Winter Home Maintenance, and Things to Look For…

Monday, December 9th, from 5pm – 8pm (ish)
        Marshall Community Center, Conference room
       1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
Saturday, December 14th, from 12pm-3pm (ish)
​       Vancouver YMCA, conference room
       11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave).
Saturday, January 11th, from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
       1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark
Monday, January 13th, 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!  :-D~~~~~~~~~
Happy Christmas Season!
  It’s my favorite time of year!  Yay!!!  ….and time for our LAST Client Appreciation of the year!  Star Wars:  The Rise of Starwalker!   We are TWO WEEKS from that event!  HAve you emailed for your reservation?  We are full in the 21+ area, but plenty of seats in the general area are available still. 
As always…  the Client Appreciation events are just one way that Chris Berg (Cardinal Financial, 503-320-0925), and I say, THANK YOU, to you… our clients, our friends, and family.  We appreciate your continued support, and referrals. 
  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 maybe getting help with 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 a couple of weekends ago, 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, put in some window wells, 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 attic space 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 because I don’t go under the home!) 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 was on fire!  That room had cedar walls which helped slow down how fast the fire could have gone, and his throwing water on the wall helped, and the fact that the fire station was very close was helpful.  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. If you have a fireplace, and are using it (even if it just occasionally), please have it cleaned by a chimney company.  I’ve had clients call me because of chimney fires…. Don’t burn paper products in your fireplace…no papers, no wrapping paper, no bills, no boxes, etc…  a fireplace is not an incinerator…it’s for wood only.  
  Other things that a Realtor will be looking for (and homeowners should be doing/checking out)… 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 don’t forget the roof!  Especially this time of year, 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.  Any questions about anything you read here?  I’m hear to answer your questions!
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 (badly, and off-key) along…..  
Informationis 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:
What do I need to buy a home,
What if I don’t have a Down Payment? …..  &….What is closing costs?  
Debt to Income Ratios….What is this?

Last Week:  Winter time & buying (or not buying) a home….

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 or 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).