When a Kitchen Shines, Real Estate Agents Beam

Keeping control of your kitchen is one of the most basic actions you can take to help your real estate agent sell your home. The execution can be simple when it’s approached systematically. 

After the holiday Kitchen control can seem an all but unmanageable task. Days are shorter; kids or pets may be cooped up inside; and everyone tracks winter through the kitchen all day long.  To help you keep your kitchen looking great (and your Stockton real estate agent beaming), some simple preparation is needed. That, plus sticking to a simple routine, will turn the impossible into a ‘done deal.’

·         Put appliances and gadgets away as soon as you use them. According to Realtor.com, removing the least frequently used items from kitchen counters is a proven way to make a home more inviting. Include items like can openers and coffee pots.  Flowers and a few cookbooks, though, are welcome to stay.

·         Spot-check nightly: More times than not, you will find items you missed putting away or cleaning during the busy part of your day. It’s easy to miss crumbs on the counter or dirt on the floor when you are trying to get out of the door for work or a meeting.

·         Consider eating pre-prepared meals (or ordering delivery) during periods when you know you will be actively showing the house (like the first two weeks on the market!). This will help with kitchen cleanliness, leave less work for you, and have the significant side effect of making the selling process less crazy-making. Cost a bit extra? Uncle Sam won’t think so, but for yourself, consider it a worthwhile business expense.

Every Stockton real estate agent will agree that kitchens are a key selling point these days, so the effort you put into kitchen control is one of the top ways you have of  bringing in top dollar for your Stockton home.  Another way — one I’m happy to offer — is to call me! I am here to help you make the most of every step of the selling process.

 

 

 

THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR LOYAL CLIENTS, FOLLOWERS AND READERS!!

As the year winds down we enjoy reflecting on all of  the blessings that have come our way in  2020. We want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of our clients, followers and readers for their business and referrals for all of their real estate needs this year. 2020 has been another banner year for Bright Side Real Estate and we are looking forward to 2021.
In 2020, the market improved with values up 12% in most areas of Stockton. Over 3650 homes have been sold in the last 12 months and we were very excited to be part of that.
Best wishes to all of you for this Holiday Season and Happy New Year!

What would Santa Do? Here’s How he Chooses His Stockton Buyer’s Agent

“Hello there! I noticed you admiring this stunning open house. How would you like to sign with me as your Stockton buyer’s agent, and find your dream home?”

The appropriate answer for this question depends on what leads up to it—first off, whether you have already decided to enlist the services of a Stockton buyer’s agent this holiday season. It’s a good decision, but even if you have—and this agent seems well-mannered and likeable— at this point, the answer real estate professionals would recommend is, “Give me your card—I’ll get back to you.”

The reason not to jump at the first offer is the same as why you wouldn’t agree to buy the first house you visited without first looking around the neighborhood. So why do so many people sign up with the very first agent who says hello? It probably comes from some simply being unfamiliar with buyer’s agents and their industry.

You want to team with a buyer’s agent who is educated, quick-thinking, experienced, and most of all, thoroughly familiar with the current real estate offerings in Stockton. Before teaming up with anyone, there are a few questions to be answered:

Is this agent licensed?

The agent’s card should show a valid real estate license number (if not, in the immortal words of a certain Cuban bandleader, they’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do!). You can verify that the licensee is currently active on the state website, or you can go to the ARELLO (national database) to confirm the information. Having a real estate license is the most basic requirement you require for legal as well as practical reasons.

Does signing with this agent obligate you to use other recommended services?

Sometimes a buyer’s agent works in tandem with other associated home-buying service providers (like home inspectors or mortgage brokers). There’s nothing wrong with recommending professionals they know to be trustworthy—but using them should never be a requirement. You want to keep your options open for identifying good prices and services, so recommendations need to be that…and only that.

Does the agent have a good recent track record in Stockton?

It’s not enough just to ask the agent about his or her track record, although you certainly should have that discussion. Ask if you can speak to a recent client to get an appraisal of their experience. That’s key, because having a full staff and plush offices may be attractive, but they’re just window dressing. What you are after is the service a buyer’s agent actually delivers. And don’t be reluctant to check the web for the agent’s online reputation, although that’s less reliable. You want to get a picture of the full scope of this person’s skills and credentials. If the agent doesn’t seem to measure up, move on to another candidate.

Signing with the first Stockton buyer’s agent that you meet, like choosing the first name that turns up in an online search, is a first step that’s likely to be in the wrong direction. Doing a little extra research to find the right candidate will pay off in time and effort saved later on- that’s how Santa does it!

The Holiday Advantage for Selling Your Home in Stockton!!!

I’m always a little surprised that more people don’t take advantage of the holiday season to sell their Stockton home. The spring selling season may be the most popular, but there are a host of reasons why, for a home that is already market-ready, you might think twice about waiting to list it.

