Deanna Miller’s Suggested Reading

How to Use Comparable Sales to Price Your Home

By: Carl Vogel Published: August 5, 2010

Before you put your home up for sale, use the right comparable sales to find the perfect price.

Knowing how much homes similar to yours, called comparable sales (or in real estate lingo, comps), sold for gives you the best idea of the current estimated value of your home. The trick is finding sales that closely match yours.

What makes a good comparable sale?

Your best comparable sale is the same model as your house in the same subdivision—and it closed escrow last week. If you can’t find that, here are other factors that count:

Location: The closer to your house the better, but don’t just use any comparable sale within a mile radius. A good comparable sale is a house in your neighborhood, your subdivision, on the same type of street as your house, and in your school district.

Home type: Try to find comparable sales that are like your home in style, construction material, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, basement (having one and whether it’s finished), finishes, and yard size.

Amenities and upgrades: Is the kitchen new? Does the comparable sale house have full A/C? Is there crown molding, a deck, or a pool? Does your community have the same amenities (pool, workout room, walking trails, etc.) and homeowners association fees?

Date of sale: You may want to use a comparable sale from two years ago when the market was high, but that won’t fly. Most buyers use government-guaranteed mortgages, and those lending programs say comparable sales can be no older than 90 days.

Sales sweeteners: Did the comparable-sale sellers give the buyers downpayment assistance, closing costs, or a free television? You have to reduce the value of any comparable sale to account for any deal sweeteners.

Agents can help adjust price based on insider insights

Even if you live in a subdivision, your home will always be different from your neighbors’. Evaluating those differences—like the fact that your home has one more bedroom than the comparables or a basement office—is one of the ways real estate agents add value.

An active agent has been inside a lot of homes in your neighborhood and knows all sorts of details about comparable sales. She has read the comments the selling agent put into the MLS, seen the ugly wallpaper, and heard what other REALTORS®, lenders, closing agents, and appraisers said about the comparable sale.

More ways to pick a home listing price

If you’re still having trouble picking out a listing price for your home, look at the current competition. Ask your real estate agent to be honest about your home and the other homes on the market (and then listen to her without taking the criticism personally).

Next, put your comparable sales into two piles: more expensive and less expensive. What makes your home more valuable than the cheaper comparable sales and less valuable than the pricier comparable sales?

Are foreclosures and short sales comparables?

If one or more of your comparable sales was a foreclosed home or a short sale (a home that sold for less money than the owners owed on the mortgage), ask your real estate agent how to treat those comps.

A foreclosed home is usually in poor condition because owners who can’t pay their mortgage can’t afford to pay for upkeep. Your home is in great shape, so the foreclosure should be priced lower than your home.

Short sales are typically in good condition, although they are still distressed sales. The owners usually have to sell because they’re divorcing, or their employer is moving them to Kansas.

How much short sales are discounted from their market value varies among local markets. The average short-sale home in Omaha in recent years was discounted by 8.5%, according to a University of Nebraska at Omaha study. In suburban Washington, D.C., sellers typically discount short-sale homes by 3% to 5% to get them quickly sold, real estate agents report. In other markets, sellers price short sales the same as other homes in the neighborhood.

So you have to rely on your REALTOR’s® knowledge of the local market to use a short sale as a comparable sale.

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Other web resources

What’s the Value of a View? Research from Texas Christian University

Carl Vogel, a freelance writer and former editor of The Neighborhood Works magazine, lives in a home in Chicago that is not typical of those nearby, so he appreciates a savvy comp.

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Laura McIntyre Presents Open House Timeline: Countdown to a Successful Sale

Article From BuyAndSell.HouseLogic.com By: Dona DeZube Published: May 06, 2011

An inviting open house can put your home on buyers’ short lists.

Get ready for your open house-stress-free-by starting early and breaking down your to-do list into manageable chunks. Use this timeline of 35 tips and your house will stand out from the competition on open house day.

Four weeks before the open house

Ask your parents to babysit the kids the weekend of the open house. Then book a reservation for your pet with the dog sitter or at the kennel. Having everyone out of the house on the day of will help you keep your home tidy and smelling fresh (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/pet-odor-can-chase-away-buyers/). Plus, no dogs and no kids equal more time for last-minute prep.

Line up a contractor to take care of maintence issues your REALTOR® has asked you to fix, like leaking faucets (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/plumbing-leaks-8-smart-tips-stop-them/), sagging gutters (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/repair-sagging-and-leaking-rain-gutters-save-money/), or dings in the walls (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/repair-walls-give-rooms-fresh-face/).

