Is Your Home Ready For Winter?

21 Signs Your Home Is ready For Winter

Republished from original post on RisMedia’s HouseCall Blog

Shorter days, cooler temperatures, Halloween – these are all signs that winter’s right around the corner. While the weather is still suitable for working outside, put on your work boots and gloves, head outside and give your property a once-over. Then, work your way inside the home to check its winter-readiness.

Here are 21 signs that your home is ready for winter.

  1. You’ve cleaned out the gutters. This step prevents leaves and debris from blocking drainage.
  2. Checked that downspouts are directed away from the home and free of blockages.
  3. Put away outdoor furniture. Leaving it outside and under the influence of the weather will cause it to age quicker, or it may even get damaged in storms.
  4. Drained and stored garden hoses. Once freezing temperatures hit, any water remaining in the hose (and the home’s spicket and pipes) will freeze and expand, causing them to burst.
  5. Winterized the air conditioning unit.
  6. Tested smoke and CO detectors. Working detectors are critical, as the early-warning systems will alert your family to problems.
  7. Hired a professional to evaluate the insulation. Not sure what’s lurking beneath your walls or attic? A pro can tell you where insulation is failing and where it needs a boost.
  8. Boosted wall and attic insulation where it’s lacking. Retrofitting homes with energy-efficient injection foam insulation is cost-effective, and the job will help keep your family warm all winter long.
  9. Sealed air leaks around doors and windows.
  10. Trimmed tree branches and other landscaping.
  11. Inspected the furnace. Every furnace requires annual maintenance to keep it in good working condition.
  12. Installed a new air filter on the furnace. A dirty filter stops air movement in the furnace, a factor critical to efficient operations.
  13. Purchased a programmable thermostat.
  14. Readied portable humidifiers (or finally installed that whole-house humidifier you’ve been eyeing).
  15. Inspected the roof, replacing worn or missing shingles.
  16. Installed storm windows. If your home only has single-pane windows, storm windows are essential for blocking the cold from coming inside.
  17. Checked the siding, identifying and repairing cracks or damaged areas.
  18. Shifted ceiling fans to clockwise mode, so they’ll push heat at the ceiling down toward the floor.
  19. Weatherized the attic to prevent ice dams. Stopping snow on roof from melting – and potentially damaging the roof – involves three steps: ventilating, insulating and sealing the attic.
  20. Performed a final lawn mowing with leaves on the ground to nourish the lawn throughout winter.
  21. Stored summer equipment such as the lawn mower, leaf blower, etc. for the season. With a little attention to detail around the home’s interior and exterior, you’ll be ready for winter’s brutal assault and rest comfortably inside of your well-insulated, tightly sealed cozy home.

Anita Alvarez covers home improvement, small business, marketing and other topics as a regular contributor to national publications and brands like Popular Mechanics, Angie’s List, Murphy Oil Soap, Green Living Ideas and USA Insulation. In addition, her experience includes writing business stories for The Content Standard, RichlandSource, and other publications.

Buyer’s Remorse- Which items cause buyers the most remorse?

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Buyer’s Remorse. Watch Out, It’s a Real Thing.

I sometimes have menu envy when my husband orders something “better” than me when we are out to dinner. That can be bad enough, but the feeling certainly fades quickly. Eating half his meal usually solves that problem. Imagine buyer’s remorse associated with a big ticket item like an appliance or a car. Then with the biggest ticket item – your home! Buying a home is emotional and complex, but in the end it is a financial and lifestyle choice that you must live with for a long time. Perhaps examining the most common sources of home buyer’s remorse can help you avoid a pitfall.

REALTOR.com surveyed REALTORS® to find out which items caused their clients the most remorse. Here’s what they found as reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine.

  1. Buying too big of a home. Buyers may think at the time having a big home is what they want, but after moving in, they may later regret the expense and upkeep of maintaining a big home. Cooling and heating bills can be much higher and just cleaning the place can become a much bigger chore. Also, if the room size is big, buyers may find their furniture a mismatch and too small. Buyers should bring a tape measure to verify their furniture would work in the space and also to consider the utility bills.
  2. Awkward layouts. The kitchen island is often a desirable amenity among home buyers – it can add prep space, after all. But the housing experts cited say, “kitchen islands can be a mistake if you don’t take your ‘work triangle’ into account.” Buyers are encouraged to walk around the kitchen and consider their usual prepping and cooking patterns.
  3. Not considering what’s missing. Architects and re-modelers sometimes will remove something from a room to give it a more modern, cleaner feel. For example, eliminating the bathtub in favor of just a shower.
  4. Pools. For some home buyers, the pool can become a selling-point that later turns into a source of regret. Pools can be costly and some buyers may fail to consider all of the additional costs. For example, there’s regularly monthly maintenance and cleaning as well as pools in seasonal areas often are opened and closed by a professional.
  5. Falling for fads. “Today’s popular ice-white appliances, steel countertops, and Edison bulb light fixtures are yesterday’s saloon doors, linoleum, and brass hardware,” realtor.com® notes. “If you buy a house just for its trendy look, you may end up regretting it when the styles change, especially if you have to sell the outdated design.” Experts recommend buyers look for timeless features – classic, well-designed homes.

Home buying requires brutal honesty. Go in to your purchase with eyes wide open and rely on your REALTOR® to answer any questions or concerns you have. Your REALTOR® can help put into perspective any doubts you have so that today’s decision keeps on being the right one for you.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine and Realtor.com.

Posted by: Claire Belby

The Hottest Color for Home Interiors in 2015

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The Hottest Color for Home Interiors in 2015

Gray interiors are growing in popularity, holding the edge on most popular hue for the second year for home interiors, according to the Paint Quality Institute.

“It’s understated and sophisticated,” according to the Paint Quality Institute in a 2015 color trends report. “And most tints and shades of gray are ‘chameleon’ colors that change appearance when the light changes, so they provide enormous visual interest.”

Part of the gray appeal is that the color can go with just about any other color, an easy on the eyes neutral that home buyers will appreciate too. Gray paired with other neutrals – like white, off-white, beige, taupe, soft blue, or black – can also provide a tranquil color scheme for an interior space, particularly for family rooms and bedrooms, according to the Paint Quality Institute.

Many shades of gray are popular too, from silver tints to gunmetal, charcoal, and slate.

“Grays that contain traces of warm hues like red, yellow, or brown seem cozier, and partner best with warm companion colors,” the Paint Quality Institute notes. “On the other hand, grays that have hints of blue or green seem cooler and more austere, so they are inherently more compatible with colors on the cooler side of the spectrum.”

*Re-Posted

By: Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine. Originally published August 10, 2015