Downsizing : Should we Move?

The question I am most asked by people who are thinking of downsizing is ” where do we go?”.  But the first question to be asked is “Should we move?”

Below are some questions that you may want to consider before putting your house on the market :

Why are you thinking of moving?

  • Is your house too big?
  • Is it too expensive?
  • Does it require too much time and energy to maintain?
  • Do you have any medical issues that have, or will, come into play with your current living conditions?
  • Too far from family members or close friends?
  • Just ready for a change?

What do you like about your house?

  • Layout?
  • Location?
  • View?
  • Neighbors?

What do you want in your next house?

  • Layout?
    • What rooms do you use now, and will you need in a new home?
    • Really consider how you use your home, and make sure you get the space you use.
    • More energy efficient? Tankless hot water heater, geothermal heating, or double pane windows? What is on your wish list?
    • What are you thinking of getting involved with? Will you need a workshop, or hobby room?
  • Location?
    • Do you want to be within walking distance to shopping, entertainment, or dining?
    • Do you walk, bike, swim, or enjoy another type of activity that needs to be considered in your location?
    • Are you planning on traveling and prefer a gatehouse, or secure neighborhood?
    • Does townhouse living look appealing?
    • Want more land, or less land?
    • Do you need to be near mass transportation?
    • How close do you need to be to a hospital?
    • Does internet access make a difference?
  • View
    • What do you want to see?
    • Which direction do you want your home to be facing?
    • Do you want shade trees, or an open view?
    • Golf course, water view, sunsets?
  • Neighbors?
    • One of my favorite calls was to a friend who had recently moved to a “retirement living” community. It was snowing outside and I wanted to make sure she had everything to ride out the storm. She told me that she was leaving town to go south for a couple of weeks to get away from the cold weather, but the next statement surprised me! She said ” no one warned me that there wouldn’t be any children to watch playing in the snow over here. Everyone is just staying inside! ” So ask yourself, what do you like about your neighborhood, and would not want to miss in your next home?
    • Do you use your neighborhood as your main source of friends? Or how will you be making friends in the future?

Tomorrow we will review the answers!

Please send us your comments. Let us know if we should add something to this list! And contact us ( )  if you are thinking of downsizing! We will be happy to listen and help you make the decision whether to move or stay!


Please follow our blog, like us on facebook, and visit our website!


Top Apps for Real Estate

This past Tuesday Tara and I went to Realtorfest here at the Richmond Convention Center.  It was a great event that allowed us to find new service providers, mingle with our fellow Realtors, and learn new things.

One of the classes we took concerned Apps for smartphones that are useful for Realtors, home buyers, and sellers. As there are so many apps out there having someone suggest good ones helps me, so I hope you may enjoy these also. Below are the apps, in no real order, that you may find interesting.  They should be available for Iphones, tablets, and droids. Oh! And these are my favorite price, FREE!

  • Camscanner   This app allows you to take a photograph of a document. It then turns that document into a PDF file that can be emailed. In my opinion this is a must have app! If you have any document that would need to be scanned to email or faxed you can now just take a photo and email.
  • Great Schools  Realtors cannot give out personal opinions about schools. Thus it is up to the home buyer to research what is important to them. This app does just that by supplying test scores, reviews, and stats. While a great app the overall score is based on the reviews by parents and students.
  • Sex Offenders    Tells you if there are any sex offenders in the area. Just a good app to have
  • Smarter Agent  This app uses your location to pull up all of the houses that are on the market around you. It shows a map as well as a description of the home with price that you can click on for more information.
  • Qik Video  Allows you to take a video and email it.  Before taking photos or videoing any home be sure to receive the Listing Realtor, or homeowner’s permission. 
  • Magicplan  Incredible app that allows you to draw a floor plan of a room in seconds. Using calibration you can be sure the sizes are correct. Wondering if your sofa will fit on the wall, or  what the dimensions of the room are? With this app you just point your device to a corner and then push a button until you have all the walls . It can save as a single room or you can blend rooms together to create a complete floor plan. 
  •  HomeSnap  As the app states all you have to do is take a photo of a home and this app tells you all about it! Number of bedrooms, baths, and their price. Pricing like this is always interesting, but use it as a tool, not a definitive pricing guide.
  • Walk Score   Great app if you are concerned about being able to walk to shopping, restaurants, etc.
  • Around Me  Want to know what type of store is closeby? Where is the nearest gas station, library, hospital, or grocery store? This app will give you that information.

