The Right Christmas Wreath For Your Front Door

Choosing the perfect tree is part of any holiday decorating tradition, but finding the right wreath for your front door can really finish off your holiday look and can be a beautiful and elegant addition to your exterior décor.  Choosing the right wreath, however, can be complicated, so here are a few tips to consider for finding a holiday wreath that not only works for your door, but also coordinates with your other holiday decorations and the exterior of your home.

Size

The size of your wreath is an important consideration in making it look its best on your front door.  If you have a large, prominent front door then you’ll want to choose a wreath that matches it well.  A small wreath will get lost on the door and won’t look proportional.

Color

While you may select a wreath based on its appearance and whether it matches your other holiday décor, you will also want to choose a wreath that has colors that complement the color of your door.  If you have mostly red and green holiday decorations, but have a blue door, you may want to consider a blue and silver themed wreath, perhaps hung with white lights, to better complement your front door.

Materials

This is the area where you can really get creative.  From natural to synthetic, from pine to grapevine, there are a number of options from which you can choose.  Again, when selecting a wreath for your front door you’ll want to consider whether it matches not only the other decorations, but the door itself and the style of your home.  For example, if you live in a traditional or historic style home, using natural materials such as greenery and berries may look better than a more modern arrangement.

Decorating for the holidays should always be fun and reflect your personal style. But when selecting particular items for the exterior of your home, it is always a good idea to be sure they accent rather than detract.

 

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Preparing Your Home For Holiday Guests

It’s wonderful having friends and family at your home to share the holidays, but it can also be a lot of work.  Hosting for the holidays comes with some challenges that are best met with preparation and an extra dose of patience.  Here are a few quick tips to get your home ready for your holiday visitors.

Overnight Company

Whether you are expecting guests to spend the night or a surprise visit leaves you scrambling to find bedding for everyone, the simplest way to deal with it is to keep an air bed on hand.  Today’s air beds are a lot more comfortable than they were in the past, and you can buy a quality raised air bed for less than a hundred dollars.  A raised air bed will keep guests off the floor and will feel more like a real bed.

A deflated air bed can be stored easily and blown up in a matter of minutes, so you can save space and still have a comfortable guest bed when you need it.  Having an extra in the house comes in handy for all sorts of holiday guests.

Anticipate Their Needs

Be prepared with things holiday guests may use up or simply forget to bring.  Stock up on things like toilet tissue.  Pick up a few extra toothbrushes and toothpaste. Add a few extra towels as well, to avoid having to do constant laundry.

Buying in bulk can save a lot of money on the household items you go through quickly when extra people are in the house—make a trip to your local warehouse store before your guests arrive.

Clear The Clutter

Nothing makes clutter more obvious, or more of a problem, than having extra people in the house.  When you are expecting guests, grab a few storage bins and put away some of the things that tend to clutter up counter tops.  Make a sweep through the house and grab anything that won’t be needed for a while.  The less general clutter you have, the more room you’ll have for guests and their luggage.

Getting through the holidays smoothly and with as few frustrations as possible can be done—even with holiday guests in your home.  Just be ready for their arrival and anticipate what will be needed ahead of time, so you aren’t running around in search of an extra towel.

 

Eight Things To Consider Before Listing

So you have decided that you are going to sell your home.  While your home may work just as it is for you and your family and you don’t want to invest any more time or money into your property, there are a few necessary steps that every homeowner should take in order to ensure that their home will sell quickly and at the highest price possible.

Contact A Real Estate Expert—A REALTOR® can give you advice on what your property’s potential value may be, what improvements your home needs to get the best price, and the best strategy to use to market your home.

Have Your Home Professionally Cleaned—While this may seem like an unnecessary expense, it can give your home that fresh appearance that really appeals to potential buyers.

Make All Necessary Minor Repairs—This is an inexpensive way to give your home a finished look and will convince potential buyers that the home is in good repair.  This includes fixing any damage to walls and ceilings, installing new faucets or lighting fixtures, and making any cosmetic changes to the kitchen and bathrooms that will give your property a modern appearance.

Clear The Clutter—Giving your home an open and clean appearance can definitely make a huge difference in attracting buyers.  Be sure you tidy any messy areas of the home, and depersonalize it by removing most photos and any items or collections that may distract buyers during open houses or while looking at pictures of your home.

Look At Your Home From A Buyer’s Perspective—Because you are use to it, sometimes you may not notice small imperfections or areas of your home that seem not to flow with the rest of the house.  Try to take a walk through your home and on your property with fresh eyes, and be as critical as you would be if you were looking to buy your home again.

Make Repairs To The Exterior—Don’t forget the front and back yards, as well as the roof and brick or siding of your home, when making repairs to your property.  Your investment is always worth it, and creating curb appeal can really make a difference in attracting buyers.

