Staging Your Home in the Winter Months

Staging your home in the winter months is just as important, if not more so, than in the summer time. Accomplishing that warm and welcoming feel just takes a few steps and some attention to some minor details and your home can be brought out of hibernation. Make a good first impression from the moment perspective buyers pull up curbside. By creating a welcoming and relaxing environment, buyers will take extra time exploring the home.

1. Snow removal.

This may seem like an obvious first step as you want people to not only have easy access to your home, but for obvious safety reasons as well, but don’t forget those outdoor spaces you may also want to feature. Decks and patios that are a sellable feature for your home need to be accessible as well.

2. Create a warm welcome.

Hanging a winter wreath on the front door. If possible, have seasonal plants like spruce on the walkway or front porch. Be sure you turn those lights on early to avoid people approaching a dark house.

3. Provide a place to wipe feet.

Have a welcome mat and an indoor rug inside the door. Decide whether you want to keep the outdoor elements outside and then provide a place for people to wipe their feet or take off their shoes. Offering shoe covers is another affordable option.

4. Turn up the lights and the heat!

No one is comfortable meandering around a cold, dark house. You want guests to linger, checking out all the details that make your home appealing.

5. Create cozy spaces.

If you have a fireplace, light it. Use extra pillows and throws on the furniture, light some candles and pile a few books on that coffee table. This will allow potential buyers to see decorating possibilities as well as make them comfortable.

Looking for additional tips on staging or selling your home?  Here are a few more articles that might help you out:

The Autumn Home Maintenance Checklist You Need Today

Get going on your autumn home maintenance today!

Autumn is in the air – you can feel it in the mornings. That means you’re probably thinking about doing some autumn cleaning. (You DO a big clean in the fall right?)  Hold on though! You also need to be thinking about some key autumn home maintenance items as well! Doing these 8 things at least 1-2 times a year will save you time, money, and a big headache down the road.  The goal is to prevent things from going wrong or catching little problems early BEFORE they become major problems.

We created a handy check list of 8 autumn home maintenance items you should be checking every year.  As a matter of fact, you can probably get these done in one weekend and then you don’t have to worry!

1.  Check your gutters and down spouts

Gutters and down spouts get all clogged up over the winter with leaves and debris.  Get up on a ladder every autumn and clear that gunk out.  It will save you leaks, breaks, pools of stagnant water and a big repair bill.  You should also do this in the spring, FYI.

2.  Get your chimney inspected and cleaned – by an actual chimneysweep

Looking forward to a roaring fire in your fireplace this autumn?  Be sure that you get your chimney inspected and cleaned by an ACTUAL chimneysweep.  They will clean out soot, remove blockages and creosote build up – all of which can ignite when you *ahem* fire up your fireplace.

A chimneysweep will also inspect the liner, firebox and damper to make sure that they are in good condition and as efficient as possilbe for heating.

They will also make sure that there aren’t any critters making a home of your chimney.

3.  Check seals on windows and doors

Check and repair any seals on window sills, door sills, and thresholds.  Look for damaged or peeling caulk, splinters, loose panes and gaps.  While you’re at it add weatherstripping to doors.  Any gaps let out warm air and also increase your heating bill in the autumn and winter. Here is a handy guide for how to caulk your windows.

4. Rake those leaves

It can be a pain to keep up on, but be sure to rake all those leaves.  If they stay on the ground over the winter under the snow, they can rot, mildew and even kill your grass.  Making your spring garden cleanup that much more difficult.

5.  Filter out those dirty filters

Guys. HVAC filters get D.I.R.T.Y.  They collect dust, pollen, pet hair and dirt.  And then recirculate all those things back through your house if you don’t clean or replace them regularly.  This is something you’ll want to check several times a year.

6.  Don’t forget about your dryer and refrigerator

When doing autumn home maintenance, don’t forget to check your dryer vent.  It gets clogged up and makes your dryer work that much harder.  Which makes your electricity bill go up.

And while you’re at it, check your refrigerator coils.  Chances are they need a good vacuum.  Not only are they really gross when they are covered in dust, they also make your fridge less efficient.

7.  Drain that water heater

Your water heater should be 100% drained a couple of times a year.  The reason?  All kinds of minerals and sediment build up in the bottom.  Which equals corrosion and water that doesn’t heat as fast as you’d like.

