The Blackwell Group https://raquelblackwell.com Proudly Serving Cambridge & Surrounding Areas Wed, 19 Aug 2020 05:37:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 https://raquelblackwell.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/cropped-proxy-image-32x32.png The Blackwell Group https://raquelblackwell.com 32 32 Fresh Vegetables, Chicken & Eggs All In Your Own Backyard! https://raquelblackwell.com/fresh-vegetables-chicken-eggs-all-in-your-own-backyard/ https://raquelblackwell.com/fresh-vegetables-chicken-eggs-all-in-your-own-backyard/#respond Thu, 26 Sep 2019 19:56:42 +0000 https://www.raquelblackwell.com/?p=6272

Fresh Ayr Farm is a small farm run by Ben and Kate Constable in Ayr, Ontario. Their mission is to raise vegetables and animals as naturally, respectfully and compassionately as possible and to bring great tastes to your table.

Can you imagine getting your vegetables fresh from a farm every week? That’s the service Ben and Kate Constable provide our amazing community!

 

Ben And Kate Constable

Ben and Kate Constable have been living at Fresh Ayr Farm since 2016. They started out with a few chickens, And a rescue dog named Nessa, and a dream of growing food as compassionately as possible.

Now they have expanded to many more chickens, another dog (Peigi), a flock of sheep, and a big field of vegetables! They are happy to have visitors so if you would like to come and say hello, you can send them an email at freshayrfarm@outlook.com or call them at 519-998-1909!

https://youtu.be/PAwmHwSAoDE

Community Supported Agriculture Program

If you watched the above video, you would have heard about their Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA Program) that they provide from June to October.

You can read in detail about the program on their website at https://freshayrfarm.wordpress.com/csa/ but in short, the program is a vegetable box program consisting of 20 weekly boxes of mixed seasonal vegetables with some added herbs. 

If any of the above interests you, be sure to check out Ben and Kate at https://freshayrfarm.wordpress.com/

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Asparagus...All Year Round? https://raquelblackwell.com/asparagus-all-year-round/ https://raquelblackwell.com/asparagus-all-year-round/#respond Wed, 18 Sep 2019 18:14:36 +0000 https://www.raquelblackwell.com/?p=5249

Welcome to Barrie’s Asparagus Farm! Their Country Market is open year round, seven days a week. They grow asparagus, rhubarb, sweet corn and pumpkins and offer a full line of innovative products containing their asparagus. They take great pride in offering you the freshest possible local foods from neighbouring farms like theirs. Come out to Barrie’s Asparagus Farm and enjoy the harvest, from the field to table! 

How is Barrie’s Asparagus open year round?

Obviously every vegetable has a prime season (For asparagus it’s between May and June) But what the wonderful people at Barrie’s Asparagus have done is, putting asparagus into as many products as possible! These are just SOME of the products they sell.

Barrie’s Asparagus Fusilli Pasta (as featured at Borealis Grille & Bar)
Barrie’s Asparagus Pasta Sauces (Parmesan & Asparagus or Garden Vegetable)
Barrie’s Asparagus & Ricotta Cheese Ravioli
Barrie’s Asparagus Gluten-FreeTortilla Chips
Barrie’s Asparagus Salsa (Mild or Medium)
Barrie’s Asparagus Pickled Asparagus
Barrie’s Asparagus Pickled Green Beans (and every other pickled product you can think of)
Barrie’s Asparagus Gluten-Free Asparagus Flour
Barrie’s Asparagus Gluten-Free Sweet Potato & Asparagus Flour
Barrie’s Asparagus Vegetable Crackers
Barrie’s Asparagus Stone Wheat Crackers
Barrie’s Asparagus Relish (Sweet Cucumber & Asparagus or Zesty Red Pepper & Asparagus)

They even sell soap. Yes, Soap. So throw away those spears of Asparagus you’ve been showering with and grab some soap!

All of their Asparagus is Hand-Picked

The only Machines you’ll being seeing at Barrie’s is a the team of farmers that hand pick every.single.peice of your aspagus. Talk about love.

Local Jobs and Supporting the Community

If you watched the video, You can see that Barrie’s Asparagus is a big believer in local work. They try to provide as many jobs to Ontarians as possible. Never outsourcing to other places.

