Autumn Leaves Signal Home Improvement Season High Time for Improving Homes in Stockton Less-Than-Obvious Stockton Home Improvement Ideas

Ah, November! Down every street we see the familiar sight of homes in Stockton, yards displaying evidence of the fall leaf drop and — yikes! — Winter is coming!

Beyond the unavoidable home maintenance issues: leaks in roof, cracks in windows, heating system checks, fall is also the best time to consider other, less obvious improvement projects.  Whenever the weather (and busy schedules) allow, whether or not yours is one of the homes in Stockton that will soon have a ‘For Sale’ in its front yard, a few less attention-demanding home improvement ideas that could merit your attention:

Fireplace Inspection! A crackling fire is a worthy antidote for winter blahs, but if you have a good, old-fashioned wood-burning fireplace, when is the last time you actually had it inspected? Experts say that chimneys should be examined annually for cracks, blockages, and ventilation issues.

Flooring Renewal! If you have one of the many homes in Stockton that features beautiful hardwood floors, refinishing them may not be high on your To-Do list this fall. Yet whether you are considering selling anytime soon or not, consider the advantages of re-finishing floors sooner rather than later. With the holidays on the way, who doesn’t want a home in sparkling shape for entertaining? The look of floors has an outsized impact on the way a home appears. And if you have been thinking of actually replacing any flooring, according to George Moore, a contractor and chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers,  “Some types of flooring adhesives need the temperature of the house to be between 75 and 80 degrees. It’s for that glue to adhere properly.  Cold air can be a little more damp and can stop the glue from drying properly, so you could have a bonding problem.”   With energy prices rising, replacing flooring now may be a more practical solution than in the depth of winter.

Painting! For the same reason, homes in Stockton that could use a protective exterior painting should be attended to now – at least if temperatures hold within recommended limits. Indoors, once it’s time to crank the heat, other reasons apply. A heated home means closed windows and re-circulating air – far from ideal conditions for anyone trapped indoors with the smells and paint fumes.  Moreover, should a significant amount of cold air enter through doorways or windows, it could negatively affect proper drying.

The bottom line?  Because many improvement projects are well suited for the fall, it is also true that contractors and vendors are busiest this time of year. So, if you’re thinking about any that take outside help, get on the books now!  Whether you’re looking to sell a home in Stockton — or just keeping yours in top shape, this is a great time to get started. I’m here, too, whenever you feel like chatting about the local real estate market!

Stockton’s Thanksgiving Traces Back to – What, Exactly?

This Thursday, at some point in the festivities we’ll be remembering the Pilgrims and their Indian guests on that first Thanksgiving Day in the New World. After all, that gathering was the genesis of today’s Stockton Thanksgiving Day celebration.

Or was it?

This momentary doubt surfaced when someone mentioned the Canadian Thanksgiving celebration. When you think about it, how likely it is that our Neighbors to the North would create a national holiday to memorialize some ancient Massachusetts get-together? Pretty unlikely.

So if their Thanksgiving doesn’t celebrate the day the Pilgrims feasted with their new Wampanoag friends, what does it celebrate?

The Canadian version is said to be offshoots of the Old World’s “Harvest Festivals.” According to England’s Metro News, “Harvest Festival in Britain is the ancient festival that celebrates a successful yield.” It’s a “Sunday of Thanksgiving” observed on the Sunday closest to the harvest moon (this year, it came on September 23). European Harvest Festivals are said to be remnants of pre-Christian harvest festivals, during which corn dolls are traditionally fashioned from “the last sheath of the harvest.” You can find many pictures of the corn dolls (they call them ‘dollies’). No Indian tribes. No turkeys.

Pagan festivals and dollies? Does this put the accuracy of all Stockton elementary school bulletin boards with their Pilgrim hats and turkey displays in jeopardy? Fortunately, there’s a problem with the Pilgrim-less version.

According to the British press, the corn dolls are “meant to symbolize the pagan goddess of the grain”—which would definitely predate Christianity altogether. But the fact is, corn was unknown in Europe until it was brought by Columbus from the New World. So the corn doll/pre-Christian link doesn’t work, time-wise.

