Friday, September 26, 2014

It's That Time Again

it's that time again
The weather is cooling off, the growing season is just about done and the winter holidays are approaching. Yep I said holidays. Well in order to get your ready for those holidays here are some tips for tightening up your home to face the fall.
  • Lawn Mower - depending on where you live, your grass may have already stopped growing. If that is the case then you need to make one more cut as described in my blog "What You Need to Know About Fall and Your Lawn." Then you need to store your lawn mower for the winter. Clean the bottom side of the mower deck to remove clumped grass. If you store your mower with gas in it, add a fuel stabilizer. This will keep the gas from breaking down. Or you can run the mower dry and put a cap full of engine oil into the spark plug hole, pull the cord a couple times to distribute and put it away.
  • Water Hoses - if you live in a climate where you get freezing temperatures for long periods, like more than an hour, you may need to remove your hoses from the wall and turn off the any water valves that supply water to the outside faucets. Drain the hoses and store in a garage or shed.
  • Sprinkler System - Almost everywhere there comes a time when you need to shut down your sprinkler system for the winter. Turn off you auto controller for the system. Turn off your main water valve. Open the drain plugs on the pump to drain any water from the system. Then take off your sprinkler heads and shake loose any water and replace them. Drain all the water from the system ensures you won't have any busted pipes or pump damage come spring. Just remember to prime your pump in the spring, if needed.
  • Doors and Windows - go to your local home improvement store or hardware store and buy some caulking. Then seal around all your doors and windows. Sealing off cracks will save on your energy bills. Also seal where needed around any pipes that go into your home from the outside. Do this on a day when the weather is still warm so the caulk will flow.
Now I have only presented you with four fall maintenance tips. Next week we will talk about "Fall for Greenville" and then I will give you more fall maintenance tips. If you are looking to sell a home, some of these tips are good low cost ways to dazzle your buyers. If they perceive you took good care of the home, they might be willing to pay more.

If you need assistance with selling or buying a home, I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Friday, September 19, 2014

It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature

it's not nice to fool mother nature
Climate it hype or real? Whether you belong to the 60 percent who believe the climate in the U.S. is changing or not, something is happening with our weather. Severe drought is causing western wildfires to be bigger, more frequent and severe. On the other hand Mobile Alabama and Pensacola Florida had record breaking rain fall this summer. Across the past decade, temperatures have been rising and seven warmest years were recorded. Is your home ready for extreme weather?
  • Beat the Heat by installing lighter colored roof shingles. These light colors keep your roof 50 to 100 degrees cooler. That makes for an ease on the a/c bill. Also, by using the lighter color shingles you will extend their life.
  • Be ready for a power outage by having a Generac© type generator unit installed on your home or buy a gas powered portal generator from a local home improvement store. Price and size required for your home depends on size and what you want to run. A Generac© can be set up to run the whole house while portal units will just run necessities.
  • Are you ready for that wind bag coming your way? Whether you live on the coast or more inland it is possible to brace your home to fit off high winds. If your roof is gabled, add truss bracing to the inside of the roof. Also you can install impact-resistant doors, garage doors and windows. These types of window and doors will gain you breaks on your home insurance, be better protection against intruders, reduce noise from the outside and stop air from escaping you home. If you can't do windows and doors have hurricane shutters installed. Some are removable and some are permanent.
  • Make your home resistant to wildfires. There are materials that can act as a natural fuel break. Replace that dried out mulch with gravel or pebbles. Take down your wooden decks and replace with concrete or stone patios. Don't use fire-prone plants. Sagebrush, rosemary and pine trees are a few examples. Plant native high-moisture annuals or perennials. Use wire mesh to cover openings in your home such as soffits, attic and under-the-eave vents. Got openings under patios and porches to keep out combustible leaves.
  • We found out in my previous blog that water is your worst enemy so prepare your home for flooding. If you live in a flood prone area make sure your home is elevated so the bottom floor is at or above the flood level. Use materials like concrete to dry floor-proof your home. This should be done in areas below flood levels to keep them dry as long as possible. Your regular home owners policy won't cover flooding. If you feel the need, check out for possible options.
  • Finally, if climate change is an important issue to you, consider buying green energy. Check your area to see if you can buy your power from alternate power suppliers like wind or solar energy companies. With the cost of alternate energy technologies coming down consider getting solar panels and generating some of your own power. Most states offer rebates and incentives for purchase and better yet when your neighbor is out of power you won't be.
Remember that along with these options for prepping your home against disasters that regular maintenance goes a long way to keeping your home safe. Fixing or stopping leaks with they happen, cleaning your gutters and reapplying caulking where needed keeps your home strong and better able to fight of the intrusion of severe weather.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Your Home's Worst Enemy
Now that fall is here and we are starting to move all our activities indoors, is your home ready for that? We all know that there is some regular maintenance that needs to be done on a home during all seasons and fall is no different. Review these helpful points below to see if you are your home's worst enemy!

