Entrepreneurship

tips to being an entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship

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Being an entrepreneur means that you see a void in a market and bust your tail to fill that void to the best of your ability. Creativity, imagination, and a hunger to serve are some of the traits of an entrepreneur, but here are some tips to being an entrepreneur.

In and out of the real estate industry I’ve always found myself in an entrepreneurial role. It was the early 2000s and I needed a specific cake for my first child's second birthday, and the cost was going to be outrageous… so I made it myself. People started asking me to make them cakes which evolved into a full-on baking business. People were struggling to find someone to make them a custom design without breaking the bank.

That business grew to the point that an investor approached me and proposed a financial commitment to help me start my own bakery. By that time I started seeing holes in other markets though, so my heart and mind were wandering. Other areas people weren't being served were popping up all over the place so I had to decide: will I jump into this baking business with both feet, or pivot?

The answer to that question brought up another question, one that changed the trajectory of my life. What is my highest and best overall contribution?    

Here are 7 tips I've learned in being an entrepreneur. Maybe they’ll help you sort out if being an entrepreneur is your highest and best contribution too.

1) 

No one cares about our boundaries… so we have to!

2)

Modern business runs on technology. We need to be open-minded enough to learn the tools that support success, and diligent to lay aside any tools that aren't moving the needle forward.

3)

Being an entrepreneur means not having a boss, yet every person we serve is our boss for a season.

4)

There are no quarterly reviews or bonuses. Our gold stars come in the form of appreciative clients and referrals.

5)

Talking to strangers is an honorable skill worth mastering.

6)

Focusing on the problem we solve, tracking our progress, and continually optimizing our systems is the best way to move forward.

7)

Sometimes quitting feels like a real option and the easy way out. But if we have persistent curiosity and a genuine concern about the people we serve, quitting won't stay on our mind too long.

Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint at heart. Creativity, imagination, and a hunger to serve are some of the traits of an entrepreneur but we all need a sherpa to guide us on our journey. We can choose to be one of two people: 1) someone who marinates on the mistakes we will inevitably make and negative voices asking why we’d want to continue something so exhausting OR 2) someone who focuses on the people we serve and seeks out those that will help us map a course and clarify our strategies. Acknowledging that something is difficult, daunting, or overwhelming may be stating the obvious but who do we want to guide us on our journey? 

Let’s look in the mirror and decide which person we want to be, and then surround ourselves with them. No one can care more about our journey more than us. What is our highest and best overall contribution?

All the best,

Carmen Neal Signature

 

 

 

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram if you don't already. Don't miss out on the tips, tricks, and sometimes just plain funny items I share on social media!

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Essential Real Estate Terms You Should Know

Essential Real Estate Terms You Should Know

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Every industry has its own acronym and real estate is no different. Real estate is full of jargon that can add confusion to an already elusive process. Whether you're selling or buying here are the essential real estate terms you should know.

Asking questions should not be intimidating. Would it help you to know that you’re not alone? Real estate is intimidating and overwhelming for most people. My goal is to make it as simple for you to navigate as possible. Let's dive in:

1) Pending

Once a residential buyer and seller have reached a mutual agreement on the terms of a sale, the property will then be moved from “Active” to “Pending” or “Pending Inspection”. The contract timelines are very important. 

2) Earnest Money (EM)

Once a buyer and seller have reached a mutual agreement on a contract, the buyer will then deposit a set amount into an escrow account. This earnest money (EM) shows the seller that the potential buyer is EARNEST about buying the property. When the property closes, the EM is then put towards the buyer’s down payment or returned.

3) Escrow

Escrow is a term that refers to a third party that is hired to handle the transaction, the exchange of money and any related documents. Placing Earnest Money, for example, into escrow means to place it in the hands of a third party until certain conditions are met; once the transaction has closed the escrow company will disburse the funds appropriately. 

4) Appraisal

An appraisal is an assessment done by a certified appraiser to determine the value of the property. The appraisal is usually based on an analysis of comparable sales of similar homes nearby. 

