Tag Archives: Home Maintenance

The Importance of Home Maintenance Records

July2015-Trulia-4-Reasons-You-Absolutely-Need-to-Save-Home-Maintenance-Records-girl-filing-away-papersWhen it comes to our cars, most of us understand that it’s important to save our service records—or at least shove them in the glove compartment—especially if we’re hoping to get top dollar when it comes time to sell.  While your latest oil change might not seem like big news, it may be to a potential buyer who will want to see how well the vehicle has been cared for.

On a larger scale, it’s important to think of your home in the same terms.  While it’s always tempting to throw that pink carbon receipt away from your latest HVAC tune-up or leak repair, consider utilizing a digital or standard filing system to keep track of these types of records.  Here’s why:

POTENTIAL BUYERS: Purchasing a home is a massive financial investment, which means some buyers will be more than meticulous when it comes to assessing the condition of your property.  Due diligence often pays off for buyers, so chances are good that if selling is in your future, you’ll want to be able to give dates for everything from when your gutters were installed to your last carpet cleaning.  You don’t want to get caught off guard with questions that you’re simply unable to answer, so let the receipts do the talking for you.

SAVE YOUR MONEY: Maintenance records are just that—records.  In short, they give you the opportunity to keep track of how often something is being worked on so you gain a better understanding of whether you should continue throwing money into repairs or should simply bite the bullet and purchase a new product.  If you notice that those pink slips are piling up, you might save more money with a replacement.

INSURANCE DISPUTES: Insurance companies make money off of the assumption that you’ll likely pay more for monthly coverage than they’ll ever have to pay in the case of an accident.  In essence, it’s a numbers game that makes them a good bit of money; however, it also creates an environment where their goal is to make sure they compensate you with just enough to cover your costs.

Therefore, if—for example—your insurance company pays for a new roof after damage from a massive storm, it’s possible for them to decide at a later date that they paid you too much money.  Should this happen, they will likely request a portion of their funds back, which means it’s extremely important to maintain control of your receipts and maintenance records in order to dispute their claims.

SETTING FUTURE BUDGETS: Following a set maintenance schedule is an important aspect of homeownership, especially if you’re looking to retain your property value.  While no one enjoys feeling like their constantly shelling out money for appliance checks and minor repairs, having an understanding of how much you’re spending each year can set the stage for the establishment of a yearly maintenance budget.

Instead of getting caught off-guard every time you’re forced to drop a couple hundred dollars on a maintenance issue, use your receipts to establish a yearly estimate of how much you spend on repairs so you never have to feel like your scraping to find the cash to cover them.

For more tips and tricks, please feel free to contact me.  Even if you’re not looking to sell your home or buy something new in the near future, I’m always here to offer advice.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Tips for Hiring an Experienced Home Service Professional

CHBA.Fall-2012x600One of the most important things to be aware of when purchasing a home is that there’s no landlord to handle all of your maintenance and repair concerns.  As a homeowner, the responsibility for making sure your property stays in tip-top shape rests on your shoulders, so it’s important to pick your home service professionals wisely.

Yes, when it comes to hiring contractors or other specialists, there are a lot of great professionals out there; however, for every experienced, integrity-driven expert, it’s important to remember that not every company is as qualified or honest as they should be.

Therefore, to avoid problems, consider the following tips:

  1. Temper the Impulse to Select the Bargain Bid – While most of us are primed to seek the lowest price, bids that come in substantially lower than the competition aren’t always the best option. When you’re dealing with home materials, it’s important to remember that cheaper bids will often come from cheaper goods. That’s not to say that higher bids are always indicative of better service; however, if you’re dealing with a company who is offering a quote that is significantly higher or lower than everyone else, make a point to ask why.
  2. Ask for Credentials – Reputable professionals should be thoroughly credentialed, so don’t be afraid to ask for current copies of their license, insurance, and bonding capacity. If the paperwork you’re presented with is either expired or does not cover the type of work you need completed, don’t simply take their word for it. If you have questions about the bonding requirements in your town, county, or state, call your local government for more information and make a point to seek out references/customer reviews.
  3. Establish a Relationship – As with anything in life, communication is important. Your home represents a large financial investment—possibly the largest one you own—so you’ll want to make sure that you completely trust the service professional charged with keeping it healthy. If you have pertinent questions, ask!  If they don’t respond in a timely manner or you feel like they’re simply telling you what you want to hear in the hopes of landing your business, look somewhere else.
  4. Be Wary of Large Upfront Payments – Some jobs may require a down payment to cover the cost of materials, but you should never have to pay the full amount upfront. Be careful if you’re asked by an installer, landscaper, or repair person to make substantial payments before you’re satisfied with their work.
  5. Stay on the Look Out for Scam Artists – While it’s easy to assume that a glossy business card and well-designed website signify a reputable company, professional presentations do not always equate to professional service. If someone comes to your door offering a “free roof inspection” or “discounted fence painting” because they have supplies leftover from another job, it’s wise maintain a healthy level of suspicion.  While not all roofers, contractors, or landscapers who come to your door are scam artists, make a point to ask for a business card and do your research before entering into any agreements.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to be one of the 50,000 complaints that the Better Business Bureau receives each year regarding home service professionals.

