Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 35

Some Highlights:

When listing your house for sale, your top goal will be to get the home sold for the best price possible!
There are many small projects that you can do to ensure this happens!
Your real estate agent will have a list of specific suggestions for getting your house ready for market and is a great resource for finding local contractors who can help!

How To List Your Home for the Best Price

by KCM

If your plan for 2019 includes selling your home, you will want to pay attention to where experts believe home values are headed. According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home prices increased by 4.7% over the course of 2018.

The map below shows the results of the latest index by state.

Real estate is local. Each state appreciates at different levels. The majority of the country saw at least a 2.0% gain in home values, while some residents in North Dakota and Louisiana may have felt prices slow slightly.

This effect will be short lived. In the same report, CoreLogic forecasts that every state in the Union will experience at least 2.0% appreciation, with the majority of the country gaining at least 4.0%! The prediction for the country comes in at 4.6%. For a median-priced home, that translates to over $14,000 in additional equity next year! (The map below shows the forecast by state.)

So, how does this help you list your home for the best price?

Armed with the knowledge of how much experts believe your house will appreciate this year, you will be able to set an appropriate price for your listing from the start. If homes like yours are appreciating at 4.0%, you won’t want to list your home for more than that amount!

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is pricing their homes too high and reducing the price later when they do not get any offers. This can lead buyers to believe that there may be something wrong with the home, when in fact the price was just too high for the market.

Bottom Line

Pricing your home right from the start is one of the most challenging parts of selling your home. Once you decide to list your house, let’s get together to discuss where home values are headed in your area!

Heading into the spring buying market, there are strong trends starting to emerge.

The inventory of homes for sale has increased on a year-over-year basis for eight months in a row. Home price appreciation has continued to grow, although at a slower rate. The homeownership rate has reached heights last seen in 2014, with millennials and Generation X leading the way!

Let’s dive a little deeper into some of the recent reports that have been released and what they mean for the spring buying season!

1. National Association of Realtor’s Existing Home Sales Report

Sales of existing homes were down for the third consecutive month in January. Some of this can be explained by the natural seasonality that the real estate market experiences every year, and some can be explained even further by a lack of homes available for sale on the market.


For the last eight months, the inventory of homes for sale has been higher when compared to the same month the year before. The challenge in the market is the mismatch of the type of home that is available for sale. First-time homebuyers looking for a starter home are often competing with other buyers to stand out, often outbidding each other.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, agrees that the market is still experiencing an inventory shortage.

“In particular, the lower end of the market is experiencing a greater shortage, and more home construction is needed.”

Home Prices

The median home price for homes sold in January was $247,500. This is up 2.8% from January 2018 and marks the 83rd consecutive month of year-over-year gains. The 2.8% growth in home prices represents the smallest year-over-year change since February 2012 but is a welcome change for buyers who had feared being priced out of the market.

Days on the Market

Properties that sold in January were on the market for an average of 49 days with 38% of homes on the market for less than a month.

Yun is positive about how today’s market conditions will help buyers this spring,

 “Existing home sales in January were weak compared to historical norms; however, they are likely to have reached a cyclical low. Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months.”

2. NAR’s Pending Home Sales Report

The national Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose 4.6% to 103.2 in January from 98.7 in December. An index score of 100 is considered normal. All four major regions of the country experienced gains in January, with the largest increase coming in the South.

 “The PHSI is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.”

Increases in the PHSI often predict increases in the level of home sales in the coming months, which is great news for the housing market leading in to spring! Yun had this to say,

“Homebuyers are now returning and taking advantage of lower interest rates, while a boost in inventory is also providing more choices for consumers.”

Bottom Line

The housing market in 2019 will require homeowners to list their house at the right price to attract buyers. If interest rates continue to stay low while wages increase, and more inventory comes to market, 2019 could be one of the best years for home sales in recent history.

Preparing to Spring Forward [INFOGRAPHIC]

by KCM

Some Highlights:

  • In the majority of the country, this weekend marks the start of Daylight Savings Time as we set our clocks forward an hour on Sunday at 2:00 AM EST.
  • Whether you plan on buying or selling this spring, these tips could help you ‘spring ahead’ of your competition!
  • Spring brings two things: more buyers & more sellers! Get prepared now to stand out in the crowd!

Need a reason to Sell this Winter? Here are 4!

by KCM

Some Highlights:
Buyer demand continues to outpace the supply of homes for sale which means that buyers are often competing with one another for the few listings that are available!
Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed to sustain a normal housing market.

Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

Happy New Year!

by Allison Simson & Chels Knor

Happy New Year!

Allison Simson, Owner/Broker, Summit Real Estate.

I love the New Year and the month of January!  So much good energy and positive change happening in the world.  If you own real estate, you may be wondering when or if you should sell.  Here are some good questions you could ask to help you decide....


Wondering When to Sell Your House? These 8 Questions Will Help

The decision to put your home up for sale is not inconsequential. It’s not like “what should we have for dinner tonight?” or using eeny, meeny, miny, moe to solve a kerfuffle with your kids.

Nope. It’s methodical, calculated, high stakes. Ask (and answer) these eight questions before you hammer that signpost into your front lawn.

1. Is it a buyer’s or seller’s market?
A seller’s market means there are more people looking to buy houses than there are houses available. Houses are selling fast and often for close to asking price.

