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“As fall arrives, homeowners can take simple maintenance steps, like inspecting
the heating system and roof, to ensure a safe and stress-free fall and winter."

Home Maintenance and Real Estate Markets Change Come Fall

When the fall season begins in late September, it brings changes to more than the air temperature and colors of the leaves, especially where home maintenance and the variable real estate market are concerned. Children and teachers go back to school, summer vacations end, and sweaters and jackets suddenly appear instead of t-shirts and flip-flops. For homeowners, the change in seasons is a time to be mindful of annual home maintenance procedures and to consider the adjustments in the real estate market.

From a home maintenance perspective, a few basic preparations can help homeowners prepare for the colder weather and move into winter with fewer hassles and expenses. Begin with an annual fall check of the heating system, a unit often neglected during the hotter summer months. Schedule an appointment with a heating specialist to inspect the system and make sure it works, something homeowners need to know before the temperatures turn bitterly cold. A forced hot air system, for example, uses a filter that requires periodic changing, something the specialist can demonstrate how to do to save money next time. It is also worthwhile to check the forced hot water heating system at this time. Gas heat systems also must be checked for proper venting to prevent carbon their carbon monoxide byproduct from building up in the house.

The fall season also marks a good time for an annual roof inspection. No matter its age, and most roofs last at least 20 years, the top of the home should be inspected every year. Look for shingles that need repair, and check the gutters to see that they are clear of leaves and other debris that can clog drainage and cause bigger, costlier problems in the winter months. Lastly, look for dangerously overgrown or rotting trees that could crash into the house during a strong winter rain or snowstorm and damage the roof, or worse.

In addition to the roof, homeowners should check the attached garage, a place where air can escape and enter the home. Beware of the possibility of dangerous carbon monoxide entering the home from running cars in the garage, and think twice about storing toxic chemicals in the closed garage during the winter months. Pesticides, chemicals and other household substances can create highly dangerous fumes, something that homeowners need to realize before the offensive substances enter the home. Consider alternative storage solutions in an outside shed or other distant space.

On the real estate markets front, sales traditionally slow in the fall through the end of the year. Buyers are most active in the months from January through May, after which they remain level until August, then decline beginning in September. This means that home buyers looking for the best price are better positioned to find a bargain in the fall months, when a homeowner who needs to sell may be more willing to negotiate given the lack of interested buyers. On the other hand, if you are trying to sell your home quickly, consider that the fall could be an ideal time, provided you are willing to be more flexible on the price. Of course, with the recent historic lows in the economy, understand that conventional wisdom is just a guide, and savvy buyers and sellers should be prepared to think outside the old ways of doing business as the real estate market continues to be tested.

As fall arrives, homeowners can take simple maintenance steps, like inspecting the heating system and roof, to ensure a safe and stress-free fall and winter. People looking to buy or sell their home should be advised that the fall season tends to slow the real estate market, which means that fewer homes sell and at lower prices, but in this day and age of unpredictable economies, it pays to be prepared for anything.
 

RE/MAX of Tenafly

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About Orly Chen

  Orly Chen is a leading
Tenafly real estate agent
in Northern New Jersey
specializing in the Bergen
County area. Her
outgoing personality,
honesty and
approachability and
integrity make Orly
one of the most sought-
after agents in the
Northern New Jersey
real estate market

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