if we would throw in the living room curtains. It all came down to curtains.

The deal was on, we were back to packing, and it finally felt like we were in the home stretch.


Have you gotten close to a deal and then it fell through? Or, did you sell a home and have a buyer ask for something totally unexpected? Tell me about it on our Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty


Do you need a ninja negotiator? Find an agent on our website

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/




What to Expect When Listing Your House: The Offer

by seacoast_ashley 19. June 2015 10:31

 

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As soon as our home hit the market we starting showing the house. Four days after going active in our MLS (Multiple Listing Service), our Agent hosted our first open house. Two days later, we had an offer. As soon as the text message came through that our Agent had emailed us a copy of the offer, my husband and I commented that, “This is it! We need champagne for signing!” Ahhh, how that elation quickly deflated.


With shaky hands we opened the offer. It was for a whopping $25,000 less than our list price. For some houses, $25,000 isn’t a very big percentage. But for our house, listed right above $200,000, it was over 25%. There was no way that the offer could work. No matter how fast we needed to move we couldn’t come to the closing table with much cash. We could not afford to sell our house!


Our Realtor's job got pretty stressful pretty quick. He was tasked with calling the Buyer’s agent to let her know that we had a counter-offer. The counter was nowhere near the Buyer’s number. It was only a couple thousand dollars less than our list price. We decided (with our Realtor) when deciding on a list price that we would price aggressively but that it would leave us with little wiggle room in negotiations. We figured that it must just be the Buyer’s negotiating tactic, start super-low and hope that we would all end up somewhere in the middle. This did not work. We came as low as we could, and they came as high as they would. The buyers ended up walking away “to look at other properties.” That deal was dead.


My husband, my Realtor and I were all disappointed. We had our bottom-line number, and although our awesome Agent had gotten us very close, it just wasn’t close enough. No matter how close the number got to our bottom-line we still only had a certain amount of attainable cash to access. That would not change. I am pretty sure that we all had a sinking feeling in our stomachs that it might be a while before we got another offer. What if we could never get close enough to sell? Our family fell into a little depressive state.


Luckily, this “Flat Offer Depression” didn’t last long! Six days later our Realtor hosted another open house (2 open houses and 12 showings if you are keeping track). The next day we had another offer! The offer came in around 7pm. It was even lower than the first offer from the week before.


This was a huge blow. Panic set in. We would never be able to sell this house. We countered-- and then we started pricing the rental market for a 4-bedroom single family home. We were going to have to be landlords...ugh. Buzzz, a new text message. The buyers had countered our counter-offer. They came up a lot! Now the game was really heating up. We poured glasses of wine, and turned the couch into a negotiating command center. The timing of the offer meant that we could be negotiating until very late in the night.


Our Realtor was the voice of calm reason. He could never (by law) give us a number or tell us exactly what to do, but he did offer advice on different scenarios and how it might all play out. This was a huge help! There were things that we hadn’t thought about. By 11:00pm we had reached our bottom-line. We countered with that number, and the notice that this was our lowest number before we would have to walk. The buyer accepted. We were officially under contract!

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I am not a very confrontational person, so the whole process gave my stomach the wiggles. I am grateful that I was not the one on the phone during the negotiating process. The excitement that my husband and I initially felt, quickly shifted to frenzy(how will we get all the stuff packed, where will we go?), then to nostalgia for our our home (hey, we brought three newborn babies into those doors!), and finally to conclusion. We are ready for adventure...little did we know on that night that this house held a whole lot of adventure left for us!


Visit the blog next week to find out what happens after the offer is accepted! We should have saved that nice bottle of champagne for closing night!


Have you ever celebrated too soon? Let us know on our Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty


Are you ready to sell and learn the process for yourself? Or, make an offer and send a seller into a frenzy? Find a Realtor here

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/






What to Expect When Listing Your House: Step 3 - Papers, Open Houses, and Showings..Oh My!

by seacoast_ashley 12. June 2015 10:02

The two most important decisions that we have made, thus far in our house-selling adventures, have been choosing our realtor and preparing our home for listing.  I am going to hit the three topics listed in the title above, and hopefully you will see why! Lets go in order, and if you are feeling a little lost it might be because you missed the first two blogs in this series. You can go back and read them here http://www.seacoastrealty.com/blog/.


Before, during, and after listing your home for sale there is a mountain of paperwork that must be read, checked over, filled in, and signed. I love words. I love writing. I love reading. However, there is nothing I dislike more than contracts. Every contract that I have ever received or signed immediately sends me into a full-stress overdrive. I worry that I missed something, or that I didn’t read the technical or legal language correctly. I worry that I have just signed my children away on accident!


