A spacious home can be incredibly appealing to potential buyers. No one wants to live in a space that seems cramped and cluttered.   Even if your house is relatively small, there are ways you can maximize the space you do have.  We reached out to our RE/MAX Influencers—a panel consisting of RE/MAX Sales Associates from throughout Canada—to find out their top tips for making your home seem more spacious to potential buyers.

1. Stage Your Home

Clearing countertops, removing knickknacks and getting rid of oversized furniture are key first steps to make your space appear as spacious as possible.  Several Influencers mentioned “less is more” when it comes to furniture and accessories. Your best bet is to leave only a few subtle, decorative items. “Keep in mind that when showing your house, there could be four or five people wandering through at once. Make sure they can go from room to room without bumping into anything,” said a RE/MAX Influencer.  Hiring someone to stage your home will likely be a worthwhile investment. It may also be worth it to rent a storage space during the period when your house is being shown.

2. BRIGHTEN IT UP

Walls that have light colours and good lighting can go a long way toward making your home look more spacious. It’s also a good idea to have window coverings opened to allow as much natural light in as possible. Eliminate mats and certain area rugs to help focus on floor area; remove large photos to help the space on the walls stand out. “It’s simple: Clean, crisp colours, open spaces, open window coverings, brighter lightbulbs and less clutter will showcase the space within your house.”

3. SMALLER FURNITURE = LARGER ROOM

Bulky pieces of furniture are often the culprit for making spaces appear smaller than they are. Depending on the layout, a large sectional couch may be better in the basement than in a main floor living space.  Arranging furniture in groupings, away from walls, can have the desired effect of making your room seem bigger. Also, if your dining table has leafs, remove them to maximize the space. Add crown moulding to heighten the stature of the room.  “A great rule of thumb is: The more wall space and floor space that is visible, the better.”

Story by RE/MAX Canada

We’ve all heard the fresh baked cookies trick, but the truth of the matter is, potential buyers really are paying attention to things like the smell of your home. A few days before your open house or showing, you should literally open your house. To really air out your home, you’ll need to do this for at least a couple of hours for a few days leading up to the open house. Burning a candle can be potentially off putting, depending on the scent you choose, but sprigs of fresh herbs, like lavender, basil or mint, can be incredibly energizing and hyacinths smell heavenly.

Keep in mind, you’re selling a lifestyle, along with your home. People don’t want to envision themselves living amongst your smelly cats and/or hockey bag(s). Create an aura for your house that instills a sense of good health and wellness, and your house will be sold in no time. Here are five more tips:

1. CURB APPEAL

First impressions are critical when it comes to real estate, so to ensure potential buyers get a good feel for your house as soon as they roll up, pay special attention to your curb appeal by cleaning up your yard and adding a touch of decor. Depending on the season, that could mean cutting the grass, trimming any wayward hedges and making sure the all the garbage cans are tucked away. Fix any broken stairs or porch railings and consider adding a pop of colour with flowers to spruce up the existing flowerbeds. You don’t have to spend a lot, or redesign your landscaping, a few pots (try three in different sizes arranged in a cluster) can make a strong enough impact when placed beside your front door.  If there’s room on your covered porch/patio, consider adding a rocking chair or bistro set. While prospective buyers probably won’t consider whiling away the evening out there in winter, the furniture can remind them how nice it is to sit there in warmer weather. 

1. DECLUTTER

When prepping your home for an open house, narrow down your possessions by packing away as much as you can or store packed boxes neatly in a garage or basement. When a room is left with just the necessities, it looks larger and won’t be as distracting to potential buyers. Sure, your decades-long collection of fashion magazines is impressive, but buyers don’t want to be reminded of the hoarder—or, “collector”—who’s been living in the home. Think of a hotel room, albeit a stylish one, and follow that template: bed, bedside table, lamp, phone, artwork over the bed. The end.

