Top Tips For Selling Your House In Fall And Winter

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 gore

You may love the idea of blood and guts and skeletons rising from your yard and headless individuals hanging from your trees, but will buyers be amused or afraid? Anything that has the potential to turn them off is a no-no when listing your house. Sticking to safe decor choices will help you appeal to the masses.

Go easy on the holiday displays, too

Apply the same logic when it comes to Christmas 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.”


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8 Amazingly Easy Tips For A Pet-Friendly Home

For many of us, it’s an absolute pleasure to share our homes with our four-legged best friends. But there’s no denying that our pets can sometimes lead to wear and tear on our homes. Yet with careful planning and some redesigned elements, we can enhance our house so that it’s conducive to our pets and ourselves. If you live with a beloved pet, the following design trends and home-living tips are sure to promote a home that’s comfortable for everyone — and everything — that lives there.

Avoid Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, your guests are bound to note from the moment they enter your home (even if pets aren’t present) that you live with animals. In spite of routine cleaning, carpeting harbors pet odors and allergens. If you can’t live without carpeting, opt for a low pile that’s easy to clean. You might also consider adding easy-to-clean area rugs in your home — just be sure to add slip proofing beneath these rugs to keep them securely in place.

Durable Flooring

A hallmark of a pet-friendly home is durable flooring. While hardwood and eco-friendly bamboo are durable, they may show wear and tear (i.e. scratching) sooner than a concrete or tile floor will. Your pets likely spend considerable time on the floor, so it makes sense to install flooring that is ideal for them. You may also want to consider other pet-friendly types of flooring like vinyl and linoleum. Be sure to research your flooring in order to choose the best type for your home and your particular pet.

Install a Dog Door

Many homeowners love the convenience of a dog door, which allows dogs and even cats to let themselves in and out of the home as they need. With a dog door, you don’t have to rush home from work to ensure that your dog gets out on time and you don’t have to worry about forgetting to let your pets in and out. You can also opt to install a custom door that includes pet-friendly access within its design.


Stain-Resistant Fabrics

Even if you have strict rules about no pets on the furniture, there comes a time when your pet is bound to leave a mess on your fabric. By choosing stain-resistant materials, you can take the headache out of pet messes. Similarly, easy-to-clean fabrics like microfiber will also hold up to pet wear and tear better than many other types of fabric. Leather is quite easy to clean, but if you have large dogs you’ll need to take extra care with their nails to ensure that your leather upholstery isn’t punctured or scratched.

Built-In Feeding Station

Do you ever wish you could fill your pet’s water bowl in place? When you create a custom feeding station, you can install a faucet that allows you to fill up your dog or cat’s water bowl right in its place. You can also install attractive cabinetry where you can store your pet’s food and treats. This type of station is easy to integrate into a kitchen, mud room, laundry room or wherever you choose to feed your pets.

Designer Bed

Although many people don’t mind snuggling with their pets, others may dislike the wear and tear four-legged creatures impart on bedding. If you don’t allow your pets to bed with you, you can still enhance their comfort by getting them a deluxe bed that brims with comfort. With so many styles of pet beds on the market today, you’ll be able to choose a size and style that is perfect for your four-legged pal.

Outdoor Hardscaping

Pet urine can lead to unsightly patches on your lawn. To keep your landscape looking its best, consider installing an outdoor area behind your home where pets can take care of their basic needs. You can also install hardscaping, which makes cleaning up after pets a breeze. Concrete is not only effective as a hardscaping material, it’s also an affordable option.

Pet Apparatus

To keep your pets from becoming bored when you’re working or busy with household chores, add a pet apparatus to your home. Cats love to climb and look out of windows, while dogs often enjoy dog housing where they can relax and claim a space of their own. To ensure that your house is truly pet-friendly, make sure your dogs and cats have special gear or toys designed just for them.


Naturally, you’ll want to make any changes to your home with your pets in mind. With these general tips, you’ll be able to create a pet-friendly environment that you’ll love as much as they will.


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Smart Investments In Your Kitchen Cabinetry

At an average of $50,000, a kitchen remodel is a major undertaking. A good return on that investment means different things to different people. You may be considering resale value, your bank balance at the moment, the elements of your dream kitchen-or all of the above. Whatever the case, kitchen cabinets are a key component of every remodel.

