Real Estate January 11, 2021

5 Real Estate Resolutions for 2021



Never has a year brought such a surge of new homeowners to the San Juan Islands as 2020. Recognized by NORTHWEST PUBLIC BROADCASTING as a ‘Zoom Town,’ our wired-for-remote-work communities, natural beauty and mellow island lifestyle were strong appeals for people looking to relocate from work-from-home, school-from-home, or stuck-at-home lives.

As we adjusted to pandemic life, historic low interest rates pushed record-setting sales. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), San Juan County wrapped 2020 with a 54% jump in the number of closed sales year over year, closed sale dollar value was up over 66%, and inventory was down by over 67%. The number of closed sales in the Orcas District was even higher with a 66% increase.

For people who’ve contemplated selling, the predicted continuation of low interest rates and a seller’s market should make 2021 another advantageous year for marketing a home. You may want to start your year by outlining daily, weekly and monthly activities on a calendar dedicated to tracking the tasks involved. Here are five resolutions to get the ball rolling.


  1. MEET NEW PEOPLE: interview several brokers to find the best fit for you and your needs. Finding the right team is key in making your experience as smooth as possible. Hiring a qualified home inspector for a pre-inspection can also be beneficial. This enables you to identify and address any issues that may be concerning for potential buyers.


  1. LEARN SOMETHING NEW: watch your market, taking note of comparable homes and trends to help you present your home at its best. Suggestions for staging from your broker or other professional can help you accent your home’s finest features.


  1. STOP PROCRASTINATING: the biggest challenge in achieving goals is procrastination. Hiring a broker and/or broker’s team can keep you moving forward to meet critical deadlines for preparing, marketing, showing, and ultimately selling your home.


  1. GET IN SHAPE: just like our physical and mental health, getting our home and financials in shape can be immensely rewarding. Organizing, decluttering, and depersonalizing enhance showings and make transitions easier when it’s time to move. Contact your lender to review your payoff and identify your budget needs for your next home.


  1. KEEP A JOURNAL: preparing for and selling your home can be intense. Journaling is an
    effective exercise for alleviating anxiety as well as documenting your journey.


If COVID derailed plans to sell your home last year perhaps 2021 is the time for a fresh start.
Please find a New Year’s Resolution worksheet below.

Happy New Year!

–  Wally




Living in the San Juan IslandsReal Estate November 25, 2020


5-Step Plan for Dazzling First Impressionswally gudgell group blog organize your home sold - tips
& Organizing Your Home Sold

Even in the San Juan Islands, our island lives can be hectic at times, leaving our homes a little jumbled. We look past the mountain of footwear in the corner of our mudroom, an exquisite collection of beach finds adorning window, or the magnificent compost along our driveway, but buyers will not.

According to Psychological Science, the Princeton psychologists found “it takes a tenth of a second to form an impression,” and from Science Of People, “our first impressions of people are 75% accurate.” Houses are not people, but house hunting can feel a little like dating. Instead of seeing a well-designed open floor plan and spacious 2-car garage with storage for both cars and kayaks, disorder and unfinished projects leave buyers feeling cramped, uncomfortable, and blocked from seeing their best life in your home.

The good news, with a little work, you can make your home’s first impression more appealing, give your home an edge over the competition and make any buyer say “YES.”


To understand your home’s current first impression, and to discover where a little attention is needed, take a preview inventory with photos of your home inside and out. Then ask yourself, friends, and family, “what do you see?” Tips to getting the best preview photos of your home include taking lots of pictures, maximize natural light shooting on a sunny day, remove outside screens for the photoshoot (saved out of sight for the new owners) and turn off your flash. For more tips on the best photos of your home, visit on

Your home’s exterior and landscaping speak volumes as to what buyers may find inside. Keeping your yard clipped or trimmed, looking its best with weeded beds, a tidy driveway, clean and pressure wash siding, decking, and windows with all equipment organized and tucked away can result in impressive ROI.

Disorganization and clutter obstruct buyers from seeing the true beauty and possibilities of your home. Additionally, a house with too much personalization acts as a barrier to buyers envisioning themselves coming home every day. Spend a day or two of deep cleaning, reorganization, and depersonalizing before your first showing; possibly a few more days for some of us. Any time spent creating the feeling of space and a neutral canvas throughout your home is time well spent and ensures a buyer’s first impression is positive, allowing them to appreciate your home’s true potential and their life in it.  View for more tips on decluttering for dazzling first impressions at®.

We all have a to-do list of minor unfinished projects and repairs. Before you put your home on the market, optimize sale proceeds and your home’s first impression with buyers by checking off that list. Patch holes, repaint and refinish if needed, check and repair loose door handles or cabinet hinges, as well as touch up the caulking around tubs and sinks.

Don’t forget to check all your lighting and replace any burnt bulbs. Then use lighting, soft neutral music and deodorize, neutralize and freshen with natural aromas to say, “This Home Is The One!”  For more strategies on setting the mood for sold, visit at®.


First impressions are no more important on a first date than they are when selling your home. Should you have questions about the value of your home, our market, or what steps you should take for the best return on your investment, please shoot us a call. We are here to help!

Cheers to Sold – Wally