Monday, August 31, 2009

The Sumac is Starting to Turn---10 Fall Maintenance Tips for Minnesota Homeowners!

I could hardly believe it when I saw it…The sumac is starting to turn in Anoka County and all over the north metro. Combine that with an over night temperature in the mid-40’s and we know that summer is almost over. Okay sumac is the first to turn colors and on most trees the leaves are still green but fall will be upon us soon. In a few more weeks we will need to wrap up all those summer projects and get the house ready for the winter season.

As I walk around my Ham Lake backyard and see the few leaves that have just begun their transformation from vibrant green to brilliant red I wonder where the summer went. It was the usual blur of activity baseball, summer classes, weekend excursions, trips to
Bunker Beach and Valleyfair with an occasional evening on the patio enjoying family time around a blazing fire in the firepit. All good things eventually come to an end...I realize it is time begin the autumn chores to protect our investment from the winter ahead.

As a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities metro, I know how important it is to maintain a home in throughout the year. Winters can be mild or brutal in Minnesota. Despite what the
Old Farmer’s Almanac might predict there is no guarantee which type of weather will come our way this year. Getting your home ready in the fall can prevent winter damage and costly repairs in the spring. And for any homeowner thinking the spring of 2010 will be the time to make a move, taking late summer and fall photos is a great asset to a winter listing to show how beautiful your landscaping is all year round!

Here are TEN essential tips and reminders of repairs and preventive maintenance all homeowners should consider in the fall:

  1. Clear Gutters of leaves and other debris that might clog the drainage. A blocked gutter can cause an ice dam when the snow flies.

  2. Winterize the lawn tractor or mower and get that snowblower tuned. If you have a plow service, make contact and update your contract prior to the first snowfall.

  3. Change security lightbulbs in hard to reach outlets. It would hazardous to climb ladders to reach the tip of a garage over an icy driveway.

  4. Unhook, coil and remove hoses from water spigots. Turn off and winterize sprinkling systems. Turn off water to outside spigots if not frost-free to prevent burst pipes in subzero temperatures.

  5. Schedule the annual furnace cleaning and tune-up to be ready for those first cold evenings. Remember to change the furnace filter every month for best efficiency…even if the packaging says “6-month filter”. QUICK TIP: Change filter when you make your monthly mortgage payment so you don’t forget.

  6. Check all windows and doors to see if new caulk or weather-striping is needed.

  7. Fall is the perfect time to paint with the low humidity and crisp breeze. Check deck, siding and trim for peeling paint.

  8. Fall is the last chance to seal the asphalt driveway prior to winter freezing. Fill cracks and topcoat if necessary.

  9. Inspect the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Verify that the flashings are sealed from rain and snow.

  10. Snap a few fall photos while the mums and trees are vibrant with color! Golden yellow oak leaves and vivid red sumacs will look awesome in the Twin Cities MLS if you decide to sell your home over the winter. Beautiful, green photos are a refreshing change when you consider that all of your competition will be snow covered!

Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm