Your Kitchen’s Role in Your Home

by seacoast_ashley 20. August 2015 16:13

Your Kitchen’s Role in Your  Home

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On most afternoons, usually around 4:30pm, you can find me frantically searching the Internet for recipes utilizing the few ingredients that I have in the pantry. I am in this dash because at some point I got too busy--and forgot that I need to stop at the grocery store. Around 5:30pm, I have usually given up on my Internet searches, and given into just cooking everything that I have.

By 6:30pm, the family is all sitting around the table--some content and some grumbling-- over the “rice bowls," “big salads," “homemade soup,” or “pasta thingy” that I have concocted.

By 7:00pm we are talking and usually laughing about something funny the 2-year-old did or some crazy thing that the 4-year-old has decided to invent. And in those moments all of the food stresses have vanished and we are fully and presently with each each other. The whole family knows that we will do it all again tomorrow.

No matter what food is eaten there is a special togetherness that eating with the family fosters.

I grew up with a grandfather who farmed almost everything that my grandmother made. A few times a week our family would casually stroll into their house and have dinner, watch PM Magazine, and talk. On the days that we didn’t eat from my grandfather’s garden, my father would cook elaborate versions of soul food that far outweighed even my mother’s most ambitious meals.

I can remember every detail of my grandparent’s kitchen. I know what the countertops were made of (a white formica with tiny gold flecks), what was in each of the cabinets, and most certainly where my grandmother hid sweets. My mother still owns the table that my grandmother so extravagantly set night after night (with only white plates, bowls, etc. and Smurf glasses from Hardee’s), and when I enter my mother’s kitchen I am immediately taken back to dinner as a child.

My parents grow a lot of the food that they cook, and I can trace some of those smells back to toddlerhood. I also know that a proper tomato sandwich is made of only whole bread, Duke’s Mayonnaise, home grown tomato slices (heirloom), and a sprinkle of black pepper. It is best served with a cold Coke.

As many of you who follow the blog know, my family is in the midst of moving. We are under-contract on a house that does not have the greatest kitchen: but I am determined that when we move in, that kitchen will house the memories that my kids will look back on. It is in that kitchen that I will try to replicate (and hopefully one day master) my father’s soul food and my grandmother’s cottage cheese pie. The point is THE KITCHEN IS IMPORTANT!

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For me to work my kitchen magic I need 3 things; sturdy counters, room for five, and a nice set of pans. The backsplash (I want subway tile), the appliances (stainless would be nice), and the cabinet color (these will one day be refaced) really are just minor details in the story of my kitchen. I am willing to give the minor details up for countertop cupcake making, loud excitement whether it be over a ball game or tears over a broken heart, and the ability to just whip up what I already have in the pantry (granted I made it to the grocery store anytime in near past).

Trends in kitchens change. Some are beautiful and some are questionable after a decade. Big is nice, but small can feel just as nice. Let your realtor show you some things that aren’t on your wish list. Let them guide you into a memory maker. Let go of perfect unless it's going to make your tomato sandwiches top notch!

What role does your kitchen play in your family? Join the conversation.

https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty

To see some of the kitchens packed with loads of potential in our area

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/

What to Expect When Buying a Home: You’ve Found “The One”

by seacoast_ashley 14. August 2015 09:08

If you read last week's blog post, you already know that I have studied, gotten a pre-approval letter, and started the home search. Back in my youth (before time got scarce and kids got plentiful), I loved the search for the perfect house. In all honesty, I still do, but the lazy Saturday mornings of driving to open houses at a whim are gone. Our search has been warp speed. We pack snacks, drinks, coloring books, diapers and plan our route like a trip to Europe.


We had three areas that we wanted to zone in on. All of them offered up great schools, walkability to parks, and the most important factor were in our budget...not a penny over! In total we looked at about 10 houses before we found the one. We knew when we walked in that this house would need work, but we also knew that the location and the house layout were perfect for our young family.

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This is the kind of work I’m talking about here. Anybody know a good tree service?


Because the city that we moved to is experiencing  quite a rebound from the housing market crisis in previous years houses were selling fast. In many cases they are selling above the list prices with multiple offers. We had to make a move, and we had to do it fast. As soon as we viewed the house and buckled everyone into their seats, and passed out waters, and found pacifiers we talked. We drove the neighborhood again, we speculated on what kind of neighbors lived on the street, and then we called our real estate agent and told him that we wanted to make an offer to purchase.


Acting on our Realtor’s advice, we offered full asking price. We asked for closing costs, and the offer would be contingent on our financing and home inspection. Here is where things slowed down, and the dream felt like it was going to die.


