Spring’s Here: 7 Must-Do Home Maintenance Tasks To Tackle This Season

Spring-Home-Maintenance-Tips-2

Spring has officially sprung, and we are psyched. Seriously, we couldn’t be more stoked to put away our floor-length parkas and our stupid hats, break out the shorts and sandals, and start planning a big backyard barbecue.

But before you get too carried away, remember this: In the great game of homeownership, a pound of prevention could save you thousands of dollars in repair costs.

Don’t know where to start? We’ve done the heavy lifting for you, focusing on the most crucial spring chores to tackle—and how to take ’em on, whether you’re up for some DIY action or need to call in the pros. So go ahead and set aside a Saturday (soon!) for these essential maintenance tasks, and prep your home for all those spring soirees.

1. Take a walk
A lot can happen between winter and spring, and experts agree a visual inspection is crucial to stopping small problems before they turn into big ones. So grab a camera, notebook, and even binoculars, and take a few laps around the perimeter of your place.

“The first circuit should be from about 60 feet out, so you can get the big picture,” says home inspector Lisa Turner, author of “House Keys: The Essential Homeowner’s Guide.”

On the first pass, look for siding damage, missing paint, holes, large cracks, damaged downspouts, and areas where water is accumulating near the foundation. Check your decks for levelness, and use binoculars to examine the roof.

Next, bring it in closer: Examine soffits, doors, windows, screens, and vents, and make a note of any damage.

DIY: If you feel comfortable, shimmy up a ladder to get a view of your gutters. Check for debris, and run water through your downspouts to make sure they aren’t clogged.

Call in the pros: Roofing, siding, and soffit damage should all be tackled by a pro. The average cost per hour will vary by region, but Turner says to figure $65 to $95 per hour for a licensed professional plus materials.

2. Peek in your crawl space
We know, we know—you’re probably not stoked for this one. But here’s the cold, hard fact: A lot can happen down there during the frigid months. Critters can set up house, pipes can freeze or break loose from their brackets, and too much moisture can lead to (shudder) mold.

DIY: “Unless your crawl space is full of rooms, you can do a very thorough inspection from the entry door,” Turner says. Open the door, kneel down, and train a high-powered flashlight on the ground. Most homes have a vapor barrier or plastic sheet covering the entire dirt floor, which prevents humidity from seeping into your insulation (and your home). Make sure this sheet is intact and hasn’t shifted or been ripped by animals during the winter months.

Next, run your light on the underfloor structure and check for moisture, dripping, falling insulation, mold, or sagging. If you do decide to fully enter your crawl space, be sure to wear a Tyvek (polyethylene) suit, a mask over your mouth, and safety goggles.

Call in the pros: If your floor is sagging—or if you spy serious mold, water leaks, or a pest infestation—call in a professional. The average cost will vary by region, but figure $65 to $95 per hour for a licensed professional, according to Turner.

3. Survey (and repair) winter’s damage in the yard
lawn repair
Kick off the growing and mowing season with a spring-cleaning of your yard. Grab a rake to clear out dead grass, weeds, and sticks, and use a mulching mower to recycle it all. Then, if the soil has warmed in your neck of the woods, apply mulch.

DIY: Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer around plants, recommends Phil Dwyer, a turf grass scientist for Scotts Miracle-Grow. And keep a bare ring between mulch and tree trunks. (“Volcano mulching,” or piling mulch up against the trunk of a tree, can attract fungus and pests.)

If your yard has seen better days (and thanks to the epic storms of this past winter, chances are it has), patch and thicken your grass with an overseeding product.

“Timing is crucial for success,” Dwyer says. “Aim for an early spring seeding for cool-season grass and a late spring sowing for warm-season grass.”

Call in the pros: Landscapers typically charge between $150 and $270 for professional mulching, plus materials.

4. Give your flowers a fresh start
planting flowers

Prepare the soil before planting new flowers.iStock
We all know that April showers bring May flowers—but only if you’ve done the requisite prep work.

“Pick up a handful of soil and squeeze it,” recommends Ashleigh Lemon, research specialist at Scotts Miracle-Gro. “If it crumbles easily, you can start preparing your beds. If it sticks together in a clump, it’s still too wet to work in.”

DIY: Begin preparing flower and vegetable beds by removing any dead plants. Then work in compost, which will provide your soil with rich ingredients as well as continuous-release plant food.

Next, pull out weeds and use a pre-emergent weed preventer.

“The more weeds you eliminate now, the less competition your garden plants will face for sunlight, nutrients, and moisture,” Lemon says.

Call in the pros: If you don’t have anything even remotely resembling a green thumb, consider hiring a professional gardener or landscaper. But know that the price you’ll pay will largely depend on how big an area you want planted.

5. Tune up your mower
tune up the mower

Check the oil in your lawn mower.iStock
After months of hibernation, your lawn mower will need a quick tuneup; clean the exterior, change your oil and spark plugs, and fill the tank with fresh fuel.

DIY: Use compressed air or a leaf blower to clear grass, dirt, and debris that have accumulated in your mower. Let your machine run for a bit before changing the oil and filter. Clean foam air filters with soap and water, and make sure your machine’s deck height is at the highest possible setting for your grass type. (Cutting too short can put stress on your lawn.)

Call in the pros: On average, a professional tuneup for a push mower will cost $50 to $100.

6. Check your AC
“The last thing you want is for your appliances or HVAC to stop working just as the weather warms up,” says Chip Smith, chief marketing officer at Sears Home Services.