Have Professional Photographs Of Your Property Taken—Photographs are very important tools for home sales in today’s housing market, and having a complete set of high quality photos that best accentuate the features of your home is critical to the success of your marketing campaign.

Consider More Major Renovations If Necessary—If your kitchen or bathroom is very outdated or in bad repair, or you have electrical, plumbing, or mold problems in your home, these are all issues that can really stall the sale of your property.  Fixing these problems will usually not only make your home sell more quickly, but will also increase the value of your home far beyond the expense associated with making the repairs in the first place.

 

Top Ten Home Showing Tips

Showing your home is essential in the real estate business.  After all, who would purchase a property sight unseen?  When a potential buyer stops in, here are ten recommended tips to follow when showing your home:

Tip # 1: Welcome Your Buyers

If you are still living in the home while it’s being shown, graciously greet your potential home buyers and invite them to look around.  Make sure that you instruct them to take their time and to ask any questions that they may have.  It may be a good idea if you leave the home for a short time to allow the buyer to look without feeling restricted by your presence.  A potential buyer is less likely to voice any concerns in front of the current owner, which is why it’s better to leave your buyers with the REALTOR® and announce that you will be returning in 30 minutes.  This should allow plenty of time for your potential buyer to speak candidly with the REALTOR®.

Tip # 2: Be Flexible

Many home buyers are on a tight schedule, whether it be work, school or other commitments.  Time is tough to come by, so try to be flexible about allowing potential buyers to tour your home.  If you are still living on the premises, it’s especially important that you be ready for last-minute visits.

Tip # 3: Climate Control

When a buyer comes into your home, they do not want to feel cold in the winter or overly stuffy in the summer.  If you know that your REALTOR® is bringing a potential buyer to tour the home, make sure that the temperature is comfortable.  Otherwise, your buyer may not spend as much time in the home as necessary in order to form an accurate opinion.  The last thing you want is a buyer who’s in a hurry to leave.

Tip # 4: Quick Cleaning

If you have enough time before the buyer shows up, run the vacuum over the floors and make sure that any clutter is cleaned up.  A clean home appears larger, while a cluttered one gives the appearance of being too small.  If you really want to impress your potential buyers, place a plate of freshly baked cookies on the dining room table.  When they walk into your home, they will be greeted by the wonderful smell.

Tip # 5: Animal Control

If you have pets, remove them from the home temporarily or place them in a contained space, such as a kennel, exercise pen or carrier.  This will allow buyers to tour the home without being distracted by a nervous animal which could result in a nervous buyer.

Tip # 6: Light The Way

Your home should appear open and bright, even if it’s a winter day, so open the curtains and turn on the lights throughout the home.  Buyers will not likely be drawn to a dark, dimly-lit house.

Tip # 7: Educate Your Buyers

When someone is looking for a home, they are looking for more than the perfect floor plan.  If you have recently had the home appraised or inspected, place copies of each report on the dining room table.  Purchasing a home is a big step, and buyers will be drawn to a home that has everything out on the table, so to speak.

Tip # 8: Communicate With Your REALTOR®

If you want certain aspects to be pointed out during the home tour, tell your REALTOR® what they are.  For instance, good neighbors are a big plus to any home, but it’s not something that potential home buyers will see simply by looking at the rooms in your house.  If you have wonderful neighbors, ask your REALTOR® to point this out.  If you live in a family-oriented neighborhood, let it be known.

Tip # 9: Curb Appeal

An important part of showing your home is making sure that the outside looks just as appealing as the inside.  When a potential buyer drives up, you want them to be eager to see what else is in store for them.  You can do this by paying close attention to your curb appeal.  In addition to having a freshly cut lawn and properly maintained flower beds (if applicable), the outside of your home should be free of any clutter and any shrubs should be groomed.

Tip # 10: Ask For Feedback

Once the potential buyer has completed their tour, invite their feedback by placing comment cards in the home.  The information provided could be potentially helpful during your next home showing, and it will make the potential buyer feel as though you value their opinion.

 

Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

Thanksgiving is an annual national holiday commemorating a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrim Fathers in 1621.  This day, which is used to express gratitude, is observed in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November.  One of the greatest traditions of Thanksgiving is that of a family dinner, which means menu planning is a must.  Here are some Thanksgiving menu ideas that will fill your table and the appetite of your guests:

Main Course

The traditional main entré for Thanksgiving is, of course, turkey.  If this isn’t quite your taste, you may want to consider serving ham instead.   This is a popular alternative and is a pleasing main course for your dinner guests.