8.  Test your smoke detectors

This autumn home maintenance item can literally save your life.  Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and put fresh batteries in.  While you’re at it why not make sure that your family knows what to do when an alarm goes off.  A household fire drill goes a long way.

Need a hand?

Check out our list of trusted vendors, contractors, supplier and all around handy types who can help you if you run into problems (or they can just take care of this stuff for you).  They’ll give you a hand with the whole spring home maintenance thing!

Make the most of a 3 day relocation house hunting trip

You’re getting ready to move across the county in a few months.  For a new job or a new adventure or a change of scenery.  Relocation is a big, complicated step.  A lot of our relocation clients pick a 3 day window to fly out and start seeing houses a few months before the move.  We’ve compiled all the things we’ve learned to make a relocation trip that much easier for you.  Here’s how you can plan your relocation house hunting trip and condense it into 3 days.

 

Make the most of a 3 day relocation house hunting trip:
  1. Plan in advance
  2. Explore the area
  3. See some homes
  4. Write Offers

Plan Ahead

To maximize your relocation house hunting trip, find a real estate agent that specializes in relocation hunting.
Work with that agent in advance to discuss your home requirements and needs.  It will help them eliminate areas, homes and amenities that just won’t work for you.
Plan on seeing about 8-10 homes during your trip.  This means long and dedicated days with your agent – the more time you can give them to plan  the more you’ll be able to see.

DAY 1: Explore the Area

Spend the first day of your relocation house hunting trip exploring neighborhoods.  You agent can help you narrow down areas that make sense for you.  Don’t skip this step – you don’t want to find a home you love in an area that doesn’t suit your needs.
For example, if you have young kids finding are area with a great school district will be important.  If you want to have a minimal commute, targeting a spot that has good access to public transportation or is close to your office is key.
Narrow down your search to 2-4 areas and neighborhoods that you really like and focus your search there.

DAY 2: Visit homes

The second day is the day to dive in and start seeing homes.  Your relocation real estate agent should be able to plan a route to help maximize your time and keep you from driving back and forth across the city.  Set the goal of visiting 6-8 homes – a couple in each of the areas you like.

Wear comfortable shoes, carry some water, take time for a lunch break – it is going to be a long day.
As you see homes be sure to rank them for your agent – tell them which ones you like the most and the least.  It will help them get to know your preferences and dislikes when it comes to a home.  It can also help you cross off some homes without even seeing them.  Maximize time spent looking at homes you actually like in areas you love.
At the end of Day 2 of your relocation house hunting trip, you’ll want to have a couple of homes on the shortlist of possibilities.

 

 

 

DAY 3: Write offers

On the morning of Day 3 you can squeeze in a couple more walkthroughs if you want or if you only have one home that you like from the day before.
Afterwards, you want to spend the third day writing offers with your agent.  Ideally you have 2-3 homes that you’re making an offer on before you head home from your relocation house hunting trip.

 

BACK AT HOME:

Stay in touch with your real estate agent.  They will let you know if any of your offers were accepted, what they need from you next.  You agent can also help coordinate inspections, refer you to people to help with repairs or cleaning, and can even arrange for you to close on your home long distance.

Tips for an Easy Move: 7 Strategies To Save Your Hassle and Headaches

Moving? These are our 7 tips for an easy move

Here are 7 tips for an easy move that will make the day go extra easy. We’ve owned over 21 homes and moved countless times.  Here are some things we’ve discovered that make the move easier.  From things you can do in advance to strategies for the day of, these tips will save you hassle and headache and ensure that your friends helping you move still like you when it is over.

 

1. Purge, purge, purge

Our number one item tips for an easy move?  The more stuff you get rid of, the less stuff you have to pack, move and then unpack.  A move is the BEST opportunity to get rid of the clutter.
Go through your books, clothing, kitchenware and garage and challenge yourself to get rid of anything that is old, outdated, broken or that you didn’t even know you owned.

2.  Pack stuff that won’t be needing right away first

Another one of our tips or an easy move is to pack the things that you don’t need right away.  Things that you don’t use regularly should get pack up first and unpacked last.

