Here’s Why You Need A Pro in Your Corner! Click on link below to find out

With home prices on the rise and buyer demand still strong, some sellers may be tempted to try to sell their homes on their own rather than using the services of a real estate professional. The post Selling Your House: Here’s Why You Need A Pro in Your Corner!

Here is a list of just some of the people with whom the seller must be prepared to negotiate if they decide to For Sale by Owner (FSBO):

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interests of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The termite company, if there are challenges
  • The buyer’s lender, if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value
  • The title company, if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits
  • The town or municipality, if you need to get the CO permits mentioned above
  • The buyer’s buyer, in case there are challenges with the house your buyer is selling

Bottom Line

The percentage of sellers who have hired real estate agents to sell their homes has increased steadily over the last 20 years. Meet with a professional in your local market to see the difference that he or she can make for you during the selling process.



Click on link below to find out.


Why You Need A Pro In Your Corner When Selling Your Home

Leslie Sells Houses

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Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay?

Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay?

Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay ?

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have been on the decline since November, now reaching lows last seen in January 2018. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates came in at 4.12% last week!

This is great news for anyone who is planning on buying a home this spring! Freddie Mac had this to say,

“Mortgage interest rates have been steadily declining since the start of 2019. These lower mortgage interest rates combined with a strong labor market should attract prospective homebuyers this spring and could help the housing sector regain its momentum later in the year.”

To put the low rates in perspective, the average for 2018 was 4.6%! The chart below shows the recent drop, and also shows where the experts at Freddie Mac believe rates will be by the end of 2019.

Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

If you plan on buying a home this year, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you start your home search to ensure you can lock in these historically low rates today!

Leslie Sells Houses

Are Low Interest Rates Here to Stay?


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“Spring is here and so is happiness. Hold on. Life will get warmer.”

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“Spring is here and so is happiness. Hold on. Life will get warmer.”
Spring Outlook!
In 2019’s first quarter the rates fluctuate minimally, inventory started to decline and prices stabilized.

For continued success with your Real Estate investing make certain you have the most educated REALTOR in your corner. Reach out today, so we can answer your questions!

#HawkinsPoe #RealEstate #Spring

Leslie Sells Houses

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5 Crazy Ways to Sell Your House That Really Work!

5 Crazy Ways to Sell Your Home

 

No matter how amazing your home is, let’s be honest: Real estate is a drag-down, stops-out, winner-take-all competitive market. It can take some true ingenuity to steer prospective buyers through your front door.

Well, to help get your creative juices flowing, here are some offbeat sales tactics that some slightly daring homeowners and real estate agents have tried. And they swear they work!

Offer a cash reward

If you use Facebook or Twitter to stay in touch with friends or share photos, then there’s no reason why you can’t use it to share the news that you’re selling your home!

In order to sweeten the deal, one Canadian family decided to offer a $1,000 “reward” for any “share” that led to the sale of their home. There’s no word yet on how well it worked, but it makes sense: Why not take that split second to spread the word to your pals if cold hard cash hangs in the balance?

Have an over-the-top open house

“The days of the wine and cheese open house are over,” pronounces Alexander Ali, CEO of the Society Group. What’s taken its place are open ceremonies—basically, open houses on human growth hormones, complete with live entertainment, catering from In-N-Out Burger, mermaids in the pool … you get the idea.

These bigger and usually more upscale parties are often pricey, but they don’t have to be. The key is to make it all sound unusual and fun—all the better to cut through the open-house clutter. Just ask Wendy Flynn, a Realtor in College Station, TX, who spent a mere $200 to hire a snow cone truck to park in the driveway of a home she was trying to sell.

“Instead of the typical two to five visitors, over 50 adults and countless kids attended the open house,” she recalls. “Of those who visited, five demonstrated serious interest in the property—proof that creative marketing can help garner attention for a home.” Hey, who doesn’t like snow cones?

Create your own reality show

You turn on a camera, set up a channel, and let people peek into your home—all in an effort to help them imagine what it would be like to live there in the future. Crazy? Maybe. But live-streaming is a way to get prospective buyers to see the inside of your property without ever leaving their couch.