De-clutter every room (even if you already de-cluttered once before). Don’t hide your stuff in the closet-buyers will open doors to size up closet space. Store your off-season clothes, sports equipment, and toys somewhere else.

Book carpet cleaners for a few days before the open house and a house cleaning service for the day before. Otherwise, make sure to leave time to do these things yourself a couple of days before.

Three weeks before the open house

Buy fluffy white towels to create a spa-like feel in the bathrooms.

Buy a front door mat to give a good first impression.

Designate a shoebox for each bathroom to stow away personal items the day of the open house.

Two weeks before the open house

Clean the light fixtures, ceiling fans, light switches, and around door knobs. A spic-and-span house (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/cleaning-house-secrets-truly-deep-clean/) makes buyers feel like they can move right in.

Power-wash the house (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/clean-and-care-siding/), deck (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/care-and-maintenance-your-deck/), sidewalk, and driveway.

One week before the open house

Make sure potential buyers can get up close and personal with your furnace, air-conditioning unit (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/appliance-maintenance-heating-venting-and-air-conditioning-hvac/), and appliances (http://www.houselogic.com/categories/maintain/structures-systems/appliances-electronics/). They’ll want to read any maintenance and manufacturer’s stickers to see how old everything is.

Clean the inside of appliances and de-clutter kitchen cabinets and drawers and the pantry. Buyers will open cabinet doors and drawers. If yours are stuffed to the gills, buyers will think your kitchen lacks enough storage space.

Put out the new door mat to break it in. It’ll look nice, but not too obviously new for the open house.

Week of the open house

Buy ready-made cookie dough and disposable aluminum cookie sheets so you don’t have to take time for clean up after baking (you can recycle the pans after use). Nothing says “home” like the smell of freshly baked cookies.

Buy a bag of apples or lemons to display in a pretty bowl.

Let your REALTOR® know if you’re running low on sales brochures explaining the features of your house.

Clean the windows (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/green-window-cleaning-makes-glass-pane-fully-clear/) to let in the most light possible.

Mow the lawn two days before the open house. Mowing the morning of the open house can peeve house hunters with allergies.

Day before the open house

Make sure your REALTOR® puts up plenty of open-house signs pointing in the right direction and located where drivers will see them. If she can’t get to it on the Friday before a Sunday open house, offer to do it yourself.

Put away yard clutter like hoses, toys, or pet water bowls.

Lay fresh logs in the fireplace.

Day of the open house

Put checkbooks, kids’ piggybanks, jewelry, prescription drugs, bank statements, and other valuables in the trunk of your car, at a neighbor’s house, or in your safe. It’s rare, but thefts do happen at open houses.

Set the dining room table for a special-occasion dinner. In the backyard, uncover the barbeque and set the patio table for a picnic to show buyers how elegantly and simply they can entertain once they move in.

Check any play equipment for spider webs or insect invasions. A kid screaming about spiders won’t endear buyers to your home.

Clean the fingerprints off the storm door. First impressions count.

Put up Post-It notes around the house to highlight great features like tilt-in windows or a recently updated appliance.

Remove shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, and other personal items from the bathtub, shower, and sinks in all the bathrooms. Store them in a shoebox under the sink. Removing personal items makes it easier for buyers to see themselves living in your house.

Stow away all kitchen countertop appliances.

One hour before the open house

Bake the ready-to-bake cookies you bought earlier this week. Put them on a nice platter for your open house guests to eat with a note that says: “Help yourself!”

Hang the new towels in the bathrooms.

Put your bowl of apples or lemons on the kitchen table or bar counter.

Pick up and put away any throw rugs, like the bath mats. They’re a trip hazard.

15 minutes before the open house

Open all the curtains and blinds and turn on the lights in the house. Buyers like bright homes.

Light fireplace logs (if it’s winter).

Didn’t get those cookies baked? Brew a pot of coffee to make the house smell inviting.

During the open house

Get out of the house and let your REALTOR® sell it! Potential buyers will be uncomfortable discussing your home if you’re loitering during the open house. Take advantage of your child- and pet-free hours by treating yourself to something you enjoy-a few extra hours at the gym, a trip to the bookstore, or a manicure.

