Colorado Real Estate News

Fall Maintenance Tips

Now that fall has rolled in, it’s time to start considering how best to prepare your home for the looming cold front. Fall weather provides the perfect opportunity to accomplish everything you need before the snow comes knocking on your front door. 

Whether you want to avoid potential winter damages or keep your home looking its best during the spring or summer, there’s no better season to plan for the future. Here are some fall maintenance tips that will keep you one step ahead:

Maintain Your Lawn

If you’d like to impress guests with a green and luscious yard during warm seasons, it’s essential to maintain your lawn before the cold weather blows in. Lawn Doctor emphasizes that fertilizing in the fall will give your lawn plenty of nutrients, help it endure the winter and strengthen the grass’s growth in the spring. 

Clean Your Gutters

Gutters are pivotal in blocking water from entering your home. Autumn leaves can clog gutters—and if left unattended, can cause problems when the snow starts to fall. Backed-up leaves can eventually freeze and add extra weight to the gutters, leading to potential damage and unwanted repairs. Fixr specifies that a single damaged seam in a gutter can cost $150, and more significant repairs could be priced up to $2,000. 

Fix Up Your Trees

Neglected trees undoubtedly pose a threat to your home. Thinning out dead or weak branches before a winter storm can reduce the risk of damage to property, cars or other possessions. Be sure to monitor trees with dead branches or branches hanging above risky areas. 

Check for Drafts

An easy way to keep your energy bill as low as possible is to search for drafts around the house. Most drafts are found around windows but don’t forget to examine doors, chimneys and wiring holes such as electrical outlets. 

Inspect Your Roof

According to Networx, even a tiny hole in your roof can give rise to severe complications such as roof material damage, health hazards and critter access. Dealing with such hassles is not only costly but can be extremely frustrating. Before the cold arrives, ensure that your roof is free of any holes and adequately supported to handle heavy amounts of snow. 

The autumn season offers cool air and fair weather, and there’s no better time to get your home in tip-top shape. If you want to weather the storm this winter and best prepare your home for the future, consider these fall maintenance tips.

Colorado Real Estate News

9 Backyard Improvement Ideas To Increase Your Home’s Value

After an exhausting day at work, relaxing in the comfort of your own home is always something to cherish. Sitting on your couch and watching TV, settling in with a book, taking a bath—the options are endless. But even without the stress of work, there’s still that nagging reminder of your home responsibilities and chores.

For these reasons, many homebuyers are viewing modern backyards as an essential feature. There is no true sanctuary like your backyard; it can be as cozy as your living room with the added benefit of fresh air. Backyard remodels are the latest trend that is adding value to the home for year-round enjoyment.


Take a peek at these nine improvements you can make to your backyard to increase your home’s value.


1. Add a Deck or Patio

According to Forbes, 58% of homeowners plan to buy outdoor furniture this year, more than double last year. This past year has found people stuck at home, and backyards are a place of retreat now more than ever. Transforming your backyard with outdoor spaces such as patios or decks is an effective way of creating that special haven.

2. Stay Comfortable With an Outdoor Firepit

Who doesn’t love to sit around a warm and cozy fire? An outdoor firepit can replicate the atmosphere and heat that you feel inside. Whether you want fresh air on a cold winter day or s’mores on a cool summer night, an outdoor fire pit will keep you toasty. Jessica Yonker of HGTV Gardens says an outdoor fire pit can increase your home’s value by 15-40%—which is considerably high for an inexpensive option.

3. Install a Swimming Pool

A swimming pool can be a distinctive selling point when competing with other homes. Furthermore, buyers and homeowners have found a new appreciation for swimming pools. As people find more ways to enjoy spending time at home, installing a swimming pool can appeal to the general public and luxury homebuyers. 

4. Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens are rapidly growing in popularity among homebuyers. The pandemic resulted in many homeowners thinking outside the box when hosting guests. Outdoor kitchens are no longer a luxury feature but an item on many homebuyers’ wish lists. A study from Absolute Outdoor Kitchens found that homes with an outdoor kitchen can see a return of investment of 100% to 200% compared to homes without.