3. CLEAN

Buyers will inspect your home with a fine-tooth comb, they’ll open every cupboard, wipe their fingers across every baseboard and turn their noses at ever smudge on your light switches.  Unless you actually enjoy cleaning, consider hiring a service to come in and scour the place.  If you decide to tackle the job yourself, pay extra attention to the two most important areas of your house: the kitchen and the bathrooms.  Countertops should be clear of all items and sparkling clean, while appliance fronts should be spotless. Remove any photos, art or calendars from the fridge door and sweep and mop the floors. In the bathroom, remove all personal items from the vanity and make sure the sinks, toilets and bathtubs are gleam-ing. If you have a glass-front shower, make sure it’s free of soap scum or water marks. Light a candle and replace any threadbare towels with one or two new fluffy white ones. Buyers will inspect your home with a fine-tooth comb, they’ll open every cupboard, wipe their fingers across every baseboard and turn their noses at every smudge on your light switches. Un-less you actually enjoy cleaning, consider hiring a service to come in and scour the place. If you do decide to tackle the job yourself, pay extra attention to the the two most important areas of the house: the kitchen and the bathrooms. Countertops should be clear of all items and sparkling clean, while appliance fronts should be spotless. Remove any photos, art or calendars from the fridge door and sweep and mop the floors. In the bathroom, remove all personal items from the vanity and make sure the sinks, toilets and bathtubs are gleaming. If you’ve got a glass-front shower, make sure it’s free of soap scum or water marks. Light a candle and replace any threadbare towels with one or two new fluffy white ones. 

4. FRESH PAINT

A top-down paint job may not be in the budget, but if your walls or baseboards have seen better days, it may be worth a quick paint job. Any walls that make a major statement, like your daughter’s multi-coloured bedroom, or your bright green dining room, might be better served in a neutral white or grey.

5. CONSIDER THE LIGHTING

Replace any burnt out light bulbs and turn on all of the lights to make your home feel warm and inviting. If you’ve got any areas of the house that don’t have adequate lighting or that lack natural light, consider adding a floor or table lamp to help brighten it up or even replace the light fixture altogether. feel warm and inviting. If you’ve got any areas of the house that don’t have adequate lighting or that lack natural light, consider adding a floor or table lamp to help brighten it up or even replace the light fixture all together.

Looking for more tips, check out HDTV

Your Realtor can clue you in to market trends and tips for improvements that may add to your home’s value. Find an experienced agent with RE/MAX Caldwell Agencies!

People talk about going home for the holidays, but it’s often the traditions of the holidays that create a home wherever you are. RE/MAX is taking a look at things that make a house a home and here’s one way you can add to your seasonal celebration!

Thanks to easy-to-use online platforms, creating a book full of your family’s favourite recipes is simple. Sites like ‘Shutterfly and ‘Create My Cookbook  guide you through the process of choosing templates and design options. Other sites, like ‘Heritage Cookbook‘, also help you reach out to family members. If you’re creating a family cookbook this holiday season, here are a few suggestions to get you started.

1. Gather recipes

Send family members a request via email asking them to contribute a recipe and food-related photo to be included in the book. Let them know whether you’re focusing on a theme, like holiday cookies, or would like a particular recipe of theirs that you love.

2. Set deadlines

Be sure to let family members know you need their input by a certain date in order to include their contribution. It can’t hurt to send a few email reminders in the weeks leading up to the deadline.

3. Dig out those old cards

Don’t forsake those old recipe cards just because you’re creating your cookbook digitally. They make fabulous illustrations to give your book a personal flair – the more sauce-splattered, the better.

4. Not just recipes

Food elicits rich memories beyond a full stomach. Try to include bites of family food lore among the ingredient lists and cooking instructions. You could ask each family member to talk about a favourite food, a memorable meal or a kitchen catastrophe.

5. Zoom in – and out

While professional cookbooks feature gorgeous close ups of food, go beyond ingredients for a project that’s celebrating family. Ask family members for old photos of past family meals as well as old pictures of them to include alongside their recipes.

6. Draw in the kids

Enlist the young children in your family to help illustrate the book. They could draw their favourite foods, family members or even scrawl cooking tips in crayon for you to sprinkle throughout the pages.

The kitchen of your dreams, where you can bring your family’s favourite recipes to life, may also be a wise investment. Thinking about renovating? Your Realtor can clue you in to market trends and tips for improvements that may add to your home’s value. Find an experienced agent!

