Ask the Expert: How Can Homeowners Ensure Preparedness?

Today’s Ask the Expert column features Buddy Stark, director of Operations for HomeTeam Inspection Service.

Q: What can homeowners do to ensure their home is well prepared and more energy-efficient throughout the coming months?

A: Fall officially begins this month and HomeTeam Inspection Service—the only national home inspection company to utilize a team of inspectors onsite—offers the following home maintenance tips.

Roof
Inspect the roof covering and flashing from the ground for indicators of wear, like missing, loose or cracked shingles or tiles. Water can seep into these areas and cause damage if left unattended. Contact a professional roofer for repair or a replacement evaluation if water intrusion is occurring or suspected.

Gutters and Downspouts
Gutters and downspouts are critical in protecting your home from water damage. Fall is one of the most important times to check your gutters and downspouts to ensure they’re not rusted, rotted, disconnected or full of debris.

Fireplace
Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean your chimney, fireplace and vents at least once per year, as recommended by the National Fire Protection Association. A do-it-yourself inspection for creosote buildup can be performed by wearing goggles and a basic disposable dust mask. Take a flashlight and your fireplace poker and scratch the black surface above the damper (smoke chamber). If the groove you scratch is paper thin, no cleaning is needed. If it’s 1/8 inch thick, schedule a cleaning. If you have 1/4 inch of creosote, don’t use the fireplace until it’s cleaned—a chimney fire could occur at any time.

HVAC
Get your furnace cleaned and serviced by a professional before the heating season begins. Also, clean or replace your furnace filters as recommended throughout the year. Dirty filters restrict airflow and reduce efficiency.

Ensure that all supply and return vents aren’t blocked or closed, as this causes the return duct to pull in cold air from cracks in windows and doors. In addition, the warm air that’s still trying to push up through closed vents will either start to leak out ducts that aren’t sealed properly, or be forced back down into your basement or floor cavities.

Trees and Bushes
Trimming trees and bushes provides many advantages to your home’s exterior. Trim so that all leaves and limbs are at least three feet away from your house. This prevents them from hitting the sides of your house when it’s windy, decreasing the amount of leaves and debris that will end up in your gutters.

Windows and Doors
Cracks in the seals around windows and doors allow heated or cooled air to escape, which can cost you money. Caulking and weatherstripping can wear over time, so check the seals around your windows and doors. One of the easiest ways to diagnose this issue is to close the door or window and hold a lighted candle near the frame. If the flame flickers at any spot, you likely have an air leak. Replace or add caulk or weatherstripping where needed.

For more information, please visit www.hometeam.com.

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$376,000 :: 2810 MANCHESTER RD, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

4 beds, 2 baths
Home size: 1,495 sq ft
Lot Size: 6,969 sq ft
Added: 09/29/17, Last Updated: 09/29/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21374170
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: PEMBROOK MANOR SUB – BIRMINGHA
Status: Active

Sophisticated bungalow with an awesome location to stores, parks, dining and so much more. The first floor features 2 bedrooms, one of the full baths, natural fireplace in the living room and a top-notch kitchen that opens to the breakfast area. Upstairs one will find the master bedroom with the other full bath, as well as another spacious bedroom. Take the stairs to the basement to find a nice finished area and plenty of storage for whatever you might have. Lastly, walk out the back door to the fully fenced yard that has a private patio and a 2-car garage. The Seller has put additional love into the home since buying it.

Listed with Max Broock, REALTORS~-Rochester


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$1,050,000 :: 2521 YORKSHIRE, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

4 beds, 4 baths
Home size: 4,160 sq ft
Lot Size: 11,325 sq ft
Added: 05/31/17, Last Updated: 09/28/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21301691
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: EAST MAPLE GARDENS
The price of this listing was last reduced on 6/5/2017 by 5%
Status: Sold

The charm of Birmingham’s Pembroke Park district is within just footsteps from this new construction masterpiece. Enjoy a summer BBQ from the back loggia overlooking a hard-to-find huge fenced-in back yard. Not even a year old, this gorgeous new construction Tudor style colonial is not to be missed. Quality built by Babi Construction with tons of upgrades and higher end finishes after its completion including landscaping, security system, LED upgrades, window treatments, epoxy flooring, smart home integration and Viking Professional appliance package. This home has many rare upgrades like 3-car attached garage, spa-like master bath boasting multiple shower heads in marble shower, Jacuzzi tub and heated floors. Come see this gorgeous home on a beautiful street filled with vintage and newer homes. Excluded -ADT Security System.

