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Alyssa Brady
REALTOR®

Articles Tagged "Home Maintenance"

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November
28

6 Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill for Winter

Lower Energy Bill - Homeowners - DeHOFF REALTORS

The first utility bill in a new home can mean an unpleasant surprise for the unsuspecting homeowner. Not only is the cost higher in a house than in an apartment, but energy costs are soaring across the globe. Fortunately, you can take measures to lower your utility bills, and our real estate agents would like to share them with you.

  1. Seal it up!
    You would be amazed at how much cold air seeps in through tiny openings around the house. Start first with weather stripping around doors and windows. This low-cost process will save you a lot of money over time. But don't stop there. Check for gaps anywhere two materials meet, such as where siding meets the foundation, a chimney, or the roof. Pick up exterior-grade caulking from your favorite home improvement store and apply it wherever such gaps appear. Install foam gaskets behind light switches. 

  2. Install a smart thermostat
    You may find that many of our North Canton homes for sale are already equipped with this modern convenience, but if not, you would be doing yourself a big favor by installing one. You can pre-program your energy consumption based on your schedule. That can save you as much as 35% on your bill. But you can do far more than that. You can communicate with your thermostat via an app on your phone to keep utility use to a minimum when you are out of town, adjusting the house to an appropriate temperature just before you return. 

  3. Lower the temperature on your water heater
    Most manufacturers set the thermostat to about 160 degrees, but you don't need it to be more than 120. If your water heater is an older model, you may need to flush the mineral buildup from the tank. It's a simple process that can save you a lot. Turn off the water and power. Let the unit cool. Attach a hose to the bottom of the unit leading water to the outside. Open the drain valve and turn the water back on to flush. When the water runs clear, reverse the process. Be sure to close the drain valve securely before removing the hose and turning the water back on. 

  4. Maintain your HVAC unit
    Make sure the area surrounding your unit is clean and free from debris. Cut any branches or plant growth that could encroach upon the unit. Change your air filters every three months. After turning off the power, remove the unit's cover and vacuum out dust, cleaning coils and fins thoroughly. Schedule professional maintenance annually, and if you experience a particularly difficult season weather-wise, consider a check-up between seasons. Replacing an aging HVAC unit is expensive, but this may be an important issue to address if your utility bills are excessive. 

  5. Choose the best energy plan for you
    Akron homes for sale offer the buyer a choice between energy suppliers. Talk to your agent to get a list of options. Then call each to discuss their energy plans before you make a selection. Each supplier may offer multiple plans. Pick the one best suited to your lifestyle to obtain the lowest price available.

  6. Don't forget the tips your parents taught you
    Dress appropriately for the temperature and keep doors and windows closed. Turn off the light when you leave the room and unplug energy thieves when you turn them off. Some electronics are actually on stand-by for quick start-up. 

When you're ready to tour some of the most beautiful houses in Ohio, contact us. We will be happy to help you find the perfect new home for you. 

September
19

End-of-Summer Homeowner Checklist

End-of-Summer Maintenance - DeHOFF REALTORS

As the leaves begin to turn and the days get colder, it's time to get your home ready for the harsh winter months. If you've recently bought a house, you may be surprised by the amount and intensity of home maintenance activities. Homeownership is a huge investment that requires regular maintenance and care. That said, it can feel like a daunting chore, especially if you're a first-time homebuyer.

As summer draws to a close, here's an end-of-summer homeowner maintenance checklist from our real estate agents that can help you better protect your investment.

Inside Your Home

  • Inspect the Air Conditioning
    Check and replace air filters as necessary. Inspect your vents, dryer vents, and baseboard heaters for any built-up dust and clean them. Make sure your thermostat is in tip-top shape. Turn up the heat to ensure your furnace is working properly.

    If you have central air, the beginning of autumn is a great time to get your HVAC system serviced. A clean system will be more energy efficient. Moreover, a professional can catch and fix problems when they're still minor, helping you avoid a costly emergency repair down the road.

