Blog :: 10-2016

Top Tips for Selling your House in Fall & Winter

This article, from Jaymi Naciri at Realty Times, highlights some advantages and pitfalls to selling your house in the fall or winter. Admittedly there is a lot more work to do to keep your lawn looking good. Vermont's fall and winter scene can be unpredictable so make sure you stay on top of raking and plowing in the winter. Keeping in mind the holiday seasons, use decorations to your advantage but don't go overboard. People want to see your house, not the gazillion Christmas decorations you have from over the years. Check out the other tips listed below.

The temperature is dropping, the leaves are changing, and pumpkin spice everything has taken over the world. With fall color and produce so prominent at this time of year, you may be tempted to load up your home with an abundance of both. But if you're trying to sell your home now, a little discretion may go a long way. And that's just one of the tips for selling your house in the fall and winter.

Pay close attention to your curb appeal

We've admitted to having a problem resisting the temptation to buy every available pumpkin and decorative gourd at the market at this time year, so we feel your pain. But when it comes to styling your front porch, there's a slippery slope between nicely decorated and Farmer's Market.

The idea is to enhance your curb appeal, not obscure it. "While too many fall decorations will take focus off of your home and its best features, a few tasteful accents can create an inviting setting and make your home feel fresh," said HGTV.

You also want to make sure that fall leaves haven't taken a toll on your yard. Buyers may be understanding if your lawn is covered and unkempt, because they're living the same reality, but that doesn't mean the home will make a good impression.

Go Easy on the Holiday Displays

Apply the same logic when it comes to holiday decorations. Tasteful displays will, quite literally, show the home in its best light. Outfitting the home to compete with the Griswolds will make it a spectacle, but not necessarily saleable.

Let In the Light

It's always a good idea to open blinds and make sure windows are sparkly when trying to sell your home. But especially with shorter days in the fall and winter, you want to make sure you maximize the light in your home, which can make it look larger, fresher, and also "highlight your home's best features," said HGTV. Still need a little help? "Let in as much natural light as possible…and place plenty of lamps throughout your home for additional illumination."

Make your space inviting

As the weather cools down, a warm and cozy atmosphere will give potential homebuyers a warm and cozy feeling. Use plush throws on the couch and beds, add fall-accented pillows to choices and chairs, and, "Try displaying vases of fall foliage or bowls of seasonal fruit throughout your home," said HGTV.

Prepare your fireplace

A roaring fireplace during showings adds to the welcoming feeling. But, even if you're not yet ready to light a fire, making the fireplace look great is important. Clean those doors well, and sweep out the inside, too. If the paint inside your fireplace is wearing away, a fresh coat will help. Now, stack that wood nicely or replace it with some modern glass, and you're ready to go.

Use fall scents to your advantage

Cinnamon and pumpkin spice and vanilla, oh my! The flavors of fall are unmistakable, and when they're flowing through your home, you can create a powerful connection with buyers.

"The fall and winter months are associated with certain smells and flavors (think: pine needles, cinnamon, peppermint and pumpkin pie). Beyond setting the mood with decorations, you could try appealing to buyers' senses in multiple ways," said Smart Asset. "For example, if you're hosting an open house you could keep hot chocolate and pumpkin muffins on hand for visiting buyers. If you don't want to go that far, keeping a scented candle burning in the background or playing some holiday music can work wonders."

To read the original article click here.

10 Tips for Staying Sane While DIYing

Just bought a new home? Or been putting off some improvements that are long overdue? Do-it-yourself projects can be super fun but super stressful if you don't plan and handle the transition well. This article from Jaymi Naciri brings up some very good points on things you should think of before you get out the paint and tools. 

The home renovation industry continues to grow every day, and growing in lockstep: the number of people who are doing it themselves, with, well, varying results. Launching into a difficult project with no experience or training can prove disastrous. So can undertaking a renovation without a strong foundation in place - and that applies to both the home you're working on and your relationship.

Follow a few tips to help you DIY without leaving your body, your house, your marriage, or your finances DOA.

Make a plan - and stick to it

The research and planning you do beforehand will save you time and aggravation later on. Figure out your new floorplan, if there is one, and all the materials, details, and resources before you swing that hammer. The tighter your plan, the better your chances for achieving your desired result.

Take a broad view

Yes, experts insist that the secret to a successful remodel is planning, but "more specifically, a master plan," said The Oklahoman. "Having a master plan doesn't necessarily mean you are going to do a full house remodel this year. It just means you have an ultimate vision for your house - a clear goal as to how you want it to function now and in the future."

Choose - and order - your products early on

So, you fall in love with this floor tile that looks just like old barnwood, but you wait until the last minute to order it, and... it's been discontinued. Uh oh. Selecting your products at the beginning of your project is important because it helps you develop the big picture, but make sure you get them ordered, too, or you might have to start over.

"Making product selections early can prevent delays later," said Better Homes and Gardens. "Proper planning can also help keep you on budget."

Create a realistic budget

Speaking of budget...

You may think you can fully renovate your entire kitchen and master bath for $5,000, but...nah. Unless you have some trick for getting products for free, you're dreaming. Can you make some significant changes to your spaces without depleting your bank balances? Sure. But your budget has to match up with reality, or you'll just end up frustrated and disappointed. And don't forget to add in a contingency to your budget so when you have oopsies and overages, you don't have to scramble to find extra cash.

Be realistic about the timeline, too

Do your research when it comes to figuring out how much time to set aside for your renovation projects. Then add some more. And, if you're a super-novice, sprinkle some more on that. It's better to err on the long side of a potential timeline; that way, if you're making arrangements to be off work, to stay with friends, or to have someone watch your kids or dogs, you'll be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Learn a little something

Resources are out there to help you become skilled at all kinds of stuff. Take that online class or head to Lowe's for that workshop. The more you know, the easier it should go.

