The Buzz at The Bartic Group

Check out our blog below to catch up on recent developments in Colorado's real estate world and other interesting news.

Sept. 10, 2019

Happy September!!!

Happy September! 

Back-to-school is a busy time for many people. For some, there’s simply no room in their brains to consider buying or selling a home. For others, however, the time is ripe to get the perfect deal. Just as with many seasons and holidays, back-to-school season affects the real estate market in a few different ways. In a slower market, your bid on a house for sale may stand out more. Read on to learn three reasons the back-to-school season affects the real estate market. 

3 Reasons the Back-to-School Season Affects the Real Estate Market

 


Reason #1: The School District Tango

It’s all about the school districts. Many buyers prefer to move in the spring and summer so that they can be settled and ready by the time their children need to go back to school, especially buyers who are house-hunting in a different school district or who are trying to meet an enrollment deadline for a sought-after school. Once school has started, fewer families may be looking to sell their homes since they’re looking to provide stability for their children during the school year. 

Reason #2: Spring Surge = Late Summer Slowdown
The real estate market usually operates with what’s known as a "spring surge" - a hot-market period during the spring when buyers and sellers alike are working the market into a frenzy. The spring is a popular time of year for the real estate market because the weather is nicer, yards look prettier, and people are looking forward to the summer ahead. This spring surge is usually followed by a late-summer slowdown; as families return from vacation and prepare for the upcoming school year, fewer sellers are preparing their houses for the market and fewer buyers are out looking at what’s available.

Reason #3: Motivated Buyers
With the year-end approaching, many fall home seekers are motivated buyers. While there may be fewer homes on the market in the fall, buyers are more likely to bid at or above asking price in the fall so they can move before winter hits. In this way, the back-to-school season lights a fire under potential buyers to motivate them into acting fast! Happy September
Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
Aug. 29, 2019

Fun Real Estate Trivia

Today we will test your Real estate knowledge. No, you don't have to have a real estate license for these questions. This is popular culture trivia. Let's see how much you know. (Answers are at the bottom)

1. Who is the world's largest landowner?

2. What is the name of Elvis Presley's home?

3. Which famous skilled mason laid the cornerstone of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. in 1793?

4. During what great land boom (1919) did investors pay up to $25,000 for lots that had not yet been dredged out of the ocean?

5. What famous person said this? "Real estate is the best investment in the world because it is the only thing they are not making anymore!"

6. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy said, "There is no place like home!" Where was her home? 

7. What town did The Flinstones call home?

8. What Real estate board game became the best-selling game in America just one year after it was created?

9. What time of year is considered the busiest for homebuyers and sellers?

10. What area was designed to look like 1940s southeastern town with traditional architecture?

 

Answers: 

1. The U.S. Government with over 700 million acres! 2. Graceland. 3. George Washington, the first President of the United States 4. The Florida Land Boom. Carl Fisher founded Miami that year and brought hundreds of investors to the state. 5. Will Rogers, who began his career as a rope-throwing cowboy and later became a famous stage and film star. 6. Kansas. 7. Bedrock. 8. Monopoly, created by Charles B. Darrow in 1934. His intention was to cheer himself up while unemployed during the Great Depression. Monopoly is now the most popular board game in the world and has sold over 200 million copies. 9. Spring, Real estate is a year-round business, but spring is still considered the best time of year to showcase a home. 10. Disney's "Celebration" in Orlando, FL. When finished Celebration will have 8,000 residences and many commercial tourist attractions.

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
July 8, 2019

How To Avoid Moving Day Disasters

How to Avoid Moving Day Disasters!


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The Big Question: What kind of moving insurance do you really need? 

Many people are surprised to find out their homeowner's insurance doesn't fully cover belongings during a move. For example, you may find that your valuables are covered for theft from the truck, but not for damage while being packed or lifted by moving company employees. 

Instead, here are two options you're usually offered by the moving company: 

1. Released Value Protection 

This usually comes at no additional cost, but it often provides a false sense of security. Here's why: 

Released Value Protection means you typically get only 60 cents per pound for lost or damaged items. In other words, if the movers drop and destroy your 100-pound wide screen TV, you'll be reimbursed $60 rather than the $2,500 it costs to replace it. 

2. Full Value Protection 

This is the option most likely to provide you with realistic coverage. It sets a higher minimum value per pound for your entire shipment - typically between $4 and $6. 

Most moving companies offer Full Value Protection for an additional fee. It sometimes includes exclusions for high-value items, so you may decide to buy additional coverage for possessions that have a high value-to-weight ratio. 

Tip: Making these choices on Moving Day can be stressful, so it's worth looking into these options ahead of time. 


Moving Tips: What the Pros Say

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- Never accept a phone estimate. Insist on a walk-through. 

- Don't pay by volume. (Disreputable companies can inflate the cost by packing only a few items per box.)  Interstate moves should be charged by weight, and moves within the same state should be charged by the hour. 

- Don't pay a hefty deposit. 

- Find out who's really doing the moving - the company you spoke with, or a sub-contractor? Research the company you'll actually be dealing with on Moving Day. 

- Always get the following documents: 
a) Estimate 
b) Order for Service 
c) Bill of Lading 
d) Inventory List 


Self-Moving Options 

Are you willing to put some extra elbow grease into a move? If so, self-moving can be a cost-effective way to go. Here are some well-known self-move companies: 

UPack 
PODS 
Mini-Moves 

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
July 1, 2019

10 Sizzling Tips For Selling A Home During The Summer!

 

The fact that summer is a good time to sell a home is not only exclusive to just the Denver market.  If you put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer, would you prefer walking through piles of snow or through a rain storm, or have to deal with some hot weather?  Yup, we’ll take the hot weather as well!

1.) Prepare The Exterior Of The Home For The Summer

A couple of the most important areas to focus on when selling a home in any season is the exterior and the curb appeal.  A home with poor or a neglected exterior will take longer to sell and likely will sell for less than it should.

