It’s that time of year again when 40% of Americans set goals to improve their quality of life. By year’s end, statistics suggest only 8% of us will have followed through.
To increase your odds for success, it helps to have goals that are simple and tangible. So for all you homeowners out there, I’ve come up with a few that meet those criteria. See if there are any that will fit your list.
- Get your home radon tested. It may not be as sexy as “Remodeling the Kitchen” or “Painting the Living Room” but testing for radon in your home is important and should definitely be on your 2018 To Do List if you haven’t done it already. According to the National Cancer Institute radon is a radioactive gas released from the normal decay of elements like uranium, in rocks and soil. It enters your home through cracks in floors, walls, or foundations and collects indoors. You can’t detect it because it’s invisible, odorless and tasteless but without you knowing, it could be damaging your lungs and putting you at risk for cancer.
The good news is that you can test your home for radon levels and if they are high, you can choose among several options for mitigating the gas and reducing it to a level that is considered safe. You can buy a kit and do the testing yourself or hire a professional. I’ve had it done in my home and found a level that was slightly elevated so took measures to correct that. My neighbor did the same, and although he is right next door, his levels were much higher. Levels can be influenced by the type of construction, heating and ventilation systems, and geology so it’s important to find out what the levels are in your home even if your neighbors have done so and found no risk.
There is a Portland Radon Map updated for 2017 which lists the risk level according to zip codes based on homes that have been tested in that area. In Lake Oswego, both 97034 and 97035 are considered moderate risk.
- Maintain your roof. Luckily in Oregon we have changing seasons but with that comes a lot of wear and tear on our roofs from rain, hail, windblown debris, snow, and UV exposure. That’s why it’s important to do an annual checkup or even more frequently, particularly after a major storm. Keeping your roof clean limits the wear and tear and hopefully heads off expensive repairs. It also extends the life of your roof and keeps it looking good. Out of all of my real estate deals each year, I’d say roof issues factor into 15% of my sales. By maintaining your roof on a regular basis, you can potentially avoid it becoming a concern for buyers should you decide to sell.
- Take inventory. This is one of those items I haven’t updated in years and need to do so. With Christmas just behind us, chances are you have some new items around the house like a big screen TV or iPad. Now’s a perfect time to document them for insurance purposes should the need arise down the road. Choose the medium that works best for you—video, photos or pen and paper. Just be sure to also include model and serial numbers and receipts if you have them. Then store the information somewhere outside your home, either uploaded into online file storage like DropBox or Google Drive or in a safe deposit box at your bank.
- Get to know your neighbors. When my wife and I lived in an apartment the first six months of our marriage, we managed to not meet any of our neighbors until moving out day. But when we moved to Lake Oswego we made a conscious effort to make connections with neighbors both right next door and in our town and it has paid off. Not only does it make our house feel more like a home, we’ve also relied on our neighbors for many things. Once my wife returned home and found the front door wide open. Afraid to explore inside alone, she walked across the street and returned with our neighbor Sandy who was armed with a baseball bat just in case (not needed). Last month we were gone for a week and my next door neighbor Mark brought in my garbage cans and kept an eye on the place for which I returned the favor over Christmas vacation. We’ve borrowed (and loaned) yard equipment, trailers, and even cups of sugar. We’ve attended anniversary and graduation parties, and shared recommendations on handymen and plumbers. Back in 1986 when our basement was flooding, neighbors showed up on our doorstep willing to move furniture to higher ground and watch our pets. Good neighbors help your roots run deeper. The only drawback I can think of is it might make it a little harder to move if you find yourself not only leaving a house but friends behind.
If you’ve resolved to sell your home or buy one, let me help! Check out my website or give me a call at 503.939.9801. I’ve been helping folks move in, out and on for over 25 years and I’d love to put that experience to work for you.