5) Dual Agency

Dual Agency is when one agent represents both the buyer and the seller, instead of just one or the other. Depending on state laws, real estate agents are able to represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. There are some states that do not allow dual agency.

6) Bank Owned & Short Sale

When a property owner defaults on their mortgage, the lender will sometimes allow the seller to sell as a short sale. That means that the bank has agreed to let the home be sold for less than the balance on the current owner’s loan. A bank-owned property is when a  lender won’t agree to sell the property for less than what is currently owed on it, so the property has been foreclosed on and is now “Bank Owned.”

7) Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

A CMA is an analytic report to help real estate agents strategize what the hyper-local market is doing in order to determine your property value. The analysis is conducted based on the active, pending, and sold values of similar properties in the same area within a specific time frame. The CMA report should help you in understanding what a realistic listing price is, and whether or not you’re buying a property for the right price.

8) Commission

Real Estate agents are paid on commission. This is an agreed-upon % of the sale price which is then divided between the selling and listing agent, it is typically 6%. Once a transaction closes, the seller will pay the originally agreed-upon percentage of the purchase price from the net proceeds of the sale. In Washington State, the seller pays 100% of the real estate commissions.

9) Equity

A property owner’s Equity is the difference between the fair market value of the property and the amount still owed on its mortgage or other liens. It is common for people to borrow against their equity to do property improvements. 

10) Encumbrance

An encumbrance is a claim against, limitation on, or liability against real property. Encumbrances can restrict the owner’s ability to transfer title to the property or lessen its value. Having an awkward conversation is worth it, guys.

Helping you understand real estate lingo is one of my favorite topics because it is SO important. If you have any Real Estate questions or pain points in your Real Estate journey, I would love to break it down into bite-sized pieces and serve you up a hot plate of awesome.

Leave a comment with any other terms or resources that you would find helpful!

All the best,

Carmen Neal Signature

 

 

 

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram if you don't already. Don't miss out on the tips, tricks, and sometimes just plain funny items I share on social media!

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5 Common Landlord Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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5 Common Landlord Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Staying up to date with Washington State landlord-tenant laws takes a lot of time. Knowing what and how to prioritize can be daunting. With the goal of a high return on your rental investment, you’ll want to keep these 5 common mistakes in mind:

1. Having a non-existent or weak lease

Gone are the days of handshake deals. In Washington State contracts are void unless in writing so having an ironclad lease is so important. A property management company will have a standard lease that they use and making sure it has all the important pieces pertaining to your specific property is key.

2. Not conducting a thorough move-in and move-out walkthrough

A written checklist that clearly states the condition of the property prior to occupancy should be done before every new tenancy. When the checklist is completed the landlord or property manager and tenant should sign off on it. At the end of the lease term, both parties will need to review the property to see if there are any repairs needed and if any damage expenses should be deducted from the security deposit.

3. Renting to someone without a thorough screening

When you’re looking for a tenant you’ll want to do a thorough background check. You’ll want to research the new tenant and make sure you’re fully informed about what you are and are not allowed to ask.

4. Not knowing important and legal timelines

Keeping up to date with the most recent laws and rental agreement requirements could keep you from being sued. Knowing and reviewing the Washington state landlord-tenant laws is the best way to stay up to date on best practices.

5. Avoiding routine inspection

The best way to make sure your rental property is being well cared for is by conducting an annual inspection. Using the written checklist from the move-in can be a good guide.

At the end of the day, every property is different and has unique circumstances. If you need someone to speak with I’d be happy to help.

All the best,

Carmen Neal Signature

 

 

 

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram if you don't already. Don't miss out on the tips, tricks, and sometimes just plain funny items I share on social media!

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How to sell or buy real estate without losing your mind

How to buy or sell real estate without losing your mind

How to sell or buy real estate without losing your mind

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Selling or buying real estate can come with a lot of headaches. Those headaches can quickly turn into a real migraine once you start thinking about the laundry list of “To-Do’s”. I’m dedicated to guiding you through how to sell or buy real estate without losing your mind.