I think we can safely bypass other Thanksgiving legends and just stick to our own story. Stockton’s Thanksgiving can continue to be the once-a-year occasion to remember its true spirit—a day we celebrate our gratitude for all we have and love.

Here’s hoping your celebration is delightful and fulfilling. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

6 Reason Why November is High Time to List Your Stockton House

Your reasons for when you decide to list your home can be dictated by personal events that you set in motion—or by others that just come along. Then again, when you have a good deal of leeway on the decision, at this time of the year, you might be tempted to wait for Stockton’s “spring selling season” before listing your Stockton house. Yet there are several real-world reasons why delaying might not always be in your best interest. Here are six persuasive ones:

  1. Determination. Buyers who appear during the end of year months are almost by definition more determined to find and buy their new home. The holidays make such extra-curricular activities less convenient, so looky-loos and next-year buyers are largely absent.
  2. Waiting for next spring’s expected onslaught of new Stockton buyers makes less sense when you consider the expected accompanying onslaught of new Stockton listings. Fall and winter sellers face sparse competition.
  3. Yard work. With the peak growing season behind us, the coming months require significantly less attention to keep garden and lawn—hence, curb appeal— in showing-ready condition.
  4. Moving expense. With their peak moving season far in the future, many professional Stockton moving outfits offer discounted rates. It makes sense for them: in an average year, more than 40,000,000 Americans will move—and 80% do it between April and September!
  5. Focus. Fewer sellers and fewer buyers mean both get more attention from all quarters. Loan officers, home inspectors—and just about everybody else whose offices contribute to completing the sale—all have clearer calendars and less competing demands on their time.
  6. Kismet factor. You don’t have to be a fatalist to realize that sheer luck is often a factor in selling any Stockton house—the uncontrollable factor that makes your ultimate buyer “just happen” to be looking for a home like yours. If you wait for spring to list, you’ll miss all the buyers who are looking between now and then.

These six are all convincing reasons to consider listing your Stockton house sooner rather than later—but it’s also true that some determined autumn prospects have been waiting to see if better bargains will appear. The takeaway: in any season, a realistic asking price is the best way to draw a crowd. Any time of year, for a no-obligation consultation detailing where your Stockton property fits into the current market, give me a call!

What’s the Daylight Savings Dimension for Stockton Real Estate? Does Sunday’s Daylight Savings Ritual Aid Stockton Real Estate? Why Stockton Realtors® Favor Sunday’s Daylight Savings Shift

It’s close to the end of the line for Stockton’s daylight savings time. Come Sunday, when our digital clocks are poised to click over to 2 am, they should automatically duck back to 1, returning the 60 minutes we donated last spring. (Well, all the smarter clocks will do that—our Stockton neighbors will have to make the adjustment manually on duller-witted timepieces).

The daylight savings time adjustment has its boosters and detractors; but, speaking for Stockton’s real estate community, we’re definitely in favor of saving as much light as possible! The reasons are many, both aesthetic and scientific.

First, there’s the effect of light on potential home buyers. ScienceDaily offers one study that explains “its powerful effects on the brain.” These include non-visual functions having to do with synchronizing our biological clocks. Light conveys a powerful stimulating signal for human alertness. Research is underway to see if those effects can be maximized.

Experienced Stockton real estate professionals don’t have to be told about the importance of light when it comes to showing properties and conducting open houses. Just about every checklist ever published lists the importance of throwing open the draperies, switching on the lamps and overhead fixtures to brighten as many rooms as possible. Such common-sense preparations are based on something Realtors® agree upon: bright surroundings produce positive, cheerful atmospheres. Not all prospective buyers may be looking for a light and bright home environment, but the lion’s share does seem to welcome well-lit rooms and hallways.

Once the value of light is acknowledged, another area that is being explored deals with the subtle effects of the color of light on how people feel. The Journal of Neuroscience has a number of studies advancing “the understanding of health effects of different light colors” so that “you can design your home or office in a manner that promotes positivity and wellbeing.”