  • Check Windows and Doors
    Check any openings for drafts and caulk where necessary, as drafts can increase your heating bill by increasing your HVAC system's workload. It may also be a good idea to install storm windows and doors to keep the heat in and the cold out.

  • Home Upgrades and Renovation Projects
    Thinking of adding your home to the North Canton homes for sale listing? The beginning of fall is a great time to get started on home upgrades. The temperature is usually moderate, giving you the freedom to update the bathroom or knock down a wall or two.

  • Touch Up the Paint
    Speaking of home upgrades, there's no better time to give your walls a fresh coat of paint than at the beginning of fall. Temperatures are cooler, which means the paint won't dry too fast like it would during the height of summer. Moreover, fall is warm enough that you can open your windows for longer to bring in fresh air.

Outside the House

  • Clean Your Gutters
    Here's a task you should perform ever so often. Removing leaves, twigs, and brambles from your spouting means you won't have to deal with falling icicles come winter.

  • Repair Driveways and Walkways
    Winter rain and snow can cause the cracks in your driveway to widen and deepen. That's why filling any cracks during fall is important to prevent them from eroding any further.

  • Inspect Your Roof and Soffits
    You can probably get away with a visual inspection of your roof if it's just a few years old. However, it's crucial to perform an integrity test once a year. Check your roof for soft spots, replace loose shingles, and maybe get a professional installer to take a look. Any discoloration in your soffits or stains on your ceiling could indicate a leak.

Are You Ready to Buy a House?

It's true that anyone can shop for a house. But it can be an incredibly stressful experience. Experienced real estate agents can match you with the perfect property much faster, taking some of the hassle and stress off your shoulders. Contact us to get a look at our Akron homes for sale.

May
30

How to Get Interior Painting Right the First time

Interior Painting Tips - Homeowners - DeHOFF REALTORS®

Color is the easiest way to inject your personality into any North Canton home for sale. Interior painting can be a messy project, but there are some tricks get the job done quicker and cleaner. Explore the top interior painting tips from our real estate agents below.

  • Take Time to Pick Your Colors
    You have limitless color choices to choose from for your project. Lighter options make rooms feel spacious and airy, while bolder hues re-energize the décor. You can mix bold and lighter colors to create contrast and highlight accent pieces, art, and other accessories.

    Keep in mind that interior colors look different at various times of the day as natural and artificial lighting changes. So, prop poster boards with different colors choices against your walls to pick the right hues.


  • Buy High-Quality Painting Supplies
    High-quality roller covers and brushes offer excellent coverage, while good painter's tape is your best bet in sealing out drips and blurs. If you use cheap brushes, you will likely see bristles falling into the paint, and the result will look shoddy. High-quality paint is also vital for a smooth finish.


  • Prep Work Is Essential
    Before you paint a room, remove any obstructions that prevent you from moving around freely. For example, move large living room furniture to the center and protect them with drop cloths. Empty each room you will be painting as much as possible for an easier process.

    The next step is removing any hardware from the walls, such as curtain rods, switch plates, outlet covers, pictures, and hooks for towels. Then, thoroughly clean the walls as paint easily peels off dirty and oily surfaces. Fill in cracks and holes and sand the surface to create a smooth working area.


  • Apply Primer
    You get a blotchy finish if you paint directly over the patched sections. This occurs because the joint compound used to fill in holes on the walls absorbs the paint's moisture, resulting in a dull and flat look. Also, these spots appear significantly different from the rest of the wall.

    So, prime the wall to get a smooth finish. Most professionals tint white primer with a little gray hue or the finish paint color. Using tinted primer results in a more vibrant finish, and you will likely need fewer coats to get the desired look.


  • Combine Paint Gallons
    Disparities in color occur from one can to the next, and the difference may be apparent if you open a new container as you paint a wall. So, estimate the quantity of paint you require and pour it into a 5-gallon bucket. Then, stir the entire batch to ensure uniformity.


