Real Estate Stories that Could Be April Fools Pranks

We could go on and on about our REALTORS® and the funny stories they bring back to the office. But below are some of our favorites that are so funny, we thought they must be April Fools Pranks!

1. “I was helping a first time home buyer and we came across a new listing. The listing comments read “Charming 3-bedroom, 1 bath. Just needs a ‘little TLC.’
The house in real life:

*photo credit: Sara Dennison

 

2. This one is more of a professional hazard really…

“When you think everything looks good, you’re on the road to closing, and then…”

*Video credit: The Lighter Side of Real Estate

 

3. “There always seem to be surprises before the open house. It’s like, “what else could possibly happen before this?” Just once, I’d love to have and open house that goes completely without a hitch.”
Client: our pet snake got loose this morning, but we’ll find it before the open house!
Me:

Run Away GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

Client: We will definitely have everything clean for the open house!
Me, arriving 30 minutes before the open house:

Extreme Hoarding Buried Alive GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

Me, when the tenants are home after confirming they would leave:

What Are You Doing Here Lauren GIF by The Hills - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

 

4. “Never, ever, under any circumstance whatsoever, believe the budgets on HGTV!”

 

 

5. “When showing a home, my buyer and I had the strange feeling that someone was watching us.”

 


5 Ways to Up Your Curb Appeal

Curb appeal typically brings to mind spring planting, weeding, lawn maintenance, and maybe some hardscaping to bring definition to your garden. But some of our favorite curb appeal tips have nothing to do with your yard! Take a look at our top 5 tips below for curb appeal that wows.

1. It’s all about color.

One of the first things buyers always seem to notice is color! So, give your front porch a little love with a fresh coat of paint to your front door, or some fun furniture accents. We’re loving this cabernet colored door, or may we suggest an outdoor chair or pillow in the Pantone Color of the Year, Living Coral? 

*photo credit to Pantone LLC.


2. You’ve got mail.

A fresh new take on this staple for any home could be just what you need. Be sure to check your neighborhood or HOA for any rules/restrictions, but you can freshen up where you receive your daily mail for very little investment, just by visiting your local hardware store. Try a new pedestal or roadside mailbox, or this modern wall mount mailbox is sure to stand out.


3. Improve Your Numbers

House numbers have become something of a trend in recent years, and for good reason!  They are such a quick and easy way to update the look of your entry way. Try a modern new display with chic metallics and dark wood tones,  get crafty with a planter/numbers combo, or get custom numbers carved into metal, like this example. There are so many options, and all add a little flair.


4. Let Your Light Shine

Outdoor lighting can add another level to your curb appeal – especially for people who may be house hunting in the early evening hours.  Think about how welcoming a brightly lit entry way feels compared to one that is dark and hidden. Help buyers see your hard work by adding new sconce lighting or some trendy Edison lightbulb strands.


5. Power Wash the Dirt Away

So simple, and we know we keep telling you that cleaning is key, but it really is! If you don’t own a power washer, renting one for the day from a local hardware store can be a huge game changer for your curb appeal. Buyers will see a fresh clean house as they walk up and instantly feel welcome and at home.

Power Satisfying GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Top 5 Home Staging Tips You NEED To Know

So, you spent the time in January and February to completely Marie Kondo your home, and it isn’t sparking joy in your life any longer. Maybe it’s time to think about selling? Our REALTORS® are here to help you every step of the way, including whether or not you should sell your home – but if you decide that is the next step, here are some of our favorite home staging tips!

  1. De-clutter & Clean

You’ve already got that decluttering down, right? (If not – check out our series on how to tidy up your home!) Cleaning is of utmost importance when staging and selling your home. Wipe down countertops and clean mirrors regularly, especially in preparation for a showing. Insure floors are clean, check out the inside of appliances (especially if you are selling them with the home) and dust, dust, dust! Not into cleaning? That’s ok, our REALTORS® can recommend resources to help with this.

  1. De-personalize Your Space

Homebuyers want to picture themselves in your space. By removing personal items, like family photos, unique design choices, bathroom toiletries, and anything overtly religious, you allow the buyer to see their photos, their design, their toiletries, etc. Now, you don’t need to do any major renovating to achieve this, nor do you need to clear everything away – you’re aiming for comfortable and charming.

