Marcie Gingle & Roberta Lerman
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Marcie & Roberta

RE/MAX 360
Marcie Gingle: 617.838.3102
Roberta Lerman: 781.983.2882

12 Atlantic Ave
Marblehead, MA 01945

The 'Best' Winter Sales Season in Years

Wow! How Home Sellers Can Make a Bundle in the 'Best' Winter Sales Season in Years!

Written by Erica Sweeney for

Selling a home in winter is often a slow process. Since many home buyers traditionally hunker down as the temperature drops, particularly during the holidays, home sellers with real estate on the market typically see fewer buyers and lower offers.

That's your typical winter, but this winter is shaping up to be a whole different reality, even a hot seller's market.

According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors®, “It will be one of the best winter sales years ever.”

The coronavirus has changed real estate in a multitude of ways, and perhaps one of the biggest is the sea of buyers who put off buying during the first wave of the pandemic and are now slated to flood the market this winter.

"Sellers will have the ball in their court so to speak, as there are more buyers than sellers," says Danielle Hale, chief economist at®. "This means seller-friendly trends like rising home prices and quick-selling homes."

According to a report, September's home inventory was 39% lower compared with the same month last year. Meanwhile, buyers are keen to take advantage of the record-low interest rates, which have been hovering at or below 3%.

All of this means that sellers who are willing to put their homes on the market now could reap the benefits. Here's how sellers can make the most of this unprecedented time and enjoy a blizzard of buyers this winter.

Price your home on the high end

COVID-19 has created a shaky economy, so you may think pricing your home on the low end is the way to go. But that’s not the case.

According to a report, the national median home listing price jumped 11.1% in September compared with last year, reaching $350,000, and price per square foot rose 13.9%.

The upshot? These days, you’re likely to get offers at list price, or even higher.

“Prices are very high,” says Simon Isaacs, owner/broker of Simon Isaacs Real Estate in Palm Beach, FL. “People are getting what they're asking.”

Another plus: The low interest rates could keep monthly mortgage payments low. So buyers may be able to afford a more expensive home.

Make your home move-in ready

Today, buyers are keen to find a home that won't need a lot of work after they move in. As such, it behooves sellers more than ever to make small repairs and upgrades that will increase a home’s value and justify a high offer.

“Sellers need to make sure their house is turnkey,” says Matt van Winkle, a real estate broker/owner of Re/Max Northwest Realtors in Seattle. “The buyer is not going to want to remodel or do repairs in the winter.”

Cleaning up the landscaping and painting are two upgrades that Isaacs always recommends to sellers.

“Landscaping is definitely something that helps to sell a home more than anything,” he says.

Sellers would also be smart to highlight (in their listing and in person) features in their home that appeal to buyers today. Since the coronavirus, people are spending more time at home, and are thus keen to purchase property with more space, privacy, rooms that can double as home offices or learning spaces, and top-notch outdoor spaces.

Make sure your listing provides a virtual tour

The pandemic has made many buyers leery of checking out homes in person unless they see one they truly love. The upshot for sellers? Your listing will really need to shine online—and one of the best ways to do this is by offering a virtual tour.

“Depending on where you live and how COVID-19 is trending in your area, sellers may want to consider having a 3D tour readily available for buyers who do not wish to do an in-person tour,” says Tracy Jones, a real estate agent with Re/Max Platinum Realty in Sarasota, FL.

This approach is also more convenient for sellers, since it can help minimize the number of strangers touring their home. Buyers can get a good sense if your home meets their needs without actually stepping inside.

Take safety seriously

Selling a home during a pandemic brings a new set of challenges. Virtual tours can minimize the foot traffic in your home, but eventually a buyer will want to see it in person. So it’s a good idea to ensure that you and your real estate agent are doing everything you can to make in-person tours as safe as possible.

Some ways to do this include limiting the number of showings per day, including gaps between showings, and limiting the size of groups seeing a home at once. Requiring masks and social distancing are also par for the course.

When people do have to see your home, leave doors, closets, and cabinets open throughout the house to minimize what they have to touch. Keep in mind, too, that once everyone leaves, it will be up to you to clean and sanitize your home.

