Monday, February 28, 2011

Q: We're taking our house off the market.

We think that the price was right and we had lots of showings but I guess the economy is just so bad that no one is buying. When do you think the market will improve enough that we can sell our place?

A: I wish I had a crystal ball and then we'd all know what's next for the economy. What I can tell you is that sales have improved steadily here since the recession started. There have been twelve homes sold and closed so far this year and there are ten more with sales pending that should close soon. That's a 50% improvement over last year! In our small market that's good, especially for winter.

All of those homes were well priced and most were clean and very presentable. I know it's difficult to have your home on the market and also try to live there, but I showed your home a couple of times and the place was very smelly and dirty. It was often hard for potential buyers to even go through the entire house because of the smell.

I would suggest that you consult with someone who stages homes to talk about ways to make your place more appealing. Your listing agent will know who to call. You should also have the place professionally cleaned and then keep it as clean and tidy as possible. The outside of the house should receive some attention too. The siding is covered with mold and is very unattractive. It should be pressure washed.

Keeping the yard looking its best could really give the place a boost, especially going into spring. You have a couple of old non-working vehicles in the back of the property and that really turns people off. Find a place to store them or sell them. Having those in the yard tells the world you don't care how your place looks. That's OK if you are going to continue living there but it won't work if you want to sell it. I wish you the best of luck.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Q: You sold us this house 10 years ago and we've really been happy here.

One of the nicest things about this property was that it felt so private. Now the neighbors have cut down three magnificent Douglas fir trees which we loved, and we no longer have the same privacy. I'm just sick about it. I didn't think people could just cut down trees. Who can I call to make a complaint?

A: I receive more calls and emails about people upset about neighbors cutting trees than any other subject. We all have to remember that what we are talking about is somebody else's property. They get to decide what to grow or cut, no matter how we feel about it.

There are restrictions on when and how trees can be cut based on King County ordinances, but cutting a few trees, especially (as in this case) when they pose a serious hazard, doesn't generally require permission or permits.

It would have been nice had the neighbors come over and at least warned you that this was going to happen. It would have been less traumatic for you. By the same token, it would be nice if you went over there and gently told them how much you loved those trees and that you're sorry they had to cut them. My guess is that they'll explain that they were upset to have to cut them but that the trees posed a hazard.

Many trees on the island are sick or dying. I've spoken to arborists who've explained about the diseases the trees can get especially our Madrone and Douglas fir. If a large tree is sick or weak and could drop on your house, you probably should take it down. Of course it's sad, but it's better than losing your home.

I'a a conversationist and "tree hugger" and I have very large trees close enough to my home to crush me if they fall in a storm. But when I look at my lovely trees, I just can't bear to cut them. But that's my choice, after all.