6 Home Maintenance Chores We All Forget

If you’re like most people, your home maintenance to-do list is so long, plenty of chores regularly fall off it and into the abyss, never to be remembered. With so much house and so little time, that’s understandable. Hey, you’re only human!

Still, though: Out of sight and out of mind does not mean it’s OK. Ignore certain chores, and they can come back and haunt you in a variety of unpleasant ways, from bigger electric bills to foundation problems and beyond. And the truly silly part is that these duties don’t take that long to address … as long as you nip them in the bud before little chores become huge problems, after years of neglect.

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4 Lawn Care Tips For a Lush Spring

Longer days and blossoming flowers of spring mean that it is time to prepare your lawn to spend more time outdoors! These lawn care tips can ensure that your lawn is lush and ready to go for the season and into the heat of summer.

1. Dethatch

Dethatch to rid your lawn of dying or dead grass. Lawns do well with less than a ½ inch of thatch, but will begin to suffocate if there’s too much. A sturdy rake is often all you need to get the job done, but if you have a large yard or a lot debris (more than 1 inch of thatch), consider using a power rake. Dethatching can be rough on your lawn so make sure to do it in early spring to allow the grass to recover properly.

2. Check for Bare Patches

Winters can be tough on lawns, and grass seeds don’t always survive the winter season. If you see thin or bare spots that were created by winter storms, you’ll need to replant. Simply loosen up the soil with a rake and sprinkle grass seed to the affected area. Be sure to water the area regularly to make sure that the seedlings take to the ground. Also, be sure to clear your lawn of any winter debris or fallen limbs that may hinder grass growth.

3. Mow Early

It’s time to break out the mower. Just don’t wait too long. Letting the grass grow too long can cause stress and potentially damage the grass seed. On the other hand, you shouldn’t cut the grass too short; grass seed does best when a mow takes no more than 1/3 of the total grass height off. If you aren’t sure what height to mow at, consider doing a first mow at a higher cut level to get a good feel for what length your lawn would do best at. Check the suggested mowing heights for the grass seed in your lawn as they differ.

4. Aerate In Late Spring

Grass grows better in soil that isn’t compacted down. Aerating your lawn loosens up the dirt and provides air and room for necessary nutrients to deeply penetrate the soil. There are many different tools on the market to help you aerate, the most popular one is the gas-powered aeration tool that leaves small tubes of soil all around the lawn. For smaller lawns, you can use manual push aerators or even aeration shoes that attach to your footwear. If you choose to aerate, be sure to do so in late spring so your lawn can heal before the arrival of summer.

Some of these measures, like aeration and dethatching take a bit of effort, but they’re well worth it in creating a lush, green lawn. Spring is the best time to prepare your lawn for a vibrant growing season. With a little bit of extra care this time of year your lush lawn will be ready for outdoor living.

Online Resources for Caring for Your Home

The internet offers so many resources, it’s hard to know where to begin: endless images for inspiration and even step-by-step how-to videos to walk you through projects. Here are our favorite places to get started.

For cleaning advice:

Goodhousekeeping.com

The experts here have been helping people clean up their acts in one form or another since 1885, so you can be sure they know their stuff. The site features everything from recipes for DIY household cleaners to answers to age-old questions like: Does microwaving your kitchen sponge kill the germs on it?

Homeadvisor.com

While this site’s main focus is matching homeowners with professional service providers, it offers a handy library of articles about cleaning, including not-so-stainless stainless steel appliances and hard-to-reach windows.

For decorating advice:

Houzz.com

With a highly searchable index of over 11 million photos of professionally designed homes, this site provides inspiration and nuts-and-bolts practical design advice. Want to know how a dark-colored hardwood floor will look with stainless steel appliances? Search and browse tons of examples.

Apartmenttherapy.com

Whether you live in a house or a high rise, you’ll find nifty décor tips and inspiration to make your home more beautiful and livable. If you’re having trouble envisioning how things will look in your space, choose from a variety of free virtual room-planning apps to help you design room layouts, choose appropriate furniture sizes and even see what different paint shades will look like on your walls.

For landscaping advice:

Gardendesign.com

A resource from Garden Design magazine, this site offers instruction on landscape design principles in addition to inspirational pics and solutions, so you can begin developing an understanding of outdoor aesthetics before you start buying and digging.

For maintenance advice:

DIYnetwork.com

Here you’ll find a massive wealth of information about how to fix, renovate and maintain nearly everything home-related along with tons of videos (of course) that show you how it’s done.

Familyhandyman.com

The Family Handyman experts have been helping homeowners DIY since before the Property Brothers were born. Their website offers practical advice and step-by-step instructions and videos to help you do everything from fix a running toilet to install a dimmer switch.

5 Holiday Recycling Tips

After the holidays, your home can look a bit hung over, with piles of wrapping paper and fallen tinsel trailing under everyone’s feet. It all feels like a hazy eggnog memory. You may be wondering how you’ll possibly clear out all the trash. Well, maybe it doesn’t have to be trash. Here are five tips for keeping the planet in mind as you clean up this holiday season.

