Category Archives: Home Maintenance

The Top Real Estate Resolutions (And How to Keep Them)

Want to visit the gym more? Finally complete the home improvement project you’ve been working on? Save money for that new watch/car/house/vacation? January 1 is the perfect time to jumpstart your goals. If you’re like most people, according to Money Magazine, you probably have “stay fit,” “spend less,” or “enjoy the most out of life” on your list of New Year’s resolutions.

Did a few real estate goals make it on your list, too? You’re not alone. Here are a few of the most popular home-buying or home-selling goals, and a few tips on how to achieve them.

Buy Your First Home

brand new homeownersYou’re ready to take that first step to homeownership in the New Year. You likely already have an area or neighborhood in mind, and you have a few features that you’d like in your new home.

How to keep it: Buying a home is a major project. It may be easier for you to achieve this goal if you set smaller, more manageable goals, such as putting aside money every month for a down payment, reviewing your budget, and researching reputable lenders.

Make Extra Payments on Your Mortgage

If you currently own a home, you might be trying to pay it off quickly, knowing that paying even a fraction of your mortgage ahead of time can cut out a few years (and hundreds of dollars in interest). You might have even taken some time to determine how much you could feasibly pay extra every month.

How to keep it: Don’t feel like you need to make dramatic changes to your monthly payments. Instead, save up just a few dollars a week to put aside toward your mortgage.

Put Your Home on the Market

You’ve decided that 2017 is the year to sell your home. Maybe you’ve started getting rid of household items you no longer need, or maybe you’ve started making a few small home improvements. This is a great first step to achieving your real estate goals.

How to keep it: Forbes shared the secret to keeping New Year’s resolutions, and one of the top tips is to make your goals specific. If you want to sell your home for a high price, for instance, determine what amount you want for your home. Start researching which homes near you have recently sold to get an idea of market conditions and what prices are realistic. Just ask us for a Neighborhood Sold Report or a free home evaluation.

Invest in Your First Property

investing in real estateHave you been thinking about investing in real estate to make extra money? Because this type of investment requires a little more real estate and financial knowledge, you might have already started doing a little research before you begin. Knowing common terms, understanding the basics of investing, and having a good handle on your finances can save you time and effort down the road.

How to keep it: Maintain detailed records of your finances. Do your research. Give yourself a deadline to have your down payment and cash reserves (if you don’t have the cash to buy the property outright). Determine how much money you want to make. Then, set aside the time to meet with a real estate agent to talk about your goals and which properties would be best for you.

We’ll Help You Achieve Your New Year’s Goals

Whether you’re buying or selling a home in 2017, we will do
everything we can to help you with your resolutions. You can take the first steps now by viewing the resources available on our website, or you can contact us directly to talk about your plans.

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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Save Time And Money With These 5 Home Features

Everyone wants to save money on energy bills every month. But did you know that having today’s popular energy-efficient features in your home can also save you time and stress when you sell your home?

save time and moneyMore and more first-time home buyers are searching for homes in the area, so there is more of a demand for move-in ready homes or homes with certain features.

As Millennial Magazine notes, What buyers are looking for a home l include open floor plans, homes with great cell service, and energy-efficient features.  This all helps save time and money.

Having the best energy-efficient home features now means you won’t need to upgrade your home later when you sell. Plus, these features may also add value to your home. as you save time and money.

5. Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats let you control when you want the heat and air conditioning to be running in your home, saving you money on your monthly energy bills. Some thermostats, such as Nest Learning Thermostats, even let you control the temperature remotely on your phone, an appealing feature for today’s home buyers.

save time and money4. Energy-Efficient Appliances

There are plenty of cost-saving options for the appliances throughout your home. Energy Star offers many appliances and equipment from kitchen appliances to water heaters that are popular energy-efficient home features.

3. Green Home Construction

Materials involved in home construction can be also be energy-efficient. Different types of insulation and energy-efficient windows, such as low-emissivity (low E), can be installed to reduce your heating and cooling costs – a major way to save time and money

2. Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures

A way to save money on your water bill is to replace your toilet, faucet, or shower head with a low-flow toilet and water-conserving features.

save time and money1. LED Light Bulbs – An Inexpensive Way To Save Time And Money

A simple switch from incandescent lighbulbs to LED bulbs will not only brighten your home but save you money on your energy bill.