Those are the apps I found most fascinating concerning possible Real Estate needs. But, to throw in just a couple for fun:

  • Find My Car   Set the location of your car when you park, and this app will help you find it when you start looking! (Now if  I could just use this for my glasses! )
  • Runpee   This just made me laugh so I had to pass it on. In a movie theater and need to use the facilities? This app tells you when the best time is in the movie to run to the restroom without missing anything important in the movie.

Would love to hear from you about any great apps you can suggest!

Please visit our webpage to find out how Sage Home Team can help you with your real estate questions and needs.

Look forward to hearing from you!

    Betty Hesaltine

Associate Broker with Sarah Bice and Associates Real Estate, LLC

Licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia

Changing the way people live in Richmond, Va.

Photo from The Better Housing Coalition website

Yesterday Tara Daly and I attended The  Better Housing Coalition’s community bus tour.

What an amazing job this group has accomplished since their inception in 1988. In our quick two hour tour we saw first hand how the BHC purchases deteriorating properties and either renovates or builds energy efficient single family homes for low income individuals.  They have their own property management company to help with the leasing of these properties, and help sell many of their homes to first time homebuyers. Improving the area helps raise property values, making it interesting to other investors within the  revitalized areas. They work very hard to keep the character of the area, and promote community feeling.

Throughout their vast communities they help the tenants by providing incredible social services .

Our bus tour held quite an array of different people from around the Richmond area. Lawyers, Wellness consultants, Habitat for Humanity, and Realtors to name a few. All of us were impressed with the incredible job they have accomplished. Taking a tour of an apartment in the senior (62 and older) facility at Carter Woods in Henrico , and driving to see beautiful Winchester Green in Chesterfield made us realize the way this group is touching our area.

Please go to their website  to see all that they do.

Stop Water Leaks – A Must Have System For Every Home

What is your worse case water disaster nightmare due to plumbing problems?

  • The hot water heater blows a hole out of the side, instead of going into the pan set up to stop a leak.
  • Toilet doesn’t stop running while your are away
  • Ice maker starts leaking behind the refrigerator

Whatever the problem, there is a new device called The Leak Defense System that will turn off the water to your home when it detects too much water being used.

As they state on their website The Leak Defense System is installed on the incoming water line to your home.  It  monitors the water flow 24/7.  If the water flow exceeds your preset limits the water is turned off to the entire home to prevent major damage and an audible  alarm goes off . You can also set it up so a third party can be alerted.  Once the cause of the water flow is determined and remedied you turn the system back on and water flows back into the house.

As water is one of the biggest insurance claims by homeowners, many insurance companies have worked out discounts to install a Leak Defense System for their customers. Once installed, you may also receive  lower premiums (5-7%)  because you have taken action to prevent or minimize a potential problem.

Contact your insurance agent or company and ask if you can receive a discount and lower premium by adding the leak defense system.

Please like our facebook page and visit our website !

Size Does Matter When Selling A House

The smaller the house, the quicker the sale according to  Paul Anglin, an associate professor at The University of Guelph .

His study, as seen here , shows one bathroom homes sell 13% faster and three bathroom homes took 50% longer to sell.

Tara and I think there are several reasons that support his findings.

  1. Smaller homes cost less.
  2. A variety of buyers are waiting to purchase smaller homes – investors, first time homeowners, downsizing individuals to name a few.
  3. The combination of more people looking with a lower price helps with the speed of the sale.

But size is not everything. Price, dictated by location and condition, as well as demand will ultimately determine the speed of the sale.

