- Deck the halls, but don’t go overboard.
Homes often look their best during the holidays, but sellers should be careful not to overdo it on the decor. Adornments that are too large or too many can crowd your home and distract buyers. Also, avoid offending buyers by opting for general fall and winter decorations rather than items with religious themes.
- Hire a reliable real estate agent.
That means someone who will work hard for you and won’t disappear during Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s. Contact our team of professionals, we are ready with snow boots and shovels to list and sell during this time! This will ease your stress and give you more time to enjoy the season.
- Seek out motivated buyers.
Anyone house hunting during the holidays must have a good reason for doing so. Work with your agent to target buyers on a deadline, including people relocating for jobs in your area, investors on tax deadlines, college students and staff, and military personnel, if you live near a military base.
- Price it to sell.
No matter what time of year, a home that’s priced low for the market will make buyers feel merry. Rather than gradually making small price reductions, many real estate agents advise sellers to slash their prices before putting a home on the market.
- Make curb appeal a top priority.
When autumn rolls around and the trees start to lose their leaves, maintaining the exterior of your home becomes even more important. Bare trees equal a more exposed home, so touch up the paint, clean the gutters and spruce up the yard. Keep buyers’ safety in mind as well by making sure stairs and walkways are free of snow, ice and leaves.
- Take top-notch real estate photos.
When the weather outside is frightful, home buyers are likely to start their house hunt from the comfort of their homes by browsing listings on the Internet. Make a good first impression by offering lots of flattering, high-quality photos of your home. If possible, have a summer or spring photo of your home available so buyers can see how it looks year-round.
- Create a video tour for the Web.
You’ll get less foot traffic during the holidays thanks to inclement weather and vacation plans. But shooting a video tour and posting it on the Web may attract house hunters who don’t have time to physically see your home or would rather not drive in a snowstorm.
- Give house hunters a place to escape from the cold.
Make your home feel cozy and inviting during showings by cranking up the heat, playing soft classical music and offering homemade holiday treats. When you encourage buyers to spend more time in your home, you also give them more time to admire its best features.
- Offer holiday cheer in the form of financing.
Bah, humbug! Lenders are scrooges these days, but if you’ve got the means, then why not offer a home loan to a serious buyer? You could get a good rate of return on your money.
- Relax — the new year is just around the corner.
The holidays are stressful enough with gifts to buy, dinners to prepare and relatives to entertain. Take a moment to remind yourself that if you don’t sell now, there’s always next year, which, luckily, is only a few days away.
As always, our team at Greenbrier Real Estate Service is always ready to help you with your real estate needs. We always offer FREE consultations, contact us today if you may be ready to sell your home. 304.645.2255
It’s Holiday time and you just might be expecting house guests in the coming days. Fun! It’s always nice to welcome friends and family into your home. You want them to feel welcome & comfortable–you can easily achieve this and impress them! Take a look at this list of 10 Simple Comforts for you house guests…
List of Upcoming Greenbrier Valley Events at the bottom…keep scrolling!
#1 Stock Up on Extra Chargers and Cords
A dead phone equals getaway misery. Set out a bowl with power strips and cords, outlet converters, and even an iHome speaker. Your guests will thank you, especially if they forgot theirs!
Another great tip—Post your Wi-Fi name and password in the guest room so they don’t have to bug you.
#2 Offer Sample-Size Toiletries in Your Bathroom
Put your stockpile of samples and hotel toiletries to good use. Tiny shampoos and lotions arranged in a basket or vintage apothecary jar are as welcoming as they are practical. Guests will be relieved if they forgot their own, but even if they didn’t, they’ll love the luxury of washing their hair on the house.
#3 Raise Your Cleanliness Standards
When you miss a dust bunny at home, you may not think too much about it- but to guests, it’s disgusting at best and insulting at worst.
So clean it all. Airbnb even tells hosts to scrub the entire bathroom, not once but twice, including the toilet, sink, bath, and floors after every guest.
One Airbnb host said, “We make sure you can smell the cleaner.”
#4 Give It Your Personal Touch
Family and friends come to town and choose to spend the night at your house rather than sterile hotel rooms because, in part, they want an authentic, personal experience.
So give it to them!
Scatter pictures and family treasures throughout your space. Frame a couple of your childhood photos and hang them up alongside some mementos from your own travels.
#5 Put a Radio in the Bathroom
Your guests may like to sing along in the shower, but the real reason for putting some tunes in the bath is to provide them with plenty of, well, privacy. Add an essential oil diffuser — or poo-pourri drops — and you’re in business.
#6 Set Up a DIY Cafe
If your guests are early birds — or will just want some occasional alone time — put a coffeemaker in their room along with a well-stocked basket of coffee and tea. Maybe even blow their minds with a mini fridge full of snacks.
