* Trim tree branches and vegetation near roof.
* Check roof, siding and foundation for damage.
* Check chimney for loose bricks and missing mortar.
* Clean gutters and downspouts. Make sure water doesn't pool around foundation.
* Seal gaps and holes that could provide access for animals.
* Replace loose or missing caulking around windows and doors.
* Fertilize and reseed lawn
* If area to subject to freezes, shut off exterior faucets and irrigation system, and store hoses.
* Check attic and crawl spaces for leaks or moisture after wet weather.
* Check caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilets.
* Check faucets and supply valves for leaks or corrosion.
* Inspect water heater for leaks.
* Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
* Have a professional inspect/clean chimney. Test fireplace flue for tight seal.
* Test circuit breakers and ground-fault interrupter/arc-fault interrupters.
* Consider hiring a professional to inspect and tune up your furnace/HVAC system
* Change furnace filter and remove any materials that block air return vent.
* Clean dryer vent.
Sources: Amerispec Inspection Services, HomeAdvisor.com
The additional time that Americans are spending in their houses can lead to excess strain on different rooms of your home. Review these tips to get to know the areas to keep a close eye on and how to relieve strain to avoid overuse.
- Clean your dishwasher filter to increase the longevity of your appliance.
- Make sure your smoke detector works and the batteries are fresh during a time when you’re cooking more often at home.
- Check under the sink manually for leaks or add a smart sensor to monitor them in real time with alerts sent directly to your smart phone.
- Consider replacing your light bulbs with LEDs to use one-fifth the amount of energy as you were using before.
- Review each hose in your washer and dryer for its condition by looking at the rubber exterior for cracking or brittle bits.
- Fix any water drains that may have flooded during last year’s hurricane season to divert water away from your home.
Source: Hippo Insurance
1. Price. Homeowners who sell their homes on their own, typically generate $46,000 less than Homeowners who work with a Realtor.*
2. Access to buyers. Through the Multiple Listing Service, professional contacts and their own database of prospects, Realtors can help you reach the widest range of customers.
3. Sales skills. Realtors can evaluate your home and suggest improvements to get you maximum value, and they’re skilled at handling showings to generate a positive response.
4. Marketing expertise. Realtors know the best ways to advertise to attract buyers, plus they can use the marketing muscle of their brokerage to promote your home.
5. Knowledge of neighborhoods. Realtors know local communities cold and can help you find a replacement home in the nicest neighborhood and with the best schools.
6. Experience handling paperwork. Buying or selling a home involves reams of paperwork that can be hard to understand. Realtors thrive in this world.
7. Negotiation skills. With years of bargaining experience and expert understanding of the market, Realtors can help you close the deal at the price and terms you want.
8. Knowledge of service providers. Realtors can refer you to their network of top-quality lenders, lawyers, inspectors and repair people to make sure you get the best result in every stage of your deal.
9. Time. Realtors have the time and expertise to handle open houses, showings, inspections and the dozens of other tasks that would take you away from your work and regular routine.
10. Advice after closing. An experienced Realtor will continue to support you as questions pop up after the deal is done.
* The typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 for agent-assisted home sales. NAR 2014 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers
Looking for the best return on investment on the home you’re buying? Consider these factors, which Realtor.com identified by analyzing millions of sales nationwide:
1. Small Size. Over the last five years, homes under 1,200 s.f. favorites of retiring boomers and first-time buyers have appreciated by an average of 7.5% per year, while homes 2,400 s.f. or larger have risen just 3.8% per year.
2. Fewer bedrooms. The more bedrooms a home had, the less it appreciated since 2012. Homes with one bedroom increased by 7.2% per year; those with 2 bedrooms 6.6%; 3 - 6.3%, 4 - 4.9% and homes with 5 bedrooms 4.3%
3. Open floor plan. Having an open floor plan led to an average 7.4% appreciation per year. Less desirable? Granite countertops (2.5% annual appreciation) and stainless steel appliances (3% annual appreciation).
4. The right amenities. Homes with patios increased in value by 6.8% annually, while those with hardwood floors grew 5.7% and those with fireplaces 5.3%
5. Homes with views. Homes overlooking a park increased 7.9% annually; those with mountain views 5.1% and those with lake views 4.9%.
6. Modern/contemporary style. Newer trumps older in architectural style, with modern/contemporary homes rising in value by 7.7% per year, followed by bungalows (6.5%), traditional (5.6%), ranch (4.5%), Craftsman (3.7%) and Victorian (2.2%).
7. Two-car garages. Homes with space for two cars appreciated by 6.4% annually, vs. those with one-car garages (6%) and those with three-car garages (just 3.8%).
8. Location. Homes in urban areas near mass transportation grew 8.4% in value per year. Those near good schools increased by 7.2%, and those near shopping by 6.5%.
1. Install smoke/carbon monoxide alarms on every level. Test monthly and replace batteries each year.
2. Buy an A-B-C multipurpose fire extinguisher for the kitchen where half of all fires occur. Check pressure annually.
3. Plug major appliances into wall outlets, not extension cords, which can overheat.
4. Create escape plans for all rooms and place escape ladders in upstairs bedrooms.
5. Change locks on exterior doors and confirm all doors and windows lock securely.
6. Add security bars to sliding glass doors.
7. Trim shrubs near home to reduce spots where burglars might hide.
8. Install motion-detector lighting to illuminate dark areas.
9. Consider adding a home alarm system.
10. Place wireless water alarms under washing machine and sinks.
11. Install flood-safe hoses on washing machine.
12. When leaving on trips, turn off water at main value to prevent floods.
13. Confirm homeowners insurance covers water and mold damage due to leaks and sewer backups. Some policies don’t.
14. Trim trees and shrubs so weakened branches won’t fall on home or be propelled into windows by high winds.
15. Install downspout extensions to carry heavy rains away from foundation.
16. If you evacuate when a dangerous storm hits, turn off utilities to deter flooding and fires. (See https://www.ready.gov/utility-shut-safety for advice.)
WEAR AND TEAR PROTECTION
17. Inspect inside and outside of home monthly for signs of damage.
18. Replace/replace broken items before small problems become serious ones.