Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Nov. 2, 2023

First-Time Homebuyers Trade Scott's Addition Rental for Rancher in Forest Hill

Will and Grace Nordt First-time Homebuyers

When Grace Nordt and her husband Will were moving from Charlottesville to Richmond in 2021, they didn’t know much about the neighborhoods in their new city.

 

“We both had jobs. We knew we were coming to the area, but that’s about all we knew,” Grace says.

 

But they also had a key connection to help their search for a rental apartment in Richmond. Will’s mom is long-time friends with realtor Mark Cipolletti, who pointed the couple to areas within the city where they might want to live.

 

Grace and Will ended up renting in the bustling Scott’s Addition neighborhood. A couple years later, they started thinking about buying a house that could offer more living space.

 

Grace was initially hesitant on jumping into the housing market because she was concerned about the availability of homes and about rising mortgage rates.

 

But once again, Mark re-emerged to guide their search and to offer insights on where the housing market was headed.

 

“He was definitely able to calm some nerves and to help us to start getting out there and looking for houses,” Grace says. “He was available all the time to show us houses and to consult with us. Really anything we needed, he was right there.”

 

Mark set up tours, contacted other agents, and did his research on homes the couple were interested in. Not only did he answer their questions, Mark was also a good listener who paid attention to the couple’s feedback as they toured homes, Grace says.

 

“He started figuring out exactly what we wanted in a house,” Grace says. “We thought we knew, but he advised us you don’t probably really know until you see the houses that are out there. That was really helpful because that gave us a clear picture of what we cared about and didn’t care as much about.”

 

“Mark was someone we were immediately comfortable with,” Grace says. “He was so genuine and really cared about us finding the perfect house for us.”

 

Grace was preparing for a six-month search, but it ultimately took only about half that time to find the house they were looking for: a ranch home with plenty of space and a good amount of yard in the Forest Hill/Westover Hills area of Richmond. 

 

Their new home offers easy access to the Fan, Scott’s Addition, and other parts of the Richmond. And it’s also close to businesses like Crossroads coffee shop, the Veil Brewing Company’s Forest Hill Avenue location, and friends who are just a short walk away from their new house. 

 

“It was really the sweet spot, and Mark was able to guide us to this area,” Grace says.

 

The couple closed on the home in June 2023. They were out of the country at the time, and Mark helped handle details needed to seal the deal.

 

“Mark was someone we were immediately comfortable with,” Grace says. “He was so genuine and really cared about us finding the perfect house for us.”

 

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Schedule a time to meet with Mark

Sept. 13, 2023

A Great House at a Hard Time for a Good Price

Home buyers in Raintree, Richmond VAA Great House at a Hard Time for a Good Price

 

To get the obvious out of the way first: Emily and William Holbein didn’t buy a house at the best time to buy a house. 

 

But with a little creativity, they were able to find a home with good bones that they could make their own. And even with interest rates where they are — as in, really high — they still made the math work in their favor.

 

The young couple began house-hunting over a year ago, but backed away as prices soared. They also were working with an agent who wasn’t giving them the hand-holding they wanted as first-time homebuyers.

 

After months on pause and with their townhome’s rent renewal approaching, they picked back up their search this spring. Their financial planner, Will Nordt, referred them to Mark. “It’s funny, when we first met with Mark, we weren’t committed to picking him, but in that first meeting he was all about getting to know us. He was interviewing us and talking to us as if he knew he was going to be our REALTOR,” Emily said. “He knew the area, he knew what we were looking for. We really hadn’t gotten that from any other agent we’d talked to.”

 

The Holbeins had their eyes set on Short Pump or, for a bit more bang for their buck, Midlothian. But for the amount of house and amenities they sought, much of Short Pump was out of reach for the young buyers. 

 

Then Mark introduced them to Raintree — one of the original West End neighborhoods of Henrico County, filled with trees, families, walking and hiking paths, good schools, a community lake and easy proximity to the interstate and other conveniences. “Raintree is like the OG of the West End neighborhoods,” Emily says. Mark is a bit of a Raintree expert having grown up there. His in-laws also live in Raintree and he’s sold several homes in the neighborhood over the years.

