FeaturedTips and Tricks to Homeownership June 27, 2022

July Home Maintenance Checklist

No matter what you hear there’s no such thing as a maintenance-free home. What there is? A home that’s totally manageable to maintain when you break it down month by month. As always, to help, here’s your July Home Maintenance Checklist. 

  1. Wipe down porch lights, replace blown-out bulbs, and use glass cleaner to freshen up your home’s exterior entryway. 
  2. Get rid of washer build-up with a cup of diluted bleach or white vinegar in the drum. For the dryer, remove and wash the lint screen—especially if you use dryer sheets.
  3. Wipe down and clean baseboards, doors, and light switches.
  4. Clean garbage disposal by sprinkling a half-cup of baking soda and one cup of white vinegar in the disposal. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before flushing it down the drain.
  5. Drain your water heater to flush out any sediment that could be affecting your heater’s performance.
  6. Wash pet beds, pet toys, travel carriers, etc.
  7. Replace worn-out or dirty entry rugs.
  8. Inspect fencing and gates around your home and make repairs as needed.
  9. Plan your fall vegetable garden. My recommendations? Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and kale. 

Remember, home maintenance doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Just do a little bit each month, be proud of yourself, then move on to bigger and better things!

FeaturedReal Estate TipsSellingSelling May 24, 2022

Get your Home Ready to Sell for Top Dollar

A common mistake people make is to spend a lot of money – renovations, new roof, remodeling. While buyers will be impressed with these things, spending $5000 on remodeling will not add $5000 to your sale. Spend as little money as possible, and spend it on cosmetic, readily seen features like interior painting. The time to remodel is when you plan to stay in the house, not when you’re going to sell.

If you think about everything that needs to be done to sell your house, you might throw your hands up in despair, or at least feel some anxiety. Take one step at a time, one small task at a time. Break it down to manageable-sized chores and you’ll have better results.

First things first – have a garage sale. Whatever doesn’t sell can be set out for Green Drop. Once the clutter is cleared away, it will be easier to see what needs to be done.

This is your first impression, so it had better be a good one.

Edge, mow and fertilize the lawn regularly. Make sure it’s well watered and reseed any sparse areas.

Trim hedges, weed lawns and flowerbeds, and prune trees regularly. Cut back overgrown shrubbery that looks scraggly or keeps light out of the house.

Buy a new welcome mat.

Check the foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling, and reseal if possible.

If you have siding or brick, power-wash it. If you have a painted exterior, consider repainting in a neutral shade. This is especially important if there is any peeling.

Make sure the porch light works.

Clean and align gutters and downspouts.

Inspect and clean the chimney.

If the doorbell doesn’t work, repair or replace it.

Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.

Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.

Remove oil stains from driveway and garage.

If you’re selling in the winter, keep walks neatly cleared of snow and ice. Otherwise, keep the walks and driveway swept.

Repair broken outdoor steps.

Spring for some brightly colored potted outdoor flower arrangements for the front yard near the entrance. It really helps the curb appeal!

Keep your garage door closed.

Wash the windows inside and out.

Store RVs, boats and extra vehicles (anything that can’t be parked in the garage) elsewhere while the house is on the market.

Paint the front door.

If prospective buyers walk into your house greeted by the smell of cat litter, cigarette smoke, mildew or pet accidents, there is little chance that even a reduced sales price will persuade them to buy. So the first thing to do:

Clean, clean, clean. This includes walls, floors, inside closets and cabinets – everything. Consider even hiring a cleaning service to come in and do the job.

Get rid of clutter. Put away appliances you normally leave on countertops. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Clean out your closets, garage, basement and attic.

Paint the walls and ceilings a neutral color – off white or beige.

Repair cracks, holes and damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles.

Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings and other woodwork.

Repair dripping faucets and showerheads.

Buy new cabinet knobs and curtains for the kitchen.

Shampoo all carpets, scrub and wax linoleum, wash and wax wood floors.

Unclog slowly draining sinks and tubs.

Clean out the fireplace and lay some logs in it.

Mend torn screens. Clean out all window tracks.

Check to see that all windows will open and close.

Replace burned-out light bulbs. Use brighter light bulbs.

Make sure every light switch works.

Nail down any creaking boards or stair treads (drive two long finishing nails at opposing angles through the floor and sub-floor into the joist).

Oil any squeaking doors

Remove excess, worn or unattractive furniture.

Thoroughly clean all appliances (especially refrigerator and oven).

Replace old toilet seats and shower curtains.

Clear all cobwebs from corners and doorways.

Wash all light switches, handrails and doorknobs.

On Showing Days

Keep draperies and shades open to let in the light.

