The 6 Things You Must Do When Getting Ready to Sell Your Home

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When you’re getting ready to sell your home, there’s a bunch of items to check off the to-do list. I understand how overwhelming and consuming it can be. It’s key that you separate the tasks into achievable to-do lists and exercise some patience with yourself – it won’t all happen in a day!

These 6 steps are designed to get you thinking as you begin your home selling journey:

Rid the Clutter

Follow the general rule of thumb of hiding about 30% of the extra items you have laying around the home – boxes, clothing, chairs, papers, books, the list goes on. Whether you get rid of these and donate them, or you

Neutralize the Interior

You may have loved that bright blue accent wall, but John and Jane Doe might not. Be sure you utilize neutral colors for your interior – either repaint, or remove bright, quirky objects around the home that you’ve used to personalize it to fit your style. Your guests need to be able to picture themselves in your home.

Hide the Pets!

Be sure that the pets are out of the house when you’re hosting showings – this way you avoid them jumping up on (or running out to) the unsuspecting strangers, the bothersome noises, AND you tackle the issue of pet fur and dander that may cause allergy flare ups for your guests.

Let the Light In

Whether you are optimizing your interior lighting or the natural light coming in from the windows, make sure you open the blinds and replace all the light bulbs.

Make it Smell Good

You’ve probably heard of the common “bake cookies” suggestion for home sellers. This is a great solution to make the house smell like home for your guests, or you can simply run to the local candle store and grab some candles or scented plug-ins to add around the house for showing purposes.

Hold Off on the Home Improvement

This doesn’t mean that you can’t finish the projects you had in your lineup – always finish replacements and fixer upper projects, but don’t start a huge renovation makeover when you’re close to selling. You likely won’t make profit on your investment that way.

Are you selling your home shortly? Which of these tips was the most helpful to you? Sound off in the comments below and add your tips for others!

Getting Ready to Sell Your Home

 

6 Fall Home Maintenance Tips to Prevent Common Homeowner Mistakes

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As we inch closer and closer to the fall season, now’s the time to think about some very important fall home maintenance tips to make sure your home is ready for a change of pace as the leaves start falling and changing colors.

Replace Batteries in Safety Systems

First things first before you begin any other fall prep, make sure you change the batteries in smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and ensure that your fire extinguishers are still in good standing expiration-wise! This consistent check-in will ensure that your home stays in tip top safety shape.

Trim Those Trees

To avoid any dangerous situations in wind, ice and snow come wintertime, be sure to clip any dead branches (or have a landscaping company come in and do it for you). If you don’t, these may hit your home or your car during the harsh weather.

Move Your Furniture

Your outdoor furniture, that is. Whether you place a waterproof cover on your furniture or you put them in a safe space for the winter, don’t leave your summertime furniture out to wither away. You invested good money in it, after all!

Fill Any Cracks

There’s two areas you should be checking for cracks: your home’s foundation and your driveway. Seal any cracks in the foundation to prevent mice and other un-welcomed animal friends from entering. Then, finish by fixing any cracks in the driveway to prevent further, larger cracks once water enters the initial cracks, freezes and then expands. Bonus Tip: Check doors and windows for any cracks that cause drafts, reducing your heating bill by ensuring they are all closed up!

Prepare the Fireplace

It’s the season of warm and toasty nights! To adequately prepare your fireplace for the multitude of fires you’ll be starting to keep warm (as opposed to your central heater), get rid of any old ashes, check to see if the flue is working properly, and make sure that the damper is open, encouraging air to flow freely through the chimney. If you need a cleaning, hire a professional chimney sweep as needed.

Get Up on the Roof

There’s two purposes of going up on your roof: 1. Check for loose shingles, and 2. Check your gutters. While you’ll inevitably have to clean out leaves and twigs after the fall season, you can get rid of any nests and branches that fell into your gutters during the warmer months.

Did these fall home maintenance tips help you out this season? Comment below if you have any to add to the list!