Don’t accept an offer too quickly

The real estate market this winter is incredibly competitive. With so few homes on the market, sellers are poised to receive multiple offers, sometimes all at once. But Matt Curtis, owner of Matt Curtis Real Estate in Huntsville, AL, cautions sellers not to get in a hurry and accept an offer too quickly.

Typically, sellers have 24 to 48 hours to accept an offer. If you jump the gun and say yes too soon, you could be leaving money on the table.

“Select a real estate agent that has a strategy to handle multiple offers versus an agent that's not equipped to handle multiple-offer situations,” Curtis says. “Literally eight hours of sleep could net you an extra $30,000.”

So take time to mull over each offer you receive. If the offer is too low, you can always counter with something closer to the asking price.

Close remotely if you can

Along with virtual home tours, home sellers should strive to make as much of the home-buying process as virtual and digital as possible. Now, more buyers and sellers are able to complete the closing process remotely in most areas of the country, something that wasn’t possible a few months ago.

Pre-pandemic, remote closings weren’t possible everywhere, because some states didn’t allow documents to be notarized remotely. To keep real estate transactions and other business flowing during the COVID-19 crisis, most states issued emergency declarations now allowing for remote notarizations, according to the National Notary Association.

Along with limiting in-person contact, remote closings are much more convenient.

“You can sign all the documents now electronically,” Isaacs says. These days it’s all about “making sure that everybody is comfortable and as safe as possible.”



6 Modest Front-Yard Updates Home Sellers Should Never Forget

Written by Ana Durrani for

Home sellers know that a tidy, tasteful home will catch any buyer's eye. That's why many people put effort into fixing up—and even staging—the interior of their home before putting it on the market and hosting open houses.

But did you know that an unkempt exterior could deter potential buyers from even setting foot in the door? That's right. A shoddy-looking front yard could undermine all that hard work you put into beautifying the inside of your home, and that could jeopardize your chances of selling.

"You only get one chance to make a first impression, and it happens when a potential buyer sees the exterior of your home," says Kate Rumson, interior designer. "We all te

nd to form opinions in the first few seconds of seeing a home for the first time—make those seconds count!"

Don't let your home's exterior fall to the wayside. Whether your front yard is in need of a few tweaks or a full face-lift, the following tips will help boost your home's curb appeal and make sure everything matches.


1. Replace your garage door

Garage doors tend to be large, so they're a major architectural element of your home. Replacing one can be costly, but this one upgrade could help sell your house faster.

 According to Remodeling magazine's annual Cost vs. Value report, garage door replacement has consistently topped the list of remodeling projects that give you the biggest return on investment. In fact, this year's report found that by replacing your garage door, you could recoup 94.5% of the cost when you sell your home.

“Old or damaged garage doors will make a house feel dated and not cared for. If your garage doors are in poor condition, replace them,” says Rumson. “Don’t let potential buyers think that the damaged garage doors represent the rest of your home’s condition.”

As for the cost, garage door replacement can range from $600 to $2,750, according to HomeAdvisor.


2. Do a front door audit

The first thing potential buyers see as they walk up to your home is your front door. The door can give house hunters a hint of your design sense and what decor delights await them on the other side.

Ted Roberts, chief style and design expert at Schlage, says to consider the color and materials of both the inside and outside of your door. He says the hardware on a door is also important to the overall aesthetic and that door hardware should be updated to create a unified statement throughout your property.

“Updating your front door can do wonders for your security and style. If your door hardware is showing signs of age, this fall could be the perfect time to upgrade to a new handle set and an electronic lock that adds smart, keyless convenience,” says Roberts.


3. Complement your colors

Choosing the right colors for the inside of your home takes careful thought and consideration. But no matter what paint you choose, make sure the palette transitions smoothly from exterior to interior.

“Interior and exterior colors don’t have to match, but they need to complement one another," says Rumson. For example, a traditional forest-green exterior trim looks great when paired with navy blue, tan, or blush interiors.

