Home Ownership


Winter weather can be hard on your home. Stay warm, save money, and protect your home from winter's worst with some of these reminders...

Check Your Trees

Before any rough winter storms hit, do an inspection of the trees around your property to make sure there are no dead trees in danger of falling or branches that are up against your house. Scan your property for branches that are growing over the house, garage, driveway, or power lines that could cause problems in winter storms.

Clean Your Gutters

Once the leaves are off the trees, give your gutter a good cleaning. When gutters back up, they overflow which can cause deterioration on the sides of your home and foundation, water leaks into the basement, and many other problems.

Have Your Chimney & Fireplace Cleaned

If you have a fireplace and chimney, make sure you get a thorough inspection before you start using it for the season. A good chimney sweep will make sure it is safe to use and identify any maintenance problems you may have. It's also a good idea to start ordering your firewood and store it in a safe place in the yard, away from your home.

Check Your HVAC System

Before the weather turns cold, have your system inspected by a reputable HVAC contractor. It's far better to find HVAC problems in the fall than on the first cold day of winter. And make sure you're replacing your filters regularly to keep the system functioning its best.

Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

It's always good to test your systems twice a year to make sure they are working properly and communicating to each other. Most house fires happen in the wintertime, so make sure your safety devices are working properly before an issue occurs.

Take Care of Your Pipes

Once cold weather sets in, make sure all your outdoor hoses are disconnected and properly stored. You should also cover the outside faucets with insulated covers which can keep frozen water outside the house and not let it into your pipes. Any exposed pipes that run along a wall in an unheated area (common in basements and crawl spaces) can be a potential hazard. Invest in some pipe insulation and keep an eye on those pipes when the temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep the Cold Outside

Go through your home and check for any drafts that may be coming in. Common places to find issues are window frames, fireplaces, dryer vents, and any other spot where something inside your home passes to the outside. Caulk any cracks or crannies to keep the cold out and enjoy the benefit of energy savings too.


Preparing for the cold days of winter may not be one of the most fun aspects of home ownership, but it is one of the most important. Taking some time to prepare your home before the temperatures drop can make a big difference in staying warm and protecting your home this winter.

If you have questions about winterizing your home, finding the right contractors to help with projects, or other questions about real estate and home ownership, our team would be glad to help! Call us at (434) 214-6121 to speak with an agent about how we can help.

We hope you enjoy your winter!


"Spring is the time of plans and projects." - Leo Tolstoy

Spring is just around the corner, and we know many of you are looking forward to spending more time outdoors and taking on some new projects around your home. We've put together a few reminders about things that should be part of your spring cleaning checklist to help you prepare for the warm weather ahead. 

Safety First!
In addition to regular full system tests, the batteries in your smoke detectors & carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced every 6 months to make sure they will work in an emergency. If you can't remember the last time you tested the system or how old those batteries are, make that a top priority! We always recommend changing the batteries when you change your clocks for the start and end of Daylight Savings Time to get in the habit of doing it twice a year. 

Speaking of fire prevention, check the age of your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have a lifespan of about 10 years while a fire extinguisher's lifespan can vary depending on the type of extinguisher and materials inside. Take the time to replace these items before you have an emergency. 

And while you are at it, check on your home's first aid kit. Do you have everything you need to handle a minor injury? Are you stocked on what your family needs for summer bug bites and scrapes? Make sure your first aid kit has everything you need to tackle  common home injuries. 

Schedule a Check of Your HVAC System 
Consistently warm weather will be here before you know it & you don't want to be caught off guard if your HVAC doesn't work properly. Regular maintenance checks can help keep your system running smoothly and make you aware of potential issues before they become a big problem. 

Clean Other Filters & Vents in Your Home
Spring cleaning is a great time to clean those filters that you may forget to check on. Filters on your HVAC, wells, range hoods, and other appliances should be replaced regularly to ensure they are in best working order. 

You should also take time to clean your dryer vents. Lint buildup in the vents can make your dryer less effective and can lead to fires. 

Bring Natural Light into Your Home
Looking forward to sunnier days? Bring that natural light into your home! Clean your windows inside and out to make the most of natural lighting. Wash and repair your window screens so you can let the warm weather in. Remember that you should NOT use a pressure washer on your window screens as it can cause damage to the screens. And don't forget to check that your window wells and weep holes are in good shape and clean of debris. 

Tidy Your Yard! 
Like many people, you may be looking forward to spending more time in your yard as the weather warms up. But, did you know that many pollinators such as butterflies and bees hibernate in your leaves, stems, and twigs during winter? To help protect our pollinators, it's best to hold off on doing your yardwork until daytime temperatures are consistently in the 50's. 

Take the time while the weather is cooler to plan out your yard projects or start your seedlings inside your house (which will protect them from any frost as well!) Then once the weather is warmed up, start by cleaning out the fallen leaves, dead vegetation, twigs, and other debris that has collected over the winter. Make sure your gutters & downspouts are clear and are properly secured to your home. Trim your shrubs and trees and start planting your gardens. 

And don't forget to clean your outdoor furniture & grill to make sure they are ready for use this season!

Taking Out the Trash 
If you've spent time on home improvement projects this past year, you might have some paint cans or old electronics to get rid of. Check for your county's Hazardous Waste & E-Waste days, often held around Earth Day (April 22nd) to properly dispose of these items. 

For items that can't be recycled, there are a few spots around the area that can help you keep things out of the landfill. Dogwood Refillery in Charlottesville has collection boxes to accept old crayons, disposable masks, packaging from beauty products, & more! The Scrappy Elephant in Palmyra collects unwanted art and craft materials for reuse.  And you can bring compostable items to the Charlottesville City Market on Saturdays to keep them out of the landfill. Know of someplace else we should add to this list? Send us an e-mail so we can add them to our list!

We hope this list of ideas has been helpful to you and can help you plan for your spring projects. As always, we are always glad to provide recommendations for contractors or home projects that may affect the value of your home. Give us a call at 434-214-6121 with your home and real estate questions. 

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