It seems everyone is jumping on the rustic-chic bandwagon, but what exactly is “modern farmhouse” style, and how do you discern which of its characteristics have lasting impact? Here’s the short answer: Study the classics. Incorporating the following three time-honored design elements into your home will help you achieve this popular look and ensure that your style remains desirable for years to come. Let’s take a look at the elements separately, and then see how they work together.
1. Shiplap. Shiplap is an architectural staple that was around long before it started filling up your Houzz ideabooks. It blends into almost any aesthetic and can be incorporated into virtually any room in your home.
For one of our projects (shown here), our clients wanted to take a more contemporary direction, so we kept the lines of the shiplap sharp and precise. We paired it with more streamlined furnishings as well, including a midcentury modern accent chair and a crisp white sofa.
Continuing the horizontal lines straight from the walls onto the sliding door of this Charlotte, North Carolina, kitchen makes for an integrated look, proving that shiplap should not be limited to walls alone. The choice to use “barn door” hardware is also a great way to echo a farmhouse motif without going overboard.
Bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms — shiplap looks great anywhere. The key is to be selective and try not to use it everywhere at the same time.
In this particular setting, we love the way the window and the shiplap entice you to slow down and appreciate the surroundings. Perhaps the architect drew inspiration from an old church and then brought the exterior to the interior. Who wouldn’t want to spend an hour soaking in that tub?
From the smallest reading nook to the largest living room, shiplap looks at home and adds character. It fits in equally well in a coastal cottage or a little house on the prairie.
If you are renovating an older home or building a new one from scratch, don’t underestimate the power of architectural elements like shiplap to bring the charm. This entryway is automatically more interesting because of its shiplapped walls, which allow the handrail and balusters of the stairs to remain straightforward and understated.
2. Antiques. Nothing creates a space that feels cozy and collected over time quite like an antique.
Whether passed down through the family for generations or found at a local flea market, that perfectly ageless piece really helps finish off any vignette.
Something old creatively becomes something new again when reimagined with a different function. Relocating a chest of drawers from a bedroom to a bathroom morphs it into a vanity with tons of great storage — and lends beautiful patina.
Transforming artifacts into art is a common trick of the modern farmhouse trade. For example, the lamps on these nightstands were relics that once probably held oil or water. But now, they are a lovely source of task and ambient lighting as well as a welcome textural addition in this master retreat.
Antique furnishings have a distinct way of packing a visual punch as demonstrated by the gorgeous yoke-back chair in this design.
Often, an antique becomes the focal point of a seating group or furniture arrangement because it doesn’t necessarily fit in with the other pieces around it.
If it looks like a nostalgic memento from the American dream, or a piece of ancient history from an exotic land, don’t shy away from introducing a piece of the world’s past into your present.
3. Industrial lighting. It’s not often that the adjectives “rough” and “imperfect” are sought-after qualities. However, light fixtures with an industrial edge certainly make a good case. Nowadays, we find old-fashioned warehouse pendants being plucked straight from an actual warehouse and dropped directly above a kitchen island.
Authentic farmhouse light fixtures are typically more concerned with fulfilling a function rather than making a fashionable statement. But the modern take on industrial lighting works hard and brings the wow factor. This space was designed for a teen to have plenty of room to spread out his schoolwork, but it also serves as a hip hangout for his friends.
There’s an endless array of colors and finishes available on the market, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding an industrial-style light that fits your needs and budget. Choose a color that complements the other elements in your space. In this mudroom, the black shade of the ceiling light echoes the black pulls on the upper built-in cabinetry.
Put It All Together
Industrial lighting and antiques.Reclaimed ceiling beams and deconstructed armchairs bring the rustic charm to this scene. Balancing out those more raw features with modern sconces (and swoon-worthy steel windows) updates the look and prevents it from leaning too Shabby Chic.
Industrial lighting and shiplap.This bathroom is a great example of popular modern farmhouse style thanks to a shiplap wall and industrial sconces. Though the vanity itself does not appear to be a true antique, it does have an aged look, and the warm stain is a welcome foil to the cooler tiles found in the shower and on the floor.
Shiplap, antiques and industrial lighting. This cozy nook displays a modern farmhouse trifecta. The antique chest, pharmacy-style floor lamp and shiplapped walls converge for a space that feels both modern and carefully collected over time. Keeping the overall color palette white and bright allows the chest to steal the show.