Be sure to Check out this amazing farm when you have the chance!

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A Window In Your Kitchen Floor. The Reason? Click To Find Out... https://raquelblackwell.com/a-window-in-your-kitchen-floor-the-reason/ https://raquelblackwell.com/a-window-in-your-kitchen-floor-the-reason/#respond Tue, 30 Oct 2018 23:26:31 +0000 https://www.raquelblackwell.com/?p=5327 At first glance, you might be thinking “bomb shelter”… but it’s really more like the bomb. I’m not exactly sure how this would affect resale value, but ya know what — I don’t care. It’s the slickest upgrade I’ve seen in a home in a long while. And I’m jealous!

From this angle is just looks weird and out of place.

Ah, it’s a hatch door to a room below. What’s down there?

The most incredible wine cellar you’ve ever seen. That’s what!


Pro tip: Don’t attempt descending down these stairs after a few glasses of wine.


From this angle is just looks weird and out of place. And it’s definitely a conversation starter.

What’s a dream home without a wine cellar like this?!

You can choose to keep your wine cellar hidden, like this…Or you can make it the focal point of the room.

Even if you don’t drink wine, the cellar could be used for extra storage space. These cellars can cost upwards of $40,000. They may not fit your budget, but if you can afford it… why not?!

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Open House Etiquette 101: A Guide For Buyers https://raquelblackwell.com/open-house-etiquette-101-a-guide-for-buyers/ https://raquelblackwell.com/open-house-etiquette-101-a-guide-for-buyers/#respond Sun, 28 Oct 2018 00:27:06 +0000 https://www.raquelblackwell.com/?p=5317 Open houses can be an interesting experience for first-time buyers and seasoned buyers alike — especially if the owners are still living in the home.

It can be a bit awkward walking through someone’s home, looking at their things, and judging whether their property is a place you can envision as a home for you and your family.

But it doesn’t have to be awkward! As long as you know what’s appropriate in terms of etiquette, open houses can be a breeze.

So, what are the rules for open houses? What’s proper etiquette? And how should you as a buyer behave when attending an open house?

Treat the host with respect

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The first — and most important — rule of open house etiquette is to treat your host with respect. Whether you’re dealing with a real estate agent, an owner, or both, it’s important that you’re polite and respectful. If you fall in love with the property but made a bad impression at the open house, the owner or agent will likely be less inclined to work with you.

No need to go overboard, but make sure you say hello to the host and thank them for having you. Sign in and leave your contact information. Say goodbye when you leave.

Treat the host the way you’d like to be treated if you had a bunch of strangers walking through your house.

Don’t take a seat

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The last thing you want to do when touring an open house is make yourself comfortable and take a seat on a chair, couch, bed or any other piece of furniture.

There are a few reasons for this. If the house is staged, the furniture might not even be real; professional stages are known to use fake furniture like cardboard couches to keep the budget down. And if you sit on one of these fake pieces of furniture, you’ll likely to fall straight through and end up on the floor.

If the house isn’t staged and the owners are still living in the house, it’s disrespectful to sit on their furniture without their invitation to do so. You don’t need to know if the couch is comfortable in order to make a decision about the property, so keep off.

Ask before snapping photos

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If you like a property, you may want to take photos to share with your family or review after the open house. And while that’s usually fine, it’s important that you ask before you snap any photo or video.

Remember, if the owners are still living in the property, that’s their home. There might be things in their home they would rather not have photographed, so make sure to get permission before you get out your camera.

Be efficient

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When attending an open house, it’s important that you’re efficient and get in and out in a reasonable amount of time. While open houses typically run for a few hours at a time, there’s no need to spend more than a few minutes walking through the house.

Tour the entire property, take notes, ask any questions, then leave. By using your time efficiently, you’re respecting the hosts and allowing them to show the property to other potential buyers.

Don’t overstep your boundaries

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It’s important when touring an open house that you don’t overstep your boundaries.

It’s ok to look in the master closet to check for spaciousness; it’s not ok to rummage through the drawers. It’s ok to open the refrigerator to make sure it’s working properly; it’s not ok to grab a bottle of water out of it.

It’s ok to explore the property, but it’s not ok to treat it as if it was your own. Use your best judgement.

