Timing Isn’t Everything

Timing isn’t everything when selling a property, but get it wrong and risk losing the sale! Property sellers should read up on the many ways they can sabotage the sale of their home. The same mistakes are made by so many sellers that the same issues surface in article after article on the subject.

A key factor that I find is not on enough lists is timing.

Most important, and perhaps most obvious, is when to put a property on the market. However, every market is different, and every market changes a bit each year, so there is no single “ideal” month to offer your home for sale. Sure, over time, each market has its periods of significant activity — often summer months — and lower activity, but a sharp listing broker will have a more precise timing strategy to recommend.

Timing your offer for sale generally has three goals: securing the most showings, landing the most offers and earning the appraised value you need. Considering the appraisal process often is forgotten in the decision-making process.

All appraisers get a copy of your executed sales contract and will look at several months of comparable sales, though it seems most prefer to stay within the last four months. Think about the pricing and market activity your area will have experienced in that time period. Will enough similar properties have sold within that window to generate enough data to support the appraisal you need, and will it be at prices that back up your price? List in March, get an offer in April and the comparable properties used in your appraisal may be from December. That might be a good thing in your market, or maybe not. Are people discounting their December or January sales or getting top dollar?

If your appraisal comes in well below your agreed-upon price, many buyers will panic and back out of the sale. The buyer and their agent know that if you refuse to accept their price, even if it is below the appraised amount, then you must put the house back on the market with three issues. First, the property now has a stigma attached. Future buyers and their agents will wonder and ask if it was because of inspection or appraisal issues. Second, your days on market are going to stretch out even further, which can make potential buyers wonder if there is a problem and then put your home lower on their list. And third, you have no guarantee that your second appraisal — assuming you can get a second buyer — will be as high as the first one. So, many sellers feel pressured to go ahead and accept the first buyer’s renegotiated offer even if it is below the original contract price and below the appraised value.

Three other timing questions that quickly come into play after you have placed your home on the market are when to make pricing changes, when does the number of days on the market accumulate to where it creates a problem and when do you address issues with your property that were pointed out in feedback from initial showings?

Your initial asking price is a balance between trying to get the highest reasonable price the property is likely to appraise and finding a price low enough to make your pool of potential buyers as large as possible.

Often the first weekend on the market can be very telling and helpful in determining timing for a pricing adjustment. If you and your agent are pleased with the number of showings, even if you didn’t receive the number of offers you wanted, and the feedback on the property is good, you may decide to leave the price and condition the same through a second weekend. If not, it is time to decide on changes to price and/or on things you should change about the property, such as paint or flooring or staging.

When the response from the marketplace is the property needs work or that the price is too high, too often sellers are too slow to make changes. Sellers should remember that an amazing number of people do not seem to be able to visualize the property on their own as it would look with improvements, and it is nearly impossible to lure a potential buyer back to a home once they have rejected it. Sellers who hesitate on price changes or fixes lose valuable days on the market.

In many markets, brokers find “starter” houses should be under contract fairly quickly, or the price or condition needs to be addressed. Higher-priced properties have a smaller pool of potential buyers and thus stay on the market longer. However, more than 45 to 60 days on the market can be hard to overcome unless you have made significant price drops, depending on the specific market. If your property is the likely target for a move-up buyer, giving the buyer time to sell their own home first might be part of your timing calculation. That type of buyer might first need to be sure they are getting enough out of the sale of their property to be able to afford the payment on yours. Local agents should know the range in advance to be able to guide the seller.

Too often sellers hire an expert advisor, as they should, for something as complex and important as marketing one’s property for sale yet fail to act on the advice of that expert and, thus, sabotage their own sale. When working with a listing broker, pay special attention to timing as a critical category of expertise to follow. Timing isn’t everything when selling real estate, but it is one of the most critical strategies when trying for a speedy sale at the highest price.

Trump’s 247 Days Of Golf Costs Millions In Taxpayer Dollars

Trump is essentially profiting off of playing golf and taxpayer dollars are going directly into his “personal slush fund.”

Quibi Short-Form Videos Coming to Mobile Phones

Is short-form video the future of entertainment? Jeffrey Katzenberg, former chairman of Walt Disney studios, co-founder of DreamWorks Animation, and the brainchild behind Quibi (pronounced “kwibee”), thinks so. In case you haven’t heard, Quibi — short for “quick bites” — is an app built to deliver high-quality, short videos to your mobile phone for watching while you’re on the go and time is limited — like when you’re sitting in a waiting room or standing at a bus stop.

Before you write off Quibi, consider this: There’s big Hollywood money behind it, and it is not a repository of cat videos and amateur clips. No, Quibi will feature original content created by big-name directors and starring A-list actors when it launches in April. (Did you catch the Super Bowl commercial?)