Betty Hesaltine


Please contact Sage Home Team with any questions about Real Estate in Richmond, Va

Grab Your Buyer With Words

I read a really interesting  article found  today’s issue of the Wall Street Journal  that I had to share with you.  Motivated Seller by any Other Name was based on a large study done by Paul Anglin, as associate professor of  real estate at the Univeristy of Guelph in Ontario. He discovered that the right words used in the description of a home listing can have an effect on the speed of selling a home as well as the final sale price . The  following graph found at msn real estate  shows some of his findings

The right words pay off in speed and money*

Term Effect on time until sale Effect on list price Effect on selling price
Beautiful -15% +5% +5%
Move-in condition -12% Insignificant Insignificant
Good value -5% -6% -5%
Must see Insignificant +4% Insignificant
Starter home -9% -10% -10%
Vacant Insignificant -5% -8%
Rental property +60% -7% -9%
Handyman special -50% -30% -30%
Moving Insignificant -1% -1%
Motivated +30% -6% -8%
Landscaping -20% +5% +6%
Source: “House Prices and Time-till-sale in Windsor,” Professor Paul Anglin, University of Guelph, Ontario*The study examined roughly 20,000 listings in Windsor and Essex counties, Ontario, from between 1997 and early 2000. The effects shown are averages; wide variations appeared within categories.

Beautiful, and landscaping added to the sale price, while Move in condition, Good value, starter home and handyman special decreased the time on market.

If you are selling stay away from motivated,  and Rental property! Not only did they increase the time on market they decreased the selling price.

Be careful when you describe your home ! What the buyers read makes a difference in their perception of your home.

What words  help you decide if a home is worth your visiting and what words turn you off?

Danny and the Wine Tasting

A couple of weeks ago a good friend invited  me to join her for wine tasting to celebrate her birthday. This past Saturday we piled into her amazingly comfortable mini van to go to Barboursville Vineyard. Now, if you have not been to a Vineyard, this is a great place to start. They have lots of great wines to taste, and a wonderful tour of their winery. It was a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday!  Plus, they had really nice people serving the wine. Most tasters were just holding their glass out, requesting the next wine to be poured. But, I was talking to the servers and finding out a little about them. Everyone was really nice, answering my questions, as well as teaching me what I was tasting. And then came Danny.

The third tasting “stall” server had a nice looking young man with a pleasant smile. He also had a tattoo on his arm that I, of course, had to ask about. Danny explained to me about the artist, and the significance of the tattoo and then started telling me a bit about himself. Having taken time off between high school, he is returning to college this fall to pursue his dream of becoming a graphic designer. And hopefully one day he would like to work as a designer for a comic book firm. He is going to do really well. I know this because he is already envisioning his new life.

Tara and I love to work with people who have visions of their new life.  Just like Danny, they have taken the first step and committed themselves to change. In today’s world of not knowing what tomorrow will bring taking that first step can be very difficult. Who does not make the move?

  • A homeowner who knows that it is their best interest to downsize, or move to a less expensive location, but can’t stand that the house was worth more during the “bubble” and are waiting for the market to return.
  • A renter who sees rent increasing every year, but is fearful the future may bring job problems or worse.

So, what is the answer people who are reluctant to take the first step? Knowledge and action. Here are examples of movement:

  • We were contacted by sellers who had drawn up their five year plan. They wanted to be closer to family and their current home was not part of the plan. . Problem was their home was worth less than what they owed. We sat down with them, helped come up with a plan of action and over time they saved enough money to keep from having to do a short sale. Then we staged and marketed their home so that it sold within two weeks.
  • Buyers came to us because they were constantly in the car. They lived 30 minutes from their children’s schools and were driving hours each day. They saw themselves living closer to their schools, and playing with their children. After a month of looking they found the perfect home and love the fact that they are now enjoying life and relaxing with their children instead of being in the car all day.

So, what do you need to know to make the decision to change your life and how can we help you get there? Go ahead and take that first step. It doesn’t mean you have to move today, but you will discover what needs to be done to get to your dream.

 Please visit our website at to see our latest listings.