How to Choose a Realtor

To continue on with the home selling series, I thought it would be beneficial to share our realtor experience. I am a realtor myself (contact me here if you have questions!), but we chose for me not to list our own house. At the time I was 8 months pregnant with two toddlers at home, and I was too emotionally invested.

We ended up firing our first realtor. This was our first home, so obviously the first time we’ve sold a home. When choosing a realtor, I thought it would be smart to just hire the most successful realtor in my office.

I was very wrong.

By choosing the most successful realtor, we also chose the busiest realtor. We did not receive the attention that was needed to sell our home. Promises were not kept, or kept in a timely fashion. Photographs and descriptions were not good. She was way overextended, and we realized that very quickly after listing our home. We figured out that basically the only reason she was as successful as she was, was because she had been doing it for so long and not because she was good. Lesson learned! That sounds really harsh, but when you are dealing with selling a large investment such as your home, professionalism and quality of work is key.

We hired another realtor friend after a few months and it made a WORLD of difference. She hired a professional photographer which made our home look a MILLION times better. The description and marketing of the home was on point. And her attention to our home and our needs was much better.  Because of the improved marketing, showings multiplied exponentially. While the increased amount of showings and open houses was tough on me because I had to keep the house clean and prepped and leave, I was more than willing. More showings=more opportunities for a sale!

I am not saying that by choosing a successful realtor you won’t be pleased, I am just saying you should focus on the motivation of your realtor. The second realtor we chose had only been in the industry for three years, so while she didn’t have as much knowledge as the first realtor, she made up for it in raw determination. Ask around for recommendations to see who had good experiences with their agent. You can learn more from someone else’s experience than an interview with an agent.

You also want to choose a realtor that you feel comfortable with. In this day and age, communication is key. I loved that I could text my realtor and have a quick response. I felt like a valued client, but also that she cared about me personally. I recommend before you hire someone, test out your communication with them. Call/text them at random times. Make sure you vibe well with them before you hire them so you know you are a good fit.

Lastly, be clear about your expectations. What is important to you? Sell price? Timeframe? Visibility? Do you not want a lot of people through your home? Let your realtor know. If their marketing plan isn’t what you were expecting, then maybe you should interview someone else. It is better to take your time hiring someone then to hire and then regret it. Learn from my mistake!

If you have any other realtor or home-related questions, please let me know!

Check out my other posts in my home selling series:

Selling Your Home When You Have Young Children

Prepping for a Showing When You Have Young Children

What to do with Young Children During Showings

 

Life Lately

To put it simply, life has been a bit overwhelming. I took an unintentional but much needed break from blogging and IG and all that. Here is one of the main reasons why…

We moved!


But back to chronological order. Scarlett had her first visit to the ER a few weeks ago. The kids were being a little wild and despite my attempts to calm them down, it finally ended up with someone getting hurt. Scarlett smashed her face into a glass vase and ended up getting two stitches. She was so tough! My angel of a friend watched the two younger kids and I was beyond grateful. The ER had a crazy wait before we even got to see a doctor! She was so calm and didn’t even cry during the procedure. “No crying, just tears.” She said.
Right when we got admitted. Even with a sliced lip she’s the cutest!


Watching these girls bond is the best thing in the world!


We were then hit with the plague. Eloise got it first, but Levi got it the worst. The poor thing was down for the count for a loooong time. Then Scarlett got it, then Eloise again. December was a tough health month!

Poor Levi. He was so bad off for a few days! I didn’t mind the cuddles though.

We took a short day and a half trip to New Hampshire to go to Marcus’ work party and to check out some houses. I had everything packed, but somehow the suitcase didn’t end up in the car. So after we got to my parent’s house we went and saw a few houses, then ran to TJ Maxx and the grocery store for party clothes and diapers. Nothing like forcing you to be a little more flexible, right?

So on Christmas Eve we decided to put an offer on one of the houses. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t meant to be.  Apparently someone as crazy as us submitted an offer on Christmas Eve too? We ducked out of a bidding war. No point in overspending on a home.

We had such a wonderful Christmas! We stayed home with the exception of my run with my sister. There is nothing like relaxing and enjoying the day with your kids.

Marcus and Eloise when she had round 2 of the cold on Christmas Day. A man and his baby=cutest ever.


