Take a deep breath. You smell that? The air is blanketed in the sweet aroma of pumpkin spice! Leaves are slowly gliding down from the trees as we ride out these last, official days of summer. While you may have Jack-o-Lanterns and your epic, homemade Game of Thrones costume on the brain, if you’re a homeowner you’ll need to come back down to Earth just long enough to get your house winter ready.
Here is a checklist to adhere to before the fun really begins this fall:
1. Clean your gutters
Sure, it’s nobody’s favorite chore, but this imperative maintenance procedure should be performed twice yearly to avoid any resulting complications which would serve to cramp your holiday style. Take some time during these last few weekends of September to remove leaves and debris from your gutters. The few hours of invested time will be well-worth your peace of mind later, especially after Irma’s brief appearance here recently.
2. Don’t forget the chimney and fireplace
It’s likely that, at some point, you’ll want to rev up the ol’ fireplace for some good, old-fashioned warmth. But, before you can do that, you’ll want to ensure it’s clean in order to prevent disaster. The last thing you want is to have your chestnuts ready to roast... only to have your entire home filled with smoke and, potentially, fire. So, remove the ashes and old wood from your fireplace and call a professional to handle the chimney cleaning.
3. Make sure your heating system is ready to roll (or roar)
Now is the time to invest in new filters, replace the old ones, and dust your vents. Give a local heating and air professional a call and have them come out to do a check-up, just to see if everything is up to par for the winter. Neglecting to maintain your heating system ahead of time could result in bigger expenses down the line. While the aforementioned fireplace is a nice aesthetic piece to have during this time of year, central heating is more far superior.
4. Goodbye, air conditioning
If you’re one of the rare few southerners who does not have central air conditioning in your home, now is the time to take those window units out and get them cleaned and stored out of the way. Ceiling fans and portable fans should also be dusted and appropriately put away. If you do have central air conditioning, you may want to receive an inspection from the HVAC company when they come out to check your heating system. While you don’t necessarily need to handle any A/C issues right now, knowing what to expect in the spring will help you to prepare and budget for maintenance at that time.
5. Make sure you’re all sealed up
All of this talk about heating must be followed up with instruction to make sure that your windows and doorways are properly sealed. You can invest time and money in maintaining your system until the raven crows, but if precious heat is escaping through the cracks of your home, your energy bills will certainly be the biggest fright you’ll experience all year. Carefully inspect all of your windows and doors and seal where necessary.
6. Break out the storm windows
Although the Charlotte area isn’t exactly famous for having white Christmases, many homeowners will opt to replace screens with storm windows in the winter to reduce heating costs. If you’re one of these people, go ahead and take down the screens, give them a good cleaning and replace with storm windows.
7. Last but not least, check the hot water heater
You’ll likely be using your hot water a lot more often once things cool down. Naturally, you won’t want the shower to go cold when your mother-in-law comes into town for a visit. You’d never want that! *cue Grinch smile* But, seriously, it would be no bueno for your family to have to go without hot water when it’s 30 degrees outside. So, go ahead and get the tank ready by draining it in preparation for the cold.
In honor of National Relaxation Day, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 easiest ways to turn your home into the sanctuary that it should be!
1. Every space matters: Every home has “that room,” or even those rooms. You know, the disheveled laundry room, the cluttered den or the drab guest quarters. One of the best ways to lighten the mood in your home is to assign a motif to each space, which gives something to look forward to every time you open a door. So, if you like the ocean, go ahead and update that half bath with a fun, nautical theme.
2. De-clutter: Clutter equals chaos and nobody can relax amidst a sea of confusion. Organization is essential to not only creating a relaxing environment, but also in the optimal functioning of a family operation. Take a weekend day to clean out closets, donate items you no longer need, pack away out-of-season attire and designate easy to access places for everyday necessities.
3. Add color: Multiple psychological studies have shown that our brains react to color in significant ways. Calming colors, like blue, can bring tranquility to a room, while a fierce red can energize and liven up a boring space.