Among the leading reasons that make this an especially advantageous time of year to sell an Stockton home is the financial motivation for some prospective buyers. Especially when an individual’s financial picture changes toward year’s end, a few prospective buyers find that the tax advantages of a purchase in the current year are reason enough to speed a sudden purchase. Classical supply and demand forces add another reason the decision to sell a home in Stockton now could be a good one. Since Stockton listing volumes taper off toward the end of the year, the choices are relatively few, increasing the value of each to motivated buyers.

Experience tells us that the average holiday-season buyer does tend to be more highly motivated, if for no other reason than that they are choosing to house hunt over all the other activities the season calls for. In short, this is not the season for lookyloos. There is also the advantage that holiday decorations add. The emotional appeal of a well done (not overdone!) display can augment a Stocktons home’s underlying curb appeal. Add to that the fact that all of us tend to be a bit more emotional during the holidays, and it wouldn’t be surprising to find buyers more flexible in what they are willing to bid. As every merchant has come to realize, the holidays are shopping days.

For those who will be traveling for the holidays, rather than that being a reason to put off listing, those days can be ideal times to sell your Stockton home. The house will be unoccupied, clean and available for showings at any time of day—the perfect situation for turning the otherwise slow holiday season into a standout to those buyers who need a home now.

I will be working throughout, so give me a call if selling your Stockton house is an idea that makes good sense. The more available you make your home during the holidays, the more likely you’ll find a buyer during this hectic time of year.

Stockton’s Thanksgiving Traces Back to – What, Exactly?

Next Thursday, at some point in the festivities we’ll be remembering the Pilgrims and their Indian guests on that first Thanksgiving Day in the New World. After all, that gathering was the genesis of today’s Stockton Thanksgiving Day celebration.

Or was it?

This momentary doubt surfaced when someone mentioned the Canadian Thanksgiving celebration. When you think about it, how likely it is that our Neighbors to the North would create a national holiday to memorialize some ancient Massachusetts get-together? Pretty unlikely.

So if their Thanksgiving doesn’t celebrate the day the Pilgrims feasted with their new Wampanoag friends, what does it celebrate?

The Canadian version is said to be offshoots of the Old World’s “Harvest Festivals.” According to England’s Metro News, “Harvest Festival in Britain is the ancient festival that celebrates a successful yield.” It’s a “Sunday of Thanksgiving” observed on the Sunday closest to the harvest moon (this year, it came on September 23). European Harvest Festivals are said to be remnants of pre-Christian harvest festivals, during which corn dolls are traditionally fashioned from “the last sheath of the harvest.” You can find many pictures of the corn dolls (they call them ‘dollies’). No Indian tribes. No turkeys.

Pagan festivals and dollies? Does this put the accuracy of all Stockton elementary school bulletin boards with their Pilgrim hats and turkey displays in jeopardy? Fortunately, there’s a problem with the Pilgrim-less version.

According to the British press, the corn dolls are “meant to symbolize the pagan goddess of the grain”—which would definitely predate Christianity altogether. But the fact is, corn was unknown in Europe until it was brought by Columbus from the New World. So the corn doll/pre-Christian link doesn’t work, time-wise.

I think we can safely bypass other Thanksgiving legends and just stick to our own story. Stockton’s Thanksgiving can continue to be the once-a-year occasion to remember its true spirit—a day we celebrate our gratitude for all we have and love.

Here’s hoping your celebration is delightful and fulfilling. Happy Thanksgiving!

Autumn Leaves Signal Home Improvement Season

Ah, November! Down every street we see the familiar sight of homes in Stockton, yards displaying evidence of the fall leaf drop and — yikes! — Winter is coming!

Beyond the unavoidable home maintenance issues: leaks in roof, cracks in windows, heating system checks, fall is also the best time to consider other, less obvious improvement projects.  Whenever the weather (and busy schedules) allow, whether or not yours is one of the homes in Stockton that will soon have a ‘For Sale’ in its front yard, a few less attention-demanding home improvement ideas that could merit your attention:

Fireplace Inspection! A crackling fire is a worthy antidote for winter blahs, but if you have a good, old-fashioned wood-burning fireplace, when is the last time you actually had it inspected? Experts say that chimneys should be examined annually for cracks, blockages, and ventilation issues.

Flooring Renewal! If you have one of the many homes in Stockton that features beautiful hardwood floors, refinishing them may not be high on your To-Do list this fall. Yet whether you are considering selling anytime soon or not, consider the advantages of re-finishing floors sooner rather than later. With the holidays on the way, who doesn’t want a home in sparkling shape for entertaining? The look of floors has an outsized impact on the way a home appears. And if you have been thinking of actually replacing any flooring, according to George Moore, a contractor and chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers,  “Some types of flooring adhesives need the temperature of the house to be between 75 and 80 degrees. It’s for that glue to adhere properly.  Cold air can be a little more damp and can stop the glue from drying properly, so you could have a bonding problem.”   With energy prices rising, replacing flooring now may be a more practical solution than in the depth of winter.

