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Has Your Realtor Ever Sold Their Own Home?

Has Your Realtor Ever Sold Their Own Home?

Vikki Garby HomeHas Your Realtor Ever Sold Their Own Home?

One of the most stressful life events, up there with death of a parent or sibling, getting married, and divorce of parents … selling a home.   As excited as you may or may not be about your upcoming move, brace yourself because it can be a very long and bumpy ride.

Hopefully you’re selling for a happy reason….like you’re retiring early, moving to an exotic island so you can swim with the dolphins.  Maybe deadlines won’t exist and budgets will be unnecessary.

Or maybe it’s not such a pretty picture.  Perhaps you are going through a divorce or you lost your job.  You might be relocating for work so you are leaving not only your beloved home, but all of your closest friends as well.  OK, it doesn’t have to be that gloomy.  But no matter what the situation, one thing is a certainty…..selling your home can be challenging, stressful and emotional… and if your realtor can not relate, it can feel like a very lonely and painful period of time.

On a regular day, it’s hectic enough trying to get the kids dressed, fed and on the bus, the dog walked and yourself ready for work.  But now you have to have your house picture perfect by 8am as well.   May sound doable for a few weeks but when you’re still dealing with showings several months in, the stress begins to accumulate.

Finally an offer comes in which makes you hopeful, until the inspection happens and again they’re nitpicking every aspect of your house.  You fight through round two of negotiations (round 1 is price, round 2 is inspection).  Happy, sad, hopeful, mad.

As an agent, we see these issues daily, it’s routine to us.   While issues become very personal to a home owner, it may seem as though it’s simply another day at the office to a realtor.  The truth is, it is.  But an empathetic agent will hopefully give you comfort that you’re not alone.  The trials and tribulations of selling will pass and in the end you will have achieved your goal.

I Sold My Own Home

This past summer my husband and I sold our home.  Even real estate agents can’t avoid a lot of the selling headaches.  We had issues with just about every aspect:  location, inspection, appraisal, seller concession.  But in the end the house sold and we could move on which was our ultimate objective.  We were also building during all of this but that’s another article!

While I do not plan to sell for a while, I am happier now that I did.  It’s behind me.  Going through it personally helped me relate so much more to my sellers.  Several of us were literally going through it in parallel!

We survived and so will you. There is light at the end of the selling tunnel!  It’s not easy, but remember this too shall pass….and if you’re looking for an agent who can relate, I may just be your girl!

What to do with Fido During House Showings

What to do with Fido During House Showings



What to do with Fido  during house showings can be complicated.  Let’s face it, it is hard to have your home on the market and get it show-room ready at the drop of a hat.  Add a pet into the mix, especially a dog, and it gets way more complicated.  Yes, I know you are an animal lover (as am I) but not everyone is.   Pets leave odors, even in the cleanest of homes, and like the Febreze commercial says, you have gone nose-blind to it.  I know, we have a dog. So what is a pet lover to do?  

Here are some suggestions:
  • Baking soda sprinkled on the carpets (let sit for 20 minutes) and then vacuum.  Don’t go crazy with plug ins and artificial fragrance (potential buyers could be allergic). There are odor absorbing beads (Natural Magic is one brand) you can place around your home. 
  • If weather permits, leave a few windows open (or for about 20 minutes prior). 
  • Put 2 cap fulls of vanilla extract in a coffee cup in the oven at 300 degrees for about an hour and the whole house will smell wonderful.
Options for where to put furry friends (this mainly applies to dogs)
  • If you can, take your dog for a walk while your home is being shown.
  • Having an outside kennel in the backyard.  Potential buyers could still walk around the yard and your dog would be secure. 
  • Clients walking around the yard it is important to remember to pick up after your furry friend.
  • An inside kennel would work as well. 
  • If none of the other options are available to you then place your dog in a room (say a utility room) with a sign on the door, do not enter, dog inside.
If you have a feline friend make sure the litter box is empty (at least when you leave).
One last thing, your agent should put a comment in the showing instructions that there is a pet and where the pet will be located.  I have been surprised a few times by a dog and a few clients didn’t feel comfortable entering the home.

Are you the best person to sell your own home?

