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  • Selling Your Home Is More Than Just Putting A Sign In The Yard

    Selling your home, even in a seller's market, is SO MUCH MORE than just putting a sign in the yard and posting your listing in the MLS (multiple listing service). In order to sell quickly and net the most money possible, it is important that your agent has a strategy. Remember — not all real estate agents are created equal! When you list your home with me, you can count on an aggressive, cutting-edge marketing strategy, along with: ✔️ Pricing guidance. It is important that your agent knows your local area, in order to price your home within market value to get the most exposure. ✔️ Working with you to properly prepare your home for the market. ✔️ Staging or home styling, if necessary. ✔️ Professional high-quality photos and videography for maximum exposure — showcasing your home in the best possible light. ✔️ Use strategic timing and marketing campaigns that build momentum and interest. ✔️ Digital marketing expertise with a social media following and targeting specific audiences. ✔️ Professional networking with the region's top agents and vendors — connections are always key. ✔️ Tested and proven negotiation skills that’ll land you top dollar. Do you have any questions about selling? If so, send me a message, I would love to help! Mary Kay Horton | 206-841-8760 | MaryKayHorton@kw.com

  • Reminder! Don't Demo or Reno Without Discussing Your Plans With Me First!

    Whether or not you are planning to sell soon (or in 20 years), CALL ME FIRST! Not only can I recommend trusted contractors, but I can also tell you what renovations will actually add value to your home ... and what will not. I can help by telling you where to focus resources, and give you insight into what types of upgrades will help (or hurt) your value when you decide to sell in the future. Lastly, I study the market and look at homes every day, so I know what selections and updates look best, and can help with the daunting task of picking out tile, flooring, paint colors, and more. If you're thinking about a serious home project or renovation — even a refresh — don't hesitate to reach out, I would be happy to help! Mary Kay Horton | 206-841-8760 | MaryKayHorton@kw.com

  • Real Estate Myth: The School District Doesn't Matter If You Don't Have Kids.

    This could not be further from the truth! 🛑 When looking to buy a home, many people have considerations such as commute time, quick access to shopping and dining, or even a preferred neighborhood "feel" — local school districts should also be on that list, even if you don’t have children. A good school district can help increase the value of your home over time, as it is usually a top priority for many home buyers. If you're thinking about making a move, I can set up a search for you within any particular school district so that you don't have to comb through listings on the (other) sites. Send me a message, I would love to help! You can learn more about schools right here on this website!! CLICK HERE to search for properties. Once you find the property you are interested in, scroll down for more information, including Nearby Schools. Need help? Give us a call, text or email!! Mary Kay Horton | 206-841-8760 | MaryKayHorton@kw.com

  • Should I call the listing agent when I see a home I love?

    One thing I always tell my buyers is to CALL ME when they see a home for sale, whether it is through a sign in the yard, or online! ✋ While you may see another agent's name on the sign, that agent is not the only one who can show you the home! In fact, it’s more advantageous NOT to use the listing agent ... doesn't the listing agent want the best deal for their seller? As a buyer, you need a dedicated advocate for yourself, not one who is already being paid by and representing the seller. As a buyer's agent, I can show you ANY homes you would like to see. Most transactions have two agents involved — the listing agent who markets the home and represents the seller, and the buyer's agent who represents the buyer. Generally speaking, it is best to buy a home with a buyer's agent on your side. A good buyer’s agent will provide an invaluable amount of advice and support in what can end up being a very stressful transaction. The home search can involve many twists and turns, so having a loyal adviser along the way will help you make an informed decision on what is likely the largest purchase of your life! See a home you like and want to schedule a showing? Send me a message and let’s go check it out! CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment! Better yet, give me a call or send me a text at 206-841-8760. Mary Kay Horton | 206-841-8760 | MaryKayHorton@kw.com

