Take the Guesswork Out of Your Next Move
Watch the recording of our Home Sellers Webinar for tips and insights from these local experts!
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:00:02 Hi. Welcome, everybody. We’re so happy to be having this seller webinar, and it’s really just an informal gathering to answer questions and give you some food for thought and some information about preparing your home for sale. We know that a lot of people feel really overwhelmed at the idea. Sometimes it even causes people to procrastinate and hold onto their houses longer than they really should. People are nervous about decluttering, they’re nervous about what state their home is in and what we will unearth through home inspections. And anyway, we’re just excited to introduce who’s below me. This is Robert Stout of Stout Home Inspectors, and he’s gonna go through some information with us about the buyer home inspection.
Susie Adamson: 00:00:56 Do you wanna say who you are first?
Robert Stout: 00:00:58 Okay. Hi. Hello, everyone. Yes, I’m, I’m Robert Stout, and I’m with Stout Home Inspection Services, and I’m a, I’m a licensed New Jersey home inspector.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:01:11 Great,
Robert Stout: 00:01:11 Great. So yeah, I can talk a little bit, you know so when you’re, you know, when you do put your home on the market, you are, you’re likely to have a home inspection and it’s a very thorough inspection, all the various systems and components of your home. And it’s a good idea to know what kind of condition that your home is in prior to listing it so that, you know, you have an idea what maybe you can address and repair or or have an idea of what may come up in the Buyer’s Home Inspection report, because it will be very thorough. And some things you can fix and address yourself and, and some things you, you know, you won’t. And that is, that is between you and your agent, you know, they will really be best suited to advise you.
00:02:11 So there’s a, an inspection for the buyers, and then there is occasionally there is a pre-listing inspection. And if it is a pre-listing inspection with a written report, it’s a very thorough inspection. The same as the buyer’s inspection. I often, you know, sometimes I do walk-through inspections where I just walk through often with an agent. I take photographs and then I’ll send the photographs with a list of recommendations. And again, some of which you will address and, and some you’ll opt not to. I see everything and I’ve seen everything, and we all, you know, life happens. We want to address things in our home. We want to fix everything but oftentimes we just don’t get around to it. So we all, I have issues with my home, you know?
00:03:05 Yeah. And it’s, I’m constantly, you know, addressing little things and some things I have to put off, you know. I have an old roof on my home, but as an inspector, we start on the roof and we work our way down. You know, the roof has the roof coverings. You have a chimney up there. Oftentimes it’s for a chimney, a fireplace or not. It’s venting, you know, your hot water heater or your boiler. And then you’ve got roof penetrations, and they’re all flashings. There’s flashings and collars and boots, and some of these things you can look at yourself and you might have an idea of what your roof is like, and sometimes you need to get somebody up there. But I work my way down and around. And then we go inside. I’m gonna share some photos and we’ll go through kind of quick, if anybody wants to stop me and say something or ask a question, we can do that.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:03:59 Yeah. Just for the sellers out there, once your house is under contract, that is when the buyers will do their home inspection. And then after that, they will be possibly asking for some repairs or some credit towards the repairs. And often they’re not asking for every little thing that shows up. It’s often the major things or the really costly, expensive things. And we like to talk to, you know, we want Robert to kind of share with us what some of those things are that might come up and possibly what, if you were to do a pre-inspection, what you would become aware of, and then what you might want to fix ahead of listing your home. You don’t have to fix anything to list your home, but you might want to, knowing that, for example, if we find an oil tank, an underground oil tank in your yard, we’re gonna want to pull that before we list your home. So there are gonna be some examples and we’ll talk through that as he goes through the slides. But feel free to put any questions you have in the chat and we’ll try to answer them as they come along.
Kelly Lombardi: 00:05:00 And I think also another thing to point out is that these pre these pre-inspections are a little bit case by case basis. We were talking about this earlier. I think that, and we have, we sort of internally we even, you know, disagree cuz that’s the beauty of our partnership as we all have different opinions. You know, I would say if you’ve owned your home for, you know, under 10 years, maybe under five years, you might not need to do a pre-inspection. I think that a pre-inspection is really great for the homeowner who’s been in their house for a couple of decades, is concerned about deferred maintenance and who has, you know, hasn’t had a home inspection in a longer time, so that they can really have that peace of mind going into the transaction knowing that they’ve really taken care of any of the big things.
Robert Stout: 00:05:45 That’s right. Yep.
Susie Adamson: 00:05:46 Right. And while Robert brings up his presentation, I just wanna say hi to Linda and Betsy who are here from Curated Spaces and who will present after Robert. And this is all also for anyone who is watching this, even if you’re not planning to sell your home anytime in the near future, everything that all three of these people are gonna share will be useful for you, just in terms of your living, everyday living. I think it’s valuable no matter where you are in your stage. Okay. Go ahead Robert.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:06:17 And one more thing real quick. Sorry, I failed to introduce our team, just so everybody knows who we are and what our names are. I’m Bonnie Ramsey. You guys can go ahead and introduce you
Kelly Lombardi: 00:06:29 I don’t know which way who’s, which way, I’m Kelly
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:06:31 Backwards. There we go.
Kelly Lombardi: 00:06:33 I’m Kelly Lombardi also with Tandem Real Estate Group.
Susie Adamson: 00:06:36 And I’m Susie Adamson. And Betsy and Linda, if you wanna just say hi real quick.
Betsy Cahn: 00:06:41 Hi, I’m Betsy Kahn <laugh>.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:06:43 I’m Linda Thibodeau.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:06:45 Thanks for joining us.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:06:47 Happy to. Okay.
Robert Stout: 00:06:49 Well, I’ll pull up some pictures here. Great. Okay. Let’s see if I can get this to work.
Susie Adamson: 00:06:55 Yep.
Robert Stout: 00:06:55 Okay. All right. That’s, that’s my company there.
Susie Adamson: 00:06:58 That’s why we practice!
Robert Stout: 00:06:59 Okay. So we’re gonna start at the roof. And again, you know, this is an old three tab shingle roof. But you know, you may want to look at your roof. If you feel that you need a roofing professional to come over, maybe do some repairs of slipping shingles or damage that you can see. You know, I would recommend that… these are plumbing vents… they come out to your roof. Oftentimes I will see damage to plumbing vents. Here you see a plumbing vent with damage. There’s an old roof with moss. And when I see this, I’m gonna pay special attention when I get into the attic because I may see rot of the roof sheathing.
Kelly Lombardi: 00:07:46 And for, sorry, is it okay if I interrupt … So for our sellers out there who are reviewing this if you have a roof that is old, that is, you know, a buyer cannot ask for a credit or repair just because something is at the end of its life, if there is damage or it’s actively failing, that is where we, they’re allowed to ask for something. In most transactions.