“Live-streaming video is a great tool: Facebook Live, YouTube, Blab, Periscope, and Meerkat are all emerging big time for real estate use,” says Ellen Cagnassola, social media manager for HouseMaster Home Inspections.

Feel a bit awkward being the “star”?  Hold an event such as a live show, or hire local talent like stand-up comedians to do a short skit in your home that you can publicize. It’ll get your home in front of more eyeballs, honest! Keep the adult humor to a minimum, please.

Play the celebrity card

Does your home have a celebrity who once slept there? Or perhaps it served as the backdrop for a movie at one point? Or maybe it evokes a certain TV show or movie? Whatever makes your property special, use it to your advantage. And if you don’t have any celeb stories, then consider hiring actors to set the scene.

Jaisa Bishop, an associate partner at Partners Trust, did just that when representing a Victorian house in San Diego that wasn’t getting enough attention.

“I employed my family members to dress in period costume and be in character. They sat in the garden while a local artist painted and brought a few of his pieces to sell. It was a great success,” says Bishop. “Guests were able to sit and have tea in the garden and eat finger foods with the characters while taking in the home. ‘Downton Abbey’ meets real estate!”

Try a little magic

When all else fails, it might be time to call in help from the invisible fairies or forces you  believe in. Kooky, sure, but it can’t hurt and it just might help. Just ask Ellen Shaikun, a broker associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Parks & Weinberg Realtors, who had heard that burying a statue of St. Joseph upside-down in your yard is supposed to bring a quick sale.

“I had a client who did it. When the house was still on the market two weeks later, my seller kicked into desperation mode and dug up the statue—having determined that it was buried in the wrong place for maximum impact—and moved it next to the mailbox. My seller was correct: We got an offer almost immediately. As we all know in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location!”

Leslie Sells Houses

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Kimberly Dawn Neumann, who is based in New York City, is an author, performer, and fitness professional.
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Today’s Pets Are Real Estate Influencers

Today’s Pets Are Real Estate Influencers

April 11 marks National Pet Day, and it’s time to find a pet to appreciate, if not your own.

After all, pets have a big say in real estate. Eighty-one percent of Americans say animal-related considerations play a role when deciding on their next living situation, according to a 2017 report from the National Association of REALTORS®. Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed said they would not give up their animal because of housing restrictions or limitations. Twelve percent of pet owners have moved to accommodate their animal, and 19 percent said that they would consider moving to accommodate their animal in the future. REALTORS® surveyed said that one-third of their pet-owning clients often—or very often—will even refuse to make an offer on a home because it’s not ideal for their animal.

Pet ownership is booming across the country. Seventy percent of U.S. households own pets, up from 50 percent a generation ago, according to ProShares Pet Care ETF, an exchange traded fund focused on the pet care industry. Ninety-five percent of pet owners consider their pets part of the family, according to a Harris Poll.

“Dogs are part of the family, so it’s important to factor in our furry friends when choosing a place to live,” says Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s chief economist. “Highlighting dog-friendly amenities like a spacious yard or a mudroom for dirty paws in your listing can make it easier for buyers to find the home of their dog’s dreams.”

What are some of the top pet-friendly amenities in homes? Real Trends recently highlighted several home essentials that buyers crave for their pets: ample outdoor space, pet nooks (like a tucked away nook with a built-in bed), a pet chat system (a way to communicate with your pet from anywhere using video or audio devices), pet washing stations (like in a mudroom or laundry room), and a pet door (a door insert so pet cans let themselves out and back in).

Some real estate professionals are adopting pet-friendly niches to express their love of pets, showing off their own pets on social media or even reaching out at dog parks with treats to connect with pets and their owners.

