DIY January Home Maintenance Tips

It’s January, it’s cold and you’ve got the winter blues. You’d like nothing DIYbetter than to curl up in a warm blanket perhaps with some hot cocoa; watch a football game or read the good book you received for Christmas.
Sorry my friends… Winter is the season for the greatest vigilance in your home-maintenance routine. Here are some DIY January Home Maintenance Tips you should consider:

The most important DIY January Home Maintenance Tip is to head off damage to your home from frozen and bursting water pipes:
1. Particularly vulnerable pipes are those exposed to the cold including hose bibs, pipes in outside walls and pipes in unheated attics, basements and garages
If practical, insulate any pipes exposed to the cold.
Check out these State Farm Insurance Videos on how to insulate your pipes and shut off your water in case of an emergency
2. Seal any leaks that are letting cold air in around dryer vents and pipes and where electrical wiring enters the house.
3. Search for uninsulated water supply lines in the attic, garage, basement and crawl spaces and in bathroom and kitchen cabinets adjacent to outside walls.
4. During a cold spell, open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathroom so the home’s heat can reach them.
Reminder: Put harmful household cleaners out of the reach of children
Keep garage and outside closets/cupboards doors shut tight during
freezing weather.
5. Locate your home’s water shut-off valve; learn how to turn off thewater valve
water quickly in case a pipe bursts.
6. Keep temperatures inside the house at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or
above, night and day, even when you’re gone.
7. Don’t close vents to crawl spaces. If you live where pipes can
freeze and the floor becomes very cold, insulate pipes and under
the floor. Vents play an important role in controlling condensation
beneath a house.
8. Promise yourself that when the weather improves you will add to the installation in the basement or crawl space and attic.

It’s not over yet … You want to protect your investment don’t you? Here are some other DIY January Home Maintenance Tips to work on:
1. Cold weather drives mice and chipmunks into the walls of your home, even unheated parts of the house.
Mice can get in through a dime-sized hole; so seal any cracks where these pests can enter.
Empty compost and garbage frequently.
Keep food covered and put away; keep counters clean.

Check basement, attic, crawl spaces and the back of cupboards and cabinets for mice droppings or holes. If you find evidence, install traps immediately or call a pest-control service.

And if you are bored, here are a few more DIY January Home Maintenance Tips to tackle:
1. Organize your home improvement files. Review product warranties and manuals. Check on recommended maintenance for furnaces, equipment, appliances and tools. Mark your calendar to track scheduled upkeep and service.
2. Inspect furniture, cabinets and vanities for loose knobs, pulls and hinges.
Tighten or repair as necessary.
Lubricate squeaky door hinges with lightweight machine oil.
Free sticky doors by trimming edges or shimming hinges with thin pieces of cardboard.
Make a list repairs to tackle later.
3. Make a room-by-room inventory of everything in your house. In the home contentsevent of fire, flood or other disaster, it will be important in filing an insurance claim.
Save receipts for valuable home purchases and for work you have done to upgrade the interior or exterior of your home.
Back-up your inventory on a CD so you can get it even if your computer is destroyed. Photographs or video of your possessions can also be helpful.
4. Check the labels on the switches in your electrical circuit-Electric Panel
breaker panel and make new labels if necessary.
5. Check your furnace filter monthly in the winter to see if it
needs replacing.
6. Use a vacuum-cleaner tool or a long-handled brush to clean
under and behind the refrigerator, including the coils.
7. Clean lint from under laundry appliances, especially the dryer, carefully work the cleaning tool down into the lint filter; outdoors, clean the dryer vent outlet, reaching as far as possible into the pipe.
8. Gather product documents and warranties into a folder. Go through the contents and discard outdated materials.

OKAY … Now you’re done. Now you can relax knowing that you’ve done everything you can to protect your home with these DIY January Home Maintenance Tips.

Four Reasons Why Buying a Condo is Different Than Buying a House

Buying a new home is a delicate dance. From the initial search to the final price negotiations, everything needs to be condotailored to the type of home you are looking for. However, because of their main differences, this process can look very different when buying a condo versus buying a house.

Reason #1: The Homeowners Association or HOA
As all condo owners will know very well, almost all condos come with some type of homeowners association or HOA.

The HOA generally handles common areas like swimming pools, the exterior of the building, and landscaping. Sometimes, the HOA may also beresponsible for holding social events throughout the year.

However, all of this comes at a few costs. The first is money; a HOA cannot operate or pay necessary expenses without charging residents a monthly fee. The second is freedom; most HOAs have rules that need to be followed.

When buying a condo, potential buyers will balance the costs of each HOA with the benefits.

Reason #2: Real Estate Investors
When buying a condo, it’s reasonable to expect a larger number of investors will be considering the property than when buying a home. After all, renting out condos is a big business. As a result, buying a condo places greater emphasis on being Pre-Approved for a mortgage, competing with cash offers, or even competing bids if the condo is on prime property.

Reason #3: The Type of Buyer
Different types of buyers look at a condo versus a home. For starters, condos are generally smaller, don’t have yards, have all landscaping handled professionally, and frequently come with amenities like a swimming pool or fitness center.

While a good majority of potential buyers with children would love a swimming pool with zero maintenance, they aren’t willing to make the trade for a smaller space. This means that when buying a condo, potential buyers will generally be single adults, newly married couples, or retired professionals looking to downgrade to an easier property.

Reason #4: Location, Location, Location
Every real estate agent knows that one factor, above all others, is most important when selling a property: location. Being close to town versus far away from traffic, near downtown excitement versus in a quiet neighborhood, or near shopping centers versus on the edge of nowhere all come into play for a property’s value and desirability.

Generally speaking, condos tend to be closer to urban areas, shopping, and entertainment. This also means that their price per square foot is frequently higher. As a result, owners looking to buy a condo should carefully consult with their real estate agent about the best way to make an offer at a fair price.

Call Me at 860.945.9284 to discuss the right mortgage option for your family and to take advantage of my  FREE Mortgage Pre-Approval service.