A buyer’s market means there are a lot of houses on the market; in fact, there are more houses available than there are people to buy them. They’re sitting on the market longer and might not go for asking price.

The housing market ebbs and flows based on interest rates, employment, general economic health and a slew of other factors. If you’re selling your house, it behooves you to wait until it’s a seller’s market. 2018 was, for the most part, a seller’s market. When demand is high, sellers can ask for more. When demand is low, buyers hold the negotiating power. 2019 looks to continue to be a seller's market.

2. Do you have a good real estate agent?
Venturing into the world of selling your house is no small feat. Find and hire a qualified agent.

A top-selling agent will help you determine if it’s the right time to sell, as well as guide you through correct pricing, appropriate staging and strategic navigation of the market. According to HomeLight, sellers can make an average of $30,000 more on a single-family home sold by a top agent than average agents can. I have a great recomnendation for you, if you need a great real estate team!  ;-)

3. Do you have different space needs?
Whether you are expanding your family and need a few more bedrooms, or your teens have left for college and you’re settling into your very large and quiet house as empty nesters, a lifestyle change may spin your thoughts toward moving.

Here are several reasons you might consider a bigger (or smaller) place:

  • You have two or three four teens trying to get ready in one bathroom.
  • You need a home office.
  • Since the kids have moved out, you have an obnoxious number of guest rooms.
  • You need more parking.
  • You’re tired of heating a bunch of space you don’t need.
  • If downsizing is your goal, you can start de-cluttering even if you’re not sure of the timing of your move. Before you consider moving, understand the space you’re looking for. Do you need to be closer to work or family? What do you like about your current home space? What wouldn’t you want to go without in another house?

4. Can you afford to move?
If only moving were as easy as going to bed in your old house and waking up in your new one. All the cost of moving add up. Make sure you’ve considered the following (and crunched the numbers) first:

Security Deposit
You’ll have to pony up a security deposit if you’re moving into a rental.

Activating utilities entails fees. Outfitting your new place with water, gas, electric, cable and internet doesn’t come free.

Equity and Debt
If you bought your house before the crash and your home hasn’t fully recovered, selling may not be a good financial move. Consider what you’ll lose or gain by listing.

Physical Moving 
Whether you pay professional movers, snag a guy from a Craigslist ad or bribe your son and his friends to help with pizza and beer, you’ll have some tangible costs. Factor in packing supplies (boxes, tape, paper), a truck (if you’re renting) and of course, the time it will take.

Closing Costs
As the seller, you’re responsible for some or all of the closing costs. Better to know about them beforehand than after.

If you haven’t planned for any of the above, create a game plan before you take too many steps forward at once and fall on your face.

5. What’s your timeline?
If your kids just gave you grandkids, you might be in a hurry to sell and move their direction. Or if you just retired, spent the last six months traveling and now need to find a more permanent place than the Embassy Suites you’re set up in now, you might be in a bit of a hurry. Keep in mind, a strict timeline gives negotiating power to the buyer. The more flexible you can be, the more discerning you can be with your offers.

6. Is your neighborhood changing?
Times, they are a changin’. If you moved into your house 20 years ago, you may have seen your neighborhood in constant evolution. Here are a few things you should look into:

School Districts
A good school district may be a selling point if you’re area is appealing to families with young kids. Schools may have changed since your kids were enrolled. Where does your district place?

Business Development 
What new businesses have moved into your city? Are there jobs available close by? Does the light rail come close to your house?

Main Streets
Where in town are you located? Maybe your house used to be in the boonies when you moved in but now, thanks to urban development, you’re smack in the middle of downtown. Your house has turned into high-demand prime real estate!

What’s your neighborhood’s feel? A sense of community is important. Young families with kids want to live where other young families with kids live. Retirees may want to be closer to others their age with similar interests. The soul of a community lives and breathes … and changes as people move in and out.

7. Is it a good time of year to move?
It's winter here in the high country, and while it's true that summer is our busiest sales season here, people are here enjoying the ski slopes now, and many of them are looking for that perfect place that eluded them this past summer.  Temperature and sunshine are crucial elements in selling your home- but don't rule out the winter.  Buyers who are looking now are serious about it! 

8. Is your home in shape to sell?
If you’re in the middle of a bathroom renovation, potential buyers are going to turn around and walk out the door, and frankly they probably won’t come back when you’re finished.

If your home needs major repairs, do them before you put your house up for sale. Nobody wants to have to replace the roof or put in a new hot water or replumb a house they just purchased.

If you’ve already done major repairs:

Toss anything you don’t need or want. Put away anything personal. Clear off any flat surfaces you can. If you have the option to put something away, do it. My rule of thumb is to have no more than 2-3 items on any surface or wall. 

The baseboards, the ceiling fans, the base of the toilet — it all needs more than just the “someone’s stopping by in 10 minutes” clean sweep.

Set the table. Spring for a new doormat. Put out new towels in the bathrooms.

Watch Out for Red Flags
Determining the best time to sell and finding a good agent are the two most essential assets to selling your home. Pay attention to these other red flag questions so you do this process right.

