8 Tasks to Check Off Your Home Maintenance List This November

fall maintenance tipsNovember is the month nearly everyone thinks about Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season. November should also be considered as a great home maintenance month before the cold winter weather makes its imminent arrival to the St. Louis region.

This November, take the time to perform and check off the following 8 tasks from your home maintenance to-do list! Check them out below!

Maintain Your Chimney and Fireplace – Before you decide to put a fire on in your fireplace, make sure that you give it thorough seasonal maintenance, giving special attention to the flue, damper, and firebox. A buildup of creosote can lead to a very dangerous chimney fire. Also, if you don’t already have a chimney cap, we suggest that you go ahead and get them installed at the time of service. This will help prevent outside critters from coming inside through your fireplace. Also, if you store firewood outside, make sure that it is not directly stored up against the house – mice and termites like to hang out there and can easily find their way into your home!

Ready Your Snow Supplies – You might not be ready to face the impending winter and the frozen precipitation that comes with it, but you will have to eventually! While winter has yet to arrive and it won’t start snowing tomorrow (or so we hope), forecasters in the St. Louis region are calling for a rough winter this year. Ready your snow gear before the weather turns nasty! Make sure that your snow shovel isn’t buried underneath all of your gardening tools and car supplies and that you have easy access to it in case of bad weather. If you use a snow blower, have it serviced and fill the tank with fresh gasoline. Finally, stock up on calcium chloride and some sand for deicing – keep a little of it inside your entrance in case you wake up to a snowy surprise!

Clean Your Gutters – If you haven’t done this yet, now is the time to get to it! Wear long rubber gloves, grab a gallon bucket, and scoop out leaves and debris into the bucket by hand. After the gutters are cleaned, run water down the gutter to see if it drains properly or if there are any spots that need to be patched up before the winter hits.

Clean and Maintain Closets – Can you see the floor space in your closets? Can you easily close the doors? If you answered, “No,” to either one of those questions, you need to clean your closets. Cramped closets can give unwanted pests a home, and too much stuff can break racks from the walls and derail sliding doors off their hinges. Go through your closets and throw out or donate the things you don’t want or need anymore. Consider adding compartments and hanging racks at different levels to make better use of your closet spaces.

Maintain Large Appliances – The holidays are quickly approaching, and that means family, fun times, and of course, lots of great food! You will want to make sure that your appliances are properly prepared for the demands you will be putting on them. Pull your fridge from the wall and clean the condenser coils in the back with a vacuum cleaner and a brush attachment. Vacuum away dust from the lower grille as well. Clean your oven and stove drip pans on your electric range oven. This will help ensure that your holidays are even safer!

Check Your Sump Pump – Most homes have sump pumps installed in an unfinished area in the basement. These pumps switch on automatically when groundwater levels rise, eliminating basement water before it’s a problem. If you happen to have a sump pump in your home, be sure that it is in good working order before the season begins. You wouldn’t want to wake up to a snowstorm and a flooding basement!

Maintain Moisture in Your Home – During the winter season, heaters can rob a home of its humidity quite easily. If moisture sounds like a bad thing to have in your home, please take note that even just a touch of moisture in the air can make heated air feel warmer, which means that you can keep the heat at a slightly lower temperature as long as your humidity is balanced. If you find that your woodwork is cracking or your skin is dry all the time, you probably need more moisture in your home. Consider investing in a humidifier to help add moisture to the atmosphere!

Check Your Windows – After the first snowfall is not the time to discover that your windows aren’t properly sealed. As snow builds up and begins to melt in these areas, the water will then penetrate into unprotected areas, which can cause structural members to rot out. Check your windows before the cold weather arrives and caulk areas that aren’t properly sealed to keep out unwanted moisture and drafts.

Need more advice? Want to know how you can improve your home for your family or to help sell faster? Call us today at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see how we can help! We are THE home experts in the Metro East St. Louis region!

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Selling Your Home? Here’s What Your Home Inspector Will Be Looking For

how to pass home inspectionAre you thinking about selling your home?

If you’re at that stage of homeownership, you are probably busy contacting the right people, straightening up your rooms, and de-cluttering your home from piles that you might otherwise not have ever touched.

But do you really know what’s necessary to help your home get a passing grade for potential homebuyers?

If you’re unsure of what your home needs to look like in order to sell (or to sell for the amount you would like), don’t fret! Just look at our checklist below to see what your home inspector will be looking for during your home inspection!

Your Yard

One of the very first things that potential buyers will notice about your home is your yard, so be sure that you ready it properly! The inspector will check for proper grading drainage and for any evidence of standing water or leaks. Your trees and bushes should be in good condition, and your landscaping should be well-kept. Remember to double-check that your driveways, sidewalks, patios, and railings on your stairs are in good condition as well!

