Saturday, December 03, 2016

Best Time to Sell or Buy a Home?

December is a month filled with happenings, events and activities. That can be said about every month as sunrises yield to sunsets, days turn in to weeks and weeks to a month and so on.  

But December can be a time for reflections and introspection as much as hustle-bustle, gifting and celebration. It's the month signaling the end of a calendar year and a new year and new beginnings. In our part of the world, December begins the winter season, colder weather and inevitable snow storms. 

I’ve noticed the changing light of December days and a ‘new’ view from my ‘thinking’ chair. Bare trees make neighbors seem just a bit closer and bring me reminders of our time here. There’s the boy next door who’s all grown up (almost) who would bounce a basketball hours on end with its nagging and repetitious slap on the pavement. Now he’s our cat Tucker’s caretaker when we are away for a day or two. The drum set is silent in the basement and we’ve re-painted basement walls neutral gray covering the scribblings of mischievous 8 year olds left unsupervised for 30 minutes 10+ years ago. The pink dogwood tree has died leaving only a cut off stump near the ground and the upright Boxwood sapling has reached the roof line. 
And then it’s time to contemplate and dream and set the plan for what’s yet to come. I am committed more than ever to making it possible for as many people to find ‘life just right’. I am actively involved in the Rotary Club’s work in North Andover with Youth Exchange, Interact Service Club, Youth Leadership, promoting ‘words are cool’ with third graders in town. I’m sponsoring 18-24 years olds to attend a day learning about living a life of intention, thinking big, building wealth and developing a passion for generous giving. (Quantum Leap) This involvement acknowledges the power of a personal passion for something at any age beginning right here in my community. 

What, you ask, does this have to do with the ‘State of the real estate Market?’ Everything.   

Here’s what we hear on the streets, in the grocery, at the doctor’s office, at in-house consultations and buyer meetings. 

“You must be slow for the winter.”   

“Is there more coming on the market?”  

“Isn’t spring the best market?” 

“Why are they coming on the market for sale today in the winter like this? We just didn’t expect that.”

“Is it true that real estate’s slow over December and January,”

“We just want to know that there will be the right place for us to buy. We really want to make the move as soon as we can.”

“I can’t believe I found this house. It’s too good to be true in December.”

“There won’t be many people in December that will want to close and move in February. We might be one of the few that will wait like that and make a deal today.”  footnote- Their offer was the one accepted by the seller in a multiple bid situation with 8 offers and 5% over asking. 

I asked Gregg and Kim, if you were to move, where would you go? “We are going to take our life to a new place, for selfish reasons, so that we have the right space for our cats to have an indoor-outdoor space, so we can enjoy our love for music and BBQ with friends and family in our own yard…It’s time for us to transition now from our first place to the security, peace and quiet of our home.”    footnote- they sold their place the first week and their offer was accepted on a ‘dream home.’  

Here’s what we say about selling and buying in the winter months- 
Isn’t it better to be on the market now in a temperate December than muddy March or rainy April? 

Selling during the winter is a great time to set showing blocks for your schedule with shortened daylight, activities at home with guests, family, friends visiting.

Holidays are the only time a house cannot be over-decorated. Houses just look all dressed during December so why not show off the place you call home.

Buyers and Sellers are highly motivated during winter months and not out for an open house visit or just taking a look around or testing the market. 

Making a deal in December or January does not mean you’re closing or moving. It means you’re on your way to a ‘new’ place and your ‘life just right’ place when seller and buyer agree.

Competition from other buyers and other sellers is definitely down from the driving and accelerated pace of March, April and May .

 Buyers make compelling offers with a commitment to follow through to closing. Spring can encourage more knee-jerk decisions and impulsive buyers and sellers.

We hope that all of us at the Susan Sells Team can help you when you’re ready to begin laying the building blocks of your ‘life just right.’ Give us a call anytime and we look forward to talking to you more about it. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Thrill of the Small

Gifts this week to name a few 

Tucker- adopted at 9 years old
Serendipity connections
Handwritten note from a client
Smiles, smiles and more smiles
Thanksgiving dinner with all my siblings
Brisk walk in the woods
Laughing with others
Getting to know friends better
An Thanksgiving invitation
A visit to our cottage in Maine
Working as a Team to become exceptional
Plump red berries
A cat that know how to say 'I'm happy Mommy'

Know we help others build their businesses with grateful clients

Recalling childhood memories
Cooking with Jeff and Greg
Give-back event filled with good energy
Taking time to listen to personal stories from clients

Sunday, November 27, 2016

5 Simple Steps Designed to Transform your home listing to SOLD

News on Life Just Right in Andover/North Andover area

A custom pre-planned process and support system was the secret to leave their house behind (and take the memories with them)

After 32 years and a house full of memories pages long, leaving their 4 bedroom house in North Andover behind was going to be difficult.  But their fear was that it would be a lot of work too. “Your house is totally dated and needs updates to sell’ rang in their heads. Plus they imagined a pages long list of things to do. Time, money and work. UGH. House decorating, perfect table settings and the newest styling had never been important to them and it wasn’t now. Couldn’t the buyers just see it was a good lived-in house that they’d love like we did?

