Being a homeowner has perks. You have privacy. You have freedom to do what you want with decor and style. As a homeowner you can decide to have a party that goes until 5am (if you’re not too loud for your neighbors). It’s great. But owning your home also means you have to take care of your home.

How do plan out your home’s yearly maintenance? It’s not easy figuring out what needs to be done and when…and how often…and planning the whole “maintain a home” thing. So we decided to help out and do it for you! Below you’ll find a yealr homeowner’s maintenance checklist with tasks for each month.

Yearly Home Maintenance Checklist

 

 

Imagine tackling the year’s maintenance needs one month at a time, with a few chores at a time. From gutter cleaning to furnace filter replacement, staying ahead of the curve on completing your chores will go a long ways toward keeping you sane.

The infographic-style checklist below is certainly printable. But we also put together actual printable documents, in full color or in black-and-white for you! You can click the button below the checklist for those resources.

After the “welcome home” has worn off, keeping your home up and running smoothly. Good luck on the maintenance.

Yearly-Home-Maintenance-Checklist_image

Download the Home

What other home maintenance needs do you perform? Let us know in the comments below!

Yearly-Home-Maintenance-Checklist_snippet
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Down payment and terms shown are for informational purposes only and are not intended as an advertisement or commitment to lend.  Please contact us for an exact quote and for more information on fees and terms.  Not all borrowers will qualify.
AmeriFirst Home Mortgage is a division of AmeriFirst Financial Corporation. 950 Trade Centre Way Suite 400 Kalamazoo, MI 269.324.4240 Equal housing lender

This is an article submitted by a guest author. Not all views expressed are those of AmeriFirst Home Mortgage or its employees. 

Whether you have plans to relocate to a new home in the near future or have just bought your first home, the prospect of such a feat can seem daunting. Your mind may shift to the many heavy, large or fragile items that must be relocated, and you may envision the stress and exhaustion that the move may cause.

Hiring a professional moving company is the best way to enjoy a smooth, easy relocation, and it is essential that you hire a reputable moving company to assist you. Learning more about the reputation of the moving company you are most interested in hiring is critical, and it can be accomplished in a few simple steps.

 MovingCompany1.jpg

Seek Personal Recommendations Rather Than Online Reviews

Reading online reviews can be eye-opening in some cases. However, some moving companies have created fake reviews to improve their appeal to consumers, and this means that not all reviews you read are legitimate. More than that, some customers can be incredibly difficult to work with, and they may not be satisfied regardless of how exceptional the work was.

A smart idea is to learn more about the company by checking with the Better Business Bureau in your area. You may consider reading the company’s website as well, and the bio or “about us” page is often a helpful starting point. However, you should take the additional step of asking friends, family members and even colleagues for recommendations. If all else fails, you can also request that the company provides you with a list of references.

Verify the Company’s Licensing and Insurance

Any companies that offer interstate moving services should have a U.S. Department of Transportation Number. If the company only offers local services, they often need to have a state license to do so.

In addition, the company should be insured. You can call the insurance company directly to verify that the insurance is in good standing and to confirm that the policy provides compensation to you as a consumer if your personal items are damaged during the relocation.

Things can and do go wrong in a relocation even when the most skilled and focused movers are on the job. You want to ensure that you are properly compensated for lost or damaged items in the event something does go wrong.

Review the Company’s Experience
You should typically avoid using new and un-established businesses when hiring a moving company. Instead, look for a company that has been serving the community for many years or even decades. Consider when the company was established as well as if they have grown in size over time. Pay attention to the number of projects they have successfully completed over the years.

In addition, inquire about their participation in local or national moving organizations and about their participation in community events. The best company to work with is established and has shown they have an interest in helping the community in various ways.

Avoid Basing Your Decision on the Lowest Quote
It is understandable that you want to get the best deal possible on your relocation project. Moving services can be expensive, and you may have a tight budget to work with. However, good customer service and exceptional moving skills are far more important, and they can impact your moving experience as well as the condition of your property and belongings.

Rather than base your decision on price alone, confirm that the company regularly updates its blog or online articles. Verify that the vehicles they use are branded, and consider if the workers are required to wear uniforms. This will tell you more about how established and legitimate the company is.

Review Your Quote in Detail
Some moving companies have disclaimers that allow them to charge extra money after the service has been completed. You should read the fine print to verify what the quote includes. Look for things like labor, hours of service, fuel costs and more.

Ideally, you should always avoid getting online reservations. Instead, insist on speaking with a representative and have an estimator visit your home before providing a quote. Study the written contract or quote in detail, and ask questions to ensure you understand the service that will be provided and the fees that will be charged.

Hiring a quality moving company can seem like a lot of work. However, the condition of all of your belongings as well as property condition in both the old and new locations are at stake. You do not want to take any chances. By following these helpful tips, you can rest assured that you will be making a great decision when hiring a moving company.

 

Author Bio:  Emily Preston is a stay-at- home mom, freelance writer, cat lover, fitness junkie, and a huge fan of home improvement and eco-living. You can follow her via Twitter @emilypreston555

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Down payment and terms shown are for informational purposes only and are not intended as an advertisement or commitment to lend.  Please contact us for an exact quote and for more information on fees and terms.  Not all borrowers will qualify.
AmeriFirst Home Mortgage is a division of AmeriFirst Financial Corporation. 950 Trade Centre Way Suite 400 Kalamazoo, MI 269.324.4240 Equal housing lender

Deck Repairs Dealing With Deck Leaks in Your First Home

No one loves deck leaks. It's especially a bummer when it's your first home! Such leaks can cause wet floors, rust stains, rotted deck cores and many more damages besides spoiling the look. Decks that have been built in homes are prone to leaks on account of the architectural design. It is more of a nightmare to some people which is usually realized during the monsoon season. With summer underway, you never know when rains will start and you would face the inevitable. So the best way out is to learn the root causes of leaks and solutions to the problem.

Ask any deck building company about the most difficult problem they face, and they will tell you about the leaks. The problem with such leaks is that they are difficult to diagnose because there are usually more than one source of moisture invasion.

Even though most people assume that this issue arises due to the failure of decking membrane, yet there are many other bigger reasons from which the problem emancipates. These sources and their solutions are being discussed here.

Wall flashing

There are light fixtures, bibs, electric outlets and windows which are the source of leakage in decks. A minute amount of water penetration in these areas will be visible in the ceiling. One way out of the problem is urethane caulking. However, at times, the poorly flashed walls may have to undergo rebuilding.

Failure of decking membrane

Deck failure is always evident. It may be the result of nail heads having penetrated the surface, or due to large splits occurring in the membrane. So when you have your decking system failed, you need to replace the entire decking system. Patching though widely used is not an effective method. Replace the deckle with a fully adhered system. Employ urethra decking or the fiberglass method. It is always better to complete the decking replacement on the entire compound. Never opt for spot replacement as the net result would be an inconsistent finished quality. It would even cost you a much higher price.

Places that need to be checked for leaks

Always look at the roof to find out if there are any leaks near the penetrations.  Roof leaks on the perimeter also need to be looked out for. Leakage near the roof edges is common as flexible membrane flashing undergoes a transition to inflexible flashings. A leak may also appear due to condensation. This occurs when warm and moist air enters and comes into contact with the cold air in the deck. This usually happens after the winter season.

