Sold on South Hill

It was truly an honor to represent and sell this stunningly stylish view home in the South Hill neighborhood this summer.

Originally built in the 50’s, 420 17th St was renovated to perfection by a builder/designer duo. It offered all the fun stuff: Ann Sacks and Statements Tile, Miele and Viking appliances, Terrazzo epoxied garage floors. Every single corner was cool and cute. And it had a fantastically landscaped large yard, rare on South Hill.

I called it a unicorn. Homes this dialed in — and set up for modern day living — rarely exist in this neighborhood. That was definitely a reason why this sale was so successful.

Listed at $1,175,000, it sold for $1,212,000 in six days. That’s 103% of list price, the highest of any $1 million+ home in the South Hill neighborhood in the last 10 years.

The house was a show stopper in and of itself, but we also did our marketing. I did two professional photoshoots, aerial drone photography, and a video. I also built a custom website for this one. In addition, I sent direct mail and launched multiple social media promotions. This listing had over 15,000 impressions on Facebook alone!

Some of you know that I live in the South Hill neighborhood of Bellingham. I love this neighborhood. Living here helps me really understand this unique neighborhood market. I feel lucky to raise my children here. It’s a special community where people stay a long time. This seller raised her family here too. She was involved in the Lowell Elementary School PTA just like I am now. Which is why it was really special that I got to use Coldwell Banker Bain’s Community Partnership Program, and donate 10 percent of commissions to the PTA.

All around…a truly magical sale!

How storytelling can help sell homes

When selling a home, you're often instructed to neutralize and depersonalize everything about the home. Take down family photos to create a space that people can envision themselves living in. Don't share too many personal reasons about why you're selling or where you're going. Stay at an arm's length during the process, and let the agents talk to each other. There are many reasons why this advice is sound, but what I feel is often lost in the real estate process is the stories behind the homes. Especially when representing an older home, I love to draw out the history and make it work for you

In my recent Whatcom Falls listing, for example, I knew that we weren't going to capture inspiring photos of the inside of the home. I'm a big believer in staging but this home just needed too much updating, and putting new furniture in it would have just highlighted its shortcomings. Over 90 percent of buyers start their home search online though, and I have a digital marketing focused approach. I knew the photos weren't going to sell this place. So I asked myself, how could we get traction?

During initial meetings with the siblings who were selling the home for their (very large!) family, the stories of their childhood kept flowing. With 15 kids growing up a 1500 sq foot home, how could they not? Lynn and Bill had me enthralled...I wanted to know more. So, I decided to "break the rules" and share heartwarming stories of the family who have owned it for over 70 years. I knew that telling this home's history would make people fall in love with it—and share it online.

Interviewing Lynn and Bill was fun. They had so many hilarious memories about growing up! The hardest part was pairing their stories down into a piece that was easily consumable, as people have increasingly short attention spans when it comes to digital media.  


I managed to get my hands on some old photos of the kids growing up, which made it so much more real. We paired the stories with gorgeous drone video of the almost 1-acre property. At the end of the video, I was able to sneak in some information about the development opportunities—knowing that leading with that info wouldn't be something that would catch most people's attention.

Once finished, we distributed the video via YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. And I'm quite delighted with the results. The video received over 5,700 views on Facebook! The property ended up selling for $70,000 over asking price. 

Sold in Whatcom Falls

One of the things you'll get with me as your listing agent is a fresh approach to marketing the property. With a 15-year background in marketing, communications and social media, I can't help but take real estate a step or two beyond what's typical. And, I love storytelling. Take a peek for yourself and let me know what you think!

Working for the sale: behind the scenes of 400 17th St.

It was such an honor to be a part of the sale of 400 17th St., a gorgeous 60's home filled to the brim with love, fabulous things, and good times.

When I started working with the Fishers, who were selling their mother's home, we had our work cut out for us. This quality-built home was innately beautiful, and very well maintained—with classic lines that make any mid-century lover swoon—but, it had just undergone a highly trafficked estate sale, and it needed a vision, and what I like to call a good "spit shine."

When I took this project on, I knew we had an opportunity—to maximize a sale for a family.

