Seller FAQ: If my home sold in a day, was it underpriced?

If my home sold in a day, was it underpriced?

The answer to this is… depends. It depends upon:

• What are the seller’s goals, needs, timing?
• What is the current market?
• Is the house the only similar home available in the neighborhood?
• Are you positioning the house to deliberately create a bidding war?

The seller is the boss
The listing agent’s goal is to educate the seller on all aspects of the current real estate market so that the seller can make the best decision about where to position (price) the home within the market. Pricing depends on not only what is happening in the market but also what are the seller’s goals?

For some sellers, time is of the essence and a speedy sale has monetary value for the seller. It might be worth a seller pricing just below the market in order to get an offer quickly.

For other sellers, getting the price they want is more important and are willing to stay on the market longer.

If you received an offer on your home on the first day, would you accept it? Wait for other offers? Reject it outright? It all depends on what your goals are for the sale of your home.

The first offer may not be the best offer
The blanket advice I’d offer for sellers in a fast-paced market is to let the house “season” on the market for a few days. In the Olympia, WA market, we have a provision in the listing agreement that allows for a seller to review offers on a future date. For example, if the house was listed on June 1st, the seller would review offers on June 5th.

This delay in response has shown to be a very profitable tactic for sellers in my current market. Some benefits of this delay in response include:

• Giving time for more potential buyers to see the home and to submit offers.

• Quelling the anxiety and rush buyers in a fast-moving market are feeling.

Why is this important? Because too many buyers get into auction-mode and end up submitting an offer and escalating their offer just because they are in the frenzy of a bidding war. Sometimes these buyers who end up “winning” experience remorse and then back out of the transaction.

Evaluate what is happening in the market

  • How many showings are happening?
  • What is the feedback?
  • What is the competition? How many homes in this price range/location are available for sale?
  • Is the market in a decline or on a rise?
  • Are the marketing, the photos, the description effective?

Every market at any given moment is different, and your Realtor can guide you. For some properties, getting one showing a week is very positive while for other properties, this is disastrous.

Planned multiple offer strategy
Some sellers want to create a bidding war with the thinking that they can get more for their house than if they priced it at fair market value. This strategy definitely has its pros and cons, and those are unique to each seller and each property.

In general and in my experience, most buyers do not want to be involved in a bidding war. In fact, I’ve had some buyers give up in this seller’s market because they don’t want to compete.

Deliberately trying to create a bidding war can backfire for sellers. If buyers don’t want to play the bidding game, the seller may end up with a much lower offer than they had anticipated. It all depends on the property, the market, the buyers and the sellers involved.

Sellers, talk with your Realtor and discuss what the best listing strategy would be for you and the property. One of the many good things about real estate is that there are several ways to reach your goals.

It takes an experienced Realtor on your side who can objectively discuss the best strategies for you so that you are not left asking the question, if my home sold in a day, was it underpriced?

Seller FAQ: Should I have a home inspection before listing my house for sale?

Home inspections, in my opinion, are always a valuable tool, and provide an overview of the condition of the property.  But an inspection is not just for buyers.  A home inspection can also be important for sellers when they are getting ready to list their home.


Here are some examples of how getting a home inspection prior to listing your home for sale can help you have a successful transaction.


Know what you are selling

Location, size of the home, lot size, number of bedrooms and baths are just some of the criteria used to determine a list price in comparison to other properties.  Condition is also a big factor in that decision.  If you don’t know your condition, you could be pricing your home incorrectly.


Pricing confidence

With the knowledge of the condition of your house, you can price your home appropriately.  If the home has a “clean bill of health” or you can repair all the findings, then you can have the confidence to price at the higher price range for your market.  And you can also market that you have had a home inspection and that can relieve many buyers’ fears.


Buyer psychology of a house needing repairs

When buyers discover items that they feel need to be repaired, this can lead to the buyers questioning their decision to buy your home.  Keep in mind, the buyers are excited to buy your home but also have some apprehension.  Even the smallest repair issues, if there are several of them, can scare a buyer and make them second-guess their decision.


Repairing issues prior to listing will save you money

The buyer’s inspector discovered a leaking washer valve in the laundry room.  This simple fix required a new ring washer – about a 5-cent part – to replace the existing worn out washer.  But since the seller was under contract with the buyer, the buyer asked for a licensed plumber to fix the leaking valve.  The seller agreed and had the plumber fix it for a cost of $420.