The best solution

The best solution in such cases is to hire the services of a deck repairing company. Dealing with leakage requires patience. This is a process of elimination and would likely require return visits. If you prefer to move ahead with new decking membrane, then you may obtain the same ceiling stain in the next storm. The best way out is to take the time and ensure that the job is done correctly.

Download Your"Get Mortgage Ready Guide"

Autho bio: Alan Alaxandar is a writer having an experience in writing for small businesses. Find Alan on Twitter, and on Google+ 

image source

Deck Repairs Dealing With Deck Leaks in Your First Home

No one loves deck leaks. It's especially a bummer when it's your first home! Such leaks can cause wet floors, rust stains, rotted deck cores and many more damages besides spoiling the look. Decks that have been built in homes are prone to leaks on account of the architectural design. It is more of a nightmare to some people which is usually realized during the monsoon season. With summer underway, you never know when rains will start and you would face the inevitable. So the best way out is to learn the root causes of leaks and solutions to the problem.

Ask any deck building company about the most difficult problem they face, and they will tell you about the leaks. The problem with such leaks is that they are difficult to diagnose because there are usually more than one source of moisture invasion.

Even though most people assume that this issue arises due to the failure of decking membrane, yet there are many other bigger reasons from which the problem emancipates. These sources and their solutions are being discussed here.

Wall flashing

There are light fixtures, bibs, electric outlets and windows which are the source of leakage in decks. A minute amount of water penetration in these areas will be visible in the ceiling. One way out of the problem is urethane caulking. However, at times, the poorly flashed walls may have to undergo rebuilding.

Failure of decking membrane

Deck failure is always evident. It may be the result of nail heads having penetrated the surface, or due to large splits occurring in the membrane. So when you have your decking system failed, you need to replace the entire decking system. Patching though widely used is not an effective method. Replace the deckle with a fully adhered system. Employ urethra decking or the fiberglass method. It is always better to complete the decking replacement on the entire compound. Never opt for spot replacement as the net result would be an inconsistent finished quality. It would even cost you a much higher price.

Places that need to be checked for leaks

Always look at the roof to find out if there are any leaks near the penetrations.  Roof leaks on the perimeter also need to be looked out for. Leakage near the roof edges is common as flexible membrane flashing undergoes a transition to inflexible flashings. A leak may also appear due to condensation. This occurs when warm and moist air enters and comes into contact with the cold air in the deck. This usually happens after the winter season.

The best solution

The best solution in such cases is to hire the services of a deck repairing company. Dealing with leakage requires patience. This is a process of elimination and would likely require return visits. If you prefer to move ahead with new decking membrane, then you may obtain the same ceiling stain in the next storm. The best way out is to take the time and ensure that the job is done correctly.

Download Your"Get Mortgage Ready Guide"

Autho bio: Alan Alaxandar is a writer having an experience in writing for small businesses. Find Alan on Twitter, and on Google+ 

image source

Deck Repairs Dealing With Deck Leaks in Your First Home

No one loves deck leaks. It's especially a bummer when it's your first home! Such leaks can cause wet floors, rust stains, rotted deck cores and many more damages besides spoiling the look. Decks that have been built in homes are prone to leaks on account of the architectural design. It is more of a nightmare to some people which is usually realized during the monsoon season. With summer underway, you never know when rains will start and you would face the inevitable. So the best way out is to learn the root causes of leaks and solutions to the problem.

Ask any deck building company about the most difficult problem they face, and they will tell you about the leaks. The problem with such leaks is that they are difficult to diagnose because there are usually more than one source of moisture invasion.

Even though most people assume that this issue arises due to the failure of decking membrane, yet there are many other bigger reasons from which the problem emancipates. These sources and their solutions are being discussed here.

Wall flashing

There are light fixtures, bibs, electric outlets and windows which are the source of leakage in decks. A minute amount of water penetration in these areas will be visible in the ceiling. One way out of the problem is urethane caulking. However, at times, the poorly flashed walls may have to undergo rebuilding.

Failure of decking membrane

Deck failure is always evident. It may be the result of nail heads having penetrated the surface, or due to large splits occurring in the membrane. So when you have your decking system failed, you need to replace the entire decking system. Patching though widely used is not an effective method. Replace the deckle with a fully adhered system. Employ urethra decking or the fiberglass method. It is always better to complete the decking replacement on the entire compound. Never opt for spot replacement as the net result would be an inconsistent finished quality. It would even cost you a much higher price.

Places that need to be checked for leaks

Always look at the roof to find out if there are any leaks near the penetrations.  Roof leaks on the perimeter also need to be looked out for. Leakage near the roof edges is common as flexible membrane flashing undergoes a transition to inflexible flashings. A leak may also appear due to condensation. This occurs when warm and moist air enters and comes into contact with the cold air in the deck. This usually happens after the winter season.

The best solution

The best solution in such cases is to hire the services of a deck repairing company. Dealing with leakage requires patience. This is a process of elimination and would likely require return visits. If you prefer to move ahead with new decking membrane, then you may obtain the same ceiling stain in the next storm. The best way out is to take the time and ensure that the job is done correctly.

Download Your"Get Mortgage Ready Guide"

Autho bio: Alan Alaxandar is a writer having an experience in writing for small businesses. Find Alan on Twitter, and on Google+ 

image source

Deck Repairs Dealing With Deck Leaks in Your First Home

No one loves deck leaks. It's especially a bummer when it's your first home! Such leaks can cause wet floors, rust stains, rotted deck cores and many more damages besides spoiling the look. Decks that have been built in homes are prone to leaks on account of the architectural design. It is more of a nightmare to some people which is usually realized during the monsoon season. With summer underway, you never know when rains will start and you would face the inevitable. So the best way out is to learn the root causes of leaks and solutions to the problem.

Ask any deck building company about the most difficult problem they face, and they will tell you about the leaks. The problem with such leaks is that they are difficult to diagnose because there are usually more than one source of moisture invasion.

Even though most people assume that this issue arises due to the failure of decking membrane, yet there are many other bigger reasons from which the problem emancipates. These sources and their solutions are being discussed here.

Wall flashing

There are light fixtures, bibs, electric outlets and windows which are the source of leakage in decks. A minute amount of water penetration in these areas will be visible in the ceiling. One way out of the problem is urethane caulking. However, at times, the poorly flashed walls may have to undergo rebuilding.

Failure of decking membrane

Deck failure is always evident. It may be the result of nail heads having penetrated the surface, or due to large splits occurring in the membrane. So when you have your decking system failed, you need to replace the entire decking system. Patching though widely used is not an effective method. Replace the deckle with a fully adhered system. Employ urethra decking or the fiberglass method. It is always better to complete the decking replacement on the entire compound. Never opt for spot replacement as the net result would be an inconsistent finished quality. It would even cost you a much higher price.

Places that need to be checked for leaks

Always look at the roof to find out if there are any leaks near the penetrations.  Roof leaks on the perimeter also need to be looked out for. Leakage near the roof edges is common as flexible membrane flashing undergoes a transition to inflexible flashings. A leak may also appear due to condensation. This occurs when warm and moist air enters and comes into contact with the cold air in the deck. This usually happens after the winter season.

The best solution

The best solution in such cases is to hire the services of a deck repairing company. Dealing with leakage requires patience. This is a process of elimination and would likely require return visits. If you prefer to move ahead with new decking membrane, then you may obtain the same ceiling stain in the next storm. The best way out is to take the time and ensure that the job is done correctly.

