Posted by Sandra Tessier on 12/12/2017

Did you know there are home upgrades that may wind up costing you more than they are worth? That's right, and these are home improvement projects you'll want to avoid at all costs. Some of the most common high-cost, low-return home improvement projects for home sellers include: 1. Installing an in-ground swimming pool. When it comes to installing swimming pools, the fantasy usually is better than the reality. Ideally, you should be able to install an in-ground swimming pool in your backyard quickly and enjoy it for an extended period of time. But when it comes time to complete the project, you may end up committing thousands of dollars and dozens of man-hours to a project that may add minimal value to your home. Consider the costs and timeline associated with an in-ground swimming pool installation before you commit to this project. By doing so, you can determine how much this project will impact your home's value both now and in the future and decide whether the return on investment (ROI) meets your needs. 2. Adding a backup power generator. Homeowners often try to err on the side of caution, and for good reason. However, a backup generator may prove to be costly, especially when there are viable, cost-effective alternatives at your disposal. A power outage may seem like the end of the world when it happens, but in most cases, it is only temporary. And those who have flashlights, lanterns and other emergency supplies will be better equipped to stay safe during a power outage. Remember, a backup generator may seem like a great idea at first, but you should consider its short- and long-term value. Those who explore the alternatives that are available, meanwhile, may find it is more cost-effective to invest in other home improvement projects. 3. Installing new windows. The latest windows are incredibly energy-efficient, making them exceedingly valuable for homeowners who want to cut their energy bills for years to come. Comparatively, home sellers may fail to reap the benefits of these windows, especially if they hope to find a buyer for their residence in the immediate future. New windows may cost thousands of dollars to install, so you'll want to look at the ROI of new windows before you find a contractor to complete the project. And if you discover the upfront costs outweigh the long-term savings of a home you'll soon be selling, it may be better to avoid installing new windows for the time being. As a home seller, you'll want to do everything you can to highlight the true value of your home, and choosing a reliable real estate agent can help you do just that. A qualified real estate agent possesses the experience and understanding of the real estate market. As such, this professional can help you decide which home improvement projects are priorities and which tasks can be put on the backburner. Find a top-rated real estate professional to help you sell your home, and you can benefit from the support of a real estate expert who can guide you along the home selling process.

Posted by Sandra Tessier on 10/24/2017

It's many homeowners' worst fear to come home to a water disaster in their home. Water damage can cost thousands to repair and will include a lengthy process in order to†adhere to safety standards, potentially disrupting your home life for weeks. In this article we'll give you tips on how to avoid water damage and what to do when you discover it.

Water damage vs. flood damage

Many people are unaware of the difference between water damage and flood damage. Water damage can occur when you have plumbing issues such as a leaking pipe or overflowing bath tub. Flood damage, on the other hand, is defined by FEMA as an "overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters," or even mudflow. Flood damage tends to be the more costly and the more dangerous of the two, as it puts home inhabitants at serious health risk. Part of the stipulation in differing between the two types of damage is insurance coverage; water damage is often covered by homeowner's insurance whereas flood damage is not.

Avoiding water damage

To avoid costly and time-consuming repairs, follow these steps to prevent water damage from occurring in your home:
  • Keep your gutters clean to avoid backups and drainage issues
  • divert rain water away from your house with downspouts
  • Disconnect hoses and turn off their water supply when temperatures drop to freezing overnight
  • Don't leave water using appliances running while you are away from home for extended periods of time
  • Keep up with maintenance on your dishwasher, washing machine, toilets, and tubs
  • Turn off your water main when you go away on vacations
  • Check the water pressure to your home. High water pressure can be nice in the shower, but pressures too high can cause your plumbing to fail
  • Check regularly for leaks. Some water damage may go unnoticed for weeks or months, which subjects you to another danger: mold

What to do if you have water damage in your home

If it's too late for prevention and you've discovered water damage in your home there are several steps you'll need to take to ensure the safety of your home.
  • Turn off electronics in the affected area. If possible switch off power to whole the whole section of your home at the circuit breaker. This first step is to ensure your own safety. Once you've turned off power to all potentially dangerous electronics, you can move on to the next step.
  • Remove electronics and other perishable items from the area.†If you remove the items soon enough you might be able to salvage them by drying them out.
  • Soak up the bulk of the water.†You can do this the old fashion way by using towels and buckets. Or you can use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to suck up the water from rugs, carpets, and other surfaces.
  • Dry the area completely.†To avoid mold, use fans and a dehumidifier to fully dry out the area.
  • Disinfect.†Spray the area to remove any bacteria that may have accumulated due to moisture.
  • Contact the professionals.†A contractor will be able to tell you the full extent of the damage and whether any serious repairs will need to me made.