  • Paint the Trim, Ceiling, and Walls in Order
    Taping off the trim is easier than taping off the wall, so professionals start painting the trim and then the ceiling. Don't worry about perfection as you paint the trim, as you can cover spilled paint when you paint the walls. Also, sand the trim between coats to get a smooth texture.

    You may be tempted to cut in all the room corners before going back to roll the paint for an easier time. However, this method leads to a blotchy finish. Professionals achieve a seamless finish in
    Akron homes for sale by cutting in one wall and quickly rolling on the paint to prevent the cut-in sections from drying out.


  • Protect the Floor With Canvas Drop Cloths
    Old bed sheets and plastic drop cloths do little to prevent paint splatters from seeping into the floor. Instead, use thick canvas drop cloths as they stay in place and are sufficiently durable to last a lifetime. Clean spills with cloth rags and paper towels as soon as they occur.

Your new home is a color away from being the perfect haven. Contact us today to explore our real estate services.

April
25

Patio Plants: How to Choose the Right Ones

Choosing Patio Plants - Homeowners - DeHOFF REALTORS®

Spring is here and spending time outdoors tops the list of things to do. Some people look forward to hiking their favorite trails or picnics in the park, while others enjoy relaxing in their backyard. If you prefer the comforts of home, our real estate agents recommend sprucing up your backyard with some beautiful patio plants.

Backyard patios and decks are ideal for potted plants. In Akron homes for sale, you can change out flowering plants to extend spring blooms well into the fall season. When temperatures start to drop, replace blooms with hardy greenery that will survive winter weather. To create a beautiful patio year-round, all you need is the right plants and decorative containers.

Choosing the Right Patio Plants

When choosing patio plants, consider how much maintenance they require. Some plants require daily watering, regular trimming, and deadheading of spent flowers to encourage more blooms. Before investing in plants, make sure they are suited to your gardening needs. Some easy-care patio plants to consider include:

  • Geraniums – These cheerful annuals come in a variety of vibrant colors that will add beauty to your patio. Geraniums last all summer and into early fall, even if you forget to water them for several days.

  • Lantana – This flower can be invasive in the garden, but it's easy to contain in pots. Lantana is a hardy plant that's hard to kill. It grows well in the sun and produces blooms with pretty multicolored flowers.

  • Marigolds – A big pot of marigolds will add color to your patio. Marigolds are easy to maintain and repel insects that may get on other plants, but they require deadheading to produce new blooms.

  • Ferns – In North Canton homes for sale with shady backyards, ferns are a great choice since they thrive in the shade. You'll find a variety of ferns that range in size, texture, and color for stunning visual interest.

  • Caladiums – Another shade lover, these plants produce colorful heart-shaped leaves. As tubers, they spread nicely and are mostly carefree. They don't have showy flowers but definitely brighten up shady spots.

  • Herbs – If you have a sunny patio, herbs planted in pots will thrive. Basil, lavender, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme grow well with sun and regular watering. Enjoy wonderful smells and use the herbs in your kitchen.

  • Vines – Potato vine (jasmine nightshade) is an easy vine to grow without much maintenance. It's often used as a patio plant because it produces pretty little white or purple flowers that add soft, relaxing color to an outdoor setting.

Choosing Containers

For healthy patio plants, it's important to choose the right size containers with adequate drainage. According to garden experts, plants in pots dry out more quickly, so they need adequate water and good potting soil. Water should be checked daily, and potting soil should be good quality organic potting soil with an organic compost mixed into the soil.

When purchasing containers, make sure pots have ample room for plant growth. Consider the container's size and height on your patio so you don't block views of the backyard. Large pots are good for marking patio boundaries, delineating different patio areas, and providing privacy, but they are hard to move around. Small decorative pots with bright colors and interesting textures make good accents on patios that need a boost in design appeal, and they're very easy to move around.

If you're thinking about buying or selling a home in Stark and Summit counties, contact us for information on available properties and prices in areas of interest.