Robert Stout: 00:08:13 Right? Okay. Flashings… you will have this around your chimney. It’s typically it’s metal, sometimes it’s been covered with tar. And this is something that I recommend. Take a look at your chimney if you have you know, if you see that you have some, some missing mortar. Every now and then we need somebody to repair the top of the chimney. Cracks open up, you get water inside it. In the wintertime, it expands and it deteriorates your chimney. It’s better to do this maintenance you know, annually, semi-annually, and to avoid deterioration of the chimney, cuz then you’re talking, you know, it’s even more work. So preventive maintenance is recommended. More chimney defects… flashing defects to the chimney. Let’s see here. Yeah, it can get kind of ugly, you know … They’re gonna look at your driveway, your walkways, cracked landings and steps.
00:09:18 And again, if you have, if you have cracks in your landings, if you think that it needs to be repointed or it could use some maintenance, it probably does. And, you know, do so before you start to get deterioration, it gets expensive. Grading, drainage, we’re gonna talk about your roof drainage system. It’s very important that your gutters be clean, that your downspouts shed that water six feet away from the basement. Water close to your foundation is absorbed by the foundation. And then in the wintertime it gets cold, it expands and it cracks your foundation and it can lead to flooding of the basement. You know, sometimes simple maintenance of the roof drainage system, making sure it’s free and clear debris, it’s flowing properly, and that those downspouts are extended six feet away from your foundation can help you avoid a lot of moisture intrusion issues and masonry damage.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:10:19 Yeah. I just wanna point out … to put an extender on your gutter is not very expensive. You can get one at Home Depot and just doing that before the rainy season, anytime of year, can prevent a catastrophic situation later. So even if you’re not planning on selling right away, these are good points of, you know, just go around your house, maintain some things, make sure things are in order so that down the line you’re not having these really expensive issues.
Robert Stout: 00:10:48 That’s right. That’s right. You see here, I see this all the time… that this extender has fallen off and you can see some cracking. It’s gonna start cracking, but yeah, this is something you can do regardless.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:11:02 Yep.
Robert Stout: 00:11:03 You know, paint maintenance. Wood without paint absorbs moisture, and then it’ll start to deteriorate and rot. You know, scrape and paint these areas to prevent damage. Like this wood rot.
Susie Adamson: 00:11:22 I’ll just jump in quickly to say, a lot of people avoid repainting their homes because they think it’s gonna be super expensive. But it’s true of most things that if you wait, it’s just gonna be more expensive later. Cuz you’re gonna have to repair a whole lot more.
Robert Stout: 00:11:35 That’s right. You know, this was likely left unpainted for a considerable amount of time and then they painted over it right before they put it on the market. And if I find rotten wood… I find rotten wood that’s painted over… that’s you know, that’s alarming for me, Now I’m looking for what you’re hiding and I know you’re hiding stuff. So, yeah. See, this is rotten, but, you know, to the naked, to a buyer, they might not see it, but your inspector’s probably gonna find this. So replace that rotted wood, and then paint it, or better yet, paint it before it rots. Decks require annual maintenance or you get wood decay. You know, loose railings … if your railings are loose shore ’em up.
00:12:34 If they don’t get corrected, they’re gonna break. And then it’s a safety hazard. And this is a simple fix. This is an easy fix here. And then… this was on the steps coming down. If you see mortar missing between your steps, it’s not expensive to have a handyman or a mason or somebody come over there and just repoint those before you get more deterioration. And then it ends up resulting in broken steps. That could be expensive. See, that’s a simple, simple fix. You know, I put this in my reports. It’s not something that the sellers are fixed, but I tell my buyers, I’m gonna give you a very thorough inspection report. Some of the things may be addressed, many of them will not, but it’s gonna give you a to-do list
00:13:34 But this stuff should be shored up before an inspection, and it should be shored up before the summer when you use your deck, you know, loose railing components, rotten wood on guardrails and the missing graspable handrail. If you have a, if you’re missing a handrail that’s graspable on stairs inside, outside, up to the attic, down to the basement, that’s gonna be in the report. And it’s, you know, it’s easy to fix, but you can expect it. Windows… I see a lot of issues with windows. Oftentimes it’s maintenance. They need to be cleaned. There’s vegetation growing on them. All of these windows probably have functioning storm windows. It’s hard to tell. I have to call this out for further evaluation, but likely if you remove this, these vines and clean these windows, they’re going to work properly. And if you do that on the day of your inspection, your clients, not your clients, your buyers will get a sense that, you know, the home is being well maintained. And we all wanna buy a well maintained home.
Kelly Lombardi: 00:14:49 Robert, I think with the vegetation, know that some people find like the climbing ivy to have like a charming English cottage look. It is. But would you agree that, I mean, is it not true that the ivy can sort of creep its way into the mortar between bricks and, right? So you want that off of not just your windows, but your siding as well?
Robert Stout: 00:15:10 It does. It gets into the mortar between the bricks. It absorbs water moisture and it deteriorates that mortar. Probably many of these beautiful English cottages in Europe would fall to pieces if you were to pull the ivy out.
Kelly Lombardi: 00:15:30 It’s literally holding them up!
Robert Stout: 00:15:31 Literally. Yeah. It is the mortar now.
Kelly Lombardi: 00:15:35 Yep.
Robert Stout: 00:15:37 Yeah. Okay. Here’s one that everybody should go out and check. Do you have soil up against wood? Do you have basement windows that are framed in wood and you have soil up against them? Oftentimes the landscaper will come by and they will mulch, and they’ll mulch right up to the glass and they’ll cover all that wood. And that’s an environment that’s conducive to wood destroying organisms, termites. And that’s how they get in and get into your sill and get into your floor joist. That, and in the springtime, everybody wants to walk around their house and look to see if you’ve got little mud tubes coming up your foundation. If so, knock that away. That’s how, you know, termites cannot just crawl. Like ants they have to be in soil. They have to have mud tubes, or they go from the soil to the wood. So you could probably eliminate a lot of your problems with termites if you were just to keep the soil away from your wood.
00:16:37 Storm doors, you know, make sure your pneumatic closers are working, that the winds chains are on, they’re attached and… this door is in really nice condition, but there’s door bind and it’s just a hinge. And I will often on my inspections, you know find a door that doesn’t close properly and I’ll just tighten up the hinges myself and then it, and it works fine. So get a screwdriver and check your hinges. Check your hardware for loose screws. Again, weather stripping. This was just as simple as not even replacing the weather stripping, just taking a couple little pieces off of the door, sticking it back up there and reassembling it. But it, you know, it gives the appearance when all of this is intact and in proper … that this home has been well maintained, this person really cared about their home.
