Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Right Buyers

Photo by: David Jenkins, via TMLS
Photo by: David Jenkins, via TMLS

 I mentioned seeing a townhouse online that looked like a possibility for a new home for us. The house had modern updates that J. and I love. It had accent walls and was bright and airy with hardwood floors. It was, in a word, lovely. The Realtor was laid back. After we had walked through the rooms (at least twice), David invited us to sit down and talk in the living room. It was a pleasure to spend more time in the inviting space. We sat and discussed the things we liked about the townhouse.

Photo by: David Jenkins, via TMLS
We talked about our house. We talked about how much we loved our home and how we made it a reflection of us. We told him that we had not upgraded the bathrooms and that there was no granite in the kitchen. David was unfazed. We told him that we had painted the rooms with bold colors. Again, calmness. He said neutral paint in order to sell a house was an outdated mindset. Character is what clients want. He said presentation is important in finding the right buyers. Good staging and good photography.
Photo by: David Jenkins, via TMLS

Jordan and I knew we found our real estate agent. He got us. He got our house. With his coaching we got the house ready to make the best presentation of our house. Really, staging is a matter of editing. The art was our art and the furniture was our furniture. The work we did was to de-clutter (think HGTV).

Listing my home made me feel so vulnerable. I mean, strangers are going to come into my house and critique it. No one likes to have something they created critiqued. David was a calming force and his confidence was encouraging. The house across the street was listed within days of our listing. The neighbor's had a different style from us. Their style was a lovely formal style. Their back yard had a lovely manicured lawn with well shaped bushes while our yard was more of an over-grown English garden. I worried that our house "wouldn't measure up". (Maybe I have issues....) Not to worry, David said. The buyers that will buy the house across the street are not the buyers that will want ours. Our buyers would be people that are drawn to a more casual and modern home. It's all a matter of getting the right buyers to find your home. 

As you already know, the right buyers did find our house. I feel like Sally Field when she gave her oscar speech. My version is: "You like my house, you really like me." And I'm so happy to hear that they really do like the house and are excited to make it their home. 

--If you live in the Triangle and need a real estate agent, send me an email and I'll give you his digits. I whole heartedly recommend him. 

P.S. All photos in these past posts were taken by our Realtor for the listing. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Right Real Estate Agent

Photo by: David Jenkins via TMLS
"This is where the decision will be made," he said. "Right here in the kitchen." Of course, I'm biased. I like the kitchen. I love the breakfast area with windows on three sides. I love the lighting we chose for the breakfast area. I love the lighting we chose for the "island" area of the prep area. I love how the table and the island work well in the space. 

The kitchen is bright and airy which the natural hardwood floors highlight.
I've always wanted a red kitchen... and this kitchen is red. 

The right Real Estate agent can make a huge difference in how well the process goes and our Realtor is the BEST

When we were entertaining the idea of downsizing we considered townhouses and condos as well as apartments. I'm so glad that we waited to list our house until we were comfortable that we found just the right person to work with.

Selling your house is deeply personal. It is an odd thing to try to remain objective. I mean, who wouldn't love everything we did to make the house modern? Right? Who wouldn't love all the things that we did to put our personal stamp on the place? But, of course, I know / knew that a personal style stamped on your home is not universally loved. So, the trick of thinking of the house as a business transaction and not my home is, well, tricky.
Photo by: David Jenkins via TMLS
We met our Realtor at one of his listings. I had seen the townhouse online and knew I would love it. The kitchen was bright...with white cabinets and black granite counters. There was a window over the sink (I love that!). The lower level had hardwood floors and the family room had a lovely blue accent wall.  I had to see it. It had some of the elements of what we had done in our home like, the flooring and color and a modern look. So we started with the potential of a new / smaller space and made an appointment to see that space with the listing agent. That turned out to be the BEST thing we could have done!
Kitchen, Dining Room
Photo by: David Jenkins via TMLS
I'd like to say that finding an agent based on their listings was our savvy approach. But, no. It wasn't a plan. We had no actual plan and I was a little bit terrified about that.

We met another agent a few weeks before and we talked with her about the market and what we could expect if we listed "now" and if we listed with her. She said the market was surprisingly "hot" right now. She encouraged us to move quickly as summer is nearing an end. I believe she was spot on with both of those thoughts. I decided to feel her out about what we should expect to get the house ready for market.  I told her that we upgraded all of the light fixtures and mentioned some of the features that we thought would matter. She was visibly disappointed when we told her that although we have updated light fixtures and new hardwood floors, had not replaced kitchen counters with granite. She was also discouraging because we haven't renovated the bathrooms. 

