by: Diane Vespucci ~ Re/Max 100 Realty

I found myself in a garden center the other day. Spring has sprung and with it is my annual chagrin at the state of my grass, or rather what should be grass but what, in reality, has descended into a tangle of weeds. Colorful weeds, mostly green this time of year, but I am sure my neighbors cringe when they walk by.

Its been my intention to xeriscape, but like an alarming number of chores, its taken up permanent residence on my to-do list. So when I write about the to-do’s, please know, I feel your pain about adding more things to be done, but these are important to the health of your home, which is probably one of your most valuable assets.

So spring is time to clean up, clean out and lighten our loads to prepare for summer fun. Owning real estate isn’t just about the buying and selling. It’s also about care taking those properties you own, and that’s not an aside.. Performing regular maintenance on your home, just like you would on your car, goes a long way to stopping expensive repairs in their tracks.

The first thing you want to do before hurricane season starts is to check your roof. I know the drill: “My roof is only “X” number of years old”. First of all, no matter how young, the hot Florida sun, the winds and in some cases hail can cause damage you don’t see. Call a professional if you have any hesitation being on a ladder and checking it out. Your safety is first. While someone is up there, check the gutters and clean them out. Some lucky few might get away with debris free gutters, but probably not.

Next, If you haven’t done it in the past year, call your friendly dryer vent person to get those dryer vents lint free. I lived next to a house that went up in flames and can attest it’s a pure horror for everyone involved, so be religious about cleaning those dryer vents out. More importantly, make sure your smoke alarms work.

If they don’t get them replaced immediately. If you don’t know how to do it or can’t call the fire station, call an electrician but get it done. The life you save will be your own and others.

You’ll also want to replace your HVAC filters. Those are usually a monthly chore. Don’t recall last time you did it? Call the HVAC folks and have them come do a system clean while you’re at it. Twice a year keeps your AC system in good shape, and you’ll be glad you invested in the bi-annual inspections in August.

Check your hoses and faucets. Weak hoses can cause a big, wet mess.

Keep an eye on your water bill too. If your home was built in before the year 2000 and you have copper pipes in slab and haven’t yet re-plumbed your home, be prepared.

Any spike in your water bill is worth looking into – and no, the water company doesn’t call you, but they will bill you. Several years ago the first notice I received that my 1994 home had a slab leak was an $1800 bill. Sure, the water company deducted a good bit but I paid about half of it for water I never used. Who knew a slab could leak? Four neighbors had slab leaks too in the next year.

Hard to believe today, but spring will be here. Enjoy.