It IS a lot of work to get top dollar when selling. Knowing where to start can be super overwhelming if you don't do this every day... But we do. The truth is that overwhelm does not need to be apart of the process. I want to completely eliminate the overwhelm and frustration of selling your property and/or buying your new home. Let’s create a plan that will help you save thousands of dollars and eliminate the headache of reaching your goal.

Three steps to eliminating overwhelm: 

1- Analyze your goals

2- Create a custom strategy

3- Execute and see results

Analyze your goals

No one knows your circumstances better than you. What is it that you want? Ideally, where will you be once this transaction is done? Why are you wanting to make this move? How will you know which property is THE property? The general market affects the value of your real estate investment and your specific goals should be taken into consideration too. 

Understanding and writing down your needs and wants is the best way to assure you stay on track. There are a lot of questions to ask when selling and buying a new home so knowing how to filter through the questions to find which will actually move the needle is important.

Honestly assess your answers to these questions and use your answers to create a clear path forward in Step 2. If it’s difficult for you to answer those questions then I would suggest speaking to a licensed agent that you trust. 

Create a custom strategy

Once you know what your overall goals are, how will you get there? What is your next action item? First and foremost, find a real estate professional you can trust to guide. A custom timeline that is created around your specific goals will give you the leverage to get what you want, where you want, and for the price you want. Here are some key prompts to creating your strategy:

Execute and see results

After you have your strategy, this is where it gets real. Your agent will use the road map you designed in Step 2 to start curating properties to present to you. Once you have chosen a property on which to make an offer, your agent should go to bat for you to get you the home. Once an offer is accepted, they will walk with you through the paperwork.

Your real estate agent should be your advocate so working with someone you trust who can help guide you is so important. 

All the best,

Carmen Neal Signature

 

 

 

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram if you don't already. Don't miss out on the tips, tricks, and sometimes just plain funny items I share on social media!

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How Time Works In Real Estate

Real Estate time

How Time Works In Real Estate

real estate time

Misunderstanding how time works in real estate can cost BIG! 

One hour late and you could lose your earnest money AND the property. How time works during a real estate transaction is different than how time works in our day to day lives so I’m breaking it down in bite-sized pieces and a fun pop-quiz. 

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned seller, you’ll want to know how time works in a real estate transaction, including facts such as: 

  • Any period of time starts on the day following the event commencing the period.
  • Time periods of 5 days or less do not include weekends or legal holidays.
  • Time periods of more than 5 days include weekends and legal holidays.
  • Time periods end at 9:00 pm on the last day of the specified period.
  • If the last day of the time period is on a weekend or a legal holiday, it moves to the next day that is not a weekend or legal holiday.
  • Time periods are not delayed by a missing legal description; time periods begin from the date of mutual acceptance.

Since we all love a good story, let’s look at how these rules apply to our friends John & Jane’s homebuying experience. 

On Friday, January 3rd, John, and Jane submitted an offer on their dream home. It was accepted the same day! Their timeline was tight since they only had 5 days to conduct their inspection, so they were eager to get started. The inspection was done on Thursday the 11th and we gave our response back to the seller on Friday the 12th.

Using the rules listed above see if you can answer these three questions: 

  1. When was day one of the time period? 
  2. Did John and Jane give their inspection response to the seller within the allotted time period?
  3. When was the latest time and day they could have given their response back to the seller?

How did you do?

 

All the best,

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram if you don't already. Don't miss out on the tips, tricks, and sometimes just plain funny items I share on social media!

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Washington’s Safe Start Proclamation

Washington’s Phased Reopening

Washington’s Phased Reopening Approach- Pierce County

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On June 1st Governor Jay Inslee’s office put out the “Safe Start Proclamation” for Washington’s phased reopening approach, putting Pierce County in Phase 2. Covid-19 is effecting every county differently so Washington state so they have put out the  Safe Start application for each county. Although Pierce County is approved to enter Phase 2, social distancing is still required.

