Fall Maintenance

Exterior Fixes
• Regularly clean gutters and downspouts. Make sure all drainage areas are unblocked by leaves and debris. Consider installing gutter guards to make the job a lot easier.

• Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Use caulk to fill the holes or completely replace the wood.

• Inspect your roof, or hire a licensed professional to examine your roof for wear and tear. If the shingles are curling, buckling or crackling, replace them. If you have a lot of damage, it’s time to replace the entire roof. Also, check the flashing around skylights, pipes and chimneys. If you have any leaks or gaps, heavy snow and ice will find its way in.

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The change in temperature and humidity and normal wear and tear can cause window seals to crack and shrink. Check your windows and doors inside and out for leaks and drafts. Caulk cracks or install weather stripping around windows and doors, including the garage door. Replace screens with storm windows and clean them if needed

• To prevent exterior water pipes from bursting when the weather gets below freezing, turn off the valves to the exterior hose bibs. Run the water until the pipes are empty. Make sure all the water is drained from the pipes, if not; the water can freeze up and damage the pipes.

• Wrap water pipes that run along exterior walls with heating tape. It will save energy and prevent them from freezing.

 

 

System Maintenance
• Clean and replace filters in your furnace or heating system. Contact a licensed heating contractor to inspect and service your gas heater or furnace to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

• Check the attic to make sure the insulation is installed properly. The vapor barrier on insulation should face down toward the living space. If it is installed incorrectly (with the vapor barrier facing up) then the insulation will trap moisture causing possible water problems. Cut slits in the vapor barrier to allow moisture to escape.

Fall Garden Maintenance
• Fall is the perfect time to divide or move perennials. Remove dead annuals and mulch hardy perennials. Annuals typically die when temperatures drop below freezing. But perennials often appear as though they too have bitten the bullet. That’s because their top growth dies back, although in most cases the root ball is hardy enough to survive even extreme temperatures, especially if it’s covered with a layer of mulch.

• Trim dead branches out the trees to prevent them from coming down and causing damage in a winter storm.

• Rake up the thick layers of leaves that settle on lawn surfaces. Large leaves in particular, especially when they get wet, can compact to the point where they suffocate the grass below and lead to all kinds of insect and disease problems. So it’s a good idea to routinely rake or blow them off the lawn or, better yet, use a mulching mower to shred them into fine pieces.

• Fall is a good time to aerate your lawn; it will allow moisture and nutrients to get into the roots. When you’re done, spread fertilizer then grass seed.

• This will be the ideal time to sow cool-season grasses such as fescue and rye – it will give them the opportunity to germinate and develop a good root system before freezing temperatures arrive. It’s also the right time to fertilize turf grasses, preferably with slow-release, all-natural fertilizer. When given adequate nutrients, turf grasses have the ability to store food in the form of carbohydrates during the winter months. That will mean a better-looking lawn come spring.

 

Check For Pests
• Pests love attics because they are full of nice warm insulation for nesting, and they offer easy access to the rest of the house. With gable vents that lead into the attic it is a good idea to install a screen behind them to keep those critters out.

• Even after closing off those entryways, pests can still find a way in. The first place to check for any unwanted guests is under the kitchen cupboards and appliances.

 

Safety Checks
• Each fall, check carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms and put in fresh batteries. These are very important detectors to have in a home. A smoke alarm can save lives in a house fire. A carbon monoxide detector can also save lives if a home has oil or gas-burning appliances, like a furnace or water heater. 

• Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless byproduct of burning oil or natural gas, and it can be deadly. For just a few dollars, a carbon monoxide detector will sound an alarm if the levels get too high.

• Always install carbon monoxide detectors according to manufacturer’s instructions. Generally they should be installed near each potential source of carbon monoxide, and within ear shot of the living and sleeping areas.