At any rate, I’m all for continuing the daylight savings clock-tinkering rituals as long as they do what they were devised to do: extend summer evenings’ daylight hours. From Sunday until next spring, Stockton’s Realtors will adjust our showing and open house hours accordingly. For details on those, or any other Stockton real estate matters, give me a call!

Keeping Halloween in Stockton the Safest Kind of Mayhem Stockton Halloween: Controlled (but Safe) Disruption Keeping Stockton’s Halloween Fun…and Safe

Halloween in Stockton is the one day in every year when the regular order of things gets a thorough shaking up. For one thing, it’s the single day of the year when we expect our doorbell to be ringing non-stop for hours on end. It’s certainly the only time when prudence dictates that we stockpile bowls full of treats to serve as ransom payments against demands for booty from an onslaught of pint-sized masked neighbors.

For Stockton’s small fry, if all goes well, Stockton’s Halloween ranks right up there with birthdays in terms of fun and excitement—possibly because of the aura of good-natured bounds-testing that seems to hover over the proceedings. When else does everybody get to dress up in disguises? When else might some perfectly dignified adult don an eyepatch and start talking like a pirate? When else does practically the whole of Stockton agree to engage in a tradition that disrupts the normal order of things for the express purpose of just having some fun? Who thought this thing up, anyway?

For parents who may or may not find themselves costumed this Tuesday, the fun will be somewhat tempered by the grownup’s job of keeping everybody safe amid the spooky mayhem. Without spoiling the fun altogether, the most-noted Halloween safety concerns for Stockton homeowners are:

  • Keep your property’s walks and stairways well-lit.
  • Place pumpkins and other Halloween decorations well off to the side to prevent their becoming tripping hazards.
  • Secure pets away from the mayhem. Even the best-behaved may lose their cool after hours of doorbell ringing and screaming kids.
  • Avoid homemade treats and loose candy—parents can’t trust them.
  • Don’t leave treats outdoors for the kids to take. They can be tampered with.

Health authorities aren’t shy about advising parents to temper their little goblins’ candy intake. One good tactic: reserve a particularly enticing new toy to trade for a goodly amount of the sugary swag.

Here’s hoping your family has a safe and moderately sane Stockton Halloween. As soon as things get back to normal, I’ll be here, ready to assist with your next Stockton real estate venture!

 

 

 

Timing Your Stockton Home Sale Can Be Controversial 

Hardly anyone decides to put their own Stockton house up for sale without wondering whether there wouldn’t be a better time to do so. There are a couple of different ways to look at the timing of your Stockton home’s sale—but only one of them is controversial.

Controversial: timing by the calendar. A good number of real estate commentators think that the optimal timing for any home’s sale is during the spring/summer season. In the residential real estate lexicon that’s the “peak selling season.” Statistics validate their point. Since the majority of transactions are in fact initiated during the good weather months when the sun shines the longest, it might seem to make the most sense.

The controversy arises when it’s pointed out that this notion is so commonly held that timing your home sale to list it during the peak puts you in competition with many more sellers. Peak season proponents don’t think that’s a problem since there are also more buyers in the market. Naysayers counter that house-hunters in poorer weather are demonstrating that they are more committed—by definition, they are better prospects. And so on—and on. The argument isn’t likely to be settled any time soon.

Non-Controversial: timing by your personal calendar. This argues for disregarding the wall calendar in favor of letting your personal situation dictate the timing for your own Stockton home sale. Financial commentators make the argument that when your home no longer fits your lifestyle, that’s all the timing you need to pay attention to…if your financial ducks are in a row. The seasonal timing debate can be argued either way, but almost everyone agrees that the underlying economics should dictate the final word on timing.

Once your debt situation is in control, and you’re confident that you can afford the move to your next house, the only timing issue remaining is allowing enough of it to bring your current Stockton home up to prime showing condition. Whenever your personal situation aligns to suggests it’s time to start thinking about selling, one timing element I can heartily suggest is to give me a call. We’ll have a no-obligation discussion about if and when to get the ball rolling!

