I am looking out my window as I write this. I’d say we have a couple of inches of snow on the ground. Not too bad, especially compared with last winter where we had snow on the ground most of the time. 

I get such a kick when I turn on the television and see news people standing outside in the snow, shivering and commenting on the size and weight of snowflakes. It’s especially fun if there are strong winds. There is something in me that makes me sort of hope the news person will get blown over!   

You might wonder why I am talking about the weather, but the fact is weather does have an effect on the real estate business, both for buyers and sellers. 


If you are selling your house in the winter, it is important to have your house “weather-ready” for perspective buyers. In Cincinnati, winter weather usually means rain or snow. If there is snow, the obvious thing to do is to shovel your walkways, driveways and porches.  Make certain icy areas are treated and handrails are secure. You don’t want a perspective buyer falling on your property.

Also, it might be a good idea to place a rug inside your door.  To save your carpets and flooring, make a sign that requests buyers to remove their shoes upon entering, thereby eliminating the chances of salt, snow and water from getting traipsed throughout your house. If you have room by the door, place a chair next to it so buyers have a place to sit and take their shoes off and put them back on.

Another thing sellers should consider is the temperature of the house. Make it an inviting temperature. You don’t want “the weather” inside your house to make buyers want to get out of there as fast as they can because the temperature is too hot or too cold. 

The last thing I will mention is that especially during the shorter days when it gets dark earlier, be sure to have good lighting on for showings. Brighten your house on these gloomy days. Have your outside lights on for any showing mid afternoon and beyond. It really makes a difference.


For winter buyers, you will be dealing with the elements, also.  Be careful walking to the house. Even shoveled and treated walkways can be slippery.  Remember, sellers are inviting you into their homes. Be a good guest and honor a sign that asks you to remove your shoes.  And don’t forget to leave dripping umbrellas outside. A little courtesy and thought go a long way.

Now, on with the program …

Recently the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors held their annual Circle of Excellence awards ceremony.  It was a special day for my daughter, Julie, and me. The board for last year’s sale’s achievements honored both of us.

I also want to mention how proud I am to have been acknowledged for being a 40-year member of the Circle of Excellence. It has been my privilege to serve my clients at the best level I can for forty years. Not only am I honored, but also, I am humbled by the opportunities my career has given me.  It is in large part because of each of you that I have been able to succeed in this career that I love. 

Real estate tidbit …

Pre-approval has become a very important aspect of house hunting. Before you begin your search, it is essential for you to meet with a loan officer to determine how much and what kind of a loan you qualify for.  Ask the lender for a pre-qualification letter so that it can be presented with any offer that we write. Our contracts include a provision concerning pre-qualification letters.

Even better is a pre-approval letter. This letter is given after the lender has received and verified financial documentation. This kind of letter can be valuable in negotiations as it tells a seller that much of your information has been verified. Both of these kinds of letters are presented with the offer.

The Canning Chronicles

As a Realtor, I have seen a lot. A whole lot! I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the stories from the life a Realtor.  Some stories are hysterical, some make you shake your head, and others make you, well, want to run!  

Warning … In this story something that slithers is involved!

Once upon a time, I showed a house to a great couple.  They were looking for a property that had a nice wooded lot.  Our search took us to a property in an area on the east side of Cincinnati. 

The house was vacant. It was constructed with what we call, “bleeding mortar”, the kind of mortar that sort of oozes out between the bricks. 

As the husband and wife and I got out of the car, the husband says to me, “Tom, you don’t think there will be any snakes, here, do you?”

No sooner that the husband got those words out of his mouth than I looked up and saw a 5 ft. long red rat snake.  It had slithered up the bleeding mortar and perched itself on the windowsill. 

Needless to say, the buyer’s question answered itself!

The wife was okay but the husband?  Not so much.

His wife and I calmed him down.  What’s one snake, I thought. We can get over this. 

We decided to walk around the exterior of the house first, so we continued our tour to the backyard. I stopped in my tracks. Why? Because I didn’t want to step on two more red snakes that wriggled by!

I was sure the husband was going to be like Forrest Gump and just take off running. 

But I was wrong.  We proceeded on the tour.  We went inside the house. With a bit of trepidation we walked around gingerly like people in those Sci-Fi movies looking around every corner for the monster. 

We all settled down believing we had seen all of the snakes we were going to see.

As we were leaving the house, another red snake climbed up the side. All I could think of was there is no way this couple will buy the house.

I was wrong.

Lo and behold, both husband and wife really liked the house. They liked it enough that they decided to write an offer.  One big contingency was Critter Gitter had to come and get rid of the snakes.  There was also a house inspection clause. 

A few days later, at the house inspection, the inspector went up to the attic.  He was not up there a minute when he yelled, “There are snakes up here!” A few minutes later the inspector emerged from the attic carrying snakeskin that was taller than the husband.  The inspector hung the skin over the closet door.  As he did that, he said, “I have never seen so many snake skins in my life.” There had been so many snakes that the insulation was matted from the weight of the snakes.

Trying to remain ever the professional, I looked at the buyer and said, “Do you still want this house?” thinking by then both husband and wife would want to get out of dodge.

Again, I was surprised.  They were not going to let a few snakes keep them from the house they wanted. 

The house inspector and Critter Gitter told them how to get rid of the snakes in the house and more importantly, keep them out. 

They had all of the access points into the house closed.  Between that and their dog, they have kept the snakes out of the house and it has become a wonderful home. 

Don’t you love a happy ending?

I sure do.