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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
CLICK HERE FOR A 2021 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION WORKSHEET
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.”
1. PREVIEW PHOTO INVENTORY
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 houzz.com/ideabooks/How-to-Photograph-Your-House on Houzz.com.
2. CURB APPEAL – SETS EXPECTATIONS
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.
3. DECLUTTER, ORGANIZE & DEPERSONALIZE
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 Realtor.com/advice/sell/make-fantastic-first-impression-selling-home/ for more tips on decluttering for dazzling first impressions at Realtor.com®.
4. UNFINISHED and NEEDED REPAIRS
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.
5. SET THE MOOD
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 Homelight.com/blog/tips-for-showing-your-house/ at Homelight.com®.
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
WHAT TO DO . . .
WHEN THERE’S NOTHING TO DO
As we all have started to adjust to our new, hopefully, temporary 2020 Coronavirus routines, many of us, including The Wally Gudgell Group, have begun to find isolation, shelter in place, and social distancing a little monotonous.
Like you, we too in these first weeks of isolation, have discovered a real pressure in the question WHAT TO DO WHEN THERE’S NOTHING TO DO. The simple abundance of extra, or downtime has left us surfing and longing for the fun seen on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or featured on our national and local news.
You may be asking, “What can we do with all this time at home? What family-friendly fun can we have sheltered in place to celebrate Spring’s arrival?” Whether you’re tucked away on Orcas in the beautiful San Juan Islands, poolside in Florida with a quickly dwindling wine cellar, or in a posh high-rise condominium atop Capitol Hill; we enthusiastically offer nine ideas to stay busy and sane while practicing Covid-19 isolation.
Please know you can reach our team by email or phone to help answer any real estate questions you may have regarding Idea #1, DREAMING OF AN ISLAND HOME. Whether you’re buying or selling land, residential homes, or businesses, we are here! We can also help with several other ideas from determining the optimal DIY project for home renovation projects, to merely chatting about our fantastic island lifestyle in the San Juan Islands.
Happiness and Health – The Wally Gudgell Group
Dear Clients and Friends,
Please find a link below to Matthew Gardner’s Full Report for the Western Washington Real Estate Market Q4 2019 including some compelling reasons now is again a great time for sellers in the San Juan Islands.
Reviewing Matthew’s Q4 2019 Report, as expected our seasonal slow paired with continued inventory shortages place San Juan County with the lowest number of home sales. In the same breath San Juan County LEADS Western Washington for Q4 2019 with a spike in home price growth to a 12% increase over the third quarter of 2019. This increase in home sale prices and inventory shortage should encourage many sellers to list this spring, adding to inventory to positively impact our Q1 for 2020. Should you have questions how these figures impact your real estate portfolio, how it measures up or if you need a realtor, feel free to call, I’d love to discuss your real estate goals.