Download Your"Get Mortgage Ready Guide"

Autho bio: Alan Alaxandar is a writer having an experience in writing for small businesses. Find Alan on Twitter, and on Google+ 

image source

Tips For Maintaining Your House FoundationBecause the foundation supports everything in your home, it is one of the most important assets that you have. Unfortunately, many homeowners completely ignore their foundations — “out of sight and out of mind.”

This is a huge mistake since repairing a damaged foundation not only carries its own costs, but you’ll likely spend money correcting other issues throughout your home, including: 

  • Buckling walls
  • Poorly fitting windows
  • Stressed support beams
  • Water damage (even in the attic)
  • Electrical issues (closely related to water damage)

Some homeowners try to wait these problems out long enough to sell their properties. But trying to pass on these issues to the next homebuyer is unwise. According to a 2011 National Association of Realtors survey, nondisclosure lawsuits about unreported damage are incredibly common — and costly.

The best strategy is to take proactive steps to keep your foundation in optimal condition, regardless of how long you intend to stay in your current home. The following is a quick rundown of strategies for accomplishing this.

1. Fix Hairline Cracks ASAP

Given the weight and strain foundations undergo, the concrete slabs supporting your home will eventually develop cracks. This is inevitable.

However, if you can detect these cracks early enough, it’s possible to clean them out and fill them with epoxy glue. Wait too long, and you’ll have to bring in a professional foundation repair expert.

It’s best to check for hairline cracks after heavy rainfall or after rapid changes in outside temperatures.

2. Check for Water Damage

Arguably the biggest threat to your foundation is water damage, or rather, major fluctuations between dry spells and wet ones.

During drier seasons, it is important that you keep the foundation moist to prevent soil shrinkage and subterranean shifts. One of the best ways to do this is to install rock beds about 2 feet away from the foundation (all the way around the house). Doing so allows sprinkler and rainwater to soak deep into the soil.

However, you don’t want to overdo it. Future rainfall is unpredictable, and excessive water buildup is just as harmful as excessive drying. This is because soil can over-expand causing unnatural shifts below the foundation’s surface.

As a general rule, let nature be your guide. Water the surrounding landscape around your foundation just enough to keep your lawn and plants looking healthy.

3. Proper Drainage

Unnatural pooling around your foundation is another potential warning sign. In addition to rock beds (mentioned earlier), you’ll want to install downspouts and gutters that redirect water a minimum of five feet away from your home.

Equally important, the land surrounding your home should slope away at a 5 percent grade to prevent excessive water buildup. With some properties, this isn’t always possible. If that’s the case with your home, consider installing moisture barriers that can safely capture and store water runoff. These collection systems must be at least 5 feet deep in order to be effective.

4. Reduce Erosion

In areas with high rainfall (and steep slopes), erosion is a relatively common phenomenon. Although you can install a number of erosion control systems, one of the cheapest strategies is to plant shrubs and trees around your home. Their root systems can help keep loose soil in place — even after unusually heavy rainy seasons.

5. Check Your Home’s Plumbing Regularly

The majority of water-related issues are external (courtesy of Mother Nature). But don’t neglect your home’s internal plumbing — including sprinkler systems and septic tanks. Periodically check to make sure that all of the pipes in your home are in proper working order. At the first sign of any leaks, bring in a professional plumber ASAP.

Remember that Constant Monitoring Is Essential

Some homeowners wrongly believe that their insurance policies cover foundation repair. And the mistake is understandable given that many insurance providers market their policies as “all perils” contracts.

But when you read the fine print, you may be shocked to discover any number of exclusions, including: 

  • Subsidence and expansive soil (mentioned above)
  • Sewage damage and surface water (also mentioned above)
  • Landslides, mudslides and floods (i.e. really fast erosion, also mentioned above)

In other words, you’re often NOT covered for the causes of and solutions to foundation damage.

This is why the aforementioned steps coupled with year-round monitoring are so important. The extra time and money that you invest upfront could save you tens of thousands of dollars down the road.

Additional Note:

For more serious repairs of a home you'd like to buy, or one you're living in now, you may be able to use the FHA 203k renovation mortgage to finance the work and mortgage together in one loan. Learn more at the button below with the 203k Survival Guide.

Get the Free FHA 203k Guide  

Author Bio: Brandon Cartee is the owner Foundation Repair Services. A full service specialty contracting that helps both home and business owners throughout North Carolina.

image source

Tips For Maintaining Your House FoundationBecause the foundation supports everything in your home, it is one of the most important assets that you have. Unfortunately, many homeowners completely ignore their foundations — “out of sight and out of mind.”

This is a huge mistake since repairing a damaged foundation not only carries its own costs, but you’ll likely spend money correcting other issues throughout your home, including: 

  • Buckling walls
  • Poorly fitting windows
  • Stressed support beams
  • Water damage (even in the attic)
  • Electrical issues (closely related to water damage)

Some homeowners try to wait these problems out long enough to sell their properties. But trying to pass on these issues to the next homebuyer is unwise. According to a 2011 National Association of Realtors survey, nondisclosure lawsuits about unreported damage are incredibly common — and costly.

The best strategy is to take proactive steps to keep your foundation in optimal condition, regardless of how long you intend to stay in your current home. The following is a quick rundown of strategies for accomplishing this.

1. Fix Hairline Cracks ASAP

Given the weight and strain foundations undergo, the concrete slabs supporting your home will eventually develop cracks. This is inevitable.

However, if you can detect these cracks early enough, it’s possible to clean them out and fill them with epoxy glue. Wait too long, and you’ll have to bring in a professional foundation repair expert.

It’s best to check for hairline cracks after heavy rainfall or after rapid changes in outside temperatures.

2. Check for Water Damage

Arguably the biggest threat to your foundation is water damage, or rather, major fluctuations between dry spells and wet ones.

During drier seasons, it is important that you keep the foundation moist to prevent soil shrinkage and subterranean shifts. One of the best ways to do this is to install rock beds about 2 feet away from the foundation (all the way around the house). Doing so allows sprinkler and rainwater to soak deep into the soil.

However, you don’t want to overdo it. Future rainfall is unpredictable, and excessive water buildup is just as harmful as excessive drying. This is because soil can over-expand causing unnatural shifts below the foundation’s surface.

As a general rule, let nature be your guide. Water the surrounding landscape around your foundation just enough to keep your lawn and plants looking healthy.

3. Proper Drainage

Unnatural pooling around your foundation is another potential warning sign. In addition to rock beds (mentioned earlier), you’ll want to install downspouts and gutters that redirect water a minimum of five feet away from your home.

Equally important, the land surrounding your home should slope away at a 5 percent grade to prevent excessive water buildup. With some properties, this isn’t always possible. If that’s the case with your home, consider installing moisture barriers that can safely capture and store water runoff. These collection systems must be at least 5 feet deep in order to be effective.

4. Reduce Erosion

In areas with high rainfall (and steep slopes), erosion is a relatively common phenomenon. Although you can install a number of erosion control systems, one of the cheapest strategies is to plant shrubs and trees around your home. Their root systems can help keep loose soil in place — even after unusually heavy rainy seasons.