5. Outdoor Lighting

Simple, yet effective. Outdoor lighting can transform a bland backyard into a sophisticated, warm and welcoming oasis. It could be as easy as a string of white lights across trees or as complex as lighting your entire patio. Whichever route you choose, lights are a surefire way to make your outdoor space brighter and more inviting.

6. Revitalize Your Lawn

First impressions are everything for homebuyers. A well-maintained lawn can catch a homebuyer’s eye, and it can certainly influence their decision. According to the Lawn Care Institute, turf grass alone can increase a home’s value by as much as 15%.

7. Privacy Fence

One of the appeal factors of backyards is the seclusion they can provide. A privacy fence can help make your backyard feel like an actual place to retreat. Not only can a fence maintain your hideaway, but it can help support the safety and security of your family and pets. 

8. Garden

Over time, a well-kept garden will make your home more enticing to homebuyers. It can demonstrate that the owners take extra care and pride in their property and potentially increase the chances of a sale. Based on a survey by Home Light, a well-maintained garden can boost property value by as much as 77%.

9. Shade Structures/Pergolas

It can be challenging for those in hot areas to relax in a backyard without any shade. Pergolas are a great way to make seating areas or dining tables more comfortable. In addition, pergolas come in all shapes and styles that can match any home design. 

When deciding which features you should equip in your backyard, homeowners should stay up-to-date with current trends. The pandemic has persuaded people to rethink their outdoor design spaces, and as a result, companies are now more innovative with their outdoor products to craft an ideal backyard oasis. 

These nine backyard improvements can boost the value of your family life while adding to the long-term investment of your home.

Colorado Real Estate News

Summer Home Staging Tips

Homes are selling fast in Colorado, and a well-staged home is on and off the market in no time. Make sure your home is ready to sell and stand out among the rest with these four summer staging tips.

1. Make a Strong First Impression

Curb appeal is crucial; it is the first thing potential buyers see, so you want to make a good impression. Summer months can be extremely rough on grass, but you want your front landscaping to be looking its best. Skip the backyard if you need to manage water usage; buyers won’t blame you if all the neighborhood backyards are brown. Ensure your exterior entryway is swept clean and add a fun, welcoming element like a lush potted plant by the door.

First impressions go beyond the front door. When buyers walk into a summer showing, they want to feel the cool air conditioning as they enter, so make sure you get your HVAC inspected beforehand. Consider keeping your house off the market until fall if your home doesn’t have central air. Buyers don’t want to tour a warm home in 90-degree weather.

2. Set the Scene

When you’re staging your home for summer, put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. They should visualize it as their future home, and it’s essential to set the right mood. Set out a pitcher of fresh-squeezed lemonade in the kitchen before prospective buyers arrive (you can ask your listing agent to help if you’re out of town). Use fresh flowers and green plants or herbs around the house to brighten the atmosphere and add a splash of color. Play up any entertainment areas your home has, especially outdoor spaces.

3. Lights, Color, Action!

Throw open the curtains and let in the light! Take advantage of the summer sun and illuminate your home with natural light. If rooms don’t get much sunlight, amplify what’s available with some mirrors and decorative lamps.

One of the easiest ways to add some summer flair to your home is by incorporating bright pops of color into spaces with neutral color palettes. Whether that be some yellow throw pillows on the couch or hanging a bold, blue painting on the wall, it’s sure to bring life into the room.

4. Make Yourself Scarce

It may seem obvious, but everyone who lives in the home needs to get out of the house whenever buyers come in for a showing. Many prospective homebuyers do not feel comfortable if the seller is present and often are discouraged from purchasing. Find a coffee shop or spot nearby where you can hang out for an hour or two. If you have kids on summer break, take them out to the park and grab some ice cream to cool off while you wait.Taking a few extra steps to create a welcoming and pleasant environment can make a world of difference when listing your property. To further maximize your home sale, partner with an experienced Kentwood broker for marketing assistance and leverage Kentwood’s Amplify service for a spectrum of home improvements that will garner more profit for your residence. With renovation payments deferred until your home closes escrow, explore how to elevate your property and earn a premium when it sells at the link above.

