The Sotheby's International Realty brand is a unique one. Partly due to our heritage with the auction house and partly due to the changing times, the Sotheby's International Realty brand places a tremendous emphasis on not only professional, white glove service regardless of the listing, but high caliber marketing efforts.
Enter the newest edition of The Anthology, a unique presentation on what the Sotheby's International Realty brand and by extension myself, bring to the table when we list a home.
I've included some highlights below
Evening though many of us are still digging out from the most recent storm, the spring real estate market is on its way. The spring market is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for real estate brokers. Sellers are gearing up for the major home selling season and listing their homes and buyers are flocking to open houses like snowbirds returning from the warmer south.
If you are thinking of entering the market as a buyer in the next few months, now is a really good time to begin regularly visiting homes that are currently for sale. You can preview a list of upcoming public open houses right here on my website. You never know, you may be able to get a jump on the rest of your buying competition and snatch up an excellent deal while the rest of this years potential buyers are busy waiting for March or April.
If you are thinking of entering the market in the next few months and selling your home, now is an excellent time to begin interviewing real estate brokers who may be representing the sale of your home.
Cape Ann Year End Real Estate Market Report
While everyone may wish we had a bigger house, or that every room within our home would be exactly the size and dimensions we wish, this obviously is most likely not the case. As insignificant as it may seem, our powder room can and should be seen as one of the most important areas of the house. While most likely no bigger than a closet, these areas are spaces that everyone from family, friends, guests and strangers who may be working on your home or babysitting will use. While being smaller does provide its limitations, it still gives you a unique opportunity to customize these spaces in an expressful way to share your personality. So whether a smaller master bathroom or the aforementioned smaller powder room, below are some helpful ways to create the small bathroom of your dreams.
1. Establish a scene - First determine how and who will use the bathroom in order to tackle how you will decorate it. A fun children’s bathroom and a master bathroom will look far different. Many powder rooms can be more expressive because it is not a place that you will visit everyday. With that said, master bathrooms should be more subtle with their wall paper, decorations and more, while powder rooms are there to make a statement.
2. Be wise with space - For smaller bathrooms, prioritize storage to maximize space. Knowing how your bathroom will be used will help you determine if you need a medicine cabinet, place to keep towels, and more. As another tip, wall hung sinks and toilets save space by hiding the water tank and pipes directly in the wall.
3. Maximize light - A smaller bathroom likely has a smaller window, if there even is one. Try to maximize light to make the room feel more bold and bigger. Play with accent lighting, hanging lights, wall sconces, back lit mirrors and more.
4. Create an accent wall - Think about aesthetics and go a little bit wild if you’re daring enough. As mentioned, these rooms especially if a powder room are very small and going big and bold with an accent wall is certainly a wonderful way to make a statement. This fearless approach is best accomplished with hanging large antique mirrors, having a mural or large painting, bold colors or wallpaper, and the list goes on.
5. Pay for what you love - Because these bathrooms are of smaller sizes, it is okay to spend more because you will most likely have to do so in order to bring it to a wow factor state. Also, given that you will save money on less tiling, wallpaper and the like due to the smaller size, it allows you to splurge on other important items that you love in your perfect bathroom such as the sink, lighting, or a contemporary toilet.
Across the nation the real estate market is in a much better position today than it has been for many years, this we can all agree. What we can also agree on is when we live in climates where there are drastic temperature and weather changes, so too does the real estate market act in seasons. Historically, the spring market has been known to be the most active. However, due to the incredibly unique circumstances today with how well prices have been doing, the active buyer pool, and lower level of inventory, the market continued to thrive throughout the summer and fall.
Brad Knapp, a Vice President at the National Association of Realtors, reports that, "It used to be that spring and summer were the hot times to buy or sell houses, but people are much more mobile now. If you want to sell your house these days, you don't necessarily have to wait until spring to put it on the market.” Well, with winter being right around the corner, all indications point to it being another successful spell for the real estate industry.
Inventory levels are rising, a welcomed sign to give the market a more stable footing. If you are a seller though, this only increases the competition that your property has with surrounding comparable properties to catch the eye of prospective buyers. This competition is certainly nothing new to buyers of today. The low inventory yet favorable times to buy have caused a rise in bidding wars all throughout the United States, giving buyers more competition than they can handle in many markets for months. As a buyer, it is important to be patient and choose the right battle and to know that as inventory levels climb, your dream home will be there for you in the end. As a seller, there are some things you can do to ensure that your home is as ready as it can possibly be to sell this winter. Below, I highlight five of these helpful tips as encouraged by Mr. Knapp himself:
1. Set a realistic price from the beginning - With the winter traditionally being a slower season, buyers are more picky with their options and assume that many sellers truly ‘need’ to sell if they have their home on the market in the winter. Obviously, this is not always the case, but what it does mean is that you must be wise with your pricing from the get go. "We've been in a buyers market for so long now in most of the country that buyers are trained to lowball," Knapp says. "The best way to avoid that is to price a home accurately in first place."
