People ask me a lot of questions.
I think part of being a Realtor is being a source of information for all kinds of people regarding all kinds of topics. I'm always honored when people turn to me, when they need assistance or help with the homebuying or selling process, and even further into the realm of home ownership.
Leading and guiding people through the process is very rewarding and fun for me, and many clients have shared gratitude for my expertise, my sensitivity, my intuitive nature, and my skill in negotiating and guiding a transaction – and even helping out after they own the home. Many aspects of the home buying and selling process are difficult for people to imagine doing without the help of a Realtor, and it’s a service I truly love to provide.
I am interested in knowing about how things work, and I’ve pretty much given up believing that there are one size fits all answers about lots of things – especially the BIG things. But I do love the search for knowing more, and the dialogue it creates. If I can provide some clarity for people about certain things, that’s amazing. In the process of helping people find answers, we all learn, and get better, together.
I thought it would be fun to put together a list of questions I hear a lot, and jot down some responses. Additionally, some of the following are questions are ones I think people SHOULD ask more often, because they’re super important to talk about and understand. Here we go. In no particular order.
1. HOW’S THE MARKET????
Obviously, a hot topic these days. And frankly, every day, when you’re a Realtor. Data taken from Monument Sotheby’s International Realty’s Q2 Market Report tells us some vital and useful information.
In Baltimore County, median sales prices were up 13.21% from Q2 2020. Number of homes sold was up 30.92%, average days on market were down 14%, and average sold to list price was 102.3% v. 98.7% this time last year. In Baltimore City, median sales prices were up 22.47% from Q2 2020. Number of homes sold was up 47.95%, average days on market were down 50%, and average sold to list price was 100.2% v. 95.9% this time last year.
2. Is now a good time to buy / sell?
I think the numbers and statistics in the above report inform us greatly, and paint a pretty good picture of how things have been moving along this year. An even more accurate picture is painted when you look at more granular data, and start to consider specific neighborhoods, specific homes, and even specific buyers and sellers. So, I would say that across the board, it’s generally been, and continues to be, a fantastic time to sell. Buyers have struggled a little more with competition against multiple offers, and rising sales prices. However, that doesn’t mean that some micro markets aren’t a little easier to navigate for buyers, and perhaps even slightly more challenging for selling. If you would like to discuss your particular property, or wishlist for a home or neighborhood, let’s talk it through to get a clear idea of what buying or selling might look like, with your specific needs in mind. That’s why working with a Realtor is essential! I would love to help you get poised for success, with a strategy tailor made for you and your timeline.
3. Do you make your bed every day?
I really try to. I read somewhere that people who make their bed every day are more successful, more grounded, and get more done. It’s weird, but I think it’s true. It’s something I can accomplish, no matter what, the very first thing when I get up. A great way to start the day – simple, but powerful. Sometimes it’s messy all day though, because I like the feeling of getting away with something.
4. Does it matter what lender I use?
I think it does. I think it’s very important to find a lender that can really understand your situation, and communicate clearly about how they can partner with you in moving forward with a home loan that is right for you. I really love working with local mortgage lenders. It’s important to explore various options, to make sure you are informed about incentives that may apply to you, or to loan programs that will suit your specific profile. When it comes to deadlines and communication with the title company, it is so beneficial to have a team that is working together, to hit those deadlines and give out all necessary information in a timely and clear manner.
5. Why are Airedale Terriers so amazing?
Where to begin? First of all, the face. What???? I could gaze into the eyes of an Airedale for hours, and feel like I’m experiencing a deeply meaningful connection, every single time. When you ask an Airedale a question, they understand you. The cock of the head, the twitch of an ear, the wagging of the tail … it’s obvious. They know what you’re talking about. They are smart. Maybe smarter than my kids. They know what time it is, to the minute, because if you go one minute beyond dinnertime, they will find you. Also, my airedale, Ivy, will bring me a shoe when it is time for a walk. See? Smart. She can tell time, AND communicate what she wants. Also, Airedales are very emotionally intuitive and protective. Seriously. Ivy knows when I am sad or in need of a hug, and will drape her whole furry body on top of me, and send out some powerful love. My first Airedale, Flossie, knew the day I was going to go into labor with each of my boys. She wouldn’t leave my side, and would guard the door. Amazing. Are other dogs pretty great too? Maybe. But in my experience, Airedales are some of the best people I’ve known.
