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6 Ways Our Agents Can Help You in 2023

2023 Real Estate Tips

When you're ready to purchase a home, you might wonder how our real estate agents can make the process as stress-free and simple as possible. Here are a few important ways our team can help you in 2023. 

  1. We Can Help You Get the Best Possible Price
    Our real estate agents will discuss your homebuying budget and what traits you want your future home to have. Then, we'll look for Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale that fit your needs and make sure that your offer is reasonable when compared to the home's fair market value. We use data from comparable home sales and current market trends to ensure that you don't overpay for your new home. 
  1. We'll Save You Time
    There are a lot of tasks involved with purchasing a home, like looking for potential properties, scheduling open houses, arranging for home inspections, and negotiating with the seller. We can put more hours back into your day by handling or expediting many of these tasks. For example, we can recommend a reputable home inspector so that you don't waste time trying to find someone to inspect your potential home. 
  1. We Have Access to Tools to Assist With the Buying Process
    Real estate agents have access to helpful tools, like the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). MLS is a valuable resource with lots of information, like notifications about new listings, open houses, and pricing changes. This makes it easier for you to stay updated about potential properties and uncover info that will impact your decision to make an offer on a home. 
  1. We Understand the Local Real Estate Market
    Since we've handled a lot of properties in your real estate market, we understand the nuances of the neighborhood or city where you want to purchase a property. This experience and knowledge assist us with finding a property that suits your needs and making a competitive offer.  
  1. We Can Help You Evaluate a Potential Home
    A lot of properties look good on the surface, but when you delve into the details, you might discover that the home isn't right for your lifestyle. We know what characteristics you should consider when deciding if a property is meant to be your next home. 
  1. We'll Work to Negotiate a Strong Deal
    When you make an offer on a home, the offer includes several details, like the price, closing period, info about what items come with the property, and clauses that can protect you in case the seller receives a stronger offer or the home fails an inspection. We'll make sure that your offer is competitive while fulfilling your needs. If you're struggling to reach a deal with a home seller, we'll do whatever we can to salvage the deal.

If your plans for 2023 involve buying a home, it's important to have the knowledge and experience of one of our real estate agents. Contact us to learn more. 


Why You Should Steam Clean Before a Showing

Steam Cleaning

First impressions are everything. This is as true in the world of real estate as in any other. When a potential buyer first walks into a home, the first things they see (and smell) play a huge role in determining their interest. If your home makes a great first impression, you'll have an easier time making a sale — and you'll probably get higher offers, too. After years of experience, our real estate agents know this to be true!

One of the ways you can improve your home's first impression is by steam cleaning the carpets prior to your first showing or open house. Why is steam cleaning so important? Take a look.

  • Steam Cleaning Removes Trapped Odors
    Your home doesn't smell, right? We'll let you in on a little secret: you wouldn't necessarily know if it did. Homeowners become nose-blind to odors over time, but newcomers definitely notice those smells. When buyers look at Sarasota homes for sale, they want them to smell nice.

    Carpets have a bad habit of holding onto smells, and simple vacuuming doesn't do much to remove them. Steam cleaning, on the other hand, will remove trapped odors, including any you've become nose-blind to. Potential buyers will then be greeted by a fresh scent.

  • Steam Cleaning Removes Evidence of Pets
    Even if potential buyers own pets themselves, they don't want to see evidence of pets in a home they're thinking of buying. Buyers looking at Bradenton homes for sale want those spaces to look fresh and new. Even a little pet hair or one tiny stain can turn a buyer off. Steam cleaning removes evidence of pets from your carpet, reassuring buyers that your place is clean and well cared for.

  • Steam Cleaning is More Affordable Than Replacing the Carpet
    If your carpet looks a little discolored and dull, you may be thinking of replacing it before you sell. Sometimes, this might be a good idea. However, since carpet replacement can be costly, it's often wise to try steam cleaning first. 

    Steam cleaning costs a small fraction of what you'd pay to replace the existing carpet. In many cases, it will make your carpet look as good as new.

  • Steam Cleaning Ensures a Good-Looking Backdrop
    When you're preparing to sell your home, you can cover up minor faults like a divot in the wall or some scratches on the baseboard. But the carpet is a big element. It serves as the backdrop of your room, in a way. If the carpet does not look clean, that's something that buyers will notice.

    Steam cleaning ensures this major element of your decor looks its best. When the carpet is clean, buyers generally assume the rest of the home is clean, too.

  • Steam Cleaning Removes Allergens
    The last thing you'd want is for a buyer to walk into your home and start sneezing. While vacuuming does pick up some allergens, it also tends to disperse those allergens into the air. Steam cleaning does a more thorough job of removing pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and other allergens from the carpet. A home with carpets that have recently been steam cleaned is less likely to cause symptoms for allergy sufferers.

Preparing your home for a showing can go a long way toward helping you find the perfect buyer. If you're thinking about selling and are looking for an agent to represent you, feel free to contact us. Our experienced real estate agents can guide you through both the buying and the selling processes and ensure everything goes smoothly.


