An Unusual Message

First and foremost, I hope you are being safe and making good decisions when going out in public so you can remain healthy.   Please let me know if I can do anything at all for you during the COVID-19 situation we are in today.

As the calendar flipped into a year full of promise and challenges in the real estate market I never imagined that I would be writing a newsletter commentary like this one.

It is truly unprecedented.  Quite frankly, I can’t recall a time so many fundamental, far reaching and disruptive things were happening in this country, not even 9-11.  Or where we were wrestling with so many things simultaneously with so little historical precedent to help guide us forward.  Things are happening so rapidly, with changes day to day, hour to hour and even minute to minute.  Yet the landscape is what it is, and America is the greatest country on earth and as we always do in all things we will get through this together, using all our wits and abilities and compassion.  Like you I am encouraged with the diligence and sacrifice we have seen for many weeks from so many of our brethren.

But this after all is a real estate missive, so let’s talk about what is going on in the real estate market locally.  The government has stepped in with the $2.2 trillion stimulus package to assist monetarily, but is it enough? Only time will tell but there are encouraging signs.  I’ve talked with many individuals, business owners and ministry leaders in an effort to keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening both locally and nationally.  I need to be able to capably answer the question I get multiple times a day, namely “What impact is the virus having on the real estate market?”.

Well, that too changes daily, and it is unsurprisingly interrelated with the mortgage and financial markets.  I just posted a blog about the impacts on mortgages that you can check out here.  On the one hand we have been asked to shift our normal process to include doing virtual showings and virtual open houses, to stop searching for buyers and to take listings off the market.  We also have seen the opposite, with buyers in particular who view the decreased competition for homes as a temporary opportunity to be seized.  Some people need to sell so they are keeping their houses on the market and some buyers need to buy because they recently sold their house or their lease is ending, or a job has relocated them here. Some agents are not showing properties or taking listings and others are as active as ever.

My response to all of this is simple: If you are not comfortable selling your house, looking at houses or working in this environment, then please don’t. I would never want you to be uncomfortable or do something that may put your health at risk.  I will tell you though that I am still laboring assiduously on behalf of my clients within the context of our current environment and am willing to meet your needs at whatever level makes you comfortable.  There are smart, prudent ways to maximize your results.  We are taking robust safety precautions in all of our offices and in an effort to protect our clients and the public as a whole, we are implementing new protocols when any agent, whether from our company or others, shows our listings or if we show houses to our clients. If you are interested in learning more about these protocols, please feel free to call me, I would be happy to share them with you.

With regards to the numbers locally, at this point at least, despite all the disruption and lowered activity, we are still seeing home sales figures not too far off from this time last year.  Activity is certainly way down, yet it’s still a common occurrence for my client and I to meet at a property and see others there as well.  That may change in the coming weeks and I will certainly keep you appraised online.  I encourage you to reach out to me live to chat about anything you want as well.  Doesn’t have to be about real estate.  I have my opinions on what the Skins should do with the 2nd pick!

Again, please be safe so you can remain healthy and know I am here to help you in any way I can.

I hope you have a very Happy Easter with loved ones, it will be one we never forget.

It’s a good life.



Staying In? Here are a Few Home Upgrades You can do Without Leaving – or Spending a Dime

Use this time to get a leg up on spring cleaning and home maintenance so when it’s time to sell, you’re ready.

With the uncertainty in the world at the moment, you’re likely spending a lot more time than usual in your home. Sharing smaller spaces with family 24 hours per day might be emphasizing areas of mess or chaos around the house. Use this time to do some much needed, always dreaded home maintenance. But no need to change out of your house slippers – all of these upgrades can be done using what you already own. So, hit pause on Netflix and take some time to spruce up your home – for free.

  1. Spring cleaning

While staying safe indoors, there’s really no way to avoid spring cleaning this year. And spending more time at home may reveal how much unnecessary clutter is taking up space. It’s the perfect time to purge clothes, knick-knacks, papers, books, etc. Give your closets and drawers a proper cleanse and prepare boxes or bags of clothes to donate in a few weeks.

