Prepare Your Home for Winter

As the days shorten, you can mitigate many mid-winter headaches with some preemptive prep. Proper weatherizing can help protect your home from preventable damage, save money on energy costs, and, most importantly, keep you and your loved ones safe and warm throughout the winter season. Here is a useful checklist to manage your weatherization project. Setting aside some time on a couple of weekend days should be more than enough to knock this out:

Cracks & Leaks

Examine your entire house for any cracks and leaks, from your roof to your baseboards, to your basement and foundation. With unpredictable winter weather, these cracks and leaks are how the outside gets in, causing cold drafts and water damage.

Luckily, most cracks don’t require a professional to handle it. Depending on your house type and age, it’s likely you’ll be able to do it yourself with supplies from your local hardware store.

Windows & Doors:

Gaps and breaks in windows and doors is another way to let the winter in your home, and they can let heat escape, raising your heat bill throughout the season.

Make sure seals are tight and no leaks exist. If you have storm windows, make sure you put them on before the cold season begins. Additionally, add weather-strips and or a door sweep to prevent drafts and keep the heat in.

Rain Gutters: 

Clean your rain gutters of any debris. In colder climates, the buildup will cause gutters to freeze with ice, crack and then leak.

Once you have removed the residue from the drains, test them by running hose water to make sure cracks and leaks have not already formed. Even in warmer locales, the buildup can put undue stress on your roof and home.

Pipes: 

Protecting your pipes from freezing should be your number one priority this winter. A burst pipe can quickly become a disaster in any home.

Remember to turn off your exterior water source and take in your hose. Internally, wrapping your pipes is a recommended precaution to take.

Heating System:

Annual checks are vital in avoiding dangers such as house fires. Replace filters if you use a furnace and clear out any vents and ducts that carry heat through them. If you have baseboard heat, wipe them of dust and remove any debris that might catch fire.

Fireplace & Wood Burning Stoves:

Make sure to have chimneys and air vents cleaned early in the season if you are planning on warming your home with a wood-burning source. When your fireplace is not in use make sure to close the damper, some resources estimate an open damper can increase energy consumption by as much as 30%, increasing your bill about $200.

Outside: 

Bring your patio furniture inside or cover it for the winter. Don’t forget other, smaller items such as your tools, including the hose and planting pots. Clear out any piles around the side of your house, checking for cracks and holes in your home and foundation as you go so to avoid providing shelter for unwelcome guests over the cold season.

If your property has large trees check for loose branches and call someone to trim back any limbs that may fall in your yard, on your roof or even damage a window.

Emergency Kit: 

Lastly, make sure your emergency kit is up to date with provisions, batteries, fresh water, food for animals, entertainment for kids – especially if you live in an area prone to power outages.

For a more complete emergency preparedness guide, visit https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather.


Posted on October 14, 2019 at 2:02 am
Sarah Schilz | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Navigating Downsizing: Everything a Senior Wants to Know

By: Mike Longsdon

There is nothing like enjoying retirement, as it allows us to explore our senior years with a new sense of freedom. After all, we’ve worked hard to get where we are today, and for many of us, it’s the perfect opportunity to discover new interests and hobbies. Of course, downsizing can be a large part of finding more time for this adventure, especially when purchasing a new home. Here’s some information to keep in mind during the process.

How Downsizing Can Improve Your Golden Years

Often, having a larger home in our golden years just doesn’t make sense. When you don’t have as many maintenance- and financial-related responsibilities, you have the opportunity to enjoy spending more time enjoying retirement. In fact, it takes longer each week to keep a larger home clean, as well as more money to maintain it. Both of these factors — time and money — could be better invested in doing things that you enjoy. Of course, there are ways to lower heating and cooling bills, but these tricks take work and time. At the end of the day, it’s worth considering downsizing and moving into the home of your dreams instead.

Exploring New Cities and Areas

This is the perfect opportunity to relocate to somewhere you’ve thought about your whole life. Still, we can’t just pack our bags and hit the road, so begin by doing your homework. When thinking of a specific city, you have to consider its weather, cost of living, quality of healthcare, and how active its senior community is. Then again, if it’s been a goal to explore another country, such as France, Spain, or Italy, your budget could go further. Indeed, there are plenty of places where you can not just survive, but thrive, on less than $3,000 a month.

