Lisa Schade

Broker, BS, CDPE, SFR

Preparing Your Home for Winter - Simple Tips to Ensure Your Home Survives the Season

By Keith Loria


For potential sellers, making the decision to keep their home on the market throughout the winter months is often a challenging proposition. However, if you’re ready to take advantage of all the season has to offer—including serious buyers—it’s important to make sure the house itself is ready to survive the winter cold. 

The first thing you’ll want to do is ensure that the heating system works by getting an annual maintenance check and furnace cleaning. You don’t want a blocked vent or broken coil causing a problem at a critical time. You should also clean out your air ducts at the same time. All of these items will be relayed to the buyer eventually, which can only be a positive step in the right direction. 

Winter is also a great time to put new batteries in all your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. 

Check that your fireplace’s chimney and vents are clean and in good repair. Not only will this prevent chimney fires, it will also ensure that carbon monoxide doesn’t creep into your home. You should also inspect the chimney’s exterior for cracks.

In addition, check your roof for cracked tiles or damaged shingles. If something looks out of place, get it looked at before it develops into something more serious. The last thing you want is a leaky roof as you’re trying to sell your home. 

You’ll also want to check the gaps between your siding and windows or doorframes. If they’re bigger than the width of a nickel, you should reapply exterior caulk and get them ready for the cold. Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements.

Be sure to clean out your gutters so prospective buyers don’t overlook crucial elements of your home because of leaves and debris. Water can back up against the house and damage roofing and siding, which can lead to leaks and ice dams.

If you have a crawl space, verify that the conditions are dry underneath. Also check the crawl space under all sinks, showers, and tubs for leaks.

For those who live in a really cold area, turn off any exterior faucets to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. Disconnect all garden hoses and drain the water that remains in faucets. You should also turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.

Have a welcome mat outside and something for people to wipe their snowy or wet shoes on inside. This will protect your floors and rugs from additional wear and tear. 

It’s also important to reverse any ceiling fans—if they have a reverse switch—so that the fan’s blades are running in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat. Energy Star notes that a fan will produce an updraft and push heated air down into the room from the ceiling. This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings.

Even if you decide to take your home off the market, the winter season provides the perfect time to make fixes and repairs to get your home ready for prospective buyers. 

For more information about preparing your home for the cold winter months, contact our office today. 

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

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