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People talk about going home for the holidays, but it’s often the traditions of the holidays that create a home wherever you are. RE/MAX is taking a look at things that make a house a home and how each one can add to your seasonal celebration.

Eat, drink and be tacky with your closest friends by hosting an ugly holiday sweater party. No matter what you celebrate this holiday season, there’s a sweater for you. So hit the thrift store, the attic or one of the online stores and start planning. Here are a few ideas:

1. Make an impression with your invite

Feature yourself – in your ugly sweater, of course – on a paper or online invitation (i.e. Paperless Post) have a whole section of pre-made options to choose from).

2. Deck the halls

It’s not just about the sweater. Raid the dollar store or thrift store for the most garish holiday decorations you can find and go nuts. Wrap your doors and fridge in loud holiday paper and ribbon, transform a room with tinsel and don’t forget the bathroom. Remember, you’re aiming for over-the-top, so items like ‘fun toilet seat cover’ are just a start.

3. Give awards

Hand out prizes in different categories, like Loudest Sweater (with jingle bells!), Scariest Sweater and Cutest Sweater. Mini versions of the holiday’s tackiest dessert – fruitcake – make great trophies.

4. Go retro with refreshments

Authentic ugly holiday sweaters date back to the ’80s (and maybe earlier), so focus on that era for food and drink inspiration: a retro wreath of pigs in blankets, topped with a bow; red and green cups of Jello (with your favourite holiday spirits) stacked in a Christmas tree-shaped tower; and so on.

5. Holiday pictures

Make a giant frame from cardboard and tin foil, accent it with Christmas lights and mistletoe and you’ve got an irresistible photo prop to commemorate the evening with. If you happen to have old holiday pictures of you and your family sporting ugly sweaters, be sure to display them.

Do you have the will to party but lack the space? Maybe Santa will bring you a bigger house for the holidays. If he doesn’t come through, a RE/MAX agent can help. Find one here.

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So you’ve decided to sell your home. While you’re preparing for this next chapter in life, keep some of your attention and energy on the importance of preparing your home to outshine all others on the market. Selling your home in the shortest amount of time, receiving your asking price and having an all-around flawless sale can be achievable if you properly prepare this (very large) item you’re about to sell. Here are my tips to ensure that success.

1.
Emphasize the idea of move-in ready
A neutral palette (regardless of how boring you may think it is) will always be a timeless choice when it comes to paint, furniture and window coverings. And you don’t need to be a professional interior designer to arrange things within your home – visit some model homes in your area and take note of how they’re staged. Simple DIY projects go a long way.

2. De-clutter and depersonalize
Potential buyers want to see themselves in your home; need to envision how they can make it theirs. Simplify spaces (including entryways) by removing everyday items such as TV remotes, schoolwork, piles of laundry, to-do lists on the fridge, personal photos and excessive amounts of pet toys. Clean out closets and begin boxing up items. If you know you’re moving, why not get a head start on your packing anyway? Clean, well-organized and minimal closets showcase space potential, not your personal items. And adding fresh flowers, plug-in air fresheners, a foyer table, simple décor and a nice rug can give buyers that well-needed hug when they enter your home!

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3. Appeal to the senses
Walk your home and ask yourself (or others), “What do you see, smell, touch and hear?” Deep clean your home or hire a professional cleaning company to make it sparkle – it gives buyers the impression the home has been well cared for. Remember, sticky floors and filthy light switches appeal to no one. If you have pets, consider confining them to one area of the house while your home is on the market. Barking dogs (or chirping smoke detectors) can hurry a potential buyer along during a showing. Consider leaving on some instrumental music during showings to appeal to your buyers’ ears.

4. Remove the eyesores
Look around your home and ask yourself these questions: “Would I purchase this home today? Do I like the overall style? Is my home dated? Is my backyard a sanctuary for a family?” The answers to these questions will help you identify the eyesores. Look for items in your home that are dated, have harsh patterns or edgy colours, are too small to fill a wall or are too large on a small one. Styles that clash with one another, aged wallpaper, broken items you can’t repair, rusted car parts or clutter in your yard or patios all create eyesores. It’s better to have an empty wall, an empty room or nothing at all than something that doesn’t work for the space or is unappealing. Mirror your space after current styles and trends found in design magazines.