Listed with Signature Sotheby’s International Realty


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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Odd Things to Run in the Dishwasher

Move over, dinner plates! The dishwasher can actually be used to wash a myriad of strange items. Below is a good rundown. A quick bit of common sense: if suds-ing up something super greasy or grimy (like an old hubcap), don’t mix your eatery into the same load.

Rubber Boots and Flip Flops – Want to wash your favorite rubber footwear? Pop them in the dishwasher upside down.

Kitchen Sponges – Toss them into the silverware tray for a speedy sanitize!

House Keys – Ever wonder how filthy your house keys get over the years? So long as none of your keys have electric starters, pop the whole ring into the silverware tray.

Grill Rack – Is your grill rack covered in grease? Place it on the top tray and set the heat to high to get it gleaming again.

Hubcaps – Crazy, but true! Just add a cup of white vinegar to your detergent and hit start.

Nail Clippers – Pop these in the silverware tray and they’re good as new.

Tools – Get your favorite tools gleaming with a quick cycle in the washer.

Contact Lens Cases – The dishwasher is a great place to sanitize these every couple weeks or so.

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How to Make a Difference in Your Homeowner Association

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Homeowner associations were created to provide a governing body for residential developments to make decisions regarding upkeep, appearance and finances. These agencies are usually composed of residents of the community. Periodic meetings are held to ensure that members of the communities are informed of issues related to them. You can make sure you have an impact on your homeowner association decisions if you keep these tips in mind.

Attend Meetings and Encourage Others to Attend
Many of the problems found in homeowner associations result from lack of participation by residents and their failure to hold the boards accountable for their actions. This problem can lead to laxity in managing finances, creating rules that are unnecessarily restrictive and allowing domination of decisions by the most vocal homeowners in the development. Anyone who has a public administration master’s degree knows how important public input is to the outcome of these decisions. If you attend meetings regularly, you will know what matters are under discussion and can provide oversight to any decisions that are made.

Know the Limits of Homeowner Association Laws
Although homeowner associations have broad authority to organize communities, they are still subject to a larger body of laws that affect privacy, ownership of property and discrimination. Familiarize yourself with the homeowner association laws in your state, so you can help to prevent frivolous rules that negatively affect the experience of residents living in the community, which could affect the desirability of the development in the real estate market.

Educate Others on Financial Matters
Homeowner associations must produce a budget for the members of the development on an annual basis. These budgets allow the residents to understand where their association dues are being spent and whether or not sufficient reserve funds are being held for large projects to maintain the community. Research how to read these budgets and educate neighbors on the individual entries to ensure that your community has funds on hand for emergencies and other necessary projects.

Have Documentation About Problems and Solutions in Other Developments
Homeowners can make a real impact with their board members if they have specific information about how other developments have resolved their issues to stabilize their communities. In many cases, this information is available in local or community papers; however, you can also talk to board members of the developments to get a sense of the issues involved and the best ways to manage them.
Homeowner associations exist to ensure that communities are well run and able to handle financial and other responsibilities. These associations function best when those that make the decisions have regular input from the residents of the community. In this way, accountability is always ensured, and the impact of the decisions made on individuals in the community can be considered.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post How to Make a Difference in Your Homeowner Association appeared first on RISMedia.

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How to Make a Difference in Your Homeowner Association

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Homeowner associations were created to provide a governing body for residential developments to make decisions regarding upkeep, appearance and finances. These agencies are usually composed of residents of the community. Periodic meetings are held to ensure that members of the communities are informed of issues related to them. You can make sure you have an impact on your homeowner association decisions if you keep these tips in mind.