In Short, Ask Yourself These 8 Questions to Figure Out When to Sell Your House
1. Is it a buyer or a seller’s market?
2. Do you have a good real estate agent?
3. Have your space needs changed?
4. Can you afford to move?
5. What’s your timeline?
6. Is your neighborhood changing?
7. Is it a good time of year to move?
8. Is your home in good shape to sell?

by Chels Knorr- Homelight

Please call, email or text if you'd like to discuss the potential of selling your Summit County property, or any property! We have an amazing network of the top Realtors in the country.  Let's chat! 

Silverthorne puts new regulations on short-term rentals

by Eli Pace- Summit Daily

Silverthorne became the latest Summit County government to enact tighter regulations on short-term rentals with town council approving a series of new rules Tuesday on second reading.

Included in them are occupancy caps and the requirement "a responsible agent" be able to address complaints within one hour 24/7, unless a complaint comes in between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., at which time the agent will have only 30 minutes to address the issue. Multiple failures to do so could result in an owner losing their licenses for two years.

The town is also creating a new licensing process that requires each rental to secure a unique business license, rather than allowing multiple properties to operate under a single license. Rentals will also have to post those license numbers in all their advertisements. According to the town, this helps identify properties that have not obtained the proper license and are not remitting the proper sales and lodging taxes back to the town.

There will also be new fees, ranging from $100-$300 based on the number of bedrooms inside the rental. The new fee structure isn't designed to make money, only cover the town's costs of administering the program, officials said.

Occupancy caps have been one major point of contention as individual governments across Summit County have sought to better regulate short-term rentals recently. Silverthorne hasn't shied away for them, opting to limit short-term rentals to two guests per bedroom plus two. That means a four-bedroom home can sleep at most 10 people. The number of bedrooms inside a rental will be determined by information on file at the Summit County Assessor's Office.

The towns and the county have working together closely as they each look to better regulate the booming industry in their jurisdictions. Together, they plan to set up a 24-hour countywide call center so people can phone in complaints about short-term rentals across the county. A designated "responsible agent" would then have to address those complaints within a specific timeframe or face penalties.

In many ways, Silverthorne's ordinance runs parallel to others already enacted or in currently the works across the county. However, Silverthorne is the only one so far to give agents a 30-minute window to address overnight complaints.

Other provisions speak to health and safety standards and potential inspections.

Like the listings seen on and, a short-term rental is defined by Silverthorne as any home — or any room inside a home — that's available for rent for a term of less than 30 consecutive days. According to town officials, hundreds are currently operating inside Silverthorne. The goal is to get all of them kicked over to the new licenses by the New Year.

How the Housing Market is Impacted by Natural Disasters

by KCM
How the Housing Market is Impacted by Natural Disasters

Just like most other things, natural disasters can impact the housing market and the value of your home. As prices have appreciated, it's important to make sure that you have the proper coverage for your home. Let's get together today to make sure you're properly insured!

23 Packing Tips for Moving When the Pressure’s On

by Marla Miller Homelight

The Buyers Are Coming! 23 Packing Tips for Moving When the Pressure’s On

There are a million things you’d rather be doing than packing right now. Basically, anything else. But when you sell your home, moving is no longer a matter of if but when, so it’s time to face the music.

According to the National Association of Realtors, homes only stayed on the market an average of 3 weeks in 2017. A deal can close in as quickly as 2 weeks if you get an offer from a cash buyer. And if you price your home right, it will sell fast, says Carrie Buckett, a military relocation specialist and top agent in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

If that doesn’t curb your procrastination, consider these real-life moving horror stories. Buckett’s seen contracts fall through because the buyers came to take possession, but the sellers couldn’t get their stuff out in time. She’s also had seller clients who showed up at closing half-asleep because they were up all night moving.

“Don’t wait until the last minute,” she says. “If you think it will take one day, it’s going to take two.”

Before you look around the house and panic, take a deep breath. We’ve talked to expert real estate agents, plus organization and packing pros to gather the top packing tips to speed up and smooth out your move day.


Line up the help you’ll need

1. Start by assembling a dream team

If you find yourself on a tight timeline, the first thing you can do is call in the troops.

Many hands make light work, and you’ll need all the help you can get! Pitch it to your relatives and buddies as an excuse to get together. Make it fun by hosting a purge and packing day where you supply the pizza and beer.

Put on a “packing playlist” (you can find one on Spotify) to create a light atmosphere.

Before your helpers arrive, get organized by planning out who will do what, or you’ll waste everyone’s time. Find out how many hours each person can dedicate and divvy up tasks accordingly.

Do enough prep so that you can put Sally on assembling boxes, Joe on spackling the nail holes, Sam on bubble wrapping your glassware, and on down the line.

They’ll be glad to help if they aren’t standing around waiting for instructions.

2. Find out what your moving company will do for you on the packing front

Hiring professional movers?

Ask if their service package includes wrapping all of your furniture in plastic, including dressers, nightstands, and end tables.

That allows you to keep your clothing and personal items tucked away in furniture drawers and move it all together as is, reducing your box count and packing burden.

Many moving companies will also provide and use their own furniture blankets to protect your big bulky items, meaning you can cross expensive padding off your supplies list.

3. Hire a senior move manager to help you organize and declutter

Senior Move Managers are like the fairy godmothers of downsizing who can swoop in, whip your home into shape, and help you tackle daunting moves faster than you can say “bippity boppity boo.”

While your real estate agent handles marketing your home and the specifics of the transaction, Senior Move Managers are your friends in sorting, organizing, packing, decluttering and more.

We know you need great professionals in your corner to tackle your move, so when you find your top-performing real estate agent through HomeLight, we’ll cover your first 5 hours with a Senior Move Manager up to $200.


Purge before you pack to lighten your moving load

4. Sort items into 3 distinct piles: sell, donate, and toss

If you’re in a rush, you might be tempted to start throwing miscellaneous items into boxes. But you can actually save time with a focus on simplifying and paring down before you pack.

“Don’t do your donating, purging and downsizing on the day of the move,” says Terri Albert, who owns The Chicago Organizer and assists with general organizing, paper management and clutter-free living. “It’s too chaotic. It’s very costly to move. Don’t pay to move something that all you’re going to do is get rid of it on the other end.”

Buckett and Albert agree that it’s never too early to start planning for a move. Wise sellers realize less is more when it comes to showing a home and start decluttering months in advance.

If your home is on the market, it makes sense to pack what you can and rent a storage shed.

So where to start? Do a quick scan of every room and look for obvious items to purge.

Closets, countertops, cabinets, bookshelves and garages can easily become catch-alls, so go through these spaces with a discerning eye and be honest—is this item important enough to pack and haul it to your new place? Even if your move is still weeks away, a mindset shift toward early preparation will save you from wasting time down the line.

Albert suggests asking three questions during the purge process for each item:

  • Do I need it?
  • Do I use it?
  • Do I love it?

If the answer is no to all three, then it’s time to put it in one of your piles: sell, donate, or toss.

Items you should try to sell

  • You can make money on clothes and accessories in good condition (especially anything designer) by posting them on apps like Poshmark or eBay.
  • Furniture that won’t fit into your new place. Post your La-Z-Boys and platform bed frames for sale on Craigslist, click on “post to classifieds” in the upper lefthand corner of your city’s homepage (start here to find your local Craigslist site).

Worthy items for the donation pile

  • Through your real estate agent, communicate with the buyers of your home about any items you’d rather leave behind and see if they’d have any use for them. If you’re moving from a house to an apartment where maintenance will be handled for you, you’ll no longer need your wheelbarrow, gardening tools or hedge trimmer. Remember, you can’t leave a single item behind when you move unless the buyers have confirmed they’d like to keep it.
  • Got a stockpile of travel size shampoos, lotions and soaps from various trips? Find a local men’s or women’s shelter and take extra toiletry items there.

Toss these things! And never look back

  • Expired food! If your refrigerator door filled with half-used bottles of condiments or your deep freezer overflowing with frozen veggies and bread? Pitch anything that’s almost gone, looks old, freezer burned or close to expiring: ketchup, mayo, jellies, pickles, soy sauce, and salad dressings.
  • Same goes for clutter—old magazines, junk mail, cards and coupons, old magnets, chipped dishes and glasses, ripped linens or towels, expired cosmetics, old medications and lotions, clothes and shoes in poor condition, and excess holiday decorations.


5. Host a pre-move party for family and friends

As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Before you send perfectly good items to the landfill, Albert recommends hosting a pre-move party and invite friends, family and neighbors over to go through your unwanted goods.

Remember your dream team—the ones helping you pack?

Repay the favor and give them your half-used liquor bottles, cleaning supplies and perishable fridge items.

As Albert notes, it’s much cheaper and easier to restock once you’re settled into your new home than hassle with moving those items.

It’s also a great time to send your grown children home with any lingering momentos from high school or college.

Who knows what’s hiding in the garage, attic or basement—Barbies, hockey skates, an antique Radio Flyer wagon? Give them first dibs to grab anything sentimental from childhood—or anything they might want to pass on to their own children.

If you’re ready to downsize, consider giving away family photos, heirlooms, furniture or other personal belongings to the people you want to have them.

As estate lawyers will tell you, this avoids hurt feelings and family feuds, or the possibility of it ending up in the wrong hands or an estate sale, in the event of an unexpected illness or death.

“Why not have your family members enjoy your china and all your other items so you can see them in action?” Albert says.

6. Hold a quick weekend sale for the final purge

Live on a busy street? Have lots of large or valuable items to off-load? People still enjoy stopping at good old-fashioned garage sales. Some of the top sellers include:

  • Larger, quality items such as furniture and appliances
  • Power tools and sporting equipment
  • Lawn care and gardening items, home building supplies
  • Electronics, office equipment
  • Good used toys and bicycles
  • Items for kids, toddlers and babies
  • Kitchenware, CDs/DVDs, household goods
  • Used clothes priced cheap tools (typically under $1)

If there’s no time for that, post unwanted items on Craigslist, letgo, local Facebook garage sale groups and Facebook marketplace.

ThredUP, the world’s largest online secondhand shopping resource, is also a great place to sell quality used clothes and accessories.


Stock up on all your essential supplies in one fell swoop

7. Create a moving timeline and take a home inventory

Whether you write one out by hand or download one from the internet, a simple home inventory checklist can help keep you on track in the weeks leading up to your move.

