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Home Sales Remain Steady, Prices Slip in October


By Andrew Einsmann

In October, the Germantown housing market saw a leveling off period as more people are into the school year grind. A total of 78 houses were sold resulting in a total volume of $23.7 million dollars of housing.

While the total units sold increased by 1 unit from September, the median price had decreased from the month before. In September, 77 houses were sold at a total volume of $25 million. The average days for a house to be on the market, has increase to 60 days which is 10 days more than last month and increase of the days on the market as last year.

We are seeing a slowdown in the market which is a standard occurrence when school is in full swing. This is the time of year that is time of year in this area where buyers need to seriously consider taking their property off the market. A little know local real estate secret is that if you take you house off the market for 90 days or more and re-list in the spring, it appears on the multiple listing service as 0 days in the market and appears and if you just listed your property for the first time.

Here are tips for preparing your home for the winter:

We are supposed to have one of the coldest January’s on record so it is not too late to heed the advice below to help keep your heating bills low and keep your house warm.

1. Slowly Condition Your Home to Cooler Temperatures

As soon as our homes get chilly, the kneejerk reaction is to run to the thermostat and crank up the heat. While our bodies are instantly grateful for our natural impulses, our wallets will start to feel the pain not long after. Try an experiment and lower it by one degree each week for a month, slowly try changing the temperature you are used to and let your body adjust. Wear a sweatshirt if this is a difficult adjustment. This tip has the potential to save you quite a bit of money this winter.

Another great tip to help your home capture more heat during the winter is to seal or wrap your windows to prevent cold air from seeping in, and open the blinds and curtains in the morning to take advantage of the natural heat from the sun that will pour through your windows and help raise the temperature of those rooms a bit.

2. Kick Rodents and Other Pests to the Curb

During the milder months, the weather is nice enough that we generally don't have to worry about vermin taking over our homes—they're enjoying the outdoors as much as we are. But when the temps take a dive, everybody runs for cover… even the creepy-crawlies.

To help keep this nightmare scenario such as rodents, spiders, cockroaches, and other pests, here are a few steps to ensure your home is home to only you and your family:

a) Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your home to help prevent rodents from getting inside. Be sure to check the areas where utilities and pipes enter the home. A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime.

b) Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.

c) Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home.

d) Rodents can hide in clutter, so keep storage areas well organized, and store boxes off of the floor.

e) Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.

f) Keep attics, basements, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens in windows.

g) Screen vents to chimneys.

3. Stock Up on Your Outdoor Hardware

Do an early check to make sure you have rakes, shovels, snow blowers, sidewalk salt, and other winter cleanup items that you'll need to keep everybody safe who will step on to your property before, during, and after a winter-weather event. Rush the hardware store a day before and you'll likely find very little stock left or face supply-and-demand pricing, which will only make matters worse.

4. Clear Vents and Chimneys to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Mishaps

Here are 2 things to remember about chimneys and house detectors: Inspect vents and chimneys to make sure they are unobstructed. Clear debris -- anything around a vent or chimney needs to be removed as it can block the exhaust, which can cause carbon monoxide to back up into the home as well as trigger heating system shut-off or malfunction.

Install, check and/or replace smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Both fire and carbon monoxide can be deadly and silent. Manufacturers recommend replacing detectors every five years.

5. Take Preventative Measures Against Pipe Freezing

WikiHow has a great step-by-step DIY article on how to properly prevent pipes from freezing,

I suggest "check to ensure sprinkler systems are blown out and winterized and exterior faucets and water lines are insulated; drain the air conditioner pipes; and if your air conditioner has a water shut-off valve, turn it off." These are good thing to do so that you do not have problems when we thaw out in the spring.

6. Replace Shingles and Clean Your Gutters

Hop up on the roof to inspect and replace any loose shingles to avoid a potentially devastating in-home disaster from melting precipitation that could make its way inside. At the same time, clean out your gutters to remove leaves, sticks, and other debris that can block the flow of rain and melting snow and ice and which also will put an added strain on your gutters with additional precipitation on top of it.

7. Prepare Your House and Family For The Snow

There might be days this winter where we get up to 10-inches of snow. You have to be prepared to have your family around for a full 24 hours around you. Make sure that you have the entertainment necessary for them to keep them occupied or they will do things that might damage your house.


About the Author: Andrew Einsmann is a local Germantown Real Estate Agent with eight years of experience. He has been involved in the community as part of the Upcounty Citizens Advisor board and a long-time resident of Germantown and Montgomery County. For any real estate questions just ask.


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