• Have your wood-burning fireplace inspected, cleaned and repaired to prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

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Gutter Cleaning

What
Gutters need to be cleared of leaves and debris that may have accumulated in order to function properly.
Why
Clogged gutters can wreak havoc on your roof, siding, and foundation. These repairs can be extremely expensive.
How
Many homeowners opt into a service contract with a gutter cleaning company that schedules twice a year. We recommend these plans because they are typically affordable and there is potential danger involved with accessing the gutters on many homes. Generally these specialists will get up on a ladder and check & clear the gutters & downspouts of debris. Clearing them can often be challenging due to baked on foliage (spring) or frozen leaves (winter) attached to the insides of the channels, so if you are doing this yourself, make sure you have a good ladder and a spotter helping you out. Water is generally run through the system after the channels are cleared. Make sure that all of your downspouts are extended away from the foundation at the ground level. Often, it may be necessary to regrade your soil in some spots so that all water is directed away from your home.

Furnace Maintenance

What
Annual furnace maintenance is mandatory for ensuring its optimal working condition.

 

Why
A poorly maintained and/or inefficient furnace could be costing you huge amounts of money and could prove to be a safety risk.

 
How
We highly recommend that annual service be completed by a certified HVAC or other heating specialist. Some of the main things they should do in this annual service include but are not limited to the following: 1- Replacing the furnace’s air filter 2- Cleaning its burners 3- Clearing vent lines 4- Checking for any small leaks 5- Cleaning its exterior 6- Monitoring its efficiency and performance

 
Now is the time to do it before cold weather is upon us!

Home Maintenance Reminders

Show your dryer some love

Most people know to clean the lint screen after every load of laundry. Keeping that filter clear will shorten the drying cycle, save you money, and prevent any potential fire hazards.

It is also good practice to regularly, but at least twice a year, remove the lint that accumulates at the bottom of the housing that holds your lint screen.

 

What 
Dryers require regular simple maintenance to keep working safely & efficiently.

 

Why 
To avoid potential fire hazards and having to do costly repairs to your appliances.

 

How 
It goes without saying that you should clean your lint screen after every load of laundry. Keeping the filter clear will shorten the drying cycle, save you money, and prevent any potential fire hazards. It is also a good practice to regularly, but at least twice a year, remove the lint that accumulates at the bottom of the housing that holds your lint screen. You can generally use a vacuum cleaner’s flat attachment to reach down in the housing to suck out anything that has accumulated in there. Finally, you should be cleaning out your dryer’s exhaust duct using a dryer duct cleaning brush (it’s a stiff bristled circular brush with a flexible handle that you can buy at most hardware stores) at least twice a year. The exhaust duct vents your dryers exhaust to the outside of your house and can become a fire hazard if not kept clear. Consider doing this more often (say monthly) if you do heavy amounts of laundry on a consistent basis. Many service providers sell regular service plans to handle this for you, so consider signing up for one.

Your Guide to May

As you’re busy juggling your spring to-dos, be sure to check out what’s happening this month … and don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!

“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.”
– Edwin Way Teale

May 1 — May Day/International Workers’ Day

This twofold holiday celebrates both the spring season and the rights and achievements of working people. So whether you want to spend more time in your garden or stand in solidarity with your fellow workers, there’s no wrong way to celebrate!

If you’re not familiar with this holiday, here are some fun facts to get you up to speed:

  • May Day traditions can be traced back thousands of years to ancient Celtic and Roman cultures, where they held festivals to celebrate the coming of spring.

  • The holiday took on a different meaning in the U.S. in the late 19th century, when laborers joined forces to fight for safer working conditions and an eight-hour work day.

  • The distress signal “Mayday! Mayday!” has nothing to do with May Day, but is actually an adoption of the French word m’aider, meaning “help me.”

May 4 — Star Wars Day

PYou don’t have to be in a galaxy far, far away to get in the Star WarsTM spirit on May 4th. This is a day for fans everywhere to revel in all things Star Wars. From hosting a movie marathon to cosplaying your favorite character to trying weird things like this blue milk recipe, there are a million and one ways to celebrate the beloved saga. Find more ideas at starwars.com.