Don’t criticize the property while you’re still in it

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Chances are, there are going to be a few open houses you attend where you absolutely hate the property. And that’s ok! Seeing properties that aren’t the right fit for you and your family is just part of the process of buying a home.

However, it’s important to remember that the open house you’re attending is a house that belongs to someone. And badmouthing the home while you’re still inside it is just bad form. Even if the owner isn’t in the house, you never know who might overhear you, like the real estate agent or a neighbor.

You wouldn’t want someone you invited into your home to criticize it. So don’t do the same at an open house. Wait until after you leave to share your criticisms with your partner, family, or agent.

Attending an open house can be a great way to find your dream home. And now that you know the proper etiquette, it’s time to get out there and start exploring some open houses!

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13 Weird Real Estate Facts To Entertain Your Brain https://raquelblackwell.com/13-weird-real-estate-facts-to-entertain-your-brain/ https://raquelblackwell.com/13-weird-real-estate-facts-to-entertain-your-brain/#respond Sun, 21 Oct 2018 21:42:22 +0000 https://www.raquelblackwell.com/?p=5276 1. The makers of “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” had to downsize their makeovers due to families not being able to afford utility bills.
Photo by Mike Yukhtenko on Unsplash

2. The world’s largest treehouse has over 80 rooms, 10 floors and has taken the builder over 14 years to build.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

3. From 1949 – 1952, the white house was completely gutted and rebuilt with concrete and steel beams in place of its original wooden joists.

Image by Wikipedia

4. Fans of the hit TV show “Breaking Bad” continue to drive by and throw pizzas onto the roof of building featured as Walter White’s house.

Photo by Andreas Weiland on Unsplash

5. In 2013, 300 teenagers broke into a home while the owner was away and caused $20,000 in damages. Some of the parents threatened to sue the owner for outing them on Twitter.

Photo by Julián Gentilezza on Unsplash

6. There’s a company that specializes in building secret rooms and hidden passageways (one requires a chess board played in a certain combination to unlock)

Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

7. There are hundreds of ancient stones along the coast of Japan’s tsunami affected areas that says, “Do not build your homes below this point!”

Photo by Aleks Dahlberg on Unsplash

8. There is a machine that transforms concrete rubbleinto Lego like building blocks. The blocks allow victims of war or natural disasters to construct their own new, earthquake resistant houses.

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

9. The Empire State Building makes more money from ticket sales for its observation decks than it does from renting office space

Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash

10. Built in 1859, the Cooper Union Foundation Building included an elevator shaft in anticipation of elevators someday being invented.

Photo by Jørgen Håland on Unsplash

11. There are castles for sale in France that cost less than a two bedroom apartment in Australia.

Photo by Nirzar Pangarkar on Unsplash

12. The location of Tony Stark’s mansion in Iron Man is the same cliff from Planet of the Apes where the Statue of Liberty is sticking out from the sand.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

13. Most traditional Chinese temples were designed with curved roofs to ward off evil spirits, which are thought to only move in straight lines.

Photo by Lin Qiang on Unsplash
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9 Surefire Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Home https://raquelblackwell.com/9-surefire-signs-youve-outgrown-your-home/ https://raquelblackwell.com/9-surefire-signs-youve-outgrown-your-home/#respond Thu, 18 Oct 2018 21:27:30 +0000 https://www.raquelblackwell.com/?p=5266 When you first moved into your house, you probably felt like the king or queen of your castle. But over time, as you began to accumulate everything from furnishings and appliances to children and pets, your home may seem to have shrunk.

While the square footage hasn’t changed, your living space has likely undergone a significant downsizing with so many other people and things fighting for house room.

Wondering if there’s a move in your immediate future? Check out these 9 signs you’ve outgrown your home.

1. Your stairs double as shelving.

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If you’re lacking counter or drawer space, you may resort to using your staircase as a place to stash everything from toys and shoes to books and junk mail. While it’s tempting to take advantage of this otherwise-wasted area, you’re increasing your chances of falling — especially when you’re in a hurry. Don’t do it!

2. You’re forced to host your Super Bowl party in shifts.

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Sure, it’d be nice to have all your friends over for a visit at the same time, but there’s nowhere to sit and soon it’s louder than a Rage Against the Machine concert. In other words, it’s not pleasant for anyone. Don’t lose half your friends just because you can’t fit them in your place.