6. Why did you choose to partner with Sotheby’s International Realty, and does it matter what brokerage I use?
I absolutely think the brokerage you choose to work with will impact your success in buying or selling real estate – no matter the price point or location. I am so proud to be a part of the Sotheby’s International Real Estate community. Every aspect of the Sotheby’s brand signals quality. From the distinctive signature blue sign, to the history of the Sotheby’s London auction house, founded in 1744 – there is instant recognition and perception of a standard of excellence. Marketing matters. Impressions matter. More importantly, backing up those impressions of a higher standard is integral to the success that agents at Monument Sotheby’s deliver – in partnership with our creative and skilled marketing team, and worldwide network of exceptional brokers and agents who embody a history of excellence in tandem with the Sotheby’s brand. We are principled agents, experts in our local markets, and will instill the confidence that buyers, sellers and and other agent partners will intuit and welcome, during each and every transaction. Our worldwide network is unparalleled, and you can rest assured you will be handled with care, should you need to focus your search outside the Baltimore area. We are a full service brokerage, with the tools and expertise to give you the best possible outcome in selling or buying real property, locally, and all throughout the globe.
7. Do you still play the harp?
I have to say, I have not played the harp very much as of late. I have a somewhat complicated relationship with the harp. I played professionally for over 20 years, and really loved playing. There is something about practicing the harp that feels like ordering the universe – it’s so tangible, so controllable, so gratifying, on many levels. The sound the harp produces, and the resonance of it is a feeling like no other – and these feelings are deeply enmeshed in my heart and soul. But … there is also a sharp edge to playing the harp for me, and when I think about sitting down to play, I have a hard time separating the fun and ease of it from the sting of imperfection I never could really kick.
As much as I love the sound the instrument produces, and the practice of discipline that the harp requires, there is a feeling of the unattainable for me. The more I mastered my technique, the more I felt it eluded me. It’s funny – I do feel there’s something missing when I’m not playing. I know that sitting down to play will always give me great joy, on some level. So many memories, mentors, hopes and dreams – all tied up in that magical, mystical instrument. Like other bellwethers and relationships in life, the harp is like a mirror for me. Sometimes coming face to face with it is easy, and warm and friendly. Others, it is tricky, unresolved, and urgently uncomfortable. I know that doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. And I know it makes people feel good to hear that of course I still play (wouldn’t it be a shame if I didn’t??), and I agree with them, pretty much. I wish the good natured question was easy to answer. Darn it. A cruel lover, that harp. But thanks for asking, I will continue to wrestle with my response.
8. Can you recommend a ….?
Well, likely. Being a realtor, I do get to know some really great contractors, lenders, title companies, etc., etc. I love helping good service providers help good folks. I also love learning from my clients about their successful partnerships, and spreading the love that way too. I can give some names, but I always encourage people to do their own research too. It’s great to broaden the network of people who know how to make homes better, and who can help people live in these homes. I care a lot about the structures that become home to people, and I really respect people who take the time to do things properly, and steer clear of those who take shortcuts, or fail to complete a project. I try very hard to work only with those who are committed to completing proper work. Another network and community of people I can learn from. Awesome!
9. What TV show is in your queue?
I don’t watch a ton of TV. But I am moved to sing the praises of Ted Lasso. Holy moly. I’m not sportsy. But I do have kiddos who have played some sports. And I see the benefit of it, for sure. Like any discipline and activity that brings people together to grow, work together, and succeed, participating in sports certainly provides a platform for vulnerability, strong feelings, and heartfelt humanity. What a creative, genuine and kind show, this Ted Lasso. I recently listened to a podcast with Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt, the co-creators, and one thing they said really hit me: how surprising it is that a character like Ted, who is basically just a good and thoughtful human being who tries to do the right thing has become regarded as a kind of superhero. Ugh. Sign of the times. But I really love me some Ted Lasso, and all the flawed and lovely human characters in the story. Oy!
10. What are your thoughts on Mind / Body health and well-being?
Ooooh! Such a good question, so glad you asked! I have written about this in previous posts, so I’ll keep it brief. But I have made some real commitments to making better choices these last few years, with regard to foods I eat, exerise I try to build into my life, and mindfulness I practice. I am not perfect at any of it, to be sure. But I know that these things are at the heart of it all. The older I get, 50 – look out, I’m coming for you – I know that treating my body right is more important than ever. And keeping my mind calm and healthy influences every conversation, every decision, every day I have on this planet. This stuff is super important. The most important. In fact, I’m reminding myself that I could up my game a bit these days in this arena. Thanks, me, I’ll get back to work.
