6 Important Types Of Maintenance, To Prepare Your House For Winter

Once you become the owner of your home, it is important to understand, houses require upkeep and maintenance on a regular basis. It is wise to budget accordingly, and to follow some sort of plan, in order to maintain the house, in order to minimize the chances for major issues occurring! Every season has some sort of unique challenges and obstacles, and it is wise, with fall upon us, to think about what needs to be done, now, to best prepare for winter. The following is a basic, 6 – step list, to do before the seasons and weather changes, to best prepare and minimize major problems and/ or challenges.

1. Water; sprinkler system: If you have an in – ground sprinkler system, make sure you have it winterized. This usually means bleeding the system, to remove all water from the pipes, so the pipes will not freeze. In addition, if you have any outside hoses, faucets, etc, or outside water pipes, pay attention to them, by turning off the water to those pipes, and by wrapping any external pipes, to be best prepared for cold weather.

2. Heating system: Is your heating system prepared for the winter? Have you had any filters cleaned and/ or replaced, and if you have an oil system, have you filled your tank, to be set for needing to use it. Heating companies generally have something they refer to as a P.M., or preventive maintenance, and it is wise to have this service performed. Turn up your thermostat now, and make sure the system turns on, and run smoothly, before it’s cold and uncomfortable. Be prepared!

3. Lawns; garden; trees; maintenance/ trim – back: Have you had the leaves that fall in autumn removed, so that you avoid safety risks, when icing occurs? Have you done any fall – plantings and fertilizing, so your garden is ready for Spring? Have you checked on the conditions of your trees, and branches, to be certain the additional weight from snow or ice, do not cause damage? Have you done preventive maintenance, such as repairing cracks in concrete, especially near the foundation of house, etc? Have you trimmed back bushes, etc, so you are ready and prepared?

4. Do all outside maintenance: There are some maintenance projects that are weather – sensitive? Do those now, before the colder weather is upon us!

5. Check windows and doors: You want to heat only your home, and not the outside! Heating can be costly, so check the seals around windows and doors, and make certain they are not leaking air! Weather strip, where it is indicated, and use storm doors and windows, rather than screens, etc.

6. Check your gutters: Clean out your gutters, and make certain they are free of leaves or other obstructions! Also make sure they do not leak from seals, and fix any areas which need attention! You don’t want trouble from ice and/ or snow, so a little attention now, will go a long way!

Are you ready and prepared for the weather changes associated with Winter, and the colder temperatures? Pay a little attention to maintenance now, and you will save a lot of headaches later!

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6 Things To Learn From A Basement

You might be looking at the title of this article, and wondering how anyone can learn from a basement. After all, no one has ever heard a basement actually speak? Or, perhaps, we often do, but fail to recognize the signs or the language? Lots of important information can be gained, by closely examining a basement, and using both one’s sense, as well as senses! We don’t sleep or eat our meals in our basements, usually, yet they are part of the foundation, which often makes a significant difference, in terms of the quality, and our ability to enjoy a house. Here are 6 things to learn.

1. Odor: When you enter the basement, do you sense any type of odor or aroma? Is it pleasant, or quite the opposite? Does it appear musty, humid, etc? Often, odors are one of the tell – tale signs of mold, mildew, or excessive dampness. While one might mask some of the physical appearance of these conditions, there generally remains some sort of aroma/ odor!

2. Electric Panel: Is it neat, and new – looking, or somewhat of a mess? How about the wires entering the box? What type of amps, volts, etc? How many circuit breakers, and are they clearly marked? Does the layout seem to be logical/ make sense? What electric service is in the house – 110 volts, or 220 volts? Check the box itself, and make sure, especially if the house is from the 1960’s or 1970’s, that it is not one of those which was recalled!

3. Overall condition: Is there any evidence of water, or water damage? Check the floors, walls, ceilings, and especially, the walls which are facing the outside of the house? Any black or white spots, cracks, lines, etc? Is the basement neat and clean – looking?

4. Foundation: Are there any obvious cracks, leaks, termite evidence, etc? Does there appear to have been any significant degree of settling (understand, all houses settle somewhat)?

5. Heating system: What type of heat is being used? Is it oil, gas, electric, geothermal, solar, or some combination? What is the age of the boiler? If it’s oil, where are the oil tanks (are there any underground tanks)? Does the heat appear to start – up smoothly, when you turn it on? Do the radiators need to be bled, etc?

6. Settling: Don’t be concerned by a small degree of settling, because all houses do so. However, if it is excessive, or disconcerting, have a professional give you advice.

Learn from your basement. If you are considering buying a house, hire a professional home inspector or engineer, to give you a professional opinion. Ask your trusted, real estate professional, for the names of three of these, he might recommend, and make a selection that best meets your needs.

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What Are The Differences Between Assessed, Appraised And Actual Value Of A House?

As a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson in the State of New York, for over a decade, I have often been asked what I thought someone’s house might be worth? Since many factors must be considered, one must be very careful in offering an opinion. However, I’ve also come to realize, many homeowners are somewhat (or more) confused between the difference between assessed, appraised, and actual value of one’s house! Unless one is refinancing, or considering selling, the appraised value is not always relevant. Similarly, except for real estate tax consideration purposes, the assessed value does not have that much significance. Most homeowners, in fact, are really asking me, how much do I think they might get, for selling their home. That’s what I refer to as the actual value.

1. Assessed value: Each municipality determines how they are going to determine real estate taxes. Regardless of the method used, the purpose is to raise a specific dollar amount, and that is done by attempting to apportion each property’s relevant, fair share, towards that total. Many people merely look at that assessed value, but fail to realize, it is the amount the taxing authority decides to multiply by, which will determine how much real estate tax, you will be responsible for. Some municipalities play games with this, stating they have not raised assessed values, which might be true, but is still somewhat insignificant and meaningful, if the factor used for multiplying is increased. A government entity will either determine this value themselves, or often will hire outside consultants to do so, and unfortunately, many of these entities are somewhat unfamiliar with the specific area, and its trends and tendencies.

2. Appraised value: Banks and other lending institutions, as well as some court proceedings, rely on these determinations. A licensed appraiser will take into consideration a variety of factors, and provide a specific figure, referred to as appraised value. That is the number the lending institution uses to determine the maximum amount they will offer for a mortgage. Some may have heard the expression, Comping out, and that refers to whether or not the sales price and the assessed value are in sync. When the sales price exceeds the appraisal, it often creates financing challenges, including requiring larger downpayments, etc.

3. Actual value: While many homeowners seem to believe their listing price is the actual value, it is not. However, only when one professionally uses a Comparative Market Analysis, are the listing and actual price, in the same neighborhood! However, the actual value, is not determined by the real estate professional, or the homeowner, but only by the real estate market, itself. The actual value is the price one is able to obtain, from a qualified buyer!

Knowing and understanding the differences between these three types of values, helps you put things better, into perspective. Discuss these in details with your real estate agent!

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