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How to Prepare Your Home This Winter for a Successful Spring Sale

Here’s our go-to list of what sellers should be doing now to ensure for a successful sale next spring.

Guest post by Patti Stern

If you are planning to sell your home next spring, why not get a jumpstart during the fall /winter season so you have more time and less stress while preparing? An added plus is that your home could potentially be ready to list in time for the early spring selling season at the end of January when the market is less crowded. It’s a win-win! Here’s our go-to list of what sellers should be doing now to ensure for a successful sale next spring.

1. Assess Your Home’s Condition – Inside & Out

The first step is to do a thorough walk-thru with an objective eye. Does it have “move-in ready appeal” that will “wow” young, savvy buyers? Is there chipped paint on moldings and trim? Is the front entry carpet runner worn and could benefit from replacing? Look at your property through the lens of your buyer and determine what needs the most attention so that Millennials with families can immediately connect and envision themselves living there with minimal work to do when they move in.

2. First Impressions Go a Long Way

With the changing seasons, try to tackle exterior repairs and landscaping while you can by keeping gutters clean, lawn raked, shrubs trimmed and driveways/walkways shoveled. For an inviting front porch with curb appeal, maintain a polished look each season with welcoming accents such as potted evergreens or berry branches, a beautiful wreath on the door, glowing lanterns, and a colorful welcome mat.

3. Remove Distractions & Get Organized

Tackle clutter one room at a time and decide whether to keep or purge items based on when you last touched or used it. Remove personal items, collectibles and excessive furniture that distract from the room’s key features as well as its perceived size and flow. Then organize the remaining items with efficient storage solutions such as baskets and containers for closets, drawers and cabinets.

4. Make it Fresh & Bright 

Ask yourself if the color on the walls and cabinets is too dark? Does wallpaper need to be removed? Are window treatments dated and heavy? Does worn carpet need replacing? Do hardwood floors need polishing? Simply adding a fresh coat of neutral “greige” paint to dark walls will brighten the room by creating a backdrop to showcase the other elements in the room, such as the white trim, new carpeting, wall art, and furniture (as shown in library above).

5. Create the “Wow Factor”

Once you’ve invested in the necessary upgrades for move-in ready appeal, buyers still need to emotionally connect by envisioning how their furnishings will look in the space. Staging a home is an investment in getting the property sold and for top dollar. Professional stagers can create the “wow” factor that might be needed after all of the repairs and upgrades are finished. Complete the look with strategically placed modern furniture paired with pops of colorful and inviting accents that will make a lasting impression as pictured in the living room photo above.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

 

AUTHOR: Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Her company is a 4-time Houzz Award winner, 2015- 2018.

 

 

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Pacific Northwest homes continue to appreciate. Here’s how Tacoma is doing

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Big jumps in home values continued across Washington state this spring, with Tacoma among the areas posting the largest increases in the U.S.

Home appreciation rose 14.9 percent in the second quarter compared to a year ago for the Tacoma metro area, according to a new report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. That’s the third-highest year-over-year increase among the 245 metro areas listed for that time period.

It follows a strong first quarter in which Tacoma posted a 13.1 percent year-over-year increase.

Several Pacific Northwest metro areas were in the top 10 for year-over-year home appreciation increases. Boise, Idaho, ranked second on the list with a 15.6 percent increase, Bremerton fourth at 14.4 percent, Seattle sixth at 13.7 percent, Bellingham was eighth at 13.1 percent and Wenatchee ninth at 12.6 percent.

While home appreciation is still rising rapidly in the Pacific Northwest, it is starting to slow down in other parts of the U.S., according to the report. Across the U.S., home values rose 6.5 percent in the past year.

William Doerner, a supervisory economist for the agency, said recent mortgage rate increases could be a factor in the national slowdown.

“Rates are still inexpensive from a historical standpoint, but their bump-up appears to have gently pressed the brakes on house price increases,” Doerner said in a news release accompanying the data.

 

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5 Best Crops to Harvest in the Fall

One gardening rule of thumb is to clearly know when to grow what–here are five of the best types of crops to harvest in your garden during the fall season.

Guest post by Olive Dawson.

As the weather begins to cool, you may notice that your tomato plants are looking a droopy, or that your green beans are no longer producing the way they used to. While the first frost spells disaster for some garden crops, there are dozens of other delicious, nutritious vegetables and fruits that you can grow during the autumn months. One gardening rule of thumb is to clearly know when to grow what–here are five of the best types of crops to harvest in your garden during the fall season.

1. Leafy Greens

Fall is a great time to cultivate fast-growing leafy greens. Cabbage, kale, spinach, and chard all grow well in the fall. Plus, if you harvest the leaves of these plants as soon as they emerge, they will continue to produce and will taste even better.

These greens can be grown until the first frost, with some types, such as kale, actually tasting better once they’ve succumbed to the cold. Look for heirloom varieties that are designed for fall planting for best results.

2. Brassicas

Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes, and mustard are all in the brassica category and thrive in cold fall temperatures. Plant these crops in a different location every year to help keep pests and diseases at bay, but keep in mind that you can grow multiple batches of these plants. Plant in early spring for slow harvest throughout the summer months, and then replenish in the late summer for a fall harvest. Many people continue to grow brassica crops throughout the winter, using a cold frame or row covers to keep the leaves of the plants protected.

3. Root Vegetables

Beets, carrots, turnips, radishes–what do all of these have in common? They grow well out of sight until the fall, when it’s time to harvest. While these crops can be planted in the spring and harvested during the summer months, fall varieties should be planted at the end of summer and can grow into November or December.

Consider growing alternative varieties or rotations of these crops for the best yield. Purple, white, or yellow carrots are often more adapted to cold weather than their more common orange counterparts. Turnips make a great cover crop and forage species for wildlife, so consider all of these factors when planning out your fall growing season.

4. Nut Trees

Fall is the perfect time to harvest nuts from trees like pecans, hazelnuts, and walnuts, and it’s also the best time to plant these species, too. Nut trees are typically grown as bare-root transplants, meaning they started as seedlings for the first couple years and were transplanted to a new location with the same climate. The tree is dormant in November or December, making the roots more dense when adapting to new soil.

It’s best to harvest tree nuts early in the fall before they drop to the ground and begin to rot on the soil or are eaten by wildlife.

5. Seasonal Fruits

Most people know that, if you live in the north, you can grow apples well into the fall. In fact, apples should be harvested this time of the year. Other fruits, like pomegranates and citrus fruit, produce ripe fruit by mid-winter, but can be harvested early.

When you are organizing a fall planting, remember that timing is everything. Pay attention to your area’s specific hardiness zone and growing season, and plant about ten weeks before the first killing frost. While this can be nearly impossible to predict, late summer is usually a good time to think about planting.  Also, consider planting insect repelling herbs in your garden to make sure you don’t lose your harvest to pests.

With a little bit of forward thinking and a willingness to brave the colder temperatures to harvest crops and tend to weeds, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest even after all of your other plants have completely died back.

Olive Dawson is a gardening and landscape design writer and environmentalist. She is always searching for new ways to reduce waste and grow food organically. She is most proud of her homemade beauty products.