Monday, October 6, 2014

Bad Habits for Homeowners

Don't worry, we're not getting so intrusive as to suggest you stop biting your nails or twirling your hair.  You go for it.  But when it comes to bad habits that affect your house, then we're here to help.

Many habits you have are bad for your house.  And the main problem is that many don't even know they are bad.  So here are a few that we've come up with that can save you heartache in the future.

1.  Being Oblivious

Homeowners need to be on top of their game when it comes to noticing things about their house.  Regular home inspections help you spot problems early before they become ginormous money-sucking catastrophies (think mold or pest invasions).  We recommend inspecting your roof, attic, basement and exterior every spring and fall, but at the very least once per year.

2.  Buying The Wrong Plants

You're touring your local garden center when you spot a gorgeous plant in full bloom and you know it would go great in that front garden bed in your yard so you buy it on the spot.  So many people lose tons of money each year to plants that die after transplanting them to their yard.  The two most important things to know before purchasing a new plant for your yard are what kind of soil you have and what plant-hardiness zone you live in.  That way you won't buy a water-loving River Birch tree to plant in a dry, sandy part of your yard that won't hold any moisture and you won't purchase that beautiful wisteria for your zone 4 yard when they only grow in zone 7 and higher.

3.  Keeping Your Shoes On

Besides the obvious of not dragging dirt all over your floors, taking off your shoes reduces the amount of dust, toxins and allergens entering your home by 85%.  So leave those shoes by the door.  And while you're at it, clean your mudroom floors regularly.

4.  Neglecting Your Gutters

“I love cleaning my gutters!” said no one, ever.  Granted this is not a fun job, but it's important to do it at least twice a year.  Why?  Clogged gutters cause water to back up and overflow.  And that water loves to seep under your shingles and flow straight to your basement.  Learn to tackle this job on your own to save money and gain peace of mind.

5.  Leaving Your Garage Door Open

Drive through any neighborhood and you're likely to see several garage doors hanging wide open while the homeowners are inside.  Think how easy it is for someone to swing in and grab not only your cars (please tell me you don't keep your keys in your car or garage) but anything else laying around in there.  And the more desperate criminals won't stop there, they'll head right on into your home and take your belongings at gunpoint.  But even if you think you're in a safe neighborhood where stuff like that would never happen, think of all the critters that could take up residence in your garage without your knowledge.  Then it's just one quick hop from your garage to your house when you're hauling groceries in.  Please, just keep those doors closed!

6.  Skimping On Your Emergency Fund

Imagine this scenario.  It's January, you've just received your first credit card statement after maxing out your card at Christmas, you have 3 birthdays in your family that month, your twins both made the traveling basketball $400 each, and it's been the coldest winter on record so your heating bills have been through the roof.  Got that image?  Now imagine that your furnace just went kaput and you need a new one, TODAY.  Now, don't imagine yourself having a stroke, imagine instead that you have a nice wad of money sitting in your savings account for a time such as this.  A general rule is to save 1-3 percent of the purchase price of your home each year for house-related emergencies.  Set up an automatic monthly transfer today and you'll never have to look like this guy in January.

Source:  Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors

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