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Pick a good one! These people will be your new best friend.


This contract/ legal-form dread has one antidote. That would be, a really great Realtor! My realtor has filled-out and read over hundreds of these contacts. He knows exactly what the form is saying in layman’s terms. I have texted, emailed, and called him so many times just to make sure that I am getting it right. To make the form-life even easier, my realtor utilizes a program that allows for me to sign all paperwork online. He can instantly see what I have done, and either congratulate me on finally understanding that “property” is referring to the house and land, or gently remind me that this is the year 2015 not 2014. DotLoop (the program that I am speaking of) also allows for my Husband and I to look back over anything that we have already signed. It lets us each sign individually, so even when we aren’t together we can sign and don’t have to meet and drive to a certain place. This is one of the major differences this time around from the last time we bought or sold a house.


These are just a few of the forms, contacts, etc that we have filled out or signed thus far (3 weeks in). I am sure that there are more, but these are the ones that are living in my DotLoop “Loop”.


Working With Real Estate Agents

Professional Services Disclosure

Exclusive Right to List

Lead Based Paint Disclosure Form

Mineral Oil/Gas/Rights Disclosure

Residential Property Disclosure


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Our realtor was on-point with advertising!


As soon as we crossed the mountain of paperwork, we were ready to go go go! Our agent knew the importance of a fast sell, so he immediately set up an open house within our first week on the market. This ended up being not quite as nerve wracking as I had expected. The house was already clean (due to our prepping to sell). Our only obligation was to make sure the house looked good, and to leave (yes leave, with 3 small kids and a dog) for 4 hours. The turnout was great, and he went ahead and scheduled another open house for the following weekend.


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What the days looked like.


It was hard to get ourselves and then keep ourselves (we have a dog that gets extremely car-sick) out of the house for a good chunk of the weekend, but it was well worth it. We got great feedback from agents. Requests for showings started pouring in. This told us two things. We were priced right, and people liked the house! All of the cleaning and housework, and our realtors hard work was paying off!


Because we were getting so many requests for showings, we needed to plan our “showing method”. After planning our showing method (how would we receive request, what lead time we required, what would need to be taken out of the house) life became a race. We were racing from work to home, home to the park, and back again. We really got to know our current city better, because we were forced to spend so much time out of the house.


Our agent set our phones up with an app called ShowingTime. This app was incredibly helpful. My husband and I would each receive a text message alerting us that there was a request to view our home. We were able to respond with a simple “Y” or “N” or suggest a different time. We loved that we were able to find out as soon as there was interest in seeing the home, as it gave us extra time to get the house cleaned-up and plan where we will take the kids and dog during the showing.I would suggest that you speak with your realtor about how he/she plans to notify you about your showing request.


No matter when the showing was requested we always made it work. This was not easy, but well worth the effort. We received an offer after only 6 days on the market! Next week’s blog will fill you in on the offer and negotiating process!


As always, I love hearing your listing stories! And, can easily direct you a person that might be able to answer your real estate questions and calm your listing fears!

For a great realtor(like mine) look here...

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/


To join in the selling conversation visit us here

 

https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty

What to Expect When Listing Your House: Step Two: Preparing Your Home for Listing

by seacoast_ashley 4. June 2015 16:18

 

 

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If you read last week’s blog post then you already know the first step. If you missed it then you might want to back up and read Step One: Finding a Realtor. Ok, caught up? Perfect.


In an attempt to inform our clients, I am blogging my personal experience listing (selling) my home. As I mentioned in the last blog post, this is not my first experience. However,  it does carry much more weight. I now have 3 small children, a dog, and house bursting with a “lived- in” feel.


We are moving due to a job change. We knew that we had to list our home for sale just 4 weeks before my husband’s out-of-town job start date. This makes it important to try to sell the house as quickly as possible, because I will be staying in our current home with the aforementioned three kids and a dog until the house sells and we can find a home in our new location.

Before we signed with our Realtor we started the deep clean. We tried to fix any glaring problems with the house, but due to financial and time constraints there are a few things that could still use attention.


We explained to our realtor that we needed a quick sell and we couldn’t afford or have the time to do large amounts of work. His recommendation was to price aggressively.  By doing so, we are hoping that we will have more interest. We know that we will not end up walking away with a profit, but that is okay with us. We are simply looking to free up the money that we are paying towards our mortgage so that we can put that into a new home. For lots of people this strategy does not work. Often times, people are looking to make profit or at least make back some of the money that they have paid towards renovations, etc. This is something that you and your realtor will need to determine. Know your end goal.


