San Antonio Area Real Estate and Community News

Sept. 19, 2019

Best Moving Companies Based on In-Depth Reviews

Inspired by

Moving can easily be one of the most stressful times of our adult lives.  There are dozens of things to consider and weigh, decisions on a daily basis that can have a major impact on how the move goes and how it is remembered.

I recently got an email from ConsumerAdvocate.ORG and they shared with me what I am about to share with you. When it comes to picking a moving company or someone to fix our car, face it, many of us do a Google search, maybe look at a few Yelp reviews or Angie’s List ads/comments and throw a dart at the internet dart board and pick someone. What if somebody, no kidding, did a lot of research for you and provided you with an objective view of national/cross country movers that they had used REAL DATA assess and that they had vetted.  Me for one I would be excited. As a Real Estate Agent, face it, when I recommend someone it is a reflection on ME! I have to do my best to check out those that I refer my valued clients to.

I have said all that to say this, if you are about to do a cross country move, take a few minutes and click the link below to review the objective research done by Consumer Advocates.Org. It may save you time, money, frustration and a lot of damaged household goods. While you are there you may want to take a look at some of their other content as well.

In closing, I would be remiss in not mentioning a local favorite here in San Antonio based on my own personal experience with my last local move and having had several clients move locally with them. Two Men and a Truck took great care with everything in my home from the piano to the dog beds. If you are moving in town they have my vote!

Cheers and as always, if there is any way I can help you with your Real Estate needs, Your Home is My Business! 


Posted in Guest Blogs
Sept. 5, 2019

How to Make the Right Home Modifications for Aging in Place

Thanks to Michael Longsdon for providing this Guest BLOG POST

According to the AARP, only 1 percent of homes in the country are conducive to aging in place. If you or a loved one have chosen to stay in one home throughout your golden years, it’s important that the house is designed or renovated to ensure the comfort and safety of all its occupants. When renovating a home to accommodate older adults, there are contractors available who are specifically trained to do this type of home remodeling. These contractors are known as Certified Aging in Place Specialists, or CAPS. Whether using CAPS or not, you can follow these modification tips to implement all the proper renovations needed.

  One-Level Living

If possible, choose a one-level home rather than a multi-story abode. The fewer steps and stairs for seniors, the better. If your home has more than one level, move all the essential rooms to the main floor — kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom. When needing to go up or down stairs, a stair-lift chair can be a useful accommodation.

  Doors and Doorways

Widening halls and doorways is essential for accessibility. However, you should also consider switching out traditional doors for pocket doors. Swinging doors often get in the way, and the hinges can catch on wheelchairs. Pocket doors allow for maximum free space going in and out of rooms. Round doorknobs should be replaced with levers, which are easier to use as they don’t require a twisting motion. Traditional light switches can also be changed out to the slider variety and lowered so they can be reached from a wheelchair.


Balance can be tricky for older adults. About one-third of seniors over age 65 fall each year, and 60 percent of these falls occur within the home. The ideal flooring material should be soft and slip-resistant. Consider non-slip vinyl or rubber floors, as rubber is naturally slip resistant, fire resistant, and soft enough that bones won’t break easily in the case of falls. Another advantage of rubber flooring is that it's very easy to clean and maintain. Whatever type of flooring you choose, eliminate area rugs and damaged carpets, which, according to the Journal of Injury and Violence Research, are a common cause of slips and trips.


Effective lighting is one of the most important features in a senior's home. Due to deteriorating eyesight with age, there must be strong illumination throughout the home, especially in stairwells, places where flooring changes, and other areas with increased risk of slips and falls. Also, switch traditional light bulbs to LEDs, which last 50 times longer than a typical incandescent bulb and eight to 10 times longer than CFLs. The longer the bulbs last, the less often seniors will have to change them, which can be difficult and sometimes dangerous.


The bathroom may be the room that needs the most modifications to make it safe for aging adults. In addition to the aforementioned doorways and flooring, it’s also imperative to add handrails or safety bars in and right outside the shower, as well as near the toilet. Lowering the vanity is also a good idea for wheelchair accessibility. Finally, consider a walk-in shower or walk-in tub, as well as a bathtub transfer bench and other bathroom modifications.