 

The houses are a bit older than most of Short Pump, but they found one that checked most of their boxes. To be sure, the home’s interior needs updating, but they’ve got plans in motion. “I was very on the verge of not wanting to buy it because of how outdated it was,” Emily said. “I expected us to move into a place that wouldn’t need much work. But Mark sold me on the location. He had us imagine what we could do with it.” In fact, to help them imagine what the house could become, Mark invited the Holbeins to see his in-law’s home in the neighborhood since it was the same model that they were considering buying but fully updated. That sealed the deal.

 

Comfortable with moving forward, Mark helped the Holbeins make a good offer based on market conditions: To bid low, but not too low. To ask for some things, but not lots of things.

 

The offer was accepted. 

 

Mark then supplied a curated list of contractors for painting, flooring, kitchens and other projects. The couple hadn’t closed on the house yet, but wanted to let a few contractors come by to take measurements. Mark took “a chunk of his morning to be here with us” as contractors popped in to ask questions, poke around, and measure.

 

“That was really nice and accommodating for him to do,” Emily said. “He took valuable time out of his day, even after the sale was made, to be here with us.”

 

They moved into the home in July. Says Emily: “We’ve loved it so far.”

Aug. 1, 2023

An all-cash offer and a “really great Mother’s Day”

Tammy Wright home closing with Mark Cipolletti

Tammy and Mike Wright had long planned to sell their Henrico home before retiring to Lake Gaston, a vacation spot on the Virginia-North Carolina border

So as their youngest child was graduating high school, they met with a few real estate agents who assured the couple the home would sell quickly. The encouraging feedback gave Mike and Tammy an idea.

“After talking to them, if it's going to sell that quick, why don't we just try to sell it ourselves?” Tammy says.

A sale-by-owner arrangement was familiar territory for the couple who had bought and sold homes before using those types of transactions.

They plunked “For Sale” signs outside their home, listed it for $549,000 on Zillow, and announced on Facebook that the house was on the market. 

Mark Cipolletti, who went to high school with Tammy, learned on Facebook that the home was available and reached out to her. Mark offered to hold an open house for the couple and to list the home on the MLS if they were unable to find a buyer themselves. 

After a couple of weeks, the house had generated some interest, but that didn’t translate into an offer matching their asking price.

"Mark is extremely good at his job,” Tammy says. “He knows how to market the home."

“We got some low-ball offers,” Tammy says. “They just wanted to get a deal.”

One potential buyer suggested their $549,000 asking price was too high. But that sentiment proved to be wrong.

The Wrights decided it was time to make a change and brought in Mark as their realtor for the sale. Mark fired up his marketing machine creating professional photos, a video house tour, social media ads and posting the listing on the local MLS and all the major real estate websites like Zillow and realtor.com. He listed the home on the Friday of Mother’s Day weekend for $565,000 and set up an open house for the very next day.

“He had already booked tons of appointments, and tons of people came to the open house,” Tammy says. “All our neighbors were texting us saying ‘you would not believe the amount of people at your house.’”

Tammy also got good news from Mark as the weekend progressed.

“He’s like ‘you’re going to have a really great Mother’s Day,” Tammy says.

About a dozen offers came in over that weekend. Tammy and Mike ultimately sold the house for $658,800 — almost $94,000 over what they had been asking and a whopping $133,000 over the best offer they had received when they tried to sell it themselves. 

“I was surprised about how much we got for the house,” Tammy says. “I was thrilled that it did happen that quickly.”

Tammy says it was a “super smooth” process to sell their home through Mark.

“Mark is extremely good at his job,” Tammy says. “He knows how to market the home. He knows how to put it out there. He's thought through the whole buying and selling process.” 

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Hire a professional if you want professional results. Mark provides three unique home selling packages to fit your needs and your budget. Check them out here.

Aug. 1, 2023

Facebook Live tour opens the door to a beautiful home on the other side of the country

For Mary and her husband Reed, moving across country to Virginia wasn’t about relocating for a job. It was about being closer to family.

 

The couple moved to Seattle after meeting at Christopher Newport University in Newport News. But with many of their family members still back here in Virginia, vacation time often entailed long trips from the West Coast to come back to see them.