Posted by Sandra Tessier on 1/24/2017

Garages aren't just for parking cars and storing all of your stuff. The garage could just be the key to selling your home. Homeowners don't typically think of putting much effort in the garage when preparing a home for sale. Investing a little time and effort into staging your garage could just be the difference from for sale to sold. Follow these quick and easy steps to a garage home buyers dream of. 1. Get organized. Everyone loves storage. Show off your garage and make it a selling point. One of the best ways to showcase your garage is an organized place where buyers can picture their things. Shelves, bins and storage closets are available at any local hardware store. When your garage looks spacious and organized it is more appealing and may even result in the buyer feeling like they are gaining square footage. 2. Light it Up Lighting can make all the difference. Replace dangling, plain bulbs with fixtures or strip lighting. Adding an eight-foot fluorescent light strip can turn your garage from dark and dreary to open and inviting. 3. Finishing Touches Garages that have appealing floors and walls go a long way in the buyer's eyes. Concrete garage floors can be coated with an epoxy resin-based paint or rubber mats and tiles. This hides spills and makes cleaning a lot easier. Don't forget the walls. Adding sheet rock makes a very clean surface and makes the garage feel more like a finished space. The sheet rock can also be painted to create a warmer atmosphere. 4. Properly working doors There is nothing worse than a garage door in disrepair. Garage door openers should be quiet and have safety mechanisms in place. Have the garage doors evaluated by the garage door company that installed it or sometimes all it needs is a good oil job to lubricate it.

Posted by Sandra Tessier on 8/11/2015

We think of the spring and fall as home clean up time but taking advantage of the warmer weather and time off from work makes summer the perfect time to do a home maintenance checkup. Get Ready for Cooler Weather Do an Energy Audit Take a walk around your home and take an inventory of gaps and cracks. Plugging leaks can save you 20% on heating and cooling bills. Look for gaps under switch plates. If you find gaps install foam inserts. Make sure to turn off the electricity at the circuit box before doing this. Donít forget to check where windows meet walls, walls meet floors and pipes and wires enter the home. Plug all gaps with caulk. Other places to find leaks are fireplace dampers, mail slots, air conditioners, attic doors, baseboards and the weather stripping surrounding doors. Look for daylight, feel for drafts and listen for rattles; all clues to escaping heat. Now look outside the house. Look for gaps or damage where pipes, vents or wiring enter. Also check siding for gaps or damage, pay attention to corners where the material joins and where it meets other materials, like chimneys, windows or the foundation. Save Money on Heat and Hot Water Save on heating costs next winter by insulating the hot-water pipes in the basement or crawl space. Insulating pipes is easy; all you need to do is snap foam jackets (called sleeves) around the pipes. Make sure you know the pipeís diameter to get the correct fit. Get the Outside in Tip-Top Shape Pretty the Patio There is nothing more uninviting than dirty patio furniture. Mix up a bucketful of soapy bleach solution to keep your patio furniture squeaky clean. Mix 2/3 cup trisodium phosphate (TSP), 1/3 cup laundry soap powder, a quart of bleach and three quarts of warm water. Use a rag and soft-bristle brush to remove embedded dirt on synthetic coverings, metal and wood furniture. Rinse thoroughly and let dry. Donít destroy the deck Donít let your pretty deck flowers rot your wood deck. Make drainage room in your potted plants by setting pots on pot ďfeetĒ. For a frugal solution; just prop bricks under the pots. Look out for tree trouble Trees that hang over your roof, rub against gutters or dropping loads of leaves and sticks onto the roof should be pruned. Overhanging branches can provide a ladder for rats and squirrels, and diseased or damaged trees may fall on your home in a storm. Fix the fence Look for damage along the fence line. Mow the grass next to the fence low so you can get good visibility. Keep your fence in tip-top shape by make prompt repairs. Check fence posts for signs of rot (poke soft spots in the wood for crumbling or decay). Remove and replace the damaged areas. Keep fences painted or stained to protect the wood. If dogs or other animals are tunneling under the fence attach a 2-foot-wide apron of wire mesh around the inside perimeter of the fence.

Posted by Sandra Tessier on 3/10/2015

No matter how sturdy a home is, sooner or later maintenance will be required. When this happens, you will have the choice to do some of this maintenance work yourself, or you could opt to utilize a home repair service to do it for you. This largely depends on how much experience you have in repairing things in your home. For example, hanging a picture on the wall does not take too much knowledge and expertise, as all you would need is a good drill and a little bit of know-how. On the other hand, if you need some major plumbing repairs, then you are better off finding a reputable plumber to do the job for you. When it comes to painting, it really does depend on whether you have some experience and know-how, and how much you enjoy doing it. For some people, painting can be extremely therapeutic. They will gladly paint every room in their home without any fuss. For others, painting a wall can seem like an extremely messy job, and in most cases, it will be a job badly done. In a situation like this, you are better off using a professional painter. One of the best ways to find a good quality home repair service is by going on the internet, as this allows you to quickly find a specialized repair service within your area with just a few clicks of your mouse. In addition, you are also able to do a little research on the repair service beforehand. If you would like a local referral I keep a list of professionals. Please call or email me for more information.