5. Check Your Home’s Plumbing Regularly

The majority of water-related issues are external (courtesy of Mother Nature). But don’t neglect your home’s internal plumbing — including sprinkler systems and septic tanks. Periodically check to make sure that all of the pipes in your home are in proper working order. At the first sign of any leaks, bring in a professional plumber ASAP.

Remember that Constant Monitoring Is Essential

Some homeowners wrongly believe that their insurance policies cover foundation repair. And the mistake is understandable given that many insurance providers market their policies as “all perils” contracts.

But when you read the fine print, you may be shocked to discover any number of exclusions, including: 

  • Subsidence and expansive soil (mentioned above)
  • Sewage damage and surface water (also mentioned above)
  • Landslides, mudslides and floods (i.e. really fast erosion, also mentioned above)

In other words, you’re often NOT covered for the causes of and solutions to foundation damage.

This is why the aforementioned steps coupled with year-round monitoring are so important. The extra time and money that you invest upfront could save you tens of thousands of dollars down the road.

Additional Note:

For more serious repairs of a home you'd like to buy, or one you're living in now, you may be able to use the FHA 203k renovation mortgage to finance the work and mortgage together in one loan. Learn more at the button below with the 203k Survival Guide.

Get the Free FHA 203k Guide  

Author Bio: Brandon Cartee is the owner Foundation Repair Services. A full service specialty contracting that helps both home and business owners throughout North Carolina.

image source

Tips For Maintaining Your House FoundationBecause the foundation supports everything in your home, it is one of the most important assets that you have. Unfortunately, many homeowners completely ignore their foundations — “out of sight and out of mind.”

This is a huge mistake since repairing a damaged foundation not only carries its own costs, but you’ll likely spend money correcting other issues throughout your home, including: 

  • Buckling walls
  • Poorly fitting windows
  • Stressed support beams
  • Water damage (even in the attic)
  • Electrical issues (closely related to water damage)

Some homeowners try to wait these problems out long enough to sell their properties. But trying to pass on these issues to the next homebuyer is unwise. According to a 2011 National Association of Realtors survey, nondisclosure lawsuits about unreported damage are incredibly common — and costly.

The best strategy is to take proactive steps to keep your foundation in optimal condition, regardless of how long you intend to stay in your current home. The following is a quick rundown of strategies for accomplishing this.

1. Fix Hairline Cracks ASAP

Given the weight and strain foundations undergo, the concrete slabs supporting your home will eventually develop cracks. This is inevitable.

However, if you can detect these cracks early enough, it’s possible to clean them out and fill them with epoxy glue. Wait too long, and you’ll have to bring in a professional foundation repair expert.

It’s best to check for hairline cracks after heavy rainfall or after rapid changes in outside temperatures.

2. Check for Water Damage

Arguably the biggest threat to your foundation is water damage, or rather, major fluctuations between dry spells and wet ones.

During drier seasons, it is important that you keep the foundation moist to prevent soil shrinkage and subterranean shifts. One of the best ways to do this is to install rock beds about 2 feet away from the foundation (all the way around the house). Doing so allows sprinkler and rainwater to soak deep into the soil.

However, you don’t want to overdo it. Future rainfall is unpredictable, and excessive water buildup is just as harmful as excessive drying. This is because soil can over-expand causing unnatural shifts below the foundation’s surface.

As a general rule, let nature be your guide. Water the surrounding landscape around your foundation just enough to keep your lawn and plants looking healthy.

3. Proper Drainage

Unnatural pooling around your foundation is another potential warning sign. In addition to rock beds (mentioned earlier), you’ll want to install downspouts and gutters that redirect water a minimum of five feet away from your home.

Equally important, the land surrounding your home should slope away at a 5 percent grade to prevent excessive water buildup. With some properties, this isn’t always possible. If that’s the case with your home, consider installing moisture barriers that can safely capture and store water runoff. These collection systems must be at least 5 feet deep in order to be effective.

4. Reduce Erosion

In areas with high rainfall (and steep slopes), erosion is a relatively common phenomenon. Although you can install a number of erosion control systems, one of the cheapest strategies is to plant shrubs and trees around your home. Their root systems can help keep loose soil in place — even after unusually heavy rainy seasons.

5. Check Your Home’s Plumbing Regularly

The majority of water-related issues are external (courtesy of Mother Nature). But don’t neglect your home’s internal plumbing — including sprinkler systems and septic tanks. Periodically check to make sure that all of the pipes in your home are in proper working order. At the first sign of any leaks, bring in a professional plumber ASAP.

Remember that Constant Monitoring Is Essential

Some homeowners wrongly believe that their insurance policies cover foundation repair. And the mistake is understandable given that many insurance providers market their policies as “all perils” contracts.

But when you read the fine print, you may be shocked to discover any number of exclusions, including: 

  • Subsidence and expansive soil (mentioned above)
  • Sewage damage and surface water (also mentioned above)
  • Landslides, mudslides and floods (i.e. really fast erosion, also mentioned above)

In other words, you’re often NOT covered for the causes of and solutions to foundation damage.

This is why the aforementioned steps coupled with year-round monitoring are so important. The extra time and money that you invest upfront could save you tens of thousands of dollars down the road.

Additional Note:

For more serious repairs of a home you'd like to buy, or one you're living in now, you may be able to use the FHA 203k renovation mortgage to finance the work and mortgage together in one loan. Learn more at the button below with the 203k Survival Guide.

Get the Free FHA 203k Guide  

Author Bio: Brandon Cartee is the owner Foundation Repair Services. A full service specialty contracting that helps both home and business owners throughout North Carolina.

image source

Tips For Maintaining Your House FoundationBecause the foundation supports everything in your home, it is one of the most important assets that you have. Unfortunately, many homeowners completely ignore their foundations — “out of sight and out of mind.”

This is a huge mistake since repairing a damaged foundation not only carries its own costs, but you’ll likely spend money correcting other issues throughout your home, including: 

  • Buckling walls
  • Poorly fitting windows
  • Stressed support beams
  • Water damage (even in the attic)
  • Electrical issues (closely related to water damage)

Some homeowners try to wait these problems out long enough to sell their properties. But trying to pass on these issues to the next homebuyer is unwise. According to a 2011 National Association of Realtors survey, nondisclosure lawsuits about unreported damage are incredibly common — and costly.

The best strategy is to take proactive steps to keep your foundation in optimal condition, regardless of how long you intend to stay in your current home. The following is a quick rundown of strategies for accomplishing this.

1. Fix Hairline Cracks ASAP

Given the weight and strain foundations undergo, the concrete slabs supporting your home will eventually develop cracks. This is inevitable.

However, if you can detect these cracks early enough, it’s possible to clean them out and fill them with epoxy glue. Wait too long, and you’ll have to bring in a professional foundation repair expert.

It’s best to check for hairline cracks after heavy rainfall or after rapid changes in outside temperatures.

2. Check for Water Damage

Arguably the biggest threat to your foundation is water damage, or rather, major fluctuations between dry spells and wet ones.

During drier seasons, it is important that you keep the foundation moist to prevent soil shrinkage and subterranean shifts. One of the best ways to do this is to install rock beds about 2 feet away from the foundation (all the way around the house). Doing so allows sprinkler and rainwater to soak deep into the soil.

However, you don’t want to overdo it. Future rainfall is unpredictable, and excessive water buildup is just as harmful as excessive drying. This is because soil can over-expand causing unnatural shifts below the foundation’s surface.