2. Do not only have snow photos - Exterior photos are always important for detached properties. With that being said, it may be wise that you advertise with both snow and spring/summer photos. Winter photos are gorgeous, although in many circumstances hide the additional beauty that is it’s garden, flower beds, lawn, pool, decks and more.
3. Update your curb appeal - There are so many ways in which you can do this, and of course these options change with the seasons as well. For a true winter look, ensure all of autumn’s fallen leaves, dead tree branches and more are cleaned up. Keep the driveway, walking path, patios, and decks all completely clean and free of snow and leaves. Even the smallest of things like having a clean, new doormat makes a difference. Giving this clean vision is always a plus for buyers. "You home might not have the same beautiful landscaping that it does in June, but you can at least make sure the property looks halfway decent," Knapp says.
4. Prep your home’s interior for the winter - First, declutter your home. You want people to be able to picture their life in this residence, not yours. Changing your throw pillows, blankets, candles, wall decorations, and more all give prospective buyers a very ‘welcome home’ sensation. Your real estate professional or professional interior designer can help you with some of the potential changes you can make. Smell is also a very underrated tool in selling real estate. Bake a honey ham, have the warming feel and noise of the fire on, and have the smell of cinnamon fill the air during the times that showings and open houses are scheduled.
5. Ensure that you have good lighting - The brighter the better in most circumstances, especially in rooms like the kitchen. In other rooms where there is a more romantic ambiance, such as a dining room, play with various lighting fixtures, bulbs and dimmers to set the ideal mood in each room for open houses and showings. Maximize natural lighting as well by having curtains and blinds open and make sure that your windows have been properly cleaned.
Ultimately, Brad Knapp put it best to sum up the importance of selling in the winter when he closed by proclaiming that,
"There are fewer buyers and sellers in the marketplace during the winter, but they're all serious buyers and sellers. They all have a sense of urgency or they wouldn't be in the market at all."
- Gurgling from the Toilet - The reason for such an explained sound could mean that either your sewer line is backed up and clogged with things such as plants, or that there is potentially a worn-out toilet valve. A running toilet, on the other hand, can be solved by replacing the gasket in the tank reservoir. So for the previous issue, simply call a plumber, and even use a sewer snake to try to clear the problem yourself.
- Banging from the Walls - Nobody is trying to enter from a non-existant foor, this type of banging is likely from your faucets going on and off. Known as the pressure hammer, these noises happen due to the air pressure buildup in your water pipes resulting in vibration. However, your pipes may not have been mounted properly or may be loose, where you will then need to call a home repair specialist to have the problem analyzed.
- Clicking from your Radiator - There unfortunately is not too much that one can do to alleviate these popping sounds, and usually they only occur very briefly when your heat is going on. Essentially, some of the loop systems need to be bled to have the hot water circulate it’s air bubbles. If there are any more problems or any extended hissing or clicking, call an HVAC specialist today.
- A Humming Refrigerator - Not humming because it is full of food, but humming rather because there may be an issue with the compressor motor. While being full of electrical devices, older refrigerators are more likely to have these problems. Especially if a new product is making such humming noises, which they should not do, contact your nearest trusted appliance repair specialist.
- A Squeaking Dryer - If you have a dryer that is an older model, it is likely that by now the belt that wraps around the drum is loose and worn out. If this is causing too much of a vibration and noise that also is not performing as it formerly did when drying clothes, get in touch with your appliance repair specialist.
- Thumping Washing Machine - You probably have had a spin cycle whose balance has been thrown off from too many laundry loads or too densely packed washes; especially on one side or the other. If this is the issue, just open the machine and spread out it’s contents, but if it prolongs regardless of the quantity of items being washed, then it may be an internal problem and the same appliance repair specialist as the above point should be consulted.
- Creaking Wooden Floors - From the floors to the stairs, this occurs when there are loose floor boards that move up and down against each other and against the nails that have at least tried to secure them down. For older properties, this noise must be synonymous to these homeowners. Try tightening these wooden floors by nailing, gluing, or screwing them in place, or by getting a home repair specialist/floor specialist/homebuilder to assist.
