The winter weather in Minnesota is usually tough, but this year seemed to really push the limits. Many parts of Minnesota saw near-record snowfalls and brutally cold sub-zero temperatures, as well as days that got into the low- and even mid-40s.
That kind of fluctuation, as well as the usual effects of harsh winter conditions in general, can really wreak havoc on a house, even if things still seem to be working as normal. Consequently, it’s vital for real estate professionals to talk to their selling clients this spring – and even reach out to old clients as a courtesy. When you can supply some tips for how to make sure various aspects of their homes that are particularly vulnerable to winter weather are well cared for as spring begins, that’s a great way to protect them while simultaneously improving your relationship.
Here are a few areas where you can provide critical advice that helps past and present clients’ homes stay in great shape:
SAFEGUARD THE BASEMENT
As all the snow that built up in recent months is melting, and spring showers start, homeowners must be prepared for the risk of basement flooding. First and foremost, it would be wise to have a sump pump on hand so that, if any water does get in, it can be cleared out quickly and easily. But that’s treating the symptom of the issue and not necessarily the cause, so other tips are important as well.
For instance, perhaps the first thing any homeowner whose house has gutters should do this spring is make sure they’re clear and the places they deposit water run downhill, away from the home. The water pressure that builds up along foundations when water pools there can be far more immense than homeowners realize, so if puddles are forming, they need to be cleared out quickly.
At the same time, agents should advise owners to go through their basements now and look for any cracks or fissures in the foundation where water could potentially seep in during a thaw. The same is true of their exterior foundation. Patching any of them up with sealant – both inside and out – will help avoid basement flooding.
KEEP TABS ON HVAC
If you have a shared central heating and air system, the use it gets throughout the winter could lead to some natural wear and tear that owners should address now, before the summer heat makes the AC a necessity. First and foremost, check, clean and swap out air filters regularly. Experts say this should happen about once a month, and if it doesn’t, those systems are going to run far less efficiently. The same is true when it comes to interior vents, which should be kept clear and cleaned throughout the year to maximize air circulation.
For homes with central air units outside, owners should also make sure the area around that unit is clear of debris and that it didn’t take any damage over the winter. It’s also vital to make sure the components in the unit, like the evaporator or condenser coils, are cleaned at least once or twice a year, and before it gets heavy use in the summer.
OUT BY THE POOL
For homes with pools, it’s important to give them a good once-over as well. That means removing any debris that got past the cover over the winter and checking all elements of the heating, filtration and pump systems to make sure they’re in good working order, well before owners might be considering actually opening the pools. It’s also vital to clear any air from the plumbing for the pool, because this can potentially lead to massive damage to the system overall.
GET IT ALL COVERED
All of these systems can also be covered by a home warranty, which insulates owners – and potential buyers – from the financial risks if one of these systems were to fail or need repairs. That’s true before, during or even after a sale is completed.
The sooner in the real estate sales process a homeowner has the protection of a home warranty, the better off they and the people on the other side of the transaction are likely to be if something were to go wrong. Jennifer Gagne