Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Will Holiday Decorations Help or Hurt a Sale at Christmas?

Christmas tree and fireplace decorations
 Holiday decorations can have an adverse affect on home selling.

Selling your home during the holidays is loaded with pros and cons, don’t make any mistake about it. If you ask a real estate agent, “Should I keep my home on the market over the holidays?” an agent will tell you, “Yes, absolutely, because then you know buyers are serious.” You know what I think about that? I’ll cut to the chase. It’s hogwash. If you don’t really have to sell between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, take your home off of the market, and enjoy some peace and quiet with your family.

Now, we can expect that hundreds of thousands of real estate agents want to argue. That’s because real estate agents always want your home on the market, regardless of whether it’s the right time to sell or not. Don’t blame them for being blindsided. It’s the way of the profession. If your home isn’t on the market during the holidays, agents won’t get a sale, and it’s as simple as that.

Not to mention, you might decide to list with another agent if the listing is canceled. That’s a real possibility for many agents, and it’s a real fear.

On the other hand, some people really do need to sell over the holidays. And some buyers do need to buy a home during the Christmas season, for example, and they don’t have any other alternative. But the fact remains there are not as many buyers in the market in December. Whether holiday season buyers  are more “serious” than springtime buyers remains to be seen.


Reasons You Might Not Want to Sell Your Home Over the Holidays


  • First time home buyers, not knowing any better, could think you are desperate. Buyers might try to negotiate. 
  • It’s inconvenient during the holidays to always be ready for home showing at a moment’s notice. Not everybody wants to keep the house spic and span when cooking, wrapping gifts, throwing parties. 
  • The offers you receive might be for less than list price, and you could receive a lowball offer.


  • You’re appealing to a much smaller inventory of buyers who have very specific needs that your home might not match. 
  • It’s almost impossible to close a financed transaction in December if the offer is received mid-month. Buyers who want to close after the New Year will probably make offers in January. 
  • If you remove your home from the market, it can return as a brand new listing in January, thereby drawing more traffic because it’s fresh and exciting. 
  • Your agent might be on vacation in December and unavailable as the market moves into a seasonal slowdown. Other real estate professionals might be unavailable when you need them as well.

Some sellers insist on leaving their homes on the market, regardless, and that’s OK, too. The deciding factors depend on local custom, on what neighbors are doing and how real estate activity is viewed by others during the holiday season in your area. Every town is different. There are neighborhoods in California where, if you didn’t spot plastic Santa Clauses tied to palm trees, you might never know it was Christmas.

Still, reduced inventory over the holidays generally means less competition.

However, when the pool of buyers drops, the remaining balance of inventory might not make much difference. In parts of the country where it snows, buyers think twice about bundling up in heavy coats, boots and gloves to trudge through snow banks to go looking at homes when they’d rather be out shopping or staying at home in front of the fireplace.

Selling during the holidays tip: if you have a hard-to-sell home with drawbacks and defects, maybe a bad location, you might get shoved to the bottom of the showing list if you wait until Spring to sell your home. There might be too many other much nicer homes for sale at that time. Your hard-to-sell home might rise to the top when there are fewer homes for sale over the holidays.


If You Plan on Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Back off on the decorations.

Should you put out those blue and white candles and prominently display your menorah? What about hanging a wreath on your door or showcasing a Christmas tree in front of a window? What’s overdoing it? What’s not?

People carry biases and prejudices with them. Why give them more information than they need to know about you? By not decorating, you are protecting your privacyduring home showings. You are also making your home feel more spacious without blocking pathways. When buyers enter your home, you want them to imagine putting their own furniture in each room, making it theirs, and they can’t do that if your holiday decorations dominate the stage.

Too many decorations can be overwhelming and distracting. Don’t make the mistake of thinking buyers will “see past it” because they can’t. As an agent I know from Massachusetts says, “the eye buys.”


Holiday Decorating Compromises for Stubborn Sellers

If you decide you cannot live through a holiday seasons without decorating your home, at least keep the decorations to a minimum. Don’t block or cover up important selling features such as fireplace mantels, stairs, stained-glass windows. Consider hiring a home stager to do home staging with the buyer in mind.