Had the seller know about this leak, they could have fixed it themselves and saved over $400.


Negotiating power

Since you have already had a professional home inspection completed, you are better equipped to negotiate on price and on buyer-requested repairs.  Buyers tend to “round up” for costs of repairs.  A list of small repair items, in the buyer’s eyes, rounded up to the buyer asking the seller for a $5,000 credit, when clearly the cost of the repairs would have been well under $1,000.


Some sellers do not want to know the condition of their home, and may say that they are going to “sell it as-is.”  But this avoidance can cost you money.  Spending a few hundred dollars up front to know the condition of your home can pay off in thousands of dollars when it comes time to price and list the property for sale.  Don’t step over a dollar to pick up a penny!


Seller FAQ: What do I do with my pets during showings?

What do I do with my pets during showings?

Sellers with pets can have an extra burden when listing their house for sale. If the pets cannot be removed from the house during showings, here are some tips that will ease the stress for you, your pets and the potential buyers touring your home.

Indoor-only cats
As a buyer’s agent, I certainly have had to chase down an indoor cat that decided to become an outdoor cat! It’s very stressful on everyone because how horrifying would it be if the cat got out during a showing and was lost?

You know your cat best. If strangers scare the cat into hiding, you might be okay. Posting reminders and warning notes on the front door that the cat is an indoor cat and to keep all doors closed is helpful to the buyer’s agent.

It’s also helpful to have a screen/storm door at the entrance. The screen door will always be closed even if the front door is left open.


If I had a nickel for every time a seller told me how friendly their dog was….!

Dogs are naturally going to defend their territory, and will bark and do whatever they need to do to protect their home and owners.

If the dog cannot be removed from the house during showings, then the dog will need to be crated. I know this is tough to hear but even having the dog loose in the garage or the mud room poses a problem for buyers. I had a showing where the dogs were in the garage, uncrated, and were having a fit that there were strangers in their house. We could not view the garage and had to reschedule the showing.

Dogs without their owner’s presence may also act unpredictably. Please do not put your pet, yourself or the buyers viewing your home in this situation where you dog may attack or on a lesser scale, have a nervous bladder and have an accident.

Reptiles and birds and other pets in cages
For some reason, it’s human nature to tap on a glass aquarium or to try to touch or poke an animal in a cage. I have no idea why but we all have the urge to do this! For sellers, my recommendation is to cover the cage with a towel, if you can, and put “do not touch” notes on the cage.

Minimize distractions
The overall goal is to minimize distractions for the buyer. This is always why your listing agent will tell you to declutter and depersonalize your home – to reduce distractions to the buyer so they can envision how they will live in the home.

If buyers have to be stressed out whether or not a cat escapes the house or deal with an angry dog, it takes away the experience for the buyer in truly viewing your home and considering it.

The gold standard is to remove the pets from the home, but if that cannot happen, hopefully these tips will help. Please share other ideas you have!

Seller FAQ: What to do with all the house keys, remotes and keypad codes?

Congratulations – you closed on your house!  Transferring the keys over the new owner is probably the easiest part of the whole transaction but even this task can go awry!  Take these simple steps to deliver the keys to the new owner and avoid getting calls after closing.

How to get the keys to the new owner

Commonly, your listing agent will have the house key from the lockbox and then will ask you to leave all the keys belonging to the house on the kitchen counter.  Or you can give all the keys to your agent.


What to do with all the keys – label them, please!

House keys – If the front door has a different set of keys than the patio door, please label them appropriately.  If your front door has a keypad, leave a note in the house with the code.

Mailbox keys – do not deliver the keys to the post office.  Label the keys with the mailbox number and the location.  There is nothing worse than standing at a bank of mailboxes, trying to figure out which key works (and doing this without having a neighbor call the police).

Garage remotes – leave in the house or with your agent.

Garage keypad code – leave a note in the house with the code.

Community clubhouse/park, gate/entrance keys and remotes – Contact the community or homeowners’ association to find out if you can transfer your keys over to the new owners.  Sometimes the community will require the new owner to get their own key (for example, if a keycard is used instead of an actual key).

Built-in safe – if you have a built-in safe that stays with the house, please leave a note with the combination.