5. Consider using my checklist
Here is my checklist (VIDEO) when I am staging a home. This list has never failed me and keeps me accountable.

  • Exterior:
    – Grass is cut, edged and looks healthy
    – Weeds are pulled
    – Any dead bushes or trees have been removed
    – Simple flowers or wild grasses are added on patios and porches
    – House itself is cleaned and/or power washed.
    – Toys, yard hoses, dog leashes, dog waste, yard statues are all cleaned up and put away.
    – Back patio and yard are “lightly staged” with plants, cushions on chairs, and rugs under seating areas and patio table. Add outdoor lanterns and candles.
    – Patio or deck is cleaned 
    – DIY projects are completed. To include: freshly stained deck, repaired broken floorboards, loose banister railings, exterior lights, sheds or outbuildings organized and cleaned. Any landscaping projects are not left incomplete. Large cracks in driveways or sidewalks are repaired.
  • Interior:
    – Home smells clean, looks clean, is de-cluttered and appeals to the senses
    – Eyesores are removed.
    – Personal photos and items are put away 
    – Daily messes and countertop items (in both the kitchen and bathroom) are put away
    – Toiletries, perfumes and jewelry are not left on vanity counters 
    – Small appliances, dishes and kitchen needs are not cluttered on kitchen counters
    – Fresh flowers or artificial plants are placed throughout the home to add life to spaces
    – Color palettes and themes in each space are transformed to a more neutral palette. Bold patterns in décor or too many colors are minimized 
    – Themes and prominent styles in home are minimized as to not assume the home is exclusively Santa Fe style, Tuscan style, Western, etc
    – DIY projects are completed. To include: replacing dated textures, fixtures, wallpaper, window coverings, faucets, general household repairs, etc

Keep these items in mind when staging your home for resale and you’ll enter the selling process with the confidence your home deserves!
~ RE/MAX Story by Carriann Johnson, interior designer

Caldwell Agencies Featured Home: 400 Chapman Street, Kimberley BC ($269,000)

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The holiday seasons means a flurry of activities and family time. Here are some easy ways to make sure you and your guests are comfortable through it all. 

1. Sticky-roll the furniture. Have your pets been sneaking a nap on the couch when you’re not looking? Make sure to de-fur the furniture before anyone has to sleep on it.

2. Test your air mattresses for holes. There’s nothing worse than falling asleep on an air mattress and waking up on a deflated tarp on the floor. 

3. Pile kids into one room. They’ll love feeling like they’re at a sleepover.

4. Gather all of your old phone chargers. It’s one of the easiest things for travellers to forget to pack. Have your old chargers on hand and you may save a guest a trip to the store. 

5. Make the Wi-Fi password readily accessible.  An easy way to do this is to print out the internet information on a notecard for each guest room.

6. Designate a snack and beverage hub. To avoid people tripping over each other at the fridge and during crucial food-prep times, set up a station away from the kitchen – maybe in the study – where guests can grab coffee and a bagel (or the like!) at their leisure.

7. Stock all the bathrooms.  Everyone will feel better having all the bathroom essentials on-hand, including towels and washcloths, common toiletries, toilet paper, and, of course, a toilet brush and plunger. No one wants to announce they need a plunger!

8. Let them pitch in.  Most guests want to help out somehow. Have everyone pick a regular task they’re willing to be responsible for, like walking the dogs, taking out the trash, making breakfast or doing the dinner dishes.

9. Relax and enjoy yourself! Set the tone for your guests. 
Do your best to look past the chaos and make the most of the time with family and friends.

An extra bedroom, closet or bathroom can go a long way around the holidays. Is it time you had more space?  Find a local RE/MAX agent who can help you find the right place for you.

~ RE/MAX Blog 

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Preparing to bring home a furry bundle of wagging joy? Keep your puppy (and belongings) safe by following these tips.

1. Harvest your plants

Puppies are known to nibble indiscriminately – make sure they don’t munch on a toxic houseplant! Find out which of your plants are dangerous (azalea, philodendron and jade are a few) and either hang them high or make a neighbour’s day with a gift of green.