  • Tone down the size of tree. In place of a 10-foot tree, try decorating a table-top, four-foot version. 
  • Stack wrapped presents in a closet or in one corner. 
  • Use more splashes of red than green because red is an emotionally appealing color. 
  • Resist the urge to hang banners and use greenery instead such as evergreen or rosemary garlands. 
  • Display centerpieces made from pine cones or other wintry pieces of nature. 
  • Never leave candles burning unattended. 
  • Set a plate of cookies on the counter, next to festive paper napkins for guests. 
  • Simmer spicy apple cider on the stove, and set out cups and serving utensil.

At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, CalBRE #00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.

Tasteful Fireplace Alternatives

Often having a home in a big city means trading elements of suburban living, such as a cozy fireplace, for the excitement of the city of lights. With these fireplace alternatives, those living in the city can enjoy some decor radiance.

Fireplace alternatives let those living in the center of busy cities have the added warmth and ambiance provided by a hearth. Often having a home in a city like New York City means trading elements of suburban living, such as a cozy fireplace, for the excitement of the city of lights. With these fireplace alternatives, those living in the city can enjoy some decor radiance.

Electric Fireplaces

Your only electric fireplace option is no longer that ugly one that would be placed in the living room to decorate for the winter holiday season. Lovely electric fireplaces are now energy efficient with their forced air heaters and thermostat heat controls, and they come in various styles. Unique designs in traditional, contemporary, and a wood burning stove look are perfect for the NYC dweller looking to add not only the look of warmth but actual warmth to their home. Obviously being electric means that these type of fireplaces must be placed near an outlet.

With a free-standing, electric unit that resembles a wood stove and provides real heat, one can find a place to show it off while also removing the need for an ugly space heater. You even utilize contemporary wall-hung units and eliminate the need to find floor space in a smaller abode. Simply hang the fireplace on a wall near an outlet as if you are hanging artwork. There are even models dressed up to appear as art in a traditional frame. These safe electric fireplaces also give the added option to have the glow of the fire without the heat, for occasions when you may want the warmth of a flame but do not need the higher room temperature.

Gel Fireplaces

Unlike the electric fireplaces that require an outlet to plug in, gel fireplaces showcase a flame simply by lighting a flame, much like you would with a wood burning fireplace. Gel fuel fireplaces are perfect for the Big Apple abode as they provide a real fire in locations, such as apartment buildings, offices, and rentals, that you would normally not have the option of a traditional fireplace. The gel fireplace provides a real flame that flickers and crackles just as a wood burning or gas fireplace will have. Although not as warm as the electric versions, these also provide a little actual warmth from their flame. What is great about the gel option is that these fireplaces can be extremely portable and versatile.

These lovely gel fireplaces are available in many shapes and sizes, including the traditional looking fireplace as well as tabletop versions for small spaces, and there are wall-hung, contemporary versions. There are even coffee tables designed with gel fireplaces built into the center. As these do not plug in, they can be small and very easy to move from room to room. Light up the living room for entertaining and then move it to the bedroom for a romantic decor touch. The gel alcohol fuel is environmentally safe and friendly, and optional scents can be added to provide ambiance. Just make sure you have enough gel cans to replace as needed to keep your flame glowing. For those with actual wood burning fireplaces, you can easily convert it to use gel fuel by placing gel-fueled logs inside to light up instead of wood.

Home Tip of the Day: Thanksgiving Leftovers

Was a 22-pound turkey over zealous? Try one of these creative Thanksgiving leftover ideas.

At a loss for what to do with the massive amounts of leftover turkey you have from Thanksgiving? Here are a few tasty ideas you might want to try out.

Here are some recipes to try out:

Press Turkey Sandwiches

Leftover Turkey Chile and Cornbread

Planning on buying in the off-season? Arm yourself with strategies from the pros

winter-real-estate-HOUSE WITH SNOW CRAFTSMAN 11 17

Rainy open houses and icy walkways make shopping for a home in winter less of a thrill than in the busy spring and summer months. But there are some distinct advantages (as well as some downsides) to shopping in the off season. If you’re thinking of buying a home in the next few months, you’re probably wondering what to expect from this year’s winter real estate market. One thing is for sure: Taking your high-season strategies into a low-season game will not serve you well. Here’s what you need to know to adjust your thinking to this winter’s realities.

