Selling Your Home | July 2018

My husband has taken a job opportunity in Oklahoma. We are both from there and have family and friends there so it was a no-brainer for him to accept the job. We bought our house in Albuquerque in May of 2015 and have enjoyed it for three wonderful years. It is bittersweet to be leaving our first home, but we are ecstatic to move back to Oklahoma and be closer to our family, friends and of course, Oklahoma State football.

Let’s get to it! Selling your home can be overwhelming. Here are some tips that I have learned through my own experience that I hope will help you when you are selling a house.

First, map out a timeline. For us, Drew had a lengthy hiring process of 3-4 months and this was helpful. It gave us time to get organized and create a timeline.

Here is an example of our timeline:

  1. Finish any projects around the house that we needed to complete
  2. Declutter the house
  3. Staging your home
  4. Cleaning your home
  5. Call the realtor

Finishing Projects.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Drew and I did a lot of DIY updates to our home and we had a few left undone, because… life. It’s important to wrap these up and especially finish the ones you’ve started because no one wants a home unfinished.

Declutter.

Take it one room at a time, it shouldn’t take more than an hour or two per room, depending on the amount of clutter. Box up anything that you don’t need to store in the garage or move to a storage unit, or perhaps your new home if available. Organize what’s left in a visually appealing manner. This step can seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be! Again, one room at a time, and in each room take it one item at a time. Each item you’ll either box, donate or trash, or keep in the room for staging. You’ll get the hang of it quickly and it will feel so good to be organized!

Staging.

This is my favorite part! This is where you get to log onto Pinterest and do “research”. LOL! No, but seriously. Jump on Pinterest or interior design blogs or whatever you do to research and see how people stage their homes and have their homes decorated professionally. It is so easy now that you have decluttered and organized you know exactly what pieces you’re working with. This is definitely a fun part of the process but be sure to take it seriously. You’d be surprised how when people are looking to buy your house and the angle that the couch is set up turns them off and they don’t buy it! That’s an extreme example but it’s the simplest things. Basically, you want to make your house super simple, super clean and something that feels good and makes sense (feng shui is a thing!). With staging, also remember that less is more. If you feel like things are still looking overwhelming or cluttered, box ‘em up! Your realtor will also come through and tell you what to do before having pictures taken and listing your home. I’ll go into that in the realtor section later.

Cleaning.

Cleaning. Deep clean. Clean. Clean. Clean. And then clean some more! My favorite phrase for this topic is definitely “take it one room at a time”. Don’t get overwhelmed. Also, if it’s in your budget, pay a professional cleaning company to take care of it. Boom! That was easy. We did not do this. My husband and I chose to clean the house ourselves and it wasn’t too bad. It was just the two of us and a poodle after all (Poodles don’t shed, they’re the clean dogs of dogs!). Be sure to get everything. Dust the ceiling fans, wipe down the windows and baseboards. Basically, take a long, good look in each room. Look in each corner and every nook and cranny.

Find a realtor.

I highly recommend using a realtor. A realtor works solely off of commission. Which means they only get paid when you do. Selling a house is a big deal in many ways. One of those ways being legally. A realtor knows a selling contract and can break it down and explain it to you. They also know all of the tips and tricks and many times it will pay off simply because of the networking you get from working with a realtor. They may know of a buyer and get your house sold before you even list it! We had a few more things to do to the house that Drew and I decided to hire contractors for and our realtor recommended people that he worked with on a regular basis. They gave us an incredible deal, did amazing work, and accommodated our schedule because of their relationship with our realtor. That saved us time, money and a headache! I personally recommend Keller Williams. My parents are both licensed realtors through them and I’ve worked with two other realtors for my own use who are with Keller Williams. I’ve heard through several professionals that Keller Williams has the best training program for realtors. With that being said, I do recommend you shop around and find your realtor through a personal reference. If you know a friend that has worked with a realtor and had a good experience, go with them. Now that you’ve found your realtor, they will come and do a walk-thru of your home. Be prepared to take notes! They will tell you what you need to work on as far as decluttering, staging and rearranging furniture, etc. It’s the realtor’s job IMO to be upfront and honest with you on these things. Don’t take it personally if they recommend you put a few family photos away or take a few more items off of a shelf or table. They are there to help sell your home, try to do what they ask or recommend if you can. A good realtor will pay for professional pictures of your home for the listing. Pictures are such a huge factor when listing your home. I personally won’t even look at a home online if the pictures are low quality or if they don’t have any pictures at all. This is something so simple that makes a HUGE impact.

In conclusion, try to do what you can in getting your house sale ready before contacting a realtor. This will make it easier on both your realtor and you. Try to stay calm and collected and be patient. I am currently struggling with the latter, but timing is everything and try to enjoy this new change of season!

Feel free to ask me anything else about the process. We are currently under contract for both selling our home in Albuquerque as well as buying our new home in Oklahoma. I plan on following up this post with a blog on “Buying a Home”.

 

Thank you for reading my blog!

 

XOXO

Kiki


Paris + Nice, France | May 2018

OMG Paris! Where do I begin? Okay, I’ll start at the beginning.

It all began when I fell in love with France during my French class at CNM. I had an incredible teacher and who wouldn’t fall in love with the French language – so romantic! I stressed to my husband that I needed a graduation trip, from working so hard at school. Duh!

Because I have the best husband in the world, and I always get what I want… we booked it! I asked my French teacher and Drew did his research online, Reddit.com, etc. and we decided that May would be the best time. It was right before the big tourist season in Paris (typically June-August) and it was also right after I finished school and graduated.