Colorado Real Estate News

Maintain Your Home’s Cleanliness in Spring

It’s that time of the year! It’s the annual spring-cleaning ritual! As avid home lovers, this could quite honestly be our favorite holiday!

Okay, well, maybe it’s a close second. 

Springtime is the perfect opportunity to reset and get your home into tip-top shape before summer rolls around. But how do you start? Great question! Maintaining your home’s cleanliness can be a daunting and sometimes overwhelming task. We all have busy days; whether that’s a 9-5 job, dropping your kids off at soccer practice, walking your dog or Zoom fatigue – it’s hard to fit cleaning into your day. Here are some tips and tricks to maintain the cleanliness and freshness of your home!

Consistency Is Key

First, it’s all about consistency. Creating habits and sticking with them is the best way to sustain a tidy home. By having a steady schedule, you will exceed your expectations in achieving your goals while simultaneously creating a sense of accountability. While everyday cleaning habits can be exhausting, you should prioritize which ones are necessary for achieving your desired results. Tackling those daunting tasks in small chunks is a great way to get started. And don’t forget to involve the entire household! Maintaining your residence’s cleanliness doesn’t have to be a one-person job, so be sure to include your family and make this process enjoyable for all!

Gutters and Windows

While the gutters and windows are frequently overlooked, regular maintenance on these elements of your place helps with your residence’s overall aesthetic, safety and well-being. Eliminating gutter debris is no easy task; however, it is essential to clean the gutters every once in a while to avoid an expensive repair. Suppose you want to make this process easier. In that case, you can install mesh guards to keep leaves from entering, purchase a reliable ladder and invest in the right equipment such as waterproof gloves and standoff stabilizers. Now that you have those gutters emptied, climb down that ladder and spritz those dirty windows! Individuals frequently clean the inside of their windows, but what about the outside? Not only will this enhance the appearance of your house, but it will also give you a clearer space to look out from.

Air Purifiers 

Another way to keep your home feeling fresh is to incorporate the use of scented candles, incense, essential oils or air fresheners. (And who doesn’t love a good candle?) Individuals associate smells with feelings therefore you have the creativity and capability to choose how you want your guests to feel when they walk through the door. Another decoration to make your house feel fresh is the inclusion of plants. Potted plants don’t have to be just for show! They are natural air purifiers and assist with providing clean and fresh air through their secretion of oxygen. Some of the best air-purifying plants are peace lilies, geraniums, Arabian jasmine, Cuban oregano, gardenias, eucalyptus and corsage orchids. 

Maintaining your place’s cleanliness and freshness doesn’t have to be intimidating. With a consistent schedule and help from the family, it will soon be implemented in your daily routine. Looking for more tips to enhance your residence? We can help! Let Kentwood help you live your best life and find your next dream home. Give us a call today at one of our four unique locations in Colorado!

Colorado Real Estate News

Top Home Repairs Before Winter

How a homeowner prepares their home for the fall and winter seasons will not only save on future repair costs but shows future home buyers what great shape your home is in. If you’re anticipating your home for the next summer season, be sure to follow Kentwood Real Estate’s Fall Home Maintenance Checklist.

