There is a dusting of snow on top of the Gore Range, which reminds us that these gorgeous fall colors can’t be far behind. While I am all for enjoying every last second of fall, now is the time to prepare your home for winter. Here are a few tips that can help make the transition to colder weather easier, and which could save you some headaches in the future:
- Clean out your gutters.
- Disconnect and drain all outside hoses. (I didn’t do this one year. Bad move on my part, but fortunately the burst pipe only drained into an unfinished crawl space.
- If possible, shut off outside water valves.
- Insulate walls and attics, and caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
- Repair roof leaks and remove tree branches that could become weighted down with ice or snow. (Keep in mind that trees on your property don’t always respect property lines, and could fall on your house or your neighbor’s house!)
- Wrap water pipes in your basement or crawl spaces with insulation sleeves to slow heat transfer.
- Consider an insulated blanket for your hot water heater.
- If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when you’re not using it.
- Have a contractor check your roof to see if it would sustain the weight of a heavy snowfall.
- Make sure your furniture isn’t blocking your home’s heating vents.
- During cold spells, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly those in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.
- If your house will be unattended during cold periods, consider draining the water system. There is a great one that is easy to use, and which allows you turn your water on and off with the press of a button. Water Cop
And the following are lessons we learned the hard way last winter:
Avoid ice dams by keep water from melted snow from refreezing in the gutters and seeping under the roof and soaking interior walls. Here’s how:
- Ventilate your attic. The colder it is, the less melting and refreezing on the roof.
- Insulate the attic floor well to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
Yesterday we had our monthly meeting with all of the real estate agents in our company. Part of our meeting every month is an in depth analysis of the market trends for the Vail valley. As you can imagine, getting over 100 real estate agents to agree on anything is usually impossible. However, the consensus yesterday was that this is the time that we will point to in the future as the quarter when our market turned around. We are seeing sellers that are willing to sell their property for a fair price; and buyers who have come to understand that the market has stabilized. Historically, this trend has meant that our prices have gone as low as they are going to, and we expect to see the year after year appreciation that is more typical for our market. If you have been waiting to purchase, perhaps now would be the right time to get serious.
Selling a home can be a minefield. Here are some easy tips to avoid having your deal blow up.
1) INSPECT, INSPECT, INSPECT. You need to look at your home through a buyer’s eyes. That dripping faucet that you just never got around to fixing? That window with a teeny crack at the top that is hardly noticeable? A buyer will notice all of this and more. You want to remove- ahead of time- any and all reasons that a buyer could possibly find to say NO to your home, and YES to someone else’s.
2) DISCLOSE. If you know something is wrong you must disclose it. If you don’t, you run the very serious risk of a lawsuit after closing.
3) DECLUTTER AND PRIMP. Buyers have to be able to see their things in the home. If too much of your stuff is in there, they won’t be able to see the fantastic space that could be filled up with their precious treasures. Primping means touching up inside and outside the home. If the house shows like a model home on the inside, but the front lawn is overrun with weeds and the paint is peeling off of the steps, buyers aren’t going to want to even go inside.
4) CHOOSE THE RIGHT AGENT. Your final payoff will be higher if you choose a realtor who is willing to take the time to advise you every step of the way, from listing to close. It’s important not to overprice your home, which usually leads to multiple price reductions and a final selling price that is less than what you could have gotten had you priced it correctly from the get-go.
1) Think ahead: How much house do you need now? How much house will you need in 5 years? You may think that a darling little house is simply perfect for you- and for now it might be. But if you’re single, or newly married, know that your life situation may change (and it could change when you least expect it!). That darling little house or condo isn’t going to look so darling in a couple of years with the addition of a spouse and a child (or two). At that point, it’s going to look cramped, not cute.
2) Take your time interviewing agents: Please, find an agent who will listen to you, and will actually HEAR WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY. Find someone who is willing to be detailed, thorough, and who won’t rush you into anything. This is a big decision, and you need to make sure that you are comfortable with the process from start to finish. If someone doesn’t have time to explain their process to you, then they don’t have enough time for you. Period.
3) Take your time looking: You wouldn’t even buy a pair of shoes without trying on a few pairs. Slow down, do your research, check out neighborhoods and schools. Have your realtor explain the benefits of one neighborhood over another.