March
14

Homeowners: Be Prepared for Any Home Emergency

Preparing for Emergencies - Homeowners - DeHOFF REALTORS®

You've just purchased a new home from among North Canton homes for sale, and you're undoubtedly eager to pick out curtains, paint colors, and new furniture. But first, you should be aware of potential problems and how to avoid or at least prepare for them. Our real estate agents share how you can be ready for the following issues.

  • Plumbing Problems
    Clogged pipes, burst pipes, and leaky pipes can cause significant damage to your home and property. This is why we strongly recommend a comprehensive plumbing inspection and maintenance visit with a certified plumber before you move in. This creates a thorough assessment of the plumbing and establishes a relationship with a plumber you can call should a plumbing problem emerge down the road.

  • Electrical Problems
    If you purchase any of the many older Akron homes for sale, be sure to complete a comprehensive electrical inspection. Wiring and fixtures wear out over time, and you'll want to confirm the systems in your home are in good repair. You will also want to make sure that you have good candles, flashlights, batteries, and better still, a backup power generator for an electrical outage. Generators are ideal because they can ensure your lights, security systems, refrigerator, freezer, etc., continue to operate until the power is restored.

  • Fire Hazards
    Fire safety is always a top priority. Ensure that your home has fire alarms in the bedrooms, kitchen, garage, laundry room, and hallways. Additionally, it's a good idea to position an ABC fire extinguisher in each of these areas. Finally, be sure to change your batteries at regular intervals, conduct fire drills with your family, and recharge your fire extinguishers when they expire.

  • Roof Problems
    Make sure that you have extra roofing materials, tarps, nails, and a few pieces of plywood handy. Should a storm blow shingles off or a windstorm knock a tree branch through the roof, this will help you temporarily repair the damage until a professional roofing contractor can perform a permanent repair. 

  • Furnace Failure/Water Heater Failure
    Your furnace and water heater are the hardest-working appliances in your home. Most furnaces last 12-15 years, while most water heaters last between 10-12 years. Make sure to keep (and change) air filters regularly, stay on top of the manufacturer's maintenance requirements, and it won't hurt to enroll in a maintenance plan provided by a local, trusted HVAC service provider. 

  • Security Problems
    Security is a priority you can't ignore. Installing a home security system with remote monitoring capabilities will help you keep an eye on the home while you're away. It's also a good idea to install at least one smart lock on the home so that you can access it via a code or through your smartphone to get inside even if a member of your family loses their key.

  • Cold Weather and Pests
    Freezing weather, raccoons, birds, insects, and other pests can infiltrate your home via cracks in masonry, gaps in insulation, or open crawl spaces. Sealing these gaps with caulk, weather stripping, insulation, etc., will protect your home from the weather and from pests eager to enjoy a free meal and a new nest. 

We encourage you to contact us to learn more about the steps we recommend new homeowners take to protect their homes from the most common threats and hazards.  

January
10

Selling in 2022: Start Getting Your Home Ready Now

Selling a Home in 2022 - DeHOFF REALTORS®

Our real estate agents know it's never too early to get your home ready for market. If your plans for 2022 include moving to a new home in the spring, now is the right time to put a plan together so that your home is ready to go when you're ready to make your move. You can take the following steps now to ensure the process isn't overwhelming later.

  • Go Easy On the Cosmetic Upgrades
    It's a seller's market, so you don't have to spend a lot of money to attract an offer. While you can still paint the walls of the main living areas and bedrooms a neutral color, you can skip the installation of pricey appliances, new windows, etc.

  • ...But Clean Thoroughly
    While you don't have to undertake any major renovations, you will want to give the home a professional cleaning. Have the carpets steam cleaned, scrub bathrooms and kitchens, clean out the garage, and make sure the windows are crystal clear. It's also a good idea to make sure the air within the home is regularly refreshed.

  • Start Packing Up Personal Items
    Before you paint, pack up any family pictures and bric-a-brac cluttering your home. This will declutter the home and help personalize it, making it easier for prospective buyers to imagine their photos and artwork on the walls. Further, declutter the closets, basement, garage, etc., by removing their contents and placing them in your new home or a self-storage facility. This has the added benefit of helping buyers get a true feel for how much storage space is in the home.

