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 | Category: 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 | Category: 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 | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

Windermere Forecast Summary

On January 17th we hosted our annual Market Forecast. Our chief economist flew in from Seattle to give us an educational and entertaining summary of where the market has been and where it is going.

If you missed it, don’t worry, you can find a recap video below!

Posted on February 6, 2019 at 6:58 am
Sarah Schilz | Category: Uncategorized

The July 2018 Monthly Housing Report is out!

From the Fort Collins Board of Realtors “New Listings were down 11.9% for single family homes but increased 25.0% for townhouse-condo properties. Pending Sales landed at 285 for single family homes and 80 for townhouse-condo properties.The Median Sales Price was up 10.0% to $415,955 for single family homes and 11.2% to $308,406 for townhouse-condo properties. Days on Market decreased 12.1% for single family homes but increased 37.8% for townhouse-condo properties.”

Visit the Fort Collins Board of Realtors website to download the full report: https://fcbr.org/document/july-2018-monthly-housing-report/

 

 

Posted on August 10, 2018 at 5:27 pm
Sarah Schilz | Category: Uncategorized

Windermere Foundation Nears $36 Million in Total Donations Raised!

Thanks to the generosity of Windermere agents and the community, the Windermere Foundation collected over $330,000 in donations during the first quarter of 2018. Individual contributions and fundraisers accounted for 58 percent of the donations, while 42 percent came from donations through Windermere agent commissions. So far, we have raised a total of $35,869,961 in donations since 1989 when the Windermere Foundation was started.

 

Each Windermere office has its own Windermere Foundation fund account that they use to make donations to organizations in their local communities. In the first quarter of 2018, a total of $521,916 was disbursed to non-profit organizations dedicated to providing services to low-income and homeless families throughout the Western U.S.

 

One organization that has been the recipient of Windermere Foundation funds is Youthnet, serving Skagit, Whatcom, Snohomish, Island, and San Juan Counties in Washington State. Youthnet provides caring and supportive educational and social services to youth and families to help them attain a productive and successful life.

 

The Windermere Real Estate/Skagit Valley office in Mount Vernon, Washington has donated a total of $1,500 to Youthnet since 2015. Their support has continued to make a difference to the children, youth, and families served.

 

Donations have helped Youthnet support clients like Tracey and Tom, who are struggling to care for their three young children because of their inability to find and keep jobs due to mental health issues. Support from donors such as Windermere allows Tracey and Tom to receive resources, parenting support, and guidance to keep Sarah, Suzie and Jimmy well-cared-for.  Funding also helps clients like Jennifer, who is finishing high school this year and thinking about going to college. She would be the first one in her family to achieve this goal.

 

Generous donations to the Windermere Foundation over the years have enabled Windermere offices to continue to support local non-profits like Youthnet. If you’d like to help support programs in your community, please click on the Donate button.

 

To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation.

Posted on May 4, 2018 at 10:58 am
Sarah Schilz | Category: Uncategorized

How to Get Back to a Balanced Housing Market

Developers are not building enough single-family homes to keep up with demand. The reason why? Cost. Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner explains why new construction is so cost prohibitive and how to shift the trend.
Posted on May 1, 2018 at 5:20 am
Sarah Schilz | Category: Uncategorized

February Windermere Report, Hot Off the Press!

Posted on February 9, 2017 at 4:14 am
Sarah Schilz | Category: Uncategorized

June 2016 Windermere Report is out!

June 2016 Windermere Report

Posted on June 10, 2016 at 11:24 pm
Sarah Schilz | Category: Uncategorized

Luxury Market Bingo

Let's have some fun with 5 Fascinating Facts about the Luxury Market in Northern Colorado (homes priced over $700,000):Luxury Report Smaller

  • Luxury homes represent 19% of all available inventory
  • Luxury homes represent 3% of all closed sales
  • The luxury market has 11 months of inventory
  • The average sales to list price for a luxury home is 97%
  • The average days on market for a luxury home is 132 days

Hot off the press is our brand new Luxury Market Report. It's 12 pages of fun facts, charts, graphs and insights into the $700,000-plus market in Northern Colorado. This is a must-have resource.

Simply email me at sarah.schilz@windermere.com and we will get one in your hands right away.

Posted on June 10, 2016 at 10:59 pm
Sarah Schilz | Category: Uncategorized