Category: home maintenance (5)

Monday is the first day of spring! And with that will come all the spring cleaning checklists for a fresh start to the season. We can totally get behind spring cleaning and all of the great lists out there – after all, routine home maintenance is key to protecting your home’s value. But for many, the idea of spring cleaning is overwhelming and therefore gets skipped altogether. If that’s you, rather than go all in for a top-to-bottom spring clean, pick one project and do it well!

Even the most organized and tidy homeowners don’t tackle the “big” projects on a regular basis. We’re suggesting six projects to choose from – three indoor and three outdoor – and, including links to make it easy to start. Find one that’s manageable for you!

spring cleaningINDOOR PROJECTS

Clean Out the Fridge:  If you’re like us, you probably wipe the fridge after spills and maybe when you’re clearing space to add groceries. But this is home for all your perishable food and drink. A good deep clean several times a year is warranted. Once it’s shiny clean, think about pulling it out from the wall to vacuum away excess dust.

Dust Baseboards & Window Sills:  No one has time to deal with these regularly! Even if you tackle your baseboards and window sills once a year, that will make a difference in your home’s cleanliness and appearance.

Dust Blinds & Fans:  Just like the baseboards and window sills, we’ll bet these aren’t on your weekly cleaning list! Some will vacuum, some will use a duster, and some will use a rag and spray to get at the blinds and fans. Do what’s easiest for you!

OUTDOOR PROJECTS

Clean & Paint the Front Door:  A clean, bright entry is one of the fastest and most cost effective moves you can make to boost curb appeal. A fresh coat of paint will make a big impact!

Rake & Replace Mulch:  While this is one of the pricier projects of the ideas we’re suggesting, spring is the season to do this – especially if you’re planning to list your home for sale. New mulch will really make your beds pop!

Clean & Organize the Garage:  This is a biggie for one project, but it will make your home more functional and pleasing – we promise! No more tripping over shoes as you’re trying to get in the door, or balls rolling under the car when you try to back out. Getting salt off of concrete is also important.

Kansas City Real estate

Here’s to a beautiful KC spring! If you have bigger projects you need help with around the house, let us know. We work with lots of area vendors we would be happy to recommend to you.

And if you’re spring cleaning as motivation to get your home ready to sell – we’re ready for that, too! Our professional stager can come out with us to make a punch list of projects to tackle before you list. You can schedule an appointment for this with us anytime at 913.402.2599.

home care“What I love most about my home is who I share it with.”

There is a sense of pride in home ownership. With that comes a commitment to home care, preventative maintenance and plans for upgrade projects. This commitment doesn’t have to stop with the homeowners, mom or dad! Make home care a family affair and everyone will learn the value of hard work and a well-loved home.

Children can handle an age-appropriate chore or two. Little hands may not be able to the heavy lifting when it comes to bigger household tasks or decisions, but they can be part of the process. Let children play outdoors when you’re raking. Let them spray the dusting spray as you dust. Or bring them along when you look at paint colors or items for the house. They learn to care for things as they watch you invest in your home! It’s also a different way to spend quality time together.

Kids should earn more responsibility as they get older. Let older kids manage parts of the home – like yard
work, laundry or cleaning a designated area. When they are mature enough to handle tools, paint and more, let them get their hands dirty in larger projects!

And, home care doesn’t have to be limited to immediate family. Invite extended family or friends to help when you have a big painting or landscaping project to tackle. More hands will make the job faster and it will be more fun, too! How do you involve your family in household projects and chores?

Utility costs can represent a significant monthly expense, especially during the hottest and coldest months of the year. While you can generally expect some seasonal highs and lows in your utility usage, there are steps you can take to temper (pun intended!) these.

Credit:  KCP&L

Credit: KCP&L

During fall and winter, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends addressing drafts and leaks to keep warm air in and cool air out, having your heating system serviced and adjusting your home thermostat. Set your thermostat lower to save on heating costs and add an extra layer of clothing or a blanket when you’re home. And definitely turn it down when you are away. According to the organization, turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours can save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills!

KCP&L also provides guidance for ways to save on energy costs – like sealing your attic or caulking your bathtub and windows to reduce air leaks. You might also look at unplugging devices not in use or switching to energy efficient light bulbs! Here are some calculators from Kansas Gas Service to help you save energy and money at home.

