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Information pertinent to Frederick home sellers.

“What Are The Most Important Things To Do To Get My Home Ready to Sell?”

“What Are The Most Important Things To Do To Get My Home Ready to Sell?”

Sellers Ask: “What Are The Most Important Things To Do To Get My Home Ready to Sell?”

When we get the question, the answer differs of course, depending on the individual and their house. But there are a few general guidelines that are universal.  There are several things that are not necessarily major items, but are very important.  They have a huge return on investment (ROI) because for the most part, they cost your time and energy. Let’s see how to best “Get my home ready to sell!”

1.  First Impressions

What the buyer sees when they first drive up to your house makes an impression through which the rest of your house is judged.  Really.  The easiest thing to do is to tidy up the front of the house.  Clean up the old, dead plant growth, and if the season is right, plants and flowers are welcoming. If you don’t have the space, some planters will be a great touch.

Get My Home Ready to SellClean the walkways and front steps, rent a power washer if necessary.  Repair wood rot on the trim, and above all else, paint the front door.  Replace old dingy door handles and the kick-plate.  A fresh coat of paint and welcoming entryway says, “this home is well-cared for.” This is one first impression that really matters.

2.  Buyers want to see your house, not your stuff

Declutter!  Rent a storage unit, have it hauled away, give it to charity, have a yard sale…whatever you need to do to get rid of it.  After you’ve done that, go through your house again, and see if there is anything you missed.  Pare down your closet, it looks like you have more space.  Put away small appliances and crocks in the kitchen, make as much counter space as you can without making it look barren. Pack away knick-knacks, collectibles, and photos as much as you can. De-personalizing is an important part of de-cluttering. It’s a woman’s preference, but if you can, put fresh flowers out before a showing.

3. Clean, then clean, and then clean some more

I’ve seen it with buyers over and over again, they can’t get past the dirt to see the house. Sometimes it helps to have a pair of fresh eyes to see the dirt we’ve just gotten used to.  This includes shampooing the carpet, and cleaning the floors well. Don’t forget the corners and out-of-the-way places. You’d be surprised where buyers look!

Get My Home Ready to Sell Cleaning also includes eliminating odors: pet odors, cooking spices and smelly athletic shoes. As with the other senses, it can help to have a friend come to your home and let you know what their first impression is. Sometimes we grow insensitive to the smells of our environment when we are there every day.

Remember: eliminate the smell when you get ready to sell.


4. A fresh coat of paint covers a multitude of sins…

and it doesn’t cost that much. Make sure its in neutral colors, and by neutral, I don’t necessarily mean white and beige. Avoid highly unusual designs, strong colors, or anything that is extreme. After all, you want your space to look good to the widest possible audience. In all your choices aim for universal appeal.

When choosing a color, consider the light in each room and how the color works with your things. It’s smart to get several small cans in varying hues and paint a sample in several rooms. Consult a stager if you are in need of good advice…we know a few.

5. Make the small repairs.

Even though they are small, they speak loudly. They shout out to buyers, “If they let the small things go, how have they handled the large things?” Then they continue to nag the buyers with hints of “deferred maintenance” well after they leave your home. A tube of caulk, a screwdriver and wrench, some spackle and paint are tools every homeowner should have.

Take a good look at the grout if you have ceramic tile. Give it a good cleaning and re-grout any areas that are chipped. If you don’t want to do an entire re-grouting job, and if you just can’t get it clean, there are some good grout stains on the market. They’re super easy to roll into the grout line.

And get some Mr. Clean Magic Erasers! The. Best. Tool. Ever!

These are some of the most important things every seller can do, no matter what the budget says. So make sure you do these before you start putting money into improvements and costly repairs. It doesn’t have to be expensive to “get my home ready to sell!”

Chris Highland 

eXp Realty – Text: 301-401-5119
Broker – 888-860-7369

When Is It A Good Time to Sell My Frederick MD Home?

When Is It A Good Time to Sell My Frederick MD Home?

Seller’s often Ask:  When Is It A Good Time To Sell My Home?