Goal: to create a vision—to help people see how this vintage time capsule home is insanely cool, near move-in-ready, just waiting for modern day entertaining and general lifestyle amazingness. 

I was on-scene almost every day for over a month, helping this busy family manage the preparation. Here's a behind the scenes look at what we did.

First off, the pool needed some help, as it hadn't had a cover on it for about a year. And the fence was looking tired. Since the pool area was visible from nearly every room in the house, this was an immediate focus of our efforts. 

Pool cleaners arrived on-scene multiple times. The fence and pool area were pressure washed. We repaired a few areas of the fence, and replaced top caps. Then, I had a crew of college kids come and give it a fresh, clean coat of paint. 

Meanwhile, inside the home, we focused on repainting a few key rooms that looked dingy: the master bedroom, a main floor bath, and the kitchen ceiling. 

I also had an electrician replace a light fixture/fan combo that didn't honor the era of the home as well as some of the iconic globe fixtures, of which we had extra in the basement. As someone who has produced and managed photoshoots for national brands, I'm trained to always ask myself, "What will photograph the best?"

Landscaping was also key. We did some trimming and pruning, but the area that I knew would make the most visual impact was the front of the home, where these huge and amazing built-in stone beds sat empty. We needed to get this area to "pop," as it's right by the front door. First impressions are everything.

Do I need my own HGTV show or what?

Do I need my own HGTV show or what?

On the landscaping front, the look I was going for was very Southern California. This gorgeous mid-century had a very Joseph Eichler vibe, so we needed to honor that. Palm Springs was on my mind.

Another big first impression opportunity was the front entry light fixture, which was pure Hollywood Regency goodness, but very rusted. Nothing that little paint can't fix, so I spruced it up.

The interior was where my heart sung. This original Nutone pull out record player was in the basement, so we reinstalled it. An old acquaintance of mine—with the patience of a saint—spent over a full day, delicately cleaning and checking every wire and connection to get the intercomm and speaker system singing throughout the entire 4400+ square foot home. Why would we do this? This place was frozen in time, therefore, we were selling more than a house—we were selling a lifestyle.

Then we were about ready to clean and stage. Luckily, my client had a cleaning company in her past. She very successfully took over this area. I've never seen someone clean this well in my entire life. I think she spent over 3 hours on the 1960's stove. By the end, it looked like it had never even baked a bundt cake before, which we all know isn't the case.

I decided to stage this home myself. I'm a huge believer in staging—the photos are much more captivating than a vacant home. It also helps shoppers visualize the space and how they might use it.

I selectively kept a few items that didn't sell at the estate sale, like this AMAZING art deco mirror above. It just needed a new base, as it was sitting on top of a rather silly computer desk. I paired it with a super chic Nate Berkus for Target chair. I love this chair. (When you can get a chair this perfect for this scene, at a Target price, you know you're winning.)

Most of the furniture that we used came from my own arsenal of vintage and mid-century pieces. I painted some pieces from Goodwill to fill in a few holes. It was important that we had a fresh, modern look that still honored the era.

To be fair, that person painting that chair is actually my mom. She is a PRO at refurbishing furniture!

To be fair, that person painting that chair is actually my mom. She is a PRO at refurbishing furniture!

After cleaning and staging, it was show-time. I spent nine hours with an architectural photographer. Nine hours, you ask? Well, I stood behind every frame, moving pillows and plants around to capture just the right composition. We did drone video, interior video, and multiple rooms with different lighting options. And in the end, I really feel like we captured the essence of this home. 

It was a ton of work but definitely worth it. When she sold for $1,000,000, I knew we represented her well. 

I will always have a special place in my heart for this remarkable home.


Sold in Sudden Valley!

Congratulations to Kara and Jonny who landed a great home in Sudden Valley in late May! Kara and Jonny moved from Portland to Bellingham, and found that they loved Sudden Valley. I was so happy to represent them on their first purchase in the Bellingham area! 

This sunny property had a great feel immediately when we walked in the door. The master bathroom was pretty epic. And it had enough space for them to both have separate offices—a must have when you both work from home. 

Congrats guys!