Redfin and Rover, a networking platform for pet sitters, recently ranked the top pet-friendly cities. They analyzed data from 14,000 cities based on popularity of dog walkers and pet sitters and how frequently the word “dog” appeared in online listing descriptions of homes for sale. The top pet-friendly cities (along with cities’ most popular breeds) are:

1. Seattle

  • Top breed: Labrador retriever

2. Chicago

  • Top breed: Mixed breed

3. Denver

  • Top breed: Labrador retriever

4. Manhattan, N.Y.

  • Top breed: French bulldog

5. Washington, D.C.

  • Top breed: Mixed breed

6. Portland, Ore.

  • Top breed: Mixed breed

7. Los Angeles

  • Top breed: Chihuahua

8. Brooklyn, N.Y.

  • Top breed: Pit bull mix

9. San Francisco

  • Top breed: Mixed breed

10. San Diego

  • Top breed: Mixed breed

11. Philadelphia

  • Top breed: Pit bull mix

12. Houston

  • Top breed: Mixed breed
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© National Association of REALTORS®

Get Your Garden Ready for Spring – Early Spring Garden Tips

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Tip Getting your Garden Ready for Spring

The warm weather is right around the corner. That means it is time to start thinking

about ways to get your garden ready with these spring garden tips. Whether you are interested in vegetable gardening or just love to grow flowers, these tips will be helpful

GEt your garden off to a great step with these 25 tips for spring - https://thegardeningcook.com/25-tips-to-get-your-garden-ready-for-spring/

Spring Gardening Made Easy

As important as the right plants are, they can’t do ALL the work for you. A great garden still requires a lot of preparation and maintenance to develop. Before you begin planting in the spring, here is a checklist of the 8 steps you should take to prepare your garden for a successful season:

1. Get your shed in order.

Get your shed in order.Go over your tools. Sharpen blades, oil hinges, and think about expanding or upgrading your collection. Use a mill file to sharpen blades, then add penetrating oil to remove and prevent corrosion. You would be surprised how much easier it is to dig or cut with a sharp, well-oiled implement; the right tools will make the whole season much easier!

You should also take this opportunity to replenish your supplies. Make sure you have enough fertilizer and soil amendments on hand. Replenish your supply of plant supports, and pre-assemble any structures like tomato cages that you want to make for yourself. It is a lot easier to do get this work done in your shed while the weather is still icky than to have to worry about it later in spring when there is plenty of things you would rather be doing outside.

2. Clear out weeds, mulch, and debris.

Do a spring cleaning of the area, removing anything in the way until you are back to the bare soil. Dead organic matter can go on the compost pile to break down. Well-composted mulch or organic matter can stay right where it is to be incorporated into the soil, but “fresh” mulch needs to be raked away to expose the soil.

Your main concern is any weeds that might still be alive. These must be removed from the soil and either burned or placed in the middle of a working compost pile where the heat will kill it before any seeds can germinate.  You don’t want to leave any living weeds around, or they might come back and try to compete with your garden plants!

3. Prune.

Prune.Many trees or shrubs can use a good pruning this time of year, especially those that bloom on new wood. Late winter/early spring is the perfect time to prune back old wood because you can see the branch structure well and you can shape the plant before the buds break dormancy and the plant starts investing energy in its branches. Some of the plants you want to prune at this time of year are: Buddleia (Butterfly Bush), Cornus Canadensis (Flowering Dogwood), Lonicera (Honeysuckle), Hydrangea paniculata, Cercis (Redbud), summer-blooming Spirea, Lagerstroemia (Crepe Myrtle), Rose, and Wisteria. Early spring is also the perfect time to prune and shape woody ornamentals.

Before you go snip-happy, though, there are a couple of things to consider. First you should use a clean rag and some isopropyl alcohol to sterilize your pruners before each cut. This precaution keeps you from inadvertently spreading plant disease all around the garden. You wouldn’t want a surgeon cutting into you without sterilizing the blade first, would you? Secondly, there are many plants that you should NOT prune at this time of year because they bloom on old wood. Plants that you should wait until after the bloom season to prune include: spring-blooming Spirea, Camellia, Rhododendron (including Azalea), Forsythia, Hydrangea Macrophylla (Bigleaf), Syringa (Lilac), Magnolia, Kalmia (Mountain Laurel), and Weigela.

