Home Maintenance Tips for Winter

Home in WinterWe are in the new year now  and definitely in winter because it’s cold outside!  For many parts of the country, very cold.  So with all that cold, we need to remember to take care of our homes to avoid damage and loss of heat while we try to stay warm. Here is a quick list of some home maintenance tips for winter that may help you or maybe just remind you to check on.  I’ve written about winter home maintenance tips in the past (linked to an older post on the topic) but we’ve had a few bouts of extreme temperatures that I thought I would update it.

Roof and gutters – The first of the home maintenance tips for winter begins outside and is very important.  When there is snow on the roof, that may be the best time to take a look around and make sure there is no ice dams forming in areas there with some overhang and shade.  Once the ice builds up and stays, it has the potential to cause some real damage to the roof and gutters.  If you notice areas like this on your roof, try to keep them clear in the future if possible to allow melting and draining.  There are several reasons why ice dams form and  many ways to handle them.  In some cases, you may need a pro to help.   Also, walk around and take a look at the gutters.  Are there areas that don’t flow, or maybe leak or overflow causing a frozen surface to slip on below?  When the weather permits, have them evaluated and repaired.

Sprinkler systems and hoses – The second of the home maintenance tips for winter is pretty obvious but can get missed.  This is something that you probably took care of in the fall, but in case you didn’t, make sure you do now. Drain out the sprinkler system of all the water and if you can, cover and wrap the exterior pipes to help prevent freezing.  I see a lot of hoses still attached to the spigot, or hose bib, all winter long.  This can definitely lead to freezing and cracking of those pipes.  Just disconnect the hose and with most of the spigots nowadays that is all you really need to do.  You don’t need any problems or costly repairs for a simple fix!

 Shovel – Gas/Oil mix – Ice Melt – Another of the home maintenance tips for winter that seem obvious but often forgotten is simply having the equipment on hand to tackle the snow and ice.  Many first time homeowners may not even be thinking of these things because they just haven’t needed to before.  First, have a snow shovel.  I would recommend a strong plastic one without metal.  This way, you can handle the walks but you won’t gauge up your deck if you’re out shoveling it!  If you have a snowblower, make sure you have the oil mix for the gas to run the machine.  Also, in case you do have some leaky gutters, you’ll want some ice melt to keep from slipping outside the door.

Caulking/Seals – This almost goes without saying.  Make sure to caulk around windows and door frames when the weather permits so you don’t lose valuable heat.  Of course, this helps in the summer too.  Drafts and air leaks are a major factor in energy consumption.

Furnace- Inside this winter feels so toasty and warm…ah but don’t forget the work horse that provides all that heat. Make sure to change the filters monthly and it would be a good idea to have a furnace service performed by a professional if you haven’t for awhile.  With the home all closed up it is important to know there are no gas leaks or carbon monoxide leaks.  

Fireplace – If you have a fireplace in your home, it can be a great source of heat and of course, wonderful ambiance in the home.  But the fireplace can be dangerous if it isn’t working properly.  If you have a gas fireplace, have it serviced every few years to make sure it is burning right, not gas leaks and safe.  If you have a wood burning fireplace, make sure the flue or chimney are clear and working fine.  Again, a professional can take care of this to make sure al is well for you this winter.

Garage Fridge – Ok, this is one of those bonus home maintenance tips for winter that I’m going to give you.  If you have a fridge out in the garage, like I do, and it isn’t specifically made for outdoors, like mine, then when it gets really, really cold out there you may want to check it.  Often the temperature in the garage can get much colder than the fridge is built for and the food inside can start to warm up and melt.  I know that I have had my garage fridge do this a few times when it gets that cold.  Of course, a good solution for those frozen foods is to just take them out and have them stay frozen outside!   😀

I hope some of these simple tips can help you stay mindful of the little things that can help prevent bigger problems for you at home this winter.  As always, if you need help with your next move please get in touch.

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Moving in the Winter? Denver Real Estate Tips

Denver Winter Living

We’ve had our first real snow of the season now this week and while I thought it would warm up today, that hasn’t been the case.  If you are thinking ofHighlands Ranch Redstone Parkputting your home on the market, here are some tips from past posts that will help you sell you Denver real estate and protect your home in the winter months.

