Now that the holiday season is behind us, most will be looking forward to the year ahead, and to express our best hopes and plans, a few New Year's Resolutions are in order.
So, what can you do for your Santa Cruz home in the year ahead? After all, a house is not just a place where you spend a lot of your time - it's also a shelter, an investment, and a home.
With that in mind, here are some things you can do to keep your home comfortable, efficient, and looking good. And these aren't going to be big, daunting, and expensive projects or renovations either - just a few ounces of prevention, a bit of organization, and a good habit or two.
The key to long term maintenance is catching problems before they arise, or when they're just cropping up, which brings us to the first resolution: Look at your house sometimes.
Simple isn't it? Well, there's a little more to it...
More than just a glance, give your home a proper inspection. Look at it from the sidewalk, look at the sides and back, poke around the basement, shine a flashlight into the crawlspaces, and explore the attic space (if you have one).
What exactly are you looking for?
Well, try to notice any chipped paint, shingles out of place, warped surfaces, clogged things that aren't supposed to be clogged, leaks - that sort of thing. Bonus points if you do this when its raining.
If you don't feel confident in evaluating what you're seeing, or maybe you suspect that you're too emotionally involved to really see the faults in your own home, call on a family friend or expert to have a look.
Fresh eyes and an honest opinion could save you a lot of money and stress in the long run.
Up Your Safety Game
Your home is a shelter - it keeps you safe, but can also present a few hazards of its own if you're not keeping up with certain things. Begin the year with a quick check of your home's safety features, then set up a reminder to check these again in about six months or so. Here's what should be on the list:
Smoke/gas detectors - Check the batteries, use the "test" buttons
Fire extinguishers - Check the pressure gauge. Also: Do you know what type of fire your extinguisher is suited for? Check!
Electrics - Wires looking good? Nothing warm to the touch? If you're experiencing trips or flickers, call an electrician.
Garage Door - Test the auto-reverse feature. Block the door with something - it should reverse automatically in a few seconds.
This one makes sense for a whole host of reasons . Not only will a move towards greater efficiency save you money and increase comfort, but it's also climbing the list of things that potential buyers are looking for in a home. And if you throw in some changes to your garden - it looks better too!
For example, a big lawn is a lot of work to maintain, and without a lot of investment will often look worn and and scruffy. If you're buying some new plants for spring anyway, pick up a few native species while you're at it. Consider switching out for local groundcovers, mulch, or landscaping gravel instead of grass.
Indoors, a few dollars worth of weatherstrip-tape or a new door seal can prevent drafts, saving energy and providing a few extra degrees of comfort. But, with summer on the way, you should probably focus your attention on air conditioners and ceiling fans. Clear out the dust and replace filters to ensure these are working at their best.
Get Involved In Your Community
Good neighbors and a friendly community add quality of life, and can work together to keep all things home-related running smoothly. Here are a few things you can do to build relationships with others in the neighborhood:
Spend some time in your front yard and greet or chat with passers-by
Introduce yourself to your immediate neighbors and get their contact details
Partake in community events. For example, turn up for any local meetings that might be happening
Happy New Year to Your Home
Keeping a home in good shape is vital - we all know this, but why is it so hard to keep up with everything that needs to be done. Well, there are two big reasons...
First, home upgrades and repairs tend to be a little expensive, so we often just avoid thinking about them. And second, our homes are so close to us that sometimes we don't even see what needs to be done.
Luckily, it's never been easier to keep track and remind yourself of scheduled tasks. Set up a calendar or some kind of electronic reminder system. Or go the low-tech route and get a mini whiteboard set up on your fridge.
Break down your resolutions into mini-tasks you can do at the end of the day or the weekends. Keep it simple! For example, to keep with your water efficiency resolution, just remind yourself to water the garden later in the afternoon. Easy!
If you’re thinking that this year is the year to sell your home, get in touch with our team and we’ll be happy to help you make the judgement call when it comes to your home maintenance, and to help you get your home into tip-top selling condition.