7 Essential Truths About the Winter Real Estate Market

1. It’s slim pickings out there.

There are fewer homes on the market in winter than at other times of the year. And in cities where winter means lots of snow and ice, the decrease is even more dramatic. In Denver, for instance, there are only about one-third as many homes for sale in winter as in spring or summer, says Denver real estate agent Jani Bielenberg of Bielenberg & Associates.

And this year, the inventory crunch is even worse. Home inventory is now at a post-recession low, down 9.1 percent nationally in the third quarter compared to a year ago, according to Trulia’s research. And this winter isn’t shaping up to break the trend, so buyers in many markets should be prepared for slimmer pickings. If you’re committed to buying this winter, it may be time to widen your idea of what your dream home looks like or which block it’s on.

2. But starter home buyers have a bit more to choose from.

For first-time buyers, though, the outlook in winter is sunnier. The inventory of less-expensive starter homes actually increases by about 7 percent in the last three months of the year compared to the spring, Trulia research shows. And the bump is widespread: 70 of the largest 100 metros see peak annual starter home inventory in the fourth quarter. That influx of homes for sale leads to listing prices that are about 4.8 percent lower in the first quarter of the year than in summer.

All of this can make winter a great time to shop for a starter home. But even with the seasonal bump, choices will be limited this year, when inventories are unusually low across all home types and the number of starter homes for sale is about 20 percent lower than at the same time last year.

“The takeaway here,” explains Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia’s head economist, “is that even though starter home inventory is now at the lowest count since we first started keeping track in 2012, starter home buyers should be able to find consolation at the end of the year.”

3. Open houses and bidding wars chill out for the season.

The upside of shopping in winter is that many would-be buyers call it quits till spring. That means less competition, a welcome reprieve for those disheartened by packed open houses and seemingly unwinnable bidding wars.

In Sacramento, for example, open houses this summer attracted 50 to 100 shoppers, and solid listings often received up to 10 offers, says agent Elizabeth Weintraub with Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento. In winter, that’ll drop to more like a dozen open-house shoppers and maybe two or three offers, maybe just one. There may even be time to visit a house more than once before making an offer, she says, which definitely wasn’t often the case this past summer.

To hit the market at its absolute slowest, aim for the weeks right around Christmas, when buyers more or less evaporate.

4. Sellers are ready to make a deal.

Many realtors advise their clients to wait until the spring and summer rush to sell. So homes that are on the market in winter often have motivated owners who cannot wait that long. These homes, especially those that failed to sell in the fall and are still on the market, may be ripe for a lowball offer.

“There is opportunity,” says Denver agent Bielenberg. Especially if you’re up for some renovation. Realtors sometimes encourage homeowners who haven’t updated homes in a while to put them on the market in winter, when they face less competition from snazzier homes. So, if you can look past oak cabinets, white tile counters, and worn carpets, you may find a home with good bones, fewer bidders, and a tempting price.

5. FHA buyers have a better shot at a winning bid.

With fewer shoppers in the market, prospects brighten for buyers with an FHA loan. These loans, backed by the Federal Housing Authority, have looser requirements than conventional loans, making them less appealing to home sellers who are getting all-cash offers or conventional loan buyers with big down payments. But with fewer winter bidders, home sellers often become more amenable to FHA buyers.

6. Home inspections may not tick every box.

In winter, home inspections may be more notable for what they don’t include than what they do. The air conditioning cannot be tested in cold weather, and snow may cover the roof. Also, are those trees just dormant or are they actually dead? Be aware of the gaps in the inspection and pay close attention to the age and type of the roof and air conditioner. If you’re concerned about the trees, an arborist can assess their health in any season of the year.

7. Interest rates are still stable, but some predict they’ll rise.

Interest rates shift more with economic conditions and policy decisions than with the seasons. And rates have been so stable, hovering around 4 percent all year, that “hardly anybody ever mentions them anymore,” says Lori Hicks, an agent with Hicks Elite Realty Professionals in Columbus, Ohio.

But don’t get too complacent. The Federal Reserve recently hinted at future increases, and the Mortgage Bankers Association has predicted that the Fed will raise rates in December and three times in 2018, though they also predict that 30-year-mortgage rates will remain below 5 percent throughout the year. It’s wise to watch this closely. If rates rise while you’re house-hunting, it can make a real difference in what you can afford.

Thanksgiving Clean Up Tips

Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner? Here are 5 simple tips to get the mess cleaned up quickly and easily.

