Home Maintenance Tasks

Stay Ahead of the Cold Weather this Fall

Brrrr, the temperature drops in the middle of October. Now is the time to take steps to prepare your home for the colder weather. Even if we do not live in a super cold area where snow falls, now is a great time to ensure that your home’s maintenance is up to snuff.

Easy steps to keep your home in prime condition this fall:

Maintain the yard

Trim shrubs and trees away from the home. Make sure tree limbs touch the house. They can provide a path for critters to invade the warmth pf the attic. Dead branches or trees that lean toward your home are a recipe for disaster, especially in high winds or the rare ice storm and should be professionally removed.

Check the roof and gutters

Loose shingles and roof leaks must be repaired prior to the heavy storms that are common in the colder months. Gutters serve the important task of moving rain water away from the foundation. If they are clogged, water can travel into the home and do considerable damage to the walls. Consider having your gutters professionally cleaned of pine needles now – and leaves after most have fallen.

Ensure that the furnace, fireplaces, and smoke detectors are in safe condition. As you start to use your fireplace and furnace to stay warm, be sure that they will not present a hazard. Having the furnace professionally cleaned each year will keep it working safely so that it will not emit carbon monoxide fumes. Hire a chimney sweep to keep your fireplace functioning optimally. It is also crucial to equip your home with both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Fall is the perfect time to change the batteries and test the performance of these life saving tools.

Seal those cracks

An inexpensive way to keep the warm air in and the cold air out is to seal visible cracks around the home with clear caulk. Weather stripping installed around doors and windows is also very cost and energy effective.

Winterize the pool

The fall season means the swimming pool will be full of leaves, not only inside the water but around the pool equipment. Keeping up with the shedding of leaves into the pool is no easy task, made harder by the cold weather. Hire a professional pool cleaning service who can keep it clean and inspect your pool heater, pumps, freeze protection, and filter to ensure everything is in good shape to make it through the winter season.

local housing market analysis

If you are considering selling your home, these fall maintenance items are a must.

October is the time for a central heating check. Best to have the heat checked now, before it gets cold  (we can dream, can’t we?) Also, it’s a good time to invest in the newest model of smoke detectors that also detect carbon monoxide.

PS: Several stores including Costco are offering specials on them this month.

Another important tip – If you live in a wooded area, keep the leaves and pine needles off the roof and out of the gutters. Unblock and down spouts. Trim tree branches away from the roof to prevent local critters from making your home, their home! Finally, make sure any holes that provide attic access to critters are filled.

If you do hear the pitter-patter of unwanted attic guests, call your favorite pest control company to remove the critters. Racoons, squirrels, and roof rats, can do major damage to wires, air ducts, causing major repair bills.

Check the article for more information.


Get a fair mortgage rate for new home

Having just gone through this exercise with a client,  I can truthfully say shop around for a mortgage.

Big Bank Mortgage Loans

Big banks advertise competitive rates and  may offer more favorable rates or incentives if you to bank or invest with them.  We have our mortgage thru our local bank since they waived some of our fees when we opened an account with them. This can be a great option for some, but maybe not everyone.

Mortgage Broker Benefits

A mortgage broker may have access to programs with lower down payments, lower credit scores or rebate part of the origination fees.  Brokers have a way of suggesting lenders to be more competitive to earn your business. Not too long ago I had a client who needed credit repair before they could qualify for a mortgage. After working with a mortgage broker, they were able to purchase a home.

“The average home buyer can save nearly $90 a month—or more than $31,000 over the life of a loan—simply by comparing interest rates offered by different companies, according to a Lending-Tree report.”

– says Clare Trapasso


Online mortgage loan brokers / companies like Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans also offer very competitive rates.

Always read the fine print when looking at rate quotes-  A higher credit score may be required to get the advertised rate.

Bottom line – You should get on the phone or internet and do your research. Want to learn more about how to become financially ready to buy a home? – keep reading below.

More Home Buyer Advice

First Time Home Buyer Guide

View Homes for Sale Nearby

Related Article from Realtor

Michelle Hoover

Hoover Area Pro Group Realty

(925) 785-6598

Cost effective cosmetics for home sellers

If you are planning on selling your home – stick with neutrals when you re paint. How many times have you walked into a house and thought the whole thing would need to be repainted before you could live in it?

Not everyone wants or needs a pink bedroom, or a bright red wall in the dining room. And what about wallpaper?

Get rid of the outdated look

Once it was very popular- then not so much. Some trendsetting designers swearwall paper is coming back in vogue – but tastes differ. Wallpaper in the baths, bedrooms and kitchen dates a house and may turn off a potential buyers.

Not everyone likes bright yellow stripes in the bath or butterflies in the kitchen. Better to prime the wall and use a neutral color paint to cover wallpaper. Buyers will be able to envision their furnishings and not focus on all the work they will have to do to make the house livable for them.

Read Our Home Selling Tips & Guide

Getting ready to buy your first home?

Weve received numerous calls from new home buyers who are eager to get started with owning a new home. After asking a few questions, it becomes clear they might be leasing for a bit longer. Why is that? It is because they had basically no savings.

What most first time home buyers dont realize is the amount of money needed to get into a home. Even if you can get a home loan with no or a low down payment, there are still some costs associated with the purchase.

Read our Home Buyers Guide

how to save for your first new home purchase

Home buying costs many don’t think about

The down payment can vary from 0 down to 20%. Hiring a home inspector, possibly paying for a survey and POA transfer fees. Finally, there are prepaid items that can not be paid by the seller like home owners insurance and property taxes.

Saving for a new home purchase

Best way to save for a down payment on a new home is to make a savings plan and force yourself to follow the plan.

“Savings, however, are incredibly important, especially if you are looking to someday buy a house or get an investment property loan.Real EstateTrac recently reportedthat the average American down payment was around 15% in 2015. With the median sales price for a househovering around $250,000, house buyersmay need to save $40,000 or moreto buy a house. Even low down mortgageslike anFHA loan can cost you 3.5% plus closing costs, requiring $10,000 or more.” ~ Brandon Turner

Read Details of Purchasing a New Home

Here are a few more tips to get you on your way to home ownership.