There are several aspects of selling a home that make this a more complicated question than we can answer in a single sentence. The complicating issue is, What’s your motivation, home seller? When is it a good time to sell my home… Sellers ask with different goals in mind: are you hoping to sell quickly? or to get top dollar? or both? Here are several types of motivations with a short answer to each:

Home Selling Motivations

When Is It A Good Time to My Home?
  • “I want to get the home sold quickly.” Then, the short answer is, you want to sell when demand is high. Combine that with a market with low inventory and you end up with a short selling time, or “Days on Market” DOM. The average DOM in Frederick County right now is 46 days, compared to 64 days at this time last year. This is another indication that right now, inventory is low and demand is high.
  • Similarly, “I need to sell quickly because I have to move for a new job.” In this case, you don’t want to waste time on the market. The longer your home sits on the market, the longer you are paying a mortgage on a home you don’t live in. You may be paying rent, or you may be waiting on the sale of your home to buy another home in your new location. This is a time to heed your real estate agent’s advice and price your home to sell…which means at market in most cases. If your home is in good condition and priced well, there is very little reason why it won’t sell.
  • “I want to get top dollar for my home.” Then, you need to not only list your home when demand is high and inventory is low (if that is possible). You also need to make sure your home is in the best condition possible compared to similar homes on the market. (For a more thorough listing strategy, see my post: 5 Keys to Getting Your Home SOLD)
  • “I need to do a short sale. When is it a good time to sell my home?” If you need to short sell your home, then the strategy for selling is entirely different than for a traditional sale. NOW is the time to list your home in the case of a short sale. In a situation of hardship, time is not on your side. You’ll be in a race against the bank(s) to get the home sold, and the process must be carefully executed. (Read more about Short Sales. If you are facing a hardship and you are underwater on your mortgage, Contact Chris for a discreet conversation about your options.)
  • “I want to get the most for my home, but I’m not in the position to do a lot of work on it.” In this case, you might be on the market for a while, or you might sell quickly. It depends on a lot of factors, like other comparable homes on the market, the selling time in your neighborhood and in your price range. Some neighborhoods and areas are in high demand and this makes a difference. Your home will also need to be priced accordingly. If it is in need of upgrades, then your expectation needs to be that you probably won’t get top dollar. You will need a local real estate agent who is knowledgeable in not only in your area, but in the market trends.
  • “I want to test the market. If I can get the price I want, then I will sell.” We hear this sometimes. The best advice I like to give is to consult a local expert agent, or two or three, get a good idea of what your real estate market is doing, whether demand is up or down. Get a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and get their advice on a marketing strategy. If you don’t like the answers, it’s probably not a good time for you to sell. You may want to wait until the market improves, or you may want to revise your expectations.

Determining Home Value

Remember, home sellers don’t determine the value of their home, the market does. A home is worth what buyers are willing to pay in the present market. Getting to that correct evaluation is what a qualified, experienced real estate professional does 365 days a year. Whether it’s a buyer’s market, seller’s market or a transitioning market, an experienced agent is studying the market every day. Read on for more information on determining your home’s value.

Seasonal Home Selling Advice

when is a good time to sell my homeMany sellers decide to choose the time to sell their home that fits with their seasonal life schedule. Families with school aged children, for example, often put their home on the market in spring, so they can have the summer to move, and so that their children can start the new school year off in their new school district, if they move to a different area. Some sellers must schedule around job changes, marriage, retirement, or other major life changes.

In these decisions, it is never a wrong time to put a home on the market at a time that fits with your circumstances. The priority of an easier transition into changing life circumstances is a major motivation that is important to consider during the stressful process of selling and buying a home.

Each season has its challenges and its benefits. Even though we have “traditional” ideas about real estate markets, it’s our experience that they don’t always hold true.


