5 Essential Safety Measures for Your Home This Holiday Season

The holidays & New Years are just around the corner, it’s time for some home maintenance before guests arrive. Much of the country experiences snowy conditions during the holiday season. And with snow, comes accidents–with accidents, there are expensive repairs, and perhaps even medical bills. You certainly don’t want to be the holiday party host whose guests had to evacuate the party because the holiday decorations caught on fire or slipped on icy stairs. Rather than becoming liable for these accidents, take a few extra steps to host a warm, comfortable party that can be enjoyed by all. When it comes to winter home safety, here are five small steps you can take.

Stairs

Check your stairs. I cannot emphasize the importance of having safe, functional stairs, especially when hosting guests. Check both indoor and outdoor stairs. If everything is as it should be and in working order, check to make sure you also have stable railing and if it’s outside you must spread salt down them as well.

Smoke Detector Maintenance

DT2B9197Change your smoke detector batteries at least twice a year and be sure to have a few extra on hand.Test your detectors before lighting candles, setting up holiday lights, or cooking for guests. By taking these quick steps you can have peace of mind knowing your fire detectors are active and alert.

Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detector

Not only are smoke detectors important this time of year, but also, carbon monoxide detectors are especially important in the winter. Carbon monoxide can sneak up on you & your family. Place CO2 detectors on each floor of your home, and close to bedrooms to ensure you have a protective detection method in place to keep you & your loved ones safe. Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by remembering not to heat your home with a gas range or oven, and do not warm your car or idle it in a closed garage.

Clean Vents & Chimneys

Don’t forget to clean out your vents and chimneys, as during the colder months, your heater has been working overtime. This simple task is an effective way to prevent house fires (and to optimize warmth). Whether your home has traditional vents or a dramatic masonry fireplace, be sure to keep an out for buildup.

Walkways

Whether there is ice or snow on your walkways always do your best to clear the paths as soon as possible. Clearing these walkways of ice, snow, leaves, and branches is an important step in prepping your home for holiday guests. Don’t forget to throw salt on your sidewalks and paths as well. As far as company is concerned, ice is only good in drinks.

If you’d prefer to focus on preparing the food and beverages this holiday season instead of fretting over these safety measures, our multi-skilled craftsmen can do it for you! Contact Handyman Matters at 866-FIX-MY-HOME or Book Online today!

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TAKE A FEW MOMENTS AS VETERAN’S DAY APPROACHES

On this Veteran’s Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free.

Dan Lipinski

As Veteran’s Day approaches, we wanted to take a few moments to celebrate the day and to recognize those brave men and women who have served our country in the various branches of the military, including those Handyman Matters / Ace Handyman owners who number among those brave and dedicated citizens.

Originally called “Armistice Day,” the day saluting our military veterans came into being on November 11, 1919.  Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to the living ones who served their country honorably during both war and peacetime.

November 11th was the designated day in honor of “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918 that signaled the end of World War I.  In 1954, President Eisenhower officially rechristened it Veterans Day.

In 1968, Congress voted to move the event to the fourth Monday in October.  The law went into effect in 1971, but President Ford returned the day to November 11th in 1975, due to the historical significance of the original date.

Many veterans now work in a wide range of fields, from manufacturing and retail to transportation and the entertainment industry, as laborers, managers, and executives, according to U.S. Census data.  The largest contingent of veterans, about 14 percent, works in public service or administration, which isn’t really surprising given its close relationship to military service.

~ S. Post Office Inspector General

We want to extend a personal note of appreciation and gratitude to those brave members of our Handyman Matters / Ace Handyman family who are military veterans, as well:

  • Mark Bushong, U.S. Air Force
  • Roger Clark, U.S. Army
  • Richard Compton, U.S. Marine Corps.
  • Mike Sitek, U.S. Navy

Thank you, gentlemen, for your service to our country!

