Ask Jean

Jean Allard, SRES is Vice President and Sales Associate with Keystone Real Estate Group. Feel free to comment on Jean's blog posts and ask any questions you may have on all facets of real estate!

Creepy, Crawly...Nasty!

Published 03/06/2015

Spring is almost here. Wood boring insects are about to reveal themselves. Termites and carpenter ants feed on dead wood.  They accomplish this invisibly.  Once termites swarm, they've already done some damage.  By swarming, they are actively trying to form another colony. If you've ever experienced a termite swarm, you know what I'm talking about. Clouds of discarded wings fill the room, as the unsuccessful explorers drop to the ground.

Most of the damage that termites cause cannot be seen until it's too late.  They quietly tunnel from the ground and eat their way through the inner sills of your house.  Left undetected for a long period of time, they can compromise the structural integrity of the house.  Pretty impressive for creatures barely 1 centimeter in length!

Check your sill for damage by poking it with a sharp nail or poker of some sort. A compromised sill will allow the poker to stick right into the wood.  Not good. A solid sill will withstand any tapping. If you notice a large area of damage, consult a licensed, professional contractor to replace it. Follow that up with a visit from a reputable pest control company.  

How do you prevent termites and carpenter ants from eating you out of house and home? If you have garden beds edged in wood, remove them.  If your deck was made from untreated lumber, replace it. Keep bushes and trees away from the house. Any damp or dead wood is a veritable banquet for these buggers. These unwanted guests need to go eat elsewhere.


Top 3 Reasons To Sell Now

Published 03/05/2015

Spring is the time when the real estate market explodes.  People want to complete their moves before their children go back to school in the fall.  The problem? That's when your competition lists their homes.  How will your house ever stand out from the 3 other homes on your street going on the market? Now is the time to take action. Why?

  1. Fewer tire kickers are out in the winter.  Serious buyers will still be looking, and there will be slim pickings. Less inventory means buyers have to look in the "clearance aisle" for a bargain.
  2. Less loan backlogs. The lending institutions have smaller piles on their desks at this time of year.  The path from P&S Agreement to closing is much smoother.
  3. Interest rates are still quite low. It's uncertain how long that will be the case.  If you are thinking of selling and purchasing another home, you will get more bang for your buck if you act now. Take advantage of it while you can.

Whatever your reason is to sell your home, the key is to make YOUR house more attractive to a buyer.  If you are ahead of the time curve, you have a better chance of standing out in a smaller crowd.

Uh oh...Where's the Key?

Published 03/04/2015

Unless you are a real estate professional, you are probably not that familiar with lockboxes.  Essentially, it is a box with a combination lock that stores keys.  They are typically attached to an entryway door.  Many agents use them so that buyer's agents can have easy access to the home.  We don't like them for a number of reasons.

  • Are the other agents diligent in returning the key and locking the house up properly?
  • How do you know for certain that the key doesn't get lost or stolen?
  • We've heard horror stories of agents giving the codes to the clients.  They let themselves in.  Is this ethical? No. Does it happen? Yes.
  • A key cannot tell you how old the roof is, or explain that mystery leak in the basement.
  • If a key is not in the lockbox, you can bet the buyers will go on to the next house.  They most likely will not return. Result? A potential sale is lost.
  • If a seller is paying a commission to an agent, why is a key doing the work?

Think long and hard before deciding to allow a lockbox to sell your house. Used properly, it's convenient. Used improperly, it's a waste of time and a potential sale.

Wipe Your Feet!

Published 03/02/2015

Who wants snow tracked through the house by potential buyers?  You want them to see it, but you don't want the mess.  Put down a bright and cheerfully colored doormat. This serves two purposes: keeps the house clean, and says "welcome" at the same time.

You could also provide umbrellas by the back door.  Those wishing to see the yard can protect themselves from the elements.  They'll appreciate it.  The secondary benefit to you? The buyers perceive your attention to detail as indicative as to how well you maintain your home.

Remember to keep the heat on, too.  You want to convey warmth in every sense of the word.  If the buyers are cold, they won't want to linger in the house.  Make sure they feel at home.  After all, your goal is to make this THEIR home, right?

Who IS that lovely child?

Published 02/26/2015

Your house is on the market.  It's clean and ready to put its best face forward, right?  Here's something to keep in mind. A prospective buyer needs to see open space, and to envision living there with their family.  If you have created a photographic shrine to honor little Susie, the buyers get distracted.  While your child is obviously the most beautiful creature in the universe, the buyer gets stuck.  You see, they need to imagine that wall filled with photos of THEIR family.  Not everyone has the imagination to see past YOUR beautiful children. Pack away those family photos.  You can create a new collage in the new house.  The one you are selling needs to be neutrally pleasing. If buyers are admiring your pictures, they are ignoring what you WANT them to see - the house!