Winter Maintenance & things to look for

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:
Saturday, December 1st, from 9am-12pm (ish)

      Marshall Community Center, conference room

      1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
Saturday, December 8th, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave)
Monday, December 10th , from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….   Due to the Christmas holiday, our next classes will be starting January 2019.
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website
Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner!  😀
Happy Christmas Season!

  It’s my favorite time of year!  Yay!!!  Ok, now that my excitement for the holidaze is out of the way, I want to say, “Thank you” to everyone for coming to the Client Appreciation Movie Event on the 17th.  I thought that Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was a great movie, and I loved all the Harry Potter tie-ins.  I do want to know when Albus Dumbledore decided that a smart 3-piece suit was no longer appropriate attire, and why he decided to switch to the sparkly robes and hats we see him in throughout the Harry Potter movies…did anyone else wonder this? I do hope that everyone enjoys their wands as well.  Chris Berg (Pinnacle Mortgage, 503-320-0925, and I always enjoy hosting the movies, and seeing everyone.  We do have some movies we have already decided on for next year, and a couple we are ….well, we are trying to decide between…  There are SO many good movies coming out next year that it’s really tough.   We definitely want to do the Marvels Avengers:  Infinity War 2, and of course, the new Star Wars in December.  We are waffling between Toy Story 4 in June, and Frozen 2 in November.  There’s also the new Lion King movie next summer as well, and Captain Marvel in March, and a new How to Train your Dragon too, I think… ugh… decisions, decisions….  What is YOUR opinion?  We are happy to have feedback…..

So, we are smack dab in winter now where it’s daylight until 2pm, and then BAM! it’s darlk.  Then there is the rain too… I actually don’t mind the rain so much, or winter.  For home buyers it is the best time to be looking for homes.  Yards may not look the prettiest right now, but winter is when home inspections shine.  If you are a home buyer, and you need help with closing costs, NOW is the time to be out looking at homes.  Right now is the time of year that we see the least amount of multiple offer bidding wars, and the time of  year that we see sellers most inclined to help buyers with those pesky closing costs. Yes, moving during the winter, the holidays, and the rain suck…but closing costs, not having to compete with 4 other offers, and being able to see how a home actually lives during the wet weather… that is golden.

  What should a home owner , and /or potential home buyer be looking at right now?  Well, water is the big one.  I showed a home last weekend, during the rain, where you could see a 6 inch puddle of water sitting around the foundation of the entire West and southwest sides of the home.  I’m not kidding…. it was 6 inches deep, and pouring in the foundation vents.  Part of the repairs for this would be to move the gutter downspouts away from foundation, and to re-grade the dirt away from the foundation so it all wasn’t just puddling there with no where else to go but under the home.  My client did take a look under the home in the crawlspace, and yes, there was water in the crawlspace, but was it all from the water around the foundation, or from a high water table under the home?  Having a home inspection during this time of year also means when the inspector is looking in the atticspace she/he will actually be able to see if the roof is leaking.  He/she can also be checking for moisture in siding or in/around windows and window trim.  In our area, it rains…. and usually much more frequently than it has been.  Take advantage of the time of year.

Luckily I haven’t melted in the rain….yet… and while I don’t like to take chances that someday it could melt me there are certain things that I am looking at with clients at this time of year. I am looking at how the water sits around the foundation, if there are window wells around the foundation vents, and while looking at those foundation vents, I am looking to see if there are holes in the vent screens. It’s getting colder, and small animals are looking for warmth.  You know what is warm? Under your home.  If there is a torn foundation vent screen, these animals will go under your home.  What do they do there?  Well, like you would, they set up house.  They have an area of the visquean (or all of it) for their potty area, they will pull down insulation for a nice warm bed, and if  the home has forced air with duct work under the home?  Good grief…that’s like winning the small animal lottery!  I’ve seen (ok, the inspectors have seen and should me pictures) of small animals that have actually torn INTO the ducts under the home and made a nice, cozy nest for themselves….complete with blowing warm air….nice… well, nice for them, but not nice for the homeowner.
We are looking at the furnace to see if it has been serviced within the last year.  Have the wall heaters been vacuumed out? Years, and years ago….1997, to be exact,my husband and I rented an older home in Vancouver.  It was a cold, wet winter, and we left to go do something… I don’t remember what, but I do remember coming home after dark to see a fire truck in front of our home….lights shining.  We pretty much freaked out.  My younger brother was staying with us and fell asleep on the couch.  He woke up to go to his room, opened the door, and the wall was on FIRE!  He ran to the kitchen, called 911 (no cell phones back then folks), and filled pans with water to try to put it out.  Long story short, his room had cedar walls which helped slow down how fast the fire could have gone, and throwing water on the wall helped, and the fire station was very close.  That room was shot with smoke damage, but it could have been much worse.  The culprit of the fire?  Dust, and dander build up in the (very old) wall heater.  All heating sources have a danger, part of being a homeowner is maintaining your heating sources.
other things that need to be done… new batteries in the smoke detectors because well, christmas trees, making sure that the electrical panels aren’t recalled, making sure the home has carbon monoxide detectors (one on every level, and no higher than your knee), checking out the water heater for earthquake straps & overflow pipe, and we’ll be looking at the roof for any missing shingles too.

If you are a homeowner, and thinking about selling your home, now is a great time to go over your home with your favorite Realtor, or have an inspector come through your home.  If you need an inspector name/number, give me a holler…  I can give you a couple that are very good.
If you are thinking about buying a home, now is the time to be out there looking for the best home for your family, and to be able to have that inspection during a time of year that you maybe hadn’t thought about.

Start the new year with your very own home adventure.  I am always happy, and excited, to help!  Now, if you don’t mind… Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is on and I have to sing along…..
Information is power,  and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.  
If you have any questions, or comments please get a hold of me anytime.  You can call, text, email, or even facebook me.  Please remember that while I mean these emails/blogs to be helpful, and educational, I am still hoping that you will call, or email me as I would be honored to help you with your home buying, or home selling adventure.
    As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.  
Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers. 
 ….disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings… 
Upcoming Topics:
Delayed Possession… What is this & what does it mean to you
Interest Rates (information from Chris Berg, Pinnacle Mortgage)
What do I need to buy a home,
Hiring a Realtor…questions to ask,

What if I don’t have a Down Payment? …..  &….
What does an Agent do for me?
Debt to Income Ratios….What is this?
Last Week:  What happens AFTER the Home Inspections?
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
Tracie DeMars
Real Estate broker 
Re/Max – Van Mall
360/ 903-3504 cell
360/ 882-3600 fax

“Interested in free and non promotional home education classes?  Go to for local upcoming home buyer and home SELLER classes, or facebook: Tracie DeMars Real Estate for my home buyer education blog.”

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein, American poet, cartoonist and composer, (1930 – 1999).