- Rattling Windows - There will always be the unfortunate bad weather spell that may cause our homes to rattle and shake, however if your windows seem to do this more than they should, they may need to be looked at. Use storm sashes and weather stripping on your windows especially if they are old and if you reside in a place with extreme winds. A window repair specialist would be the person most qualified to help you relieve you of this problem.
- Hissing/Running Faucets - These sound as if air is going through a reed on a saxophone, and can certainly be frustrating especially given that you are wasting water in the process. Most likely you are facing an old washer issue with your faucet, but don’t worry, these can easily be fixed. Go to your local hardware store for assistance and explain the problem in detail. From there you should be given the necessary knowledge to correct this headache, yet if you do not wish to be the courageous ‘Do-It-Yourself-er’, a local home repair specialist will do just fine.
- Scratching/Rustling Ceiling and Walls - Unfortunately, such scratching noises may mean you have a rodent problem in your walls or roof. If you are confident that it is not the trees outside coupled with the wind making such sounds, contact your pest control specialist and let these rodent guests learn that they are no longer welcome.
The kitchen is probably the room where we spend the most amount of time when we are awake in our homes. A place that we love to entertain in, eat in, spend time as a family in, and of course at least *try* to cook delicious meals in, one of the biggest problems that we may discover is the lack of storage in this part of our home. From plates and cups to forks and knives, these are just a few of the very essential items that we need to find a convenient and appropriate space for in the kitchen. So whether you have a pantry or keep all of your products within the kitchen itself, here are some helpful tips to not only make your kitchen a better functioning space, but also a much more organized and visually appealing one as well.
Improve your Shelving - In today’s world where we rely on technology to improve the ways in which our operate our lives, organizing shelving depends on none of this. Consider moving shelving around, adding new shelves to dead space, or take some away to avoid clutter.
Build Partitions - Partitions allow for an easy solution to organize items at a very low cost to separate things such as platters and cutting boards in a simplistic fashion.
Install Racks - With a simplistic, streamlined look and feel the new popular trend in a kitchen, it is essential to keep as many products out of sight and out of mind. This is where racks come in, and their invaluable benefit to your kitchen’s storage. Hang racks on the inside of a door, pantry, or cupboard where you can keep spices, oils, snacks, and other ingredients that do not need to be refrigerated.
Make Pullouts - If you have cupboards with a great deal of space and no shelving, decide if it would be worth it to you and the flow of your kitchen to install pullout drawers or baskets. As a tip, put these baskets on sliders to be able to pullout fresh bulk produce that requires air circulation. Have drawer inserts as well which can have organized places for various items. For example, have wooden insert organizers that lay flat in a drawer that can neatly arrange your spices.
Bring out the Lazy Susan - Yes this may be an older invention, but people without a Lazy Susan really do not know what their are missing. Circles take up less room than squares, so when space is tight in your pantry or on a shelf, have a Lazy Susan that can hold similar smaller items.
While the list can go on, nobody truly knows your kitchen as well as you do. Every kitchen is unique as is the way that you and your family utilize it. The convenient functionality of the kitchen should be your first priority. If you are an avid chef, ensure that all of the items that you use the most for seasoning, cleaning, prepping, and more are within an arms reach. Scrambling around the kitchen to just grab the pepper should never be your reality. So even if you have a smaller kitchen yet a plethora of goods to store, do not fret, there are many ideas that you can implement to make your life and your kitchen just a little bit better.
- Talk to neighbors - Rather than be intrusive, rude, or awkward, you should try to chat with your potential neighbors of a house that you have an interest in. What is their opinion of the block or neighborhood, crime rates, safety issues, school system, other problematic neighbors, and more? Do they know of another individual in the town who is considering selling as well if a respectable offer came to them?
- Visit the neighborhood more than once - While the open houses and showings are done on a lovely day, make sure to visit the neighborhood, even just for a drive, on the weekend as well as during the day and the night. People’s lifestyles, noise levels, activities and more completely change depending on what day and what time we are referring to.
- Read the local newspaper - What sorts of announcements are being made? Are there any political issues or conflicts? What are the police reports saying?
- Get an app - Many smartphones today provide information about crime rates based on locations. From sex offenders, to noise nuisances, to vehicle break-ins and more, all of this data can be critical when it comes time to you making your decision to move in.
- Google the address itself - Google Maps often has shots of homes that are a few months old. Does the home look the same as it does in pictures or in person? Certain things may surprise you for better or for worse. Determine just how far the home and neighborhood itself is to lifestyle needs like grocery stores, shopping areas, places of work, means of public transportation and more.