The goal is to create theatrical-quality content that will attract younger viewers who have an ever-shortening attention span as well as appeal to anyone who has a few minutes to watch an entertaining video. With a typical budget of a $125,000-a-minute, “Quibis” will have same high production as a Hollywood film.

In his keynote speech at CES 2020, Katzenberg said Quibi has “set out to tell Hollywood caliber stories in a whole new way, on a platform that has become completely ubiquitous — the mobile phone. Our vision is to

5- to 10-minute chapters that fit perfectly into every moment of your day. We aim to give you big stories in quick bites.”

Katzenberg says inspiration for Quibi came from the Dan Brown novel The DaVinci Code, which is divided into 5-page chapters instead of 20- to 40-page chapters. The short chapters make it easier to read in short spurts without having to put the book down in the middle of a chapter.

Likewise, Quibi breaks a movie into a number of 7- to 10-minute chapters that will be released weekly. So a 2-hour movie might be broken into 12 or more chapters. And whether it’s an episodic TV show or a movie, segments are written to end at a logical stopping point to ensure a natural progression as the story is told. It’s not a new concept. For years, TV producers have had to break shows up into 10-minute segments that go between commercial breaks and do so without losing viewer interest.

Innovative Filmmaking for the Mobile Phone

Apart from being short, Quibis are created specifically for playback on a mobile phone. Scenes are shot to be viewed on a small screen and the video is optimized for the best possible image and sound.

To make on-the-go viewing as convenient as possible, Quibi created a unique “turnstile” feature that makes it easy to switch between viewing in landscape and portrait (vertical) modes and get video that fills the screen in both positions.

Turnstile is innovative and clever. Both portrait and landscape videos are delivered in the same stream. The view you are not watching streams as a low-resolution “sidecar” that becomes full quality when you turn your phone to ensure a seamless flow of action as you switch from one position to the other.

Another way Quibi is taking advantage of the mobile phone format is by delivering content at specific times during the day. The After Dark series created by Steven Spielberg, for example, will only be available after sunset and before sunrise because your phone knows what time it is.

Original Content

In the first year, Quibi’s original content will include 175 shows and movies plus 8,500 bits including news briefs, unscripted documentary shorts, and sports highlights.

Content will fall into one of three categories: Movies, unscripted episodic documentaries, and a catch-all comprising news, sports, and lifestyle shorts.

Movies will be presented in the short-chapter format described earlier and, as noted, feature some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Here are some examples.

Director Pete Farrelly (Green Book, There’s Something About Mary) has created The Now starring Bill Murray and Dave Franco (Now You See Me) about a young man with a troubled past who has to learn to live in “the now.”

A Quibi remake of The Fugitive, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Boyd Holbrook, is also in the works. In this updated version, Holbrook plays Mike Ferro, who is on the run after being framed for an explosion on a train in Los Angeles.

Most Dangerous Game, starring Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz, is about a terminally-ill man (Hemsworth) with a pregnant wife. To take care of his wife, he participates in a dangerous game that could pay $24.5 million…if he can survive the 24 hours.

In Survive, Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) and Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton) have survived a plane crash on a remote mountain. They must work together to find their way to safety.

Flipped is a comedy about a couple — Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson — who love to watch home renovation shows. While renovating a house, they find $500,000 in a wall and use it to become stars of their own home renovation show. Unfortunately, this brings attention from members of a cartel whose money they found (Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria, and Arturo Castro).

Academy Award-winning director, Guillermo del Torro (The Shape of Water and Pan’s Labyrinth) is working on a zombie movie and Sam Raimi, who directed the Marvel Spiderman series, is working on a project called 50 States of Fear that will feature horror stories from each state.

At launch, unscripted episodic documentaries will cover more than 120 subjects from food to fashion, cars, and other niche interests. Barkitecture is a series about extravagant dog houses.

The news, sports, and lifestyle shorts category will feature content produced for Quibi. NBC News will stream a morning and evening news brief and BBC will stream one news show per day at noon.

ESPN is producing a sports highlights show and there will be an e-sports show about competitive video gaming.

Lifestyle shorts include a talk show with Rachel Hollis, The Daily Chill for meditation, and a Last Night’s Late Night round-up show.

Quibi’s Daily Essentials are like cliff notes for news, sports, and TV. You may never have to watch a complete show again.

Despite its short form, Quibi isn’t free. A monthly subscription with ads will cost $5/month and an ad-free subscription will run $8/month. The app is slated to April 6.

Do you want more space when you retire?


When you think of the home you’ll retire in, a new house may come to mind. Or maybe you’re contemplating moving to your favorite vacation spot or somewhere closer to friends and family. 