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

What to Look For in Your First Home – Thurston County Real Estate

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Buying your first house is equally exciting and intimidating. This is a huge financial and personal investment. As your greater Thurston County real estate agent, my job is to make the process easier on you and help to find the best home for your lifestyle. Here are some of my tips to get you the first house of your dreams.

When buying a home, create a checklist of needs. If you are a parent, look for houses in a good school district and close to a park. Location is one of the most important aspects of home buying, it’s ideal to be somewhere close to work, school and other daily activities. Another important piece of the checklist is what you need in the home. Are you looking for a one or two-story house? Does it need air conditioning? Should the backyard be big, perhaps fenced? These questions help you to narrow down the search and if you know your non-negotiables, you are even closer to finding the perfect house for you.

Another important thing to keep in mind is acknowledging this will probably not be your forever home. While Puget Sound real estate makes for a forever location, there are plenty of great homes to live in. Similarly, there is nothing wrong with going for a more affordable house at first, only to upgrade down the line. This house is an introduction to home ownership for you, not the final chapter. By choosing a more affordable home that might not have every aspect of a house you dream of, you are better suited to pay for a nicer house later down the road. When that time comes, don’t forget about your agent!

Finally, when looking for your first home, pay attention to the neighborhood’s residents and seek council from those around you. Ask your potential neighbors about the daily life in the area, as well as learn of any potential deterrents. Buying a house is a big commitment and you should feel good about the choice. Another great group of people to talk to are real estate agents like myself, as well as trusted family and friends who have gone through a similar process. Your first house affects not only you, but those close you, and second or third opinions will help you get the purchase right the first time.

Buying your first home is an exciting endeavor! When you’re ready to move to Thurston County, go ahead and give me a call and we can begin your journey to homeownership together.

Thurston County Real Estate

Day Trip Guide: Beach Towns and Fun Cities in Washington State

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One of my favorite parts of living in the Olympia area is the close proximity to the ocean, mountains, and big cities. Although Olympia has plenty to explore in its 20 square miles, there is even more to see beyond its borders. Let’s take a closer look at some of the fun small towns here in Northwestern Washington.

Ocean Shores and Westport:

Located an hour and a half west of Olympia, Ocean Shores and Westport are two little beach towns ready for a weekend break. Now that summer is upon us, the sandy beaches are a perfect way to cool down when the temperatures climb. For Star Wars fans, stop in Aberdeen at the Star Wars Shop and pick up some memorabilia before hitting the coast.

When you arrive at the beach, take some time to surf or make a small fire. Hot dogs taste incredible next to the ocean. If you are at Westport, grab some ice cream on the boardwalk and watch the fishermen bring in the days catch. At Ocean Shores, pop by the strip mall and grab a tee shirt commemorating your trip. You can also take a picture next to the giant shark at Sharky’s.

To cap off the day, grab dinner at Galway Bay in Ocean Shores (the chicken pasty is incredible) or pop into the Westport Winery for sandwiches and a few wine samples.

Port Townsend and Port Angeles:

Located around 2 hours northwest of Olympia sits Port Townsend and Port Angeles. These small towns are home to history and adventure. In Port Angeles, there is a delightful drive thru fudge shop called WeDo fudge. The staff is great and the fudge is delicious. The city also hosts a lavender festival in mid July so bring your cameras and enjoy the calming plant.

In between the two towns is Troll Haven, a wacky destination filled with carved, wooden trolls. They make an excellent photo spot and the kids will have a great time exploring the grounds. The property is great for weddings and other special events in this warm season.

As a final stop, check out Port Townsend. Their downtown has excellent antique shops and a beautiful waterfront. They also have a great art and history museum complete with an old jail in the basement. According to some, the downstairs is haunted, so visit at your own risk. Before you head out, be sure to drive through the historical district and look at the beautiful old homes.