00:17:35 Here’s another one. If you have a condenser, if you have an HVAC system, you’re gonna have a condenser and it’s gonna have insulation on the refrigerant lines. And oftentimes it’s damaged or missing. You can replace this yourself. Again, gives the impression that you’re maintaining your home. You have vents on your hot water heater, you have vents on boiler or HVAC system. You know, look at them, see that they’re in the right… they’re at an upward angle and check and see if they’re corroded. If you have corrosion on your vents, you may have high humidity, but you quite possibly could have back drafting issues, which are a safety hazard. And if you see that, you know, you may want to call a local HVAC company or plumber to come and check those.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:18:31 Yeah. Just to chime in on that, you know. It really is a good idea to have your plumber come out annually, if not twice annually when you turn your heat on and when you turn it off for the spring, just to maintain your mechanicals and make sure everything’s working properly. And it’s really not that expensive. It can be, you know, anywhere from a hundred to a couple hundred bucks for them to come out and tune everything up. And by doing that, you’re really prolonging the life of your mechanicals and spotting anything that might like be a problem. Like the ones that you’re showing us here.
Robert Stout: 00:19:05 That’s right. Preventive maintenance can save you money in the long run. This is an undersized vent. It’s a three inch vent. They need to be four inches. That’s a simple correction, but that’s gonna be called out as a safety hazard. And you could have back drafting issues and this could be hazardous to your family. So simple correction. The vents of your bathrooms, of your dryer, I often see that dryer vents are clogged and that is a safety hazard. That is a, it’s a fire hazard, but also these vents get painted and when they’re painted, they’re heavy. And these louvers will not open when they’re painted shut. And sometimes when they’re not painted shut, but they have heavy paint on them, they will not open. They need to be light.
00:19:59 And that’s simple to just replace the vents on your bathrooms and your dryer. Some of our homes didn’t have you know, exterior GFCIs–that’s a ground fault circuit interrupter. And it’s a good idea to update, you know, get these replaced with GFCIs. And definitely, you know, before the inspection or, you know, expect it in the report. Panels, you know, take a look at your panel. Is it corroded? Is it old? Do you have missing knockouts like this? Or you could stick your finger in there. If you feel that your panel needs to be evaluated by a professional or a electrician, it does.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:20:57 Good point.
Robert Stout: 00:20:59 Yeah. If you have an idea that this needs to be looked at, have it looked at.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:21:02 Yeah.
Robert Stout: 00:21:03 Yeah. A legend. You know, if, if the electrical panel doesn’t have a proper legend for all the breakers, I put that in my report. That’s on your to-do list. I put a, I put a hyperlink in my report that takes you to a site that shows you how to do that. Get a bottle of wine and…
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:21:25 Yeah. Are you, are you literally flipping breakers and seeing what turns off and then penciling it in the little legends? Is that how you do that?
Robert Stout: 00:21:33 That’s how you do it. Yeah. <laugh>. Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:21:36 Date night.
Robert Stout: 00:21:37 Yeah. Turn everything on in the house <laugh> and start flipping breakers. Yeah. And run around the house and go, oh my gosh, that breaker is not only connected to the outlets in your dining room… you know, they’re also connected to the light in your son’s bedroom upstairs. Yeah. These things have, all these homes have, you know, electrical mysteries. Yeah. But double tap breakers, this is a common one. And that’s gonna be in the report for further evaluation. And you know, depending on the breaker, but typically there’s, you know, one circuit per breaker. It’s a fire hazard. If you have an old fuse panel that’s gonna be called out as you know, an antiquated system. And that’s actually, it’s a pretty easy fix. Expect it or have it corrected prior to your buyer’s inspection. Missing cover plates. Oh my God. I see so many missing cover plates. If you have junction boxes, they need cover plates. If you have Yeah. There’s a junction box. It needs a cover plate.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:22:50 This is an easy one too.
Robert Stout: 00:22:52 Yeah. Cover plate, you know, I have to put in my reports, you know, a qualified a professional, but, you know…
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:23:00 Home Depot! Home Depot, baby
Robert Stout: 00:23:02 <laugh>, you could probably do that. Yep. You know, outlets, electrical plates, you know, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when I was a kid, not only did I change the fuses in the electrical panel… in hindsight, that was crazy… but you know, I stuck my fingers everywhere as kids do, you know, put their Lego toys in, they hide ’em. Right. <laugh> Put covers on this stuff. Yeah, you have a hanging junction box, you know, this is, stuff you can look around your house and, see this stuff and, and make a list. GFCI protection, you know, we recommend those now on appliances and basements. In like in garages, close to sinks in the kitchens.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:23:56 Can you just quickly explain what GFCI is just in case someone doesn’t understand what that is?
Robert Stout: 00:24:01 So, GFCI is a ground fault circuit interrupter. And it measures the disparity of the current flowing in and the current flowing out. Right. And if there’s a major disparity there, then it will trip that outlet before it goes to the fuse box. Nowadays we have a lot of appliances with circuit boards, right. With… they have brains now. And if you have, let’s say your brand new dryer plugged into an outlet like this up on the left, and it does not have a GFCI and you have like an electrical surge in your home, it would trip this outlet. But if you don’t have a GFCI, it will go into the appliance and it could damage your, you know, your new $1,500 dryer. If you had it in a GFCI, your dryer would be fine.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:25:08 And so these are needed anywhere where there’s water, like in bathrooms and garages and things like that outside.
Robert Stout: 00:25:15 That’s right. And where you have, yeah. Where you have appliances like washers and dryers. Yep.
00:25:26 Okay. You can get a tool to check this, but I find this sometimes where you have outlets that are wired improperly. Reverse polarity is one that I often see where you will have a positive and a negative wire crossed. And this is a hazard because this outlet now is always electrified and you can shock yourself. Your hot water heater, you know, they put, I put the age in. But that’s just something that’s gonna be in your report. Do you hear your hot water making noise? It might be full of minerals. It can be banging and knocking. They’re gonna say that’s at the end of its useful life. Do you have corrosion on the top of your hot water heater where you have, where the connections are? If that’s the case that’s at the end of its useful life. And that also may be a back drafting issue. So you know, check the age of your hot water heater if you can. And if it’s beyond, you know, maybe 15 years old, 12, 15 years, it might be close to time for a hot water heater replacement. The older, the hot water heater, the longer they last
00:26:46 Well, I mean, honestly, these things nowadays are manufactured to fail.
