Blog

Open Houses – Tool and Risk

Open houses can be great sales tools, for both Real Estate agents and for a FSBO (for sale by owner). There is a potential for risk for both anytime a house is being shown – a seasoned agent is trained to do a host of inquiries and knows how to show the house to put themselves at as little risk as possible but for a FSBO showing their home to a caller they can put themselves open to potential harm. When an agent gets a call to see a house they or their office or both try to get pertinent information on the potential client – who, what, where, when and how; when a homeowner is selling themselves – they ask the name and when they want to see it. Usually for a FSBO there is no one else home, sometimes no one even knows there will be a showing – even the dog gets locked up for the visitors. In a home showing both the human showing it and the home are vulnerable at that time; and the home may be at risk for a future crime. Most Real Estate agents know how to open a home for a showing, guide the potential buyer through and secure it again. Most areas and houses are considered safe but there can always be that one person looking to harm in some way – and they are there to view the home for the wrong reason. Stay safe by practicing some guidelines.

  • Pick the open house hours with daylight and neighborhood in mind!
  • If you are a FSBO and having your own open house – keep in mind you are letting strangers in your home.
  • Agents will have their homeowners prepare the home ahead of the viewings – important items secured out of sight and harm’s way.
  • Check your cell phone’s strength and signal at that location prior to the open house. If your phone battery loses charge quickly bring your charging cord or an extra battery. Many homes now do not have a home phone service.
  • All rooms will be brightly lit to enhance the look and all curtains open to show off the views.
  • As prospective buyers come – make sure you have the sign-in sheet ready for them and that they fill in their information – and you make a mental note of how your new guests look and how they make you feel upon their entrance – first gut feelings are usually the best!
  • Open rear doors to enable potential buyers to view the lovely yard landscape or swimming pool area; make a note of those who exit so you are aware they have re-entered or be their guide to the outdoor patio area.
  • If you feel uneasy with anyone’s presence – make note of their vehicle and their physical appearance. Are they looking more at the furnishing and tech items than the home itself? Could they be looking to come back to burglarize? Or are they just focused on the things and not the home – maybe they are nosy neighbors!
  • When showing the house, always walk behind the prospect. Direct your guests don’t lead them, gesture for them to go ahead of you saying, “The guest room is on the right” and you will already have the lights on and the draperies open.
  • Make arrangements to call in to either the office or a friend half-way thru the open house and again at the end to let them know you are closing up and securing the home. If you don’t call, they are to come there or notify the police.
  • Inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary.
  • When you are closing the house at the end of the day – check the outside area and then all windows and door locks to make sure no one has opened them for future convenience of breaking in, turn out all lights and close curtains or window coverings as they usually are. Lock and leave if you are an agent you will call the homeowner to report they can return home and how the traffic flow of potential buyers is and for a FSBO you can lock and return to your usual day – with a plan of how to handle a future showing or what to do with the names and numbers you collected.. Oh and don’t forget to let the dog back out!

Some of these tips may sound extreme – they may be for your area -“These things never happen in this neighborhood” but there can always be that one unexpected time or that one unexpected person who saw your open house as an opportunity. With a tight economy and crime on the rise you should never let your guard down!

 

Improving Curb Appeal – Increases Value

Improve your home's value and sell-ability by sprucing up your yard even on a budget.

Walk across the street from your house and turn around and look back – nice? When pulling out or into your driveway or past your house – go slow and see it as a potential buyer would. Many people in the market for a home do a drive-by first before telling the agent what houses they’d like to see. Sure your house and yard might not be a show stopper but it should look well kept and clean; a few blooming flowers during the season help make it look like you still care.

We don’t all have magazine photo worthy yards and some of us have black thumbs and not green – but there is so much you can do with little effort that makes a big impact.

Look at a few houses and yards you like – what gives them their appeal?

Now ask yourself what I can do to get that kind of look – the color, the clean look, the neatness, the well cared for lawn and a few décor pots outside. Are you planning to stay in your house or fixing it to sell it? The answer to that question will help determine what and how you plan your improvements. If you are planning on staying there – determine how you want to increase your living space-do you want to eat outside on a patio, grill more often, entertain, have children who need a place to play or pets that need a space to do what they do – when you determine your needs you can easily determine how to fix up your spaces into the necessary “rooms”.

If you are looking at your house to clean up, fix up and move – you have a different view of what needs to be done and what you want to spend.

First clean up – nothing laying around, no broken toys; if everything looks dirty and dingy – plan on pressure washing the house, walkways and driveway, if you have a patio, clean that too! Create a welcoming entrance with one or two big pots filled with colorful plants. How is your front door – need paint? Poor maintenance outside can sometimes be a turn off to the inside.