To pull this off right, ask how they take their coffee in advance, and stock up appropriately.
#7 Designate Drawer and Closet Space Just for Guests
If your guest room closet could be featured on Storage Wars, it’s time to rethink your stuff strategy.
Maybe donate your to-be-regifted pile and sell those designer jeans you’ve been holding onto since….highschool — to make room in the closet and dresser for guest to have plenty of space (and the key word is plenty).
Label a few guest drawers and crack the closet so they can see there’s space to hang their clothes.
#8 Fancy Yourself a Travel Agent
Give guests a local’s-eye view by filling a basket with menus from nearby restaurants, brochures from local businesses that cater to tourists, and a current issue of your community newspaper. It’s a great way for guests to feel like a local and customize their time in your town.
#9 Hang a Robe – or Two – in the Closet
Help your guests feel right at home by hanging a couple of cozy (and freshly laundered), one-size-fits-all robes in the guest-room closet.
Not only can they wear their pajamas to breakfast without feeling self-conscious, but they’re also super-comfy and great to wrap up in after a shower.
#10 Expect the Unexpected with Extra Personal Supplies
And let your guests know where they are so they won’t feel guilty for bothering you (or worse, go without!). Here’s a list of things that great hosts always keep in stock:
- Disposable razors
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste
- First-aid kit
- Towels, pillows, and extra blankets
- Replacement light bulbs
Being the perfect host is perfectly achievable. With a little forethought, you’ll start racking up your own stellar reviews from your friends and family. Get ready to be the house everyone vies to visit.
Adapted from Lisa Rodak at HouseLogic.com
UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE GREENBRIER VALLEY:
December 7th- First Fridays goes Holiday style! Come enjoy downtown Lewisburg with free horse drawn carriage rides, a Santa visit, artist receptions and tasty treats throughout town …. all free to the public. Everyone is welcome!
December 8th- Girl’s Day Out in Lewisburg- Come enjoy a day out on the town with your favorite girls- Mom’s and Daughters, Friends and Family! Click here for more info!
December 6th-22nd- Greenbrier Valley Theatre Presents “A Christmas Carol” Click here to get your tickets and for more information!
Even if you think they are already starting to freeze
The winter chill is here in the valley! It’s a busy time of year with concerts, events, family gatherings…it can be easy to overlook the need to prepare for the cold weather ahead.
Ideally, you should winterize your pipes in the fall, before winter seriously sets in. But if you’ve forgotten and all of a sudden you’re in the middle of a deep freeze, there’s still time to prevent disaster.
Here are some easy techniques to save your pipes from bursting:
#1 Turn On Your Faucets
If the temperatures have dropped into freezing and intend to stay there, turning on your faucets — both indoors and out — can keep water moving through your system and slow down the freezing process. There’s no need to waste gallons of water: Aim for about five drips per minute.
#2 Open Cabinet Doors
During cold weather, open any cabinet doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom. This allows the home’s warm air to better circulate, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing. While this won’t help much with pipes hidden in walls, ceilings, or under the home, it can keep water moving and limit the dangerous effects of freezing weather.
#3 Wrap Your Pipes
If your pipes are already on their merry way towards freezing, wrapping them with warm towels might do the trick. You can cover them with the towels first and then pour boiling water on top, or use already-wet towels — if your hands can stand the heat (use gloves for this). This should help loosen the ice inside and get your system running again.
#4 Pull Out Your Hairdryer
A hairdryer (or heat gun) can be a godsend when your pipes are freezing. If hot rags aren’t doing the trick, try blowing hot air directly on the pipes. Important note: You don’t want to use a blow torch or anything that produces direct flames, which can damage your pipes and turn a frozen pipe into an even worse disaster. You’re trying to melt the ice — not your pipes.
#5 Shut Off The Water if Pipes Are Frozen
Have your pipes already frozen? Turn off the water immediately. (Hopefully you know where the master shut-off is, but if not, now’s the time to find it!)
Make sure to close off any external water sources, like garden hose hookups. This will prevent more water from filling the system, adding more ice to the pile, and eventually bursting your pipes — the worst-case scenario. This also will help when the water thaws; the last thing you want after finally fixing your frozen pipes is for water to flood the system — and thus, your home.
Just a few quick tips for you to keep in mind when the meteorologist starts showing us those freezing temperatures. Stay warm out there!
Article adapted from HouseLogic-JAMIE WIEBE
For any real estate needs or questions- contact us 304.645.2255
Gregory Allman, Broker
It’s quite a chilly fall day in the Greenbrier Valley! Over the weekend, we welcomed the Fall season. Love it or hate it, it’s here! The weather and time of year got us thinking about preparing for cooler temperatures. So, we have found a great checklist and wanted to share it with you. It’s time to tackle a few simple chores that’ll make winter more pleasant and prevent some nasty surprises next spring.