2. Hide your cords

Everything can look like a chew toy to pups and electrical cords are no exception. If you can’t tuck them safely out of sight, try feeding cords through PVC tubing. Cords hanging from drapes and blinds also can be tempting to puppies. Tie them up out of reach.

3. Stash your trash

Items such as Q-tips and twisty ties can cause serious damage if your puppy consumes them. Chicken bones can be ever-so-enticing – and highly dangerous – to dogs. If you have under-counter storage space that can accommodate your trash can, use it. Otherwise, be sure to use a sturdy trash can with a locking lid.

4. Secure your snacks

Avoid the temptation to slip your dog table scraps. Lots of common foods, like onions and grapes are poisonous to dogs. Foods stored in plastic bags are also dangerous, as puppies could suffocate on the plastic. Stash them on high shelves, or in pantries and cabinets.

5. Mind your pocketbook

Hang a hook or clear some space in a closet where you can place your purse as soon as you walk through the front door. You’d be amazed how quickly a pup can pilfer pills, sharp objects, pens (that could leak all over your carpet), makeup and other dangerous items from your bag.

6. Store cleaners

Make sure all household cleaning agents, like laundry detergent, pods, bleach and furniture polish, are stowed safe from the puppy in a cabinet that either locks or has a child-proof latch.

Need a home with a yard for your puppy to grow into? Contact a RE/MAX Caldwell Agencies team member today. 

~Story by RE/MAX

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The holidays are coming – is your home ready for overnight guests? Follow these suggestions to create the perfect guest room for friends and family.

1. Offer reading material

A pile of recent magazines or a shelf of assorted books offers guests a way to wind down before bed.

2. Add flowers

A simple flower arrangement adds class and colour to any room.

3. Provide seating

Make sure there’s somewhere cozy for guests to sit if they need some alone time during holiday chaos.

4. Make wi-fi connection easy

Leave a piece of paper with your internet server’s name and password on the dresser so guests can easily access your wireless connection.

5. Did they forget something?

Fill a basket with sample-sized containers of essentials, like toothpaste, mouthwash and shampoo.

6. Add a luggage stand

Put out a folding luggage stand where guests can prop their suitcases to avoid having to squat all the way down to the floor every time they need something.

7. Make the closet functional

Be sure to stock the closet with empty hangers for guest’s clothes.

8. Add charm with decorations

Create a welcoming, calm space for guests. Err on the side of generic. Remember, not everyone wants to sleep surrounded by Star Wars-themed decorations or your horror movie poster collection.

9. A picture perfect welcome

Place a framed photo of you and your guest on the nightstand.

Is your “guest room” your living room sofa? Maybe it’s time to look for a larger space. Start by finding a RE/MAX Caldwell Agent.

~ Story by RE/MAX

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There’s no online calculator for setting the perfect listing price for your home. It takes experience, market savvy, and even a bit of psychology. A strong listing agent can help you set the right, most competitive price for your home. Here are a few things they might look at:

1. The competition
Your agent will look at the prices of similar homes in your area that either are currently listed or sold during the past few months. They’ll take into account how many days the properties were on the market and how the listing prices for those homes differed from the final sale prices.

2. Market trends
What’s affecting the market in your neighbourhood, and your region? Your agent will consider national factors that shape the real estate market, such as possible rising interest rates, as well as local factors, like whether the average home price in your neighbourhood has been rising or falling. They’ll also think about things such as plans for improving local amenities, like parks and recreational activities. All can increase the value of your home to a buyer.

3. Your neighbours
Although a home the same size and age recently sold for a high price, your own place might not fetch the exact same fortune if, say, junky cars continue to proliferate in your neighbour’s driveway. On the flipside, if the grass is in fact greener on the other side of the fence, your home’s value may be higher due to your neighbours’ curb appeal.

4. The Goldilocks price
Listing your home at a price that’s “just right” from the start is critical to selling it quickly, for the best price. Overpricing your home, and then dropping the price a few times while it sits on the market, could lead to a lower final sales price than if the home was priced appropriately from the beginning. And, of course, setting a price that’s too low leaves money on the table.

Wondering how much your home might be worth in today’s market? Find a local RE/MAX agent who can explain how these and other considerations could factor into a pricing strategy for your home.