As a general rule, let nature be your guide. Water the surrounding landscape around your foundation just enough to keep your lawn and plants looking healthy.

3. Proper Drainage

Unnatural pooling around your foundation is another potential warning sign. In addition to rock beds (mentioned earlier), you’ll want to install downspouts and gutters that redirect water a minimum of five feet away from your home.

Equally important, the land surrounding your home should slope away at a 5 percent grade to prevent excessive water buildup. With some properties, this isn’t always possible. If that’s the case with your home, consider installing moisture barriers that can safely capture and store water runoff. These collection systems must be at least 5 feet deep in order to be effective.

4. Reduce Erosion

In areas with high rainfall (and steep slopes), erosion is a relatively common phenomenon. Although you can install a number of erosion control systems, one of the cheapest strategies is to plant shrubs and trees around your home. Their root systems can help keep loose soil in place — even after unusually heavy rainy seasons.

5. Check Your Home’s Plumbing Regularly

The majority of water-related issues are external (courtesy of Mother Nature). But don’t neglect your home’s internal plumbing — including sprinkler systems and septic tanks. Periodically check to make sure that all of the pipes in your home are in proper working order. At the first sign of any leaks, bring in a professional plumber ASAP.

Remember that Constant Monitoring Is Essential

Some homeowners wrongly believe that their insurance policies cover foundation repair. And the mistake is understandable given that many insurance providers market their policies as “all perils” contracts.

But when you read the fine print, you may be shocked to discover any number of exclusions, including: 

  • Subsidence and expansive soil (mentioned above)
  • Sewage damage and surface water (also mentioned above)
  • Landslides, mudslides and floods (i.e. really fast erosion, also mentioned above)

In other words, you’re often NOT covered for the causes of and solutions to foundation damage.

This is why the aforementioned steps coupled with year-round monitoring are so important. The extra time and money that you invest upfront could save you tens of thousands of dollars down the road.

Additional Note:

For more serious repairs of a home you'd like to buy, or one you're living in now, you may be able to use the FHA 203k renovation mortgage to finance the work and mortgage together in one loan. Learn more at the button below with the 203k Survival Guide.

Get the Free FHA 203k Guide  

Author Bio: Brandon Cartee is the owner Foundation Repair Services. A full service specialty contracting that helps both home and business owners throughout North Carolina.

image source

PowerSaver Grant saving home buyers serious cash

The PowerSaver Grant continues to be a huge success for home buyers at AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. Looking at the numbers through June of 2014, nearly 100 home buyers have put the PoweSaver Grant to use. This means about 100 home buyers have installed energy efficient upgrades to their house in order to save money on utility bills. It also means these folks have all had their closing costs paid* through PowerSaver. 

What is PowerSaver? The PowerSaver Grant from AmeriFirst Home Mortgage covers closing costs when a home buyer (or homeowner refinancing their home) makes specific energy efficient home improvements with FHA 203k.

Read about PowerSaver directly from FHA

Home buyers and homeowners can make energy efficient upgrades to their home. They can then qualify for a rebate of sorts - approximately $2,000 on average - in closing costs paid by AmeriFirst Home Mortgage as "lender credits." The amount depends on the amount of the loan.

Eligible home improvements include:

  • Energy Star furnace or air conditioner
  • Energy Star water heater
  • Approved insulation upgrading
  • Approved window replacement
  • Energy Star specified roof repair/replacement
  • Ground source heat pump
  • Sustainable energy upgrades like fuel cells, solar panels or wind turbine

How to Make Your First Home Energy Efficient

Read all about the PowerSaver Grant with these articles: What is the PowerSaver Grant?

Just how good is this new endeavor going for clients of AmeriFirst Home Mortgage? 

Data through June 2014

  1. AmeriFirst Home Mortgage has closed 97 PowerSaver Loans
  2. Credits to borrowers since the inception of the grant:
    1. Origination and Underwriting Fees          $ 174,586.95
    2. Appraisal Fees                                     $   42,675.00
    3. Energy Audits                                      $     2,399.99

Grand total of money saved for AmeriFirst clients through closing cost credits: $ 219,661.94!

This represents an average closing cost credit total of $2264 per loan!

Find out how you can take part in this nearly quarter of a million dollars in savings with your home. Watch the video below and learn more by downloading the PowerSaver Grant Buyer's Guide here.

See the above embedded video here - PowerSaver Grant from AmeriFirst Home Mortgage TV ad

PowerSaver Grant informational flier

Download the PowerSaver Grant Buyer's Guide  

PowerSaver Grant saving home buyers serious cash

The PowerSaver Grant continues to be a huge success for home buyers at AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. Looking at the numbers through June of 2014, nearly 100 home buyers have put the PoweSaver Grant to use. This means about 100 home buyers have installed energy efficient upgrades to their house in order to save money on utility bills. It also means these folks have all had their closing costs paid* through PowerSaver. 

What is PowerSaver? The PowerSaver Grant from AmeriFirst Home Mortgage covers closing costs when a home buyer (or homeowner refinancing their home) makes specific energy efficient home improvements with FHA 203k.

Read about PowerSaver directly from FHA

Home buyers and homeowners can make energy efficient upgrades to their home. They can then qualify for a rebate of sorts - approximately $2,000 on average - in closing costs paid by AmeriFirst Home Mortgage as "lender credits." The amount depends on the amount of the loan.

Eligible home improvements include:

  • Energy Star furnace or air conditioner
  • Energy Star water heater
  • Approved insulation upgrading
  • Approved window replacement
  • Energy Star specified roof repair/replacement
  • Ground source heat pump
  • Sustainable energy upgrades like fuel cells, solar panels or wind turbine

How to Make Your First Home Energy Efficient

Read all about the PowerSaver Grant with these articles: What is the PowerSaver Grant?

Just how good is this new endeavor going for clients of AmeriFirst Home Mortgage? 

Data through June 2014

  1. AmeriFirst Home Mortgage has closed 97 PowerSaver Loans
  2. Credits to borrowers since the inception of the grant:
    1. Origination and Underwriting Fees          $ 174,586.95
    2. Appraisal Fees                                     $   42,675.00
    3. Energy Audits                                      $     2,399.99

Grand total of money saved for AmeriFirst clients through closing cost credits: $ 219,661.94!

This represents an average closing cost credit total of $2264 per loan!

Find out how you can take part in this nearly quarter of a million dollars in savings with your home. Watch the video below and learn more by downloading the PowerSaver Grant Buyer's Guide here.

See the above embedded video here - PowerSaver Grant from AmeriFirst Home Mortgage TV ad

PowerSaver Grant informational flier

Download the PowerSaver Grant Buyer's Guide  

PowerSaver Grant saving home buyers serious cash

The PowerSaver Grant continues to be a huge success for home buyers at AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. Looking at the numbers through June of 2014, nearly 100 home buyers have put the PoweSaver Grant to use. This means about 100 home buyers have installed energy efficient upgrades to their house in order to save money on utility bills. It also means these folks have all had their closing costs paid* through PowerSaver. 

What is PowerSaver? The PowerSaver Grant from AmeriFirst Home Mortgage covers closing costs when a home buyer (or homeowner refinancing their home) makes specific energy efficient home improvements with FHA 203k.

