Attention Snowbirds! 35 Tips to Prepare Your Home For an Extended Summer Absence

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There are a number of general things to do in preparation for “flying north.” Make sure to update your emergency contact information with your Home Owners or Community Association including giving them the name of your emergency key holder and who has a key. If available, sign up for any Vacation Watch programs your community offers. Some police departments have vacation check programs. Notify them, and generally they will do a routine check of the house. While some will only drive by and look for suspicious activity, some will get out of their vehicles and inspect the grounds looking for any break-ins. If contact information is left with the police, they can phone the homeowners if there has been a break-in or disturbance.

Arrange for services such as landscaping, pest control and pool services if needed. Contact your internet provider and cable company to stop service or start vacation hold. Arrange for mail forwarding and newspaper stop. Ask a neighbor to pick up stray newspapers, flyers, packages etc. and make sure that neighbor has your contact information and a key. Ask the neighbor to park in your driveway occasionally to make the home looks occupied. Consider using a professional home watch company to care for your home.

If you have never done so, take photographs or videos of all your expensive items. If needed this would be helpful for both the police and the insurance agency to identify the stolen goods. Store valuables in a place that a burglar could not access. (i.e., take jewelry to a safe-deposit box, lock computers in closets, hide keys to extra cars, etc.) Be sure to remove all valuables from sight.

In the kitchen remove food from the house to discourage pests. Store staples such as sugar or flour in sealed metal, glass or thick plastic containers. The best refrigerator solution is to turn it off, empty it and prop open the doors. The next best solution is to empty out items which will spoil and add items like bottles of water, etc. to help retain the cold and help the unit use less energy. Don’t forget to turn off the ice maker and place a box of baking soda in the refrigerator to absorb odors.

Regarding other appliances, put 2-3 tbsp. of vegetable oil in the dishwasher to keep the seals moist. Do not latch the door. Also put 2-3 tbsp. of vegetable oil in the garbage disposal to help keep it from locking up. Remember to unplug other appliances throughout the house.

With telephones turn off the ringers so thieves can’t hear if no one is answering the phone. Don’t leave a message on the answering machine that tells callers you’re out-of-town. Instead, say you’re away from the phone and you’ll get back to them.

To help add moisture for the furniture place several 5 gallon buckets of water around the house. Close blinds. If using timers, leave the blinds open slightly to let light shine out so the home looks occupied. … Read More

Home Repair

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Home Repair is your turnkey solution for all of your home repair, remodel, home additions, handyman needs and emergency services. If you’re in the dark about home repair or renovations, here’s your chance to learn more.

 Making home repairs means having the right tools and materials on hand so you can get right at the job and on with your life.  It’s a good idea to inspect your home regularly and replace or repair parts and materials that wear out with use and time. Repair is not necessarily the same as home improvement, although many improvements can result from repairs or maintenance.

Repairs often mean simple replacement of worn or used components intended to be periodically renewed by a homeowner, such as burnt out light bulbs, worn out batteries, or overfilled vacuum cleaner bags. Home repair involves the diagnosis and resolution of problems in a home, and is related to home maintenance to avoid such problems. Perhaps the most perplexing repairs facing a homeowner are broken or damaged things.

 In today’s era of built-in obsolescence for many products, it is often more convenient to replace something rather than attempt to repair it. Some things, such as broken windows, appliances or furniture can be carried to a repair shop, but there are many repairs that can be performed easily enough, such as patching holes in plaster and drywall, cleaning stains, repairing cracked windows and their screens, or replacing a broken electrical switch or outlet. Other repairs may have some urgency, such as a broken water pipes, broken doors, latches or windows, or a leaky roof or water tank, and this factor can certainly justify calling for professional help. A home handyman may become adept at dealing with such immediate repairs, to avoid further damage or loss, until a professional can be summoned.

 These are the typical kinds of repairs that can be done by you

 – Interior and exterior painting

-Minor electrical repair and replacement Window and door repair

 -Minor plumbing repair and replacement

 – Screen replacement for windows and doors

 – Gutter and walkway repair

 – Installations of grab bars, railings and other accessibility devices to assist the elderly and disabled.

 Minor repairs include plumbing, electrical, carpentry, disabled access, furnace service, storm doors, window repairs, roof repairs, smoke detectors and other smaller work items. By doing regular maintenance and taking care of small repairs right away, you’ll avoid more costly repairs down the road. You will soon realize that maintenance, repair and renovations are a normal part of homeownership. Perhaps there are things that require repair, such as the plumbing or the windows. And remember that since different components of your home work together and affect each other, minor repairs can quickly become major ones if they are not immediately taken care of.

 You will probably be able to do many of the repairs yourself. Don’t forget to keep records of any repairs and improvements you make. Besides doing regular maintenance and repairing your home, you will also want to … Read More

Home Improvement S06E01 At Sea

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Defining Home Styles

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Home buyers often confuse a style of home for another. When searching for your next home or tying to determine the style that matches your needs, it’s important to know the different styles of homes available and on the market. Below is a break down of the many styles and their descriptions.

Bi-Level: A bi-level style home is typically a one story floor plan that has been raised above ground level where another level of living such as a basement or additional rooms resides. They are often considered ranches or split level homes. In fact, when you enter the front door and have to climb stairs to get to the kitchen or main living space, you’re typically in a bi-level style home.

Bungalow: A bungalow style home is a compact 1-1/2 story house that contains smaller rooms. There will typically be 2 or more bedrooms on the main floor along with a bathroom and living space. Bungalows often have basements that can be finished for additional living space and an attic space that may also be finished for 1 or more bedrooms. Bungalows often have bay windows as an accent and a front porch. Those looking for first floor living with additional options on other levels may be best suited for a bungalow.

Cape Cod: A cape cod style home is similar to a bungalow but will usually have a distinctive peaked roof, central front door, shutters, and will usually have an A frame construction. Cape cods also have first floor bedrooms and often times feature a bit more living space such as a dining room or larger second floor bedrooms with baths optional.

Colonial: Colonial style homes are traditional in America and have a rectangular design. Many have centered front doors and a center entry way to the home. Typical colonials will have all the main living space on the first floor such as living room, dining room, possible den or family room and kitchen. The second floor is usually reserved for the private quarters such as bedrooms and bathrooms. Most will have a basement and an attic that may or may not be finished living space. Colonials are spacious and great homes for those needing privacy or living space.

Duplex: A duplex is two properties that are joined by one common wall. Often mistaken for a double.

High Rise: A high rise apartment or property is any multiple-floor building that has ten or more floors.

Manufactured home: A manufactured home is all or a part of a dwelling unit that is built in one location and placed in another.

Mobile Home: A dwelling unit that is built with wheels attached and can be moved from one location to another.

Ranch: A ranch is a home where all the rooms are on a single floor. One floor living. Ranches are often rectangle or L shaped. Rooms are typically spacious and open and every areas of a ranch is utilized for its space. Ranches may or may not have basements.… Read More