There are a number of different things you can do as a homeowner to winterize your home. Where we live, we can experience the mildest of winters one year and a bitterly cold mix of winter storms and below zero temperatures the next. It’s always a good idea to prepare for the worst, so here are some simple ways you can winterize your home in the next month to make sure your home is safe and sound.
Have a winter storm kit prepared. A home safety kit is a good idea, no matter the weather. The experts recommend having a container filled with food, bottled water, and other supplies that will last up to 72 hours in the event of an emergency. Some companies even offer pre-made kits! If a big ice storm hits and the roads become too treacherous to travel on, you’ll be glad you took some time to make a storm kit. It’s also beneficial to have one on hand just in case you lose power because of storms taking out power lines.
Trim trees in your landscaping. If you live in a wooded area and there are tree branches next to your home’s roof, windows, or electrical lines, it’s a good idea to trim them now. Keep in mind that ice and snow will weigh branches down even more, so there is definitely potential for damage to your home or landscaping.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detector check. Unfortunately, the winter months have an increase in home fires and cases of carbon monoxide poisoning because people are running their furnaces more often. Keep your loved ones safe and make sure your detectors have new batteries and if one isn’t working properly, change it out.
Fireplace chimney inspections. When was the last time you had your chimney cleaned or inspected? Visit www.csia.org for information on chimney safety and to find a certified chimney sweep. Cleaning your chimney each season is just one more safeguard against house-fires.
Install proper doors and windows. The better your windows and doors, the better your energy efficiency will be. Storm doors and windows also can be beneficial, and some tax credits are even available. If you can’t afford new windows, doublecheck your insulation around doors and windows and use blinds and shades to help keep the cool weather out.
Check your heating and cooling system. There are many qualified HVAC businesses in our area, and it’s important to have your furnace inspected annually by a dependable technician. It’s also a good idea to have your home’s ducts cleaned and inspected for any leaks and to regularly change your furnace’s filter throughout the winter months. A professional HVAC technician will be able to assess your existing system and help you determine what may need to be done before the cold weather hits.
Reverse ceiling fans for better circulation. Using your ceiling fans in the winter helps to keep your house warm. On typical ceiling fans, there are switches to reverse the flow. This pushes warm air downward and helps it to recirculate throughout the rooms in your home. When warmer weather is upon us, don’t forget to switch the direction again.
Keep your house colder. Set your thermostat a few degrees cooler and you’ll be pleased at the lower energy bill. Wearing a sweater or layers while at home is one of the easiest ways to save money during the winter months on your utility bill.
Other things you can do as a homeowner to prepare for the cooler weather is to bring outdoor patio furniture and accessories inside for storing, also bringing any plants and flowering trees inside before the first frost. Another good idea is to clean and winterize any outdoor equipment like lawn mowers and trimmers, inspecting any of the winter tools you have during the process.
Even though there are still plenty of nice days ahead, winter will be here before we know it. A little planning will ensure that your home will be ready for the colder weather and you’ll be more comfortable, too. Have questions about living in the Metro-east or need some tips about home ownership? Contact me for all of your real estate needs at (618) 978-2384 or email me at Sandie@SandieLaMantia.com.
If you are considering putting your home on the market, your friends and family may want to offer tips and guidance about staging your home, what to list it for, and the best time to sell. Keep in mind there are a lot of factors to consider if you wan to sell your home this Fall season, and they can vary from zip code to zip code, street to cul-de-sac. There can be benefits and drawbacks with listing your home, no matter the season. Hopefully these tips will help during the home selling process if you are considering an autumn sale.
You may have once thought you’d live in your existing home forever! Things change, and a relocation may be necessary due to a new job or unexpected life event. I typically like recommending to my clients that first and foremost, consider what’s best for your family. Sometimes timing a move with a new school year makes sense so your kids are getting started with new classes and new teachers at the same time as the other children in the school district. Fall is typically the second-best time to sell your home, coming in second after spring.
As the cooler, fall weather approaches, there are still people looking for that new home. Fall can be an ideal time to shop, buy, and get moved in before all of the upcoming holidays that the season brings. It’s important to clean up that yard and enhance your home’s curb appeal during the fall months. Trim bushes and cut back vines, move the summer toys and gadgets out of the yard, and begin to give your home that cozy, autumn aesthetic.
