Early Fall Home To-Do List

As the days start to get a little cooler and there is a chill in the evening air, most of us can’t help but think about the fall days ahead.  With that comes cozy warm layers, hot drinks, comfort foods, and the start of the leaves changing colors (my favorite time of year!).  However, with this transition also comes a home to-do list you will want to consider to prepare your house for colder days ahead.  Read below for some key things to plan for.

  1. Do an initial check of your roof & gutters.  It’s generally fine to wait until the majority of the leaves have fallen to clean out gutters and downspouts, but now is a good time to check for debris, fallen sticks, or seals that look worn-out.  Make sure you don’t see obvious signs of damage or wear on your roof, especially around vent pipes and chimneys.  If you do, schedule repairs before the harsh winter starts as worn seals or damage could cause house leaks.IMG_1080
  2. Schedule chimney clean-ups. Make sure your fireplace is clean & safe for the upcoming year, especially if you have a wood-burning fireplace.  A dirty chimney can be a fire hazard. Creosote, the sticky substance that remains after a fire, is highly flammable.  A chimney sweep is an easy & relatively cheap maintenance item you should not avoid.  
  3. Touch-up exterior paint.  One of my first blogs was about how important it is to stay on top of exterior paint.  Review your exterior for chipping paint and prioritize touching-up areas where you know snow may accumulate in the winter.IMG_0049
  4. Schedule a tune-up for your heating system.  Make sure your heating system is working optimally by scheduling a tune-up.  Depending on the age of your system, you may only need one every other year.  Ask your heating professional how often to schedule so you are aware moving forward.
  5. Cover-up or remove A/C Units.  September is the time to remove A/C window units – it is ideal to remove them vs. putting on a cover as it minimizes winter heat loss if you can close the window.  If you have central A/C, you’ll want to turn the system off to avoid it flipping on in an unusually warm winter day.  Hose or blow off the air conditioning unit to remove leaves, small branches, dirt and dust. Ensure it dries completely and then cover the A/C unit with a protective cover for the season.  You may want to call a local HVAC company to see if there are other preventative items you should do to keep your system in good condition over the winter.
  6. Order Firewood.  If you have a wood-burning fireplace, now is a good time to order a delivery of firewood for the season.  If you can, don’t store large quantities of wood directly against the house, which can encourage bugs & pests, but do keep it covered from moisture such as rain and snow.  IMG_0848
  7. Schedule to winterize your sprinkler system. When temperatures start to fall, it’s time to winterize your sprinkler system. Your lines must be drained or blown out before the first hard freeze as the sprinkler system can be damaged from below-freezing temperatures. 
  8. Add weather-stripping.  For old, drafty windows and doors, weather-stripping can help retain heat and stop drafts.  Check old weather-stripping to ensure it is working properly and help ensure window & door gaps are as sealed as possible for the upcoming cold days.

After all your hard work, plan to enjoy the wonderful season of fall!  Go buy a new candle (I love Yankee Candle’s Autumn Leaves) and plan a foliage drive to see the gorgeous changing leaves in your area.  Enjoy!

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Real Estate Tip: Properly maintaining your HVAC systems, roof, & chimney will help avoid costly surprises at inspection objection if you are trying to sell your home.  If you have any questions related to preparing your home for sale, I would love to help.  Please contact me below.


Simple Home Updates

Do you look at your home and think it needs updates, but the thought of the time, money & energy required to make the updates prevent you from doing the work?  You don’t need to tackle the whole house at once, instead think of one space at a time.  Additionally, there is no need to do a complete overhaul of the space – there are little things you can do that go a long way.  Here are some things to think about.

Take a step outside:

  • Mailbox.  This is sometimes the first thing people see when they pull up to your house.  A new mailbox, post, and set of house numbers is a relatively inexpensive & easy fix that will clean up the image of your home.
  • Landscaping.  You do not need entirely new landscaping, but cleaning up weeds & overgrowth and putting down some new mulch will polish up your outdoor space. Don’t stop at just cleaning up the yard & garden – tackle your driveway and any walkways too if you see grass or weeds growing up through cracks.
  • Front door.  Give your home a facelift by replacing your front door or even just repaint it if it’s in good shape.  Consider a fun pop of color that complements the rest of the paint colors of your house for a statement door.  If your budget allows, updating the door hardware will increase the curb appeal even more.

Inside:

  • Lighting.  If you have the budget to swap out some tired, old lights for more modern fixtures, this goes a long way in my opinion.  You could address one room at a time and you don’t have to spend hundreds on each light – I’ve seen many pretty lights for under $20.  Electricians usually charge an hourly rate so try to get an estimate for how many lights they can replace in an hour or two.  If this is outside your budget, simply swapping out your light bulbs can give your home a much more comforting feel.  Get rid of those bright, fluorescent lights and put in soft white bulbs.