Stoves with flat burners are often easier and safer for seniors to use. Older adults also may consider raising stoves and dishwashers to require less bending. However, if someone in the home is wheelchair-bound, lower the appliance instead. Flooring that is more forgiving is easier on the joints when standing for long periods in the kitchen; as mentioned, vinyl is a great option instead of tile or hardwood. Cork is also easier on the back, hips, and knees.

Many older adults across the country are choosing to age in place, rather than move to assisted living or other such facilities. Even if you are in superlative health currently, consider potential limitations that can come about as you age. Simple remodeling choices made now can have a significant impact on how long you can comfortably live in your home in the future.

Photo via Pexels

Posted in Guest Blogs
Aug. 30, 2019

How To Pay For Home Improvements

How To Pay For Home Improvements |

Money to make home improvements - whether massive overhauls or little fixes - isn't always readily available in your bank account. Luckily, you have a few different options to pay for home renovations if your cash flow is running low.

Posted in Guest Blogs
Aug. 29, 2019

What Millennials Want In A Home

What Millennials Want created by Asset Based Lending

Posted in Guest Blogs
Aug. 29, 2019

Property Payoff Tips to Increase Resale

Tips To Increase Resale Value created by Synergy Builders

Posted in Guest Blogs
Nov. 1, 2018

Relocating After Bereavement - Tips for Downsizing and Packing

Blog post Courtesy of Michael Longdon

Photo By Jarosław Ceborski on Unsplash

Relocating After Bereavement:
Tips for Downsizing and Packing

When you’ve lost someone very important to you, the place you used to call home can suddenly not feel like it anymore. While it’s generally good advice to wait about six months to a year after the death to make a major decision, many people find that moving to a new home provides a much-needed fresh start when the time is right. In the end, a house is just another material possession -- it can weigh you down with its emotional burden. Relocating is a good excuse for downsizing and creating a home atmosphere that is minimalist and unburdening.

If you feel like relocating is an emotionally mature decision for you, use the following advice to make the process clean and efficient.

Take Advantage of Storage

Just because you’re ready to live in a home where you’re not constantly surrounded by visual reminders of your loved one doesn’t mean you have to get rid of them quite yet. Take advantage of an offsite storage solution where those items you can’t quite give away will be safe from environmental damage. Storage facilities can be surprisingly affordable -- in San Antonio, for example, the average price for self-storage in the past 180 days was as little as $78.83. Make room in your house-hunting budget to pack these things safely and revisit getting rid of them after the chaos of moving settles down.

Donate to a Good Cause

All of us have boxes and boxes of items that we don’t need. You especially don’t want these things on hand when moving into a smaller place. Instead of dumping gently used goods in the trash and contributing to the world’s landfill problem, look into what local charities could really use the items on hand and donate. Clothes in good condition can be especially helpful for organizations like the Vietnam Veterans of America and Dress for Success. Furniture in good condition, appliances, housewares, and building materials can help volunteers build homes when you donate them to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. And old towels, cleaning supplies, shredded papers, and pet toys can make a world of difference when you drop them off at your local Humane Society Shelter. Finally, your standard neighborhood Goodwill and Salvation Army will take just about anything for their community betterment endeavors.

Make Packing a Breeze

Packing and moving are rarely anyone’s idea of a good time. But with some simple tips, the process doesn’t have to be so bad. Go ahead and order more boxes than you may need. Unused ones can always be returned and it’s better than coming up short the day you need to be out of the old property. Having a variety of sizes of boxes is also helpful. There’s no one-sized box that’s perfect for everything. In fact, boxes may not even be the best option for everything you have to pack. Consider using simple garbage bags when packing up things like blankets and linens. Once you’re in your new place and unpacking, you’ll already have a trash receptacle handy for throwing away errant packing supplies.

