Buyer Beware: Is That House For Sale Haunted?

Haunted House

Image Source: Canva

A trope as old as horror movies: a family moves into a beautiful house that they bought for well under market value. They’ve put all their savings into the move, and they’re looking for a fresh start. When they meet the neighbors and other townsfolk, they quickly learn that there’s a history to the home that they weren’t aware of.

When they start to experience the abnormal, it’s easy to brush off as new home jitters. The children who hear noises in the closet, and a husband who starts sleepwalking, are chalked up to stress and anxiety from the move. It’s only when the experiences escalate beyond control that the family finally realizes the extent of the haunting.

While sharing a home with the supernatural can be a selling point for some buyers, it’s quite the opposite for others. In fact, a 2017 survey by Realtor.com found that 33% of people were open to living in a haunted house, 25% would consider it, but 42% said it was a deal-breaker. So how do you make sure you’re fully informed about a home’s history? Knowing the right questions to ask is the first step:

 

Ask to see the seller disclosure form

In the famous 1991 case Stambovsky v. Ackley, the new homeowner, Jeffrey Stambovsky, won a lawsuit against the previous owner for not disclosing the history of hauntings.

In this case, the previous owner had published stories about the family’s experiences in Reader’s Digest and their local newspaper. In her writings, she explained several interactions with ghostly beings in the home, including finding that her children had been given rings, which would later disappear, bed shaking, and conversations with the floating specters.

The court took this evidence and ruled the “defendant is estopped to deny [the ghost’s] existence and, as a matter of law, the house is haunted.” Setting a new standard, this case created a basis for future seller disclosers. In this instance, they found that the history of the home, and the seller’s experiences in the home, would have influenced the marketability, and therefore, omitting these facts was unfair to the buyer.

Fast forward to 2019, there is not a specific section on seller disclosure forms for hauntings or ghostly sightings, but thanks to Stambovsky v. Ackley, sellers in many states are obligated by law to disclose things that affect a house’s marketability.

 

Ask Google about the history of the home

In 1991 when Mr. Stambovsky bought his haunted house, search engines didn’t exist. Today, we’re lucky enough to have things like Google which would have found the previous home owner’s stories in mere seconds. Search keywords like the address or town name, and words like “haunted” or “ghosts”, as well as “murder” or “news report” should help you start your dive into the history of the home.

 

Ask the neighbors and your agent  

This is where nosey neighbors come in handy. When you find a place you’re serious about, contact the neighbors to see what they know about the home’s history. The same goes for your real estate agent; he or she can reach out to the listing agent to see if there is anything haunting you should know about prior to buying. While many states don’t require sellers to disclose paranormal activity or deaths in the home, if asked, all real estate agents must, by law, answer truthfully.


Posted on October 27, 2020 at 10:12 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Posted in Blog, For Buyers | Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Remote Worker’s Home Buying Process

Home Office

Image Source: Getty Images

The pandemic’s influences on home life are far-ranging, prompting buyers to look at homeownership through a new lens. Remote work has created a paradigm shift in the wants and needs of homebuyers. Here’s what the remote worker should keep in mind when looking to buy.

Location

The location, location, location cliché has taken on new meaning for homebuyers who work from home. Because remote work gives us the opportunity to work from anywhere, home searches are expanding. Work commute times typically play a significant role in the home buying process; however, many buyers now have the option to view homes further away from their places of work.

Those who previously dreamed of the quiet life, but didn’t want the commute that came with it, are now able to make a move toward a more suburban environment. If you prefer to be away from the hustle and bustle of a downtown area but don’t want to feel isolated, search for properties in the suburbs with active town centers.

The proper space

When COVID-19 began sending workers home in the early months of 2020, homeowners worldwide discovered their varied level of preparedness for remote work. Some had spacious home offices and were able to make the transition easily. Others had to create makeshift workspaces out of living rooms or bedrooms. What we have learned is that a dedicated workspace is paramount to productive remote work, its importance emphasized by the unknown timeline of a return to working in-person in many parts of the country.

Before you buy: 
  • When searching for homes, understand that a home office situated in an open floor plan is more prone to distraction.
  • Look for features such as an additional bedroom, finished basement, or bonus room that offer ample space to create your remote work environment.
  • Having a designated space you can associate solely with work will not only drive your focus but helps to balance your home and work life. It allows you to wrap up the workday, leave your home office, and easily transition back into the goings-on of your household.
After you buy: 
  • Light it up: You’ll want plenty of light in your home office to stay fresh throughout the workweek. If you are next to a window, let in as much natural light as possible. Add in desk and floor lamps to brighten your space.
  • Work comfortably: While working at home, it’s easy to sit in one place for hours on end. Shop for comfortable desk chairs that provide proper lumbar support. Explore alternatives to desk chairs like yoga balls and standing desks.
  • Personalize: Adding personal touches will help to make your home office feel comfortable. Inspirational quotes, your favorite artwork, and pictures of loved ones are all types of décor that will keep you inspired in your remote work.