Using these bulbs can also help you as you’re selling your home, too; brighter rooms are more appealing to buyers who are scrolling through online listing photos and viewing homes.

Today’s Buyers are Searching for Your Home

Not all home buyers are searching for new construction homes in the area. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders found that less than 9% of Millennials and only 12% of older home buyers bought a new home.

Today’s home buyers may be searching for a home that is similar to yours, and if you have the energy-efficient home features they are looking for, they may value your home more.

But Before You Upgrade Your Home…

save time and moneyAs the real estate experts in this area, we know what features home buyers are looking for. So before you completely upgrade your home with these features or other home improvements, talk to us about whether you need to spend the time and money installing them.

All your home may need is expert marketing to attract buyers.

We’d be happy to talk with you about the best energy-efficient home features and what today’s buyers are searching for. Just give us a call.

 

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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Try These 7 Simple Stay Cool Tips While Saving Money

sunglasses laying in a grass fieldIt’s easy to just crank up the air conditioning during the hottest months of summer. Sure, the energy bill may be higher, but it’s worth the extra expense to keep your home cool — right? Or are there any sure-fire ways to save money and stay cool indoors?

Before you reach for the thermostat, try these DIY energy-saving tips to keep your home comfortable and keep you from breaking the bank.

1. Raise the A/C Temperature — Yes, Really

It’s better to keep the air conditioning down, but if you want to keep it on, raise the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. When you’re at home (or have buyers viewing your home), set the thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius). When you’re away, set the thermostat to 85 Fahrenheit (29 Celsius).

The trick is to find the temperature that’s comfortable, not too cold or too hot. This is crucial if you’re selling your during the summer. No buyer wants to step inside and still be sweating during a showing!

2. Wash Dishes and Do Laundry at Night

You’ll want to avoid using as many heat-generating appliances or lights as you can during the summer. Use your dishwasher, dryer, or oven only during the coolest parts of the day, either in the early morning or evening. You can even air-dry your dishes and use the stove or microwave instead of the oven.

3. Unplug Electronics When You’re Not Using Them

Did you know your appliances still use power when plugged in, even if they’re turned off? One way to reduce your energy bill during the summer is by unplugging anything that you’re not using.

4. Close the Blinds During the Day

living room with couch and sheer curtainsA little bit of sun can make a huge difference in your home’s indoor temperature. Cut down on the sunlight streaming in through your windows (east- and west-facing windows in particular) by closing the blinds and curtains and replacing heavier curtains with sheer ones.

During summer home showings, however, you still want to let in a little natural light to brighten up your home. Make it count.

5. Turn the Fans On

If your home has ceiling fans, use them. According to the US Department of Energy, using a ceiling fan will let you raise the thermostat by 4 degrees Fahrenheit without changing how comfortable your home feels indoors.

6. Replace Your Incandescent Light Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs give off a lot of heat compared with compact fluorescent lights and LED bulbs. A small but effective way to keep your home comfortable (and save some money in the process) is to replace any incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient ones.

7. Find the Gaps and Close Them

How well is your home insulated? Is any heat getting in from a leaky door or window? Seal any cracks with caulk or weatherstripping to keep the cool air inside.

“Summerize” Your Home for Showings

staged and decluttered living roomWhen you’re selling your home during the summer, remember that home showings are all about brightening your home and making it look and feel comfortable. You don’t have to crank up the A/C for home buyers during a showing. You can use these energy-saving tips to make it cooler indoors without having to pay those higher energy bills.

We have plenty of other tips to help you sell your home. Call us and let’s talk.

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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Fixer Upper Or Rehab – Which Should You Buy?

Fixer Upper

Fixer Upper

is a home that is structurally sound and only needs some cosmetic changes to bring it up in value. This can include paint, new carpeting or refinished floors. It also can include non-essentials like updated kitchen cabinets or lighting fixtures—essentially things you can do yourself, if you’re handy, that won’t require a lot of heavy lifting.

fixer upper

 

Rehab

is a project that is a lot more than that and can include everything from roof replacements to repairing water damage and replacing electrical components.