May 5 — Cinco de Mayo

 

Officially a celebration of Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla, this lively holiday has become a fun and popular way to honor Mexican culture and heritage. Take part in the fiesta by heading to your nearest Cinco de Mayo festival, where you can enjoy traditional Mexican food, dance, art, and other cultural treasures.

May 13 — Mother’s Day

 

Let the moms in your life know they’re loved and appreciated, not just on Mother’s Day, but every day. Whether it’s quality time, a home-cooked meal, or a day at the spa, think of ways you can give Mom a break and make her feel extra special this Mother’s Day.

May 28 — Memorial Day 

On Memorial Day, we pause to remember those who bravely gave their lives for our freedom. Please join me in honoring the memory and sacrifice of our nation’s fallen heroes.

It certainly feels like spring today!

Spring is certainly right around the corner and even though the flowers aren’t quite blooming just yet, this is a great time to prepare your home for the spring market! 434_large_image

If you are a prospective seller, it is important to use this time to start getting your home ready:

 
Start Interviewing Prospective Realtors
One of the most important thing to do when selling your home is to find a great agent to represent you. If you don’t have one already, then get recommendations from friends and interview different agents to find one who will be the best fit for you. A good listing agent should have a great marketing plan, experience, and deep knowledge of the area and market. Don’t simply go with the one who tells you they can sell your home at the highest price – choose someone who can present you with a detailed and realistic market analysis to back up their numbers.

 

Make a Plan
A big mistake a lot of sellers make is not having a plan. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself:

Are you planning on buying another home once your home sells?
Do you have the option to move in with family?
Can you rent?
Can you buy non-contingent?
Think about these things and discuss your financing options with a local lender before you list. If you can get pre-approved to buy a home non-contingent it will give you a huge advantage over another seller selling their home subject to finding a suitable property to purchase.

Clear the Clutter
This may seem like a no-brainer but its really important! Be proactive and start the cleaning process now.

Wash your windows, Dust your blinds, Dust baseboard trims, Clean appliances, Clean showers and toilets, Clean inside cabinets. When you’re selling your home, it’s important to de-clutter too. Plus it will give you a head start on moving packing. Clean out your closets and pack away anything that’s not a necessity. Your home will look so much better and most likely sell a lot faster if its organized and de-cluttered.

Prospective buyers are going to want to step into your home and see a place they can visualize living in and making their own. The best way to do that is to create a blank slate. Keep it neat, reduce the amount of clutter you have on shelves and surfaces, and depersonalize as much as you can. The idea is to showcase your home without distracting from it.

 

Make Repairs and Improvements
The last thing anyone wants to do before they sell their home is to dump a bunch of money into it for an extensive renovation; however, there are minor repairs and improvements that can be made to make a home look fresher for potential buyers. Here are a few worthwhile improvements that can be made without spending a fortune:

Freshen Up Paint, Front Door and Hardware, Applying a coat of paint to walls and trim, or even touching up certain areas, can make a world of difference in the appearance of your home. If painting isn’t an option, you can give the walls and trim a thorough cleaning to improve the overall space. It’s also a good idea to spruce up your front door, since that’s the first thing a buyer will see when they walk in.

 

Spruce up the Curb Appeal
You want to impress potential buyers as soon as they step onto the property or take a drive by, which means making the outside of your home look as appealing as possible. Make the extra effort to rake leaves, weed the garden, and mow the lawn. Clean and put out your outdoor furniture, and even consider adding some colorful plants to the front of the house.

 

Know Your Local Spring Market
Every market is different. The best way to be informed about yours is to connect with your realtor. They should advise you on current, past and projected market conditions as well as give you advice on when to list.

The time you list is critical! Wait too long and you could miss the prime selling time frame. There are some realtors who suggest listing earlier and not waiting till spring in order to beat the spring market competition. However, as stated above, it all depends on your local market. This is another reason having a good realtor is of key importance.