This fall checklist helps:
#1 Clean and Stow Your Mower
If you’re not familiar with fuel stabilizer, get to know it. If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle) prevents gas from degrading.Add stabilizer to your gasoline can to keep spare gas in good condition over the winter, and top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.
#2 Remove Garden Hoses From Faucets
Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.
Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet.
While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.
#3 Drain Your Sprinkler System
Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.
- Turn off the water to the system at the main valve.
- Shut off the automatic controller.
- Open drain valves to remove water from the system.
- Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace.
If you don’t have drain valves, then hire an irrigation pro to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air. A pro is worth the $75 to $150 charge to make sure the job is done right, and to ensure you don’t have busted pipes and sprinkler head repairs to make in the spring.
#4 Seal Air Leaks
Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a journey around your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.
Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.
#5 De-Gunk Your Gutters
Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.
If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage (#5, below); it may be time for a roofing replacement.
Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions; $10 to $20 each.
#6 Eyeball Your Roof
If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground.
Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately.
Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath. Call in a pro roofer for a $50 to $100 eval.
A plumbing vent stack usually is flashed with a rubber collar — called a boot — that may crack or loosen over time. They’ll wear out before your roof does, so make sure they’re in good shape. A pro roofer will charge $75 to $150 to replace a boot, depending on how steep your roof is.
#7 Direct Your Drainage
Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks.
Be sure soil doesn’t touch your siding.
#8 Check Your Furnace
Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $50 to $100 for a checkup.
An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit.
Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.
#9 Prune Plants
Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.
For advice on pruning specific plants in your region, check with your state extension service.
#10 Give Your Fireplace a Once-Over
To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney.
Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar. If you spot any damage, order a professional fireplace and chimney inspection. An inspection costs $79 to $500.
You fireplace flue should be cleaned of creosote buildup every other year. A professional chimney sweep will charge $150 to $250 for the service.
Article Adapted from House Logic
We hope you found these tips helpful and enjoy this new season we’re welcoming!
As always, for any real estate needs contact us! We’re ready to serve you!
Greenbrier Real Estate Service
Gregory Allman, Broker
Be a well informed buyer…ask your agent these questions when touring a home.
Our agents tour homes every day. Pick your agent’s brain for any unique qualities that stand out or flaws that you could be unaware of. If your agent doesn’t know the answer to a question, she or he can always ask the seller’s agent later.
Common questions to ask your agent:
- What do you like about the home?
- Do you have any concerns about this home?
- Is the price right?
- How long has this home been on the market?
- How quickly do you think this home will sell?
- How long have the current owners owned the home?
- Why is the home for sale?
- How old is the home?
- Are any repairs needed?
- How old is the roof?
- When were the floors last refinished?
- What type of heating and cooling systems are in place?
- How old is the electrical and plumbing?
- Can you see a copy of the current owner’s utilities?
- Is there a homeowner’s association with fees?
Article adapted from Redfin.com
Our professional REALTORs at Greenbrier Real Estate Service are always willing to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today! 304.645.2255
Upcoming Events in the Greenbrier Valley:
Before you begin touring, research homes online and start narrowing down your must-haves versus nice-to-haves. Then try to find homes to tour within your price range. When you get more serious about your house hunt, you’ll want a trustworthy real estate agent to help point out flaws, keep you within your budget, and tell you when to walk away.
Now, you’ve requested to see a home from your trusted Greenbrier Real Estate Service REALTOR. You’re off to a great start! Take a look at this list of things to look for while you’re viewing the home…
Once inside a home, try everything.
Follow common courtesy but don’t be shy—open and shut the cupboards, flush the toilets, and whip out the measuring tape. Here are a few key things to look for on each tour:
- Architectural style
- Number, location, and size of bedrooms
- Number, location, and size of bathrooms
- Closet and storage space
- Number of floors
- Sight lines through home
- General floorplan
- Age and condition of appliances
- Light switches and number of sockets in each room
- Plumbing and water pressure
- Amount of natural light and views, if any
- Noise levels inside and outside the home
- Width and types of stairways
- Porches and decks
- Garage and/or parking capacity
- Proximity to neighboring homes
- Remodeling opportunities
Don’t forget the exterior
Don’t forget to walk around the entire home and property. Pay attention to the age and condition of the roof and siding. Does the landscaping look like it will be a lot of work? If you don’t have a green thumb and don’t want to hire a gardener every month, you may want to look for a home with easy outdoor upkeep.
Take notes and photos
It’s easy to get homes mixed up so take photos, videos, and notes on each tour. Photograph features you particularly like and dislike about each home, and share these insights with your agent. Looking through your photos and notes with fresh eyes may also trigger additional questions you have about the home.