Everything you pack should be properly labeled to the point of being overboard. Not only will knowing what’s in the box help when unloading your moving truck but having a good idea of the contents will help you when trying to decipher where you should start with the unpacking. Instead of wasting your valuable time sorting through a box of winter shoes you won’t need for months, you can find your work wardrobe right off the bat and unload those essential first.

However, sometimes it might make sense to hire someone to help you move, though you’ll need to leave some room in your budget. For example, according to Unpakt, moving the contents of a small one-bedroom home in Atlanta starts at around $432 on average. If you add packing and unpacking to the equation, expect to pay an additional $25 to $35 per hour.

While big decisions should be put off for a while, many people find that relocating can be therapeutic after the loss of a close loved one. If you’re deciding to move to a new home, consider downsizing -- store those items you want to keep and donate what you don’t need. Finally, making the unpleasant packing experience easier by over-investing in a variety of packing materials and planning ahead to make unpacking the essentials easier.

Finally, making the unpleasant packing experience easier by over-investing in a variety of packing materials and planning ahead to make unpacking the essentials easier. 

Posted in Guest Blogs
June 26, 2018

Downsizing During Crisis: A Guide for Seniors and Their Loved Ones

Blog post Courtesy of Michael Longsdon

Photo courtesy of Pixabay by IsaacFryxelius

As we age, many people feel the need to downsize and relocate into new homes. People do this for many reasons, whether it’s because we want to be surrounded by like-minded neighbors or whether we need a home that is smaller and more accessible.

Of course, sometimes seniors are also forced to relocate due to unexpected situations, such as a health or financial crisis. A parent might suffer a stroke or an aneurysm. Or an aging couple may realize their retirement savings can no longer cover the rising cost of rent. These are just a few difficult examples of the real-life situations that seniors and their loved ones are facing every day.

Luckily, modern seniors have access to a wide variety of resources that are literally at their fingertips thanks to the invention of the internet. This makes it easier than ever before to move during a crisis. The internet also helps those in need find assistance with downsizing, planning the move, relocating belongings, and other daunting tasks.

Finding Help

Before moving into a smaller home, you’ll need to do some research on homes in your area. For instance, in San Antonio, TX, the median listing price for a home is $265,000.

Although an unexpected crisis move can be overwhelming for seniors and their families, there are options out there for assistance. There is a growing industry of service providers specializing in “senior move management.” These services offer support, assistance and other resources to seniors and their families during a big move.

For instance, seniors might consider looking into a professional moving company for assistance with the heavy lifting. Moving crews can help take the stress out of a move, in addition to preventing injuries or damages. Remember: the goal of moving day is to avoid injury while safely transporting all belongings and valuables to the new home.

Need to downsize your belongings before moving? If so, you’re not alone. Many people of all ages need to downsize before a big move. To keep from losing your mind during this stressful process, experts recommend making three lists: must-have items; items you could probably live without; and items that you could replace if needed. This will provide clarity on what you should keep and what you should sell or donate.

 Alternative options

 There are some additional considerations for any senior who will be relocating to a retirement community. Where you live matters. When choosing a retirement home, it’s important to consider activity level, health, ability or disability, budget, and more. Is the senior fairly independent, or would assisted living be better? What can the senior afford? Take the future into consideration, not just where things are in the current moment.

When you or a loved one are in crisis, that is all you can think about. Although a crisis move is undeniably stressful, there are some experts out there who can assist so that you can focus on what’s most important. From professional managers who coordinate the details for you, to professional moving crews who handle all the heavy lifting, we hope that the options listed above will prove helpful to yourself and your family during this difficult time.


Posted in Guest Blogs
May 4, 2018

10 Staging Secrets From the Pros for a Quick Home Sale at Top Dollar

According to the National Association of Realtors, staging a home prior to listing it can result in a faster and more profitable sale.1 In fact, the Real Estate Staging Association estimates that professionally staged properties spend 73 percent less time on the market, receive more foot traffic, and typically sell for more money.2

Source: National Association of Realtors

Following are 10 tips you can use to get your home “show ready” prior to hitting the market. These easy and cost-effective ideas will help your house look its best—and help buyers visualize themselves living there. Even if you’re not currently in the market to sell, you can use these tactics to breathe new life into your existing home decor.