  • Clean gutters and downspouts throughout the season. Freezing temperatures don’t mix with gutter blockage. Be sure your gutters are directing the flow of snow and rain through the gutter system away from your home’s foundation and roof.
  • Have lawn irrigation system professionally drained/winterized. For Colorado newcomers, you must have your lawn irrigation systems professionally blown-out. If not, cold air temperatures will freeze water trapped in the pipes throughout the home.
  • Inspect roof for curling, missing or broken shingles. An out-of-sight roof needs to be checked for any missing shingles. Without shingles, water and snow can slip under the other shingles and become trapped – risking the entire roof. Don’t risk your roof because you can’t see it, call a contractor.
  • Cover and store outside furniture. A no-brainer, but necessary tip for winterization. Although you can certainly enjoy the Colorado sun outside in the winter, be sure to cover your furniture. Furniture is expensive and will fade and damage with freezing rains and intense sun.
  • Trim trees and bushes. Often the first thing future homebuyers will notice is your landscape. Be sure you prevent tree and shrub winter damage by trimming back any overgrown shrubs or trees whose branches can accumulate snow, whose weight can collapse the branch onto the home.
  • Check and inspect decks. The decks are especially susceptible to winter’s wrath. Not only will their stain fade due to the sun, but freezing rain can also seep into the wood and expand, affecting the deck’s shape and panels.
  • Make sure attic and crawl space have adequate insulation. Your home’s heat is most susceptible to the chilly outside air from leaks and inadequate insulation in your roof and crawl space. Keep the cold out and heat in by checking for missing insulation.
  • Test all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Did you know carbon monoxide poisoning occurs the most in the winter season? While we bundle up inside from the cold, a carbon monoxide leak is most deadly if our alert systems haven’t been tested.
  • Check air vents to make sure they aren’t blocked. Make sure heat is spread evenly throughout the house by checking for blocked air vents. Dirty air filters, dust, and dirt are the most common culprit, but be sure there’s no leaking or damaged ductwork or furniture is not blocking the vent.

These are a few of our top fall home maintenance tips before the temperature drops. The highest costing repairs are often preventable by conducting regular checkups. If you do find an issue, don’t hesitate to reach out to Colorado’s top real estate brokers at Kentwood Real Estate for referrals to trusted contractors and specialists.

Colorado Real Estate News

Gardening Tips to Sell Your Home in Colorado

gardening-tips-help-sell-home-faster

Lush Plants, Gardens and Trees Tips to Add to a Home’s Value

 

Living flowers, plants, trees, and shrubbery can make a home stand out in a neighborhood. A potential buyer is able to imagine themselves living in a home with a manicured lawn, mature trees, and robust shrubs rather than the home whose lawn is patchy, unkempt or downtrodden. As a home seller looking to sell at the highest price, details matter; and so does planning for Spring’s planting.

 

Gardening in Colorado’s spring months has challenges unique to the state’s high elevation, low humidity, intense sunlight, dry winds, and the heavy clay natural soil. Understanding each of these aspects is critical to raising a healthy garden, plants, and lawn without worrying about replacing sickly and dying plants, which can be costly – especially for a home seller who doesn’t want to invest more than they absolutely need to.

 

Most homeowners with outdoor soil space think gardening is as simple as digging a hole, planting, and watering. The soil in Colorado’s Front Range is typically heavy clay with poor aeration, which is a challenge for roots and how they grow. Additionally, soil in CO without additives typically has a pH level of up to 8.5, which is a bit too alkaline for popular flowers like azaleas. The ideal pH level for most plants is 7.0, where anything below is considered acidic and above is alkaline. Before a home seller decides on a plant or digs a hole, they should determine what a new plant’s ideal pH level is and try to balance with store-bought soil or additives.

 

As every Colorado resident knows, April and May can bring surprise snowstorms, which can damage plants who can’t survive the weight of snowfall, especially if they’re just establishing themselves. When choosing which plants to purchase, the safer bets tend to be thicker, denser trees and shrubs that can withstand heavy snows that risk damaging branches.

 

Untimely freezes present a problem for some Coloradoans, particularly those in mountain communities. Frost can occur in summer months which severely shortens the growing season for certain outdoor plants. Mountain gardeners must take special precautions if they are to successfully keep plants alive throughout the spring, summer, and fall months by building outdoor greenhouses and keeping a close eye on weather forecasts.

 

Colorado’s light intensity can produce some of the most beautiful flowers in the world. Annual plants, which might be better grown in pots, include Disacia, Angelonia, New Guinea Impatiens, and Petunias. Perennials, which can be planted into the ground with treated soils include Dianthus, Rocky Mountain Penstemon, Oxeye Daisy, Purple Coneflowers, Liatris, Poppy Mallow, and more. There is a wide variety of native perennials that are grow well in Colorado’s Front Range and can be found at your local garden store, and are great selections for beautifying a staged home and supporting pollinators like bees and butterflies.

