December 2015

Prepare Your Home for Winter

Now that the weather is only turning colder, it’s undeniable that winter is upon us. And just like you take steps once spring arrives to prepare your home for warmer months ahead, you should do the same now for the cold winter that’s about to set in.

But, what steps should you take as you prepare for cold weather? There are important measures for both your home and lawn to ensure everything is in top condition once warm weather returns, all of which we’re going to reveal below. Let’s get started!

Get Your Home Ready: 5 Important Tips

Curious what steps are most important to take as it begins to get cold outside? These 5 are a great place to get started:

  1. Inspect Your Heating System – Heating systems tend to break down on the coldest days of the year! You should pay a technician to inspect your furnace or heat pump well ahead of the cold weather. This can identify any preexisting issues and ensure your system is in tip-top shape.
  2. Inspect the Roof – Missing or damaged shingles can leak and cause issues as snow accumulates or melts. Be sure to check your roof before it begins to snow to ensure you’re prepared!
  3. Inspect the Chimney – If you live in a home with a fireplace, an inspection is in order! Get the chimney and vents cleaned to prevent fires or carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.
  4. Caulk Around Windows and Doors – If there are any gaps in caulking wider than the width of a nickel, you should reapply caulk. Use silicone caulk for exterior use because it won’t shrink and cause future gaps (or be affected by the elements).
  5. Clean Gutters – Leaves or other debris in your gutters can block water and cause damage to your roof or siding, not to mention cause ice dams. Clean them yourself or pay a professional to clean and inspect them to ensure they’re functioning properly.

Get Your Lawn Ready: 5 Important Tips

Now that you’ve handled preparation inside your home, it’s important to turn your attention to the lawn! Here are 5 additional tips to follow to ensure it’s healthy when the snow melts:

  1. Mulch Leaves Instead of Raking – Drop the rake! Mulching dry leaves in your yard is better than ranking because the small pieces will fall amidst grass blades and nourish your yard over the winter.
  2. Mulch – Mulch protects plants against cold temperatures. Use it around trees and shrubs after the first freeze by piling it between two and four inches deep around important plants in your yard.
  3. Clear Decaying/Dead Branches – Do any of your bushes or trees have decaying or dead branches? It’s important to remove them to keep all of your plants healthy.
  4. Remove Annuals and Mulch Perennials – Annuals will die as temperatures drop but perennials won’t! As such you should remove annuals but mulch perennials after the first freeze as they will often survive and regrow in the spring.
  5. Turn Off Exterior Faucets and Drain Sprinklers – Exterior faucets should be turned off and drained to prevent water in the pipes from freezing and bursting. You should also call a professional to drain your sprinkler system if you have one.

Are You Getting Ready to Sell Your Home?

If you’re currently preparing to sell your home, taking the steps above to winterize your home is a great selling feature for buyers!

If you want to take advantage of a professional team and decades of experience in home selling across the country, the team at United Real Estate can help! Contact a member of our team today to discuss your unique buying or selling needs!

8 Tips for Top Holiday Safety

The holidays are upon us and while the holidays are full of decorating, fun, and cheer, there’s one thing that you must be mindful of: Holiday safety.

After all, it’s important to keep your home free from fire and injury as you deck the halls! So from the family at United Real Estate to your own, here are 8 tips you should be mindful of to keep your home safe (and happy) for the holidays.

  1. Inspect the Lights – The lights you use around your home have likely been in your family for years. But you need to inspect them annually for frayed cords, cracks in lamps, or loose connections. This will help you keep the lights safe and functional for years to come.
  1. Turn Off Lights – It can be tempting to leave decorations plugged in when you leave your home or go to sleep, but you shouldn’t. Always switch them off to prevent fire.
  1. Choose a Fresh Tree (and take care of it properly) – If you buy a fresh tree each year for your home, choose a tree that’s fresh. This will help prevent ignition should a fire occur. Likewise, you should keep the tree watered and away from candles for additional protection.
  1. Check Lighting Certification – When you purchase any lighting fixtures or extension cords, check the certification. It should have the accreditation of an organization like CSA International, UL, or ELT to ensure the products are both safe and efficient.

 

  1. Use Only One Extension Cord – Plugging extension cords into each other can be a hazard. Use only one cord at a time and ensure it has plenty of room to reach the outlet without stretching (this will prevent tripping hazards).

 

  1. Hang Outdoor Lights With Care – Outdoor lights are exposed to the elements so you must use additional precautions. Use insulated tape or plastic clips to hold lights in place and keep electrical connectors away from metal gutters and the ground.

 

  1. Always Use the Correct Ladder – It can be tempting to use a chair or any old ladder if you’re decorating in a hurry, but you shouldn’t! Use a safe, certified ladder for all jobs to prevent injury.

 

  1. Clear Your Clutter – With so many decorations going up, it’s common to accumulate clutter around your home. But you should keep everything out of the way to prevent injury and to keep your home beautiful for the holidays!

 

Wishing You a Joyful Holiday Season

On behalf of the entire team at United Real Estate, we wish you a joyful (and safe) beginning to your holiday season!

 

If you’re planning to purchase or sell a home, the team at United can help! Contact us today to take advantage of decades of expertise and a nationwide network of professionals!