Place fresh flowers throughout the house.

Have your home well-lit during showing.

At night, turn on porch light and outdoor lighting in back if you have it.

Set out colorful, clean towels in the bathroom.

Avoid having dirty dishes in the sink or on counters.

Keep any toys in the children’s rooms, bikes, wagons and skateboards in the garage.

Play pleasant music at low volume.

Spend the day of an open house away from home.

Leave pets locked in a secure cage or remove them with you for showings.

Unless you’re selling it yourself, let the agent show your house, and don’t tag along.

This can all seem very overwhelming when you’re first getting started. Remember to tackle the job in small chunks for the best results!

Leah Smith Signature
Tips and Tricks to Homeownership April 1, 2022

April Home Maintenance Checklist

Ahhh, spring is here, and with it longer days, warmer temps, and a return to outdoor living. Finally!

Spring also means it’s time to give that home sweet home a serious once over. To help, here’s an April home maintenance checklist to get you started:⁣

  • Declutter, declutter, declutter. Yep, I’m beating that drum…again. You didn’t think I’d have a home maintenance checklist without decluttering as numero uno, did you?⁣

  • Replace air filters and schedule a maintenance check of your cooling system to ensure it’s ready for the steamy months ahead.⁣

  • Wash windows and doors, and don’t forget your porches. Clean out corner cobwebs and spruce up your front porch or stoop with a colorful wreath, a cutesy welcome mat, and stately planters.⁣

  • Clean and organize your garage; while you’re at it, go on and rinse out your trash cans and recycling bins.⁣

  • Rent or borrow a pressure washer to give your siding, sidewalk, and driveway a fresh look. Check for widening cracks and chipped paint as you go, making a note to come back and address them later.⁣

  • Clean and repair your gutters and downspouts to ensure they’re in prime condition for spring downpours.⁣

  • Test your sprinkler or irrigation system and give that lawnmower a good ole crank. (Trust me, your grass will thank you later!)⁣

  • Clear brush and fallen limbs away from the house and clean out your beds to make room for spring color.⁣

Join me in rolling out the welcome mat for the easy, breezy season ahead!⁣

Join me in rolling out the welcome mat for the easy, breezy season ahead!

Leah Smith Signature
FeaturedTips and Tricks to Homeownership March 2, 2022

March Home Maintenance Checklist

No need to get overwhelmed by March spring cleaning — take it room by room in manageable groups of threes. After all, three’s a charm!⁣

In your living room:
Dust ceiling fans and light fixtures⁣
Vacuum or dry clean curtains and clean window blinds⁣
Wipe down baseboards and clear corners of dust bunnies and cobwebs⁣

In your bedrooms:⁣
Clean out drawers and closets (and donate gently used items)⁣
Wash comforters, shams, and blankets⁣
Rotate and/or flip your mattress⁣

In your kitchen:⁣
Empty the fridge and wipe down all the shelves (or stick them in the DW if they’ll fit)⁣
Defrost the freezer and toss any freezer-burned food⁣
Wipe down your microwave, stovetop, coffeemaker, and any other small appliances⁣

In your bathrooms:⁣
Toss out expired makeup, toiletries, and OTC medicines⁣
Wash the shower curtain and floor mats⁣
Clean grout (or regrout if needed).⁣

It’s definitely not my favorite thing to do, but I love how I feel and how my home looks after a serious cleaning session!

Leah Smith Signature

Tips and Tricks to Homeownership February 1, 2022

February Home Maintenance Checklist

February is here nothing says “I love you!” like a bit of home maintenance, am I right? It’s time to get a little bit of deep cleaning done before true Spring Cleaning is here. To help I’ve provided a maintenance checklist for you to complete during the month of February.

-Freshen indoor paint on walls, cabinets, doors, and trim.

-Clean and reorganize your laundry room, so it’s clutter-free and more efficient.

-Clean the air duct that connects the back of your dryer to the outside vents.

-Clean the refrigerator condenser coils at the back or on the bottom of the appliance.

-Clean the range hood filter and fan.

-Clean garbage disposal by running it with crushed ice to sharpen, then with baking soda and citrus peels.

-Clean and degrease kitchen cabinets.

-Vacuum the box springs and the mattress top and bottom. Rotate or flip the mattress.

-Check caulking and grout around sinks, showers, and tubs.

-Inspect the roof (with a friend’s help holding the ladder) for missing shingles and damaged vent boots.

-Check the foundation for cracks that can cause significant issues when spring rains arrive.

-Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors; replace batteries as needed.

Keeping your home looking beautiful is a year-round endeavor! Kick start your cleaning in February to help ease the spring cleaning.

Leah Smith Signature