 

3.  Have a system for labeling your boxes

As you are packing up, label your boxes – which room they are going to and also which order they need to be unpacked.  Especially be clear which boxes have things that you’ll need right away – so that you can unpack them quickly.

 

4.  Take inventory

One of our biggest tips for an easy move is to take inventory.  As you are packing up, label boxes and list what is inside.  This is critical for moving companies as they will want to know exactly what is in a box if it goes missing.

 

5.  Be ready for your movers

No matter if you have professional movers showing up or friends who are willing to lend a hand, be ready for them when they arrive.  If you are still tossing things into boxes, the day of a move, the likelihood that things will get damaged, accidentally get tossed or go missing is much higher.

Plus you’ll annoy anyone who is standing around waiting.

 

6.  Don’t go grocery shopping for a week before you move

Eat up all your perishables, clean out your fridge and freezer, and also some of your pantry.  Unless you are moving a very very short distance, you can’t take it with you

 

7.  Have a moving day “kit”

Have some essentials ready to go, set aside with easy access – things you’ll need right away in your new space.  It will save you time, money, and multiple trips to the store.
These are things that you don’t want to dig through boxes of stuff to find after a long day of moving.

Some things to include: 

 

  • Clothes, toiletries, medication and personal items that you will need right away when you arrive – enough for a few days.
  • Linens – at least sheets, pillowcases, a shower curtain and towels for the bathroom and kitchen.  Nothing is worse than not being able to take a shower after a move because you don’t have towels or a curtain.
  • Some snacks and drinks for you and your moving team
  • Cleaning supplies, light bulbs, toilet paper, paper towels, rags garbage bags.  You’ll likely arrive and have to do some (hopefully) light cleaning and as you unpack you’ll have some trash right off the back.

 

Anything tips for an easy move that you’d add to the list?

Some additional resources and tips for a easy move:

Beyond Curb Appeal: Staging the Exterior of Your Home To Sell

They say first impressions are important – and the exterior of your home is the first thing potential buyers will see. That’s why staging the exterior of your home is just as important as staging the interior. Here is our project list for getting the outside of your house ready beyond just curb appeal.

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home: Repairs

The first thing you need to ask when getting your home ready to sell is if there are any obvious repairs that need to take place.  Walk around your house with a critical eye.  Look at the paint, trim, siding, roof, window casings, doors, foundation – is there anything that looks old, chipped, damaged or rough?

Sometimes when staging the exterior of your home it helps to stand back at the street and look from the point of view of a buyer that might be driving by.  What can they see?  Where are the rough spots? What are the best features of your home that you want to highlight?

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home: Pressure Wash Surfaces & Wash Windows

Homes collect dust, grime, dirt and pollution.  Your house may look like it needs a coat of exterior paint, but it *may* just be dirty!  When staging the exterior of your home, removing the layers of dirt from your house and driveway and walkways will make it look fresh and new again.

When staging the exterior of your home you should even look at cleaning any patio furniture and potted plants – they get dusty too.

You can DIY a pressure wash, but it might be worth your time to hire a professional.

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home: Fix Any Pet Damage

One important aspect of staging the exterior of your home is fix any damage caused by your dog!  You may love your dog – but the next owner of your house won’t want to deal with any yard problems.

Some things to look for:

  • Scratched fencing, scratched wood on the deck or scratches on the back door
  • Bare patches in your lawn or dead grass
  • Holes dug in the garden

Ideally, there should be no sign of your dog (or cat) when prospective buyers come to call.

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home:  Think Green

During the summer, greenery makes all the difference.  Make sure that the front lawn is green, weeded and trimmed.  Flower beds should  be manicured and freshly planted and weed-free.   No one wanted to move in and feel like they have instantly have weeding to do.  Finally, adding some potted plants to the porch is a nice touch and a way to go the extra mile.

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home:  Little Touches

A few extra touches will make a BIG impact:

  • Replace or refresh the hardware on the door
  • Make sure that any fountains, fire pits or spot lights are turned on
  • Make sure that blinds or shads look clean and well cared for
  • Refresh your home address signage – make the numbers big and easy to see from the street
  • Leave your lights on at night – it allows people to drive by and see the house in its *ahem* best light in the evening

 

Some additional resources: