Last Minute Home on Sale Preparations for Winter

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams ELITE Realty
Winter is always been part of Canadian life, but there are still people who tend to overlook important things regarding winter preparation. Same is true about vacant homes currently on sale. The lonely house may be vulnerable for blizzard nights, freezing pipes, ice dams or may become shelter for animals. In any way, they can do damage to the property if we leave it unprepared. Here are some quick checklist for last minute home maintenance checks before the snow flies in.

Furnace & Fireplace
Either you use it or not better make sure that these heating fixtures are working. This will make sure that they actually work during winter anytime prospects come and see the house.

-Troubleshoot the furnace make sure that the thermostat is working and is running smoothly.
-Stock up some firewood for the fireplace, fuel for the furnace.
-Screen or cap chimneys to keep birds and rodents away.
-Call a chimney sweeper to clean soot and creosote off the chimney (if you haven’t done it yet)
-inspect the over-all masonry for the chimney, is a brick is cracked or damaged, repair it right away.
-Check heating vents for obstacles.

Air Conditioning units
These cost hundreds of dollars for replacement if leave it in the cold. Better secure them than sorry.
-Jet cleaned and cover it with a waterproof material to protect the components from debris, water and rust.
-Drain all the water off the tubes and if your AC has a water valve, turn it off.
-If you have a window-type AC, remove it then store for the winter. If you can’t, then cover it like the way we protect outdoor AC condensers.

Exteriors, doors and windows
-Check cracks on exterior walls and seal them off with putty, keeping the wall water-free.
-Double check door and window locks to make sure they will not blown away during a blizzard. See if the windows need upgrading like installing storm windows. Weatherstripping will also help prevent cold air form entering the house.
-See if you need to trim-off branches that can hit the windows during a strong blizzard.

Roof, Gutters, Dropouts
-Add insulation to the attic to minimize heat creeping up the roof. This will prevent ice dam formations that causes the water to leak on the ceiling and do damage.

For other roof maintenance, click here: How long does a roof last?: Tips in making sure it will

-Rake-off debris and plant growth from the foundation.
-Seal-off all entry points to keep animals from nesting under the house. A vacant house is
the most perfect hideout for animals. Check for holes where rodents can slip in and secure it.
-Check wooden components of the house for rotting and other pest infestations.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Some cities require any of these detectors in every room. You will never know if the ones you have are still fine until you check it out. Make sure that these devices are working before you leave the house for the winter.

Frozen pipelines can crack because of the expanding ice.

-Make sure to locate the main pipe where you can immediately shut it of in cases needed.
-Drain all water from garden hoses.
-Insulate all exposed plumbing.
-once in a while, visit the house and locate any frozen pipes. Thaw and repair the pipes according on maintenance instructions as plastic pipes are thawed differently form metal pipes.
-If no tap water flowing it means that the underground pipes are frozen. The only solution is to rebury the pipes deeper.  

Yard and Patio

-Check the wood on you deck if it needs a fresh coat of sealer to make it more water resistant.
-Cover all patio/deck furniture.
-Add anti-slip mats on common walk-though paths.
-Visit the house after a serious snow fall to shovel off snow in the front yard. If you can’t then call someone who can do it for you.

Emergency Kits
Have a handy-dandy emergency kit ready with you. You might need it when you visit the house. Have extra food and blankets tucked in the car too just in-cases you get stuck on the house for some any untoward winter incident. Have a list of phone numbers pinned on a wall that is relevant to the address of the house. This will make help to arrive faster when you need it.
Posted by

The Josh Bath Team

Keller Williams Elite Realty


Comments (2)

Ronald DiLalla
Century 21 Discovery DRE 01813824 - Anaheim, CA
No. Orange Cty Real Estate

Hi Josh,  thank goodness we don't have to deal with this here in Southern California...

Nov 21, 2011 05:39 PM
Josh Bath
Keller Williams ELITE Realty - Coquitlam, BC
The Josh Bath Team

Yeah. Winters can get rough up here. We just have to prep those vacant homes the way we winterize our own homes -just to minimize on repair costs.  

Nov 22, 2011 10:14 AM