More from HouseLogic

7 Tips for Staging Your Home (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/7-tips-staging-your-home/)

Seasonal Maintenance (http://www.houselogic.com/categories/maintain/outdoors/seasonal-maintenance/)

10 Steps to a Perfect Exterior Paint Job (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/10-steps-perfect-exterior-paint-job/)

 

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Office: 419-891-0888
Cell: 419-265-7000
Fax: 419 891-1092
VM: 419-897-2700 ext. 268
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Dona DeZube has been writing about real estate for over two decades. She lives a suburban Baltimore 1970s rancher on a 3-acre lot shared with possums, raccoons, foxes, a herd of deer, and her blue-tick hound.

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Featured Agent Lori Paton

About Lori Paton

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Office: 419-535-0011
Cell: 419-340-5166
Fax: 419 535-7571
VM: 419-539-2700 ext.155
loripaton@wellesbowen.com

Professional and Personal Qualifications

  • Professional Designations, ABR
  • Toledo Board of Realtors
  • Member of The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World™
  • B. Math, University of Waterloo, Canada
  • B. Ed., University of Toronto, Canada
  • Member of Toledo Museum of Art
  • Member of Toledo Symphony League
  • Member of Country Garden Club, Perrysburg

 

Serving you in…

Toledo, Sylvania, Ottawa Hills, Maumee, Perrysburg. My proven integrity and professional acumen allow me to provide the most professional real estate possible.

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Linda Smith Brings You This Weeks Article

Congress Heaps Uncertainty on Financially Troubled Home Owners’ Misery

Published: November 12, 2012

Unless Congress extends the forgiven debt exemption, financially troubled home owners who short sell their homes to avoid foreclosure or otherwise have mortgages forgiven will get slammed with a huge tax bill in 2013.

The nation’s attorneys general worked hard to get the five biggest mortgage servicers to agree to a $25 billion settlement to help the nation’s financially troubled home owners avoid foreclosure.

Agent Photo

Linda Smith
Realtor

The national mortgage settlement was intended to help stop the housing market spiral and hold the banks accountable for foreclosure abuses.

Now, a good portion of that money may end up in Uncle Sam’s bank account, wrenched from the depleted pocketbooks of those same troubled home owners in the form of income taxes.

The tax rub occurs because IRS rules say a debt you get to walk away from is really income, which as you know, is taxable.

Here’s an example of how you could get taxed on a short sale, where you sell your home for less than you owe on the mortgage:

Say you have a $100,000 mortgage on your house. You short sell your house and net $75,000 after sales expenses. You repay your lender that $75,000, creating $25,000 in forgiven debt.

The IRS will add that $25,000 to your taxable income. So if you have no deductions and you’re in a 28% tax bracket, you’d owe $7,000 ($25,000 x 0.28) in tax on that forgiven debt.

Up until the end of this year, you can escape that forgiven debt tax because Congress created an exemption for you back in 2009. Unfortunately, that exemption expires at the end of 2012.

If you qualify for a foreclosure avoidance program, like a short sale (or any of the other ways that reduce what you owe, below), but you can’t close your deal until 2013, you could face a huge tax bill. A tax bill large enough to put you right back into another financial tailspin.
Principal reduction: The lender shaves off a specific amount from what you owe on your mortgage.

Recasted mortgage: If the lender reduces what you owe overall to lower your monthly payment, that reduction would count as forgiven debt.

Second mortgage waivers: The bank says you no longer have to repay your second mortgage and just wipes out that loan.

Foreclosure: You’d be taxed on whatever is left on the mortgage that you didn’t pay.

Finally, any time you find yourself in a cash-out situation, such as a home equity line of credit, exercise care, because not all of it will be necessarily forgiven.

There’s not a soul in Congress who’s opposed to extending the forgiven debt exemption, but it still might not happen. With the federal budget in full-on crisis mode, any legislation that concerns a tax issue faces an uphill battle.

But wait. It gets worse. Traditionally, Congress lumps all the expiring tax provisions into a single bill. That bill is among the last things Congress passes before it goes home in December. That means the odds of Congress passing the forgiven debt extension by itself aren’t good. In the last 15 years, Congress has never passed a bill extending only one expiring tax provision.

Going through the foreclosure process is incredibly stressful, even if things work out OK in the end. Having to sell your home because you can’t afford it anymore is devastating. Having the IRS send you a tax bill for the forgiven debt? That’s just cruel.

Contact Linda Smith Here:

Office: 419-352-6565
Cell: 419-276-2354
Fax: 419 352-2654
VM: 419-354-4871 ext.113
lindasmith@wellesbowen.com

lindasmith.wellesbowen.com

From Beth Ann Beck Home Sellers Pet Odor Can Chase Away Buyers

Pet Odor Can Chase Away Buyers

By: G. M. Filisko Published: October 15, 2010

Agent Photo

Beth Ann Beck
Realtor

Don’t let pet odors derail your home sale.