 

HANDYMAN MATTERS NAMED ONE OF AMERICA’S BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE COMPANIES BY NEWSWEEK FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR

Handyman Matters rated one of America’s Best Companies for Customer Service for the Second Year in Row!
Handyman Matters rated one of America’s Best Companies for Customer Service for the Second Year in Row!

Handyman Matters has once again been recognized as a top Brand as part of Newsweek’s list of America’s Best Companies for Customer Service for 2020. Similar to last year, an independent study used data from a survey of more than 20,000 US customers and focused solely on Customer Service.

Statista conducted the study for Newsweek and focused on a number of criteria, which included, but was not limited to, communication processes, range of services offered, technical abilities, and recommendation likelihood.

“This recognition is continued validation of our Service Path process and true focus on the customer experience.” Claimed Chris Bue, CEO of Handyman Matters. “Our owners continue to exceed the customer expectation and it shows with this recognition two years in a row!”

Handyman Matters’ locally owned and operated locations provide background checked, multi-skilled craftsmen, who can handle a homeowners’ to-do list.  The Half Day Package continues to be the most sought-after service from customers, allowing a Craftsman to get numerous items or tasks done around the home completed in four hours.

Kim Hobden, General Manager of the North Metro Denver location stated, “So proud of our TEAM and how hard they have worked to accomplish this for the second time.  It was nice to be recognized last year, but to do it again this year truly shows the commitment we are making to our customers.”

Handyman Matters guarantees their work and offers a “like it’s our home” Promise. Check out why Handyman Matters is different HERE.

WHAT IS A HALF-DAY PACKAGE, AND WHY DO I WANT IT?

Not everyone is familiar with this service, or why it may be exactly what you are looking for, so allow us to give you a clearer picture as to why this might be just what you and your home need!

With this offering, you can tailor a 4-hour visit from your local Handyman Matters office to tackle a wide variety of small repairs and fixes—whatever needs doing around your place!

Over time, it’s natural to have little household things break or stop working altogether.  Because these are often minor inconveniences, they tend to get put on a “honey-do” list, things to be addressed later when you or your spouse has the time to tackle them.  And we all know just how this usually goes… we just keep putting off the fix!

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It’s human nature to adjust to minor problems and to find ways to work around them.  There’s the kitchen drawer that becomes difficult to open or close; the cupboard door that starts to sag, or no longer closes all the way; the sliding door that no longer sits properly on its runner.  In the short term, we cope by only opening the door carefully, or avoiding using the drawer altogether.  After all, these are just little problems, and after a while, they somehow become “the new normal.”  It’s amazing how we stop thinking about these being issues at all… they’re just the quirks we’ve learned to maneuver around.

Now, stop and think about all of this for a minute…  Take a stroll through your home as if you were a guest or even a prospective buyer.  Take note of the little things you’ve been meaning to get around to fix when you have the time.  It’s likely you’ll be surprised at just how many of them there are—not just one or two, but a half-dozen or more things just begging for some attention.  For example:

  • Rips in the screen door or window screens
  • A fence with sagging or missing pickets
  • A cluttered, disorganized garage
  • A dripping kitchen or bathroom faucet
  • Shelving you’ve never gotten around to installing
  • Holes or gouges in the drywall
  • A faulty smoke detector that needs replacing
  • A grimy backsplash that has long needed replacing
  • A television or other appliance that’s been waiting to be hooked up
  • The shower door that isn’t closing properly
  • Peeling paint in the bathroom or laundry room

Okay, you probably don’t have that many things needing attention, but it’s likely you’ve got enough to take advantage of the Handyman Matters Half-Day Package.  It’s amazing just how many small repairs and problems can be addressed in a single 4-hour period.  In just half a day, it can feel as if your home has undergone an entire facelift.

So rather than continue to add small projects to that ever-growing “honey-do” list that never seems to get any smaller, give your local Handyman Matters office a call for a consultation with a friendly TEAM Coordinator who will listen carefully to you in order to be able advise you as to how we can best meet your needs.  And of course, the conversation comes with no obligation to book our service.

