May Homeowner’s Checklist

Welcome May, when the peonies are blooming, the weather is heating up, and backyard barbecues begin! That also means a new set of tasks to maintain your home. Here are this months tips for getting your house summer ready:

  • Power wash your home’s exterior. Now that you cleaned the gunk out of your gutters in the previous month and pollen season has ended, it’s time to give your house a good bath. This is a crucial but often forgotten part of a homeowner’s upkeep. Prevent your siding from looking dingy and worn by either renting a power washer or hiring someone. I’m glad to give you some affordable suggestions.
  • Wash and clean your windows inside and out. This goes hand in hand with the power washing! The weather is beautiful, and it helps to enjoy it when you can see through your windows clearly. I like to give ours a brief swipe around the edges with Clorox to prevent mold spores from moisture, and then a spritz with a peppermint oil and lemongrass mixture to deter spiders and other creepy crawlies.
  • Clean, repair, and apply sealant to your deck or patio. Now that the weather is nice enough to stay outdoors, you want to make sure that the outdoor extensions of your home are prepared for the heat and activity. Last week actually, my doggo actually discovered a few railings that needed replacing when he was laying at the edge and rolled through the railing and off the deck because they were loose… it was hilarious and could have been way worse, but just an obvious example of why it’s important to keep your deck or patio in good shape.
  • Inspect and clean your outdoor lighting. The spiders tend to like ours, so I also do the peppermint mixture spritzing here. There’s nothing like an electrical fire to put a damper on your memorial day party, so give your lights a thorough check.
  • Oil your garage door tracks. Post power wash, this is also a great item to add to your maintenance list. Grit, grime, and heavy use are not friends to mechanical devices, so give your tracks some slide to keep things in good working order.
  • Maintain the new growth in the yard. They say weed eaters are a man’s best friend, right? Keeping things tamed, keeping your yard mowed, and keeping growing plants pruned can alleviate a whole world of problems. Snakes, hornets, fire ants, moles, groundhogs, mice, spiders…need I say more? Plus, who doesn’t love a freshly mowed lawn and beautiful flowers?
  • Check and clean range hood fans. Grease and dust buildup can burnout your system, so don’t neglect your interior tasks.
  • Seal your tile grout. Moisture expansion and contraction can do a number on your home, and so does living life in general. This is a good thing to do once a year, although most people don’t. Resealing your grout can keep your tile cosmetically and functionally in good shape before the wear gets too bad to fix.
  • Have your air conditioning system serviced  if you didn’t do it in April. In NC we all know that an HVAC technicians busiest seasons are in the late spring and late fall. Don’t wait until your system goes out to get it repaired. Regular service and care for your system can mean the difference in thousands of dollars in the long run. And for goodness sake, change your dadgum air filter AT LEAST every 3 months!

Remember, these are all just suggestions. I try to break up tasks by month so that my husband and I aren’t slammed with them all during one month out of the year. Many of these we do ourselves, but I know how difficult it can be to keep up with home maintenance when life is busy and pulling you in 1,000 different directions. I’d be glad to share some great, affordable resources with you for these tasks if you need some direction. Feel free to reach out to me anytime with questions, comments, or suggestions on what you’d like to know more about! I’d love to meet you, coffee on me.

From my home to yours,

Mary Allison

Mythbusters: “I can get you a great deal.”

If you’ve ever heard a realtor tell you that they can get you a deal on a good home, let me go ahead and break the news: you’ve been lied to. In the world of buying and selling real property, there are so many complicated pieces that play into what kind of “deal” you are on the end of as a buyer or a seller, that it’s nearly unethical to tell a client that you can get them the better end of the deal. Here are just a few major factors at play in how much wiggle room you have in selling or buying a home.

The Market Climate

Supply and demand is the age old driving force in pricing and negotiation. Today’s market as you may have heard is a seller’s market. Even though that won’t last forever, it’s rocky seas out there for buyers. Many people have their offers on homes get rejected even when they do put their best foot forward. We as agents are seeing many cash offers, offers that are 20% higher than what the asking price is, and the rejection of perfectly good offers because of minute differences. If you’re looking in the 300,000 range and below, chances are you may encounter this struggle to some degree. If you’re a seller, this is a good season for you because with the right tools it’s likely that you will get top dollar for your home. However, price gougers beware, because even in this market, overpriced listings still sit instead of sell. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, if your agent knows what they’re doing, they will have prepared you for whatever the ever-changing market climate may be.

The Situation

I know it stinks to hear “well it depends on the situation”, but it’s true. Every home is in a different condition, and every seller has different reasons for selling. The situation also varies depending on what price range you’re in. If the seller is extremely “motivated” to sell for whatever reason, chances are there is a little more wiggle room on both sides to get the home under contract. Every home is different, and every individual has different reasons for buying and selling, so one transaction is never the same. That’s one of the best parts of my job as your agent, that it is continually exciting and new and there’s always something to learn.

The Negotiation

Different factors give you more negotiating room, and as with any situation, negotiation requires some skill and tactfulness. You do want an agent with good negotiation skills, but you have to know your limit and your own bottom line. It is your transaction, so the decisions in the purchase belong to you. A good agent will be able to guide you in identifying your limits, and then working from there on putting in an offer or listing your house at the right price.

You’re not buying a pair of shoes here, so if a realtor comes to you like a snake oil salesman telling you how they can get you the best deal in town, beware. You want an agent who will be honest with you about the market and where your buying or selling leverage falls within it. This is one of the biggest transactions you will ever make in your lifetime: if you had to have brain surgery, would your priority be to find the discount surgeon who can do the job for the cheapest? Hopefully not! You’d want a reputable, honest, and skillful professional to do the job, and you deserve the same with making the monumental life change of buying or selling a home.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions on how you can get a fair price on a home in today’s market, and what experiences you’ve had with realtors working with you on the price of a home!

From my home to yours,

Mary Allison