Diane and Kevin began doing the small maintenance jobs and addressing small repairs nearly 12 months prior to making a call for help. After weeks of editing and over-sized piles of discarded items at the curb for pick up week after week, the challenge was they still needed help to get it sold. It made sense to call someone recommended by a family friend to do the job and get the place on the market for sale.

Enter Susan Sells. At the first meeting, they were surprised and relieved all at the same time. She had always loved the look and feel of the wedgwood silken blue window coverings carefully folded in many layers over wooden frames and nailed to the wall. New neutral beige painted walls in the family room reflected pink in the light. There were original colonial style switch plates and black walnut clamshell door and window moldings, bifold doors and room darkening shades. None of this would attract young buyers wanting to call the place their home. 

We gave them a simple 5 STEPS designed just for their property to be transformed from dated to simple and homey and a 2 week timeline. Their thoughts shifted quickly from ‘what next’ to ‘we’ve got a house that’s salable and exciting to qualified buyers’. 

  1. Our stylist, the painter and finish carpenter worked quickly together to make small adjustments, patching holes, touching up and creating inviting spaces. Lifestyle message set. 
  2. The homeowners finished up packing, removed dark shades and heavy window coverings. 
  3. With help from our team focussed on results and a return on their investment, they had prepared, conditioned and styled the place, edited all the extras out in just a couple weeks. 
  4. Pre-marketing- The ‘Coming soon’ sign was one of the most exciting things not to be overshadowed by the on-line live professional photos and video we had produced. 
  5. We launched our 10 Day Marketing Magic. This is what we call a blitz, giving you maximum exposure, and the biggest opportunity to sell to the best buyer for the best deal, 

With 5 steps and Marketing Magic from Susan Sells, they sold at 6% higher than market average, in less than 10 days with an off-season closing in October. 

Here’s what they said days before closing. The “sale of a house and moving process” is a full time job!   “I can’t believe how many hours have gone into this effort. I just want to “Thank You”  – for all of your assistance with this process. Not having sold a house in the past 33 years – I didn’t have any feeling about the complex process it has become.” 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Tickle The Senses

One of my favorite ways to spend an hour is taking a walk in the woods.

If I need a break from my hectic schedule and demanding routines, I find a trail.  Less often, but no less important, when I actually plan some scheduled alone time, you'll find walk or hike on my calendar for 6:30 a.m.  When I submit to my body's physiological need for exercise and exertion, I head for the woods.

Go work off some of that extra energy.
Find something to do.
Get some fresh air.
Take time to smell the roses.
Clear your head.
Why don't you just think about it.
Get out of my hair.
Go our and discover something new.
Take a long walk on a short pier...

well you get the point.

Mom sure had the right idea.  When she'd had just a little too much of me and my antics as a kid, these were just some of the 'suggestions' she implemented while i was growing up.

At this stage of life,  these suggestions have proved very valuable to me. You see, at the time, I may have thought Mom made those suggestions for her, but if I know Mom, she probably did it with bigger goals in mind.

A walk in the woods is just plain good for me in so many ways.

Others may feel the same as I. A walk in the woods is my thinking time, my physical energizer, restoration, time for gratitude, and confirms my love of nature. I walk and observe. I hone my listening. I sharpen my eyes and widen my perspective. I hope to walk in the woods many more time. 

Using Your Ears Can Make Home-Buying a Dream

Listen well. Talk about short and longer term goals. Go to where YOU are. Create an plan of action. Ask great questions. Research. 

What's the value of an experienced, client-focused real estate agent if you're a BUYER? 

Our buyers shared their thoughts

  • They have your back
  • Confidentiality for sure
  • They help you stay focussed and keep your immediate AND long-term goals in mind.
  • Frank discussion about options; weigh risks and opportunities for you.
  • They work differently than other real estate agents. 
  • They have faith in the process
  • It's about the relationship and caring about us. 
  • Not attached to a sale but the outcome. 
  • Initial consultation is about you and not houses. 
  • They listen.
  • Connections to a network of people who are proven in their area of expertise and experience. 
  • Wisdom that comes from an arsenal of Buyer Work
  • Sometimes they perform what looks like a miracle making something out of nothing
  • Patient beyond belief
  • Thinks like a Buyer’s agent and not a ‘lister’
  • Buyer Focus
  • An agent that has TIME for you
  • Helps you decide if it’s the right time for you to buy at all
  • Helps you choose buying or renting or investing that make the most sense for you
  • Tuned in to what motivates a home seller
  • Undivided loyalty to you (not the seller)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


I talked with over 35 people in the past three days to thank them for their friendship and their on-going help growing and improving our business helping people transition. Between us, Jen and I connected with close to 100 people in just a few days. We see our passion for 'life just right' growing every day.