Finding the Best Home for You

An accessible-ready home will be your best bet, but if you fall in love with a two-story home in need of a little renovation, you can still make it work. For instance, you might keep your bedroom on the ground floor, especially if there is a bathroom on that level. Moreover, you could also install a chairlift on the stairs to make things safe and provide easy access. Otherwise, prioritize homes that allow you to age comfortably. In particular, look for light switches that are easy-touch and 48 inches from the ground, hallways and rooms with walkways wide enough for mobility aids, and no-threshold showers to make bathing safe and effortless. If modifications are going to be a must, be sure to get a general idea of a home’s value so you know what you can expect to spend on the house, making it easier to budget for necessary upgrades. In Fort Collins, homes are currently selling for an average of around $399,000, but you can find a smaller-sized home for less.

Packing, Moving Day, and Organizing

To make moving day as easy as possible, the best thing you can do is declutter and donate any items you no longer need. This may seem difficult at first, particularly when we are attached to stuff no longer used, but remind yourself that memory associated with it is the most important. So, use it one last time, take a picture, and let it go. Without boxes bulging with possessions, packing and transportation will be much easier. As you do pack, don’t go room by room; instead, pack by category to keep similar items together. Lastly, to ensure moving day itself is as painless as possible, take extra care when researching Fort Collins moving companies. After all, you want to have faith that the movers will get your goods to your destination safely.

Finding a New Rhythm

A new house brings new routines, and the transition can sometimes be difficult. However, having an organized home can make things smoother, so don’t put off unpacking. When you arrive, do the main parts of your kitchen, enough to cook a few meals, then set up your bedroom. There’s nothing more priceless than having a place you can retreat to, so invest your energy here. Then, you can take your time and really think about where you’d like everything to go to make your home the sanctuary it should be.

Don’t let your house be a reason you don’t have the independence you deserve. With fewer chores and expenses, you’ll have a greater ability to find new sources of joy at this stage of life. A smaller home can open opportunities you might not have realized were available.

Image courtesy of Pixabay


Posted on October 14, 2019 at 1:47 am
Sarah Schilz | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

How to Choose the Right Moving Company

Choosing between moving companies can be a difficult task: you need a reliable company that can do the work at a price that won’t break your bank. There are many companies on the market and with so many scams and bad experiences surrounding the industry, it is important to make sure you are choosing a reliable and vetted company.

Here are three tips when choosing a moving company:

  1. Check their online reputation
  2. Make sure they are transparent with the services they provide and what they do not provide
  3. Quality of service – for example, are they willing to come to your home and provide an in-home estimate?

For more information on the moving industry and choosing a reliable mover, please review this guide from Consumers Advocate: https://www.consumersadvocate.org/moving-companies


Posted on October 13, 2019 at 6:07 pm
Sarah Schilz | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

Peaceful Upper Floor Unit in Fort Collins!

This peaceful unit on the upper level at 3945 Landings Dr H-6 in Fort Collins features a pleasant floor-plan and a great location. Enjoy an afternoon on the sunny balcony overlooking open space or curl up in front of the gas fireplace on winter days. The master bedroom and bathroom on the second floor offer a private sanctuary. The spacious garage allows for your vehicle and storage. Catch dinner and a movie at the mall or grab the Max into Old Town. Everything within reach with groceries, shopping and dining right nearby! Call for your private showing at (970) 817-0906 for more information or click the link below for more details.

http://windermerenoco.com/listing/99845993


Posted on September 6, 2019 at 4:50 pm
Sarah Schilz | Posted in Fort Collins Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

So how much real estate is sold in Northern Colorado?

As it turns out, a lot!

Last month alone there were 1,099 single family homes that sold in Larimer and Weld Counties

The average price was $429,144 which means the total sales volume for one month was $471,629,129 (almost a half a billion)!

Over the last 12 months, just over $4.5 billion worth of single-family homes have sold.

That’s a lot of real estate!

 


Posted on August 16, 2019 at 8:52 pm
Sarah Schilz | Posted in Fort Collins Real Estate, News, Northern Colorado Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

Extend the Life of your Roof

Your roof is one of the most important and expensive assets of your home, but no other element is quite as valuable. While the average lifespan of a roof is about 15 years, careful homeowners can extend the life of their homes without enduring too many hardships. Take a look at these three quick maintenance tips to help your roof last.

Keep Your Gutters Clear

Debris that accumulates and clogs your gutters adds extra weight and pulls at your roof’s fascia, which can be a costly fix. Look down the length of your roof for any signs of sagging or bending – that’s a sure sign your gutters are carrying too much weight and pulling at your roof.