00:26:53 Poor, slow drainage. I find these in sinks often, and it can be as simple as going to Home Depot or Lowe’s and getting a drain weasel. It’s a little plastic… it’s got a brush on it, it’s got a little plastic handle that you turn around and you put that down in your drain. And it’s probably just lint and hair and stuff like that. Clean your drains.
Susie Adamson: 00:27:18 It’s probably disgusting, but super satisfying.
Robert Stout: 00:27:21 It is. You know, I did one today, it was so disgusting and I’m so happy I did it. It’s so satisfying. Yeah. Your showers, you know, the tubs and the showers, caulk, grout, that stuff that should be shored up, whether you’re selling your house or not. You can get moisture intrusion behind the walls. You can grow mold and bacteria in these areas.
Kelly Lombardi: 00:27:48 And this is one that we almost always tell our sellers to address prior to selling. Cuz one, is it’s preventing the moisture intrusion, but two, it just looks nicer. So that’s cheap and easy.
Robert Stout: 00:28:00 Cheap and easy. That’s right. But more than just a cosmetic issue. Yeah. Tub strainer, you know, this is on the left. It’s just a strainer that you put on the top and you screw it in there. I see these missing all the time. But again, if you can replace that tub strainer looks like you, you know, maintain your home. Sink stoppers … could probably repair these yourself. I don’t know why I ever see. find these things. I repair these all the time on my inspections. I don’t know why they’re not addressed beforehand. But this is a good one to put on your list. Check sink stoppers.
00:28:43 Here’s where, yeah, you’re gonna, you know, it’s a good idea if you’re having someone to come and maintain your home or your appliances, might have ’em look around at your piping. You see the corrosion here is it’s dissimilar metals. When you connect copper pipes with galvanized, you have an old galvanized water pipe, and then you’ve got some new piping that’s copper. You will get corrosion from dissimilar metals. Galvanic action happens. And so I put this in the report. Depends. Sometimes I can see that something is gonna fail. And sometimes this is on your to-do list of… replace that old, that old galvanized pipe with either copper pipe or it’s very easy now to replace it with pex. Flexible plumbing, pretty simple. Pipe insulation, that’s what I call this. That’s also known as asbestos insulation. It’s not, you know, you don’t need to freak out over asbestos insulation. I often find it on steam pipes and you know, it, it can be removed and cleaned up. And you know… it used to be we’d wrap it, but now people are utilizing their attics, they’re utilizing their basements and they want this stuff cleaned up. And it’s a good idea to have a look around and see if you have this.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:30:16 Just to add to that, that comes up a lot. When we find that in inspections, buyers generally are gonna ask for you to remove that because it is a health and safety issue, having asbestos in the home, should they need to open that pipe up, they would need to cut open that asbestos and that can become airborne. Thus, the reason it’s an environmental or health and safety issue. So it, you don’t necessarily have to remove it before you list your home, but know that you will be paying for it to be removed some one way or another.
Robert Stout: 00:30:48 Yes. This will likely be, be something that you need to address.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:30:52 Yep.
Robert Stout: 00:30:54 Yeah. Here it is. This is also what it looks like. Like an old cast. You’ll see that sometimes it’s all been removed, but it’s barely visible here. I would seal that off or have somebody do it, have a handyman, do it. You know, here’s a duct… that’s some of the insulation has come loose, has been broken. I put that in the report as something that should be shored up. Window hardware. I find broken hardware all the time. You know, top left, if it’s casement hardware, the casement window is not going to work. When you have broken hardware like this, it’s an easy fix. A lot of these little pieces, you can find them online, you can go to Home Depot and you can get them, and they’re easy to fix yourself. Here again, non locking windows, oftentimes it’s just they need to be cleaned.
00:32:03 Windows stops, you know, it’s for the safety of children. These can be… these can… they break, they can be pulled out. And you can pop another one in there. I oftentimes will see that. And I’ll put in my report a hyperlink to a site that has that window stop for you so you can just go ahead and buy it and do it yourself. Window condensation, if you have condensation between your window panes, that seal is broken and that window needs to be replaced. That’s not… fix handrail, you’re gonna need to put handrails in, or I don’t know if that’s ever fixed. Really. I, you know, I don’t see what’s done after I do the report, but if there’s not a handrail and there’s three or more risers, it’s going in the report as a safety hazard. Debris, I find debris under decks, debris in crawl spaces, debris in attics. And I put it in my reports because it’s in the way. Oftentimes it’s obscuring things. Sometimes I find it laying on top of duct work and I move it myself. But to have somebody come… to have Greg Haul’s Junk come and remove debris is… it can be, you know, expensive. It can be 200 bucks for a little bit of stuff.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:33:37 Buyers are generally gonna want debris removed also. Yeah. When we do our final walkthrough on closing day, if you’ve left behind a lot of junk, you know, like this, or in your attic or under your deck, they’re gonna ask you to remove that. So you might as well when you’re decluttering, which we’re gonna talk about later, you might as well with the dumpster or the bagster, whatever you’re using, just get, go ahead and get rid of that stuff.
Robert Stout: 00:34:01 That’s right. Remove debris, declutter your home, and then do an inspection yourself first. Yeah.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:34:10 Yeah.
Susie Adamson: 00:34:10 And we do have a very reasonable junk removal guy. So if you ever need that resource, let us know.
Robert Stout: 00:34:17 Okay. Insulation you know, we are looking at, we’re looking at what kinds of insulation, the depth of the insulation, if it’s properly installed you know, you might want to have an audit of your home. You might want to have insulation professional come and look, take a look yourself. Don’t walk around in attics like this that don’t have floors. <laugh> Only a qualified professional should do that. Yeah, oftentimes insulation is shoved down in the soffits, but you actually, you actually want those soffits free and clear. Because attics, if they’re not finished, they do need to, they do need to ventilate. So you want the air coming in through the soffits and ventilating.
00:35:10 Exhaust systems. This is what I find all the time… the bathrooms vent into the attic. They do not terminate to the exterior. And I’m gonna call that out. And that’s just exhausting all of that moist air up into the attic. And that can create a lot of problems with mold. There’s deterioration of the ceiling in the bathroom. So check that regardless of what your prior inspector said or didn’t say, if you have a bathroom exhaust, check it and see if it’s terminating on the outside or if it’s just exhausting all that air in your attic.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:35:48 I love this. This is making me wanna run upstairs right now.
Robert Stout: 00:35:51 <laugh>. Yeah. See, here’s oftentimes there’s no pipe, but they managed to put a pipe on it and just left it laying there. So that’s a bathroom exhaust terminating in the attic. So I could show you another thousand pictures, but this is, that was 73, that idea.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:36:11 That’s a good start, that’s for sure. Yeah.