After pricing our house our realtor made a few suggestions for inexpensive ways that we could prepare the house to go on the market. I had a $500 limit set on the work that we could/would do. His first suggestion was to enhance the curb appeal. We decided that almost all of the $500 would go to drawing buyers into our home from the outside. Step one was to paint the front porch. The porch was not in terrible shape, but fresh white paint had a huge impact. It makes the house look shiney and new. After paying for paint and supplies, we had about $400 left to spruce the place up.


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See how crisp that white looksjQuery15207700262633152306_1433533719477


I spent $100 on new planters in crisp white, 3 hanging baskets bursting with flowers, and lots of new plants for the area around our walkway. There is nothing that makes you want to take your home off the market more than driving up to your home a feeling like it is the best that it has ever looked! Be prepared to wish you could stay.


With the remaining $300 we plan on fixing a piece of cracked molding around our front door, replacing a rotted board on our back deck (and repainting it), changing out all of our light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs, and possibly repainting all of the interior trim work the same crisp white that made such a huge impact on the front porch. If there is money left over, I will be hiring a cleaning service to come in and scrub all of the nooks and crannies that I have neglected.


Once the house was clean and fresh and looking like the home of my dreams, our Realtor hired a house photographer. This is something that never happened with our previous listings, but it has already had a huge impact on the level of interest that we have had by buyers. The photos show the very best of our home. I would recommend that you have a professional photograph your home. It was fairly inexpensive (my realtor even provides the service free to his sellers) and really does make a world of difference. Today, most buyers start their search online. They want great visuals.

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These pics have driven tons of traffic to my home’s online profile!


One of my biggest obstacles has been decluttering this house. After many years and many children we look like an exploded toy shop. The method that worked (is working) for me, is to keep 2 baskets in my laundry room.


The first basket is for the things that may be scattered about, but that we can’t do without. I load this basket at the first request for a showing. It holds dog items (food, leash, bed), personal items we don’t want to leave laying about, and anything else that has found it’s way to the floor that I don’t have time to put in its specific place. The second basket holds things that need to leave the house for good. It is our “out” basket. The items that most often find their fate in this basket are toys that I noticed aren’t played with anymore, clothes that are too small, or items that we haven’t used in the past six months.


When we have a showing request the first thing I do is load those baskets into the car. I usually try to donate the “out” stuff while driving around killing time during the showing. The basket method has worked well so far. In the end, it will result in less packing for me!

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More decluttering to do, but with 3 kids this is pretty clean!


EVERYDAY (yes, all caps) we clean. Floors are vacuumed or swept (or mopped on a good day), all surfaces are wiped down, smudges are cleaned, dust is banished.The lawn is mowed on any pretty day. There are no toilets left opened, and no recycling items left on the counters.  It is an exhausting process, but at the end of the day we know that this will speed up the selling process. It will help us reach our end goal (and rest) so much faster!


What are the projects that you feel are most important to complete when listing your home? If you have sold a home before, did the cleaning and home improvements drive you batty? Share your methods!!


Watch out for Step Three of the home-selling process next week!


To share your ideas (and to help me sell!) join the conversation on our Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty


To find an agent to guide you in the process visit

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/

What to Expect When Listing Your House to Sell: Step One: Picking Your Realtor

by seacoast_ashley 26. May 2015 05:07

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Listing one’s house for sale can be a taxing situation, or it can be a pretty easy one. Hopefully by educating yourself on what to expect you can take the stress out of one of the most important decisions that you will make in your life.


Step One: FIND A GOOD REALTOR. I can not stress enough the importance of this first step. After buying and selling quite a few homes in my life, this step has played the most important role in keeping the process rolling smoothly. There are many many factors that need to be considered when finding the right agent for you.


The last home that I listed created the most stressful situation that I had ever experienced. I made the age-old mistake of hiring my realtor based solely on the fact that this person was a close personal friend. There are a few major problems that can arise in a situation like mine. My realtor was not located in my city. This resulted in problems with her availability, and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings by questioning her lack of commitment or knowledge of our area. In the end, we ended up letting the listing expire, and basically messing up what was a perfectly good friendship.


From now on, I will be sticking with the, “no business with family or friends” rule. If you happen to have a really great friend or family member that is the world’s best realtor be sure to think long and hard about the various situations that could occur. Ask yourself is it worth it? If you really want to use your friend but don’t want to risk your friendship, you might ask for a referral to another agent. Most realtors love to give and receive referrals. There is usually some sort of compensation to the referring agent, so it is a nice way for you to help your friend without hurting your relationship.