Remember, too, that if you’re concerned you have more projects than can be tackled in four hours, we also offer a Full-Day 8-hour package, as well.  We’re here to help you love your home!

 

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CRAFTSMAN SPOTLIGHT

The Craftsmen here at Handyman Matters put a ton of passion and pride into their jobs and are always seeking to help you love your home.  Check out the story and background of a few of our Craftsmen. 

Marc Vandendriessche – Lead Master Craftsman
Handyman Matters of The Woodlands

Marc joined Handyman Matters of The Woodlands in August 2017.  He is a 30-year career professional in commercial and residential construction.  Marc owned and operated a construction business for 10-years that specialized in residential remodeling and repairs.  Marc is extremely knowledgeable with home improvement projects and is truly a multi-skilled craftsman, mastering several trades including carpentry, tiling and drywall repairs.  Marc is highly skilled at estimating projects and customer service.

Marc Vandendriessche
Marc Vandendriessche

Marc is our Lead Master Craftsman and consistently performs above expectations. He is a master at multiple trades and accepts nothing less than high-quality craftsmanship. Customers request Marc’s services and will wait until he is available for their work. I rely on Marc’s knowledge as an owner in the construction business and am pleased to accept his input into growing the business.

As you can see from the below Rate-a-Biz & Google reviews, Marc has quite the following.

Aug 2019 —Mr. Marc Vandendriessche is very professional, friendly and did an amazing job (crown molding). I’m very happy and will use this service again

July 2019–Extremely Professional
Marc worked for me for 5 days on 4 separate projects and I have to give him an A+ on all the work. As well, friends visiting the house found the work to be outstanding. The back office billing is efficient and professional as well. I highly recommend this team for any project.

June 2019
Marc did a great job repairing/ restoring my wood entry door. He explained the process and used quality materials. The door looks new again. I will definitely call on Marc for future repair work.

May 2019–JUST AS EXPECTED
This was the third “nuisance” home project Marc has helped us with, and just as before, the work was impeccable. Marc is an artist with Bondo on water-damaged doors. Always on time, friendly, courteous, efficient, you name a positive adjective. Marc lives at the top of our “to call” list.

March 2019–Outstanding job
Marc was very efficient and knowledgeable of his craft, he understood exactly what I needed to be done and he completed it in a timely manner. Great quality work

April 2019
Marc did an excellent job for us. Professional and personable. He answered our questions and explained the hows and steps he took to get the job completed. Would recommend your company to family and friends.

Nov 2018
Marc is a great handyman, he had a reasonable solution for everything that was out of the norm. Very clean and neat. I would use this service again.

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Don Ingram- Lead Craftsman
Handyman Matters of Southeast Columbus

Don Ingram
Don Ingram

Don Ingram has been with us almost since the conception of Handyman Matters Northeast Columbus. In August, he celebrated his 5 year work anniversary. Since he first began with us he has been a dedicated and loyal employee who shows up every single day ready to give his best. He began as a craftsman and after two years was promoted to field supervisor. He served in this position for two years at our Westerville office. When we decided to open a second location we turned to Don to lead our new crew in Pickerington. He is a tremendous problem solver, continuous learner, and loves to pass any knowledge he has on to other craftsmen. We would not have been able to grow our Westerville office to the size it is without Don, nor would we be able to start a second office as quickly and successfully if it weren’t for Don.

Here are a few of the latest reviews-

Just the right craftsperson with just the right skills and attitude at just the right time.
In the process of updating old residence to sell. Husband didn’t want to install 3 faucets, smoke alarm, and didn’t have time to install 4 lights. There were other issues of concern as well. Don was the craftsman. We received the half day handyman special. Had a list of 7 different “to do” projects prioritized from most-want-done to least. Reviewed all with Don. Based on his experience he noted some as not necessarily a problem / needed (we’re not exceptionally handy). I asked lots of questions and he even told me how to install floor transitions. Want someone to come in, be knowledgeable, have experience, do quality work in a professional manner but not interested in listening to up sale pitches, unnecessary banter, or worker’s preferred music for duration of their visit? Want someone to concentrate on your tasks and not take calls arranging their next customer/project while they are on yours? Don and Handyman Matters fulfilled all those expectations. Would call them again and request Don again because of this excellent experience. He was just the right person sent at just the right time. Thank you!