Showing Your Home in Bad Weather – Weather you live in Highlands Ranch, Denver, Lone Tree – wherever, this week was the first in the Denver area where you has to make considerations on showing your home in bad weather.

Preparing Your Denver Home For Winter – It isn’t too late for some winter prep for your home and yard

Freezing Pipes Prevention & What to do When it Happens – This is not a fun one. This weeks cold shouldn’t be bad enough to cause this, but you want to read this before it gets any colder.

Denver Relocation Information – Winter Weather – Many of my Denver relocation clients ask me about typical Denver weather in the winter.

What other tips do you have for selling Denver real estate in the winter?

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Highlands Ranch Fall Tree Recycling Event

Highlands Ranch Tree in FallFall is an excellent time to trim trees and shrubs in your landscape here in Highlands Ranch!  But once you do a bit of cleanup, what do you do with all those branches and limbs? Rather than putting these items out with your trash,  why not recycle them? The Highlands Ranch Metro District invites residents to recycle discarded tree branches and other woody plant materials at its Highlands Ranch fall tree recycling event Saturday, Nov. 9.

Tree limbs less than 12 inches in diameter and woody plant materials will be accepted at the recycling event. Please keep in mind, the following items will not be accepted: finished lumber, non-woody material, grass clippings, sod and root balls.  You may need to put these items out with the trash! All discarded material will be chipped into mulch and given away free to homeowners or reused in parks and parkways in the community.  This can be a great way to spruce up your yard and then help out the environment while beautifying the community at the same time.

The Highlands Ranch fall tree recycling event will take place Nov. 9 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the parking lot at Shea Stadium at Redstone Park, 3280 Redstone Park Cir., Highlands Ranch.

If you have questions about winter tree care, a great resource is the Metro District’s website Forestry page. An article written by a Metro District forestry technician details three practices suited for the winter months, mulching, structure pruning and transplanting. The website provides additional articles that give tree care tips and information for the year-round care of landscape.

In addition to the Highlands Ranch fall recycling event, the Metro District offers Christmas tree recycling from late December through mid-January. Highlands Ranch does so much to provide service and support to the community, no wonder it is such an awesome place to live!  I have lived and worked in Highlands Ranch for 20 years now.  If you may be considering buying or selling a home in the south Denver suburbs, let me help.  I’ve made it my home and an important part of my business and know it well.  Just get in touch.   

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Home Improvements That Can Quickly Add Value To Your Home

Home ImprovementsThe Denver area real estate market needs more inventory.  That could include your home if you’ve been considering a sale for awhile. Maybe you have been concerned with updating  the home but really don’t want to get involved in a major remodel.  Well, maybe you don’t have to.  Here are some home improvements that can quickly add value to your home!

Paint – This is the quickest and most dramatic way to freshen up the appearance of a home.  Depending on the extent of painting needed, this may or may not be too expensive, but this home improvement will certainly give the home a clean, move in ready feel in most cases add immediate value to your home. If you want to add color, getting a professional color consult can be a very affordable way to complement your home.  Hint: If painting just isn’t your thing, hire a professional.  A sloppy paint job can be pretty obvious and may even detract from the home’s appearance.

Lighting – Still have the original lighting in your home from the 90’s or even later?  It’s time to update, and a quick trip to the local home improvement or lighting store can make a world of difference. Modern lighting can improve the look and quickly add value to your home as well.  It doesn’t have to be too expensive but can be very noticeable and fresh.  Hint: Look through home magazines, online tours or even model homes for the latest look.  Don’t replace what you have with a newer version of the same look.  I’ve seen it done. 

Fixtures – I’m talking about faucets, sinks, toilets and maybe mirrors here.  This can certainly get pricey if you need to change out the entire home.  Maybe focus on the master bath, powder bath and kitchen sink.  You would be surprised how fast you can modernize the look and feel of your home with another trip to the home improvement store and update the fixtures.  Once again, find the latest look and try to go with that.  Many of these can be purchased and installed by yourself.  Hint: If you just aren’t at all handy, hire a pro.  Plumbing can get messy if you don’t do it right!