In order to make the best choices for your particular needs and desires, and to make an investment of time and money that really pays off, a little homework is in order. Let’s get you started with a little background on the basics that will have you making decisions with confidence and cooking in style.

Talk to the Pros

When it comes to considering the return on investment for remodels, you’re really talking about what your home will sell for after that remodel is complete. No one will be able to answer that question better than real estate professionals and professional interior designers who work in your neighborhood. Consult with at least one of each to find out what finishes and extras other clients in your area are looking for, and what they’re willing to pay for those amenities.

Start With a Great Floor Plan

So much happens in the kitchen-a good floor plan can really help you direct activity flow in that high-traffic space. Buyers are looking for their dream kitchen, and they are surprisingly informed about what makes a good floor plan. Make sure your cabinets are conveniently placed for maximum accessibility. Whether that’s surrounding the refrigerator with floor-to-ceiling pantry cabinets, or giving up some cabinet space in order to mount the oven on the wall, think carefully about how you operate in the space. Where are the prep, cooking and cleaning zones in your kitchen, and how will cabinetry best serve them?


Keep It Simple

Any real estate agent will tell you that, if resale value is a consideration in your remodel, you should avoid ornate or trendy styles and finishes. Go with light colors and finishes and simple, timeless hardware and fixtures. While some ultra modern designs are also super simple, remember that “ultra modern” is, by definition, a trend that will change over time. Shaker style cabinets are a good example of modern, timeless and simple design. They look great in kitchens from American traditional to contemporary European. The important advantage of simple is that it tends to be more affordable, which means it’s much easier to recoup that investment.

Make a Good Match

Of course, open floor plans are very desirable right now, so that’s definitely a consideration to make if your remodel budget will allow it. If you’re already working with an open floor plan, be sure that your new cabinets are faced with doors that complement the design style and finishes in the areas of the house that are open to the kitchen. Here again, simple, light finishes really pay off. If you’ve got contemporary built-ins in the family room off the kitchen, or a traditional media center that takes up some major real estate, make sure the kitchen cabinets fit the style.


It’s All in the Details

With kitchen remodels, it really is all in the details. One thing buyers today are willing to pay for are those little extras that make cooking and cleaning a much more pleasant affair. Roll-out drawers are definitely worth consideration and are really not the budget buster most of our clients expect them to be. A vertical, pull-out pantry near the fridge or cook top is another favorite, as are quiet-close drawers. We love the look and warmth of under-cabinet lighting, which also makes for great task lighting. And while glass front cabinets are not for everyone, if you do make that choice, be sure to go the extra mile with interior lighting-it makes the kitchen a show stopper.

The Nitty Gritty

Now you’ve got a sense of the choices and amenities available and those that buyers are currently looking for. But when it comes to a return on your remodel investment, what should you look for in the cabinets themselves-high-end for the high rollers or down-and-dirty to make that sale? It’s true that you can see the difference in upscale cabinetry created from specialty woods, but most buyers aren’t expecting that extra. On the other hand, you don’t have to be a real estate agent or designer to spot cheap cabinetry, and buyers definitely don’t want to walk into a kitchen they know they’ll have to remodel themselves.

In our experience, there are lots of quality, mid-range cabinets out there that give you the best chance of making your money back. You need cabinets with the design and craftsmanship that allow you to offer those quiet-close drawers and sliding shelves in the cabinets, and finishes that work with all kinds of design styles.

What are you looking for in your next set of kitchen cabinets?


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10 Tips For Staying Sane While DIYing

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 survery 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.”


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Renovations To Think About Now If You Want A Holiday-Ready Home

Extended family descending on your house this year? Don’t panic. If you start now, you can have a holiday-ready home by the time Aunt Brenda and her brood shows up.

“We say it every year – the holidays will be here before we know it,” said Prime Lending. “For many people, that means hosting parties, welcoming overnight guests and opening your home to unexpected drop-in visitors. You may be thinking it would be great to spruce things up around your house before the holiday hustle and bustle begins. Now is a great time to dive into your home makeover and wrap it up before the holidays arrive.”

Here are the areas you might want to focus on first.