Therefore, if you have some work that needs to be done and you’d like a personal referral for everything from a contractor to a plumber, please feel free to contact me.  I work with a variety of wonderful professionals and I’d be happy to make a recommendation.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Get Started on Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

fall-house-e1410287548221While the weather is still relatively warm in this part of the country, it’s hard to miss the whispers of fall that have begun to make their way into the rustling leaves and cool, crisp mornings.  While autumn is characterized by a sort of sleepy transition into the frosty winter months, it’s also the perfect time to put a bit of effort into some do-it-yourself tasks that will have a positive impact on both the state of your home, as well as your wallet.

1.) GUTTERS: It’s not uncommon for most of us to overlook the true impact that gutters have on our property.  Without a whole lot of aesthetic appeal, it’s easy to forget that they divert thousands of gallons of water from our homes on an annual basis.  Unless you make a point to keep them clean, clogged gutters can lead to water in your home and an abundance of rust, rot, and corrosion.  Therefore, before the foliage really begins to change, make a point to have your gutters thoroughly cleaned and covered with a mesh guard.

2.) STOP LEAKS: When it comes to energy costs, nothing can hurt your wallet like air leaks around windows and doors.  Generally speaking, gaps in your weather stripping and caulk may actually add about 10% to your heating bill, so it’s important to look for leaks.  For areas that appear to need your attention, replace any worn weather stripping or missing/damaged caulk and don’t forget to check around all electrical, cable, and phone entry points.

3.) DON’T NEGLECT YOUR ROOF: Instead of waiting until there’s water coming through your ceiling, it’s important to inspect your roof so that little annoyances are stopped before they become massive problems.

Start by inspecting your roof from top to bottom and looking for cracks and wind damage, as well as missing, broken, or curled shingles.  While you’re up there, take a look into your gutters—if you notice large accumulations of granules, your roof may be shedding its coating, which means further issues are just around the corner.

4.) INSPECT YOUR FURNACE: While it may seem a bit redundant, it’s important to have your furnace inspected by a professional once a year.  Again, while it may cost you a little bit of money, prevention will save you from having to shell out an abundance of money for large repairs and replacements.

On your own, pay attention to things such as noisy belts, erratic behavior, and general poor performance.  All of these things can be signs that your parts are faulty, worn, or damaged, or that your heating ducts are blocked.

5.) STAY ON TOP OF GAS PROBLEMS: If you have a gas heater, keeping it in working condition is not only a cost issue, but a safety issue as well.  Having a professional check it each year will not only save you money in operating costs, but help prevent poisonous gases from leeching into the air of your home.

6.) FIRE PROOFING: Sure, the likelihood of your home going up in flames is pretty slim; however, it happens and for anyone who has seen what a house fire looks like, the sight is truly horrific.  Therefore, as we head towards winter and things like Christmas lights and trees, it’s important to take some extra steps to protect your family in case of a fire.

The first step involves not only replacing the batteries in each of your smoke detectors (don’t neglect your carbon monoxide detectors as well!), but testing them and making sure one is installed on every floor of your home—including the basement.

Next consider drawing up a few fire escape plans and make sure there’s no furniture or large items blocking any potential exits (to include windows).  If you’ve found yourself accumulating things like old newspapers or leftover hazardous chemicals, be aware of the fact that they present an increased fire hazard, so getting rid of them will help keep your family safe.

CONCLUSION

In the end, keeping your home in working order throughout the winter doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money.  If you stay on top of the little things and diligently complete them on an annual basis, then the chances that you’ll have to deal with large issues goes down exponentially.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.dinsmoreteam.com | 770-712-7789

Community Resources

WELCOME

2019 Welcome Services

The Dinsmore Team has created this handy guide for both Buyers and Sellers. The guide lists trusted service providers that we use personally and professionally. The providers listed service the Forsyth and North Fulton County areas.

2014 Complete Guide to Moving

This 20-Page Guide will be your comprehensive source for selling your home and planning your move. It includes tips for getting ready to sell, planning your move, packing and transitioning into your new home.

2014 Home Owners Tip Guide

This 20-Page Guide will help you develop an annual maintenance schedule for your home's systems and appliances to help you avoid bigger problems by taking care of them while they are small. It's also a great resource for trouble shooting malfunctions on your own, saving you time and money.


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Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com

770-712-7789