Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist – 2013

Is your home ready for winter’s frosty temperatures and severe weather?

We all know about “spring cleaning”, but it is just as important to clean and prepare your home in the fall-before winter is here. This checklist, from Better Homes and Gardens, covers all the necessary maintenance for your home and will help homeowners prepare and protect their home this winter.

  • Inspect and clean gutters and downspouts to protect exterior surfaces and keep water out of the basement

  • Seal any gaps or cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping and caulk to reduce drafts and to keep the heat in

  • Inspect roof for damaged or curled shingles, corroded flashing, or leaky vents-putting this off can be detrimental and disastrous (it’s much harder to find and fix the leak when its under snow and ice)

  • Repair damaged sidewalks, driveways, and steps-look for cracks more than 1/8-inch wide, uneven sections, loose railings on steps, disintegration of asphalt, or washed-out materials on loose-fill paths-these may not seem dangerous now but when it gets cold and icy out they can be hazardous

  • Drain and winterize all outdoor faucets and irrigation systems-it’s easier than dealing with a busted pipe later!

  • Clean or replace dirty/old furnace filters-filters that are clogged can make it harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature and can increase your utility bills during the winter months

  • Have a professional inspect your HVAC system

  • Check fireplaces for build-up; hire a professional chimney sweep (better)-accumulations in a flue or chimney can result in a devastating chimney and/or house fire

  • Inspect any gas-fired room heaters-an improperly maintained gas heater can spew poisons into the air of your home, which can be very dangerous

  • Inspect wood stoves before firing up-cracks in wood-stove-stovepipes can release toxic fumes into your home,  so check for corrosion, holes, or loose joints often

  • Test smoke and CO monitors and replace the batteries

  • Inspect (or install) fire extinguishers-there should be at least one fire extinguisher in your home

  • Review fire escape plans

  • Rid your home of old newspapers and other fire hazards

Be sure to do regular cleaning and maintenance along with the specific chores on this list to ensure that your home and your family are prepared and protected this winter. For more great tips from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, click here!

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Pros and Cons of doing a home pre-inspection in New Jersey

What is a pre-inspection?

A pre-inspection is when you are going to list your home for sale, but inspect your home before putting it on the market. This way you know about and can fix issues that arise before listing. A home inspector will check everything from the outside to the inside of your home checking the mechanicals, electrical system, plumbing, and more. The buyer who purchases your home will most likely do a home inspection and have that as a contingency when they write an offer on your home. Letting the buyers see the pre-inspection and the items you remedied could give the buyer peace of mind before they even write an offer.

A pre-inspection can be great for selling your home, but it also has it’s bad side. Know the pros and cons of a pre-inspection before you decide for yourself…

Pros

  • Allows you to know potential “deal killer” defects with your home so you can fix it

  • Allows you to provide peace of mind to potential buyers by showing them the pre-inspection report and things you have fixed (if any were needed)

  • Can improve the likelihood of the sale of your home to close on time by avoiding time consuming repairs and inspections

  • Improves chances of passing the buyer’s home inspection

Cons

  • You might discover a bigger, larger, more expensive issue with your home than you were prepared for. The buyer would likely find these issues anyway.

  • Once you or your real estate agent become aware of an issue with your home, you must disclose it to the potential buyer

  • Cash out of pocket before even selling your home is never ideal, but you can always adjust the price of your home accordingly

  • Even if you fix issues on your pre-inspection report, a buyer may come back with more things their home inspector found that they want fixed

Before you decide to do a pre-inspection, think about the pros and cons. Sometimes it is worth it to inspect your home before listing it. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense for your situation. Talk to your real estate agent about doing a pre-inspection, get their opinion on whether or not it could help the sale of your home go faster and smoother.

6 Things Covered in a Home Inspection

It is important to get a home inspection before buying a home; doing so can save you trouble down the line. Many homebuyers are not sure of what is included in a home inspection, but a thorough inspection is one that includes the following:

  1. Inspection of the home heating system and central air.
  2. Plumbing inspection.
  3. Assessment of electrical systems for up to date hardware.
  4. The roof is inspected for any leaking and any normal wear and tare.
  5. The attic, basement, walls, floors, windows, and doors are also part of an inspection
  6. They also do a check of any visible insulation.

There are additional services that can be included in the home inspection at the request of the homebuyer or the real estate agent. Such things include: mold inspection, radon inspection, water inspection, and a heat/air loss test.

Some information in this article was summarized from Inman News.

10 Things to Ask a Real Estate Agent Before Buying a Home

Buying a home can be a tricky process, but your real estate agent can help you with any questions that you have or that you come up with-and there will be a lot of them! Below is a list of the top ten questions you should be sure to ask your real estate agent before buying your home.

  1. What is this house worth in the current market?
  2. Is this home in a flood plain?
  3. Can I have a CMA (comparative market analysis) of the area?
  4. Is this area growing or declining?
  5. How do your realtor fees work?
  6. Is there anything wrong with the home?
  7. How energy efficient is this home?
  8. How much should I offer?
  9. What will I need to pay for out of my pocket?
  10. What is the process of buying a home?