  • Number 1 Issue: Moisture. This should be your first priority. If you do nothing else stop the moisture problem. Water can and will destroy your foundation, walls, floors and roof which equals your whole home. When it rains, check your gutters. Make sure they are funneling water away from your home. After a storm check your siding, roof, windows, foundation, doors, ceilings and basement (if applicable) for water spots, water damage or leaks. Set reminders for when the time changes to go through and check all your water reliant appliances. Repair any damage or leaks as soon as possible.  Ongoing leaks and issues can erode your fixtures and your pipes. Re-caulk your windows once a year. Do you want to buy a $4 tube of caulk or spend $5K on a larger repair?
  • Maintenance Fund. To help with ongoing repairs consider a maintenance fund. Put aside around 1 to 3 percent of your home's initial purchase price for this fund. If you have major repairs in your future, get a price quote and add extra money to your fund to cover. For most homeowners their biggest replacement issues are the roof and/or siding on the home. Keep this fund as a separate account so you won't be raiding the money every weekend.
  • Loss of Value. A home that is poorly maintained can lose up to $20,000 in value or equity. If you have issues that are visible to potential buyers, they are going to start mentally knocking off value on the home. You may end up selling the home for thousands less than you thought.

As a Realtor®, I work with lots of professionals that make it their job to be experts in things like home repair. If you are not a DIYer, let me now and I can refer you to a reputable professional.

Here is a 99-Cent store solution to a common household issue.
  • Counter top scratches. Pick up a color crayon (.99), spatula knife (.99) and a microwave safe bowl. Pick a crayon color that matches your countertop the closets, pop it in the bowl, then pour it over the scratch and work it into the scratch with the spatula knife. The crayon hardens and your issue is fixed. No this is not a permanent fix and if you need an excuse to buy new counters then this might be it, but it may make the old ones look better until you can.
If you need assistance with selling or buying a home in 2013 I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Friday, September 5, 2014

What You Need to Know About Fall and Your Lawn

fall lawn care tips
Labor Day Weekend marks the official end of summer. Kids go back to school and the weather starts to cool off especially in our area of the country. It is time to prepare your yard for fall. Here are some tips.
  • Start your preparations now. Experts suggest starting six weeks before the first frost hits.
  • Begin by seeding with cool-season grass such as rye or fescue. Seeding early gives it time to root before the frost.
  • Now is the time to fertilize. Go out and buy an all natural, slow-release fertilizer. Grasses will store the nutrients as carbs during the winter season.
  • Spread a selective, pre-emergent herbicide over your yard. This herbicide, if applied at least twice a year, will take care of weed seeds. Be careful which herbicide you choose. Selective will attack weeds only and leave grass and plants alone.
  • Time to adjust your sprinkler timing. Lawns that needed every day watering during the summer won’t need that during the fall. Change your watering to every other day and then to maybe once a week during full winter.
  • Mowing the lawn also slows down as we move into winter. You may notice less growth than you did during the summer. Some experts suggest raising the blades on your mower to their highest setting and mowing that way until dormant. Your final cut should be at 1.5 to 2 inches.
  • Trim up landscape plants. Remove dead limbs and twigs. Resist full pruning and leave new growth alone. If you have any trees or shurbs that have died, take this time to replace them. Also refresh or add to your composting around your plants. This will protect the roots from frost.
Hope these tips help you have a wonderful fall! Preparations done in the fall give us a wonderful and growing springtime. If you have any tips for fall lawn preparation, please leave them in the comments below.

If you need assistance with selling or buying a home, I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.