Don did an excellent job. He is always very professional. Told me everything he was going to do. Excellent worker. I would recommend this company to anyone.

Thanks Don for a job well done
Don came a day early and arrived at our house early enough to inspect our issue and look for other areas in need of attention. He repaired the original problem and potential damage. We plan to use your service again for some electrical work.

Excellent work with Don finishing basement project a couple yrs ago. Just had Handymanmatters put in a custom shower. Don did a great job, good at cleaning up each day, time used wisely and I am happy with the overall project.

Love this company!
Don came out today to assemble a new swing set and remove our old one. He was prompt, courteous, did great work, and was patient with my nosy dog and very impatient five year old. We have yet to have anything but a stellar experience from Handyman’s Matters.

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Chris Cooper – Field Supervisor
Handyman Matters of  Johnson County & Kansas City, KS

Chris Cooper
Chris Cooper

Chris Cooper has been with Handyman Matters of Johnson County, KS since April 2011.  During his eight years with us, he has gone from Craftsman, to Lead Craftsman, to Field Supervisor.  Besides estimating and leading jobs, Chris is hands-on with projects that he has expertise in.

In his current role of Field Supervisor, half of Chris’s time is spent working on large projects as the customer contact and go-to for the craftsmen on the jobs.

The other employees look to Chris for his expertise and assistance all through the day on all kinds of projects! Another positive aspect that Chris brings to Handyman Matters is his ability to train.  During team meetings, Chris will put together demonstrations and trainings on anything from measuring for stair stringers, to wiring 3-way switches, to drywall patches, and so much more!

Not only do the other employees at our office appreciate all that Chris brings to the table, but so do our customers!  Below are a few reviews that highlight some of Chris’s efficiency, professionalism, and can-do attitude!

“Chris has been to my home twice and both times was extremely efficient and professional in making the repairs as requested. I would highly recommend this guy as he has the skills and know how to fix things right! I do want to make a suggestion and this is not a slight on him, the company might want to supply shoe covers for them to wear upon entering customers’ residence. On a scale of 1 to 10, Chris gets a 10 from me.”     —Charles L. (6/16/19)

“Chris Cooper was excellent performing a difficult repair in an efficient manner. He was able to solve every configuration and design problem and actually left the door assembly in better condition than when it was new. This is the guy you need to request if you need a construction related repair and in particular any repair on a storm door.”     –JD B. (5/7/19)

Great professional work again!
“Chris added to his crew to get our fence work done very well before the snow yesterday!”     –Dan O. (11/9/18)

Friendly, professional service.
“This was the second time I used Handyman Matters. I was pleased the first time and so contacted them again when several items were beyond what I could do. Chris arrived right on time and got busy with my list. Later he was joined by Daniel. They assembled a king-size bed, installed a ceiling light and fan, hung 6 window blinds, balanced the washing machine and repaired a broken hinge. Unfortunately, the bed broke the first night! When I called to report that, Daniel came right out and discovered the problem. He made the repair for no additional charge since their work is warranted.”     –Lorene M. (10/8/18)

Chris and Laurie
Chris and Laurie

Challenging Older House
“I appreciated working with Laurel Thompson for the contract negotiations. Chris was the supervising carpenter and met each of the technical challenges on this project. Experience and expertise were essential plus communication skills so that I understood what the best solution was as we progressed.