Steilacoom:

Just a 20 minute drive north of Olympia sits the small town of Steilacoom. This spot sits on the banks of Puget Sound and has an excellent historical property at the center. Check out the old houses and feel transported to the early days of the region.

After you see the houses, walk and rest down at the waterfront. The large pathways are a great place to catch up with a friend and even sit for a picnic! If restaurants are more your thing, head into Steilacoom Pub and Grill. Situated on a hill, eat with a great view of the water and islands.

Regardless of where you go, Western Washington has a lot of great towns to visit. Take your time in each spot and try out the local cuisine. If you meet anyone during your travels, don’t forget to invite them to Olympia and check out both the downtown and Capital!

Day Trip Washington State

 

How To: Build a Backyard Oasis

Building a Backyard Oasis

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. You know what that means? Backyard barbecues, pool parties and fun in the sun entertainment. Don’t worry if your backyard isn’t ready for guests. These budget-friendly ideas will help you build a backyard oasis that’s ready to entertain in just one weekend!

Mood Lighting

Hanging outdoor globe lights are a fantastic way to set the mood and tone. Creating a peaceful ambiance will help you and your guests enjoy the backyard as the night continues.

Hammock

Nothing says relaxation like a hammock. Day or night, a hammock will be enjoyed by everyone.

Patio Furniture

Providing comfortable and attractive seating for you and your guests is a sure way to make sure everyone will have a good time. Regardless of set up, make sure the furniture is comfortable and practical. Your guests will thank you.

Greenery

Adding additional potted plants and flowers to your patio, deck and yard will help your space feel cozy and welcoming. Mix it up with greenery and flowers. The contrast between the green and pops of color will be stunning.

Firepit

S’mores, stories, laughter and fun. A firepit is a backyard staple that is sure to bring you and your guests together at the end of the night. You can buy one that is already ready to go from Home Depot, Lowes or a store like Target or you can build you own.

Lawn Games

Having activities for your guests to enjoy will help keep conversations going and ensure your guests have a good time. A variety of activities for all age levels is best. Volleyball, croquet, flag football and a slip-n-slide or sprinkler are just a few fun ideas!

To help set you off on the right foot for your newly ready to host backyard, here is a refreshing summer drink recipe I think you’ll enjoy. Happy entertaining!

Peach Whiskey Iced Tea

Find original recipe here.

5 bags of Black Tea
3 cups hot water
8 cups ice
1 cup cold water
1 ⅔ cup diced peaches
¼ cup sugar
1 lemon
Whiskey of choice

  1. Steep black tea bags in hot water for 5 min. Remove tea bags, add ice and cold water.

  2. Puree peaches in blender or food processor with sugar and lemon juice until smooth.

  3. Stir peach puree into tea until combined. Add additional sugar to taste.

  4. Fill glasses ¾ of the way full of ice, add shot of whiskey and top off with peach iced tea.

  5. Garnish with peach slice. Enjoy!

Build a Backyard Oasis

How To: Prepare Your House to Sell

douglas-sheppard-522206-unsplashSpring is here and now is the perfect time to sell your house. However, selling your house isn’t easy and there’s a lot that goes into process. Preparing before you even list your house is important. Not sure where to start? Follow these tips and you’ll be ready in no time.

Declutter

Purge and Declutter

A cluttered home doesn’t look good in pictures which can potentially turn buyers away from even viewing your home.  You want your buyer to see the home for what it is, a beautiful structure ready for its next occupant. Purging will also help with your move to your new home.  You’ll have less to move and several items will already be packed and ready when the time comes.

Depersonalize

Depersonalize

You want potential buyers to see their next home and not a house that is someone else’s. You want the home to be neutral and ready for those who walk through to visualize themselves living there. Replace family photos with easy prints from Etsy or that perfect sunrise photo from the other morning. Removing frames, kids’ artwork, toys and personal items from countertops will really help make the house feel ready for the next occupants. Not sure what to remove? Hiring a consultant to come in and help you determine what should stay or go helps tremendously.