Start by taking a home inventory, and creating a timeline. There are many printable templates and Moving Guides available on Pinterest or make your own Excel spreadsheet.

Another option is a digital home inventory app like Allstate’s Digital Locker.

8. Calculate how many boxes you’ll need ahead of time

Boxes, boxes, boxes—they are a necessity when planning for any big move. But there are so many variables when it comes to how many boxes you will need: how much stuff you have, how many containers you already own, and how much you plan to purge or pitch.

Save yourself from extra trips while you’re in a smooth packing rhythm by estimating your box needs up front.

Home Depot offers this handy moving calculator to help estimate how many boxes you need per room.


9. Do a quick scavenger hunt for free boxes

Luckily, there are a variety of ways to collect boxes for free that won’t add much time to your packing process.

  • Someone in your neighborhood may have recently moved. Post an ad on Craigslist or Nextdoor asking for free boxes.
  • Visit grocery, liquor, office-supply and discount stores and ask for boxes. Make sure boxes have lids and are clean, dry and still in good shape.
  • If you’re doing a DIY move and renting a moving truck, check with the company about special box programs. U-Haul offers Take a Box, Leave a Box, a 100% buyback guarantee and a Box Exchange program for customers.

You can always buy boxes from your moving company, a shipping-supply store and even retailers such as The Home Depot and Walmart. If you want to skip the store, and buy them at a discount, order them online through sites such as,,, and

Check with your moving company on any box requirements or restrictions before you collect a bunch of boxes you can’t use.

10. Get creative with other “boxes” at your fingertips

Using storage items—plastic totes, recyclable grocery bags, storage containers, sturdy baskets—around your house can cut down on your box expenses.

Make use of hampers and laundry baskets by filling them with:

  • Sheets
  • Towels
  • Linens
  • Bedding
  • Pillows

Use your suitcases and overnight bags for:

  • Clothes
  • Scarves
  • Belts and accessories

Empty and clean out your trash cans and use them to move:

  • Bathroom and kitchen cleaning supplies
  • Garbage bags
  • Rubber gloves
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels


11. Use boxes that are the right size, strength and material for what you’re packing

Use small, sturdy boxes—think copy paper boxes—or those with built-in handles for heavier items such as books and dishes. They hold up and are easy to lift, stack and move.

Here are some other good rules of thumb:

  • Wardrobe boxes work best for hanging garments. Measure the number of linear feet of hanging clothing to calculate the quantity you’ll need.
  • Use boxes with preassembled partitions to protect glassware.
  • For books and dishware, boxes larger than 12 inches square can be difficult to lift when full.
  • You can purchase specialty boxes for large items such as flat-screen TVS, mirrors, artwork, instruments, mattresses and lamps.

Save larger boxes for light items, and use medium boxes for everything in between. Heavier items should be placed at the bottom, lighter ones on top. Same goes for stacking them when it’s time to move.

If you’re doing the move yourself, you want to be realistic about what you can lift and carry, Albert says. Most moving companies won’t move heavy items in large boxes or those without covers. There are different grades of box strength, so don’t risk packing breakables, dishes or small appliances in the least expensive boxes.

12. Stock up on all your essential moving supplies in one fell swoop

Get everything you need with a moving supplies checklist:

  • Bubble wrap for wrapping breakable items. It’s more affordable to buy it in large rolls and cut sheets as you need them.
  • Brown packing paper, available from packing-supply companies, to stuff boxes and wrap fragile items before packing them. Avoid newsprint because it can leave ink stains and all your dishes will need rewashed.
  • Labels for identifying boxes. You can buy blank self-adhesive labels at most office supply or shipping stores, or find printable packing labels online. Or use permanent marker to write directly on the boxes.
  • Large trash bags—get extra!
  • Pens and a notepad for making notes; brightly colored sticky notes for leaving notes to yourself or the moving crew on what stays and goes (curtain rods, special light fixtures, appliances included in the sale), any special instructions or getting organized early in the packing process.
  • Small sealable plastic bags for keeping small items, screws and brackets together.
  • Stretch wrap for securing doors and drawers. It sticks to itself, leaving no residue behind.
  • Standard packing tape, strapping tape for reinforcing the bottoms of heavy boxes, and clear plastic mailing tape to affix labels (it also makes them waterproof).
  • Box cutters and scissors

13. Protect valuable items even when you’re in a rush

You should always pack and carefully handle valuables like jewelry, coins, special china, family heirlooms, and important paperwork, even when you’re on a tight timeline.

Bubble wrap works well for protecting breakable or fragile items.

If there is a particular item you’re worried about, and you have room in your vehicle, it’s wise to transport it yourself.


Let the real packing begin

14. Stay organized with a consistent labeling system

Label each box and what room it goes in and stack them near the door or an empty wall, but out of the way until move day.

  • Use a marker, typed labels or a color-coded labeling system—whatever is easiest for you and the movers to see and remember.
  • Label each box with your name, its general contents, “Fragile” if contents are breakable, and which room each box belongs in.
  • Assigning color codes to label and corresponding rooms or family members can make unpacking quicker.
  • Refer to your inventory checklist and keep track of how many boxes you have for each room.

Briefly list the contents of each box on the box or make an inventory list. This reduces confusion for movers and simplifies the unloading/unpacking process.