With so many choices, how will you know what’s best for your lifestyle? 

Here are three questions to consider before making a move for retirement:  

1. Will you relocate? Maybe you have a favorite beach town in mind for your retirement, where you can relax year-round. If so, be sure to account for the price of moving and the costs of your new community. If the cost of living is higher, make sure you have enough money saved to live comfortably.

2. Should you downsize or upgrade? The kids have likely moved out, so you could opt for a smaller house or condo. But a more substantial property may offer additional space for visitors and hobbies. Think about what’s best for your family, then consider sitting down with a financial planner to evaluate your assets to be sure you can afford your options.

3. Is the timing right? If you’re not quite ready to retire but thinking about moving, it may be better to buy property while you still have a steady income. On the other hand, you can take your time looking if you start after you’ve left your job. Either way, explore your options to ensure you’re making the most of your investment and your retirement.

Is retirement in your near future? Are you ready to start looking for a new home? Reach out today to discuss your next steps.

Posted in Events Life Listings Real Estate by Being BOB. No Comments

DIY Little Free Library (Adorable AND Affordable!)

A lot of people think they don’t have the skills to build their own Little Free Library book exchange, and don’t have the funds to buy one; maybe you’ve thought that yourself a time or two.

After all, so many talented people have built wildly creative Little Libraries that seem like they belong in a museum or fancy gallery instead of on a street corner. It’s easy to get intimated, or to think that you need detailed Library building plans and lots of building experience before you try your hand at it.

But that’s not true! Every day we see cute, thoughtful Little Library designs that didn’t break the bank and required little-to-no assembly.

Take Little Free Library steward Iliana Morton, for example. Her Library #53342 in Oakland, California (pictured above) is a transformed IKEA metal cabinet cube that cost her $25, and the result is a bright, cute, cost-effective Library!

Now, you’re probably thinking that you’re not one of those crafty people like you see all over Pinterest, and that yours would never turn out this good. That’s why we asked Iliana to share exactly how she created her DIY Little Free Library. Read on to learn how you can do it, too!

“I’ve known that I’ve wanted to have a Little Free Library for years … about a year after purchasing our first home, I was excited to set up our own Little Free Library. I knew that I wanted something bright and colorful. I also was unsure about investing a lot of money into the project, not knowing how well it would hold up in our neighborhood … I decided to take a DIY approach to keep my costs down, while giving me an opportunity to figure out what would and wouldn’t work for us,” Iliana said.

How did she make the Library?

She started by purchasing a $25 bright orange IKEA metal cabinet cube. She chose it because it was sturdy, and she knew she could spray-paint the metal later on if she wanted to decorate it further.

To make her fledgling Library sturdier, she used Gorilla Glue (available at hardware stores for around $3) to seal together the pieces as she assembled the box. She made sure to get the glue to seep into the seams on all sides of the box, making those edges water-resistant. If you happen to have polyurethane caulk on-hand, you may be able to use caulk to seal the edges of the box, too.

For extra protection, Iliana applied liquid cement on the interior seams of the box. It didn’t look very pretty, so she then covered the interior edges with some duct tape with fun, bright designs that she found at Office Depot for about $2 per roll.

“On the front door I affixed a faux-chalkboard shape that I got at Michaels. With a 40% off Michael’s coupon, the sign was just $2.50. I do have a Cricut machine, which is what I used to design and cut the vinyl lettering that is on the chalkboard. Once the vinyl was on, I sprayed a clear coat of spray sealant on it to waterproof it,” she said.

If you don’t want to deal with vinyl lettering, consider using chalkboard markers instead to write on your sign.

 Now, what about installation?

“My Library box sits on a plain wood bench that we found on Craigslist for free! I found a wooden crate and used that as a riser for my Library so that it sat at a nicer level for people to reach into. I actually affixed the crate to the bench with Gorilla Glue, and then affixed the Library to the crate in the same way. I did this to prevent the box from accidentally (or purposefully) falling down.”

In addition to Craigslist, Freecycle.org is a good place to look for free items in your neighborhood!

The rest was just a matter of decoration! Iliana found some small pots for plants and succulents which she placed near her Library. She used Gorilla Glue again to adhere the pots to the bench, so that they didn’t “magically disappear” or fall over.

So when all was said and done, how much did it cost? 

“I probably spent around $50 on this. My biggest expense was the box at $25. The rest was a matter of keeping an eye out and finding a deal on what I needed. I used absolutely no tools beyond the screwdriver I needed to put together the IKEA box. I took an easy approach by using gorilla glue, which has been wonderful so far, as it is super durable and waterproof. I’ve gotten so many compliments from neighbors that they enjoy it because of the brightness it adds!”