Eloise turned seven months old! She is now crawling, pulling up, and moving more than I have the energy for. She’s obsessed with the cats and will scream at them. We love her so!


Our friends from Florida came up for a week and we showed them what winter in New England is all about! We took a 24 hour trip to NH so they could experience snow.


Eloise is still unsure about it.


While at my mom’s house I discovered this gem. I’m the baby on the left: Eloise is the spitting image of me as a baby!


We made a trip to NYC on the train the next day. Because we are crazy like that. But we had a great time!  We didn’t get to bed until after midnight that night. It was  totally worth it!

Somehow Eloise slept the entire time on the train. One less baby to chase=thankful!

The kids and I at dinner. As crazy as life is with three kids three and under, it is totally worth it!

Date night with my sister and brother in law and our friends! Went to a new restaurant in New Haven called Olives and Oil. So good!


I am trying to take more individual pictures of my kids. It’s so tough to when they are all so young! Can you even stand how cute they are?!

This girl. So sweet. So caring.

How handsome is he? And so smart. So silly.

Marcus’ grandfather’s health had declined. Marcus went to Maryland Sunday night and was able to spend the last days with him before he passed. He was a great man!

Packing, crawler edition.

How to pack a house when your kids are young: screen time FTW.

The big day finally arrived! I’m still in denial we moved out. We will miss our first home!


And that’s been the past month. So now we are settling into my parent’s house and waiting (im)patiently for homes to come on the market. Levi has figured out how to get out of his crib, so we are now battling the escapee toddler syndrome. Please, oh please send advice my way. How did you get past this stage? All the tactics we used with Scarlett have been futile. Help!

Prepping for a Showing When You Have Young Children

Prepping for a showing is hard work, nevermind adding children to the mix. If you are considering selling your home and you have kids, let me just say a little prayer for you right now because yeah… it isn’t easy. But it is totally doable! Continuing on with the home selling series, we are moving onto how to prep for a showing.

Plan Ahead

More than likely, you will have some lead time before a showing. I would do as much work as possible ahead of time so that when the showing was close, we wouldn’t be stressed. If I had a day’s notice I would vacuum, mop, and declutter as much as possible the night before. The more cleaning I could do when the kids were sleeping, the better! The day of the showing I would do the final cleaning and tidying, but when the kids were awake I was far less efficient.

Have Designated Drop Zones

Prepping for showings was a lot of work. Adding children (miniature tornados) takes that to another level. If I was cleaning for a showing, no doubt that there would be a mess made where I just cleaned up. Usually we were pressed for time trying to get out the door, so we had designated areas where we would just throw things. We had a junk drawer and cabinet in the kitchen, the dryer in the bathroom/laundry room, laundry basket in the master bathroom, and laundry baskets in the kids’ rooms. The house looked clean, which is all that mattered! Was it organized? No. But I just dealt with that later.

Give the Kids an Activity

In order to prepare the house how I wanted for a showing, I needed some dedicated cleaning time. Sometimes (a lot of the time) that meant cleaning when I was home alone with the kids. While cleaning with kids is great, all moms know that it isn’t exactly the most productive or efficient method. What I would do is have the kids near me (in a bedroom or living room) and give them toys and ask them to stay there while I tidy. This usually worked out pretty well. I could clean the bathrooms while having the kids in earshot, but not have them underfoot. If I was downstairs and I needed to mop, I would set up an activity (nothing complicated or messy) on the kitchen island and that would occupy them while I did my work. Or there is always the option of a show/movie. You gotta do what works to get things done! Were they always perfect? No. But it helped most of the time!

Get ready, then Get Out!

As soon as the house was ready, we would leave. Even if it was a few hours before the showing: the longer I was home, the bigger the mess that was made. Especially if we were approaching a mealtime. That is just how life is with kids! I would do as much as possible and then get out of the house for the meal itself. Any parent who has kids knows that the mess only increases exponentially when food is involved!

Be Reasonable

When we first started showing our home, I went a little overboard with cleaning and decluttering. I went as far as hiding the cat food and water bowls, drying rack, and turning every light on in the house. In hindsight it was unnecessary and only added more stress. People who are looking at your home understand that you actually live there. Leaving daily-living items out won’t stop them from liking your home. Put laundry away, open the blinds, and pick up, of course, but don’t go overboard like I did.

