Your home: 5 preventative maintenance tips for fall

Fall-Leaves

Well it is that time of the year again. And I am pumped. I let our new puppy, Trip, out to go potty this morning and the crisp air was very welcoming. It was also a reminder that it is time for me to do some preventative maintenance on my own home. There have been times in the past when I have waited too late to address some of these items, so please learn from my mistakes. Here are some of suggestions to prepare for the beautiful Fall weather.

1. Service your HVAC. To ensure that your heating and cooling system has a long life, you should service both the heating and cooling annually. Most major HVAC companies offer a package deal where you schedule both cleanings in advance. I would strongly suggest this method. If you have older mechanicals, it is also imperative that a licensed professional keep you abreast of the overall health of your system. Old furnace heat exchangers can develop cracks in them which will in turn release carbon monoxide into your home. For this reason, a carbon monoxide detector is never a bad idea.

2. Clean your gutters. Several years ago, I was out on a step ladder in a sleet/freezing rain storm dumping hot water onto my gutters to melt the ice that had formed around huge clumps of leaves. I do believe that I received an “I told you so” for that one from Leah. Because most water infiltration in a homes basement is caused by poorly maintained gutters and downspouts, it is imperative to keep them clean throughout the Fall. Clean gutters can also help to prevent ice dams during our snowy months. We typically refer Noonshine Windows and Doors for gutter cleaning. I like to schedule them every 30 days for gutter cleaning starting in September.

3. Check your sump pump. If you have a sump pump, double check the battery back up (if applicable) and double check the floater valve to ensure that it will operate when we receive heavy fall rains. After a really dry summer, sump pumps can fail do to inactivity. And the soil around your home may have pulled away a little due to the dry weather as well allowing water to get right next to the foundation walls.

4. Schedule your sprinkler system winterization. Pretty self explanatory here. You really don’t want any of your sprinkler system to freeze up in the winter. Most companies get really booked up for this service, so schedule it way ahead of time.

5. Trim your trees. If you have mature trees in your yard, it is a best practice to have them trimmed every year. Some homeowners due it less often due to cost, however, it only takes on big fallen limb to hit your home to teach you that being proactive with your trees is the way to go. Make sure whoever you hire has an arborist on staff to ensure that your trees will be trimmed back properly. Again, learn from my mistakes. At my first house, the previous owners had all the trees trimmed back and because they hired someone on the cheap, all of our trees died and we had to have them all cut down. A heart breaker for sure. It is worth investing the money in a reputable company. Trust me.
If you have any other questions about home maintenance, feel free to reach out to our team via email. We are here to help.​

Photo credit: http://www.pvpost.com

Your home: Home value appreciation is not a given

One of my favorite shows (and I am embarrassed to write this…) is “Antiques Roadshow.” Yes, I said it. I don’t enjoy the show for the historical artifacts. It is more for the surprise when it comes to an item’s value. I love it when what is perceived as a modest item is really a rarity worth thousands. The dramatic peak of this show, however, is when someone has a beautiful artifact and the appraiser goes on and on about how rare the item is. Then the appraiser says that in perfect condition this item would be worth $50,000! At the mere mention of the value, the owners eyes light up like they just won the lottery. And as the owner is creating his or her mental shopping list, the appraiser says, “But your item has a chip here, a couple of scratches here, and this piece here is not original…so, your item is worth $750.” Yikes! What a heartbreaker!

Okay, so, this example is an over-simplification. But it still applies to a home. For many generations, home value appreciation was just something that people counted on, like the sun rising every day. It was just understood. In all actuality, real estate values have always moved with the market, but that wasn’t the story most people heard. Instead, the story was that you should see 5 to 7 percent appreciation year after year.

Home value appreciation is not a given. The recession has certainly taught us that. Now that we are in a much better market, it is still not a given. With the proliferation of the home improvement boom (HGTV generation), buyers expect more than just buying what you bought when you purchased five, 10, or even 35 years ago. Buyers today want to know, “What have the sellers done to improve the home?” or “What updates have they completed?” Home improvement throughout your ownership is an integral part of appreciation.

That said, there are parts of town where you can buy a home and just live in it and watch the value increase. These are very unique areas where homes don’t often sell and when they do, they sell in a frenzy of multiple offers. This is often seen in areas that are land locked (no new land for building) and are typically fully developed. Many times you will see tear downs popping up in these areas. Please recognize that these areas of town are the exception to the rule.

With the exception of the areas I just mentioned, a home owner must have an annual budget for home improvements, in my opinion. Day in and day out, the homes that I see sell for top dollar are the ones where it is evident that the homeowner has taken much pride in his or her maintenance and updating of the home. In these cases, the sellers have stayed current with home improvement trends which allow their home to appeal to a much larger buyer pool. More interested buyers equals a higher resale.

Buyers do not want to inherit needed updates from the seller, nor do they often have the budget for such updates. If there is work that should be done, then the seller should do it. A seller should be wise though in their investment in a home that they are going to sell soon. However, deferred maintenance and cost effective updating is a very smart move for a seller. It may seem like a “what have you done for me lately” attitude. And it probably is. The recession taught the market that appreciation is not a given and that we should hold home values accountable to a reasonable standard.

The days of just living in a home and watching the appreciation role in are gone. And I think that is a good thing. We should hold all homeowners accountable to maintaining and updating their homes. In the long run, high quality inventory equals higher resale values. Therefore, we all win.