When selling a home during the summer, it’s extremely important to prepare the exterior of the home.  The exterior and curb appeal of a home can give a potential buyer a pretty good idea of what to expect in the interior of the home, so make sure it’s clean, crisp, and attractive.

  1. Mow the lawn
  2. Water the lawn to avoid a burnt lawn
  3. Trim bushes and shrubs
  4. Water the plants to avoid dead plants
  5. Weed and mulch the flower beds
  6. Touch up any exterior peeling paint
  7. Paint and/or clean up the front door
  8. Seal the driveway

2.) Highlight Outdoor Living Space

 

Since we’re discussing the exterior of a home, another excellent tip for selling a home during the summer is to focus on the outdoor living space. In many areas of the country, summer is a fairly short season, so many buyers spend as much time outside enjoying the weather as possible during the summer.

Many buyers put a premium on a great outdoor living space so highlighting the outdoor space is a great way to impress potential buyers. One of the best staging tips is to help buyers envision themselves spending time relaxing outside.

If you’re home has an incredible outdoor BBQ or a large concrete patio, make sure it’s staged!  Showcasing to a buyer how amazing a homes outdoor living space is for entertaining friends and family will have buyers lining up with a purchase offer in hand.

3.) Address Necessary Repairs Prior To Listing

One of the quickest ways to scare away potential home buyers is by not addressing necessary repairs.  For example, if a home has a very old roof with visible damage, not addressing this prior to listing will likely result in the owner potentially losing out on a fair amount of money from their sale.

Whether a home is sold during the summer or any other season, another very important tip is to make the necessary repairs prior to listing the home for sale.  Homeowners who complete repairs prior to listing their home not only will likely end up with a higher sale price, but also reduce the chances that a buyer will request a lot of repairs be made after a home inspection.

A few examples of common “necessary” repairs to be on the lookout for include broken windows, peeling or damaged siding, and damaged roofs. It’s important when selling a home during the summer that a buyer is not distracted by repairs that have been neglected but is focusing on all the positives a home has.

4.) Keep The Home Cool

One of the most important tips for selling a home during the summer is to make sure to keep the home cool, at least while the home is being looked at by potential buyers.  If your home is not equipped with a central air conditioning unit, it’s still important to focus on keeping your home cool.

Alternative ways to keep a home cool without central air conditioning include installing window air conditioners, turning on ceiling fans, keeping lights off and blinds drawn prior to showings, and placing floor fans around the home.

If your home is equipped with central AC, make sure it’s performing efficiently and has been serviced recently by a professional HVAC technician.  One of the biggest reasons to have a home inspection is to ensure the homes HVAC systems are working properly, so if a homes central AC unit isn’t, it’s another potential red flag for a buyer.

5.) Depersonalize & Declutter The Home

When selling a home during the summer, another simple but effective tip, is to depersonalize and declutter the home.  Home sellers who actually take action and follow this tip will give themselves an advantage over sellers who decide it’s not important.

 

 

A home that has personal effects all over the place, such as family portraits or a report card on the fridge, provide another opportunity for a buyer to be distracted from viewing the home.  Some buyers get distracted easily and will be more interested in seeing what the owners family looks like rather then looking at the features of the home.  Not only is depersonalizing a home a way to avoid distracting a buyer but it’s also a great safety tip to follow when selling a home.

As for decluttering a home, regardless of the season, it’s highly recommended.  When selling a home during the summer, take the time to walk through your home and evaluate what you actually need to live comfortably while selling your home.  If you believe you can live without something while selling your home, consider moving it into a storage unit or into the basement or garage.  Decluttering a home is one of the best tips for staging a home on a budget.

6.) Stage The Home To Reflect The Summer Season

First and foremost, staging a home alone will not sell it.  There are some professionals who convince home sellers that staging is absolutely necessary to sell their home and it’s simply not true.  In fact, many sellers will hire an agent solely because they have a staging “designation,” which is one of the worst mistakes made when choosing a real estate agent to sell a home.

Staging certainly can enhance the appearance of a home though, which can make a positive impact on a sellers bottom line, as long as the cost to do so doesn’t outweigh the potential return on the investment.

An excellent opportunity for home sellers who’re selling their home during the summer is to stage it to reflect the season.  Summer staging tips such as placing bright flowers on a dining room table, planting bright flowers in a window box, and having summer scented candles are all relatively simple and cheap, but can make a home stand out!

7.) Hire A Top Selling Real Estate Professional

There are dozens of reasons why choosing a top real estate agent when selling a home is vital to the success of the sale.  In most real estate markets across the world, there are thousands of agents to choose from.  Choosing the wrong real estate agent can be the kiss of death for a home seller (and buyer).

 

When selling a home during the summer, or actually any season, having a top agent in your corner cannot be understated.  Knowing how to interview real estate agents when selling a home is a skill that must be learned because asking or not asking the right questions can be the difference of making the right choice.

What are some of the most important things to ask real estate agents and to consider when selling a home during the summer?  Below are just 5 of the most important!

  1. What real estate marketing strategies actually sell homes?
  2. Do you use those marketing strategies?
  3. What methods do you use to determine what price to recommend to your sellers?
  4. What is your list price to sale price ratio?
  5. On average, how long do your listings take to sell?

 

One key takeaway when choosing a real estate agent to sell a home is that not all agents are the same.  Even real estate agents who work for the same company, are not the same.  Each real estate agent uses different techniques to price a home and market a home, among other things, so choose carefully!

8.) Strongly Consider Having A Pre-Listing Inspection

Before listing a home for sale during the summer, another great tip is to strongly consider a pre-listing home inspection.  There are many benefits of a pre-listing home inspection, one of the most important being that it can reduce the chances of a buyer being scared away after completing their own inspection.