There you have it! You can DIY your own Little Free Library book box for $50 or less.

There’s one more important step that we should mention here: register your Library! When you register, you get access to all of the benefits of registration that we offer to Library stewards, like a listing on our world map and the use of the name Little Free Library.

For more ways that you can create your own cute, affordable Little Library, check out Little Free Libraries on a Shoestring Budget. And get the basics on how to start your own Little Library, register, and get it on the world map.

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Renting vs. buying: Where do you land?


You’ve always been told that owning a home is the ultimate American dream. 

Imagine renovating your master bath into a mini spa or choosing your favorite appliances for your dream kitchen. Or just getting to repaint whatever room you want. Plus, there’s the potential for financial gain when you own.

But renting has its own advantages: flexibility, a smaller financial commitment and the chance to try before you buy.

So when do you know it’s time to take the plunge on a purchase? Answer these questions to see which side of the rent vs. buy debate you might land on:

Why do you want to buy?
Sure, owning a home might be the great American dream — but is it your dream?

For some, the idea of a home where you can raise a family, be close to schools and build a community is enticing. For others, buying is a great investment. But for many, it’s about freedom: the ability to keep pets, renovate and be independent.

Will you stay in the area?
No one has a crystal ball — but knowing how long you plan to live in an area can help as you consider the pros and cons of buying. Generally, longer stays align with purchasing. 

If the thought of travel fills you with more passion than the idea of settling down in your dream property, you may not be ready for your forever home. But there’s always the possibility of turning your house into an investment property. 

What can you afford?
While renting usually costs less in the short term than purchasing property, owning a home can build long-term net worth. A rent vs. buy calculator can help you understand the costs of each option.

Don’t have the deposit for your dream home now? That doesn’t mean you can’t buy. We can work together to find affordable homes, and there are plenty of low or no down payment mortgage options.

Have questions about buying or financing your purchase? Let’s discuss your next steps. 

Securing Your Home

securing a vacant property

Do you or any of your friends own a second home? A cabin in the woods or a seaside bungalow near the beach? Perhaps a second property you rent out? If so, you’re among 7.5 million homeowners across the country. Second home ownership started booming in 2014 and it’s not hard to understand why. It’s great to have a vacation home to escape to, or a rental property to bring in a little extra money. But when you’re not there, it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on.

To put your mind at ease, here are some tips for keeping your second home safe.

Give the Police a Heads-up When You’re Away:

Local police want to know when a house is vacant so they can show extra care in patrolling the area to look for trouble. When you’re going to be away from your vacation home, just give the police a quick call and report the dates the property will be empty.

befriending neighbors

Befriend Your Neighbors:

We’ve talked in the past about the importance of community. It’s always a good idea to talk to your neighbors about when your home will be vacant. Ask them to keep a casual eye on the property and shoot you a text or give you a call about anything suspicious. This will work to make the whole neighborhood safer, particularly because nearby homes become more at risk after one burglary occurs.

Admittedly, getting to know neighbors can be tough in a vacation area. You and your neighbors might only meet a few times a year. But do your best! Offer to keep an eye on their home too, or suggest hiring a local resident together to keep an eye on the whole neighborhood.

Make it Look Like Someone’s Home:

One of the reasons vacant properties are targeted by burglars is that they’re, well, vacant. The risk of a burglar getting caught is much lower compared to an occupied home. But nobody needs to know your property is vacant. If you’re able to visit frequently, put some effort into maintaining the yard. Mow the lawn, shovel snow, and rake leaves. If you live far away, you can easily hire someone to take care of this.

A dark home is a dead giveaway for burglars of a prime target. Consider timed lights indoors to make it look like someone is home. You can also install motion lights outside the home to spook anyone who gets too close.

It’s also a smart idea to have the locks changed after you buy a place. You don’t know who owned it before you, or how many of the previous tenants kept copies of their keys. While you’re thinking about the locks, make sure to check the windows and other entrances, like a bulkhead, so as not to give a burglar easy access. You could also consider reinforcing any vulnerable windows with bars.

protecting vacation home

Install a Home Security System:

A home security system like SimpliSafe can provide immense comfort while you’re away. You can be alerted if a door or window is opened, or if glass is broken. Motion Sensors will trigger if anyone (or anything) is moving around inside the home. A 105 decibel siren will scare anyone off before they can cause damage, and local police will be on the way to investigate and secure the property. You can also monitor your property from your camera, and stay up-to-date with Smart Alerts.

A home security system protects your home from more than just burglars. With Smoke, Carbon Monoxide, Water, and Freeze Sensors, you know your property is safe from extreme weather and the elements.