 

“We settled on the Richmond area because it's very central to both my husband’s parents and my parents. My sister lives in the area. My cousin lives in the area, and a lot of our friends from college also live here,” Mary says. “We just have a lot of connections here.”

 

Mary started searching on Zillow for just the right home for the couple and their three small children. Her sister highly recommended that Mary work with Mark Cipolletti, the realtor who just a couple years earlier helped her sister find her own home.

 

Mary and Reed met up with Mark after flying to Richmond for a month-long trip to scope out neighborhoods. They weren’t planning to tour specific homes. Nonetheless, Mark was able to get them in the door of several houses even before they went on the market.

 

“I would absolutely recommend him to anybody. He is a patient, kind person,” Mary says. “Having someone who is patient and compassionate to your situation and how you want the process to play out is really important. And he was all of those things.”

 

“He’s very personable, a great listener.” Mary says. “He he was hearing the things that we were saying about the first house. I could see that he was applying it to the other homes that he referred us to later.”

 

The couple’s Richmond trip ended, but their search for a home here continued even after they returned to the West Coast. 

 

Mark set up a private Facebook Live tour to virtually walk the couple through another Richmond area home. He live-streamed as he went through the house, opening cabinets and drawers and flagging details like a stuck door, Mary says. They put in an offer, but they didn’t get that home. 

 

But Mark did another Facebook Live tour for the couple, this time on a Chesterfield County home within walking distance of a playground and trail system along the James River. 

 

“Mark again was meticulous while going through every inch of this house and answering all of our questions,” Mary says.

 

And since it was recorded on Facebook Live, the couple could replay the tour again and again. They put in another offer, and this time they got the house. But they didn’t see it in person until moving in a few months later.

 

“It was exactly as Mark showed it to us,” Mary says. “Pulling up to the house, we were like ‘we can't even believe that this is our home.’ It’s just beautiful. It’s everything we were hoping for. Going into the house, the kids were just wild.”  

 

In addition to getting their own bedrooms, the couple’s children (ages 3, 5, and 7) now live much closer to their many cousins here in Virginia. The couple kept the news about their impending move within a tight group of family members with only Mary’s sister and cousin aware they were thinking of relocating. Mary’s mother, who lives in Southwest Virginia, was overcome with emotion upon hearing the news.

 

“My mom cried because she’s been asking us to move for 10 years,” Mary says.

 

And just like her sister, Mary suggests homebuyers work with Mark to help guide their search.

 

“I would absolutely recommend him to anybody. He is a patient, kind person,” Mary says. “Having someone who is patient and compassionate to your situation and how you want the process to play out is really important. And he was all of those things.”

 

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Start your home search off on the right foot by contacting Mark today.

May 2, 2023

The Power of Home Inspections: Saving Thousands When Buying Your Dream Home

The Power of Home Inspections: Saving Thousands When Buying Your Dream Home

 

Buying a home is a significant investment, both emotionally and financially. It's essential to ensure that you make an informed decision, minimizing any potential risks or hidden costs. One vital step in this process is getting a comprehensive home inspection. In this blog post, we'll delve into the importance of home inspections and how they can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

 

Uncovering Hidden Issues:

A professional home inspection involves a detailed examination of a property's structural elements, systems, and overall condition. During this process, licensed inspectors identify potential problems that may not be visible to an untrained eye. From faulty wiring and plumbing issues to hidden structural damage or mold infestations, these hidden issues can be significant financial burdens if left undetected.

 

Negotiating Power:

The findings from a home inspection report give you leverage when negotiating the purchase price. If the inspection uncovers significant problems, you can request repairs or negotiate a lower price to account for the costs you may have to incur later. With this knowledge, you can make an informed decision and ensure you don't end up paying more than the fair market value for the property.

 

Avoiding Costly Repairs:

By investing in a home inspection upfront, you can identify potential repairs or maintenance issues. Armed with this information, you can budget for the repairs or ask the seller to address them before finalizing the purchase. This proactive approach helps you avoid unexpected financial burdens once you move in and protects you from investing in a property that requires extensive, expensive repairs.

 

Investing in a home inspection when buying a property is a wise decision that can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. It helps you uncover issues with the property before they are yours to deal with and potentially negotiate on the price you have to pay. A few hundred dollars spent on an inspection might save you tens of thousands of dollars in unforeseen costs. So prioritize a home inspection and make a confident, informed decision when buying your dream home.