If you are selling a home during a particular season, here is some great home selling advice from some of my favorite real estate bloggers:

  • How to sell your home in the Spring, by Anita Clark, a residential Real Estate Agent in Warner Robins Georgia. Anita wisely points out that buyers often make their decision about your house within the first minutes. Taking advantage of spring plantings will make for great curb appeal.
  • Top 10 sizzling Summer homeselling tips, by Rochester NY Real Estate agent, Kyle Hiscock. Kyle points out the advantages to appealing to summer home shoppers…not the least of which is the nice weather. The pace of summer home shopping is often more relaxed, which appeals to many.
  • Tips for selling your home in the Fall, by Paul Sian, real estate agent in Greater Cincinnati, OH and Northern KY areas. Crisp air, turning foliage, and renewed interest in real estate after summer vacation is over…there are many reasons to appeal to the Fall home buyer.
  • How to sell a home in the Winter, by Bill Gassett, Metrowest MA Realtor®. Bill points out the importance of emphasizing the warmth and beauty of the winter season when selling your home. Additionally, winter buyers are generally more serious buyers.
  • Bonus! Should I sell my home during the Holidays, by Bill Gassett. Even though the winter holiday season is often the busiest time of the year, you may end up with the best buyers. Buyers who are looking during the holidays often have a time schedule in mind, which can be to a sellers advantage.

Choose the Time that Works for YOU

As you can see, the answers to the question of when it’s a good time to sell your home are not so simple. Several factors make selling a home more than a simple equation. Consult a local real estate agent who knows the market and the trends in your neighborhood. Consider that selling a home is a process, not an event. Make sure the process fits you and your life.

*  *  *

Schedule a consultation with Chris Highland for a free Comparative Market Analysis of your home:  301-401-5119.

Get an online valuation of your home’s value.


Consumer Confidence is on the Rise – What Does that Mean for Housing?

Consumer Confidence is on the Rise – What Does that Mean for Housing?

Consumer Confidence is Rising

Fannie Mae released the findings of the recent National Housing Survey this summer. Consumer’s opinions have been continually moving in a positive direction. Some of the positives that indicate Consumer Confidence has been on the rise for the last two years:

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) rose this summer to match the same number in February of this year, which was the highest level since December 2000. Several parts of this index include:

  • The net share who reported that now is a good time to sell a home reached a new record high, increasing an additional 7 percentage points
  • The net share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home increased 3 percentage points
  • The net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job fell 5 percentage points
  • Consumers are also growing more optimistic about their ability to get a mortgage

What is consumer confidence?

Consumer Confidence is an economic indicator that measures the degree of optimism that consumers feel about the overall state of the economy and their personal financial situation. The “Consumer Confidence” studies the “Spending” and “Saving” intention of customer.
The Conference Board, a non-profit research organization for businesses that distributes information about management and the marketplace, prepares the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI). It was first calculated in 1967, and is benchmarked to the 1985 score of 100. (The score has exceeded 100 consistently since October 2016)

Consumer Confidence measures the response to U.S. economic conditions and slightly drives economic conditions. The CCI is reported regularly and is considered an influence on consumer and business behavior.

The CCI has been consistently rising since the Since January 2016, with a score of 98.3. It rose to 111.8 in January 2017, and saw a sharp rise in March to 125.6, which was, like the HPSI mentioned above, the highest level since December 2000. Other indicators from this summer’s CCI report:

  • Higher confidence in the direction of the economy
  • More have seen an increase in their personal income
  • On average, Americans expect home prices to increase over the next 12 months
  • The most recent CCI was 122.9 in August.

Fannie Mae has the most detailed survey of its kind, interviewing approximately 1,000 Americans by telephone with over 100 questions used to track attitudinal shifts. The results are compared to the previous month.

The most significant part of the CCI for the last year has been that almost every month, the score has exceeded expectations. The Conference Board forecasts an estimate of the next month’s score.

What Does Consumer Confidence Mean for Real Estate?

The success of the housing market is strongly tied to the consumer’s confidence in the overall economy. “Stronger business and consumer morale typically lead to even more hiring and spending, which in turn encourages more households to make big decisions like buying a home,” says Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist. “Stronger business and consumer morale typically lead to even more hiring and spending, which in turn encourages more households to make big decisions like buying a home,” Yun said.