Carpet – Bad carpet can often make an otherwise great house seem like it needs a lot of work.  Dirty, worn out carpet usually just won’t clean up well enough to cut it.  New carpet can make a huge improvement to your home but can once again be expensive depending on how much you have.  Typically, most buyers really don’t want to deal with a carpet allowance and have to do the work themselves.  They want to be impressed by the home when they walk in and be ready to move right in when they close.  Hint: Shop around.  You probably don’t need to install the highest grade carpet and pad, and you may be able to find wholesalers in your town with far cheaper prices than brand name retailers.

Hopefully, your home won’t need work in all of these areas.  However, it is important to make sure you take care of what needs to get done.  For many, your home has increased quite a bit in value from when you bought it.  If you want to sell for top dollar, most buyers will expect to have many of these home improvements done if they are needed.  As they say, you want to sell the sizzle with the steak!  A fresh, clean home with some updating is a HOT commodity in this market and can sell quick!  If you are considering a sale, please get in touch.  I would love to stop by, discuss the market with you and take a look at your home personally. I can offer some suggestions to work on and a marketing plan to find a buyer for your home.

 

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Common License of iluvcocacola

 

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Denver Area Water Restrictions

Living in Colorado with a Drought: Denver Area Water Restrictions

Aerated Lawn prepared for water restrictions

The Denver area water restrictions will remain be enforced this year due to a significant shortage of moisture this season.  Reservoirs that rely on snow melt to provide water to the Denver metro area were down last year and will be down substantially this year causing drought conditions.

So, when there is a drought that typically means Denver area water restrictions will take place.  Many folks are wondering if they will have restrictions and what and how much that means?  Denver Water has declared a Stage 2 drought and restrictions are in place beginning April 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013.  If your water is provided by Denver Water then these restrictions apply to you.

Remember, water providers serve cities and neighborhoods that are not always within the city limits.  So, make sure of who provides your water and check to see if any restrictions are in place.  Aurora water is also on restrictions.  Aurora water has declared a Stage 1 drought, and if your water is provided by Aurora water then these restrictions apply to you.  If you happen to live in Highlands Ranch or an area with water provided by Centennial Water, there are no restrictions placed on you at this time.  However, there are suggested water use, and of course, they have already implemented water budgeting per household so make sure to stay within you budget.  The overuse can get expensive.

We all need to do our part in conserving water, especially in drought conditions.  Here are some tips to help with your lawn and, if you live within the Centennial Water district, more information on the water budget program.  I hope this can help answer questions about the Denver area water restrictions.

Spring Outdoor Home Maintenance Tips

Green GrassLiving in Denver – Home Maintenance

We are almost there! Spring.  The weather outside already is beginning to feel like it, and I can see new growth starting in the flower beds.  This is a great time of year to begin to shake off the winter and get active outside at our homes.  Maybe you like to garden and enjoy the outdoors or maybe you want someone else to take care of things.  Either way, I’ve put together a short list of Spring outdoor home maintenance tips that can get you started towards a beautiful home and yard this season!

Paint

Look around your house.  Does it need to be painted?  Maybe just touched up?  If you have kids that like sports like I do, maybe just the garage door needs some attention.  All those balls and pucks hitting it all the time. Yikes. In any case, exterior paint can make a world of difference in the appearance of your home and the joy you get every time you come home.  Spring is a perfect time to get this project done and enjoy the results for the rest of the season!

Aeration

These spring outdoor home maintenance tips wouldn’t be complete without mentioning an aeration. We live in Colorado and the soil just needs it! Aeration early in the spring can make a huge positive difference in the health and appearance of your lawn.  Not to mention, we may be on water restrictions this year so all the more reason to get this done.  If you’re like me, you are already getting those ads hung on the door. Call and make the appointment.

Mulch

Putting down fresh mulch can always make an immediate and dramatic difference in the look and feel of your landscape. If you have old mulch that looks weathered and just dirty, then it is time to freshen that up.  Mulch comes in a variety of colors and textures and will definitely enhance the look of your yard this spring.  Don’t forget to prep the ground before adding the mulch.  Make sure to put a good weed barrier down before so you don’t have the ugly mulch with weeds in a few weeks!

Trimming

Your spring outdoor home maintenance tips need to include trimming for sure.  By trimming, I mean beginning to prepare the bushes, ornamentals, trees and such by pruning them back so they have a better chance to grow and blossom fully this season.  Also, as you prepare your lawn, make a point to trim the edge along the sidewalk and driveways for a clean, tidy look.