  1. Stage Kitchen, Living Room, Master Bedroom First

The kitchen, living room and master bedroom are the three most lived in rooms in a home. Because of that, homebuyers often make their decisions based on these spaces! Create an environment that helps to showcase the best assets of these rooms, and you will help homebuyers picture themselves living life there too.

  1. Well Placed Color Can Go A Long Way

Most home staging tips will say neutral everything is the key. But some well-placed color can help your home feel vibrant, exciting, adventurous, or calming, serene and comforting. When thinking about color in your home, stick to items like throw pillows, rugs, blankets or fresh flowers to add color – you take those things with you, so the buyer won’t feel stuck with a bright orange wall or pink carpet.

  1. Consult the Professionals

Feeling overwhelmed with our first four tips? That’s where we come in. Our REALTORS® can help guide your home staging choices, and even recommend some trusted industry partners. Feeling eager to get going? Contact a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate agent today!


Top Four Reasons a BHHSMI Realtor® is Good to Know™

We often say a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate Agent is Good to Know™, but what does that really mean? Our company growth is dependent on every carefully chose member of our team, so when you choose a BHHSMI REALTOR® to help buy or sell your home, you’re choosing a leader in the industry.  Here’s our pick for the top four reasons a BHHSMI agent is the best option for your real estate transaction.

  1. We are part of a worldwide organization of trusted real estate experts. Not every real estate company has the name Berkshire Hathaway backing it. When you work with a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network agent, you can trust in their strength, integrity, and universal integrity.
  2. We are one of the largest networks of REALTORS® in Michigan and Northern Indiana. Coming in second for number of agents in Michigan, BHHSMI has one of the largest networks of any real estate company. This means we have one of the largest referral networks, and cover the largest area – which is a good thing for you! A larger network means more offers on your home as a seller, and more potential homes for you to see as a buyer.
  3. We are real estate experts. When it comes to real estate knowledge, no one beats BHHSMI. Our agents spend countless hours each week learning how to serve you better. Whether finding new ways to market listings, researching local areas and communities or brushing up on their legal knowledge, you can count on our experts to get you the best results.
  4. We are marketing gurus. Our marketing services start on day one. We are there to help determine selling price, suggest minor or major repairs to help get top dollar, and we use the best tools in the market to get more eyes on your home. Our national marketing ensures that the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices name is in front of home buyers regularly, our listings are seen on over 100 real estate websites, and we advertise our properties on Facebook and in local information sources. And home buyers – this is good for you too! Knowing where to market a home means we also know where to go to find you that new home.

 

Ready to take the first step in selling your home or buying a new home?  Contact one of our REALTORS® today.


Tidying Up When Selling – Lesson Five

The final lesson in the KonMari Method™ is sentimental items. As REALTORS® this is one of the hardest things to discuss with our clients when selling their homes. Too many sentimental items in your house, or items that match your unique tastes can turn off some potential buyers. Like the other lessons in Marie’s method, lesson five can immediately contribute to your bottom line when selling your home. And like some of the other lessons, it can also be very difficult!

To start, save all sentimental items for the end of the tidying process. If you encountered any of those items in steps 1-4, now is the time to bring them out. These items are often difficult to tidy because we have an emotional connection with them. Perhaps that drawing is from your child who is now grown and has moved out of the house, and you miss that younger time. Perhaps that item of clothing was from a time when you went through a lot of changes, and you have a lot of respect for that time in your life. Perhaps a loved one has passed, and that item or antique was given to you from that loved one.

The best part about Marie’s method is that we can decide what is important to us and what sparks joy for us. If those items do spark joy and you will revisit them, good news, you can keep them! But they shouldn’t be buried in a tub in the basement or the garage. They should be where you can easily get to them each day. Don’t want to see those items each day? That is when to evaluate if it truly sparks joy.

That wraps up our series on Marie Kondo! Have you tried any of her tidying tips? Is your home no longer sparking joy? Our REALTORS® can help with that.


Tidying Up When Selling – Lesson Four

Komono is the miscellaneous items category. And there is one thing we know for sure: komono is just about EVERYTHING. If it isn’t clothing, books or papers, it is komono. It left us yelling “THAT IS SO MUCH STUFF MARIE!”

