Colorado Real Estate News

Fall Maintenance Tips

Now that fall has rolled in, it’s time to start considering how best to prepare your home for the looming cold front. Fall weather provides the perfect opportunity to accomplish everything you need before the snow comes knocking on your front door. 

Whether you want to avoid potential winter damages or keep your home looking its best during the spring or summer, there’s no better season to plan for the future. Here are some fall maintenance tips that will keep you one step ahead:

Maintain Your Lawn

If you’d like to impress guests with a green and luscious yard during warm seasons, it’s essential to maintain your lawn before the cold weather blows in. Lawn Doctor emphasizes that fertilizing in the fall will give your lawn plenty of nutrients, help it endure the winter and strengthen the grass’s growth in the spring. 

Clean Your Gutters

Gutters are pivotal in blocking water from entering your home. Autumn leaves can clog gutters—and if left unattended, can cause problems when the snow starts to fall. Backed-up leaves can eventually freeze and add extra weight to the gutters, leading to potential damage and unwanted repairs. Fixr specifies that a single damaged seam in a gutter can cost $150, and more significant repairs could be priced up to $2,000. 

Fix Up Your Trees

Neglected trees undoubtedly pose a threat to your home. Thinning out dead or weak branches before a winter storm can reduce the risk of damage to property, cars or other possessions. Be sure to monitor trees with dead branches or branches hanging above risky areas. 

Check for Drafts

An easy way to keep your energy bill as low as possible is to search for drafts around the house. Most drafts are found around windows but don’t forget to examine doors, chimneys and wiring holes such as electrical outlets. 

Inspect Your Roof

According to Networx, even a tiny hole in your roof can give rise to severe complications such as roof material damage, health hazards and critter access. Dealing with such hassles is not only costly but can be extremely frustrating. Before the cold arrives, ensure that your roof is free of any holes and adequately supported to handle heavy amounts of snow. 

The autumn season offers cool air and fair weather, and there’s no better time to get your home in tip-top shape. If you want to weather the storm this winter and best prepare your home for the future, consider these fall maintenance tips.

Colorado Real Estate News

6 Home Renovations that Add Value

Home-Renovations

When it comes to making changes to your home, not all renovations are created equal. If you’re like most Americans, your home is probably your biggest investment, so it’s important to focus on renovations that add value to that investment, first and foremost. Of course, you need to make upgrades that are pleasing to you as the homeowner, but if you have any intention of selling your house in the future, you’ll also want to focus on improvements that provide the most value, too.

Before you go knocking down walls and installing subway tiles, it’s important to know which renovations will give you the most return on your investment. Here are six renovations to consider that add value to your home.

1. Landscape and curb appeal.

There’s nothing like a first impression, especially when it comes time to sell your home. You only get one chance to impress a buyer when they see your home for the first time, so it’s worth making sure that impression is a good one. According to a remodeling.net research study comparing the cost of renovations with the return you get on the investment, replacing your garage door yields the highest ROI, followed by adding stone veneer to the exterior and replacing your front door. Landscaping is also an important area to focus on, where simple things like refreshing the mulch, trimming back overgrown shrubs and planting colorful, seasonal flowers can be great curb appeal enhancers.

2. Kitchen.

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and creating an updated, modern kitchen will add more than just value to your home, it will also increase your enjoyment while you’re living in it. When it comes time to sell, the kitchen is the focal point of most listing showings, and many home buyers will be more forgiving of other outdated areas as long as the kitchen is upgraded. Consider replacing appliances with new, more energy-efficient models, refacing or painting your cabinets, replacing hardware, installing new countertops and new flooring, and adding a new sink and faucet.

3. Bathrooms.

Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are another space that make a huge impact not only in your enjoyment of your home, but also its resale value. Opting for a walk-in shower, and replacing and updating the vanity, mirror and fixtures will go a long way to improve the look and feel of the bathroom.

4. Outdoor Space.

Especially in a place like Colorado where we get plenty of sunshine all year-round (even in the winter!), adding a deck for outdoor entertaining is a great investment for your home. According to the remodeling.net research study, adding a deck will increase the value of your home enough to nearly cover the cost of installing it. Adding features like a fire pit will also increase the value, as it allows you to make the most out of the space in all seasons.

5. A fresh coat of paint.

Painting the interior of your home is one of the least expensive updates you can do that will make a huge impact on the look and feel of your home. Lighten up dark, cramped rooms with a light, bright tone that will make the space feel fresh, clean, and more spacious. If you’re selling the home, opt for neutral color choices that would be appealing to a variety of people, such as creams, grays and pastels.

6. Flooring.

In addition to light, bright walls, flooring also makes a huge difference in how your house comes across to guests and buyers. Many buyers gravitate to hardwood floors over tile or carpet, especially in common areas like the kitchen and living room.

Ultimately, there are endless projects that can be done around the home to increase its function, livability and value. The important part of any renovation, however, is taking the time to plan and budget accordingly, and focus on things that will not only make a positive impact in how you enjoy the home, but also protect your investment.

Colorado Real Estate News

7 Maintenance Skills all Homeowners Should Know

maintenance skillsOnce you make the leap into homeownership there are no landlords or building superintendents to rely on for help. While we wish homeownership came with an instruction manual, it’s likely you will have to learn through hands on experience. We can’t possibly know how to do everything when it comes to home maintenance skills, but it’s helpful to know how to do minor repairs around your home. Here are a few basic home maintenance skills every homeowner should master.