As measurements like the National Housing Survey and the Consumer Confidence Index reflect consumer’s views and spending and saving habits, these indexes have an effect on the housing market. When Americans feel more positive about the direction of the economy as well as their own personal economic situation, they are free to make solid plans about housing. When first-time buyers are positive about their job stability, they put that confidence into action. There truly is a trickle-up effect, because the first-time buyer often frees up the move-up buyer, and on and on.

Are you feeling positive about your economy? We hope so. If you have been waiting to sell your home in Central Maryland, good news…demand is high. Prices are rising and many homeowners are finding they are “above water” for the first time in a decade. Call us for a consultation if you have been waiting to sell. If you are a first-time buyer or a a move-up buyer, the real estate market is in your favor. We’d love to help you make Frederick home. Chris Highland: 301-401-5119, or contact us with any questions.

Kitchen Remodeling Trends for Frederick Homeowners

Kitchen Remodeling Trends for Frederick Homeowners

Considering a kitchen remodel but want to keep costs low? Here are some of today’s kitchen remodeling trends for Frederick homeowners that emphasize options and high-tech features at affordable prices.

Trend #1: Remodeling scales back

A new focus on moderation and value has entered the remodeling mind-set. Trends that are showing up in kitchens lately include:

Repairing existing appliances instead of replacing them. More homeowners are extending their life with good maintenance and care. When replacing cabinets, they’re more likely to build around current appliances rather than choosing new models.

Scaling back cabinetry purchases, with an increased emphasis on kitchen storage and functionality over elaborate decoration. For example, rather than stacked crown moldings throughout the kitchen, more homeowners are putting their money into practical roll-out trays and drawer organizers. Function trumps appearance in today’s kitchens, but that doesn’t mean it has to look inferior.

Small-scale kitchen projects are big news. Changing out cabinet hardware, replacing a faucet, and refacing your cabinets upgrades your kitchen without major expense. As more homes today have some form of open floor plan, kitchens are outfitted to flow with the other living areas nearby. This includes light fixtures and window treatments, as well as the small details like oven mitts and tea towels.

Trend #2: Simpler, warmer styles are popular

Fussiness and excess have faded away in favor of pared-back looks that present a more timeless, value-conscious style.

Cabinet decoration continues to streamline. For example, massive corbels, once fashionable as undercounter supports, are giving way to sleeker countertop supports and cantelivered countertop edges. Stacked moldings have pared back or disappeared entirely. Elaborately glazed finishes have yielded to simpler paints and stains. Bottom cabinets or islands are often a different color that upper cabinets, but in a toned down matte finish.

Kitchen finishes have gotten warmer and darker, and feature natural and stained woods. Walnut especially is growing in popularity. Although stainless-steel appliances are still popular, various other metals with toned down finishes are becoming popular. 

Related: 12 Hot Kitchen Appliance Trends

Laminate countertops are making a comeback, especially in contemporary design. The latest European-inspired laminates don’t look at all like your grandmother’s laminate, and offer more textured and naturalistic finishes than ever before. While exotic wood kitchen cabinets are out of reach for most home owners, look-alike laminate versions can be had for about one-third the price.

Trend #3: Technology expands its kitchen presenceFrederick Md Real Estate

Many of the techno products and trends that relate to your smartphones and tablets are not only making their way into your local showrooms and home centers, they are an everyday occurrence in homes we show.

Appliances are equipped with USB ports and digital screens so you can display your family photographs and kids’ artwork.

Smart, induction built-in cooktops ($500-$3,000) remember your temperature settings as you move your pans across their entire surface.

One light finger touch is all it takes to open the electronically controlled sliding doors of your kitchen cabinets — a boon to people with limited mobility. You’ll pay 40% to 70% more for cabinets with electronically controlled doors than standard models.

Use your smart phones and tablets to control lights and appliance settings from anywhere you have a wi-fi connection. Shop for appliances from major manufacturers right from your device.

Many are opting for LEDs for recessed lights, under-cabinet task lighting and color-changing accent lighting. We see more LED-powered pendants and chandeliers from major manufacturers as inefficient incandescent bulbs continue their march toward extinction.