Susie Adamson: 00:36:14 I think the great thing about all of this information, Robert, is, you know… I think it can be very overwhelming to think about doing an assessment of your home and fixing all these things. But as we said in the beginning, you don’t have to fix any of it. However, when you do fix a lot of these small things, even simple things like the tub stopper or a diverter or things like that, it just gives buyers the indication that you’re taking good care of your home. It’s also stuff that you should take care of just because it’s gonna cost you more down the road if you don’t. So I never knew that like masonry cracks were important to take care of because when water gets in and it freezes, it separates it even more and makes that, you know, little crack 10 times worse. So all of these things will just keep you from having to spend more money down the road and it just can save you a lot of money in inspection issues simply because you’ve given the indication to buyers that you have, you know, as we said, taken good care of your home to begin with. So it can cost you less in the beginning than it will later on.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:37:24 Right. And just to add to that, a lot of buyers, and we have a lot of young buyers now who are coming out purchasing their first homes, they may see something and assume that it’s very expensive to fix. Like maybe it’s a simple thing like the grout around your tub, which really costs maybe $5 for a tube of, of grout or caulking to put in there. And if you fix it, then they never have to think, oh my gosh, that’s probably hundreds of dollars to fix that. And those things add up when a buyer’s looking at your home or when a buyer’s doing their home inspection. So if you can prevent them from assuming that there’s gonna be a lot of repairs needed on the house, then they’re more likely to pay more money for your home if it presents well and feels like it’s well maintained.
Robert Stout: 00:38:09 That’s right. And when I see that a home is well maintained, I express that to the buyers. I do, I say that, I say this home has been cared for, it has been well maintained. You know, all homes require maintenance, ongoing maintenance, and, you know, you will be repairing things. But for the most part, yeah, it looks like you’re getting a well-maintained home here. So I do say that. Yeah. It’s a pleasure being a part of this call.
Susie Adamson: 00:38:42 Thank you.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:38:44 Yeah. We appreciate you, Robert. Thank you for coming on. And if anyone on here wants contact information, obviously we’re happy to give that out to you. If you wanna do a preventative homeowner inspection, just so you know what’s going on in your own home we’re happy to pass along your contact information.
Robert Stout: 00:39:04 That’s right. You know what, if you wanna take a picture of something and email it to me and ask me my opinion of it, or should I have this looked at feel free.
Susie Adamson: 00:39:14 It’s your own Bob Villa
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:39:17 Thank you, Robert. We really appreciate it.
Susie Adamson: 00:39:19 Great segue. Yeah, it’s a great segue to Linda and Betsy because what they’re gonna talk about also is just an indication, it’s a great shortcut to potential home buyers that you are taking great care of your home. So all of us have clutter in our homes. All of us struggle with this. I’m gonna call Linda and Betsy soon. So if you guys wanna go ahead and share with us your screen.
Betsy Cahn: 00:39:59 Some of our pictures are a little prettier than what he was showing. I’m sure you need to run around my house now though!
Linda Thibodeau: 00:40:21 Okay. Can you, can you see it?
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:40:23 Yep. Looks great.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:40:25 Okay. This happens to us often. I’m the clutter fairy. I’ll come back. I’m gonna need a much bigger wand. We usually find, you know, actually people think their situations are worse than they are. Right? But, they’re usually, they do get out of hand. So we have this thing that we’re working on that we’re hoping to present to people in the future called the Clutter Clinic. So, you know, clutter maintenance is an ongoing thing. It’s not something you should do at the last minute. What do we do?
Betsy Cahn: 00:40:59 This is just a little bit about us. We’re professional organizers, we’re a major part of the community. We volunteer. Linda was a graphic designer. I was in retail. I was a preschool teacher and we are annoyingly organized from birth, I think as well. Started very early for us.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:41:19 What does a professional organizer do? Honestly,
Betsy Cahn: 00:41:24 Everything
Linda Thibodeau: 00:41:24 <laugh>, we find joy in alphabetizing spices. You don’t have to go that far though. And I personally love junk drawers.
Betsy Cahn: 00:41:33 Oh, Linda’s the Queen of Junk Drawers!
Linda Thibodeau: 00:41:33 I love doing a junk drawer. You know, bookshelves, we can put your stuff in rainbow order. Or we don’t have to go that far. But you know, we do help you get rid of books and stuff. We will never tell you to throw something out. We sort of suggest how others can benefit from what you no longer use. We just don’t like to tell people, you know, you have to part with that. We’re not that kind of organizers. You know, if you want stuff, we’ll find place for it. We label everything, but we don’t judge
Betsy Cahn: 00:42:06 <laugh>. No judging
Linda Thibodeau: 00:42:08 <laugh>. And I guess our philosophy is that life is constantly moving and our goal is to help you kind of be comfortable in your home now and be ready for the time when you will be moving on so that it’s not a last minute thing. And actually our specialty has been helping people move. We clear the way for stagers. We have a packing system so that, you know, when you get to your new place, everything’s more organized, which also helps with unpacking, which we also help with.
Betsy Cahn: 00:42:40 And then some very interesting clutter facts. Did you know that people spend one hour every day looking for things, for missing items? Which doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but when you think about it, an hour a day for weeks, seven hours looking for stuff that you can’t find. 80% of paper never gets looked at again. And I am the queen of printing things out. So I have to work on that one. And you can reduce your chores by 40% if you had less clutter. So think about that before you put something down that you know you’re never gonna use again.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:43:16 If you don’t know where something belongs, it belongs in this drawer. Everyone has one.
Betsy Cahn: 00:43:25 There are three types of clutter. There’s physical clutter that we’re all very aware of. Physical clutter results from you have more stuff than you have space. It’s a lot. And you have no system to organize all this stuff. And that’s what we help you do. We help you get all your stuff into a system of some sort. And it’s a system that you have to be comfortable with. So we actually work with you so that you know where your stuff is. It’s not just, it’s pretty, or it, you know, spins around so it looks nice. It has to be something that you’re going to use.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:44:03 We want you to be able to maintain it. Right?
00:44:08 Then there’s something called emotional clutter. And this is connected with memorabilia. For instance, your artwork, your grandma’s vagina, old photos. that stuff is very hard to unravel. It results from emotional attachments to things, feeling guilty about getting rid of those things. You know, we find so many, you know, wedding presents that are still in the box. And then they say, well, my aunt gave me this and you know, I can’t get rid of it. Like, you’re gonna be struck by lightning or something, <laugh>. No, it’s okay. Someone else will use it. Or they’re afraid, you know, maybe so-and-so will come over and see that I don’t have this out, or I’m afraid superstitions, all these things, emotional clutter’s, very difficult to unpack.