What homebuyers see first is important. Mums are lovely additions to the front porch. Or, choose marigolds in your landscape planters. Place the flowered pots by the entrance and along the walkway, accenting your home’s backdrop with pumpkins and squash. Hang a fall wreath on the front door and tidy up your home’s exterior with window washing and a new welcome mat!
There are other benefits to selling your home in the fall months. During the spring, the market is saturated with homes for sale in a variety of neighborhoods. If your home doesn’t have any distinguishing features that sets you ahead of the pack, competition can be fierce. On the other hand, what if your house does have unique features and you decide to sell during a time of year that’s slightly less busy? There’s a very good chance your house will be noticed, possibly even commanding a higher price in the fall.
Other tips include cleaning that wood-burning fireplace from any debris. Why not even place a fall arrangement within it? Autumn is a perfect time to stage your home with scents of homemade cookies baking, pumpkin, and hot apple cider. Many recommend simmering cinnamon sticks on the stove-top so the smell sifts through the air. There are many ways, from candles to essential oils, to create a memorable experience for the potential homebuyer.
Lack of competition is a benefit that should be seriously considered if you are in the market to sell your home. With fewer homes for sale, there’s opportunity to sell your home more quickly, especially if a buyer needs to move immediately. Also, families without school-aged children have more flexibility when considering a move date. In our school district, we have the advantage of being a desirable place to live for homebuyers, no matter what time of year it may be.
As a Realtor®, I can assist you when selling your home because I know the local market inside and out. I can help decide which home features will lead you to a higher sale price, negotiating with the right buyer so you can sell your home in the least amount of time. Fall is a great time to sell! Contact me for all of your real estate needs at (618) 978-2384 or email me at Sandie@SandieLaMantia.com.
Most of us at some point in our lives have relocated. Whether it was moving to a new house with our family as a child or packing up and heading across state for college, we all can appreciate how much effort goes into the prepping, planning and packing. Wonderful, new beginnings await us when we move! Here are some handy tips to relieve some of the stress of moving, helping you enjoy the process (and this exciting time) instead.
Know you’re moving? Organize all of the paperwork. It’s important to keep all paperwork in the same spot so you don’t spend time looking for it when a question about the move surfaces. Did you hire movers? Have their information on hand. Is your new house a rental? Make sure you have contact information in case something goes awry upon arrival and you can’t access your new apartment or home. By keeping all moving documents in one spot, you’ll not only avoid the stress of not being able to find something in a jiffy but also enjoy a more efficient move from start to finish.
To Do Lists are Key! As with any big event, keeping a list of “to-do’s” is crucial. You wouldn’t plan your daughter’s engagement party with no planning, invitees, or reservations, would you? With a move, it’s also important to keep track of the steps involved throughout the process. In many cases, it’s simply a good idea to keep a running list of things you may need to remember at a later time. This list can hold important numbers, due dates and more. It’s just one more way to stay organized during a very busy – but exciting – time.
Take photos. You may be feeling sentimental as the move approaches, but this tip has a different motive in mind. Photos come in handy for many reasons. By taking pictures of your knick- knacks before and during the move, your life will be easier once you make it to the new place and you’re trying to unpack and decorate. Know what else? Taking photos of electronic wires and connectors will help you when you’re trying to hook up the TV at the new home just in time to watch the big game! Also, if items get damaged in the move, you’ll be able to let the movers know their condition prior to the move…with the proof of a photo.
Don’t pack items you won’t be needing anymore. I’ve written about decluttering when trying to sell your home, but it’s important to also not spend the time and the effort to pack items you won’t be using in your new home. Moving is the perfect time to declutter! If you are no longer using that cabinet and it’s been in your basement’s storage room, try to donate or sell it. You can also ask yourself, “where will I need this item in the new place”? If you don’t have an answer to that question, it’s likely time to part ways with it.
The internet is filled with practical (and sometimes off-the-wall!) packing tips to prepare you for your next big move. A little preparation and forethought will go a long way, starting off life’s next phase in the right way. Are you interested in that new home or wanting to learn more about selling your existing home? I’d love to help! I’ve assisted many families and individuals in the Metro-east area and beyond find their dream home. Contact me for all of your real estate needs at (618) 978-2384 or email me at Sandie@SandieLaMantia.com.