If you’re unsure whether a pre-listing inspection is a good idea or not, an experienced real estate agent can help you evaluate whether it would be money well spent or not.  In the majority of cases, having a pre-listing inspection is well worth the cost because even newer built homes can have issues that the owner is not aware of.

9.) Price The Home Right…From The Beginning!

Generally speaking, there are 2 major factors as to whether a home sellers or not.  The first major factor is that the home is getting enough exposure and being marketed correctly, which should be taken care of by hiring a top real estate agent.  The other major factor is whether the price of the home is right or wrong.

An extremely important tip to keep in mind when selling a home during the summer is that the home must be priced right, from the beginning.  One of the worst real estate pricing mistakes made is overpricing a home to leave room for negotiation.  Pricing a home incorrectly, for whatever reason, often results in a seller actually taking less for their home than if they were to price it correctly from the start.

How is it possible that if a home is priced incorrectly that a seller will actually sell their home for less than if they were to price correctly from the beginning?  

Simply, an overpriced home generally will sit on the market until the sellers decide to reduce the price to an acceptable market value, which sometimes can take several months.  When a home sits on the market for an extended period of time, buyers begin to wonder if there is something wrong with the home, which typically results in them not making an offer or submitting a low ball offer.

How can you be sure that you’re pricing the home right, from the beginning?

There is also a simple solution to this question.  An experienced real estate professional will provide a seller with a pricing recommendation, typically generated by completing a comparative market analysis, frequently referred to as a CMA. A CMA is an analysis of one home to other similar homes that have been sold within the past 6-12 months. An experienced agent will know how to make adjustments, both positive and negative, for features that the subject property may or may not have when comparing to the similar homes that have recently sold.

The bottom line of this important tip for selling a home during the summer is to make sure it’s priced correctly, from the beginning.  There are very few (or zero) home sellers who want to leave money on the table because they overpriced their home.

10.) Get Ready For Showings

This last tip for selling a home during the summer is certainly not the least in importance.  A seller to this point has maneuvered through the process of getting their home ready for the market, hiring a top agent, and pricing their home correctly, the last thing they want to do is not prepare their home for showings.

Home sellers are often not educated enough on how to prepare a home for showings when selling.  A home that is not prepared for a showing can be spotted from a million miles away.

There are lots of great tips for preparing a home for showings when selling during the summer.  Below are a few tips to consider while preparing a home for showings during a summer home sale.

  1. Put out a refreshing beverage for potential buyers, such as lemonade, iced tea, or cold water
  2. Turn on all lights
  3. Open blinds to let natural light in
  4. Set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature
  5. Clean up after your children and/or pets

 

Final Thoughts

Summertime is an excellent time to be selling a home, if the proper tips are followed.  The above 10 tips for selling a home during the summer all will make a difference in respects to the amount a home sells for and the time it takes to sell.

Since the summer in many areas of the world are relatively short and people are busy enjoying the weather or vacationing, it’s important to that home sellers put their best foot forward from the beginning.  Most home sellers don’t want to spend their entire summer attempting to sell their home, so completing the right pre-listing tasks and also tasks during the actual listing period can save lots of frustration and time!

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
June 24, 2019

First Time Home Buyer Mistakes!

There's no disputing the fact that home ownership is as accessible as it's ever been. Even following the constricting of the mortgage loan industry in the late '00s, home ownership is an option for more people than it used to be, either because it's seen as a wise investment or because the market is (sometimes) just so darn tempting.

But just because you're able and willing to enter the home-buying market doesn't mean you're READY.

The Huffington Post, in December published a quick and humorous read that outlines some of the mistakes first-time home-buyers make.

Among the pitfalls: Hiring the wrong agent. Just because a Realtor is your friend, or just because your parents have used him or her for years, doesn't necessarily make this person the right Realtor for you. Know your communication style. Ask some tough questions. Even have them pull some listings for you before you commit to paying them that valuable commission.

Buying a home is a big decision, so make sure you trust who's leading the process. "Talk to coworkers, friends and family to get [Realtor] recommendations," Larry Nelson, president and co-owner of Cornerstone Realty, advises. When talking to prospective agents, it's important to ask the right questions. Everything from, "Do you specialize in the areas that I am interested in?" to, "Do you really want to work with me?" are fair game.

Other ripe tips for first-timers: Don't forget closing costs, including commissions. These can raise the amount of money you'll need to pay at closing, and/or finance, considerably. Don't undervalue an appraisal. The entire nature of a purchase can change considerably based on one professional's opinion. Don't marry yourself to any set of numbers before you know how an appraisal affects them. Beware going-it-alone. The article draws an apt analogy: Just because many people, especially Millennials, have eliminated the travel agent when booking vacations DOESN'T mean they can casually dismiss the importance of a Realtor. Buying a home is a complicated legal process and full of complications. "[A Realtor] knows what you DON'T know."

Delving a little deeper into the financial side of things, Bankrate.com offers some common money mistakes that first-timers can make. There is some pretty sound wisdom here, but the one that resonated best with us was that first-time borrowers sometimes automatically borrow the largest amount they are approved for, without thinking of the effects on their budget.

"A lot of first-time buyers are optimistic about the future and excited about buying a home, so they borrow the absolute maximum they can afford instead of allowing themselves wiggle room for a partial loss of income or for future expenses such as children," says Michael Harrison, area director for MetLife Home Loans.

Chances are there's a home you will love at a price point that doesn't completely max out your earnings. After all, what fun is owning a home if you can't afford to have any fun in it?

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
June 17, 2019

Xeriscaping: A New Approach To Landscaping

There is a hot new trend in landscaping that will save you water, reduce the amount of time you spend maintaining your lawn, and make a strong statement about your commitment to the environment. Xeriscaping is a smart and practical way of landscaping and gardening, which will also add color and variety to your landscape. Not all of us have big budgets for landscaping, but if you were to make a change, you might want to give xeriscaping a shot.