Spring Cleaning: Don't Forget Your Windows

Spring Cleaning Wagner

Living in Southwest Florida means warm sunshine, cool evening breezes, and lots of fresh air. If you're looking for Sarasota homes for sale or Bradenton homes for sale, you hope to find a home with large windows, sliding glass doors, and great outdoor features so you can enjoy everything a Florida lifestyle has to offer.

When warm sunshine starts filtering through your windows, it's time to shake off the winter dust and tackle some deep cleaning chores in your home, including all those dirty windows that you've ignored during the winter. Before spring arrives, our real estate agents recommend some deep cleaning tips for your windows, so you can open them up, let in the breeze, and enjoy the view.

Take a Look at Your Windows

Before you begin, walk around your home and assess your cleaning tasks. You may have hard-to-reach windows that require a ladder or special equipment to get onto the roof. Don't attempt to clean windows, doors, or skylights that may result in a dangerous fall. For hard-to-reach windows, it's best to call a professional window washer who has the right equipment for the job.

If your home has a second story or multiple levels, start cleaning on the highest level and work your way down. This way, you can make sure that all windows get cleaned in an organized manner, and you won't have to backtrack to check for windows you missed.

Gather Your Cleaning Supplies

Whether you have stationary windows or windows that open, you'll need some basic cleaning supplies and a container to carry them around. Look for a plastic tote or sturdy basket with handles that can hold your essential supplies:

  • A spray glass cleaner, a mixture of mild soapy water, and a mixture of water and white vinegar

  • A squeegee

  • A duster and a hand-held vacuum

  • A synthetic brush or broom

  • Microfiber or lint-free soft cloths

  • Paper towels

Stationary Windows

For stationary windows, start by wiping loose dirt from the glass with a soft, dry cloth or duster. Next, use your synthetic brush or hand-held vacuum to remove dirt and debris from the window frame, sills, and tracks. Apply your cleaning solution to the glass, then remove the solution with a squeegee or clean, lint-free cloth. If you use a squeegee, make sure to wipe the squeegee clean with a cloth or paper towel after each swipe on the glass.

Single or Double Hung Windows

Many replacement windows available in today's market come with a convenient tilt-wash or tilt-sash feature that allows you to easily clean the inside and the outside of the window from inside your home. You don't need to go outside and climb a ladder to clean exterior glass. If your single-hung or double-hung windows have a tilt-sash feature, simply unlock the window, release the tilt-sash mechanisms on the top of the window frame, and tilt your window towards you to clean the glass.

Sliding Glass Doors

If you have interior or exterior doors with window panes or sliding glass doors, you can clean the glass with non-abrasive glass cleaners or mild soapy water. You can use a soft cloth on the interior glass, but it's best to clean the exterior glass with paper towels. Exterior glass can get extremely dirty since it's exposed to the elements. You don't want to ruin your cleaning clothes or transfer bacteria from your exterior glass to other indoor surfaces.

If you're thinking about buying a home in Southwest Florida, contact us to view available properties in desired areas that match your lifestyle and financial needs.


Home Improvement: How to Prioritize All Your Projects

Home Improvement

Do you feel overwhelmed at the idea of tackling home improvement projects? If you're like most homeowners, you can just walk through your home and see so many tasks awaiting your elbow grease. If you're thinking of listing your home among Sarasota homes for sale, you may want to get a handle on prioritizing projects.

One of the first steps is to decide how you want to categorize your repairs and renovations. You might jot down categories such as these, and then under each one, list projects that fall under that heading:

  • Safety
  • Damage prevention
  • Cosmetic
  • Updating to increase home value

Here are some additional tips for organizing your thoughts and knowing which projects to tackle first.

  1. List Projects that Affect the Safety of the Home
    Safety should always come first. Maybe there are electrical problems that threaten the safety of the home's occupants. Do you need to install security lighting and cameras outside the home and replace failing door hardware and locks? Is the HVAC on its last leg, and does it need replacement, or will some repairs get it into good working order? In most of these cases, you will likely need to call an expert, so plan your budget accordingly. 

  2. List Projects that Prevent Damage to the Home
    After you worked on projects causing an immediate safety hazard, look for ones that prevent potential damage. Do rain gutters need repair to save the roofline? Are there severe drafts in winter because of structural problems or because the windows need weatherstripping and caulking? Is the plumbing or roof leaking? Do trees need to be cut back, so they don't damage the roof? Once again, some projects you can likely tackle while others will need an expert. 

  3. Consider Cosmetic Changes
    Once you prioritize the must-dos for safety's sake, assess the cosmetic changes you think you'll need to sell your home, or if you're not going anywhere, to make you feel better. Cracks in the wall? Do the bathrooms need new tile? Could some of the rooms use a new coat of paint? Tackle one room at a time. You'll feel encouraged to move to the next project once you complete the first one on your list. If you're able to do it yourself on some of these, so much the better. 

  4. Consider Projects that Increase Value
    Exercise caution when it comes to initiating renovations to increase home value. Some will do just that, and some won't. Some projects that will add value: bathroom remodels; kitchen renovations; replacing old appliances with matching, energy-efficient models; remodeled attic or basement; adding a deck; boosting curb appeal by cleaning, trimming, and planting some color in the front yard; and increasing energy efficiency by air sealing your home, adding insulation, and installing efficient windows. Projects that won't increase value include luxury upgrades, garage conversions, and swimming pools. Before starting one of these projects, consider whether you plan on being in your current home for a long time. 