 

The Differences

Somewhere between the two is changing the structural layout of the home to be more open, which likely involves contractor work and permitting but won’t make the house leak or catch on fire if it doesn’t get done.

Perhaps the best way to understand it is this: if you can live in the home safely and comfortably while you’re doing work, chances are it’s a little fixer job, not a full scale rehab. If you will have to go to great strides to inhabit a property before it’s more than halfway finished, it’s leaning towards a rehab.

Risks And Rewards

All of this goes to say that when you buy a home with the anticipation of doing work on it, there are risks and rewards associated with each. While the term fixer upper is pretty widely applied to homes that need renovation before they will be up to snuff for most buyers, the difference between something that needs a couple touches and something that needs its foundation redone is huge. The closer you tread towards the rehab side of the equation, the more risk and potential for expense comes with it (remember that Tom Hanks movie the “The Money Pit”?) When you’re shopping for any home, you should hire a professional inspector to come through and examine your property, and they should be able to give you an idea of what types of things may be wrong with your investment before you buy.

There are benefits that come with buying a home that needs a lot of work however, and if you’re ready for the labor involved you can quickly grow an investment. Getting a home that requires repair opens you up to a less competitive, less expensive market with unique funding options (including mortgages that estimate and fund repairs as part of the principal). It can also mean rates, stolen copper, and unexpected outcomes. Rehabbing a property that you buy for, say, $60,000 in a neighborhood where homes regularly sell for $120,000 or $140,000 is a great deal, so long as you can get everything repaired for under $30,000 or $40,000. Not only will the home jump up in value by a great margin as it gets up to speed with surrounding homes, but it will appreciate regularly in value over time with the market and inflation, adding to your profit if you choose to hold onto it (either to live in or as a rental property).

When it comes to choosing a project house, should you go with something light or go the full rehab route? First, consider your expectations. Once you know what your resources and level of commitment look like, you can start looking for the property that best fits your investment strategy

The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy a fixer upper or rehab property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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.Know the Difference: Fixer Uppers vs. Rehab HomesPosted on Nov 16 2015 – 3:14pm by Housecall by Nicholas Brown.  The text has been modified

Home Organization Tips for the New Year

dining area with four chairs and a tableHappy New Year!

Now that 2016 is here and the busyness of the holidays is over, many people are setting New Year’s resolutions — whether personal, professional, or real estate-related. It is the perfect time to set goals and welcome the new year with a fresh start. And what better way to start the new year fresh than by cleaning and organizing your home?

10 Ways to Get Rid of Last Year’s Clutter

“Out with the old, in with the new” as the saying goes. To help you start fresh with a clean and organized home, here are ten tips for kicking out the clutter and keeping it out in the new year.

1. Tackle Holiday Messes First

The busyness of the holidays often brings messes — shredded wrapping paper, loose Christmas tree needles, half-eaten leftovers in the fridge. Cleaning up from the holidays is a great place to start, and HGTV offers a great article about how to clean your home in 45 minutes.

home organization tips2. Vacuum the Floors

Now that the holidays are over and the constant flow of guests has diminished, give your floors a little TLC with a thorough vacuuming. Even this simple cleaning task can make a world of difference in the look and feel of your home.

3. Open the Windows

Freshen up your living spaces by letting in the natural light. Opening the windows helps make your home seem more inviting to both you and your visitors.

4. Refresh and Rearrange

Tired of the layout in your living room or bedrooms? Mix it up for the new year to add flow and a fresh look to your home.

5. Dust in High and Low Places

Give your rooms a thorough dusting to get rid of last year’s grime, starting with the lowest shelf on the bookcase and moving up to the ceiling fans and the hardly seen areas behind your shelves.

6. Replace Light Bulbs and Fix Squeaky Doors

Have a minor fix that you haven’t gotten around to correcting yet? Maybe it’s the burnt-out lightbulb in your bathroom or squeaky door to your closet. Make those tiny repairs now and your home will start to feel new again.

