Tis the season – for home maintenance. Every season is the season for home maintenance. No matter the time of year, there are always chores to do around your home. For those of you who enjoy checking things off lists (I do, I do), or who like to follow a schedule (my dear spouse), perhaps you’ll find this helpful. The sprinkler system has punished us for our neglect. We’re more attentive now!
Rake leaves and aerate the lawn.
Have forced-air heating system inspected by a professional. Tip: schedule an inspection in late summer or early fall before the heating season begins.
Check fireplace for damage or hazards; clean fireplace flues and have a professional inspection.
Seal cracks and gaps in windows and doors with caulk or weather stripping; replace if necessary.
Swap old, drafty windows for more energy-efficient models.
Touch up exterior siding and trim with paint.
Inspect roofing for missing, loose, or damaged shingles and leaks.
Power-wash windows and siding.
Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
I realize some of this may seem extreme, but if you’ve ever been locked up with flu A or B, Norovirus, pneumonia, or, any of a host of other just as miserable vermin, you understand that a bit of time spent sanitizing is well spent! I pulled this information from WEBMD, Good Housekeeping, Medical News Today, and similar sites. Nothing crazy or surprising found, just good reminders.
If you only have time for Cliff Notes – I remember having small children – here’s your quick take-away:
Anything that hands touch are germ collectors. Light switches, door handles, refrigerator handles, the thermostat, remote controls, stove knobs, and microwave buttons are all places where you can pick up and pass along bacteria. Same thing goes for kitchen and bathroom faucets. Keep anti-bacterial spray on hand and use as frequently as time allows!
A Germ-Free Cell Phone (best done weekly – especially if you travel frequently or work in areas like schools, medical environments, anything high traffic.
If you’re looking for a home or about to sell one, you know that monthly mortgage interest rates are a key factor in housing affordability. But what makes rates go up or down? What national economic indicators affect the interest you’ll pay?
The information out there can be confusing. Should you pay attention to stocks, T-bills, bank rates, short-term rates, crystal balls or the Federal Reserve? Unless you’re a financial professional, all the data can make your head spin.
Here is the one interest rate indicator that will tell you where mortgage rates are headed: Bonds. Bonds, bonds, bonds. Specifically, bonds called mortgage backed securities, or MBS.
When you build a new home there must be a lot for construction. That’s basic. How much does the lot cost? I’ve heard buyers say their lot was included with the purchase of their home. Nope. Not true. Never, ever. The cost may be minimal, but there is a cost. Why would you pay more – or less – for a specific lot?
1) The View – Water, city, mountain, park, golf course – these are a few examples of lot views that would command a premium price. Is there a landfill, factory, or what would be considered a nuisance across the street? No premium!
2) Traffic – A busy road behind or in front of your lot would decrease the value of your property. The lot is cheaper. Homes are usually more difficult to sell when built on a busy thoroughfare. Sometimes builders offset the location by increasing the lot size as well as setting a lower price.
3) Proximity – Is your site near the park or pool? The value of a lot so located depends upon your preferences. Many people don’t want to live next to high traffic areas and a pool in summer is definitely high traffic in Texas. Others are thrilled with the convenience. Personal preference plays an important role in the home buying process. In a neighborhood, proximity to the pool or park may or may not be considered valuable. Depends on the neighborhood involved. Just remember the same feature you fall in love with may not be desirable to others when you put your home on the market in a few years.
4) Convenience – This is not the same as proximity (meaning simply ‘near to’). Proximity to a golf course or a lake, especially if the neighborhood was built specifically for the use of these amenities is a convenience and a lot located nearby would probably be considered premium, with the price adjusted accordingly.