Do you need advice on prioritizing your home improvement projects before listing your home among the Bradenton homes for sale? Our real estate agents can help. Contact us today.


Tips for Picking A Real Estate Agent During a Hot Market

Real Estate Market

It's a hot market, and you're looking to buy or sell a home among Sarasota homes for sale or Bradenton homes for sale. While an agent can help you in any type of real estate market, their help is especially critical during a hot market. Here's why.

Why Hire an Agent?

Yes, your home might just fly off the market with a Craigslist ad or the like, but what if it doesn't? With an agent, your home will get considerably more exposure in MLS (multiple listing service) databases created and maintained by real estate professionals to help homeowners like you sell their property. It just makes sense that the more potential buyers see your property, the greater the chance that the selling price could go much higher than your expectations. You could have buyers competing with one another, and that could only benefit you.

Your agent will be there throughout the whole process and able to offer advice for any aspect of the sale, from determining a price to staging your home to determining the scope of repairs you want to do before you put the home on the market. 

But an even better reason to hire a real estate agent is that many potential buyers are not comfortable talking to the owner of a property and prefer to deal with an agent. Not only can you -- and should you -- make yourself scarce while the agent shows your home, but you'll boost the comfort level of potential buyers, who may feel they are visiting you, as the owner of the home, rather than seriously looking at a home they want to live in.

What to Look for in an Agent

As you begin to look for a real estate agent, you will likely focus on an individual's experience in selling houses like yours in your neighborhood. Ask neighbors for recommendations. Get at least three referrals. And remember, while experience is important, so is personality. Can you relate to this person? Does he or she seem real to you? Look for an agent you can build a rapport with, in addition to their sales and successes.

Pay attention to the agent's marketing tools, including website, business card, brochures, signage, social media efforts, and more. Does the agent's personal appearance give you confidence in them, or is something lacking? 

When you discuss the sale of your home with a real estate agent, you want someone who can guide you through what can be a precarious journey. Can your agent answer questions reliably and with real data about investment analysis, neighborhood-level market performance, and possibly even the impact of your decision to sell? You don't want an agent who honey coats their answers; you need real information about possible pitfalls, so listen carefully to how your agent replies to your questions and make sure the agent is really hearing you.

Our real estate agents can give you solid advice on how to hire the right professional to help you sell your home. Contact us today. 


How to Ensure Your Pet Stays Safe During a Renovation

Pet Safe Renovations

Renovations are a great way to keep your home up to date, to add value, and to compete with other Bradenton homes for sale when it comes time. Unfortunately, many homeowners put off updating their homes because of how complicated it is to get work done when you have pets. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your pets safe and minimizing stress so that you can do the work when it's needed.

  1. Find a safe place.
    Workers tend to leave doors and gates open, and honestly, it's not their job to watch out for your pets. The best thing for everyone is for you to find a safe place to keep your pet while workers are in the house. This might be a back bedroom, or it might be a crate. Try to include some things to keep your pet comfortable, like their favorite bed, blanket, or toys, plus necessities like food, water, and a litter box.

  2. Make sure everyone knows.
    Definitely let contractors know where you'll be keeping your pet, so they make sure not to let them out. As a precaution, if you're keeping your pet loose in a closed-off room, post a sign on the door reminding everyone to be careful opening the door.

  3. Do a safety check at the end of the day.
    Once the workers leave for the day, you'll likely be in a hurry to let your pet out so they can enjoy some freedom for the evening. But wait! Before opening that door or crate, do a walk-through of all the areas where the contractors have been throughout the day. Make sure doors, windows, and gates are all closed, and be sure there are no safety hazards such as sharp objects or loose wires.

  4. Know the schedule.
    It's also important to know where the contractors will be and what they'll be working on each day if only to make sure that you don't inadvertently put your pet in a room they need access to. Check-in regularly and make sure you know if there are any delays or changes in the schedule. In fact, it's probably in your best interest for a lot of reasons to know these things, and not only for the safety of your pet.

  5. Consider getting your pet out of the house.
    In some ways, having renovations done is a little like showing your home while it's on the market. Some homeowners leave their pets locked up in a room, but our real estate agents always appreciate it when pets are removed from the home. That way no one has to watch out for your pet, and it may minimize your pet's stress, too. Consider boarding your pets, or asking a friend or relative to keep them at their place during the day when the workers are there. Dogs could also be dropped off at doggy daycare, or if you have a job that allows it, brought to work with you.

Keeping your home up-to-date compared to other Sarasota homes for sale is an important part of owning property. If you're ready to list your home for sale, or even if you just have questions about what renovations you'll need to do before selling, contact us today, and one of our agents will help guide you through the process.


10 Essentials to Sell Your Bradenton Home

Essentials to Sell Your Home in Bradenton
Want to sell a spare TV or some old clothes? Just take a picture or two, post them on eBay or Craigslist and wait for the calls to come in. But Bradenton homes for sale require a little more TLC to move quickly and command top price.

