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What Not to Do as a New Homeowner

by Mary Ann Sawyers

Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - South Texas New HomeownerWe know so well the thrill of owning your own house — but don’t let the excitement cause you to overlook the basics. We’ve gathered up a half dozen classic boo-boos new homeowners often commit — and give you some insight on why each is critically important to avoid.

1. Not Knowing Where the Main Shutoff Valve Is

Water from a burst or broken plumbing pipe can spew dozens of gallons into your home’s interior in a matter of minutes, soaking everything in sight — including drywall, flooring, and valuables. In fact, water damage is one of the most common of all household insurance claims.

Quick-twitch reaction is needed to stave off a major bummer. Before disaster hits, find your water shutoff valve, which will be located where a water main enters your house. Make sure everyone knows where it’s located and how to close the valve. A little penetrating oil on the valve stem makes sure it’ll work when you need it to.

2. Not Calling 811 Before  Digging a Hole

Ah, spring! You’re so ready to dig into your new yard and plant bushes and build that fence. But don’t — not until you’ve dialed 811, the national dig-safely hotline. The hotline will contact all your local utilities who will then come to your property — often within a day — to mark the location of underground pipes, cables, and wires.

This free service keeps you safe and helps avoid costly repairs. In many states, calling 811 is the law, so you’ll also avoid fines.

3. Not Checking the Slope of Foundation
The ground around your foundation should slope away from your house at least 6 inches over 10 feet. Why? To make sure that water from rain and melting snow doesn’t soak the soil around your foundation walls, building up pressure that can cause leaks and crack your foundation, leading to mega-expensive repairs. 

This kind of water damage doesn’t happen overnight — it’s accumulative — so the sooner you get after it, the better (and smarter) you’ll be. While you’re at it, make sure downspouts extend at least 5 feet away from your house.

4. Not Knowing the Dept of Attic Insulation 

This goes hand-in-hand with not knowing where your attic access is located, so let’s start there. Find the ceiling hatch, typically a square area framed with molding in a hallway or closet ceiling. Push the hatch cover straight up. Get a ladder and check out the depth of the insulation. If you can see the tops of joists, you definitely don’t have enough.

The recommended insulation for most attics is about R-38 or 10 to 14 inches deep, depending on the type of insulation you choose. BTW, is your hatch insulated, too? Use 4-inch-thick foam board glued to the top.

5. Carelessly Drilling into Walls

Hanging shelves, closet systems, and artwork means drilling into your walls — but do you know what’s back there? Hidden inside your walls are plumbing pipes, ductwork, wires, and cables.

You can check for some stuff with a stud sensor — a $25 battery-operated tool that detects changes in density to sniff out studs, cables, and ducts.

But stud sensors aren’t foolproof. Protect yourself by drilling only 1¼ inches deep max — enough to clear drywall and plaster but not deep enough to reach most wires and pipes.

Household wiring runs horizontally from outlet to outlet about 8 inches to 2 feet from the floor, so that’s a no-drill zone. Stay clear of vertical locations above and below wall switches — wiring runs along studs to reach switches.

6. Cutting Down a Tree

The risk isn’t worth it. Even small trees can fall awkwardly, damaging your house, property, or your neighbor’s property. In some locales, you have to obtain a permit first. Cutting down a tree is an art that’s best left to a professional tree service.

Plus, trees help preserve property values and provide shade that cuts energy bills. So think twice before going all Paul Bunyan.

Article From via National Association of REALTORS®
By: John Riha

Meet Tater At Adopt-A-pet

by Mary Ann Sawyers

Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - Tater st Adopt-A-Pet"Tater" is all decked out for Halloween in his Frankenstein costume. This Halloween give the treat of a furr-ever home to this adorable, sweet, Pomeranian / Chihuahua mix. This little fella weighs only 7 pounds and is anxious to meet his new family.  Someone found this little guy running the streets and brought him to Adopt-A-Pet.

Visit Adopt-A-Pet and Tater at 8215 Houston Highway. He’d love to see your smiling face.  But be forewarned, he’s determined to steal your heart!

Dine with your Dog - Adopt-A-Pet (a no-kill facility) participates in fun activities to help pay for the many services they provide to the animals.  Join Adopt-A-Pet and your neighborhood dog lovers at the Pumphouse - Riverside Restaurant & Bar, 1201 W. Stayton  Monday, October 24 from 6-8 pm. They will be serving a 3-course meal for you and a 3-course meal for your dog. Hurry! You must purchase in advance.  For more information call Carol at 361-676-7441.

How To Save A Bundle On Your Home Energy Bill

by Mary Ann Sawyers

Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - South Texas Energy Savings

Have you ever conducted a “Home Energy Audit” on your home?   It could save you a lot of money by lowering energy costs.  A home energy audit evaluates how much energy your home uses.  Though a professional audit is a good idea, here’s how you can conduct a personal walk-through assessment of your own to help cut costs.

  • Seek out air leaks or drafts.  Look for gaps along baseboards, on the edge of flooring, around outlets and switches, and where walls meet the ceiling.  Anywhere two different building materials meet is a potential place for leakage.  If there are cracks or holes, seal them (depending on where they are, use caulk or weatherstripping. You can search for those products to learn how to use them).
  • Evaluate insulation.  Insufficient insulation contributes to heat loss, especially in older homes, but it’s inexpensive to fix.  Find out how much insulation is recommended for homes in your area, then go into your attic and measure the depth of your home’s insulation.  To measure insulation in the walls, you’ll need an infrared thermometer, which can usually be rented from stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s.
  • Assess heating and cooling features.  Furnaces, air conditioners, and other similar features should be inspected annually or as recommended by the manufacturer.  Check and replace filters as needed, and make a note to keep them cleaned and changed on a regular basis (usually monthly).
  • Identify energy-sucking appliances and electronics.  Even if you aren’t using them, anything that is plugged in to an outlet may be consuming standby power.  Common culprits include office equipment like printers and kitchen appliances such as coffee makers.  Unplug these items when they aren’t in use, or plug them into a power strip that can be turned off.

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3


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Mary Ann Sawyers
Coldwell Banker The Ron Brown Co.
2505 N Navarro
Victoria TX 77901

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