7 Steps to House-selling Success (courtesy of Realtor.com) part 1 of 7

Step 1: Plan and Prepare to Sell Your House

Million of existing homes are sold each year, and while each transaction is different every owner wants the same thing — the best possible deal with the least amount of hassle and aggravation.
Unfortunately, home selling has become a more complex business than it used to be. New seller disclosure statements, longer and more mysterious form agreements, and a range of environmental concerns have all emerged in the past decade.
More importantly, the home-selling process has changed. Buyer brokerage — where REALTORS® represent homebuyers — is now common nationwide, and good buyer-brokers want the best for their clients.
The result is that while hundreds of thousands of existing homes may be sold each week, the process is not as easy for sellers as it was five or 10 years ago. Surviving in today’s real estate world requires experience and training in such fields as real estate marketing, financing, negotiation and closing — the very expertise available from local REALTORS®.
Are you ready?
The home-selling process typically starts several months before a property is made available for sale. It’s necessary to look at a home through the eyes of a prospective buyer and determine what needs to be cleaned, painted, repaired and tossed out.
Ask yourself: If you were buying this home what would you want to see? The goal is to show a home which looks good, maximizes space and attracts as many buyers — and as much demand — as possible.
While part of the “getting ready” phase relates to repairs, painting and other home improvements, this is also a good time to ask why you really want to sell.
Selling a home is an important matter and there should be a good reason to sell — perhaps a job change to a new community or the need for more space. Your reason for selling can impact the negotiating process so it’s important to discuss your needs and wants in private with the REALTOR® who lists your home.
When should you sell?
The marketplace tends to be more active in the summer because parents want to enroll children in classes at the beginning of the school year (usually August). The summer is also typically when most homes are likely to be available.
Generally speaking, markets tend to have some balance between buyers and sellers year-round. In a given community, for example, there may be fewer buyers in late December, but there are also likely to be fewer homes available for purchase. So, home prices tend to rise or fall because of general demand patterns rather than the time of the year.
Owners are encouraged to sell when the property is ready for sale, there is a need or desire to sell, and the services of a local REALTOR® have been retained.
How do you improve your home’s value?
The general rule in real estate is that buyers seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can afford. In terms of improvements, this means you want a home that fits in the neighborhood but is not over-improved. For example, if most homes in your neighborhood have three bedrooms, two baths and 2,500 sq. ft. of finished space, a property with five bedrooms, more baths and far more space would likely be priced much higher and likely be more difficult to sell.
Improvements should be made so that the property shows well, is consistent with the neighborhood and does not involve capital investments, the cost of which cannot be recovered from the sale. Furthermore, improvements should reflect community preferences.
Cosmetic improvements – paint, wallpaper and landscaping – help a home “show” better and often are good investments. Mechanical repairs – to ensure that all systems and appliances are in good working condition – are required to get a top price.
Ideally, you want to be sure that your property is competitive with other homes available in the community. REALTORS®, who see numerous homes, can provide suggestions that are consistent with your marketplace.

10 Summer Moving Tips (courtesy of Realtor.com)

Just helped my step-daughter and son-in-law move!  Here are some helpful tips for you who are making a move soon.  