Betsy Cahn: 00:44:58 And the third type of clutter is calendar clutter. We are extremely overscheduled. We have ineffective time management. Oh. And we’re… we mistake being busy with being productive. We’re running around, but we’re not really getting much done.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:45:16 So now that we’ve stressed you out with all of these <laugh> facts about clutter, <laugh> these are the reasons, these are stumbling blocks that you can’t even start getting organized. This is what’s stopping you. Okay. So things that stop you because of these three kinds of clutter. You’re overwhelmed. You don’t know where to start, and you feel like you have so much stuff and you have no time to deal with it.
Betsy Cahn: 00:45:43 Indecision. What should I keep? What should I give away? Do I throw it away? Do I donate it? And we’re really big on trying not to put stuff in the landfill. So we’re very big on finding places to donate stuff so that maybe that’ll make you feel a little better about giving your stuff away.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:46:03 Another stumbling block, as we mentioned before, is guilt, which we went through. And then the last stumbling block is, oh my God, I don’t have time for this. And it’s gonna take so long because I think everyone is looking at the entire house as a to-do. Okay. So here are the strategies. This is how we work. Physical clutter. We break it down into three steps,
Betsy Cahn: 00:46:29 Empty everything out. It is going to look so messy when we do this <laugh> but there is a reason for the mess. Right? We empty everything out and then we sort it into three piles. Keep, donate or sell and toss.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:46:47 And also when you empty things out, you realize how much you have of everything. So oftentimes when we’re doing kitchens, we’ll find at least five things of cinnamon, right? So because it’s been hiding in the back, right? But when you see it all out, you’re like, oh, I didn’t realize I had that.
00:47:06 Then there’s a system, this is the biggest part, is how do you put it all back? So what we do is we make zones. You’ve probably seen that on tv, but it’s really a good way to organize things. So in a closet office, you’re gonna have a place for your shoes, your handbags, your pants, your shirts. In a kitchen, you’ll have a place for different meal types, appliances, backstock. And then no matter where you put things, not necessarily so much in a closet like this, but you label everything. So if we have a bin of, you know, pasta that has sauce and you know, noodles and all this stuff, it’s gonna say pasta. Or, you know, we’ll have breakfast items. So labeling is really important because everyone in the house can then know where things go. Theoretically, <laugh>. Mm-hmm. Did we mention labeling?
Betsy Cahn: 00:48:00 <laugh> We’re big on unlabeling and big labeling too. Yeah.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:48:02 Like this was a kid’s art closet. And, you know, she could just take all that stuff out and then throw it back in the thing. It didn’t have to be neat. But once they’re in the containers, it’s neat. And then the image on the right is, is our moving system. We color code rooms and put these big dots on the boxes, and then we make a master list for you. And we’re very detailed about writing what’s in the boxes. So on moving day when the movers have, you know, boxes and they’re going back and forth and you see like a red dot, you know, a kitchen, you know, pink dot kids’ bedroom. So it’s important to label your boxes.
Betsy Cahn: 00:48:43 Well, it really helps on the other side for the, for the movers especially. Cause sometimes they just put stuff down wherever they want to. And this is like, they really, they can see color <laugh>. Yeah. Don’t necessarily see the writing on the box.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:48:55 When we supervise moves, we put the dot on the door of the room. So anyways, so …
Betsy Cahn: 00:49:03 Strategies for overcoming emotional clutter. You really have to look at yourself and say, to look at your stuff as well and say, who gave it to me? What if I had to get rid of it? What’s gonna happen? Why am I keeping it? When am I going to use it? And how is it adding value to my life? Things have changed. I remember when I was growing up, I wanted my grandmother’s China, so my mother saved her China and my grandmother’s China. And then, you know what, I ended up with like 900 pieces of China I don’t use. And it’s hard to let go. Cuz you, but you’re not letting go of the memories. You’re just letting go of the physical stuff. And if you’re not going to use it, then you shouldn’t keep it.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:49:56 So this is, we help, we kind of coach people, right. Go through this process, you know, and we try to gain a momentum so that you’re not staring at every little item, but when you’re looking at, you know, a pile of your kids’ artwork and you know, you have like their math sheets in there, you know, okay, you can get rid of that and maybe take a picture of this. Or there’s things that, you know, make albums and stuff. So this is a thing that really requires partnership, right? Cause it’s hard to look at your stuff objectively.
Kelly Lombardi: 00:50:24 For the things that are of value, do you have like resources of where they can sell? An auction?
Betsy Cahn: 00:50:31 Yes. We have resources that can either help you sell your items or we also have someone that can give estimates and appraisals. So you can see what you might be able to sell. A lot of the times what we think or you think when you’re going through your house are really worth something. Sometimes really aren’t to anybody else but yourself.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:50:54 I can’t tell you how many times, oh, this is sterling silver. It was passed down and it’s… we have a really good resource. The Nye Auction House… my friend Kathy, I’m constantly sending her pictures. Is this silver <laugh>? No, it’s plated. It has to have a special stamp and all this stuff. So and plated silver doesn’t really have a value, right? So yeah, we do have resources. We have estate sale people and then we also have places to donate,
Betsy Cahn: 00:51:24 Right
Linda Thibodeau: 00:51:24 Smaller pieces of furniture.
00:51:31 Ok, strategies for managing calendar clutter. This is the time management. We love lists. People… sometimes, you know, people love making lists, but they’ll make a list with so many things on it. And they think at the end of the day, oh, I didn’t do anything. When you, maybe you’ve done five things, but if your list only has three top things that’s realistic then you feel like you’ve actually accomplished something. But when you write too many things, you, you feel that you didn’t do anything. So also important when you make those three top things is how long are they gonna take? If it’s gonna take five hours to do one of them, then maybe you only do one. Or you know, if you want to do three, you have to make it manageable. So that those three things are gonna take like an hour each if you have that time during the day. And also, just most importantly, be realistic. You know, start with small things. Maybe you do…
Betsy Cahn: 00:52:34 Do a drawer. Do just your shoes. Do the entrance way to your house, which is … has a lot of shoes up there. And then if that gets cleared, then next time do something else. You’ll feel more satisfied when that happens.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:52:49 Oh, here’s some examples of work that we’ve done. This is a basement. Often we do a lot of basements because people just hate their basements if they’re messy. So, and you know, it’s something, it’s not fun to do. Although for us it is <laugh>. This was the before. It was kind of a dumping ground for a lot of things, especially after the pandemic started to lift. You know, this was a study area, but then things just got put down there. We’ve created this little space out of, this is actually, this space right here is now… this for when their youngest daughter, who still loved to play with Legos and do crafts and stuff. So we made her space manageable and labeled everything.
