Tips for Sellers this Fall

5 Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal for the Fall Selling Season

Sellers looking to get the best price know that curb appeal plays a huge role in getting buyers through the door. Once the flowers fade and the temperature drops, however, it can be easy to overlook your outdoor space altogether. Here are five simple ways to make the most of what fall has to offer and give your home the edge it needs for a quick sale.

1. Improve Your Entry

With every potential buyer passing through your front door, your entryway is critical to a good first impression. Cleaning the door, sweeping the stoop, and ridding the area of dirt and cobwebs can be enough to improve the overall look of your home, but for maximum impact, lay a new doormat and replace or paint any rusted or corroded hardware, mailboxes, or light fixtures. If you’re feeling adventurous, painting your front door a different shade can be a great selling feature that can be done in an afternoon.

2. Let the Light Shine

While the outdoors is the natural habitat for all manner of insects, they don’t need to reside in your outdoor light fixtures. Dirty lights and windows will not only reduce your nighttime curb appeal but can also affect how much natural light makes it through to the inside of your home. A thorough cleaning of light fixtures and windows will boost the overall impression buyers have of your home and can affect their impression of the rest of the home. For added impact, place inexpensive solar lights along the border of any gardens or walkways to illuminate your yard at night.

3. Love Your Landscape

Given that landscaping can amount for up to 15 percent of a home’s value, keeping your yard in tip-top shape is more important in the fall than ever. Fall colors and cascading leaves may provide a romantic vision, but may leave a potential buyer focusing on how much raking they will have to do. When seasonal plants fade away, be sure to cut back the dead growth and ensure your yard is regularly raked. Even if your yard doesn’t require frequent mowing, be sure to edge walkways with a straight-edge for a clean-cut look, and add some quick color by placing pots of seasonal plants in gardens and on porches.

4. Whisk the Water Away

The fall tends to bring increased precipitation, which can be a deal-breaker for buyers if they feel water penetration will be a problem. To prevent pooling water, be sure the grading around the foundation slopes away from the house and use downspout extenders, if necessary, to move water out into the yard. Clean the gutters regularly, and take a good walk around your home after a heavy rain to identify any problem areas that may allow water into the house, like door and window caulking.

5. Don’t Overdo the Decor

Finally, while the bounty of fall can be used to enhance the beauty of your home, be wary of overdoing the decor. Too many Halloween decorations, for example, can easily detract from the beauty of your home. Try instead for colorful mums, gourds, and pumpkins in a variety of colors and sizes that can provide earthy variety without overdoing it. Regardless of the weather, the fall is still a hot time to sell a home, and can be an incredible opportunity to make a lucrative sale. Keep in mind that most buyers will either view your home online or drive by before making a decision to visit, so a sharp curb appeal can help keep your home above the competition.

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Community Update

Houghton Lake has always been a place of fond memories for its community members and tourists alike. For many years families have been vacationing here coming from as far as 3 or 4 hours away just to enjoy our beautiful lake, whether it be winter or summer. The beauty of this town is the fun never ends; the outdoor enthusiast can be entertained year round.

In the summer the lakes are full of life and the trails are run hard with ORV’s of all sorts. Fall brings the hunter’s that come from all over for the chance to snag the elusive 10 point buck. Winter has the snowmobiles, ice fisherman, and the well-known Tip Up Town USA. From a real estate perspective Houghton Lake offers a bit of everything, and very fortunately for the second home owner’s it’s at a very affordable price compared to other tourist communities in Northern Michigan. That and the fact that it is a centrally located community, within a 2-3 hour drive from all the major cities in Michigan it is a popular tourist destination. Tourism is what keeps the community thriving since the population quickly depreciates to a third of the people once the snow flies and all that is left is the local community.

Houghton Lake was hit very hard during the recession and has been one of the slowest real estate markets to regain home values. When the community completely thrives on tourism and that comes to a halt, not only are the second home owner’s feeling the impact of losing their houses or putting them up for sale because they can no longer afford them, the small business owner’s were left wondering if they’d even be able to keep their doors open. Some were not. It’s a domino effect the lead to lost jobs for the worker’s, lost homes, etc. But it has bounced back, slowly but surely and the community is now thinking of ways to keep the tourism coming, keep the locals thriving, and make Houghton Lake the go to destination and the place that people want to live full time and raise their families.

The chamber of commerce is hard at work coming up with new ideas daily. Recently they hosted Shake The Lake which was a wonderful family friendly music event. The entertainment was amazing, there were food trucks, vendors, beverages. Kids were welcome, you could even hear the music from the lake! There were many boats anchored nearby enjoying the entertainment as well. The chamber’s main focus is to bring tourism to the community by creating events that pulls people in. They are also in need of new members! These events don’t happen overnight and they require a lot of fundraising and sponsorships from the local community. If you are looking for a way to help out the chamber is a great option.

Our school is working hard to get pointed in the right direction. When people are deciding where to live between Houghton Lake, Roscommon, or Grayling, and they have small children the schools are a NUMBER ONE deciding factor almost every time. The community is built around its school system when it is a small community like this one, the children and the school’s need to be a number one priority. In order to bring more people to live in our area the focus needs to be on the schools. We have a new school board in place and the school has recently made some changes to better serve the community and students within it. Moving forward, they are gathering people together to form a task force to discuss the future needs of the school to continue with the improvements. More information on the first task force meeting is posted below. I’d encourage you to attend if you have ideas of what can help the school and the community. 

Another organization close to my heart in this community is the Northern Michigan Children’s Assessment Center. If you are unfamiliar with them please go to their website and learn about how they help our children & how many children they see within our small community that have been victims of abuse. Midge & Co is teaming up with NCACU and other local community member’s to bring a great family friendly event to the area with the sole purpose of raising money for the CAC (Children’s Assessment Center). Saturday September 7th, bring your families and join us behind Collin’s Elementary for a fun SUPERHERO DAY! Starting at noon there will be a walk for kids around the school grounds, we are asking for a $20 donation per family to join the walk, but we will take whatever you can donate. During the walk we will meet the SUPERHEROES and the children will be able to escort them into the MAIN SUPERHERO EVENT outside! The main superhero event begins at 1 and will have many children’s activities, business vendor’s, food and more! Activities include a bounce house, face painting, free popcorn, ice cream, hotdogs, and a k-9 demonstration with the local k-9 unit! This is just some of the fun offerings that day and everything is FREE! We are just asking for a cash donation if you are able for the CAC.  

My career in real estate has opened my eyes up to so much more than just selling houses. I’ve learned how to help people during hard life transitions. I’ve learned how I can use my platform as a realtor to better serve our community. More than anything, I’ve learned that to grow it takes a village. If you have the time and you want to see Houghton Lake become the go to vacation destination, the place people want to come to raise their families, the town they are excited to start their new business in, JOIN! DONATE! VOLUNTEER!

Let’s work together and make a difference.

~Ashley Boal