Posted in Home Buying
May 2, 2023

Elevate Your Home's Value: The Power of Neutral Colors in Interior Painting

neutral paint colors in your home

Elevate Your Home's Value: The Power of Neutral Colors in Interior Painting

 

When it comes to increasing the value of your home, small changes can make a significant impact. One simple yet effective way to transform your space and boost its value is through the strategic use of neutral colors in interior painting. In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits of painting with neutral colors and how it can effortlessly enhance the value of your home.

 

Timeless Appeal:

Neutral colors, such as soft grays, warm beiges, and creamy whites, have a timeless quality that never goes out of style. By opting for a neutral color palette, you create a blank canvas that appeals to a wide range of potential buyers. It allows them to envision their personal style and easily visualize how their furniture and decor will seamlessly blend with the space.

 

Expanding Perceived Space:

Neutral colors have the remarkable ability to visually expand the perceived space of a room. Lighter shades create an illusion of openness and airiness, making rooms appear larger and more inviting. This can be beneficial for smaller homes or rooms with limited natural light. By creating a sense of spaciousness, you automatically increase the perceived value of your home.

 

Versatility and Flexibility:

One of the key advantages of neutral colors is their versatility. Whether your home has a traditional, modern, or eclectic style, neutral hues effortlessly adapt to any design aesthetic. They provide a clean and cohesive backdrop that allows your furniture and accessories to shine. Neutral colors are easily adaptable to changing design trends, ensuring that your home remains attractive and desirable to potential buyers.

 

We should not underestimate the transformative power of neutral colors in interior painting in increasing the value of your home. With their timeless appeal, ability to expand perceived space, and versatile nature, neutral hues offer a winning combination for enhancing your home's overall worth. This simple change could make you thousands of dollars extra on your home sale.

Posted in Home Selling
April 3, 2023

Don't Let Bad Smells Kill Your Home Sale: Top Tips for Eliminating Odors

bad odor in home

When selling a home, it's important to make sure it looks and smells as appealing as possible to potential buyers. One major turnoff for buyers is bad odors in the home. Whether it's the result of pets, cooking, smoking, or just stale air, unpleasant smells can make it difficult to sell a home. Fortunately, there are several ways to remove bad smells in a home before putting it on the market.

Deep cleaning

One of the most effective ways to remove bad smells in a home is to give it a thorough cleaning. This includes cleaning carpets, curtains, furniture, and all surfaces. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove dust and allergens from carpets and upholstery. Pay special attention to areas that tend to collect odors, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Use a mixture of baking soda and water to clean surfaces and eliminate odors. Finally, don't forget to clean out the fridge, as old food can create unpleasant smells.

Air out the house

Opening up the windows and doors and letting fresh air circulate throughout the house can help remove stale or musty odors. This is especially effective if the weather is nice and you can leave the windows open for an extended period of time. You can also use fans to help circulate the air and speed up the process.

Use natural deodorizers

There are several natural deodorizers that can help eliminate bad smells in a home. One of the most popular is vinegar. Place bowls of vinegar around the house to absorb unpleasant odors. You can also use baking soda or coffee grounds in the same way. Just be sure to replace the bowls every few days to keep them fresh.

Use air purifiers

Air purifiers can help remove allergens and pollutants from the air, which can also help eliminate odors. Look for an air purifier with a HEPA filter, as these are the most effective at removing particles from the air. You can also use air fresheners, but be careful not to overdo it, as strong scents can be just as off-putting as bad odors.

Paint the walls

If the source of the bad smell is coming from the walls, painting them with a fresh coat of paint can help cover up the odor. Be sure to use a primer first to seal in any odors that may be trapped in the walls.

Remove carpets or replace them

Carpets can hold onto odors, especially if there have been pets or smokers in the home. Removing the carpets or replacing them can help eliminate these odors. If you can't replace the carpets, consider having them professionally cleaned.

Hire a professional

If the bad smell is particularly strong or persistent, consider hiring a professional cleaning or restoration service to help eliminate the odor. They may have specialized equipment and techniques that can get rid of even the most stubborn odors.