Guest post by Andrea Davis

Thanksgiving is one of the most rewarding and exhausting holidays in the year. However, when it comes to the clean up, the sleepiness sets in. Never fear – help is here. Follow these quick & simple tips to minimize the extra work and get the mess cleaned up easily.

1. Clear off the Table

Putting dishes, silverware and plates in the sink or dishwasher is the simplest first step to tidying up the meal. Hopefully, everyone cleared their plates so all you need to do is rinse and place in the dishwasher. For the grimier dishes, you can just use a scrub brush or the rough side of a sponge. Then you can fill up the dishwasher and call it a night.

2. Store the Leftovers

You don’t want your Thanksgiving leftovers to rot in the night. So grab some Tupperware, scrape the food off the plate and place them in the fridge. If you hadn’t prepped room in there before, make sure to set aside a shelf or two for the food. If you have a whole turkey left, you might be better served taking the meat off rather than stuffing the whole bird in the fridge. For whatever food you don’t want to keep, use your garbage disposal and trash bins.

3. Get a Soaking Station Set up

Soak your pans and pots in the sink with soapy water. You can keep these overnight and either transfer them to the dishwasher, or you can hand clean them. It could be a good chore for your kids as well. When all else fails, use a scrubber! That will remove the food grime and get your pots & pans ready for the dishwasher.

4. Clean Those Linens

Thanksgiving is a messy holiday, what with the cranberries, pumpkin pie and so on. To avoid some set-in stains with your table cover and cloth napkins, put them immediately in the washer after guests depart. Make sure there’s soap and use warm or hot water to ensure the stain gets out. You don’t want to spend hours trying to soak or scrub a stain out of your linens.

5. Wipe Everything Down

Use a wet cloth or wipes to clear the remaining morsels from your furniture. This includes:

  • Dining room set (table & chairs)
  • Countertops
  • Sink
  • Couches & chairs if food was eaten there

You might not have the energy to vacuum, but a quick sweep will hold over the rooms until tomorrow. It shouldn’t take more than ten minutes and even less if the whole family participates.


Don’t let the work after Thanksgiving sour the whole experience. If you have a plan in place beforehand, cleanup will be quick and take less than an hour. For whatever seems too stressful, save it for tomorrow. Enjoy that food coma – you worked hard for it and will work it off in no time.




When Planning Your Thanksgiving Meal, Why Not Shop Local?

When you live in a community such as ours, why wouldn’t you shop local for all of your Thanksgiving meal needs? From table decor to appetizers to dessert and nuts, everything is available right here in Petoskey.

When you live in a community such as ours, why wouldn’t you shop local for your Thanksgiving meal? From table decor to appetizers to dessert and nuts, everything is available right here in Petoskey.


Petoskey Cheese, one of our community’s newer businesses, has cut-to-order artisanal cheeses and the experts to help you plan your crowd-pleasing appetizers! They also offer jams, mustards, crackers, nuts, chocolates, and an olive bar.

Platter with Spanish ham jamon serrano or Italian prosciutto crudo sliced Italian hard cheese pecorino toscano homemade dried meat salami glasses of red wine and pistachios on old wooden board

Crooked Tree Breadworks is your place to buy specialty nuts for your guests. They feature curried pistachios, orange balsamic pecans, and spicy glazed almonds on their website. You’re also going to want to pick up the “local’s loaf” while you’re in the shop. The “local’s loaf” is truly Petoskey grown and 100 percent local whole wheat as Crooked Tree Breadworks paired with the Scheel Family Farm & Flour Mill, located on Division Road in Petoskey, to make this unapologetically, homegrown bread.

Fish and Meat

While you’re at Crooked Tree Breadworks make sure you stop in to Toski Sands Market, located just next door. Toski Sands is going to be your one stop for your fresh seafood, meat, and alcohol. Not only do they have a reputation for the finest quality in everything they sell, but check out their list of locally grown produce, fish and meat, dairy, and breads, effectively multiplying your local support.

If you are looking for your locally grown turkey, look no further than Agrilicious’s list. They compiled a list of locally grown and organic turkey farms. The work is already done for you! Of note, Morganic Farm, just a short drive toward Traverse City, would be an excellent choice for this year’s turkey.

Roasted turkey garnished with cranberries on a rustic style table decoraded with pumpkins gourds asparagus brussel sprouts baked vegetables pie flowers and candles.