"Make sure that the colors of your exterior accurately represent what buyers should expect to see on the inside,” Rumson adds.

4. Consider new window frames

Photo by Spivey Architects, Inc.

Installing new window frames will create the appearance of brand-new windows, and is a quick and inexpensive way to make your home look newer and more attractive to buyers, says Rumson.

Consider updating your outdated window frames with new, stylish black window frames.

“Black window frames will boost your home’s curb appeal, make your home more unique, and create a great contrast with the rest of your interiors,” says Roberts. “Because black windows make such a statement, they don’t always need shades, blinds, or curtains, offering an opportunity for you to sidestep what can be an occasionally costly investment.”

5. Refresh your landscape

The American Society of Landscape Architects recommends that homeowners invest 10% of a home’s value in landscaping. A well-manicured front yard can be eye candy to potential buyers.

Professional landscaping can be pricey, but we're not suggesting a full foliage overhaul. Simply take a few hours on a weekend to freshen up your existing landscaping with plants and fresh mulch.

Over 75% of top real estate agents nationwide say that well-landscaped homes are worth anywhere from 1% to 10% more than homes without landscaping, according to research at HomeLight.

6. Install outdoor lighting

“Outdoor lighting is important for safety, but it can also significantly improve the curb appeal of a home,” says Rumson.

There are a variety of outdoor lighting options, from decorative lighting (like sconces by your front door) to landscape lighting (to illuminate the pathway to your porch).

“It’s an easy update," says Rumson. "You will find many beautiful options and styles at your local home improvement store.”

Light up your home’s exterior walkway with a set of 10 solar-powered, black LED outdoor lights ($79.97, Home Depot) or a lantern sconce ($59.97, Home Depot).


6 Reasons Why This Is Actually the Best Time in Years To Sell a House

Written By for

Talk about a strange summer. Between the continued threat of the novel coronavirus, a wobbly economy, and layoffs happening left and right, it's no surprise that many who may have hoped to sell their home this season are wondering whether to put those plans on hold—or they've already thrown in the towel.

Such hesitancy is understandable. Yet the irony is that, after closely examining the current housing market conditions, many real estate experts believe this summer could be one of the best times to sell a home in years.

"Given the pandemic and uncertainty it's caused, the general sentiment [among some owners] is that now is not a good time to sell your home," says Danielle Hale, chief economist at®. "Yet so far, the data suggest the opposite—that buyers outnumber sellers in the housing market, which means it's better to be a seller than a buyer.”

So if you're a home seller who assumed they should write off this summer's home-selling season as a lost cause, it's time for a reality check! Here are a few reasons why the market could actually be moving strongly in your favor.

1. Home buyer demand is back with a vengeance

Granted, in the spring, when COVID-19 was spurring many states to enforce quarantine and ban open houses, home selling understandably went dormant for a while. But now that lockdown restrictions are loosening up in some states, home buyers are out with a vengeance—and many of them are eager to make up for lost time.

Indeed, the real estate market is already seeing strong signs of a rebound, according to the National Association of Realtors®' Pending Home Sales Index (a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings). In May, after two months of decline, pending home sales shot up 44.3%—the highest month-over-month jump since 2001, when the index began.

“There's very significant demand,” says Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate. He adds that demand is strongest right now in the suburbs and in smaller, cheaper cities—as buyers look to escape the biggest metros and more companies follow tech titans like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft in allowing employees to work remotely for the foreseeable future.

“If we continue to see an increase in working from home, people can move farther away, where they can get more bang for their buck,” Gardner says.

2. Home inventory remains low

Yet amid this glut of home buyers, the number of homes for sale to actually meet this pent-up demand is at an all-time low.

"There was insufficient supply last year," says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the NAR. "This year during the pandemic, the shortage has intensified."

According to's market outlook, housing inventory in June was 27% lower than a year earlier.

And some reasons for the shortage of available homes have little to do with the recent coronavirus crisis. The number of homes for sale is at a “generational low,” says Gardner, because people are living in their homes longer than they used to. In fact, NAR data shows that Americans are spending an average of 13 years in their homes before moving.