 

If you’re looking for trees to consider for your lawn, consider flowering trees like willows, black locusts, lindens, and honey locusts. Larger non-flowering trees that are drought resistant include the Japanese Tree Lilacs, Russian Hawthorns, American Hornbeams, or Burr Oaks.

 

As Colorado’s top real estate brokerage, Kentwood Real Estate encourages all Front Range home sellers to consult with our experienced brokers to be sure they’re selling their house at an ideal price. Gardening is one of many tools home sellers should consider when staging their homes for tours.

Colorado Real Estate News

10 Secrets To Spring Cleaning Your Home (Marie Kondo-Style)

spring-cleaing-marie-kondo

There’s no better time than spring to bring a fresh new energy into your home. After all, spring is the time for new beginnings, and kicking off this new season with a clutter-free home will be a great way to set the tone for things to come.

 

Thanks to the massive popularity of the Marie Kondo method, people everywhere are adopting the mindset that a de-cluttered space is one of the best ways to feel more functional and less stressed, and we couldn’t agree more! If you’ve been thinking of refreshing your space for spring and need a little inspiration to get you started, here are our 10 best secrets to spring cleaning your home, and bringing out your inner Marie Kondo.


1. Set ground rules

It can be easy to get stuck when you run into items that might feel harder to get rid of, so create a few simple rules before you start in order to make the decision-making process easier. For example, if you haven’t worn it in a year or if it no longer sparks joy – let it go. If the items are still in good shape and you’re having a harder time getting rid of them, think about donating, selling or giving the item as a gift. Knowing that someone else will be able to enjoy your less-loved and less-used items will also make the de-cluttering process easier.


2. Start small

Rather than overwhelming yourself with a huge project right off the bat, start with something small that you use every day, like a junk drawer in the kitchen, your laundry space, or your bathroom vanity. This will give you an easily achievable goal to kickstart your momentum for bigger projects, and by starting with something you use often, it’ll inspire you to keep going as your newly cleaned space makes you feel good.


3. Tidy by category

Rather than tidying up your home from room to room, Marie Kondo recommends organizing your spring cleaning into categories instead. Specifically: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items, and sentimental items. Pull out everything you have in each category, such as clothes from closets, papers from office spaces, and miscellaneous items from drawers, then sort through each category item by item.

 

4. Only keep the items that ‘spark joy’

The main philosophy behind the Marie Kondo method is to identify the things you own that truly spark joy for you, and discarding the ones that don’t. This approach will encourage you to be more mindful about how possessions make you feel and create a home full of things you love rather than simply accumulating ‘stuff’.


5. Organize your storage

When it comes to storing items like clothing and sheets, Marie follows a very specific method. She suggests keeping things visible and within reach by standing clothing items upright or rolled alongside each other in drawers rather than stacked on top of each other. In kitchen cabinets, garages, and for smaller miscellaneous items, sort by size and use, and use small boxes within drawers and cupboards to keep items organized and separate.


6. Get everyone in the household in on it

Once you’ve created a designated space for something, make clear the grounds rules to your partner, children, and anyone else who lives in the home. For example, if you know that dish towels go in a specific drawer in the kitchen, share that knowledge with your loved ones so they can share the chore. Otherwise, keeping your house tidy will rely solely upon you putting everything away (because you’re the only one who knows where it goes)!


7. Store things where you use them

If you keep your old magazines on the coffee table in your living room but always end up reading them before you go to bed, then consider storing them in your nightstand instead. Even though the coffee table may feel like the place those magazines ‘should’ go, it’s a lot easier to put something away when you don’t have to carry it back and forth from room to room. Think about anything that typically ends up in ‘clutter piles’ around your home, and consider if there are other locations in the house where they might be more easily put away.


8. Stick to a schedule for regular tidying up

Setting aside time on a daily or weekly basis to clean up will help you to establish a regular routine, and keep your house in a more manageable state rather than trying to tackle the whole thing once or twice per year. If you have other people living in the house, get them in on the schedule or assign them to a particular area, too. Teamwork makes the dream work!