~ Blog by RE/MAX

 

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Sure, you could leave that cluttered room as a shrine to your university student, but wouldn’t you love to use that space? Break the news to your kid gently, don’t throw anything out without consulting them and keep some closet space open for when they come back to visit. Then consider one of these redecorating ideas for your empty nest.

1. Guest room

A fresh coat of paint, new linens and the relocation of the trophy collection to the basement is sometimes all you need to repurpose a child’s room into a guest-friendly bedroom.

2. Man cave

Haul in the big screen and a mini fridge, swap the bed for a comfy couch and lounge chairs and you’re ready for the big game. A pool or ping pong table could be a great addition to larger spaces.

3. Hobby room

Finally, a practice room for your bluegrass band! Or a scrapbooking oasis where you can leave supplies out all the time. Bring in bright lights and a work table and you’ve got hobby heaven.

4. Gym

You’ll be amazed how much space is in that bedroom once you get rid of the bed, dresser and desk. Install some full-length mirrors so you can check your form, buy rubber floor mats, set up the speakers and a TV. Then get ready to sweat.

5. Office

Replace your kid’s furniture with an expansive desk, good lighting and some file cabinets and you’re on your way to productivity.

If you’ve tried the ideas above and still have space to spare, it might be time to think about downsizing. When you’re ready, find an experienced agent to work with here.

Story by RE/MAX.

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Now that we are well into October, the countdown continues as people wait in anticipation for the creepiest night of the year: Halloween. Want to give people the chills as they wander past your house on All Hallow’s Eve? Here are a few décor tips.

Outdoors

Tombstones: Give guests the creeps with a small graveyard in front of your house with tombstones. For a spookier effect, add some fake bones sticking out of the ground.

Smoke: A fog machine may be pricey, but it can really up the level of haunt your house will have. Think the graveyard scene from Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Carved Pumpkins: A Halloween classic for a reason. The soft light fits right in with your spooky vibe…and will light the way for guests.

Sound effects: Scratching on windows, blood-curdling screams, witches cackling. Say no more! Play some sound effects to get guests pumped for their journey inside of the house.

Indoor Décor:

Set the tone: The most important part of a haunted house is the feeling people get when they enter. Play some eerie music as guests walk through. Dim the lights or light some candles for a haunting atmosphere.

Cobwebs galore: Decorative cobwebs always add that old, chilling element to a haunted house. Dry some flowers and put them on your mantle or table with the cobwebs. Or string the cobwebs in corners and over mirrors or lights with some fake spiders.

Bones and more: Adding a few skulls or skeletons around the house will really add to the effect. Extra props for putting a big one in a rocking chair.

Paintings/pictures: Make people question, “Are those eyes following me?” Check out your local thrift store or yard sales for some old portraits that induce chills.

Crystal Ball: Scavenge for a crystal ball and give this Haunted Mansion inspired prop a try.

Ghosts: Have an extra sheet lying around? Throw it over a light and put it in the distance to add an element of mystery to your décor.

Child’s Play: There’s something chilling about a porcelain doll’s stare. Put them out to give adults a flashback to The Twilight Zone.

Looking to buy or sell a home? A RE/MAX agent can help – find a frightfully good one!

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As you prepare to welcome little vampires, witches —and no shortage of Pokemon Go — to your doorstep, here are a few reminders for a great night of trick-or-treating!

1. Turn on the porch light
It’s the traditional sign that your home is passing out goodies. If you choose not to partake in trick-or-treating, leaving your light off signals to families to move to the next house.

2. Stock up
Trick-or-treat traffic can vary between neighbourhoods. If you have recently moved into a neighbourhood, talk to your neighbours to unsure how many children you can expect. And purchase candy accordingly.

3. Check the time
The fun occurs most commonly between 5:00 and 7:30 pm, in the Kimberley/Cranbrook communities. 

4. Join the fun!
Create a spooky-fun atmosphere for the kids by decking out your porch with spider webs, purple twinkle lights or decorative ghosts swaying in your trees. Of course, a unique Jack O’Lantern is always a crowd pleaser.  
Be safe too!

Looking to buy or sell a home? A RE/MAX Caldwell Agent can help – find a frightfully good one here

Story shared by RE/MAX.