In this article we will talk about the benefits of xeriscaping, the cost of xeriscaping, the limitations of xeriscaping and how to get around it, and rebate programs that make implementation of xeriscaping less expensive for you.
 

Water Conservation:


As you must be aware, water is increasingly becoming a limited resource. Research has shown that more than 50% of household water use goes toward landscaping. Over the year the water usage bill does add up considerably. Xeriscaping can use 70% less water if done correctly as it makes full use of the rainfall. This can be done by:

  1. Using native plants species

  2. Smart grouping of plants: the plants with similar water requirements to be grouped together

  3. Use of some drought-resistant plants

  4. Breaking up the landscape by putting in walkways and patios in the areas which get the heaviest foot traffic so that those areas save water (helpful accessory: rainwater collectors; drought-resistant plants).

 

Time Savings:


Xeriscaping leads to time savings as you need to spend significantly less amount of time mowing, weeding and fertilizing the lawn.
 

Increases property value:


For those of you who are looking to sell their property, xeriscaping considerably increases the property value due to its well-maintained look and lushness.
 

Environmental benefits:


For those of you who are looking to go green, what better way than xeriscaping. You will be doing your part in reducing pollutants in the air by eliminating the use of fertilizers and pesticides. You will also be creating awareness for the native plant species.
 

Energy Savings:


Studies have shown that xeriscaping cuts cooling cost by 46% due to its trees and shrubs as compared to the 4% of traditional lawns with no vegetation.
 

Cost and Savings of Xeriscaping


A xeriscaped lawn has an average payback period of 4 to 7 years. This is because of:

  • Elimination of fertilizers

  • Significantly low water usage bills

  • Significantly less maintenance required
     

The cost can range between $1.50 and $2.50 per square foot. When compared with the costs associated with fertilizing, watering, mowing and maintenance of a traditional lawn, you can expect an annual cost savings of $0.36 per square foot. You can save significantly more in the costs if you provide the labor for xeriscaping instead of getting a professional in for all the work.

Another savings which you should consider while xeriscaping is the volumetric savings in water. A 1,000 square foot lawn requires more than 132,000 liters of water each year. If you use native plants and drought-tolerant plants, you will require only around 55,000 liters of water a year. This is significant savings in your water bill and you still get a lawn that is well-maintained and colorful.One study which had looked into a standard Kentucky Bluegrass lawn with trees and shrubs found that it required 79 liters per square foot and the xeriscaped version of the yard only required 13 liters per square foot! Now that is savings.
 

Limitations of Xeriscaping and how to get around it


Like all trends, xeriscaping has its limitations:

  • Initially, it is labor intensive as you will have to prepare your lawn for xeriscaping

  • Choice of plants is limited

  • If you are new to the area you may not be familiar with the climate and native plant species

  • The initial cost of planting vegetation can be high

  • Budget constrictions may not allow you to do all that you want in xeriscaping

  • Periodic maintenance is required like pruning, deadheading.

The way to get around it is, do xeriscaping in phases. You could start with say, creating a walkway in high foot traffic areas. Instead of putting in a concrete walkway, you could also use large stepping stones which could be discarded pieces from a stone mason.  Do not buy all the plants at once.
 

Rebate programs for Xeriscaping


Many local governments provide rebate programs encouraging water-wise landscaping. Some rebates provide $500 for removing 500 square feet of grass. Through the U.S. Green Building Council, you can earn LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) points which may also get you tax credits.

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
June 10, 2019

Hottest Markets in Metro Denver May 2019

 

Hottest Markets in Metro Denver May 2019:

 

  1. Hampden South & Southmoor Park
  • Median Price: $428,500
  • Change in Median Price: 39.9%
  • Average Days on Market: 32

 

  1. Lowry
  • Median Price: $292,500
  • Change in Median Price: 19.3%
  • Average Days on Market: 20

 

  1. Globeville, River North (RiNo), North Washington
  • Median Price: $290,000
  • Change in Median Price: 19.9%
  • Average Days on Market: 19

 

  1. Heather Gardens, Windsor
  • Median Price: $234,750
  • Change in Median Price: 21.9%
  • Average Days on Market: 26

 

  1. University Park, Observatory Park, Wellshire 
  • Median Price: $680,000
  • Change in Median Price: 13.3%
  • Average Days on Market: 3

 

  1. Roxborough, Chatfield
  • Median Price: $540,000
  • Change in Median Price: 32.5%
  • Average Days on Market: 60

 

High-demand neighborhoods like RiNo, Sloan’s Lake, and Highland are as competitive as ever!

 

Hottest Up & Coming Neighborhoods:

Villa Park

Hampden
Lowry

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
March 25, 2019

Selling The House & 'Tidying Up': What We Learned From Marie Kondo

Unlike an HGTV makeover show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” is less about the shock factor of a total transformation and more intuitively captures the power of how our lives improve when we focus on the things that make us happy.

 

So, it’s no wonder that the popular Netflix series caught the attention of so many Americans who on average hoard 23 items they have zero use for. Her viral catchphrase “Spark Joy” spread like wildfire and had thrift stores overflowing with donations to the point of capacity.

 

After a delightful 8-hour binge of the show, we couldn’t help but notice that many of its takeaways run parallel to the types of challenges that arise when you sell the house. So, we’ve pulled out episode-by-episode gems on the art of how to stay organized, move forward, and show gratitude for every life chapter—from one house to the next.

En-’joy!’

 

Episode 1: “Tidying with Toddlers”

Summary:

In this episode, we meet Kevin and Rachel Friend, who struggle with clutter and communication in their single-family home. They explain their frustrations over time management and chore delegation (laundry was a main point of contention), but as soon as Kondo enters the house, they breathe a sigh of relief.

 

As they go from room to room, Kondo asks the Friend Family a simple question: “Does this spark joy?”

 

This simple method puts their relationship with “stuff” in perspective.

