Category Archives: Home maintenance

Adopt A Shelter Dog

October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month

It is truly amazing the love a dog can bring to you and your family. And a Shelter Dog is even more special because it is a homeless pet that you have rescued.  I won’t go into the statistics or the horrors of a shelter life or the life of an abandoned dog. But I will help you get your house ready for your new pet.

Things You Will Need

While all dogs are so different in personality, size and demeanor, there are basics that you will need before welcoming your new dog to your home.

  • Collar
  • Leash
  • Food Bowls
  • Containers for dog food and treats
  • Crate
  • Comfy bedding your dog can grow into
  • Lots of chew toys

These are the bare necessities. I’m sure you can find other things to purchase for your new dog. When it comes to crates, older dogs generally do not need one unless you want one. Puppies will need one if not for a safe place away from energetic children in the house, also for a safe place while no one is home.  Crates also make travel safe if you have one that can fit into your car.

Protecting Your Investment (your house) From Your New Dog

Dogs get bored. Some breeds need to chew on things.  To avoid damage to your home, be sure to keep your dog busy with chew toys.

As I show houses that are for sale to clients, there have been several times recently when I’ve seen an interior door frame, door, the trim at the base of a support pillar or even the baseboard in any given room that was chewed by the seller’s dog.  This is the kind of damage a bored dog can do to a house so watch your dog carefully the first year (if a puppy) or the first few months (an older dog) to avoid this type of problem. On a personal note, one of my puppies chewed the carpet off the bottom step in my house one day when we forgot to leave him gated in the kitchen. Anything can happen.dog-167663_1920

If your dog chews your house, discourage the behavior and fix the damage. Leaving it may encourage further chewing.  And you may forget it’s there is the damage is partially hidden or easy to hide. If you need to sell your house, fixing old damage is necessary. It’s best to fix it quickly after it happens.

Raw hide has been controversial lately as it has been found hard to digest and can cause some health issues. If your dog’s stomach cannot digest a rawhide treat or any other “digestible” chew, you will find it thrown up on your floor which isn’t good on carpeting. Carpeting will need to be checked regularly for any pet damage from body functions, including throwing up. Carpets can hold in bacteria, too, so with a pet try to steam clean the carpets on a regular schedule. Wood floors can also damage when “accidents” are not cleaned up timely. Tile and both the new porcelain and the vinyl wood-look floors are the easiest to keep clean. So be diligent and perhaps limit your new dog’s time to certain rooms until his personal habits have been satisfactorily been trained.

The Outdoor Dog

A good fence in the back yard provides safety for your dog. It may also add some value to your house when you decide to sell it. Up-keep is important, though. A digging dog can escape under the fence.  Fixing the areas correctly the first time will eliminate further compromise to the integrity of the fence and keep the backyard looking nice.  Poorly maintained fencing can be a hazard to the dog. And remember the added value?  Not with poor or damaged fencing! If you decide to sell the house, repairing the fence will either fall on you or the purchaser and with the added expense to the purchaser, the amount offered for your home might be lower than you expected. So stay on top of maintenance for your dog and your bottom line, should you need to sell your house.

Your New Dog

Enjoy your new shelter dog. I’m so excited for you to rescue a homeless dog and hope you have many years of enjoyment with the furrball. I’ve got my shelter dog…straight from a shelter in W. Tennessee 11 years ago. She’s been a joy.

Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors  2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford MS 38655 | 662-404-0816 | 662-234-5344 | eileen@tmhomes.com Equal Housing

 

 

 

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Tips to Winterize Your House Now: Exterior

It’s August 1st in Oxford, MS.

You know what that means?  Football season is almost here.

You know what else that means?  You will probably not want to do any weekend chores around the house once football season starts.football

I know that winter seems so far away but it will creep up on you. So, why not work these next few weeks and get the house in shape for winter. Then you can relax in your recliner or stadium seats

Here’s how to winterize the exterior of your house **  …

  1. Look at the exterior of your house and take note of the following:
    1. Are the windows and doors caulked sufficiently?
    2. Is the weather-stripping on your doors and windows in need of updating?
    3. Are there any exposed water pipes?
    4. How many exterior faucets are there?
    5. Do you have an irrigation system?
    6. Is the roof old or are there some areas of shingles that should be inspected?
    7. Do you have a pool?
    8. Is any part of the wood trim on your house soft, cracked or rotted?
    9. Are your wood shutters soft, cracked or rotted?
    10. Are the rain gutters full and overflowing when it rains?
    11. What about the outdoor kitchen?
  2. Once you have answered these questions, decide what you can do and what you will need to call a contractor to do for you.
    1. Purchase supplies for the items you are going to work on.
    2. Call your contractor, painter, roofer, irrigation and pool specialist now to get on their schedule list.
  3. Make of list of the items you are going to do and write next to each item the date you plan to tackle that task.
  4. Mark your calendar for the dates your contractors have scheduled appointments.
  5. Once your tasks have been completed, enjoy the football season.