Air your house out. While you’re cleaning, throw open all the windows in your home to allow fresh air to circulate and sweep out unpleasant scents.

Once your house is free of pet odors, do what you can to keep the smells from returning. Crate your dog when you’re out or keep it outdoors. Limit the cat to one floor or room, if possible. Remove or replace pet bedding.

Scrub thoroughly. Scrub bare floors and walls soiled by pets with vinegar, wood floor cleaner, or an odor-neutralizing product, which you can purchase at a pet supply store for $10 to $25.

Try a 1:9 bleach-to-water solution on surfaces it won’t damage, like cement floors or walls.

Got a stubborn pet odors covering a large area? You may have to spend several hundred dollars to hire a service that specializes in hard-to-clean stains.

Wash your drapes and upholstery. Pet odors seep into fabrics. Launder, steam clean, or dry clean all your fabric window coverings. Steam clean upholstered furniture.

Either buy a steam cleaner designed to remove pet hair for around $200 and do the job yourself, or pay a pro. You’ll spend about $40 for an upholstered chair, $100 for a sofa, and $7 for each dining room chair if a pro does your cleaning.

Clean your carpets. Shampoo your carpets and rugs, or have professionals do the job for $25 to $50 per room, depending on their size and the level of filth embedded in them. The cleaner will try to sell you deodorizing treatments. You’ll know if you need to spend the extra money on those after the carpet dries and you have a friend perform a sniff test.

If deodorizing doesn’t remove the pet odor from your home, the carpets and padding will have to go. Once you tear them out, scrub the subfloor with vinegar or an odor-removing product, and install new padding and carpeting. Unless the smell is in the subfloor, in which case that goes next.

Paint, replace, or seal walls. When heavy-duty cleaners haven’t eradicated smells in drywall, plaster, or woodwork, add a fresh coat of paint or stain, or replace the drywall or wood altogether.

On brick and cement, apply a sealant appropriate for the surface for $25 to $100. That may smother and seal in the odor, keeping it from reemerging.

Place potpourri or scented candles in strategic locations. Put a bow on your deep clean with potpourri and scented candles. Don’t go overboard and turn off buyers sensitive to perfumes. Simply place a bowl of mild potpourri in your foyer to create a warm first impression, and add other mild scents to the kitchen and bathrooms.

Control ongoing urine smells. If your dog uses indoor pee pads, put down a new pad each time the dog goes. Throw them away outside in a trash can with a tight lid. Remove even clean pads from view before each showing.

Replace kitty litter daily, rather than scooping used litter clumps, and sweep up around the litter box. Hide the litter box before each showing.

Relocate pets. If your dog or cat has a best friend it can stay with while you’re selling your home (and you can stand to be separated from your pet), consider sending your pet on a temporary vacation. If pets have to stay, remove them from the house for showings and put away their dishes, towels, and toys.

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer whose former mutt Marley no doubt created a wet-dog aroma in her condo that still remains. A regular contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Contact Beth Ann here

Office: 419-592-7653
Cell: 419-906-7225
Fax: 419 592-7021
bethannbeck@wellesbowen.com

bethannbeck.wellesbowen.com

 

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Susan Langendorfer Presents Why Home Equity Beats Facebook Equity

Why Home Equity Beats Facebook Equity

Article From HouseLogic.com By: Dona DeZube
Published: October 29, 2012

Facebook’s IPO and subsequent stock value points up a simple truth: It’s easy to get caught up in the notion of getting rich quick. But there’s no surer way to wealth than home ownership.

As Facebook’s IPO (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/facebook-ipo-roadshow-poised-hit-road/story?id=16263419#.T6LGAZpYtXA) approached, it was easy to start traveling down the “what if” path:“What if I had equity in Facebook?!? How rich would I be?”

If my parents had only bought me Berkshire Hathaway stock for my first birthday in 1962, I’d have made some serious money in stock equities.

Alas, they didn’t recognize the hot stock of their era any more than I would recognize the hot stock of mine.

Like most Americans, it’s home equity (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/equity-loans/home-equity-line-tips/), not stock equity, that will pad my bank account when I hit the retirement finish line.

About two-thirds of Americans invest in home ownership (http://www.houselogic.com/home-topics/the-home-ownership-matters-blog/), but only half of us invest in stocks. (I suspect this is in no small part because we have to make our mortgage (http://www.houselogic.com/home-taxes-financing/home-loans-mortgages/) payments every month or the bank comes and takes our houses back.)