 

Lesson for sellers: Find the joy in decluttering

One of the first steps in preparing a home to sell is decluttering. It’s going through old U-Haul boxes filled with high school yearbooks and old clothes, and figuring out what you want to keep for the new home. The KonMari Method makes the process quick and fun.

When you ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” you force yourself to confront your connection with possessions that you either have or don’t have the space and heart for anymore.

 

But Kondo reinforces to the Friends Family that decluttering isn’t about tossing any old thing away. It’s about focusing on the objects that are important and meaningful to you.

As you sort through the piles of stuff in each room, grasp each item with care. Feel for that punch in your gut or instant excitement when you pick them up.

 

Separate the clutter into two stacks: Joy and No Joy. The first few pairs of pants might take longer to get through, but as you start feeling the rhythm, decluttering becomes a breeze.

 

Apply this strategy to all of your belongings and you might find items you haven’t touched in years that you love (Kevin Friend unearthed sentimental weddings photos stuffed in old garage storage that are now hung on their wall).

 

Remember, you’re decluttering for peace of mind, but also for the buyers who will walk through your home, unimpressed by the unorganized kitchen cabinets and clothing tornado in the bedroom closets.

 

Episode 2: ‘Empty Nesters’

Summary:

Kondo walks into the home of Wendy and Ron Akiyama, a retired couple who want a revamped house for themselves after their adult children have left the nest.

 

Ron has kept every single baseball card he collected with his children and Wendy has enough Christmas ornaments to decorate the entire neighborhood. Their home has become a storage unit filled with three generations of Akiyama belongings.

 

The piles of stuff they have in each room looks discouraging to the average Netflix binger, but the episode isn’t over yet and neither is Kondo’s positivity. She hops around the home and teaches the Akiyamas to categorize.

 

They go from room to room, pile to pile, and separate each action item into manageable chunks.

 

Lesson for sellers: Compartmentalize your home prep

We won’t sugarcoat it for you—selling a home is daunting. With so many steps, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and defeated before you even start the process. But just like how the Akiyamas sorted through pounds of stuff using categorization, you can break down your to-do list into manageable tasks.

 

Start with creating your own home preparation schedule that’s separated by tasks and weeks. In less than a month, you’ll move through decluttering to home maintenance to deep cleaning.

 

Episode 3: ‘The Downsizers’

Summary:

We meet Katrina and Douglas Mersier and their children Kayci and Nolan, who call themselves the Fantastic Four. Immediately, you sense their closeness as a family and bond as a team, but their teamwork was put to the test when they relocated from a four-bedroom house to a two-bedroom apartment. After living in a cramped and cluttered space for over a year, “it still hasn’t felt like home,” says Katrina.

 

Kondo sets the goal for the Mersier family: “Their new challenge is to downsize the thing that they own, so it will fit in their new home.”

 

As they show Kondo around the apartment, the Fantastic Four feel exasperated by their living situation. The kids own up to their faults, explaining that though their mother organizes the space for them, they can’t keep it that way.

 

But, as the episode progresses, each person in the family learns to take responsibility for their own belongings. “We each play a role and we only have a limited amount of space and we all need each other,” says Kondo.

 

Lesson for sellers: Involve your family and make projects a team effort

If you’re selling a house with your family, it shouldn’t be your single responsibility to get through it. Every family member should pitch in, and together you’ll finish the job faster.

One of the Mersier family’s biggest takeaways is that organization and cleaning are now values instilled in their family and children. “We didn’t know how to declutter, how to tidy. Now we have the ability to continue to help the kids to learn it, and they’ve learned it at this early age.”

 

Get your kids involved with tasks, such as decluttering. Have them apply the same method of asking, “does this spark joy?” for their toys, clothes, and other keepsakes. They have ownership over their rooms, so there aren’t any surprises at the new home when they can’t find their favorite stuffed animal you forgot to pack up.

 

Episode 4: ‘Sparking Joy After a Loss’

Summary:

This episode introduces us to Margie Hodges, a widow who loves her home filled with memories, mementos, photographs, and reminders of her late husband. More specifically, she is struck with the challenge of tidying up all of his belongings that she hasn’t touched since he passed 9 months ago.

 

Margie has left every jacket, shirt, magnet, and mug that he owned in its exact place; she’s afraid of disturbing the last tangible reminders of who he was. His presence is so strong throughout the house, but Margie knows she has to move on. “I have to make room going forward, I can’t just live in the past,” she says to Kondo.

 

Margie is emotional from start to finish, but through Kondo’s process, her sadness evolved to catharsis, as she worked on accepting this loss, starting fresh, and reflecting on her own life.

 

Lesson for sellers: Infuse mindfulness into the selling process

Detaching from your house is essential to preparing your home for sale. If you’re emotionally charged and feel gutted every time you move things around or pack up, the process becomes grueling and will take too much time.

 

To begin letting go, first acknowledge that your emotions over the house exist and are valid. Kondo reinforces to Margie that she values how she feels about her past and her memories. And throughout the episode, she helps Margie gently confront the passing of her husband by tidying up at a slower pace.

 

Next, put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and depersonalize the house. If you were a buyer, would you want to see all of the previous owners bowling trophies on display or children’s art projects plastered across the fridge?

 

You’re preparing your house for other people now. And, as harsh as it sounds, this is no longer your home. Understand that this house has served its purpose in your life, and it’s time to pass it on to another family starting theirs.

 

“My head is full of 40 years of memories. So, I have that and no one can take that,” Margie says as she donates her husband’s clothes.

 

Episode 5: ‘From Students to Improvements’

Kondo helps lovebirds Matt and Frank transition from young adulthood to maturity through their home, in which they’ve lived in for 3 years. They want their parents to see their progress and ability to live as adults with each other to demonstrate growth.

But from disorganization to hoarding personal items, the couple struggles to find the perfect balance of what to keep and what to toss.

