Thursday, May 28, 2015

Q: We went back to that house you showed us last weekend.

We found a dead hummingbird under a feeder and another dead bird in the bushes near the back door. Do you think there is something wrong with the water there?

A:  There should be nothing wrong with the water at that home since it’s in a good water system that’s checked regularly.  What you probably saw was the result of spoiled birdseed and sugar water that had mold and fungus in it.  It’s not uncommon, I’m sad to say, for homes that are vacant to leave behind their half filled bird feeders.  The seed spoils and can kill birds if they eat it.  With the hummers, the feeders develop molds and fungus that can kill these lovely little birds.
Most people are not aware of the danger of dirty feeders.  In addition, many people who feed birds do not properly clean the feeders before they pour in new seed or, with hummingbird feeders, add sugar water.  They think they’re doing the birds a favor but they’re literally killing them. Seed gets stuck in the bottom of feeder tubes and rots, turning it deadly. Folks should read about the proper way to feed birds and clean feeders. Even mixing the sugar water needs to be done properly.

This is not really a real estate issue but I am a birder (birdwatcher) and this sort of thing bothers me.  Particularly in spring and summer the birds will do just fine without the feeders, so unless a person plans on keeping their feeders really clean they shouldn’t have them.  Our Anna’s hummingbirds are here year round as well as many varieties of other birds, so in the winter it helps them out to feed them, but only if you take responsibility to keep the feeders clean. Most experts will tell you that the hummingbird feeder should be clean enough that you would drink the sugar water out of it.  It must be changed and cleaned very often to prevent the fungus that can kill these beautiful little birds.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Q: Thanks for coming by the house to advise us on getting ready to sell.

My wife is having a hard time with your suggestion to pack up all our personal stuff.  We’ve got photos of the grandkids and some special other stuff on the refrigerator, as well as a lot of the collectable keepsakes from our travels set out around the house.  She’s sentimental about that stuff so I’m not sure we can do what you suggested and pack it up.

A:  First let me remind you that you’re going to be moving anyway.  Starting your packing may get you a bit more focused on looking forward, not back.  Second, you may recall that I mentioned that when all of your stuff is visible, potential buyers often end up “visiting” you, and not thinking about buying your house.  If they’re local they may even know some of the folks whose pictures are up around the home.  They can even start talking about the time they visited a place that you have photos and keepsakes from.  They are no longer imagining the house with their belonging in it or thinking about the spaces in the house and how they would use it. I’ve always thought that the first things to be packed when you’re going to move should be your most treasured items. You don’t want to have these things get lost in a packing frenzy once you have a sale. It’s also usually recommended by listing brokers that you have the home as clean and clear of excess items as possible to make it easier to photograph. That always shows better on the Internet.  I know you have many fond memories attached to that home.  But now that you have a new plan for your lives, it’s time to start packing so that you can move on.  Soon you’ll have a new refrigerator for those photos to live on and a lovely new house close to family members and friends. You can unpack all those lovely mementoes of your life and let them become a part of your future.