Get your kitchen looking cheftastic

Chances are, your kitchen is going to be one of the places where people are congregating during the holidays, and not just while cooking. If it’s seen better days, or if it just doesn’t reflect your style – or any style from this century – get started. You can select, order, and have new countertops installed in a matter of a few weeks. If you don’t want to touch the countertops, think about painting your cabinets and adding new hardware. A new backsplash can bring it all together, and is something you can do yourself.

Mary Evelyn


Replace or repair appliances

Thinking about the function of your kitchen – not just how you’ll use it over the holidays, but all year round – is key to making good choices when renovating. “If you are hosting Thanksgiving, a double oven and a new refrigerator may be your top priority,” said Prime Lending.

Maybe your dishwasher has seen better days or your washer and dryer have been hanging on for a while. Knowing that they’ll be put to good use with a house full of people might inspire you to make some upgrades now.

Consider the stuff you serve with and eat on, too

While you’re in the kitchen, you may want to think about upgrading your cookware, cooking utensils, glassware, silverware, and anything else that will be helping you prepare, serve, or eat food during the holidays. How old are those dishes, anyway?

Living room redo

If you have clunky built-ins or a large armoire housing your outdated TV, it might be time to make some changes. Turn the built-ins into bookcases or a sleek desk with some streamlined shelving above, which can provide both function and a fashionable upgrade. Turn a fireplace into a focal point by retiling or simply painting old brick white and hang a flat screen above. Voila. Your hangout space is updated and holiday-ready.

If you’re not super tech-savvy and have never installed a flat screen before, it’s smart to hire someone who is and who has. “If a new flat panel television, home theater system, or other electronic devices are bound for your household this gift-giving season, consider seeking installation quotes from a trained professional,” said Better Homes and Gardens. “Proper installation can maximize your enjoyment of new electronics for a fraction of their purchase price, and the stress of following a multi-page instruction manual may bring out the Scrooge in many DIYers.”


Add new bedding

You can make the guests rooms (or the guest couches, if your family converging on one house for the holidays looks anything like ours) hospitable and improve the look at the same time by changing out the bedding. Buying new sheets and a comforter is easy and inexpensive – and don’t forget new pillows, too. Choose a neutral color for the comforter and add some patterned pillow for some zip. Or, choose a graphic pattern to give the bed a modern feel. A fresh coat of paint in a color that is neutral and that gives the rooms a calming nature will help transform them into something that feels resort-like.

Address the back yard

If you live in a climate that allows outdoor enjoyment throughout the year – or if you know the kids will be playing outside regardless of the temperature – making some changes in your yard might be in order. The fall is a great time to buy patio furniture, since it’s typically on sale after summer ends. A firepit can be an inviting addition to your outdoor area, and one that will allow your guests to gather in front of a crackling fire while bundled up with a tasty, holiday beverage.

Update the guest bathrooms

One thing you can count on is that your guests will be spending time in the bathrooms. If yours are in need of some attention, now’s the time to pay some. If you don’t want to do a complete overhaul, you can make simple, inexpensive edits by changing out the showerhead, faucets, lighting, and slathering on a fresh coat of paint. A new paint color and some new hardware can also liven up older cabinets. Add a fresh set of towels and bath mats, and you’re all set.

Do a complete audit of everything else

Do a complete walkthrough of your house. Turn on all the baths, sinks, and showers, and all the lights and TVs. Sit on the beds, couches, and chairs. Open closets. Search the walls, doors, and baseboards for nicks and scratches. This will give you a head start on anything that needs to be fixed or replaced before family starts knocking on the door.


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What’s Happening in Longmont!?

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Every season of the year yields unique events, activities and a special list worth untold dollars that we like to call “The annual fall maintenance schedule for home owners!”

This is the post you want to read, heed and share to all your online outlets because this will make you the SAVINGS ADVOCATE HERO of your social circles!

We start off with one important question you need to ask:


Let’s take a look at some real numbers about not so much the cost, but more significantly, the SAVINGS of completing the autumn checklist of To Do items around our homes.


1.  Everybody’s favorite, the gutters and downspouts clean out! Those clogged gutters can lead to damage to fascia, soffits and even cause roof damage.  Repair or replacement can run from $50 per section and up into the thousands of dollars!