A wide selection of affordable microwave ovens with convection and even steam features gives owners of smaller kitchen spaces more high-end cooking power.

Kitchen Remodeling Trends for Frederick Homeowners, re-published with permission from RIS Media.

Find Out What Your Frederick Home is Worth

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The Highland Group
eXp Realty
Frederick, Md 21701


Increase Your Home Value – Maintain and Repair

Increase Your Home Value – Maintain and Repair

There are several things you can do as a homeowner to spruce up your home to help maintain value or even increase your home value.  Sometimes in the busy-ness of life we forget about home maintenance.  When we decide to sell our home, the mile-long list of things we need to do to get it market-ready can be daunting.  If you find yourself in that position, consider doing the less costly fixes first.

Increase Your Home Value – Maintain and Repair

1. Consider First Impressions. Cleaning up the yard and entrance to your home takes little more than muscle and energy. Cut back overgrown shrubs and plantings.  Spray or sprinkle some kind of weed-and-feed product (Scotts has always been my fave.)  Power-wash sidewalks, walkways, decks, and the outside of house, if needed. You can rent a power-washer for a day and it will make a huge difference.  There are also power-washing companies that will take the work off your hands.

If you don’t do anything else, paint the front door and replace an old, worn door handle, and the kickplate if it’s dingy. Plant some inexpensive flowers, in pots if you don’t have a suitable garden area. These curb appeal items can be an easy part of yearly maintenance. Keeping your front entry in good shape can be an easy task throughout the time you own your home, so it can be checked off the list before you even decide to sell.

2. Consider flooring. Look down. If your carpet is not too worn, a simple cleaning will do wonders.  If you need to replace carpets, find a mid-grade, neutral color.  We’ve always recommended “Tea Stain”, but with today’s decor trends, a light gray is also a good choice.  It will appeal to the most people.  If your hardwoods are dingy, first try buffing to renew their gleam.  If there are too many scratches and dings, you might need to refinish them.

Increase Your Home Value - Maintain and RepairAs with all home maintenance, keeping your carpets and floors in good shape will help you get more longevity out of them. The expense of new flooring can be saved if the floors are already in good shape when it’s time to sell. Covering high traffic areas with throw rugs can help with longevity of your floors. One of the best ways to increase your home value is to take care of, and update the large areas, like flooring.

3. Consider lighting. Look up. If your light fixtures are dated, get some new ones at Home Depot or Lowes, or any other big box store.  You can find some very nice fixtures for a reasonable cost.  Make sure you use the brightest bulbs possible.

Keeping your lighting updated throughout the time you own your home will not only save you a chunk of money when it’s time to sell…you get to enjoy greater energy savings and more stylish fixtures while you live in the home.

Clean and Neutral

4. Paint covers a multitude of sins. And it’s not expensive. Again, select neutral colors, as they have the broadest appeal. Remember, neutrals don’t have to be white and beige. Grey is a very popular neutral shade today. Most buyers need to be able to envision their furniture in your home, and if your colors and style are too much out of their comfort zone, they will usually not stretch their imagination too far. Even if a potential buyer likes bold colors, its still easy for them to “imagine” their favorite colors in your home if you have a palate of neutrals for them to start with.neutral colors

Most homes take wear and tear with daily living. Decorators recommend painting every 5 to 6 years, just to keep the walls fresh and clean.

5.  Get rid of the stuff!  Its amazing how much stuff we collect, without even trying.  Pare down, thin out, pack away, de-clutter, whatever.  Consider renting a storage unit if need-be, people need to see themselves living there, with all of Their Stuff, so give them room to do so.

6.  Give your house a good cleaning, even if it means hiring maid service for a single clean.  A dirty house is a turn-off to prospective buyers.  When you have it all clean, start making the small repairs that you’ve been avoiding.  Replace window seals, fix the leaks, grout, etc.

