**It’s so crazy to think that I drafted this blog post just seven weeks ago after we went to contract on the sale of our condo. I didn’t want to publish it until we officially closed. Life has changed so much since late February, and I want to acknowledge that first and foremost- health and safety of my community is what matters most to me. I fully recognize that as #1 priority.
Little did I know that a massive global pandemic would paralyze the economy in the time since this post was written. Recently, someone made a comment to me about how she couldn’t believe people would “even think about purchasing or a selling a home during this time”. As I shared on stories, I felt a lot of guilt over pressing on with our move during this pandemic. The last thing I would want to do is come across as unsympathetic to the people who are suffering most during this time. As much as we would have loved to press pause on our pending real estate transactions, we really couldn’t do so. Similarly, many realtors in our area can’t simply press pause. They have families to support. The current situation has caused people to get creative when it comes to home-buying and selling. With that, I will say, “I hope you will find this post as a ray of hopeful sunshine and a welcome distraction.“**
I’m no expert in real estate, but I like to think we know how to surround ourselves with people who are. I usually hate the phrase, “it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.” But, in this case- the saying applies 100%. In a nutshell, we went to contract on our condo in exactly 4 days. From list to contract, and yes, I’m being serious.
- Know your neighborhood
Thanks to Zillow, Home Snap, and tons of other online resources, it is easy to research your neighborhood without even asking a real estate agent. Ben and I have been watching listings in our neighborhood for years. Before we even spoke with our agent, we had an idea of what we thought was reasonable to sell for. (Our agent exceeded that expectation by over 15% by the way!) We sat down and talked about our neighborhood from the buyer’s perspective and decided there were things we wanted highlighted in the listing. Everything in a positive light. Our home is 1/4 mile from two train stations which allows you to be in the city in under an hour. We also live 2 miles from the center of both Darien and Stamford- talk about location. We left off details like the fact our building is a dated, ugly brown color and sits a stone’s throw away from the train tracks. You can sit on the deck and wave to commuters on the train- no joke.
- Invest in the best agent you can find
We are very lucky, because my best friend has been a realtor for years. Her father works as a contractor, and she has always just had a knack for finding good places. She is super-aggressive in all the best ways. I’ve mentioned her before as she is the one who somehow manages to convince me that I need fifteen different kitchen gadgets I never knew existed.
She is now living in Colorado, she referred us to Ben. Since I’m married to a Ben, we had to rename our realtor “Realtor Ben”. We trusted Realtor Ben completely and communicated with him honestly.
He invested in professional photographs that Lindsay then used to create a listing site for us on Adobe. I truly think these pictures created the hype that Lindsay and Realtor Ben wanted. Ben and I were shocked to get dozens of people seeing our condo in the first two days and multiple offers by Day 3 on the market.
- Pay for professional cleaning
We’re very tidy and clean our condo weekly. That being said, we wanted a deep clean of every crevice of space in our condo. Nothing turns off potential buyers like dust or gunk on your kitchen counters. To us ,this was worth every dime. It also minimized our stress every time we had to leave the house for showings.
- Put away all the crap
I should rephrase, because it isn’t actually crap. However, I don’t think potential buyers want to see the paper fan Ben got me in Bermuda three years ago or the catch-all filled with approximately 4,000 pairs of SheLaLa earrings. We organized our closets and put everything away.
- Just get out of there!
Just three hours after the listing went live, we started having showings. It was nonstop for the next 36 hours. We packed up our things, took out the garbage, and got out. The realtors can’t do their thing if you’re home all the time. Initially, we were bummed to be kicked out at 7pm on Valentine’s Day as we had originally planned to cook dinner together. We went out for sushi in our gym clothes and used it as a time to review the inspection on the home we’re buying. (Talk about a fun memory)
- Fresh flowers and essential oils
I have to thank my buddy Caitlin Houston for suggesting fresh flowers. I put hydrangeas out, and I think they were a nice touch in the main area. I also had Thieves and Lemon going in our diffuser during all the showings.
I can’t believe we have officially handed off the baton on the condo in Stamford. We are excited that another young couple is going to put their mark on it. Funny story- the people who bought our condo have a black cat, too. So, I guess you can say Delaney, our devilish black cat, may have helped sell the place for us. If you are selling a home in lower Fairfield County, I can’t recommend Realtor Ben and the team at Higgin’s Group enough.