Would I recommend handyman matters…yes, with confidence that they will do a great job!”     –John Q. (10/3/18)

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Sean Gibbons, Craftsman
Handyman Matters North and South Denver

Sean Gibbons
Sean Gibbons

Sean started in April of 2018. He came to us after retiring as a former CFO for Nissan Corp.  He moved here to Colorado to be closer to his kids and extended family.  Not quite ready to fully retire and since his wife Sharon is still working, he looked for a part-time job that allowed him to use his hands, flexible scheduling and keeping his mind active.

At first, probably due to coming from a white-collar desk world, he struggled a bit with understanding the position and the industry.  However, Sean immediate latched onto the Brand and handling customers.  From that, he was able to learn more about the trades from other craftsmen on staff which gave him the rest of the tools he needed to excel in our organization.

Today, Sean is one of our main producers and is giving back to the rest of the team in ways that surprise everyone including himself.  His giving back is heavily centered around how to apply the Brand experience which has taught us all how powerful that piece of our model is to everyone and everything.  He is the perfect example of our Service Path.

To back it up, you can find that Sean has the most reviews submitted and there isn’t a customer complaint to this day on his work.  He represents the HM brand to the fullest.  He also has the highest in repeat customers currently on our TEAM.    His paperwork and use of Dispatch is always complete and accurate. Sean is now a full-time employee and proudly sports a company van.

We count ourselves so lucky every day to have him on the TEAM!

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Booking Online. It’s Easy.

No one has time anymore these days.

If you find yourself frequently saying, “Sorry, life’s just been so crazy lately” or texting, “I haven’t had two seconds to myself,” you’re not alone. Recent studies have shown with the shift in the work force to two working parents, there’s barely room for family time, much less tackling that list of small repairs around the house that just seems to keep growing each day!

Day or Night

As your home ally, Handyman Matters is here to make those challenges easier for you by taking some of those to-do items off of that list.  You can easily book all of your home improvements and repair projects online with just the click of a button—day or night!

Here’s how to make it happen:
First, prioritize the list of items you’d most like to have us tackle for you.

Once, you’ve made your list, visit HandymanMatters.com, where you can enter your zip code to take you to the homepage of the Handyman Matters office nearest you.  Once there, click on the “Offers” tab in the upper right-hand corner.  Once you’re there, you’ll see both our Half Day and Full Day packages.  The Half Day package provides you 4 hours of the services of a professional and qualified craftsman; the Full Day package gives you 8 hours.

By consulting your own to-do list, you can determine which of these choices best serves your needs, and plan accordingly.  Once you’ve decided, you can book your project online, 24/7.  It’s a simple and cost-effective way to arrange a visit from your local Handyman Matters office, and one less thing to keep you from enjoying some quality time with family and friends.

Visit HandymanMatters.com anytime and book your project online 24/7—when it’s most convenient for you!

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FIRE SAFETY & PREVENTION

Statistics can be quite alarming. But they can also be motivational, pushing you to take the necessary steps to make your home as safe as it can be.  The NFPA produced a report issued in December of 2018, outlining the devastation fires can cause.

Key findings were:

  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 355,400 home structure fires per year during 2012-2016. These fires caused an annual average of:

* 2,560 civilian fire deaths
* 11,670 civilian fire injuries
* $6.5 billion in direct property damage

  • Four of every five (80%) fire deaths and three of every four fire injuries (74%) were caused by home fires.
  • On average, seven people died in U.S. home fires per day.
  • Cooking equipment was the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries, and the second leading cause of home fire death. Smoking materials were the leading cause of civilian home fire deaths over the period, although this was not true every year.

Take the time to learn more about how you can protect your home, family and pets.  A good place to start is at the NFPA website. There are so many simple things one can do that can make the difference, literally, between life and death.

Consider how easy it is to:

  • Fire WeekEnsure your home has functioning Smoke Detectors. Test them regularly.
  • Change batteries out annually.
  • Devise an escape plan.
  • Choose a safe meeting point outside.
  • Practice at least twice a year.