Autumn is Stockton’s Landscaping Window of Opportunity

Stockton gardening enthusiasts already know this—but for those whose thumbs are anything but green, right now is a special time of year where landscaping is concerned. It’s Stockton’s high season for planting and transplanting!

You don’t have to intend on listing your Stockton home anytime soon to have a vested interest in maximizing your home’s curb appeal. After all, year in and year out the plantings in front and back yards can make all the difference in the kind of impact your property makes—it’s a pride of ownership fundamental. Neighbors and casual passers-by may not realize how much of a difference a pleasingly planted yard makes, but it’s one area that’s readily within every Stockton homeowner’s control. And experienced gardening hands know that right now it’s the key season for making the most difference for the least expense.

Autumn’s cooler temperatures are what creates the opportunity. The soil is still holding much of the summertime warmth while cooler air temperatures make for less stress on plants’ roots (and on the gardener doing the planting, too). Like bears, perennials need to hibernate. Their dormancy period constitutes a nice restorative siesta. It’s also a low-stress way for roots to settle into their new digs.

Most non-gardeners only start thinking about boosting the color and variety of their gardens with the arrival of springtime…but for many spring-blossoming bulbs, shrubs, perennials, and trees, that’s not the optimal time to get out the digging forks and shovels. Right now is when experts say it’s best to divide clumps of any perennials that have been doing well. It’s how to spread the color to other parts of the garden—at a total cost of nada. It’s also prime time to watch for sales at Stockton garden centers.

Stockton house flippers approach their projects on a much-compressed schedule—but for homeowners who aren’t thinking about selling anytime soon, taking the long view of property enhancement begins with their home’s setting: its landscaping. October is the perfect season for turning any long-range creative ideas into next spring and summer’s lush garden reality. Then when the time does come to buy or sell Stockton real estate, I hope you’ll think of giving me a call. I’m always here to share some no-obligation counseling and advice!

 

 

Stockton Real Estate Negotiations: Beyond Game Theory

Game theory only sounds like it has something to do with how to win in some weekend sports outing or family board game. It’s a seriously studied logical field that mathematicians delve into. Interestingly, when you study how to develop successful negotiation tactics—Stockton real estate negotiations included—you can look at them via game theory.

There is a problem, though. The further you get into the subject, the more it tends to become more and more abstract. Unless you are someone who looks forward to curling up by a roaring fire with a favorite math textbook, you won’t get very far into game theory before your eyes will begin to glaze over.

In real life, Stockton real estate negotiations are anything but academic exercises, so I can’t recommend spending hours studying “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” or any of the other highly studied game theory games. But even if you’ve been able to stay tuned for only a few of the most rudimentary basics, it seems that in order to develop a winning game plan in any negotiation, there has to be one pre-condition (in game theory, it’s called an assumption).

The assumption that’s necessary for developing a successful negotiation strategy is that all the parties must be rational. They have to be trying to make decisions (game moves) that are intended to benefit themselves. In Stockton real estate negotiations, that usually consists of paying or receiving the least or most money in the most favorable timeframe.

So the takeaway from game theory’s application to Stockton  real estate negotiations is both simple and useful in the real world:

First, remain rational yourself. In the course of negotiations, if your thoughtful proposal isn’t accepted, don’t get mad—even if it’s maddening. Stay cool; acknowledge that you’ve considered the response, and develop the best counter that is in your interest. I’ll help!

Second, as much as possible, foster rationality in the other party. Even if they fly off the handle for what seems to be no reason, assume there IS a reason—but it may not be one that’s rational or even directly connected to the bargain under discussion. It can even be due to misconstrued communication. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget that emotions can block self-interest—but even fiery emotions can be quelled when met with calm and reason.

One of the great advantages to having me as your Realtor is the experience I bring to the Stockton real estate negotiations that complete every sale. There are many steps that precede that “endgame” moment—call me whenever you’re ready to discuss getting started!

Thoughts as Stockton’s Summertime Ends…

Sunday was the official last day of Stockton’s 2019 summer, but for most of us, the season has been feeling a lot more like fall ever since Labor Day. It isn’t the weather so much as the psychological factor. Things like the passing of that last summertime three-day weekend and watching Stockton’s seasonal businesses post hour change signs. As the school buses appear every morning, you also don’t have to have kids in school to register what all the activity signals: Stockton’s summer is over.

