Fall Home Maintenance

The purchase of a home will likely be the biggest invest anybody will make in their life. Our homes are the centers of our lives because they hold everything and everyone important to us. Our top priorities are taking care of that invest.  Winter is a harsh season here in North Idaho as a result it can cause some damage to our homes, properties, our loved ones, or even our wallets! It can be avoided if we take extra steps this fall or start of winter to prepare.

The next question is where do I start? Not knowing can be overwhelming and stressful. Below is just a small list of some important home maintenance ideas. Included is the reason you should do them. It can make a huge difference on your home and property this year.

 

 

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InteriorImage result for insulating pipes for winter

  • Windows & Doors ~Install cool weather storm windows & doors, repair and/or replace loose or damaged window or door frames and insert weather stripping or caulking around windows & Image result for inserting weather strippingdoors. This will all keep your house better insulated through winter.

 

  • Heating Systems ~ Replace the filter in your furnace and clean your ducts to help your furnace’s efficiency and help save money

 

  • Plumbing ~ Be sure your pipes are well insulated to help avoid freezing. You’ll also want to know where the water shut off valve is in case your pipes do freeze.  Be sure to remove hoses from hose bibs on your home in colder weather so that your bibs and frost fee bibs don’t freeze in the low temperatures, causing leaks in the warmer months.  

 

  • Ventilation ~ Check the eave vents to be sure it’s clear of insulation and other debris to prevent mold.  Clean out your dryer vents to protect from possible ignition.  Close your foundation vents durning the fall and winter to keep pipes in your crawl space from freezing. 

 

  • Safety Devices ~ Now is a good time of year to check all your safety devices to be sure you can make it through winter. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers, test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (changing the batteries if necessary) and test your home for radon.

 

Exterior

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  • Gutters & Downspouts ~ Clean our your gutters and downspouts of debris to put a stop to any possible rot and to keep your gutters in proper working order

 

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    Chimney & Fireplace ~ Have a professional inspect & clean your chimney  to help avoid chimney fires. Test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when it’s closed to prevent water getting into your chimney.

 

  • Landscaping & Outside Work ~ Trim any limbs that are close to power lines, cover or store your patio furniture, check your walkways, stairs and driveway for easier winter navigation. To help promote yard growth, you could fertilize and reseed your lawn as well as prune your trees and shrubs.

 

  • Air Conditioners ~ If you have a window AC unit, be sure to remove it and store in a dry play before winter. Or cover your AC unit with a piece of plywood held down by bricks. This will help protect the unit from falling debris but also continue to allow airflow. You don’t want to put a waterproof cover over it during winter because it creates a warm environment which attracts unwanted guests.
Posted on September 11, 2019 at 9:48 pm
John and Tracey Tindall | Category: Helpful Tips, Home & Projects, Keeping it Real - With John & Tracey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rules for Saving & Paying Down Debt

Saving money can be such a challenge for most of us.   When it comes time to buy a home or invest in real estate it can become even more of a struggle.   With mortgage financing, we must be sure to keep our debts low, while having  enough assets on hand to get our loan approved.  We will need to consider the budget for new mortgage payments while paying of credit card or consumer debts each month.  AND we must be mindful about putting money away into a 401K or other investments and maybe having a little extra to enjoy life. 

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Below are 7 simple rules for saving your money and paying off debts. Following these rules will make it easier to get where we’d like to be financially before taking the steps to get your dream home. 

 

1. Automate It! 

Most places of employment offer direct deposit. Use that to your advantage. Set your direct deposit up for a portion of your paycheck to be deposited into several different accounts. One for your 401K, another into a savings account for the purpose of emergencies, also an account to save for home projects, vacations, etc. Then, set up your bills to be paid automatically. It would be beneficial to check with your loan holders to see if that would be an option. Ultimately, it comes down to this: if you can’t see the money then you won’t have the temptation to spend it.

 

2. Know How to Prioritize

Should you start paying down debt or saving first? Which debts should you start with? You need to know how to prioritize and compare the numbers. First, start by checking the interest rates on your loans and credit cards. The higher the interest rate, the more of a priority that should be to pay off. Save any extra money you get. Tax return? Put that into savings! Get a raise at work? Automatically deposit that extra percentage into savings each month. Eventually, you will have enough in that account for a nice down payment on your home. 

 

3. Imagine Your Future Self

Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Owning your own home? Not drowning in debt? Studies show if you imagine where you’d like to be in the future that will motivate you to take the necessary steps for the purpose of achieving those goals.

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4. Stop Unnecessary Spending

Take a good look at your finances and what you spend money on regularly. Do this with the intention of determining what can be dropped or scaled back on. Maybe a gym membership that you pay for monthly and only go once every 3 months or so. Another common unnecessary expense is cable TV; streaming services are cheaper, and they have a great selection. Additionally, rather than getting a coffee at Starbucks every day, make your own coffee at home. You may be surprised to know that could save over $100 a month. Also, eat meals at home instead of going out to eat. Even dropping one expenditure mentioned will make a huge difference on your bank account. 

 

5. Reward Yourself

You can’t live your life to save and pay down debt. Every now and then you need a reward for all your hard work. Use that as a motivation to save. Got a bill paid off? Get yourself something! Reached your goal on an amount of money you wanted to save? Treat yourself! Be sure to make these rewards sensible, but you could be getting perks while saving and paying off bills.  