Removing bad smells in a home before selling it is an important step in making it more appealing to potential buyers. By following these tips, you can eliminate unpleasant odors and create a more inviting environment for anyone who walks through the door. Remember that it's important to identify the source of the odor before attempting to eliminate it, as masking the odor without addressing the underlying issue can lead to the problem persisting.

March 22, 2023

Fourth Time’s the Charm – for a Charming Home

realtor clients at closing

Written by Kyra Newman

Getting shot down three times in a row in trying to buy a house could have stopped some people in their tracks.

Not Paul Schellhammer and Liz Farber, who used those experiences as learning moments during a frenetic time for homebuyers. Continuing to work with Realtor Mark Cipolletti and lean into his advice, they refined each new offer to come up with the right bid in hopes of finally resonating with a seller.

Their wait and insights paid off – to the tune of spending $100,000 under budget – when their offer on a fourth house was accepted in fall 2022.

“Mark understood what our points of emphasis were and knew what had been happening during bid processes at a tough time for buyers. We’d say, ‘Let’s do this.’ And he’d say, ‘maybe you want to think about something else’ and point out the options,” Paul said. Those included offering more earnest money, determining how much to bid over asking price (without going crazy – or broke) or negotiating a longer rent-back period with a seller who wasn’t anxious to get out the door.

Paul and Liz had reached out to Mark, who previously had helped Liz sell her West End home, just as the pandemic sellers’ market was ramping up. Looking for their first house together, the couple wanted to enjoy the benefits of city living, such as easily taking their long-legged rescue dog on walks and having great restaurants, coffee houses and other amenities within blocks. 

“Mark possesses such a great study of the market, and he’ll give you his honest thoughts."

They targeted several neighborhoods where Mark could start looking. Knowing those locations would likely land them in an older home, the two added their preference for a previously rehabilitated home, but light renovations weren’t off the table.

Their initial offers came on two houses in the Museum District and one in Forest Hill. They could have turned any of those houses into a home.

Church Hill row house Richmond Virginia

Then, Mark took them to tour a two-story classic townhome in Church Hill. A red door with gleaming glass panels invited them into the olive house.

“When this house came up, it just clicked. It was the right size for us and the right area. We just loved it,” said Paul, a Navy veteran and longtime private contractor who works one day a week from home. “We immediately worked with Mark to put in the right offer.”

Built in 1910, the house – totaling just over 1,500 square feet – had been fully refurbished, featuring new appliances and a well-appointed kitchen with fresh cabinets for a couple who enjoy cooking. The bedrooms and bathrooms are generously sized for a home built in that generation. There’s space where Liz could work for her job with a higher education savings organization. And one last big perk? No grass to mow, since a generous deck anchors the backyard which is just big enough for the dog to stretch her legs.

Making it their own required fast action, and “Mark’s experience in the last few years of dealing with this market was great,” Paul said. “Mark possesses such a great study of the market, and he’ll give you his honest thoughts. If he has other ideas, he’ll shape those in a way that helps you understand why those are better options. We really leveraged his experience to make the right bid.”

And they got the house.

The couple closed in late November and moved in just before Christmas, opting to unpack the holiday decorations first and simply enjoy the season in their new home. They finished unpacking as the calendar turned to January. 

And they’ve been exploring the nooks and crannies of their Church Hill community. Some of Richmond’s acclaimed go-to eateries are within walking distance, including Sub Rosa Bakery, Grisette and The Roosevelt. They also discovered a new favorite coffee, the in-house-roasted Church Hill blend from Riverbend Roastery.

“I don’t think we could be any happier,” Paul said. “This house and location are definitely what we wanted.”

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Start your home search off on the right foot by contacting Mark today.

 

Feb. 17, 2023

7 Must Haves for Your Online Listing (To Get the Most Showings and Offers)

7 must haves for your online listing

 

By Mark Cipolletti, Realtor

 

Ninety percent of home buyers say they found their house online. That’s no surprise when you think about how many websites, mobile apps and social media platforms are known for featuring up-to-the-minute listings of homes for sale. 

 

Buyers review dozens of homes online before deciding which three or five homes they will request an in-person showing with their agent. How will they narrow the field? The listings that provide the most information and present the house from “every angle” rise to the top over the listings that leave the buyer with more questions than answers.

