Don't let winter get the best of you.
The cool weather at night is reminding us that FALL has arrived and winter is on it's way. Are you ready?
It’s time to put away the summer gear and switch toward Fall. Being proactive with winter weather preparations can not only save you money but also headaches. Shorter days are happening! It’s a good time to finish the outside projects or do repairs before the short winter days and icy weather get here.
Take a look at this list and get your personal home and rental investment properties comfortable, safe, and ready for the season.
-Walk around the exterior of your house and property, look for signs of damage. Check out the roof, siding, and foundation so you can schedule repairs before winter weather hits. While you’re there, how do those gutters and downspouts look? Full of leaves. In good condition. Clogged gutters and drains during rain or snow can damage your roof, soffits, or siding. If you aren’t comfortable with heights, hire help. It’ll be worth getting these taken care of now to save on expensive repairs later.
-With the fall rains we don’t need to water lawns. It’s time to winterize your sprinkler system, faucets, and drain hoses for storage.
-Expecting snow? It’s so uncomfortable trying to get the snowblower going with three feet of snow and in the early morning before work. Check it out now to see if it’s in good working order. Now that's done it'll be easy getting out of your drive or making a path for the dog. For the small jobs, check on the snow shovel. Even if the hardware store hasn’t stocked them yet, checking will let you know if one needs to go on your shopping list or not.
-Walkways to and from the house are they in good condition? Home or rental, just a quick check could save someone from a fall. Check the stability of the stairs, pavers, and porch as well.
-Exterior lights. Short days call for more light, no one likes coming home to a dark stairway or porch. The new LED light bulbs put out so much more light and use significantly less electricity. Check front and back porches, garage, and other exterior lighting.
-Is there a window A/C? Time for it to be removed before the cold starts coming in. If it needs to stay, cover the exterior of the unit with an insulating wrap.
-Trees and bushes. One winter I was “lucky” enough to get two “tree” phone calls. The first from my renter, a huge limb had fallen on the house. After learning she and her children were safe, I drove over to find the house secure and a big tree limb was on the house. One easy phone call and professionals were there to remove the branch and I had them trim up the tree while they were there. The second wasn’t so easy. A Thanksgiving holiday storm hit while I was out of town with family. The call was from the neighbor, he was calling to report that the huge evergreen tree that once grew on the side of the property was now ON my house. It was one of those storms where the whole town is effected. On a holiday so many people were with family elsewhere and there are so many trees down that it’s rough to get someone to help. Thankfully the neighbor was kind enough to “give” me the tree guy he had already called and I was able to contract them. It took a week and a crane to safely remove the tree. Then contractors to put that side of the house back together with a new roof. Thankfully my new renters were running a little late arriving so the house was secure by the time they arrived. They were such a good sport having all the contractors working outside their new home. While I couldn’t have prevented the whole tree falling on the house, now I have my trees professionally trimmed in the fall to reduce the likelihood of the broken, dead, or diseased branches from causes harm to property and all who enjoy the home.
-Depending on your climate, it could be a great time to plant grasses, trees and bulbs. For cooler climates, straw around the roses or other plantings that need protection from a freeze.
-Fencing. For some, keeping the larger critters out of the garden, hay shed, or barn is vital. It’s a good time to check your fence line for problems. Not to mention keeping our pets safe with a good fence that keeps them in.
House and Home:
-Most any region a season change is a good time to check for emergency supplies, especially with cold or wet weather coming. Only minutes to check your supplies could save you hours or better. Restock emergency supplies for the car and home. A good time to refresh batteries in flashlights, check for candles, bottled water, and other.
-Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace if needed.
-If you live in a high radon area, fall is a good time to get your home checked. With the cooler weather window and doors will be closed more often. Radon is more likely to become trapped. If this is a concern, test kits can be purchased at your local hardware store or consult a contractor.
-The heat will be used now so it’s time to make certain to clear dust, grime, and miscellaneous from the heat sources. A vacuum can be very helpful for this quick job in addition to changing the HVAC intake filter/furnace filter.
-Now’s a great time to get a professional check-up and maintenance for your HVAC. Have them check the furnace and central A/C while they are there. A “no heat” call from your spouse/children or renter is not a great circumstance. Regular maintenance can protect your investment. Also, keeping an emergency heat source on hand has saved the day twice, first for my renter with a new baby, and second, here at home.
-Don’t forget to get the chimney sweep over to prepare for warm inviting evenings in front of the fire.
-Winter is cold for us humans and also for the critters who we would like to keep outside. Mice only need a tiny gap to sneak in and enjoy free meals. Fill small holes and cover larger gaps securely with heavy-duty hardware cloth to keep outside animals, outside.
-Keeping cozy; Insulated window coverings; weather stripping can make all the difference in the world from the cold wind blowing in.
-A well organized garage is a sight to behold. It helps to have a place in out of the weather to unload groceries, do maintenance on the car and park.
-Is your car ready for the weather change? Time to check the condition of your tires to make it safely through rain, snow, and ice. How about ice scrapers for each car? Last year I was caught by surprise and my VISA will never be the same using it for an ice scraper when I didn’t prepare with defrosting time.
-I carry at least 2 bottles of water and snack bars in my car year around, Fall is when these get replaced with fresh. After a long hot summer, they’re not in great condition. So comforting to know they’re included in with the blanket, rain poncho, and other emergency gear.
Hope this helps get your house, home, and rental property secure and ready for the weather change.
All the best in LIFE and Investing,
Certified High Performance LIFE Coach.