Read about PowerSaver directly from FHA

Home buyers and homeowners can make energy efficient upgrades to their home. They can then qualify for a rebate of sorts - approximately $2,000 on average - in closing costs paid by AmeriFirst Home Mortgage as "lender credits." The amount depends on the amount of the loan.

Eligible home improvements include:

  • Energy Star furnace or air conditioner
  • Energy Star water heater
  • Approved insulation upgrading
  • Approved window replacement
  • Energy Star specified roof repair/replacement
  • Ground source heat pump
  • Sustainable energy upgrades like fuel cells, solar panels or wind turbine

How to Make Your First Home Energy Efficient

Read all about the PowerSaver Grant with these articles: What is the PowerSaver Grant?

Just how good is this new endeavor going for clients of AmeriFirst Home Mortgage? 

Data through June 2014

  1. AmeriFirst Home Mortgage has closed 97 PowerSaver Loans
  2. Credits to borrowers since the inception of the grant:
    1. Origination and Underwriting Fees          $ 174,586.95
    2. Appraisal Fees                                     $   42,675.00
    3. Energy Audits                                      $     2,399.99

Grand total of money saved for AmeriFirst clients through closing cost credits: $ 219,661.94!

This represents an average closing cost credit total of $2264 per loan!

Find out how you can take part in this nearly quarter of a million dollars in savings with your home. Watch the video below and learn more by downloading the PowerSaver Grant Buyer's Guide here.

See the above embedded video here - PowerSaver Grant from AmeriFirst Home Mortgage TV ad

PowerSaver Grant informational flier

Download the PowerSaver Grant Buyer's Guide  

PowerSaver Grant saving home buyers serious cash

The PowerSaver Grant continues to be a huge success for home buyers at AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. Looking at the numbers through June of 2014, nearly 100 home buyers have put the PoweSaver Grant to use. This means about 100 home buyers have installed energy efficient upgrades to their house in order to save money on utility bills. It also means these folks have all had their closing costs paid* through PowerSaver. 

What is PowerSaver? The PowerSaver Grant from AmeriFirst Home Mortgage covers closing costs when a home buyer (or homeowner refinancing their home) makes specific energy efficient home improvements with FHA 203k.

Read about PowerSaver directly from FHA

Home buyers and homeowners can make energy efficient upgrades to their home. They can then qualify for a rebate of sorts - approximately $2,000 on average - in closing costs paid by AmeriFirst Home Mortgage as "lender credits." The amount depends on the amount of the loan.

Eligible home improvements include:

  • Energy Star furnace or air conditioner
  • Energy Star water heater
  • Approved insulation upgrading
  • Approved window replacement
  • Energy Star specified roof repair/replacement
  • Ground source heat pump
  • Sustainable energy upgrades like fuel cells, solar panels or wind turbine

How to Make Your First Home Energy Efficient

Read all about the PowerSaver Grant with these articles: What is the PowerSaver Grant?

Just how good is this new endeavor going for clients of AmeriFirst Home Mortgage? 

Data through June 2014

  1. AmeriFirst Home Mortgage has closed 97 PowerSaver Loans
  2. Credits to borrowers since the inception of the grant:
    1. Origination and Underwriting Fees          $ 174,586.95
    2. Appraisal Fees                                     $   42,675.00
    3. Energy Audits                                      $     2,399.99

Grand total of money saved for AmeriFirst clients through closing cost credits: $ 219,661.94!

This represents an average closing cost credit total of $2264 per loan!

Find out how you can take part in this nearly quarter of a million dollars in savings with your home. Watch the video below and learn more by downloading the PowerSaver Grant Buyer's Guide here.

See the above embedded video here - PowerSaver Grant from AmeriFirst Home Mortgage TV ad

PowerSaver Grant informational flier

Download the PowerSaver Grant Buyer's Guide  

Yearly Garage Door Maintenance Checklist for First Time Homeowners

When it comes to household maintenance, garage doors don’t typically top the list in most people’s minds. But a frequent inspection is important nonetheless. Not only can a malfunctioning garage door cause a major headache, but also it can be costly and potentially cause injury.

Imagine going out to your garage to get your car out and head to work, and the door won't open! Your boss wouldn't be happy. Even if it's not your first home, you may not think of this until it's too late.

To get ahead of expensive repairs, it’s important that you conduct routine performance checks. Below is a checklist of garage door tests and maintenance tips you should plan at least once per year. While, the homeowner can do most of these tasks, you should consider getting help from a garage door professional when major repairs are necessary.

1. Check Alignment and Balance

Take a close look at your garage door to confirm that it is properly aligned. You can do so by taking the following steps:

  • Start with a closed garage door and disconnect it from the opener.
  • Once it is disconnected, attempt to open the door with one hand. It should move easily if properly lubricated. If it sticks despite a follow-up lubrication, it could be an alignment issue.
  • Now open the door halfway and release it. A properly balanced garage door will stay in place (possibly shifting slightly, or even descending very slowly) and will not fall to the floor because of the spring tension holding it in place. If you put some upward pressure on it, the door should not fly open. Note that a door that closes too quickly could have bad springs, or is not properly balanced.
  • Remember to reattach the door to the motor after completing the alignment and balance test. If you suspect a problem, contact a garage door professional right away to prevent further damage to the door or the opener.

2. Look At How The Opener Is Operating

Garage doors are very powerful mechanisms and can potentially be dangerous if they are not operating properly. Perform the following tests to be sure your opener is functioning safely:

  • Your opener should have a safety reverse mechanism so that it doesn’t close on a vehicle or a person. Test this by opening the door, centering a piece of wood beneath the door and attempting to close it automatically. As the board won’t allow the door to close entirely, the door should detect it, stop then reverse entirely. A malfunctioning reverse mechanism is considered a serious safety hazard and should be reported to a garage door professional immediately.
  • Next, test the photoelectric eyes, if your garage door has them. Start with the door completely open, and then begin to close it automatically. As it descends, use a stick to interrupt the path of the sensor. A properly working photoelectric eye will sense the stick, stop the door and reverse it. Like the reverse mechanism, a malfunctioning photoelectric eye should be taken seriously and reported to a garage door professional for immediate repairs.
  • On a routine basis, look at any power cords or extension cords that aren’t directly wired into the wall. They can become loose over time, potentially locking you out of your home or causing the garage door to malfunction.
  • An automatic garage door will have an emergency release handle that should be tested from time to time. Simply pull the release handle (or cord) so that the door detaches from the opener. Once you’ve confirmed that you can do that with ease, reattach it.
  • Some garage doors have extension springs. Ideally, the extension springs will have a safety cable running through the middle of it. If your garage door does not have safety cables, it is recommended you have them installed.
  • When seasons change, perform routine tightening of chains, belts, hinges and hardware as needed. Additionally, lubricate all springs, sprockets, rollers and bearings.
  • Lastly, be sure that the open/close button for your garage door (called the transmitter) is high enough off the ground that children cannot tamper with it. In general, have the transmitter at least 5 feet from the ground.

3. Inspect for Damage

Every six months, inspect your garage door for damage.

  • Look for damaged wiring and connections.
  • Check the weather strip for any damage that could allow air or water in.
  • Closely examine cables for wear, and report any apparent damage to a garage door professional as soon as you can.

