Tag Archives: Home Sellers

Staging your Pacific Northwest Home? Common Blunders to Avoid at All Costs!

Good home staging is one of the most important things you can do to help sell your Pacific Northwest home — in many ways it helps the home sell itself, without a word needing to be said.  It allows potential homebuyers to picture themselves living in your home, which is often that first step to buyers really falling in love with a property.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to properly stage a home for sale.  The following home staging blunders are common . . . are you unknowingly driving good buyers away because your home isn’t looking its best?

Here are seven common Home Staging Blunders:

1. Your home isn’t spotless/deep-cleaned (especially rugs, floors, kitchen & bathrooms).

A spotless home communicates that the house has been well taken-care-of. A dirty home communicates the opposite and can often cause a potential buyer to walk right back out the door. All sinks, counters, and cabinets should be in absolutely pristine condition. Rugs and carpets should be either steam-cleaned or replaced.

2. Your home is cluttered.

Clutter is like kryptonite when it comes to selling your home. A disorganized home full of junk makes it hard for buyers to picture themselves living in your home. They will be so distracted by all the “stuff” lying around, they’ll miss the home’s best features. In addition, clutter makes your home appear much smaller than it is. Not good!

3. Your home is full of personal knick-knacks and photos.

This is a very common mistake. People think they should make the home appear lived-in and cozy, but personal memorabilia often has a negative impact on buyers visiting the home, because they get so distracted by your life in the home that they can’t imagine their own life in the home. You don’t want the home to appear lived-in — you want it to look “ready to move in.”

4. You haven’t re-painted using neutral colors.

People’s tastes vary when it comes to color and style, so your best bet is to go with neutral shades (on both the interior and exterior) when preparing to sell. You may love a pink kitchen, for example, but it may be so distracting and unattractive to a potential buyer that they can’t picture anything else. Same goes for that wallpaper pattern you loved. Neutral is the way to go!

5. Your windows are dirty.

Dirty windows are very distracting to people who are visiting your home! Just like with carpets, it’s best to pay professionals to take care of this for you. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes — both in the look of your home, and in potential buyers’ reactions.

6. Your pets — and their belongings — are in sight.

Make sure your pets aren’t around when buyers stop by the house. In addition, hide their crates, their food, their toys, everything. And whatever you do, don’t have a litter box out. In general, the presence of your beloved pet is a turn-off for potential buyers. Even if they happen to be animal lovers, you’re still distracting them from objective #1 — falling in love with your home.

7. Your landscaping isn’t neat and well-maintained.

Just think — before they ever see the inside of your home, buyers see your yard. Does it make the first impression you want? Pretty flowerbeds and a healthy, trimmed lawn do more than you might think. If you don’t have time to do this yourself, enlist the help of a professional landscaper or gardener. It will pay off when buyers instantly warm to your home before they’ve even set foot in the door!

I am an Accredited Home-Staging Specialist, and I can suggest the best (and most affordable) ways to get your home ready to sell. If you’re looking to sell a Pacific Northwest home in Whatcom, Skagit, Island or San Juan County, get an expert Realtor on your side! Call (360) 319-4939 or toll-free (888) 319-4939 today!


Whatcom Home Sales Surge as Tax Credit Deadline Looms

It should come as no surprise that with the first-time homebuyer and repeat homebuyer tax credits set to expire in April, many Pacific Northwest homebuyers were moving quickly to take advantage of this great opportunity.

Pending home sales (in process, but not yet closed) in Whatcom County last month totaled 372 in April, up nearly 27% from March, reports the NW Multiple Listing Service.  Closed home sales last month were about the same as in March (203 homes).

Whatcom County homebuyers with pending sales have until the end of June to qualify for the tax credit, so the market is expected to remain active.  And just because the tax credit has expired doesn’t mean that there won’t be good buyer incentives in the months ahead.  Expert Pacific NW Real Estate Agent Susan Stecher can help you find a Bellingham home that’s just perfect for your family and your budget, so give her office a call today at (360) 319-4939 or toll-free at (888) 319-4939!

Rise in Whatcom County’s Total Property Sales in February

SAL_Chuckanut04Good news for Whatcom County communities — things sure are looking a bit busier, which is good news for those who want to sell a Whatcom County home.

117 properties (residential, commercial, industrial, or undeveloped land) in Ferndale, Lynden, and Blaine were sold in February, up 37.6% from this time last year, according to First American Title in Bellingham. For January and February combined, sales are up 27% compared to 2009.

Last month, there were 100 property sales in Bellingham, up 8.7% from the same month last year; in the Deming/Sumas area, there were 18 property sales in February, up from 6 sales in February 2009.

