3 Types of Real Estate Resolutions for 2017

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Even though it’s almost February, 2017, I’m still struggling to polish off my New Year’s resolutions for last year. I only had three: attention to health, organization and comfort. I did manage to hit the gym more often than not, and I bought a bunch of new shoes that make my feet deliriously happy. So, two out of three ain’t bad. But organization … well, I’m still working on that one. I successfully cleaned out my closets and reorganized my kitchen cabinets and pantry early in the year, but my home office is still not the tidy, efficient workspace I know it can be. And every weekend, it seems, something more fun exciting urgent keeps popping up instead.

Sound familiar?

New Year’s resolutions are fun to make if only for the illusion they give of trying to better ourselves and our lives. Usually our good intentions are history before Valentine’s Day, but we do try. And that’s got to count for something, right?

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If you’ve got home-related resolutions on your list for 2017 – goals like buying a house or selling a house or just keeping the house you already have in good condition – we can help. Experts say the best way to achieve our goals is to make a plan then create actionable steps that lead to accomplishing them. For buyers, sellers or owners, we’ve got tips to help you stay on top of your “home work.”

Our New Year’s Resolutions for 2017 homeowner’s guide offers tips to keep you on the path to success this year. For example:

  • Buyers, resolve to save up for a down payment
  • Sellers, resolve to make fixes that buyers will love
  • Owners, resolve to be more energy-efficient for less

Make this the year you look your resolutions squarely in the eye – and smile. Download our New Year’s Resolutions for 2017 homeowner’s guide now.

MAKE YOUR 2017
REAL ESTATE RESOLUTIONS

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Winter Vegetable Gardening

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This page is my attempt to get you maritime gardeners interested in growing winter vegetables! C’mon; it’s fun, easy, and good for you!

Why have a winter vegetable garden?

I tend to think that a trip down the produce aisle in winter will let you answer this yourself. But I’ll tell you why I do it.

As is the case with summer vegetables, fresh from-the-garden produce simply tastes better than its supermarket counterpart. Because it is harvested closer to the time it is consumed, it is higher in vitamins (this is probably even more true in winter than in summer, since so much of the commercially available winter produce is grown in the southern hemisphere). The eating quality is often remarkably higher: For instance, many vegetables store more sugars when they are exposed to cold temperatures. Also, a lot of winter vegetables are poor shippers; so if you want quality leeks or kale you have no choice but to grow them yourself. In addition, you know what has, and hasn’t, been sprayed all over your own plants!

All of the above is true. But, for me, the bottom line is simply this: I enjoy it! There is something incredibly satisfying about pulling a delicious carrot out of January’s mucky soil, or cutting fresh Brussels sprouts when the snow is on the ground. I suppose, in the end, it is my way of thumbing my nose at Old Man Winter.

Sowing vegetables for Fall, Winter, and Spring harvest

Some quick notes: I garden in Sumner, Washington, in the USA. Sumner is roughly parallel with Tacoma (47 degrees north latitude), and experiences the same strong maritime influences as most locations west of the Cascade mountains. Being about 15 miles from Puget Sound, though, my experience has been that my garden’s daytime high temperatures are a few degrees higher, and my nighttime temps a few degrees colder, than in many locations closer to Puget Sound.

Our winter weather is rainy the vast majority of the time. The mean low temperature from late December to early January is a bit over 33F, with an average daytime high of about 48F. When we do get frost, usually the nighttime temperature only dips to between 25F and 30F. About once a winter, though, we will have a short period where we’ll get down to between 10F-20F (which makes us USDA zone 8).