Plath’s Meats, Inc., located at the corner of Mitchell and Division, is also a wonderful choice for this year’s turkey. Giving you the option to shop online, they make your meal planning easy and convenient.

Fruits and Veggies

A trip to Bill’s Farm Market never disappoints. From the beautiful views of the rolling hills to the amazing produce all year long, Bill’s Farm Market is definitely a must-stop for this year’s Thanksgiving meal. In addition to your vegetables, you will also want to stock up on your fresh herbs and seasonings for your turkey, stuffing, and sides. And don’t miss out, Bill’s has beautiful bouquets, perfect for wowing your guests.

Jams, Jellies, and Dressings

There is just something about American Spoon Foods that immediately builds excitement when you walk in. There are rows on rows of gorgeous colored jars of jams and jellies and salsa. There is a sample bar in the middle of the room that begs you to try one or all of the amazing products that American Spoon offers. The staff is always friendly and helpful. For all of these reasons, American Spoon Foods is a must for your holiday meal shopping. Lastly, American Spoon offers recipes for all of their items or you can always ask an associate for tips and tricks.

Pond Hill Farm is another fun place to check out when planning your meal. A short drive past Harbor Springs and into the beautiful countryside, is where you will find Pond Hill Farm, and it is worth the trip. Aren’t we truly lucky that we have these amazing destinations to shop? Not only is the farm absolutely beautiful but it is chock-full of activities for the family. There is a livestock barn, cross-country ski run, hayrides, a cafe, and winery, and the Squash Rocket (which you have to see for yourself). They offer an online store as well, if you want to peruse from the comfort of your couch, but be sure to make the trip at least once.

Fustini’s, located in downtown Petoskey, is the perfect spot to pick up your oils, vinegar, and last minute dry seasonings. Their experts are available to help you pair your flavors and provide samples of everything before you buy. Not only do they let you sample, but they have several different bottle size options — so you can try out small amounts before you commit to the full size.


Tigerlillys in Alanson is yet another, must shop-in-person store for your Thanksgiving prep. They’re located in downtown Alanson, on the corner of River Street and US-31. They have the absolute best holiday decor and the most wonderful staff to help you with your needs. Of course, they can make you any flower arrangement you desire for your centerpiece as well.

5 Surprisingly Smart Reasons to Buy a Home During the Holidays


Turkeys and tinsel, dreidels and pumpkin pie. Yes friends, the holidays are here again, and it’s the perfect time for … house hunting? OK, we know you’re busy enough planning family feasts and much-needed vacations while dealing with blustery weather, but hear us out. While it might seem counterintuitive to put a big-ticket item like a home on your holiday shopping list, it really does make sense.

Don’t believe us? Check out these surprisingly smart reasons to let everyone else hit the mall to buy half-off sweaters while you make the purchase of a lifetime: a new house to ring in the New Year.

1. Less competition from home buyers

Most buyers take the month off to celebrate the holidays, attend parties, host out-of-town guests and, quite frankly, avoid trudging around in inclement weather to look at houses. Or, maybe they’ve heard that this is a lousy time to buy a house. Whatever the reason, shopping for real estate at a time when fewer buyers are in the market can pay off big.

That’s because competing with multiple offers is one of the most stressful parts of the home-buying process, says Brian Wasson, a real estate broker with Center Coast Realty in Chicago.

2. Motivated (OK, desperate) home sellers

The December seller is likely to be serious and motivated—and therefore more open to negotiation. So what you might lack in choice of available homes could be balanced out by dealing with a more flexible seller.

Most sellers have a compelling reason for putting their house on the market during the holidays. (Let’s face it: It’s no holiday party for them to have strangers wandering through their house.) They might be facing a relocation and want to get their kids settled before the new term. Or they might just be feeling some stress if they listed their home in the fall and it’s still languishing post–Turkey Day, making them just a little more desperate and anxious to deal.

Many sellers might also want a contract in hand for tax advantages. If it’s a rental property on which they incurred a loss, they are likely to want to take the deduction this calendar year, Wasson says.

Another tax-related reason: If sellers are likely to make a hefty profit and have a salary raise set to kick in on Jan. 1, they might be subject to a higher capital gains tax on their home sale in the coming year. In this scenario, sellers may want to unload a property before the new year.