Tips for selling a property during Phase 2: 

Yes- real estate is still selling. 

We may be in the middle of a pandemic but selling real estate does not have to be a daunting task. Here are some tips if you're in this boat.

  • For owner-occupied homes, discuss the pros and cons of limiting showings, especially if there are young, elderly, or immunocompromised people living in the home.
  • Make sure your listing has a 3D virtual tour so buyers can easily view it.
  • If the property is occupied, disinfect all surfaces after each show.
  • Have hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, and a note to the person entering requesting that they use the provided materials while viewing.

Tips for buying a home during Phase 2: 

Home Buying can be a daunting task, especially for beginners but the Washington State Eviction Moratorium will help a lot of first time homeowners that are transitioning from renters to owners.

  • Consider viewing houses via "virtual showings."
  • Wear cloth face coverings.
  • When showing homes, touch as few surfaces as possible while in the home, and use sanitizer and wash your hands. Keep your hands in your pocket whenever possible.
  • Asking for a walk-through video or conference before you go and see it in person will help cut down on properties you may not want to see. 

In-person activities during Phase 2:

-All meetings must be by appointment only and virtual whenever possible.

- Real estate brokers and industry partners (e.g. appraisers, inspectors, photographers, stagers, etc.) must wear cloth face coverings and should encourage clients and customers to do the same.  

- No more than three (3) people including the broker may be at the property at any one time. Brokers may only bring two other people at a time into a property.

- Those people must strictly follow social distancing guidelines by remaining at least six feet apart at all times. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Can inspectors conduct inspections? Yes. 
  • Can appraisers conduct in-person appraisals during Phase 2? (Revised June 5, 2020) Yes.
  • Can buyers’ brokers conduct “buyer walk-throughs” prior to closing during Phase 2? (Revised June 5, 2020) Yes.
  • Can real estate brokers input new listings in the MLS system during Phase 2? Yes. 
  • Can professional photographers take photos and create virtual tours during Phase 2? Yes. 
  • Can stagers stage homes and remove furniture from a listing during Phase 2? Yes. 
  • Can moving companies move buyers into a property and move sellers out of a property? Yes. 
  • Can brokers hire signs installers during Phase 2? Yes. 
  • Can contractors make repairs associated with an inspection response? Construction practices are permitted and regulated under a separate order from the Governor. You’ll want to consult with any contractor hired to complete repairs to ensure that the contractor is in compliance with all protocols required of the contractor. 
  • Are property management services included in Phase 2? Yes.
  • Can lenders, title, and escrow continue to operate? Yes. 

Please visit the CDC's website and the Washington State Department of Health's website for the latest updates about the pandemic. 

All the best,

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram if you don't already. Don't miss out on the tips, tricks, and sometimes just plain funny items I share on social media!

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Washington State Eviction Moratorium

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Washington State Eviction Moratorium

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Being a landlord during a pandemic is not for the faint of heart.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee put an eviction moratorium in place on March 18th, 2020, with the intent of preventing an increase in homelessness during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The moratorium, which legally prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent, was set to expire the first week of June but has now been extended through August 1st. With limited exceptions, the moratorium also does not allow late fees to be charged on unpaid rent, and landlords are required to offer residents a repayment plan on unpaid rent.

The office of Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has received hundreds of complaints from tenants stating that their landlords are insisting on payments with the risk of eviction if not paid in full. 

Some community members are in agreement that rent forgiveness is essential while landlords are left to clean up the mess… both metaphorically and literally. If you are a landlord and need help navigating this difficult time, reach out now. 

For more information regarding COVID-19 and resources available to you, please visit the following:

Landlord resources: The site for Fannie Mae can be found here. The site for Freddie Mac can be found here.

WA State Department Of Health

https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus

WA State Department Of Financial Institute

https://dfi.wa.gov/coronavirus-financial-resources

If you need to reach us regarding COVID-19, please call or email. We will do our best to return all emergency calls and emails the same day. 

All the best,

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram if you don't already. Don't miss out on the tips, tricks, and sometimes just plain funny items I share on social media!