9. Replace your air filters

Replacing furnace and HVAC filters is one of the most important and regularly overlooked parts of spring cleaning. Air conditioner ducts tend to build up dust during the winter, and new filters will catch unwanted particles so you can make sure you’re breathing clean, healthy air.


10. Don’t forget about walls and windows

While everyone knows to clean their floors, many tend to forget about the walls and windows. Dust can settle just as easily on the wall as on other surfaces, so simply take a damp towel and run it over the walls and window blinds from the top down. Remember to remove the window screens and wipe down the outside of the windows, too.

 

There you have it! With these spring cleaning tips, your home will be feeling fresh and ready for the new season in no time.

Colorado Real Estate News

How To Protect Landscape From Winter

How To Protect Landscape From Winter

Winter’s cool temperatures with Colorado’s bright sun can create landscape challenges unique to homeowners in Colorado. To prevent lasting damage to your landscape this winter, here are a few easy tips on how to prepare outdoor plants for the worst of winter.

 

Protect plant roots from the cold

For more cold-resistant plants, prioritize protecting the roots over the branches. To protect roots from freezing temperatures, add extra covering near the plant’s stem or trunk to insulate the ground from cold air. The best covering includes adding extra mulch, straw, wood chips, blankets, and tarps. Be sure to use stones, bricks, or stakes to keep the non-mulch covering from blowing away. Additionally, water plants before the storm, unless the plants are cacti or succulents. Water holds heat far more effectively than dry soil and will keep your plant’s roots above freezing temperatures.

 

Prevent snow and ice damage

Any plant or tree is susceptible to damage from heavy snow and ice, even those native to Colorado. The cold isn’t the main concern for established native trees and plants; stiff winds and the heavy weight of accumulated ice and snow can break smaller trees and branches, which can damage the entire tree.

The key to protecting plants from snow and ice is to prevent accumulation. Wrap smaller branches together with a strong cloth to withstand accumulation. If there are too many smaller branches, it may just be time for a pruning of weaker of smaller branches. If you’re worried about smaller plants, use a tee-pee shaped wood frame to keep snow and ice off the plant entirely. Blankets and tarps will also work to distribute the weight more evenly, and the snow can easily be shaken off after the storm by removing the covering.

 

Apply Anti-Desiccant to Shrubs

Anti-desiccant is a product which acts as an extra protective coating for plants in cold weather. Made from pine tree resin, the coating is sprayed onto plants who may be susceptible to damage from freezing temperatures. Anti-desiccant dries to the plant’s leaves to form a clear, colorless, and flexible film which will allow the plants to breath and absorb the sun’s energy through photosynthesis.

Anti-desiccant can also work to protect plant leaves from the sun. Cold, dry temperatures can cause plants to lose moisture in the trunk and leaves, which are then more susceptible to sun damage – like humans getting sun burn.

 

Potted Plants

Protect outdoor potted plants by placing the pots on top of a dolly. Roll the pots inside the home or garage ahead of freezing temperatures to avoid damage. As potted plants are above ground, the roots are far more susceptible to the air’s freezing temperatures than plants which grow in the ground and will need extra care to survive. Immature roots can die in outdoor potted plants at 23 degrees F, while immature roots planted in the ground may survive -10 and -20 F.

If wheeling your potted plants indoors is not an option, place pots on top of the dirt rather than concrete or pavement. Sunny days can warm concrete and pavement much more rapidly than the group, especially in Colorado, and lose heat when the sun sets. The rapid fluctuation in temperature can harm a plant’s roots, whereas the earth’s ground keeps a much more stable temperature.

 

Colorado Real Estate News

Energy Efficiency Tips & Tricks

energy-efficient

People often assume their new homes – especially luxury homes – are up-to-date on building codes and include the best construction standards. Homes need to be checked every 5-10 years for the ability to keep heat and cool air in or out, or else homeowners unknowingly pay extra in energy bills to compensate for home deficiencies. Not only is upgrading a home’s energy efficiency good for the environment, but high-efficiency homes allow homeowners to pay less each month on utility bills and may increase the home’s value as an investment.