A rustic lantern, clean shiplap walls and an antique farmhouse table create an ideal setting for a relaxed meal. Top it off with hydrangeas and buffalo check pillows and it’s downright dreamy.
Finally, this kitchen sings with the harmonizing trio of modern farmhouse style. The consistent lines of the shiplapped walls act as an excellent backdrop for a collection of accessories that exude old-fashioned sophistication. The antique Oushak runner is a soft counterpoint to the angular lines of the industrial sconces above. This kitchen has classic appeal that the homeowners are sure to love for many years.
By Marie Flanigan, Houzz
Whether you’ve sold one home or ten homes, there are things that you need to know before listing your home for sale. The home selling process is one that could be as smooth as freshly poured blacktop or it could be one with twists, turns and speed bumps galore; but if you are being guided by the right real estate professional the process is vastly simplified.
Selling a home can be an inconvenient. It can create stress and anxiety as well as lead to thoughts of uncertainty. This doesn’t always have to be so; these feelings can be minimized with the right preparation and game plan from the beginning. Before you begin the home selling process, there are several things that you need to know before you begin. Here is a start:
Hire a great Real Estate Professional
Often the most overlooked step when selling a home is the importance of hiring a REALTOR®. They are not all the same! You should have high expectations of the individual that you hire to sell one of your biggest assets! Interview many to ensure you have the one that meshes with you and your family. Answers all of your questions properly and will satisfy your needs. A Real Estate Professional that listens to your needs is often a good one.
All Information, Paperwork, and Documents on the home are crucial
Your Realtor® knows what vital information should be included in the information of the house they’re selling. What does this have to do with gathering paperwork and documents? Having information on the major mechanics of the home and also any updates that have been done to the home will be extremely helpful for a buyer to make decisions. It not just about putting up a sign and waiting for it to sell. They should know how to incorporate and compelling information about your home to attract potential buyers in addition to creatively market the home.
Examples may be:
Choosing your launch date wisely!
Every real estate market is different. There are great times to sell and other times that may not be the most ideal. Generally speaking, the spring months are what everyone else considers the peak seasons. Real estate is situational in my opinion, meaning people don’t pick spring or summer to divorce or pass on – Life just happens. Your
When selling a home, it’s important that you choose to sell your home when it’s most convenient for your individual situation. Your Real Estate Professional should have his or her finger on the pulse of the market and be able to guide you through when the best time to sell may be. They look at the market holistically as well as segmentally to determine when they can list your home to maximize what you put in your pocket.
A Pre-Listing Inspection Is A Good Idea
Before putting your home on the market, it can be a good idea to have a professional home inspector perform an inspection on your home. Home inspections are standard conditions of Offer to Purchase these days. By completing this pre-listing inspection, you can address the issues that the home inspector may note during the inspection. Ensure that the home inspector you hire for the pre-listing inspection will provide you with a detailed report and also pictures relating to anything they note in their report.
Preparing Your Home For Sale. It’s important!
Selling your home means you need to work a bit as well. The Real Estate Professional you hire should be able to identify items you may need to address during a walk-through of your home. They will identify items that may need to be corrected or repaired or may suggest painting, cleaning, de-cluttering; these are just a handful of low cost preparations that can be made, prior to selling a home.
First impressions are crucial when selling a home. By not preparing your home for sale, this can often lead to a poor first impression and also can cost you thousands of dollars in the long run. It may take the extra time and effort to prepare your home, but you will totally be glad you did.
Pricing The Home is Critical from the Start
The most important factor to whether a home sells or doesn’t, relates directly to pricing. If you price your home too high from the start, it can actually cost you money. The price a home enters the market at will do the majority of the marketing of the home. It’s important to understand today’s buyers and know they are loaded with information and data at their fingertips. Buyers often will see many homes and understand the market, which will in turn give them an idea of where your home sits in the current market. Plus, lets face it – no one wants to pay the list price for anything.
Choosing a Realtor® because they suggest the highest price or because they offer the lowest commission can be a mistake, so it’s important to educate yourself and avoid common real estate pricing mistakes.