Happy Marie Kondo GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

Just like Marie’s other lessons, komono is so important when selling your home. As REALTORS® we know that personal items and clutter can prevent a buyer from seeing themselves in a home. Home buyers peek into drawers and cupboards, in kitchens and bathrooms to see how they can store their belongings.  So, this category is actually the most important! One of our favorite rooms with a lot of komono is the kitchen.  Kitchens are one of the top features that home buyers look for, and a well maintained and organized kitchen can mean valuable dollars at the negotiating table!

The process starts the same: bring everything out! Remove everything from your pantry, bring out all of your dishes and Tupperware, and put them somewhere you can see them all at once.  Then, sorting through the items one at a time, make sure each item sparks joy, and will be useful for you moving forward. Especially in the pantry, this is a great time to remove anything expired!

Once you are ready to re-store your items, make sure you keep them in categories – group like food items together, group similar dishes together. Marie also recommends using clear containers when possible, so you can see what you have and how much of it. We love this tip, because it helps when showing your house as well! When a buyer sees that you have plenty of room for all of your dishes – both every day and seasonal or limited use, they will instantly imagine they can store all of their items as well. Not to mention how handy it will be to have all of your snacks in one spot!

One REALTOR® tip as you are evaluating your food and kitchen goods – if you find that an item is no longer practical for you, or no longer sparks joy, but is still functional and not yet expired, consider donating these items to your favorite local charity like shelters, food pantries or soup kitchens! Establishments like this often rely on donations to help a lot of people, so you can clear out your clutter and help others at the same time!


Tidying Up When Selling – Lessons Two and Three

Home offices, or bonus rooms can be a big selling feature for many homebuyers. But what happens when your valuable extra space is cluttered with bills, papers, books and more? Buyers start to see the space as a burden rather than a bonus! That’s where lesson two and three on the KonMari Method™ come in especially handy!

Lesson two focuses on books.

These could be adult, child, textbook, novels, dictionaries – if it has a binding and you’ve been holding on to it, time to tidy it up! The process for books is the same one you followed for clothing: get everything out and pile it on the floor or a table. Then evaluate one at a time if the book sparks joy for you. Marie also points out here that you should consider whether the books will be valuable to you moving forward.  And do not forget to thank each book for its service to you as you tidy.

Lesson three is all about papers.

These seem like they would be a little easier to judge whether to keep it according to the KonMari Method™ but we actually found this really hard! Cards, artwork, little notes can often hold a lot of sentimental value! Remember, Marie’s 5th category is sentimental items, and she recommends completing those last. So, if you’re finding something too difficult, save it for later in the process.  Each paper that you keep should fit in to 1 of the 3 categories in the method.

  1. Pending: these are papers that you need to take action on. Think bills, a letter you haven’t yet responded to, that notice to make a check-up at the doctor or dentist. Sort these in their own location so you can attend to them in a timely way.
  2. Important: It seems self-explanatory, but these are papers that you need to keep permanently, like insurance forms, contracts, etc. Sort them somewhere they are protected – we recommend a fireproof safe where you can also store bank documents, passports, birth certificates and more. And remember, all of the papers should be together, so keep your safe with your other papers.
  3. Miscellaneous: these papers are items you want to refer back to regularly and ones you want or need to read frequently. This could be magazine clippings, recipes, seminar notes, instructional manuals, etc.

When you take care to tidy up that bonus room or office, it will have buyers singing praises of your home’s space and will help them picture their life in your home.

 

 

 

 


Tidying Up When Selling – Lesson One

The first lesson in the KonMari Method™ is to evaluate and tidy your clothing. Closet and storage space is one of the top 10 items that homebuyers tell our REALTORS® they need in their new home, so Marie is on to something here!

To get started with your clothing, you have to make a little mess.  Pile all of your clothing in one place – a bed or a living room floor work well. Kondo says that when you see all of the clothing you own, you are more aware of how much you actually have and it will make the process easier.

Once everything is out of drawers or out of the closet, you need to hold each piece one at a time and determine if that piece sparks joy in your life. If it does, simple, you keep it. If it doesn’t, you have to keep in mind if you truly need it or not – for example, an undershirt might not be particularly exciting or spark that excitement for you, but you may need them to wear other clothing that does spark joy.  Not sure how to know what sparks joy?  Our last blog post gives you some examples.

As you pick the items you will keep, Marie has very specific folding instructions.  Check out her youtube page to see all of the methods!