Bring in the pros for the tough stuff

Knocking down walls or getting into electrical or plumbing? it might be a good idea to bring in contractors to accomplish those tasks.


Renovating with a spouse or significant other? Be kind to each other and keep the communication flowing. Renovating is known to be one of the most stressful activities a couple can do together. You don't want to end up with a beautiful kitchen but a broken marriage.

Don't sweat the small stuff

The success of your renovation, to a large degree, depends on your ability to roll with it when things don't go your way. The stain color for the floor will be off. The bathroom tile will be backordered. The countertop will be delivered with a massive crack in it. Does that all qualify as "small stuff?" Maybe not, but keeping a good attitude - and keeping your eye on the prize - will help you make it through, even when it seems like your project is going off the rails.

"Sure, remodeling is exciting," said Better Homes and Gardens. "But there's also a lot of frustration as you encounter unexpected snags, delays, and the inevitable inconveniences that come from living in a construction zone. You'll handle the lows better if you know they're coming."

Practice the art of compromise

Back to the stress of renovating and the effect it can have on your relationship...

Want to know why couples fight during the process? Taste issues, according to a survey on Houzz. "Why all the tension? It's everyone's style choices, dear. The survey found that one-third of respondents did not like their significant other's taste," they said. The answer: compromise. "Indeed, renovating is a crash course in compromise. But that's one of the great things about it, because compromise often creates the best design."

To read the original article click here.

Prepare for a Rural Life: The Things You Don't Expect

This article from the staff at Realty Times highlights some of the benefits of switching to a more rural community. Some of these are completely up to you, like if you want to own a firearm for hunting or target practice. Trust us, there are plenty of other pastimes that don't include a gun. Taking up outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and winter sports are great ways to meet new people with shared interests. Vermont has a variety of options from city-like environments in Burlington to bustling towns like Waterbury and Stowe. While Waterbury and Stowe are more developed they still have plenty of wilderness just waiting to be explored. Moving to Vermont will change your life.

Making the move from city life to country living can be one of the best decisions you ever make. The lifestyle changes can be shocking at first but often have a strong positive impact on your health, family and overall quality of life. Chances are you've already put some serious thought into relocating, but there are many aspects of rural living that aren't as obvious as you think.

To better prepare yourself for a move to the country, take a moment to read over and consider the implications of the following insights. As a person who spent the first 13 years of her life in the heart of a bustling city before moving to the country, I can understand why it may feel like you're moving to an entirely different world. Everything around you will change, from the scenery to your mentality, and it's not a bad idea to prepare yourself and your family for the lifestyle transitions you will undoubtedly face.

The Perks of Mother Nature

Let's start with the obvious fact that the city endlessly burps out clouds of pollution and exhaust while the countryside constantly emits fresh, clean air. The close proximity to mother nature has a very positive effect on your physical and mental health. You don't have to deal with traffic, trash or a 5-mile commute to reach a city park. All you have to do is step outside and you're there.

Your children can play without constant supervision, which will give them a much greater sense of independence. You will have more room to spread out and indulge in new interests and hobbies. Growing your own food is common in rural communities and is a useful tool for adults to overcome a variety of health and social issues. Not only is it relaxing and therapeutic to spend time tending your garden, it's also a great way to cut down on your grocery bill too.

But with all this space and freedom come other factors you may not consider, factors that aren't necessarily drawbacks, but definitely worth noting. If you live in a big enough city, chances are you don't have a car, or if you do, it's economical and small. But out in the country owning a vehicle is a necessity (as is an Amazon Prime account), seeing as you can't walk to the grocery store or take public transportation to school or work. It's necessary to drive and most of the time it will take more than a few minutes to get where you're going. Owning a reliable vehicle, preferably with four-wheel drive, depending on how you intend to use it, is something to look into when preparing to move to the country.

Reshaping Your Hobbies and Social Circles

Now that you're living in a rural community, enjoying your space, freedom and hopefully a shiny new car, you might be surprised to hear gunshots in the distance or even nearby. Don't worry, the chances that the gun shots are crime-related are very slim. Instead, it's likely they're from a neighbor enjoying some target practice in his backyard or a hunter filling his tag for the year. These activities are completely normal and great pastimes to consider when moving to the country. If you're not quite comfortable with the idea of owning a firearm or unsure of how to safely use one, you can always buy an airsoft gun to first learn and potentially invest in a firearm-related hobby.

A major thing that most don't consider when moving to the countryside is the dramatic decrease in social interaction. You may notice a drop in time spent in your social circles when you move because you won't be around all of the time. But in return, you will be rewarded with a greater sense of community and, hopefully, an especially fruitful grapevine. Rural communities tend to be spread out but close knit. If someone doesn't have something you need, chances are they know someone who does. Prepare yourself for these social changes by visiting the community you're interested in and attending local classes or events to meet new people and make new friends.

Investigate the Community

Visiting the community you're interested in is another great way to prepare for your move. If you have children, make sure you do your research on the local school district; compared to city, educational programs can be few and far between. Don't worry, though, your children will benefit in many ways from a move to the country, especially when crime rates are significantly lower in rural areas than in the city.

Another thing you should prepare for is the cell reception or internet speed in your new home. Check out available internet providers so you don't wind up in a tight spot. If you work from home and use the internet a lot, or you're used to streaming Netflix on TVs, an iPad and your son's laptop, you might need to consider the implications of slow internet connection for where you want to live and the costs of improving it.

To read the original article click here.