Lisa Sledzik
Blog

Today’s grapevine IS in part, social media and we are employing it as part of a plan to reenergize a marketing campaign for a beach house on Fripp Island in South Carolina.
 
Why do we care about the sale of a beach house 5 hours away in another state? Because, it will facilitate a transaction right here in our own back yard!
 
It’s a small world and sometimes you need to work that angle. More times than not as we travel, we come across people we have something in common with. Take our road trip to South Carolina for example. As a result of a post we made on Facebook, we discovered a close friend’s relative owned a lovely art gallery we had visited in nearby Beaufort. The next evening over dinner, we met a couple enjoying a glass of wine next to a roaring fire; his last name was FOG and he was from Nantucket… she was from Atlanta but related to a prominent physician back home in Wilmington. If you are chatty like we are, the six degrees of separation can be frightening yet wonderfully beneficial for real estate marketing, and one of the reasons we love what we do!
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To know me is to love me? My closest friends would say that I’m obsessed with my I-phone camera and I would agree. I am a very touchy-feely person appreciating art, music, food,etc~ anything that appeals to the senses in general. If I see something wonderful I whip out the camera, frequently disrupting the task at hand. Typically, it is not just one photograph, I’ve got to get multiples for good measure and from different angles. Did I mention that I am a bit of a perfectionist? That’s putting it nicely.
 
I currently have over 12,000 photos on my computer and I am embarrassed to admit, over 1,300 on my phone. Yes, I know I can dump them onto my computer but you never know when I will need one of those images on the fly so I am hesitant to do so. Believe it or not, I have had to rummage through my photo inventory recently for any number of reasons and outside of being thrilled to pieces that I had so many options, I had the opportunity to stroll the streets of Europe again, appreciate good times and good friends that have since relocated, relive epic meals and best of all, be reminded of what my children looked like what feels like eons ago…all compliments of my somewhat disorganized image catalogue.
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Align yourself with the right agent.  Take the time to have a face to face conversation with more than one person.  There is quite a bit to be said for chemistry and it is a collaborative effort; think about who feels like a good fit for your personality and who you feel will get the job done.  Ask about their marketing strategies, what sets them apart and their most recent success.  A frequently overlooked consideration is an agent’s reputation amongst their peer group…do they play well with others and have their respect?

 

The little things matter.  Prepare the property and make minor fixes before listing.  Buyers are opting for homes as close to turnkey over and over.  Ensure the potential buyer is focusing on the attributes of your home, not all the little things they need to fix. Replace light bulbs, clean out closets, spiff the landscape, clean, clean, clean, etc!

 

Is professional staging a good idea?  Each and every property is different and most look better furnished, but there have been properties I feel would show better vacant.  Same goes for staging, it depends on the competition, the buyer profile and the house itself.  Staging can be a very wise investment in some cases.  Ask your agent’s opinion and their rationale for it.

 

Check out the competition.  The fastest way to figure out what your house is worth is to look at what has sold in your neighborhood but you also need to take into consideration what the active competition is doing.  Put your buyer hat on and be as objective as possible.

 

Make the price tag pop.  Be very thoughtful about price.  The longer a house sits on the market the less it will bring.  It has been a long time since a seller has been able to set a price and wait for a bidding war.  You want to be seen as a real seller; if a home is overpriced, a buyer will dismiss it and move on down the road…regardless of how ‘wonderful’ it is.

 

Take the money and run!  If selling is more necessary than optional, it is important to get the facts from a Realtor.  Take a look at long term pricing trends.  In a declining market, time is of the essence.  Your house may not be worth as much as it was 5 years ago but it may be worth more now than it will be a year from now.  People are often slow to realize when it is time to take the loss and move on.

 

Neutralizing a ‘loss’.  If you will be selling a home to buy another, the lower selling price on the new house can compensate for the ‘loss’ you are taking on the old one.  Chances are the whole transaction will be net flat, at worst.

 

Take an active roll in the marketing! Internet and social media savvy?  Encourage friends and relatives to talk up the house.  Ask your Realtor for links to video and web sites so that you can promote the property as well.