  • Touch-up paint.  The general wear & tear of life puts a stress on baseboards, doors, and walls.  If you don’t want to completely repaint a room, consider just touching up the paint – hiding imperfections with a fresh brush stroke of paint.  Now is the time to patch any holes or fill in any dings.  Make sure you choose the right finish paint and you don’t use a gloss paint on what was initially an eggshell.

  • Fixtures.  If you have outdated or run-down knobs on cabinets, handles on doors, towel racks, or even vent covers, all of these are easy to swap out.  Replacing these give you an opportunity to let your personality shine through, while also making your space look more polished.  

  • Blinds.  If your home still has aluminum blinds or temporary paper blinds you threw up for a quick fix years ago, consider replacing them.  New window coverings can really modernize a room. 

Decor:

  • Furniture.  If you are disappointed with how worn some of your furniture looks, sanding & painting wood pieces for a fresh new look is always a great option.  This is an area where you can try out something different & have fun with it.  I almost tossed an old, weathered Adirondack chair a few summers ago, but decided to bring it back to life & painted it a bright blue to match some of my other patio furniture.
  • Decor.  Throw pillows, comfy blankets, candles, baskets to hold clutter, throw rugs, artwork for the walls, a statement wall with a peel-and-stick wallpaper, real or fake potted planets, table lamps.  All these are simple, easy ideas to update a space and make it more enjoyable to live in.  I personally love shopping affordable decor Target and Joss & Main.

If you found this information valuable and are interested in seeing my inspiration for home updates & decor, follow my Pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/ecgoltz/

 

***Real Estate Tip***

If your home looks as though it needs updates to you, a potential buyer will see the same thing.  Making some of these indoor and outdoor updates could potentially help with the resale of your home.  Feel free to reach out if you’d like to run your thinking by me.

 

 

 


Learning to Love Gardening

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When we bought our home a few years ago, we moved from a condo to a house with gardens completely surrounding the whole house.  Plus, three additional free-standing gardens around the property.  When I lived in the condo, I could barely keep a plant alive for a month, let alone a massive garden framing the whole house. Here I was with zero gardening experience, poor luck keeping plants alive, and a lot of worries with what the future would bring.

I made it my mission to get our gardens into tip-top shape.  The second that things were starting to warm up that first year, I jumped right in and started to attack the overgrowth & get to planting.  I ripped out anything that was ugly, ignoring my mom’s advice of: “Don’t pull out something that you think is a weed too early – it could be a plant!”  And planted some nice herbs, ignoring my neighbors advice of:  “You have to wait until Mother’s Day to plant anything.”  Well, guess what – they were right and I made my first of many mistakes in my attempt to learn to garden.

And you know what, I discovered that mistakes were okay because that was how I was going to learn.  I was going to plant things that didn’t survive and then I will try to figure out what went wrong – maybe it was too much or too little sun, too much clay in the soil, or even being too tempting for the bunnies to eat.   I learned to listen to other’s people’s advice because I didn’t know what I was doing and they probably learned from their own mistakes.  And I learned to not give up and to keep at it.  Gardens aren’t permanent and you can keep playing & modifying as you learn what works, what doesn’t, and what you like.

I’ve now have had my gardens for three summer seasons and if a new homeowner was to ask me my advice for handling a garden you inherit, here would be my top tips:

  • If you can restrain yourself, I’d suggest waiting a full year before ripping things out. You may prematurely pull out a plant that may not look pretty in spring but have a glorious late summer or fall bloom.  Also my mom was right, some things that look like weeds really are just plantings starting to sprout up.  Some general clean-up once things have sprouted is fine, but I’d wait before removing any plants completely.
  • If you do not know the names or caring tips for the plants & flowers in your garden, I’d suggest you go to a nursery and walk around.  Try to find & identify the plants in your garden and then read the care instructions they have inserted in the plant to learn what to expect for that plant & how to care for it.  I went to the Flower Bin earlier this summer and did just that for a few plants I couldn’t figure out.
  • If your budget allows, hire a professional gardener the second summer to help clean-up & care for the garden.  I am suggesting the second summer because by they you have had time to see your garden in full bloom and what the problem areas may be.  Once you have the professional gardener at your house – ask questions!  Find out why a certain plant isn’t looking so good or how to trim back a plant that is past prime with the blooms.  Learning from an expert will help you know what to do moving forward.
  • If you do plant something yourself, first of all, wait until Mother’s Day to plant. Secondly, make sure you buy the right plant for the space.  Does it have enough room to grow to its full size?  Does it have the right amount of light or shade?  If its edible, will it be protected from critters?  Do you want an annual or a perennial? Planting the right plant in the right spot will give you a huge leg up for success.

Lastly – enjoy!  Give your garden some love but don’t beat yourself up over the mistakes. The mistakes will just make you a better gardener in the end.