Preparing Your Home For Showings Can Be An Inconvenience
When selling a home, you want to make your home appealing for potential buyers. What do you think the a potential buyer who walks through a home that has piles of dirty clothes on the bedroom floor or dirty pots and pans in the sink would think? Most buyers would be either distracted or disgusted, possibly leading to them not being interest in that home at all.
Preparing your home for showings can be a job in itself and an inconvenience. Making sure the clutter is minimized, pet odors are eliminated, and that the curb appeal is attractive are just a few tips that can help prepare your home for showings. It’s possible that a home that is well prepared for showings will sell before an unprepared home just because the image that it portrays to potential buyers walking through the door.
Evaluate Whether Open Houses Are Worth It Or Not
To host an open house or not to open house? Some real estate agents will swear that open houses are worth it and others will swear they are a huge waste of time. Ultimately, the decision whether they are worth it or not is yours, the homeowner. It’s true, you will most likely just be displaying your home to some nosey neighbors or people just walking by,; but it just takes the right person, perhaps the people walking by didn’t know they wanted a new home until they saw yours! Open houses is part of what I do and I have always found them to be beneficial to my clients.
The above items are worth considering before selling your home. This process may result in added stress, anxiety, and unwanted uncertainty. These feelings though will be greatly reduced if the proper preparation is taken in advance. Understanding the importance of these things and how to make the proper decisions can make the difference of your home selling experience being a disaster or a success.
By Carma Gramyk, Realty Times
Chip and Joanna Gaines haven't just taken over the airwaves on their uber-popular HGTV program, Fixer Upper. They're taken over the city of Waco with their Magnolia Market at the Silos. Those of us who live in Texas within a few hours' drive of Waco can get in the car and be at Magnolia easily to shop and soak in a little of that Gaines magic. But if you're planning a trip from farther away - and so many are! - preparation is key. Knowing what to expect and heeding a few tips can help ensure your trip is a good one.
Bring your patience
You're going to wait in line. Just accept it on arrival so you're not disappointed to see that you might have to wait awhile to get inside the store, or the super-busy Silos Baking Co, for that matter. But, there are some ways around it. According to the store's helpdesk, Magnolia "is busiest during the hours around lunch; particularly on Saturdays, when we see thousands of people come through our doors. We suggest coming near opening or closing hours to have the most peaceful shopping experience."
We got lucky on our visit, arriving in mid-afternoon and strolling right in, but these people did not.
Bring your wallet
If you're a fan of Chip and Joanna's French country style, you may end up with far more merchandise than you'd planned. The store is filled with bits and baubles, pillows and lanterns, decorative wall hangings, candles and containers, kitchen items like mugs and bowls, and potted stuff and floral stems and some of the metal wall hangings Joanna favors in her fixed-up homes. You'll want two of everything.
At the very least, you'll probably have orders from friends and family to buy a bunch of Magnolia t-shirts and sweatshirts. If you're thinking you can just buy everything you like online, Popsugar cleared up that, "About 40 percent of the goods in their Magnolia Market store are available in their online shop, the other 60 percent can only be purchased at the physical location."
Bring your appetite, too
In addition to the Silos Baking Co, there is a rotating drove of food trucks lining the lawn where you can grab everything from mac ‘n cheese to hot dogs to crepes to cold-pressed juice. After all that shopping, you'll definitely want a snack. Bonus tip: Stake your claim on one of the covered tables for some shelter from the sun. Waco is HOT in the summer. We're not above a little table stalking when necessary.
It's ok to bring the kids
In fact, they'll probably have a blast, playing cornhole, kicking a ball around, and swinging on the swings. In the back of the property, where Magnolia Seed + Supply, the Gaines' outdoor mecca, is located, there's even a teepee.
Keep in mind, though, that the breakability factor inside the store is high.
Check the calendar ahead of time
Many disappointed families have arrived in Waco all set to shop, eat, and play, only to find out that Magnolia Market and the Silos Baking Co. are closed on Sunday. This may affect your trip. You'll also want to pay attention to their Facebook page, which lists upcoming events like ongoing Movie Nights at The Silos and the Silobration in October.