Research the neighborhood
Take few minutes before or after your home tour to check out the neighborhood. How does the neighborhood feel? Is it bustling or quiet? Is there shopping, dining, and gas nearby? What are the schools like?
The bottom line
Home buying takes plenty of compromise and patience. It’s easy to fall in love with a home at first sight—and if you love a home, chances are everyone else will too. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just realize that you may be up against some competition. Be prepared to make multiple offers before you find the right home at the right price.
As always our REALTORS at Greenbrier Real Estate Service are always dedicated to guiding you through this process. Stay tuned for our next blog!–Things to ask Your Real Estate Agent– a continuation of Things to Look for on your Home Tour.
Greenbrier Real Estate Service
Gregory Allman, Broker
With the transition from summer travels to school beginning in just 10 days in Greenbrier County, August can feel like a sudden downshift from the fun of vacation. Stretch out these last days of summer by squeezing in a few more home projects, savoring simple pleasures and, when the time comes, cleaning up the beach toys and preparing the house for a busy fall. Pick from these 13 to-dos to create your perfect August plan.
1. Clean and store summer gear. Once the last beach day is behind you, take the time to clean out the buckets, shovels and boogie boards so they’re fresh and clean for next year. Toss out cracked or broken toys, and shop end-of-season sales to replace items if needed.
2. Set up a shared family calendar. Whether you choose a big paper wall calendar or a digital version, having one calendar to rule them all will be a big help come fall, when schedules get busier. Set up your preferred method now, and record important back-to-school dates and recurring events.
3. Clear the way for easy weeknight dinners. A too-packed kitchen (and fridge and pantry) can make meal prep harder than it needs to be. Clear away clutter to create a clean work space on the counter and remove expired, stale and unwanted food from the pantry, fridge and freezer. Donate unwanted and unexpired foods in their original packaging to a local food pantry.
4. Share your backyard harvest. Have a glut of tomatoes, squash or other summer produce? Pack up a basket to share with your neighbors, or check out Greenbrier County’s own Waste Not Want Not Project they host a Produce Market every Sunday in Fairlea, WV at Swift Level Fine Meats. A great project that benefits our area farmers as well as low income families and seniors in our area!
Tackle These Tasks Over a Weekend
5. Organize family photos. Have a bunch of new photos from your summer adventures? Take this opportunity to sort and organize them — back up digital photos with cloud-based storage, and make an album or a book of recent photos.
6. Clean carpets and floors. Sand and garden dirt tracked in over the summer can really take a toll on floors. Vacuum and mop floors, and have area rugs and carpeting professionally cleaned if needed.
7. Get organized for back to school (and work). Consider what would make this fall run more smoothly for your family: a few extra hooks in the entryway to handle coats and bags, perhaps? Or if papers are a constant problem, take the time now to set up a simple filing system and an inbox for each family member.
8. Check emergency kits.Emergency supplies don’t last forever. Open up your kit and check expiration dates on food and any medications; replace as needed. Don’t have an emergency kit yet? Make this the month you create one.
9. Organize closets before fall shopping. Before making any new purchases, spend some time assessing what you already have in the closet: Try on clothing, fold and hang up any clothes on the floor, get rid of items you don’t wear and make a list of what you need. Doing this before shopping can help save money and prevent cluttering up your closet.
10. Schedule some do-nothing time. It can be surprisingly hard to relax and simply do nothing, even when you do have a pocket of free time. I find that the key is not calling it “free time” at all: By planning to do nothing, you are actually giving yourself permission to fully relax.
11. Clean and organize the garage. If you haven’t cleaned out your garage in a while, it’s likely this project will take an entire weekend (or more), so plan accordingly. It helps to think ahead and find out where you can take items (donations, hazardous waste, things to sell) before starting, and get a dumpster if you think you will need it. Wait until you’ve cleared away the clutter before purchasing new shelving or wall-mounted organizers. You’ll have a better idea of what you need once the decluttering is complete.
12. Finish up outdoor projects. Make use of the long August days to finish up any outdoor projects you started (or intended to start) over the summer.
13. Check your home for signs of pests. It’s not a pleasant subject, but being proactive when it comes to pests in and around your home is much better than trying to solve a pest problem that has gotten out of hand. If you do need to use pesticides, choose the lowest-risk product first, and use according to the directions. If you hire a pest control pro, ask him or her to use bait, and crack and crevice control when possible; fogging should be a last resort.
What’s on your TO-DO List for the end of summer? Soak it up, get things done, and get ready for fall in the Greenbrier Valley!
Article adapted from Houzz.com-Laura Gaskill
Thinking of moving to our beautiful “neck of the woods” Contact us! We’ll help you find your home sweet home!
Greenbrier Real Estate Service
1047 Washington St. E.
Lewisburg, WV 24957