7.  Consider Staging.  A professional stager will make a big difference.  The psychology of space is an important factor, and the stager will help you present your space in the best possible light. [We know a couple of good local Stagers]


Kitchens and Baths Sell Homes

Increase Your Home Value - Maintain and Repair

8.  Pay attention to Bathrooms and Kitchens.  Now we’re talking about more expensive fixes, but you can start small and work your way up over time.  Start with small tasks, like cleaning or redoing grout, or caulk.

Replace fixtures one at a time. If you need a new appliance, make sure you replace it with an energy star appliance.  Check out Lowes or Best Buy for their “Open Box” sales, the demos that they sell for 30 to 40% off.  [We got a great dishwasher that way.]

They are the most expensive to update, so if they require little to no work, buyers tend to be more interested. Cosmetic updates can go a long way, but keep in mind the comparable homes that are on the market. If the norm for your home is granite counters and stainless-steel appliances, (although there are alternatives to stainless-steel appliances), then you will want to be competitive when your home goes on the market.

Keeping up with repairs and maintenance throughout the time you own your home is the best way to increase your home value and be prepared to sell without a lot of last minute, expensive work.

Related Articles:

Kitchen Trends

Bathroom Trends

Quick and Easy Bathroom Updates


Contact us for recommendations for Stagers, Home Repair, Roofing, Handyman services, HVAC… we have a list of trusted services.


Getting My Home Ready For the Real Estate Market -Part 2

Getting My Home Ready For the Real Estate Market -Part 2

When you are considering the sale of your home, it’s never too early to start planning what you need to do to get your home into the best condition for the market. If you have done the basic things that we’ve explained in Part Oneall of the things that are most important, the cleaning, painting, and de-cluttering, take a good look and see if there are any obvious deficiencies.  Here are several things that might need attention:
getting your house ready to sell

Shampoo or replace carpet.  If it is permanently stained, worn, or dated, replace it.  Get a neutral shade, “Tea Stain” is our favorite, in an affordable grade; it needn’t be top-of-the line. [click on the image for carpet cleaning tips –>]

2. Repair damaged flooring.  If the hardwoods are scratched or sun-bleached, have them refinished.   If ceramic tiles are cracked, replace them. Make sure grout is clean and not cracked. If vinyl or linoleum is worn, damaged, or dated, replace it.  Think about a material that is more contemporary. There are many affordable laminates on the market that look great and wear very well.

3. Repair electrical or plumbing problems. These systems must be “in proper working condition”, according to the MAR Contract. They will come up in a home inspection, so you might as well do the work before you put the house on the market. Replace or repair leaky faucets. Make sure all outlets are working properly, and make sure drains are clear.

4. Update Kitchens and Baths.  In our part of the Country, kitchens and baths sell homes.  Buyers today are used to granite countertops, upgraded appliances, stainless steel.  Make sure that your home’s kitchens and baths are comparable to the homes on the market that are like yours and in your price range. Replace old fixtures, cracked sinks or yellowed and stained vinyl.  Replace old medicine cabinets, and mirrors.  Make sure grout is clean and regrout where neccessary.  Replace worn caulk.

5. Take a good look at your lighting fixtures. You will want to replace the old 80’s vintage brass fixtures with something a little more updated. Consider some ideas from my Pinterest Board, “Fixtures & Finishes for Home Decorating Trends 2015”:

Follow The Highland Group’s board Fixtures & Finishes for Home Decorating Trends 2015 on Pinterest.

Consider using a “signature” piece in the best room of your home, or the best feature…to draw some attention and show it off. It could be:

  • a light fixture, to draw the eyes up and show off a spacious room
  •  a work of art, to bring a focal point
  • a beautiful fireplace screen or mantle arrangement
  • a soothing water feature on your custom deck [remember, outdoor rooms add living space…so show them off]
  • a stunning piece of furniture to bring attention to a special space,
  • or window treatments, to show off the light from great windows

For Color Inspiration, here are some ideas from our Pinterest Board, “Color Palettes for Decorating 2015”:

Follow The Highland Group’s board Color Palettes for Decorating 2015 on Pinterest.

6. If your house looks worn out and old, paint or stain the exterior.  Powerwash the siding, and the entryway and walkways if applicable.