If you're a Bradenton homeowner planning to put your house on the market, use these smart tips from our real estate agents to develop a winning game plan.

  1. Do Your Homework
    Before you commit, research the local market to make sure it's a good time to sell. Look for data like average sale price and current inventory levels that indicate whether it's a buyers or seller's market. Seasonality is also a factor, so consider which time of year is optimal.

  2. Hire a Real Estate Agent
    No matter how many times you've sold a home, each situation is different. An experienced real estate agent helps you successfully navigate the ins and outs of the home selling process every step of the way.

  3. Ditch the Clutter
    What feels cozy and lived-in to you says messy and careless to buyers. Packed counters, cabinets and closets make a house look smaller and raise questions about ample storage space. Just can't let go? Check out Netflix sensation Marie Kondo and her hugely popular "tidying" method.

  4. De-Personalize 
    When a home is full of family photos and personal items, it's hard for a buyer to shake the feeling of being a visitor. Give them space to envision putting their own stamp on their beautiful new home.

  5. Give Rooms a Face Lift
    Are the walls looking a little shabby? Maybe you fell in love with colors that were trendy in the 90s but they're tired today. Repaint where needed with neutral colors to accommodate the vision of any buyer. If the current paint still looks good, make sure you remove any scuff marks and clean baseboards.

  6. Clear Up the Fix-It List
    Now is the time to take care of loose cabinet knobs, dripping faucets and other minor fix-it jobs that have been piling up. Never assume "no one will notice." While you're at it, why not go the extra mile and freshen up the look with new bathroom, kitchen, door and window hardware?

  7. Add Lighting
    The phrase "too much light" doesn't exist for home buyers. Make sure any burned-out light bulbs are replaced and change any dated-looking lamps or lighting fixtures. Before a showing, open all curtains and blinds and leave a light on in each room.

  8. Take the Smell Test
    Funky odors can detract from the most impeccably maintained home. You may have gone "nose-blind" to pet odors and other smells, so enlist the help of a friend. Don't overlook the tried-and-true effectiveness of baking bread or cookies for an irresistible aroma.

  9. Clean, Clean Some More and Clean Again
    It may seem obvious, but the importance of an immaculate home can't be stressed too much. If your schedule is too tight, it's worth the expense to hire a cleaning service.

  10. Look from the Outside In
    Renovation expert Bob Vila estimates that curb appeal can add as much as 20 percent to your home's value. Can you afford to pass up that kind of return? Be sure the outside of your home makes buyers eager to see what's inside.

Our real estate agents are ready, willing and able to make selling your home as painless and profitable as possible. Contact Wagner Realty to learn more. 



How to Find the Right Agent to Sell Your Florida Home

Pick the Right Agent to Sell Your Home
Once you've decided to sell your home, the next step is to find the right real estate agent to help you get the job done efficiently and to your satisfaction. The trick to finding an agent that has your best interests is to do some research ahead of time and to be open and honest during your initial meeting with them. Our REALTORS® are always on top of the housing market and have built a strong reputation with clients who are buying or selling Florida real estate. Before you select your agent, prepare some questions to ask up front and know what characteristics you should be looking for during your first meeting. 

Experience Matters
Just as in any field, skill and knowledge are gained over time in the real estate industry. One of the first questions you might want to ask a prospective agent is about their experience. Aside from inquiring about the number of years an agent has working in the field and with their firm, it's important to ask about their recent performance. A good agent should be proud to share their track record with you when you ask about the number of sales during the past year and the percentage of listings that have sold.

Understand the Plan
Asking an agent to explain their specific plan to market your home is not only recommended, but it's also smart. It's much better to understand how your agent will work to get your home the best exposure and the most offers than to automatically assume their plan will work for you. Discuss their marketing strategies including online visibility, signage, and local advertisements. Inquire about how the lockbox will be handled, home showings, and an estimated time frame.

Negotiation and Communication
Get a feel for the agent's communication style while you're discussing the home selling process, but don't be afraid to ask them directly about their negotiation skills. After all, your agent will be the one acting on your behalf during this time period. You'll want to know that they have excellent negotiation tactics and that they're willing to put them to use for you. Communication is crucial in working with an agent, and it's best to understand how and when they'll be communicating with you about offers, updates, and changing market trends.

Dollars and Cents
Have the agent explain how their commission works during your initial meeting. You might think that an agent requiring less commission is a wise choice, but a well-paid, experienced agent has most likely earned a reputation for excellence. It's important to consider a combination of factors when selecting an agent.

Pitch Perfect
Finally, you might ask the agent why they believe they would be the best choice for selling your home. This question gives the agent an opportunity to pitch their qualifications to you, and you'll be able to see how effective their selling skills are right away.

Choosing the right agent to market your home is a huge decision that will affect the entire process, hopefully in a positive way. When you're ready to list your home for sale, contact our team at Wagner Realty to understand what it's like to work with the best in the business.  Our 200+ Associates are licensed REALTORS® and belong to the local, state and National Associations of REALTORS®.