2 Change HVAC air return filters and furnace filters because a properly functioning system can save you BIG BUCKS on cooling and heating bills each and every month!

3   Shut down, drain and cover swamp coolers or AC units.  Frozen water may cause incredible damage that may not be repairable, requiring replacement.  Cleaning, draining and covering against weather and varmint damage saves you $100 – $2500 or more in repair or replacement costs!

4   Check the weather stripping around exterior doors and around the windows. Reducing the loss of cool or warm air can decrease your energy costs and save you anywhere from $25 to as much as $150 or more EVERY MONTH!

5   Remove screens and replace with storm windows – see above for the energy savings you can realize on a monthly basis!

6   Shut off and insulate outdoor spigots for the season.  While a frozen spigot might thaw out, there’s also the chance of burst pipes.  Not letting that happen saves you $150 – $300 or more, depending on resulting damages!

7   This is a great time to test the smoke and/or carbon monoxide alarms.  Install fresh batteries at a cost of about $3-$15 depending on how many units you have.  This could save a life in the coming season and that is PRICELESS!


1   Clean outdoor furniture in preparation of storing for the winter.  Savings add up fast, as new lawn furniture has increased dramatically.  NOT buying new every year can save you big next summer, and that money, possibly as much as $1000 could go toward your vacation instead!

2 Drain fuel from lawn equipment before storing for the winter.  Engine components can gum up or water mix with the gasoline causing damage.  Savings are anywhere from $50 – $1500 when you don’t have to purchase new equipment each year!

3 Examine sidewalks, walkways, stairways, patios and driveways for cracks, crevices or missing chunks.  Keeping these in shape is a safety issue as well as a savings when kept in good repair!

4 Perform a visual roof inspection to catch any small spots needing repair to avoid water damage to rafters or leaks that ruin ceilings. Savings can be quite significant in the long term! A roof should only need replacing once every 20-30 years depending on the material used.

5 Seal any foundation cracks.  Even small ones can allow further water damage to occur.  Be sure any water runoff is directed away from the house and not allowed to pool along the foundation line.

6 And don’t forget the landscaping!  This is the time to prune those trees and bushes and aerate the yard for healthy new growth next spring.  Savings include equity gains come sale time, since TREES increase the market value of a home!


1 Chimney inspection!  Before opening up for the season, have chimney cleaned and serviced to make sure damper is operating properly.  Cost to skip this maintenance chore?  If the house burns to the ground it could run to the tens of thousands!

2 Clean the dryer vent as a fire prevention measure – see above for the value in this maintenance move!

3   Peeling paint isn’t just unsightly, in some subdivisions with HOA rules it could cost you a fine of $100 or more!  One small section left unattended allows weather to cause further peeling and further peeling until the $35 maintenance becomes a several thousand job to correct!

4   If you’ve got a humidifier, regular maintenance keeps you and your family’s lungs clear of bacteria that can build up – PRICELESS SAVINGS MOVE!

5   Have a sprinkler system? Be sure to drain or have it blown out to avoid cracked pipes and water leaks next watering season.  Savings are high in this area as a new system could run as much as $400 per zone to install a new system.

6   Is the doorbell working properly?  Almost no one ever checks their own doorbell but you don’t want to miss out on being alerted that YOU ARE THE PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE WINNER OF $5000 A MONTH FOR LIFE! (Okay, we’re joking around a little here ha ha), but seriously, a working doorbell may not seem a big deal now, but how important might it be to a potential buyer when the time to sell the home arrives?

7   This is a great time to get a Broker Price Opinion from your local RE/MAX Alliance Associate to compare and prepare for your annual Tax Assessment.  Having a  go to agent, such as Steven Noel or Chris Martinez, can be a life saver in situations not related to buying or selling!

It takes about one weekend or maybe two to complete the items on a Fall Maintenance To Do list.  And while it certainly isn’t very inspiring to spend a couple of weekends during football season working around the house, how does spending a weekend increasing your wealth quotient sound?  Perspective is reality, and your reality could be making you money when you view the To Do as an interest bearing savings account at your home address!

(All pricing is based on average costs advertised in the Front Range area and are not intended to be actual cost or savings, but only a representation of possible cost or savings on these items.)

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