Make "just in case" plans for the rest of the day
One of the things that stood out to us is how different our expectations were from the reality of Magnolia in terms of the time we would spend there. We were done in a couple of hours, and that was with some food truck and lawn-lounging time. If you want to continue along the Fixer Upper Tour, head to Harp and Co Design. This is woodworking master Clint Harp's nearby shop, where you can browse and buy before heading to JDH Iron Designs, Fixer Upper metal art designer Jimmy Don's shop, which is about a 25-minute drive through the countryside.
Stay in a Fixer Upper House
The Harps' home that was fixed up on the show is right next door to their shop, and is now available for rent through Airbnb - and it's not the only one. The historic Magnolia House is also on Airbnb, although it's so popular, even at $695 a night, that it's booked through 2017. Do a search for "Fixer Upper Airbnb" for more options.
Get there in style
While parking is easy and free at Magnolia, you can add to the fun (especially for the kids) by taking the Silos District Trolley, which runs runs every 15–20 minutes throughout the day and will stop anywhere along the route so you can hop on or off to browse the downtown area.
Document your trip
You'll undoubtedly go to great lengths to do so, because social media and friends demand it! Your family may look (mostly) ridiculous, but you won't care because you got a picture in front of the Magnolia sign. The strong sun can wreak havoc with your outdoor photos, but don't leave without snapping a pic under the #MilestoMagnolia sign and uploading it to Instagram.
By Jaymi Naciri, Realtytimes.com
Selling your home can be a stressful situation. It’s more about the unknown that bothers most sellers than actually moving and packing. One mystery that has to be addressed fairly early in the transaction is the home inspection. I equate the experience to being told that you are going to have a pop quiz that you weren’t prepared for. Well, the home inspection process can feel like that.
You May Be Interested in the Article: Top 15 Must Know FHA Guidelines When Selling
So, what do you do when you have a bad home inspection? First, it may look like a bad inspection, but is it really? Every home, new or old has something wrong with it. In 20 years of selling homes, I have never seen a clean home inspection, ever.
What a Home Inspector Does:
A home inspector must thoroughly go through your home to evaluate the major mechanical, structural, roof, interior and pest. He or she will also check in the attic, outbuilding(s) and electrical. As a result of the findings, the inspector usually categorizes the defects found in your home three ways. First is the maintenance items. Second on the list are minor repairs. Third are major defects found in the home which may affect health and safety.
This report usually comes with photos and is broken down into sections. The last page will be the defective items list. Sometimes, inspectors will itemize and attach a value to the listed repairs, which I do not care for. Why, because this is a home inspector, not a licensed contractor. When I see an estimate for repairs, in my experience it seems like the repair values are not realistic and higher. Usually, you can find a local, reputable contractor who will do the job for less money than what the inspector quoted.
What Do You Do When You Have a Bad Home Inspection:
In most states, like Florida, if the buyer is requesting the seller to repair, replace or reduce the home value as a result of the home inspection, you (seller) are entitled to a full inspection report. If you have a copy of the report and it shows either a laundry list of repairs, some major, the first thing you should do is sit down with your agent and find out what the buyer wants. I have seen buyers take the property as is with all the known defects. Just because you have an inspection report showing all kinds of things wrong with your house doesn’t mean the buyer isn’t going to accept the property as is.
However, if you are reading this, it is probably because the buyer either wants you to repair your home, give the buyer money in lieu of repairs or wants to terminate the contract with you. Remember, as the seller, you are not forced to do any repairs and the home inspection report should not be used as a list to make your house perfect. With that being said, like most sellers, you probably want to move on to the next step in your life and that includes selling your home.
If you are considering doing some of the repairs, first make sure that they buyers are not out of contract for the home inspection and response. Your purchase agreement has a section that specifies how long the buyer has to conduct the inspection and make a response time. If the buyer has exceeded the time frame, they may have to take the property in as is or run the risk of losing their deposit.
Repairs Can Be Negotiated-So Can Price:
If the buyer is within the time frame of the home inspection period and is requesting repairs before you make a decision regarding repairs, have your Realtor contact the buyer’s Realtor to get a feel for what they buyer is willing to accept. This is when you want a strong, experienced agent to be on your side.
Keep in mind how you priced your home to sell. If you priced your home below market value for a quick sale, then doing any requested repairs may not be in your best interest. However, if you sold your home at today’s current market value, then doing repairs may just be bringing your home up to current market standards in that price point. Deciding how to price your home, basically, sets the expectations for an as is sale vs a repaired value.