7. Before you do anything else…paint the front door! It’s amazing how a fresh clean coat of paint on the door and trim will make a huge difference. First impressions count.

8. Lastly, clean up and update your landscaping. Simple is great. Add some potted plants and flowers if the season is right. Overgrown and wild is seldom the appropriate look for a home…it says [in a sad voice]: “This home is not cared for”.

When you have done all the updates, remember, you have just made your home salable.  You’ve done what you need to do to get your house market ready.  Don’t expect to get every penny out of your updates. For an idea about Return on Investment, read this yearly Cost Vs. Value report from Remodeling.

The Final Step:

Price your house to sell, and you will.

Related Articles:

The Highland Group
Chris & Karen Highland *    * * *
eXp Realty – 410-777-5714
email us:
Text Us: 301-401-5119

How Seniors Can Make A Big Move Into A Smaller Home

How Seniors Can Make A Big Move Into A Smaller Home

Making a move is a serious decision, and it can be an overwhelming task even when you’re prepared. For many seniors who decide to downsize and move into a smaller home, the planning stage is the most important. Knowing what you want, what you don’t want, and how to find help when you need it can be invaluable, yet many seniors don’t have all the information before they make these key decisions about their future, and this can lead to stress, anxiety, and a lengthy, drawn-out buying process.

Here are a few tips on how to make the right decision for you and find the perfect place to live.

Make a plan

Having a plan is essential before you even put your house up for sale. Think about the type of residence you want; do you want to buy a home, or rent? Do you need something that doesn’t have stairs, or a smaller lawn that won’t require much upkeep? How easy will it be to find a home with the amenities you’re looking for if you or your spouse is confined to a wheelchair or uses a walker? It might be advantageous to consult a real estate agent who can help you find exactly what you need and narrow down the field to save you time. They can also help you find financial assistance, which is available to seniors in many states.


It’s imperative to go through your belongings before you pack and pull aside items marked for “trash,” “keep,” or “donate”. It may be difficult to consider getting rid of some of your things, especially if you’ve lived in the same place for a long time and have accumulated a lot of memories, but remember that it will be a good thing in the end. You can get help from a friend or family member; in fact, it might be best to have family there if you want to pass down some of your belongings to them.

Also, keep in mind that things such as photo albums can be downsized if you scan the photos and upload them to a thumb drive, which can be used in a digital picture frame. This is a huge spacesaver and can also help with eliminating clutter around the house or freeing up shelf space.

Pack smart

If you’ve lived in the same place for a long time, it might be overwhelming to look at the rooms in your house and think about packing it all up. However, if you start in one area and pack smart, you can get it done quickly and efficiently. Prepare with lots of different-sized boxes and try to pack things from each area together, so they’ll be easy to find and put away in the new house. Make out a packing list to tape to the outside of the box; this will especially come in handy for kitchen items and necessities.

Ask for help

Moving is a big job, and getting it done will take some help. Enlist friends and able-bodied family members to help with the smaller things, and, if you have the extra cash, hire a moving company to help you get the heavy pieces to your new place. If you don’t have family members who live nearby, you might be able to ask your church or a nearby senior center for help.

Thanks to our Guest Author: Jim Vogel, for these excellent tips on how seniors can make a big move into a smaller home. Photo via Pixabay by Meditations

Real Estate Terminology – What is Absorption Rate?

Real Estate Terminology – What is Absorption Rate?

What is “Absorption Rate”?

The Absorption rate is roughly how long it will take the current homes on the market to sell. It’s an estimate, based on  the current number of listings and current sales. Because those two factors fluctuate from month to month,  absorption rate is a rough estimate. It’s an average of how many homes sell each month, based on a 6-month calculation, because anything less than 6 months is too small a sample, and anything greater than 6 months wouldn’t give an accurate picture of what’s going on with values in an area.

If I get the total number of homes that have sold for the last 6 months in an area, say a Frederick zip code or a Frederick County town or, better yet, a neighborhood, and then divide by 6, I’ve got an absorption rateAverage number of homes that sell each month.

