List Ready: Advice from a Buyer’s Agent

*** Editor’s note: I wrote this a week ago and delayed pushing publish as it isn’t my usual MO, but it is a big part of my life and I hope it is helpful for someone out there.

Hellllllo, Fall! I’m sitting outside as I write this soaking up the beautiful, cool air. I am so happy the season finally decided to change in North Carolina. The real estate game isn’t all that fun to play on 95* days but today’s home inspection is going smoothly. Did you even know that I am a real estate agent? I kicked off 2019 pursuing my license and after quick success in class and testing, I’ve been working since March of 2019. We stay very  busy and it has been exciting and rewarding to help families find their perfect home.

My job is very specific. I only help buyers. I don’t list any homes. That works out okay for me right now because I have a natural knack at seeing how individuals want to live and finding the home that fits those needs. (Don’t get me wrong though! I will absolutely step in to help if you need to sell your home by referring you to someone on our amazing team if you’re local, or finding you the perfect agent wherever you are and we can still get the job done.  Basically, just remember me if you have any real estate needs at all – anywhere in the grand ol’ USA!)

An upside to working this way is constantly going into new properties and getting an actual in person feel for what’s on the market in the area. I’ve shown everything from small golf front condos to 4,000 square foot lakefront homes. Any real estate agent worth their salt will give you advice on how to get your home ready before listing, but PLEASE listen as someone who sees it everyday from the buyer’s perspective: staging matters. Staging doesn’t have to mean hiring out an expensive company or making drastic changes to your property, but a few smalls steps can engage the potential buyer’s senses and make the biggest difference in helping them feel at home and ready to make an offer.

Out with the Visual Clutter

You. guys. This is my absolutely pet peeve in life – but especially so with homes on the market.  Get rid of the clutter! No one wants to (or needs to!) walk into your kitchen to piles of mail on the counter or cold medicine left by the sink. It seems like common sense, but for the love of all things money related, clean up yo stuff! Your potential buyers will appreciate this more than you know and your home will instantly look more appealing. Put shoes away, tidy pillows, make all the beds, and be sure the floors are clean. I’d even recommend taking it one step further and putting away personal mementos like photographs and nicknacks. You want the buyers to be able to visualize themselves in the home, not to be distracted by your clutter on every surface.

Entice Buyers with Scents

Being nose blind is a real thing. I get it. But how your house will smell to potential buyers is huge. Often it is the first thing about a property a buyer will comment on. The best smell is no smell at all. My favorite houses are the ones that just smell fresh and truly clean, not strong smells via candles and air fresheners. Consider having your carpets cleaned and stay on top of all laundry (including bedding, pillow covers, drapes – anything you can wash that might hold an unpleasant scent).  Keep your bathrooms and kitchen areas freshly wiped down and try to keep the trash taken out on a more regular than normal basis. As a last resort, turn to inserting a light, neutral smell into the home to help it seem welcoming and cozy. Be aware that overwhelming scents can cause headaches and immediately turn buyers away. Remember the goal is to smell clean, not fake. We want them to feel at home, not ready to run out of the door.

Make us FEEL Welcome

As much as how the home looks and smells, the temperature inside also matters. This has a been a big issue the past several months with the summer heat lasting longer than normal. It is no fun to spend the day in and out of properties in the heat only to come into to a stifling, musty house. Room temperature and air flow matter. Again, the goal here is to get the potential buyer to linger and begin to imagine their lives in your space. Trust me when I say that is hard to do when you are sweating. Houses feel more closed off and smaller when they are too warm. An easy thing to do (that also may help with tip number two) is to run the overhead fans. A comfortable temperature is much more welcoming. A welcoming home means happy thoughts. And happy thoughts lead to offers!

Wheeewww. Now that is over I hope I haven’t left any of my friends feeling personally attacked. The same level of neatness isn’t possible in every single home, I get it. But I hope these tips are helpful for getting your home set to sell. Anything your agent tells you change you isn’t meant as a slight, only that they are working so hard to be sure you get every penny you deserve for your property. If you’ve been in the buying and selling game, chime off in the comments and let me know if there are any other widely heard comments or tips you have to help get these homes off the market and sold!


