All things real estate: Preparing your home, landscape for fall, winter months


The leaves will start to fall in a few weeks and yes, raking and blowing time will begin once again. The drudgery of doing this every year is just one of the chores one must be resigned to doing when owning a home; unless you have or hire a gardener.

However, it’s excellent exercise if you are one to move about on a regular basis. Just like shoveling snow (or using a snowblower), one must be in good physical condition.

So don’t all of a sudden be brave and do strenuous activities, if you haven’t performed them in a long time, because the end result could be an unexpected heart attack or other physical issues.  Don’t jeopardize your health, it’s not worth it!

Having your property tidy and neat says a lot to buyers and you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. Soon it will also be time to think about cleaning and putting away or covering your outdoor furniture as well as storing hoses etc.

Also, change the oil in your snow blower and starting it up, just to make sure it is operational and if not, it’s a good time to get it fixed before that first snow day when the rush is on in repair shops.

While the weather is still quite nice, you might consider cleaning all your outside windows, assuming you can do them from the inside, since most modern windows allow you to have them open in as opposed to the old fashion ones that you had to climb up a ladder, sometimes to a second floor, to clean all of them from the outside, which, was very dangerous.

Even cleaning out the gutters and leaders of leaves was and is another dreadful item that needs to be on your to-do list. But again, some gardeners have a unique extension to their blowers that reach up into the gutters to sufficiently clean them out and then taking your hose to thoroughly rinse them out.

Not doing these two things could cause clogged gutter drains and then the water (and ice and snow) to back up into your soffits causing internal damage to your interior walls. By the way, you still may be able to seal coat your driveway as long as temperatures are at least in the sixties and even today as I write this column it was eighty-three on my car thermometer!

Most important, don’t forget to hire a chimney sweep company to thoroughly inspect and clean your chimney of any creosote and debris, (or if any brick pointing or sealing needs to be done, do it now) before using your fireplace this winter. One never knows what animals might be nesting inside your chimney!

Also, how does your siding or paint look? While you are able, maybe you need to clean your siding and/or do some painting while this excellent weather continues. Edging your flower beds one or two more times to provide a nice contour and accent around your lawn areas, will again add that little neatness and sharpness to your landscape.

It’s an excellent time to plant some fall vegetation. If you are considering selling or your home is already on the market, it’s not too late to enhance the look and presentation of your property. The following are some of my top choices to light up your landscape and catch the attention of your potential purchasers:
1.) Most popular chrysanthemums
2.) Balloon flower (Chinese bellflower)
3.) Sweet alyssum
4.) Celosia
5.) Heliopsis
6.) Sedum
7.) Zig-zag goldenrod
8.) Beautyberry
9.) Heather
10.) Ice pansy
11.) Also, planting those spring bulbs now will provide a gorgeous flush of color next year.
Assuming you have the room, there are also fall vegetables that can be planted, (but should be done six weeks before any hard frost), like Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, carrots rutabaga, spinach, and Swiss chard.

This can set a very nice mood in and around your property. It won’t necessarily be an arboretum but will provide points of interest to your landscape. Making your outside different and beautiful will provide that enhanced look that many buyers will be attracted to and just may help you attain a better price and sell quicker.

Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck. He has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (G.R.I.) and also as a Certified International Property Specialist. He can be reached by cell: (516) 647-4289 or by email: Phil@TurnKeyRealEstate.Com to answer any of your questions or concerns.



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