The Business Side:
2017 was a fantastic year! I am honored that I was able to help 40 buyers and sellers reach their goals!
The market remained really strong and hyper-competitive in certain segments, especially the under $250,000 price point. Homes in that band continued to draw multiple offers and tons of competition. Toward the fall, we did see a little bit of a slowdown as summer wound down and school started, but activity really ramped up in the November timeframe. So remember that for next year! I tell sellers that buyers who are looking at this time of year are TRULY serious buyers who NEED to buy. This can be a great time of year to list! And regardless of when you sell, the rule remains that if you price and prepare your home in the right way, it's going to sell quickly and often times with multiple offers. I experienced that exact scenario time and time again this year with my clients!
I'm happy that this year I was able to continue to work closely with BOTH buyers and sellers. I enjoy keeping a foot in each side of the business; it’s critical to being a really well-rounded agent. When I'm working with sellers I can tell them with confidence how buyers are behaving in this market, and when I'm working with buyers I can tell them with great confidence how sellers are thinking in this market. So, not only does that help us position a seller’s house for sale or a buyer’s offer appropriately, it also helps with the negotiations because I know what the trends are on each side. That knowledge helps my clients tremendously!
My Top Real Estate Tip From This Year:
Put in the prep work before selling; it’s worth the effort! Buyers are accustomed to walking through model homes, and to watching the perfectly remodeled and decorated homes on HGTV! Presenting anything less than that can be damaging to a seller. Many buyers have difficulty “imagining” what something will look like. For instance, I was taking buyers through a house that had a perfect layout for their family. However, each room was a different, bright color, and that was a turnoff. The buyer did not choose that house, and the colors were a major driver!
Another reason for sellers to just do the work is that most buyers want “move-in ready;” they don't want projects to tackle after purchase. Further, many buyers simply don’t have the cash to outlay for projects after closing. They would rather pay more for the house and have the work already completed. So, it’s smart for sellers to update the home, and to do so neutrally. Although this IS technically a sellers’ market, buyers are still demanding of these items. So, do the prep work before you list your home!
Check out my House to Home Chronicles video on how staging made a big difference in a recent home sale.
The Personal Side:
This year we took our first cruise as a family. Had you asked me 5 years ago if we would choose a cruise for our vacation, I would have said “No!” However, the experience was amazing – and we've already booked a second cruise!! In fact, we booked it while we were still on the ship! Every vacation we are able to share as a family is a great vacation, especially as the girls are getting older and beginning to form their own lives!
McKenzie is in her sophomore year at the University of Illinois, and she will not be coming home this summer. She was invited to apply to the James Scholar program at the University in the School of Social Work, and she was accepted. This gives her additional opportunities for research and working with professors. She also ran for leadership council in her sorority, Kappa Delta, and won! She will be on the leadership team for the spring and next fall. My mom, who was also a KD at UofI, would be so proud of her granddaughter!
Anja is in her junior year in high school, which truly is the toughest year of high school, in my opinion. The college prep process goes into high gear at this stage, as does school work and social life! She has a lot to juggle with school, swimming and work, and she’s handling it all very well and with great responsibility. She had her first “official” job this past summer as a lifeguard, and currently she is working as a hostess as a local restaurant! She continues to maintain great friendships, and we often host gatherings of her various friend groups (including a “Friendsgiving” at Thanksgiving at our house. It’s a lot of fun to get to know her friends.
In October, I went on my second trip to Guatemala; this time it was for a medical mission trip. While I did not see patients directly (since I have no medical background!!), I feel I was still able to have an impact! My biggest roles during the week were to help in the pharmacy as patients came to us after seeing the doctor and nurses, and I also provided education about the importance of drinking water.
During the week, we hosted three medical clinics (two of those in the field and very make-shift) where we saw 380 patients - it was a lot of hard work! However, as with my first visit, this is one of the most rewarding and impactful experiences of my year. The Guatemalan people are so lovely, so accepting, so caring and grateful of the smallest things. We can learn a lot from them, and I look forward to going back.
This holiday season will be a tougher one after the loss of Roger’s dad in August. We spent Thanksgiving at our home, and we will travel to Myrtle Beach for Christmas with my family, but Roger’s mom will be with us. It’s nice to have more family around at times like this as we move through this initial year of “firsts” without having Gene around. He was a great and kind soul.
For 2018 I'm signing up for my first half Ironman relay in Chattanooga on May 20th! I'm covering the swim portion of 1.2 miles. I have not been in a pool since mid-2016, but I’m committed to getting back, and I’m excited about my first Ironman experience!!!
Here is to a warm, love-filled, family centered and safe holiday season! I know I will be taking some time to reflect on just how lucky I am to be surrounded by an amazing family, close friends and thoughtful work colleagues. This next year will be very exciting, so here is to some rest before we hit the ground running in January!
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!