Painting! For the same reason, homes in Stockton that could use a protective exterior painting should be attended to now – at least if temperatures hold within recommended limits. Indoors, once it’s time to crank the heat, other reasons apply. A heated home means closed windows and re-circulating air – far from ideal conditions for anyone trapped indoors with the smells and paint fumes.  Moreover, should a significant amount of cold air enter through doorways or windows, it could negatively affect proper drying.

The bottom line?  Because many improvement projects are well suited for the fall, it is also true that contractors and vendors are busiest this time of year. So, if you’re thinking about any that take outside help, get on the books now!  Whether you’re looking to sell a home in Stockton — or just keeping yours in top shape, this is a great time to get started. I’m here, too, whenever you feel like chatting about the local real estate market!

Disruption Keeping Stockton’s Halloween Fun…and Safe

Halloween in Stockton is the one day in every year when the regular order of things gets a thorough shaking up. For one thing, it’s the single day of the year when we expect our doorbell to be ringing non-stop for hours on end. It’s certainly the only time when prudence dictates that we stockpile bowls full of treats to serve as ransom payments against demands for booty from an onslaught of pint-sized masked neighbors.

For Stockton’s small fry, if all goes well, Stockton’s Halloween ranks right up there with birthdays in terms of fun and excitement—possibly because of the aura of good-natured bounds-testing that seems to hover over the proceedings. When else does everybody get to dress up in disguises? When else might some perfectly dignified adult don an eyepatch and start talking like a pirate? When else does practically the whole of Stockton agree to engage in a tradition that disrupts the normal order of things for the express purpose of just having some fun? Who thought this thing up, anyway?

For parents who may or may not find themselves costumed this Tuesday, the fun will be somewhat tempered by the grownup’s job of keeping everybody safe amid the spooky mayhem. Without spoiling the fun altogether, the most-noted Halloween safety concerns for Stockton homeowners are:

  • Keep your property’s walks and stairways well-lit.
  • Place pumpkins and other Halloween decorations well off to the side to prevent their becoming tripping hazards.
  • Secure pets away from the mayhem. Even the best-behaved may lose their cool after hours of doorbell ringing and screaming kids.
  • Avoid homemade treats and loose candy—parents can’t trust them.
  • Don’t leave treats outdoors for the kids to take. They can be tampered with.

Health authorities aren’t shy about advising parents to temper their little goblins’ candy intake. One good tactic: reserve a particularly enticing new toy to trade for a goodly amount of the sugary swag.

Here’s hoping your family has a safe and moderately sane Stockton Halloween. As soon as things get back to normal, I’ll be here, ready to assist with your next Stockton real estate venture!

Autumn is Stockton’s Landscaping Window of Opportunity

Stockton gardening enthusiasts already know this—but for those whose thumbs are anything but green, right now is a special time of year where landscaping is concerned. It’s Stockton’s high season for planting and transplanting!

You don’t have to intend on listing your Stockton home anytime soon to have a vested interest in maximizing your home’s curb appeal. After all, year in and year out the plantings in front and back yards can make all the difference in the kind of impact your property makes—it’s a pride of ownership fundamental. Neighbors and casual passers-by may not realize how much of a difference a pleasingly planted yard makes, but it’s one area that’s readily within every Stockton homeowner’s control. And experienced gardening hands know that right now it’s the key season for making the most difference for the least expense.

Autumn’s cooler temperatures are what creates the opportunity. The soil is still holding much of the summertime warmth while cooler air temperatures make for less stress on plants’ roots (and on the gardener doing the planting, too). Like bears, perennials need to hibernate. Their dormancy period constitutes a nice restorative siesta. It’s also a low-stress way for roots to settle into their new digs.

Most non-gardeners only start thinking about boosting the color and variety of their gardens with the arrival of springtime…but for many spring-blossoming bulbs, shrubs, perennials, and trees, that’s not the optimal time to get out the digging forks and shovels. Right now is when experts say it’s best to divide clumps of any perennials that have been doing well. It’s how to spread the color to other parts of the garden—at a total cost of nada. It’s also prime time to watch for sales at Stockton garden centers.

Stockton house flippers approach their projects on a much-compressed schedule—but for homeowners who aren’t thinking about selling anytime soon, taking the long view of property enhancement begins with their home’s setting: its landscaping. October is the perfect season for turning any long-range creative ideas into next spring and summer’s lush garden reality. Then when the time does come to buy or sell Stockton real estate, I hope you’ll think of giving me a call. I’m always here to share some no-obligation counseling and advice!