Equipment keys – if the sale includes a golf cart or a riding lawn mower, for example, label and leave those keys in the house.


Sellers, the new homeowners are excited that closing day is here.  Make the key transfer easy and simple for them by gathering all the keys and labeling them.  They and the agents will be most thankful!

And if I’ve missed any keys, remotes or codes that should be on this list, please let me know.


Newcastle home sold for $27,000 over asking! Olympia WA

This beautiful home in the Newcastle neighborhood in the Olympia, WA school district was a hot property!  With multiple bids and even a back-up offer, this home sold for $27,000 over the asking price!

These sellers were experienced sellers and knew how important cleaning, staging and decluttering were in presenting a home to the market.  I didn’t even need to give them my speech about these three topics!

One secret the seller shared with me is she used baby oil on the stainless steel appliances to make them pop!  See the photo above – they look brand new.

The sellers also appreciated the work I did for them.  They would send me these positive text messages throughout the transaction like,

“Whoohooo!  Thank you, Super Woman!”


“Francine is a genius!”  (Okay, that one was about how the whole-house fan works, but I’ll still take that compliment!)


“You just made my day even better!! Thank you so much for helping me out!!”

Although this was an exciting process, the sellers knew this took a lot of work on everyone’s part to get this not only closed, but closed successfully with minimal issues.

This is what differentiates Realtors from each other.  Any realtor may be able to close a transaction but HOW that is accomplished is the difference.  Do you want a great experience?  Or do you want a hair-pulling-not-getting-any-sleep experience?  This is why it MATTERS who you choose to represent YOU in your home sale.  

Call me today and let’s chat about how you can have a great sales experience, too!


It was my pleasure to help another buyer find their perfect Tumwater Hill WA home!

I had the pleasure of working with this gentleman for quite some time as we looked and waited for the perfect home to come up on Tumwater Hill, WA.  After a long search, we found the right home at the right time!

He recently closed on his new home, and he wrote this kind review for me on Google:

“Francine is everything you could ask for in a realtor, start to finish!”

Short and sweet.  But this is how our working relationship was because I had to work with him through an interpreter.  For me, I had to choose my words carefully and be as exact and precise as possible, not just for my client but also for the interpreter.  Yes, we did have some miscommunications but fortunately, we both asked each other enough questions to hammer out those misunderstandings quickly.

I’d like to thank…

If you are not a Realtor or a recent home buyer or seller, you may forget that huge relief of getting to the closing table.  At times, it really seems like you just won an Oscar!  And therefore, you need to give a speech to thank those that helped you get to the finish line.

I’d like to thank… colleague and listing agent, Karen for her relentless follow-up!

I’d like to thank….the sellers for doing a stellar job in preparing their home for sale.

I’d like to thank….Theresa, the lender, for her persistence!  Another lender basically gave up on my client when we hit an obstacle.  This was no challenge for Theresa.

I’d like to thank….Annette at the escrow company who went over the settlement statement through the interpreter!  Wow – awesome job as most people don’t understand that thing no matter what language it’s in!

And I’d like to thank my client who didn’t give up after a few disappointments in the home search process.  It isn’t easy being a buyer in a seller’s market.

Thank you, everyone!  We have a happy new homeowner!


1303 / 1305 Prospect Ave NE Olympia WA 98506 – Duplex for Sale

This duplex located in a prime Olympia neighborhood at 1303 / 1305 Prospect Ave NE is for sale!

Check out all the details here.

Best location on a huge corner double lot! This rambler-style duplex features single car garages plus plenty of uncovered parking, decks overlooking the huge grassy area, wood-burning fireplaces and a welcoming floor plan. Each unit has 2 bedrooms, 1 full bath, living room and dining area. Rents were raised and the long-term tenants signed new 1-year leases – this is investor-ready!  See this quick video:

Great location close to everything Olympia: State offices, Farmer’s Market, waterfront, children’s museum, marinas and downtown Olympia.

Long-term tenants would love for an investor to buy this duplex and keep them as tenants. They love it here!

All the details can be found here.  

Build your real estate portfolio today!

4129 Capri Ct NE, Lacey WA 98516 – home for sale

4129 Capri Ct NE, Lacey WA 98516 – home for sale

This highly sought-after main floor master plan is move-in ready in Lacey, WA – in the Campus Highlands neighborhood in Hawks Prairie!

