Early winter of 2015-2016 has been unseasonably warm here in Eastern CT, but that’s what we had last year until we got hit with a Blizzard and 3 Polar vortexes that put us into a deep freeze with temps struggling to get out of the teens early last February.
Getting busy outside your home NOW will pay dividends in reduced hassles and may even avoid expensive repairs. Here’s a quick things to double check before outside temps plunge sapping your enthusiasm to get things done.
· Check for positive grade away from foundation. If the ground settled anywhere and there’s a chance that water can puddle against your foundation, make a change NOW before your basement becomes flooded in the spring. I’ve seen mulch at the planting beads look like there’s pitch away from the home, but then if you pulled back the mulch (which floats!) the soil actually pitches toward the foundation of a home. You can buy small bags of soil and then regrade next to your foundation BEFORE the ground freezes. This can help minimize foundation leaks during storms.
· Make sure footing/gutter drains daylight terminations (if you have one) are clear of leaves and yard debris. You might think that’s obviously something that you wouldn’t let happen, but I’ve had clients find those terminations covered and frozen after trying to figure out why a previously dry basement all of a sudden became flooded during a major storm event.
· Seal Driveway Cracks – To prevent water flowing into them as that causes frost heaves and will accelerate your driveway’s deterioration.
· Look at where rain waters flow NOW before snow is on the ground. Snow drifts can impede the flow of water in the swales around your home and the end result can be water flooding your basement! Knowing what areas of your yard which should be cleared if we get a deep snow pack is important. A great video on that topic is HERE:
· Check and confirm your gutters are clear of leaves. Remember the ice damning that you or others may have had last year? Clogged gutters are a start to creating an ice damning problem. Their root cause is often the lack of insulation and air sealing in older homes along with lack of “water & ice” barrier under the roofing.
· Check Caulking At Windows/Doors/Penetrations – Caulking deteriorates over time. If you see caulking that’s cracked it’s only going to allow driving rain to enter the home AND it’s going to be a source of drafts.
· Remove hoses from outside faucets – Frost-free faucets are NOT freeze proof unless a hose is disconnected to allow the water to flow out of the valve.
· Have Ice Melt Available – You should not apply “Rock Salt” to concrete walks, porches and driveways as the salt will break down the concrete! That’s a great product for asphalt driveways but not concrete surfaces. Use Calcium Chloride on concrete surfaces.
· Snow Removal Resource – If you plan on having snow removal done by a contractor, have those arrangements made NOW before a storm hits. You’ll be hard pressed to find someone to do snow removal right after a blizzard and you’ll pay a lot more if you are not a regular customer for the contractor removing the snow.
· Heating System Annual Service – That should be done every year for oil burning furnaces and boilers. Change air filters and turn on humidifiers
· Windows – All windows should be locked. If you have storm windows, they should all be now closed so that there’s storm window’s glass at top/bottom sashes. If you still have your window A/C unit in your window, you are in serious need of a home maintenance plan! Get it out of the window and stored as it’s just a big hole in your wall costing you money due to heat loss and the room it is in will feel a lot cooler than the rest of your home.
· Frozen Pipes – You should really never have them. If you are on vacation, set your thermostat no lower than 50 degrees. HERE are some tips if you ever get a frozen pipe.
I hope this info helps you get your house in order so that you can cut back what needs to be done when we finally see Old Man Winter again here in CT! Happy New Year!
Whether you rent or own, this is interesting data just released by the US Censis Bureau as it shows how living arrangements have changed over time. Business Insider just reviewed that data.
The results show that marriage is in decline, and other types of households have been steadily becoming more common.
In 1967, a full 70.3% of American adults over the age of 18 lived with a married spouse. By 2014, that proportion had dropped to a bare majority of 51.7%. Meanwhile, the percentage of adults who lived on their own nearly doubled, from 7.6% in 1967 to 14.3% in 2014.
The most dramatic jump was in households made up of unmarried romantic partners. Cohabitation was nearly nonexistent in 1967, with just 0.4% of householders living with an unmarried partner. In 2014, about 7.3% of adults lived with a partner.
Here's the most interesting part of the data from my read of the Business Insider article: While the proportion of all adults over 18 who live in their parents’ household has remained fairly steady over the years, ranging between about 10% and 12% of the population, looking at younger adults shows a different picture. The proportion of adults between the ages of 25-34 living at home has steadily gone up since the early 2000s (that's almost a 44% increase!!). My question is why?:
The calendar change to a new year can be an inspiration for resolutions that are often centered on one’s body and mind. The start of the New Year can also be a catalyst for a homeowner to embark on pruning their home ownership expenses. The New Year ushers in the time of tax preparation and organizing, so why not expand those activities to giving your homeownership a quick review? The following is a list of items that one might want to consider if they are interested in saving some money and if they want to be better prepared for future expenses for home maintenance and repairs.
