2019 Real Estate Forecast: What Home Buyers, Sellers And Investors Can Expect

There’s no doubt about it: the 2018 housing market has seen its ups and downs.

The year started with sky-high home prices, historically low mortgage rates and a definitive upper hand for sellers. In recent months though, home price growth has faltered, rates have risen to their highest point in nearly eight years, and favor has started to shift from seller to buyer.

Will these trends continue? Will housing experience the same wild ride in the new year? Here’s what experts predict will happen in 2019 real estate market:

Mortgage rates will continue rising.

“Despite steady climbing for the past two years, mortgage rates remain lower than they were during most of the recession and below average for the type of strong economic growth we’ve been experiencing. That will change in 2019, as the 30-year, fixed rate mortgage reaches 5.8% — territory not seen since the dark days of 2008 when rates were racing downward in response to the housing crisis.” — Aaron Terrazas, director of economic research for Zillow

Millennials will keep buying homes — despite those rising rates.

“The housing market in 2019 will be characterized by continued rising mortgage rates and surging millennial demand. Rising rates, by making housing less affordable, will likely deter certain potential homebuyers from the market. On the other hand, the largest cohort of millennials will be turning 29 next year, entering peak household formation and home-buying age, and contributing to the increase in first-time buyer demand.” — Odeta Kushi, senior economist for First American

“Millennials will continue to make up the largest segment of buyers next year, accounting for 45% of mortgages, compared to 17% of Boomers, and 37% of Gen Xers. While first-time buyers will struggle next year, older Millennial move-up buyers will have more options in the mid-to upper-tier price point and will make up the majority of Millennials who close in 2019. Looking forward, 2020 is expected to be the peak Millennial home buying year with the largest cohort of millennials turning 30 years old. Millennials are also likely to make up the largest share of home buyers for the next decade as their housing needs adjust over time.” — Danielle Hale, chief 

Source: forbes.com ~ By: Aly J. Yale ~ Image: pixabay.com

Fun Activities for Families to Enjoy in February

Kids are often restless in the heart of winter. Besides the onset of cabin fever due to inclement weather, many months are left in the school year. Count down the minutes until the spring thaw arrives and try these fun things for families to do together in February.

Enjoy Winter Activities Together

Depending on where you live, you may have lots of opportunities to enjoy outdoor winter activities such as sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, or simply building snow forts and snow sculptures. If snow and ice are rare in your you’ll want to capitalize on every chance or plan a short getaway to where you can play in the cold.

Play Indoors

Staying in the house doesn’t mean the kids have to park it in front of the TV or video game screen. There are plenty of indoor activities for kids that involve active games, pretend play, and creativity exercises. You can also take the kids on a family fun outing to indoor sports such as bowling, indoor roller rinks, and indoor skating rinks.

Plan a Trip

Nothing will warm your family up quicker than planning for a special getaway together. Spring break is just a few weeks away, so now’s the perfect time to spend some time brainstorming with your family about where they would like to go when the weather gets warmer. Make vacation planning a family activity, look at all of the fun attractions you can visit online, and take advantage of early bird deals by booking now.

Valentine’s Day Fun

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your children all month long. Create Valentine’s crafts, such as the I Love You photo collage or the I Ruff You foam dog. Plan a Valentine’s Day party, make party supplies with your printer, and play Valentine’s Day-themed party games.

Presidents’ Day

Slip in a history lesson on this holiday. Teach kids about Presidents’ Day, the first federal holiday established in honor of an American citizen, with fun activities that teach your children all about this important day.

American History Month

Speaking of history, February is also American History Month. Find out what happened on this date in history to teach your kids something new today.

Black History Month

Learn about Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and other key people who made a difference. Even younger children can embark on this learning journey through age-appropriate printables and activities.

American Heart Month

Keep your family fit during American Heart Month. Teach kids how the heart works, learn about the heart’s anatomy, and gauge your family’s target heart rates. Plan family workout activities to get the recommended amount of physical activity for heart health.

