Deep Creek Lake real estate news shows good activity throughout the fall months, even with the small uptick in interest rates. As many of my clients realize, a slight rise in interest rates indicates that the market is healthy enough to sustain an increase. You can see that our average sold price is up considerably compared to last year, which correlates to the number of $1M+ homes that have sold in 2018. Another sign of a strong housing environment.
Cold weather has arrived at Deep Creek, so I put together some winterizing tips for vacant homes. Be sure your home is ready for winter’s chill!
Bring in a plumber.
Hiring a professional plumber to winterize the pipes and water system in the home is extremely important if you want to avoid the incredibly expensive water damage that can occur from freezing pipes. The plumber can examine the entire system, inside and out, and then prepare it for freezing temperatures. The plumber will drain all areas where water is stored, like water heaters and hot tubs, and will use an air compressor to expel water from the pipes throughout the house. With the water removed, you do not have to keep the house heated to prevent freezing. The pipes are protected and you save money in utility costs. However, if your home is on the market you should keep your heat turned up a little so that buyers are not anxious to run back out of your home due to the unusually cold inside temperatures.
Drain outdoor garden hoses.
Water hoses must be disconnected from the home and drained of water to prevent damage to both the hoses and the spigots where they attach to the house. Left undrained, the water inside will freeze and burst not only the hose, but often the spigot as well. If winter watering must be done to keep landscape plants alive, make sure the person who does the watering drains the hoses and disconnects them from the house after each use.
Close up all openings to the house.
To prevent animals and insects from entering the home for shelter, you will need to close up all openings throughout the house. These include dryer vents and the chimney.
Have the gutters cleaned and repaired if necessary.
Gutters must be free of debris and attached properly to the house to funnel water away from the roof, siding and foundation. If enough water collects and a freeze hits, the weight of the ice can pull the gutter away from the home, damaging the siding and leading to potential ice hazards where water collects at the base of the house.
Remove anything touching the side of the house, such as leaves and firewood.
Water and insects can accumulate in firewood and debris, causing damage to the siding and leading to potential infestations. Keeping everything away from the house creates a safe barrier and prevents water damage. This includes shrubbery and other landscaping. Keep a minimum of a couple of feet to allow the home to breath.
Have trees trimmed over the home.
Remove any tree branches that may touch the house or hang too closely. Tree branches increase the leaves that accumulate in the gutter and can also break and fall on the house in a snow or ice storm. If you are negligent about keeping branches over your home it could lead to insurance denying your claim.
Make the home appear occupied at a glance.
It is better for potential buyers and discouraging to unwanted visitors if the home appears occupied. You can setup lights on timers and have the landscaping tended to periodically to keep things looking nice. If snow is an issue you can also have the driveway cleared. We provide a list of many tips on how to sell a home in the winter. This advice applies to both occupied and non-occupied homes. Keep in mind that if your home is on the market you are going to need to get it un-winterized with fairly short notice when the buyer schedules a home inspection. Buyers will want to be able to check the heating and plumbing systems and will not be able to do so if the home is winterized.
Hire a landscaper to perform a fall cleanup.
As the weather gets colder, plants will die and you will be left with a disheveled looking yard and landscape. It is beneficial for the sales process if you have someone come in and cleanup around the home after the first freeze or two, when most of the vegetation has died off. The landscaper can cut back any dead growth, rake up leaves and prepare plants for the winter.
Check on the home periodically.
If you do not plan to visit your home for periods of time, it’s good to hire a house check vendor to come by regularly to make sure you don’t walk into any surprises after a long winter.