Contact Wagner Realty


How to Add Value and Personality to Your Bradenton Home for Sale

Bradenton Home - Add Value and Personality7 Tips for Giving Your Home the WOW Factor

When you put your home on the market, the value must be obvious. Your home must generate interest even for a potential buyer who's just driving by. As buyers make the rounds of Bradenton homes for sale, you need a "wow" factor that brings them to your front door. That's a tall order, but it's doable with the right fixes and upgrades.

Our real estate agents understand that upgrading your home is the key to attracting buyers. As many remodeling projects won't deliver a sound return on your investment, you must find other ways to add personality and value.  Use these seven tips for adding value and personality to your home for sale.

1.  Upgrade Your Bathroom

Home buyers love modern attractive bathrooms. Unfortunately, if you do a full remodel, you won't likely recoup your costs. You still have options for creating a fresh new look.

  • Paint - Lighten and brighten your bathroom with fresh paint and trim in pale grays or blues.
  • Fixtures - Upgrade your faucets and shower fixtures with modern replacements in metal colors from Venetian bronze to polished copper.
  • Hardware - Add new towel bars, hooks, and vanity knobs or handles in colors that compliment your fixtures.
  • Grout redo - Freshen your tile with a DIY grout redo. If your grout is dingy but in good condition, repaint it with an economical grout paint pen.

2.  Enhance Your Lighting

Trendy pendant lighting fixtures brighten dull corners, make rooms appear more spacious, and add personality. Pendant is the trendy name for drop or suspended lights that hang from the ceiling by a rod or chain. They've been around for a long time, but you can find modern, colorful versions that add value to any room.

  • Install a wide light over a work area.
  • Hang a track of pendant lights over a kitchen island or dining table.
  • Focus a wide beam above artwork, in a foyer, or in a corner.
  • Choose LED options to save energy.

3.  Freshen Up Your Paint

Fresh paint adds value to your home exterior and a colorfully painted door adds a personality wow. Newly painted walls enhance any room. Pale blues and grays are the new "neutral" colors for kitchens, living rooms, and baths. Avoid dark colors when the goal is to lighten and brighten.

4.  Enhance Your Landscape

A well-planned landscape adds personality that attracts homebuyers passing by. Keep your grass mowed and trimmed, of course. Add value with creative landscaping.

  • Design an attractive garden look with a bench among colorful flower beds, trees, greenery, and shrubs.
  • Bring your garden right up to your door with uniquely potted plants and hanging baskets.
  • Renew your landscape with fresh mulch or ground cover.

6.  Add Energy-Saving Upgrades

You can add value to your home and attract buyers with the lure of future energy savings. Solar panels can be costly but they deliver a return on your investment when you sell. A kitchen redo with Energy Star appliances adds value and personality. If these upgrades are too costly, try less expensive enticements.

  • Energy saving hot water heater. washer, dryer, furnace, or ac units
  • Solar landscape lighting
  • LED lighting

7.  Replace Your Garage Door

A new garage door adds personality and value to your home and it's a Remodel Magazine Cost/Value study Key Trend. At a $3,470 average cost, a garage door is a relatively low-budget remodel and it brings a higher return on investment than any other item on the Cost/Value list.

Wagner Realty Can Help

There's an art to adding personality and value to your home. Our real estate professionals can help. Contact Wagner Realty when you're buying or selling a home or for more information about the Florida communities we serve.

Contact Wanger Realty


Get Your Bradenton Home Noticed with These Staging Tips

Bradenton Home Staging Tips
Accentuate the Positive and Eliminate the Negative with These 5 Home Staging Tips

If you're planning your first open house, you've no doubt completed a long list of fixes and upgrades. You're probably depending on the attraction of the seaside ambiance, lush tropical climate, and other natural highlights that make Bradenton homes so engaging. These features will attract buyers to your open house, but you'll need great staging to keep them interested.

Our real estate agents understand how the idea of staging can seem vague. But it's critical to selling your home. When it's done right, great staging gives potential buyers the room to imagine their family in your space.

Staging is a step-by-step process that assumes you've already done the heavy repairs and fix-ups.

1.  Declutter

Your home probably contains too much stuff. That happens when you live in one place for a long time and you keep bringing things in but don't take any out. Clutter makes your rooms look small and crowded. That's a problem because buyers want spacious floor plans.

If you can't bear to donate your stuff or throw it away, hide it in a rented storage unit. The biggest offenders?

  • Too much furniture: Keep only what's necessary.
  • Toys everywhere: Place some in a toy chest. Store the rest.
  • Kitchen counters: Display only a few high-end appliances.
  • Cabinets, closets, storage areas: Remove and store all but the basics. (Potential buyers will open closed doors.)
  • Over, under, on-top-of: Remove accumulated clutter on refrigerators, under beds, inside bathroom vanities, etc.
  • Outside: Implement the same ruthless decluttering strategy in your yard, garage, and outdoor storage areas.

2.  Depersonalize

Buyers want to see themselves in your home. That means you must remove all kid-created art, vacation photos, and vintage pics of sweet Auntie Sally at age 4. You must remove any items that tag your home as... your home.