Sellers are exempt from paying capital gains tax on the first $250,000 in proceeds from a home sale for a single person, or $500,000 for a couple. After that, the capital gains tax kicks in, based on their income bracket.

3. Tax advantages

In case you weren’t aware, the tax benefits go both ways, notes Realtor® Al Cannistra with Texas Premier Realty in San Antonio. Buying now can help you save in April and beyond. Homeownership brings numerous tax perks, from deducting mortgage interest to property taxes. (Update: The House of Representatives just passed its version of the GOP proposed tax plan, which would cap the property tax deduction at $10,000. The House bill also would only allow homeowners to deduct the interest on mortgages up to $500,000, down from the current $1 million.)

Some states also might have a homeowner’s tax exemption, says Cannistra: “If your state does, closing the deal by Dec. 31 rather than waiting for the first week of the new year can make a year’s difference in whether or not you get that valuable tax savings.”

Also, many closing fees are tax-deductible if you itemize—although you should always double-check with your accountant about any tax questions.

4. A realistic picture of the house

What house doesn’t look amazing in the typical spring buying season, with newly planted flowers and plenty of sunlight streaming through the windows? Checking it out during the miserable winter season, on the other hand, might give you a more accurate idea of what you might be living with the rest of the year.

In addition to seeing the house, warts and all, you can check for issues that you’d notice only during cold weather.

“Maybe there’s a bedroom in the home that doesn’t get sufficient heat, or the front door gets jammed in icy conditions,” says Wasson. “Inspectors are less likely to catch these issues with the home when they check them out of season.”

Of course, don’t forget that issues that crop up more during summer will be less accessible—such as how well the air conditioning works or what the roof really looks like under all that snow and ice—so make sure that your home inspector does a thorough job on those fronts, too.

5. Greater accessibility to professionals

“Since December is usually a slower month all around, you will have easier access to movers, inspectors, and mortgage brokers,” says Jennifer Sommers with Sotheby’s International Realty in Boca Raton, FL.

In addition, motivated real estate agents will bend over backward to provide service with fewer client demands and will share your desire to get it done and in the books before the new year rolls around.  Ditto on your mortgage broker, who is bound to speed your closing through.

From Our Network

Wondering How to Make Your Home Smell Like Fall? Here are 5 Simple Tips!

Love the smells of pumpkin spice and cinnamon? Then autumn is probably your favorite season! Learn how to bring the smell of fall into your home with these tips.

Fall leaves

Fall is the favorite season for a lot of people, and the fabulous fall scents are one of the main reasons why. Apple cinnamon, pumpkin spice, hot cocoa, oh my! Want to know how to make your home smell like fall? Try one of these easy ideas.

1. Plug It In …

… or light it up, or spray it around, or attach it to your furnace filter. You get the idea, right? Perhaps one of the easiest ways to recreate the best fall scents is to buy an air freshener or candle. Think they probably don’t make the scent you’re looking for? Think again! From “Flannel” to “Leaves,” you’ll be surprised at all the options available.

Fall candles

2. Heat It Up

Ever heard of stove top potpourri? We dare you to try it. Once you get a whiff, you’ll be making it on the regular. Simply add in herbs, spices, extracts and fruit peels that you have on hand to a pot of water, bring it to a boil and then let it simmer as long as you’d like (all you have to do is add more water periodically). The best part? It’s an all-natural way of making your home smell oh-so-delicious!

Fall stove top potpourri

3. Set It Out

If sprays, flames and hot pots aren’t your cup of spice tea, try the set-it-and-forget-it route. Purchase some delicious-smelling potpourri and simple set it out throughout your home. To add a little holiday decorative flair, consider purchasing one of the customizable cinnamon brooms often found in your local grocery store.

Cinnamon broom

4. Spread It Around

The household chores don’t stop during pumpkin spice season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t combine the two. Before doing your regularly scheduled vacuuming for the week, consider shaking some carpet deodorizer in your favorite fall scents over your rugs and carpets. Let it sit for about half an hour and then vacuum away. You’ll end up with a clean, fabulous-smelling home. Want a cheaper alternative than a store-bought deodorizer? Simply combine baking soda and pumpkin pie spice to make a DIY fall carpet deodorizer.