Attend Meetings and Encourage Others to Attend
Many of the problems found in homeowner associations result from lack of participation by residents and their failure to hold the boards accountable for their actions. This problem can lead to laxity in managing finances, creating rules that are unnecessarily restrictive and allowing domination of decisions by the most vocal homeowners in the development. Anyone who has a public administration master’s degree knows how important public input is to the outcome of these decisions. If you attend meetings regularly, you will know what matters are under discussion and can provide oversight to any decisions that are made.

Know the Limits of Homeowner Association Laws
Although homeowner associations have broad authority to organize communities, they are still subject to a larger body of laws that affect privacy, ownership of property and discrimination. Familiarize yourself with the homeowner association laws in your state, so you can help to prevent frivolous rules that negatively affect the experience of residents living in the community, which could affect the desirability of the development in the real estate market.

Educate Others on Financial Matters
Homeowner associations must produce a budget for the members of the development on an annual basis. These budgets allow the residents to understand where their association dues are being spent and whether or not sufficient reserve funds are being held for large projects to maintain the community. Research how to read these budgets and educate neighbors on the individual entries to ensure that your community has funds on hand for emergencies and other necessary projects.

Have Documentation About Problems and Solutions in Other Developments
Homeowners can make a real impact with their board members if they have specific information about how other developments have resolved their issues to stabilize their communities. In many cases, this information is available in local or community papers; however, you can also talk to board members of the developments to get a sense of the issues involved and the best ways to manage them.
Homeowner associations exist to ensure that communities are well run and able to handle financial and other responsibilities. These associations function best when those that make the decisions have regular input from the residents of the community. In this way, accountability is always ensured, and the impact of the decisions made on individuals in the community can be considered.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Millennials Going Over Budget to Buy Homes in Today’s Hot Market

The 2017 Zillow Group Report explores affordability challenges facing renters and a first look at post-millennial Generation Z’s housing patterns Continue Reading →

Your Fall Produce Guide

Do you like to eat locally? While the summer has an abundance of fresh produce for you to grab at your local farmer’s market, as fall hits, many wonder what local produce is still available. Below are the top five things to eat this autumn, available in most regions in the country.

Apples! All hail fall, the season of apples! From apple pie to applesauce, apple slaw and more, there are hundreds of ways to enjoy this crispy sweet (or tart!) treat. Look for local apples in your grocery store or drive up to a nearby farm to pick yourself.

Broccoli. Although it does grow in the warmer months, broccoli lingers into the fall. Roast up some spears with garlic and olive oil, or pull out your wok for a quick stir-fry.

Blackberries. Most of us think of summer as the season for berries, but blackberries are available in some regions well into the early fall. Great for pies, smoothies, muffins and fruit salads, these juicy berries are packed with antioxidants—great for fighting colds as the “sick” season approaches.

Cabbage. Stuffed cabbage, baked cabbage, stewed cabbage, coleslaw! This cruciferous veggie is very versatile, and extremely inexpensive. Grab a head or four and get to munching.

Cauliflower. Many mistake cauliflower as being void of nutrients due to its pale coloring, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Packed with vitamins, this veggie is great raw, steamed or baked. Some are even getting creative by making cauliflower “rice” and pizza crusts. Hit up Google for some innovative cauliflower recipes.

Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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The Best Shopping In Detroit Is Filled With Detroit Pride

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$289,000 :: 1569 EMMONS Avenue, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

2 beds, 2 baths
Home size: 1,186 sq ft
Lot Size: 4,791 sq ft
Added: 09/25/17, Last Updated: 09/25/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 217086880
Community: Birmingham
Tract: LEINBACH-HUMPHREY’S WOODW
Status: Active

Stylish brick bungalow in a wonderful location. Fabulous floor plan with a spacious living room and dining room combination. Amazing 2nd floor master suite with a beautiful master bath, huge walk-in closet and great storage. Generous-sized kitchen has a doorwall leading to the deck and private yard. Hardwood floors throughout plus new air conditioning, newer driveway and newer 2-car garage with additional storage.

Listed with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices HWWB


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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