Tag Archives: Homeowner

In Autumn, Selling Your House in Sapphire Takes Organization

It’s October­­­; a time of year that has a lot to recommend it. In many parts of the country, it’s the season when Mother Nature goes full throttle with the Technicolor. Sunsets can be outrageous. In some parts of the country, leaves can bid adieu with displays that put rainbows to shame. Fall weather turns the air a bit crisper. All in all, to a lot of folks, fall is the favorite time of the year.

Selling your Sapphire house in the autumn, on the other hand, can present some special challenges. Selling your house in the springtime, for instance, doesn’t include clearing the garden of the remnants of summer growth (that is, unless you let it go the previous year!). The plusses and minuses of selling your house after the peak spring-summer real estate rush is over can be debated at length. What isn’t debatable is that to take full advantage of selling your house this time of year, you should be aware of a few specifics:

  • Keep up with the season
    … leaf fall for yards with deciduous plants can require almost daily attention during some periods. You’re the best judge of when the debris crosses the line from pleasantly natural into downright unsightly­­—but in any case, it’s a good idea to make a quick inspection part of your daily routine.
  • Keep up with the weather
    … leaf fall is one thing, but windy fall storms can turn a well-kept garden inside-out in a few hours. After a storm passes, be prepared to hose off the traces of muddy puddles and do some organized sweeping. It can make a big difference when you approach a house with a clear walkway (vs. one that looks like a typhoon just passed!).
  • Pet areas
    …they can be more difficult to manage in autumn and winter when Mother Nature can keep them indoors for longer periods or make their favorite hangouts less accessible. Being more flexible and attentive to their needs than in summertime is often necessary.
  • Prepare the mechanicals
    …if sudden chills descend, knowing that your heating setup is ready to go into action assures a welcoming environment for prospective buyers. If it hasn’t been in use since last spring, a system may produce some unpleasant side effects the first time it’s fired up. If yours one that needs a yearly checkup by the utility company, better not wait!
  • Anticipate success!
    Selling your Sapphire home in fal­l­ and winter may take a little extra vigilance when the weather acts up, but buyers at this time of year can be more eager to close on their new home. Be organized for success, which can mean everything from having a year’s worth of utility bills ready to show­, to scoping out where you’re headed next.

Selling your Sapphire home efficiently takes some organization and planning. A good first step is to get in touch with a Sapphire real estate professional who will pitch in and help every step of the way. In other words—call me!

Gloomy Weather Needn’t Dampen Highlands Home for Sale Prep

4-15-weatherYou’ve decided that right now is the perfect time to put up your Highlands home for sale; you’re charged with energy and determination; you’re ready to get going—and then…suddenly, the spring weather turns foul. It’s an all-too-common frustration, from mud season sieges in Northeastern Maine to kite-busting windstorms in the far Southwest, the kind of perfection “spring days” brings to mind isn’t always there when you want it to be.

Some days (even some weeks) are like that—often, when you’re trying to ready your Highlands home for sale. Sometimes Mother Nature just doesn’t cooperate. You’re stuck indoors.

Rather than sitting and stewing over all the time lost from perfecting the garden or touching up those few exterior blemishes that need a spot of paint or two, this is one situation that’s easily reversed. In fact, there is such a lot that can be accomplished indoors, with a little mental jujitsu, you should even be able to talk yourself into considering a bad weather break as an opportunity.

There are dozens of indoor activities you can attend to. Here are 3 C’s for examples:

Clutter! Let’s face it, for a home for sale, there’s too much stuff, everywhere. No, all that dust-catching memorabilia doesn’t really serve to create a more charming, homey atmosphere. It actually creates the sense that this home for sale belongs to someone else. The goal is to display a dwelling primed and waiting for the buyer’s décor ideas to take hold—and clutter in the form of personal possessions just obscures the issue. Box it, store it—or even prepare it for later eBay sale. Just do get it out of sight!