National Children’s Dental Health Month

Take care of those teeth. Children’s Dental Health Month is the perfect time to re-examine your child’s dental habits. Whether you’re preparing for your child’s first visit to the dentist or you’re teaching older kids to brush and floss properly, there are plenty of children’s dental printables and activities to make your job easier.

National Snack Food Month

Use February’s National Snack Food Month to teach your kids about healthy eating habits. Start by preparing healthy snacks kids will love or shake things up with some healthy smoothie recipes kids will love.

International Friendship Month

Celebrate International Friendship Month by helping kids show their appreciation for their friends. Kids can write thank you cards to their pals or you can help them make new friends.

National Cherry Month

Step into the kitchen and cook with your kids. Prepare some cherry recipes together for a bushel of fun. You won’t have any seasonally ripe cherries in the house (those will come in the summer). The month was established due to the legend about George Washington and the cherry tree, and serves to show that cherry products are available year-round. You can get creative with a cherry blossom craft as well.

National Embroidery Month

Take up a new hobby with your kids. Learn embroidery together for some quality one-on-one time.

National Grapefruit Month

The fruit that is packed with vitamin C gets its own time in the spotlight during the month of February. Cut open a grapefruit and share it with your children as a snack or as part of your family’s breakfast.

National Wild Bird Feeding Month

Here’s a fun hobby to enjoy with your children. Get started birding during National Wild Bird Feeding Month. Follow a few simple bird watching tips for beginners to get the most out of your family’s new hobby.

Responsible Pet Owners’ Month

Teach kids how to be responsible pet owners, whether you’re a pet parent to a dog, cat or a gerbil. Choosing the right family pet is the first step. Whether you’re showing your kids how to take care of dogs properly, teaching them how to bond with cats or helping them learn about exotic pets, being a responsible pet owner is a lifelong commitment.

Source: thespruce.com ~ By: Apryl Duncan ~Image: pixabay

6 Killer Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make When Buying in the Winter

Winter is supposed to be a buyer’s market, right? Fewer buyers = way less competition. After all, you have no problem trekking through the snow to find the perfect home. Let the others wait until spring. Right?

But winter home-buying assumptions can cost you. Just because the market moves slower doesn’t mean there aren’t pitfalls lying beneath the powder. Keep in mind these six common mistakes—otherwise you might just lose out on your dream space. And that would lead to a very long winter indeed.

1. Landing yourself in holiday debt

Your kiddos are clamoring for a few Hatchimals, your wonderful husband deserves the Google Pixel, and Mom and Dad desperately need a new set of artisanal kitchen knives. But don’t rack up new debt buying everyone gifts.

“Even if your credit is in good standing, suddenly racking up a ton of holiday shopping debt will change your debt-to-income ratio and potentially negate your pre-approval,” says Alicia Brison, a real estate agent in Sacramento, CA.

Budget for your generous splurges ahead of time. Or you know what? Tell your family they’re getting the best gift of all: a new home.

2. Failing to use your imagination

Yes, the property looks a bit … drab. But don’t all homes seem sad in winter, especially if they’re not charmingly covered in snow? Don’t dismiss a property because of bare tree limbs and dead grass. Imagine what the home could be in all its springtime glory.

Pretend the trees are blooming and the rose bushes are covered in color. That’s the mental picture you should use to make your decision.

3. Ignoring possible closing date delays

Don’t assume everything will go as planned. This will go wrong, trust us. Does the plumbing need updating? Is the wiring a little funky? These delay-causing problems are always annoying, but in winter they can create a full-on migraine. This goes double for custom or new-build homes.

“While many trades will work through the winter, there are certain processes that cannot be completed during heavy snowfall or dramatically low temperatures,” says Luke Sahlani, the lead project manager and director of Sensus Design & Build. “This can be frustrating and particularly problematic if the home buyers’ closing date on their current home is coming up quickly.”

