Blog :: 05-2015

Summer House Tips

After what seemed like the snowiest and longest winter in many years, summer is truly here. Today we offer a few tips for getting your house ready:

1) Tune up air conditioners – experts recommend having the refrigerant checked yearly and changing filters for units monthly while in use.

2) Gutter clean up – this is that time of year to make sure that all your gutters are free of leaves and debris. A twice-yearly clean out will help ensure that your gutters will work properly.

3) Ceiling fans – make sure that you switch the direction of your fans so that the air is now pushed down towards you. (In the winter, it’s best to reverse the flow.)

4) Dryer vent – be sure to check and clean out your dryer vent to avoid a source of potential fires.

5) Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – if you have not changed the batteries or checked your detectors in awhile, now is the time.

6) Pour a tall glass of iced tea, sit back, and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us this time of year here in the Northwest Corner!

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    On Spring and Things

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    Much conversation this season about the weather reminded me of the diaries of a favorite uncle, a farmer, dating back 40-50 years. What was the weather like then I wondered? Similar to the 2000s? So began my gleanings in a few of his diaries.

    “May 12, 1969...morning temperature 41 degrees and cloudy with occasional showers.” The following morning, “40 degrees and fair, rather breezy much of the day, considerable sun... Planted two rows of Butter and Sugar sweet corn.”

    “May 12, 1970, 60 degrees and clear...strawberry beds heavily budded and found two dozen newly emerged pumpkin plants.”

    “May 12, 1972, 46 degrees and fair. Planted two dozen tomato plants.”

    “May 12, 1975 after a fine warm day our recurrent thunder shower activity took over 4 to 6:30 pm with lots of noise but little rain.”

    Scanning a few of the old diaries underscored the obvious fact that weather, warmth and rain have so much to do with gardening and farming, both of which can be an art form. Diaries are the purest glimpse of history. Are you keeping a diary for the next generation to enjoy?

     

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      Antique House Evaluation

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      When contemplating the purchase of any property, a standard home inspection by a licensed home inspector is always in order. In the case of antique buildings, I also suggest an evaluation done by a contractor and/or architect who specializes in antique structures. I particularly like the feedback of experienced contractors who can offer ballpark figures related to costs.

      I think it is important to consult with someone who will not ultimately be bidding on the work. The evaluation should not be colored by a desire to be awarded the contract. Perhaps someone from outside the immediate area is best. I know of a contractor with 40 years experience in old house restoration who will look at a structure and give his professional assessment for an hourly rate of $65.

      This preliminary feedback is enormously valuable to the buyer in determining whether or not the subject property is appropriate for their level of financial and emotional resources.

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        Reverse Mortgage News

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        Up until recently, the only requirements for a reverse mortgage were that the applicant be at least 62 years old and have substantial equity in his or her home. If those requirements were met, and the applicant stated a willingness to pay the taxes and insurance, he or she had a pretty good shot at getting the loan.

        However, there was no tough scrutiny of the applicant’s financial resources. During the recession, thousands of borrowers defaulted on their tax and insurance payments. In addition, real estate values plummeted, producing huge losses on defaulted and foreclosed properties, forcing the Treasury to bail out the FHA in 2013.

        As of April 27, 2015, applicants will have to document their employment status, income and financial assets as well as undergo an analysis that examines their monthly expenses and cash flow.

        This will undoubtedly reduce the volume of reverse mortgages applications, but it will also prevent financially weak borrowers from taking out loans they can’t handle.

         

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