Pumpkin pie deodorizer

5. Whip It Up

Perhaps the best tip of all is to show off your baking skills in the kitchen. What’s better than the smell of treats like cranberry bread or apple pie baking in the oven? Sure, the smell won’t last forever, but that’s okay; neither will the baked goods — especially if you have guests visiting for the holidays. That just means you’ll have to make some more!

Pumpkin pie deodorizer

Happy Fall!

Disclosaphobia? 5 Tips for Completing a Seller’s Disclosure

Related image

The seller’s disclosure is one of the most important documents that a buyer closely scrutinizes prior to going under contract. Here are important things to keep in mind as you complete this form.

The dreaded seller’s disclosure – it’s that pesky document that asks you umpteen questions. How many ceiling fans are in the property, what’s the make and model of each appliance, how old is the roof, A/C system and so forth. Really? Do you have to answer these questions and all of them? Well if you are selling your house,  the answer : is YES and you must answer to the best of your knowledge.

The seller’s disclosure is one of THE most important documents that a buyer closely scrutinizes prior to going under contract. If there are any blank questions or ambiguities, you are likely going to be asked for further clarification and it could delay or prevent a buyer from moving forward.

Here are 5 tips to help you overcome “disclosaphobia” and complete this document with ease:

1. Do Your Research

If you purchased your home within the recent past and had a home inspection, that document can be a useful reference as to the make, model and age of certain components in your home such as the A/C system, water heater, etc. Keep in mind that if you have replaced any of these items, then you will need to complete the disclosure reflective of that information.

2. Be Accurate

If you had a four point inspection for insurance purposes at the time of purchase, that could tell you the age and type of key components such as the roof, plumbing and electrical. Use this to help determine the present age when you are completing the disclosure.

3. Be Honest

Answer every question to the best of your knowledge. If there was something that happened such as a roof leak or water damage for example, provide as much information as possible. Buyers want to know when the issue occurred, the nature of the damage and what was done to repair or address the issue. If an insurance claim was filed, be sure to note that and what the outcome was as far as coverage. The claim could very well turn up when the new buyer works on obtaining insurance – better for the buyer to learn about it from the disclosure first. Attach any relevant paperwork as well such as receipts or invoices. Buyers need assurance that all adds up. Surprise is never a good thing in real estate.

4. Be Clear

Don’t leave a buyer guessing. Avoid vague answers or leaving questions blank. That only raises more questions for a buyer. If you don’t know or the question is not applicable to your kind of property, note that.

5. Set Expectations

The biggest challenge for disclosures arises when the party selling the property has never occupied it or only lived in it for a brief period of time. Be sure to clearly state what your occupancy situation was and to what extent if any, you have knowledge about the property. Setting proper expectations upfront in this regard with potential buyers is important.

If necessary, attach an additional explanation for anything that requires more information than what the form provides. Make sure all information is legible and will transmit clearly across a variety of mediums when printed, emailed, scanned or faxed.

In short, be thorough and provide information to the buyer that will give them confidence in their decision. Contrary to popular belief, buyers are not frustrated with too much disclosure, but rather not enough.


Leslie Swindahl local Realtor/Broker is now with Hawkins Poe Inc in University Place

Leslie Swindahl local Realtor/Broker is now with Hawkins Poe Inc  in University Place

Leslie Swindahl

I chose to be a REALTOR® because this career allowed me to set my own destiny.  The possibilities are endless when you are a REALTOR®.  Some people are happy selling 3 houses a year, others are happy selling 50 houses a year. So yes, it is a good life which is why I have been a REALTOR® for 19+ years. I really cannot imagine myself doing anything else.
The reason I have chosen Hawkins Poe is because the service the  company  provide is superb and this is the only company that is still family owned and care about your family to.
Before that, I was an Office Administrator for Chassis Components, a race car shop.  As owners of the shop, my husband and I facilitated the building of the race cars, and I helped create the manual for the crew.
When I’m not helping my sellers or buyers, I love to garden.  I enjoy planting new flowers and watch them come back up again next year. I also volunteer at a retirement center, taking seniors to their doctor appointments and to the grocery store so they don’t have to pay for public transportation.
I find that going into the office every day and feeling the energizing atmosphere is the greatest motivation that keeps me on the move.  It really motivates me to help my clients buy and sell their homes!
Leslie Swindahl, REALTOR®/Broker
Now with Hawkins Poe 253-312-0447 (mobile)

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