From their First Rye Home to a Relocation: Fiona Led the Way

Chris and Irene happily lived in Rye for the past ten years. After starting their family, they purchased their four-bedroom Colonial on Elmwood Avenue with Fiona in 2012. At the time, understanding Rye’s neighborhoods and all they had to offer to a growing family was vitally important.

“We were new parents,” recalls Chris. “That knowledge was very important. We wanted to know about the amenities of each area before settling in. Fiona helped us to a great area and a wonderful home.”

They kept in touch with her over the years. When they considered renovations or additions, they consulted with Fiona, who helped them determine the projects that would deliver the best return for their investment. When they decided to relocate to South Carolina, they turned to Fiona to help them manage the sale of their home. Not only did they have a good relationship and a loyalty to her, they felt she would best prepare them for what lay ahead.

Preparation, knowledge, and relationships

Fiona recommended and handled a pre-listing inspection. She made recommendations of what needed to be fixed, cleaned, or renovated prior to listing their home. To help them get the work done, Fiona put her network of contacts to work. Says Chris, “It was much easier with Fiona’s help. It was the difference between consulting the yellow pages and working with Fiona’s trusted contacts, with whom she has worked for a very long time. They were honest and thorough.”

Having a hands-on realtor stage their house was critical in making it buyer-ready, explains Chris. “We moved our furniture out, and Fiona moved furniture in that had the vibe buyers were looking for. She personally styled our shelves. At one point she helped to change out our window screens! She jumped in to help wherever it was needed.”

Buyers were out in droves during the Covid pandemic and the market was fast-paced. A lot had changed in the real estate market since Chris and Irene had bought their home. But with Fiona by their side, they felt prepared, relaxed, and confident about finding the right buyer.

When the time came to navigate the offer process, Chris and Irene were again glad to be working with Fiona. She helped them manage the entire process and negotiate a deal they were happy with.

“Fiona has been in 90% of the homes in Rye, and her knowledge about the local market was a huge advantage. She’s a great negotiator. I highly recommend working with Fiona.”

Fiona Helps Couple Sell After a Lifetime in Rye

After living in their Rye home for over 42 years, Peter and Nancy were ready to retire. They had their sights set on South Carolina. It was late winter, 2021, when they started looking for homes in the south, and interviewing Rye realtors to help them sell their Oakland Beach Avenue home.

“It was our first experience going through this. We wanted to get a great price for our home, of course, but we had a lot of concerns and were nervous about the process,” said Nancy. The couple thought they would need to make some minor repairs and cosmetic enhancements to their home before selling, so they were also looking for recommendations on the best way to prepare it for listing.

They researched real estate agents, narrowed their list to a few brokers of interest, and scheduled interviews. They met Fiona and immediately felt at ease.

“Fiona was the best fit for us,” explained Peter. ”She had a great track record in terms of sale prices. She was professional. We liked what she had to say about how she would prep our home. She had a plan. Plus, we liked her! She listens. She’s personable. We felt we could trust her. It was like having a family member give you good advice.”

Fiona’s recommendations included getting a pre-listing inspection and planning a series of repairs and renovations to the 100-year-old home. With a lifetime of belongings to sort through, the couple had their work cut out for them. But it was less overwhelming with Fiona by their side, according to Nancy.

“Fiona had a plan. She was so smart and helpful. She considered our budget and told us what to do and what we could skip. She had our best interests in mind.”

Timing was critical. The couple closed on a home in South Carolina last April and planned to put their Rye home on the market in May. Their adult son was living in their Rye home because of the Covid pandemic. Work was just getting underway to get the home ready for the market.

“Fiona was a huge help,” said Peter. “We were moving out of state and really had to rely on her. She told us she could handle everything for us if we moved.”

And she did. Fiona researched available apartments in Westchester to help their son find a place to live. She contacted painters and electricians and tile installers. She arranged for work crews and met them at the Oakland Beach home to let them in and ensure work was completed. She contacted an engineer to help with plans for the driveway.

“Fiona’s network came through for us — her contacts, her resources, her relationships. They were reasonable. She knew our goals and they understood them,” said Peter. “She and her team did everything they could to make our home appealing to buyers. We never would have gotten the price we wanted if not for Fiona.”