7. Organize and Declutter

We all have that one space we use as a catch-all for our miscellaneous clutter, whether it’s a closet, a chair, or a table. This year, keep the clutter at bay by getting rid of unused items, removing the clutter catch-all, or organizing everything in labeled bins.

8. Donate or Discard Old Clothes

What better way to say “out with the old” than to get rid of any shirts, jackets, pants, or shoes that you no longer wear? Now you’ll have more space in your closets and more room for new clothes.

home organization tips9. Deep Clean Your Bathroom

A clean shower door and bathroom wall can do wonders to enhance the overall appearance of your bathroom. DIY Network has several easy cleaning tricks for bathroom sinks, shower heads, and toilets that you can use to get rid of the built-up soap scum and grime.

10. Put Out a New Welcome Mat

What better way to welcome the new year and your guests than with a new, clean welcome mat? You’ll impress your visitors from the moment they walk in, and that curb appeal can do wonders for how even your neighbors perceive your home.

Decluttering Works Well During Home Staging, Too

These home organization tips can work wonders when you sell your home, since the foundation of home staging includes decluttering and cleaning to give buyers the best first impression. If you are selling your home in the new year, we can recommend other home staging tips and resources to help you sell your home quickly and for top dollar.

We hope you had a wonderful New Year’s and are looking forward to what 2016 has in store. Let us know if there is any way we can help make the home selling process easier on you in the new year.

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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Top Tips For Winterizing A Vacant Home

Winterzing A Vacant HomeFor a home to remain in good shape throughout the winter it needs regular care and attention. When a home is occupied, many of the things that are necessary to keep it in good working order happen by default. But when the home is vacant, it is up to the owner or the property manager to prepare it for freezing temperatures and other winter risks.

The worst risk comes from bursting pipes, which can lead to water damage that can significantly impact the value of the home. Left alone, water can ruin everything it touches – walls, floors, electrical systems, etc. It can even damage the foundation. Other risks exist as well, such as pest infiltration, that can leave nasty surprises for the homeowner.

Taken together, the dangers of failing to winterize a home are too severe to ignore. Any real estate agent who has been involved with selling bank owned properties or vacant short sales can certainly tell you the necessity of knowing how to winterize a vacant home! In order to get an informed opinion on the subject we reached out to a well known real estate agent in Westborough, Mass., Bill Gassett, who has been selling homes for nearly 30 years. Gassett runs a popular real estate blog known as Maximum Real Estate Exposure that offers numerous tips to buyers and sellers. Below he shares all of his tips for getting your place winterized.

When readying a vacant home for winter weather, there are several things you can do to prepare before freezing temperatures and other winter risks arrive. These include:

Bring in a plumber.

Hiring a professional plumber to winterize the pipes and water system in the home is extremely important if you want to avoid the incredibly expensive water damage that can occur from freezing pipes. The plumber can examine the entire system, inside and out, and then prepare it for freezing temperatures. The plumber will drain all areas where water is stored, like water heaters and hot tubs, and will use an air compressor to expel water from the pipes throughout the house. With the water removed, you do not have to keep the house heated to prevent freezing. The pipes are protected and you save money in utility costs.

Drain outdoor garden hoses.

Water hoses must be disconnected from the home and drained of water to prevent damage to both the hoses and the spigots where they attach to the house. Left undrained, the water inside will freeze and burst not only the hose, but often the spigot as well. If winter watering must be done to keep landscape plants alive, make sure the person who does the watering drains the hoses and disconnects them from the house after each use.

Close up all openings to the house.

To prevent animals and insects from entering the home for shelter, you will need to close up all openings throughout the house. These include dryer vents and the chimney.

Have the gutters cleaned and repaired if necessary.

Gutters must be free of debris and attached properly to the house to funnel water away from the roof, siding and foundation. When debris accumulates, the gutter may stop working properly. If enough water collects and a freeze hits, the weight of the ice can pull the gutter away from the home, damaging the siding and leading to potential ice hazards where water collects at the base of the house. If you live in a cold weather climate then you understand just how bad ice damning was last year. Knowing how to prevent ice dams is something every homeowner should have a grasp of. Ice dams can cause serious damage to a home including mold behind ceilings and walls that you may not be able to detect! Have the gutters cleaned periodically until all leaves have dropped from the trees, and make sure they are in good repair.