“The more organized you are to pack, the more organized you will be on the unpack and you’ll save yourself so much on the back end,” Albert says.

15. Create a packing station to combat the chaos

Designate one room in your house for packing—the guest room or an empty corner of your living room, for example.

Collect boxes in various sizes, packing tape, markers, and supplies like newspaper and bubble wrap, and keep these items contained to your packing station.

Label and stack full boxes in this space as you go. This way, you won’t be tripping over boxes all over your house, and you’ll always know where to find those Sharpies.

16. Pack non-essential items first

Begin by packing nonessentials, seasonal items, or anything you don’t regularly use or need for a few weeks:

  • Art on the walls
  • Clothes and shoes that are out of season
  • Holiday decorations
  • Dishes for special occasions


17. Break up your packing into manageable chunks

Pack one room at a time if possible. Albert says to pack like items from the same room in the same box. Don’t gather items from various rooms and put them in the same box; it’s too confusing and wastes time on the unpack.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you look around and see everything that needs packed. Start with a closet, the bathroom or living room knick-knacks and books. You’ll feel excited when you see an empty wall or closet.

“It’s time-consuming and it’s a stressful time in anyone’s life so do it in smaller chunks, a couple of boxes a night,” she says.

18. Don’t lose track of the little things

When disassembling furniture, put the screws and hardware in a plastic bag. Label each bag and designate one box for hardware for curtains, furniture, special light fixtures and wall decor.

To keep loose items organized, wrap the entire container or storage bin in plastic wrap and place it in a box.

  • Silverware
  • Mini blinds
  • Snacks
  • Jewelry
  • Bathroom toiletries
  • Desk supplies

Pro packing tip: Martha Stewart’s moving checklist recommends having area rugs, and drapery if you plan to take it, professionally cleaned before your move. Rugs will return from the cleaners rolled, wrapped, and ready for transport.

19. Snap a picture of the back of your TV and electronic setups

You’ll want to know how (and where!) to plug everything in, and it will save set-up time at your new home.

If you saved the boxes for TVs, office equipment, even counter appliances such as coffeemakers and stand mixers, good job. Pack these items back in their original packaging.


20. Plan for the first few days in your new place

Just as it takes several weeks of preparation for a move, it’s going to take the same amount of time to settle into your new home—unless you want to hire a professional to come in and help put things away. They can bring in a team and have your home put together in a day or two.

It helps to have necessities and essentials ready and easy to find-your pillows, your laptop, your favorite yoga pants and snacks.

Typically, these are the items you packed up last, and either loaded last or hauled with you. Label these boxes and totes so they’ll be the first off the truck and put them in a spot that’s out of the way but easy to access.

21. Assemble an overnight bag for moving day essentials

Gather important electronics, toiletries, clothes and medication.

Designate a special box or tote for things you’ll need first at your new home and transport that in your vehicle:

  • Soap/hand sanitizer
  • Change of clothes for every person
  • Bed sheets and pillows/air mattress
  • Phone, charger, cable cords
  • Towels
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Snacks
  • Cleaning supplies, trash bags
  • Basic household tool kit
  • Disposable plates, glasses and cutlery
  • Flashlight, batteries and lightbulbs
  • Toys for children and pets
  • Pet items—food, food dishes, leash, treats, crate, and other essentials


Take Care of Business Even in The Chaos

22. Use a binder to keep track of important documents

Make a special file for critical personal documents or put them in your safe/fireproof box and keep that with you during the move:

  • Birth certificates
  • Passports
  • Medical records
  • Vet records
  • School records
  • Credit cards not in your wallet
  • Banking and insurance information

23. Spread the word about your new address

Notify all utility companies of your move several weeks in advance and schedule shut off and start dates at your old and new residence. Change your address on important accounts and subscriptions.

  • Employer and children’s school
  • Banks, credit cards, loan holders
  • Magazine and newspaper
  • Insurance companies
  • Doctor’s offices
  • Gas, electric and water companies
  • TV/internet and phone companies

Packing doesn’t have to be dreadful, but it’s usually a hectic and stressful time for most people. If you’re too tired, busy or physically not able to move, Albert suggests outsourcing what you can. And planning in advance as much as possible.

All the headaches will be worth it. You’ll be enjoying your new home in no time!

Listing Agreements Explained

by Corine Rivera Homelight

Breaking Down the Big, Scary Listing Agreement Into a Deal You Understand

Congrats, homeowner! You’re ready sell your house, and you’ve picked a real estate agent you trust to get the job done. That’s a big step toward your end goal.

But before you can put your home on the market and show it off to the world, you need to make the deal with your real estate agent official.

That’s where the listing agreement comes in—to establish a written arrangement between you and your agent, kick off the selling process, and set the stage for the next few months of your home sale.

You might feel some nerves about that big, scary contract in front of you. And you likely have a lot of questions about whether the agreement you’re looking at is standard and to your liking.

Here’s everything you need to know about the listing agreement so that you can sign on the dotted line with confidence and peace of mind.

What is a Listing Agreement?

“The listing agreement is a legal contract between a homeowner who would like to sell their home for top dollar and a good, solid real estate company who would also like to sell their home for top dollar,” explains Armand Lenchek, who’s sold hundreds of homes and ranks in the top 2% of seller’s agents in Durham, North Carolina.