To get a plan customized for your particular property, give us a call to schedule a free consultation. We’d be happy to share our insider knowledge of the buyer preferences in your neighborhood … so you’ll know where to focus your time, money and energy to maximize your results.


Decluttering is typically the first thing we tell clients to do to prepare their home for sale. And according to the National Association of Realtors, a whopping 93 percent of agents agree.1 Decluttering is the act of removing excess “stuff” from your home to make it appear clean and spacious.  

Overflowing closets and cluttered countertops can make your house feel small and cramped. In contrast, sparsely-filled closets and clear countertops will make your home appear larger and assure buyers that there will be plenty of room to store their belongings. 

Don’t neglect drawers, cupboards and even your refrigerator in your decluttering efforts. Serious buyers will check out every nook and cranny of your home, so pack up anything you don’t use on a daily basis and store it off site. The same goes for jewelry, sensitive documents, prescription medication, firearms and other items of value. Store them in a locked safe or storage unit before opening your property to buyers. 

Make sure any items that remain are clean, tidy and well organized. The good news is, when it comes time to move, a large portion of your packing will be done!



From carpets to bathrooms to appliances, having a clean home is a MUST. If you’ve ever checked into a dirty hotel room, you can imagine how buyers can be turned off by a home that hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned.

If you have a large home, or are short on time, you may want to invest in a professional cleaning service. And if you have carpet, we generally recommend you rent a steam cleaner or hire a company to clean your carpets for you.

In addition to cleaning, it’s equally important to neutralize odors in your home that can be off-putting to buyers, especially pet smells and cigarette smoke. If the weather allows, open your windows and let in fresh air. Empty the trash frequently, and especially before a showing. Avoid cooking any strong-smelling food such as fish or heavy spices. You may need to clean (or remove) drapes and upholstery if odors are particularly strong.

Try to keep your home in clean, show-ready condition while it’s on the market. You never know when a potential buyer will want to drop by for a viewing.


Your family photos and personal mementos are often your most treasured possessions. For many of us, they are what make a house a home. However, buyers will have a hard time envisioning themselves living in a place if it feels like YOUR home.

 Pack up any items that are personal to you and your family, such as photos, books, children’s artwork, travel souvenirs and religious items. Collectibles and excessive knickknacks can be distracting to buyers. Instead, keep your decor items minimal and generic to appeal to the largest number of buyers.


Along those same lines, bold color choices may not appeal to all buyers. By incorporating a neutral color palette throughout your home, buyers can better visualize the addition of their own furniture and decor, which may contrast with your current color scheme.

But don’t limit yourself to white and beige. Incorporating earth tones and midtone neutrals—like mocha and “greige” (grey-beige)—can add a touch of modern sophistication to your decor.3

 One of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to neutralize your home’s decor is with paint. Walls painted in dark, bold or bright colors can turn off buyers. A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color like greige (try Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter) or warm white (such as Kelly-Moore’s Rotunda White) offers a clean palette upon which buyers can visualize adding their own personal touches.4

If your sofa is worn, stained or has a bold pattern, consider purchasing a neutral-colored slipcover. Dated or overly busy window coverings should be taken down or replaced. Instead, bring in tasteful pops of color with throw pillows and accessories.


You only get one chance to make a first impression. According to a 2017 report by the National Association of Realtors, 44 percent of home buyers drove by a property after viewing it online but did NOT go inside for a walkthrough.5 That means if your curb appeal is lacking, buyers may never make it through the door.

Walk around your home and look for any neglected areas that might seem like “red flags” to buyers, such as missing roof shingles or rotted siding. Trim trees and shrubs if needed, and make sure your lawn and flower beds are well maintained. Add some colorful flowers to your front beds and/or flower boxes to brighten up your landscaping.

Make sure the exterior of your home is as clean as the interior. This can often be accomplished with a simple garden hose. But if your siding, walkway, or driveway are stained or dingy, you may want to rent a pressure washer.