Make sure all landscape is free of weeds and bushes are trimmed neatly. Buy seeds, such as a mix of wildflowers or brightly colored small annuals that give your landscape that “cute” look. Use mulch in your flower beds you want to get that added appeal.

Check also the mailbox area – outside lights and anywhere you think people will look.

Now – drive by again – did you improve your house and landscaping – is there more to do? Ask your neighbors!

If you're trying to impress potential buyers "don’t neglect the street appeal of your home,"

Call me, Janyne Kenworthy for a pre-sale review to help your home sell at top dollar.

1-800-773-8985 or 772-696-5110    Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty

Rain or Shine – A Good Real Estate Professional is there for you!

Rain or Shine – A Good Real Estate Professional is there for you and in Florida that is very important! In Florida there may be rain predicted on any given day – but you may be looking to purchase a home during the Florida rainy season! Florida rainy season typically is not like a northern spring rainy season; Florida can be sunny on one side of the street and raining on the other or sunny and in 5 minutes come the old afternoon rains, but don’t worry much, sometimes they only last an hour and then it will be sunny and very humid for the rest of the late afternoon.

Rainy season is a great time to shop for a new residence – you will be privy to the drainage or flooding of a subdivision area or a particular property. Since Florida has much of its drainage via open cut ditches rather than enclosed sewers you get a full view of the swales and how the water flow is at any given rain in any subdivision. Some areas drain slower leaving standing water sometimes only an hour during heavy rains and other places it may be days before the land dries again.  You also can see if there are any water issues with the home in particular or if the patio or driveway is pitched correctly – anything you may have questions about.

As a Real Estate Professional in Florida the scheduling of a home showing during the rainy season may become a fun game of timing or process of sharing umbrellas with the home viewers! A few rain drops have never deterred me from showing a home to a potential buyer – though the sun shining thru a residence or a rainbow is better than a run to the inside on a dreary day!

Florida needs the rainy season to keep its beautiful tropical plants blooming and thriving, also the rain helps quell the possible fires out in the marsh and open land in a dry period. Usually there are 3 phases to a Florida rainy season – Late May to July – stormiest season; early July thru mid-August – hotter weather with dryer periods; late August thru mid-October – higher rainfall possible and tropical storm systems and even early fall cold fronts. Could things be different - of course – that’s just the typical and systems arise to change weather patterns all the time! But there is no place finer than the East coast of Florida for a great place to live!

By the way – if a rainbow shows when you are leaving a home after a rain – maybe that home is your pot of gold! 

Call me, Janyne Kenworthy

1-800-773-8985 or 772-696-5110

Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty

Rain or Shine - I will guide you to Your Gem on the Treasure Coast

New to the Treasure Coast - Hurricanes Got You Scared?

You can’t believe everything you hear or read – The Treasure Coast WAS hit with 2 hurricanes in 2004 but it was 20 years before that we saw more than a Category 1 or Tropical depression.

I won’t minimize the hurricanes and tell you the Treasure Coast and Vero Beach was not damaged – it was – there were many trees down or ruined and some homes on the barrier island took major damage and rebuilding and major repairs of some of the structures even west of town; some also with minor damage and some with no damage. But the long and short of it was the area learned a valuable lesson in its building codes and older homes have been updated and modernized. The landscaping has returned, for the most part, to its original loveliness – a benefit to the southern climate and natural plants!

So – worry not – almost every location in the United States has some natural disaster to worry about; some areas worse than others – hurricanes are not to be thought of as minimal storms, but can be –you are typically given many days to prepare and the home you buy today will be hurricane ready.

Hurricane ready homes are updated or built with the new codes – since hurricane Andrew hit the Miami area in 1995, the codes for construction have been updated – homes built since 1973 have been built under the standard building codes and any remodeling or updating included the newer codes.  Roofs are strapped now, windows and doors are either hurricane resistant, hurricane proof or have hurricane shutters; door hinges and door frames are placed securely; some homes have safe rooms; some have an interior room without windows, garage doors will have bracings and large trees are kept trimmed and branches too close to a house are cut back.  Some areas of the barrier island are “required evacuation” areas – mostly because of the chance of storm surge and flooding – some of the flood zone areas have new codes for new homes which has eliminated any chance of flood damage in those areas. The barrier island is at risk if the storm surge is over about 18 feet; check the history books for that ever happening and how far back if it has!  Overall most homes on the Treasure Coast are safer than ever! 

And most of all people are prepared!

Ask Janyne Kenworthy, your local real estate agent any questions and concerns – and watch for additional information here to update your preparedness watch for part 2...