  • Keep An Active Eye On Property You Want to Purchase
    Start looking at new homes well before you are ready to list your home. If you are financially able to purchase a home you are interested in before your current home sells, do so. This will help ease some pressure and give you the flexibility to wait for the best offer.

  • Price Your Home Strategically
    The more time you spend looking at listings in the area, the better feel you will have for what your home is worth. Keep a close eye on similar North Canton homes for sale and Akron homes for sale. This will help you price your home to align with buyer expectations and current market conditions. Your real estate agent will also be invaluable in helping to set the right price for your home.

  • Limit Access
    Supply is low, and demand is high. By limiting showings and availability to view the home, you will create a sense of exclusivity to your home. Like fine wines and fancy purses, the more exclusive the home feels, the more interested buyers will be to own it.

  • Prepare For a Bidding War
    Current market activity means that you will likely receive multiple offers shortly after listing your home. Work closely with your real estate agent to map out a strategy for navigating a bidding war. Be sure to factor in price, prequalification, down payment, contingencies, concessions, etc. The more planning you put into this, the more likely you will secure the most advantageous offer.

Contact us when you are ready to prepare your home for the market. We will help guide you through the process and help you secure the best offer for your home.

November
22

Homeowners: Don't Let Extreme Weather Take You By Surprise

Be Prepared for Extreme Weather - DeHOFF REALTORS®

As a homeowner, there are many things you can do to protect your home from the unexpected, like installing a home security system or performing regular maintenance. But one thing you can't control is what Mother Nature throws your way. From hurricanes and tornadoes to earthquakes and floods, extreme weather events are becoming more regular, with some disastrous results. That's why having the right insurance coverage is so important. It can lessen the burden of getting your house back together after it's been hit by wild weather. Here, our real estate agents will walk you through the basics of homeowners insurance to help you better prepare for unexpected damage before it's too late.

How a Homeowners Insurance Policy Protects You

  • Damage to the Interior or Exterior of the Home
    If your home is damaged or destroyed by lightning, fire, hail, hurricane, vandalism, and other covered disasters, your insurance provider will pay to repair or completely rebuild the home. Destruction from earthquakes, floods, and routine wear and tear is generally not covered. Most standard policies also cover freestanding garages, gazebos, tool sheds, or any other structure that's not attached to the house.

  • Personal Belongings
    homeowners insurance doesn't just help cover structural damage, it also provides coverage for the items you keep within. Appliances, clothing, furniture, sports equipment, and most other contents of your home are covered if they're stolen or destroyed by an insured disaster. This part of the policy also includes "off-premises" coverage, which could allow you to file a claim for belongings lost anywhere in the world. However, there may be a limit on the amount the insurance provider will reimburse you.

  • Personal Liability Protection
    Liability coverage protects you from lawsuits for property damage or bodily injury caused by you or your family member to another person not living with you. Suppose a delivery guy slips on ice on your walkway and breaks his leg, your insurer will pay for his medical expenses and lost wages if you're found at fault. The policy even pays for damage caused by pets. If your dog bites your neighbor, liability coverage may help pay for their medical expenses. Coverage extends to anywhere in the world.

  • Additional Living Expenses
    If you find yourself forced out of your home due to damage from an insured disaster, this part of insurance would reimburse you for the cost of living away from your home. It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals, rent, and other incidental costs you incur while the home is being repaired or rebuilt.

Types of Homeowners Insurance Coverage

There are three levels of coverage:

  • Actual Cash Value: Pays to replace the house or belongings after deducting depreciation.
  • Replacement Cost: Covers the actual cash value of repairing or rebuilding your home without a depreciation deduction.
  • Guaranteed or Extended Replacement Cost: The most comprehensive, this policy pays for the entire cost of repairing or rebuilding your home, even if it exceeds your policy limit.

