A Fall Checklist of 10 Things You Have To Do Before Winter Sets In

It’s quite a chilly fall day in the Greenbrier Valley! Over the weekend, we welcomed the Fall season. Love it or hate it, it’s here! The weather and time of year got us thinking about preparing for cooler temperatures. So, we have found a great checklist and wanted to share it with you. It’s time to tackle a few simple chores that’ll make winter more pleasant and prevent some nasty surprises next spring.

This fall checklist helps:

#1 Clean and Stow Your Mower

If you’re not familiar with fuel stabilizer, get to know it. If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle) prevents gas from degrading.Add stabilizer to your gasoline can to keep spare gas in good condition over the winter, and top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.

garden grass meadow green

#2 Remove Garden Hoses From Faucets

Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.

Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet.

While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.

#3 Drain Your Sprinkler System

Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.

  1. Turn off the water to the system at the main valve.
  2. Shut off the automatic controller.
  3. Open drain valves to remove water from the system.
  4. Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace.

If you don’t have drain valves, then hire an irrigation pro to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air. A pro is worth the $75 to $150 charge to make sure the job is done right, and to ensure you don’t have busted pipes and sprinkler head repairs to make in the spring.

#4 Seal Air Leaks

Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a journey around  your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.

Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.

#5 De-Gunk Your Gutters

Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.

If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage (#5, below); it may be time for a roofing replacement.

Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions; $10 to $20 each.

#6 Eyeball Your Roof

If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground.

Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately.

Image result for roof shingles

Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath. Call in a pro roofer for a $50 to $100 eval.

A plumbing vent stack usually is flashed with a rubber collar — called a boot — that may crack or loosen over time. They’ll wear out before your roof does, so make sure they’re in good shape. A pro roofer will charge $75 to $150 to replace a boot, depending on how steep your roof is.

#7 Direct Your Drainage

Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks.

Be sure soil doesn’t touch your siding.

#8 Check Your Furnace

Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $50 to $100 for a checkup.

An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit.

Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.

#9 Prune Plants

Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.

For advice on pruning specific plants in your region, check with your state extension service.

#10 Give Your Fireplace a Once-Over

Image result for chimneyTo make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney.

Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar. If you spot any damage, order a professional fireplace and chimney inspection. An inspection costs $79 to $500.

You fireplace flue should be cleaned of creosote buildup every other year. A professional chimney sweep will charge $150 to $250 for the service.

Article Adapted from House Logic


We hope you found these tips helpful and enjoy this new season we’re welcoming!
Happy Fall!

As always, for any real estate needs contact us! We’re ready to serve you!

Greenbrier Real Estate Service
http://www.greenbrierrealestateservice.com
304.645.2255

Gregory Allman, Brokerfall-checklist-maintenance-standard_bdc024bc38b7143c1fc5a68511c36f55_860x1195_q85

 

Top 15 Questions to Ask Your Agent

Be a well informed buyer…ask your agent these questions when touring a home.

Our agents tour homes every day. Pick your agent’s brain for any unique qualities that stand out or flaws that you could be unaware of. If your agent doesn’t know the answer to a question, she or he can always ask the seller’s agent later.

Common questions to ask your agent:

  • What do you like about the home?
  • Do you have any concerns about this home?
  • Is the price right?
  • How long has this home been on the market?
  • How quickly do you think this home will sell?
  • How long have the current owners owned the home?
  • Why is the home for sale?
  • How old is the home?
  • Are any repairs needed?
  • How old is the roof?
  • When were the floors last refinished?
  • What type of heating and cooling systems are in place?
  • How old is the electrical and plumbing?
  • Can you see a copy of the current owner’s utilities?
  • Is there a homeowner’s association with fees?

 

Article adapted from Redfin.com


Our professional REALTORs at Greenbrier Real Estate Service are always willing to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today! 304.645.2255

Upcoming Events in the Greenbrier Valley:

September 21-23: Giant Fall Flea Market 9am-6pm WV State Fairgrounds
Other area events can be found at Greenbrier Valley Events  and Hashtag WV

 

 

Things to Look for on a Home Tour

Before you begin touring, research homes online and start narrowing down your must-haves versus nice-to-haves. Then try to find homes to tour within your price range. When you get more serious about your house hunt, you’ll want a trustworthy real estate agent to help point out flaws, keep you within your budget, and tell you when to walk away.

Now, you’ve requested to see a home from your trusted Greenbrier Real Estate Service REALTOR. You’re off to a great start! Take a look at this list of things to look for while you’re viewing the home…

Once inside a home, try everything.

white wooden kitchen island
Sight lines, cabinet storage, style, floorplan all things to keep in mind when on a home tour.

