Dana Claflin - ERA Key Realty Services



Posted by Dana Claflin on 5/21/2020

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Did you just park your car on top of your septic tank? If you're not sure, it's time to pull together a home maintenance binder. Your home maintenance binder contains important information, such as where your well and septic are located and the location of your drain field. It's a running tally of all the home improvements you've done and all the maintenance you've had performed on your home. For various reasons, every homeowner should have a home maintenance binder. Here's everything you should know about the why and how of creating your own. 

It Keeps Track of Important Upgrades

When you buy a new, energy-efficient appliance, such as a refrigerator or stove, you need to keep that information handy for several reasons:

  • You may need the receipt to register the warranty.
  • You'll want to remember the date you purchased it in case it needs servicing. 
  • You'll need the owner's manual if you ever need to troubleshoot the appliance.
  • Prospective buyers will know when you purchased the appliance and how much energy it saves.

Information like this can help you sell your home a few years down the road, when buyers realize they won't need to shell out money for new appliances right away. 

It's a Convenient Record of Service Visits

Is your furnace serviced annually? If so, you'll want the dates. This proves to prospective buyers that you maintained your home well, meaning everything is likely to work just as well as you say it will. Keep your service records, dates and providers. When you have parts replaced, keep the receipts. Keep the papers your technician gives you that lists the work performed. This is valuable information for you, for the next person who services your home and for someone who might consider buying your home in the future. 

It Records Valuable Home Improvements 

Did you recently upgrade the brick in your fireplace to stacked stone? What about those old, leaky windows you replaced last summer? You'll want to keep proof of home improvements like these because they raise the resale value of your home. You may also need your receipts to take advantage of tax credits when it's time to file. 

It Maps the Important Areas of Your Home

You may think you'll have no trouble remembering where the septic tank is when it's time to have it pumped clean again, but years typically pass before you'll need to have someone back in for that particular chore. Write down the location, and log it in your home maintenance binder. You'll also want to include the locations of water shut-off valves, well caps and gas mains. 

It's easy to start your own home maintenance log. All you need is a file box or a binder that you store in a safe place. It will help keep you organized, and it can be quite the lifesaver in the event of a gas leak or broken water pipe. 




Categories: home maintenance  


Posted by Dana Claflin on 4/4/2019

In many ways, the quality of your life is determined by the condition of your home. If it feels like your home is in disrepair, messy, or cluttered, you're not going to feel comfortable or satisfied with your living situation. While perfection is an unattainable standard, there are a lot of simple things you can do to keep your home in good condition and prevent problems.

Train Your dog. Although many people own dogs and consider them to be a cherished part of the family, not everyone takes the time to properly housebreak, exercise, and train their pets. Dogs are very eager to please, but they need clear guidelines to understand what you expect of them. Some dogs also tend to express frustration or restlessness in destructive ways if they're not given enough attention, exercise, or toys/treats to chew on. It's not uncommon for dogs to chew on furniture, shoes, or other valued possessions if their needs are not met. Ideally, people should research dog breeds before actually purchasing a household pet. That way you can know more about temperament, exercise requirements, and training potential before you bring a puppy into the family. In addition to helpful online videos on raising obedient dogs, pet supply stores periodically offer low-cost training classes for dogs and their owners. Effectively housebreaking your pet in the first few days and weeks of adopting them is a key aspect of a harmonious pet/owner relationship. Otherwise, your furniture, hardwood floors, and carpeting could be subject to irreparable damage!

Use Furniture Sliders: Hardwood floors can be a mixed blessing. On one hand, they're a high-quality, nice-looking material that enhances the look and feel of your home. On the other hand, it can be difficult to prevent scratching, scuffing, and even gouging of those beautiful surfaces. One solution, which is easy on both your floors and your pocketbook, is to put felt or plastic furniture sliders under the legs of your tables, chairs, and ottomans. Not only can you prevent or reduce hardwood floor scratching that inevitably happens when furniture is dragged across a floor, but it also makes it easier to rearrange furniture.

Maintain Your Rain Gutters: Properly working rain gutters serve the useful purpose of channeling water away from your roof, eaves, and foundation. By making sure your gutters are not clogged up with leaves, branches, and other debris, you can help protect your home from water damage. If the downspout of your rain gutter empties water too close to your house, you can often correct that by purchasing and attaching an inexpensive extension. Routing water away from your foundation can help prevent basement leaks, cracking, and crumbling. It can also be part of a multi-faceted approach to preventing basement mold.

Control Clutter: Household clutter not only degrades the appearance of your home (for both you and your guests), but it's a known source of psychological stress. Taking the first step to reduce clutter is usually the most difficult part of the process, but once it's a habit, maintaining a clutter-free home becomes infinitely easier!





Posted by Dana Claflin on 10/15/2017

If you're in the market for a new home, one of the first things you need to determine is how much of a monthly mortgage payment you can comfortably afford. A loan officer or mortgage broker can help you figure that out, based on your income, debts, and other information.

One thing they probably won't include in the equation is the cost of home maintenance and other essential services, like garbage collection.

Ultimately, it's up to the homeowner to build in enough "breathing room" in their budget to cover unexpected expenses. Although you can't predict exactly what those expenses will be or how much they'll cost, it's virtually guaranteed that they're going to occur. Whether you're planning to buy a new house or a mid-century dwelling, here's the short list of typical homeowner expenses that could crop up. While all these items may not apply directly to your situation, many of them eventually will.

  • Plumbing repairs: Leaky pipes, clogged drains, and broken plumbing fixtures are common problems in most homes. You may also need a plumber to fix or install a garbage disposal, repair or replace a hot water heater, or hook up a new refrigerator to your water supply.
  • HVAC services: When you combine the cost of semi-annual routine service calls and unexpected emergency repairs, the cost of maintaining your heating and cooling systems can really take a bite out of your household budget!
  • Appliance repair: The typical family depends on at least a half a dozen major appliances to prepare meals and keep their clothes and dishes clean. When one or more of those appliances break down, chaos can ensue! In many cases, it's more cost-effective and practical to call a repair service than buy a new appliance.
  • Exterminator services: Regardless of whether you live in the city or the country, unexpected and unwelcome insects, rodents, and other miscellaneous varmints can show up in your home and yard. Sometimes it's even necessary to call a wildlife control specialist to remove skunks, raccoons, and other intruders!
  • Electrical repairs and upgrades: Although electrical repairs are occasionally needed for safety reasons, most calls to electricians are more routine in nature. However, when light switches, electrical outlets, and ceiling lights stop working, it can be a huge inconvenience for you and your family. In some cases, you might even be desperate enough to pay extra for emergency electrical service on weekends!
  • Miscellaneous expenses: Garage door repairs, fireplace cleaning, swimming pool maintenance, deck repairs, rain gutter cleaning, professional carpet cleaning, landscaping, fence repair, home siding repair, and wet basement problems are a few of the many expenses that may require you to dip into your savings or household budget.
If you happen to be a first-time homeowner, you may also need to shell out hundreds (or thousands) of dollars for items like a lawn mower, yard maintenance tools, snow blower, vacuum cleaner, furniture, and interior painting supplies. While home ownership, decorating, and yard maintenance can give you a feeling of satisfaction and pride of ownership, it's necessary to earmark a sufficient amount of money to pay for those sometimes unexpected costs!







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