A New Perspective: Bare Bones | Real Estate Insights

Gardens in winter are alive with possibility — they just need time, patience and faith.

The personal stories of one Realtor’s battles and triumphs in the highly-competitive Bay Area Real Estate Market, seeking to illuminate and humanize the very real ups-and-downs of homeownership.

This is the toughest time of the year for me with respect to my garden. Except for the daffodils, nothing’s yet in bloom. The trees are bare, and the ground cover that died back last fall has yet to return. My impatient inclination is to run to the nursery and fill in the holes, forgetting that what lies beneath the topsoil has yet to emerge (but soon will. . . . ).

In reality, the leafless trees and shrubs give opportunity to reassess both the structure of the plants themselves and the composition of the garden as a whole. What’s more, now is the perfect time to prune or move plants that haven’t been thriving before they begin to grow anew. Stripped bare, there’s little to distract the eye or steal one’s gaze. “Stripped bare,” I can see what needs attention and what’s best left alone.

The same is true for the houses we bring to market. While nearly every Seller believes their house “doesn’t need much,” once they begin to pack and move out, we not only see the holes in the walls and scratches on the floors, but often discover a host of other items that have been unnoticed, forgotten, or simply ignored altogether. In short, a well-loved home is usually a well-lived-in home that exposes its share of battle scars, and bruises. That’s to be expected.

No worries, that’s when our “can-do” crew arrives and jumps in to address the To-Do list which can include everything from painting walls, refinishing hardwood floors, and replanting the garden. In some cases, we’ve stripped homes down to the studs, rebuilt kitchens and bathrooms, and replaced every window and door in the place. We’ve poured new patios, paved driveways, and planted more trees than I can count. We’ve wallpapered, potted plants, and pulled up our sleeves to make sure no stone is left unturned.(Believe me, the only thing glamorous about Real Estate is the cars most Agents drive; the rest is hard work.) A Realtor’s® job is to present the property in its best light.

When buds yield flowers

​But an empty home also allows us to potentially reinvent a home; update spaces, bring in more contemporary furniture, upgrade finishes and lighting, and create a new narrative. Upon the ” reveal,” it’s not uncommon to hear Sellers say: “The room looks so much bigger this way,” OR, “I would never have thought to do that,” OR, “We always wanted to ____ (fill in the blank). but never got around to it.” (That’s why you hire a professional.) Sometimes, a neutral third party can see things in a whole new way.

Once ready, we’ll have the house cleaned, the windows washed, the garden serviced, and the property staged. As we layer back in the things that make a home truly special, the magic begins to happen. And while it may seem as if the weeks we took to prep your home for market dragged on perhaps a bit too long, please remember that first impressions come along just once and that the investment in your property in both time and money should reap well-deserved dividends for you and yours. (That’s the intended goal.)

What spring sun will bring

That being said, some clear skies would be welcome news about now as it’s easier to sell houses with sunshine outside the windows instead of heavy downpours. But with buds on every tree, it’s just a matter of time . . . . Can’t you feel the Spring Market awakening? (Loan applications are up nearly 10% over last year.) With consumer confidence on the rise once more, signs are pointing towards a fairly robust marketplace this Spring. All that’s needed are a few dry days . . . .

How can we help you?

(Note: If you’re just picking up the phone to call an Agent now, you’ll be looking at May as a likely market date given that painters and stagers are already booked through April. The houses we are currently bringing to market, reached out last fall, so as with the garden, a little patience and forethought are required when bringing a property to market. We spoke with one Seller this week who is looking at April 2025 as his selling date. Now that’s thoughtful planning!)

Click below for what’s ahead — it’s amazing what a few short weeks (and sunshine) can deliver!

Julie Gardner & Sarah Abel | Compass Realty

Not just Realtors, but consultants in all things house and home, we’re here to educate, explore, examine and refer . . . In short, you may count on us to take care of your home as if it were our own and anyone who knows us, knows we take pretty darn good care of our homes.

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