Whenever you prune your plants, it is a good practice to add a little fertilizer to the soil to ensure that the plant has the nutrients on hand to heal its wounds quickly.

4. Prepare the soil.

Prepare the soil.Once the frost has lifted and the soil is workable, start preparing your garden beds. In winter, soil tends to become compacted, so the first thing you want to do is loosen it back up by tilling or turning it. Using a tiller or a sharp spade, work the soil to a depth of 12 to 14 inches to loosen it up. Any mulch or leaf litter that is well-composted should be mixed right in, but if it is too fresh, you should remove it first.

Next add compost and amendments. You can use a soil test to see where you pH and nutrient levels are, which will tell you what type of materials you might want to add. If you have poor or clay-based soil, it is especially important to add a healthy layer of compost to improve the soil’s texture, nutrient content, and moisture-retention. Then rake the soil level and water it lightly to help it settle and release air pockets.

If your existing soil is particularly poor, the easiest option might just be to rise above it with a raised garden bed.

5. Set up new planters and garden beds.

It is easy to get excited by the beautiful new varieties you come across in catalogs and end up ordering more plants than you have places to put them! Now is the time of year to build garden beds, install shepherd’s hooks or window boxes, and order new pots to ensure that you have enough of a venue to showcase all your gorgeous new plants.

6. Divide perennials like Daylilies.

Divide the Tuber into SegmentsSome perennials tend to crowd each other out, causing their performance to deteriorate year over year. Daylilies, Shasta Daisies, Hostas, and many others all benefit from being divided in early spring. Before the growing season takes off, give these plants room to spread out by following these simple steps: 1. Dig out around the perimeter of the clump, giving a wide berth so as not to damage the roots. 2. Dig under the plant root ball and lift it out of the ground. 3. Try to disentangle the roots by hand and pull apart the distinct root stocks/tubers. In some places it will be necessary to cut the clump apart with a knife. 4. Evenly space the new divisions over a larger area and re-plant them immediately. This will improve the bloom show of these perennials, and it is a cheap and easy way to propagate a larger collection!

Note: If your clump of perennials is too large to pull out of the ground, you may have to divide them while they are still in the ground by inserting two garden forks back-to-back into the middle of the clump and carefully pushing them apart, then lifting out the divisions for re-planting.

7. Early Planting

Get the first wave of planting done. Many plants can be started indoors this time of year for planting out in spring, and particularly hardy vegetables (onions, potatoes, artichokes, and some lettuces) are ready to be planted now. Look at the plant information for whatever you intend to plant.

Bulbs and Perennials tend to be straightforward to plant—it’s really just dig, drop, done! Dig the hole at the proper depth and spacing, add any soil amendments necessary, add the bulb/root ball and be sure that the crown is right at soil level, then fill in the hole and water thoroughly.

With Trees and Shrubs, here is a tip to help those roots settle in to their new home: the moat method. Again you should dig a hole plenty large and wide enough to accommodate the plant’s roots, and add a cone of amended soil for the roots to rest on, then fill in the hole with more amended soil. But before you water in, create a ring of soil around the plant a bit wider than the original hole. This ring will act like a berm while you water the plant in, allowing you to really get the deep saturation necessary without turning the whole area into a mud pit. See the diagram for details.

8. Apply mulch.

Last but not least, apply a thick layer of mulch wherever you can. Mulch is much more effective at keeping weeds from becoming established if you can get it in place before the weeds start sprouting. You might still be waiting to plant out in lots of areas, or you might have seeds germinating that you don’t want to bury in mulch. You can avoid a lot of this conflict if you have already started your seedlings indoors, if you are working around established plants, or if you buy well-established plants in the nursery. Just don’t wait too long to mulch an area, or the weeds will beat you there!

 

Want to visit the tulips without the traffic? Come early or late

 

One tulip seems out of place among red tulips at the RoozenGaarde display garden on April 30, 2018, in Mount Vernon. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Here’s a pro tip for enjoying the Tulip Festival, Skagit County’s month-long celebration of the colorful perennials.