CAULKING

If you plan to caulk your own windows and have never attempted this before, consider a class at the local building supply store. Home Depot in Oxford and Lowe’s in Batesville usually hold these type classes for their customers. *

WEATHER STRIPPING

Close your exterior doors and feel for drafts. Shine a strong flashlight around the door and, with another person on the other side of the door, decide if any light shines through. Examine the current weather stripping and make note of its condition.

If you can feel a draft, see a light or observe damage, now is the time to make repairs. Waiting until you actually feel the cold air coming through your house will only cause more cold air to enter your home since repairs will be made with the doors or windows open.

EXPOSED WATER PIPES

Insulate them now to avoid freezing and bursting later. Pipes under your house should be insulated as well as any exposed garden faucets. Exposed pipes in your attic are at risk so don’t overlook these.

EXTERIOR FAUCETS

Before they sell out, purchase insulated faucet covers now so you’ll be ready when the cold sets in.

IRRIGATION SYSTEM

Your irrigation system needs winterizing to avoid broken underground pipes. Call your irrigation specialist or garden/landscaper today to make sure you get on their schedule list when they winterize. All businesses operate differently but according to my irrigation specialist, the equipment they use is only available to them for a scheduled time. Also, after a point in the season it is difficult to do the winterization of irrigation pipes, as I understand, so you really should not wait too long to get this scheduled and taken care of.

ROOF

Typically, Oxford gets a lot of rain in the winter. Take a good look at your roof now. Address any issues, such as broken or missing tiles/shingles. Get this taken care of now before the real rainy season starts. It will be easier and less costly to make repairs now then after a leak is detected inside the house. And if a leak occurs, be sure to paint the ceiling in the room that leaked, once the ceiling dries.  Over time, that once-damp area will show a water mark that will leave questions when you try to sell the house later on. If you do sell your house, remember to disclose that there was a leak but it was repaired.

POOL

Unless you drain it annually, now is the time to call your pool service company to schedule winterizing. It is never a bad idea to have a professional inspect it, too, for cracks including pipes.

WOOD TRIM AND WOOD SHUTTERS

The damp air and rain in Oxford causes damage to wood trim and shutters. Schedule your painter now to take care of any issues you see. He or she will probably want to wait for the weather to cool down because weather affects paint quality, to some degree, so now is the time to talk about the work you need done.

RAIN GUTTERS/DOWNSPOUTS

Are your gutters still clogged from seeds and pollen that collected during the spring? Trees will start shedding leaves before you know it, including pines.  Make sure your gutters can accept rain from your roof so clean them out now. Maybe this year, install gutter covers so you won’t have to do this every year.

OUTDOOR KITCHEN

Include shutting off the outdoor sink along with your irrigation winterization so the pipes are empty and not at risk. Insulate any exposed pipes associated with the sink. Depending on what else you have in your outdoor kitchen, take note and make arrangements to have it ready for the cold weather.  You may not have to do anything, but consider now the things you will have to do.

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford MS 38655 662-404-0816/662-234-5344 Equal Housing

** Always consult a professional if you are not sure what to do. These items listed in this article are only suggestions and any winterizing activities you choose to do on and around your home is strictly your decision.  I cannot be held accountable for the cost or any unsatisfactory work that was performed.

*Neither Home Depot not Lowe’s have any affiliation with this blog or the writer. Photo copyright (C) 2016 eileensaunders. All rights reserved.

Roof Repairs

I drive around town a lot to see what’s going on. I check out the neighborhoods for new construction, what’s for sale by owner, for rent, what is being remodeled.

Here’s what else I notice:

  • shutters that have fallen off their hinges,
  • roof shingles that have slipped or broken off from the latest storm; perhaps a branch scraped the roof on its way to the ground,
  • gutters hanging along the side of a house
  • fences that need repair, and more.

While broken shutters are a curb appeal issue, a missing or damaged roof shingle can cause harm to the house itself and needs attention.

Oxford seems to get a lot of rain and the last thing a homeowner wants is water dripping into the attic. Even a little once-in-a-while drip can cause damage in the long run.  If it gets in, it is sure to affect the rest of the house and that requires more repairing. A damp spot on the ceiling may not get noticed until it forms a stain. If you sell your house, you’ll have to put the leak and any damage that was repaired (or not) that you know of, in a disclosure for the new owners. And if you don’t know about it, the inspector will be sure to find the stain to alert you.Maison-fuite-leaky-house-2400px.png

It is best to check your roof on a regular basis. A walk around the house to take note of shingles, flashing, gutters and trim can help you stay on top of maintenance issues.  Put a scheduled walk-around on your  phone calendar for reminders. Every few years ask a roofer to give your roof an inspection. He can tell you the life expectancy of your roof, whether he sees any issues, and an on-the-spot estimate for maintenance.  If you’ve noticed some black stain lines on their roof, ask him what it would take to clean it up.