Plant Sowing date Hardy to Notes
Arugula August 15-September 15 15F/-9C Holds up reasonably well to rain
Beets Best in July 1-10, will work if sown until the 20th 20F/-7C Can go colder with mulch
Broccoli fall/winter Anytime in June 25F/-4C (?) Rain will probably kill it before the frost does
overwintered July 15-August 1 10F/-12C these are the biennial sprouting broccolis
Brussels Sprouts May 15 0F/-16C Seriously, these taste nothing like the store-bought ones
Cabbage (for winter) June 1 5F/-14C (hardiest varieties) I haven’t grown the spring cabbages like First Early Market, so I really don’t know the timing
Carrots July 1-15th 15F/-9C With mulch, these can be depended on to overwinter. An August 1st sowing still give useable, but smaller, roots. With carrots there seems to be big differences that are just related to how particular varieties grow as the days get shorter.
Cauliflower fall/winter June 1-30 25F/-4C (?) Rain and slugs tend to do mine in before the cold does
overwintered July 15-August 1 5F/-15C Takes soggy soil somewhat better than sprouting broccoli
Chard Up until early August 20F/-7C Even if the plant dies back, often the crown survives to regrow in the Spring
Claytonia/Miner’s Lettuce August 10-25 At least 11F/-12C Fast growing, compact, does well under cover
Corn Salad/Mache August 20-September 1 At least 8F/-13C Seems to thrive unprotected in our rainy wet winters
Cress, Garden (Upland) By late August At least 15F/-9C Biennial plants can be started as early as late spring
Escarole/Endive August 1-10 Reportedly 5F/-15C Good cloche candidate, since wetness is more of a problem than cold. Bitterness decreases with frost, and varies from variety to variety.
Favas September,October 10F/-12C I sow in late September. I’ve gotten away with sowing them in November; they will grow a little even in winter, during any spells when temps are above freezing!
Kale July 1-15 At least 8F/-13C Needs no protection
Kohlrabi July 10-20 15F/-9C Can go lower with mulch or under cover
Garlic September,October At least 8F/-13C I plant in late September. Basically, if the ground isn’t frozen, you can put them in.
Leeks April-Early May At least 8F/-13C Big differences between varieties in terms of hardiness and bolting date. This entry reflects my experiences with Durabel.
Lettuce August 1-10 24F/-4C Another good cloche candidate
Minutina August 10-25 ~ 15F/-10C Unusual, almost succulent leaves
Mustard July 15-August 10 15F/-9C Hardiness is variable, depending on variety
Onions Most types August 10 0F/-18C Most overwintered onions dry down in June. Waterlogged winter soils can be a problem for all overwintered onions
Walla Walla sweet September 1-15 Reportedly -10F/-24C Walla Wallas dry down in July.
Scallions June-September At least 10F/-12C This applies to Allium cepa types of scallions. A. fistulosum types are much hardier and non-bulbing, but also are less tender and hotter in flavor.
Parsnip June 15 – July 1 At least 8F/-13C It’s fun trying to keep these seeds damp until they sprout!
Radicchio July 15 Reportedly 5F/-15C Leaf types are easier and more reliable. Don’t dawdle in sowing this one!
Radishes Through September Uncertain Various rots and soil dwellers spoil mine by midwinter, even though the plants are still alive
Spinach August 1-15 At least 8F/-13C Under a cloche they can be depended on to overwinter

These dates are what has worked for me in my garden. If you live in a milder microclimate than mine, or live further south, a later sowing date will be appropriate for many of these. For example, people down in Oregon tend to sow winter crops later than I do, because they have a slightly longer season (and more daylight after the equinox). A good practice the first couple years is to make multiple sowings, 7-10 days apart, to help give you a feel for the proper timing at your location, which can be important in terms of final plant size. In addition, some of these plants are photoperiodic, and will bolt to seed if sown too early.

You can get away with later plantings of non-“bulbing” (for lack of a better word) veggies; just don’t thin as much. But root vegetables and kohlrabi need a certain amount of time to reach a useable state.

Note that I usually sow the seed directly into the garden. If you prefer to raise transplants, they should really be started two or three weeks earlier than I have listed. Transplanting, no matter how carefully done, shocks the plant. It is sometimes advantageous to raise transplants, though, either because your garden space is limited, or because you find it easier to manage the environment needed to assure good germination.


Cultural Considerations

Dampness

In the Maritime Pacific Northwest, many otherwise-hardy plants will not survive over the winter. Why? Because our consistently damp winter weather provides a haven for molds and fungi. Leafy greens are especially succeptible. Escarole, for example, can easily handle temperatures below 10F; but it rapidly will rot if kept constantly damp. The solution? Raised beds, combined when possible with cloches or a PVC hoophouse.