Thoroughly wash windows and screens, and remove and store dark solar screens if you have them. Open shutters, curtains and blinds, which will not only make your house look more inviting from the outside, it will brighten the inside.

Consider a fresh coat of paint on your front door, trim and shutters. And small, cosmetic improvements like new house numbers, a colorful wreath and a clean front doormat can have a big impact.6


Kitchens and bathrooms will show better and appear larger if all items are cleared from the countertops, except for one or two decorative pieces.7 You should have already packed up non-essentials during your decluttering process, and the remaining items should be neatly stored in pantries and cupboards.

If your cabinets are dingy or outdated, adding a fresh coat of paint and new hardware is an easy and inexpensive way to make them modern and bright. Consider purchasing new shower curtains, bath mats and towels for the bathrooms and new dish towels for the kitchen.

Before each showing, make sure kitchens and baths are spotless and trash cans are empty and out of sight. To add a comforting aroma, try baking cookies, or in the fall, simmer some cinnamon sticks and cloves in a pot of water before you leave the house. In the spring, try a vase of fresh cut lilacs.7


Buyers often imagine hosting family gatherings in their new home, and the dining room plays a large role in that vision. If your dining room chairs are stained or outdated, you may want to recover them or use slipcovers. In most cases, an imperfect table can be camouflaged with a neutral and stylish tablecloth.

Be sure the table is centered underneath the chandelier and on the area rug if you’re using one. If your dining room is small, remove all other furniture and leave only four chairs.8

Dress up the table using nice tableware and cloth napkins or a table runner and centerpiece. For a long table, try lining up a series of small vessels down the middle.


Start in your living room and think about what you want to emphasize (and de-emphasize) about the space. For example, do you have a beautiful fireplace or a stunning view? If so, arrange the furniture with that focal point in mind. Use a symmetrical seating arrangement to create a cozy conversation area adjacent to the focal point.

If the room is small, consider removing some of the furniture to make it feel larger, especially oversized pieces. That includes oversized television sets, unless it’s a designated media room. Pulling furniture away from the wall can make the room feel more spacious, and placing your largest furniture piece in the far-left corner (as opposed to near the entry) can create the illusion of a larger space.9

For small bedrooms, remove all the furniture except the bed, bedside tables and a dresser. If it’s a large room, add one or two chairs and a table to create a seating area. Place lamps on the bedside tables and seating area if you have one.10

Make sure each space in your home has a clearly defined purpose. For example, if you’ve been using an extra bedroom as a catch-all storage space, stage it as a guest room or office instead. Turn an awkward alcove into a workstation or a reading corner. Help buyers imagine how they could use the space themselves. 


Lighting can have a drastic impact on the look and feel of a home. Few buyers seek out a dark house; most prefer one that’s light and bright. Make sure windows are clean, and open curtains and blinds to let in the maximum amount of daylight.

Each room should have three types of lighting: ambient (general or overhead), task (such as a reading lamp or under-cabinet light), and accent (such as a floor or table lamp). Aim for a goal of 100 total watts per 50 square feet.11 If your mounted light fixtures are dated, replacing them with something more modern is an easy and inexpensive upgrade that can have a big impact.

Strategically placed landscape lighting can add a dramatic effect to your home’s exterior. Welcome evening visitors with a lighted walkway, or use a spotlight to accentuate trees or other landscaping features. Solar lights require no wiring; simply place them in a sunny spot and they will turn on automatically at dusk.


While your home’s interior often takes center stage, don’t forget about staging your home’s outdoor areas to help buyers imagine how they could utilize the space.

Even a small patio can become a selling feature with the addition of a cafe table and chairs. Add a tray of plates and coffee cups to help buyers envision a peaceful breakfast on the back porch. Place chairs and wine glasses around an outdoor firepit or hang a hammock with a book in your favorite shady spot.3 These small, simple additions can help buyers visualize the possibilities your backyard has to offer.


If you’re in the market to sell your home, this list provides a great starting point for your preparations. But nothing beats the trained eye and expertise of a real estate agent. Before you do any work, we recommend consulting a professional for advice about your particular property.