Selling? How to Prep and Price Your Home for a Fast Sale

In real estate, we often hear what matters most is “location, location, location.” There’s another element about finding a home that buyers care about very much. Price. If a home is priced beyond their budget, they won’t even take a look.

Thus, one of the questions I get asked most often is “What is the best price to list my home for sale?” Should we price it below market value in the hopes it will sell quickly? Start out higher and drop if no buyers bite?

My answer? It depends. Getting a great price for your home requires a sound strategy, customized to your situation. It also requires careful preparation so that your home is in tip-top shape before going on the market.

Data and decluttering

My best advice is to plan to work with an experienced realtor, one who has an in-depth understanding of the current market. A recent client, Patrik J., of Rye, said receiving current market data and objective advice was tremendously helpful in preparing and pricing his home for sale.

“We had a laundry list of things to do to prepare our home for the market,” he recalls. “Fiona went through our house and gave us a to-do list, including changing out the countertops and a major decluttering. It was a comprehensive list to make the house presentable. When you’ve lived in a house for a long time, you no longer have a critical eye. So Fiona’s advice was critical. Well, we accomplished most of what was on the list. I have to say, the newer look was much nicer, fresher, cleaner.”

My recommendations put my client way ahead of the competition. While Patrik working on his house, I was analyzing comparable listings, pending sales, active listings, and other relevant real estate data. I presented the information to Patrik and his wife and we discussed strategy. Their objective was to price the house well — and to price it to sell. We did our homework and set an attractive price that reflected the home’s value and the current local market conditions.

After the house was updated and refreshed, we set an optimal price and listed their property.

“We had three bids in the first week,” Patrik notes. “Our accepted offer was close to the asking price. We trusted Fiona’s recommendations and that really worked out well for us.

“What’s great about working with Fiona? She is a pro. She knows what it takes to sell a house and will tell you what she thinks. She had a really good understanding of the market and how to prepare an older house for sale. I don’t know any other brokers who are that hands-on.”

Interested in selling? Contact Fiona for a consultation.

Fiona Dogan Recognized in ‘Best Real Estate Agents 2021’

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or ready to downsize and sell your family home, working with successful real estate professional who’s ahead of the curve really matters. Look no further than Fiona Dogan, who was just recognized as a Westchester Magazine Best Real Estate Agent in 2021.

This recognition is the latest in a series of accolades received by Dogan, who was ranked among the top 3% of all William Pitt Julia B. Fee agents and ranked among the top 1.5% of all real estate brokers nationwide.

“It’s wonderful to be recognized for doing what I love to do,” says Dogan. “Of course, the real reward is getting to know my clients and helping them to achieve their goals — whether it’s finding the perfect buyer or a home that’s just right for their family.”

To select agents for the list, Westchester Magazine partnered with DataJoe Research, which conducted research and administered peer and consumer surveys campaign to identify agents. As a primary benchmark, agents had to generate a minimum of $12.9 million in sales revenue during the period of October 2019 through October 2020.

In the peer survey, real estate agents were asked to provide sales volume ranges, and also to nominate their peers; consumers and recent homebuyers were asked to nominate agents who exemplified excellence. Finally, DataJoe analyzed performance data for agents in their respective firms.

As real estate decisions are among the most important financial and lifestyle decisions people make, it’s vitally important to work with a cutting-edge professional who stays on top of the latest real estate trends and technology and who understands the marketplace.

Fiona takes the time to get to know her clients in order to understand their needs and customize the experience. “That means every single client is getting a personalized approach,” she explains. “I’m very hands-on, and will guide you through every aspect of the process which includes research, pricing, preparation for listing, marketing, negotiations, inspections, and more.”

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Rye Couple: Fiona’s Strategy Sold Our Home

Helen and Bill are savvy business professionals. Helen, a marketer, and Bill, who works on Wall Street, are self-described “information-driven and analytical types.” So, when they decided to put their Rye home on the market amid the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, they sought data to help them understand the real estate landscape. And they turned to Fiona Dogan.