Raised beds can be elaborate affairs, framed with wood or plastic lumber specially manufactured for this purpose. In my garden, I followed this simple technique (which I borrowed from Steve Solomon): I first tilled the entire area. Then I marked where the paths would be, and shoveled a bit of the dirt from the areas marked as “paths” onto the areas selected to be “beds”. Rake the beds smooth, and you’re done! As long as you never step on the beds, and don’t leave them bare through the winter, you probably won’t have to remake them for many years.

Cloches are essentially plastic tents for your plants. They can be easily built from all sorts of materials. The ones I use are made with 1/2″ PVC pipe and a 10’x20′ sheet of 3-mil clear plastic. Simply cut the ends of the PVC at an angle (to make a point), bend it into a croquet-hoop, and push both ends into the ground. Place these hoops every 3-4 feet, oriented over your garden row or bed. Then, just lay the clear plastic over this framework. You’ve got a cloche! The plastic can be held in place by weighting down the sides (I use milk jugs filled with water); you can also buy “cloche clips” to hold the plastic onto the PVC pipe (or make your own using 3/4″ poly pipe). Be sure to leave one end of your cloche open for ventilation.

PVC hoophouses are like a giant cloche. They are a bit more involved to build, but I think they’re worth the effort. For one thing they allow better air circulation around your plants than cloches do. Also, since you can walk into a PVC hoophouse, harvesting during a downpour is a far more pleasant experience.

Mulch

Mulch accomplishes several purposes. It prevents soil compaction caused by constant winter rainfall. Also, it evens out the swings in soil temperature that can come in winter. This means, among other things, that you can still get access to your root vegetables, even when the unprotected ground of your garden is frozen. Mulch cuts the amount of light that reaches the soil, so winter weed growth is inhibited.

If you live where the soil regularly freezes, mulch is a necessity if you want to harvest winter vegetables. The temperature under the mulch will be higher than in free air, as long as you apply the mulch before your ground is frozen. In heavily-mulched winter gardens, some folks find it easier to access their vegetables if they lay a floating rowcover over the plant tops before they spread the mulch.

A good mulch will help trap layers of air above the ground, which increases the insulation value, yet still allows some air circulation. Many people choose straw for this reason. A problem with straw, though, is that it can contain lots of weed seeds. In the northeastern US, saltmarsh hay is often available. Leaves can also make a good mulch, but they tend to pack down in the constant winter rain (which decreases the insulation value). If you use leaves, you might want to lay a sheet of plastic over the top.

Mulch should be removed in late winter or early spring, both to allow the soil to warm, and to not deplete the nitrogen availability to your early spring plantings.


Cover Crops/Green Manures

Cover Crops are a very important part of proper garden management. Of course, having a winter garden complicates the planning involved! But it can be done, and is fairly straightforward once you develop a garden rotation scheme.

Due to the importance of this topic, I don’t want to give it less than its due. So I’m going to recommend that you read an article I wrote on this subject, Cover Crops and Green Manures.


References

Hopefully this page has at least piqued your interest, and has provided enough information for you to get a winter vegetable garden going. If you’re interested, you might also want to check out some of the many articles we have that talk about winter gardening. Also there are a number of good reference books on this subject:

Gardening Under Cover [affiliate link], by William Head. This books subtitle is “A Northwest Guide to Solar Greenhouses, Cold Frames, and Cloches”, which says it better than I could.

Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades [affiliate link], by Steve Solomon. This is not strictly a book on winter gardening, but it is an invaluable reference for the year-round vegetable gardener.

Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest [affiliate link], by Binda Colebrook. This book has lots of useful information. Sometimes you have to wade through the flights of fancy (I get the impression Ms. Colebrook was a child of the 60s), but it’s definitely a worthwhile, informative read.

Also, be sure to pick up a copy of the catalogs from Territorial Seed Company and Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Not only are they the best seed sources for the specific varieties you’ll need in your winter garden, but their catalog is full of good cultural information, year-round.

How to Clean Your Blinds and Curtains

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Maintain your blinds & curtains to keep them looking like new with these tips from blinds.com!