Fertilization

What an important part of any spring outdoor home maintenance tips list. Don’t forget or neglect to do this.  Your lawn will thank you for it soon, and you’ll be happy as well when it turns up lush, green and weed free.  Especially if you did an aeration then fertilizing will really help the lawn.  Again, if there are water restrictions, you’ll be happy that you took care of this in the spring.  Make sure to fertilize your trees and bushes some as well.  It makes a big difference.

Approval

If you live in a covenant controlled community like I do in Highlands Ranch, it would be a very smart idea to seek approval of your plans for painting and other larger projects before you start.  The last thing you want is a surprise after you’ve invested time and money to find out the Home Owners Association doesn’t agree with your taste and makes you change it. Ouch!

So there you have it.  A very short list of spring outdoor home maintenance tips that may help inspire you to get busy and spruce up your home for you to enjoy.  Look around while you are out there in the yard, I’m sure you can spot other tasks to take care of that will add to the beauty of your home.  Of course, if you are considering selling your home there are certain tips you may want to follow to help make the house attractive to buyers.  If you or someone you know may need professional help with the sale, please get in touch.  I would love to talk and see if we would be a good fit to work together.

 

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5 Tips For Showing Your Home In Bad Weather

Bad weather snow shovelingHere in Denver the weather has not been all that messy so far this winter.  Yes, there has been some snow fall, not too much but it doesn’t take much snow or rain to make a mess of your shoes.  This can be a real problem when you are trying to sell your home and lot’s of folks are walking in.  You need a plan for this.  You need 5 tips for showing your home in bad weather!

So here is a brief list of 5 common sense tips that may help you with a lot of clean up or even permanent damage. These tips may seem obvious but you would be surprised how many homes I go into and the sellers have made no provisions for messy shoes and tracking in dirt, mud and water from the messy weather outside.

  1. Remind visitors to remove their shoes.  This starts with the instructions given to the showing service or broker office that sets up the showings.  Have them give instruction to the agent that will be showing to remove shoes when entering the home.  This may easily be forgotten or overlooked, so a best practice would be to also post a reminder note in an obvious place, like on the front door, to remind visitors again to remove shoes.
  2. Provide a place to put shoes at the home’s entry.  Once inside, your visitors will be expected to remove their shoes and they should have an obvious place to put the shoes before continuing through the house.  Place an indoor mat just inside the entry for this purpose and keep it clean.
  3. Provide booties to cover shoes.  These are the cloth type covers you would find in hospitals and such that slip over shoes.  This is an alternative for those that may not want to remove their shoes.  Not everyone does.  Caution! They can either come off inside the house or can provide the visitor extra courage to venture into areas such as the garage or out on the deck that they may not have in their own socks.  Also, if you provide booties at the entry then also provide a place to sit and put them on, like a chair or a convenient step.  Nothing like trying to stand on one foot while stretching the bootie over your shoe that seems too big at the moment.
  4. Pay attention to the indoor environment.  You should always do this anyway, however with bad weather outside it is likely you will have a closed environment inside.  So keep the temperature comfortable and keep the home smelling nice.  Since the windows likely won’t be open you will want to keep trash empty, pet areas clean and generally avoid any unpleasant odors.  Don’t make the mistake of over doing any air fresher or other scent.  This can be as obnoxious to many people as bad odor.
  5. Clear and clean a path.  This is another obvious thing to do, but can get overlooked.  If it is snowing and you can clear a path to the door, then do it.  I know this is not always feasible.  You may actually need to leave home and go to work while it is snowing. 🙂 But if you can then don’t forget it.  Also, don’t forget to clear the deck or patio as well.  Remember that people do like to go out there to check it out.  In rainy or other messy weather, cleaning the path is as important.  Make sure there is not dirt and mud to walk through on the way inside.

 

I hope these 5 tips for showing your home in bad weather is helpful.  I know it seems like simple and obvious things to do.  For some, maybe this gave you an idea you didn’t consider.  Bad weather can’t be controlled here in Denver or anywhere else, a seller needs to deal with it while trying to sell their home.  However, you don’t need to have your floors all messed up or ruined in the process.  If you are considering selling your home and would like some honest, professional and experienced help please get in touch with me.  I would love to talk with you to see if we would be a good business match.

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