  • The Truth About For Sale By Owner

    "For Sale By Owner" — honestly, a phrase that makes most agents cringe; not because we want to list your home, but because we actually care about what we do best. Like most, I have a clear, proven system, to net you the highest amount of money possible with the best terms and protection. What a lot of sellers seem to forget, is the legal aspect of doing everything by owner. As real estate agents, we have the tools, insurance, and protection to keep our clients' interests secure. We live in a very litigious society anymore, and it's important for any consumer to have the right representation for the best possible outcome. On that note: NO, not just any attorney practices real estate, either. I may make it look easy, but that is because I have the experience and the resources to be effective for my clients. The paperwork, liability, scams, profit loss, and limited marketing make selling by owner a path filled with potential pitfalls at every turn. And it’s not just me; the data backs me up. Real Honest Fact: the average "For Sale By Owner" home sells up to 17-26% LESS than agent-assisted homes. Before you decide to sell your home yourself, give me a call. I'd love to help answer any questions you may have about the process and how you can protect yourself. Mary Kay Horton | 206-841-8760 | MaryKayHorton@kw.com

  • How Do I Find A Mortgage Lender?

    Although it may seem to make sense to talk to your bank or current mortgage company about getting pre-approved, it may not be your best option. When you are shopping for a good lender, it's important to consider all options, including local credit unions and mortgage brokers. A lender can make or break a transaction, and a bad lender can very easily make the entire process a nightmare ... even causing the deal to fall apart at the last second (and risk losing a deposit). It's also important to compare interest rates, loan terms, down payment requirements, closing costs, and other fees between a few different lenders. Need some recommendations? I have a few key lenders I work with regularly whom I trust to make the transaction seamless and stress-free, with the best loan products. CLICK HERE to see our preferred Mortgage Representatives. For more referrals, go to our REFERRAL NETWORK page.

  • When Should I Buy Down My Interest Rate?

    All signs point to interest rates increasing even further in 2022, but there are still ways you can keep your monthly payment comfortable. We went over Adjustable Rate Mortgages, but did you know that you can save quite a bit of money over the life of the loan by "buying down" your interest rate? Typically, you’ll find a 0.25% rate reduction in exchange for a point, which is often 1% of the home’s purchase price. Before you choose this option though, you’ll want to think about how long you will hold the property, along with expected appreciation. What's the true cost of a buydown? Breakeven point = (cost of points) / (monthly savings) For example, buying down a 5% rate to 4% on a $400k mortgage — a lender may charge 4 points for 1% ($16,000) with a monthly savings of $238. Using the formula above, it would take 67 payments (5 years + 7 months) to recoup the money. At the same time, would that same $16,000 perform better invested otherwise? Keep in mind not all mortgages qualify for a buydown and you really want to think about your long-term plan. Need help? Go to our REFERRAL NETWORK page for a list of preferred lenders that can assist you. Mary Kay Horton | 206-841-8760 | MaryKayHorton@kw.com

  • The Importance Of Staging Your Home In A Shifting Market

    Interest rates are increasing, which means there may very likely be a shift coming for sellers and a more "normal" housing market. Wondering how you can net the most money for your home when selling in any market. One thing I always recommend to my clients is staging. Staging your home will make it stand out from others in your price range, and you won't waste a single opportunity to create a great impression. If you want to sell your home quickly and for the best possible price, staging is one of the easiest ways to make it happen. The best part? Staging doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated! I've listed below a few non-negotiable staging homework items I give to all of my sellers: ✓ Declutter and depersonalize everything! Small objects don’t photo well so remove any knick-knacks and any personal items, refrigerator art, and personal items in the bathroom. When it comes to getting your home ready for the market, less is ALWAYS more. ✓ Deep clean the entire home top-to-bottom as you've never cleaned before. ✓ Focus on curb appeal. Fresh mulch and weeding, power washing, and a new front door mat. ✓ Add fluffy white towels to the bathrooms, remove bathmats, and add white comforters to all of the beds — this will make the rooms feel larger, and the bathrooms look inviting (and clean). ✓ Remove area rugs and curtains. Yes, curtains. This will allow more light in and direct the buyers' focus elsewhere. ✓ Eliminate pet presence (and smells) and get rid of air fresheners! The best scent a home can have is CLEAN. ✓ Focus on your kitchen & bathrooms. Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, so make yours stand out by swapping outdated hardware and lighting, touching up cabinets, and making sure they are clean! If you’re curious how you can get your home looking its best, send me a message, and let’s chat. I’d love to help you sell quickly and for top dollar! Mary Kay Horton | 206-841-8760 | MaryKayHorton@kw.com