The fact is, more of us are getting rich by buying and paying off our homes than by picking the next Facebook.

Here are some interesting facts from the National Center for Real Estate Research:

6 in 10 of us have more home equity than stock equity.

One-fifth of Americans’ total net worth is home equity.

Home owners accumulate, on average, $167,000 in their lifetimes, compared to $42,000 for renters.

The median wealth for the poorest American home owners, those earning less than $20,000, is 81 times that of renters with similar income.

In a recent study that took into account falling home prices, buying was still more likely to generate wealth than renting, simply because renters are more inclined to spend instead of save and invest in stocks (http://kenhjohnson.com/tag/wealth-accumulation/#19_1).

The bottom line is this: Even if renting appears cheaper on a spreadsheet, the forced savings of home ownership leads to wealth more reliably than renting. Many of us simply don’t have the willpower or motivation to save our discretionary income and invest it in stocks.

So unless you’ve got the inside track on the next hot future IPO, keep making your mortgage payments.

What’s worth more right now, your

IRA or your home? 

Susan Langendorfer

Susan Langenforfer
Realtor

 

Call Susan Langendorfer Today

Office: 419-891-0888
Cell: 419-283-7200
Fax: 419 891-1092
VM: 419-897-2700 ext. 229
susanlangendorfer@wellesbowen.com

susanlangendorfer.wellesbowen.com

Barb Powell Presents – First Home Purchasing Tips

My home

First Home Purchasing Tips/By Sam J Loeb

Purchasing a first home is to most a quite stressful and intimidating event, while also being one of the most significant decisions you are likely to make in your life. With all that is involved, from searching properties, mortgage application to negotiating a price, it is essential to take whole process of purchasing a property in a controlled and orderly manner. Here are some of the steps to following when purchasing any property -

Take along a Family Member or Relative – Buying a property is quite a confusing and drawn out process, even if you have already attempted to educate yourself as much as possible. If an appointment has been made to view a property, it often pays to have with you a trusted relative or friend who you can rely on to give you an objective opinion throughout the viewing process. It might also benefit if you can call on someone who has recently been through the process of purchasing a property or dealing with estate agents. At times our own opinion might be clouded by emotions, so it always helps to have a second, more rational opinion to guide you along. Also, someone else’s viewpoint might be able to highlight the negative points of a property, which you would’ve otherwise missed.

Use a Trusted Real Estate Agent – A well-qualified estate agent that you feel entirely comfortable with is an essential piece of purchasing a first property. It is always worthwhile visiting several different local agents to find someone you are happy to work with. Some of the main qualities to expect with an agent are honesty, experience, and a keen knowledge of the local housing market. The right agent should be able to advice you through each stage of purchasing a property, which will ensure you find the perfect house for you and your family.

Don’t Rush a House Purchase – Most first-time home buyers often require several month of searching different types of properties before deciding on the right home to live in for the long-term. Purchasing something as significant as a new home isn’t something that should be rushed, which in a worst case situation might leave you with a home that isn’t quite right for your circumstance or where you don’t quite feel as comfortable as you should. It always helps to have several properties lined up to view, which can give you a broader view of what is on offer. It might help to look at a range of properties, such as town houses, flats, condos, bungalows, etc. to see the different floor plans and layouts available and see what looks most promising for your needs. After viewing a varied mix of properties, you will be in a better place to make an informed and wise decision.

See more information on trusted and reliable Real estate Melbourne specialists to ensure you get the best outcome in your property search.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sam_J_Loeb

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Barb Powell, Realtor

Office: 419-782-8216
Cell: 419-769-2135
Fax: 419 782-0989
VM: 419-782-0978 ext. 136
barbpowell@wellesbowen.com

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Selling Your Home? Don’t Make This Costly Mistake

Bill had to sell his house quickly.

He was being transferred out of state, and the company wasn’t footing the bill. Instead, they offered him a higher salary. Now he had to sell quickly or risk paying two mortgages.

But Bill wasn’t sweating it. After all, his house was in a great neighborhood in a desirable part of town. He hired a real estate agent, confident that once the “for sale” sign went up, the buyers would come knocking. He’d get a quick sale at asking price, no problem.

Only a month went by, and there were zero offers. Bill had to move soon and was getting nervous about those double mortgage payments, but no one was interested. Then, to really rub salt in the wound, buyers were leavings tons of negative comments!

So what was the problem?

