Articles Tagged "Home Maintenance"

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Benefits of Maintenance Free Living

Home ownership has numerous benefits, from financial (building equity) to social (creating strong community ties). The responsibility and burden of routine home maintenance and yard work, however, are not at the top of that list. For those craving the benefits of owning property without the downside of full responsibility, a condo or townhome may be the perfect solution. Buying a condo or townhome eliminates much of the responsibility and expense of routine home maintenance, such as yard work and home repairs, as well as the larger costs that accompany home renovations. That means residents don't have to shell out the money to repair leaky faucets or broken hot water tanks, they can just place a call to management and put in a maintenance work order. And they don't have to spend weekends planting flowers, laying mulch or mowing the lawn, either—with a condo, landscaping is typically maintained by the homeowners association. First-time home owners can often become overwhelmed by the prospect of furnishing and decorating the inside of a home, so it can be a relief to not have to worry about landscaping, yard maintenance and physical activities such as shoveling snow or repairing the roof. Maintenance-free housing appeals not only to older buyers who may want to avoid icy sidewalks and climbing on ladders for safety reasons, but also to young professionals who don't relish the idea of spending all week working just to come home to a long to-do list for the weekend. The free weekends provided by a maintenance-free lifestyle are especially valuable in urban areas such as Downtown Columbus and the inner city neighborhoods, where residents can take full advantage of being close to the action. Many of the city's best bars and restaurants are within walking distance of urban condos and townhomes, as are art galleries, museums and parks. As another bonus, living in a walkable neighborhood can mean relying less on cars and all the expenses associated with them (think gasoline and routine auto repairs). Want to start exploring the benefits of maintenance-free living? We'd love to help you find the condo or townhome that's perfect for your needs!

8 Tools Every Homeowner Needs

Buying a house offers many perks to homeowners—upgrading, furnishing and decorating being some of the most exciting ones. However, splurging on the look of your home without considering necessary investments such as a well-equipped toolkit can result in future struggles and major headaches. The following are essential tools that every homeowner needs 1. Flashlight Tackling home repairs that occur in dark spaces is nearly impossible without the use of a flashlight. It's also good to have a headlamp for those repairs needing two hands in a darker area.   2. Screwdrivers A well-stocked toolkit must have, at the very least, multiple sizes of Phillips and Flathead screwdrivers to match every need. Be warned you may still encounter a need for a size you don't own.  3. Utility Knife There are many things scissors can't take care of, which is why a high-quality utility knife is a must-have in your home. From precision cutting to removing grout to trimming carpet edges to cutting wires—it's surprising the amount of uses this one small tool can have. 4. Hammer A toolkit is never complete without a hammer but it needs to be a good one. Invest in a hammer with a comfortable grip, a smooth head and a claw for pulling nails or plying. 5. Pliers While these aren't always in the list of top tools to have at home, they can always come in handy. From handling small objects to turning bolts to bending metal, a set of pliers with different shapes and sizes will cover every need. 6. Allen Wrench For all the Ikea/assemble-it-yourself furniture shoppers out there, an Allen wrench is a necessary buy. Driving bolts and screws with hexagonal sockets will be much easier with this literal all-in-one tool. 7. Power Drill Surprisingly, a power drill is one of the most used household tools—especially a cordless power drill. From making big holes to mixing paint to driving screws and bolts, this tool is essentially a jack-of-all-trades. 8. Electrical Cord Many projects require corded tools and devices but a lot of these don't have long enough cables to reach an electrical outlet. When choosing an electrical cord, consider safety, energy efficiency and overall performance. Enjoy your new home and have fun with all the projects you can complete with your completed toolbox. 