That being said, many people love to work with someone that they already know. For some, it turns out to be an enjoyable situation that deepens a relationship, and can often result in a lifelong realtor. One of my close family members always uses her close friend in real estate transactions. They are able to be 100% honest with one another without feeling like either party is going to hurt the feelings of the other. Every friendship as well as every realtor/client relationship is different. Think about what works for you, and do not feel pressure to use a friend’s service just because they are a friend.


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After you have decided not to use a friend/family realtor, there are a couple of ways to find someone with whom you can work. In the age of the Internet, the easiest route is to begin your search online. I picked the realty company before I picked an actual agent. After poring over reviews of different agencies, I settled on the largest in my area. By doing so, I have access to more potential buyers. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and I loved the idea that my realtor may be around (and talking on a daily basis in the office) hundreds of different agents.


When the company was picked, I moved on to the actual realtor. I would suggest that you speak with a few different agents before settling on one. I spoke with three and found someone that I liked as person and that I also felt really was excited about my house. He presented me with his plan for “attack,” and it was just what I was looking for. I needed to move quickly and have someone that could be aggressive on the marketing front. Myself, being deeply involved in social media, had been witness to the power of social advertising. I knew I wanted someone who had a knack for giving properties a presence on the social scene.


There are many many more questions that you might consider asking your potential agent. You might like to know what his/her success rate is? What types of listings does he/she generally list? How well do they know the area? How and how often will they communicate with you? This list could go on and on. Depending on what type of person you are, it might be a short list of questions or it might be really long. Googling “What to ask a potential realtor,” gave me a good starting point.


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After signing the “Working with Realtors” and the “Exclusive Right to List” paperwork our official Realtor/Client relationship was born! There are so many more steps to listing your house. Please check back next week to find out Step Two! In the meantime, let me know how you chose your Realtor. Did you end up working with a friend or family member? Did you love it? Spill it - The good, the bad, and the ugly!


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House Features That Moms Love

by seacoast_ashley 13. May 2015 08:06

 


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My family is planning our next move. We are listing our house, and have started dreaming about what our next house will be like. As a mom to small children, I find myself looking for certain features in a home.


My biggest “dream feature” would be close proximity to my own Mom. This is something that will not change anytime soon. We will most likely live hours apart for many more years. To make up for the fact that there is a long drive between us, I would love to have an in-law suite. I am hoping that this will not be too hard to find, as double master suites seems to be an option that many homebuilders are now offering. Having a comfortable place for my Mom would hopefully encourage her to come for longer periods of time! Mom is the best babysitter, counselor, and friend I have, so more time with her is always a plus.


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School districts are a huge factor in the homes that I will consider. Not only the schools, but the kid-friendly activities that are near the house, and kid-focused amenities that a neighborhood has to offer. Before having children these types of things were completely off my radar. Now, as I look at homes and neighborhoods it is the one thing that I can not overlook. It is my Number One priority. All moms want the best for their children, and want a safe place to send their kids. It is a huge bonus if the house and neighborhood are not near any busy roads. When summer days are stretching longer and longer and my nerves are growing thinner and thinner I want the kids to be able to play outside! Nothing can change a bad attitude like a quick dose of sunshine.


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Now that the kids are safe, let's move on to the next thing that a Mom-approved house might offer. It is storage. Moms want storage and lots of it. I don’t know very many moms that are able to totally conquer clutter. Toys breed while we sleep at night! If you walk into a house with kids and don’t see toys I will guarantee you that there is a closet somewhere that is stocked, stacked, and stuffed with them. That closet probably has a broken door from the hip bump needed for Mom to get it to shut. My next house will have storage galore! I want closets, cabinets, and attics. Throw in a dedicated laundry room for the piles currently residing on the bathroom floor and I am one happy Mama.


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A Mom-approved home will function flawlessly. The ability to multi-task and schedule is one of our most powerful attributes. We want our homes to offer a functionality that enables us to multi-task with ease. I want to be able to cook while watching the puppet show happening on the couch. The functionality of an open floor plan is so very appealing. I do know that as the kids grow I may want more walls...to separate myself from angry teens, but we will cross that bridge when we get there.


At the end of the day, even a superhero needs rest. Moms need to take a little time to reflect and re-energize. The last and quite possibly the most important thing that a Mom-friendly house will have (the thing that I try to envision in every single potential new home I tour) is the Mom Retreat. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be separated from the rest of the house, though that would be awesome. It just has to be MY space. It is a space that I will decorate totally for ME. A space where I may or may not allow kids to play. It is a space that will nurture me and provide moments of peace and solitude.