 

So, before they start tidying, Kondo asks them to picture their visions for the home. Immediately, Frank responds with a vision of joy as people and his parents walk through this home, and him and Matt feeling content with their home.

 

And, though hit a few emotional roadblocks, they keep this image in mind to raise their spirits and commit to their goals as they tidy the house.

 

Lesson for sellers: Visualize what you want for this house and the future

One of Kondo’s key lessons is about peering into the future. “Before you start, visualize your destination,” she advises.

 

The concept of visualization and mental imagery is a method supported by sports psychologists and athletes, who use it as a way to picture their success. It helps with performance and allows them to calm down and focus before a big game.

If it can help professional sports players, visualization can also help you sell your home. What do you want to accomplish with your home sale and how do you want to see it carried out?

 

“It’s very important to have a vision and communicate the vision to your home. It allows the rest of the process to go much more smoothly,” says Kondo.

 

If your vision is to have a successful home sale, think about what emotions and feelings you want to feel at the end of the process. Picture the success of a home sale as motivation.

 

To achieve that ultimate goal of selling a house, you’ll need to get through every step with ease. Communicate your vision to your real estate agent—they can help you figure out how to achieve it with the right tools and skills.

 

Episode 6: ‘Breaking Free from a Mountain of Stuff’

“Daddy, can we go to Toys R Us?” “No, Ashton. We’re getting rid of things not going out and getting more.”

 

College sweethearts Aaron and Sehnita Mattison have been married for 17 years. They moved to their home to start a new chapter in their life and to start a family. With two kids and hopes to add a third, they realized that they need to revamp their cluttered house jam-packed with belongings and junk.

 

The couple plans on staying in this home and must declutter to welcome a new family member, but what’s keeping them from accomplishing their goal is stuff. That’s it—they have too much stuff and aren’t able to let go of them due to emotional and sentimental attachment.

 

Kondo appears in their lives not to bestow tidying “magic,” but to teach them a lifestyle change of recognizing what is most important to them in their lives. Through this process, the Mattson’s learn to respect their belongings and what they have.

“This process of looking at what’s in our life makes it so that we’re not gonna take the items we have for granted, that we’re not going to just bring more things into the household,” says Aaron.

 

Lesson for the seller: Recognize whether your belongings have purpose

Throughout the season, Kondo teaches her clients that every item deserves a home and serves a purpose. She preaches to treat the tidying process as a way to respect what you have, while making sure that each of your belongings has a role to play.

So , when it comes to showing the house to buyers, check that whatever you decide to use as decor has a reason to be there. This cuts down on clutter and makes your home look and feel inviting.

 

For example, add spice racks and cookie jars to the kitchen for a homey atmosphere, but take away the dirty pots and pans that clutter up the sink.

 

In the bedroom, place a floor length mirror in the corner to make the space feel bigger and switch out the floral bedspreads for a crisp, and gender-neutral white.

 

Create a focal point for the living room, one of the main places buyers will want to look at. Hang up a three-piece wall art that ties the colors of the room together.

This process makes you realize what needs to be there for staging and what will help you sell your home.

 

Episode 7: ‘Making Room for a Baby’

“Tidying is not just about cleaning, it’s also about creating a space that sparks joy. By doing this, you get one step closer to your ideal life.”

 

Mario and Clarissa, who have been together for six years, hold up an ultrasound picture to the camera. With excitement in their voices, they reveal that they’re expecting a baby boy in the coming months and want this opportunity to clear up space for their kids to grow without chaos.

 

It was a difficult process at first—Mario’s sentimentality gets the better of him, as he struggles to throw away prom invitations from high school and shoes from his 165-pair sneaker collection. Kondo teaches him and Clarissa to show appreciation toward their belongings, helping them to detach and learn how to create their ideal life.

 

She asks them, “Is this something you’d like to keep as part of your life going forward?” If you answer no, say thank you, and put it aside.

 

Lesson for the seller: Show gratitude

To Kondo, gratitude is a crucial part of tidying up and the main lesson she hopes that her clients take from the process is to have an appreciation for the items that they decide to keep and “confirm how you feel about each and every item that you possess.”

Here’s your opportunity to rethink what’s essential for you to bring to your next home. And, in that process show gratitude to the things that don’t make it to the next stage of your life.

 

This is why Kondo asks every client to place all of their clothes or all of their shoes in a pile at the center of their bed. They see everything they have, which puts how they feel about their belongings into perspective.

 

If you find yourself attached to many things during the tidying process, ask if these items are important for the next chapter of your life in your new home, then express gratitude. “Many people may feel guilty when letting go of items. By expressing gratitude towards the items you let go, it will lessen the feeling of guilt,” says Kondo.

 

Additionally, for things that you’ve never worn or used, it’s even more important to say thanks, because they taught you that you don’t like these kinds of shirts or use this kind of item.

 

Episode 8: ‘When Two Messes Become One’

We’re introduced to Angela, a flight attendant and Alishia, a veterinarian, newlyweds and new homeowners, who had their meet-cute on one of Angela’s flights. Though they’ve lived with each other before, this new space brings the challenge of figuring out what they should share and what they should keep separate.

 

The tidying process becomes a roadblock in their relationship, causing tension and bickering. But, after each visit and lesson from Kondo, they start to meet in the middle, clean with the same mindset, and develop clearer communication.

 

Much of their issues with tidying comes with getting used to their new house. When Kondo visited, they only lived there for 3 weeks. Throughout the process, they started to understand the intention for each room in their new home and who should be responsible for what space.

 

Lesson for the seller: Be kind to your house—old and new

Before she imparts her clients with any cleaning wisdom, Kondo asks to greet their home. For this ritual, she kneels on the floor, closes her eyes, clasps her hands on her lap, and expresses her goals to the home.