 

Smart sellers are choosing real estate agents who understand how to populate a house listing like an Amazon.com product page, rich with content to help it stand out in the crowd.

 

Here are some of the key features that buyers expect to see in an online listing:

  1. Photos and Video: High-quality photos and video that accurately showcase the property's best features, including the exterior, interior, and any outdoor spaces are a must. No iPhone photos here. You will want to use photos shot by a professional real estate photographer who will know the best angles, lighting and lenses needed to make your home look like it’s on the pages of a home decorating magazine.
  2. Detailed Description: A clear and detailed description of the property should include information about the size, layout, and condition of the home, as well as any notable features or amenities. It’s okay to be creative, just don’t overdo it.
  3. Floor Plan: A floor plan shows the layout and flow of the home, including the location of bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas, and any other key rooms. Include the floor plans in the photo gallery and consider making them downloadable supplements to the listing so that the buyer’s agent can easily download and print them.
  4. 3D Virtual Tour: A 3D virtual tour allows buyers to see the interior and exterior of the property from multiple angles and get a sense of the property's style and flow. Buyers can digitally walk through the house as if they are there in person providing a realistic showing experience without having to even get in the car.
  5. Map: Buyers like to see a map that shows the property's location in relation to nearby roads, schools, places of worship, shopping and parks.
  6. Aerial Photos: Most real estate photographers can also take aerial photos of your home using a drone. Buyers use these photos to see the property in relation to neighboring properties. Aerial photos can be especially useful to see the distance between the home and amenities like a neighborhood pool or school.
  7. List of Major Improvements Projects: Home shoppers and their agents are sure to ask about whether major improvements have been made to the home. Save everyone a little time and provide a list of improvements and the years they were completed. Be sure to note age of roof, HVAC systems, windows, water heater, appliances and any renovations to the kitchen and bathrooms.

Sellers who hope to sell their homes quickly and for the most money cannot afford to get filtered out early in the vetting process. An investment in these listing features will pay for themselves many times over by generating more interest, showings and offers. 

Feb. 17, 2023

New Services Available for Downsizers

New services available for downsizers

 

By Mark Cipolletti, Realtor

 

Moving can be one of the most stressful things that we do. For seniors, moving can be even more stressful. It usually means they will be downsizing and finding a smaller home and the modified lifestyle that comes with it. 

 

All of my recent senior clients have expressed that they want to move and often need to move to improve their quality of life but are overwhelmed with the thought of downsizing. Almost all wait too long to start the transition to a home that would be better suited to their life stage and needs. Why? Because they are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff to sort through and their emotional attachment to their things.

 

The stress extends to the children of the older adults who are downsizing. Since many downsizers put off the work as long as possible, their kids are often needed to assist with decision making, packing and disposal of unneeded items.

 

Knowing that this challenge would be a part of my clients' lives for many years to come, I decided to proactively assemble a team of partners who can provide a one-stop-shop for downsizing, home renovations, as well as my traditional real estate services.

 

I’m excited to announce a unique partnership with Alyson Pedlow and her company HomeMatters of Virginia. Alyson is Richmond’s downsizing guru. She has over ten years of experience helping clients execute their downsizing strategies, easing the burden and stress on seniors and their families.

 

HomeMatters will assist my clients with:

  • Decisions on what to keep and what to get rid of
  • Disposal of unneeded items
  • Move management, including packing and unpacking
  • New home set-up and floor planning
  • Management of online estate sales 

 

It’s also no secret that many seniors’ homes have some deferred maintenance as well as needed renovations and redecorating. Many seniors end up taking less money for their homes because they pass this work and expense on to the buyers.

 

Through another new partnership, my senior clients (all clients really!) can make sure they get top-dollar for their homes by making the pre-listing improvements that buyers want. The best part is that this partner, Curbio, doesn’t get paid until closing! So no upfront cash is required.

 

If you or someone you know is planning to downsize in 2023, I hope you will put me in touch with them. My team will take exceptionally good care of them and they will probably wonder why they didn’t downsize sooner.

 

Thank you for your continued support. Through your referrals, I doubled the amount of houses I sold last year. In 2023, I hope to help even more people, especially the seniors in our community.