  • Culturally specific art
  • Most books
  • Portraits and framed photos
  • Souvenirs and mementos
  • Anything that tugs at your heart

3.  Make Each Room a Blank Canvas

Walls painted in neutral colors are a great way to freshen up a room and start over from scratch. Of course, you should know that today's "neutral" doesn't have to be eggshell or beige. Consider these alternative blank-slate colors.

  • Create a soothing bedroom with gray-blue, pale gray, or cerulean blue.
  • Brighten your bathroom with Light blue.
  • Use beige or taupe to enhance your living room. 
  • Light blue and gray-blue will brighten your kitchen. 
  • Paint adjoining rooms the same color to enhance spaciousness.  

4.  Brighten and Lighten

Home buyers are attracted to bright open spaces. Painting is the first step. Here are a few other things you can do.

  • Remove heavy drapes.
  • Consider blinds only or light airy window treatments.
  • Turn your lights on during your open house.
  • Open curtains and drapes to let the sunshine in.
  • Upgrade your lighting with new fixtures, freestanding lamps, and increased bulb wattage.  

5.  Rework Your Spaces

If your newly decluttered rooms seem devoid of character, that's not such a bad thing. Transform these nearly-empty rooms into attractive minimalist arrangements.

  • Place your remaining furniture into comfortable groupings with space to navigate.
  • Add attractive object arrangements (candles, statuary, vases) to a table, sideboard or buffet.
  • Add natural floral accents.
  • Hang interesting 2D art or 3D wall sculptures.

Your Bradenton Real Estate Professionals

You have a lot to do when you're preparing to sell your home. Our professionals have the experience to advise you every step of the way. Contact Wagner Realty when you're ready to buy or sell a home or if you simply want information on activities, businesses, and events in Bradenton.

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Deal or No Deal: Negotiating an Offer on Your Home

Negotiate the Sale of Your Home
If you list your home during a seller's market, there's a good chance you'll get the offer you want without a lot of back-and-forth negotiation. But some buyers and sellers like the back-and-forth. They expect it. And if you don't negotiate, one of you might have second thoughts about the deal.

Our real estate agents work with home sellers throughout the marketing process. We understand that sellers want the best price and buyers want the best deal. Negotiation is inevitable if you hope to move beyond these mismatched goals. Here are a few rules to help your deal go smoothly.

Negotiate confidently
As with so many aspects of selling your home, confidence is important. Negotiation confidence comes from believing that the price is a right and knowing that your home is worth it. With these facts in mind, you can stick with your asking price or back off a bit for the sake of the deal. You can feel safe rejecting a low offer and waiting for a better one to come along.

Don't play games
Negotiating a home sale is a serious financial event for everyone involved. It's a time for honesty, integrity, and trust, not gamesmanship. Some buyers love to negotiate, but if you play games, you may turn off every buyer that comes along.

  • Be clear about what you want.
  • When a seller gives you what you ask for, don't push for more.
  • Don't pit buyers against one another.
  • Never threaten to renege on a deal or pull your home off the market.
  • Don't use fixtures and appliances as negotiation hostages.
  • Don't haggle for the sake of haggling.

Don't reject an offer because it came too soon
Don't feel compelled to reject a good offer simply because it came sooner than you expected. Houses do sell quickly. Isn't that the goal? If the first offer makes you happy, you can hope the next one will be better. But what if it isn't? Sometimes it's prudent to take the "bird in the hand."

Get it in writing
Even if you enjoy negotiation just for the thrill of it, you must get the details in writing. Each bid, counter-offer, or pre-sale promise could be an element of your final sales agreement. You won't know until you make a deal. It's important to eliminate potential discrepancies by documenting the details in writing.

Read before you sign
Read any agreement carefully before you sign, especially if it's prepared by a buyer's agent or attorney. A buyer's representative has a duty to protect the buyer's interests, not yours. Any document they prepare could bind you to contingency provisions and conditions you didn't intend to meet. It could commit you to the deal but give the buyer an easy out.

Minimize post-inspection negotiations
To prevent post-inspection repair issues from sabotaging your sale, get your home into great shape before you list it. When you declutter, clean, and repair everything inside and out, you'll have fewer inspection concerns. If you do receive a post-inspection to-do list, handle it reasonably. Until you sign the final paperwork, you're still negotiating the sale.

Be flexible about closing dates
If the buyer wants to negotiate a quick closing, make it happen. Once you've made your deal, you wouldn't want a scheduling conflict to become a last-minute deal breaker.

Let Us Help

Home negotiations can be challenging unless you have a real estate professional making the deal on your behalf. Contact Wagner Realty when you're buying or selling a home. We'll guide you through the marketing process from pre-listing to closing and we'll handle your negotiation challenges.

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Will a Great Yard Sell Your Sarasota Home?

Sarasota Curb Appeal
Adding curb appeal increases the value of your home and makes it more appealing to house hunters. Landscaping projects can be a quick and fairly inexpensive way to make your homes stand out from the other homes for sale in Sarasota. Our REALTORS® know what it takes to sell homes in our community.  Here are a few ways to boost your curb appeal and give potential buyers a great first impression of your home from the minute they pull up to the curb. 