Follow common courtesy but don’t be shy—open and shut the cupboards, flush the toilets, and whip out the measuring tape. Here are a few key things to look for on each tour:

  • Architectural style
  • Number, location, and size of bedrooms
  • Number, location, and size of bathrooms
  • Closet and storage space
  • Number of floors
  • Sight lines through home
  • General floorplan
  • Age and condition of appliances
  • Light switches and number of sockets in each room
  • Plumbing and water pressure
  • Amount of natural light and views, if any
  • Noise levels inside and outside the home
  • Width and types of stairways
  • Porches and decks
  • Garage and/or parking capacity
  • Proximity to neighboring homes
  • Remodeling opportunities

Don’t forget the exterior

Don’t forget to walk around the entire home and property. Pay attention to the age and condition of the roof and siding. Does the landscaping look like it will be a lot of work? If you don’t have a green thumb and don’t want to hire a gardener every month, you may want to look for a home with easy outdoor upkeep.

Take notes and photos

It’s easy to get homes mixed up so take photos, videos, and notes on each tour. Photograph features you particularly like and dislike about each home, and share these insights with your agent. Looking through your photos and notes with fresh eyes may also trigger additional questions you have about the home.

pexels-photo-412440.jpeg
Photo by Miesha Moriniere on Pexels.com

Research the neighborhood

Take few minutes before or after your home tour to check out the neighborhood. How does the neighborhood feel? Is it bustling or quiet? Is there shopping, dining, and gas nearby? What are the schools like?

The bottom line

Home buying takes plenty of compromise and patience. It’s easy to fall in love with a home at first sight—and if you love a home, chances are everyone else will too. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just realize that you may be up against some competition. Be prepared to make multiple offers before you find the right home at the right price.

As always our REALTORS at Greenbrier Real Estate Service are always dedicated to guiding you through this process. Stay tuned for our next blog!–Things to ask Your Real Estate Agent– a continuation of Things to Look for on your Home Tour.


Greenbrier Real Estate Service
Gregory Allman, Broker
304.645.2255

To-Dos: Your August Home Checklist

With the transition from summer travels to school beginning in just 10 days in Greenbrier County, August can feel like a sudden downshift from the fun of vacation. Stretch out these last days of summer by squeezing in a few more home projects, savoring simple pleasures and, when the time comes, cleaning up the beach toys and preparing the house for a busy fall. Pick from these 13 to-dos to create your perfect August plan.

1. Clean and store summer gear. Once the last beach day is behind you, take the time to clean out the buckets, shovels and boogie boards so they’re fresh and clean for next year. Toss out cracked or broken toys, and shop end-of-season sales to replace items if needed.

person pinpointing pen on calendar
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

2. Set up a shared family calendar. Whether you choose a big paper wall calendar or a digital version, having one calendar to rule them all will be a big help come fall, when schedules get busier. Set up your preferred method now, and record important back-to-school dates and recurring events.

3. Clear the way for easy weeknight dinners. A too-packed kitchen (and fridge and pantry) can make meal prep harder than it needs to be. Clear away clutter to create a clean work space on the counter and remove expired, stale and unwanted food from the pantry, fridge and freezer. Donate unwanted and unexpired foods in their original packaging to a local food pantry.

4. Share your backyard harvest. Have a glut of tomatoes, squash or other summer produce? Pack up a basket to share with your neighbors, or check out Greenbrier County’s own Waste Not Want Not Project they host a Produce Market every Sunday in Fairlea, WV at Swift Level Fine Meats. A great project that benefits our area farmers as well as low income families and seniors in our area!

food salad healthy summer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Tackle These Tasks Over a Weekend

5. Organize family photos. 
Have a bunch of new photos from your summer adventures? Take this opportunity to sort and organize them — back up digital photos with cloud-based storage, and make an album or a book of recent photos.

6. Clean carpets and floors. Sand and garden dirt tracked in over the summer can really take a toll on floors. Vacuum and mop floors, and have area rugs and carpeting professionally cleaned if needed.

person using mop on floor
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

7. Get organized for back to school (and work). Consider what would make this fall run more smoothly for your family: a few extra hooks in the entryway to handle coats and bags, perhaps? Or if papers are a constant problem, take the time now to set up a simple filing system and an inbox for each family member.

8. Check emergency kits.Emergency supplies don’t last forever. Open up your kit and check expiration dates on food and any medications; replace as needed. Don’t have an emergency kit yet? Make this the month you create one.

first aid case on wall
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

9. Organize closets before fall shopping. Before making any new purchases, spend some time assessing what you already have in the closet: Try on clothing, fold and hang up any clothes on the floor, get rid of items you don’t wear and make a list of what you need. Doing this before shopping can help save money and prevent cluttering up your closet.