Build in some buffer time for your new home’s closing—or just a little snow might crash your move-in day hopes.

4. Lacking flexibility

House hunting always requires a certain level of spontaneity—you have to be ready to pounce as soon as you hear a place fitting all your criteria is on the market. But when the weather’s against you, make sure to loosen your schedule even more.

Flexibility “is even more critical during the winter season,” Brison says. “Weather can cause unexpected delays, and buyers need to be willing to plan viewings during the busy holidays.”

Yes, you’re excited for cousin Humbert’s one-of-a-kind pumpkin pie, but if 2 p.m. the day after Christmas is the only time you can check out your dream abode, you might have to skip a second serving.

5. Assuming you’ll automatically score a sweet deal

In the winter (generally speaking), home prices are lower. Sellers are motivated. The competition’s bundled up inside, warming their hands by the fire. Bidding wars are a vestige of the summer months. Now’s a great time to buy, right?

Unfortunately, the math doesn’t necessarily work in your favor.

“A lot of buyers assume they can get a better deal in winter because [fewer] people are competing,” Brison says. “That’s not usually the case. Inventory is lower, so the number of people who are competing is similar.”

No, prices may not rocket to the sky-high levels seen when the weather is warm. But if you expect to score a bargain-basement home deal, you might be disappointed.

6. Lowballing your offer

If you don’t get a discount on a home during the winter months, maybe you think you can create your own discount with a lowball offer. Sellers listing their homes in the winter must be desperate to sell, the theory goes.

Think again.

“Not only can a lowball offer be off-putting to the seller, but sometimes they can be so offended, they will be closed to a counteroffer,” says Denise Supplee, the director of operations at SparkRental.com.

Work with your Realtor® to craft a competitive offer that isn’t offensive. Nothing is worse than losing the home you love to another buyer because you prioritized the deal over finding a place that perfectly fits your family.

Source: realtor.com ~ By: Jamie Wiebe ~ Image: pixabay

6 home renovations that return the most at resale

Whether you plan to stay in your house a long time or just a few years, it’s smart to know which home renovations add the most value to your place.

“Remodeling,” a magazine for the construction industry, in its 2018 Cost vs. Value report, compares the average cost of 21 remodeling projects in 149 markets with the value those projects retain at resale in 100 U.S. markets.

Here are the six interior remodeling projects that deliver the highest return.

1. Garage door replacement

  • Average cost: $3,470
  • Average resale value: $3,411
  • Cost recouped: 98.3%

A good-looking garage door tops the list when it comes to returning cash to your pocket, the Cost vs. Value report shows. This project involves removing an existing 16-by-7-foot garage door and replacing it with a new four-section garage door with heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks. This curb-appeal enhancer will get you back almost every dollar you spent on it when you sell your house.

2. Manufactured stone veneer

  • Average cost: $8,221
  • Average resale value: $7,986
  • Cost recouped: 97.1%

Replacing vinyl siding on your house for stone veneer is a big aesthetic improvement. The vinyl siding is replaced with adhered manufactured stone veneer. This is another major curb-enhancing upgrade that will get you back over 97 percent of your costs.

3. Entry door replacement (steel)

  • Average cost: $1,471
  • Average resale value: $1,344
  • Cost recouped: 91.3%

You will recoup over 91 percent of your cost by replacing your 36-by-80-inch entry door with a 20-gauge steel door, complete with clear dual-pane half-glass panel, jambs and an aluminum threshold with composite stop. These doors come factory-finished with the same color on the front and back sides.

4. Deck addition (wood)

  • Average cost: $10,950
  • Average resale value: $9,065
  • Cost recouped: 82.8%

One advantage of owning a house is having yard space. Nothing enhances a yard like a wood deck. This project involves adding a 16-by-20-foot deck, including a railing system with pressure-treated wood posts, railings and balusters. This feature will hold more than 82 percent of its value come resell time.