We offer free, no-commitment seller consultations and will walk through your home with you to help you assess which projects and upgrades are worth your time and money, and which ones you can skip.

As local market experts, we are intimately familiar with buyer preferences in your area. We’ll run a comparative market analysis to find out how your home compares to others currently on the market, as well as those that have recently sold. Then we’ll tailor a custom plan to suit your particular property, budget and needs.

                    Please call or email us today with questions or to schedule a free consultation!


1.     National Association of Realtors –

2.     Real Estate Staging Association –

3.     Houzz –

4.     HGTV –

5.     National Association of Realtors –

6.     The Spruce –

7.     HouseLogic –

8. –

9. –

10.   SFGATE –

11.     HGTV –

Posted in Monthly Newsletter
April 18, 2018


A Seasonal Guide to Maintaining Your Home


From summer vacations to winter holidays, it seems each season offers the perfect excuse to put off our to-do list. But be careful, homeowners: neglecting your home’s maintenance could put your personal safety—and one of your largest financial investments—at serious risk.


In no time at all, small problems can lead to extensive and expensive repairs. And even if you avoid a catastrophe, those minor issues can still have a big impact. Properties that are not well maintained can lose 10 percent (or more) of their appraised value.1

The good news is, by dedicating a few hours each season to properly maintaining your home, you can ensure a safe living environment for you and your family ... and actually increase the value of your home by one percent annually!1 You just need to know where and how to spend your time.

Use the following checklist as a guide to maintaining your home and lawn throughout the year. It's applicable for all climates, so please share it with friends and family members who you think could benefit, no matter where their home is located.


 After a long, cold winter, many of us look forward to a fresh start in the spring. Wash away the winter grime, open the windows, and prepare your home for warmer weather and backyard barbecues.


 ?     Conduct Annual Spring Cleaning
Be sure to tackle those areas that may have gone neglected—such as your blinds, baseboards and fan blades—as well as appliances, including your refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and range hood. Clear out clutter and clothes you no longer wear, and toss old and expired food and medications.

 ?     Shut Down Heating System
Depending on the type of heating system you have, you may need to shut your system down when not in use. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for proper procedures.

 ?     Tune Up A/C
If your home has central air conditioning, schedule an annual tune-up with your HVAC technician. If you have a portable or window unit, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper maintenance.2

 ?     Check Plumbing
It’s a good idea to periodically check your plumbing to spot any leaks or maintenance issues. Look for evidence of leaks—such as water stains on the ceiling—and check for dripping faucets or running toilets that need to be addressed. Inspect your hot water heater for sediment build up. Check your sump pump (if you have one) to ensure it’s working properly.3

 ?     Inspect Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. Batteries should be replaced every six months, so change them now and again in the fall. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test your individual devices. And even properly functioning devices should be replaced at least every 10 years, or per the manufacturer’s recommendation.4


?     Inspect Perimeter of Home
Walk around your house and look for any signs of damage or wear and tear that should be addressed. Are there cracks in the foundation? Peeling paint? Loose or missing roof shingles? Make a plan to make needed repairs yourself or hire a contractor.

?     Clean Home’s Exterior
Wash windows and clean and replace screens if they were removed during the winter months. For the home’s facade, it’s generally advisable to use the gentlest method that is effective. A simple garden hose will work in most cases.5

?     Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned at least twice a year. Neglected gutters can cause water damage to a home, so make sure yours are clean and free of debris. If your gutters have screens, you may be able to decrease the frequency of cleanings, but they should still be checked periodically.6

Rake Leaves
Gently rake your lawn to remove leaves and debris. Too many leaves can cause an excessive layer of thatch, which can damage the roots of your lawn. They can also harbor disease-causing organisms and insects.7 However, take care because overly vigorous raking can damage new grass shoots.