Exterior Inspection: The winter months bring shorter daylight hours so vacation and holiday time gives the perfect opportunity to go outside on a nice day and take a look around your home. Looking around your home and yard sounds like a remarkably easy task that many folks never make time for, but for those that do, they can often spot future problems before they become emergencies or before they cause structural damage that’s expensive to repair. Checklist of what you might want to look at OUTSIDE the home:
Checklist of maintenance items you might want to look at INSIDE the home:Heating System – Has your heating system been serviced this year? If you have a forced hot air heating system, has the air filter and humidifier pad been replaced?Heating Source – A while back, I wrote a review on cost differences between Oil and Propane as heating alternatives. Currently, oil costs have dropped considerably, but I believe this price easing in oil will be short lived and oil prices will rise again over the next few years.Wells - Change your sediment filter as needed. Pressure drop is a tell tail sign that your well sediment filter needs to be changed. Water treatment systems often need to be check to be sure that softener salt levels are correct (let them run down to minimum level before refilling). Acid neutralizing media often needs to be replaced once per year. If you have a water treatment system that has an acid neutralizer, not having calcium media present has potential to cause serious damage to your home's water piping due to theaggressivenature that low PH water has.Frozen Pipes – Don’t let the mild winter so far lull you into thinking that Old Man Winter won’t have is way with us at some point in the near future. When that time comes, if you find you have Frozen Pipes in your home, you can learn more about how to deal with Frozen Pipes in my post about them here: http://www.gardenrealty.com/Frozen+Pipes
I hope these tips and ideas help you save money and start your new year off right! If you have any homeownership questions or problems that you would like to have my thoughts on, don’t hesitate to let me know.
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Frankly, keeping a listing on the market through the holidays has many advantages that are easily overlooked. Those who already have their home on the market and who have done their homework by getting their home properly staged with decluttering and making it as presentable as possible. Those Sellers already have their heavy lifting done. No one knows what the future will bring.
Who knows if the market will be much different in the spring? There are three possibilities: Better, the same, or worse. If it's worse, then you definitely want to try selling now. If it's the same, you might as well try selling now. If next spring is better, then try selling now and if it doesn't sell, then you'll encounter a better market and more chances to sell in the spring.
If your home has been on the market for a while and has not sold, the holiday and winter season isn’t going to make the prospects of selling worse. Holidays don’t make homes less appealing to Buyers – often they are MORE appealing since they give the sense of home and warmth being decorated and ready for your holiday celebrations with friends and family. Your lack of success as a Seller may be pricing not being realistic. What a home Seller needs to realize is lack of showings is often a reflection of a property being overpriced. If your home has been listed for a while and you have had a lack of showings, ask your listing agent if other similar properties have sold in your area and at what price.
Some Sellers fear “days on market” and think that they can stack the cards in their favor and fetching a higher price by re-listing in the spring time. Listings don’t get stale, only bread does. Don’t kid yourself, any good Buyer’s agent will look at the property history for any home that their Buyers like and they will see your listing history and exactly what your prior listing prices were and when your listing was active or removed. Buyers don’t buy a home because of low “days on market” count or price history; they buy because a property has availability and appeal to them at the then current asking price that’s affordable to them at the point in time they make an offer to you as a Seller.
If your home is already on the market and you as a Seller have a lot going on with children’s activities, shopping, parties and holiday guests, you may be feeling that removing the added pressure of having your home available in “show time condition” might just push you over the edge. The emotions and pressure can become overwhelming, that’s a normal thought that enters many Seller’s minds. Some Sellers have the added pressures of out-of-town guests coming and staying in their homes during the holidays and that adds weight to the scale in favor of pulling the home off the market. These two thoughts are the primary reasons for taking a home off the market during the holidays and the winter. It is understandable why you would be tempted to take your home off the market during the holidays and the list of justifications is long.
Before you extrapolate that thought and potential feeling of being overwhelmed to taking the step of removing your home from the market for the holidays, you might want to consider the following advantages that keeping the home on the market might bring to you. Here are key reasons to that you might want to keep your home listed or to bring your home to market during the holidays and winter months:
How do you feel about listing your home during the holidays or winter months? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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