We found some incredible and affordably priced tickets.

Drew set up a google alert. He set up some alerts from Albuquerque to Paris as well as Denver to Paris. Denver, Colorado is just a 6-hour drive for us and is a much larger hub than Albuquerque, NM. Around a month later, we discovered an awesome option. We were able to book our tickets roundtrip from Denver to Paris (with a small, 1-hour layover in Reykjavik). We booked the tickets through Iceland Air and the grand total was $737. That is cheaper than flying both of us round trip to Oklahoma, where are family is. We were ecstatic! We booked the flights around 6 months out.

Airbnb is the way to go.

Drew did a really great job at researching Airbnbs in Paris and Nice.

Oh! I should probably tell you that although we spent most our time in Paris, I am a huge old Hollywood fan. I love Grace Kelly, among many other silver screen stars, and I’ve been dying to go to Monaco even before I fell in love with Paris in French class. Therefore, we spent a few days in Nice.

Back to Airbnb. Again, I asked my French teacher on good locations to stay in and Drew spoke with a friend he knows that is familiar with Paris. They both named similar areas. We booked a tiny, albeit perfect for Paris, Airbnb. Our host was a super host and he lived up to his expectations. We stayed near Notre Dame and were within walking distance of what felt like everything!

Our Airbnb in Nice was much larger, not hard to be, than our Paris apartment. We enjoyed the space as well as the views! Our hosts again were incredible. It exceeded our expectations. It was another great location. We were close enough that we could walk to Old Town Nice, the bus stop where we caught a ride to Monaco for the day, and several restaurants, bars, etc. I highly recommend that if you’re in Nice you look up La Shounga. It’s a great mojito bar. The food and service is wonderful as well!

I highly recommend doing your research as far as location and on your Airbnb hosts if you choose to do what we did. It made all the difference for us. If we had stayed in a location that wasn’t centrally located, it would have dampened our trip for sure.

Rick Steves’ European Tours are the way to go.

I’m assuming you’ve probably never heard of Rick Steves. That’s okay, I hadn’t either. If it wasn’t for my mom I still wouldn’t know of him. I am so grateful that she told me about him! Rick Steves’ is an American travel guide. My mom got me a couple of his travel books for Christmas and thankfully my husband got into them and the entire process of planning our trip – another score for me! I do need to give Drew a shout out because he literally booked everything but my Airbnb Fashion Experience and he did such an amazing job for us!

Back to Rick Steves. Absolutely get his books! They come in pocket size and it’s 2018, he does have an app. The app was perfect because we could plug in our earbuds and do walking tours. We took advantage of this. It was great for the museums, the Louvre and the Orsay are huge. It was nice to have a guide in your ear telling you where to go, what you’re looking at and why it is special. With how large the Louvre is, one of the largest (if not THE largest) museums in the world, it was awesome to have Rick Steves telling you what to see and what is okay to skip. Drew and I aren’t necessarily too big on art so again, this was perfect for us. We made sure to see the things we wanted to and were happy to skip the rest. Rick Steves also had an app tour guide for Notre Dame, a few hot spots in Paris, and Versailles.

Another tip that I have for you is to get up as early as you can to see the tourist spots. For each of the places I listed above we were always up and waiting in line for it to open. We got a good laugh because on Rick Steves’ tours he’s always saying things like “now push your way through the crowds of people” and Drew and I never had to do this. We did see the Louvre in the evening, around 5pm, and it wasn’t horrible, but it was busy. I enjoyed beating the crowds early in the morning much more than trying to push through people just to take a shot of the Mona Lisa without other tourists in my picture (BTW Mona Lisa is much smaller than you think). I know what you’re thinking. I’m on vacation I don’t want to get up early. Trust me, just do it! And then you can come back to your Parisian apartment, or one of the many parks in the city and take an afternoon nap. Most businesses, especially restaurants, are closed between lunch and dinner time anyway. Why don’t we do this in America??

One more tip that we got from Rick Steves that was valuable was purchasing the Paris Museum Pass (Note: this is different than the Paris Pass). The Paris Museum Pass is a 2, 4, or 6-day pass. We purchased the 6-day pass for about $99 each. It gets you into all of the museums and monuments as many times as you want, and you get to use a fast lane to enter which comes in hand if there is a line.

Other tourists things to do.

I recommend doing a boat tour on the River Seine as well as a hop on hop off bus tour. You do a lot of walking in Paris, like, a lot of walking, and it’s nice to get off of your feet and enjoying viewing the city and listening to the guides and just relaxing.

Time is everything.

We spent 7 days in Paris and although I don’t have any regrets, we are already planning our next trip to see the things we didn’t get to. I’m so happy we went to Nice and spent a few days on the French Riviera but if I could do it all over again knowing what I know now, I would have made them two separate trips. If we had a few more days, we could have seen Montmartre and caught a show at the Moulin Rouge. I also feel that although we got to see Nice and Monaco, we were so exhausted from exploring Paris that we didn’t do much other drink, eat and relax. Which was perfect, but I do want to go back and spend more time on the riviera.

Thank you!

I hope you enjoyed my first blog post. I would absolutely appreciate any and all feedback. I tried to summarize and highlight important points of booking and what we did during the trip. I didn’t want it to be too long. I have considered doing a day by day summary, let me know if you would be interested in that!

 

XOXO

Kiki