Your blinds and curtains can be sneaky. They can collect dirt, dust and grime without you ever noticing, because, well, you probably don’t examine your blinds and curtains when you get home every day.

Like any accessory in your home, your blinds and curtains need attention from time to time. It’s important to clean them regularly—dusting once a month and deep-cleaning twice a year is a good rule of thumb—to avoid any lasting damage from dirt and dust buildup. The more you keep the buildup off, the longer your window treatments will last. Cover all your bases with these simple steps.

#1 Bust Out the Vacuum

Have you ever raised your blinds, only to be met with a shower of dust? It’s time to get the vacuum cleaner out of the closet and use an attachment to suck up loose dirt and dust. If you go right into cleaning extra dusty window treatments with any sort of spray or wet cleaner without using a vacuum, you’re going to make an even bigger mess. You can also try a feather duster or microfiber cloth in place of a vacuum, but you’ll likely have to vacuum the dust you knock onto the floor either way.

In many cases it’s a good idea to approach your curtains the same way, but be careful that the vacuum doesn’t tear up any thin or delicate fabrics. If you’re worried about that happening, simply take the curtains down and shake them out outside.

#2 Wash Away the Grime

Even with regular dusting, it’s important to do a more thorough cleaning of your treatments a couple of times a year. There are several ways to tackle deep cleaning curtain and blinds. A damp sponge with some soapy water typically does the trick with dirty blinds, but be careful if you have real or faux wood blinds. Too much moisture can cause them to warp or split. For faux wood blinds, a mixture of water and vinegar or dusting spray can also be used to clean away dirt and grime.

When it comes to your curtains, check the washing instructions on the tag. Some curtains can be machine washed and ironed. If there are no instructions, take them to the dry cleaner.

#3 Block Out the Sun

Keeping your window treatments clean is a great way to ensure that they live long and prosper. But the biggest issue when it comes to protecting your window treatments for the long run is the sun. The sun can cause some major fading and discoloration in your treatments, and of course, there’s no real way to turn that off. But there are a few things you can do to protect your treatments.

You can put shutters on the outside of your home to open and close on occasion, but that’s a big undertaking. The best thing to do is look into window tinting. There are dozens of options when it comes to window film: Some will darken the look of the window, others will remain translucent but block harmful UV rays. This a good option if you want to keep the look and feel of your windows and their treatments, and you won’t have to replace them in a couple of years due to fading or yellowing.


 

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5 Tips to Keep a Healthy Home

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Even some of the tidiest homes are susceptible to unwelcome germs. Use these ideas to keep your home healthy and germ-free!

While a lot of people enjoy living in a clean, beautiful home and work hard to keep it that way, even some of the tidiest homes are susceptible to unwelcome germs. Below are the best five tips to keep your home healthy and germ-free!

Tip#1: Keep your kitchen spotless
Most of the germs in your household are found in your kitchen. Whether they’re in the sink, on the countertops, hiding in sponges, or on your cutting boards, kitchens harbor hundreds of thousands of harmful bacteria. After you cook a meal, make sure that you scrub down your countertops with disinfecting wipes or use a sponge with soap and water. When you’ve finished, put your sponge in the dishwasher and clean that too!

Tip #2: Wash your wet laundry immediately
Wet laundry is a hotspot for germs, especially if it’s kept inside of your dirty hamper. Moisture and darkness serve as a breeding ground for bacteria and the longer that they sit there, the more infested your laundry will become. Wash your wet laundry as soon as your take it off your back and make sure it gets washed in hot water. Transfer the clothing to the dryer as soon as the washing cycle is finished to avoid germs from multiplying. It’s a great idea to rinse the washer with vinegar once you’ve finished doing laundry to kill off any remaining bacteria.

Tip #3: Be mindful of your toothbrush
Our mouths are home to over 100 million microbes and they eat the same things we do. So, when you brush your teeth, particles of food and bacteria stick to your toothbrush and if not kept in the right conditions, could foster more germs. In order to avoid an overgrowth of bacteria on your toothbrush, leave it standing up in a cup to air dry. Avoid putting it on your bathroom counter where it can contract other germs or inside a travel case where the moisture will just make things worst.