You will likely experience a decline in your water bill during colder months when you’re not watering your lawn and landscaping. However, there are still some simple steps you can take indoors to shave money off your water bill, like fixing leaks, turning off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth and taking showers over baths.

Budget Billing

While the tips above can help you save money, seasonal highs and lows can still put pressure on a monthly budget. To help ease this, check with your utility providers to see if they offer a budget billing plan to spread these expenses across the year. Here are links to a few programs offered locally:  KCP&L; Kansas Gas Service and Missouri Gas Energy. Do you participate in other flat-rate plans? Comment below to share with others!

Regular maintenance is important to protect the investment in your home. But do you know how often you should clean some of the main surfaces around your home?

Photo Credit:  HGTV

Photo Credit: HGTV

Carpet: Routine carpet cleaning includes vacuuming at least once a week, and more frequently in high-traffic areas or when debris is present, as well as spot treatment to prevent stains. Depending on the amount of traffic your carpet receives, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration recommends carpets be cleaned at least once a year. Low traffic areas can go a bit longer between cleanings, like 12-18 months, and high traffic areas may need to be treated more than once a year. Cleaning not only helps extend the life of your carpet, it also prevents against allergens. Households with pets, smokers and children may want to consider more frequent cleanings.

Hardwood Floors: Like carpet, hardwood floors are exposed to a variety of elements, including dirt, sand and food, among others. Regular maintenance includes sweeping or vacuuming the floors; and using a dry mop or mop with a solution to get a better clean on occasion. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning materials suited for your particular wood. A professional cleaning every six to 12 months can also help extend the life of and protect your hardwoods.

Granite: Granite countertops are among the most popular home finishes. What some don’t realize is granite requires ongoing maintenance for protection. This may include sealing. The type of granite you have, how porous it is and your daily cooking and cleaning habits will impact how frequently this maintenance is needed. Check with your builder or manufacturer for guidelines on the sealing process and for a schedule of maintenance. But, you can expect it to be somewhere around the year-mark to prevent stains.

Windows: It’s recommended to clean home windows twice a year. Depending on the accessibility of your windows, this may be a job you can do on your own. While you’re at it, wipe down blinds, vacuum window treatments and wipe out window panes!

If you’re preparing your home to sell, having the major surfaces professionally cleaned before you list will help it present its best. We work regularly with vendors across the Kansas City area. If you need help finding a professional for the job, let us know. We’re always available to put you in touch with someone we trust!

Home Maintenance KCFall is officially here! This season generally brings mild weather across the metro, making it an ideal time to tackle a few home maintenance projects before winter arrives. You can find all sorts of checklists online to guide you, and below I’m including tasks that stand out for interior and exterior care.

Inside:  Improve Energy Efficiency

  • Have Your Furnace Inspected: As a preventative measure, it’s a good idea to have your furnace inspected each fall to ensure it’s in good working order before winter. Check and replace your filter, if needed.
  • Make Sure Your Fireplace is Safe: A leaky fireplace won’t do you any good when Old Man Winter arrives. Check your fireplace from the inside and outside, and hire a professional if you spot signs of a problem.
  • Check the Temp on Your Water Heater: To save on heating costs, it’s recommended to set your water heater temperature to 120°F.
  • Look for Leaks: Drafty windows or doors will work against your home’s energy efficiency. Again, check these points from the inside and outside to identify leak points and correct, as needed.

Outside: Clean-Up and Preventative Care

  • Get on Those Gutters: If you live in an area with mature trees, get ready to break out those rakes and your ladder for gutter clearing! Keeping gutters and downspouts clear is one way to avoid bigger problems during winter months.
  • Store Your Summer Stuff: Make way for the shovels, salt and snow boots by cleaning and storing summer items you no longer use. Some items (like life jackets and summer toys) just need a quick clean-off before storage and can probably be stored now. Make a note on your calendar to address items you’re still using in the coming weeks – like your hoses and lawn mower.
  • Check for Problem Limbs: Trim dead limbs from trees. This can potentially help protect against further damage, and also prevent breakage from heavy snow or ice.

Many of these projects are ones you can perform yourself over the next few weeks. However, some require the experience of a professional. If I can help you with a contractor referral for any of the tasks above, please let me know.

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