Pinterest, the internet’s foremost collecting place for everyone’s pictures of everything has scores of pages of photos and drawings with Last Days of Summer themes. Some of them do extract a sigh or two. It may have been decades since you last experienced a cookout with friends as the summer sun sets, or watched a little one discovering that the cold tidewater will get your toes if you don’t back away in time—but the thought that the chance to revisit such moments has slipped away till next year is a sigh-producer for most.

The Pinterest collections had lots of swimming pool and beach pictures (including many dogs-in-swimming-pools, for some reason), as well as barbecue grills and drinks with limes in them. They did a good job of making you wish Stockton’s summer could last just a little bit longer…

On the bright side, since they were also heavy with ice cream and popsicle imagery, it prompted the realization that some Stockton summer attractions won’t be disappearing at all! There’s no law that says Stockton’s autumn won’t include an ice cream cone or two. Besides, it’s a fact that the summertime pastime of racing to get to the bottom of the cone before it melts all over the place is easier to win as the weather gets colder. Another plus is how, before long, autumnal treats like pumpkin-flavored ice cream are going to show up again.

With Stockton’s official Last Day of Summer coming to an end, those whose favorite season arrives with the fall have only the weekend before it’s here. It will be many months before fall fanciers will have to resort to Pinterest to relive the Last Days of Autumn collections. They will undoubtedly find lots of pictures of high school football games, trees ablaze with orange-gold color, turkeys—but let’s not jump the gun; all that is yet to come!

In the meantime, season in and season out, call me whenever Stockton real estate matters need to be attended to!

For Stockton Homeowners, Autumn Home Maintenance Ideas Autumn Home Maintenance Ideas Prevent Costly Situations It’s not Spring Cleaning—What is Autumn Maintenance?

Sure, spring cleaning is one thing. Stockton homeowners find it easy to tackle major housekeeping chores they avoided during the winter weather months. When the sun is out and spring is in the air, somehow it’s just more inviting to freshen up the household.

Autumn home maintenance chores may not beckon in the same way, but for conscientious Stockton homeowners who take the time to attend to them, the rewards are just as handsome. The idea is to prevent some expensive fixes.

It goes without saying that clearing rain gutters and drainage systems are high on the list—but that’s a job for later on when leaf fall is the issue. Here are four autumn home maintenance recommendations as Stockton’s autumn begins:

Flush the water heater. This is one job many conscientious Stockton homeowners overlook, but it’s a fact that corrosion-causing sediment shortens a water heater’s service life. Additional reward: that sediment reduces efficiency, so clearing it out will cut power bills all winter long.

Check for water leaks. This one is easy. Take a reading on the water meter, then turn off all appliances that use water (and don’t flush for a couple of hours). If the meter has changed, scout for the leak—leaky hoses are prime suspects. If you come up empty, a plumber’s expertise is probably indicated—better now than in the dead of winter.

Empty the drip pan. Most refrigerators have a drip pan down behind the kick panel. Be careful when you pull it out—it’s probably full of water, and possibly mold. If mold has clogged the drain line that leads down to the pan, shaping a metal coat hanger to clear it is standard practice.

Soak the clothes dryer’s lint screen. If gathering the lint off the dryer screen no longer clears it completely, you can remove the greasy film that develops by soaking it in a dishwasher soap-hot water bath, then gently brushing and rinsing.

An associated but more obscure tip: if clothes are still wet after ending the auto dry cycle, it could be caused by dryer sheet residue that builds up on its moisture sensor bars. Your dryer’s user manual will show where the metal sensors are located—on older models, they are usually found on the back wall of the drum; on newer models, on the inside front near the lint screen. After unplugging the machine, the white buildup can be cleared with some fine grit sandpaper, followed by polishing with a clean rag.

Autumn or spring, I’m standing by to consult on all Stockton real estate matters. I hope you will give me a call anytime!