While nobody likes extra chores in the summer, it’s a little more than mowing lawns and slowly killing your garden by forgetting to water—it’s a time to keep on top of maintenance so you can kick back and enjoy your home year-round, without any repair surprises.
- Weed the garden weekly—make a habit of grabbing a few weeds as you stroll through the yard and you’ll never have a choked bed
- Mowers should be set to the highest setting to protect the grass against the drought. Resist the temptation to mow short
- Water plants early in the day or around sunset to avoid frying your plants. Most plants prefer a good soaking a few times a week rather than a light shower every day. Porch ferns may need more watering as they are well-drained and often in sunshine
- Deadhead your flowers
- Use a lawn sprinkler once spring showers end. If yours are built in, check while in use for any issues
- Keep up on pool maintenance to avoid long days working on the pool. Keep the skimmer clean, clean the filter, check chemicals, scrub the pool sides weekly and keep it vacuumed
- If you plan on doing any exterior repairs, summer is the best time
- Reverse your ceiling fans to counter clockwise to circulate cool air down
- Clean your air conditioning filters once a month
- Cover windows that get direct sunlight
- Check your emergency supplies—heat and storms can knock out power and you want to have first aid, water, batteries and flashlights, and battery powered radiator.
- Create or review your family emergency plan in case of bad weather
- Check for signs of bug or other infestations so you can address anything right away—don’t forget to check the attic
- If you’re planning any home improvement projects for the fall, now is the time to meet and schedule with contractors
We’ve all heard the horror stories of friends who have used bad real estate agents. Whether it’s just general incompetence or shady ethics, it’s enough to make the thought of having to select a real estate agent a chore up there with cleaning up after your pet. So, why should you work with a real estate agent? And how do you pick the right person for the job? Here are four areas you need look at before hiring someone.
Local expertise: While it’s tempting to browse national real estate websites and think all there is to picking a house is finding one within your search parameters, the truth is real estate agents are knowledgeable about the community you’re moving to in a way no national website can compete with. A good real estate agent knows businesses and their impact on market value, local attractions, architectural styles, appliances, trendy furnishings/fixtures, and heating and cooling systems. Agents also know the market and what you get for the money in a neighborhood today, as compared to the past several years.
Negotiation expertise. A good agent is your Kenny Rogers Gambler. They know when to hold ‘em, they know when to fold ‘em. Whether you’re buying your first or tenth home, an agent will have you beat when it comes to experience with real estate transactions. How low can you start without upsetting the sellers to the point where they won’t write you off as a tire-kicker? Will you offend them and lose the house entirely? What are other homes selling for in this area at the end of the day? If there are other offers coming in, what will make your offer stand out for the others?
Contract expertise. Contracts is a forgotten abyss of annoyance, and the only guide through the abyss is a good agent. There are financial and legal obligations that must be met by both buyers and sellers and an agent’s experience will make the entire process seem like a piece of cake. It’s their job to make this look easy.
Referrals. When buying a home, you’ll need a team of professionals: mortgage professionals, lawyers, appraisers, home inspectors, contractors, radon remediation experts, landscapers, moisture specialists, etc. Good news, a good agent knows good people, and will line everything up for you. An agent needs to Concierge service and built-in advisor throughout the home buying process.
Asking friends how they felt with their real estate agents through these four areas, as well as listening to what a prospective agent has to say about them, will help steer you away from predatory or disappointing agents and into a great relationship.
Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21