For all these considerations and more, talk with your Windermere agent about how your remote work is shifting where you’re looking for a home and what you’re looking for when it’s time to move there.


Posted on October 21, 2020 at 3:34 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Posted in Blog, For Buyers, Living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Protecting Your Home’s Air Quality

Pollution

Image Source: Canva

Most of us tend to think of air pollution as something that occurs outdoors where car exhaust and factory fumes proliferate, but there’s such a thing as indoor air pollution, too. Since the 1950s, the number of synthetic chemicals used in home products have increased drastically, while homes have become much tighter and better insulated. As a result, the EPA estimates that Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often two to five times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. 

Luckily, there are many ways to reduce indoor air pollution. We all know that buying organic and natural home materials and cleaning supplies can improve the air quality in our homes, but there are several other measures you can take as well. 

 

How pollutants get into our homes 

Potentially toxic ingredients are found in many materials throughout the home, and they leach out into the air as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. If you open a can of paint, you can probably smell those VOCs. Mold is a VOC that can build up in the dampest parts of your home like the laundry room or crawl spaces. Another example is the “new car smell” that seems to dissipate after a while, but VOCs can “off-gas” for a long time, even after a noticeable smell is gone. 

Many materials used to build a home contain chemicals like formaldehydetoluene, xylene, ethanol, and acetone, and even lead. VOCs can also be in the form of pet dander or dust. Fortunately, VOCs from building materials dissipate over time. For that reason, the highest levels of VOCs are usually found in new homes or remodels. If you are concerned about VOCs, there are several products you can buy that are either low- or no-VOC. You can also have your home professionally tested. 

 

How to reduce VOCs in your home 

Choose your building materials wisely  

  • – Use tile or solid wood for flooring—hardwood, bamboo, or cork
  • – Choose solid wood or outdoor-quality plywood that uses a less toxic form of formaldehyde. 
  • – Choose low-VOC or VOC-free paints and finishes 

Purify the air  

  • – Make sure your rooms have adequate ventilation, air out newly renovated areas for at least a week 
  • – Clean ductwork and furnace filters regularly 
  • – Install air cleaners if needed 
  • – Use only environmentally responsible cleaning chemicals 
  • – Plants are a natural solution to help clean the air 
  • – Air out freshly dry-cleaned clothes or choose a “green” cleaner 

Pick the right carpet 

  • – Choose “Green Label” carpeting or a natural fiber such as wool or sisal
  • – Use nails instead of glue to secure carpet 
  • – Install carpet LAST after completing painting projects or wall coverings
  • – Air out newly carpeted areas before using  
  • – Use a HEPA vacuum or a central vac system that vents outdoors
  •  

Prevent mold  

  • – Clean up water leaks fast 
  • – Keep humidity below 60 percent, using dehumidifiers if necessary 
  • – Refrain from carpeting rooms that stay damp 
  • – Insulate pipes, crawl spaces, and windows to eliminate condensation 
  • – Use one-half cup of bleach per gallon of water to kill mold in its early stages 

If you would like to learn more about VOCs and indoor air quality, please visit http://www.epa.gov/iaq/ 


Posted on October 14, 2020 at 8:46 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Posted in Blog, Home Maintenance, Living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our Commitment to Change: A Message to Our Community