 

 

Put your best foot forward.  Take a look at or ask your agent what the popular ‘look’ is for homes in your area and use it as inspiration.  Generally speaking, neutral paint colors & streamlined décor will appeal to the most buyers.  Maximize the light in your home, the significance of this cannot be emphasized enough.  Take down drapes, clean windows, change lampshades and increase the wattage of light bulbs.  Trim landscape to let the sunshine in!  Have a showing?  Open the curtains & blinds!!!

 

Last but not least…

 

Few things in real estate are tried and true… but what they say about your first offer generally is.  It usually turns out to be your best so don’t turn it down before giving it very strong consideration.  Do the math and evaluate all the numbers, not just the offer price and see how it fits into your long term plan.  Sellers are often emotional when it comes to selling their house so rely on the facts and the advice of the professional you have retained to sell the property.

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile”

—Roger Staubach

It has always been a hot button of mine…and as I was putting my thoughts together for this post a couple of road trips to a spot most people would refer to as being the epitome of service and hospitality got put on the books. This enchanting locale is Charleston, South Carolina (aka Disney World for adults); I think they wrote the book on service and manners. You can’t go wrong with just about any choice of accommodations or cuisine but my favorites include The Market Pavilion Hotel with its central location & roof top bar overlooking the architecturally fabulous Cooper River bridge or the slightly more traditional Vendue Inn, equally conveniently located.  Despite the endless foodie options, McCrady’s is still at the top of my list.  I’ll stop here because as most folks will agree, you could go on and on about where to stay, what to eat, what to do, and what to see in Charleston.  Perhaps we’ll revisit again in time for Spoleto!

 

Onward.

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‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’…
 
Dreams come true! This time it can be found around the beautiful in-town parks of Atlanta; and on average we’re looking for it every 5 to 7 years (more often for corporate transferees!) Before we get into the details on the pot ‘o gold, let’s talk about what is happening in and around Wilmington over the next couple of weeks!

 
We have what looks to be an amazing forecast on tap for the next week! Sunny skies and high temps just in time for St. Paddy’s Day, March Madness and Azalea Festival preparations. After what feels like a long, cold winter~ the birds are singing, trees are budding and the pollen is back.
 

St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect occasion to share a pint with some close buddies ~ Fibber’s off of Wrightsville Avenue & Grand Union Pub (aka ‘the GUP’) are always lively, green destinations and something tells me Dockside will be hopping as well.
 

On Sunday, Wrightsville Beach and Landfall will roll out the red carpet for 2,000+ runners participating in the Quintiles Marathon. Congratulations in advance to all of the first timers; you have been training for months and I have tremendous respect for your hard work & perseverance. Bravo!
 

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  • Intracoastal

Wow. It is late February and at 10 o’clock this morning I was buzzing down the Intracoastal Waterway taking pictures of a new listing~ it was in the mid 60’s and the water was the most beautiful shade of blue. Contrast this with the Today Show folks on the plaza~ once again huddled under umbrellas dodging snowflakes! (So sorry for those poor souls in the northeast this year.) We have had a few of those days here and there, but for the last two weeks we have had AMAZING weather in Wilmington! Carolina blue skies and temps in the 60’s and 70’s. Each and every time I have someone from out of town in my car, I mention the roller coaster of weather that seems to be particularly erratic in December and February; we are never quite sure how to dress but we are certainly never bored.
 

Now that it appears spring has arrived, so has the itch to move. Lots and lots of activity out there, in fact I did an open house last weekend and I had over 40 people stop by and say hello. It was a beautiful house, in a fantastic location, and priced to sell. It has been my experience that when a seller approaches the sale of their house realistically and when both seller and agent have done everything possible to put the house in its best light—it sells—regardless of market conditions!
 

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I was at the gym tonight debating the topic for my latest blog post when it hit me just like the bosu ball that almost knocked my front teeth out. Post New Year’s physical fitness!  Red wine, Osso Bucco and shortbread cookies haveall taken their toll on my waist line, or lack thereof as the case may be.

 

My personal fitness routine (and I use that term very loosely) typically consists of a daily trip or two around the Wrightsville Beach ‘Loop’,  20 +/- push ups  (if I do not forget), and a little bit of yoga here and there.  Given the chilly temperatures as of late, I’ve temporarily traded ‘The Loop’ in for the treadmill at the gym.