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Paint

As well as removing personal items, painting is a part of de-personalizing. Neutral walls create a blank slate for buyers as they tour your home, making it easier for them to see your house as their next home. Spackle and refresh paint in any room that needs it. Do you have white walls that are looking a little drab? A gallon of fresh paint can go a long way and really boost the sale quality of your home.

Outdoor Beautification

Outdoor Beautification

Curb appeal and backyards are just as important as the interior of your house.  When a potential buyer pulls up, the exterior of your home will be their first impression. Make it a good one!  Take a step back and look at the home with fresh eyes. What would you see as someone just coming to look at your house for the first time. Weed, remove unnecessary shrubs, plants and trees, lay fresh bark and pressure wash the driveway. Clean the roof by sweeping off debris and treating for moss. And don’t forget to refreshing the exterior paint if it needs it.

Fix It

Fix It

Repair any damage and complete the projects you’ve been putting off.  Change your light bulbs, re-caulk your bathroom and kitchen tile and appliances.  Fix the leaky faucet and replace your broken trim. Start by walking through the house and making a list of anything and everything you can find, big or small. Completing your fix it list prior to listing your home to sell will save you some headaches later in the process.

Clean

Clean

It’s time to clean everything, from top to bottom.  This should be your final step before listing your house to sell. Take your cleaning to the next level with a deep, thorough cleaning. Wipe down your lights, walls, trim and cabinets. Clean the windows and gutters and don’t forget those pesky cobwebs in the corners!  Cleaning is something you can do yourself or you can hire professional to come in and do a deep clean.

There’s a lot that goes into selling your home. You want your home to feel comfortable and appeal to potential buyers.  If you take the above steps, not only will you prepare your house to sell but help sell it faster.

Ready to list your house? Contact me, I’d love to be your real estate agent.

How to Prepare Your House to Sell

Discover These 12 Puget Sound Restaurants

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If you’re new to the area, visiting or have lived here for a while, you should know that the Puget Sound has some fantastic local spots! Whether you’re in the mood for fresh seafood, authentic Mexican cuisine or an excellent glass of wine, we’ve got you covered. Here are 12 local Puget Sound restaurants you need to visit when you’re in the Olympia area.

The Bread Peddler

The Bread Peddler is a yummy local bakery with delicious treats and breads. Their breads and pastries are made daily to guarantee freshness and deliciousness. Not only can you go there for baked goods, they also serve homemade classic French style breakfasts and lunch dishes that are out of this world good using fresh, local produce. Offering home roasted espresso and hand shaped artisan breads, they have a passion for their craft and a commitment to quality. You can find them in the cute 222 Market in downtown Olympia.

Eagan’s Drive-In

This old-fashioned themed burger joint is the place to go when you’re looking for a delicious, juicy fresh made burger. Eagan’s Drive-In is a great place to take the family for a delicious meal.  They offer fresh food and homemade milkshakes that are the best in town.  Don’t forget their special homemade goop sauce!

Mercato

Mercato Ristorante is an upscale casual restaurant that focuses on simple, fresh Italian cuisine. Mercato has something for everyone. Your taste buds will dance with excitement when you try their pear gorgonzola salad, homemade butternut squash ravioli or any of their appetizers that are large enough to be a meal.  This space is fantastic for business meetings, date nights or a meal with the family.

Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar

Do you like shellfish? Then you’ll LOVE Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar. Starting out as a family of local shellfish farmers, they have now expanded and opened this oyster bar with a menu to please all shellfish and seafood lovers. Their clam chowder is amazing and they offer steak cooked to perfection. Chelsea Farms is located in the 222 Market in the heart of downtown Olympia in a cute new modern space. At Chelsea Farms, you’ll find a superb dining experience for all ages.

La Gitana

La Gitana is the place to go for authentic Italian wood fired pizza. When you walk in, you’re immediately greeted with a romantic atmosphere – string lights, fresh roses, local art displayed on their brick accent walls and live jazz music every third Saturday. Using fresh and organic ingredients, their pizza is some of the best in town. Don’t forget to finish your meal with a delicious homemade dessert (affogato, anyone!?).