Exterior Surfaces

Next move to your surfaces outside! Make sure that your paint or stain on your home has no stains or flaking and that your vinyl or aluminum siding has no dents or damage. Your professional inspector will be able to locate any large cracks in your stucco or masonry veneers as well.

Windows and Doors

When it comes to your doors and windows, you will want to make sure you did your seasonal homework! Doors and windows will need to be secured, have no cracks or decay, and be caulked and weather-stripped. Remember, damaged screens, broken windows, and visibly neglected features are a major turnoff to potential buyers!

Your Roof

Take a look at your roof! Do you see any broken, damaged, or missing shingles? Does your roof have any cracks or splits? That could be evidence that you need to get it repaired! Your inspector will also check for decay and stains on your soffits and fascia, your gutters, and much more! Don’t forget to check your chimney, if you have one, for any damaged bricks or cracked joints!

The Attic

When your inspector checks out your attic, he or she will be looking for evidence of decay or damage to the structure and stains on the underside of your roofing. He or she will also be checking for sufficient insulation that is functional and properly installed, along with proper ventilation, and any plumbing, exhaust, or appliance vents ending in the attic.

Interior Rooms

To make sure that you’re the bedrooms, offices, and family rooms of your home are ready for potential buyers to see, make sure that you don’t have any stains or significant cracks in your walls and ceilings and that your doors latch properly and easily. Check your paint for cracks and that your flooring is in good condition, too. Your inspector will also check for adequate heating and cooling in each room and that all electrical outlets work properly.

The Kitchen

When it comes to your kitchen, your inspector will check that there are no leaks in the pipes under the sink, that your water flow in the sink is adequate, and that your cabinets are in good condition and that the doors and drawers open and close properly. You will also need to ensure that your dishwasher drains properly, has no leaks, and that it operates correctly.

Your Bathroom(s)

Whether you have one or multiple bathrooms, you will need to be prepared to impress your inspector. He or she will be looking for a working exhaust fan that doesn’t end in your attic space, adequate water flow and pressure in all of your fixtures, proper drainage in your shower, tub, and sink, and that your toilet operates properly, too. Be aware of any and all leaks; if there are any leaks present, please contact a plumber beforehand to correct the issue.

The Basement

If you’re not a fan of basements or not in your basement often, you will need to take extra care of it before the inspector comes! Make sure that your basement shows no evidence of moisture, has no exposed foundation or stains or major cracks, and has no damage from insects. Your insulation and rim and band joints will be checked as well.

Please remember that this checklist shouldn’t be solely relied upon as a home inspection report and that you shouldn’t consider it as a substitute for a professional home inspection. This list is also not a complete list, so please be sure to contact a professional home inspector for a proper inspection!

If you’re ready to sell your home in search of your dream home, then what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone right now and call us at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com. We will find you your dream home and help you sell the home you have now!

8 Curb Appeal Ideas to Attract Homebuyers

curb appeal tipsPerhaps the most important question you need to ask yourself right now if you’re selling your home is, “What will be the first thing that potential homebuyers will see?” Quickly after you ask that question, you should additionally ask yourself if the things that will attract or deter them from your home.

Usually, the first thing that homebuyers will notice when looking for homes is your front yard, the color of your home, the landscaping, and if the home has an attractive exterior. They won’t be able to see the new kitchen appliances you have or the gorgeous, original hardwood floors that are throughout your home. If your curb appeal is subpar, the homebuyers won’t even bother coming through your front door to check out the inside of your home.

But what’s a homeowner to do? Well, don’t fret and continue reading – we have 8 tips that will help you improve your curb appeal and attract homebuyers to your lovely abode pronto!

Reevaluate Your Exterior Paint – Before you even begin on your yard work, look up and check out your home’s exterior. Is the pain cracking, dingy, or old? Is it incongruent with the colors that are present in the neighborhood, or does it not matchup with the style of the home itself? If so, you might want to reevaluate your home’s paint color. If nothing else, do consider pressure washing your siding or brick; it’ll look just like new after you do so!

Keep Your Accents Fresh – Whether your house is adorned with shutters, columns, or planters, be sure that all the accents are in good condition. If there is any damage to your planters, driveway, fences, or exterior lighting, be sure to address them and repair the damaged areas.

Take Note of Walkways – Next on the list are your walkways and entryways. Are the sidewalks cracked and old? Are the stepping stone paths broken? Are weeds sprouting up in the cracks in your driveway? Consider giving extra attention to these areas. Pull the weeds, and fix any broken areas. Additionally, power wash these areas to make them look just like new once more. You’ll notice a difference right away!

Pick Up Your Toys – Curb appeal is associated with how you and your family live your lives day in and day out. Make sure that you don’t leave any objects out on the lawn, or your potential homebuyers could draw up opinions about you and how you care for your home. When you’re finished with gardening tools, put them away immediately. The same goes for your children’s toys – be sure to teach them to put them away when they’re done playing with them. This will help prevent your lawn from appearing unkempt.

