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January
4

Pet Friendly Tips

Cold winter weather can be hard on us humans, but it's not easy on our four-legged friends either! Our real estate agents want to make sure your pets stay safe this season, so be sure to take these safety tips into account if you're out there looking at Rockingham County homes for sale!

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June
12

5 Tips for Staying Cool in Staunton without Breaking the Budget

Cooling Down A/C Costs

Summer is just around the corner in Staunton and your A/C system will soon be working overtime. There's nothing like stepping through the door of your comfortable, air-conditioned home after a day in the summer sun--the good news is that keeping your home cool doesn't have to break the bank. Our REALTORS® have created these simple, money-saving, home cooling tips so you don't have to sacrifice air-conditioned comfort this summer.

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March
6

5 Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

March Home Maintenance Checklist

As daffodils burst open and trees sprout green leaves, it's a sign March is here and it will soon be spring in West Virginia and Virginia. Warmer temperatures, less precipitation and longer days give you the chance to tackle those home maintenance chores winter weather might have prevented. To help you get started, here is a March Maintenance Checklist from our real estate agents at Old Dominion Realty.

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September
17

Use these easy fall maintenance projects to keep your house in peak condition throughout the winter months.

Fall Maintenance Must Dos

Autumn leaves are beautiful, but not when they clog your gutters.  Fall is an ideal time to tackle home maintenance projects to protect your largest investment now and save cash later.

  1. Clean the Gutters
    Ensure your home's gutters are clean before snowy weather begins to prevent ice dams and other roof damage. Water that melts from snow and ice on your roof needs a clear path to the ground. After cleaning the gutters, clear any obstructions from rainwater downspouts. Consider installing gutter guards.

  2. Prep your Furnace
    Fall is a great time to get your furnace ready for the winter heating season. Replace the air filter, have an HVAC professional inspect the system and ensure that it is clean and properly functioning.

    Fall Maintenance Chimney
  3. Check the Chimney
    Have your fireplace cleaned, inspected and repaired before you start using it to prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.  If you plan to use the fireplace during the winter, store your firewood in the fall so it will be ready when the cold weather hits.

  4. Insulate the Home
    Is there an area of our home that is prone to drafts? While you are attending to fall home maintenance, take the time to ensure that your home's envelope is secure and well-sealed. You can find them by holding a lighted candle near windows and doors, watching for the flame to flicker. Replace seals and caulking or use window covering films if you have a draft problem.

    Fall Maintenance Leaves
  5. Remove Leaves
    Leaves will be easier to remove in the fall rather than waiting for them to decompose under the snow and cause damage to your lawn.

  6. Fertilize the Lawn
    Winter may be the dormant season for your lawn, but that does not mean it does not need to be fed. With proper winter fertilization, you can prevent winter damage and limit problems with spring weeds.

  7. Prep Winter Equipment
    If you expect snow this winter, take the time to prep your snow blower and restock winter essentials like sale and snow shovels.

    Fall Maintenance Sidewalks
  8. Repair Sidewalks and Driveways
    If you have cracks or similar problems on your sidewalks or driveway, they could get worse when exposed to freezing and thawing in the winter. Home maintenance in the fall can benefit from an attention to these problems.

  9. Winterize Irrigation Systems
    Do not let water freeze in the lines of your irrigation system. Have your sprinkler or other irrigation system drained and checked before winter weather hits.

  10. Prune Your Trees
    Finally, check your trees for dead or damaged limbs that could break when weighed down with snow or ice. If you notice any limbs close to your roof or power lines, trim them back before winter.

Contact Old Dominion Realty
Fall home maintenance ensures your home is ready for winter and all that snow and ice can do to your home. If you are prepping to buy or sell a home this fall, contact the team at Old Dominion Realty for help and advice as you start the real estate process.

June
19

Simple ways to save energy and money this summer

Summertime Energy Savings Tips ODR

Summer officially arrives this weekend on Sunday, June 21.  Just because temperatures will be on the rise doesn't mean your electric bill needs to increase also.  If you are looking for ways to reduce the costs of using your air conditioning system this summer, consider these tips from us at Old Dominion Realty. With a few small changes, you can enjoy energy savings all summer long.

#1  Have a Cook Out

Dining out may not be cost effective, but cooking out can help prevent heat gain by using your oven or stove.  Grill outside as much as possible or use the microwave and crock pot to cook your food without heating up your home. Using the oven during hot days will cause your air conditioner to work overtime.

Energy Savings Tips Close the Blinds

#2  Close the Blinds

The summer sun beating through your window can cause quite a bit of heat gain.  Eliminate this by closing the blinds to block out the warm rays especially when you are not home to enjoy the light.  Your air conditioner won't have to work as hard and you will enjoy energy savings with one simple step.

#3 Clean the Filters

The air moving through your air conditioning system is dirty and grimy.  Unfortunately, much of that grit ends up in the air conditioning filter.  Over time, a dirty filter can lessen the efficiency of your system overall.  For simple energy savings, keep the filter clean . US News and World Report recommends cleaning the air conditioning or replacing the filter once a month.

