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

April Homeowner’s Checklist


Spring is in full swing, and before you know it summer will have arrived. Is your home ready for AC weather and outdoor living? Here are some April suggestions for how to stay ahead of the maintenance required as a homeowner:

  • Clean out your gutters and downspouts. Make sure the drainage is flowing away from the house so that April showers don’t create a mess or trap water around your foundation.
  • Check plumbing for leaks on supply lines. Now that the last of the freezing weather is on it’s way out, it’s a good time to test the waters, literally.
  • Have your air conditioning system serviced. One of the most dreaded occurrences of warmer seasons is having your AC give out when you need it most. In NC, we know that the temperature can go from 55, to 85, to 35 in a matter of days, so your system needs to be ready.
  • Remove dead plants, brush, and leaves. Time to freshen up your yard so new growth and blooms can get through. Clearing the debris also helps ensure that the creepy crawly creatures coming out of hibernation have fewer places to hide.
  • Test sprinklers and set irrigation systems. Your lawn needs TLC too. Being proactive before the heat waves come will keep you from panicking when your landscaping is on the brink of death.
  • Clean the garbage disposal. What’s that smell? The sink disposal is frequently forgotten until it’s stinking up your kitchen. This is a great addition to your semi-regular cleaning routine. Not sure how? Find out here.
  • Test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Do this monthly for your own safety. Enough said.
  • Check your water softener. It is suggested that you have your softener system inspected and serviced annually or if you notice something out of the ordinary about your water quality. Typically salt is added quarterly, but should be monitored on a monthly basis.
  • Run the water and flush the toilets in unused rooms. For your plumbing to stay in good working order, your pipes need to see some action.
  • Have your septic tank inspected by a professional. This isn’t an annual event, but it’s on this list because after spending more time indoors during the winter, it is important to make sure your systems get the care they need after being used more heavily. It is suggested that you have a septic inspection at least every three years, and systems are typically pumped every three to five years. No one wants a puddle of hot poo water baking in their yard when the weather warms up.

Remember, these tips are just a guideline for keeping up with all the tasks involved in keeping your home in tip top shape. If you have more maintenance and cleaning tips that you include in your April routine, I’d love to hear them!

From my home to yours,

Mary Allison

Helping Texas Flood Victims

Tragedy has fallen on Texas, and it’s hard to watch people suffer while we go on about our lives over here in NC. To know that these people are feeling the same pain cause by disasters like Katrina and the floods that destroyed much of the eastern part of NC not so long ago is heartbreaking. There are so many causes that need help in the world, but all it takes is a little giving from everyone to be able to make a difference.

Here are some of the ways and websites that are helping out the people and animals of the Gulf Coast (click links):

Red Cross

Salvation Army

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

Fund through You Caring – JJ Watt

Texas SPCA

Humane Society

There are also many small businesses, shops, makers, and others who are donating all or a portion of their proceeds to different causes that will aid in disaster relief efforts. Check your social media or local shops to find them!

Please consider volunteering your time, home, money, and prayer to help these people survive and recover.  If you have any organizations that you would like me to include, please send them to me and I will continue to update this post.

Calendar Girl

New Year means a new start, and I’m determined to stay on task in 2017! I have to admit, I’m not always the most organized person, and to stay ahead of everything on my schedule I really have to spend time planning it all out. One of my favorite ways to do that is calendars! I love the feeling of having all my tasks in front of me on paper so I can figure out how best to tackle them.

Here are a few of my favorite downloadable calendars that I wanted to share with y’all!

Montgomeryfest Minimalist Calendar Free Download

Simple as That Grid Calendar Free Download

Floral Calendar Free Download

Landee’s Banner Calendar Free Download

I always keep one easily accessible for my husband and I to put down things that apply to both of us like weddings, doctors appointments, and when to give our dog his medicine. I also use one for my cleaning schedule (as mentioned in my previous post!) so that my daily planner doesn’t get overwhelmed with every single detail. However, most all my tasks are in my daily planner, which I absolutely cannot live without!

The Rifle Paper Co Planner is the planner I chose for 2017 and I love how simple and clean it is!

Staying organized is no easy task, but writing things down always helps. Doesn’t it feel good to see things checked off a list?

And for those of you who are stressed out by calendars, I completely understand where you’re coming from. If planning becomes stressful and unproductive, there are other ways to get stuff done without driving yourself crazy!

Love hearing from y’all, so if you have fun tips for using planners and calendars or resources that you love, please share! We’ll see how 2017 goes and then maybe 2018 I’ll be organized enough to make a bullet journal (:

From my house to yours,

Mary Allison



Shut the Front Door

Sometimes, a little change goes a long way in energizing us and making us feel good, like a fresh hair cut or a new sweater. When it comes to your home, it’s not always easy to think of changes that won’t hurt your bank account. One of the easiest ways to give your house a face lift on a budget is painting your front door!

A bright, bold front door can brighten up your home  without going over the top with color. A deep blue or bright navy goes great with brick, while lighter blues look amazing with white siding. Green is a color popping up everywhere this year, and a deep emerald or a springy light green can help you get rid of the winter blues. If you’re feeling really ambitious and have a wooden door, stripping the paint and doing a nice rich stain makes for a clean, craftsman look.  There’s always welcoming red and classic black or gray if you want something more traditional, but don’t hesitate to pick a color to bring out your home’s personality!

If the siding on your house is a neutral, don’t be afraid to go with a bolder color to stand out. With homes that have brightly colored siding already, natural wood, neutrals, and pale colors work well to complement the siding. If you want to go color on color, make sure they’re complimentary to each other and don’t compete in boldness of color.

Also consider the style of your door and home exterior when choosing a color. If you have a French provincial mansion, neon purple might not flow so well with the rest of the house. The doorknobs, knockers, glass panes, and other details can make a difference as well, so give them a little TLC or switch it up when you get ready to paint!

Here are some of my favorite examples of how a front door can be a game changer for your curb appeal:

Aqua Door – Link

Green Door – Link

Bailey and Pete didn’t need to do much to the farmhouse’s exterior to make it picture-perfect. “We added scalloped shingles to enhance its existing Victorian charm and gave it a fresh coat of paint and a cute pink Dutch door,” Bailey says. “She already had so much going for her, our touches were just a bonus.”

Pale Pink Door – Link

Yellow Door – Link (she even has a tutorial!)

Bright Blue Door – Link

raspberry front door personalized with paint

Raspberry Door – Link

Painting the front door is an easy and inexpensive update for your home that can give you some extra curb appeal. For more tips follow the links below the pictures, send me an email, or follow me on Pinterest for some more house love!

From my home to yours,

Mary Allison