Homeowners should care for their homes to get the maximum life out of it. Caring for your home and the roof on a regular basis will maximize your selling potential if you decide to move.

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford MS 38655, 662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344 Equal Housing

photo source: openclipart.org; “maison fuite-leaky house by enolynn

 

10 Ways to Prepare Your House For Sale: Living Room

The living room is usually the first room a person sees when they enter a house.  Your living room needs to be in top shape when you are selling your house. A cluttered entryway and a cluttered living room sets the stage for the rest of the house. Since people spend most of their time in the living room, that is the first place a buyer will start visualizing their stuff. Is there enough room for the furniture? Is the fireplace in an appropriate place for their furniture to configure around? What about wall space for art? Are there built-in bookcases? If so, will they work for the buyer’s needs?

Minimize your stuff to maximize the room. Declutter, repurpose space to its original intent, show off the walls, organize the room to flow. Here are some tips:

  1. Pack away most or all of your CDs, LPs and books. You are moving, so start packing now. You couldn’t possibly listen to all 1200 LPs before you move so crate them away safely to enjoy later.  Otherwise your livingroom will be remembered as the music room and the buyers will lose their own style.
  2. Stage the built-ins. Show off how much space the shelves provide with a few things on each rather than stuffing them full.9879804314_24caacd406_o.jpg
  3. Remove the family photos. It won’t be your room much longer so let the buyers envision it as theirs without your family members staring out from beautiful frames.
  4. Clean the carpet or polish the floors
  5. Out of place furniture, even if it is the comfy old seat, should be removed. Old, large furniture tends to overtake the space.
  6. Clean the fireplace, including the brickwork around it and the mantel. Make it fresh for the new owners.
  7. If your furniture is old and ruined by wear, consider storing it (or tossing it) and renting fresh furniture for staging.
  8. Remove what I call “dust collectors”; knick-knacks that will make you work hard to keep the house dust free. You are moving so start packing.
  9. Dust the ceiling fan and any hanging lamps. Change light bulbs to a brighter type.
  10. When showing your house, turn on ALL lights and open ALL binds and drapes. Letting the natural light indoors, combined with bright lamps will make the rooms look larger.

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors 2092 Old Taylor Road Oxford MS 38655,  662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344

photo credit: Caswell via photopin (license)

12 Tips to Sell Your House When You Have a Pet

Your pet is part of the family and usually lives quite comfortably inside your house with you. But, when you are getting ready to sell the house you need to consider the pet with each step of the process.

Getting your house ready to sell, when you have a pet, means you need to look carefully at how your pet affects the house. Does it shed leaving tumbleweed sized hair balls to float around the floor? Is there a pet smell? You may want to ask your REALTOR or a true friend about the smell. You and other family  members may not notice it but strangers will. A pet odor may be in the duct work, the carpet, drapes and more so get a reliable opinion on this issue. Has your pet damaged any part of your house?

These things need to be considered to get the house ready to sell. And, since your pet will be living in the house with you, you need to  pay attention to cleaning up each day so buyers don’t turn around and leave before really seeing the house.

Here are some tips for getting the house ready to sell and for caring for your dog when the house is showing.

  1. Clean all the doors and windows of pet-nose dirt.
  2. Repair and paint doors where your dog has scratched. Keep the paint on hand for when you move out and need to make last minute touch-ups.
  3. Keep pet toys picked up.1386685309553
  4. Clean bird cages, litter boxes, hamster and reptile cages more often to keep fresher.
  5. Decide if the aquarium is moving with you. If not, now is the time to give the fish away and take down the system. Long distance moves are difficult with fish and reptiles. Research how to do it and make plans now.
  6. Invest in a robot-style vacuum cleaner that runs all day to keep the pet hair cleaned up.
  7. Fill in holes in the back yard where Spot digs.
  8. Repair fence damage caused by the pet. If you’ve had to fill in holes around the fence with concrete blocks and other barriers, find a way to restore the look of the original fence and keep Spot inside the yard at the same time. An altered fence will not only look junked up but will signal a “project” for the new owners. Most buyers want move-in ready.
  9. Repair chewed wood inside the house. While you’re at it, look at all other wood repairs on doors, windows and frames that need touch up.
  10. Pick up pet food bowls after each meal to keep the floor clean and clear.
  11. Repair damaged flooring.
  12. Replace pet-stained carpet for a healthy and fresh environment. A builder’s grade carpet in a neutral color makes it move-in ready and shouldn’t bust the bank account.