Some of my mom friends are looking for huge tubs to soak away stress. Some of them are looking for gardening spaces. Some of them just want a bay window so that they can watch the world grow. It doesn’t matter what kind of space moms are looking for: we need it. Moms need to care for themselves to be able to care for everyone else!


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What features did I leave off the list that you think are Mom necessities? Is there any feature in your own home that has made life with kids a little easier? Let me know!

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All Homes pictured above are current listings of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty. If you would like additional photographs, information, or homes tours please visit our website!

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Robots in the Home?

by seacoast_ashley 4. May 2015 16:31


How do you feel about the idea of having robots in your home? I’m not talking about the ones that a child left laying in the hallway, but rather an actual robot with an actual job to do? Many of us have tried and either loved or hated robots in the past.


My first venture into robots for the home was the Roomba robot that vacuums. http://www.irobot.com/For-the-Home/Vacuum-Cleaning/Roomba.aspx

I loved Roomba until my anxious dog decided that there was room for only one thing, namely her, under the dining room table. Sure, the Roomba didn’t do the job quite as well as I do with the stand up vac, but it did allow me to go for longer times between actual vacuuming. Now there are also a variety of floor cleaning robots that mop, this could be a total game changer in my house, and I look forward to trying one...as soon as the price drops a little on them.

http://www.irobot.com/For-the-Home/Floor-Mopping/Braava.aspx

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For cat owners there is the Litter-Robot. Yes, a robot that scoops out the used cat litter and stores it in a baggie for you to dispose of. http://www.litter-robot.com/litter-robot.aspx?id=13 It is a little pricey, but if you really really hate scooping the litter box you might just find a way to buy one! If you go on vacation there is the automatic pet feeder.


Robots have invaded our outside space as well. There is the Robomow. This is a robotic lawn mower. You can read more about them here http://usa.robomow.com/explore-robomow/. Even the gutters are getting a helping hand from robots. The iRobot Looj is comes with a remote that allows the user to just point and shoot and the little Looj will do its job! My husband has now left to look for a Looj. http://www.irobot.com/for-the-home/outdoor-maintenance/looj.aspx


There are pool cleaning robots, alarm clock robots, smartphone robots, robotic animals for kids (or people who can’t deal with the litter box even if a robot is scooping it).

As a kid, I remember thinking that the cartoon The Jetsons was just one flying car away from becoming total reality. We aren't quite there yet, but I do see robots creeping more and more into our everyday existence.

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Soon Amazon’s Echo will begin showing up in homes. The release date on Amazon is July 8, 2015, and you must request an invitation to buy one. http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/will-echo-game-changer-homes/

Echo is a voice activated computer, much like Siri is to iPhone users. Echo is simply there to scour the Internet and find the answers to questions for its owners. Sorry kids, Echo isn’t going to do your homework - or will it? Will she roll through the kitchen with a plate of freshly baked cookies that she baked in a slot on her chest? No. Will she find the recipe for the cookies? Maybe. Will I still ask for an Echo for my birthday? Absolutely. I am almost 100% positive that Echo will decrease the amount of times that I am asked to spell something from my first grader. http://www.amazon.com/oc/echo/ref_=ods_dp_ae

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Smart homes (though not entirely robot reliant) are all the rage. The Nest thermostat is evidence of that. https://nest.com/thermostat/life-with-nest-thermostat/ I am seeing Nest in more and more homes and it was even suggested that I install one as a selling point when listing my house on the real estate market. Buyers are aware that a change is occurring. Here is a great list of 25 Smart Technologies that Matter Most to Home Buyers http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/selling-a-smart-home/


A few days after the completion of this blog post (I thought) Tesla made a huge announcement. Tesla unveiled a home battery system. Yes, a battery that powers your entire home! The battery is charged with the use of solar panels. This may be a huge game changer in the energy sector. The battery is called Powerwall and is reported that it will cost around $3000. Tesla is taking reservations for the system, which should be delivered sometime in the summer of 2015. You can read more about the Powerwall here http://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall


Are you an open and willing participant in the robot, smart homes, tech tech everywhere movement that is happening? Do you believe that a change is occurring at all, or are all of the adults just attempting to create another Jetson fantasy that is still decades away? Let us know what you think! And, if you have tried any of the products listed above please give me your take on them! You can communicate with us via Facebook at

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If you are looking for a home that has smart features or if you are looking for a regular house with regular features you can find them all here!

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/

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