What Disasters Does homeowners Insurance Cover?

homeowners insurance provides you financial protection in the event of damage caused by the following scenarios:

  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Wildfire
  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Cold weather and snowstorms
  • Explosion
  • Damage caused by vehicles or aircraft
  • Smoke
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Weight of snow, ice, or sleet
  • Falling object

Even the broadest homeowners insurance policy won't cover every possible event that could damage or destroy your home. Most policies typically exclude damage caused by:

  • Earthquakes, sinkholes, and landslides
  • Flooding, including sewer and drain backup
  • Nuclear hazard
  • Infestations by birds, mold, fungus, or vermin
  • Wear and tear or poor maintenance
  • Power failure
  • Government action

You'll want riders or separate policies for excluded natural disasters. Flood coverage is provided by the Natural Flood Insurance Program, but it can also be purchased from an insurance carrier. Earthquake coverage is available as a spate policy or as an endorsement.

Are you looking for Akron homes for sale or North Canton homes for sale? Our agents can help you find the perfect home for your family and provide home improvement tips to keep your home in tip-top shape. Contact us to learn more about services.

October
4

Before You Light That First Fall Fire, Check Your Chimney

Chimney Inspection - Homeowners - DeHOFF REALTORS®

Colder weather is right around the corner, and that means it's almost fireplace season! Our real estate agents love seeing the glimmer in homebuyers' eyes when they start thinking about relaxing by their new fireplace on chilly evenings. But, before you light that first fall fire, you'll want to check your chimney. 

Now is the perfect time to review some important fireplace safety tips. These simple steps will help keep you and your family safe from the potential dangers that come with fireplace use.

  1. Check Your Fireplace Damper
    Your damper is a critical part of your fireplace. Keeping it closed when you're not using it will help prevent cold drafts from coming into your home. This will improve your energy efficiency. When you're using your fireplace, it's critical to make sure your dampers are open. Otherwise, you'll end up with a house full of smoke and dangerous carbon monoxide. Before you start using your fireplace for the season, check that the damper works as it should. 
  1. Inspect and Clean Your Fireplace
    Many of the beautiful Akron homes for sale have fireplaces in them. If you've just moved in, you might not think you need to do fireplace maintenance right away. However, it's better to be safe than sorry. Each year, it's important to inspect your fireplace, give it a thorough cleaning, and check your chimney to make sure there aren't any obstructions. If you find that there's a thick layer of creosote built up on the fireplace walls, you'll need to scrape it off. Otherwise, it could create a fire hazard.
  1. Waterproof Your Chimney
    Moisture and elements can weaken the structural integrity of your chimney. This can cause mold and damage your fireplace. Adding a water sealant to the outside of your chimney will help keep moisture out so it can't break down the mortar and bricks. You may also want to consider adding a chase cover, which will reduce the amount of moisture that can come in through your chimney. If you have one made of galvanized steel, consider replacing it with one made of copper, stainless steel, or aluminum. This will help prevent rust. Masonry chimneys can benefit from having a crown, which works similarly to a chase cover. 
  1. Decide if You Need a Chimney Sweep
    If you've been looking at North Canton homes for sale, you'll want to find a local chimney sweep to help with your fireplace maintenance. You can tell your chimney needs to be cleaned if the liner has 1/8 of an inch of soot or more. If you don't want to worry about measuring soot, just plan to have your chimney professionally cleaned about once every 50 burns. When purchasing a home with a chimney, you may want to find out when it was last professionally cleaned. 
  1. Schedule an Annual Inspection
    Maintaining and inspecting your chimney is important, but it's not enough. At least once a year, you'll want to have a professional come out and give it a thorough inspection. It's not always easy for the average person to find potential problems, so taking this step will help ensure your fireplace — and your home — stay safe. 

If you've been looking for your dream home in Stark or Summit County, the agents at DeHoff Realtors are here to help! Contact us today, and you could be sitting by the fireplace in your new home before winter is over! 

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Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 02/06/2023. The listing information on this page last changed on 02/06/2023. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of MLS NOW (last updated Mon 02/06/2023 11:12:22 PM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than DeHOFF REALTORS may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved.

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