So, this is my first post on this blog, even though I've been wanting to start one for a few months now. Until now, I kept thinking I know "how" to start my blog about Downers Grove and real estate , but couldn't quite wrap my head around the purpose of it. What, specifically, to write about? I read other people's blogs, but start one of my own, that's putting myself out there in a new way that would push the boundaries of my comfort zone. But, I figured why not? Either people read it and relate or they don't. I enjoy writing about things that interest me, so hopefully you will find something in my blog to interest you. I look forward to your responses and to getting to know what interests you.
After the April showers we had last night (finally!) I got to thinking about the sense of newness I've been noticing in my community--Downers Grove-- just in the last several days. Have you seen it in yours? If you are from the Chicago area, you know what I'm talking about. This winter has been endless this year! Now, looking at the forecast, I realize that it's far from over, but there are signs of spring, of new life, of activity this week that offer a realistic hope of what is to come.
Downers Grove is active and fun. Yet, in the middle of winter, that's harder to see. There are few signs of us, aside from the smoke coming out of our chimneys, as we hunker down for the long, cold Chicago winter (exceptionally LONG, this year! Have I made my point yet?) Joking aside, we don't visit with our friends & neighbors quite as much, don't notice changes in the neighborhood on long walks with our families. In the last few days though, there is a renewed sense of community as we stretch out of our homes into the sidewalks to walk our dogs, mosey into to town for our weekend morning coffee, watch our children do what children love to do: ride scooters & bikes, play with chalk, play catch, run and play, and just get dirty. We now visit with parents outside of school longer at morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. We open our front porches and yards to neighbors again, catching up after the doldrums of winter have passed. We get out and take care of our yards: rake the last of the fall leaves and dead grasses, stopping to wave to, or even take a few precious minutes to chat with, the neighbor down the block who is also out.
There is a sense of hope of the good things to come, a renewal of relationships, a genuine joy in seeing the sun. We are getting more Vitamin D--we are happier, we love living here. Spring is what we look forward to. Spring allows us to see our world in a new light, gives us reason to try new things, get out and get active again.
One of my most favorite signs of spring are the tulips, crocus, and daffodils that are just now beginning to show their winter-weary greens. It is such a symbol of new life. These flowers will bring color and texture to our otherwise dreary gardens and smiles to our faces as we look out our windows or walk by our neighbor's yard. As the trees starting budding, we will see more tiny evidence of the beautiful spring and summer foliage to come.
You might be asking "Who cares and what does this have to do with real estate?" Well, quite a bit actually. First, it has to do with curb appeal. During the winter, especially after all the holiday decorations have long since been taken down, it's really difficult to make our homes feel warm and inviting from the outside. Our plants are dormant (or dead), the grass is brown, trees are barren and color is almost non-existent. Yet, when the flowers, trees and shrubs begin to bloom, our homes start to look perkier and fresher. Buyers will see the life and color and associate it with positive feelings about the house they are viewing. Not only that, they can begin to get a sense of how the landscape and yard will look in just a few weeks time--something that is very hard to envision when yards are covered with several inches of snow.
So, sellers, take this time as an opportunity to freshen-up your yard and exterior and bring back the curb appeal. There are a number of fairly simple, inexpensive steps you can take to position your property so that it is more appealing that the competition. Here are just a handful of them: Schedule a spring clean-up with your local landscape maintenance company. Or, if you have a green thumb or are motivated to handle projects on your own, check with your local nursery about what the specific plants in your yard need now to look their best during their bloom season. Have your sprinkler system repaired/maintained and tested. Clean out gutters, if needed. Paint peeling trim work, clean up cobwebs, get your windows cleaned. Fertilize and over-seed your lawn and/or patch dead spots. Be sure to clean up after your dog in the yard. Take a fresh look around your yard and exterior--from curb to back fence--and try to envision what the choosy buyer might see as he/she walks up to the door and around the yard. Try to separate yourself emotionally from the home you created--it is now the asset you want to sell. You want buyers to feel at home and you want them to know that you have been meticulous with the upkeep of their new home. Consider obtaining a home inspection from a licensed, professional inspector to minimize surprises and give buyers a sense of confidence when it comes time for contract negotiations.
Lastly, this all has to do with community--that sense of belonging, of loving where you live. Spring renews that sense. Springtime is the perfect time to choose your new community or to reconnect with the one you already love.