Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Essential Fall Checklist for Homeowners (and Potential Spring Home Sellers!)

Brrr…we have had the first cold snap of the year after a long hot summer. As the overnight temperatures have been dipping down into the range where Minnesotan’s pull the extra comforter from the closet we know it’s that time of year. Fall is just around the corner and leaves are beginning to turn. Soon the golds, reds and yellows of autumn will cover the landscape throughout Anoka, Chisago Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

I know, I know...It is ONLY September so we have will have a few warm days ahead. Before the snow, ice and winter winds arrive, we know it is time take care of the autumn chores to protect our biggest investments, our homes, from the winter ahead. And for potential 2013 spring home sellers, there will still be a perfect “Indian-Summer” day or two, to spruce up their home’s exterior.

As a REALTOR® in the north and east Minneapolis/St. Paul area, I know how important periodic home maintenance is. Minnesotans embrace living with four seasons and though some winters are mild but others can be brutal. Taking one weekend in the fall to get your home ready can prevent damage from the Minnesota Winter elements. An unprepared home can require costly repairs in the spring.

Here are a few important autumn reminders of repairs and preventive maintenance tips for all homeowners:  
  1. Check Rain Gutters Clear leaves and other debris that might clog the drainage. Check to see that any screen or leaf guard is not blocking water flow. A blocked gutter can cause an ice dam when the snow flies.
  2. Winterize lawn mowers or tractors and tune up the snow blower. If you have a plow service, make contact and update your contract prior to the first snowfall. Remember in Minnesota, we can get a first big snowfall in October.
  3. Change security lightbulbs in hard to reach outlets. Making a change to a long lasting bulb now can avoid having to climb a ladder to reach the tip of a garage over an icy driveway.
  4.  Remove Hoses from water spigots. Turn off, blow out and winterize sprinkling systems. If spigots are not frost-free or if you are unsure, shut off water supply to exterior faucets to prevent burst pipes in subzero temperatures. It’s a good idea to coil and remove hoses from the house too.
  5. Clean and Tune Furnace This should be an annual event so your home is 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.
  1. Caulk and/or weather-strip Check all windows and doors and caulk or weather strip as needed.
  2. Paint Exterior Check deck, siding and trim for peeling paint as autumn one of the best seasons to paint with its low humidity and crisp breezes.
QUICK TIP For HOME SELLERS: If you are planning to sell in the winter or early spring, touching up peeling paint is essential as it may be too cold for paint to adhere until next April.
  1. Seal Asphalt Fall is the last chance to seal the asphalt driveway prior to winter freezing. Fill cracks and topcoat if necessary.
  2. Inspect the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Verify that the flashings are sealed from rain and snow.
  3. Snap a few fall photos while the fall perennials and trees are vibrant with color! Golden yellow oak leaves and vivid red sumacs will look awesome in the local MLS if you decide to sell your home over the winter.

Copyright 2012