The contract is a legally binding agreement that gives the real estate agent or broker the right to sell the home. There are several different types of listing agreements, but three of them are most commonly used.

The Most Common Types of Listing Agreements

Exclusive Right to Sell Listing: The Exclusive Right to Sell listing is the most commonly used listing agreement among homeowners and real estate agents. It’s a legally binding contract that allows the real estate agent (or brokerage) full and total control over the transaction and rights to the agreed upon commission once the home sells.

“99% of the time the listing agreement is a listing agreement where the listing agents are responsible for everything,” said Lenchek.

In an Exclusive Right to Sell Listing Agreement, the real estate agent is given the rights to market the home, list the home on MLS, and receive the commission if the real estate agent closes a sale within the determined time frame.

Any mistakes in the terms of the Exclusive Right to Sell Listing Agreement can affect the outcome of the sale and how much the seller will owe to the real estate agent, so it is important for the seller to understand what they are signing.

Exclusive Agency Listing: In an exclusive agency listing, the homeowner allows one real estate agent or broker to try to sell the home. However, similar to an open listing, you have the right to find a buyer on your own. If you find a buyer on your own, the real estate agent would not receive any sort of commission.

While this agreement allows you to fall back on the help of real estate agent if you can’t sell your home yourself, real estate agents are a little reluctant to spend their time trying to sell a property without a guaranteed commission when it sells.

exclusive right to sell listing agreement

Open Listing: The open listing agreement offers the lowest level of commitment. Any real estate agent who brings you a buyer can land the commission AND you reserve the right to sell the property on your own (without paying a commission) if you find your own buyer.

But, odds are that no real estate agent will take you on as a client because any other real estate agent could scoop their commission.

Plus, according to the 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers by the National Association of Realtors, only 8% of home sales were sold by the owner and typically went for less than those sold by real estate agents.

So, if you choose an open listing agreement you might end up doing all the work to sell your house, and you’re likely to make less money on the sale.

What Goes Into a Listing Agreement?

The listing agreement, particularly the Exclusive Listing Agreement, involves everything––from what’s included in your home sale (appliances, chandeliers, etc.) to real estate agent compensation.

The contract lays out the terms of how the real estate agent can promote your home. This includes the use of the MLS, internet marketing, lockbox, and for-sale signs. There are also clauses that adhere to Equal Opportunity Housing, attorney fees, and dispute resolution and mediation.

You will also grant the agent the rights to use the listing content which includes photos, graphics, videos, drawings, virtual tours, written descriptions, and any other copyrightable elements relating to the property, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The terms involved in the agreement serve as the foundation of your entire real estate transaction, so it’s extremely important that you read each line carefully.

Do You Have to Sign a Listing Agreement?

If you want to sell your home using a real estate agent, you absolutely have to sign a listing agreement, according to Lenchek. If you choose to list your home as for-sale-by-owner (FSBO), you do not have to work with a real estate agent, and therefore do not have to sign a listing agreement.

When Do You Sign the Listing Agreement?

According to Lenchek, it all depends on the situation. While some homeowners sign the listing agreement on the first meeting, others may wait weeks or months until they are ready to sell their home. Whatever the case, a listing agreement will be signed once you are ready for your real estate agent to start marketing your home.

How Long Does a Listing Agreement Last?

A listing agreement is valid from the date you sign it until the expiration date. The expiration date depends on a few factors and varies by situation. The condition of the home, the current real estate market, and homeowner’s needs are all factors that play a role in how long a listing agreement remains valid.

Typically, a listing agreement will last from two to six months from the time it’s put on the market. Lenchek mentioned that if a house needs a lot of maintenance, or if the homeowners were in a different state, the owner may sign the listing agreement ahead of time even though it may be two months until you put your house on the market.

The expiration date also depends on the real estate market and the comparable homes in the area. If every comparable home in the area has sold in less than 60 days, you may want to sign up for a two-month contract. Ultimately, the expiration date of the agreement can be negotiated with your real estate agent.

What Can You Negotiate in the Listing Agreement?

As Lenchek puts it, in real estate, everything is negotiable. If you’re uncomfortable with certain terms, say something to your real estate agent or real estate broker that they work for. If they refuse to negotiate, you may want to consider finding a different agent or a different brokerage. Be careful though. Some negotiations may send a real estate agent walking.

Here are some common things to negotiate in the listing agreement:

Expiration date: Real estate agents want to be confident that they will sell your house, so they may want a longer expiration date to give themselves plenty of time. If you believe your home is particularly special and can sell faster than the time frame suggested by the real estate agent, you have a right to negotiate. Most real estate agents will listen to a homeowner’s concerns and find a way to compromise.

Commission: Most listing (or seller’s) agent commissions are between 5% and 6% and are typically split with the buyer’s agent when the deal closes. The commission percentage is decided on when signing the listing agreement, and then becomes part of the MLS listing, so it can’t be changed once the agreement is signed. Legally, you can negotiate compensation percentage, but it could affect the sale––and your real estate agent isn’t required to accept your terms.

A big chunk of real estate agent fees goes to marketing your house, so lowering the commission could lower the quality of marketing for your home.

Keep in mind, if you negotiate your real estate agent’s commission to a lower percentage, you also reduce the compensation a buyer’s agent would receive at the deal’s close. Unfortunately, some buyer’s agents may secretly steer clear of showing homes that offer a low commission, though the practice is technically unethical and frowned upon. The decision is ultimately yours, but be aware that a lower commission could slow down your buyer foot traffic for reasons outside your control.

Type of Listing: You have the right to choose the type of listing agreement they want to use. While most real estate agents choose to sign an Exclusive Right to Sell agreement, you can negotiate a different agreement. However, this may make it harder to find a real estate agent to work with, which could hold up your sale.

List Price: The listing agreement will specify what you will list your home for. Your real estate agent will determine a recommended list price based on market data, comparable homes that have sold in the area, and condition of the home. As the homeowner, you have a right to negotiate the list price. In most cases, it is best to go with a top real estate agent’s recommendation.

Duties: The duties of a seller’s real estate agent includes things like listing the address of the home online, posting a sign in the yard, and creating a list sheet. If you have any issue with these things or the other duties listed in the agreement, you can negotiate them with your real estate agent or the broker that your agent works for.

What Should You Look Out For in a Listing Agreement?

Since a listing agreement is a legally binding contract for a major financial investment, it’s important to look out for red flags before you sign. To save yourself from a bad real estate experience, work with a top-performing, experienced real estate agent.

Here are 7 red flags to look out for when you sit down to sign a listing agreement with your real estate agent.

  • Check the agent’s real estate license. It’s probably a formality (especially if you found your real estate agent through HomeLight) but you should always make sure your agent is legally allowed to sell real estate in your state.
  • Ask if they work as an agent full time. While part-time real estate agents often do a fine job, they may not be able to devote quite enough time to your sale. HomeLight’s data shows that part-time real estate agents rarely break into the top 3% of performing agents in their area nationwide.
  • Read reviews. An experienced real estate agent will have client reviews to support their reputation. If you can’t find any reviews online, ask your real estate agent to provide a list of client referrals.
  • Don’t pay them anything up front. You should never have to pay a real estate agent before your home is sold. If an agent or a brokerage requests a payment before signing the listing agreement, don’t sign it and find a new agent.
  • Negotiate the terms. If you aren’t comfortable with the terms of the listing agreement, ask the real estate agent to change them. A top real estate agent or broker will be willing to compromise for the needs of the client.
  • Check the expiration date. Be aware of the expiration date of the listing agreement. If the agreement lasts longer than what you had in mind, don’t sign it until you bring it up to your real estate agent.
  • Know the commission. Make sure the commission written in the agreement is the amount you and your agent agreed on. If you make changes to the contract, don’t sign it until the changes are fixed.

How Do You Terminate a Listing Agreement?

Technically, a listing agreement is a contract so there’s no provision for it to be terminated. Before signing the listing agreement, you can ask your real estate agent if they’ll allow written terms for ending the contract early. Some real estate agents and brokers will allow that, and some won’t. If you’re unhappy with the services of your real estate agent during your home sale, you can ask them to let you out of the contract.

Lenchek said he’ll always write in a client’s terms for cancellation if necessary. He also added that if you signed with a brokerage and you are unhappy with a particular agent, you can ask to switch agents in the same brokerage without breaching the contract.

“Real estate is a service industry. If you’re not prepared to give top-notch service to your clients, you really shouldn’t be in the business,” Lenchek said. He adds that in the rare case that a homeowner is unhappy with his services, he’ll let them out of the agreement without any trouble.

signing the listing agreement

What Is the Protection Period in a Listing Agreement?

The protection period in a listing agreement is specifically there to protect the real estate agent. For a certain amount of days after the contract expires, if any of the potential buyers that the seller’s agent brought in actually buy the home, then you will still owe them the commission.

What Is the Mediation and Dispute Clause in a Listing Agreement?

The mediation and dispute clause in the listing agreement simply states that if there is a disagreement between you and your real estate agent in the duration of the contract, you will meet with an impartial third-party to try to work out any issues. It is meant to avoid unnecessary legal issues between you and your agent in the midst of the home sale.

Does a Listing Agreement Cost Me Anything Upfront?

A listing agreement shouldn’t cost anything up front. Rather, it determines the compensation for the real estate agent after closing. “The listing agreements do have a clause that says if something happens and you part company, the sellers are responsible for the listing agent’s expenses,” Lenchek adds. “But I never have and never will incur that clause.”

What Happens to the Listing Agreement if My Home Doesn’t Sell?

Once a listing agreement expires, the contract is terminated and the house is taken off the market. You will be free to either look for another real estate agent or broker, extend the listing agreement with your current real estate agent or broker, or take their home off the market completely.

That’s The Nitty-Gritty on Real Estate Listing Agreements

Understand what you’re signing and communicate with your real estate agent. The listing agreement will control your entire home sale, from the list price of your home to the amount you owe your agent when it closes. Negotiate the terms that you are uncomfortable with and find a top real estate agent to get you through a home sale stress-free.

And as always—read the fine print!

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Summit Real Estate
The Bright Choice
330 Dillon Ridge Way, Suite 10
Dillon CO 80435
Fax: 970-468-2195

Allison Simson, Owner/Broker, is a licensed Colorado Real Estate Broker