3. The line for your toilet reminds you of Lollapalooza.

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Anyone with a family and one bathroom will tell you the whole situation stinks. (Pun intended.) Especially as kids approach their teen years and showering is no longer considered a punishment, needing another bathroom becomes imperative.

4. You think of your car as a closet on wheels.

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Short on closet space? It can force you to get creative. But keeping your toiletries and shoes in your car is no way to live. If you’ve gone out to your mini-van in pajamas in search of more toothpaste, it’s time to start looking for a new home (with plenty of closets!).

5. Sending the kids to a boarding preschool is sounding better and better.

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Sure, you’ll miss the little guys, but, hey, you’ll see them at the holidays, right? Just make sure they take all their toys, games, and stuffed animals with them.

6. When you hear friends are visiting from out of town, you feel faint.

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Though you may not have considered yourself claustrophobic in the past, if the thought of more people staying under your roof makes you woozy, it’s probably time for a bigger place.

7. You’ve begun to envy your pooch’s luxurious accommodations.

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Maybe being “in the doghouse” isn’t that bad after all. If your dog looks more comfortable than you do, you’ve got an issue.

8. Your home’s endearing features are losing their charm.

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What you once thought of as clever and quirky, now just seems flat out annoying. Murphy beds, we’re looking at you.

9. You’ll go anywhere… but home.

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Lingering longer at the gym? Last one to leave the office? Letting friends and family know you’re available for Thanksgiving when it’s only August? If you’ll do anything to avoid going back to your cramped abode, it’s time to pack up and move along.

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7 Pricing Myths You Need to Get Past If You Want to Sell Your Home https://raquelblackwell.com/7-pricing-myths-you-need-to-get-past-if-you-want-to-sell-your-home/ https://raquelblackwell.com/7-pricing-myths-you-need-to-get-past-if-you-want-to-sell-your-home/#respond Sun, 14 Oct 2018 19:56:32 +0000 https://www.raquelblackwell.com/?p=5252

When homeowners are preparing to put their properties on the market, one aspect is usually foremost in their minds: money. Setting the asking price accurately can mean the difference between getting an offer quickly and having a house languish for months, drawing little interest.

With that in mind, it’s important that potential sellers block out a lot of the noise that often surrounds the intricate art and science of pricing. There are plenty of myths that may cause sellers to lose sleep at night as they attempt to separate fact from fiction.

The following are statements that can stand in the way of a successful sale.

1. ‘If we keep waiting, a better offer will come along!’

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When sellers receive an offer from the first showing, they may be skeptical or hesitant to accept it, wondering if other prospective buyers would be inclined to pay more. Thoughts of potential bidding wars could cause sellers to want to wait and see who else falls for their place. But, remember the old adage, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?” There’s no guarantee other would-be buyers are waiting around the corner. If the offer is a fair one, entertain it and count your blessings.

2. ‘Getting an offer right away, means the agent priced it too low!’

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When sellers receive an offer early in the process, as excited as they might be, many can’t help but wonder, “Should we have asked for more money? Did our agent price it too cheaply?” While it’s natural to be skeptical (and even a little greedy), receiving an offer on the early end of the spectrum most likely means your home was priced accurately and attractively. If you trust your agent, you know he or she didn’t pick a number out of the sky, but rather based it on extensive market research. So, be glad your sale is moving in the right direction.

3. ‘We should price it so there’s room to negotiate!’

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Let’s be honest: Most sellers would love to get top dollar for their homes. But overpricing it with the intention of being willing to accept a lower offer may just leave you empty handed in the long run. Plus, if you have to drop your ask multiple times, buyers may begin to wonder what’s wrong with the place — other than the price, that is.

4. ‘That’s not what my Zestimate says it’s worth!’

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Have you ever noticed how homeowners are eager to believe Zestimates or other automated valuation models when that price exceeds their expectations? Yet, when the opposite happens, they assume it’s outdated or erroneous information? The point we’re making is, these numbers can be inaccurate, so again, trust your agent over the Internet. Enough said.

5. ‘We can add all renovation costs to the asking price!’