If you sold your home below market value (wholesale price) the buyer may still try to negotiate repairs, you can always say no. Or, you could do the repairs and negotiate the price to reflect your investment.
Major defects like an unknown septic problem that requires an entirely new septic system may be a repair that requires the price to be raised. For example, a septic system once installed lasts for years and will be enjoyed by the new home owners and therefore may be a repair that can be split between the buyer and seller by adjusting the price accordingly.
Mortgage Types May Determine Repairs:
What kind of mortgage the buyer is using will also determine what and if the repairs the buyer is requesting need to be completed by you. Most mortgages have an appraisal contingency, which means the funding of the loan is contingent upon your home meeting the appraisal standards as well as value. If the appraiser requires repairs, and you are unwilling to do them, the buyer may not be able to move forward with the purchase of your home. For instance, FHA and VA mortgages have a set of requirements the home must meet in order for the financing to be completed. If your home, for instance, has rotting exterior wood or chipped and peeling paint (and was built prior to 1978), those issues must be addressed by you prior to closing.
Although the appraisal normally is scheduled after the home inspection period has passed, the buyer’s mortgage lender can provide some help regarding what is acceptable for underwriting standards.
Guideline for Repairs Requested by Buyers Breakdown the Repairs
If you Just Say No: You Must Disclose:
Depending upon the inspection clause in your purchase agreement, saying no to the buyer may allow the buyer to withdraw from the contract. Even if the buyer accepts your home with no repairs, your home may fail the appraisal. As a result, the buyer will not be able to complete the transaction due to the lack of funding. Either way, if the purchase does not come to fruition and you put your home back on the market, you must disclose the known defects if you decided not to repair them.
Licensed Agents Must Disclose Defects:
Most States have requirements for licensed agents engaged in selling real estate when it comes to known property defects. For instance, in Florida, if a licensed agent is aware of any known defects whether found in the home inspection or disclosed by the homeowner, they are required to disclose those issues. A seasoned agent will more than likely have some type of disclosure signed by the buyer and seller specifically addressing the known issues to protect all parties. Regardless of loyalty or agency agreement, telling the truth overrules any fiduciary responsibilities when it comes to defect disclosures.
Selling your home can be a complex transaction. Knowing how to treat the outcome of a home inspection while responding to the buyer's requests can mean the difference between closing or putting your home back up for sale. Have a strategy and put your ego aside. If your goal is to sell the house, a little compromise can go a long way.
By Sandy Williams, RealtyTimes.com
If you have a moment, we would like to give you a quick breakdown on the importance of changing the air filter in your home’s HVAC system, as well as tell you how often your filter needs to be changed.
But question is: Why is Changing Your Air Filter so Important?
There are a number of different types of filters available on the market, each offering different benefits, but the fact remains that all types of filters need to checked, maintained and changed in order to function properly and safely.
To that end, why is changing your air filter so important?
First of all, a clogged air filter can cause extensive damage to your system. Thus, if you check your air filter’s condition regularly, you ensure the longevity of your system — saving yourself thousands in possible repair and replacement costs. Dirt and neglect are one of the leading causes of heating and cooling systems failing, yet such failure is completely avoidable.
Secondly, changing the air filter in your system ensures cleaner, fresher, healthier air. This is better for everyone in your home, particularly children and the elderly, and most especially for those suffering from allergies and/or asthma. In referring to the latter, a clean air filter means you are not constantly circulating dust, dust mites, pollen and other small particles in the air. Instead, your system will be able to purify the air, leaving it clean and healthy.
Thirdly, aside from protecting the HVAC system from unnecessary damage, cleaning out or changing a clogged air filter will also save you a significant amount on operating costs. In simplest terms, a dirty air filter uses much more energy than a new, clean air filter, which means a much higher electricity bill for you. You can, by keeping your air filter clean and in good condition, save up to 15% on utility costs.
To the above point on energy wastage, failing to clean and replace your air filter on a regular basis is failing the environment. An air filter that is clogged means a harder working HVAC system, thus it also means a lot of carbon monoxide and other greenhouse gasses by extension being released. Going green and running your home in an eco-friendly manner need not necessarily mean bending over backwards and giving up all forms of comfort. Something as simple as changing an air filter regularly can go a long way in making a difference.