Tip #4: Your bathroom should a clean haven
Your bathroom is a place dedicated to providing hygiene, and as such, should be very hygienic itself. Every time you take a shower, you wash off bacteria and viruses from your body, but unfortunately they linger in your bathtub. Disinfect your bathtub or shower once a week with an anti-bacterial cleanser. Also, be sure to close the lid of your toilet before you flush as fecal matter sprays onto the bathroom floor, resulting in the floor containing more germs than the actual toilet seat.

Tip #5: Leave your shoes by the door
Last but not least, consider taking off your shoes before you enter your home as they carry loads of dirt, chemicals, and pathogens on their soles. Your shoes track everything you walk in outside to the inside of your home, which can include dog feces, pesticides, mud, and pollen that can cause allergies. The simplest solution is to have a doormat, wipe your shoes as you enter, and leave them by the door.

Thank you for reading the  article and be sure to contact me.

Finding The Perfect Home in a Seller’s Market

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In the Pacific Northwest, the real estate market is on fire. It’s been a seller’s market for a while, and 2017 is showing the same trends. Folks want to live here, and we can’t blame them. But finding the perfect home with such low inventory is tough. And winning the bidding war? That’s an even bigger challenge. So what’s a buyer to do?

  1. Be open-minded about your wish list. Everyone has a must-have list with en suite bathrooms, walk-in closets, open floorplans, or white cabinetry. Don’t get hung up on everything. Evaluate and prioritize your wants, see what comes out on top, and be realistic. You may have to compromise on some items.

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  2. Consider another neighborhood. Of course it’s important to love the community you’ll be living in. Maybe you want to be somewhere walkable with great schools and recreation nearby? And it can’t be too far from work, either. But you never know: your dream home could be down the road another ten minutes. Your commute might be a little longer, but if you’re coming home to the perfect place, it might be worth it!
  3. Don’t panic if you fall in love with a home and lose it to another buyer. Rest assured, there will be another! Stay the course, keep looking. It’s awesome when you can’t help but imagine yourself in a home, living happily ever after for years to come. But try to keep your enthusiasm in check until you win the deal.
  4. Use technology to your advantage. Listings don’t last long in today’s real estate market. Use apps, website searches and notifications to see new listings you’ll love as soon as they’re available. Your broker is keeping an eye out for you, but there’s always a chance you’ll stumble across something before they do! And speaking of your broker…
  5. Trust your broker to help you every step of the way. As long as you maintain open and honest communication with your broker about your wants, needs, worries and concerns, they’re going to do everything they can to help you find that unique gem you’ve been searching for.

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The Smartest Home Improvements for 2017 Why not add home improvements to your 2017 resolutions?

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The New Year is a great time to begin thinking about home improvement projects. Here are a few tasks to kick off in 2017.

Replace Your Garage Door
Your garage door is one of the first things visitors and potential buyers will notice about your home. That’s why it’s important to ensure that yours is in great shape. Consider installing a new garage door if yours is damaged or showing its age.

Insulated garage doors will boost the energy savings of your home. Your garage is an open pocket of air attached to your home. As it gets colder outside, an uninsulated garage will trap cold air against your home, forcing you to spend more on energy bills. Insulated models will keep cold air out and help you eliminate extra spending on utilities.

Install Smart Locks
Smart locks allow you to control and monitor the security of your home through your smart phone. The price of smart locks will vary depending on the features. Most models come with Bluetooth connectivity and remote access.

Get a Nest Thermostat
Learning thermostats will improve the environment in your home and save you money. Smart thermostats learn your heating and cooling habits and automatically adjust your HVAC to meet your needs. You can install a smart thermostat yourself or with the help of a pro.

Complete a Minor Kitchen Remodel
Your kitchen is a busy place. Everyone loves to gather around food and enjoy good conversation while keeping the host or hostess company. If you’re dealing with a cramped kitchen, consider a minor kitchen remodel to help open up your space.

Worried about the cost of a remodel? A kitchen remodel will return 83 percent of its cost at the time of resale, making it one of the better ways to spend your money in 2017.

