Real Estate Watch: Preparing your home for the winter

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Boy, did you receive a lot of valuable information last week! 

Some of it will have saved you and your family’s lives, so heed my advice! 

If you missed my article, you can find it in at: http://www.theislandnow.com and click on the “BUSINESS” tab and read the article, “Maximize Wealth, Minimize Clutter!”

I forgot to mention last week, make sure your flue in your fireplace is operational and that you can easily open and close it, which lets all the smoke out and up the chimney.  

Also, as the weather consistently stays below 50 degrees and you have stopped watering your lawn and had your irrigation system blown out, (so you don’t have broken and split pipes next spring), store your watering hoses and manual sprinklers into your basement or warmer environment (they will provide you with a longer useful life, instead of leaving them outside!) 

If you have had any hose bibs (where you attach your hoses each year and have had issues with the faucets freezing, then either don’t forget to shut them off from the inside where there should be a gate or ball valve.  

Once shut off, open the hose bibs where ever they are around your home, so you will alleviate the “frozen issue.”  

If there is no shut off valve in your basement, then you can purchase a pipe warmer from one of the humongous home centers.  

This way when some of you are in Florida or other warm destinations this winter, you won’t have to worry as much about your home.  More important, if you are really worried drain all the water out of your internal/external pipes and don’t drain your water heater or boiler, because you surely want some heat in your home, otherwise plaster and sheetrock walls and ceilings could warp and damage will occur; but you are better off just leaving your home @ 55 degrees; but be careful of the North side of you home, where it is usually the coldest where any exposed pipes or pipes in the walls on that side will tend to freeze first if the temperatures are below freezing for any length of time, so keep that side of you home at least 55-60 degrees.  

Don’t be Penny Wise and Pound Foolish!  

Save where you can, but don’t be stingy!@  A little bit more heat will be far less costly than a leak in your home, which could cost your insurance company thousands of dollars and which will increase your premiums! 

Now some things for the inside of your home, condo or coop.  

Wait one last thing, when is the last time you looked out your windows?  Are your shrubs blocking your view? 

As I had mentioned in a previous article, You should have trimmed and pruned them below your window back in June-August, but you could still do it right now; but you might see a tiny bit of die back during the freezing periods this winter, unless you spray on some anti-dessicant (also mentioned in a previous article) to those newly cut evergreens (not necessary on hardwood trees) which will protect the tips from potentially browning.  

While looking out your windows, does it seem  hard to see through the glass?  

Maybe it needs some cleaning to let the sunshine into your home! (More sun is better for your health, go to or copy and paste to your browser: http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/benefits-sunlight  or http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/improve-mood-health-with-sunlight-this-winter

When is the last time you painted the interior of your home?  

This is a great time to do it and you will probably be able to negotiate a better price now than in the spring, when painting contractors are most in demand and their prices tend to be higher.  

You can also attend a painting seminar @ one of the larger home centers and learn what to do and how to do it from picking our the paint colors, preparing your working area, prepping your walls and ceilings to the final coats of paint! This will surely save you a tremendous amount of money.  In fact I received a price quote from one of the franchised paint companies in the range of $10,000 to just paint the interior of my home, which is not overly large (use to live in Kings Point, but decided to downsize a number of years ago) and almost fell off my chair when I saw the estimate.  

I guess you might see me this winter at one of those home center presentations too!  Next thing you might check are your floors, do they need some sprucing up?  

Could they use some sanding, a coat or two of polyurethane protection or maybe just an entire redo to something different.  

Are you deciding about moving to a larger home, or considering moving to larger quarters from your condo or coop?  

In a home you can expand assuming your have the available area up or out to the back, based on your F.A.R. (Floor Area Ratio) in your specific zoning that is allowable or will you need a variance for that extra 1-10 feet?  Will this be at less of a cost than moving to a larger home?  

Some will find this the best alternative, since housing inventory right now is at a very low point and demand is not being satisfied, therefor a lot of competition for the same number of available homes.  

You have to see the cost of the space you want to expand, (materials, labor and financing).  What will the calculated return on investment be in the future? (that may not be so easoly determined, but my guess is prices are going up from 3-8 percent per year depending on your particular location.  

For some this will be the best way to increase your living area and for some it may not be the best way to go.  

Are you going to live in your home while the work will be done? or, will you go rent another home?  What will those costs be and how long will it take for the renovation and expansion take?  Does your contractor have an excellent or a poor track record for completion times.  

Make sure he or she has the proper amount of insurance (1 million + and an umbrella is recommended).  Also, check out previous completed jobs(ask about the oldest customer he had done to the most recent one) he or she had contracted for and also check reviews on the internet, Angie’s List,

Yelp.com or even consumer affairs to make sure he is registered, licensed and most importantly insured.  

We are almost at a point to take your air conditioners out of our windows, if you do not have central air conditioning and store them wherever you do, but clean the filters on them so they will be prepared to next summer! 

I think I have covered everything that is important in and out of your home the last few weeks!  

If you have any comments or suggestions about topics you would like me to write or elaborate upon email me:  Phil@TurnKeyRealEstate.Com or HouseBroker1@GMail.Com and follow me on the following sites: Next week I will discuss how one advertises their home, Condo, Coop or Commercial property for sale and why today it is a losing battle if you don’t hire a Realtor to do it correctly!

Thanks!

Enjoy a More Healthier, More Happier, & Hopefully More Prosperous 2015!

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