Betsy Cahn: 00:53:38 And this is a bookcase in a teens room. And she just wanted to be able to actually use what was on the shelves. So it’s just really just going through everything and rearranging a couple of things. We gave her a couple of baskets so she could hide a couple of things, but she knows what’s in them. And now it’s just more comfortable for her. And she feels she can do her homework in her room as well as just hang out.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:54:01 Yeah. She had anxiety when she walked in there and saw like the shelves and because that’s where she sleeps too. And it, it just looked like a mess. And we love, you know, figuring out kinds of containers, you know, what’s best for every situation.
00:54:17 Garages are also something that’s a little overwhelming for people to do. They can very easily become dumping grounds and there’s a lot of big things that have to go in garages, like big garbage cans. And we try to create access to everything. So shelving is really important. There’s also some great hanging systems that we use. In the case of this garage that’s not in this picture, we divided it in half cause it was a two car garage and one side we created a pottery studio. So they had functional storage and a pottery studio on the other side. Ask and you shall receive.
Betsy Cahn: 00:54:55 No cars. <laugh>.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:54:56 Yeah, no cars. <laugh>.
Betsy Cahn: 00:54:58 A lot of our garages have no cars. It’s just too much stuff.
Linda Thibodeau: 00:55:02 So just to summarize everything. Decluttering strategies. Identify your clutter source or what’s your biggest pain point? What is really bothering you every single day when you go downstairs, your basement or even into your closet or your, even your bathroom. Prioritize what you wanna do. I’m gonna start small. I’m only gonna do my kids’ room today or my kids’ underwear drawer. And develop a plan, which is not that hard to do, especially if you’re starting small. And the big thing, and I’ve said it three times already, is start small so that you actually get something done. Because it’s very satisfying. Even if you’re not like clutter freaks like we are, it’s very satisfying to see this huge pile that you started with, be able to be put away in a little bin somewhere around the shelf.
00:55:55 And when we meet clients, this is how we approach a project as well. So yeah.
00:56:03 Just to connect this all, let’s say we are talking about moving, if you declutter, planning the move is gonna be less overwhelming. Also we’re called in on a lot of emergencies to help pave the way for staging. If you declutter, then it already makes it so much easier for the staging and you don’t have to be in a panic about hiding things or, you know, making decisions about what to get rid of on the spur of the moment, which can be very stressful. It makes packing much more efficient. You know, we just went to a house today where she moved from a house that already had stuff that was still packed from another house and she just moved it all to her new house. So, you know, it’s like, you’re moving stuff that you don’t even want that’s been in boxes for 10 years, you know, we don’t want that to happen. And then obviously unpacking is much easier if you’re not packing. Old baggage With all of this, we, I’m sure we’re sure that you probably feel like this right now!
Betsy Cahn: 00:57:07 <laugh>, But we’re here to have <laugh>.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:57:14 Awesome.
Kelly Lombardi: 00:57:14 Well, and I think to your point, the big, the big takeaway here is to just start small and start somewhere, right? Not to overthink it and just start on
Betsy Cahn: 00:57:22 Just start somewhere and
Linda Thibodeau: 00:57:24 Yes. That that, that’s right. Yep. And call us for the things that really stress you out,
Betsy Cahn: 00:57:30 And the other thing we’ve always heard, it’s a, just a good thing to do is like, once a day, pick something that you can donate or get rid of. And then think about it, after a year, you’ve given away or thrown away 365 things that are not in your house anymore. Right. A little thing, the old toothbrush, whatever it is. Like, again, very small and it all adds up.
Bonnie Ramsey: 00:57:50 So I have a question for you. If somebody is thinking they, you know, maybe they’ve lived in Maplewood for 25 years and their house is just chock a block, their attic is full, their basement is full, they feel really overwhelmed. They wanna move to an apartment, or they wanna go to Florida and they’re just so overwhelmed. What, what do you, how does it work? Will you come in and give them a plan? Would you, you know, break it down for them into small chunks? Like give us just an ideal scenario of what would happen if they called you in?
Linda Thibodeau: 00:58:25 Yeah, so we’ll go through the house with them, room by room on a consultation. And we’ll figure out also what needs to be done, if there is staging that needs to be done, what the timeline is. And then we figure out also what they are, what it’s gonna be hard for them, whether the hardest parts are. And then we also try and figure out what we call homework. You know, what can they do when we’re not there and what do they need us to help coach them through or what can we do that they don’t have to even, you know, touch. And we come up with what we call an action plan. Plan, an action plan. And sometimes we need to come up with a calendar. If there’s very tight timing, for instance. Or even if there’s a month, it’s like, by now this room should be clear, this should be in storage or this should be ordered a pod or a bag store or whatever it is.
00:59:17 So with some clients, you know, we need to help them with the timing, everything. And then we help, we give a huge list of resources and sometimes we help connect with, if you’re gonna have an estate sale, do you need a junk person? Do you, which places are going to take donations? That’s actually one of the hardest things, right? Because when you think about the charities that donate furniture, they’re donating ’em to very small apartments. And so they won’t take a big, you know, wood breakfront that was your grandmother’s right. Because it’s too big for these apartments. So those are really hard to get rid of and those are very hard decisions to part with. That’s sometimes the junk guy has to take away and, you know, you don’t wanna make the person feel bad that this beautiful piece of furniture is no longer useful. So we really do try to help manage where that goes. Usually by the end, people are so exhausted, they’re like, get rid of it, take it!
Betsy Cahn: 01:00:16 Take it <laugh>.
01:00:19 We try to take them step by step. And then some people like to take our action plan and they can do it on their own, but most of the time when it comes to the moving, it’s like, okay, we’ll do this much and then they give the other half to us kind of thing. Which is also we’ll wait to, you know, to work it all out so you’re not doing everything yourself. Yeah. But we do plan it out for them and…
Linda Thibodeau: 01:00:39 And we try, we really try to help as much as we can. So we’re really good at looking at a room and saying, this is gonna need 20 boxes, 20 mediums, two smalls, whatever. And we bring the materials, we bring the product. So cuz we’re good at shopping for that cuz we’ve done it so much. So, you know, that’s even hard for people to figure out. So that’s…
Bonnie Ramsey: 01:00:59 Amazing. You’ll show up with the boxes, everything,
Betsy Cahn: 01:01:02 We bring the products
Linda Thibodeau: 01:01:02 And we get really good prices. The South Orange storage place has really good box prices … Packing equipment, here’s a really good secret. The best packing material for China and the kitchen and stuff is doggy weewee pads, <laugh>. They’re cheap and … and really effective.