11. What’s something I can do today to make my house better?
Clean, and Organize. Boom. The best hack out there is obvious and simple. There’s a reason Marie Kondo is all the rage. There’s a reason home organizing businesses are popular and getting more so. I see a lot of houses, and the ones that are free of clutter and CLEAN will always, always, always create a sense of peace, flow and VALUE. Are you considering putting your home on the market? Free it of all clutter. Minimize your furniture and your stuff. Clean the hell out of every room – including switch plates, baseboards, walls (in fact, just go ahead and paint those walls). Can’t afford to move quite yet? Do these simple (yet not always easy) things in your own home, and I guarantee you’re going to like living there better. Keep your home organized and clean, and your outlook will change, I promise. When my space is cluttered, my mind is cluttered. Bad things start to happen, and my kids start to fear me. I don’t think I’m the only one. Get busy.
12. What do you think the Real Estate Market will look like in a year?
If I had a crystal ball, I would rule the world. I have no idea. There are people who say they know, and I read all the trends and analyses – and some it makes some pretty good sense, actually. We can make some pretty good educated guesses. I just think it’s funny how often I get asked that question, and damn, I really wish I knew for sure. If I was that good, I have a feeling I wouldn’t need to be selling real estate. But let’s keep talking about it!
13. What do buyers value in this market?
When prepping your house for sale, it is commonly the case that you will want to appeal to the most people you can, generally speaking – people who follow trends, and look at lots of listings online. Of course, there are buyers who don’t follow the norm, but by and large, buyers as a whole respond favorably to some basic tenets. Decorating trends come and go, but I will refer to number 12 above. Above all, make it clean and organized. Next, I believe that buyers do better with a more neutral landscape. In general, the more they can imagine the home as a blank canvas that they can recreate with their own furniture and belongings, the more people your home will appeal to.
The rule about updated and well-done kitchens and bathrooms being beneficial and adding value? Yup – pretty true, across the board. Most buyers are wowed by a beautiful and on-point kitchen. I’ve seen many buyers look past other shortcomings of a home if the kitchen is rockin’. Again, some buyers can look past a kitchen that needs a facelift – in fact, they might prefer to find a home they can renovate, and will look to pay less for homes they can redo and make their own. That would be a call to make, if you are thinking of doing major renovations, in order to get the most bang for your dollars spent. That is a case by case scenario and equation, and I’d love to visit with you to help you through that process.
Again, on the whole, your house should not feel confusing, or unclean. People feel it in their bones, and tend to make an offer from this gut feeling. Rent and fill that dumpster! Get out your Murphy’s oil soap! Get fresh neutral paint on those walls! Go!
14. Julia, tell me more about home insepctions?
The home inspection can be one of the most stressful parts of the home selling / purchasing process. After getting under contract, it can be the part of the transaction that may require the most negotiating. In this recent sellers’ market, I’ve seen many buyers waiving the inspections, and assuming (or not) the results of an informational inspection, without asking a seller to make repairs, based on findings of the inspection. But as the market cools just a tad, we’re back to seeing sellers and buyers agreeing to inspection contingencies, and having discussions about what will or will not be repaired.
I will say that generally, I encourage both buyers and sellers to remember that the inspections provided are not for the purpose of making items of a routine maintenance and/or cosmetic nature the subject of further negotiations between buyer and seller, as stated on the Property Inspection Addendum in the contract of sale. Buyers, please let that statement guide your requests. And to my lovely sellers, I like to remind them (or make them aware) that if you know there is something wrong with your home before putting it on the market (this is what may be considered what is called a latent or material defect), either FIX IT, or DISCLOSE IT. Those are your options. Don’t worry – we will have a very specific and detailed conversation about this when the time comes to list your home. I will help you understand what needs to happen before your home can be marketed for sale.
15. What is the best way to get my kids to listen to me?
Ok, it’s my turn to ask the question. Got any thoughts or advice? Remember how I said I like being in dialogue? It’s your turn. I love my kids to the moon and back, but why do I need to say the same thing every dang day? I mean, if it wasn’t okay for you to leave your gross socks on the living room floor for the last 2027 days, what makes today any different? For Real.
If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling a home in the Baltimore area, I'm here to help.
Julia Martin Frazier, a Baltimore City resident of nearly 25 years, came to the area to study Harp Performance at the Peabody Conservatory after studying Music and Art History at Oberlin College in Ohio. After years of a satisfying and prolific career in harp performance, Julia has made her passion for homes, and helping people find them, a full time career. With a keen ability to match homes with new owners, and a caring and guiding hand in helping to prepare a home for selling, Julia’s tenacious approach to making the process go smoothly ends in results, and success for buyers and sellers alike. Julia can still occasionally be spotted around town with her harp, when not wrangling her two young boys.