On top of typical surface sanitation, deep clean areas in your home that need some extra TLC. Scrub the shower grout, make the windows shine, and wipe down the inside of cupboards that haven’t seen daylight in years – just to name a few.

  1. Paint touch-ups

Did you hold onto the can of paint you used on your home’s interior? If so, unearth it from the depths of the garage and touch up spots like baseboards, wall corners, nail holes, or anywhere else that has been subject to wear and tear.

  1. Rearrange furniture and decor

Experiment with the layout of your furniture and décor. Chances are, your living room is positioned the same way it was when you first moved in. Give your space a fresh new look by moving around wall hangings and art, and even rearranging staple furniture pieces.

Deconstruct – then reconstruct – your bookshelf. Remove every book, then rearrange them in an updated, creative way. Try stacking some shelves with books vertically and some horizontally. Bookshelves also function as a display case for treasured keepsakes, lamps, photo frames and decorative candles.

  1. Change smoke detector batteries

This is a tedious task – but it’s better than being awakened at dawn to the screech of the smoke alarm on low-battery. Use this time to complete less-fun chores like swapping out smoke alarm batteries. If you also have spare bulbs on hand, replace light bulbs that have been dimming, flickering or even burnt out.

  1. Keep track of any items you’ll want to fix later

Walk around the house and inspect each room for future fixes to complete at a later date when it’s easier to get to your local hardware store. Create a checklist, including tasks like: steam clean the carpet, repaint the front door and swap out cabinet hardware.


Recipe Corner

Peeps Skillet S’mores

Serves 6-8 |  Total time 10 min


· 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream, warmed

· 2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

· 5 packages of Peeps, mix and match colors to your liking

· Graham crackers, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Heat heavy whipping cream in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds, or in a pot over medium heat until warm.
  3. In a medium skillet, evenly spread out chocolate chips. Pour warmed whipping cream over the chips. Arrange Peeps in a colorful pattern atop.
  4. Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.


Selling a Home During Unusual Times

The current spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the efforts to contain it have impacted almost all aspects of daily life – and real estate transactions are no different. Yet despite current circumstances, real estate agents are still seeing sellers and buyers move forward with their plans in what is historically an active spring market.

“Precautions have changed, and people are doing life differently, but the demand and decision to buy a home is currently still very strong,” says Kerron Stokes, Manager of RE/MAX Leaders & Team Leader of Resource Group.

Yet even with willing sellers and eager buyers, the current U.S. government guidelines recommend social gatherings be limited to fewer than 10 people – among other safety measures – which means selling a home this spring may look differently than in years past.

Ready to sell? Keep calm and log on.
With COVID-19 at the forefront of many sellers’ minds, for the time being, many home tours will start online. But according to Stokes, that’s nothing new and can be a powerful tool in marketing a home to buyers. “A lot of these virtual tactics are things we’ve already been deploying for 5-6 years for clients who can’t be in a physical space,” Stokes says.  Facetime and video tours between agents and buyers have been a useful tool in a variety of market conditions. Especially with current health concerns, more agents are using virtual tours to help reduce the number of buyers walking through a property. If an interested buyer is ready to visit a property, it is recommended that you limit the number of people that tour a listing.

Still weighing your options? Get to work while you think it through!
“There are absolutely things sellers can do while we’re being asked to stay home,” Stokes says. “If you can get to a Home Depot, get paint and start doing touch-ups around the house. Or begin packing and put your stuff in the garage or basement in a central location. That way as we start to return to a more normalized market, you are ready to show your home.” You can also get your yard cleaned up and landscaping prepped. Ask your agent for ideas of what you can do.

Be prepared for a market – and world – that is constantly changing.
When it comes to COVID-19 and real estate, no one can accurately predict what the future holds. There is still buyer interest. There are some challenges and hurdles behind the scenes – appraisers are sorting out their own safe-practices, title companies are considering creative and cautious options to facilitate closings, and local villages have closed, which is causing some delays in being able to obtain transfer stamps but only by a few days.

Historically, real estate can lag behind other industries when showing the effects of a change in the economy. The COVID-19 emergency is constantly evolving.  Our agents are doing their best to stay informed for their clients.