The lower inventory is also the result of fewer distressed properties on the market, “due to the massive government stimulus support, including mortgage forbearance and generous unemployment benefits,” Yun explains.

3. Home prices are up

With demand for homes up and inventory down, the conditions are perfect for home sellers to get high prices.

"Many sellers can get top dollar in the current market conditions," says Yun.

According to NAR , single-family home prices increased in most markets during the first quarter of 2020, with the national median single-family home price increasing 7.7%, to $274,600.

This good news may come as a surprise to sellers, since it was expected that the housing market would take a hit and home prices would drop because of the pandemic. That's quite the contrary.

“Home asking price growth is actually higher now than it was before the pandemic,” Hale explains.

4. Mortgage interest rates are low, too

Another factor pushing home buyers to shop are the historically low mortgage interest rates.

According to Freddie Mac’s July 2 report, average interest rates recently reached a new record low of 3.07% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Given this means homes could cost potentially tens of thousands less over the lifetime of the loan, it's understandable that mortgage purchase applications have jumped since last year.

5. The economy is showing slow signs of recovery

While the pandemic led to record high unemployment rates in March, these levels have recently fallen slightly, which could be a good sign that people are still eager and able to buy a home.

Continuing spikes in COVID-19 infection rates may have a negative impact on employment numbers in some areas going forward, but for now the national trends are heading in the right direction.

"The pandemic sharply curtailed economic production and consumer spending in March, April, and part of May. As a result, joblessness soared," Hale explains. "But data from May and June suggests that businesses are adding back jobs as consumers get back to spending, and some companies are now scrambling to keep up demand. Some speculated that we'd see a sharp bounce back in activity, and I think it's fair to say that's what we're seeing so far."

6. Home buyers' needs have changed

Along with working remotely, people have been spending more time at home in general—and this, in turn, has sparked a fresh deluge of home buyers whose current homes no longer seem as comfortable or roomy as they were pre-COVID-19. That is, if your dining table now doubles as your "office," you might be tempted to trade in your short commute for another room or two so all can work from home in peace.

“People are looking at their existing home and saying, ‘If I have to work from home, then maybe my house just doesn't work,’” Gardner says.

“Spending three months locked up at home taught a lot of people that where they live is important,” agrees Jed Kliman, managing broker at Windermere Real Estate in Seattle. “Clients I’ve been working with recently are trading up because they've spent more time in their homes and realized it didn't meet their needs.”

Home offices, more privacy, outdoor spaces, and just more room are becoming more important to homeowners. Kliman says playing up these features and amenities when you sell your home can attract buyers. Home staging and visually appealing listing photos, though always important, are especially crucial in today’s market.

“Staging, professional photos, even video and 3D virtual tours—those are all really important because people start their home search online, and they have to be moved and captivated to go see a house,” Kliman says.

In addition to understanding market conditions, home sellers will want to know that the process from offer to closing may work a little differently today.

For example, social distancing may mean home inspections and repairs take a little longer. Kliman says some of his sellers have been doing their own pre-inspections and making reports available to interested buyers to speed up the process.

The bottom line: “You want to make it as easy as possible for a buyer to make an offer,” he says.

Just be prepared for the unexpected, Hale says.

“The time it takes to sell a home does seem to be shrinking, as states lift restrictions on business and consumers feel more confident and comfortable," she says. "But depending on how infection rates evolve, this could change. This doesn't mean we're out of the woods completely."



Best Time to Sell? When Competition Is at an All-Time Low

In a recent survey of home sellers by Qualtrics, 87% of respondents said they were concerned their home won’t sell because of the pandemic and resulting economic recession. Of the respondents, 51% said they are “seriously worried.” That concern seems reasonable considering the current condition of the economy. The data, however, is showing that home purchasers are still very active despite the disruptions American families have experienced this year.

The latest Existing Home Sales Report published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that 340,000 single-family homes sold in this country last month. NAR’s most recent Pending Sales Report (homes going into contract) surpassed last month’s number by over 44%, which far exceeded analysts’ projections of 15%. ShowingTime reported that appointments to see homes (both virtually and in-person) have increased in every region of the country and are up 21.4% nationwide over the same time last year.