?     Seed or Sod Lawn
If you have bare spots, spring is a good time to seed or lay new sod so you can enjoy a beautiful lawn throughout the remainder of the year. The peak summer heat can be too harsh for a new lawn. If you miss this window, early fall is another good time to plant.8

?     Apply a Pre-Emergent Herbicide
While a healthy lawn is the best deterrent for weeds, some homeowners choose to use a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring to minimize weeds. When applied at the right time, it can be effective in preventing weeds from germinating. However, a pre-emergent herbicide will also prevent grass seeds from germinating, so only use it if you don’t plan to seed or sod in the spring.

 ?     Plant Flowers
After a long winter, planting annuals and spring perennials is a great way to brighten up your garden. It’s also a good time to prune existing flowers and shrubs and remove and compost any dead plants.

?     Mulch Beds
A layer of fresh mulch helps to suppress weeds, retain moisture and moderate soil temperature. However, be sure to strip away old mulch at least every three years to prevent excessive buildup.9

?     Fertilize Lawn
Depending on your grass type, an application of fertilizer in the spring may help promote new leaf and root growth, keep your lawn healthy, and reduce weeds.10

 ?     Tune Up Lawn Mower
Send your lawn mower out for a professional tune-up and to have the blades sharpened before the mowing season starts.11

Inspect Sprinkler System
If you have a sprinkler system, check that it’s working properly and make repairs as needed.

?     Check the Deck
If you have a deck or patio, inspect it for signs of damage or deterioration that may have occurred over the winter. Then clean it thoroughly and apply a fresh coat of stain if needed.

 ?     Prepare Pool
If you own a pool, warmer weather signals the start of pool season. Be sure to follow best practices for your particular pool to ensure proper maintenance and safety.


Summer is generally the time to relax and enjoy your home, but a little time devoted to maintenance will help ensure it looks great and runs efficiently throughout the season.


?     Adjust Ceiling Fans
Make sure they are set to run counter-clockwise in the summer to push air down and create a cooling breeze. Utilizing fans instead of your air conditioner, when possible, will help minimize your utility bills.

?     Clean A/C Filters
Be sure to clean or replace your filters monthly, particularly if you’re running your air conditioner often.

?     Clear Dryer Vent
Help cut down on summer utility bills by cleaning your laundry dryer vent at least once a year. Not only will it help cut down on drying times, a neglected dryer poses a serious fire hazard.

?     Check Weather Stripping
If you’re running your air conditioner in the summer, you’ll want to keep the cold air inside and hot air outside. Check weather stripping around doors and windows to ensure a good seal.


?     Mow Lawn Regularly
Your lawn will probably need regular mowing in the summer. Adjust your mower height to the highest setting, as taller grass helps shade the soil to prevent drought and weeds.

?     Water Early in the Morning
Ensure your lawn and garden get plenty of water during the hot summer months. Experts generally recommend watering in the early morning to minimize evaporation, but be mindful of any watering restrictions in your area, which may limit the time and/or days you are allowed to water.

?     Weed Weekly
To prevent weeds from taking over your garden and ruining your home’s valuable curb appeal, make a habit of pulling weeds at least once per week.

?     Exterminate Pests
Remove any standing water and piles of leaves and debris. Inspect your lawn and perimeter of your home for signs of an invasion. If necessary, call a professional exterminator for assistance.


Fall ushers in another busy season of home maintenance as you prepare your home for the winter weather ahead.


?     Have Heater Serviced
To ensure safety and efficiency, it’s a good idea to have your heating system serviced and inspected before you run it for the first time.

?     Shut Down A/C for the Winter
If you have central air conditioning, you can have it serviced at the same time as your furnace. If you have a portable or window unit, ensure it’s properly sealed or remove it and store it for the winter.

?     Inspect Chimney
Fire safety experts recommend that you have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned periodically. Complete this task before you start using your fireplace or furnace.

?     Seal Windows and Doors
Check windows and doors for drafts and caulk or add weatherstripping where necessary.