Side Dishes

When it comes to serving a meal, the side dishes are almost as important as the entree.  Popular Thanksgiving side dishes include mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, dressing, green beans, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, rolls and cranberries served with cranberry sauce.  If you have a large family, it may be a good idea to prepare several side dishes so that everyone will be able to find something that they like.

Dessert

What meal would be complete without the perfect dessert?  Whether it’s a pumpkin pie, chocolate pie or other favorite flavor, this traditional treat is common at the conclusion of a Thanksgiving dinner.  If you are planning for a large gathering, consider serving several different pies in an effort to accommodate a variety of taste buds.

The Benefits Of A Homemade Meal

Believe it or not, some may choose to dine at a restaurant on Thanksgiving instead of preparing a homemade meal.  Although dining out may be easier, it cannot replace the taste and camaraderie of a family dinner at home.  Many may shy away from preparing a large Thanksgiving meal because it seems intimidating to cook for so many people.  However, with the right recipe, cookware and a little know how, your next holiday meal can be a breeze.

Rounding Up The Perfect Recipes

If you know what to cook, but still need a little help with the details, consider looking for the perfect recipes to turn your meal into a masterpiece.  While many recipes are available online, many turn to cookbooks and/or women’s specialty magazines for popular recipe and preparation ideas.  As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, there is no shortage of publications containing ideas for creating the perfect meal.  Now that you have the perfect menu idea, it’s time to start putting your plan into motion.  By planning ahead, your Thanksgiving meal can be stress free and enjoyable for you as well as for everyone who joins you.  And don’t lose sight of the reason for your efforts – a time for family and friends to celebrate and give thanks.

 

Selling Your Home During The Holidays

The process of selling your home at any time of the year can be a stressful experience, but if you are trying to sell your home during the busy holiday season it may seem to be almost impossible.  The battle to keep your home in model condition and host open houses while at the same time entertaining friends and family—all the work can seem like a difficult task.  So what can you do to make selling your home at this time of year less stressful while still keeping your property in salable condition?  Here are a few tips to make it easier!

Keep The Decorations To A Minimum

Even if your home is usually the brightest on the block, you will definitely want to tone down the seasonal decorations on both the interior and exterior of your home.  You still want to make it easy for potential home buyers to see themselves in your home, and decorations can be a huge distraction from the features of your home, especially if the potential buyers are not of the same religious and cultural background as you.  If you do decorate, keep the decorations tasteful and modern.  Think of how a model home would be decorated for the season, rather than your own personal taste.

Remember The Basics Of Home Sales

When selling your home, the advice you receive from your REALTOR® includes tips such as keeping your home clean and clutter free, and this should not be forgotten just because of the holidays.  Keep personal items such as gifts and homemade crafts out of sight, and be sure to tidy up promptly after parties and events.   When hosting an open house, using the sense of smell can always be an effective strategy, and by giving it a holiday twist you can really give the effect of a cozy family home.  Bake some holiday cookies and throw on a pot of mulled wine before the potential buyers show up.

Overall, selling your home during the holiday season can present you with considerable challenges, but by trying to balance the needs of both your family and your potential buyers you can make this period as stress free as possible.

 

Choosing A REALTOR® You Can Trust

When it comes to shopping for a home, especially if you are buying for the first time, having an agent on your side is extremely helpful.  But if you have never bought a house before, you may have no idea where to begin finding a REALTOR® that you can really trust to help you with this important decision.

If you open the phone book you will see a long list of names, and very little help to figure out which one to call.  There are a few ways you can narrow down the field of real estate agents to find someone you can trust.

Ask Your Friends And Family

To find a real estate agent you can trust, start with the people you trust—your family and friends.  Of course, the best people to ask are those who have bought a home recently, as the experience they had will still be fresh in their memory.  Ask them how happy they were with the service they received, and if they would recommend you hire the same agent.

Ask Others In The Field

Another source of good referrals is through some of the people you may know who work in related fields, such as mortgage brokers and insurance agents.  They often know many different agents and work with them regularly.  Ask them to provide you with a few names of the people they would trust most with their own home-buying process.

Meet With The Possible Agents

When you have created a short list of possible agents to hire, call a few of them and make an appointment.  Sit down and discuss your home buying plans with them.  Ask them about what sort of services they provide as well as things like their commission structure.  Treat this interview the same way you would in hiring any other professional to handle important business for you.  A good REALTOR® will be happy to answer your questions openly and honestly.

Take the time to meet with several agents before you decide who you would like to represent your interests.  That way you can compare the different experiences and see who you feel most comfortable with.  The agent’s experiences in real estate, their dedication to their clients and, of course, the rapport you develop with them are all important considerations.  Remember, you are looking for someone you can really trust.

Your REALTOR® is your home-buying partner and needs to be someone who is there for you and knows all the ins and outs of home buying.  Take your time and choose the right person for the job.