REAL ESTATE NEWS
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Becoming a Home Maintenance Pro: Tips for Homeowners
By Dixie Somers
Many homeowners don’t think about home maintenance until something
breaks, but that’s not the best way to take care of your home. Whether
you’re a new homeowner or have been settled for years, it’s never too late
to cultivate some home maintenance habits. Here are three tips to help
you protect your investment and keep your property in good shape for
years to come:
Create and Follow a Home Maintenance Schedule
A good place to start is by following a home maintenance schedule. Just
as your car needs to have an oil change, your home and yard will need
some regular maintenance. Home maintenance schedule apps such as
HomeZada and Centriq are an easy way to get yourself on track.
You’ll need to mow your lawn, clean your gutters and perhaps even top
your trees from time to time. For pest control, you may need to spray or
have ground treatment performed a few times a year, too. When it comes
to appliances, make sure to send in any warranties and follow the
maintenance recommendations in your owner’s manual. For older
appliances, many documents can be found online.
Don’t be afraid to do some research and speak with professionals about
maintenance specific to your location.
Have All of Your Home Systems Checked Regularly
It’s important to get your electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems checked
annually to keep them in good shape. Some of these tasks can be done
yourself; for instance, you might need to clean your air filters, remove
debris from the vents and flush out your water heater.
For more technical inspections, check customer reviews on Yelp, Angie’s
List, Google, Facebook and the BBB when searching for a new company.
Always go with one that is experienced, licensed, bonded and insured.
Follow a Cleaning Schedule
Home maintenance often focuses on repair work, but keeping your home
clean can be just as important. In addition to once a week tasks such as
vacuuming and dusting the shelves, deep cleaning every month or so can
save you big in the long run. Moving furniture around, pulling out the
washer and dryer to clean behind them and clearing out the garage gives
you a chance to inspect for pest problems, water damage and similar
issues that can quickly escalate into expensive repairs.
Being a homeowner is very rewarding on many levels, but homeownership
comes with a great deal of responsibility. As long as you put in some effort
on a regular basis, you should have no problem keeping your home in
Homeowners:Look Out for Utility Scams
By John Voket
As we make our way through the winter season, utility companies want
customers to be reminded about common utility scams. According to
Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), a growing number of gas, electricity, water
and communications consumers are getting calls and visits from impostors out to steal
personal and financial data.
A common utility con involves a caller posing as a utility billing representative
claiming that you have an overdue bill, and in order to avoid an immediate
shut-off, you must provide a credit card number or prepaid debit card.
Sadly, scammers are meeting with great success using this tactic.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the median loss for a
utility scam victim is $500.
Here are a few reminders to keep yourself and your data protected:
- All UUAS-affiliated utility employees carry photo identification.
Field workers generally wear clothing with the company logo and
drive company vehicles. When in doubt, do not allow them in – and if
they persist, call 911.
- UUAS utility representatives never demand instant payment in
person or over the phone.
- Utility representatives from UUAS companies do not require the use
of prepaid debit cards (such as Green Dot MoneyPak, MyVanilla or
- UUAS reps will never request customers meet them at a payment
center, such as a department or grocery store, to make a payment.
The Utilities United Against Scams website provides more information on
how to protect personal information and avoid becoming a victim of utility
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