You may ask, what is 'life just right' any how? Much more than a real estate transaction, we believe that access to the concept of your ‘‘life just right’ is intrinsic to a higher quality of life. Susan Sells stands for “life just right.”

Read more about Kim and Gregg's story below

You asked us about the market. We realize you pay attention to real estate market news in your neighborhoods and your communities. You want to know what's happening and how it could affect you in the short and long term. You'll always be looking for reliable resources and just as our industry is inundated with news sources and opinion blogs, the information can be overwhelming.  

We have our go-to sources plus we talk to practitioners like appraisers, inspectors, insurers, contractors and lenders to stay up to date on trends, changes in their areas. We track local data and make projections based on facts. Most of all, we are at the hub of all our buy or sell deals real time. There are many on-line real estate news sources and publications that you can subscribe to and many real estate agents merely subscribe to and provide you with reports by email or on line. We won't waste your time (or ours) This takes lots of your time to read (weed) through and many times it's just so general, even bland and offers a snapshot of regional or national data with out any interpretive perspective based on experiences or expertise and without your current situation in mind. These don't give you what you want and need when you're in Andover or North Andover, Haverhill Methuen, Reading or Wilmington. We want to do more than inform. Performance is our mantra- do the job!
Market report 12 months shows over 2000 homes sold

We know it's very likely that all of you will move someday and understanding the complexion of the local market on an on-going basis is just plain smart. 

The conversations we had brought us new energy and enthusiasm to stay connected and be your resource and eyes and ears on the ground to anticipate market changes, interpret the data reported for you and fill in the gaps when it comes to your unique situation. I can only imagine how many people we can help transition from where they are today to where they want to be, in their time frame. Here are a couple of your favorite searches. 

Near the Water

As your real estate team, make us your first point of contact for important real estate questions. Our mission of 'life just right' becomes more clear with each family we have the privilege to meet with. 

P.S. Kim and Gregg wanted to move "for some yard and really, for selfish reasons," Gregg told me in our pre-appointment interview over the phone. They couldn't imagine how to unravel the clutter, collections, 2 independent cats that ran the house, questionable repair work adopted from the previous owners and a 'new' place all in a few months. They had gone in blind when purchasing their current home and were not about to do that a second time. "Everything from day one, our first meeting where you took the time to ask us what we wanted, what's important and what the steps should be, moved in to place just as planned. Each piece just fit together with the next.... We heard nightmares about big promises, delays, and unexpected expenses were not something we could tolerate." They just closed last week and love their 'life just right.' 

Monday, October 10, 2016

BIG DECISIONS made with head and heart

What it means to have an agent specialized in buyer needs on your side? 

Our buyers shared their thoughts

  • They have your back
  • Confidentiality for sure
  • They help you stay focussed and keep your immediate AND long-term goals in mind.
  • Frank discussion about options; weigh risks and opportunities for you.
  • They work differently than other real estate agents. 
  • Initial consultation is about you and not houses. 
  • They listen.
  • Connections to a network of people who are proven in their area of expertise and experience. 
  • Wisdom that comes from an arsenal of Buyer Work
  • Thinks like a Buyer’s agent and not a ‘lister’
  • Buyer Focus
  • An agent that has TIME for you
  • Helps you decide if it’s the right time for you to buy at all
  • Helps you choose buying or renting or investing that make the most sense for you
  • Tuned in to what motivates a home seller
  • Undivided loyalty to you (not the seller)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

News on Life Just Right in Andover/North Andover area

MONTHS TRUDGE ON: Top 4 reasons people say ‘time to sell’ 

We ask our clients the top reason for selling their home and they tell us:
  1. reduce monthly costs
  2. need more space
  3. unwanted rooms and space
  4. don’t want the work or maintenance

If you’re saying ‘we need more space,’ you are not alone. 
If you no longer want to have a never-ending project list and maintenance, it’s time you considered options. 
#1 destination for our right-sizers is Newburyport MA. Find Your Place in Newburyport

We say NOW is the time for you to make your ‘life just right’ list. We help people care for their homes for all the time they own them and when it’s time for transition, we help with that too. Months trudge on.

Andover MARKET by the #’s:

Andover real estate on-market snapshot shows inventory of single family homes holding steady at 97 homes for sale with the biggest selection $600,000-$699,999. Over the past 12 months, the $500,000-599,999 shows the most homes sold (75) averaging $543,893 sale price. We thinks it’s important to see where you fit in whether you answer 'Yes' or 'no' to the top 4 reasons people sell their home. 

Peak at the North Andover market here-North Andover real estate update Sept. 2016
Is your life just right the perfect new build in 2017

We have one coming soon to North Andover