Remove anything touching the side of the house, such as leaves and firewood.

Water and insects can accumulate in firewood and debris, causing damage to the siding and leading to potential infestations. Keeping everything away from the house creates a safe barrier and prevents water damage. This includes shrubbery and other landscaping. Keep a minimum of a couple of feet to allow the home to breath.

Have trees trimmed over the home.                                         

Remove any tree branches that may touch the house or hang too closely. Tree branches increase the leaves that accumulate in the gutter and can also break and fall on the house in a snow or ice storm. If you are negligent about keeping branches over your home it could lead to insurance denying your claim.

Use moth balls to keep insects out of the house.

Moth balls may smell unpleasant, but they are effective at keeping insects away. Use them anywhere you think insects may be a problem.

Talk to the gas company about disconnecting the gas supply.

A gas explosion can cause even more damage than frozen pipes. Let the gas company know the home is vacant and ask them to disconnect the gas supply to the home. Obviously if you are not living in the home this becomes important because if a gas leak were to form it would be too late for you to do anything about it. This is one of the major reasons why nearly all bank owned properties get winterized.

Make the home appear occupied at a glance.

It is better for potential buyers and discouraging to unwanted visitors if the home appears occupied. You can setup lights on timers and have the landscaping tended to periodically to keep things looking nice. If snow is an issue you can also have the driveway cleared. We provide a list of many tips on how to sell a home in the winter. This advice applies to both occupied and non-occupied homes. Keep in mind that if your home is on the market you are going to need to get it un-winterized with fairly short notice when the buyer schedules a home inspection. Buyers will want to be able to check the heating and plumbing systems and will not be able to do so if the home is winterized.

Hire a landscaper to perform a fall cleanup.

As the weather gets colder, plants will die and you will be left with a disheveled looking yard and landscape. It is beneficial for the sales process if you have someone come in and cleanup around the home after the first freeze or two, when most of the vegetation has died off. The landscaper can cut back any dead growth, rake up leaves and prepare plants for the winter.

Check on the home periodically.

An unoccupied home, even when the lights come on and the driveway is plowed, can be appealing to burglars and to squatters. It can also be a destination for kids in the neighborhood to come hang out for fun. The only people you want visiting are potential buyers, so you should maintain a schedule of visiting the home periodically to make sure it is being left alone and to discourage unwanted visitors.

Use of all these tips and your experience with winterizing a vacant home should be a breeze!

The script in this post originally appeared in RISMedia’s housecall

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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Scary Home Problems That Could Raise the Dead

scary home problems

 

Foundation issues, mold problems, water damage – these are just a few scary home problems that can bring the strongest homeowner to his knees. While painting a room, replacing a broken light fixture and even minor electrical repair jobs may be within your purview, some jobs should be left to the pros.

Foundation issues

Perhaps the most dreaded home problem of all, foundation issues are no joke. Foundation issues can reveal themselves as cracks in the walls, uneven floors or trouble opening and closing doors. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it better. In fact, the foundation problem will only grow worse as time goes on. While most foundation issues are easily resolved, they are costly. Because the problem requires accessing and repairing what holds up the majority of the home, it is an expensive fix and you should always hire a professional to do the job.

Mold problems

If you suspect that your home has a mold problem, you have reason to be alarmed. Once mold spores take root, they colonize quickly, feeding on common items in the home like clothing, paper, cardboard, etc. In addition, mold poses a significant health hazard, so it’s a problem you shouldn’t ignore.

Mold cleanup requires strict adherence to guidelines so that the individuals performing the task aren’t exposed to the spores and to ensure that the mold is comprehensively removed. It’s best to let a mold remediation professional resolve this frightening problem.

Water damage

Water damage is a serious and costly problem. Water stains on the ceiling are one sign that there’s a significant problem above it. At the top of the home, roof issues like ice dams, missing shingles or damaged flashing could be allowing moisture access to the home.