Thus, to conclude, changing your HVAC system’s air filter is important in every which way. Economically, health-wise and environmentally it simply makes sense!
To that point, how often should your air filter be changed? It differs depending on the different types of filters, but anywhere between 1 and 3 months is advised, with the former being preferable and the latter being the absolute maximum you should allow between changes.
If you’re in the process of buying a home, or will be in the near future, one of the costs you’re likely considering is a home warranty. But, as this is an optional expense, you have to decide if it will really be worth it to you.
“Home warranties [typically] cost between $300 and $700 a year and have a service call fee that ranges from $60 to $100, depending on the company,” Whitney Bennett of Landmark Home Warranty in Salt Lake City said.
What is a home warranty?
Before you decide if you want one, you should understand what a home warranty really is and what it can do for you. “A home warranty will repair or replace…covered systems and appliances when they break down from normal wear and tear,” Bennett said. “Most often, home warranties cover the mechanical components of these appliances.” Bennett pointed out that these warranties are often part of a real estate transaction, but can be purchased by a homeowner at any time.
Is it worth it? that depends…
For a “buyer to renew or for a homeowner to purchase their own warranty is a total waste of money,” Adriana Mollica, a Realtor for Teles Properties in Beverly Hills, California, said. However, she added that it depends on the situation, as it may be “a great idea for a seller to purchase [a warranty] for a buyer when selling their property” as an added feature to sell their home. On the flip side, Bennett said these warranties can be great — and save you money — when they’re used correctly. “As long as you hold up your end of the home warranty contract by making sure your systems and appliances are clean and taken care of, when they fail from normal wear and tear, a home warranty will cover the repairs and replacements,” Bennett said. “Even if a home warranty doesn’t cover all parts of the system or appliance that needs to be replaced, the out-of-pocket costs that a homeowner pays versus what they would pay out of pocket without a home warranty translates to huge cost savings.”
Bennett did agree with Mollica, however, that for those who purchase a newly built home with new appliances, “getting a home warranty probably doesn’t make much sense.” She said that a “home warranty makes the most sense when you have moved into a new home and the systems and appliances have been used previously” or when you’ve had your own items for two or more years. “Before you buy a home warranty…make sure to read through the contract,” Bennett advised. “Home warranties will explain in detail which parts of their systems and appliances they cover and which they don’t within their contract. In order to get value out of a home warranty it’s vital to know and understand what the plan covers and doesn’t cover.”
Deciding what you want the warranty for
According to Deb Tomaro, a broker associate for Re/Max Acclaimed Properties in Bloomington, Indiana, it’s all about perspective. If you’re looking to get a warranty that will land you brand new items if yours break, you may be severely disappointed. But if you’re using it as a safety net, you may find comfort in your warranty.
“I look at home warranties as a way to buy insurance [so] that you have time to rebuild your emergency fund after purchasing your home,” Tomaro said. “It can give you peace of mind that you will have heat all winter and hot showers for a year. But it is rare that a homeowner hits the jackpot and gets a new furnace from it, although I’ve seen that. If you do get a new furnace, it is going to be similar to the old one in terms of efficiency, so that won’t save you money either.”
Paying for home repairs
Unexpected home repairs can certainly do big damage to your bank account — which is one of the reasons it’s important to regularly feed that emergency fund. If you’re faced with a pressing expense, a balance-transfer credit card, low-interest personal loan or home equity line of credit could help you cover costs (and possibly spare you some interest.)
By Brooke Niemeyer, Marketwatch
If the sight of the mercury creeping upward fills you with spring fever, we’re with you. We, too, are restless for the toastier and longer days that are just around the corner. But before you can kick back on a balmy evening with a crisp glass of rosé or a cool IPA, you’ve got to get your home in shape.
The month of March—when temps are beginning to rise but before those April showers—is the ideal time to get down and dirty with those maintenance projects, says J.B. Sassano, president of Mr. Handyman, a commercial and residential repair, maintenance, and improvement franchise.
March “home maintenance projects can extend the longevity and improve the quality of your home, inside and out,” he says.