As soon as we walked into our rental condo, we started “signing” all of the necessary paperwork. Our realtor was able to prepare and send all documents online. This was extremely helpful. He looked through the documents and informed us that he was submitting the offer. We waited...


At 10pm our realtor called. The seller actually lived overseas, so all offers (and there were a few others) would be held until the following morning and submitted to the seller at the same time. Yikes! 2 days passed and we were freaking out! How long was an offer good for? When would we hear back? Would we hear back? Could we make other offers? The number of questions that our Realtor had to answer was downright embarrassing!  By the end of the third day we were informed that the sellers chose another offer. The house was “under contract.”

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Dreams of the kids coming down these stairs on Christmas...dashed.

My family experienced a strange sort of heartbreak knowing that we were still house hunting. In the short time (not even a week) since seeing the house, we had started to picture our life there. We were so in love with the neighborhood that it seemed like every other neighborhood was not as good. We knew that we would continue looking in this neighborhood, but we also knew that most things that came on the market in this area went under contract super fast, and for more money than we had to spend. I actually cried.


Two weeks later, our luck changed! Our realtor called us one evening to inform us that the contract had fallen through, and that the seller would be putting “our house” back on the market! We immediately told our realtor to resubmit our offer, to take out the closing cost, and to add an extra $1000 to the offer. This would be the strongest offer that we could make, and we did not want to lose out again.


Two nail-biting days later, we were under contract. Our offer to purchase had been in competition with 3 other, but the tweaks to the offer were enough to sway the seller. The kids went to bed talking about their new rooms and my husband and I poured a glass of celebratory wine!


The next morning the drive to close on this house kicked into high gear. There were papers to be signed, inspections to be lined up, loans to qualify for. You can read all about those things on the blog next week!


How did you know that you found “the one”? Did you have to jump through many hoops to make it your own? Let us know on our Facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty


If you haven’t already found your dream home, we can help!

 

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/

What to Expect When Buying a House: The rent is too high and the rates are too good...decisions, decisions

by seacoast_ashley 6. August 2015 15:32

 

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After selling our home for a move across the state, my husband and I wondered if now was the right time to buy a home? We had to move quickly, due to a job start date as well as a super-quick sale of our home. Upon arriving in our new town we set up camp in a rental with our three children and started researching.

The very first thing that we did, upon the advice of various realtors and lenders, was to make sure that our finances were in good order. No matter our choice to buy or rent, we needed to be able to understand where our debts stood and how much we could afford. By ensuring that our credit scores were good and that all open accounts were in good standing we were able to move forward.

The decision to buy was made pretty quickly. Our family was going to stay in the same home for the duration of elementary school (at least) for three children, so we knew this will be a 5-10 year move. Mortgage interest rates were at historic lows. And possibly the biggest factor for us was that rent would be just as expensive as mortgage payments and in most cases even more because of the size of our family! Buying was a no-brainer for us.

https://youtu.be/lm2NtyM2i2Q

http://bit.ly/1OC1OaX

After making the first of what would end up being hundreds of decisions, the first person that we contacted was our long term mortgage broker. We had worked with him on all of our previous loans, and it felt comfortable going back to him for guidance. Our broker was able to speak with us about income, assets, debts, etc. He then gave us a general idea of what we could afford and a loan pre-approval letter in the event that we found something we wanted to put an offer on.

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With pre-approval in hand we began casually driving around neighborhoods looking for the perfect spot. We scoured the Internet for neighborhood reviews, school reviews, etc. We joined forums for our new town. We reached out to anyone from our past that now lived in our new city. I’m pretty sure that at some college somewhere I have earned a doctorate in all things “new city.”

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The research could have been a full-time job and without local knowledge of the area we were swimming in a sea of confusion! This is where a relocation specialist came in very handy! A relocation specialist was able to answer some of our questions and then refer us to a local realtor.

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/relocate/

Our realtor was able to assist us in narrowing our search. The market is hot in our new city, and we needed to focus to be able to play the real estate game! We chose three areas to focus on. I drove those areas in the morning, afternoon, and night to get a feel for the traffic, neighborhood activity, and the kinds of people that would become our neighbors.

All of the above steps were imperative in our quest for the perfect home. After completing the steps above we were confident walking into each showing that if we loved the house we could quickly make our offers. The future was coming and coming fast! Check back to see what happened when we found our dream home!

How did you make the decision to buy or rent? What were the big factors in choosing where to look? Who was imperative to you starting your search?

Join the conversation on our Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty

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/

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