 

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6. Take Advantage of Bank & Credit Cards Offers & Rewards

Take a good look at your credit card rewards, it may surprise you what they offer. There may be an opportunity for you to receive a percentage of what you spend in cash back. Who wouldn’t benefit from that? Make sure your bank account doesn’t charge you a monthly maintenance fee. If it does, research how to waive it or get a different account.

 

7. Start Young (Its never early or late to Start)

If this applies to you, pay attention. Starting off at a young age will set you up in the future. Even if you’re working at your very first job, you can start taking the necessary steps. Apply the rules above and your savings will grow faster than you could ever anticipate.

By following these rules, you can save, pay off debt   Whether your goal is to save for a home or prepare for the future, it’s all possible with a little hard work and knowledge on your side.

Think that your credit is hopeless and that you may never be in a position to buy a home? Don’t!  There is always a way with a good plan and a good team.  We have helped so many buyers get into homes when they thought it would never be a reality for them.  We have a great team that can help you build the roadmap to get there.  Want to know more about how to get started?  Let’ Connect

Credit: NPR Public Radio – https://www.npr.org/2018/12/12/676120025/get-started-saving & http://time.com/money/4266906/save-for-new-home-tips/

Posted on January 3, 2019 at 6:23 pm
John and Tracey Tindall | Category: Costs and Spending, First Time Home Buyer, Helpful Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Home Maintenance

Home Maintenance for Fall/Winter

 

 

The purchase of a home will likely be the biggest invest anybody will make in their life. Our homes are the centers of our lives because they hold everything and everyone important to us. Our top priorities are taking care of that invest.  Winter is a harsh season here in North Idaho as a result it can cause some damage to our homes, properties, our loved ones, or even our wallets! It can be avoided if we take extra steps this fall or start of winter to prepare.

 

The next question is where do I start? Not knowing can be overwhelming and stressful. Below is just a small list of some important home maintenance ideas. Included is the reason you should do them. It can make a huge difference on your home and property this year.

 

For a full list of maintenance ideas as well as a printable checklist, go to our website by clicking here!

 

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What to do

Why

Clean gutters and downspouts throughout fall         A build up of leaves and other debris could lead to wood rot, pest issues, and ruined gutters.
Change summer screens to cool weather storm windows & doors         Removing screens stop snow from getting trapped between the window and screen. That avoids damage to the sill and frame as well as lets in more light. Installing storm windows & doors helps keep your home insulated through the cold months.
Replace the filter in your furnace This helps the lifespan of your heater, reduces energy bills and improves air quality.
Flush and insulate your hot water tank Flushing removes sediment which in turn could extend the life of your tank. Insulating can help conserve energy, in turn saving you money.
Place a sheet of plywood held down by a few bricks on top and your AC, not a waterproof cover    Plywood can stop falling icicles and other debris which in turn would cause damage to the unit. Waterproof covers creates a warm environment for unwanted guests to stay for the winter.
Trim limps that are close to power lines or the  roof of your home Avoids heavy snow/ice building up causing damage.
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For a full list of maintenance ideas as well as a printable checklist, go to our website by clicking here!

 

Posted on December 27, 2018 at 6:24 pm
John and Tracey Tindall | Category: Helpful Tips, Home & Projects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Preparation for Winter Driving and Snow

Here in beautiful North Idaho we are lucky to have 4 very distinct seasons. Everybody loves the warmth of Summer, the freshness of Spring, the colors of Fall, and the coziness of Winter.  

With winter comes SNOW and that can mean snow storms!   Driving in the snow and knowing how to be prepared for winter driving can be a bit stressful. 

Knowing what to do or even where to start preparation can be one of the biggest hurdles. There are simple preparations that can be done to your vehicle and with your family to get through the longest and coldest season. Check out the below tips to help avoid winter from sneaking up on you and those you love.

 

 

Preparation Tips for Successfully Surviving the Winter:

 

Get a Vehicle Winter Maintenance Check-up Before Winter Hits:

~ Don’t wait to check your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, lights, brakes, heater/defroster and wipers ~

~ Tire shops and mechanics are busiest just before and during winter storms, so get your check-up scheduled NOW ~

Keep a Basic Winter Survival Kit in Your Vehicle:

~ Flashlight ~ Batteries ~ Blanket ~ Snacks ~

Water ~ Gloves ~ Boots ~ First-aid kit ~

Load Your Car with Basic Travel Gear:

~ Tire chains ~ Ice scraper/snowbrush ~ Jumper cables ~ Road flares ~

Keep Your Fuel Tank Full:

~ Don’t let it fall below half a tank ~

Plan With Your Family

~ Create a plan that works well with your family ~

~ Practice it each year before the snow falls ~

Stay Informed:

~ Be sure to find your local station for traffic reports and emergency messages ~

~ Know the weather approaching so you are prepared for its arrival ~

Check Your Tires:

~ Make sure your chains fit before the first winter storm ~

~ Check tire pressure during cold weather ~

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Click on the Checklists Below for More Information:

Get Ready for Freezing Temperatures & Snowfall

Get Ready for Winter Weather Driving

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AND REMEMBER TO ALWAYS BE SAFE OUT THERE!!

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Sources:

Washington State Dept of Transportation https://www.wsdot.com/winter/emergencykit.htm

Take the Winter by Storm https://takewinterbystorm.org/

Posted on November 21, 2018 at 12:21 am
John and Tracey Tindall | Category: Helpful Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,