 

Perform a DIY Home Energy Inspection

The most effective way to become energy efficient is to hire a home energy audit specialist. These professionals perform a thorough energy use audit on your home using a variety of tests detailing how much energy your home uses, ranks your home according to local benchmarks of similar homes, and identifies areas for improvement. The home energy specialist will also consider homeowner behavior like whether people are active throughout the day, the average thermostat settings for each season, and which rooms are used the most.

 

If you’re not willing to hire a professional, consider performing your own home energy assessment. All homes, old and new, likely have areas of improvement, and this checklist can be performed without hassle:

 

Replace light bulbs

The lowest-hanging fruit for greater energy efficiency is to replace all incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Both CFLs and LEDs require less energy to produce light, and both have far longer lifespans than incandescent bulbs. CFLs are typically a bit cheaper than LEDs, but LEDs are a far more cost-effective bulb in the long-run. LEDs have a longer lifespan than CFLs (50,000 est. hours for LEDs vs. 8,000 est. hours with CFLs), and LEDs are extremely durable while CFLs tend to break and can emit mercury.

 

Seal ducts

To identify invisible air drafts through the house, close all exterior doors, windows, and fireplace flues. Turn off all appliances like the stove and water heater. Turn on the kitchen exhaust fan or use a large window fan to blow air out of the house. Then, walk room-to-room by any exterior walls, basements, windows, and outlets with a lighted incense stick. Any changes in the incense’s smoke trail will indicate hidden air drafts and identify areas for you to fix.

 

Check Insulation

If your home was constructed more than 10 years ago, it’s very likely the insulation levels installed are far behind today’s recommended insulation standards. Today’s home energy prices and the likelihood of future energy prices have continually increased the recommended levels of insulation a builder should install.

 

One of the most common areas for insulation improvement is the attic door. If it’s not as insulated as the walls and roof, it likely contributes to heat or air conditioning loss. Checking for insulation throughout the house is much more difficult to do yourself, so it’s recommended you hire a professional who has the technology to detect what – if any – insulation is behind your walls. Additionally, there are new types of extremely effective insulation which weren’t available to builders in the past, such as insulation batts, foam board insulation, spray foam insulation, vapor barriers, and more.

 

Check your appliances

Large appliances which are older can be serious energy offenders. Most appliance manufacturers compete for the U.S. EPA and Department of Energy “Energy Star” label, which is given to products which meet the federal energy efficiency guidelines. Products with energy star labels can save you anywhere from $35 to $70 per year on energy savings, which end up being $525 to $1,050 after the average lifecycle of 15-years.

 

Additionally, you can adjust your dish and clothes washer machines settings to only use the cold-water mode when you’re dealing with oily stains on clothes or dishes. Using proper soaps and detergents with cool water is just as effective as using warm or hot water, and requires less use of your hot water heater.

 

Programmable Thermostat

If your home doesn’t have a programmable thermostat, it’s time to jump on board the home technology train. Programmable thermostats are becoming standard in many apartments and homes, because they can adjust settings automatically and create schedules based on when people are active within a residence. Nest, Google’s programmable thermostat, sends you monthly reports of energy savings or gains due to how often your air conditioner or heater ran, helping you make smarter decisions with home temperature with actual cost values.

Colorado Real Estate News

Winter Home Staging Tips

Winter Home Staging Tips

 

During the winter months in Colorado, attracting homebuyers to go dashing through the snow to an open house in December requires a different plan than in the summer months. By staging your home appropriately, though, it could lead to a quicker sale. Here are some tips for staging your home during the holidays:

 

Fresh seasonal flowers

Brighten homebuyers’ moods on a cold, gloomy day with fresh flowers. During the winter months, fresh flowers add an element of surprise – making your home extra memorable – because gardens are covered with snow and people aren’t expecting to see them. Depending on the look you are going for, there are many winter flowers from which to choose.

