Autumn truly is a beautiful season. The changing leaves paint a beautiful picture across the treetops; and lots of people go on walks or drives in their neighborhood specifically to enjoy the gorgeous blend of colors. Eventually though, these leaves will start to fall- leaving the trees barren and every house in the neighborhood with both gutters and a yard full of leaves.
Fall and winter problems don’t end there- to truly prepare a home for the dropping temperatures and the lead-in to winter, there are a lot of home maintenance tasks to take care of that can prevent serious problems down the road.
Here are a few essential tips to truly keep a home market-worthy as the leaves start to fall:
Keep the yard raked.
This one is obvious.
Leaves covering the surface of your lawn over time will keep what little daylight is left from reaching your yard, resulting in brown grass earlier than you would expect.
Autumn is also a great time to aerate your lawn to get more moisture into your roots. If you want nicer grass outside, this is your last chance before the winter.
It’s important to keep downspouts and gutters unblocked by debris.
It is tedious, but it’s time to break out the ladder and gloves and get your hands dirty. If your property rests under a larger canopy of trees, installing a gutter guard may be a valid option.
Take a good long look at the roof.
Shingles may need to be replaced if they are curling or crackling- and if there is enough damage, autumn is the last real window to get any roofing work done.
Lots of roofing services start to close their doors as the temperature drops.
Also, Trim dead branches from trees over your roof to keep them from falling and hurting your home during a storm.
Shut off exterior hose and water bibs to keep pipes from bursting.
Water inside your pipes will start to freeze as the temperature drops. Be sure to run the hoses and pipes until they are empty to get all the water out- filled to brim or not, ice inside any sort of piping can do damage.
For interior or exterior pipes that run along exterior walls, adding some heating tape can help further prevent freezing and save some energy as well.
Have fireplaces repaired or cleaned.
To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning (an invisible and odorless gas from burning natural gas or coal), it’s a good idea to inspect and clean your fireplace- it’s probably been a while since you last fired it up. Replacing the batteries or adding carbon monoxide detectors around the house is usually a fall-task as well. Also, if you want the inside of your home to smell just as fresh as the summer air outside, you’ll need get your furnace filter replaced as well.
Confirm all attic insulation is properly installed.
If the vapor barrier is facing up, moisture can get trapped in the insulation, which will freeze and expand during the winter, creating larger gaps that will cause your home to loose heat. You might need to consult a home inspector to make sure this is done properly… over time, moist gaps in insulation can become breeding grounds for pests if they manage to get in. speaking of which…
If your house has gable vents, install a screen.
Attics are the most common place to find insects and pests during the winter. Gable vents typically have more space between their slots, so it’s easy for any sort of pests to sneak in. Installing a vent probably the easiest way to keep them out.
Inspect windows for shrinking or cracking seals.
Take a look at all the windows in the house to see if the humidity is causing the seals to shrink or crack. A quick caulking or weather stripping around windows and doors (don’t forget the garage door!) will do a lot to keep your home nice and toasty when it gets cold outside. It’s especially important to check for this in historic districts, which sometimes put limitations on replacing entire windows.
Jonathan Montgomery Founder and President of the The Real Estate Appraisal Group.He has been a real estate professional since 1998. He’s been a broker, and investor and now serves as an appraiser. He currently works as an appraiser, doing real estate appraisals in Washington D.C., Southern Maryland, and Northern Virginia.