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House Staging 101

House Staging Advice from a Pro

House Staging 101

A clean, uncluttered home is the foundation of house staging.

What do you think of when you hear the term "house staging"? A lot of us immediately imagine HGTV episodes and Instagram feeds filled with perfect spaces. Living rooms with just the right amount of lighting and uncluttered but cozy couches. Picture perfect kitchens with the latest designer trends on point. And then we look up from our screens to the spaces we're looking to sell or rent out, and...well, most of us don't have a house fresh out of Joanna Gaines' portfolio, do we?

But guess what—we don't have to! Right now, here in the local Fife/Milton/Edgewood market, you do not have to take on huge, expensive projects to stage your house to attract a buyer or tenant. Nor do you need to hire someone to bring in all new furniture (although you may need to move some out....). Read on for my tried-and-true 5 steps to house staging to help you sell your property or find the perfect tenant.

Staging Step #1: Draw attention to your property's best feature.

Every property has a diamond in the rough. Find it and make it stand out. Maybe it's gorgeous original hardwood flooring. Make it shine and arrange furniture and rugs to draw the eye to it. Perhaps it's a spacious kitchen with counter and cabinet space for days! Clear the clutter, and use pops of color to pull lookers into the space and make them remember it. Whatever your home's best feature, work it. 

Staging Step #2: Start packing immediately.

At the end of the day your goal is to invite people in. You want them to visualize themselves in the space.  If the space is jam-packed with your stuff, they won't be able to do that. 

Focus on creating white space. Remove personal items such as family photos, as well as collections of trinkets and doodads. Consider how much furniture is appropriate for a room, and remove something if there is too much for the space. Clear kitchen and bathroom counters, and create empty space in cabinets and closets. Less is better, I promise. And you’re going to need to pack anyway, so why not start before the pictures?

Staging Step #3: Maximize the use of lighting.

Let me shed some light on the facts (see what I did there?): Lighting sets the tone for how we perceive a space, so make it the right tone.

Natural light is king. For daytime showings, open up the shades and curtains in every room. Also make sure windows are clean as a whistle inside and out. The goal is to have no filtering of available daylight, to make the space feel as open as possible. And also to keep house hunters focused on the inside of the room, not the grime on the windows.

In terms of artificial light, in almost all cases white toned bulbs are preferred. Even in a small, windowless space, the right tone of light can change the feel of the area. If a room does not have an overhead light, or even if it does, add a tall lamp in a corner. Also make sure side and sofa tables throughout the house have appropriately-sized lamps, as well. Again, stick with white tones for the bulbs, but use lampshades smartly to reduce harshness and up the coziness factor in living rooms and bedrooms.

For evening showings, turn off your inner penny-pincher, and turn on all of the lights—interior and exterior—before you leave. Even if it's dark outside, you want the property to shine!

Staging Step #4: Manage smells.

I once walked into an inspection for a rental property in Edgewood, and an offensive smell hit me square in the face like a fly baseball. My eyes were watering, it was so bad. The unit was vacant, and it had been freshly painted, but it smelled like warm garbage had been fermenting for days. Since the smell was not there when we had originally viewed the unit I was determined to figure it out. Once the inspector opened up the crawl space we knew right away—there were some dead rodents. Yuck. So gross.

Clean. 

Just think clean, clean, clean. You simply want the place to smell clean. That means that your focus should be on removing sources of smells first and foremost, not just masking it.

Get rid of smelly furniture. Deodorize sink drains with baking soda and vinegar, and run some lemon peels through your disposal if you have one. Clean the fridge and take out the garbage every day, and especially when a showing is scheduled. Have the carpets and rugs professionally cleaned. And for sure make sure there aren't any animal carcasses in the crawl space!

In terms of adding pleasant scents, don't overdo it. This is not the time to run a diffuser or plug-in in every room. Less is more. I’m all for some lavender or citrus hibiscus but go as neutral as possible. You’re not trying to accommodate yourself. You're trying to reach the broadest audience possible.