For nearly 50 years Windermere has been deeply rooted in the communities where we do business. However, the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement has made us realize that our roots don’t extend as deep as we thought. It also made us realize that over the decades, the real estate industry has played a significant role in exacerbating systemic racism through redlining and steering, which has prevented many members of historically marginalized communities from building wealth through homeownership.
This summer, we began a robust diversity, equity, and inclusion journey supported by an organization called Moving Beyond that specializes in helping companies integrate and operationalize DEI. Next, we formed two internal workgroups, with a diverse makeup of Windermere franchise owners, managers, agents, and staff to guide and implement DEI efforts across our 10-state organization.
Following three months of collective conversations, we have identified several short- and long-term initiatives on which to focus – all with the aim of building a diverse organization that fosters a sense of belonging and provides equal opportunity across all aspects of homeownership for people of color. Some of these activities can be acted upon right away, as we develop a long-term strategic direction for our DEI efforts.
We’re committed and in it for the long haul, and believe transparency is a critical part of this journey, so here is an update about our goals and progress thus far:
● In August, we conducted an internal survey among our owners, managers, and staff, to create a benchmark of where we are as a company and help guide the direction that we need to take to advance our DEI initiatives. An agent survey is forthcoming in 2021.
● We are producing informational content related to CC&Rs to educate homeowners on how to remove racially restrictive language from their title reports in the 10 states where Windermere operates.
● We are working with an advertising agency that specializes in inclusive and future-forward marketing to evaluate our digital marketing products through a DEI lens.
● We have designated funds for a scholarship program that invests in people of color who want to work in real estate, and are designing training and mentoring programs to aid in their success.
● We are building internal DEI training and development programs, starting with franchise owners, managers, and staff, with plans to expand to agents in 2021.
● We are analyzing our hiring processes to ensure broader representation by people of color.
● We’re generating insights from all these efforts to help us develop a set of thematic pillars to guide our DEI goals and strategy over the long term.
● We’re planning on listening sessions this fall for the Windermere community to continue to have input in this process.
This is just the beginning of what we know will be a long-term journey of awareness and accountability. We are focused and determined to do our part to address discrimination, racism, and inequity within Windermere and the real estate industry. Our efforts stem from the recognition that there is a long history of housing discrimination in the United States and that the inequality in homeownership has deepened the racial divide. Through our work, we hope to play a role in finding ways to correct these inequalities. We realize we were late to this movement and should’ve spoken up sooner, but our eyes are open, and we are committed to leading the way towards positive change from here on out.

Posted on October 7, 2020 at 2:32 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Posted in Blog, Community, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Windermere is Now on Spotify!

Spotify

Americans spend about 32 hours a week listening to music, and for Millennials that number is even higher. Since so many activities connected to our homes are enhanced by music, we want to fuel the joy and memories of those experiences through home-inspired playlists on our very own Spotify channel.

Check out Windermere’s new Spotify channel where you can find playlists for every aspect of what it means to be home. Cleaning house? Check. Hosting a dinner party? Check. Chilling on the front porch? We have tunes for that too, and more. We invite you to follow, share, and enjoy!

Start following the Windermere Spotify channel today!


Posted on October 3, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Posted in Blog, Community, Living, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Economic Update with Matthew Gardner

Event Invitation

Exclusive Invitation!!!

Tune in on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 9:00am to meet with Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist LIVE and get your chance to ask him questions. He’ll be discussing the housing market, employment and the effects of COVID-19 on the local and national economy.

As one of the only real estate companies in the US that has a Chief Economist on staff, we have exclusive insights into the housing market, economy and government happenings. This is a one of a kind event for clients and friends of Windermere Real Estate in Colorado.

To sign up, please contact your Windermere Agent or message us to get the link. Seating is limited in digital meeting room so get your seat!

(If you can’t attend live, you can register to automatically get the recording.)


Posted on September 30, 2020 at 10:00 am
Windermere Evergreen | Posted in Blog, Housing Trends, Market News, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Electronic Device Drive Has Been Extended!!!

Donation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We still need more devices!!! ChildSafe needs our help! Join us, through the Windermere Foundation, in an to benefit Childsafe.

One of the many challenges of the pandemic is getting support out to children that are currently benefiting from Childsafe services. Many children are home with their abusers during these days of quarantine. We are in need of iPads, tablets or old computers with internet and video capabilities to help these children get the support/services they need.

Please drop off your old devices at either the Windsor or Fort Collins Windermere offices. All equipment will go through a professional cleaning and memory clear. Thank you in advance for your help in this project. Donations are NOW being accepted until 10/01/2020#AllInForCommunity #WindermereFoundation

**Don’t have a device to donate? ChildSafe also accepts financial donations. Just click on the link below!! **

https://www.childsafecolorado.org/donate/


Posted on September 26, 2020 at 10:00 am
Windermere Evergreen | Posted in Blog, Community, Foundation, Windermere Foundation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wildfire Preparation and Evacuation Tips

Evacuation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Source: Getty Images

As wildfires rage throughout the West Coast, many homeowners are being evacuated from their homes, while others stand by for information as the spread continues. The following tips are meant to inform your household’s wildfire evacuation protocol, whatever your evacuation timeline may be.

 Immediate evacuation

Evacuation orders come from local law enforcement agencies, but if you have not received an official evacuation notice and feel threatened by wildfires in your area, do not hesitate to leave. Take only essential vehicles on the road, this will minimize traffic and reduce the chance of gridlock when evacuating the area. Keep the windows rolled up to avoid inhaling smoke and tune into local radio for updates as you head toward safer ground. And remember your masks!