When water reaches the structure of the home, it can cause the wood to rot or mildew and moisture issues will form shortly after. If water damage has already made its way to your ceilings, call a pro to assess the roof, attic and ceiling, determine the root of the problem, and come up with an effective repair strategy.

These spine-chilling home problems might cost you a pretty penny, but you can largely avoid them with regular maintenance. Have a professional assess the condition of the foundation, roof and basement – as well as the home’s plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems – to ensure you won’t be confronted with a shockingly expensive, dangerous problem.

The script in this post originally appeared in RISMedia’s housecall

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The Kruschkas are long-term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket.

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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Under All Is The Land. Over All Is The Roof

roofMaintaining a roof is vital to your bank account’s “health and happiness”.  Periodic roof inspection can alert you to potential problems that can be corrected while they are still “minor”.  Gutter cleaning is one component of roof maintenance.  In our case we use Ned Stevens, a gutter cleaning firm that operates in 12 states.  They alert us to any potential problems with the roof.  Of course, local roofing companies that will provide the service are your best resource for asphalt, slate, tile or wooden roof inspection.

A few of the sources of roof problems are

  • storms can cause shingles to become damaged or blow off
  • Ice buildup due to clogged gutters can cause sheathing damage
  • dry or missing caulk around, antennas, vents and flashing is a source of leaks
  • moss and mildew caused by overlapping tree limbs are problematic
  • heat or age deterioration

Interview At Least Three Roofing Contractors  It makes no difference if it is a repair or entire roof replacement.  Multiple presentations will better inform you as to the various options and prices for you to evaluate.

If the roof is to be replaced understand the material cost is determined by the quality and warranty level of individual roof types.  Once you determine the warranty level you prefer it is best to have each contractor bid using those specifications.

Interview Their Customers  Realize they aren’t going to give you names of customers who filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.  Therefore, call the Better Business Bureau directly to inquire.

How long have they been in business?  Are they licensed, insured and bonded?

Document 270

Read And Understand The Contract Before You Sign It   Once you’ve selected a contractor the next step is to sign the contract binding both parties to the price and terms of the transaction.  If you’ve done your due diligence when selecting “the” contractor everything should be fine.  However, if a dispute arises that can’t be resolved by discussion with the contractor a lawsuit may come into play.  While other circumstances may be involved when it comes to terms “the contract speaks for itself”

The 5 P’s Of Contract Payment  “periodic payment promotes proper performance”.  You will probably have to reimburse the contractor for the cost of material at the time the contract is signed followed by a second payment as the work is well underway.  Final payment should only be made after the site has been cleared of debris and roof nails.  These terms should be included in the contract.

Remember, it’s your home and your money – time spent planning beforehand will contribute to a satisfactory result.

Also see

 

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The Kruschkas are long term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

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Karen Kruschka’s Web Site

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Mold Was Discussed In The Bible Before There Was An EPA

Mold

 

Mold has been in existence since the beginning of the universe.  Remediation was discussed in the Book of Leviticus in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible  The LORD said to Moses and Aaron,

Why Is Mold A Major Concern Now?

Although Toxic Mold species have existed forever, they have only become a major concern in the last half century.

  • Building codes are now stressing energy conservation
  • The end result is that buildings are now airtight and can’t “breathe”

 What Is It?

It is neither animal nor plant., but is a fungi such as mushrooms or the yeast used in wine making.   It usually appears as black or green and attacks rotting  foodstuffs.  It also survives on non-living material such as tile or plastic material.  It can cause considerable damage to drywall, roof components and any wood or porous material in your home

How Does It Grow?

There are 4 requirements

  1. Mold Spores  They exist wherever humans exist
  2. Food    Almost anything is food to mold spores, but the most preferred is wood, paper and organic fibers.
  3. Proper Temperature  The bad news is they prefer the same temperatures that we prefer from just above freezing to tropical
  4. Proper Moisture  Mold needs more than 55% humidity to survive.  In our homes mold thrives when there is sustained wetness in porous building materials

What Does It Look Like?

Green mold is found on bread cheese and fruit while black mold is found on drywall, wood and other porous materials

Mold Collage

 

 

 

Is It Toxic? Can Moldy Food Be Eaten?

