Is Your Home Ready for the Holidays? November 2009 is finally here, and that means it's a count down until the guests arrive. Thanksgiving, the biggest shopping day of the year, and the infamous game between Texas A&M University and TU are just around the corner. So much to do, so little time! Dealing with the pressure of knowing that people are coming for dinner in a matter of days is similar to the feeling you get when you are just about ready to put your home on the market for sale. Where do you start? It is time to clean, finish the minor house repairs and stage for the holidays! I'll never forget my clients that wanted to list their home on Thanksgiving weekend. As I walked up to the front door the husband greeted me on the porch. "Thanks for coming to talk to us about selling our home," he said. "Please don't step on the yellow mat. It is covering up a hole in the floor and we don't want you to fall through!" The first question, when it comes to home cleaning, is deciding if the best use of your time includes grabbing the mop and bucket or simply picking up the phone and calling someone else to do it for you. There are many great and highly reputable cleaning companies in town, and if you need a Ritz Carlton clean at a Wal-Mart price, another option is for you to call your Realtor. No, we don't clean houses, but with all the sales we do, with clients moving out and not having anytime to make the home ready for the new buyer, we always have a good house cleaner that is on call in a pinch, knows how to clean from top to bottom and is extremely reasonably priced. The key to a good clean for the best price is to make sure you have supplies ready and that the home is picked up and free of toys, counter top clutter, and pets that can prevent access to the entire home. I got a call once from a service provider that told me "Raylene, the rest of the home is fine, but we couldn't go into to the master bedroom closet, because there is a large live boa constrictor hanging from the ceiling." When getting the home ready for visitors, be sure to remember to clean where it will be most noticeable to guests: ceiling fans and return air vents are the areas most commonly overlooked. And when cleaning that return air vent, might as well change the air filter while you are at it. If you are one of those folks who dust and dust yet seem to be getting no where, an item to add to the Honey Do list before the guests arrive is to buy a tube of clear caulk, climb in the attic, and seal your return air vent on both sides. Often, little bits of insulation dust can be brought into the home from the attic. Sealing the return air vent on both sides with eliminate the problem and result in more free time between house hold dusting. Just remember to wait for the caulk to dry before placing the air filter back in place. And of course, when you are in the attic, watch your step! "Yes, Raylene...um this is the Heating and A/C Company. We completed the repair you requested on the furnace for the closing this afternoon and the return air duct is all sealed up. Unfortunately, our guy fell through the ceiling on his way out." When the home is ready, it's time for the fun part! Shopping and staging for the holidays. Guests love walking into a home and getting the nice, warm fuzzy feeling of Holiday Spirit. A good starting place is to find a holiday scent you like and sticking with it throughout the home. Evergreen and Peppermint are popular ones, as long as they are not overwhelming. My mother always told me "the way to a man's heart is though his stomach," and I don't think you can go wrong with a scent of pumpkin spice, sugar cookie or ginger bread. The key is to not mix scents and to try and stay away from smells that are fruity or overpowering. Scents that smell like fresh sweet cooking also complement the holiday, and guests might even think the great smells came from your kitchen! Many of the stores in Bryan-College Station are great with providing holiday accent pieces for home decor. Always check the paper for the latest deals of the day. If you are like me, and want your home staged and looking it's best for guests, confusion erupts when walking into a store and deciding what to buy. (Personally, I want it all!) A great option to eliminate the buying confusion is to hire a holiday stager. This is very different from having an interior decorator or designer come in, and is just a fraction of the price. For roughly $200.00 - $400.00 depending on what you want done, you can have a stager go with you to pick out floral, art, and accent decor. These folks are also great at finding the best deals in town and are highly creative at getting you the look you want in-budget. You can also hire your stager to dress up the home with items you provide and / or rearrange furniture to make the home look its best. For more information on Staging, you can go to www.stagingbcs.com As always, don't forget the point of the November holiday season is to be thankful and enjoy time you have with your close friends and family. This can easily be accomplished, no matter what state your home is in. "Mrs. Smith, I am so glad you are thankful to your husband for surprising you with this Master Garden Jacuzzi tub as an early Christmas present! I know you are going to enjoy it. Now, if you don't mind, can you please get out of the tub so we can finish the final walkthrough of the home? I'm afraid we may be late to the closing."
Raylene Lewis, Realtor
Century21 Beal, Inc.