Call me, Janyne Kenworthy  1-800-773-8985 or 772-696-5110 

Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty

I will guide you to Your Gem on the Treasure Coast

Vero Beach and Indian River County Have It All

Vero Beach and Indian River County have it all – from the ocean on the east to the beautiful natural environment of the marsh, swamp area – Blue Cypress lake and “the woods” to the west and Sebastian Inlet on the north end of the county where you can spend countless hours enjoying fishing and surfing at the ocean to river atmosphere. Whether you prefer the society lifestyle or the life of a Florida Cracker you can find it here.

Vero and its surrounding communities called the Treasure Coast offer great climate, and enjoyment of the great outdoors no matter what sport or hobby you enjoy most! Indian River has some of the best golf clubs  – private and public courses are available  There is surfing, swimming and beautiful beaches, boating and fishing in both fresh and salt water intercoastal or fresh water lakes.

The Indian River area is not yet so crowded that you can’t take a nice drive and yet there are a number of wonderful things to do – McKee Botanical Gardens, Riverside theater, Center for the Arts, Mel Fisher Museum, and so many more smaller quaint museums and galleries to enjoy on a leisure day.

The area is populated with many restaurants in a wide variety of choices of culinary pleasures. You can chose leisure by the water dining or a steak house with an abundance of food; or a gourmet meal in a posh environment – Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Irish pubs and American choices galore, your palette can be pleased and your thirst quenched in the many bars and restaurants.

Homes, condo and more are available in the area in a wide range of pricing from affordable family homes and retiree places to multi-million dollar homes on the ocean. Whether a gated community or a single family home on 5 acres – you can find it all! 

Vero and Indian River area does not offer many wild clubs and amusements – but you can drive an hour or so north or south and get to the amusements and party atmospheres if you chose – live simple in Vero and party a short distance away!

Leave the stress and relax with us in Indian River County!

Call me, Janyne Kenworthy at Treasure Coast Sotheby’s for real estate information and I will guide you to the gem within our Treasure Chest area called the Treasure Coast

1-800-773-8985 or 772-696-5110 – Janyne knows the how to help you find what you are looking for!

 

 

Should you build or buy a pre-existing home?

To all of my buyers out there, the choosing process can be intimidating and extremely frustrating! Everyone dreams of the perfect place to call home, but let's face it - not everything in life goes according to our exact plans. You may be wondering even now if you'd rather just build what you want rather than go through the grueling process of chosing a home that suits you and your family. I recently read an article that cautions against a few things when considering the construction of a new home. Here are some important things to think about before you jump in:

Design and decorating - It sounds glamorous to design your own home to make it look and feel just right. However, once the thrill of building your own place has subsided, you're left with a lot of walls, floors, and space to design and fill. Some sellers take initiative to neutralize their homes before putting it on the market specifically so that it will sell. Don't be afraid of already-lived-in homes! You could find one that suits you perfectly and this will definitely cut down design costs.

Location, location, location - This includes two things: proximity to jobs, shopping and schools, and willingness to live in a new development that is still under construction. Typically new homes are built farther away from town and therefore are usually farther from places like the gym, grocery store, your child's school, or even your job. Are you willing to fork out more gas money to build your dream home? Also, new developments have a few downsides: higher taxes, noisy construction vehicles, and probably a lot of dust and dirt (and not much grass). Just some things to think about when you're looking for a place to build.

So, all of this to say, don't be deceived by the impressive incentives to construct your own home. While it sounds wonderful, it's not all hearts and roses.

Just keeps getting better!

Let's be honest, real estate friends... we all get nervous when summer rolls around in Florida. Typically the market fizzles out and we're left waiting for the winter season to show its inviting face again. But I have great news! This summer, the market has continued at a steady pace and I've seen an incredible increase of interest all over the Treasure Coast. How exciting!

This means good things for more than just real estate agents like myself... whether you are looking to buy, sell or invest, NOW IS THE TIME! And may I send out a special message to homeowners looking for a change: now is the perfect time to get your homes listed. I have seen an upward climb in the market and that climb can only continue as we are winding down in the last brutal month of summer heat. I encourage you to fill out the contact form on my homepage and begin the exciting process with my expertise to guide you.

Marketing

This is where my partnership with Sotheby's International Realty really pays. It is truly amazing what incredible photography and a brilliant marketing plan can do in selling a home. I have the world at my fingertips with materials to design strategies that proclaim exceptional properties to the world... and because I do, you do, too! My office has an incredible team of professionals who will work with me to see any property showcased in the light it truly deserves. Is your property next?

Janyne Kenworthy | REALTOR®
Broker Associate, e-Pro


1401 HIGHWAY A1A
VERO BEACH, FL 32963
Phone: 772-696-5110
Email: Janyne@Janyne.com

Contact Me







* fields are required