  • Not necessarily.  Several hundred thousand  species have been identified with over 100 of them identified as toxic.
  • Moldy food should not be eaten even if you cut out the section with mold.  If it is a toxic variety it could cause serious illness.

When Should I Have My Home Inspected And Tested?

  • If water has entered your home recently with leaks due to roof problems,  basement leaks, plumbing problems, poor insulation, etc.
  • If you have experienced itching, irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, rashes, breathing problems, fatigue, etc.

Who Should Inspect And Test My Home?

Although there are do-it-yourself kits available I recommend you hire an accredited and license mold remediation professional.  You should receive a report that will

  • recommend corrective action to maintain your homes’ structural integrity
  • eliminate mold as the cause of health issues
  • recommend a plan to contain and remove the mold

Mold

Will Mold Affect The Sale Of My Home?

In three simple words, Yes, Yes and Yes.  99.99% of buyers who submit an offer on your home will have a home inspection.  If the inspector suspects mold he or she will recommend professional inspection.   Of course, the buyer will expect you to have the remediation work done professionally prior to closing

How To Protect Yourself As A Home Buyer

As your real estate agent I will only recommend home inspectors that I know will be on the lookout for mold during the inspection.  If found I will prepare an amendment to your purchase offer requiring the seller to have suspicious areas professionally tested, contained, remediation and removed.

Disclaimer

I am not a licensed mold professional.  If you want detailed information see

 

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The Kruschkas are long term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

Karen Biz Card 360

Karen Kruschka’s Web Site

Mold

 

Energy Costs Can Be Cut With These 9 Home Improvements

energy costsEnergy costs can be reduced by relatively simple and inexpensive home maintenance steps

Tips To Help You Reduce Energy Costs This Winter

 

Caulk around windows and doors, making sure that all cracks and holes are sealed. This will keep the cold air out of your house, which will keep your heater from working overtime. If necessary, you might also consider adding or replacing weather-stripping.

Add area rugs to your tile and wood floors. It creates an extra layer of insulation in your home

Install glass doors that close off your fireplace. This will not only keep cold air from coming down and through your house but it will also prevent warm air from escaping through the chimney. Also, if you use your fireplace, make sure to close the flue when you’re finished.  Energy costs will reflect savings with this one

Insulate your attic door or crawl space cover For instance, you can buy covers for your attic staircases or openings. This will actually help you reduce energy costs all year-long.

Cover your windows. Even if you don’t have storm windows, you can create your own with a window insulation kit. And inside your house, consider using insulated drapes.

Buy Insulated Garage Doors and Exterior Doors. Typically, the garage doors that come with most homes aren’t insulated. You can change that to save on energy costs.

Add insulation to your home throughout. This includes in the attic as well as the crawl space, garage and basement. Experts recommend that you add insulation if you haven’t done so in more than 20 years.

Reverse Ceiling fans. Some people may not be aware of this but you actually have the option of reversing your ceiling fans. Running them counterclockwise makes it cooler during the summer months but by making them clockwise, they will circulate warm air back into the room.  Energy costs aside, this will distribute heat more efficiently

Replace your furnace filters. Just like with anything else, dirty furnace filters will make it work less efficiently. Generally speaking, filters should be changed every month during the heating season.

 

If you want to take your home-savings even further this winter, you can check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s do-it-yourself energy audit on their website. Or you can call a contractor and request a professional audit.

Providing You With Useful Home Advice

 

When The Weather Outside Is Frightful

Frozen Water Pipes Do Not Make Good Ice Cubes

Have A Happy Fireplace

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The Kruschkas are long term Prince William County residents with more than 30 years experience as real estate professionals serving Woodbridge, Manassas, Dumfries, Manassas Park, Bristow, Brentsville, Gainesville and Haymarket

Our Experience Isn’t Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

If you plan to buy or sell a home or property contact Karen and Art by Email or call us at 703-499-9279. Put our record of customer service, real estate experience and state-of-the-art technology to work for you

Karen Biz Card 360

Karen Kruschka’s Web Site

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