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344 Equal Housing

Photo: eileensaunders (c) 2016 all rights reserved

6 Ways to Prepare Your House for Sale: Home Office

If you work at home you might be lucky to have a dedicated office or library room to use for an office. If not, your home office might take over a spare bedroom, one of the dining areas in the house or share space in the bonus room with the kid’s entertainment center.25495271534_f293907b67_o.jpg

Either way, if you are selling your house, you need to keep your office space clean and as free of clutter as possible. Buyers snoop, so take that into consideration when planning your home staging. If you keep confidential information in your office, don’t leave it where others can spy with the corner of their eye.

Here are some tips to keeping your home office active while selling your house:

  1. Store files and paperwork that you don’t need to everyday operations. If you have things that can go into storage or packed into the garage, put them there to declutter the office space.
  2. Remove furniture that makes the room look too small. If you have large office furniture in a bedroom, the buyers cannot fully visualize how a bed might fit in there.
  3. Clean your desk and put back only what you need for day to day operations. Paper weights,  photos, and other things that aren’t necessary should get packed away. You are moving, and will have to pack them eventually.
  4. Store all personal and confidential/client information where people can’t see them.
  5. If you share space in a bonus room or bedroom or dining area, make sure your office does not overpower the purpose of the room.
  6. Your town may have locations for shared office space that you can rent while your house is on the market.

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655, 662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344 Equal Housing

photo credit: Not Another Desk Setup via photopin (license)

Home Buying: 8 Possible Deal Breakers

You found your dream home, or so you think. The offer you made to the homeowner was accepted and now you have to hire an inspector to make sure it checks out A-OK.

Hopefully there won’t be any major flaws to make you think twice about your offer.  A satisfactory inspection is a contingency to the contract and if there is something major, you can ask for it to be fixed, decided to fix it yourself or walk away from the house completely.

Here are 8 possible deal breakers you should be aware of:

  1. Water Damage. With every water mark and rusty pipe, ask for an explanation.  A water ring on the ceiling the size of the toilet pipe on the floor above it could mean a constant dripping problem. OR, it could simply mean there was an overflow a few years ago and the water mark is just now showing up as a stain.  Rusty pipes, dampness by the A/C unit in the attic or hallway closet could be a bigger issue.
  2. Asbestos. This hazardous material was used in many homes that were built before July 1989.  Removal must be done by a professional and could be costly.

    2778108283_e785a8bae3_o
    Courtesy of Creative Commons
  3. Lead paint. Lead paint was used in older homes and could be a hazard. Removal may be expensive so have a professional give you a quote on removal.
  4. Pests. Termites, roaches, rats, mice and more can cause extensive and expensive damage to a home.  Sometimes the repair can be expensive but not all of the time. Have a termite or pest control professional quote you a price to take care of the problem.
  5. Mold. Some molds can be easily remedied, but long-term invasive damage from a pipe, roof leak or irrigation can cause a bigger problem.
  6. Electrical or plumbing problems. Always have these taken care of by a professional.
  7. Foundation issues. Foundations tend to crack from settling. Some cracks are minor, some can be a major problem. Why are the cracks there? What caused them? If you really don’t feel good about the cracks, seek the advice of a foundation specialist. It will cost more than the initial inspection but the peace of mind will be worth it
  8. Old roof. A homes inspector can assess roofing issues from missing shingles, wood or structural issues. An old roof will need to be replaced and can be expensive. In addition to the inspector’s report, a roofer can assess the remaining life of the roof.

While there are a few other issues that can make you walk away, these eight are the most common, so be prepared to consider any of them.

Each of these things can be worked out if you really want the house and not all houses have more than one or two of these issues to consider. Meet with your real estate agent. Together, construct a list of things you have to have repaired and what you can live with or fix on your own. If the cost of items to fix yourself is high, renegotiate a credit at closing. Until you sign off stating the inspection contingency is clear of issues so you can move toward closing, you, the buyer, are still in the decision-making seat.

Know that the seller may think your request is too extensive. The listing and the property condition disclosure may state the issues that need repair but the owner will not be responsible for. If that is the case, you and your agent should have known this from the time you started considering the house. The seller could also state that he will only pay a particular amount on repairs. Be prepared for negotiating, but also be prepared that the seller could walk away, too, if you ask for too much.

So, do you want the house or not?

Thanks to Kaye Ladd, Broker at Tommy Morgan Realtors branch office for contributing to this article.

photo credit: Cracked Red Brick Wall via photopin (license)

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655 662-404-0816/662-234-5344  Equal Housing