Home Maintenance for Busy People

Home Maintenance for People with Better Things to Do

Owning your own home shouldn’t mean an endless list of chores.

Home Maintenance

Image: Andrés Nieto Porras

Home Maintenance Mastery – Tips and Tricks for busy home owners as reported in HouseLogic.com

Weekends are meant for coaching a youth soccer team to victory, chopping your way through “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” or training for a 5K to help save the pandas — not working your way through a tedious, 30-item home maintenance checklist. But then, taking care of the home you love is important, too.

So how do you have your fun and keep a well-maintained home?

It’s simple: Just be mindful of your home. You don’t need a rigid maintenance list. (They work best for Type A people anyway.) Instead, train your senses to warn you of these problems, and then act ASAP:

Your Dryer Seems Hotter Than Usual

If your clothes and your dryer are super, super hot or, conversely, your dryer is taking longer to dry, you could have a clogged lint vent, a leading cause of house fires. “Sometimes the dryer connection will wiggle loose going to the outside, causing all sorts of issues with lint,” says Jeff Devlin, licensed contractor and host of DIY Network’s “Stone House Revival and “I Hate My Bath.” Heat and packed lint make the perfect recipe for fire. To defuse that combination:

  • Pull out the dryer connection — this is the tube or pipe that connects the dryer to the window vent.
  • Suck out all the lint from the pipe and pipe connection with a vacuum attachment.
  • Re-attach, making sure it’s not loose or bent.

You can also hire a pro to do it.

You Smell Something Musty

Your nose knows what’s normal in your home. “If you go into a room and it smells musty, there’s something going on,” says Frank Lesh, executive director of American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). When you smell that mildew-y smell, you know you’ve got a problem, he says. What kind of problem? Read on.

You Can See Mold or Mildew

Mold and mildew are the banners for moisture, your home’s No. 1 enemy. If you see them, you know moisture has broken through your home’s defenses and is bringing reinforcements. Find out where the water source is and eradicate it ASAP. Moisture is like cancer to a home. If you don’t catch it early, it will eat away at your home’s very structure, causing major damage to its foundation, walls, floors, and ceilings.

Related:How to Never Ever Have to Clean Bathroom Mold Again

You Spot a Water Stain

You get it now. Water = bad. So even a faint water stain should light a fire under you. Zero in on the source before moisture can settle into your home’s bones. A water stain on the ceiling could signal a leak in your roof, or if it’s under a bathroom it could be a pipe that’s leaking. Stain under a window? Your window may need caulking.

Your Drain Is Really Slow (and It Gurgles)

Showering in water up to your ankles defeats the purpose. “A clean drain is a healthy drain,” says Devlin. If your drain makes odd noises and takes foreeeeeeever, you could be at risk of a sewer backup, which is not only a moisture issue, but one that ranks high on the stinky scale. If you’re lucky, it could be a simple clog, but either way it might be a good idea to put your plumber’s number in your cellphone’s favorites list.

You Hear Something That’s Alive

The pitter-patter of tiny rodent footsteps is enough to send shivers down your spine — and can quickly multiply into a mini stampede. One couple found out the hard way.

“We found that a squirrel had taken up residence in the attic and was chewing through electrical wires,” says David Bowers. By the time he and his partner, Sharon Bowers, (BTW, they co-authored “The Useful Book: 201 Life Skills They Used to Teach in Home Ec and Shop”) got around to calling a pro, an entire squirrel family (with more on the way!) had settled in to dine on those wires — a costly fix that was also a fire hazard.

If you hear unwanted visitors, evict them quickly, then block the entry they used. With squirrels, it might be an overgrown tree limb, which they use to jump onto your roof and then slip through a hole under roof flashing or rotting fascia, or an open window. For smaller pests, keep in mind they can come in through the tiniest of holes. (Mice can squeeze through a dime-sized opening.)

Your Gutters Create Waterfalls

You may love the smell and sound of rain, but when it’s cascading off your gutters in torrents instead of traveling neatly through them … well, remember those warnings about moisture? Cleaning the gutters is home maintenance 101 for good reason. “It can lead to exterior damage, as well as water damaging the foundations,” says Bowers. If you spot a gutter clog, clear it. You’ll be happier for it. It’s probably the best thing you can do to protect your home.

#homesforsale #maryland #dc # realestate #realtor #homemaintenance

Closing Costs – Why You Can’t Skimp to Save

Closing Costs – The Home Purchase Must Have, and Why

There is no question about it - Closing Costs are imperative to your home purchase!
As reported last night in The Telegraph

Closing Costs

Chris Meyer recently discovered that the deeds to his flat he owns have been mixed up with the flat next door. CREDIT: CATERS NEWS AGENCY

Adam Boult

[Closing Costs can prevent items like this from happening to you!] Carlisle businessman Chris Meyer has become embroiled in a property nightmare after attempting to sell his three-bedroom flat – and discovering it’s actually owned by his next door neighbour.

The house he’d bought six years earlier, it transpired, was the one next to the one he’s been living in.