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Sellers may adore the improvements and renovations they’ve made and want to add in those costs to the asking price. But remember, not every change is going to land a huge return on investment. If you’re curious about what you can expect on those fixes, check out Remodeling Magazine‘s annual ‘Cost Versus Value’ report to get an idea of which upgrades yield the biggest bang for your buck. Also, as you’re making changes, bear in mind that the infinity pool you view as an asset may just seem like a huge liability to a buyer.

6. ‘My Realtor® overpriced my house to make a larger commission.’

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Agents are paid a percentage of the selling price of the home. However, even if they were to raise the ask by $25,000, in most cases that would yield an additional $1,500 in commission, which would then be divvied up between the broker the agent is working for and the buyer’s agent, leaving your agent with less than $750 more in his or her pocket. It’s hard to imagine an agent would blow a potential quick sale — and take on weeks or months of additional showings and marketing expenses — for a few hundred dollars.

7. ‘Reducing the price is a sign of weakness!’

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While no homeowner is eager to drop the listing price, if time is passing and there’s been little interest, it could be time to consider lowering the ask. Remember, time is money. While you’re waiting for someone to meet your price, you’re still paying the mortgage, taxes, utilities, and insurance etc. Plus, sometimes, lowering the price can put your home in front of a group of new buyers, which could generate a lot more interest and, ultimately, get the price back up closer to where it was in the first place.

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8 Creative Ways to Revive Thanksgiving Leftovers https://raquelblackwell.com/8-creative-ways-to-revive-thanksgiving-leftovers/ https://raquelblackwell.com/8-creative-ways-to-revive-thanksgiving-leftovers/#respond Mon, 08 Oct 2018 22:17:02 +0000 https://www.raquelblackwell.com/?p=5211

Ditch overstuffed sandwiches in favor of these good-as-new dish ideas.

For some of us, leftovers are the whole point of Thanksgiving. Really, is there anything better than a late-night turkey sandwich piled high with stuffing, mashed potatoes and relish? But after your fourth such meal, it’s easy to start questioning the impulse that had you toting home all those plastic containers. Before you give up hope, here are eight delicious ideas for using up the last of the big bird –– and none of them involve placing anything between two slices of bread.

The Leftover: Mashed Potatoes

The Second Act: Mashed Potato Pizza

Try this twist on a white pie: Prebake your favorite pizza dough until the edges are just set, then spread with leftover mashed potatoes (the garlickier the better), and sprinkle with shredded cheddar or mozzarella. Crumbled bacon is optional, though highly recommended.

The Leftover: Green Beans

The Second Act: Thanksgiving Fried Rice

This kitchen-sink solution is especially forgiving during the holidays, since you can load it up with all kinds of leftovers. Stir-fry chopped cooked beans (and any other leftover veggies) in oil, then add cold cooked rice, and toss until coated and warm. Fold in leftover turkey or ham, and add a splash of soy sauce. Serve topped with a fried egg.

The Leftover: Cranberry Sauce

The Second Act: Hot Cereal Mix-In

Why limit yourself to raisins? Swirl a scoop of cranberry relish into hot oatmeal, quinoa porridge or cream of wheat for a sweet-tart and colorful addition to breakfast. The condiment is also tasty mixed into cream cheese for your morning bagel.

The Leftover: Gravy

The Second Act: Poutine

Drizzle hot french fries with warm leftover gravy and sprinkle with crumbled cheese curds for the classic Canadian late-night snack. Gravy also delivers a shot of savory when stirred into risotto, mac and cheese, and soup.

The Leftover: Stuffing

The Second Act: Brunch Frittata

Let flavor-soaked cubes of bread stand in for potatoes in this breakfast winner: warm stuffing in a nonstick oven-proof skillet (cast iron is good). Add beaten eggs and your favorite shredded cheese, cook until just set, then pop under the broiler until cooked through and golden.

The Leftover: Sweet Potato Casserole

The Second Act: Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Ditch the marshmallow topping, and simmer leftover sweet potatoes with curry paste, chicken stock and coconut milk for a fragrant soup that would also be great with any leftover green vegetables you may have on hand. The love-it-or-hate-it side dish also makes a wicked addition to pancake batter and (surprise!) hummus.