❤ Jill







3 Tips for Toy Storage

Well hey friends! It sure has been a while since I’ve sat down to share a real post with you. I am so thankful for my new computer and I really hope that it motivates me to blog more often. I am also so thankful that this winter flew by (in retrospect – because let’s be real, January had 83,263 days while we were living it). Now that spring is officially in the air I am finally feeling like getting around to sharing my most requested post: Toy Storage.

I have to be honest, I am no pro. We do not live a minimalist lifestyle by any means, but I am always intent on making sure everything has a place. Having a home for every item not only makes it easier for the boy to find what he’s looking for, but it also makes a huge difference in how quickly we can tidy after play. There are a few solid rules we live by that would work for any family in any home.

1. Reduce, Reduce, Reduce!
(Don’t worry, it’s all downhill from here. Once you conquer this step it will make working out the other details so much easier.) I am sure most of us are aware that our kiddos have more than they could ever need. Studies show that children actually function better with fewer toys. Does your family, like ours, need to dial it down a notch?

Whenever we bring in a new toy, I try to put something to the side to donate or trash. Thin out the toys that don’t get attention, that are above or below your child’s level of play, and keep small clutter at bay by not collecting happy meal toys, party favors, and other odds and ends. You can also help this effort by speaking to family and friends about showing love to your child in other ways (college fund, anyone?). If your child has outgrown a nice item, consider selling it to put towards other needs. This is a win win!

If tossing some of the items seems overwhelming, try boxing up toys that are rarely played with and putting them away for a while. If they are missed, rotate them out with other items to keep play fresh. If not, donate or toss them. I would probably be the one to forget they were in the attic so we haven’t tried this method but it seems like a great idea.

2. Multifunctional Furniture
This idea played a huge part of how I planned our move into this house last year, but even if you’ve been in your home a while, I am sure there are ways to repurpose pieces you already have. For example, we purchased a vintage buffet table for our family room television table. The height worked perfectly under our wall mounted TV, and the drawers and cabinet doors are the perfect place for stashing away race car tracks and trucks. We also added baskets in both sides inside the doors to take the organization up a notch and make access easier for the boy. We also took the same approach in the living room by reusing an old dresser as a TV cabinet.

Both of these pieces of furniture, along with the built-in cabinets in the family room, allow toys to be put away behind closed doors. Instead of having adult furniture and kid furniture, we just have multifunctional pieces. While a lot of currently very popular console tables or bookshelves will have storage space for baskets there is often still a lot of visual clutter. Put the toys away behind closed doors and let your eyes rest!

3. Every Thing in Its Place
From a very young age, the boy has been responsible for helping clean up his own things. The best way to help him do this has been having storage space for everything and putting it back in that exact spot each time. For example, his wooden puzzles and other wood toys go inside one cabinet in the family room. He knows exactly where to find these things when he wants to play with them, and he also knows where to put them away. The never-ending “Mama, where is my…” is asked much less but also easy to answer.

The key to this is organizing everything once by grouping like items, then continually putting things back where they belong. If you are running out of storage space, go back to Step #1. We also try to keep things with small pieces out of the toy box that stays in the boy’s room. Small items are easily “lost” and are hard to find in deep storage boxes. We reserve that space for stuffed animals and dress up toys.

There are a few odds and ends, like baskets of balls, ride on fire trucks, and the food truck (and a basketball goal in his room) that are impossible to hide, but that’s okay. We are a family. A kid obviously lives here too! Not to mention that the dog has bones thrown across every room of the house. Our goal is simply to make it a peaceful environment for everyone, family members and visitors alike. (Peaceful environment = save mom’s sanity!)

I hope that some of these tips are helpful for you. If you have any other fun ways you keep your little ones organized I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Happy weekend!