Fire Prevention Week is a great reminder to be focused on Fire Prevention and Fire Safety in your home, but in reality, this is something that we should be doing throughout the year.  Dedicate the week of October 6th to implementing the steps above in your home, and then make it a regular practice to revisit these practices throughout the year so that your family can be ready any time if the need should arise.

AUTUMN OUTDOOR PROJECTS TO READY YOUR HOME FOR WINTER

It seems like it was just days ago we were setting out the patio furniture and pots of geraniums and petunias in anticipation of the summer season.  Yet, we blink a couple of times, and already autumn is knocking at the door. Of course, we still have a few warm weeks ahead, but it’s not too soon to conduct an inventory of those tasks that are best tackled before colder weather makes them more of a challenge.

Clogged Gutter_smallYou may have cleaned your gutters and downspouts in the spring, but another inspection is in order as more leaves and pine needles start to fall in the next couple of months.  You want to be certain those waterways are cleared of all debris before colder temperatures set in, causing back-ups that may lead to ice dams and damage to eaves and gutters.

Speaking of downspouts, consider adding extensions to these to allow water to drain further away from your home’s foundation.  Three feet from the house is an optimal distance to allow water to run off.

If you’ve got a lawn-irrigation system in place, plan on having it drained well before temperature dip toward freezing.

Trim any tree limbs that extend over your roof, and especially those near any chimney.  Clear shrubbery and bushes at least one foot away from exterior walls and the foundation.  This allows for better ventilation and helps to dry out surfaces and prevent decay and mold.

Inspect your walkways, railings, exterior stairs and steps and your driveway to make sure everything is in good shape and won’t present any sorts of hazards in the colder months when they may be icy or covered in snow.

If you have a snow blower, make sure it’s in good working order.  Now is the time to have it serviced if there’s a problem, rather than when snow is already on the ground.  And make a note to purchase fuel well in advance of the first snowstorm.

Inspect doors and windows for damage to weatherstripping and caulking.  It’s much more pleasant to re-caulk and to replace weatherstripping on a sunny warm afternoon now than it will be when the wind is howling and the thermometer is hovering around 32 degrees!

Many of the tasks listed above can be tackled by even those of us with minimal repair skills.  But for those projects that require a bit more expertise, or if you just don’t have the time to address even the simpler ones, your local Handyman Matters Craftsman is ready and eager to help you get your home and property ready for the colder months that are just around the corner!

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PREPPING YOUR HOME FOR A SUMMER SALE

Seasonality plays an important role in the housing market. Home buying and selling activities swell during the spring and summer months of the year, and trail off during the fall and winter, according to Housingwire.com.

As a homeowner, you want to get top price for your property. This means presenting your house in its very best light. It’s important to prioritize repairs and upgrades so that you aren’t spending money unnecessarily on things that aren’t going to provide a good return on the investment or even impress prospective buyers. Your goal is to have everything looking good without spending an arm and a leg in the process.

Your home’s exterior is the first thing buyers will see. If you’ve got a fence enclosing the yard, make sure it’s in good shape: replace any sagging or missing boards, and be sure there are no stains or chipped and missing paint.  Keep the grass neatly trimmed and add sod if there are brown or dead patches.  Porch decorations and furnishings should appear clean and new; otherwise, store them out of sight.  Remove weeds and trim bushes and branches.  Keep your driveway and your walks free of leaves, dirt and other debris. Plant a few flowers for added curb appeal.

Replace missing shingles and make sure your gutters, siding, and shutters are clean and in good shape.  Fresh paint on trim will go a long way toward revitalizing your home’s exterior.

Summer Sale_blogKitchens and bathrooms are big selling points in any home.  It isn’t necessary to buy all new appliances or to do a complete renovation, since it’s likely a new owner will want to put their own “touch” on these spots once they move in, but replace fixtures, drawer pulls and perhaps even cabinet doors if these are outdated, scuffed or showing wear of any kind. Consider upgrading your lighting, particularly if it’s original to the house. It can go a long way in making a room look brighter and more welcoming.

