Category Archives: Home maintenance

Fall Home Repair Checklist

Since fall is around the corner and you’ll most likely be spending more time indoors, get the exterior of your house prepared and cleaned up before settling inside.

  • Check the caulk and weather stripping around windows and doors.  Keep the cold winter air outside.
  • Clean your gutters and maybe install leaf guards before they have a chance to get clogged.

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  • If you have shutters that open and close, that you actually use, check the hinges to make sure they are secure and well lubricated/not rusted.
  • Clean and store or cover your patio furniture if you won’t be using it.  In snowy areas, it’ll last longer if you protect it. Warmer climates: keep it handy for nights you want to sit around the fire pit.
  • If you get freezing weather, drain and store your garden hoses.  Weatherize your faucets.

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  • Drain or weatherize/cover the pool.
  • Change the light bulbs on the exterior of your house with some long-lasting bulbs. Don’t get stuck in the dark. There are only a few things worse than having to change an outside light bulb in freezing temperatures.
  • Call a chimney sweep if you haven’t had your chimney cleaned out in several years. Put a cap on the top to keep out Chimney Swifts. I had them nest in a chimney in a house I once rented.  They can be noisy and messy.
  • Paint your doors.  Weatherize them with a fresh coat of paint or stain and sealant for the winter.
  • If your house is on natural gas heat and has a gas fireplace, now is the time to check your meter.  Stand nearby and check for a rotten
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    egg smell.  Even a faint smell could indicate a leak.  Call your gas company immediately to have it checked and repaired so you’ll be safe through the winter months.  I was told the seals and bolts and gauges on the meter should be replaced every 5 or so years so if your meter is about that old, check on it. These days, gas meters are read from a device in a vehicle that drives by your house, so checking on that smell is up to you, the homeowner.

  • And, right now, when it seems the spiders are making webs everywhere, get a broom and sweep under your eaves if you can reach them.
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    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

    Keep those creepy orb spiders and others away from your exterior flood lights by being diligent about keeping the area swept.  Some people use a spray mixture of peppermint essential oil and water to keep spiders at bay…they apparently don’t like the smell.  I’m trying it for the first time this year and so far it works at my house.

Enjoy!

Eileen Saunders, SRES  REALTOR with Tommy Morgan, Inc., Realtors BOF  2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344  eileen@tmhomes.com Equal housing
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Repairs To Make Before Selling Your Home

When you were in the market to purchase a house, chances are you wanted one that was in really good shape; no…you wanted one that was perfect, right?  Now that you are selling, don’t you think a potential buyer wants to find your house in perfect shape?

apartment chair contemporary couch
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I suggest to all sellers, whose homes I list, that they make obvious repairs before putting the house on the market.

Some people choose to, and they either fix the things that they know are a problem, like a door that sticks or a faucet that leaks, or pay for an inspection and fix those recommended repairs before the seller sees them.  An inspection in Oxford will run approximately $350.00.

black claw hammer on brown wooden plank
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Buyers will touch everything in your house: they’ll open the refrigerator, open and close cabinet doors to see how well they are made, turn on faucets, look under cabinets checking for leaks or damage from previous leaks.  They’ll turn on the fireplace, ceiling fans and lights.  Buyers will test the locks on the doors, the garage door, and look for cracks in tile floors and counters.  A serious buyer will check everything…at least that’s what I’ve experienced with buyers I’ve worked with.

So, if something is leaking or off its hinge, fix it before a potential buyer sees it. Enough problems will leave buyers shaking their heads and moving on to see a house that they consider less of a project.

It’s so simple to do many of these pre-selling fixes, so take the time to do it.  These can include the following, although depending on your house, there could be a few more items:

  • plumbing (leaks, “running” toilet)
  • electrical/light bulbs (if a socket doesn’t work you’ll need to fix it anyway)
  • change a/c air filter
  • clean/purge/box-up items (you are moving anyway so declutter now)
  • cosmetic paint issues
  • front and back door lock that sticks
  • damaged screens on a screened porch
  • clean out gutters

I also suggest, that before you list your house, you have it deep cleaned. There are many detail-oriented professional house cleaning businesses in Oxford. Hire one to deep clean: wipe down doors, windows, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, behind washer/dryer and refrigerator, baseboards, windowsills and frames, ceiling fans, fireplace, oven/microwave, floors, sink faucets (that crusty stuff around the base of faucets), dust around all light fixtures and crown molding.  They will surely find more to clean, but you get the idea.  Make your interior sparkle.

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Outside, trim your bushes, remove anything dead, cut and edge the lawn, replace a missing fence board (a fenced yard with a missing post is not a fenced yard if Fido can escape). Plant some in-season annuals for extra color and wow.

I understand you may not be able to do all of this. Job relocations require you to move fast but if you are in the running for a transfer or a new job elsewhere, I’d get the house ready now just in case.  A good looking house, in great condition will sell faster.

Another reason that you might not be able to make repairs ahead of time is due to something major.  If you plan to fix a large issue but cannot before the house sells (price or having to move out to have it repaired), you’ll be disclosing it anyway so offer to have it fixed before the closing date or offer to pay some of the buyer’s closing costs in lieu of making the repair.

By making repairs pre-listing, you aren’t covering up problems. You’ll need to disclose the fixed leak, the screen repair and the replaced window, but you’ll be passing along, to a new homeowner, a house that is in good condition…one that is perfect, like when you bought it.

person giving keys on man
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Eileen Saunders, SRES  REALTOR with Tommy Morgan, Inc., Realtors BOF  2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344  eileen@tmhomes.com Equal housing
All rights reserved (c) 2018

 

What to Expect During a Home Inspection

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Copyright 2018 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

 

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

 

 

 

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)