Bonnie Ramsey: 01:01:23 Yeah. Oh wow. So you just wrap the dishes in those cuz they’re padded and those, you
Betsy Cahn: 01:01:27 Wrap them in paper, you wrap them in that and you just, rather than using bubble or foam … which is expensive.
Linda Thibodeau: 01:01:32 Yeah. Yeah. So, and then like we’re very careful about, you know, certain China, you have to stand up… if it’s plates you can’t stack them. Or you know, any kind of plates. So, and then we also try to alleviate …When the movers come, they’ll pack the garbage and the garbage can, you know, <laugh>. Yeah. So we try to make sure that there’s not stuff like that happening as well.
Bonnie Ramsey: 01:01:59 So it sounds like you’ll do any size job from like a spice drawer all the way to like getting people packed up and
Betsy Cahn: 01:02:07 Packing house.
Linda Thibodeau: 01:02:08 Yeah.
Susie Adamson: 01:02:09 I’ve moved quite a bit in my life and I have, I always say to our clients, based on my own experience, you have probably… you have to get rid of about 80% of what you have. You know, people think like they don’t have that much stuff, but don’t you find that like when you … I mean it’s amazing how much more we all have than we think, right?
Betsy Cahn: 01:02:32 So many duplicates of stuff like strainers and you have three pots that are exactly the same that you know to boil eggs or whatever. It’s like you don’t even realize cuz you see a new one, you buy, you don’t throw out the old ones or donate them, right? We also take the donations as well. Like, like I have VVA come to my house if they, so it’s a double kind of a pickup. We can do it at the client’s house as well as, so cuz we’ve had people take stuff back.
Linda Thibodeau: 01:02:59 We learned that quickly. We left our garbage bags and you know, we put donations in clear bags and we came back the next day and everything was out of the bags.
Betsy Cahn: 01:03:12 So now we take it!
Linda Thibodeau: 01:03:13 <laugh>.
Susie Adamson: 01:03:14 We saw that with the client of ours that you worked with <laugh>.
Betsy Cahn: 01:03:17 Exactly.
Linda Thibodeau: 01:03:19 We removed. Oh, you can’t lift that. We’re taking that!
Susie Adamson: 01:03:23 Yes, yes. That’s very smart. Yeah. Well, I can’t wait for you to come to my house,
Linda Thibodeau: 01:03:30 <laugh>.
Bonnie Ramsey: 01:03:32 I think this just proves the point that, you know, when they, when you’re overwhelmed, there’s people to help you and it’s really always worth the fee to just bring people around you that know what to do and how to do it efficiently, effectively. And you guys are an amazing resource. Thank you. Thank you. We’re grateful to have you local.
Linda Thibodeau: 01:03:55 <laugh>. A really good point you make though is the value of a service like this or like what the home inspector gives is so important because people do think they can do everything themselves. And then it gets, you know, to the point where moving is so emotional and stressful that, you know, it then becomes clear that you did need that help.
Susie Adamson: 01:04:18 Yes
Linda Thibodeau: 01:04:18 Realizing that early on is important.
Susie Adamson: 01:04:21 Yes. And on that note, we do have a program that will help you should the cost overwhelm you, right. Bonnie did you wanna talk about that?
Bonnie Ramsey: 01:04:30 Yes. So we just wanted to share quickly. We are part of Compass, that’s our brokerage and Compass offers this incredible program called Compass Concierge and basically it is a service that will give you money. It’s a soft pull on your credit and they will give you a loan that you can have for up to 12 months as you prepare your home. And you can really use it for anything. You can use it for Curated Spaces, you can use it to pay for boxes, you can use it for a hotel for the weekend so you can leave so that these lovely ladies can get to work. <laugh>, I mean really the list goes on and on. You can, you know, pull up carpet and redo hardwood floors and paint your home. And it is an interest free loan and you’re allowed to take up to $25,000 so long as you have that equity in your home.
01:05:24 We’ve had a lot of clients utilize the service, they use it to stage their homes or to really to pay for anything. And the return is really incredible. It enables you to use that money and then when you close, the proceeds from your house, pay off that loan. So you don’t have to liquidate anything or worry about what money you’re gonna use from where. You can keep your money where it is. You use these funds to get your home ready to sell and then at the proceed table that money is just returned through the Compass Concierge program.
Kelly Lombardi: 01:05:58 And Bonnie, I think it’s important to point out that there’s no, correct me if I’m wrong, like approved vendors for this program, right? Like there’s other brokerages correct, that have, they try and have a similar program, but there’s actually approved vendors that you have to use the, in this program it’s a…
Bonnie Ramsey: 01:06:12 It’s right, you basically have access to the funds and you can pay or do whatever you want with the money that you pull out. And if for some reason you don’t sell your home or you change your mind, you do have to pay that money back obviously. But it is interest free and it’s quite easy. We have seen and heard about lots of other programs from other brokerages and they really make it difficult. There’s a lot of red tape and you’re only allowed to use certain vendors, but with this program it just gives you so much flexibility just to get your house ready and you don’t have to worry about that extra stress of, of paying for everything.
Susie Adamson: 01:06:49 Yeah. It’s really a no-brainer. And even if you have the money, which a lot of us don’t sitting around, it’s a good idea just because our money isn’t worth as much as it was <laugh> before. So it’s depreciated as someone put it yesterday, it’s a depreciated asset. Why would you take out money that you put in for a dollar and now is only worth 75 cents when you can just get the interest free loan. So it’s a great resource everybody should use.
Bonnie Ramsey: 01:07:17 Yeah. And just to kind of put it all together, when people are looking at your house, they wanna see that it’s well maintained. They wanna see that your closets are organized and not overstuffed with things. We want things to feel light and bright and roomy and spacious for your next buyer. So that really is the goal as we stage and as we declutter and we you, you know, maybe take care of some mechanical issues or things you know that are wrong with your house. We wanted to present in the best possible way and there’s a lot of stats that prove that the return on investment is quite high. Sometimes you can get four times amount the amount that that you spend on preparing your home to list. So it really is a great investment. We’re happy to talk to any of you if you have questions about applying for this program or you know, the ins and outs of how it works. Anything else that we didn’t touch?
Susie Adamson: 01:08:15 <laugh>? Thank you guys. Your presentation was so helpful. Kelly, did you have anything else to add?
Kelly Lombardi: 01:08:21 Inspiring! No, I’m just like inspired to go in my attic and check on, inspired to go to my basement and start labeling everything.
Susie Adamson: 01:08:28 Start small. I’m gonna clean my desk off tonight.
Betsy Cahn: 01:08:34 Thank you very much for having us.
Susie Adamson: 01:08:36 Thank you guys. Thank thanks everyone for joining us. Have a good night everybody