http://www.allaboutarmonk.com/realestate.html November 23, 2014
The weather’s just turned frosty. Most of the family is thinking about holiday meals, visits from relatives and precious presents. But what are you thinking about? Getting your home winter-ready, or keeping it market-ready, if you’re looking to make a move.
With a little advance planning, you can get winterizing under wraps easily. To winterize your home, keep these three simple steps in mind, according to home maintenance and energy professionals:
- Safety First: Keep walkways and driveways clear of wet leaves, snow, and ice. If you haven’t already, do it yourself or have your landscapers mulch, rake, or blow the leaves clear from your driveway, walkways, and yard. Leaves can become slippery and create a hazard for those walking or playing a game of holiday touch football outside your home. And, about that imminent wintry precipitation, don’t wait until the last minute. Have a snow removal plan. Decide whether you want to hire a professional snow removal company or the local high school boy down the street. Then make it official. The last thing you want is to be stuck on the day of a huge snowfall looking for someone to help you. If you decide to do it yourself, make sure your snow blower is in good working order and filled with gas/oil. Have extra fuel on hand. Purchase and store bags of salt or sand to have on the ready. Check that your shovels and ice scrapers are in good condition.
“If your house is on the market in the winter months, it is extremely important that you keep front and back walks and your driveway cleared and de-iced at all times to ensure the safety of buyers looking at a home and to protect the seller’s liability,” says Harriet Libov, Brokerage Agent with Houlihan Lawrence Armonk.
- Heating Equipment Check: An annual maintenance check of the furnace and cleaning of chimneys, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are important to ensure a warm home this winter. Schedule a furnace check with your fuel oil company to make sure your furnace is in good working order and that filters are changed or cleaned. Have your fuel oil filled for the season and confirm that you are on a regular schedule to receive refills. Local chimney cleaning services and fireplace/wood-burning stove retailers can help with chimney, fireplace and wood-burning stove maintenance.
“When potential buyers view a home after work or on a weekend for a second showing, lamp lighting, candles glowing and a fire in the fireplace are extremely inviting and offer a different perspective of your home,” Ms. Libov adds. “So, if your fireplace or wood-burning stove is ready for use, go ahead and feature it during the showing.” Hiring staging professionals who know which paint colors to choose and furniture and props to use can take your home to another level during the winter months and throughout other seasons as well.
- Keeping the Heat in: Now that your heating equipment is winter-ready, you’ve got to keep that heat in. Make sure you have the right windows and doors in your home and that they are sealed (weather stripped) for the elements. Any window unit air conditioner should be removed or sealed. Remember, all weather stripping is not created equal. Doors and windows that aren’t weather stripped correctly account for 12% of heat loss in a home, say energy experts. For every degree you turn up the thermostat, you use another 10% in energy. Local handyman services and window/door retailers can advise you about what makes the most sense for your home. Whether you are staying in your home or planning to sell, making a sound investment in sealing your home against the elements will pay off in the long term.
“I’m often asked whether homeowners should keep their houses on the market during the winter,” says Ms. Libov. “The seller must consider several things in order to decide.”
- How does it inconvenience your holidays?
- What are the features of the property? (For example, if you have a really steep driveway or don’t have a garage, it is less of a concern when buyers see the property in the spring market.)
- How much do you want the home to be sold?
“If a homeowner really wants to sell his home as soon as possible, then I advise him to keep it on the market,” continues Ms. Libov. “At this time of year, the buyers out there are usually serious. Our web traffic is high and is generating many inquiries about homes for sale. While the spring market brings more buyers, it also brings more inventory, which can slow down the buyer’s decision-making process,” she concludes.
All About Armonk, Sponsored Feature
Staff Writer, Shirley Keiser
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker ABR, GRI, SFR, SRES
Accredited Staging Professional from Stagedhomes.com
Houlihan Lawrence, Armonk Brokerage
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