4) Set a budget: Setting a budget is good. Sticking to it is better. Remember that your mortgage payment will also need to include insurance and tax payments so make sure that your realtor helps you determine what those are. Additional costs can also include Homeowner’s Association Dues. A good realtor will never encourage you to go outside of your budget or your comfort zone, and will actively negotiate in order to get you the best possible value for your home buying dollars.
5) Do your due diligence: If there is an HOA, actually READ the covenants. Also, read the financial statements, and make sure that the HOA is financially sound. Make sure that you have the home inspected by a qualified inspector, then let your realtor assist you in negotiating for repairs.
I love working with buyers, whether it’s their first transaction, or their 10th.
There are many reasons to use a realtor when buying or selling a home. Here are my top 3.
ETHICS. As a realtor, I adhere to a strict code of ethics. Simply put, I tell the truth and if I don’t, there are serious ramifications. (But I do tell the truth. Always.)
PRICING EXPERTISE. Face it, in today’s market you have to price a home appropriately if you want it to sell. You don’t want to undervalue it, and leave money on the table. Equally important is not pricing it aggressively, and letting it sit on the market for a long time. Once a home has been listed for a while- and has not sold- it becomes stale. Your best bet is to talk to a realtor who has both the Multiple Listing Service, and other pricing tools at his or her disposal. I use a visual pricing system which allows me to analyze yearly trends, pricing of active and sold listings, and seasonal trends. Whether you are a buyer or a seller, this will allow you to see exactly where a home should be priced in order to sell, or where you should come in with an offer once you have identified a home that you would like to purchase.
LEGAL-ESE. I’m not an attorney, nor do I practice any sort of law. HOWEVER, I am familiar with the numerous disclosures that are required by Colorado law during any sort of real estate transaction. If these disclosures aren’t filled out properly, accurately, and in a timely manner either a buyer or a seller can find themselves in hot water.
If you would like to see an example of my pricing analysis, please give me a call. It’s really pretty cool. 970-471-3673.
Thursday, August 14th, the Jazz at Vail Square will add a little music to your life. Hosted in the Arrabelle Square in Lionshead, this week’s featured artist is John Pizzarelli. You can listen from a tented venue seating 300+,or from a seat in a restaurant nearby, you that you won’t soon forget this fantastic jazz experience
What would a Friday be without an FAC? Experience Friday Afternoon Club like never before…. at the top of Vail Mountain (weather permitting)! Live music, lawn sports and food and drink specials will make this an afternoon to remember. 5:00- 8:00.
Don’t miss VAIL ROCKS, a musically charged hike up Vail Mountain to benefit the Love Hope Strength Foundation. Where else can you have the opportunity to listen to fabulous music, and potentially save a life through the bone marrow registry? http://www.lovehopestrength.org/
Every Sunday, Vail hosts an incredible Farmer’s Market. Calling this a “farmer’s market,” though, is quite an understatement.
It’s part farmer’s market, part art show, part Jazz festival (free jazz concerts from noon-3 pm at the Solaris!), and part fun for the whole family.
Now in it’s 11th year, this downtown Vail event has grown to 130 tents, and runs Sundays through October 5th.
For more information on specific activities or vendors, please visit their website http://www.vailfarmersmarket.com/
On Tuesday, August 19, the Hot Summer Nights concert at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater will feature Kyle Hollingsworth. www.kylehollingsworth.com It’s free, and fun! The Hot Summer Happy Hour starts at 5:30pm, music starts at 6:30pm.
In light of recent events, I shall go to a darker subject for today.
If you are feeling like your life doesn’t matter, please know that it does.
Please reach out for help. 1-800-273 TALK (8255) is the number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you don’t feel like you’re even up for a “real life” chat, know that they also have a chat feature on their website. Simply click on the link below, and then click on the “CLICK TO CHAT” button on the right side of the website.
Please, don’t leave darkness where your light should be.
We’re glad for our winters… .don’t get me wrong! But summer…. summer is magical. Here is proof that I am not the only one who thinks so!
Click the link below for some great summer adventures.
Ski country…SUMMER COUNTRY!
Look for the ridiculous… look for the fun
Don’t simply stop and smell the roses- take time to enjoy them!
Kiss the ones that you love.
A smile is contagious.
Have a good laugh every day.