Ginni Neuenschwander 6 Things Everyone Should Do When Moving Into a New House

Ginni NeueschwanderArticle From HouseLogic.com By: Courtney Craig Published: October 01, 2012

Moving into your first home is exciting! But it also means you’ve got work to do.

When I bought my first house in May, my timing couldn’t have been better: The house closing was two weeks before the lease was up on my apartment. That meant I could take my time packing and moving, and I could get to know the new place before moving in.

I recruited family and friends to help me move (in exchange for a beer-and-pizza picnic on the floor) and, as a bonus, I got to pick their brains about what first-time home owners should know.

Their help was one of the best housewarming presents I could have gotten. And thanks to their expertise and a little Googling, here’s what I learned about what to do before moving in.

1. Change the locks. You really don’t know who else has keys to your home, so change the locks. That ensures you’re the only person who has access. Install new deadbolts yourself for as little as $10 per lock, or call a locksmith – if you supply the new locks, they typically charge about $20-$30 per lock for labor.

2. Check for plumbing leaks (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/plumbing/plumbing-leaks-8-smart-tips-stop-them/). Your home inspector should do this for you before closing, but it never hurts to double-check. I didn’t have any leaks to fix, but when checking my kitchen sink, I did discover the sink sprayer was broken. I replaced it for under $20.

Keep an eye out for dripping faucets and running toilets, and check your water heater (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/water-heaters/water-heater-maintenance/) for signs of a leak (http://www.houselogic.com/blog/plumbing/fix-a-leak-week-2012/).

Here’s a neat trick: Check your water meter at the beginning and end of a 2-hour window in which no water is being used in your house. If the reading is different, you have a leak.

3. Steam clean carpets (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-improvement/carpet-or-hardwood/). Do this before you move your furniture in, and your new home life will be off to a fresh, clean start. You can pay a professional carpet cleaning service – you’ll pay about $50 per room; most services require a minimum of about $100 before they’ll come out – or you can rent a steam cleaner for about $30 per day and do the work yourself. I was able to save some money by borrowing a steam cleaner from a friend.

4. Wipe out your cabinets. Another no-brainer before you move in your dishes and bathroom supplies. Make sure to wipe inside and out, preferably with a non-toxic cleaner (http://www.houselogic.com/green-living/green-cleaning/), and replace contact paper if necessary.

When I cleaned my kitchen cabinets (http://www.houselogic.com/home-topics/cabinets/), I found an unpleasant surprise: Mouse poop. Which leads me to my next tip …

5. Give critters the heave-ho. That includes mice, rats (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/pest-control/Need-to-Get-Rid-of-Rats-Its-a-Community-Effort/), bats (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/pest-control/attic-pest-removal/), termites (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/pest-control/detect-termites-other-wood-destroying-insects/), roaches (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/pest-control/roach-home-removal-tips/), and any other uninvited guests. There are any number of DIY ways to get rid of pests, but if you need to bring out the big guns, an initial visit from a pest removal service will run you $100-$300, followed by monthly or quarterly visits at about $50 each time.

For my mousy enemies, I strategically placed poison packets around the kitchen, and I haven’t found any carcasses or any more poop, so the droppings I found must have been old. I might owe a debt of gratitude to the snake (http://www.houselogic.com/blog/pest-control/how-help-snake-slither-out-your-house/) that lives under my back deck, but I prefer not to think about him.

6. Introduce yourself to your circuit breaker box and main water valve. My first experience with electrical wiring (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/electrical/when-time-for-electrical-wiring-upgrade/) was replacing a broken light fixture in a bathroom. After locating the breaker box, which is in my garage, I turned off the power to that bathroom so I wouldn’t electrocute myself.

It’s a good idea to figure out which fuses control what parts of your house and label them accordingly. This will take two people: One to stand in the room where the power is supposed to go off, the other to trip the fuses and yell, “Did that work? How about now?”

You’ll want to know how to turn off your main water valve if you have a plumbing emergency, if a hurricane (http://www.houselogic.com/protect-your-home/hurricanes/) or tornado (http://www.houselogic.com/protect-your-home/tornadoes-severe-storms/) is headed your way, or if you’re going out of town. Just locate the valve – it could be inside or outside your house – and turn the knob until it’s off. Test it by turning on any faucet in the house; no water should come out.

What were the first maintenance projects you did when you moved into your first home?

Ginni Neueschwander, Realtor

www.ginnineuenschwander.wellesbowen.com

Office: 419-335-5170
Cell: 419-822-7045
Fax: 440-399-9346
ginni@wellesbowen.com

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