Come early or come late — just don’t come at midday.

For one thing, the light is much better for tulip photography in the early morning and late afternoon.

Even better, you’ll avoid traffic gridlock on the Skagit Valley’s two-lane blacktops that, on weekends, can be as maddening as Everett’s 41st Street on-ramp at rush hour after multiple fender-benders.

Oh, and here’s another tip: Weekday traffic is way less intense. If you visit early or late on a weekday, you’ll have the roads pretty much all to yourself.

As of Thursday, tulips were starting to turn from green to full bloom. Daffodils have been in bloom for several weeks.

Ground Zero for tulip-gazing is fertile farmland roughly bounded by Highway 20 to the north, Calhoun Road to the south, Kamb Road to the east and La Conner-Whitney Road to the west. Signs guide drivers along a tulip route that wends its way through the fields of bloom. Sadly, this is a car-dependent outing, as the fields are too far apart for walking to be feasible — although it is well-suited to bicycle-riding.

More or less smack-dab in the middle of tulip Ground Zero are the display gardens at Washington Bulb Co.’s RoozenGarde, 15867 Beaver Marsh Road, and Skagit Valley Bulb Farm’s Tulip Town, 15002 Bradshaw Road. You’ll see dozens of varieties of blooming tulips, and there’s stuff for the kids to do. Both places charge admission ($7 weekdays, $10 weekends), but parking is free.

After you’ve had your fill of tulips, feast your eyes on fine art at one or more of the shows taking place during the festival. The Stanwood Camano Arts Guild will hold its annual “Art at the Schoolhouse” exhibit in a historic building on the grounds of Christianson Nursery (itself a destination for gardeners, at 15806 Best Road) all month. The Skagit Art Association’s Art in a Pickle Barn will feature work in many mediums by local artists and artisans. It’s taking place at Schuh Farms, 15565 S.R. 536.

The Museum of Northwest Art, 121 N. First St., La Conner, plans an exhibit called “continuum …”, which it describes as an edited visual history of the Northwest from 1930 to the present. Included are works from the museum’s permanent collection by the legendary Northwest Mystics: Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan and Guy Anderson.

The Skagit Historical Museum, 501 S. Fourth St. on the hill in La Conner, plans exhibits called “Who Are We?” and “This Skagit Life” beginning April 11. Also worth checking out in La Conner is the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, in stately Gaches Manor, 703 S. Second St.

They may be 15 or so minutes away from the tulips, but the neighboring cities of Anacortes and Mount Vernon plan events associated with the festival. The Anacortes Quilt Walk will display traditional and contemporary quilts at businesses in the port city’s downtown. On April 13, enjoy wine-tasting and appetizers from local restaurants at the Anacortes Spring Wine Festival at the Port of Anacortes Event Center at the foot of Commercial Avenue.

In Mount Vernon, chow down on grilled salmon at the Kiwanis Salmon Barbecue from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 6-28 at Hillcrest Park, 1717 S. 13th St. A street fair takes over the riverfront city’s downtown all day April 19-21. Vendors will offer fine art, crafts, food and more.

There’s a lot more going on that we can list here, so for a complete rundown of what’s happening during the Tulip Festival, including where the tulips are blooming, go to tulipfestival.org. You can download a map and a brochure there.

Just remember — don’t arrive at high noon on Saturday.

Tips for surviving a trip to Tulip Town

Leave dogs at home.

Leave drones at home, too.

Park only where it’s clearly allowed. Illegal parkers face fines.

Don’t block driveways or stop in the middle of the road — the locals get grumpy when that happens.

Dress for the weather. Hint: It probably will be raining. Expect muddy feet.

Don’t pick the flowers — that’s theft. Buy them at the display gardens or at a roadside stand.

Stay on the paths through the fields.

There are no public restrooms in the fields. You’ll find facilities on Morris Street and First Street in La Conner, and Lions Park, 501 Freeway Drive, Mount Vernon.

Skagit Valley Tulip Fields

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