If I take the total inventory, or how many homes are on the market in a given area, and divide by the absorption rate, I get the months of inventory, or how long it will take to sell all of the homes in the chosen area (if no more homes were listed).

Why is Absorption and Months of Inventory important?

These numbers are important to buyers as well as sellers. An absorption rate of about four to six months indicates a balanced real estate market.   Balanced means a market that does not favor the buyer or the seller.  An absorption rate of less than four months indicates a seller’s market.   An absorption rate of more than 6 months indicates a buyer’s market.

Home Sellers

To a seller, these numbers tell them whether their home is positioned correctly in the market. If they need to sell in 3 months and the absorption rate in their neighborhood is 6 months, then they will need to price their home to sell, without taking months to adjust the price as they test the market.

The absorption rate tells the seller what the normal time on market is for their current market. If their home doesn’t sell in the time that the average comparable home sells, then they know that something is amiss. They will know how accurate, or inaccurate, their pricing is when they find themselves still on the market after the average time for their area.

Home Buyers

For a buyer, the opposite can be discerned. If they see a home that has been on the market for longer than the average time for that neighborhood or community, they will think either two thoughts: 1) something is wrong with the house, or 2) the house is overpriced.  These homes often receive low-ball offers because of these perceptions.

Understanding real estate terminology, absorption rate for one, helps to navigate the market, negotiate and have proper expectations. Both buyers and sellers can learn how to get the best possible outcome in their market by understanding local market trends.

Contact us for a consultation to find out how much your home is worth in today’s Frederick Real Estate Market.

The Highland Group
Chris & Karen Highland 
eXp Realty – 410-777-5714

Four Reasons Your Home is NOT Selling

Four Reasons Your Home is NOT Selling

Homes Don’t Sell for A Reason

The statistics say it’s taking an average of 60 days to sell a house in Frederick County. When a house is on the market for much longer than the average time of comparable homes, there are reasons the home is not selling. Many sellers don’t realize they can hurt their chances of selling their home by doing one or any of these things:

1. Overpricing their home.  When the number of homes on the market is at an all-time high, about twice as much as a normal Frederick Market, sellers need to realize that buyers have the luxury of choice.  They will choose the best house for the least money. Normal market forces make that fact more of a reality than ever.Pricing Your home right from the start

When the inventory is low, like it has been for a while, homes that are priced right and in their best condition sell in a matter of days or weeks. When a house lingers on the market in a hot seller’s market, you can be pretty sure that the asking price is not right for the house. The home needs to be positioned correctly on the market to attract the attention of likely buyers. Remember, most buyers are trusting the advice of their buyer’s agent, who more than likely are educating them on the on the market value of each home they see.

2.  Not keeping a house in the best Condition is a sure-fire way for a seller to send a buyer down the street.  Even when competition is high in the real estate market, buyers are viewing homes in a certain price range, comparing them all as they shop. Buyers choose the house in the best condition at the best price. The only way to position the house in the market when the condition is less than other like homes is to adjust the price.

3. One of the best ways to keep your house from being sold is to keep it from being shown.  Being unavailable or making it hard to show is not a good strategy.  If a buyer’s agent has difficulty getting the OK to show your house, they will move on to the other houses on their list, and chances are, they won’t come back.  The best way to sell a home is to be very flexible on showing times and to temporarily do as much as possible to arrange your life around the goal of selling your home. And keep your cell phone in your pocket. The sooner you sell your home, the sooner your life gets back to normal.

real estate listings4. Lack of proper Marketing is another way to keep your home from selling.  By proper marketing, I mean modern internet marketing, where over 92% of buyers are looking.  Sellers need to make sure their listing agent is advertising on the many real estate websites that are on the web. Internet marketing demands professional photos, high-definition video, and a detail-rich description.

By following these tips and using an experienced local real estate agent, you will have success in selling your home in the least amount of time for the best price for your market.  Your house can be one of the homes that sell in 30 days or less, instead of the house that lingers on the market.

Contact Chris Highland for our High-Touch High-Tech Listing Plan. 


The Highland Group
Chris & Karen Highland
eXp Realty