Tips to make fall easier

It is hard to imagine a season prettier than the fall. For a brief fleeting time, the rich, bright colors of a burning bush in your yard or a hillside emblazoned with the foliage changing are satisfying and gorgeous — until you have to clean up those leaves.

Fall also offers challenges to Realtors, buyers and sellers. The waning daylight makes showing and seeing homes more difficult, and transitioning a home from open windows and manicured lawns to plowed and salted walkways makes keeping a house at its “showing best” a real challenge.

First, be sure the outside is prepared for winter first. If you have trees, managing those ever-dropping leaves is difficult. My husband sets the mower one notch higher and on “mulch” to chop up the leaves, then comes back a few days later with the mower set lower and bags those leaves. The lawn looks better longer and he has far fewer bags of leaves waiting at the curbside.

Next, open those draperies a little wider. It will let the sunlight in, as well as the sun’s heat. This makes showing the house just a little easier and can reduce the heating bill as these nights grow cooler. If you are selling your home, set out a doormat where buyers and agents enter, and if you are concerned about tracking in dirt from outside, put a little basket of surgical booties next to the door to cover their shoes.

As winter sets in and less fresh air enters the house, be aware of that and be sure you don’t go “nose blind” to odors like cat litter or last night’s sauerkraut. However you do it, be aware that what seems natural or pleasant to you might trigger an unpleasant or even allergic reaction from a buyer. Don’t forget to reset the timers for lights around your home.

Be sure to get those gutters cleaned as soon as possible after the leaves fall. Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause problems from the roof to the foundation. Ice dams caused by water freezing in the gutters actually cause roof leaks and damage. Once they freeze and water sits next to your house because the drain lines can’t carry it away, it tries to get into your basement. A simple cleaning of the downspouts in November can save you thousands of dollars in damage.

Fall and winter weather offer challenges, but they also offer opportunities. Remember that no casual looker goes out on a dank, wet, fall evening to see a home. No “Looky Loo” will trudge out in 6 inches of snow to just “look” at your home. If a buyer wants to see your home, he / she is much more likely to be a serious buyer than at a sunny June Sunday open house.

Darlene Mink-Crouse is the 2018 president of the Warren Area Board of Realtors.

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