How to prepare for a seamless transition
If you’re moving this summer, the busiest season for moving, you know how daunting it can be. But if you create a blueprint for your move, the transition from house to house will go more smoothly.
Here are 10 things you can do to prepare for a seamless transition.
1. Full serve, partial serve or a do-it-yourself move.  Can you do it alone or should you hire a licensed moving company for a full-service or partial-service move?  This is one of the first and often most difficult questions soon-to-be moving households face. The answer depends on your lifestyle, household size, budget and amount of time you have to get everything accomplished. Get written quotes from at least three licensed moving companies so you know you’re getting the best deal based on your specific moving needs.  Moving yourself or doing a partial-service move?  Packing calculators can make it easier to estimate the amount of boxes and packing materials needed.
2. Plan to unpack BEFORE you pack. Take photos of each room in the new home before you arrive with furniture, plants, appliances and family in tow. Write down on a clip board where each item should go in your next home before packing, and carry it with you on moving day. List out the major items that need to be assembled first. As you place each item in its new room, cross it off the list and you will be one step closer to enjoying your new home.
3. Be strategic about packing.  If you have more than a month to ‘pick up and move’, start early.  Complete a free change of address and schedule utilities ahead of time at Moving.com.  Start packing early.  Whether it’s one room, one cabinet or a drawer at a time, weed through what may be years of accumulation.  As you’re going through your belongings, divide everything into these helpful categories:  donate to charity, give to a friend, recycle, trash, pack now, or keep handy until moving day.  You’ll be surprised at how much you can donate, recycle or give to friends.  And, you’ll not be overwhelmed with the task at hand three days before you move.
4. Moving is NOT child’s play. Plan ahead. Consider daycare on moving day, or get help from a friend or family member.  Provide lunch or some other appropriate thank you gesture if you do call in a favor. If that’s not an option, prioritize setting up safe places for your children to play in the new home on moving day so they’re not underfoot.  This will help everyone remain happy and calm on moving day.
5. Don’t fight with Fido. Sometimes we forget that all the packing and constant in-and-out of visitors is stressful for animals. Consider checking your pet into a daycare facility, or setting up a time for a friend to take them or check them into petday care. Don’t let your four-legged best friends get lost in the shuffle and remember to make day-of moving arrangements.
6. Keep track of small parts. Some items need to be broken down into pieces when moving, but do you know what to do with the small screws and washers that you end up with? Rather than tape them to the furniture, which can result in losing them, put everything in a baggie that is clearly marked and sealed. Keep all of the separate baggies together in one box on moving day and personally take it with you to your new home.
7. Take pictures of electronic hook-ups. Hooking up TVs, DVRs, home theater systems and computers can be challenging. Before unplugging any wires for the move, take a photo of the connections, print them out and label them in detail. This will create fewer headaches when setting up technology in the new home. Keep track of all loose wires using baggies or boxes that are clearly labeled, and personally carry these easy-to-lose items on moving day.
8. Packing cleaning products and toxins. Products such as detergents, pesticides and paint are heavy and unwieldy to pack. Dispose of as many as possible before the move in an eco-friendly way.  Call your city’s waste disposal department for guidance on proper disposal. For items that must be transported, pack them in a small box within a larger box for protection against leaks. Don’t overstuff boxes with these items! Consider marking these boxes in a different color, and seal them extra tight. Keep them separate from the rest of the boxes, particularly if you have kids and pets.
9. Consider getting full value insurance protection. If using a professional mover, it may cost a few dollars extra, but it provides peace of mind and eliminates later annoyances. Investing in full value protection means any lost or damaged articles will be repaired or replaced, or a cash settlement will be made at current market value, regardless of age. It’s important to note that the required minimum coverage of 60 cents per pound would not cover the replacement cost of more expensive items such as a flat screen TV if damaged in transit.
10. Know your rights. If using a professional mover, research your rights as a consumer with either the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for interstate moves or contact the state agency within the state in which you reside for moves within state. Also, enlist the help of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or local law enforcement if the moving company fails to live up to its promises or threatens to hold your belongings hostage. FMCSA requires interstate movers to offer arbitration to help settle disputed claims.

Introduction to The Real Estate Sales Career

Of course, any profession has its challenges and the Real Estate Career is no different.  However, when weighed against the numerous advantages afforded by this career choice, the privileges greatly outweigh its challenges! 



I personally know what its like to be a slave to the time clock.  Impatiently waiting for each tick of the clock to shorten my required stay on the job, while simultaneously shortening my–life!  The Real Estate Sales profession sees me rising each morning, looking forward to the day ahead.  I am free to work when I want and to rest (vacation, play…) when I want, no 9-5 job can really compare.



I got my start in Real Estate while being a single parent.  This career allowed me the ability to see my children off to school, attend baseball games, basketball games, dance recitals, PTA events, etc.  What other profession would allow me this kind of flexibility?  All the while, I was able to pursue other personal interests as well! 


