Last Minute Prep for Holiday Guests

Thanksgiving marks the start of a hectic holiday season. If you’re hosting dinner at your house this year, your mind is probably going through every detail before guests arrive. Here’s a few pointers to help you stay on track and have a (mostly) stress-free Thanksgiving.

There’s no time to clear every inch of your home the day before your guests arrive, so prioritize cleaning efforts by taking care of what’s needed most. Start by getting rid of clutter from main living areas and guest bedrooms. Clean the tops of your counters and coffee tables, removing anything unnecessary that takes up space or appears unorganized. If you’re down to the wire, store the clutter in the basement, unused closets or car trunks. As long as it’s out of sight, it will be out of mind. You can always reorganize after your guests leave.

Guest Bathroom
If there’s one place you shouldn’t skimp on cleaning, it’s the bathroom. Even if the rest of the house can’t be spotless, pay extra attention to the bathrooms your guests will use. Provide extra toilet paper, fresh towels, clean bathmats, and toiletries (in case someone forgets). Empty your trash bins and remove personal bathroom belongings from the counters.

Candles, cooking, and crowded rooms can mean disaster during the holidays. Make sure there are no decorations that could be considered a fire hazard, such as tall uncovered candles. Check your fireplace to see if it’s clean and the door is working properly. Smoke detectors should have fresh batteries and it’s always best to keep a fire extinguisher handy. If there will be children in the home, hide matches and lighters as well as any toxic cleaners.

Consider the amount of guests and sitting space. Bring in more chairs or ottomans and arrange seats so all the guests can move and engage freely. Also consider the room temperature – a lot of people in one house can get stuffy, so don’t crank up the heat too much. Provide fresh sheets and extra blankets in the guest rooms in case anyone gets cold at night.

Since a home’s foyer has the most traffic, make sure it’s clear of any luggage or shoes. Have a designated place where everyone can place their belongings as soon as they enter. Provide extra hooks and coat hangs when needed. If possible, clear out a closet entirely for guests as well as drawers if they need to unpack.

Kitchen Zone
The kitchen will be the headquarters during the holidays, so make sure it’s ready. Clear your kitchen sink, drying rack and counter space. Count all of your plates and utensils so you can provide enough for guests. Perform a quick scan of your fridge and create space by tossing what needs to go. Have containers ready for leftovers – for you and for guests to take home. If people tend to visit while you cook, place extra stools or chairs around or within the kitchen along with some drinks and snacks.

In the end, the most important thing to remember is to enjoy your family and friends. So find the time to relax and be thankful for the memories you’ll make at home.

How the Election Affects the Housing Market

After Hillary Clinton’s defeat became evident, and Donald Trump became our president-elect, markets started going a bit haywire. Overnight trading in stock market futures, which provides a speculative and hedging market for what the stock market will open at the next day, started sinking precipitously. However, by morning, everyone had changed their tune and the stock market opened nominally down, finishing the day strongly up and near new all time highs.

Meanwhile, something we have not seen in a while started to happen: interest rates started rising with tremendous velocity. The U.S. 10 Year Treasury is yielding 2.1% from 1.8% days earlier. Interest rates are set by a market of buyers and sellers, and no one always knows what drives their decisions. It is difficult to read the tea leaves of why China is buying or selling our government debt, but those rates effect your mortgage rate. It is also one of the largest reasons the US homeowner is capable of borrowing at such low rates! We have the entire world looking to put dollars into mortgages.

But what does this all mean for the future? Today, it’s difficult to paint an accurate picture. If inflation (the rate goods and materials go up in price) remains somewhat low, which still seems likely, rising interest rates reflect a new optimism in the American economy. For the mortgage business, refinances might decrease, and financing rates may go up, but if the economy is doing better, the housing market will be right there with it.

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