Oly Rockfish Grill

Oly Rockfish Grill serves up an amazing breakfast menu offering six different kinds of benedict. Not an early riser? Don’t worry, they serve breakfast until 2 p.m. Oly Rockfish is family-friendly.  The front of the restaurant provides seating for small or large groups and is also perfect for a date night with their lounge-like atmosphere in the back. Their drinks are definitely worth talking about.

Hart’s Mesa

Hart’s Mesa is an authentic Mexican restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. They offer a variety of vegetarian and vegan options. You’ll find amazing portion sizes, a fantastic happy hour menu and budget-friendly prices. Their newer downtown location is a favorite spot for all ages. You’ll be hard pressed to find something on their menu that you don’t love.

Rumors Wine Bar

Located in the heart of downtown, Rumors Wine Bar is all about wine and the folks savoring it.  Their delicious and intriguing wines are carefully selected from vineyards all over the world. Specials are offered daily as well as wine tastings and classes year-round. Recently moving from their smaller space on 4th Ave. to a spacious location at the corner of 5th Ave. and Washington St., they have the ability to serve more patrons, be better than ever and still provide the same wonderful customer service and attention to detail that they always have.

Don Juan’s Mexican Kitchen

At Don Juan’s Mexican Kitchen, every dish is made with fresh local ingredients to satisfy your craving for authentic Mexican cuisine. With two locations, one in Olympia and one in Tenino, they have their menu down, including some of the best guacamole in town! You can sample their variety of delicious hot sauces before you decide what you want on your wet burrito. When you’re in the mood for an ice cold margarita, you can’t go wrong with Don Juan’s.

Mekong

Mekong offers authentic Thai food. They have superb prices, great portions and tasty food. This restaurant is in the heart of downtown making it easy to walk to from any downtown destination. With plenty of seating, this family-friendly restaurant won’t break the bank. Not sure what to order? You can’t go wrong with the chicken curry or pad Thai. Don’t eat meat? No problem. They offer plenty of vegetarian and vegan options as well.

Uncork and Unwind

You’ll find Uncork and Unwind in an old Tumwater home converted into a quaint wine bar and restaurant. They offer wine tastings throughout the month, a wine club and their own book club! With a wide variety of wine and beer, a small but delicious menu and expert staff, you’re bound to find something you love.

Meconi’s Subs and Sandwiches

Welcome to the “East Coast Style” Italian sub shop. Meconi’s Subs and Sandwiches is the place to go for a sub sandwich. Their daily, fresh baked fluffy bread, tasty meats and cheeses, oregano and in-house oil drizzle make their sandwiches some of the best you’ve ever tasted.  This budget-and-family-friendly restaurant will keep you coming back for more.

There’s a little bit of something for everyone here in the Olympia area.  Not only is it a fantastic area to visit, but an even better place to live. Keep an eye out for more posts like this with other hot spots in the Puget Sound!

Interested in moving to the area? Let me help! Contact me today to schedule a consultation.

Puget Sound Restaurants

Why Hire a Real Estate Agent?

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We live in a DIY world and while doing the work yourself can be beneficial for many projects, some things are better left to the professionals. Home buying and selling is a huge undertaking, physically, financially and emotionally.  Having a real estate professional by your side, guiding you through the process, will provide support in many different ways. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t give up on hiring a real estate agent just yet.

Knowledge

Assisting in buying or selling your home is a real estate agent’s full time job. They come with the knowledge and experience needed to make this a smooth and seamless process. Their education and experience are key to handling this process with ease.

Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, the amount of paperwork involved can be quite grueling and time consuming.  As a client, your time is precious. Hiring a real estate agent allows you to ask questions and sign on the dotted line without having to worry about all the details in between.  Let them handle the who, what, why and where!