While buyer activity is surging, the number of listings has fallen to an all-time low. Zelman Associates, in their latest residential real estate report, revealed that housing inventory as a percentage of households has fallen to 1.2%, which is half of the long-term average and lower than any other time in our history.

Bidding Wars Heating Up Again

With buyer demand growing and the supply of available homes shrinking, purchasers are again finding themselves needing to outbid other buyers. NAR, in a recent blog post, revealed:

“On average, there were about three offers on a home that closed in May, up from just about two in April 2020 and in May 2019 (2.3 offers).”

Bidding wars guarantee houses sell quickly at a price near or even slightly over the listing price.


Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of selling, don’t be concerned about putting your house on the market right now. There’s no better time to sell an item than when demand for it is high and supply is low. It is exactly at that time when you will negotiate your best possible deal.

How the Coronavirus Is Changing Some Boomers' Real Estate Plans for the Better


For baby boomers, the question of when—and where—they'll retire is a perennial topic of discussion. But with the novel coronavirus sweeping the globe, it has become an especially pressing question these days.

Many are feeling the pressure to ramp up their decision-making and act fast—between concerns over COVID-19 contagion, rampant layoffs, and new rounds of self-reckoning where they ponder "Why wait to realize my dreams?" Many believe that the time is now to make real estate decisions  they've been putting off—or they're changing course entirely.

Whether you're a boomer yourself or just paralyzed about your next move, these stories might inspire you to get unstuck, or at least realize that you aren't alone. Here's how the current coronavirus crisis has radically transformed three people's best-laid real estate plans for the better.

Kristin Donnan, 57, an author and arts advocate, had her retirement house all picked out: a one-level cottage in a vibrant, bustling 55-plus community near San Diego. She was preparing to make an offer.

There was just one thing she had to do first: Help her mother sell the property where she'd grown up in Hill City, SD. With 20 tree-filled acres, three buildings, and a barn, it needed some sprucing up and purging before it could fetch top dollar.

Donnan had moved back home temporarily to assist her mother in readying the compound, but had vowed to move on with her own plans once the property sold. But no buyers came knocking, and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

By April, "my urban friends in California were telling me what lockdown looked like," Donnan says. This prompted her to reconsider her plans to return to the "civilization" where she'd always assumed she'd end up.

“A lot of things made me think about leaving Hill City—including politics and the scarcity of cultural activities," she says. "I was eager to return to the conveniences of Southern California, willing to deal with traffic, too many people, earthquakes, smog, blackouts ... until COVID-19."

While Hill City may lack California's cultural buzz and arts scene, she realized there was value in "being out of the rat race and out of the panic," she explains. “The danger is very low here. My yoga studio just reopened. I can go to the grocery store, take a hike, visit others who are as isolated as I am, see a friend for tea. It’s calming."

So although her mother's house is still for sale, Donnan's life plans have changed course.

"I'll stay here until it sells and then move elsewhere in the area," she says. "There are events like wars and 9/11 that change everything. This is one of those moments. The pandemic has made me realize the benefits of having a place in rural America.”

Allyson, 60, a college consultant, and her husband, Al, a psychiatrist, always knew they’d sell the Westchester, NY, house where they'd raised their kids someday. The coronavirus, however, prompted these empty nesters to fast-forward their home-selling plans to right now.

“Selling our house has definitely become a priority,” Allyson says. The underlying motivations for unloading their Colonial—“our high taxes, not having kids in the schools anymore, and having more house than we need”—hadn’t changed. So what had?

“I heard that many New York City residents are trying to quickly move to the suburbs," Allyson explains. "I plan to hustle to get my house on the market and take advantage of that.”

Allyson says she's been talking with a friend who is a real estate agent, and is busy booking a painter and handyman to get her home in perfect shape for prospective buyers.