Folding Marie Kondo GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Aside from the benefit of giving you more closet space, we are really loving the focus on only keeping things that spark joy.  Each and every day, our REALTORS® help homeowners find joy in their homes. We believe in finding that special new home to start your next chapter or the perfect new owners to love your home the way you have.

So, take a look around – does your home spark joy? Give us a call, and let’s make Marie proud!

Tidying Up When Selling

If you’ve been online in the last two weeks, you know one thing for certain: Marie Kondo is taking over!

From her #1 New York Times best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, her proven KonMari Method™, and her new Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”,  Marie is everywhere. It seems everyone is cleaning up and clearing out for the new year, so that made us curious – could you use Marie’s methods to help sell your house? Through the rest of this month, we’ll take a look at the strategies Kondo uses, and give you some great tips to get that house ready for the market!

First up, we need to understand the KonMari Method™.  The biggest differentiator between Kondo’s method and other method’s you’ve tried before is her approach – rather than organizing room by room and never finishing, KonMari gives you 6 basic rules.

Rule #1: Commit yourself to tidying up.
Excited Marie Kondo GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Okay Marie, we’re ready!

Rule #2: Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
Happy Marie Kondo GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

Our REALTORS® can help you realize this – whether your ideal lifestyle rests in your current home, or if it rests in a new dwelling, imagining the lifestyle someone can live in your home is key to selling (and buying!)

Rule #3: Finish discarding first.
Happy Marie Kondo GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

Makes sense – the saying doesn’t go ‘In with the new and out with the old!’ And discarding is going to do wonders to sell your home.

Rule #4: Tidy by category, not by location.
Happy Marie Kondo GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

This is the biggest difference in the KonMari Method™. We’ve been going room by room for too long! By focusing on categories, you insure everything can be organized as it needs to, all in one fell swoop. Remember when you perfectly organized the office and had everything in its place, only to realize there was a hidden stack of papers in the bedroom? No? Was that just us? Okay, moving on…

Rule #5: Follow the right order.
Happy Marie Kondo GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

I know, I know, the kitchen clutter is calling our name too! Afterall, REALTORS® know that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. But there is a method to Marie’s cheerful madness and we already committed to stick with it.

Rule #6: Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

We’re going to let Marie do the talking here:

Happy Marie Kondo GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

Whatever you want to call them, your items should spark a physical emotion – goosebumps, chills, smiles, happy tears, etc.  Everything you keep should give you that reaction.

In our next blogs, we will explore each of Marie’s categories to tidying: Clothing, Books, Papers, Komono, and Sentimental Items. Stay tuned!
Happy Marie Kondo GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

Real Estate in 2019

While much in a new year can seem uncertain, one thing is clear: there are a lot of opportunities in the real estate market in 2019! If you tried to buy a home or sell your home in 2018, you probably noticed a few difficult trends: a very competitive market, few homes available, and rising prices.  Some of those will remain the same in 2019, and some will change. We also expect some new trends to appear.

Competitive Home Buying Market

Unfortunately for you homebuyers out there, the market will most likely remain very competitive. Driven by some of our other trends (looking at you rising prices and lack of available homes), the homebuying market in 2019 will still have many buyers for each available property. The good news? Things are slowing down. We predict 2019 will be the year that the housing market begins correcting back to a ‘normal’ number of available listings.

Low Number of Available Homes

As we mentioned, the number of available homes for sale in 2019 is likely still going to be low compared to the number of potential home buyers. The good news? The new home building industry is continuing to see growth in 2019. Brand new properties available in the market could help relieve strain on the crowded buying pool.

Home Values Are Still Rising – Just Not as Fast

In 2019, we will continue to see home values at record level highs. However, we expect to see the rate of appreciation in home values slow down or even stay level this year. What does that mean? More people may be able to realize their homebuying dreams as their ideal properties drop to or stay in their price range.

Design Trends Are Shifting

2018 was the year of bright, light and airy home design. Modern farmhouse style dominated – with sellers and buyers alike preferring white, cream, and gray color schemes. In 2019, we’re living in color! More and more homeowners are opting for color in their paint and décor choices. Also contradictory to the 2018 trends, patterns are making a comeback in 2019. And finally, in 2019, comfort is key. Homeowners are looking toward soft edges, plush fabrics and cushioned furniture.

 

Whether the market remains as it was in 2018, or shifts dramatically, one thing is certain. A Berkshire Hathaway REALTOR is the best to help you navigate buying or selling in 2019. Get in touch with us today!