Study your bathrooms carefully, as though you’ve never walked into them before now, looking at them through the eyes of a potential buyer.  Make sure the grout around the bathtub and shower is clean and mildew-free.  If necessary, regrout around tub and tiles; it’s a quick and relatively easy procedure, and it will make a huge difference in the room’s appearance.  Polish away any rust or water stains in sinks, tubs, and toilets.  Replacing just the seat can make the entire toilet look new.  If the walls look dingy or faded, a good paint job will bring the room back to life.  As with your kitchen, give some thought to upgrading the lighting.  And don’t forget to polish the mirrors!

Make sure all wooden floors shine and all rugs and carpeted areas are freshly shampooed and vacuumed.  Hardwood floors remain the most popular choice among homeowners, but there’s little point in replacing your old carpeting—unless it’s looking particularly worn or outdated—since a buyer will almost certainly have his or her own specific choice in mind once they’re ready to move in.

Check to be certain that all the “little things” are working the way they should.  Are any doorknobs loose or difficult to turn?  Is the garage door working well?  How about the garbage disposal?  Make sure there are fresh lightbulbs in every socket and even new batteries in the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.  Wipe fingerprints and smudges off of the thermostats and light switches.  “The devil is in the details,” they say.

Many of these suggestions are things you can tackle on your own, but remember that your local Handyman Matters TEAM is always available to help with any and all household “honey-dos,” small or large.

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SUMMERTIME TOUCH-UP JOBS AROUND YOUR HOME

The warmer months lend themselves to a handful of household improvement tasks that can be accomplished with a minimum of fuss and preparation, still leaving you with plenty of time for pursuing more enjoyable pastimes.

For starters:
Ideally, gutters should be cleaned twice a year, in the spring and again in the autumn, freeing them from debris and clogs that can cause back-up and flooding in summer and ice dams in winter.  Cleaning gutters requires no particular skill beyond owning a ladder and avoiding unnecessary risks (it’s always wise to alert a family member or friend to what you’re doing before you climb up a ladder, just to be safe). Tackling this job in the spring allows you to also inspect for leaks and breaks and, if need be, arrange to have them replaced while the weather is still good.

Take time to inspect all of your windows, checking to see how well they’ve come through the brutal winter months, and, if needed, now would be the time to re-caulk the casings and frames.  This serves a dual purpose since it both keeps warm air out and cool air inside (and the reverse in winter, reducing your energy bills) and prevents rain and hail from seeping into walls, potentially causing mold or rot.

While we’re on the topic of windows, summer is the ideal time to wash them—a task nobody particularly enjoys–but here’s a tip for making the job a little easier and less frustrating:  Prewash the glass with soapy water, rinse and then wash again with a solution of 50% distilled (white) vinegar and 50% hot water.  Vinegar is non-toxic and naturally antibacterial and is great for breaking down the film that often forms on the glass.  Afterward, rinse with plain water and dry right away, preferably with a damp squeegee, running it from the top of the glass to the bottom.  Remember, too, not to wash your windows when the sun is shining directly on them.

Consider landscaping ideas that are both attractive and practical.  Well-placed trees provide not only shade but protection for your home against chilly wind blasts in winter and sun beating down on windows in summer.  Consult with your local nursery for xeriscaping suggestions, matching plants to your home’s soil conditions and those that require minimal watering.

Additionally, trim existing bushes and relocate plants that may be growing close enough to your home’s siding or foundation to cause damage.

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Finally, while this doesn’t fall precisely into the “simple and quick” category, keep in mind that summer is a convenient time to tackle interior painting and flooring jobs, since warmer weather allows you to have the windows open so fumes from paint, varnish, and glue don’t overwhelm you, your family, and pets.

You can tackle all—or just a few—of these suggested tasks and then retire to your patio or garden with a cool drink in hand, knowing you are enjoying a well-earned rest!

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