1. Wrapping Paper
Wrapping paper with glitter and foil is fun, but unfortunately can’t be recycled efficiently. Don’t just toss it in with your everyday recycling. Check with your sanitation department for seasonal recycling guidelines.

2. Christmas Trees
Many communities provide a service that will compost or chip your holiday tree into mulch for free or a low fee. Be sure to remove all tinsel, lights and wires before taking advantage of this opportunity.

3. Cardboard boxes
If you don’t need them to store your new goodies, cardboard boxes can usually be recycled curbside.

4. Ribbon
Ribbon generally can’t be recycled, so save it! Curling ribbon can be “re-curled” for another special occasion by zipping it along a scissor blade.

5. Electronics
You’ve unwrapped this year’s latest gizmo, now what should you do with last year’s model? Many computer companies, like Apple and Dell, will recycle your machines, and box stores such as Best Buy accept phones and all sorts of gadgets for recycling.

If your home still seems too cramped after you complete your holiday recycling and you’re considering a move, contact me; I’ll be happy to help!

13 Tips Before You Leave for the Holidays

Leaving your home during the holidays? Follow these tips to keep it safe and save a few bucks on bills while you’re gone.

1. Put mail on hold
An overstuffed mailbox or a pile of newspapers at the bottom of your driveway can be an invitation to thieves. Not only is it a sign that no one’s home, identity thieves can find all sorts of goodies while sorting through unattended mail. Go to usps.com to have the US Postal Service hold your mail, and also check on your options for holding newspaper delivery.

2. Put lights on a timer
It makes it appear that someone is home. If you can, switch your exterior lights to the “motion-activated” setting.

3. Check batteries
Make sure the batteries are fresh in your smoke alarms and that they function.

4. Remove valuables
Hiding your jewelry is always an option, but when you’re gone for several days, thieves have more time to hunt through the house. If you can, place jewelry and important documents in a safety deposit box or home safe.

5. Grab your spare key
Bring inside any keys that are hidden outside. You can give one to a neighbor along with your contact information where you’ll be, just in case there’s an emergency.

7. Unplug
Your electronics will still suck energy while you’re gone. Unplug the biggies, like your TV and computer.

8. Don’t advertise your trip online
At least until you return, when it’s safe to make your Facebook friends jealous with photos from your holiday beach vacation. Don’t post the dates when you’re leaving your house vacant.

9. Switch your water heater to “vacation” mode
It won’t turn off completely, but it will still save energy.

10. Lower your thermostat
Keep it warm enough to prevent the pipes – and the goldfish – from freezing. Your energy company can recommend a temperature that’s appropriate for your climate.

11. Deodorize the sink
To avoid returning to a kitchen disposal that belches up the stench of your pre-vacation dinner, run it with a half-cup of vinegar, or lemon peels and ice cubes, before you leave. To keep things smelling fresh, it’s also a good idea to throw out any food that will go bad while you’re gone and make sure to take out any trash.

12.  Bleach the bowl
Dump half a cup of chlorine bleach into your toilet bowl to prevent mineral stains from developing.

Searching for a home you’ll hate to leave alone? Or know of someone else who is? I’ll be happy to help; contact me today!

Maintenance Tips for Protecting Your Biggest Investment

While it’s not a dramatic renovation project, regular home maintenance will help you maintain your home’s value. In fact, proper maintenance actually increases the value of a house by about 1 percent each year, according to research from the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University.

Here are some strategies for keeping on track:

Focus on Enemy No. 1: Moisture

Slowly and insidiously, water can attack your house and wreak havoc with your home. Check and clear your gutters seasonally. Make sure your windows and doors are caulked to stave off moldy invaders. Check all water-related appliances, like your fridge, water heater, HVAC and sump pump. Don’t wait on fixing leaky faucets; the drips you see may be eroding the hidden pipes.

Optimize your home’s energy

Lowering your energy bill saves you money every month and higher efficiency will be a selling point when you list your home. Hire a pro to inspect your furnace every year, and be sure to replace filters regularly. Clean and replace filters on your AC unit, as well.

Keep your curb appeal

Your home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers see when they visit your house, so maintaining it is key to protecting your investment. Keep hedges and trees trimmed neatly to improve aesthetics, and also prevent debris from clogging drainage and damaging your home’s exterior. Power wash decks, driveways and walkways to fight mold and slippery buildup and keep them looking new.

Keep a schedule

Use a home maintenance app like BrightNest to help you keep up with maintenance tasks. Tasks can also help you keep records you can show potential buyers.

5 August Maintenance Tasks to Tackle ASAP

With summer winding down, it’s time to prep your home for the changing season ahead. I know what you’re thinking: It’s still summer, and you’re being a buzzkill! Why worry now about what you can do next month? Well, as it turns out, some home maintenance tasks are best tackled in August, before temperatures start dipping.

Watch Realtor.com’s 1 1/2 minute video…