Since hiring professionals to come to the house is still dicey, the place may not hit the market until late summer or early fall, but it will definitely happen this year. Although it's stressful to deal with this work and a move during the coronavirus pandemic, they feel glad to get the wheels in motion for a process that can take many people years to accomplish.

As for where they'll move next, they haven't figured that out quite yet. But they are all but certain it will be farther away from the city, not closer. The coronavirus has crystallized that for them.

“I am a little fearful of living near New York City now primarily because of the density: What if this goes on and on or happens again?" she says. "I don't want to be cooped up with no place to go."

'COVID-19 convinced me to move to my retirement home early'

David, 66, who lives in Boston, thought he’d stay a New Englander for a few more years. But the COVID-19 pandemic galvanized his long-simmering plans to head south.

“I grew up in Georgia and miss some aspects of Southern life, including the weather,” he explains. "That becomes a bigger deal every year. But I wanted to keep earning as much as I could until age 70, the way you’re supposed to if you want the biggest Social Security income.”

However, since he works in fundraising for an arts organization, he’s seen his work hours dramatically reduced since COVID-19 came to town.

“Our organization came to almost a full stop, and, while still employed, I took a significant salary cut," he says. "And the fact that the arts will be among the last areas to reopen in hard-hit states makes me think my work life is over.”

David chooses to look at this as a glass half-full.

“It's a sign to move on to the next phase of life,” he says. "I've been talking about buying a little, cheap, beach-bum place in Florida for years. Now, I'm ready. This virus has brought me face to face with my mortality. The time to realize my dreams is now. There are no guarantees."

He is actively searching online for a cottage or condo near the water in the vicinity of Tallahassee, FL. Working with a local real estate agent, he’s doing virtual walk-throughs on FaceTime. While he's not sure if he'll actually buy a house sight unseen, he's excited to be laying the groundwork for the next phase of his life.

“Right now, I’m terrified to go to the Public Garden [in Boston] to see the flowers in bloom," he says. "The idea of having a laid-back life, listening to the surf, going fishing in Florida, that will be heaven! For me, this tragedy has a silver lining.”

Written by Janet Siroto for


Home Sellers Should Channel Patience as Time on Market Shoots Up During the Crisis


They say patience is a virtue. Home sellers attempting to unload their properties during this COVID-19 crisis may need to take those words to heart.

Nationally, homes are taking roughly 15 more days, or about 27% longer, to close than they did a year ago, according to®'s Weekly Housing Trends Report. It looked at data for the week ending May 16. This is the biggest increase in the number of days that homes spend on the market since 2013.

“Mid-May is normally the time of year when homes sell the fastest," as it's in the thick of the busy spring home-buying season, says Chief Economist Danielle Hale. But the coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing stay-at-home orders, surging unemployment, and likely economic recession are drastically slowing down the real estate market. "Today’s median time on market is more like what we usually see in late February or November."

Days on market have steadily been creeping up since the crisis began. In the first two weeks of March, before the pandemic reached crisis levels in America, homes were selling four days faster than the previous year. Less than two months later, homes were parked on the market for an additional 11 days compared with the year before. The next week, ending May 9, they were taking 13 days longer to move than in 2019.

“For buyers, it could be a sign that they don’t have to decide as quickly," says Hale. "For sellers, it just means they should be prepared for the process to take longer.”

However, a drop in new listings is also skewing the overall count of days on market. When a property is newly listed, it's recorded at zero days on the market. With many sellers reluctant to list their homes during a global health crisis, the remaining homes for sale have a higher average days on market, points out Hale.

She expects days on the market will drop again in the late summer as more cities loosen restrictions and more potential buyers can go back to work. That's when sales are likely to begin heating up again. Traditionally, the summer is the peak of the buying and selling season as families often want to move before the kids start school in the fall.

The housing market isn't just challenging for sellers. The number of new home listings also dropped 28% compared with a year ago—making it even harder for buyers to find their dream abodes. And that's an improvement as more states have reopened and are permitting in-person showings again. The number of new listings had fallen 39% year over year in the week ending May 2.

The overall number of listings was down 20% annually.