4. Out with the bad: Our homes are such big parts of our lives, as are the various highs and lows we experience throughout the years. Perhaps there are old photos or furniture or other items that serve as a daily reminder of some of the more unpleasant moments of your life. Now may be the best time to eliminate those reminders and start fresh with pleasant, happy personal touches.
5. In with the good: Bring in and accentuate things that remind you of the experiences you love. Memorabilia from trips you’ve taken, paintings by your favorite artists, positive quotes, photos of happy family moments… all of those things will brighten your mood and welcome you home warmly each day.
6. Bring the outside in: It’s only natural that our environment calms us. Little things like table fountains, leaves, pebbles and salt lamps can bring in a sense of balance and tranquility that is ultimately refreshing.
7. Green really works: Houseplants may seem like just another responsibility, but they actually have many benefits. Plants tie into the whole “nature indoors” motif, but they also clean and detoxify the air. One of the most proven ways to relax is to simply breathe. With plants inside, that simple act will be even simpler.
8. Open up: Remembering to regularly open your windows can drastically improve your mental health and the air quality in your home.
9. Allocate electronics: As we’ve suggested in the past, designating “technology-free” zones in the home can do a world of good for interaction and concentration, and can also aide in winding down at the end of a long day. Make a point to leave chargers and devices in one room of the home, banning them from places like bedrooms and the family table.
10. Take baby steps: It may seem daunting to change an entire home and it’s not going to happen overnight. Write small to-do lists for each, individual room and give yourself a generous amount of time to complete the tasks in effort to create a more tranquil space.
“Invest in real estate,” they said. Okay, so, what now? If done properly, homeownership can be a highly rewarding venture with which to secure your family’s future. Perhaps you’ve moved on from your starter home, but don’t wish to let it go. Maybe that cheap fixer-upper you purchased is all “fixed and upped," and you have no idea what to do next. Regardless of the situation, consulting Newport Properties’ rentals department is the smartest move you can make!
Here are the top three perks of handing over your landlord-ing responsibilities to a reputable firm:
You don’t have to be local
So, sweet Aunt Edna willed you her cozy split-level ranch, conveniently located three states away. That, or you were offered your dream job and had to relocate shortly after purchasing a new home. It happens to everybody! Well, maybe not everybody, but it happens to lots of people. There’s even an Alanis Morissette song about it!
Thankfully, property management companies like ours handle all aspects of renting, so you don’t have to be physically present to operate this endeavor. Newport Properties’ services include applicant screenings, showings, regular inspections, rent collection, maintenance and, when necessary, we can also handle the eviction process. All you have to do is sit back and wait for a check to come in the mail every month. Easy, peasy!
Ain’t nobody got time for that, but we do!
You’re busy. Between meetings and yoga and carpool and swim meets, you sometimes forget what your own name is and therefore completely avoid Starbucks, most days. Why would anyone think you’d be a good landlord? Well, you don’t have to be! Property management companies like Newport Properties serve to bring convenience to your life, while allowing you to maintain somewhat carefree ownership of your investment. Hiring our team means you’ll never be bothered with a phone call at 7 PM on a Saturday night because someone’s air conditioning is out or their ceiling fan isn’t working.
You seriously can’t even and literally have no idea what you’re doing
If you’re new to property management, you may be ready to throw in the towel and sacrifice your rental to the nomads, at this point. Not having the necessary tools or knowledge to adequately attract, seek out and vet potential renters can be a huge hindrance to your income. Being that we are a full-service real estate agency, Newport Properties knows the market "mumbo-jumbo." During a face-to-face consultation, we can assess your property and tell you exactly how to price the home in order to get it rented out quickly and to keep it occupied over the long term.
We manage a vast number of rental homes in the Lake Norman region and have positive relationships with all of our tenants and owners. So, in other words, we got you!
Give Newport Properties a call today at 704-663-7779 to begin your consultation with our certified property management team. We will put you at ease, allowing you to enjoy the good parts of life.