 

“[Home] is the place where we appreciate all the things that support us. It is where we review and rethink about ourselves,” she says. From her experience in a Shinto shrine, she believes that every object contains life—she taps on books to wake them up and yelps when her clients throws a shirt on the ground.

 

A home is one of the most important transactions and belongings in your life, so be kind to it! In your old house, leave it in good condition as a way of showing appreciation for what it has done for you. Maintain it with home updates that not only add value to your home, but also help close the deal faster.

 

Even a simple paint job in the kitchen with a neutral color revamps the entire room and keeps the home clean. Use this chance to thank your house for bringing so much joy and for protecting for so many years.

 

Then, like the newlyweds in this episode, apply the same process for your new home. Keep it tidy with the KonMari Method and maintain it regularly, so that it’s in tip-top shape for years to come.

 

 ‘The KonMari method is a means to realize your ideal life’

Marie Kondo heralds the importance of tidying your home, but the main takeaway of her show isn’t just about throwing away old T-shirts and papers. We learn about how meaningful improvements in our life help us appreciate what we have and achieve happiness.

 

Selling the house comes with loads of stress but a joyful mindset can help you see the big picture, run on the fumes of gratitude, and do more with less stuff weighing you down—physically, and emotionally.

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
March 22, 2019

Your House Is Perfect For Families! Here's How To Sell It

How To Market Your “Family Friendly House” To Parents, Without Violating Fair Housing!

 

You’ve loved raising your kids in this home and now that it’s time to sell it, you think the fastest way to find a buyer is to market the house as “family friendly.” Seems harmless, right?

 

Not so fast…Even if you have absolutely no intention to discriminate against any type of prospective buyer in the sale of your home, stating that your house is “family friendly” in your property listing or to potential buyers could violate fair housing laws.

 

This applies to not just “family friendly” language but any marketing that could be perceived as excluding a certain class of buyers in your marketing, and a fair housing violation could result in a complaint filed against you. In 2017, there were 28,843 housing discrimination complaints filed with agencies and organizations at the local, state, and national level.

 

To get clarity on this legal area in real estate we spoke to a top-selling agent who’s sold over 600 single-family homes and a fair housing attorney. With their insights, we’ll cover how to market a house that’s perfect for families without violating fair housing plus tips for crafting a listing description that focuses on the house itself rather than who you think might buy it.

 

What are the general fair housing rules around property descriptions?

The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, religion, sex or gender, disability, national origin, or familial status. According to Amy Glassman, fair housing attorney and coauthor of Beginner’s Guide to the Fair Housing Act, if you name one protected class in your home’s listing, you may be excluding others. She adds that you shouldn’t say your house is “family friendly” because it refers to the familial status of prospective buyers, which violates the federal fair housing law. “The basic rule is that you want to focus on the property and the amenities in the property and not the type of buyer that you want. You don’t want to use language that triggers reference to any of these protected classes,” she says. Glassman adds, “Anyone who is looking to sell a house or hire a real estate agent should be aware that there are authentic state and local fair housing laws in their jurisdiction that are often more expansive than the federal law.” Language such as “perfect for retirees,” “not suited for small children”, or “walking distance to churches” (which could be seen as excluding buyers with a disability or the nonreligious) appear harmless but are still a violation of fair housing laws. State and local fair housing laws may protect more classes than federal housing laws which may or may not include income, veteran or military status, age, and more. You can find which protected classes are regulated by your state laws using The Policy Surveillance Program’s website.

 

Fair housing violations could result in a complaint

If someone believes that fair housing laws were violated, they can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “They would investigate it, they would determine if they think it has merit, and they would seek what’s called conciliation,” says Glassman. “So, they would essentially seek a settlement.” A settlement of the violation could be the withdrawal of the offending ad, required training, or monetary damages. “Assuming something settled, it’s whatever the party has decided is fair and reasonable and what both sides can agree to. If it doesn’t settle, it ultimately would find its way to court,” she says. The best way to abide by fair housing laws is to work with an experienced real estate agent who is familiar with state and federal housing laws.

 

Market the family-friendly qualities of your home appropriately

Although you can’t say that your home is family-friendly, you can point out the amenities that buyers with families might often search for. “If it’s close to schools and shopping and there are walking trails, it might be perfect for the family or the stay at home mom or whoever, but that’s not our place to make those decisions,” says a real estate agent who’s sold 66% more properties than the average agent.

 

Here are some qualities that you can share about your home that might adhere to families:

The house is located in a top school district.

           Parents want to put roots down where their kids will thrive, so an above-average school district is often a must-have for families shopping for their next home. Moreso, a school district that doesn’t meet expectations could be the deal-breaker for a family.
The quality of the school district was the most important factor to 35% of home buyers between the ages of 37 and 51, while 31% cited the distance to schools as the most important factor. 
Redfin and Zillow allow home buyers to search for homes based on school zones and the GreatSchool rating. 
Check the quality of elementary, middle, and high schools in your area. If the schools are, in fact, great schools, you can include this information in your property’s listing without violating fair housing laws, according to Glassman. It is illegal, however, for buyers agents to “steer” buyers based on his or her own views about certain communities or schools.

           The house is positioned on a calm street or cul de sac.


              Some parents may move from city life to the suburbs to raise their kids. They might dream of living where their kids can play in the street and sleep to the sounds of crickets instead of traffic and sirens. A peaceful street could be an important feature for buyers looking for a family-friendly house.
The fact that your house is located in a low-traffic area is appealing for many buyers, not just those with families. So, this information is OK to share, but be careful with your phrasing. A “quiet” street excludes hearing-impaired buyers and therefore should be used with caution.

           The house is close to shops, restaurants, and parks.


              Michelin star restaurants, natural hiking trails, and one-stop-shops for daily necessities are features you should include in your home’s listing. But, phrases such as “walking distance” can bump up against fair housing laws because they exclude buyers with disabilities. To stay on the safe side, simply state that the property is “close to” or “near” certain amenities.