Making renovations to your home in order to keep it up-to-date is always a good idea. Improvements can boost the appeal of your home, make your life easier, and in some cases, help you to achieve the sale price you want when you decide to sell your home. However, renovations can be a bit more intense that staging your home for showing. Here are some things to think about before you start any project.
Kitchen and Bathroom
It’s true what they say…kitchens and bathrooms help sell a home. Many families elect to undergo a major renovation with a totally new, well-designed kitchen or bathroom. They renovate from top to bottom with the help of a kitchen and bathroom designer. A complete renovation can be costly and in most cases it’s done because you are planning to stay. But, down the line when you do sell, your kitchen or bath renovation will improve the features your home has to offer and appeal to a larger pool of buyers. However, not everyone has the funds or the time to put into a major kitchen or bathroom renovation in order to sell.
If you are looking to give your kitchen or bathroom an updated look, here are a just a few things to consider while not breaking the bank:
Everyone seems to want Granite countertops, but there are some beautiful Laminate choices that imitate Granite very well. Replacing your countertops whether it is Granite or Laminate will go a long way in in giving your kitchen a fresh, new look. In some cases, simply adding some crown molding on the top of your cabinets along with new faucets, lighting, cabinet hardware, and a fresh coat of paint will appeal to buyers. Bathroom updates as simple as installing a new vanity, faucets, lighting and installing a new mirror in your bathroom will also help you achieve the look of a new space.
Wood flooring seems to win the People’s Choice Award these days. While it does look beautiful, not everyone is convinced. The most important thing about your flooring choice if renovating and staying is to do what works best for you and your family. If you are replacing your floor because you have always wanted to have hardwood floors and it’s a good choice for your lifestyle, then do it! Will it help to improve the features of your home down the line if you decide to sell? Yes! For those buyers who are not a fan of wood flooring, carpeting over hard wood is an easy fix.
If you presently have carpet and you’re thinking of selling your home, flooring is a visually important feature. If your carpet is in good shape then spend the money to have it professionally cleaned. Worn out carpet is a distraction to any buyer and dollars start accumulating in their head. While it could be a $1,000 improvement to you to do beforehand, it could also be a $5,000 deduction on a sales offer.
The first trick to getting someone in your home is by what they see on the outside. If they don’t like what they see on the outside, then chances are they won’t want to take the time to make an appointment to see the inside. You want your home to look inviting. If you have a front porch there are so many inexpensive ways to give it new life. Take the time to look through ideas online and remember a fresh coat of paint for your front door can do wonders along with a seasonal wreath that invites guests and potential buyers.
Don’t forget the threshold. Not only your Guests but Buyers walking into your home look down to step in. Make sure your threshold is sparkling clean and free of dirt and leaves and secure. If you have a lot of trees, shrubs, or flowers outside your door, make sure they are neat, trimmed and have a fresh layer of mulch. If you don’t have the time to take care of it yourself, hire a professional landscaper to do it for you.
Don’t forget those outdoor lights! Replacing garage entry lights and porch lights is simple and inexpensive. Installing solar lights up and down your walkway will go a long way in improving curb appeal. It is also a good idea to power-wash your home to make your siding bright and shiny. Any exterior surfaces with peeling paint should be repainted giving it a fresh look and nothing looks better than sparkling clean windows inside and out along with clean sidewalks and a clean driveway. Remember first impressions are lasting impressions.
Outdoor Living Space
In the past few years outdoor living space has become much more important. A big or cozy back yard is an appealing feature to a potential buyer. To the homeowner it can be a quiet and peaceful place to relax and unwind. It doesn’t matter if you are staying in your home or looking to sell, outdoor living space is a very popular feature.
If you have a deck, check your railings and stairs on a regular basis to make sure they are secure. This will go a long way in making your home safer, and it will look more attractive to a prospective buyer. Wood decks need maintenance and if your deck is in need of some simple repairs or staining, it’s a wise investment to do it before you think about selling. Don’t forget to power-wash your patio when power washing the house. All of these are things you can do to make your home more appealing to you or to a potential buyer.
Are you discussing whether to stay or go and you need to discuss it with someone? Call me! Do you need a recommendation for a good painter, landscaper, or a general handyman? Call me! Do you want to find out what your home is worth if you remodel? Call me! As a licensed Realtor, I want to make it a point to stay on top of trends in the market and listen to potential buyers to find out what they are looking for in order to help sellers put their best foot forward.