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Keep Your Home Ice-Free This Winter

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Seattle saw its first seasonal ‘snow’ this week. Flakes didn’t fall or accumulate everywhere, but temperatures dipped below freezing. Welcome to the season of de-icing.

We all know the feeling: time gets away from you in the morning, you rush outside and almost slip as you finally make it to your car, and it’s coated in an invisible but ridiculously strong layer of ice. You don’t see the ice on your windshield until you get in and it starts fogging up. You grab your scraper and get to work, wait another few minutes for the car to warm up… and finally, you can begin your drive.

De-icing the car is never fun, but it’s necessary if you’re going to safely make it to your destination. But what about your home? Shouldn’t you de-ice that, too? You spend at least half your life in it, so it’s essential to protect it from the elements.

A little home maintenance can go a long way. There are countless ice melting sprays, liquids, etc. Here’s a shortlist of some of the best methods.

Think Ahead for a Clear Driveway

Stop ice before it starts, and pre-treat your walkways and driveway with de-icer before the storm. This makes it easier to place the de-icer on just the pavement. If it’s already snowed, you’ll have to shovel first; ice melt will not work on top of snow. Avoid standard rock salt, which can damage pavement, and try these environmentally friendly options instead:

  • Calcium Magnesium Acetate
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Magnesium Chloride

Tip: mixing sand with your de-icer adds traction and may help prevent falls.

Consider Driveway Heating

Ever thought of installing a radiant heat system under your driveway? If you already have a smart home, this is just an added bonus, and if you ever sell your home, it’s a perk that buyers will appreciate.

Prevent Ice Dams on The Roof

Icicles look cool hanging from the roof, but they’re a telltale sign of an ice dam. Ice dams are extremely damaging and can lead to leaks. Keep snow off the roof as much as possible by using a roof rake. If it’s too late and lingering snow has already frozen into an ice dam, calcium chloride ice melt may do the trick. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to break an ice dam yourself! If all else fails, hire a pro.

Keep Windows Free of Moisture

It’s humid in the Pacific Northwest, and the temperature occasionally falls low enough to form ice on windows. Avoid damaging dampness and increase ventilation with these tips:

  • Use a dehumidifier
  • Turn on exhaust fans every day to expel excess moisture
  • Open curtains and blinds
  • Increase the heat
  • If at all possible, keep the windows cracked

WHAT’S YOUR
HANDYMAN IQ?

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How to Prepare Your Home This Winter for a Successful Spring Sale

Here’s our go-to list of what sellers should be doing now to ensure for a successful sale next spring.

Guest post by Patti Stern

If you are planning to sell your home next spring, why not get a jumpstart during the fall /winter season so you have more time and less stress while preparing? An added plus is that your home could potentially be ready to list in time for the early spring selling season at the end of January when the market is less crowded. It’s a win-win! Here’s our go-to list of what sellers should be doing now to ensure for a successful sale next spring.

1. Assess Your Home’s Condition – Inside & Out

The first step is to do a thorough walk-thru with an objective eye. Does it have “move-in ready appeal” that will “wow” young, savvy buyers? Is there chipped paint on moldings and trim? Is the front entry carpet runner worn and could benefit from replacing? Look at your property through the lens of your buyer and determine what needs the most attention so that Millennials with families can immediately connect and envision themselves living there with minimal work to do when they move in.

2. First Impressions Go a Long Way

With the changing seasons, try to tackle exterior repairs and landscaping while you can by keeping gutters clean, lawn raked, shrubs trimmed and driveways/walkways shoveled. For an inviting front porch with curb appeal, maintain a polished look each season with welcoming accents such as potted evergreens or berry branches, a beautiful wreath on the door, glowing lanterns, and a colorful welcome mat.

3. Remove Distractions & Get Organized

Tackle clutter one room at a time and decide whether to keep or purge items based on when you last touched or used it. Remove personal items, collectibles and excessive furniture that distract from the room’s key features as well as its perceived size and flow. Then organize the remaining items with efficient storage solutions such as baskets and containers for closets, drawers and cabinets.

4. Make it Fresh & Bright 

Ask yourself if the color on the walls and cabinets is too dark? Does wallpaper need to be removed? Are window treatments dated and heavy? Does worn carpet need replacing? Do hardwood floors need polishing? Simply adding a fresh coat of neutral “greige” paint to dark walls will brighten the room by creating a backdrop to showcase the other elements in the room, such as the white trim, new carpeting, wall art, and furniture (as shown in library above).

5. Create the “Wow Factor”

Once you’ve invested in the necessary upgrades for move-in ready appeal, buyers still need to emotionally connect by envisioning how their furnishings will look in the space. Staging a home is an investment in getting the property sold and for top dollar. Professional stagers can create the “wow” factor that might be needed after all of the repairs and upgrades are finished. Complete the look with strategically placed modern furniture paired with pops of colorful and inviting accents that will make a lasting impression as pictured in the living room photo above.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

 

AUTHOR: Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Her company is a 4-time Houzz Award winner, 2015- 2018.

 

 

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Pacific Northwest homes continue to appreciate. Here’s how Tacoma is doing

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Big jumps in home values continued across Washington state this spring, with Tacoma among the areas posting the largest increases in the U.S.

Home appreciation rose 14.9 percent in the second quarter compared to a year ago for the Tacoma metro area, according to a new report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. That’s the third-highest year-over-year increase among the 245 metro areas listed for that time period.

It follows a strong first quarter in which Tacoma posted a 13.1 percent year-over-year increase.

Several Pacific Northwest metro areas were in the top 10 for year-over-year home appreciation increases. Boise, Idaho, ranked second on the list with a 15.6 percent increase, Bremerton fourth at 14.4 percent, Seattle sixth at 13.7 percent, Bellingham was eighth at 13.1 percent and Wenatchee ninth at 12.6 percent.

While home appreciation is still rising rapidly in the Pacific Northwest, it is starting to slow down in other parts of the U.S., according to the report. Across the U.S., home values rose 6.5 percent in the past year.

William Doerner, a supervisory economist for the agency, said recent mortgage rate increases could be a factor in the national slowdown.

“Rates are still inexpensive from a historical standpoint, but their bump-up appears to have gently pressed the brakes on house price increases,” Doerner said in a news release accompanying the data.