See all the details here.

What makes this house a home

Finding newer one level or all main floor living homes is a challenge in our area.  Many ramblers (1-story) homes in our area are homes built in the 1970s that are very boxy, small in size and very bland in architecture and design.

In the Campus Highlands neighborhood in Hawks Prairie, the lot sizes are generous to accommodate rambler plans.

Another desirable feature of this home is the floor plan.  The half-story upstairs features a bedroom, full bath and a bonus room.  This makes the perfect separate living quarters for guests or family members.

Downstairs is the huge master bedroom at the back of the house.  The other two bedrooms are at the front of the house, separated by their full bath.

Check out the video here!

  • Built by Rob Rice Homes, a premier local builder in the Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater, WA areas.
  • Built in 2011
  • 2,600 Square Feet
  • 4 bedrooms / 3 full baths
  • 0.218 acre lot
  • 3 car garage

See all the details here.

Desired location for commuters

Campus Highlands in Hawks Prairie is located in North Lacey.  There are two roads that can get you to I-5 quickly.  You can choose to drive south on Meridian and pick up I-5 at exit 114.  Or drive south on Willamette to exit 111 of I-5.


Desirable features

  • Extended hardwood floors from the entry to the kitchen, dining and family rooms open up the space.
  • The kitchen is large with stunning granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, nd a wine cooler.
  • Outside, you’ll appreciate the fully fenced yard with two garden gates for easy access.
  • This house sits on a corner lot in a cul de sac – the best of both worlds!
  • Fully sprinklered, lawn care is a breeze.
  • The sellers upgraded the patio with an extended covered patio for relaxing & entertaining, and they added a natural gas BBQ outlet!

And we can’t forget the 3-car garage with additional storage space, a utility sink, extra ceiling lighting when working in the garage, and epoxy-finished floor to keep it neat and clean!

You don’t want to miss out on this house.  Schedule your showing today, and you’ll see how this house will make a great home for you!


If I purchased my home at the height of the market, can I finally sell now?

Get ready to do the happy dance, Olympia, WA homeowners!  

If you purchased your home at the height of the market in 2006 and 2007, you probably have been watching and waiting for the market to correct itself in order to sell.  That time has come!

April 2017 was the first month that we saw gains for homeowners who purchased in 2006/2007.  Although a modest gain, it’s the first time this number has been in the positive.

The data consists of non-distressed sales (no short-sales or bank-owned properties), grouped by length of ownership where there was no significant remodeling.  The original price paid and what the home sold for in April was then factored to determine the average compounded annual gains.

Year Purchased / Average Compounded Gain for April 2017

2007:  +0.3%

2008:  +0.5%

2009: +0.5%

2010: +2.0%

2011: +2.9%

2012: +4.0%

2013: +4.2%

2014: +9.6%

2015: +7.7%

2016: +9.6%


If you are looking to move, to upsize, to downsize or to get a change of scenery, call me to find out where your home fits into today’s ever-changing market. This year may be the year to stop waiting and get your home listed to sell!


Why should the REALTOR you hire be a CRS – Certified Residential Specialist?

Why should the REALTOR you hire be a CRS – Certified Residential Specialist?

With more than 1 million REALTORS working in the United States, only 3% have achieved their CRS credential.

Why is this important to you?

The more education I have, the better educated my clients are in their sale or purchase of their home.

The education and training that CRS offers to its members drill down on the details of key issues for buyers and sellers.

Earlier this month, I attended a 2-day CRS class in Olympia, WA.  This class was 16 hours of instruction on helping sellers achieve the best results when selling their home. This is just one example of the in-depth training CRS offers.  Here’s the class photo:

I believe the goal for all REALTORS is to have seamless and positive outcomes for their clients, but there is a lot of experience, training and education needed for that to happen.  The training and education a CRS designation provides does just that!


Why don’t all REALTORS have their CRS?

Not all REALTORS are qualified to get this designation as the requirements are high for entry into the CRS training program.

This is not a program for new agents nor non-productive agents.  REALTORS with their CRS designation are elite performers, and again, only 3% of REALTORS have achieved this status.

If you’d like to work with a REALTOR in the elite category of also being a CRS Designee, contact me today!