 What to bring 

The Six P’s

  • People and pets
  • Phones and personal computer
    • Chargers, any additional computer hardware
  • Papers and important documents
    • Birth certificates, passports, insurance, legal documents
  • Prescriptions
    • Medication, eyeglasses, contacts
  • Pictures and irreplaceable keepsakes
  • Payment (credit & debit cards, bank cards, cash)

Go bag

  • Face masks or coverings
  • Extra clothing
  • First aid kit
  • Toiletries
  • Tools
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Sanitation supplies
  • Copies of important documents
  • Three-day supply of food and water

Evacuation Preparation 

If you live in an area that is not being evacuated, there are steps you can take now to prepare your home and family, if and when the time comes.

  • Create a “defensible space”
    • Clear your home’s surroundings of brush and vegetation
  • Turn off sprinklers and main gas lines
  • Clean out roof and gutters
  • Move furniture away from windows toward the center of the room
  • Remove flammable household items
  • Prepare your emergency kit
    • Include useful items listed above in “Go bag”

For additional information on protecting yourself from smoke while addressing COVID-19 health concerns, Click Here. Be sure to check your local news and emergency alert radio stations and social media profiles for the most up-to-date information and helpful resources.

Wildfires are unpredictable. Knowing what to do both in preparation for and during an emergency evacuation will have your household prepared in the event that a wildfire spreads to your area, neighborhood, or home.


Posted on September 16, 2020 at 11:00 am
Windermere Evergreen | Posted in Blog, Home Owner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Electronic Device Drive!!!

Device Donation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ChildSafe needs our help! Join us, through the Windermere Foundation, in an to benefit Childsafe.

One of the many challenges of the pandemic is getting support out to children that are currently benefiting from Childsafe services. Many children are home with their abusers during these days of quarantine. We are in need of iPads, tablets or old computers with internet and video capabilities to help these children get the support/services they need.

Please drop off your old devices at either the Windsor or Fort Collins Windermere offices. All equipment will go through a professional cleaning and memory clear. Thank you in advance for your help in this project. Donations are being accepted until 9/25/2020. #AllInForCommunity #WindermereFoundation

**Don’t have a device to donate? ChildSafe also accepts financial donations. Just click on the link below!! **

https://www.childsafecolorado.org/donate/


Posted on September 9, 2020 at 2:59 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Posted in Blog, Community, Foundation, Windermere Foundation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Preparing for the School Year at Home

Virtual Learning

Image source: Shutterstock

For those whose children will be taking classes online or participating in remote learning this school year, keeping the following tips in mind will help create an at-home learning environment that prioritizes health and learning, while being able to adjust to this year’s unknowns.

A home cannot fully replace all that a formal school classroom has to offer. However, what it lacks in traditional classroom appeal it makes up for in comfort and familiarity. Prepping your home to take on this additional role will help set your child up for success during what will be a unique academic year for many.

Set the tone

One of the best ways to set your children up for success this school year is to get them excited. It is important to communicate that this school year, even with all its unknowns, is an exciting opportunity for new and creative ways to learn and grow. Helping your child understand the unique learning possibilities your home provides will get the school year off to an enthusiastic start.

Create a space 

Establishing a designated space for school at home is important for a child’s ability to focus and to associate a space with learning. How you create a classroom environment will depend on your home and your needs. If your child is most comfortable in their room, try incorporating their classroom setup there. Depending on your child’s age, it may help to have toys or familiar room objects nearby. However, if your child is distracted by their own room, it may be better to set up elsewhere to help them focus, such as a nook or office.

Allowing your child the freedom to make the space their own will help stimulate their imagination, which is vital to their learning and enjoyment of school.

Wherever the home classroom is, be sure that area has minimal distractions, maintains a strong internet connection, and is well-stocked with school supplies within reach at all times.

Back to school

To maintain a sense of normalcy, keep your family’s back-to-school traditions intact this year, such as picking out school supplies, back to school clothes shopping, and everyone’s favorite first day of school photo. These ceremonies of preparation for the school year will build excitement while bringing some familiarity to those final days of summer.

Establish a routine

Just as adults have discovered new routines to parallel the shift to remote work, children need a shift in their daily flow to mirror the change to remote learning. The rigor of their school schedule will determine how much flexibility you have in putting together a routine.

Stay active, incorporating movement breaks throughout the day to make up for the lack of physical activity. Plan out times away from their computer screens to differentiate between work and playtime.  It’s recommended that children move at least 60 minutes a day, so prioritize exercise and movement, going outside when possible. This change of scenery is a helpful intermission for children. It gives their eyes a rest from their screens and returns them to their learning space feeling refreshed and revitalized.

Granted, your ability to facilitate your child/children’s preparedness and monitor their continued learning is based on various factors like your work schedule and what resources your school district is providing for at-home learning. No matter your household’s situation, taking these factors into consideration where possible will help set your student(s) up for success.


Posted on September 1, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Posted in Blog, Living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,