I told her...we used bold colors...but colors that we think work."Well," she said, "you'll want to go ahead get your house ready before listing it. You'll want to paint the walls a neutral, etc." But, I didn't want to paint our walls a neutral. What if I painted our walls neutral and the house didn't sell? Then I'd be living in a vanilla house. I said something about hesitating to paint and she said, "You have to commit. Before you list you just have to commit that you will do what you need to and you will sell the house." 

Clearly, she wasn't the "one". But, the agent that listed the modern, bright townhouse? He was the "one" and choosing the right one made all the difference.

I'll write more next time about the "right" fit. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Favorite Space (s)

Well...that didn't last long. I started with true intentions of blogging every day in September. 


What happened? Well...lots of things. My first September post alluded to changes going on in my world and then I dropped off the earth, or the web, as it were. I was actually "dis-connected"/offline. Well virtually disconnected (anyway). 

We sold our house. What?? Yes. You know, we really loved that house. We really enjoyed the updates we made to the house and making it "home". It was really "us". was also a house designed for a larger household. I loved every single room in the house. But really...does an empty nest need four bedrooms? 

After some serious reflection we decided that we would like to live in a smaller footprint. Remember when I told you about our first house? My own words resinated with me.
This sweet house was about 1,000 square feet, which was perfect. We didn't need anything bigger. There is something to be said for a "just right size" home.
There IS something to be said for "just right". Although we loved our lovely, fun, funky home it was too big. Which is, of course, not "just right".

And so, with lots of thought and care, we went about working with a truly amazing Realtor. And "just like that" we sold the house. --Well, it wasn't really "just like that" but we did have a really good selling experience. I will share more on that next time.

In the meantime, I leave you with a picture of one of my favorite rooms.

Photo by: David Jenkins via TMLS

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Still Discovering My Home Town

Durham is decidedly a different place from the town that I left so many years ago. Of course, I'm decidedly different too. 

When I was growing up in my hometown my travel radius was pretty small. In fact, most of my destinations were outside of the city limits in the "county". Tobacco fields were a staple for the area. Pastures of horses and cows were sprinkled through out the area. 

It did not seem odd that the town I called home was known nationally as the "City of Medicine". Duke University Hospital and UNC Medical School are ten miles apart. I was fairly comfortable visiting the campus of both schools and felt that they both are a part of my home.

The schools brought professionals and academics from all over the world. My home town had a small town but diverse flavor. 

While "I was gone" I lived in several places. I spent ten years in the state's largest city which is a banking hub. This is less true today than it was ten years ago. Mergers and reorganizations have changed that landscape. But, when I was there I felt I was living in the heart of the South's metropolis. Looking back I realize that the population in the Bank Town was not nearly as diverse as my home town. 
I also lived in the Seattle/Bellevue, WA area for seven years before moving back to my home town. That was such a great experience. We lived in a downtown high rise and loved it. I had my first Turducken courtesy of my friend that relocated from New Orleans.  

When I relocated back to my hometown I paid very little attention to its foodie hype. I figured it was a sort of city self promotion. Many of my work colleagues had relocated from the Silicon Valley. One was from DC and one from Boston. I remember they talked about Chicken and Waffles. I don't think I had heard of this before and I could not imagine what this combination would taste like. I like chicken and I love waffles, but I had no desire to combine these.

But then I got curious. When I decided this was something I wanted to taste I found that the "Almost Famous" Chicken and Waffles restaurant always had a line. I mean always. But one afternoon one of my friends took me there. We got in because it was something like 5:00 (maybe earlier?).

Okay...I loved it. And I need to go back. 

I love that I am still discovering surprising experiences without leaving town.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Unofficial Start to Autumn

Autumn Sunshine 
Lots happening in my world. I clearly have not kept my blog readers up to date. Both Hubby and I continue to clean out and donate things we don't need. We are also going through years and years of papers. Oh my gosh we have a lot of paper. 

Last week I gave myself permission to "not keep" a momento that I've been carrying around from place to place for the last eleven years. I kept this momento because I wanted to use it as inspiration for a possible project. And, I didn't trust myself to remember what I need to. I've decided that I have what I need to remember. Giving up the paper reminder was freeing. In fact, I have given myself permission NOT to complete the project I had in mind. You know what? Not every good project has to be done. This is something I need to explore more. 

I was mourning the fact that some of my ideas and projects will not be feasible soon. But, now I'm feeling a little relief too.