Update Your Bathroom
Your bathrooms are another great location for home improvements. You don’t have to overhaul the entire room to recoup the cost of your upgrades. Head to your local home improvement store and pick up any of the following items to boost the appearance of your bathrooms:

● New faucet and handles
● Modern mirrors
● New towel racks
● Floating shelves

Channel Your Inner Handyman
You can also tackle some home improvements yourself. It’s as simple as focusing on what’s already in your home rather than what it lacks. Go through your home and check for the following:

● Leaks in the shower
● Leaks in the sink
● Knicks in the drywall

8 Killer Mistakes That Could Keep You From Selling Your Home This Winter

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The seemingly endless stretch of bleak, freezing weather we’re experiencing comes with some additional bad news: Wintertime generally means lower asking prices, fewer buyers on the hunt, and less money changing hands.

But there’s cheery news, too: Just because your home’s on the market during the slow, chilly months doesn’t mean you have to accept a lowball offer. If you make your home attractive in all the right ways, qualified buyers will come. Just avoid making these all-too-common winter-selling mistakes in order to get top dollar.

Mistake No. 1: Setting down the shovel

You cleared off enough of the driveway for your car, but potential buyers won’t be entering through the garage like you do.

“Blazing a path through 3 feet of virgin snow makes a lousy first impression,” says John Engel, a Realtor® with Halstead Properties, in New Canaan, CT.

Don’t put away your snow shovel until you’ve cleared a path to your front door. Or save your poor back by hiring a snow removal company to keep your paths walkable.

“Not only does it make it more inviting for buyers, but it avoids potential safety and liability concerns,” says Massachusetts Realtor John Ternullo.

Mistake No. 2: Giving in to the winter blahs

Gray skies and barren trees make winter a particularly depressing time to sell. But you don’t have to let your home look as doleful as the weather.

“Pops of color by the entryway, like a seasonal wreath and topiaries, can add some interest to the front entrance as well as make it more inviting,” Ternullo says.

And don’t wait until buyers schedule showings to add some life: Colorful curb appeal transforms your listing photos from drab to dramatic.

Mistake No. 3: Letting the seasonal slowdown slow you down

The hot summer market might leave you feeling optimistic about your home’s chances. Your neighbor’s identical bungalow sold for $300,000—so yours should too, right?

Not exactly. As the market cools along with the weather, “priced to sell” can mean something far different from what it did in the blazing months of summer.

But while you shouldn’t be too optimistic, you also shouldn’t be so scared your home won’t sell that you give it away. Just because it’s colder outside doesn’t mean savvy buyers aren’t still scouring the market.

“Buyers know a good deal when they see it, and they’ll pounce on one in the winter if the price is right,” Engel says. “Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the market is dead because open house activity and closings are down. Buyers are online every day of the year.”

Mistake No. 4: Not scrubbing your windows

Colder temps have robbed your trees of their leaves, leaving your home to look a bit sadder in winter’s wake. But that’s not the only problem. Those full trees previously shielded your home from direct sunlight. And now that it’s pouring in your windows, potential buyers will be able to see everything. 

Scuffs, fingerprints, and streaks are “never more apparent” than in the wintertime, Engel says, so you should make sure you’re vigilant about keeping windows clean. Alone, that grime might not be enough to turn off a potential buyer, but it might make them wonder what other details you’ve missed.

Mistake No. 5: Displaying outdated summer photos

Your Tudor looks particularly glorious in the summer, but if your only listing photos were taken in April, buyers will immediately suspect a problem.

“Nothing says ‘old, tired listing’ more than the photo you took nine months ago,” Engel says. Talk to your Realtor about taking new photos that make your home look festive and seasonal. Feel free to keep older photos in the listing—your buyers might want to know what the home looks like when the gardens are in full bloom—but updated photos will make your listing seem fresh.

Mistake No. 6: Turning down the heat

Don't give potential buyers a chilly reception.
Don’t give potential buyers a chilly reception.

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“Frugality is great, but not when you’re trying to sell real estate for top dollar,” says Brian Davis, a real estate investor and co-founder of SparkRental.com.