?     Check Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If you checked your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the spring, they are due for another inspection. Batteries should be replaced every six months, so it’s time to replace them again. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test your individual devices. And even properly functioning devices should be replaced at least every 10 years, or per the manufacturer’s recommendation.3


?     Plant Fall Flowers, Grass and Shrubs
Fall is a great time to plant perennials, trees, shrubs, cool-season vegetables and bulbs that will bloom in the spring.12 It’s also a good time to reseed or sod your lawn.

?     Rake or Mow Leaves
Once the leaves start falling, it’s time to pull out your rake. A thick layer of leaves left on your grass can lead to an unhealthy lawn. Or, rather than raking, use a mulching mower to create a natural fertilizer for your lawn.

?     Apply Fall Fertilizer
If you choose not to use a mulching mower, a fall fertilizer is usually recommended. For best results, aerate your lawn before applying the fertilizer.13

?     Inspect Gutters and Roof
Inspect your gutters and downspouts and make needed repairs. Check the roof for any broken or loose tiles. Remove fallen leaves and debris.

?     Shut Down Sprinkler System
If you have a sprinkler system, drain any remaining water and shut it down to prevent damage from freezing temperatures over the winter.

?     Close Pool
If you have a pool, it’s time to clean and close it up before the winter.


While it can be tempting to ignore home maintenance issues in the winter, snow and freezing temperatures can do major damage if left untreated. Follow these steps to ensure your house survives the winter months.


?     Maintain Heating System
Check and change filters on your heating system, per the manufacturer's instructions. If you have a boiler, monitor the water level.

?     Tune Up Generator
If you own a portable generator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper maintenance. Make sure it’s working before you need it, and stock up on supplies like fuel, oil and filters.

?     Prevent Frozen Pipes
Make sure pipes are well insulated, and keep your heat set to a minimum of 55 degrees when you’re away. If pipes are prone to freezing, leave faucets dripping slightly overnight or when away from home. You may also want to open cabinet doors beneath sinks to let in heat.


?     Drain and Shut Off Outdoor Faucets
Before the first freeze, drain and shut off outdoor faucets. Place an insulated cover over exposed faucets, and store hoses for the winter.

?     Remove Window Screens
Removing screens from your windows allows more light in to brighten and warm your home during the dark, cold winter months. Snow can also get trapped between screens and windows, causing damage to window frames and sills.

?     Service Snowblower
Don’t wait until the first snowstorm of the season to make sure your snowblower is in good working order. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance or have it serviced by a professional.

?     Stock Up on Ice Melt
Keep plenty of ice melt, or rock salt, on hand in preparation for winter weather. Look for brands that will keep kids and pets safe without doing damage to your walkway or yard.

?     Watch Out for Ice Dams
Ice dams are thick ridges of solid ice that can build up along the eaves of your house. They can do major damage to gutters, shingles and siding. Heated cables installed prior to the first winter storm can help.14

?     Check for Snow Buildup on Trees
Snow can cause tree limbs to break, which can be especially dangerous if they are near your home. Use a broom to periodically remove excess snow.15

While this checklist should not be considered a complete list of your home’s maintenance needs, it can serve as a general seasonal guide. Systems, structures and fixtures will need to be repaired and replaced from time-to-time, as well. The good news is, the investment you make in maintaining your home now will pay off dividends over time.

Keep a record of all your maintenance, repairs and upgrades for future reference, along with receipts. Not only will it help jog your memory, it can make a big impact on buyers when it comes time to sell your home … and potentially result in a higher selling price. 

Are you looking for help with home maintenance or repairs? We have an extensive network of trusted contractors and service providers and are happy to provide referrals! Call or email us, and we can connect you with one of our preferred vendors.


1. –

2.     Home Advisor –

3.     Keyes & Sons Plumbing and Heating –

4.     Allstate Insurance Blog –

5.     Houzz –

6.     Angie’s List –

7.     Angie’s List –

8.     HGTV –

9.     This Old House –

10.   Lowes –

11.   The New York Times –

12.   Better Homes and Gardens Magazine –

13.   The Spruce –

14.   This Old House –

15.   Houzz –



Posted in Monthly Newsletter
March 20, 2018

REALTOR® Road Trips Highland Homes Stillwater Ranch

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