Paint a Picture of the Salt Life

Buyers are looking for a Sarasota home that embraces the delight of living in paradise. Paint a picture with a few flowering bushes in lovely stone planters. Power wash your driveway, stone paths, and lanai to make everything sparkle. Most home improvement stores rent power washers, making this an inexpensive improvement that magnifies the appeal of your home. If you have a pool, make certain that the water is crystal clear and brightly clean. These little things add up to make your home even more attractive.

Add a Hummingbird Garden

A hummingbird garden is a lovely asset to any home. It's small, colorful and requires minimal maintenance. Hummingbirds are tiny, so you don't have to worry about the car damage some larger birds cause. Hummingbird-friendly landscaping also attracts butterflies, so you get two benefits from a single weekend project. Look for plants with vibrant colors (especially red). Flowers that flourish in Sarasota include:

  • Red Bleeding Hearts
  • Calice Bush
  • Trumpet Honeysuckle

Each of these plants is low-maintenance. By planting several varieties, you can have butterflies and hummingbirds from May through August.

Consider a Lawn Upgrade

A beautiful yard provides a place for outside activities, prevents erosion, and releases sweet-smelling oxygen before a rainfall. A lawn with a dependable drainage system is extremely attractive to buyers. Low or easy maintenance is another benefit that home buyers are looking for in a new home. Before you make a major investment in upgrades, stop by one of our offices. Our real estate agents will be happy to share what types of lawns appeal to buyers in Southwest Florida. As a seller, you want to balance any investment you make with the benefits that it will provide.

Wagner Realty for Sarasota Real Estate Services

A few simple updates can make a major impact on the road-side appeal of your home. Look for ideas online or at one of our many nurseries in the area. One of the best resources for advice about lawn care and landscaping in Sarasota is free. The UF Agricultural Extension Department is available year-round with demonstrations and Q&A sessions at library branches in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Contact Wagner Realty to start the process of selling your home.

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Selling Your Home? Don't Be Surprised by Closing Costs

Sell Home Closing Costs
Selling your home can be a profitable venture, particularly if you invested a large down payment, have built up equity, updated the home as needed, and have benefited from rising market values here in Florida. But it isn't as simple as getting a check from the buyer, paying off what you owe and pocketing the rest. There are costs associated with selling, and it's important to familiarize yourself with them so that there are no surprises at the closing table. 

Most of a seller's closing costs are based on the sales price of the home, and some costs may vary depending on where you live. Our REALTORS® can help you estimate costs based on an expected sales price. Doing those calculations at the start of your sales process will help you evaluate offers with complete information. Here's a list of typical closing costs for sellers:

  • Your Mortgage
    Typically the biggest expense at closing is paying off your mortgage. Call your mortgage company and ask for a pay-off balance. Your monthly statements likely include the current loan balance, but the amount you actually pay will vary slightly since interest accrues daily. You'll also need to pay off any second mortgages or home equity loans at the time of the sale.

  • Real Estate Commissions
    The agent who listed and tirelessly marketed your home, made beautiful flyers and web listings, set appointments, held open houses, managed negotiations and all of the paperwork to get you to the closing table gets paid by you at closing. The standard commission nationwide is 6 percent, which is shared with the buyer's agent. On a $300,000 home, that's $18,000. The commission is deducted from the seller's proceeds.

  • Transfer Tax
    The seller typically pays the cost of transferring the title to the new owner's name. The cost for this in Florida is $77 per $1,000, so with our $300,000 home example, you would pay roughly $2,300 for this line item.

  • Title Insurance
    Title insurance protects the buyer from any unforeseen problems, like unpaid contractor's liens or problems with prior document filings. In Florida, the cost on our $300,000 example would be $5 per $1,000 or $1,500. Some Florida counties make this the buyer's responsibility, so you'll want to ask your agent to help clarify this based on where the home you are selling is located.

  • Other Costs
    Since property taxes are typically due at the end of the year, you'll need to pay your pro-rated property taxes from January 1 to the closing date. This amount goes to the buyer as a credit at closing, reducing what they pay, however they will be responsible for the entire year's property taxes when they come due. The same goes for any Home Owner's Association fees that are paid in arrears. Note that if you pay into escrow for your property taxes and your mortgage company takes responsibility for them, you will receive a refund for the taxes from your mortgage company about 30 days after you pay off your loan.

  • Agreed Upon Improvements or Credits
    If during the contract negotiations you agreed to purchase a home warranty for the buyer, offered to pay a portion of their closing costs, or agreed to a carpet allowance or other credit, this payment will also occur at closing.

Now that you have a clearer picture of what expenses you can expect to pay to sell your home, it's time to hire a great agent and get started. Contact Wagner Realty, one of the most respected real estate companies in Manatee and Sarasota Counties, to get an expert agent working for you.

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Checklist to Sell Your Florida Home for the Most Money

Sell Your Florida Home
No matter where your house is located or when you choose to sell it, there will always be competition from other sellers in your area. The good news is there's plenty you can do to make your home stand out if you're willing to invest some time and a bit of elbow grease. Our REALTORS® know what it takes to sell a home, and we've put together a checklist to help you maximize the value you get for selling your Florida home. 