Don’t forget the downspouts either, and don’t be fooled by easy-flowing water. Moss and algae buildup on and around your roof can slowly eat away at your roofing material and severely compromise its integrity.

 

Focus On The Attic

The exterior of your roof isn’t the only area you should focus on as your attic is your roof’s first line of defense against damage with a two-pronged approach: insulation and ventilation.

Insulating your attic has the double benefit of keeping your home’s internal temperature consistent while also preventing vapor and moisture buildup on the underside of your roof. When combined with proper ventilation your attic can stay dry and keep your roof’s rafters safe from moisture damage.

A great way to keep properly ventilate is to add a fan or dehumidifier to the attic.

Catch Problems Early

Check on your roof regularly, an easy time to remember to check is with every change of the season, or after a significant storm. Catching small issues early on will save you money in the long run, so utilizing the services of a reliable, professional roofer is an invaluable asset. As with any working professional, it’s a good idea to establish a working relationship with a roofer and even consider scheduling a yearly checkup for your roof just to make sure there aren’t any problems sneaking up on you. After all, spending a little each year to maintain your roof is a lot better than dropping $15,000-$50,000 on a new one, right?


Posted on August 9, 2019 at 9:55 pm
Sarah Schilz | Posted in Fort Collins Real Estate, News, Northern Colorado Real Estate | Tagged , , , ,

Protect Your Home With Homeowners Insurance

In addition to providing shelter and comfort, our home is often our single greatest asset, and it’s important that we protect that precious investment. Most homeowners realize the importance of homeowner’s insurance in safeguarding the value of a home. However, what they may not know is that about two-thirds of all homeowners are under-insured. According to a national survey, the average homeowner has enough insurance to rebuild only about 80% of his or her house.

 

What a standard homeowners policy covers

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy typically covers your home, your belongings, injury or property damage to others, and living expenses if you are unable to live in your home temporarily because of an insured disaster.

The policy likely pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by disasters, such as fire or lightning. Your belongings, such as furniture and clothing, are also insured against these types of disasters, as well as theft. Some risks, such as flooding or acts of war, are routinely excluded from homeowner policies.

Other coverage in a standard homeowner’s policy typically includes the legal costs for injury or property damage that you or family members, including your pets, cause to other people. For example, if someone is injured on your property and decides to sue, the insurance would cover the cost of defending you in court and any damages you may have to pay. Policies also provide medical coverage in the event someone other than your family is injured in your home.

If your home is seriously damaged and needs to be rebuilt, a standard policy will usually cover hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses incurred while you are temporarily relocated.

 

How much insurance do you need?

Homeowners should review their policy each year to make sure they have sufficient coverage for their home. The three questions to ask yourself are:

·      Do I have enough insurance to protect my assets?

·      Do I have enough insurance to rebuild my home?

·      Do I have enough insurance to replace all my possessions?

Here’s some more information that will help you determine how much insurance is enough to meet your needs and ensure that your home will be sufficiently protected.

 

Protect your assets

Make sure you have enough liability insurance to protect your assets in case of a lawsuit due to injury or property damage. Most homeowner’s insurance policies provide a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability coverage. With the increasingly higher costs of litigation and monetary compensation, many homeowners now purchase $300,000 or more in liability protection. If that sounds like a lot, consider that the average dog bite claim is about $20,000. Talk with your insurance agent about the best coverage for your situation.

 

Rebuild your home

You need enough insurance to finance the cost of rebuilding your home at current construction costs, which vary by area. Don’t confuse the amount of coverage you need with the market value of your home. You’re not insuring the land your home is built on, which makes up a significant portion of the overall value of your property. In pricey markets such as San Francisco, land costs account for over 75 percent of a home’s value.

The average policy is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding your home using today’s standard building materials and techniques. If you have an unusual, historical or custom-built home, you may want to contact a specialty insurer to ensure that you have sufficient coverage to replicate any special architectural elements. Those with older homes should consider additions to the policy that pay the cost of rebuilding their home to meet new building codes.

Finally, if you’ve done any recent remodeling, make sure your insurance reflects the increased value of your home.

Remember that a standard policy does not pay for damage caused by a flood or earthquake. Special coverage is needed to protect against these incidents. Your insurance company can let you know if your area is flood or earthquake-prone. The cost of coverage depends on your home’s location and corresponding risk.