Ask (Or Pay) For Help

We are so fortunate to have a great group of friends and neighbors. I know for a fact that I could call on them if I needed an extra hand cleaning or watching the kids. Do yourself a favor and ask for help if you need it! That is what friends are for. Showing your home can be very stressful, so any extra help you can get is great. If you don’t have friends around or no one is available to help, consider paying someone to help clean your home or watch the kids for a few hours. A few dollars can go a long way to help preserve your sanity! Consider it an investment.

 

The reality of having your home on the market is that you need to be flexible. You won’t always have a lot of time to prep for showings. My biggest piece of advice would be to never turn away a showing. Even if you only have an hour to prepare, do what you can and let it be. They might love it regardless! I am a licensed realtor myself, so I am speaking from experience. (And if you do have real estate questions, feel free to contact me!) I really hope this helped. It isn’t an easy feat, but it can be done. And as long as you hire a good realtor and are realistic, your home should sell in no time! Good luck!

Have you missed the other posts in the series? Check out Selling Your Home When You Have Young Children and We’ve Been Keeping A Secret.

Selling Your Home When You Have Young Children

Now that our home is under contract (see the post here!), I figured I would share some things that made prepping and selling our home sale a little easier. We have three kids under four and no family near us, so we didn’t have any help when it came to prepping the home or having a place to go during showings. But some points may apply to you, even if you don’t have kids! Here’s what worked for us and helped it go a little easier:

Get Rid of the Clutter

The biggest piece of advice I could give would be to streamline. It is so easy to have the toys and clutter build up. When you are thinking of selling your home, make it easier on yourself and start paring down. We donated, purged, and put in storage anything that cluttered our home. The kids’ kitchenette went into storage. We traded our amazing king size bed for our guest room’s queen size to make our room appear bigger. 80% of the kids’ toys either went into storage or into bins in the basement. This made showing the home SO much easier! AND the kids didn’t even notice. I wasn’t running around like a crazy lady before showings cleaning up toys (have you seen this video? Definition of me. Hilarious.). I mean, I definitely was running around crazy. But toys weren’t the problem! We had a few small baskets of toys in the living room and the rest in the basement (now playroom).

Depersonalize

Most people have a hard time imagining themselves in a new home.  If you have pictures of you and your family all around, it makes it even harder. As sad as it made me to take down all our family photos and snapshots of our kids, it helped the buyer envision entertaining in the living room, not focus on the pictures of our family. We tried to keep our decorating and style very simple. Same as with the family pictures; you don’t want the potential buyer to focus on your decorating sense, you want them to focus on the potential of the room. So if you are a collector or have a very strong sense of decorating, put it in storage. Simplify. It is only for a short time!

Repair Any Issues

If you’ve been putting off repairing a small issue with your home, do yourself a favor and do it before you list. I am talking small things, like repairing a trim piece or ice maker, not a major renovation. Repair little things that may be a distraction for the buyer or make them question the condition of your home. Being a stay at home mom, I was able to schedule contractors to come do repairs during the week. But if you are a home where both of you work, keep in mind it may take longer to organize repairs around your work schedule.

Remove Anything You Aren’t Leaving

Are you obsessed with a certain light fixture? Are you really attached to the curtains you put in your baby’s room? Take them down before you list. Anything that is affixed to the wall is generally included with the sale of your home. To make things easier, take it down before you have pictures taken of your home. They can’t ask for something they haven’t seen! You can replace them with inexpensive versions that will still be appealing. You can specify you aren’t leaving certain items (washer/dryer, kitchen appliances, etc.), but in general replacing them before you list your home makes the process a whole lot easier.

Plan Way Ahead

Every real estate market is different. Your home may be on the market for two days, or nearly a year. It really depends on so many different factors. I would recommend giving yourself an extended timeframe. If you would like to sell your home by a certain date, put your home on the market a couple months earlier than you think necessary. During negotiations you may be able to push your closing date further out if you need more time. It is better to have more time on your hands than to be scrambling and stressed if your home isn’t selling! Thankfully we were in no rush to sell our home and planned to move in with my parents for a bit after we sold. But I know not everyone has that same situation!

Are you planning on moving this year? Or have you purchased recdently? Share your experience below and what you did to prep your home!

Did you miss the first post? Click here to see our moving announcement!