5. Minor kitchen remodel

  • Average cost: $21,198
  • Average resale value: $17,193
  • Cost recouped: 81.1%

Before you embark on a major kitchen overhaul, consider a minor one, which will recoup about 81 percent of its cost. This upgrade is based on a 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of cabinetry. Cabinet boxes are left in place but updated with modernized Shaker-style wood panels and drawer fronts. Replace laminate countertops with new laminate. Next, swap out older appliances with energy-efficient models. Update with a mid-priced sink and faucet; repaint the trim; add wall covering; and replace vinyl flooring with new vinyl.

6. Siding replacement

  • Average cost: $15,072
  • Average resale value: $11,554
  • Cost recouped: 76.7%

If you need a good reason to update old siding, consider that replacing 1,250 square feet of it will cost you about $15,072 and you’ll get back $11,554 upon resale. This upgrade includes the factory trim at the openings and corners.

Source: bankrate.com ~ By: Natalie Campisi ~ Image: pixabay.com

Top Kitchen and Cabinet Styles in Kitchen Remodels

Transitional is the No. 1 kitchen style and Shaker leads for cabinets, the 2019 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study finds

If you’re considering a kitchen renovation, perhaps the idea of white cabinets has crossed your mind — specifically, white Shaker-style cabinets. If so, you wouldn’t be alone.

The 2019 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study gathered information from more than 1,300 Houzz users who had completed a kitchen remodel or addition project in the past 12 months, who are working on one or who are planning to start one in the next three months. Here are five design trends for kitchens based on what they are saying.

5 Tasks Every Homeowner Should Do in January

Whew. The holidays are done. The new year has rung in.

That’s when smart homeowners know it’s time to do these five things that’ll save time, money, and hassles all year long:

#1 Organize Your Seasonal Storage SpaceImage: Frank Farm / frankfarm.org

Packing away holiday decor presents a big opportunity. It’s the best time to sort, declutter, and reorganize that space where you store your seasonal stuff.

So before simply stuffing your holiday things back in there somewhere, take inventory, then sort, filter, donate, trash, and re-home as many of your things as possible.

It’ll help keep you more organized all year long, and make it easier to find all your holiday stuff next year.

A gas stovetop with food crumbs, green teapotImage: Jamie Bonilla

Purge your pantry and frisk your fridge, passing what you can on to local food banks. Scrub the walls and kick-boards, and even pull those appliances right out from the walls for a thorough vacuuming to prevent gunk (and stinks!) from accumulating.

#3 Plan Summertime Projects Now (Especially if You Need a Pro)An outdoor space with patio furniture and a dogImage: Photo by ADZA

1. If you’re DIYing, you’ll be ready to roll at the first hint of nice weather.

2. If you’re hiring a contractor or other professional, getting your bids and contracts in place now will save you from competing with the spring rush (wait too long, and you may not be able to book anyone!)

#4 Create a Schedule to Clean ALL Your Home’s FiltersTwo home air filtersImage: Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”)

Check manufacturer instructions for all the filters in your home, and create a master schedule, then add them to your calendar app to remind you.

#5 Save Some Green at White SalesA bed with white sheets and a white bedspread by windowImage: @hawkes_landing

Linens and towels go on sale in January. It’s a long-standing retail tradition that started back when linens only came in white (hence the name), and still has a solid rep as a money-saver — only in more colors today.

Cut your threadbare bath towels into rags and restock your supply, plus fill in any gaps in your bed linens you may have noticed if you had a house full of holiday guests.

Source: houselogic.com ~ By: GABRIELA BARKHO ~ Image: Frank Farm / frankfarm.org

Etiquette Tips for the Christmas Holiday

Christmas is one of the most important celebrations for Christians around the world, but it can also be one of the most stressful. Between the crowded shopping malls and people’s expectations, we all run the risk of feeling let down, which can lead to tension and bad behavior.