 

There are many great workout facilities here in Wilmington which include….Gold’s Gym with multiple locations, O2 Fitness, Wilmington Athletic Center and Crest Fitness; all of which offer everything you could want and then some.  Yoga seems to be hot, no pun intended, these days and there are many places in town that you will find a wide variety of classes.  I am partial to Porter’s Neck Yoga & Spa~ I think it has something to do with the view of the trees.  If you have not tried yoga, put it on your to do list!  It is relaxing and always a good work out, although you may not realize it until the next day. Devotees of Pilates will find themselves with a multitude of options from Gold’s Gym to personal, in home Reformer sessions. There seems to be a buzz in town surrounding a couple of new Cross Fit locations.  I’ve not experimented with this yet and from what I hear, chances are I won’t!  As you have already gathered from my ‘fitness routine’, I am more of a casual exerciser….which I understand Cross Fit is not.  A friend of mine in Charlotte is very familiar with Cross Fit and she can run circles around me after she has done a zillion squats, chin ups,  and push ups.  Bathing suit season is around the corner so perhaps I will reconsider it or maybe some spin classes at the new Spin City- a studio exclusively for the cycling crowd.

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Fresh off the heels of the uber successful 2010 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship, The Country Club of Landfall and The University of North Carolina at Wilmington are hosting The 2010 Landfall Tradition this weekend.  The National Collegiate Golf Invitational, in its eighth year, kicks off today with a College-Am Tournament followed by a reception, dinner & awards ceremony but the real action starts tomorrow at 8:30 am on the Dye Course.  Featured in this year’s competition are 18 of the top women’s golf teams in the country!  Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach temperatures are forecast to be in the high seventies under Carolina blue skies~ conditions could not be better!

 

For more information go to: http://www.landfalltradition.com

 

While I much prefer to comment on fun things like community events, restaurants & the retail scene, given that this is my inaugural appearance as a guest blogger for Century 21 Sweyer, I feel I better contribute something real estate oriented!  While I will probably shy away from such commentary in the future, I’ll go out on a bit of a limb right now and say I think the worst of the less than stellar market conditions might be behind us.  Having been a homeowner and ‘in the business’ for more than 20 years, I have experienced a fair amount of market ups and downs. At this moment, from one end of the east coast to the other, I have 3 family members that are either currently under contract for or are actively pursuing real estate purchases.  This may sound trivial but it is definitely representative of what seems to be happening locally as well. While it remains to be seen exactly what the foreclosure fiasco will bring, it appears that buyer sentiment is shifting. It is way to early to call but as it has been said a million times, ‘attitude is everything’!

 

Ciao and have a great weekend!!

 

Lisa

“They can’t touch me, they can’t touch me, they can’t touch me”~ this is what I said to myself over and over as I squeezed the life out of Konni’s hand while making our way through the much talked about haunted attraction, Panic Attack! Located in an 11,000 square foot warehouse, the originators of the concept have invested a reported $500,000 in what can only be described as an incredibly detailed attempt to scare the daylights out of you~ around every corner. I have a bit of a weak stomach and I am certainly NOT a fan of all things horror but I have to admit, this was very entertaining.  If you enjoy Halloween, grab some friends that are good conversationalists and brave the long line.  One last suggestion… happy hour prior to….is probably not a good idea.  (Bento Box in the Forum or Yo Sake downtown would be great spots to ‘unwind’, post Panic)
http://www.facebook.com/panicattackhaunt

 

Interested in something seasonal, family oriented, & age appropriate?  Check out Wrightsville Beach Elementary’s Fall Festival.  Extremely well done every year, this is traditional, old school family fun complete with costumes, face painting, games, etc.  If you don’t fill up at the festival, head over to Vito’s Pizza or Tower 7.

Wrightsville Beach Elementary Fall Festival…Friday, October 29th 4-7pm

Last but not least, if you are looking for some leaf peeping opportunities, set your sights on Asheville! At a little more than 5 hours away from Wilmington, there is no better place to take in the beauty of the mountains.  For the more adventurous souls, an exciting way to get up close and personal with your surroundings is on a zip line tour!  While I just returned from a short jaunt to Asheville, I did not have the benefit of this information during my trip or I would post a photo of myself zipping through the forest, however my parents gave this a whirl 2 weeks ago and they are raving about it…..http://www.navitat.com/

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