That means that white linen, summer cotton, or straight-up bleach is the winner every time. Clean and fresh is the goal.

Oh, and that old trick of baking bread or cookies right before a showing? If you have the time to do it and clean up properly afterward, I have never met someone who disliked the smell of freshly baked goodies!

Staging Step #5: Play up accessories.

When house staging, it's bad business to spend money that won’t necessarily get you a strong return. If you’re planning on selling or renting your property out then maybe pass on the HGTV-style remodeling. Instead, find some cost-effective accessories to get the most bang for your buck. The idea here is to frame the room. Imagine you are telling a story in each room. Make your viewer want to join the house on its story.

Some effective and inexpensive ways to stage a house using accessories:

  • Place fresh hand towels in the bathrooms.
  • Add pops of color to the living room or bedroom with a few throw pillows or books with spines that color-coordinate with the space.
  • Create a cozy reading nook with an accent chair and side table. Don't forget the lamp, and perhaps some flowers or a little plant. 
  • Place potted plants and herbs at the entrance and around the patio.
  • Highlight your beautiful Pacific Northwest outdoor space with stringed lights around the patio, and add solar spotlights along exterior paths.

Every property is different just like every person is different. This list was created for very low level staging. 

If you are working with a more complex situation, like helping a senior citizen in your life downsize their stuff, then know that you are in good company. In that situation, I would encourage you to find an intermediary to help sort through the details of their situation. 

Regardless of your particular situation, you likely want a stress free real estate transaction. Sorting out the stuff BEFORE you're forced to is a tip I can hang my hat on. 

All the best,

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram if you don't already. Don't miss out on the tips, tricks, and sometimes just plain funny items I share on social media!

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Confessions of a Real Estate Agent

Confessions of a Real Estate Agent

Confessions of a Real Estate Agent

Confessions of a Real Estate Agent

Confessions of a real estate agent: this industry is complicated, energy sucking, and emotional. But when boiled down and distilled to its core, my job is to serve. Thankfully, I learned from my parents at a very young age that my job as a real estate broker is to listen, guide, and support my clients.

Here are three truths about any trustworthy real estate agent:

Confession #1: We’re straightforward because we care.

Blunt, curt, and straightforward are some of the labels I’ve been given over the years, and I’ve learned to take all of these as compliments! Here are some of the hard truths I’ve had to speak with clients about: 

  • The smell is a problem. 
  • Restricting showings to only 6 p.m. and later will probably double the days on market. 
  • The price is too high.
  • It's not the lighting in the picture. Navy blue carpets do clash with purple walls.

A good agent will tell you the truth about your property. Always. We will do it as gently and professionally as possible, but we will not lie to you to get a listing. It's not in your best interest or in ours. We care about you. So we'll speak truth.

Confession #2: It's your journey, we’re just invited to ride along.

As much as we do care, we cannot care more about your situation than you do. I’ve had to learn this the hard way. My job is to help you see what matters to you, and come along side you to make it happen. But you steer the ship.

Every person and every transaction has its special circumstances, so I strive to pull those out, name them, and put them on a timeline. Some common needs are a fast sale, a certain amount of money, or to be nurtured towards a real estate goal for years. No matter the circumstance, my job is to partner with you and ride along through the process to make it as smooth of a journey as possible.

Confession #3: Every day is a constant reviewing of priorities.

Missed family dinners, missed birthday parties, and long weekends. Tethered to a cell phone, working late evenings, and up for early morning emails, calls, and paperwork. All of these are a normal part of my life. I’ve stood outside countless events on the phone with a client while my husband manages our life so that my service and your outcome comes to fruition. And I don't regret it for an instant. I love my family. I love my work. The two are not mutually exclusive. It does mean that I am constantly assessing my priorities on a daily--sometimes--hourly basis. So if you see me kissing my kids as I shuffle them onto the ball field while negotiating on the phone with another agent to come to agreement on a sale, know that I am living my best life. 

I choose this Every. Single. Day.

