What's the Plan, Stan?
Under incredibly trying circumstances, 2020 was an extraordinary year, both personally and professionally, AND I have every reason to believe that 2021 may be every bit as surprising. While many an expert predicted that the pandemic would paralyze the real estate market, quite the opposite proved true. (So much for predictions.)
Confronted with staring at our own four walls 24/7, many homeowners used the opportunity to not only to change their addresses, but to change their lifestyles as well. It's been fascinating to hear their reasons, to support their choices, and to facilitate their solutions.
In return, they've helped us become smarter Agents, better listeners, and more creative problem solvers. In short, we all learned to pivot, and consequently, we grew along the way. (Thank you.)
By way of example, the owners of 213 Mountain Avenue hadn't expected to move until their son graduated from high school in June, but when distance learning became the fallback, and the Provence-style house of their dreams unexpectedly showed up on her Internet feed, this savvy couple quickly changed course and escalated their time frame considerably (which is where Jill, Sarah, and I stepped in).
It didn't hurt that these homeowners first reached out to me several years ago and had essentially invited me over whenever they considered a design upgrade. For the record, the owners didn't need my "Realtor's eye," but it helped that they had a plan in place, and that most of the work - including a new primary suite - was done before a listing agreement was signed. A "plan" meant that they could confidently make choices that served to improve the value of their home, and allowed us to hit the ground running . . . .
While not everyone is as attentive to details as this particular (and particular) homeowner, for those of you contemplating a move at some point in the future (and that's most of us), it's really never too soon to bring in a Realtor to help you prioritize your 'To Do" list. I've yet to meet the Agent who was short on opinions (so don't ask us if you don't want the unvarnished truth), which is to say that we're more than happy to help you decide where your hard-earned dollars are best spent to maximize your return on investment (ROI). Hint: improvements you can see - kitchen and baths - tend to pay dividends, while those you can't - sewer laterals and dry-rot repair - are tough to recoup. So while your Buyers will appreciate the fact that you seismically retrofitted the basement, they won't pay you extra for it.
In any event, being business women who respect a good plan, Sarah, Jill, and I typically follow up our listing appointments with recommendations, including those that can, and should, be addressed NOW, vs. those that may wait until after you move out. Depending on the property and the amount of work that needs to be tackled, the order often changes but the point is that once you have a list in hand, it's easier to start checking off the items to avoid the problem of being OVERWHELMED come time to sell. AND on a personal note, what self-respecting control freak doesn't like checking off a list? (Who? Moi?)
Neurosis aside, a plan of action is a good thing. Calling your REALTOR is even better.
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Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 670 essays on life and real estate.