Welcome to your new home!

It is often presumed that one can put a sign outside sell their own house without help to
avoid paying a Realtor commission.

Some sellers are tempted to try a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) transaction because their
neighborhood is in the midst of a sellers’ market. They believe their home will sell
easily. But unfortunately, more often than not, it’s the exact opposite.

Statistics show that selling your home with the assistance of a professional real estate agent will garner you a higher profit, enough to cover the commission as well as put more money in your pocket. According to the National Association of Realtor’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average FSBO sales price was $174,900, while the average price for a home represented by an agent was $215,000, a difference of $40,100.

Why to Use a Pro

Choosing to sell with a professional Realtor rather than on your own makes sense for a variety of reasons:

  • Access to market data about recent sales and other homes on the market that can be used to price your home appropriately is readily available and at the hands of a Realtor who is working with these numbers every day.  Studies show that homes priced right when they’re first listed sell more quickly and for a higher price than those that remain on the market for a longer period.
  • A Realtor can show your home when you aren’t available, can respond to inquiries from potential buyers and their agents, and can get valuable feedback from visitors – all things that save you time.
  • A Realtor can look at your home objectively and suggest ways to improve its appearance – by staging and minor repairs, making it more appealing.
  • Buyers typically prefer to look at a home without the seller present so they can feel more comfortable exploring the rooms and visualizing themselves in the property.  When selling your home on your own, you – the seller – must be present. FSBO sale, the seller must be present.
  • A Realtor will screen visitors, which provides a measure of safety that isn’t assured when you are selling as a FSBO.  In addition and extremely important, assuring the buyers are legitimately qualified and pre-approved by a bank to be able to afford the home.  A Realtor can help you avoid wasting time showing your home to unprepared and non-serious buyers.
  • Realtors have professional marketing expertise, close contacts with other local Realtors who work with buyers, and the support of a brokerage that can market your home more widely than you can as an individual.
  • A Realtor can help you negotiate a contract that not only will procure for you an appropriate price for your home including clarifying any and all issues that may arise with regard to property inside the home and also assist in determining a closing date that meets your needs.
  •  Furthermore, a Realtor can help make certain your home is not in violation of any municipal codes and in addition, since Realtors must adhere to a strict Standard of Professional Ethics and Rules,  will also advise you to be compliant with all legal disclosures and fair-housing laws and will counsel you to ensure the contract is amenable to all county and state regulations.


Most all buyers today work with a buyers’ agent who represents them and looks out for their best interest.  When you are going it alone, you’ll be negotiating with a professional and relying on your own skill to finalize a contract.  This often results in not only selling your home for less money but you could leave yourself open to a variety of potential legal dilemmas.

FSBO transactions can be accomplished but statistics show that 90 percent of homeowners prefer to work with a professional rather than risk a disappointing and ineffective home selling experience.

As anyone who has gone through this process can attest to, the time consuming and convoluted work begins after the offer comes in.



Get Ready, List, Sell, Don’t Skip a Step!

Get Ready, List, Sell, Don’t Skip a Step!

Get Ready, List, Sell, Don’t skip a step!Get Ready, List, Sell, Don’t Skip a Step!

Some sellers start at step 2, list their home and hope buyers will like what they see.  How many times have you heard the saying “it’s all in the prep work.”  Ever paint a piece of furniture and skip the first step, clean and prime the wood?  The results, looks like your 5 year old painted it.  Don’t skip a step…the “ready” step known as cleaning, de-cluttering and maybe a few repairs/improvements.  Get Ready! First speak with your real estate agent and ask them what changes or improvements they feel should be made before you list.  Remember, they not only know the market but they have a different perspective.  When we live in a space long enough we tend not to notice things like the crack in the drywall or the piece of molding missing.

You need to detach and think of the house as a commodity for sale.  Don’t skip a step! Again, the first step is to de-clutter. When you are finished, de-clutter some more!!  You need to show the value of your home not your belongings.