Of the 15 flat owners in the building on Carlisle’s Willow Holme Road, ten now face the same problem.

Mr Meyer first put his home on the market three years ago for £80,000. “I had loads of interest and an offer of £76,000,” he told the Carlisle News & Star.

Closing Costs - Don't Skimp!

Closing Costs ensure you are living in the condo you purchased, instead of the one next door!

Credit: Caters News Agency

“I’d chosen the new house, had the mortgage approved, a survey sorted out, and I was due to get the keys in a few weeks when the solicitor for the person buying my flat got in touch to say there was a problem.

“Basically, I live in number 8 and thought I had bought number 8. But Land Registry documents show that I actually own Number 9. The man who thought he’d bought Number 7 actually owns my flat. It’s the same for 10 of the 15 flats.

“It’s a complete mess. Not surprisingly, my buyer pulled out. We’re three years on and we seem to be no further forward.

Nick Gutteridge of Burnetts, the solicitors firm that conducting conveyancing on the original sale, told the News & Star: “We are very clear that responsibility for checking the title report was with Mr Meyer.

“Although this is not a situation of our making, we have gone above and beyond in helping Mr Meyer to rectify the issue, including liaising with other property owners and their lenders.

“Given the many hours which have been spent (at no charge) in trying to assist him, it is disappointing that Mr Meyer has chosen to raise a grievance via the newspaper.

“We have previously encouraged Mr Meyer to seek independent legal advice and do so again. In the meantime, we are willing to continue to help, if he wants us to do so.”

1% Down Mortgages Available

As posted in DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 2016  at http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news

Millennials | The 10 Best Markets


The road to home ownership has been a struggle for many young adults, mostly due to financial obstacles. However, some millennials may find more luck in less expensive metro areas that also have steady job growth and lower qualifying incomes necessary to purchase a home.


NAR recently analyzed employment gains, population trends, income levels, and housing conditions among the 100 largest metro areas to pinpoint the best purchase markets for millennial home buyers.

After all, “even with potentially higher incomes, prospective millennial home buyers residing in some of the most expensive cities in the country face the onerous task of paying steep rents while trying to save for an adequate down payment,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “However, for those currently living in or looking to move to a more affordable part of the country, there are metro areas right now with solid job growth and that offer a smoother path to home ownership.”

NAR identified these top 10 metros as the best housing markets for millennials:

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Charleston, South Carolina
  3. Denver
  4. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  5. Ogden, Utah
  6. Portland, Oregon
  7. Raleigh, North Carolina
  8. Salt Lake City
  9. Seattle
  10. Washington, D.C.

Additional markets NAR identified for having promising potential for millennial home buyers include:

  • Boston
  • Dallas
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Jacksonville, Florida

“An overwhelming majority of young renters recently said they eventually want to buy a home,” Yun says. “As long as new and existing-home supply keeps up to meet demand and holds prices from rising too quickly, these identified areas are poised to lead the way in helping millennials realize their American Dream of becoming a home owner.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

USB Ports An Easy Start to Tech Friendly Smart Home

This is a no-fuss way to add USB ports to your wall outlets

USB Ports – Got five minutes and a screwdriver? USB ports are easily added to home outlets, as shown in this gracefully written and helpful home tech article by Dan Seifert on

Home Tech, USB Ports, Wall Outlets, DIY
It’s super convenient to have USB ports integrated into your wall outlets — it makes charging your smartphone, tablet, fitness tracker, smartwatch, or whatever as easy as plugging it into the wall. Unfortunately, getting a USB port in your wall outlet usually involves some sort of wiring and replacement of your current wall outlets. The SnapPower charger doesn’t, however; it just replaces the outlet cover and adds a USB port below the standard power outlets.

That means there’s no wiring involved — in fact, the only tool you need is a basic flat-head screwdriver. Unscrew the existing outlet cover, pop on the SnapPower, tighten the screw, and you’re done. (You should also turn off power to the outlet from your breaker box while you do this for safety precautions.) The whole process takes less than five minutes.

The SnapPower’s trick is that it has prongs that extend to touch the metal screws or sides of the existing outlet and draw power from them. It can deliver 1A of power through the USB port, which is enough to charge a phone or wearable in a reasonable amount of time, but will take a long time to charge an iPad. (The company says that a 2.1A version is in the works, which is more suited to charging tablets and other large devices.) The USB port position below the standard outlets means it doesn’t block them from being used by other appliances.

Home Tech, USB Ports, Wall Outlets, DIYSnapPower

The SnapPower charger costs $19.99, which makes it a little pricey to put in every outlet in your home, but a couple units in strategic locations is likely all that most people need. (SnapPower also sells the charger in bulk packs at a discount if you want to cover a bunch of outlets with them.) In addition, the company has an outlet cover with integrated LED lights and light sensor, so you don’t have to use an outlet for a nightlight. You can get the SnapPower for duplex or decor style outlets from the company’s website now.

SnapPower charger, Home Tech, USB Ports, Wall Outlets, DIY