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.


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

by Soules Insurance on Tue, Dec 19, 2017
According to the National Fire Protection Association, every 23 seconds a fire department responded to a fire in the US in 2015. Equipping your home with portable fire extinguishers can assist in minimizing fire damage from small, self-contained fires before much-needed help arrives.
You may be unsure of which fire extinguishers are best for your home, where they should be located, or even how to use them. Let?s take a look at the different types of fire extinguishers and review some tips for buying, maintaining and using a fire extinguisher in your home.
To read more, click HERE.
fire ext

Source:? Realtor.com

Written by Cathie Ericson, a journalist who writes about real estate, finance, and health. She lives in Portland, OR.


For-Sale-by-Owner, or FSBO, transactions are commonly seen?in seller’s markets or whenever homeowners want to maximize their profits by not having to pay commission.

However, statistics show that selling your home with the assistance of a professional real estate agent will garner you a higher profit, enough to cover the commission as well as put more money in your pocket.?According to the National Association of Realtor?’s 2016?Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average FSBO sales price was $185,000, while the average price for a home represented by an agent was $245,000. That’s a difference of $60,000!

If you choose to sell your home on your own, you’ll be negotiating and relying on your own skill to finalize a contract, leaving yourself open to potential legal problems and a smaller profit when all is said and done.

Here are some of the top reasons why FSBO home sales can go very wrong.

1. Marketing your home online isn’t as easy as you think

Buyers always start online, and FSBO sellers are unlikely to get the exposure they need on a number of listings websites?to reach their audience, says Realtor??Wendy Hooper?with Coast Real Estate Services in Newport Beach, CA. Sticking a sign in your yard or trying to pull off some DIY social media marketing hardly has the same effect.

How an agent can help:?Using an agent automatically offers widespread exposure for your listing through the multiple listing service. Your real estate agent will also have the means to?promote your house to fellow agents to share with their clients. FSBO sellers?would have to shell out big bucks for advertising and still might not reach the most important audience.

2. You could price your?home wrong

Those who put their homes on the market as FSBO tend to?set a price?based on an online assessment tool or the lofty sum that the neighbor down the street claims they were offered?two methods that are?liable to put the listing?price way off.

“Using a?free online valuation tool is like bringing?your doctor a?printout of your Google search about symptoms and possible cures,? says?Jon Sterling, a real estate consultant with Keller Williams Real Estate in San Francisco. ?There?s no substitute for actual market knowledge.?

The danger in overpricing a home is that it will languish on the market, and buyers will wonder why, even if you lower the price later, says?Mark Ferguson, a real estate agent with Pro Real Estate in Greeley, CO.

“The home becomes stigmatized, and buyers are likely to pay a lower price when the home has been on the market an extended period of time,? Ferguson says.

How an agent can help:?A real estate agent will provide an accurate home value based on a comprehensive market analysis to help you arrive at the right listing price. The goal is to make sure you?re pricing your home in the sweet spot?not too high so that you are turning off potential buyers, and not too low so you are leaving money on the table.

3. You could underestimate (or overestimate) how much money to spend on?curb appeal

?A novice home seller is unlikely to view their home objectively or know how to stage it to appeal to the broadest audience,? says Hooper. That means you might be turning off potential buyers with an amateur paint job, an overgrown?yard, or even a broken doorbell.

On the flip side, you might end up investing far more money than is needed. Hooper had sellers who were convinced they had to totally overhaul their 35-year-old kitchen and floors to the tune of about $50,000. Instead, she advised a $10,000 investment for paint, staging, and minor repairs, which still netted $45,000 above their target price.

How an agent can help:?Even if you?re not up for a full home makeover, your agent has an eye for detail and can recommend?simple, budget-conscious swaps?that can translate into real dollars when it comes negotiation time.

?We know how to spend the least amount of money to get the best outcome and home presentation possible,? Hooper says.

4. Showings are a drag

FSBO sellers don?t realize how draining it can be to set up showings. And on top of scheduling actual potential buyers, you also have to deal with both looky-loos (gawkers with no intention of buying the house) and ?sharks,? (investors looking to flip your house for a profit).

“Sellers who advertise their FSBO will quickly be inundated with calls from real estate investors who are looking to save the same commission the seller hopes to save,? Sterling?says. Unfortunately, typically these offers are very low and could likely lead to no sale.

How an agent can help:?Your agent will handle all the scheduling and staff the tours for you, so all you have to do is quickly tidy up and vacate.

In fact, that is another key reason to have an agent: Buyers can get uncomfortable with a?seller hanging around during the showing, says Ferguson. Agents also will weed out unsuitable offers and collect feedback that potential buyers might be unwilling to share directly with the seller, which can make subsequent showings even stronger.

5. Preparing your own paperwork can be tricky

Unless you have a background in contracts or law, you might want to leave the paperwork to the pros. The closing process can entail more than 20 pages of complicated paperwork, including the contract and addendums designed to cover all of the situations that could go wrong, says Ferguson.

For example, houses built before?1978 require an addendum regarding lead-based paint and some states need a release confirming the presence of carbon monoxide detectors.

How an agent can help:?Your agent will take care of all property disclosures and corresponding documentation to avoid future liability.

?If the seller does not use an agent and doesn?t know every law and required paperwork specific to their community, they open themselves up to lawsuits,? warns Ferguson.

?Written by:

Cathie Ericson is a journalist who writes about real estate, finance, and health. She lives in Portland, OR.
Follow @CathieEricson? found on Realtor.comforsalebyowner

Great information on how to stage your home on a budget. Need tips?

how to stage your home for sale (1)


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