“We relied on Fiona to provide a framework for us,” explained Bill. “I sell stocks and bonds, and she sells houses, but the principles are similar. She arrived at our first meeting armed with facts and figures.” 

Fiona also gave the couple a profile of potential buyers and what would appeal to them. Says Helen, “She had data, but also had her finger on the pulse of what people from New York City were looking for — the intangibles.”

A long relationship

The couple had actually reached out to Fiona a few years prior, when they first started thinking about selling their home. Fiona gave them a two-year plan to prepare their home for the market, which included minor repairs and renovations. After becoming empty nesters, they decided to take the plunge. 

One of Fiona’s recommendations was to stage their home for sale. 

“She told us what to fix, what we could leave alone,” says Helen. “Having her handle the preparation and staging was the biggest bang for the buck. We gave her complete control and it was worth it.” Helen continues: “Painting, decluttering — she had the buyers in mind and she made it all happen. She helped us get the house ready for buyers, and she helped us get ready to sell, too.”

The strategy

Initially, they thought their home would appeal to Rye residents looking to upgrade, but Fiona had other ideas. She recommended focusing their marketing on buyers located outside Westchester County. The couple trusted her recommendations on pricing and how she handled the negotiation after an offer was made. 

“She knows how to position a house in any market — in a pandemic or otherwise,” notes Bill.

The couple says they felt well prepared for the entire process, from marketing the home through the offer, sale and closing.  “There were no surprises,” adds Helen. “It can be so emotional and anything can happen. But she did a good job in screening buyers and that helped.”

The couple says they recommend Fiona’s services highly.  “Fiona gives you an accurate lay-of-the land. She works with clients in a way that’s comfortable, yet customized, down to her communication style. We had good information from her and were able to make the best decisions for us,” says Bill. 

Helen adds: “Fiona feels like your smart best friend who gives you the best advice and gets it done. She’s charming, a straight shooter, and she’s always accessible. The experience with Fiona left us with a good feeling.” 

Prep for Market Key to 3 Offers, 3 Weeks After Listing

When the Covid pandemic hit last March, Susan Watson decided to quarantine with her life partner to avoid traveling back and forth from her own home amid the uncertainty of the novel coronavirus. As she learned that more and more families were looking for space outside of New York City, she knew it was a good time to rent her vacant home on Central Avenue in Rye. But she’d have to clean it out first. Susan had moved into the house seven years earlier, consolidating the effects of a large home and a smaller city apartment into one space. Despite several New Year’s resolutions, the attic and the basement were still full and the thought of getting her home ready for the market was overwhelming.

“I’ve bought and sold homes nine times, so I knew there was a lot to do to prepare,” she explains. “I talked to Fiona, who is so knowledgeable and confident in her approach. I’m smart enough to know when I am getting expert advice, so I followed hers to a ‘T’,” Susan said. 

Fiona provided her with a guide to decluttering her home and a roster of contacts for painting, window washing, landscaping, and more. With Fiona’s to-do list in hand, Susan secured a dumpster and emptied the house of older, heavy furniture and clutter, made minor repairs, changed light fixtures, and improved the landscaping. “Fiona has experience in building and construction, so she really understands the ‘bones’ of a house and what improvements needed to be made. She also had all the contacts I needed to get everything done.” 

‘An expert by my side’

As Susan was looking for a long-term tenant and wanted to better understand who the potential renters might be, she turned to Fiona to educate her about the rental market, as well as landlord and tenant obligations. Fiona also advised her on the appropriate price, and, after the offers came in, guided her through the review of each potential renter’s financials. When renters made demands, Fiona gave her confidence to be able to say “no” to the ones that wouldn’t work for her.

“Being a businesswoman myself, I could have figured all of this out. But I knew I had an expert at my side. Things went a lot faster with Fiona at the helm.”

Three weeks after the home went on the market, there were three competing offers. 

“That put us in a great position, because we were able to negotiate,” noted Susan. 

Susan said she had a lot of choice when it came to realtors she could work with in Rye. She selected Fiona because of her expertise and professionalism. “Fiona approaches real estate with real business acumen. It is not a hobby for her. It’s business. It’s her profession.”

Let Fiona help you sell or find your dream home. Contact Fiona at 914-414-5147 or email her directly.