Turn the heat up before you leave for showings, your utility bill be damned. Stick to 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit to keep everyone comfy.

“It will make the house feel homier and more welcoming,” Davis says. “It also gives the impression that the house is energy-efficient and well-insulated.”

Mistake No. 7: Denying access

It’s New Year’s Eve and a buyer wants to stop by. How dare they! Shouldn’t they assume you have a fabulous party to prepare for?

Maybe. But if you want to sell your home in the off-season, the buyer has to come first. You’ll need to work with your Realtor to devise a strategy for squeezing in showings, even in between all of winter’s holiday events and family gatherings.

“While it may be inconvenient, it’s crucial not to deny showings, as that could be a missed opportunity,” Ternullo says. “There may be less buyers compared to spring, but winter buyers tend to be serious.”

Mistake No. 8: Leaving out your draft stoppers

Your hand-knit draft stopper might look adorable snuggled against your door, but it “sends a clear message to buyers,” Davis says. “This house is drafty and loses heat easily.”

Not that you should lie. But every home has hidden problems, and it’s best to let the buyers make their own assessments and discoveries during the inspection period. Don’t leave out little things that could sway their decision.

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Selling Your Home? Light it Up!

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When you’re selling your home, there’s so much to think about. Curb appeal, open houses, marketing your home… the list goes on. Selling in the fall means less daylight, so it’s time for you to light it up!

It’s important to create the perfect environment for potential buyers when they walk into your home. So if you’re selling when the sun sets earlier, consider turning all of your lights on for at least the first week on the market, if not longer. When a home is bathed in beautiful, welcoming light, it’s so much more inviting! Your electric bill may be a little higher, but the end result will be worth it. Flip the switch and turn on everything, especially lights in the basement, laundry room, and any outdoor and path lighting.

 

 

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Keep Your Home Ice-Free This Winter

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Seattle saw its first seasonal ‘snow’ this week. Flakes didn’t fall or accumulate everywhere, but temperatures dipped below freezing. Welcome to the season of de-icing.

We all know the feeling: time gets away from you in the morning, you rush outside and almost slip as you finally make it to your car, and it’s coated in an invisible but ridiculously strong layer of ice. You don’t see the ice on your windshield until you get in and it starts fogging up. You grab your scraper and get to work, wait another few minutes for the car to warm up… and finally, you can begin your drive.

De-icing the car is never fun, but it’s necessary if you’re going to safely make it to your destination. But what about your home? Shouldn’t you de-ice that, too? You spend at least half your life in it, so it’s essential to protect it from the elements.

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A little home maintenance can go a long way. There are countless ice melting sprays, liquids, etc. Here’s a shortlist of some of the best methods.

Think Ahead for a Clear Driveway

Stop ice before it starts, and pre-treat your walkways and driveway with de-icer before the storm. This makes it easier to place the de-icer on just the pavement. If it’s already snowed, you’ll have to shovel first; ice melt will not work on top of snow. Avoid standard rock salt, which can damage pavement, and try these environmentally friendly options instead:

  • Calcium Magnesium Acetate
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Magnesium Chloride

Tip: mixing sand with your de-icer adds traction and may help prevent falls.

Consider Driveway Heating

Ever thought of installing a radiant heat system under your driveway? If you already have a smart home, this is just an added bonus, and if you ever sell your home, it’s a perk that buyers will appreciate.

Prevent Ice Dams on The Roof

Icicles look cool hanging from the roof, but they’re a telltale sign of an ice dam. Ice dams are extremely damaging and can lead to leaks. Keep snow off the roof as much as possible by using a roof rake. If it’s too late and lingering snow has already frozen into an ice dam, calcium chloride ice melt may do the trick. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to break an ice dam yourself! If all else fails, hire a pro.

Keep Windows Free of Moisture

It’s humid in the Pacific Northwest, and the temperature occasionally falls low enough to form ice on windows. Avoid damaging dampness and increase ventilation with these tips:

  • Use a dehumidifier
  • Turn on exhaust fans every day to expel excess moisture
  • Open curtains and blinds
  • Increase the heat
  • If at all possible, keep the windows cracked

WHAT’S YOUR
HANDYMAN IQ?

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