But buyers shouldn't bank on scoring a recession deal. Nationally, median home list prices were up 1.5% annually in the week ending May 16. While that rate of increase is below the 4% bump in prices seen in the first two weeks of March, it's still enough to dampen the enthusiasm of bargain hunters.

This "may be surprising to a lot of people," says Hale. Prices remain high because, despite the flagging economy, high unemployment, and general uncertainty, there are more home shoppers than sellers. That imbalance could result in even higher price jumps in the upcoming weeks and months.

"There are still buyers in the market, and there still aren’t a lot of homes for sale,” says Hale.


Written by Clare Trapasso for


First Impression, Lasting Impact: Entryway Essentials


Tips for staging a stellar entryway that will leave homebuyers wanting to see more.

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression – and neither does your house. When potential buyers open the front door, they form an opinion within seconds. And it’s all based on what’s in plain sight. Whether the space is grand or petite, entryway staging can influence a client’s perspective on the entire house.

To avoid a negative first impression that sends potential buyers running out the door, consider these tips for staging a stellar entryway that hints at what’s to come during the showing.

1. De-Clutter

Touring a messy home won’t give potential buyers the opportunity to visualize their fresh start. Afterall, they’ll want to imagine their own shoes by the door without tripping over yours. Start by removing clutter from primary surface areas, including the floor, shoe rack, and table or hutch. Ensure that items like receipts, dog leashes and mail are out of sight. If you have an entryway closet, try to eliminate and relocate 50% of its contents (like coats) for showings. A half-empty closet will appear larger and more spacious.

Leaving a few garments behind looks polished while still being realistic. For example, try hanging a simple brown tote bag on a hook by the door. Consider which of your practical pieces look best on display and keep things very minimal.

2. Maximize Storage

There are plenty of multi-functional pieces available that serve as stylish furniture while providing sneaky storage. If you have a little square footage to spare, consider a bench with built-in storage – it provides a place to sit without wasting the space below and allows more room to accessorize. Additionally, look for pieces like this hutch designed specifically for shoes that still has ample surface area to serve as your main entryway table.

For truly tiny spaces, opt for creative storage alternatives like floating shelves and wall hooks. These highly popular, functional options still provide room for on-the-go essentials without usurping the limited floor space.

3. Refine Décor

A beautiful entryway will operate as a stand-alone space rather than an afterthought. Adding a cozy rug or runner – separate from the functional doormat – can be the framework to define an entryway’s space.

Make the transition from outside to inside more gradual with the addition of houseplants. Plants promote tranquility and fill space during showings after you have minimized personal décor, like family photos. While streamlining clutter is crucial, the space can’t end up looking neglected – a potted leafy plant, like a snake plant, atop your entryway table adds a pop of natural color, while preventing the surface from looking scarce. If you’re known to be an unsuccessful plant-parent, consider a realistic-looking artificial plant. Keep the space refined by having a small basket, jar or ceramic dish on the entryway table as the go-to spot for keys and other pocket-dwelling items.

4. Keep It Clean

Even the most masterful staging won’t distract from dusty surfaces and muddy floors. Regular cleaning of the floor, front door and tabletop will keep your entryway or mudroom from looking like a genuine “mud” room. If your house is on the market during rainy or snowy seasons, consider getting a doormat that will help prevent dirty shoes from stepping foot through the door.

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Showing Procedures During COVID-19


During these unsettling times, sellers and buyers are concerned about staying healthy and virus-free as we all are.  To keep all parties safe, new procedures should be considered regarding the procedure for showing houses.

Agents are reporting that they are selling homes where the buyers have not physically been in the home and base their decision on the virtual tour found online.  Some states have suspended showings because they are not considered essential services and other states have not addressed the subject.

