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Take advantage of the weather

Take Advantage of the Weather!

by SellingYourOwnHouseNow on April 5, 2012

This year has been a unseasonably warm already and in a vast majority of the country, homeowners are already thinking about the springtime repairs and cleaning projects.  I recommend whether you are planning to sell your house FSBO or not, that twice a year, a homeowner should take the time to do a full walk through inspect their house to catch any problems before they start.  With a good mild spring upon us, now is the time to take advantage of the great weather and before the heavy rains start.  By doing the inspection now, you can catch small problems before they become big problems and as an added bonus, you may have a hefty tax-refund check in your bank account that will make affording any home repairs easier. The best part, is if you are planning on selling your own house – you can take care of the items on this list while the weather is favorable, so your house can be ready for the sale.

When thinking about your spring projects, there are some that should take top priority.  Focus on the items that are general maintenance or safety issues.  Once you’re good there, move on to weather preparation.  You know it’s going to rain and storm – why not prepare now?  I’ve put together a top 6 things you should be looking at this spring – It’s not an exhaustive list but should keep you busy in the weeks ahead.

1. Clean and repair gutters

When your gutters aren’t doing their job right, water will seep into the home’s walls and foundation,  making for costly repair bills.  Look around for areas where water will pool near the foundation and consider bringing in some dirt providing drainage for the area.  If you can do it yourself, it’s about a weekend worth of work.  If you need to pay a handyman, you’re looking at no more than $100 to $150 for an average home. Prevention in this case is MUCH cheaper than fixing the water damage from not thinking ahead.

2. Check the roof

Call in a professional and have a roof inspection done.  After a long winter, having an inspection prior to spring showers can ensure issues are caught early.  Broken shingles, poor calking or damaged flashing can be caught and fixed before moisture has a chance to get in. In addition, an inspection might reveal it’s time to replace the roof. For areas that get a lot of hail, impact-resistant roofing is an option and may even earn you a discount on home insurance.

If you’re afraid of the cost, checking it out won’t break the bank.  At a maximum, it may cost a couple hundred dollars for a check and minor repairs as long as you use a reputable company for the inspection, it’s well worth the cost.

3. Clean out vents

Have you ever cleaned your soffit vents?  Did you know they can get clogged with dust and other debris? Take a moment, climb up and blow them out with a small can of compressed air or a shop vacuum.  This little bit of effort will ensure your attic is properly ventilated and your heating and cooling is running at maximum efficiency.

4. Clean and service your air conditioner

Take your garden hose and clean and give your AC unit outside a good rinse down.  Get the dust and grime out of the air fins and call up a professional to service the system.  This small act will ensure it’s running efficiently when you need to kick it on when things get hot this summer. When you put your house on the market FSBO and have walkthroughs – you want your house to be just the right temperature and not have your potential buyers wondering why the air conditioner is laboring in the heat!

5) Calking and Weatherproofing

One of the most missed items on a house is making sure the caulking is in good condition around your doors and windows. This is a great task if you plan on selling your own house now – grab a good tube of calking, a ladder and a couple hours to go over every crack, joint and gap in your house. This is perfect for sealing up any spots where water or insects could take foothold.

6. Prepare for bad weather

Now is the time to brace yourself and your house for the storms coming in the months ahead. Proactive improvements now will have a significant impact on the amount of damage your home may sustain and  improve the safety of your family.  If you are in an area that has frequent damaging winds, you might consider installing a reinforced garage door or retrofitting an existing one.  Most people don’t realize that the garage door is one of your house’s weakest points.  In high winds, the garage door can come loose, blow it in and pressurize the interior of the home – potentially lifting the roof right off!

Other proactive measures you may consider include installing storm shutters in hurricane-prone areas and a generator in places where homes tend to lose electricity for stretches of time.  As you make these upgrades, make sure to ask your insurance company about any potential discounts.  Discounts vary state to state, but hey, the worst they can say is no!

Image: jthetzel

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