I choose to embrace my straight forward personality.

I choose to join people on their roller coasters to make it as smooth of a ride as possible.

I choose to show my kids that their mom loves her job and serves people.

Every day.

How can I serve you in your real estate journey?

All the best,

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram if you don't already. Don't miss out on the tips, tricks, and sometimes just plain funny items I share on social media!

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Social Distancing and Real Estate

guidelines for social distancing and real estate

Social Distancing & Real Estate

Note: this information about social distancing and real estate in Washington State is based upon current guidelines as of May 8, 2020 as provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Washington State Department of Health, Washington State's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order" and related memos/orders, and the Northwest Multiple Listing Services. As the situation surrounding the pandemic changes quickly, please listen to state and local authorities for the most up-to-date information that may expand or reduce limitations for conducting real estate transactions. This post does not constitute legal or medical advice. If you need either, please contact an appropriate licensed professional. 

I think it's safe to assume that you have heard the phrase "social distancing" by now. But something you might need to know more about is how buyers, sellers, and agents are navigating their way through social distancing and real estate transactions. Well, you're in the right place. Let's get to it!

But first...

What is Social Distancing?

In case you've been living off the grid, and you're not sure what social distancing is, here's a basic primer:

According to the CDC, when outside of our homes we need to keep space between ourselves and others. When we have to be out, some of the most common practices are to stay at least six feet from other people, and avoid gathering in groups. 

In addition to minimizing in-person interactions, we are also encouraged to wash our hands frequently, not touch our faces, use face masks when out of the house, and disinfect hard surfaces frequently to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

So, how do we do all of that and still get properties bought and sold? Here are some best practices.

Social Distancing & Sellers

The good news is that licensed real estate agents like us are still allowed to show your property in-person. But we can do so only by appointment, and no more than two people can be onsite at a time, including the broker.

Obviously, that makes things a little cumbersome for couples and families to see a place together. This means that it is more important than ever to capture flattering photos of your property, and to post walk-through videos and 3D virtual tours online. Make those first (and maybe only) online impressions count!

For properties that are owner-occupied, we can utilize the multiple listing services scheduling program, ShowingTime. The goal of using ShowingTime is to avoid scheduling multiple showings at the same property at the same time. 

Other best practices for sellers to follow:

  • Disinfect all surfaces when you leave the property before each showing, and again when you return.
  • Make it easy for you to clean as you go by placing cleaning supplies around the property.
  • Finally, place hand sanitizer at the entry for house-hunters and showing agents to use on their way in and out.
  • If you or someone in your household is ill, please let us know so showings can be rescheduled.

Social Distancing & Buyers

Although in-person showings of no more than two people (including the broker) are permitted, we are strongly encouraged to share virtual tours of properties first. Additionally, the use of video calls during the showing is a great way to share the experience in real-time with others who cannot attend due to the two-person limit.

All in-person activities must be by appointment only, and the two people meeting must strictly follow social distancing guidelines provided by the CDC by remaining at least six feet apart at all times.

When viewing a home we need to touch as few surfaces as possible, use hand sanitizer and cloth face coverings, and always stay at least six feet apart. Finally, if you are not feeling well, please reschedule the showing or rely upon the virtual resources to make choices regarding your real estate purchase. 

Social Distancing & Closing

Title and escrow companies provide settlement services that support financial services and banking, so they are deemed essential under the Governor's orders. Although some title and escrow branch facilities may have modified their hours or closed, for the time being they are still able to offer remote online services.

One silver lining to all of this is that we have so many tools and resources to handle almost every single transaction detail remotely now. If this were happening 30-40 years ago it would have been completely different. I think we'd be hoarding fax machine toner instead of toilet paper! (Kidding...please don't hoard toilet paper...or anything else...).

 

For further information, here are some links to the referenced agencies and decision makers:

If you have specific questions about health concerns related to COVID-19, you should consult with a health professional.

All the best,

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram if you don't already. Don't miss out on the tips, tricks, and sometimes just plain funny items I share on social media!

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