So where do you start dusting off winter’s residue? We’ve got a handy checklist of home maintenance chores that will get your home ready to rock when the weather actually gets warm. And if you’re struggling to muster up the energy to tackle these chores, we’ve provided tips for how to do them faster and easier—or with the help of a pro. Because, hey, you’re busy.
1. Clean the gutters
Get the gunk out of your gutter.BanksPhotos/iStock
Task: Remove leaves, pine needles, and other debris that have accumulated over the winter so your gutter system is ready to handle spring showers. Overflowing gutters and blocked downspouts can damage siding and foundations.
Shortcuts: Install gutter guards—screens, foam inserts, surface tension covers—which help to keep debris out of gutters. In general, screen types work best, according to the folks at Consumer Reports.
Call in the pros: A gutter cleaner charges $100 to $250 to clean 200 linear feet of gutter on a two-story, 2,500-square-foot house. Professional installation of gutter guards runs $7.50 to $10 per linear foot.
2. Clean the AC condenser
Task: Remove dust and debris that have accumulated on the AC condenser (the big metal box outside your house) so that the AC works efficiently.
Shortcuts: Hook up a garden hose and spray the outside of the condenser. The water will melt away the gunk. Don’t use a brush, and be careful if pressure washing—you could damage or bend the fins.
Call in the pros: Having a pro service your AC system costs $100 to $250 and includes cleaning the condenser and lubricating the fan motor.
3. Prep the yard
If you want to smell the roses this spring, prune before they bloom.
Task: Start bringing your yard back to life now, before temperatures warm up for real.
Shortcuts: Remove branches and stones, and use your lawn mower with a catch bag to make short work of dead leaves and twigs. Got roses? For full, beautiful blooms, most landscaping experts will tell you to prune your rose bushes just before the plant breaks dormancy and after the final frost—around mid-March for much of the country. If any buds are diseased, bag and toss them in the trash to avoid spreading fungus and infestations.
Call in the pros: A lawn service charges $65 to $90 for mowing and leaf removal on an average-size lot.
4. Clean the siding
Task: Get rid of dirt and grime that can cause mildew and shorten the life of your siding. As a bonus, the exterior of your home will look fresh and clean for spring.
Shortcuts: There’s no need for fancy cleaning solutions or power washers; a bucket of warm, soapy water and a long-handled brush are all you need. Rinse with water from a garden hose.
Call in the pros: Cleaning the siding on a two-story, 2,500-square-foot house runs $900 to $1,150.
5. Clean and repair outdoor decksClear the decks!
Task: Cleaning your deck of leaves and debris—especially between deck boards—prevents staining and reduces the chance of rot. Check for loose boards, and reset protruding nails to keep your deck safe.
Shortcuts: Use a flat-bladed screwdriver to pry gunk out from between boards. Use a deck cleaning product to revive faded and stained boards.
Call in the pros: A deck-cleaning company charges $80 to $480 to clean a 16-by-20-foot deck.
6. Caulk around windows and doors
Task: Inspect the caulking and repair any that was battered during the winter. Check around your windows, doors, and corner trim to prevent water infiltration and avoid costly repairs.
Shortcuts: Feel like you’re always caulking? You can cut down on the frequency of this task if you buy high-quality siliconized acrylic latex caulk rated for exterior use. It has good adhesion and flexibility, cleans up easily with water, and is paintable, too.
Call in the pros: A professional caulking job on an average-size house costs $178 to $410.
7. Inspect walkways and driveways
Task: Winter is tough on concrete and asphalt—freeze and thaw cycles can break apart stone and concrete. You’ll want to seal cracks with sealant made for the specific material of your driveway or walkway to prevent further damage.
Shortcuts: Stuff foam backer rods in large cracks to reduce the amount of sealant you’ll need.
Call in the pros: You can hire a handyman to repair cracks and holes for anywhere from $100 to $250.
8. Inspect the roofing
Task: Take a close look at your roofing to check for loose and missing shingles, worn and rusted flashing, and cracked boots around vent pipes.
Shortcuts: Make it easy on yourself by checking your roof with a pair of binoculars while standing firmly—and safely—on the ground.
Call in the pros: A professional roofing contractor will inspect your roof for free, but will charge for repairs: $95 to $127 to replace broken or missing asphalt shingles; $200 to $500 to replace boots and flashing.
Article by Lisa Gordon- Realtor.com