DIY: Change the unit’s filter, and spray the outside of the condenser with a garden hose to remove dust. (Don’t use a pressure washer, which can damage fins.)

Call in the pros: Professional HVAC services run between $100 to $250, and include cleaning the condenser and lubricating the fan motor.

7. Prep your dishwasher
prepping dishwasher

Make sure your dishwasher’s drain is free of debris.iStock
With gatherings for Easter, Passover, Mother’s Day, and even graduations right around the corner, you’ll want to make sure your dishwasher can handle all those dirty dishes.

DIY: Make sure your dishwasher’s drain is free of debris to prevent clogging. If your unit has a removable filter, clean it regularly with a mild detergent.

Call in the pros: If removing the filter doesn’t solve your dishwasher woes, a professional appliance repair service will likely set you back $150.

Original Source

BONNIE ROTUNDO
Realtor/Broker NC-SC
ABR, SRES, SFR, RRS, CRSP, CBPIS
Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty
16 Causeway Drive
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Direct: 910.443.0398
Toll-Free: 800.237.4609 X206
Fax: 910.579.5877

*Search Coastal Carolina Real Estate in real time on your own. No obligation. FREE sign-up below:
http://coastalrealestateproperty.com

10 Spring Tips For Home Buyers And Sellers

Spring Home Buyers And Sellers

Spring is here, and so is spring home-buying and home-selling.

Buyers and sellers preparing to take action this season should put those plans into play now. According to Zillow Group’s Report on Consumer Housing Trends, the No. 1 regret for both buyers and sellers is “not starting their home search or prepping their home to sell soon enough.”

“This spring, both buyers and sellers should be prepared for fast-moving sales, intense negotiations, and even bidding wars,” says Jeremy Wacksman, CMO at Zillow Group. “Home shoppers and sellers are motivated to become more strategic and knowledgeable about what’s happening in their neighborhood. Understanding whether you are in a buyer’s or a seller’s environment will help you manage your expectations and will give you insight into what you’re going to need to bring to the table in order to close the deal.”

For buyers, that means:

1- Keep your options open. More than half (52 percent) of homebuyers surveyed in the report said they also considered renting, and more than one-third (37 percent) of first-time buyers seriously considered continuing to rent. Savvy shoppers should have a Plan B in place, hoping to buy if it works out, but willing to sign a lease for a home if they don’t make a deal by the time they need to move.

2- Be realistic with your budget. Once you set it, stick to it. First-time home buyers are more likely to exceed their budget than repeat buyers (39 percent versus 26 percent), according to the report. Before you meet with a lender to determine how much mortgage you’ll be approved for, take a good look at your individual finances and spending preferences to determine the monthly payment range that you feel you can comfortably afford. (Use Zillow’s mortgage calculator to help with you with the math.)

3- Get your financing squared away early. Plan to meet a few lenders four to six months ahead of when you’re planning to buy to ensure you can make a competitive offer quickly when you find your dream home. The majority (82 percent) of buyers get pre-approved, with 77 percent getting pre-approval from a lender before finding a home on which they are interested in placing an offer.

4- Find an agent with a winning track record. Take the time to find an agent who has expertise in fast negotiation, leveraging escalation clauses, and winning bidding wars. Only 46 percent of buyers got the first home on which they made an offer, according to the report, demonstrating that competition is now part of the process. Use search tools, like Zillow’s Agent Finder, to choose an agent based on sales and listing activity, area of expertise and reputation.

5- Communication is key. Make sure your preferred method—and frequency—of communication matches that of your agent. One-third (33 percent) of all buyers surveyed in the report preferred phone calls with their agent over emailing (21 percent) or texting (15 percent). Buyers can use the agent reviews on Zillow to learn more about prospective agents and their clients’ experiences.

And for sellers:

1- Start early and be strategic. Sellers consider putting their home on the market for five months before they list it—but the top seller regret is that they wished they spent more time prepping for the sale. Many cities have a magic window in the spring when homes have a higher likelihood of selling quickly for more money.

2- Work with an agent from the start. The vast majority (90 percent) of sellers surveyed in the report who sold quickly and for more than list price worked with an agent, and two out of three (58 percent) began working with an agent at the very beginning of their selling journey.

3- Pay attention to your online curb appeal. The majority of buyers begin their search online. Sellers who sold their home for more than list price made imagery and home information available online: 48 percent had professional photos taken of the home; 30 percent shot video footage; and 21 percent shot drone footage. Zillow’s video walk-throughs give sellers an easy way to show home features that are hard to capture in photos.

4- Home improvements can be a worthwhile investment. Sellers who fetched above list price tackled home improvements before listing their home, being 50 percent more likely to take on a large project like modifying an existing home plan and 20 percent more likely to renovate a kitchen than the average seller.

5- Don’t be afraid to try again. In many markets, nearly half of listing views occur in the first week the home is on the market. Twenty-six percent of those who sold above list price took their home off the market once to adjust the sales price, opting to start anew, rather than letting the home languish on the market with minimal activity.

Original Source

BONNIE ROTUNDO
Realtor/Broker NC-SC
ABR, SRES, SFR, RRS, CRSP, CBPIS
Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty
16 Causeway Drive
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Direct: 910.443.0398
Toll-Free: 800.237.4609 X206
Fax: 910.579.5877

*Search Coastal Carolina Real Estate in real time on your own. No obligation. FREE sign-up below:
http://coastalrealestateproperty.com