Love Your Lawn – Now it’s time to look at your lawn. How do your plants, grass, and surrounding areas look? Does your lawn look beautifully-kept or like a scraggly eyesore to the unbiased eye? Be sure to pull weeds where you can and fix unsightly areas in your yard, and consider employing new landscaping in your yard if it looks a little, well, sad in the landscaping department.

Out With the Old – This may seem kind of crazy, but even the simplest things like your mailbox or house numbers can turn a buyer off. If you’ve lived in your home for a while now (or if your mailbox has seen better days), replace your old mailbox and house numbers with new, more inviting ones!

Add a Pop of Color – Does your home need some extra color? Add an instant pop of color with planters filled with seasonal plants at your front door, in your yard, or at the sides of your garage. The plants will make future homebuyers happy to see what else is inside!

When trying to revamp your curb appeal, remember that it doesn’t have to be difficult or cost you al lot of money. If you’re having trouble attracting homebuyers, try the 8 tips above to help, or go ahead and give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298! You can also visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see how we can help you sell your home and get the dream home you’ve always wanted!

Ten Ways To Add Curb Appeal to Your Humble Abode!

curb appeal tipsYou know how a house has great curb appeal? Every time you walk or drive by it, you just can’t help staring at it. You might even find yourself stopped in front of it, jaw agape and drooling at its beauty. In fact, you might even find yourself driving by that house more and more, simply to look at it and lament that your house is nowhere near as awesome as “that house.”

Luckily for you, there are quite a few easy and relatively cheap ways you can increase your own home’s curb appeal and make a great first impression on others! Check out these ten improvements you can do in a day, a week, or a month below!

CURB APPEAL IN A DAY:

Focus On the Front Door – Your front door is the focal point of your home and reflects your home’s interior, so be sure that it looks the way you want it to! Clean off all dirty spots around the knob, polish the fixtures, and paint your door a bold or zippy new color!

Makeover Your Mailbox – Is your mailbox sad-looking? Does it just scream, “Hey, kids, come hit me with a bat!”? If so, you need to do some serious work! Your mailbox isn’t just for receiving mail – it’s also there to complement your home and express your personality. Spring for a new mailbox or give it a facelift with paint and new house numbers.

Install Outdoor Lighting – Low voltage landscape lighting will make a huge impact on your home and can also provide you with added security. Light fixtures can add accent lighting on plants, trees, or the house, and they can also illuminate a walking path for visitors to see. Can’t use wired lights? Try out solar fixtures! Just be aware that the light levels won’t be as bright as wired lights.

Add Some Plant Life to the Scene – Plants add a punch of color to your curb appeal quickly and affordably. You can buy ready-made containers from a nearby garden center or grow your own favorite plants. Try to incorporate leafy plants with flowering plants in an asymmetrical arrangement to create a dynamic ambiance.

CURB APPEAL IN A WEEKEND:

Add Outdoor Art – You don’t need to become Van Gogh to make your yard look beautiful! Simply choose weather-resistant pieces of art that complement your home. Find a birdbath or sculptures that you love to set outside, and add music to the air by tacking on a wind chime! You can even add water sculptures – just e sure that they’re out of any leaf-dropping range!

Replace Gutters and Downspouts – Are your gutters peeling paint or have rust spots? Are your downspouts nearing non-function? Time to fix them up! Replace your old gutter system with newer, snap-fit vinyl gutters. You can put them together with few tools and no painting! You will boost your curb appeal and help prevent basement flooding when you replace those old gutters of yours!

Create New Planting Beds – If you don’t have a planting bed in place, you should get to it right away! The best places to have a planting bed include in front of the house, along driveways and walkways, and in the front corner of the yard. Choose features for the bed that will frame your home, not block it off. Edge the bed with stone and include a different arrangement of plants in size, color, and texture.

IN A MONTH

Renew Painting, Trim, and Siding – Give that house of yours a well-needed facelift with new paint, siding, and trim! Any cracked or rotting material will automatically downgrade a home’s curb appeal and chase away potential buyers, so do your best to maintain your home’s exterior. You’ll be amazed how your home’s look will be transformed with just a fresh coat of paint and trim!

Make Your Walkway More Inviting – There are several ways you can make your walkways better. You can dress them up with brick and stone borders (and maybe plant a few small flowers on the side), or you can replace your straight, boring concrete path with a dynamic, contoured one made out of brick or stone!

Show Love to Your Driveway – Give your driveway an upgrade without breaking the bank! Repair any cracks and stains and pull weeds out of the driveway. You can then stain the driveway’s concrete, place flagstones nearby, or plant more flora on the sides.

Remember, by adding more curb appeal to your home, you are not only upgrading its price but also enticing potential buyers to come by and check out your home!

If you’re ready to sell your home or maybe want a few ideas for adding more curb appeal, call us here at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298. You can even visit us at our website at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see what we can do for you!