Get Ready, List, Sell, Don’t skip a step:

  1. Clean out the storage spaces like the attic and garage. Donate, trash or sell (maybe you can make a few extra dollars).
  2. Remove all non-essential furniture. Show the square footage of your home Make it easy for potential buyers to move around your home.
  3. Bedrooms: Only have essential bedroom furniture in the room (i.e find a new home for the treadmill). Have a trunk or closed basket to put kid’s toys in. Have the carpets cleaned.
  4. Bathrooms: have grout cleaned or re-grouted, update plumbing and lighting fixtures if needed (this goes a long way).
  5. Kitchen: Organize and clean cabinets inside and out (yes buyers will open your cabinets). Clean all major appliances including range hood, deodorize dishwasher, garbage disposal, washer and dryer too.
  6. Closets: leave all closets ½ full. What tops a buyer’s wish list?  More Storage! Give it to them.
  7. Living Room: Depersonalize, this goes for the whole house.  Remove family photos, you want people to picture themselves in your home, not you.
  8. Curb Appeal, create some. Hey if you can’t them in the door none of your efforts will matter.  Keep it simple, neat and welcoming.  A few potted plants and freshly painted front door goes a long way.  Of course any peeling or chipping paint should be addressed as well.

The biggest bang for your buck, PAINT!!  Transforms and refreshes a room like nothing else.

Can a Tree House Raise the Value of Your House?

Can a Tree House Raise the Value of Your House?

Some of my fondest childhood memories took place in and around tree houses. Whether it was at the camp fire just next to it, the tire swing off of it, or crossing the babbling brook getting to it the tree house was at the center of my childhood.  Obviously I am a big fan of the old tree house and do recommend it to all parents who have kids and the ability to pull it off.  It’s an addition to the home that your children will never forget.

Two Story Tree House with Deck.

Two Story Tree House with Deck.

Do know that not all tree houses are created equally.  The one pictured here is a two story tree house with a deck!  Along with this particular tree house comes a gorgeous 5,021 square foot brick home on 38 Acres.  Lol.  Yes, this particular tree house is an awesome one on an awesome lot with an awesome house that happens to be for sale. (Click here to view the listing.)   Not quite at the level of what you might see on Animal Planet’s “Tree House Masters”, but it’s an awesome one none-the-less.

For those of you who will attempt to build the tree house yourself without a contractor –> be careful, but absolutely do go for it.  Especially if you have kids.  You will never see them more focused in their lives.  My brother and I built no less then 5 in our run of building tree houses.  That was almost more fun then when we finished it.  That process alone is worth the effort.

I will leave it on this note.  Yes tree houses add value to your house if they are in good shape. If it’s a falling down scrap heap then obviously it’s not a good idea to have it remain on the property. That said, the memories that children will have from a well built tree house are priceless.  Many buyers will consider it a differentiating factor your competition so go for it and have a blast!

Click here to see the full details of 19 Sandfort Lane, Warwick, NY 10990


Why Spring is the time to Sell!

Why Spring is the time to Sell!

springLet the selling season begin!

The first official day of spring was March 20th!  As you might know spring is the busiest home selling and buying time of the year.

Spring is a time of renewal.  Here in the Northeast, snow starts melting,  flowers and trees start blooming and homeowners get busy!  Cleaning and de-cluttering to get their home on the market.

Here are some major advantages to listing your home in the spring.

  1.      Warmer weather invites people to venture out. Sunday drive = seeing for sale signs.
  2.      Daylight Savings Time:  The more daylight you have the more houses that can been seen in a day.
  3.      Curb appeal is at its best. You never get a second chance to make a first impression (especially on a Sunday drive by). Houses photograph better, and therefore look better online.  If they see the home first online and it doesn’t look good they most likely will not schedule an appointment to see it in person.
  4.      Pricing:  Prices are higher in the spring when there are more houses on the market.  It seems counterintuitive but the price is driven by season and the school year.
  5.       There are better valuations.  This goes hand in hand with the price.  Appraisers are looking at what recently sold first.  Therefore the more houses that sell in the spring (for that larger price) the better the valuation is.
  6.       And if you time it right, a summer closing so you can move into your new home before the school year starts.

Ever wonder who might buy your home, who your market is?  Millennials (ages 25-35 years old) make up 68% and Generation X (ages 35-49) 29% of first time homebuyers.    These groups also make up 59% of all home buyers in general.