The Leftover: Roasted Turkey

The Second Act: Pan-Fried Dumplings

Bye-bye, turkey pot pie. Try this instead: Toss finely chopped roasted turkey, carrots, scallions and ginger with enough beaten egg white to moisten. Stuff wonton wrappers with the filling, pan-fry and serve with soy sauce for dipping.

The Leftover: Apple Pie

The Second Act: Apple Pie Milkshakes

Add a slice of apple pie to your favorite milkshake combo (we like milk, vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon) and blend. You can top with a drizzle of caramel sauce if gilding the lily is your thing.

 

Images and recipes credit to foodnetwork.com

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17 Dad Joke One-Liners That’ll Have You Groaning (Real Estate Version) https://raquelblackwell.com/17-dad-joke-one-liners-thatll-have-you-groaning-real-estate-version/ https://raquelblackwell.com/17-dad-joke-one-liners-thatll-have-you-groaning-real-estate-version/#respond Fri, 05 Oct 2018 20:59:03 +0000 https://www.raquelblackwell.com/?p=5202

The might just be the best (or worst?) dad joke one-liners you’ll ever see — real estate related or not. Whether you’re being subjected to this type of humor on a daily basis, or remembering them with nostalgia this Father’s Day… enjoy!

And to the dads reading this, Happy Father’s Day! You can’t go wrong with a nice, healthy list of clean dad jokes to add to your repertoire when it’s time to embarrass your kids.

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8 Mistakes First-Time Home Sellers Make & How to Avoid Them https://raquelblackwell.com/8-mistakes-first-time-home-sellers-make-how-to-avoid-them/ https://raquelblackwell.com/8-mistakes-first-time-home-sellers-make-how-to-avoid-them/#respond Tue, 02 Oct 2018 20:55:46 +0000 https://www.raquelblackwell.com/?p=5188

Plenty of home sellers consider their places to be coveted properties that others would be lucky to own. But, that hubris can often lead to trouble when it comes to actually landing an offer and closing a sale.

First-time sellers in particular exhibit some self-sabotaging behaviours that can trip them up on the way getting the deal done. The following are the most common mistakes they make and how to avoid them.

1. Thinking they can go it alone

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Selling a home is not for the faint of heart, nor is it an easy DIY project. First-time home sellers quickly realize marketing and showing their property is a full-time job. Unless they’re experts in real estate contracts, appraisals, inspections, and other documentation, they can end up make costly errors. Fortunately, this is an easy one to fix: Hire a licensed agent.

2. Wanting to price it too high

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Homeowners may think they’re living in the perfect home, but pricing it too high will render it a white elephant. It’s great to be optimistic that you’ll make a nice profit, but it’s important to be realistic and price a home accurately. Remember, time is money. Seeking top dollar can cost you if your home remains on the market far longer than you’d planned.

3. Being unwilling to negotiate

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Just because an offer comes in lower than a seller might have hoped, that’s no reason to take it personally and refuse to negotiate. Think of an offer as a starting point that leads to a compromise that works for both parties.

4. Not doing a thorough cleaning

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From the moment sellers decide to put their places on the market, they should begin cleaning and decluttering to make the home look as attractive and well-kept as possible. Staging is important, but experts agree, nothing makes a home shine quite like a thorough cleaning.

5. Making it difficult for agents to show it

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Sure, last-minute showings can be inconvenient, but if sellers really want to make a deal, they have to be willing to let an agent and prospective buyers inside. Thinking a two-hour open house once a week is going to be enough is some serious wishful thinking.

6. Refusing to take the agent’s advice

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Homeowners often think they know their properties better than anyone, so why should they take any advice — even from a professional? Because you’ll benefit from the wisdom and experience of a professional. If your agent suggests that you stash your garden gnome collection in the shed or fix that rickety staircase, just do it.

7. Being unwilling to make changes

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Things like kitchen and bathroom updates can make a home look more attractive and move more quickly as it means less work a buyer will need to tackle after moving in. Still, some sellers dig in their heels and decide to adopt a “take it or leave it” attitude. Sadly, many buyers will choose to leave it.

8. Not considering the next move

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Homes can sell more quickly — or more slowly — than anyone, including even a Realtor®, can anticipate. So it’s important to have a back-up plan either way.

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