Tips for Maximizing the Value of Your Florida Home

Whether you're looking to maximize your return on investment, sell your home as quickly as possible, or both, it all starts with having a plan. Your real estate agent should be a huge help throughout the process, which leads us to the first point on our checklist:

  1. Find the Right Real Estate Agent
    A knowledgeable, attentive real estate agent will be one of your biggest assets when selling a house, so take the time to find an agent who understands your market and needs. The right agent will have deep knowledge of your local real estate market, a willingness to answer your questions, and an understanding of the modern marketing methods that will help get your home sold.

  2. Pick the Right Price
    Choosing the right price is one of the first things that your real estate agent can help with, and it's a crucial step in finding the right buyer for your home. A market analysis from your real estate agent is a great place to start, and you can also scout local homes for sale to get an idea your competition. Going a bit lower than the competition may help with a quick sale while aiming higher can work if you're willing to wait for the right buyer.

  3. Clean and Clutter-Free
    Once you've got the initial details out of the way, it will be time to show off your home to the world. Make sure that the interior of your home is clean top to bottom, and that you clear out the unnecessary clutter so that buyers can imagine their life in your home. Buyers love to look for the little details, so make sure to clean everywhere.

  4. Consider Curb Appeal
    You want buyers to be impressed from the moment they see your home from the street, so make sure to spend time concentrating on curb appeal. Keep your yard clean, your lawn cut, and your landscaping looking its best. A fresh coat of paint is also a great idea if the area around your front door could use some touching up.

  5. Make Meaningful Fixes
    Most buyers will consider minor maintenance issues as a sign that something more serious could be wrong with the home, so it's important to make any necessary fixes before you start showing your home. A walk-through with your real estate agent is a great way to spot any issues.

  6. Make Your Marketing Count
    Online marketing is an excellent way to attract potential buyers, so make sure that your real estate agent has a plan for marketing your home. Professional photography goes a long way toward making your home look great online, and a listing on your agent's MLS helps ensure that interested buyers will have an easy time finding your home.

Finding the right real estate agent is one of the most important things you can do when selling a house, and our team would love to help you get the results you seek. Contact Wagner Realty to buy and sell homes throughout the Sarasota area.

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Male Versus Female Differences in Buying a House

Gender Difference Buying a Home
As a modern thinker, you probably believe that men and women are pretty much the same under the surface. Unfortunately, that's not true. When you're selling your home, it's important to realize that a few traditional men vs. women differences are alive and well and they can affect the sale of your home. Our REALTORS® view these differences as a challenge. As we market your home, we work with you to prevent them from becoming a roadblock to selling your home.

Man vs. Woman: Together But Different

When significant others search for their dream home, they scan listings, discuss properties and attend open houses together. Only as they examine each property with a critical eye, do their male versus female homeowner value systems clash. Couples often follow a pattern documented by real estate researchers. They arrive together to view your home but they look for different things.

  • Women require safety
    When a woman home-buyer searches for a good neighborhood, safety is her primary concern. She wants to feel secure in her home and anxiety-free if she takes an evening stroll through her neighborhood.

    A man will choose convenience over safety. An occasional police run in his neighborhood doesn't bother him as long as his favorite eating and drinking spots are within walking distance.

  • Women want friends and family nearby
    Women are friendlier than men. (It's not a stereotype if it's true.) Women want friends and family nearby. They want their homes to be a hub for friendly gatherings and family fun.

    Men, don't care whether friends and family live nearby. They just want to live close to their workplace and they want neat and quiet neighbors.

  • Women want demographic sameness
    A woman prefers neighbors whose work and social lives mirror her own. If she has a young family, she wants to live near other young families. If she's a retiree, she wants retiree neighbors.

    Men don't care about demographics as long as their neighbors don't cause conflict.

  • Women like white paint and sunlight
    Women home buyers prefer an open floor plan, blank white walls, and rooms bathed in a generous infusion of light.

    Men think den. That usually means dark wood, dark fabric, and dark leather.

  • Women want spacious bedrooms
    A woman wants a boudoir, a bedroom with dreamscape potential. She prefers an abundance of space, a luxurious bath, generous closets, and plenty of room for anything else she desires.

    Men don't mind a compact bedroom as long as there's space enough to do whatever they want in other areas of the house.

  • Women want space in the kitchen too
    When a woman home-buyer looks at a kitchen, she contemplates cooking and entertaining. She wonders if the layout is big enough and efficient enough for smooth meal preparation.

    A man explores a kitchen looking for updated fixtures and high-tech gadget potential: electronic ovens, trendy built-ins appliances, and wireless-connected refrigerators.

  • Women look at the inspection bottom line
    Women review inspection reports for conclusions. They just want to know if everything is okay. They don't need to know the details.

    Men prefer to avoid handyman specials. They prevent this by scrutinizing every detail an inspector writes about electrical, plumbing, HVAC, roofing, and other critical home systems.

We're Here to Help

When you're struggling with man versus woman home buying difficulties, our real estate agents can help you overcome them by presenting your home in the best possible light. Contact us for more information about the realities of selling your home.

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