It’s easy to be caught off guard when the mercury drops before winter has even begun. And this year a visit from unusually early icy blasts of cold from up north has been the rule almost everywhere in the country. This Holiday Season, even local house owners who don’t have to worry about their own house safety may be visiting relatives unprepared for the sudden December tundra; so it’s a good time to go over the Red Cross cold weather Preventive Action guidelines:
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing (but: move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children). And keep garage doors closed!
- In very cold weather, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- If you will be going away, leave the heat on in the house, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
Following those tried-and-true guidelines should mean you’re home free. But if you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Trace the culprit: likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters the house through the foundation. To thaw frozen pipes:
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device—no matter how tempting.
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice inside the pipe.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if it’s not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, you’ll have to call a licensed plumber. If you need a reference, call me anytime for this or any other house questions.
You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
On Thursday, Bloomberg’s online news service confirmed what we had been hearing in more general terms: “Sales of previously owned U.S. homes climbed more than forecast in May…and prices jumped, indicating more progress for residential real estate.” Agents here in Evansville would also not have been surprised at the national surge in selling prices “by the most since October 2005”. If you were already inclined to sell your own home, it looks more and more as if this summer will be a propitious time to jump on the opportunity.
As real estate agents gear up to maximize the market’s improvement, homeowners are also weighing some of the more popular alternatives for boosting valuations when it comes to selling —
- Prospective homebuyers are increasingly energy savvy, so when new appliances need to be updated prior to sale, the more energy-efficient they are, the more worth highlighting they will be. Real estate agents know how to emphasize a property’s ‘green’ attributes.
- If you have an attic or a basement that is currently serving little purpose, conversion can pay off. Basements are often the more affordable option since they call for little structural remodelling. Conversions can be into a games room, office, or utility area. Attics are often best converted to bedrooms or office space (or at least staged to suggest the possibility).
- In Evansville, real estate agents love to offer properties with decks — especially in the summertime. If you are prepared to engage in a little DIY, adding a deck can be among the most cost-effective of improvements. According to HGTV, the cost of a professionally built deck starts at about $15 per square foot, with more elaborate installations featuring costly hardwoods or composite materials running closer to $35.
Even if you do not intend to sell, a little extra money invested in your home may be a dollar-wise idea. Thoughtful investments can enrich your own living experience AND attract higher prices when the time comes to move on. If you’re looking for a real estate agent in Evansville, call me today to go over other improvement ideas. You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Deep clean your house and you’ll brighten rooms and help maintain your home’s value.
Deep cleaning your house is that top-to-bottom, take-no-dust-bunny-prisoners, mother-in-law-quality cleaning that truly maintains the value of your home. Here are frequently overlooked areas that a little spit and polish wouldn’t hurt.
De-bug the light fixtures
See that bug burial ground within your overhead fixtures? Turn off the lights and carefully remove fixture covers, dump out flies and wash with hot soapy water. While you’re up there, dust bulbs. Dry everything thoroughly before replacing the cover.
Vacuum heat vents and registers
Dirt and dust build up in heat vents and along register blades. Vents also are great receptacles for coins and missing buttons. Unscrew vent covers from walls or pluck them from floors, remove foreign objects, and vacuum inside the vent. Clean grates with a damp cloth and screw back tightly.
To deep clean brass door hinges, handles, and cabinet knobs, thoroughly wipe with a damp microfiber cloth, then polish with Wright’s or Weiman brass cleaner ($4). Dish soap shines up glass or stainless steel knobs. Use a Q-tip to detail the ornamental filigree on knobs and handles.
Replace grungy switch plates
Any amateur can wipe a few fingerprints off cover plates that hide light switches, electric outlets, phone jacks, and cable outlets. But only deep cleaners happily remove plates to vacuum and swipe the gunk behind. (OK, we’re a little OCD when it comes to dirt!) Make sure cover plates are straight when you replace them. And pitch plates that are beyond the help of even deep cleaning. New ones cost less than $2 each.
Neaten weather stripping
Peeling, drooping weather stripping on doors and windows makes rooms look old. If the strip still has some life, nail or glue it back. If it’s hopeless, cut out and replace sections, or just pull the whole thing off and start new. A 10-ft. roll of foam weather stripping costs $8; 16-ft. vinyl costs about $15.
Replace stove drip pans
Some drip pans are beyond the scrub brush. Replacing them costs about $3 each and instantly freshens your stove.
Sometimes home values can undergo abrupt changes. One way that can happen is through the ‘Surprise Remodel’ phenomenon. That’s when you wake up one morning to find that your local house grew larger…overnight!
If you are one of the many residents whose children have left for school, the Surprise Remodel is what happened the moment you realized that that you were, in fact, suddenly in possession of an extra room.
Sometimes it takes a few months, but as soon as you conclude that the sentimental value of leaving the high school memorabilia in place is outweighed by the value of transforming the room into more useful space, you have a number of ways to proceed:
Transforming the former kid room into an exercise area is one foolproof way home values can be increased. Remove carpeting and add flooring as needed; place a floor-to-wall mirror to one side; then add any exercise equipment you choose (garage sales can be excellent sources).
Have you always wanted a dedicated home office? Now is the ideal time. Paint the room a rich neutral color, add the desk (freeing up space it used to occupy elsewhere), and then add bookshelves and a guest chair or sofa. Voila!
In the likely event the kids will be back now and then, a subtler changeover to a universal guest room is a good answer. Memorabilia removal will go a long way toward accomplishing that goal, and home values always improve when fancier bedding and pillows are added to any room.
Evansville home values may not seem important until you decide to put your own on the market, but I have often heard clients say they wish they had spruced up the place while they were still living there. Any Surprise Remodel moment is a perfect opportunity to do just that.
Later, when the time comes to list, don’t forget to call me! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com