Professional References and Referrals

Having been in the field for a while, most real estate agents have collected the names of the best professionals in all areas needed in home ownership.  They can give you the dos and don’ts as well as who you should and shouldn’t hire. They know everyone and are more than willing to help a client out, even after the home purchase is complete.

Negotiations

Negotiations can be tricky.  In a perfect home transaction, the buyer and the seller are both reasonable, easy to work with people who get along.  However, that’s not always the case. Often times, they don’t see eye to eye and a real estate agent can play the middle man, negotiating your terms without emotions getting in the way of the transaction.

Market Analysis and Pricing

The housing market fluctuates on a daily basis and it’s a real estate agent’s job to keep up with the trends.  You may know that a house in your neighborhood was listed for $350,000, but your real estate agent knows that it only sold for $300,000 after sitting on the market for 45 days.   Setting a price too high for a home can be detrimental. Allowing a real estate agent to assist in setting an appropriate price can make for a quick and easy sale.

Emotional Support

Selling your home can be an emotional process and quite honestly frustrating at times.  Whether you’re selling to downsize or upgrade, there’s often an attachment to the home you are selling.  Real estate agents are there to assist through the entire process. This also means when things get emotional, they are right there to listen and help you through whatever you are feeling. They are there for you 100%.

There are many benefits to hiring a real estate agent.  We are here to make the process of buying and selling your home as seamless as possible.  Contact me today and let me help you make this the best experience you’ve ever had!

hire a real estate agent

2019 Interior Design Trends to Watch For

Every New Year brings a sense of revival in several aspects of our lives. A healthier you is always on the agenda, but what about our homes? Our home should be our escape and a relaxing retreat from the world around us. What better way to make it a place of comfort than to follow some of the décor trends for the year? Here are 7 fantastic 2019 interior design trends to give you some inspiration!

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Black and White

This trend creates an amazing visual contrast.  The softness of the white mixed with the boldness of the black is a timeless look for any room in the house!

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Minimalism

In 2019, less is definitely more. Simplicity and minimal living is a great way to bring peace to your home as well as your life. Be strategic in your purchases and buy pieces you truly value.  Everything needs a place and overly crowded surfaces are out.  Appreciate your space and decorate with purpose. A good simple rule to a minimal lifestyle: Keep it simple.

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Bold Patterned Tile

Clean, white kitchens have been popular for a few years.  This year will bring a fun new revamp on a classic style.  A bold patterned tile and bright pops of color will add a fun twist for a fresh new look!  Don’t be afraid to be bold!

Interested in another fun display of bold tile?  Try it around your fireplace!

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Mixed Metals

Metal accents are a fantastic way to add variety and depth to any room. Getting a good mix of warm, cool and neutral metals will perk up a space that needs some fun.  Pick a dominant metal and add from there!  Don’t be shy!  There’s no going wrong when adding this timeless look to any style.

Warm Metals: Brass, copper and gold.

Cool Metals: Aluminum, stainless steel and other silver metals.

Neutral Metals: Cast Iron and black metals.

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Plants and Greenery

Whether they are fresh or faux, adding greenery with plants adds life to your space.  Pick greens that speak to you and your home.  Add some interest by placing it in a fun basket or pot. Try hanging it from the ceiling, sitting it on a shelf, counter or the floor.  The more greenery you have, the better!

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Bold Art

Bold art pieces are a great way to add personality to your living spaces.  Find pieces that truly speak to you. No matter the color or style, make it big and make a statement!

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Boho

Boho is back and with a modern twist. The boho style brings life and culture to all living spaces.  Layering boho inspired décor and fun patterned fabrics bring texture and a vibrant look to any room. Adding statement pieces against a crisp, modern white is exactly what you need to achieve the boho vibe.

I hope these interior design tips inspire you to make positive changes in your life and home and motivate you to celebrate your own individual style! How did you decide to implement these trends? Leave your feedback in the comments below!

2019 interior design trends