When my home is for sale and my key is in a lockbox, how does my REALTOR make sure all the other REALTORS Call Before Showing my house?

You've staged the rooms and taken the photos.  

You wonder how many potential Buyers will come looking before the offers start rolling in. Will the showings begin during the week? Will they wait until the weekend? You've asked for a couple of hours notice before a showing, but are willing to be flexible. Just enough time to clear the dishes and grab the dog.   

What if an Agent is driving around with clients, and decides to pop in and take a quick look unannounced?  A Real Estate Agent can face fines for using a lockbox without following the showing instructions, but sometimes mistakes - and accidents - happen. Everyone has likely heard a variation of an embarrassing story about a Seller being surprised by a REALTOR. But it can be avoided.

The most common electronic real estate lockboxes (the ones I use) have a feature titled Call Before Showing, or CBS. A CBS code is a 7 digit code that can only be obtained from the Listing Agent, who sets the code on the box itself. If the CBS feature is enabled, an Agent trying to access the lockbox who doesn't have the additional code will be told they do not have permission, and the box will not release the key.  And the CBS code can be changed by the Listing Agent at any time. It's an extra layer of protection, and I don't put a lockbox on an occupied listing without it.

You have enough concerns when you're selling your home, and a showing mishap shouldn't be one of them. So clear those dishes and grab that dog, you've got a house to sell!

If you're looking to buy or sell a house next month, it's never too early to start asking the right questions

So, what are the right questions?

Of course, there are always the basics. "How much house can I afford?"  and "What will I need for a down payment?" Or if you're selling, you might be asking "How long will it take to sell my home?" and "What are houses selling for in my neighborhood?"

Then there will be the questions along the way, like "What does a title company do?" and "How long can I take to decide?" or "How long will it be until we hear back from the Buyer or Seller?" 

Communication is key. And not just in real estate. However, when you're making decisions regarding one of the most significant financial investments you can make, communication is essential. You should be asking questions early and often.

The right questions will not only pertain to the real estate transaction itself but also get the answers you need to help you make the best decisions based on the available information. Knowing what to expect and what could be unexpected can also lower your stress level by helping you feel better prepared.

It doesn't matter if you're looking to buy or sell next month or next year. The right time to ask a real estate question is when you have one. You never know what kind of difference the answer can make. Is there a real estate question I can answer for you?



When Your Fledglings Fly Free, How Do You Part With Your Empty Nest?

When the last child leaves home, for some parents there is no question whether or not to keep the "empty nest." They stay where they are and remodel a room (or two). Maybe there are - or will be - grandchildren. Perhaps there are close ties to the community, or it is an heirloom home that has been passed down from a previous generation. There are myriad reasons not to move, and it is a very personal choice made for very personal reasons. 

But what about the parents who don't want to stay? The parents who want to downsize, travel, or relocate closer to other family members or interests? Letting go of your family home can be an emotional process, whether you've lived there for 5, 10, or 20 years. But you want to move on to the next phase of your life.

Often when I list a home, I consult with the Sellers regarding staging and preparing their home for the market. I give them a plan for packing and purging, and removing personal belongings like photographs and memorabilia. We pare down decor items and sometimes bring in new linens, shower curtains, and occasionally small rugs and sometimes window treatments. I will come in and complete the finishing touches, and sometimes move a couple of last-minute items before the photographer arrives.

When the listing photos are finished, I send them over to the Sellers to preview.  And the Sellers almost always comment that they hardly recognize the place or that it doesn't even look like their house. And that's what I like to hear. Letting go can be complicated, even when change is the desired result.  For some Sellers, the process of transforming their house can be cathartic, as they start to see it less as their house, and more as potentially somebody else's. For some Sellers, a well-executed staging strategy can be the first big step towards stepping away from their old home, and into their new life. 

If you're one of those Sellers, give me a call. I'd be happy to have a conversation with you about transforming your house into someone else's home, so you, too, can spread your wings and fly!

The Top 3 Seller FAQ For Staging To Sell Your Home

Many of my clients ask in advance if I will help them prepare their home for sale.

They know me and are familiar with my staging process and results, and perhaps I have even staged and sold a home for them in the past. (You can click here for some before and after photos of homes I have helped Sellers stage.) But when that isn't the case, there are three questions I am frequently asked.

1. What do you charge for your staging services? I don't. If you've listed your home with me to sell, you pay nothing extra for my staging consultation, staging strategy, and the staging I do before the photos are taken for the listing. I want my client's listing to have every advantage in today's market. And I love doing it. 
2. Will I need to rent furniture or decor items? Not typically. I haven't had a situation yet where we haven't been able to stage a home with the Seller's current furniture. I may bring in some new linens or decor items from my stock, but there's no rental fee involved. If a Seller has already sold or moved most of their furniture and would like furniture brought in for staging, that's certainly an option we can explore.
3. Do I have to stage my home? Absolutely not. If you have no interest in staging your home for sale, it is not a requirement. But if you're going to be packing up items anyway, packing them up in advance during the 'pack and purge' phase of the staging strategy will save you time and stress after you've accepted an offer on your home and the clock starts ticking. Often a little decluttering and light strategic furniture moving are all that's needed to take advantage of the added value my staging services provide. Or perhaps we implement some but not all of the strategy suggestions. The choice is always yours.