February Newsletter 2021

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Real Estate

MAINTENANCE.  I confess that before I became a REALTOR, house maintenance was not something I paid much attention to, fixing things only when they broke and/or putting off a repair as long as possible. After all, it’s not a ‘fun’ way to spend money - at least not for me.  But oh how things have changed!  When I go to look at houses now I am immediately aware of how well the homeowner has - or has not - taken care of the property.  Ceiling cracks, fogged windows, pealing wall paper, broken masonry, neglected landscaping, noisy heat pumps, drainage issues, leaky faucets - it all adds up and detracts from the home’s potential.  For buyers it sends up red flags about what a home inspection might uncover and, in this age of picture perfect HGTV homes, the house can feel old and sad.  For sellers it can mean spending up front money to correct glaring issues and/or listing “as is”. 

 Remember too that while maintenance and renovation are very different, a well maintained home can help counter the lack of modern updates while giving a buyer confidence that the house is not going to fall down around them before they take on those updates.

 Maintenance is everything from raking leaves in the fall to turning off outside faucets in the winter to washing windows and siding in the spring.  If you are curious about a monthly or quarterly schedule of maintenance projects then check out these web sites:   

 www.doughroller.net/smart-spending/homeowners-guide-money-saving-diy-home-maintenance

 www.hsh.com/homeowner/home-maintenance-checklist

 www.bhg.com/home-improvement/advice/home-maintenance-checklist

 

While not all of these things will resonate, it is a good way to take stock of how your property might be perceived in the market.  It’s never too late to get started - ask me, I know - and in the long run you and your house will be much happier. 

 My FYI of the Month - in the spirit of maintenance and updating, we are replacing the sump pump and marine batteries that work with our French drains as well as replacing our heat pump and HVAC system.  Our system is original to the house which means we are living on borrowed time 32 years in. We decided to go with EM Logan, family owned and operated since 1938 and highly recommended by friends for whom maintenance is sacred. Mark, the technician we are working with has been with the company 18 years and is a great source of information.

 We have some big landscaping plans for later in the year and a priority is to remove the heat pump completely from the back yard.  I was worried we would have to do new duct work but luckily our joists run in the right direction (east to west) so that major expense has been averted.  Additionally, our side yard (really not much more than a walkway from front to back) is narrow but again good news.  Mark suggested what is called a ‘low profile’ heat pump - taller but narrower, that will fit perfectly in our space.  Another tidbit of information - American Standard and Trane use exactly the same product but because American Standard doesn’t do extensive advertising, they can/do offer their products for less money.   So, by the time you receive this we will have a new, more energy efficient system as we look towards the dog days of summer.

 Finally, I would direct your attention to  https://www.youtube.com/c/ZTVZebra and my interview with Bill Rossello, City Council Candidate and community activist with the lively FB group “Bring Integrity Back to Alexandria”.  ZTV is a companion to the Zebra newspaper and streams programing LIVE on FB five nights a week.  I’m lucky enough to be one of the contributors and this program was so well received that we are now planning a two week blitz with all the City Council candidates so stay tuned for updates!  I think you might also like the interview I did with Erin White - Del Ray resident and owner of Mindy’s Catering.  If you are a bit tired of take  out this is a great alternative. 

Virginia