To tie to the snow-theme outside, swing by your local florist and go with ‘snowdrops’ which are beautiful, droplet-like downturned white petals which begin to bloom in early November. Another great option is the white ranunculus flower. These delicate rose-like blossoms feature layers of tissue-thin petals and they look almost too perfect to be real. Or, go with the white Calla Lily to make a bolder statement. Calla lilies are popular during the winter season because of their vivid white, trumpet-like pedals and because they are so elegant; just a few can make for a stunning bouquet. Around the holidays, consider the deep burgundy varietal of the Calla Lily too. Another stunning flower to get buyers in the merry spirit is the amaryllis which is commonly used in Christmas arrangements. The vibrant red amaryllis are bright and cheery and are sure to make any space pop.

There’s no need to add flowers to every room because the little touches here are there will make a big impact. Perhaps add a nice bouquet on the dining room table and the kitchen island, and place small arrangements, even just a single bud, bedside or in the master bathroom.

Great lighting

Natural lighting is essential to staging any time of the year! The natural light brightens moods and spaces; it can even be used to make rooms appear larger than they really are. Open the window treatments to allow as much natural light in as possible. If your window curtains are not neutral in color, then the general rule of thumb is to buy new ones as neutral colors appeal to the broadest number of potential homebuyers. Assess whether your light fixtures are out of date, and invest in light fixtures that are contemporary, minimalistic and dimmable.

Another essential to home staging? Making sure every single light bulb works. Furthermore, changing your light bulbs should be a priority. Typically, homes have a mix of incandescent, curly CFLs and LEDs. Commit to an LED of the same color – preferably 3,000K soft or warm white to add a sense of familiarity and comfort – and change out all older bulbs. Pro tip: Change the color of desk lamps to a much dimmer color temperature of 2400K or lower to highlight office space.

Make it warm and cozy for the holidays

Oftentimes, homeowners are curious to know whether or not to decorate their home on the market during the holidays. The answer is yes. Holiday decorations paint the picture of what life will be like for buyers, so hang festive twinkling lights, wreaths and a decorated tree near Christmas if you celebrate the holiday. Decorate with a vision of what you might see when flipping through a lifestyle magazine… be careful of going overboard as clutter is a big no-no in home staging.

A great idea for adding holiday light and warmth is to turn on the fireplace and have a bundle of fresh wood beside it. The fresh cut logs should add a memorable smell to the home. Don’t forget about adding a few stockings as well!

Throw blankets are a must-have in staging your bedroom and couches too. The hottest throw blankets today are chunky, hand-knitted throws in neutral colors. Ultra faux fur throws can make any bedroom seem exceedingly comfortable with its soft, welcoming texture. And more traditional cashmere throws are great as they can add a sumptuous softness and cozy warmth year-round.

Enhance the senses

Candles offer staged homes a full sensory experience. You can select a scent that brings out memories of baking holiday cookies, or ones that make you feel like you’re hiking amongst fresh mountain pine, to traditional aromatherapy fragrances used to tap into emotions. Whatever mood you are going for, be sure to only select only one or your home could become overwhelming and actually be a deterrent to buyers.

What to choose? The smooth scent of vanilla is always a great option and it’s often used to make people feel uplifted and relaxed. Pine and cedar scents are fun when the Christmas tree is up because it taps into buyers’ own happy holiday memories, plus forest scents are known to reduce stress and promote feelings of greater well-being. Instead of candles, you could also opt for natural elements like fresh pine cones by the fireplace or bake fresh cookies before an open house.

Clear the path

This goes without saying, but the single most important thing a seller needs to do in the winter is to be sure all snow and ice have been removed and treated with salt from walkways and the driveway. Check your roof for any ice dams, and take care that all icicles have been knocked down. Removing snow advertises to potential homebuyers what your home really looks like in the winter elements. Furthermore, getting them in the door (quite literally) is critical to successfully selling your home this season.

Embrace the winter months. After all, ’Tis the season to focus on warmth, togetherness and family when staging your home sweet home during the holidays.