ODR Programmable Thermostat

#4 Use a Programmable Thermostat

It's easy to forget to increase the temperature in your home at night or when you leave for the day.  Use a programmable thermostat.  You can save up to 30 percent on energy savings every year by increasing the temperature when you leave for the day during the summer so the air conditioner works less.  Raising the temperature by as little as five degrees for the eight hours you are at work can lower cooling costs by three to five percent.

#5 Unplug Electronics

If you leave your electronics, including your TV and radio, plugged in when not in use, you are using up electricity unnecessarily. Electricity still flows to these items, and then when they do not use it, back through the cord, and this causes some electricity to be lost. Either learn to unplug these items when they are turned off, or use a Smart Strip that will cut power to them.

#6 Have Your System Inspected

Unless you are an HVAC professional, you have no way of knowing if your system is working efficiently.  Have your air conditioning system inspected at the start to the summer to rule out any problems that may be increasing your energy costs.

#7 Use Fans

Fans cost less energy to run than the air conditioner and create a cooling effect in rooms.  To make the most out of your fans, only run them in rooms you are using. The wind effect does not actually lower the temperature of the room, but only how comfortable you feel, so turn the fans off when you leave a room.

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Old Dominion Realty Serving Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta & Rockingham Counties

Everyone needs to pay attention to energy savings especially when the temperatures in Virigina and West Virginia start to soar.  If your summer plans include buying or selling a house in the area, contact Old Dominion Realty.

January
14

Conserving energy in a home is important for a number of reasons. Not only will home energy conservation keep a residence adequately cooled or heated, it will also reduce utility bills. Homeowners should follow some important steps to make sure that their residence is efficiently using energy:

Use An Efficient Air Conditioning System

Air conditioning machines should have a good EER (energy efficiency ratio). The United States Department of Energy advises that homeowners use an air conditioning system with an EER of at least 10. Also, be sure to keep air conditioning devices and filters clean so that they can work to their fullest capability.

Improve Windows And Screens

High-performance windows are designed to ensure that cold and hot air is not lost. Once these windows are in place, it is important to periodically make sure that they are in good condition. High-performance windows and screens often contribute so much to home energy conservation that they could reduce the amount of strength that is necessary from a home heating or air conditioning system.

Use CFL Bulbs That Are Appropriate Sizes

Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs give off the same amount of light as regular bulbs but use less power. Also, be sure that bulbs are the right size and wattage. The proper size and wattage for the bulbs in a home is determined by what kind of socket the bulbs are placed in.

Wash Clothes In Cold Water

Because of the increase in the efficiency of modern laundry detergents, cold water is usually just as effective as hot water is for cleaning clothes, except for heavily soiled clothing. Much of the energy used from doing laundry comes from heating up water used in hot water loads. For this reason, most clothes should be washed in cold water to save on energy costs.

Purchase Appliances That Are Energy Star Certified

The EPA's energy conservation standard, Energy Star, certifies consumer appliances for energy efficiency. Most Energy Star products use between 20 and 30% less energy than federal standards require them to. Buying appliances and electronics that are Energy Star certified will help homeowners meet home energy conservation goals.

Using less energy will reduce homeowner costs and protect environmental resources. In today's age of technology, there are more devices than ever that use some form of energy. Follow these home energy conservation tips to keep your home as efficient as possible. Are you looking for an energy efficient home? Let the experts at Old Dominion Realty assist you, visit: www.ODRVA.com

October
9

Owning a home is a great accomplishment for any person or family, but it does come with some responsibility. Homeowners that want to ensure that they keep their house in top of the line condition for when they need to put their home on the market must take several home maintenance measures to get as much value as they can from their property.

Routine Maintenance

Keeping a home in good condition requires some routine home maintenance procedures so that property does not deteriorate from situations that could have been prevented. For example, regularly cleaning the gutters of a home or changing the air filters on an air conditioner will prevent bigger problems from coming about with a residence. Lawn care is also important: shrubs should be trimmed regularly, and grass should be kept at an acceptable level.

Use Quality Materials

Try to always ensure that the materials used to repair your property are of the best quality. Use components that will last as long as possible and will be very durable so that potential buyers will face less ownership costs. These points can be highlighted when selling a home so that people that are on the market for a new place will understand the home maintenance benefits of the home they are considering.

Interior Upgrades

If a home is lacking in its interior aesthetic, it will be more challenging to sell. Try to ensure that a home has cabinets, countertops, and flooring that is as up to date as possible. Investing in these areas of a home might seem unnecessary when getting ready to sell, but they can make the difference between a home selling or not selling.

Home maintenance should never be neglected, especially for those selling their residence. Keeping a home up to date, ensuring that it is repaired with quality components, and performing regular maintenance will contribute to a home's ability to be sold. For more information or assistance selling a house in Virginia or West Virginia, visit the professionals at Old Dominion Realty to leverage their expertise to help a home get sold. 

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