 

 

Fall Can Be Prime Time for Selling Your Stockton Home!!!

Springtime is correctly known near and far as the peak season for selling your home—in Stockton; elsewhere in the U.S.; probably on Mars, too. Everybody knows it. This has created a most unfortunate side effect: namely, the notion that if you missed the spring home sales binge, you’d best cancel all plans and hold your house off the market until next year (even if you’re actually ready to list).

So…should you give up on selling your home in Stockton as we move into the cooler months?

Far from it! In fact, many agents with years of experience under their belts have done the math and consider autumn to be the second best season to sell a home. When you think about it, it’s logical. For one thing, there certainly are prospects who won’t wait—buyers who will be happily mowing their new lawns by the time next spring rolls around. Weather is another reason: fall brings many moderate, perfect-for-home-touring days. Then there’s the calendar itself, providing extra motivation to buy (e.g., everyone who wants to be in their new home before the holidays, or who needs to complete the sale in tax year 2020).

For those who aren’t falling for the wait-until-spring notion, here are a few tips that will help you spruce up your Stockton property for the fall sales market:

First off, make sure all of the personal summertime clutter—the kids’ camp gear, pool floats, the by-now thoroughly bent croquet wickets—are out of sight. Put the yard into tip-top condition with grass cut, shrubbery tamed, and lawn raked. You should be able to step out the back door and view an uncluttered vista. As always, the object is to enable anyone who visits to readily visualize their own family’s stuff in the cleared outdoor space.

Shorter days means waning natural light, so selling your Stockton home in autumn requires a little extra attention to lighting touches. To guarantee the home looks its best even in late afternoon, open the draperies, blinds, and shutters, and make sure lights and lamps are all turned on. Outside, anywhere the summer’s growing season has resulted in plantings that have overgrown windows, now is the time to trim them—it’s always amazing how less than an hour of snipping can brighten up a home’s interior. You may also consider adding some lighting along walkways, or a well-placed floodlight over the driveway. As we move deeper toward winter, those features will give a subtle boost to after-workday early evening showings.

You don’t have to have hired a professional stager to take advantage of the positive seasonal touches that go with the advent of autumn. Colorful mums, warm-hued candles, pumpkins (or just about any harvest-themed table décor items)—all are familiar details that have the predictable effect of helping people feel more at home. A few well-placed accents don’t take nearly as much effort as some other aspects of selling your Stockton home, but taken together, all contribute to a welcoming presentation.

Where is the nearest pumpkin patch? Where are the closest autumn-themed school or community festivities? Selling a home in fall can benefit when you leave some material about our local seasonal activities in the entryway. Sometimes the charm of a neighborhood winds up being the deciding factor for a waffling prospective buyer.

If you’ve been undecided about whether selling your home now—or waiting until next spring—is the best course of action, why not contact me today for a preliminary walk-through and pricing evaluation. I think we can put together a plan in action to get your home sold for top dollar sooner rather than later!

Top 4 Post-Labor Day House Hunting Changes For Some Stockton House Hunters

A while back, Forbes noted what they called “The Four Ways the Real Estate Market Changes” after Labor Day. The article recognized a truism that holds for most parts of California—namely, that the period between Labor Day and Thanksgiving is what most of us think of as “fall.” It went on to describe four ways the change of seasons alters the house hunting landscape.

Although I may not agree entirely with their broad brush proposition that a great number of house hunters throw in the towel after Labor Day, the four market changes described are often true enough.

1.      More of a buyer’s market. Buyers who have held off through the prime selling seasons are more apt to find sellers who are more open to negotiation.

2.      Action increases for vacation homes. This is prime time for Stockton home shoppers whose eyes are on vacation homes. By purchasing in the fall, “you can have it bought and furnished by spring.”

3.      Price dips. House hunters find that asking prices, like the autumn leaves, fall.  Forbes may have simply been unable to resist the simile, but in many cases, it’s true!

4.      Open-ended house hunting. Time pressures (like having to be moved in by the first day of school) will have vanished by Labor Day, so many Stockton house hunters tend to adopt a more leisurely house hunting attitude. There may also be something about crisp autumn days (and they’ll be here soon enough) that helps contribute to a more relaxed atmosphere—at least until the Holidays loom!

Every Stockton house hunter has specific individual goals and expectations—and of course, the same is true for sellers, as well. But it does seem to be true that post-Labor Day Stockton listings tend to include an uptick in price reductions—as well as some withdrawals that, as Forbes might have it, “will sprout anew” come springtime.

If your busy summer included activities and travel that kept you fully occupied, now may be an opportune time to inaugurate your own Stockton  house hunting venture. If so, do give me a call!