Elisa Spence Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



 


Every winter, your home faces harsh weather, and it may benefit you to examine your home during the warmer months for any areas that may need maintenance to avoid excessive and costly repairs to your home during or after the winter. Here are few things to check before the snow starts to fall.

1. The Roof: Excess snowfall on the roof during winter adds weight to the structure, which is why it's imperative to check its integrity often. Thoroughly examine it for leaks and erosion. Check the soffits and eaves for damage. Look on the ground for loose shingles. If you see any, have the roof inspected by a qualified roofer and schedule repairs as soon as possible. Correcting potential issues early could prevent any catastrophic emergencies later on.

2. The Garden: It is a known fact that the winter is unfavorable for most flowering plants. Check your garden for any plants that may need to be pruned or given any special attention before the cold months hit. Remove dead trees; add hardy hybrids and be sure to give your garden enough attention to watch it flourish even through the winter months.

3. The Garage: Even though your garage is well-secured and covered, you'll still want to maintain its upkeep during the winter. Your cars may bring in snow, mud, deicer, sand and debris. Be sure to keep the floors cleaned and check the walls and corners for any place that may house rodents or other pests.

4. The Pipes: Your water pipes are another essential thing to check after winter. During winter, pipes are prone to freezing and can split, crack, or burst, which becomes a hard problem to fix. Ensure they are in good condition before winter and recheck them after the season to fix any issues as soon as possible.

5. Chimney: Take a cursory look at your chimney after winter. There's a good chance it may have been damaged during the season. Ice can be very destructive, especially to your chimney's mortar and flashing where the chimney joins the roof, and may cause problems in the long run. Check your fireplace to ensure proper ventilation and cleanliness to avoid fire and smoke damage. Make sure to clean the creosote from the fireplace after seasonal use to promote your fireplace's longevity and maintain safety standards.

6. Garden Shed: For people that have a separate building for their garden tools, it is vital that you check this place after winter. Ensure that the ice and excessive wind haven't caused damage, and just as you did for your primary home, check the roof, eaves and flashing for damage.


Check all these places after each winter season and before the summer heat drives it from the forefront of your mind. You may want to dedicate at least one day to checking your home for early signs of damage or for areas that may need to be updated and reinforced. Your Realtor® may have a few other suggestions for maintaining your home or preparing for any regional hardships that may arise during the winter.


When spring arrives it brings everyone out to the backyard for games, cookouts, picnics, and a number of other fun, fair weather activities. It also brings yardwork.

With the busy schedules that most homeowners have, it can be difficult to find time to spend hours working in the yard each weekend. Depending on where you live and the size of your backyard, there are many options for making it a bit easier to take care of your lawn and garden.

In this article, we’ll give you some advice on how to make caring for your backyard a lot simpler so that you can spend your time outside enjoying the weather rather than working up a sweat.

Lawncare

In most suburban and rural neighborhoods, lawncare seems like a competition. Everyone wants their grass to look as green as their neighbor’s. But keeping a meticulous lawn can be difficult if you have kids, pets, or just don’t have the time to spend manicuring and fertilizing your lawn. What’s more, lawncare can get expensive quickly and can go wrong just as quickly in the case of droughts and pests.

There are many ways you can simplify your lawn care. If you love having a lawn, but mowing is a pain, it can be easier to remove some obstacles from your yard. Bird baths and other decorations can be a nice accept, but sometimes they make mowing more difficult than it needs to be.

If you don’t want to deal with grass at all, or want a smaller area to mow, you have a few options.

You could make your yard more of a natural meadow by planting wildflowers and encouraging long grasses. Laying a brick path down the middle creates the air of a walkthrough garden where you can view the many florae that will be ever-changing in your yard.

If you like your yard to look neat and tidy, creating a patio and placing a few choice potted plants and trees on it will save you a lot of time pushing the lawnmower.

Choose the right plants

Many people plant bushes, trees, and flowers based solely on the fact that they like them. It makes more sense in the long run, though, to choose your plants based on their hardiness, and your ability to care for them.

Some plants are marketed as being impossible to kill. However, you should still read the care requirements to make sure they’ll work with your yard’s climate, light, and water conditions.

In warmer climates, cacti and succulents are a good choice and will likely fit the scenery. For colder climates, there are a number of conifers, shrubs, and bushes that will stay green throughout the winter, adding a bit of color to the dreary season.

A good way to make sure your yard will be low maintenance year-round is to use plants and trees that are native to your area. Since they’re in their natural habitat, they’ll likely require less work on your part.


Many of us work long hours all week so that we can afford the luxuries of a nice home. Unfortunately, keeping your home clean and updated requires even more time that you don’t have.

The good news is that there are a growing number of ways to make your home less high maintenance. Things like automation, decluttering techniques, and cleaning hacks have made it easier than ever for us to take care of our homes while still having time to enjoy them.

Home automation

Tony Stark’s skyrise in Iron Man, the Jetson family’s house, and Nathan’s lab in Ex Machina all have one thing in common: robots that help make our home lives easier. What was once reserved for sci-fi, however, is beginning to be introduced at affordable prices in the real world.

There are many different types of home automation devices available on today’s market. One of the simplest time-saving devices is Amazon’s dash button. You can buy a button for several different household items. You keep the buttons in your cabinet or pantry and when you run out of, say, laundry detergent you can simply press the button and Amazon will automatically order and ship more.

For something more advanced, home assistants are gaining in popularity. Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Home, and others are currently gaining traction. They typically look like a normal small speaker. But with them you can order items online, set alarms and reminders for things like cleaning or car maintenance, control your lights and thermostat, and more.

Cleaning robots

You’ve probably seen the Roomba before--the small robot that vacuums your house for you by learning the floor layout. If you haven’t, now’s the time to look into them. The market is diversifying and the technology is improving, making them even more helpful to have around the house.

Robots aren’t just for the indoors. You can now purchase a robot that mows your lawn for you. It learns the parameters of your yard, how to avoid obstacles, and soon it’s cutting the grass while you sit back in a lounge chair.

Smart weatherproofing

While we’re on the topic of your home’s exterior, let’s discuss some ways to make the outside of your home low maintenance. Gutter guards and leaf filters are a great way to make sure your gutters don’t get clogged, protecting your gutters and in turn your foundation.  

When it comes to roofing, there are now several alternatives that will outshine and outlast traditional shingles. Metal roofs are growing in popularity as they now come in several aesthetically appealing forms.

Cleaning hacks

The best cleaning hacks are the ones that save you time and reduce the number of times you have to clean something. For the shower doors in your bathroom, cleaning them with Rain-X glass cleaner (built for car windshields) will keep them clear and shining longer.

Dusting a home takes a lot of time. Most people see dusting as an inevitable weekly task. However, there is a way to reduce the dust that gets kicked up in your home. The amount of dust that builds up on the surfaces of your home is largely due to air conditions. An air purifier and a humidifier can both help to reduce that amount of dust in your home.




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