10. Schedule some do-nothing time. It can be surprisingly hard to relax and simply do nothing, even when you do have a pocket of free time. I find that the key is not calling it “free time” at all: By planning to do nothing, you are actually giving yourself permission to fully relax.

11. Clean and organize the garage. If you haven’t cleaned out your garage in a while, it’s likely this project will take an entire weekend (or more), so plan accordingly. It helps to think ahead and find out where you can take items (donations, hazardous waste, things to sell) before starting, and get a dumpster if you think you will need it. Wait until you’ve cleared away the clutter before purchasing new shelving or wall-mounted organizers. You’ll have a better idea of what you need once the decluttering is complete.

12. Finish up outdoor projects. Make use of the long August days to finish up any outdoor projects you started (or intended to start) over the summer.

13. Check your home for signs of pests. 
It’s not a pleasant subject, but being proactive when it comes to pests in and around your home is much better than trying to solve a pest problem that has gotten out of hand.  If you do need to use pesticides, choose the lowest-risk product first, and use according to the directions. If you hire a pest control pro, ask him or her to use bait, and crack and crevice control when possible; fogging should be a last resort.

What’s on your TO-DO List for the end of summer? Soak it up, get things done, and get ready for fall in the Greenbrier Valley!

Article adapted from Houzz.com-Laura Gaskill


Thinking of  moving to our beautiful “neck of the woods” Contact us! We’ll help you find your home sweet home!

Greenbrier Real Estate Service
1047 Washington St. E.
Lewisburg, WV 24957
304.645.2255

 

Home Buying Checklist

This checklist and the right agent will help you get on the right track in your house hunt!

Buying a home can be bewildering and stressful. (We get it.) And we’re here for you every step of the way.

We think this simple and easy to use checklist is great! So we’re sharing it! Trulia’s printable home buying checklist breaks down the process and points you to the tips and tools you need to find your next place. Download the PDF here to get started on your real estate journey. You can also contact us to help you start the process!

1. Gather Financials

Before you start looking at homes for sale, get your financial house in order. First, request your credit report from all three bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Comb through each report to ensure it’s accurate — and fix any errors you spot!

money pink coins pig
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Next, compile all the documents you may need to provide to a loan officer, including pay stubs, bank statements, and previous years’ tax returns.

2. Research Mortgages

Credit score and financial documents in hand, you’re ready to start researching options for your home loan.

Take advantage of online aids. You can comparison shop from a diverse group of reputable lenders in all 50 states, ranging from small, regional providers to larger, well-known brands such as Citi and Bank of America. You’ll get a personalized quote and can read lender reviews and ratings to help gain insights into which lender is right for you.

One of the best things to tackle on this section of the home buying checklist? Find out if you qualify for a special loan, such as a Veterans Affairs (VA) loan or any special home buying financing options through state or federal programs.

Make sure you get that mortgage preapproval letter — it’ll make you a more competitive buyer!

3. Explore Neighborhoods

Now for the fun part of the home buying checklist! It’s time to explore neighborhoods.

Investigate everything from commute times to walk score to school ratings and crime activity. Once you’ve honed in on the right neighborhood for your new place, be sure to check out bordering neighborhoods for even more options.

bright flora flowers homes
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

4. Make a shopping list

As you get deeper into the process, it can be tough to keep your priorities straight. The more homes you see, the more you can lose track of what really matters.

Yes, that home has a gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances. But it’s $75,000 above the comfortable high in your price range — worth it?

That’s where this section of the home buying checklist comes into play: the home-shopping list. Take a few hours to hone in on exactly what constitutes a “must-have” item in your new home and then expand upon those points to determine what might constitute your “nice-to-have” and “dream features.”

writing notes idea class
Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

For example, a well-lit kitchen with ample storage space and new-ish appliances might be in your must-have section, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops in your nice-to-have section, and a chef-style gas range and pot filler in your dream-features section.

Knowing what matters most will help you and your real estate agent navigate the home buying process more quickly — and with less confusion.

5. Find an agent

As with any profession, there are amazing, miracle-working real estate agents … and there are some less than stellar ones. While it may seem like an easy to-do on the home buying checklist, finding a real estate agent is one of the most important steps in the process.

Ask family and friends for recommendations — and be sure to call your prospective agent’s references to get details on their experience.

But above all else, be sure to choose an agent who specializes in the type of home you’re seeking and is an expert on your desired neighborhood.

6. Start house hunting!

You’re so close to the finish line! (Well, almost.) This is when the real action begins.

Now that you’ve completed all preliminary steps on the home buying checklist, you’re ready to start searching. Online listings are a great place to start–check out our listing on our website! Click here! Visit open houses and work with your agent to schedule private showings.

Enjoy the house hunt, because your next steps — negotiating with sellers, home inspections, closing costs, and more — still lie ahead.

Article adapted from Trulia.com