Avoid letting this happen by taking breaks to think about what the holiday is truly about. Those who celebrate the true meaning of Christmas can spend some time in prayer. Take a few minutes and enjoy some quiet moments with your children to help prevent your tension from affecting them.

Christmas Cards 

Most people enjoy receiving Christmas cards. You don’t have to be wordy, but a nice thought above your signature can make someone’s day. While it’s okay to have a holiday newsletter enclosed, keep it brief and positive. Avoid too much bragging, or you’ll have your recipient rolling her eyes.

If someone has invited you for a holiday dinner, party, or overnight, be a gracious guest and mind your manners. Don’t forget to bring a gift. If you drop or spill something, clean it up to the best of your ability and let the host or hostess know. Offer to cover the cost of a cleaning bill.

Hosting a Gathering  

Greet everyone at the door and make small talk with everyone. Introduce guests to each other. Have plenty of food and activities for everyone. This is the time to use your best dishes and flatware. Do as much preparation as possible the day before so you can enjoy the party with your guests. Keep an eye on anyone who is drinking alcohol and never let anyone drive if they’ve had too many. If anyone offers to help clean up, give him or her a single task and then thank him.

Be Generous  

You don’t have to spend a fortune on gifts, but it is nice to have something for all your friends and family members. If funds are limited, bake cookies, divide them up, put them in clear bags, and decorate the package with colorful ribbons.

Show Gratitude 

Never expect a gift from anyone but be grateful for anything someone gives you. Keep in mind that the person took time to think about you and select something he or she thought you would like.

Regifting 

If someone gives you something you can’t use or don’t care for, it’s okay to regift it later, as long as you don’t give it back to the original person. To prevent this from happening, attach a note with the original giver’s name.

Tip Well 

It’s always important to be generous with tips after you receive good service, but it’s especially important during the holidays when you want to spread good cheer. When you go to a restaurant, get your hair done, or purchase any service, add a little extra to the tip.

Office Party 

Have fun at the office party, but don’t forget where you are. It is never okay to drink too much, tell off-color jokes, or get too chummy with the person in the next cubicle over. Laugh, make small talk, and enjoy getting to know your coworkers on a lighter level, knowing that you’ll be back to work in a few hours or days.

Children 

Spend extra time with your children or grandchildren and be prepared to remind them of the manners you taught them. It’s easy to forget during the chaos surrounding Christmas.

Santa  

If you enjoy the Santa tradition, stand nearby and never take your eyes off your child. If your little angel starts talking too much and says anything you don’t want strangers to know (your address and travel plans), don’t hesitate to interrupt and change the subject. Make sure you thank Santa before you leave.

Thank You Cards

As soon as possible after Christmas, send a thank you card to anyone who has given you a gift, hosted an event that you attended, or done something special for you.

Make the Holidays Extra Special

Since proper etiquette is all about being respectful and gracious, here are some ideas to make this holiday season even more special:

  • Do a good deed. Look for opportunities to perform acts of kindness and involve your children.
  • Start a canned food drive and make a delivery to a food pantry or homeless shelter.
  • Be generous when you see bell ringers in front of stores.
  • Find a giving tree and purchase gifts for someone you don’t know.
  • Bake or purchase bakery cookies and deliver batches of them to your local police and firemen.
  • Visit lonely residents at a senior center or nursing home.

Source: thespruce.com ~ By:   ~ Image: pixabay.com

7 Traditional Housewarming Gifts (And What They Really Mean)

Housewarming gifts have been a popular tradition since medieval times. Originally, certain gifts for the home were thought to have special powers, often providing a newcomer’s place of residence with warmth, luck and wonderful wishes. While many of these items are still given as Christmas gifts, wedding presents and at housewarming parties, the meaning behind them is not well known.

Are you ready to discover the symbolism behind traditional housewarming gifts? This handy gift guide is just what you need! We’ve even included a few modern-day gift ideas to help you maintain the original spirit of housewarming.

The Meaning Behind Traditional Housewarming Gifts

The symbolism of these unique gifts for the home might surprise you!

1. Candles

Whether you’re giving Christmas gifts, presents for the new couple, or items for a recently relocated loved one, candles are a great way to go. To ensure light for your recipient through the darkest of times, choose unique candles and pair them with creative candle holders.

Home Sweet Home 6 Inch Porcelain House

2. Wine Gifts

Wish good cheer and prosperity on your friends and family with wine giftsthis year. Skip the liquor store down the street and consider a special vino from our exciting merchants! And be sure to order personalized wine glasses for a customized touch.

3. Salt and Herbs

Salt and herbs are meant to always bring spice and flavor to those you hold dear. Opt for high quality products and pair them with a creative grinder set to ensure his or her life (and dinner) is never bland.

SpiceCrafts Dual Salt & Pepper Grinder Set

4. Broom

Sweep away bad luck and evil spirits when you give your friends and family members a broom for their new home. You can choose a traditional broom and pair it with a few cleaning supplies for a practical housewarming gift. Or add a little elbow grease to an ornamental broom for one-of-a-kind home decor!

5. Coins

Meant to represent luck and good fortune, coins are unique housewarming gifts. Present your coin gifts in style with a DIY money tree or mount them in personalized photo frames. You could even embed them in homemade decorative candles and double your loved one’s luck.

BLack Friday Money

6. Plants and Olive Oils

Plants have always been popular gifts for the home that bring wishes of long lives to recipients. But giving your loved one a bottle of olive oil from the grocer downtown to wish for his or her health and well-being might seem a little odd. Combine the two to create a homemade decoration that is sure to be adored.

7. Wood

Wood symbolizes stability, peace and harmony. Since you might feel a little strange presenting a chunk of wood from your backyard tree, however, you might want to jazz this one up a bit. Consider a customized cutting or serving board for the kitchen instead!Good Food Good Life Acacia Cheese Board with Sunflower Spreader

Be sure to add a positive sentiment to not only give your gift a more personalized touch, but also to let your recipient know the meaning behind his or her traditional housewarming gift.

Source: christmasgifts.com ~ Image: christmasgifts.com

How to Inventory Your Home for an Insurance Adjuster

Q. Do I need to inventory every item I own in the event of a house fire?

A. The more detail about your belongings that you can relay to an insurance adjuster in your home inventory, the more you stand to recover from your insurance claim, says Tobie Stanger, a CR senior money editor. At the start of your home inventory, focus first on the big and valuable: major appliances, jewelry, furniture, rugs, electronics, and art or collectibles.

Using your smartphone’s video feature, sweep the camera around a room, narrating the description of items you’re filming and—if you remember—what you paid. (Photograph receipts if you have them.) Capture serial numbers and brand names when possible so that the insurer can replace what you had with exact or similar items.

Once you’ve cataloged the pricier items for your home inventory, then open cabinets, drawers, closets, and boxes and do the same. “But don’t sweat the small stuff too much. An insurance adjuster is likely to create a ‘bulk estimate’ of those things—for example, $200 for everything in your utility closet,” Stanger says.

Store the images and video for your home inventory on a cloud service, such as iCloud or OneDrive, or put it on a thumb drive and stash it in a safe deposit box or fireproof safe. Several insurers even offer free web-based home inventory storage tools and apps. American Family Insurance’s DreamVault, for instance, lets anyone create a digital home inventory; it’s available online and as an Android and iOS app.

Source: consumerreports ~ By:  Consumer Reports ~ Image: pixabay.com

Holiday Travel Tips for Homeowners

The holidays are quickly approaching, and for many of us that means traveling to visit our friends and family members that we haven’t seen in a while. Before you let the excitement and anticipation take hold, you should turn your thoughts to preparing your home for your absence.

There are a number of ways to make sure your home is safe and secure while you’re gone, each one with its own pros and cons. Think carefully before deciding which will work best for you, as not enough thought prior to your vacation can lead to a disaster upon your return.

In this post we’ll not only cover some of the most popular options, we’ll give you a pre-travel checklist for your home to help you to keep it safe and well during your adventures.

Housesitting

Housesitting is when someone you know, preferably a friend or family member, stays in your house while you’re away.

This is a great option for people who have someone they know close by, and who doesn’t mind leaving their own home for a short time. If they live in an apartment or other small residence, chances are they’ll enjoy the luxury of a larger home all to themselves.

Even if the individual can’t spend the nights at your home for whatever reason, having them check up on the house once a day will lift a big weight off of your shoulders.

Just make sure to leave them a list of things that need to be done and who to contact in case of an emergency.

House Swaps

If you’re traveling for the holidays, but don’t have a place to stay, a house swap may be the answer for you. If you can find another individual or family who is looking to travel to your hometown or city, you may be able to arrange to “swap” houses for the duration of the vacation.

This way, you don’t end up having to pay for accommodations or worry about booking a hotel. Just make sure that you have a clear contract with the other party so that you both understand the terms. Try to find someone through friends or family members before looking online. It’s best if you know the other person, even if it’s just through someone else.

Be careful about who you choose and ask someone you know that lives in the area to check out the house before you sign anything. Have them meet the people who you want to swap with to make sure that you aren’t about to get into a sticky situation.

Temporary Rentals

Another alternative to leaving your home vacant is to consider renting out your home on a short-term basis. In this type of agreement, you can create a lease, which can protect you from many different issues. You may even be able to find a short-term tenant through your realtor or through an old property manager or landlord.

Again, finding someone that you know (or that you know by association) is a far better option than renting to a stranger. Having your home occupied is a better option than leaving it empty, especially if you’ll be away for more than a week.

Pre-Travel Checklist

Tell Your Neighbors

The first thing that you should do when leaving your home either attended or unattended is to tell your neighbors that you will be gone. Let them know when you’re leaving, and when you plan to return.

Ask them to keep an eye on your property to make sure that no one is entering without permission, and leave them a key in case they need to check the heat or plumbing. If you get mail delivered to your home, ask them to pick it up for you so that it isn’t left unopened on your front step.

Turn the Heat Down

Keep your heat turned up enough to prevent any seasonal freezing, but low enough that you won’t be wasting power on an empty house.

If you have someone checking in on the property while you are away, ask them to turn on the faucets every couple of days to make sure that water is going through your plumbing. This helps to keep pipes from freezing, and it keeps the pea traps from drying out and causing unpleasant odors.

Leave a Timed Light On

If possible, leave an outdoor light on with a timer. Having a light on for your whole absence may show that you are actually away, while having one on a timer can indicate that someone is home. If you do have someone checking in on the house, ask them to make sure that they turn off any lights and lock any doors before leaving.

Plan for an Emergency

Traveling in the winter, either by plane or by car, is always a risky business. With inclement weather and unexpected storms, you never know whether or not you can trust your return date. Keep in close contact with whoever is taking care of your home to ensure that they are up-to-date on your plans.

Pets

If you have pets and will be leaving them at home, be sure to arrange for their care. Even if you only have a small pet like a fish or a gerbil, have someone check in to make sure that they have fresh water and food. If your trip is delayed, it won’t matter that you left them plenty of food and water before you left, they might be out by the time you get back.

Seasonal Care

If you have someone close by who you can ask, have them shovel and salt the walks while you are gone. It wouldn’t be much fun to come home to a pile of snow and a driveway that you can’t park in. If they’re able, ask if they can check on the house in the event of a power outage as well, to make sure that the heat kicks back on properly and that your appliances (such as your fridge) are back to working order.

Source: lawdepot.com ~ By:  Brittany Foster ~ Image: pixabay.com