Planning that summer vacation? Here are our top tips to give you added peace of mind while you’re away.
One of the most effective steps is to make your home appear occupied. Use timers or an app on a few lights throughout the house, scheduling them to turn off and on at various times after dark.
Use extra caution when communicating about your vacation dates on Facebook and other social media. And don’t post photos until you’re back. Information spreads quickly, and you don’t want it to get into the wrong hands.
Advise friends and trusted neighbors of your travel plans. Make sure you can be reached in an emergency if necessary.
Have the post office hold your mail and suspend any newspaper and package deliveries, or ask a neighbor to collect them for you each day. A buildup of mail or uncollected packages or papers are obvious signs that no one is home.
Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway on occasion so it looks like there is someone at home.
Arrange to have someone mow the lawn in your absence if you’re going to be gone for more than a week.
Close the window coverings in ground-level rooms so that would-be thieves aren’t tempted by valuables and other items visible from outside.
Unplug appliances such as the coffee maker, toaster, microwave, computers, gaming systems and televisions. Be sure to leave the refrigerator and freezer plugged in of course.
To avoid the potential of water damage from an unpredictable leak or a burst hose, shut off the water supply lines for the toilets, sinks, washing machine, dishwasher, and ice maker. It takes just a few minutes and can prevent coming home to a disaster.
Adjust the water heater to its lowest temperature setting or to vacation mode if it has one. Maintaining the hot water at its normal temperature while you’re away wastes energy and money.
If possible, pack your vacation gear into the car while it’s in the garage so that you’re not announcing to passersby that you’re on your way out of town.
Lock the garage, gates, and storage structures. Don’t forget to lock any side doors to the garage, as well as doors leading into the house from the garage.
Enjoy your time away, knowing that you’ve taken these smart measures to help keep your home safe and secure.
Buyers and sellers often hear about plumbing upgrades, but just what does this mean? Generally speaking, upgraded plumbing in the context of buying or selling a home refers to both fixtures and/or the plumbing system itself. Here’s our list of the most frequently recommended upgrades:
New faucets are an easy way to add style to kitchens and baths without a lot of spend. If a home is being prepped for sale, use fixtures that will appeal to the most potential buyers. The idea is not necessarily to draw attention to the faucets, but to demonstrate that they’re modern and in good condition.
Toilets are another simple upgrade that will also have a positive effect on how the home is perceived. If space allows, an elongated bowl and a high-profile height are smart choices. A neutral color that works with the existing tile and walls is always best.
A shower upgrade can be as basic as adding a handheld shower unit to the existing setup, or install a rain-type shower head, which are very popular in new homes. Also consider a thermostatic valve for the shower, which prevents scalding while the shower is running. It’s a nice feature that’s inexpensive to add.
Home re-piping continues to grow in popularity for older homes. During this process, all water lines in the home are replaced. Sometimes the line from the water main to the house may need to be replaced as well.
Why re-pipe? Over time, old galvanized metal pipes will degenerate, increasing the potential for leaks, reducing water flow, and causing material to flake off inside the pipes. The taste and appearance of water can also be adversely affected. Some older homes have lead pipes, which are less subject to corrosion but pose a serious health hazard for children.
Typically, replacement piping is made of copper or one of several types of PVC. The best material to use depends on a number of factors, including the hardness of the water and winter temperatures. Always seek out the opinions of several contractors before making the important – and not inexpensive – decision to re-pipe the home. Depending on your location, re-piping may not pay off in terms of return on investment but could be a very appealing feature to a potential buyer.
Buyers typically don’t want to think about plumbing, so upgrades are often welcome. As with any upgrades, however, consider market conditions and comparables when making recommendations to your sellers.
Spring is on the way, and that means it’s the perfect opportunity to get your home ready for the months to come. Here are our top tips to get you started:
Winter can take a real toll on a home’s exterior. Wood, stucco and other types of siding should be checked for cracks, peeling or chipped paint, and general wear and tear. Have damaged areas repaired and repainted as needed for lasting protection.
Clean gutters and downspouts of any debris that may have collected over the winter. Check for any loose connections and adjust if needed.
Check patios and walkways for cracks and any loose bricks or pavers. These are a tripping hazard that needs to be corrected promptly.
If window screens were removed for the winter, make sure they’re cleaned up and in good condition before reinstalling them.
Walk around the property and check for damaged tree limbs and branches. If a large tree appears to be damaged, be safe and call a professional to address any issues.
Inspect raised planter beds to make sure they’re in good shape. Before it’s time to plant, mix in some compost and fresh garden soil to help your flowers and vegetables thrive.
Inspect the irrigation system for broken sprinkler heads and emitters. Also check for overspray and have the system adjusted to prevent water waste.
Have a swimming pool? As soon as the weather allows, have it inspected and cleaned so you don’t have to wait for service later in the season.
Happy spring to everyone from Pillar To Post Home Inspectors!
Many home sellers often overlook easy and relatively inexpensive fixes that not only increase visual appeal, but may also add to a home’s selling price. While major remodeling is costly and may not address the needs and tastes of prospective buyers, these repair and maintenance suggestions have universal appeal and may help a home sell more quickly – and for a better price.
Bathrooms and the kitchen must get a deep cleaning. Sellers should consider a cleaning company that offers “move in / move out” cleaning services to do the job.
If kitchen cabinet exteriors are in bad shape, refacing may be an option. Far less expensive than new cabinetry, refacing can give old and worn cabinets new life and can visually renew a kitchen. Alternatively, many cabinet materials can also be painted, for an updated look without costing a lot.
Consider replacing kitchen or bathroom counters with a neutral colored laminate surface if the current material is badly worn or stained. This gives the room a fresh appearance and, most importantly, prevents potential buyers from focusing on an eyesore.
Fresh paint on the walls and ceilings will do wonders for all rooms in the house. Stick to neutral tones so that buyers aren’t distracted by colors that make a statement. They’ll be able to imagine themselves and their furniture in the space much more easily.
If carpet now covers up hardwood floors, consider having it removed to expose the hardwood flooring. Hardwood floors are desirable, so they should be shown off. If carpet is to remain, it should be thoroughly cleaned.
If the home’s exterior needs painting, get it done. Buyers notice if paint is faded and peeling. If the paint is in good shape overall, renew the doors and trim with a fresh coat.
Clean the windows inside and out so they sparkle. It’s amazing what a difference this can make in a home’s appearance. Hiring a professional window cleaning company is the easiest and safest way to get the job done on a multi-story home.
Clear clutter from the yard, keep the lawn mowed, and trim any overgrown shrubs that detract from the home’s appearance. The home should look well maintained even at first glance.
Place pots of bright, colorful flowers along an entry path and near the doors to add a cheery, welcoming touch.
Homeowners should save major remodeling projects – and the budget required – for their new home, not the one they are about to sell. But implementing some of the steps above can increase the appeal to prospective buyers without a huge investment in time or money.