           “Low crime rate.”

           Neighborhood safety is comforting for every new homeowner, especially those with kids. Crime statistics are safe to state in your home’s listing—just remember to stick to the data rather than neighborhood stigmas. So, instead of saying “safe neighborhood for kids”, share that the property is located in a neighborhood with a low crime rate.
Type your home’s address into CrimeReports or AreaVibes to see the crime data in your neighborhood.

           The house has a backyard and outdoor space.


              A big backyard, with trees to climb and grass to roll in is a sought-after feature for many families. Fenced-in backyards are particularly appealing to parents with kids and pets. 
“If you’re describing the backyard and the fencing—maybe you have a fenced-in pool—those are all elements of the property, so that’s fine,” says Glassman. Feel free to describe the elements of your backyard to their full extent to help you sell your home.

           Convenient entrances with extra storage.

           Backpacks, sports gear, coats, and shoes clutter the doorway of family homes. Buyers of family-friendly homes dream of an out-of-sight mudroom for kids to drop their stuff so guests don’t trip as they come through the door.
An adjoining back door and mudroom make coming and going easy for every homeowner, especially those with little ones. Highlight the convenient entrances and storage to appeal to every buyer.

           The house is equipped with smart home technology that adds security, safety, and comfort.

           Smart home systems are making it easier to control the temperature in your house, lock doors, turn off lights, and even access security cameras via microphone.
For a family with kids, this new home technology provides priceless peace of mind. If you’ve recently installed a new smart home system in your house, make sure to mention it to buyers. Include the details of your house that would make everyone feel more at ease.

           Ample square footage and bedrooms

           Families often look for houses they can grow into. More space means more family buyers, so finished basements and attics or spare rooms that can be turned into a playroom or a teen space are hot-ticket features amongst families.
“You can describe features that you think are family friendly, but you shouldn’t say they’re family friendly,” says Glassman. Rather than advertising your finished basement as a playroom for kids, simply state that it’s a finished basement and let buyers decide what they’ll use it for.

           Use keywords in your listing description to target buyers hunting for certain features.


             “Everybody’s online,” says Glassman. “These buyers know exactly what they’re looking for and they’re typing it in. I’ve seen many careless listing agents forget to put things like a finished basement or forget to fill in the square footage.”
When you give buyers what they’re looking for, your house will sell itself. Work with your real estate agent to include every feature of your home in your listing. Buyers with or without families will be able to find your home based on the must-have features they search for.

 

Avoid fair-housing violations while selling your home

You raised your family in your house, so you know it’s family friendly. You might even find yourself daydreaming about the next family that moves into it. However, when you list your home for sale, you cannot specify who your buyer preference is.

 

Fair housing laws prohibit discrimination of race, color, religion, sex or gender, disability, national origin, or familial status. Marketing your home towards families specifically could violate this federal law. So, instead of marketing your home as “family friendly,” simply state the facts of your home to appeal to every buyer.

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
March 14, 2019

Spring Is In The Air, Almost!

Happy March!

 

Don’t let yesterday’s blizzard fool you, sunny days are coming soon! Read our 10 Tips On How To Get Your Home in tip top shape in time to enjoy the warm weather.

 

1.Get houseplants ready for spring.

Houseplants put out new growth when the days grow longer, so now is a good time to pinch back leaves so that foliage thickens. Experts recommend fertilizing with a diluted solution of plant food during the spring. 



Tip: Here's a good article from The Garden Helper website about how to grow and care for (a.k.a. not kill) a houseplant. 




 

2.Replace smoke and CO alarm batteries.

Time flies... do you remember when your smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries were last replaced? The start of Daylight Saving Time, which happened on March 10, is a good milestone to use as a reminder. 




 

3.Take a peek into the attic. (Yes, really!) 





Sure, it's no one's favorite place, but checking the attic even just once a year helps prevent unpleasant surprises such as mold or pests.

Look for: Detached ductwork sending moist air into the attic space instead of outside.

Signs of rodents, such as stained insulation.

Access points for pests, such as torn vent screens.

Tip: Attics need good ventilation, which is why keeping vent openings unblocked by insulation is very important. Home inspectors often say they actually like to feel a slight breeze up there. 




 

4.Get ready to plant summer-blooming bulbs and tubers.

It's probably safe to plant bulbs such as gladiolus and Tiger Lilies two weeks before the last frost. (Granted, this year it's especially hard to be sure of that date!)  Get a head start with dahlias and other more cold-sensitive plants by growing them inside until any frost danger has passed. 




 

5.Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.

Make sure downspouts channel water away from the home via a drainage system or splash blocks. (Downspouts should never deposit water directly next to the foundation).

 

6.Clean the dryer vent.

Check to make sure your dryer vent is made of non-corrugated metal, rather than Mylar (a shiny material that looks like metal) or plastic. Even straight PVC pipe can create problems because it allows a static charge to build up.





7.Prune (cautiously) some flowering trees and shrubs. 





The rule is that some perennials need to be pruned before they flower in the spring, and... some don't. :) Here's a helpful article that explains exactly which plants to prune now versus later in the spring.






8.Give the roof a once-over.

No need to scale the heights! You can use binoculars to scan for any damage that may have occurred over the winter. 




 

9.Inspect water supply hoses.

Take a quick look at hoses and fittings for your washer, sinks, and toilets to make sure they're not cracked or loose. Replace any plastic lines with more reliable steel-braided hose. 



10.Do something "for the birds".

Birds have had a rough year so far because of extreme weather in many places. A food mixture that's heavy on Black Oil Sunflower Seeds gives migrators and residents a welcome energy boost and appeals to a wide variety of species.

 

Everything about your home should make the buyer feel like they can immediately move in. If you are considering selling your home this season and aren’t really sure where to get started in prepping, give us a call at 720-208-7200 and we’d be happy to schedule a time to chat!  

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz