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Monday, September 26, 2016

Look at your house like I would…

Every now and then you should look at your house with the critical eye that a realtor might or that a buyer might use to evaluate it. Why? Even if you have no plans to sell, looking at your house like you have to get it ready to sell will give you a list of things that you’ve become “nose-dead” to in your home. You will have a to-do list when you are done.
Starting on the outside –

Start at the street out in front of the house and look at -
  • ·         The visual first impression of your property overall
  • ·         The condition of the driveway and walk (if any)
  • ·         The appearance of any shrubbery or other landscaping – is it well kept or overgrown?
  • ·         The appearance of the front door- the door & its hardware, lighting fixtures, stoop or porch

Walk around the house looking up at the roof and trim. Does the roof look like it needs replacing? Is the trim rotted or missing pieces, does it look like it has been maintained? Look at the windows and the back door. Look at the rear deck or patio.  Does it look like it is well maintained or does it need attention? Is there an old rusty swing set back there?

Even though you may always enter through the garage, go in through the front door.
What is your first impression of the entryway? Does it impress you or leave you cold? Is there a coat closet in the entry hall?  What is the flow from the front entry? Is there a direct hallway to the rear or must you go through another room to get there?

Walk through each room slowly, looking up for any signs of water damage, at the walls for any paint issues and at the floor for the condition of the flooring. Look for any missing light switch or electrical plug plates. Do the light fixtures look modern or dated? Is there carpet everywhere or wood floors? If there is carpet, is it in good condition? Check for smoke detectors here and on every level, as well as Carbon Monoxide detectors on every level.

What is you impression as you walk into each room? Does it look cluttered? Is your eye drawn to something in particular and is that a good thing? Can you walk easily through the room or is it an obstacle course to get through?

Look at all of the windows for signs of failed seals that need replacing. If the windows are old, aluminum sliders, it might be time to replace them and get rid of those marble window sills at the same time. Is there a fireplace in the living room or family room? What is its condition?

Go to the kitchen. Are the appliances old and dated looking? Is the countertop Formica or a more modern material? Are the cabinets dated or worn looking? Is there hardware (pulls and handles)  on the cabinets and drawers? Is the layout dated or modern (more open). How is the lighting in the kitchen? Are there modern can lights and under cabinet lighting? Check under the sink for signs of leaks from the sink or disposal. Is there a pantry? Is it adequate? Is there a dishwasher? How’s the paint? Is there a back splash and how is it? Hopefully there’s not wallpaper here or anywhere else in the house.

Look into the 1/2 bath, if there is one. Does it look modern and updated or old and frumpy? Is
it time for a new vanity and a paint job. How about updated lighting fixtures?

Go upstairs and repeat the room by room walk-through, looking for the same signs of deferred maintenance or needs for updates, especially in the bathrooms. Pay close attention to the ceilings in these rooms for signs of roof leaks.  Also check the hand rails or banisters going up the stairs to see if they are loose or don’t meet current code (max of 3”between spindles).

Go to the basement and check it over for the same types of things. Check the heating and water heating systems for any signs of leaks and see if you can determine the age of the heating system. If the house is on a well and septic, check the well holding tank and water softener for leakage.  Open the electrical panel box and check for any signs of circuits being doubled up on breakers. Hopefully you don’t find an old fuse box. Look to see if there is evidence of DIY wiring running to the service box.

You will likely end up with a list of things that you need to do or get done. Simple things like painting you can probably do yourself; however, anything involving electrical or plumbing or the heating and water systems is probably best left to professionals.

There is additional advice that I would give you, if you were ready to put your house on the market, but that is a topic left for a future post.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Milford Home Tour Headlines a Fun Weekend in Milford

The 40th annual Milford Home Tour headlines a family fun weekend of events in Milford, Michigan, this weekend of September 17 & 18. The Home Tour, which is put on by the Milford Historical Society, features docent-led tours of five of Milford’s historic homes, 624-n-main-stwith two this year that have never been on the Home Tour before. Several homes will also feature entertainment by various individuals and groups. Proceeds from the Milford Home Tour go to support the operation of the Milford Historical Museum.
Also on the Home Tour itinerary is the Log Cabin on GM Road, next to the fire station, and the Milford Historical Museum at 124 E. Commerce Rd, just one block from downtown Milford. The Museum will feature a special Home Tour display of “Ladies’ Handiwork”, including a lace making demonstration. The Log Cabin will have games and home crafts from the late 1800’s for the kids and whole family.
The Home Tour starts at 11 AM each day running until 5 PM both days. Tickets may be 957-s-main-stpurchased at several downtown Milford locations prior to Saturday – Acorn Farm, Main Street Art, Your Nesting Place and the Milford Historical Museum – or at the homes that are on the tour either day of the tour.  Tickets are $15 for Adults and $13 for seniors. This year’s homes are located at 624 N. Main St, 324 S. Main St, 104 Second Street, 957 S. Main St and 1018 Atlantic St. For more on the houses that are on this year’s Home Tour go to the web site and click on the Home Tour Poster.
Saturday night will feature a special end-of-season concert called CURRENTS, an evening metal rockerof indie rock at the new LaFontaine Family Amphitheater, from 7-10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19. Presented by Huron Valley State Bank and the Milford Downtown Development Authority, the concert is curated by Milford’s own Sean Lynch and will showcase three local and regional bands in one night, including hometown band 800Beloved, Grand Rapids-based Dear Tracks and Detroit’s Missionary. The concert is free to the public and will feature all original music. The LaFontaine Family Amphitheater is located in downtown Milford’s Central Park.
crusin-news-adOn Sunday, September 18, downtown Milford will be turned into a giant parking lot for the 32 annual Milford Car Show – the largest area car show of the year. Cars of all ages and type will be on display with show attendees getting to vote for their favorite cars in several categories from vintage streets rods to modern muscle cars. Over 250 cars are expected for the Milford Car Show which will open to the public at about 10 AM. Cars start showing up much earlier than that ad line up from Main and Commerce Streets all the way down to Central Park. For more on the Car show, go to
There is also a Tractor Show on Sunday starting at 11 AM out at the Huron Valley State Bank tractorparking lot at the corner of GM Road and Milford Road. Tractors of all sorts show up for this annual event; from working farm tractors to lawn tractors. There have even been a few steam engine tractors in the past.
So come out to Milford for the weekend on September 17 & 18 and enjoy the historic homes, an indie rock concert, the classic cars and the tractors. Stay and enjoy the many fine restaurants that are to be found in Milford. On Saturday you can also enjoy the great local shops in the downtown area and be sure to stop by the Milford Historical Museum for the lace making display and demonstrations.
We'll see you in Milford this weekend.