 

Replacing your valuables

If something happens to your home, chances are the things inside will be damaged or destroyed as well. Your coverage depends on the type of policy you have. A cost value policy pays the cost to replace your belongings minus depreciation. A replacement cost policy reimburses you for the cost to replace the item.

There are limits on the losses that can be claimed for expensive items, such as artwork, jewelry, and collectibles. You can get additional coverage for these types of items by purchasing supplemental premiums.

To determine if you have enough insurance, you need to have a good handle on the value of your personal items. Create a detailed home inventory file that keeps track of the items in your home and the cost to replace them.

 

Create a home inventory file

It takes time to inventory your possessions, but it’s time well spent. The little bit of extra preparation can also keep your mind at ease.  The best method for creating a home inventory list is to go through each room of your home and individually record the items of significant value. Simple inventory lists are available online. You can also sweep through each room with a video or digital camera and document each of your belongings. Your home inventory file should include the following items:

·      Item description and quantity

·      Manufacturer or brand name

·      Serial number or model number

·      Where the item was purchased

·      Receipt or other proof of purchase / Photocopies of any appraisals, along with the name and address of the appraiser

·      Date of purchase (or age)

·      Current value

·      Replacement cost

Pay special attention to highly valuable items such as electronics, artwork, jewelry, and collectibles.

 

Storing your home inventory list

Make sure your inventory list and images will be safe in case your home is damaged or destroyed. Store them in a safe deposit box, at the home of a friend or relative, or on an online Web storage site. Some insurance companies provide online storage for digital files. (Storing them on your home computer does you no good if your computer is stolen or damaged). Once you have an inventory file set up, be sure to update it as you make new purchases.

We invest a lot in our homes, so it’s important we take the necessary measures to safeguard it against financial and emotional loss in the wake of a disaster. Homeowners insurance is that safeguard, be sure you’re properly covered.


Posted on August 9, 2019 at 9:53 pm
Sarah Schilz | Posted in Fort Collins Real Estate, News, Northern Colorado Real Estate | Tagged ,

Home-ownership Rate

An interesting stat which can give some insight to the national market is the Home-ownership Rate.

It simply looks at the percentage of Americans who own their home instead of rent.

The most recent report from the Census Bureau shows the rate at 64.2%.

Most importantly, this number is showing stability after many years of change.

After many years of hovering around 64%, the Home-ownership Rate started increasing in 1996 and reached as high as 69.5% in 2005.

2008 started several years of declining back to the pre-1996 levels of 64%.

So today it’s back to what seems to be “normal” based the long-term average.


Posted on August 9, 2019 at 9:48 pm
Sarah Schilz | Posted in Fort Collins Real Estate, News, Northern Colorado Real Estate | Tagged ,

On Sale

With interest rates so low, one could argue that money is essentially on sale.

It’s actually half off.

30-year mortgage rates hit 3.75% which is exactly half of their long term average.

Rates have averaged 7.5% over the last 40 years so today buyers are getting half of that rate.

The “sale” on mortgage rates creates a significant savings in monthly payment because of the 1%/10% rule.

For every 1% change in interest rate, the monthly payment will change roughly 10%.

So when rates go up to 4.75%, a buyer’s payment will be 10% higher.

For example, the principal and interest payment on a $400,000 home with a 20% down payment at today’s rates is $1,482.

If rates were 1% higher, the payments jump up to $1,669.


Posted on August 9, 2019 at 7:52 pm
Sarah Schilz | Posted in Fort Collins Real Estate, News, Northern Colorado Real Estate | Tagged , , , ,

Spacious Home in Fort Collins!

This spacious home at 1613 Waterford Lane in Fort Collins features main floor living with a fully finished basement. Eat-in kitchen offers plenty of space for everyone. Take advantage of the wet bar while entertaining family and friends or curl up with a book by the fireplace on cold winter nights. Bright, sunny backyard offers privacy and space for all your outdoor fancies. Take a dip in the neighborhood pool or enjoy a game of tennis in the community courts. Easy walk to College for dinner or groceries. Call for your private showing at (970) 817-0906  for more information or click the link below for more details.

http://windermerenoco.com/listing/96255685


Posted on June 6, 2019 at 5:58 pm
Sarah Schilz | Posted in Fort Collins Real Estate, Virtual Tours | Tagged , , , , , , , ,