Just don’t change a thing

Though it does not happen all that often, there are times when sellers try to maintain control over what happens with their home or property after the sale takes place.

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Which is an incredibly effective way to scare off buyers since they tend to want to have the freedom to make all of the decisions about what they do with their home and land once they purchase it – within the framework of the law, of course.

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Places: Kids Kove in Merrimack, NH

kidskove2Merrimack, NH has a lot of fun and family-friendly places to go. The Twin Bridge Park is one example. Many people know the park because of its unique playground for kids known as Kids Kove, as well as the Little League baseball field known as Bise. The Merrimack Youth Association (MYA) headquarters building is also in the park. However, some do not realize there is even more to the park than meets the eye.

The entire park consists of 27 acres and has been a public area since 1928. A large portion of the park is wooded and so visitors may walk along various trails. The park was named Twin Bridge because of the two bridges located within the wooded area that allow people to cross the Baboosic Brook. The Town of Merrimack states on its site that the bridges have been used since colonial times, though their structure has changed somewhat.

Kids Kove is a play area outside of the woods that is mainly made up of wooden structures for children to play in or on. If you are planning a trip there it is important to note that there is no tunneling allowed under the playground (the sign says as much and so there must have been some kind of incident prompting the rule, right?), under any circumstances, but once you get beyond that disappointment you are free to have fun.

Here are some additional pictures of the playground, the trails, and the Brook:

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Inside Kids Kove

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Play area

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The trails

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Baboosic Brook

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Another view of the brook

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Moving along the trail

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Near the bridge

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End of the trail

It’s a deal…breaker

There comes a time in the life of nearly every buyer when they must decide whether or not an undesired home feature/defect is a deal breaker.

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Ten minutes later…

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Awkward staging

There are many schools of thought on home staging. Some believe it is critical to selling a home at an optimal price point, others believe it is only necessary for luxury homes, and some see no value in it at all. However, to some degree, it is important to consider the message that a room (or rooms) may be sending to prospective buyers. Failing to at least make changes to neutralize, or for lack of a better term normalize, a room can prove risky and problematic.

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Rain or shine

New Hampshire is a state that can present many challenges to realtors – particularly listing agents. A specific one worth mentioning is the somewhat unpredictable weather. To some extent the weather in NH is not all that mysterious. There are four seasons and we all know what comes with each. For the most part, anyway. The problem is that on a day to day basis the weather is subject to change, making planning efforts futile at times. And by planning efforts, I simply mean the act of an agent setting up a date and time with the seller to either send a photographer to take pictures, or take them on one’s own. Some agents are brave and agree to let their sellers take their own pictures, and then use all of them in the listing, but that’s a situation that deserves its very own post.

The realtor chooses a day in the future that looks promising as far as weather goes. However, there comes a time (many times really) when two days after setting up an appointment to take the pictures the following week, the agent sees that the day weather.com said would be a nice one is now threatening rain, snow, sleet, hail, or other. Perhaps there will be a tornado or a blizzard? One never knows when they live in New England. The agent then has to decide if they will try to reschedule the appointment to take pictures, wait to see if the forecast changes again, or live dangerously and take those pictures come rain or come shine.

And that isn’t even getting into the drama that occurs when the weather is less than cooperative over an extended time period when prospective buyers come to see the home…

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It’s all gotta go

One of the greater challenges real estate agents face when taking on a new listing is communicating precisely what they need the seller to do to prepare the property for sale. It does not help that those getting ready to sell their home are hoping to do it as quickly and painlessly as possible. Though many sellers know deep down they should invest some time and money into preparing their home for the market, some cling to the hope that maybe…just maybe…their home is the one exception to the general rule about properly prepping one’s home for sale before it hits the market.

An issue countless realtors and sellers fail to see eye-to-eye on is clutter. If a person’s beliefs about clutter in a home were to fall somewhere on a spectrum then real estate agents would be on one end, representing the mindset that less really is more and a home should appear professionally staged at all times, even if people still live in the home.

While real estate agents generally tend to spend their time on the minimalist side of the two extreme ends of the spectrum, sellers don’t. For instance, some sellers do understand they need to remove as many personal items as possible and reduce the amount of furniture in the home to help maximize the space. After all, nothing makes a room seem smaller than furniture and clutter. And so that’s what these sellers do and we as realtors fully appreciate this when it happens.

Other sellers, however, are what I would refer to as “clutter blind”. Clutter blindness is a serious problem that is not easily fixed when ignored for too long. Those with this condition can stand in a room that is completely filled with objects and think the room has just the right amount of furniture, personal belongings, etc. In fact, to those with clutter blindness the room may even feel somewhat empty and lacking. The rest of the sellers fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. This is manageable for most agents because reaching a compromise with their seller about what stays and what goes requires only small sacrifices on the seller’s part.

There is no shame in being clutter blind.The vast majority of us show symptoms from time to time so it is not a rare affliction at all. But to sell a house, one must take steps to overcome this particular issue. The first step is to admit the problem exists. The second step is listen to the realtor’s advice regarding what belongs in the house during the selling process and what does not. A good rule of thumb is to operate under the assumption that for every one item of clutter or furniture the seller removes, there are ten others the realtor expects (or expected) to disappear.

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