Download Your"Get Mortgage Ready Guide"

Author Bio: Justin White is the marketing director for Garage Door Repair LLC, Living just outside of Washington DC, Justin is extremely resourceful with resolutions on common garage door problems. He has written on everything from broken garage door spring repairs to common garage door opener problems. 

image source

Yearly Garage Door Maintenance Checklist for First Time Homeowners

When it comes to household maintenance, garage doors don’t typically top the list in most people’s minds. But a frequent inspection is important nonetheless. Not only can a malfunctioning garage door cause a major headache, but also it can be costly and potentially cause injury.

Imagine going out to your garage to get your car out and head to work, and the door won't open! Your boss wouldn't be happy. Even if it's not your first home, you may not think of this until it's too late.

To get ahead of expensive repairs, it’s important that you conduct routine performance checks. Below is a checklist of garage door tests and maintenance tips you should plan at least once per year. While, the homeowner can do most of these tasks, you should consider getting help from a garage door professional when major repairs are necessary.

1. Check Alignment and Balance

Take a close look at your garage door to confirm that it is properly aligned. You can do so by taking the following steps:

  • Start with a closed garage door and disconnect it from the opener.
  • Once it is disconnected, attempt to open the door with one hand. It should move easily if properly lubricated. If it sticks despite a follow-up lubrication, it could be an alignment issue.
  • Now open the door halfway and release it. A properly balanced garage door will stay in place (possibly shifting slightly, or even descending very slowly) and will not fall to the floor because of the spring tension holding it in place. If you put some upward pressure on it, the door should not fly open. Note that a door that closes too quickly could have bad springs, or is not properly balanced.
  • Remember to reattach the door to the motor after completing the alignment and balance test. If you suspect a problem, contact a garage door professional right away to prevent further damage to the door or the opener.

2. Look At How The Opener Is Operating

Garage doors are very powerful mechanisms and can potentially be dangerous if they are not operating properly. Perform the following tests to be sure your opener is functioning safely:

  • Your opener should have a safety reverse mechanism so that it doesn’t close on a vehicle or a person. Test this by opening the door, centering a piece of wood beneath the door and attempting to close it automatically. As the board won’t allow the door to close entirely, the door should detect it, stop then reverse entirely. A malfunctioning reverse mechanism is considered a serious safety hazard and should be reported to a garage door professional immediately.
  • Next, test the photoelectric eyes, if your garage door has them. Start with the door completely open, and then begin to close it automatically. As it descends, use a stick to interrupt the path of the sensor. A properly working photoelectric eye will sense the stick, stop the door and reverse it. Like the reverse mechanism, a malfunctioning photoelectric eye should be taken seriously and reported to a garage door professional for immediate repairs.
  • On a routine basis, look at any power cords or extension cords that aren’t directly wired into the wall. They can become loose over time, potentially locking you out of your home or causing the garage door to malfunction.
  • An automatic garage door will have an emergency release handle that should be tested from time to time. Simply pull the release handle (or cord) so that the door detaches from the opener. Once you’ve confirmed that you can do that with ease, reattach it.
  • Some garage doors have extension springs. Ideally, the extension springs will have a safety cable running through the middle of it. If your garage door does not have safety cables, it is recommended you have them installed.
  • When seasons change, perform routine tightening of chains, belts, hinges and hardware as needed. Additionally, lubricate all springs, sprockets, rollers and bearings.
  • Lastly, be sure that the open/close button for your garage door (called the transmitter) is high enough off the ground that children cannot tamper with it. In general, have the transmitter at least 5 feet from the ground.

3. Inspect for Damage

Every six months, inspect your garage door for damage.

  • Look for damaged wiring and connections.
  • Check the weather strip for any damage that could allow air or water in.
  • Closely examine cables for wear, and report any apparent damage to a garage door professional as soon as you can.

Download Your"Get Mortgage Ready Guide"

Author Bio: Justin White is the marketing director for Garage Door Repair LLC, Living just outside of Washington DC, Justin is extremely resourceful with resolutions on common garage door problems. He has written on everything from broken garage door spring repairs to common garage door opener problems. 

image source

Yearly Garage Door Maintenance Checklist for First Time Homeowners

When it comes to household maintenance, garage doors don’t typically top the list in most people’s minds. But a frequent inspection is important nonetheless. Not only can a malfunctioning garage door cause a major headache, but also it can be costly and potentially cause injury.

Imagine going out to your garage to get your car out and head to work, and the door won't open! Your boss wouldn't be happy. Even if it's not your first home, you may not think of this until it's too late.

To get ahead of expensive repairs, it’s important that you conduct routine performance checks. Below is a checklist of garage door tests and maintenance tips you should plan at least once per year. While, the homeowner can do most of these tasks, you should consider getting help from a garage door professional when major repairs are necessary.

1. Check Alignment and Balance

Take a close look at your garage door to confirm that it is properly aligned. You can do so by taking the following steps:

  • Start with a closed garage door and disconnect it from the opener.
  • Once it is disconnected, attempt to open the door with one hand. It should move easily if properly lubricated. If it sticks despite a follow-up lubrication, it could be an alignment issue.
  • Now open the door halfway and release it. A properly balanced garage door will stay in place (possibly shifting slightly, or even descending very slowly) and will not fall to the floor because of the spring tension holding it in place. If you put some upward pressure on it, the door should not fly open. Note that a door that closes too quickly could have bad springs, or is not properly balanced.
  • Remember to reattach the door to the motor after completing the alignment and balance test. If you suspect a problem, contact a garage door professional right away to prevent further damage to the door or the opener.

2. Look At How The Opener Is Operating

Garage doors are very powerful mechanisms and can potentially be dangerous if they are not operating properly. Perform the following tests to be sure your opener is functioning safely:

  • Your opener should have a safety reverse mechanism so that it doesn’t close on a vehicle or a person. Test this by opening the door, centering a piece of wood beneath the door and attempting to close it automatically. As the board won’t allow the door to close entirely, the door should detect it, stop then reverse entirely. A malfunctioning reverse mechanism is considered a serious safety hazard and should be reported to a garage door professional immediately.
  • Next, test the photoelectric eyes, if your garage door has them. Start with the door completely open, and then begin to close it automatically. As it descends, use a stick to interrupt the path of the sensor. A properly working photoelectric eye will sense the stick, stop the door and reverse it. Like the reverse mechanism, a malfunctioning photoelectric eye should be taken seriously and reported to a garage door professional for immediate repairs.
  • On a routine basis, look at any power cords or extension cords that aren’t directly wired into the wall. They can become loose over time, potentially locking you out of your home or causing the garage door to malfunction.
  • An automatic garage door will have an emergency release handle that should be tested from time to time. Simply pull the release handle (or cord) so that the door detaches from the opener. Once you’ve confirmed that you can do that with ease, reattach it.
  • Some garage doors have extension springs. Ideally, the extension springs will have a safety cable running through the middle of it. If your garage door does not have safety cables, it is recommended you have them installed.
  • When seasons change, perform routine tightening of chains, belts, hinges and hardware as needed. Additionally, lubricate all springs, sprockets, rollers and bearings.
  • Lastly, be sure that the open/close button for your garage door (called the transmitter) is high enough off the ground that children cannot tamper with it. In general, have the transmitter at least 5 feet from the ground.

3. Inspect for Damage

Every six months, inspect your garage door for damage.