Used single-family homes are among the most active groups of property sales. During the months of January and February, Ferndale, Lynden and Blaine’s used home sales were up nearly 30%, while Bellingham was up nearly 14%. Sumas and Deming were up 50%.

If you want to sell your Whatcom County home in the near future, it’s best to have an expert Pacific Northwest Real Estate agent on your side! Please Contact Me or call my office toll-free at (888) 319-4939 to get started!

Make sure your Washington State home inspector is licensed!

Last year in July, Washington State enacted a series of laws that protect homesellers and homebuyers by regulating home inspections, which is great news both for the home inspection industry and the Pacific Northwest homebuyers and real estate professionals they serve. These new laws (RCW 18.280 and WAC 308-408A) help ensure that those who inspect your Pacific Northwest home are truly qualified to do so, and that they uphold a certain standard of quality.


Here’s just a few things that are required of Home Inspectors:

• Home Inspectors are now legally required to be licensed through the Washington State Department of Licensing (licenses began being issued in July 2009).

• Home Inspectors must complete 120 hours of board-approved home inspection course work prior to licensing.

• Home Inspectors must mentor with an experienced home inspector for at least 40 hours of field training.

• They must successfully pass the 4-hour Washington State Home Inspection Exam, pay $680 in licensing fees, and complete 24 hours of continuing education courses every 2 years.

• Home Inspectors cannot repair or upgrade components for compensation on any building inspected within one year of the original inspection. They also can’t disclose information pertaining to an Inspection Report without the client’s permission.

If you need help finding a qualified Home Inspector, give me a call and I’ll refer you to a qualified, licensed Home Inspector.

A new economy, a new kind of retirement

833180372_e88313c291Green spaces, not green fees for new generation of retirees

Based on current recession trends all across the U.S., it appears the era of retiring to a posh home out on a golf course are over, at least for now. Recent economic woes have hit the retired and soon-to-be-retired extremely hard — taking a toll both on their nest eggs and their idea of what buying a retirement home should look like. For active adults and seniors, bike paths and wooded trails are becoming far more important than living “on the green.”

Though many families across all demographics are choosing to downsize, relocating to a smaller house is even more popular with those 55 and older — a trend that has remained fairly steady over the years. Currently, 30-40% of those 55-and-up plan to move to a new home when they retire,which is comparable to most years.

The numbers remain the same, but priorities have changed somewhat. It used to be that the most important thing to retirees was moving to a warmer climate — now home affordability is at the top of the priority list. This means that though Florida, Arizona and California remain top retirement spots, other states are drawing retirees as well… and the green natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest is no exception.

What do retiring home buyers want?

Here’s a short list of amenities and home features that are important:

  • big bathrooms with helpful aids such as grab bars
  • entrances/porches without steps
  • washers/dryers in-unit
  • first-floor master bedrooms
  • convenient storage space
  • attached garages with garage-door openers
  • user-friendly heat & AC thermostats
  • outdoor maintenance & general home repair services

If you’re a senior or active adult looking for a beautiful Pacific Northwest home to retire in, I can help you find exactly what you’re looking for! Feel free to give me a call, visit my free Northwest MLS home search, or check out my helpful Pacific Northwest Seniors & Active Adults directory.

10 Ways to Prep Your Pacific Northwest Home for a Greener Winter (Part 1)


Those of us lucky enough to live in Whatcom County sure enjoyed our lengthened summer courtesy of September’s gorgeous weather, but it’s mid-October now and blustery Autumn is here! All you have to do is look outside your window at the bright red and yellow leaves, and you know Winter isn’t far off (and with it, winter heating bills)!

Pacific Northwest communities are known for their commitment to greener living, and there’s no better time to think about “greening” your own Northwest Washington home than Autumn. You can make small, inexpensive changes now that will yield big benefits all through the colder winter months, and you’ll be doing Mother Nature a big favor, too.

Small Changes Make a Big Difference in Your Whatcom, Skagit, Island, or San Juan County Home!

Here are a few tips from the “Stuff Your Mother Always Told You” category (and they’re free):

1. Make it a habit to turn off the lights when you leave a room.

2. Put on a sweater or slippers when you feel cold, rather than immediately cranking up the thermostat.

3. Unplug phone chargers, etc., when they’re not in use. Even idle chargers consume energy when they’re plugged in.

4. Wash your clothes in cold water. There are some great earth-friendly cold-water detergents in the organic/natural foods section of nearly any grocery store.

5. Eat food that’s in-season. Often you can find these foods locally-grown at your farmers market.

Check back later this week for more great Green Winter tips in Part 2!