Real Estate Agent walking ahead of couple showing a new construction home

In the spirit of stepping up to do what is necessary, the following suggestions should be considered:

  • Buyers should view the pictures online first to see if the home meets their needs.  Most listing agents upload enough pictures to get a good idea of what a home looks like.
  • Buyers should ask their agent questions that the photos don't address.  Then, their agent can go through the listing agent to ask the seller direct.
  • It may be possible for the agent or owner to do a Facetime walk-through which would allow the buyers to ask questions and direct the agent or owner where to point the camera.
  • When possible, buyers can make an appointment to see the home through their agent.  They should meet the agent at the home in their own car.  No children should attend showings.
  • Recommended safe distances will be maintained between the owners and listing agent, if present, the buyers and their agent.
  • Transfer is almost inevitable, and all precautions should be taken.  Buyers should carry their own sanitizing wipes and or gloves and avoid unnecessarily touching surfaces.  Allow their agent to open doors and cabinets.
  • They should be disposed of in a trash bag in their car after they exit the home.

The social distancing and isolation could present some buying opportunities due to a lack of competition.  At the same time, the lack of inventory in many markets could keep prices high.  Overall, home prices nationwide are stable and, in many cases, continuing to rise which makes it a far less volatile alternative to investing in the stock market.   

With mortgage rates being at historic lows, there will probably never be a cheaper time to finance a home. 

Thank you again for looking at our listings and let us know if we can help you in anyway.

Please stay safe; wash your hands; practice social distancing and follow all the guidelines necessary to promote good health. We're all in this together!

Instant Buyers Save Time But Cost Money


CAUTION:  "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

There are a multitude of companies across the Internet, referred to as iBuyers, who are suggesting that sellers can save the hassle of putting their home on the market, showings, repairs, open houses and other things by accepting their instant offer to purchase.

The adage goes "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."  The price to be paid for the convenience of not having to deal with the hassle is a lower net sales price than you'd probably realize if you took a more conventional approach to selling your home.

These companies are not charities and therefore, will need to make a profit.  The offer you receive is based on an automated value model that takes public information about your home and the market to arrive at a price.  Since the "buyer" of your home will then become a seller, the costs for the commission, repairs, selling expenses, holding costs and other things will have to be considered in the price you'll be offered.

For the company to take on the risk associated with owning an asset of that size, they will have to anticipate expenses that may not actually be incurred.  Some of these companies may even factor in a profit also.

There may be situations when an iBuyer or instant buyer would be worth it due to the circumstances.  However, if a seller wants to maximize the equity out of their home, it may not give them the proceeds they want, need and/or deserve.

An owner who has made an investment in the home for years along with the risk and responsibility of ownership, deserves to maximize the proceeds they can receive. 

At the very least, contact us so we can evaluate your home personally so you will be sure to consider things that automated value models do not.  We can also estimate what a reasonable sales price could be, how long it may take to sell and what marketing efforts would be needed. 

Contact the Gingle Lerman Realty Group at



Ideally, what every owner wants when they sell their home is to get the highest possible sales price in the shortest period with the least inconveniences. They may not realize that's what they want but if you ask enough questions, they are the three most common expectations.

Even when REALTORS® put their home on the market, they have the same three expectations.

The challenge is that to achieve two of these may come at the expense of the third item. The maximum price in the shortest time may not be the most convenient. The shortest time with the least inconvenience may not achieve the maximum price. The maximum price with the least inconvenience may not occur in the shortest time.

It can certainly be the goal to achieve all three, but realistic expectations are important.

If the home is priced below market value, it will probably sell quicker. If the home is in good condition, it will probably sell for a higher price. If there is less competition on the market than normal, it could favorably affect the time and price.

Managing these expectations could be the reason that nine out of ten homeowners entrusted the sale of their home to real estate professionals last year. Owners can increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome by sharing their expectations with agents prior to listing their home for sale.

Think of The Gingle Lerman Realty Group as an invaluable part of the team who is going to help you meet your expectations. We need to know your expectations and your timetable. We know the market and how to get you the maximum price in the shortest time with the least inconvenience.

The Gingle Lerman Realty Group can also coordinate with the other professionals involved that will make up your team. We can make recommendations based on experience to ensure that they'll do what is needed when it needs to be done.

The bottom line is that it takes a group of skilled people to sell a home. It takes good communication so that everyone understands the goals. And, it takes someone you can trust to coordinate everything.
The Gingle Lerman Realty Group