  • Look for damaged wiring and connections.
  • Check the weather strip for any damage that could allow air or water in.
  • Closely examine cables for wear, and report any apparent damage to a garage door professional as soon as you can.

Download Your"Get Mortgage Ready Guide"

Author Bio: Justin White is the marketing director for Garage Door Repair LLC, Living just outside of Washington DC, Justin is extremely resourceful with resolutions on common garage door problems. He has written on everything from broken garage door spring repairs to common garage door opener problems. 

image source

Yearly Garage Door Maintenance Checklist for First Time Homeowners

When it comes to household maintenance, garage doors don’t typically top the list in most people’s minds. But a frequent inspection is important nonetheless. Not only can a malfunctioning garage door cause a major headache, but also it can be costly and potentially cause injury.

Imagine going out to your garage to get your car out and head to work, and the door won't open! Your boss wouldn't be happy. Even if it's not your first home, you may not think of this until it's too late.

To get ahead of expensive repairs, it’s important that you conduct routine performance checks. Below is a checklist of garage door tests and maintenance tips you should plan at least once per year. While, the homeowner can do most of these tasks, you should consider getting help from a garage door professional when major repairs are necessary.

1. Check Alignment and Balance

Take a close look at your garage door to confirm that it is properly aligned. You can do so by taking the following steps:

  • Start with a closed garage door and disconnect it from the opener.
  • Once it is disconnected, attempt to open the door with one hand. It should move easily if properly lubricated. If it sticks despite a follow-up lubrication, it could be an alignment issue.
  • Now open the door halfway and release it. A properly balanced garage door will stay in place (possibly shifting slightly, or even descending very slowly) and will not fall to the floor because of the spring tension holding it in place. If you put some upward pressure on it, the door should not fly open. Note that a door that closes too quickly could have bad springs, or is not properly balanced.
  • Remember to reattach the door to the motor after completing the alignment and balance test. If you suspect a problem, contact a garage door professional right away to prevent further damage to the door or the opener.

2. Look At How The Opener Is Operating

Garage doors are very powerful mechanisms and can potentially be dangerous if they are not operating properly. Perform the following tests to be sure your opener is functioning safely:

  • Your opener should have a safety reverse mechanism so that it doesn’t close on a vehicle or a person. Test this by opening the door, centering a piece of wood beneath the door and attempting to close it automatically. As the board won’t allow the door to close entirely, the door should detect it, stop then reverse entirely. A malfunctioning reverse mechanism is considered a serious safety hazard and should be reported to a garage door professional immediately.
  • Next, test the photoelectric eyes, if your garage door has them. Start with the door completely open, and then begin to close it automatically. As it descends, use a stick to interrupt the path of the sensor. A properly working photoelectric eye will sense the stick, stop the door and reverse it. Like the reverse mechanism, a malfunctioning photoelectric eye should be taken seriously and reported to a garage door professional for immediate repairs.
  • On a routine basis, look at any power cords or extension cords that aren’t directly wired into the wall. They can become loose over time, potentially locking you out of your home or causing the garage door to malfunction.
  • An automatic garage door will have an emergency release handle that should be tested from time to time. Simply pull the release handle (or cord) so that the door detaches from the opener. Once you’ve confirmed that you can do that with ease, reattach it.
  • Some garage doors have extension springs. Ideally, the extension springs will have a safety cable running through the middle of it. If your garage door does not have safety cables, it is recommended you have them installed.
  • When seasons change, perform routine tightening of chains, belts, hinges and hardware as needed. Additionally, lubricate all springs, sprockets, rollers and bearings.
  • Lastly, be sure that the open/close button for your garage door (called the transmitter) is high enough off the ground that children cannot tamper with it. In general, have the transmitter at least 5 feet from the ground.

3. Inspect for Damage

Every six months, inspect your garage door for damage.

  • Look for damaged wiring and connections.
  • Check the weather strip for any damage that could allow air or water in.
  • Closely examine cables for wear, and report any apparent damage to a garage door professional as soon as you can.

Download Your"Get Mortgage Ready Guide"

Author Bio: Justin White is the marketing director for Garage Door Repair LLC, Living just outside of Washington DC, Justin is extremely resourceful with resolutions on common garage door problems. He has written on everything from broken garage door spring repairs to common garage door opener problems. 

image source

Why Work With a Real Estate Agent 60 Second Mortgage Tip

With so many websites out there with homes for sale, why would a home buyer need to work with a real estate agent or a licensed REALTOR®? Why can't we just surf the web, find a house and buy it? It seems like it would save home buyers money, right?

At AmeriFirst Home Mortgage, we work with a lot of agents and REALTORS. We also work with buyers out there on their own. There is no requirement to have an agent. However...there are some great reasons to hire a REALTOR to help you buy your home. The video below takes a quick look at some of these reasons.

See the embedded video here - Why Work With a Real Estate Agent l 60 Second Mortgage Tip 

Video transcript: With websites like For Sale By Owner, Zillow and Trulia, what’s the point of working with a real estate agent? Hi I’m Dan Moyle with AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. We’ll explore this question in today’s “60 Second Mortgage Tip.”

Here at AmeriFirst, we work with a lot of real estate agents and Realtors. Agents refer home buyers to AmeriFirst for financing the home purchase. So we know a lot of agents. Here’s a quick look at the benefits to working with a real estate agent.

First, agents have access to homes coming onto the market before these websites like Zillow. Quite often the home that just listed on the website is already out there and might have an offer on it.

Also, an agent will negotiate with the seller for you to help ensure you’re getting a good deal.

Finally, remember that the home seller pays the real estate agent fees in a typical deal…even yours. So you’re getting the service of an agent, but you’re not paying for it.

Thanks for watching. For more video tips, subscribe to our channel. Again I’m Dan Moyle with AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. This has been your “60 Second Mortgage Tip.”

Download Your"Get Mortgage Ready Guide"

Why Work With a Real Estate Agent 60 Second Mortgage Tip

With so many websites out there with homes for sale, why would a home buyer need to work with a real estate agent or a licensed REALTOR®? Why can't we just surf the web, find a house and buy it? It seems like it would save home buyers money, right?

At AmeriFirst Home Mortgage, we work with a lot of agents and REALTORS. We also work with buyers out there on their own. There is no requirement to have an agent. However...there are some great reasons to hire a REALTOR to help you buy your home. The video below takes a quick look at some of these reasons.

See the embedded video here - Why Work With a Real Estate Agent l 60 Second Mortgage Tip 

Video transcript: With websites like For Sale By Owner, Zillow and Trulia, what’s the point of working with a real estate agent? Hi I’m Dan Moyle with AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. We’ll explore this question in today’s “60 Second Mortgage Tip.”

Here at AmeriFirst, we work with a lot of real estate agents and Realtors. Agents refer home buyers to AmeriFirst for financing the home purchase. So we know a lot of agents. Here’s a quick look at the benefits to working with a real estate agent.

First, agents have access to homes coming onto the market before these websites like Zillow. Quite often the home that just listed on the website is already out there and might have an offer on it.

Also, an agent will negotiate with the seller for you to help ensure you’re getting a good deal.

Finally, remember that the home seller pays the real estate agent fees in a typical deal…even yours. So you’re getting the service of an agent, but you’re not paying for it.

Thanks for watching. For more video tips, subscribe to our channel. Again I’m Dan Moyle with AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. This has been your “60 Second Mortgage Tip.”

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