Must-Do Spring Cleaning Projects

Spring Cleaning Spring-cleaning often means deep, thorough cleaning from top to bottom – including everything in-between. As you prepare your home to sell, regardless of the season, think spring-cleaning on caffeine.  Before you get started, go room-to-room and make a list of everything needed for the space. Getting organized first may minimize the stress of the project and keep you focused. Here are five areas to get you started on your deep cleaning, sparkle project: Start with the outer shell Wipe down the walls, dust the woodwork and blinds, make the windows sparkle and wash the draperies.   Let there be light Clean the light fixtures and change the bulbs. A well-lit space is important for open houses and showings. Sweep, mop and shine the floors This step will be needed almost daily throughout the listing process. Taking the time to do a thorough cleaning before the listing will make the daily task routine once your home is listed for sale. Purge and remove the clutter Out with the old!  If you haven't worn it in the last year, donate it. If you haven't cooked with it in the last year, box it up and give it to a soup kitchen. Work on one room at a time Complete one area before tackling the next one. Seeing progress and feeling accomplishment one room at a time will provide the motivation to keep going. For more ideas and recommendations about selling your home, visit the Cutler Homes blog.

Home Warranty vs. Home Insurance, What is the Difference?

Home Warranty vs. Home Insurance Home insurance and home warranties are similar, but they are not the same. Both provide some sort of coverage for an unexpected event, but coverage and claims are different between the two. For first-time homebuyers the process of buying your first home can be overwhelming and confusing. It is important to educate yourself and communicate your questions or concerns with your real estate professional. One key factor in owning your first home is to understand the difference between a home warranty and home insurance. According to HSA Home Warranty, "a home warranty is a one-year contractual guarantee that should certain appliances or mechanical systems fail due to normal wear and tear during the coverage period, those items will be repaired or replaced, subject to a small deductible."  A home warranty is in place for the first twelve months after closing. On the other hand, home insurance provides coverage due to unexpected catastrophes, such as earthquakes, windstorms, fires and more. It also provides protection for loss of property from theft, including everything from jewelry to electronics. There is no question as to the need for home insurance as your mortgage lender will require you to purchase a policy and have it in place on the day of closing.  It will be required as long as you have a mortgage on the property.  Further, if you were to purchase a home with cash, home insurance is strongly recommended to protect your investment. A home warranty isn't required to close or purchase a new home. However, it can provide peace of mind should the dishwasher or hot water heater break two months after closing. A new home comes with lots of opportunities and a lot of unknowns, so this type of coverage will provide breathing room should the unexpected happen and be a costly fix. In either case, for home warranties and home insurance, ask questions, understand the coverage you will have, and store the paperwork with your closing documents and house information so you have it handy if you need it. For more articles about purchasing your first home, visit our Cutler Real Estate blog.

Attention Homeowners, Protect Your Home from Ice Dams

Dangers of Ice Dams
Ever heard of an ice dam? If you've experienced the home damage that can be caused by these wintertime hazards, you won't soon forget the term!

An ice dam is a hump of ice that forms at the edges of a roof, caused by snow and ice. Ice dams may be caused when the attic gets warm enough to melt the underside of a layer of snow on the roof. What happens next is water drips down the roof until it reaches the colder eaves, where it refreezes. Gradually, all that water grows into a mound of ice. Dams can also be caused by gutters that trap snow and ice, which can build up high enough to provide the foundation for an ice dam.

Icicles hanging from the edge of the roof are a good indication that an ice dam may be forming. Ice dams are more commonly found in older homes that lack proper insulation and ventilation.

Once they've formed, ice dams can cause plenty of property damage. As an ice dam grows bigger, melted water can back up behind it and seep underneath shingles, penetrating the roof. That water can drip down into the home, causing peeling paint, warped floors and sagging ceilings. If the ice jam becomes heavy enough it can fall, tearing down gutters and shingles along with it.

The best way to prevent ice dams from forming is preventing the roof from warming in the first place. To do so, add extra insulation in the attic and seal off any air leaks from the main living space. Cover unsealed attic hatches or whole-house fans with weather-stripped caps, and seal and insulate HVAC and exhaust ducts. Gutters should be cleaned in the fall so water, rain and melted snow can flow off properly. And after snowfalls of 6 inches or more, use a roof rake or shovel to remove snow that has accumulated on top of your home.

Download our home maintenance checklist to protect your investment all throughout the year. 

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