Clean! There’s the degree of ‘clean’ that we live in every day, and that’s perfectly fine for busy households and regular family life. Then there’s the kind of ‘clean’ that can help to turn a home for sale into a home that’s under contract. Deep cleaning is an art—and it may even take a professional to accomplish. In most cases, it just takes a little more time and determination than day-to-day housework can achieve. A stormy day is perfect for a serious rented-rug-cleaner session, or some toothbrush-aided baseboard scrubbing. Granted, foul weather is not conducive to any heroic window washing…for that, wait ‘till the skies clear.

Clear! The furniture arrangement that’s evolved over time may be a layout that makes daily Highlands living comfortable and convenient is frequently not the layout most conducive to moving a home for sale as quickly as possible. Less is often more because it opens sight lines and gives the feeling of roominess. Clearing rooms of redundant tables, chairs—even sofas—is an indoor activity with results that become instantly gratifying.

Spates of unpredictable Highlands weather don’t really prove much of an impediment to preparing a Highlands home for sale. If you’re close to making that decision, I hope you’ll consider giving me a call to discuss marketing directions. The weather’s perfect!

Who, What to Tip: Holiday Guidance for Sapphire Homeowners

12-17-holidaytippingAt holiday time, Sapphire homeowners can count on being flooded with decisions. For everything from the extent of front yard decorations to the menu decisions for family gatherings, more than anything, ‘tis the season for organization and planning. Homeowners have done their best to minimize the likelihood of travel-related scheduling emergencies—never mind the weird weather patterns that make that a coin-toss. They’ve either succeeded or failed in syncing their gift-shopping to take advantage of sales—although this year, 1-day sale announcements seem to be popping up and disappearing as fast as Whack-a-Moles. 2014’s calendar also reduced the number of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so there’s been less time to get everything done…

Given all that, Sapphire homeowners can scarcely be faulted if they haven’t given a lot of thought to holiday tip giving: who, how much…the usual conundrum. I thought I would do some current research and offer everyone some guidance, but I should warn you: I didn’t find much.

I thought the answer would lie with Dr. Wm. Michael Lynn, the tipping universe’s reigning academic expert. In case you never suspected there was such a field, you should know that Dr. Lynn is the Burton M. Sack Professor at Cornell University. Although, technically, Dr. Lynn’s professorship is in “Food & Beverage Management” (and before the holidays are over, some Sapphire homeowners may wish they’d paid more heed to their own personal beverage management), his most important work has been on the subject of tipping.

Unfortunately, when I delved into some of his thoughts so I could share them with Sapphire homeowners, what I found turned out to be a little more technical than expected. I’d hoped to find something like “hairdresser: cost of a session” or “babysitter: hourly rate x 4” — some cut-and-dried guidance like that. Instead, I found research papers on topics like the relationship of tips to waiters’ and waitresses’ shirt colors (wearing a black and white shirt gets better tips than red); whether religious people are poor tippers compared with less religious people (not really, unless the service is really bad); and how the desire for social approval motivates tipping of car guards in South Africa (I’m still not sure what a ‘car guard’ is).

Undoubtedly these insights are valid, but don’t provide Sapphire homeowners with much useful guidance. With time running out, I turned for help elsewhere, and did eventually emerge with some vague but welcome suggestions, mostly from Emily Post and the Chicago Tribune:

  • Grade school teacher: holiday gift (something thoughtful; a nice card will do)
  • Doctor, lawyer, accountant: skip entirely
  • Newspaper deliverer: $15-$30 (remember, this comes from the Trib)
  • Housekeeper/Cleaner: Up to amount of one week’s pay and/or small gift
  • Gardeners, Trash collectors, all the rest: advice varies from $10-$50!
  • Babysitter: One evening’s pay and a small gift from the child/ren
  • Butler: pay close attention to reruns of Downton Abbey

But finally there was truly useful advice offered by a psychologist in the Midwest. She pointed out that holiday gratuities are never mandatory; they’re appropriate when you find them to be so, and gift or cash, the size is what makes you (and the recipient) feel comfortable.

I like that advice…and what a great time of year for us to hear it! In the same spirit, I hope you and your family find in 2014 the warmest, most wonderful holiday season ever!