Must-Do Fall DIY Projects

5 projects to help you prepare for winter…

By Tina Jacobs

Fall is a season of change…it’s a transition from shorts and sandals to sweaters and boots, and the ideal time to get a grip on those weatherproofing and DIY home projects to get the homestead prepared for battering down the hatches in winter so you can snuggle up by the fire instead of insulating a freezing attic.

Here are the five essential DIY projects that you should be doing for fall in order to weatherproof for winter…

1. Insulate your attic

You can insulate many areas in your home to keep the warm air in and the cool air out. This DIY project does the opposite in summer—keeping the hot air out and the cool air in (if you have central air). If  you have an older home, chances are that your attic is the prime source of hot air escaping.  Look for insulation for your attic that is either R-45 fiberglass batts or blown-in cellulose insulation, both are easily blow in or add to existing insulation, and take less than a few hours.

2. Caulk any leaks

All the tiny holes and cracks around your home’s exterior –windows, doors, etc.—all leave your homes interior exposed to the elements. It’s wise to inspect your window sills and door frames for cracked caulking and re-caulk in order to help you save on heating costs when it starts to snow. You can also use weather-stripping material (typically a type of adhesive foam strip) to block gaps and cracks around windows, garage doors, and door frames as well. Lastly, inspect your electrical outlets for cracks letting in cold air. Caulking of foam wall outlet insulators will block cold air from getting in and hot air from leaking out.

3. Cover windows in clear plastic

You can also save a lot of money on your heating bill by simply covering your windows with plastic, transparent window coverings, which act as a thermal barrier to prevent cold air from leaking.

4 Paint and waterproof

Fall is a great time to add some protection to your exposed wood decks, stair cases, gazebos, and fences as well. Choose a paint that combines a waterproof seal to extend the life of your home’s exterior features. Plus, October is the ideal month to paint outside because it’s cool yet not damp and cold.

5. Clean your furnace

You’re going to use your furnace a lot this winter, so it best be in tip-top shape. Although the cleaning itself isn’t ideal for us do-it-yourself types, you can replace filters in preparation for heavy use in winter. Then seek a professional to inspect your furnace for issues that might cause a fire from overuse in cold months.

4 Easy Ways to Maximize Your Fall Curb Appeal

by Lucy Clark

Oh, autumn. The leaves are turning, the temperature is dropping and my kitchen is beginning to smell like burnt apple pie. My knack for ruining nostalgic baked goods isn’t the only thing remarkable about this season, though. There’s also something curious going on with the real estate market as well. Specifically, everyone is trying to sell their house.

I don’t know what it is about the fall that motivates so many people to sell their homes, but I always see more “For Sale” signs in the front yards of my neighborhood this season than any other time of the year. To me, that only means one thing – the curb appeal competition is on.

For the uninitiated, curb appeal is a term realtors use to describe how appealing a house looks from the sidewalk. The idea is that making a house sparkle on the outside will lure more potential buyers inside, which will result in more offers for the seller. Sound logic, right?

With so many homes on the market this season, curb appeal is a big deal. If you want to sell your house before winter, you need to make it look more enticing than any other home in the neighborhood. For example, here are a few easy ways you can raise your home’s curb appeal in the fall.

1) Light it up.

When the days get short, nothing says “home” more than a well-lit path to the front door. Pathway lights are cheap, they’re easy to install and they make houses look great. If your house doesn’t have a front pathway, consider upgrading your porch lights or adding a lamp post in your yard near your driveway.

2) Scour it clean.

Dirt and leaf stains can ruin your chances at receiving an offer on your home. Grab a pressure washer and show them who’s boss. Wash off the entire front face of your house, including your pathway, your porch and the grooves of your siding. Hit every single nook and cranny that a potential buyer might see on their way into your home. A little water, applied at high pressure, can make any old home seem new – just remember to keep the dial low enough so that it doesn’t strip your paint.

3) Clean out your gutters.

Falling leaves and other debris can wreak havoc on your home’s gutters. This is especially problematic when you’re trying to sell your home, because many buyers consider clogged gutters to be a sign that the home hasn’t been maintained. So before putting your home on the market, break out your ladder and some work gloves and get the gunk out. If you live in an area with a lot of trees, you might want to consider investing in a gutter guard to keep the clutter under control.

4) Decorate!

A bit of holiday flair can go a long way towards maximizing your home’s curb appeal – so start decorating. Start by adding a wreath to your front door. Compliment it with some more subtle touches, such as a wagon wheel or a pot of seasonal flowers on your porch. Feel free to get creative here, but keep in mind that your mission is to create a facade that is subtle and inviting. That means no giant inflatable turkeys or Santa Clauses. Keep it simple, sweet and affordable.

You don’t need a real estate license to know how to make your home sparkle. If you’re one of the many homeowners trying to fly the coop this season, follow these easy steps to make your house look appealing and inviting to potential buyers. In this heavily populated market, a little curb appeal can really go a long way toward landing you an offer.