Be Your Own Boss:

No more ‘answering to the Man’!  Of course, we still need to practice competent service, however no need to worry about a Foreman ‘looking over your shoulder’ or readily pointing out everything you do wrong at every waking moment!  Being self employed is a dream-come-true for every person possessing an entrepreneurial spirit.


Company Support:

This Real Estate Firm offers excellent support and guidance for your career.  You are building a “Business within a Business” and the right firm offers both the atmosphere and training you need to achieve this.


The Satisfaction of Helping Others:

Home-ownership is an important part of the American Dream.  The Real Estate Professional is a vital part of that Dream!  Additionally, the purchase of a home is most likely the most expensive purchase an individual or family will ever make and to make this experience a delightful one is very fulfilling!


Virtually Unlimited Income Potential:

Because the Real Estate Sales profession is commission-based, you are not limited to ‘trading dollars for hours’.  Instead, as your skills develop and you build your business, your income increases right alongside!  A good Real Estate Agent brings in an income that rivals the most highly trained professionals in most any other field!


Ease of Entry:

To gain this kind of Freedom, Flexibility and Income Potential doesn’t require 7 years of college and not even 5 years!  It merely requires completion of a 90 hour (!) pre-licensure course, coupled with proper guidance by a caring Real Estate Brokerage. 

                       If you’re interested in hearing more, please contact me! 


Harley Greninger                 360-533-1900                  harleyg@prgraysharbor.com

What should a Landlord look for in a Tenant? by Dee Boyd

As a property Manager with over 20 years of experience in the real estate business, I have found that there are three major things that Landlords look for. The first is good credit, second is good work history and third is a good rental history. And an informed Landlord is going to verify those before approving a Tenant.  As a Landlord, you want to make sure that you are renting to stable, responsible person who will pay his or her rent on time.

A Landlord should always research a Tenant’s criminal background and credit report before approving the lease. Having a stable credit, income and rental history means that the applicant will most likely be a good Tenant. You can check several consumer reports to check a person’s credit and rental history. You definitely want to pull a credit report from a credit bureau such as Equifax, Experian or Transunion. While a few unpaid bills or slow payments may be understandable, more serious credit blemishes such as evictions,charge-offs or judgments should  raise a huge red flag and you should exercise caution when renting to the applicant. If, however the person has made payment plans with their creditors or is making an honest effort to pay off his debts even you may use your discretion to decide if it is worth giving them a chance. If so, you may want to consider doing an even more thorough income verification or ask for a co-applicant or a larger security deposit.

You also need to verify their income. This may seem as easy as giving their boss a call and asking a few questions, but an age of corporate privacy policies, self employment and convoluted employment verification services have made this process much more difficult. To avoid ending up in a red-tape nightmare, make sure you ask your applicant who exactly is the person or office responsible for employment verification, instead of just asking for their supervisor.

Many companies also require written consent from their employees before verifying any employment information so be prepared to provide some documentation to the employer. A signed rental application or release form is usually sufficient enough. Pay stubs and tax returns can also be used as proof of employment if you are having difficulty getting through to anyone at the applicant’s job. If the person is self-employed, taking a look at their tax returns will also help verify their income as well. After you have determined that the applicant is actually receiving income, you also want to make sure that the income that they are getting is sufficient enough to pay their monthly rent. In general, a person’s monthly pay should be about 3 times more than what the rent is in order to comfortably make the payments. So if you are charging 700 dollars a month in rent, then you should rent to people who make at least 2,100 dollars a month.

You will also need to decide what your policy on pets will be.  If there are pets, how large the pet is, what kind of pet references are there. Can the previous landlord say that, “yes the pet was okay”?

If an applicant makes a decent salary and is responsible and credit worthy, then they should have no trouble getting an apartment or renting a home. From the tenant’s perspective, if you satisfy those three credit items — credit, work and rental history — you are probably going to be in a very good position to be approved for the lease.

~Dee Boyd