Changing Your HVAC Filter

It’s important to schedule a maintenance checkup for your HVAC system every spring and fall. But in the meantime, filters need to be checked once a month. When they’re dirty, change them. Dirty filters shorten the lifespan of your system. Fortunately, it’s easy to do. First, check your owner’s manual for the right part number in order to buy a new filter. Then turn off your HVAC system while you work, remove the old filter, and slide the new one in place.

Resetting the Circuit Breaker

If your house was built after 1960, your electrical panel is likely filled with circuit breakers, which supply power to appliances and lighting in every room. When a circuit becomes overloaded, the designated breaker trips, shutting off juice to that area. When this happens, you’ll need to reset the breaker. Just open the panel cover and look for the breaker that’s sitting in the off position; then push it to on. If you can’t find the errant breaker, you’ll have to turn each breaker off, then on again.

Repairing Drywall

No wall stays perfect forever. Nails pop, and furniture or broom handles cause dents, making your once-flawless walls look all banged up. Learning how to repair drywall can save a homeowner time and potentially a fair amount of money. Luckily, it’s easy to repair drywall yourself; all you need is some putty and a spackling knife!

Cleaning the Gutters

When gutters get clogged, water can be trapped on the board behind the gutter and even be forced under your roof shingles, causing damage. So clean them twice a year in spring and fall. Start near a downspout by removing large debris, and then use a hose to flush a stream of water through the downspout to clear out fine grit. If your downspout is blocked, it may need to be removed and cleaned out; if it leads to an underground pipe that’s blocked, that pipe can usually be cleaned out with a handheld snake.

Turning Off the Water Supply

If you ever come home to a flooded floor, you need to be able to shut off the water to the whole house ASAP, especially if the source of the water leak is unclear. That’s why every homeowner should know where their main shutoff valve is. Look near the perimeter of the house at ground level nearest your water meter. The shutoff valve might be in a basement, crawlspace, closet or garage. In an emergency, you can also shut off your water from the outside water meter, but the valve might require special tools to turn.

Dealing with a Flooded Basement

If you come home to standing water in your basement, time is of the essence. You have 48 hours to get the water out and get it dry. After two days, mold will start to grow, and once that starts you have to rip everything out. Call your insurance agent right away and take pictures; then get to work pumping out the water and removing all furniture to be dried off. Important: make sure the power is off if there’s standing water! As long as the water is below boot level, you can safely shut off the power from a basement panel if you wear rubber boots and gloves and use a wooden stick or hammer handle to trip the main power switch.

Unclogging a Drain

Harsh, pricey chemicals shouldn’t be your first option when a sink drain gets clogged — better to keep a small plunger and a drain snake on hand to work out the problem mechanically. After you’ve removed the primary clog, clean out smelly gunk by putting a cup of baking soda in the drain followed by four cups of boiling water; then end with a cup of vinegar. The vigorous chemical reaction will jar any remaining debris loose and leave the drain smelling fresh.

Colorado Real Estate News

5 Problems Your Home Inspector Might Not Catch

Whether you are buying or selling your home, conducting a home inspection can save you a lot of time and frustration down the road. Home inspections help find weaknesses in your home that can decrease its value or cause safety issues. While your home inspector is trained to catch things that the average person might not notice, they will still have a hard time uncovering problems hidden behind walls, under floors or inside septic lines. It’s important to hire the services of an experienced inspector, but it’s also important to realize that there are some problems that might require the service of other professionals, such as plumbers or electricians.

Inspector GadgetBlocked or Damaged Sewage Pipes 

When checking for clogged sewer lines in a standard inspection, major problems might not be exposed at the time the inspector is there. Home inspections are always limited to what is visible and accessible. An inspector can estimate the age of the drain pipes and tell you what kind of pipes they are. But if you are worried about bigger problems, like unseen cracks in buried drain lines, it’s wise to request a sewer pipe scoping to get the full story.

Damaged HVAC Systems

Just like sewer lines, problems with HVAC systems might not be there one day then show up the next. If your inspector tests the A/C unit and finds the temperatures are within acceptable ranges, it will seem like it’s working fine. That is, until summer hits and the A/C is under a lot of stress from working so hard so often. That’s when a faulty A/C unit can fail. If your inspector suspects that there might be a problem with the HVAC system, hire a specialized contractor to look into the job.

Electrical Problems

When it comes to electrical problems, a home inspection is nothing more than visual. Home inspectors aren’t always going to be able to identify the source of an issue with electrical wiring hidden behind a wall. This is more in the expertise of an electrician. If your inspector finds a problem they cannot troubleshoot, an electrician might have to come in and pick up where they left off.

Structural Problems

While any skilled inspector should be able to spot inconsistencies in the roofing, cracks in the foundations and rotting wood, they are not licensed engineers and won’t be able to tell you if the home is structurally sound. They can identify a problem but won’t be able to explain the extent of the issue or how much it would cost you to repair. A structural engineer can help identify any major structural defects and give you an estimate of how much it would cost to fix.

Leaks

Sometimes when a home comes on the market, it hasn’t been lived in for a while. By the time the inspection comes around many of the leaks may have dried up, making it hard for the inspector to catch. Make sure to put the plumbing through its paces. Turn on all the faucets, flush the toilets multiple times, and fill the sinks and showers all the way up before letting them drain to spot visible leaks. Always check carefully for any water stains.