Home Maintenance: Your Guide to Exterior Spring Cleaning

By Haley Kieser

As winter finally draws to a close, there’s still snow falling in much of the Northeast; however, the temperatures are starting to rise, and many in the U.S. will soon be able to enjoy some nicer weather. There’s just one little problem: when the snow washes away, the dirt remains.

With spring just a week away, it’s time for some good old-fashioned spring cleaning. Get your power washers and ladders ready and take a look at the following guide to exterior spring cleaning:

Clean Out the Gutters
There’s really no easy way to clean your gutters efficiently other than to climb on a ladder and get your hands dirty. Remember, when tackling this project, it’s important to get the blockage and weight out of your gutters, because if you don’t address the issue, it can turn into a much larger problem. If climbing up high isn’t your cup of tea, hire a professional to take care of the job so that you can breathe easy knowing your gutters won’t get damaged this spring.

Power Washing
Your house is a dust collector and the winter months can exacerbate this issue. Now is the time to bust out the power washer and take care of the exterior paint on your home, which is very likely a shade darker than it was at the start of the winter season. You need to be careful, however, because power washers can strip the paint off your home. After you finish cleaning your house, tackle your walkways and get all of the built-up dirt out of the cracks. Paying attention to these areas will go a long way toward getting your home’s exterior back to its former glory.

Touch Up the Paint
Spring is typically the best time to touch up the paint both inside and outside your home. When it comes to the exterior, consider painting after you’ve taken the time to power wash the structure. Repainting your entire home can increase the property value, but if you don’t have that kind of time or the funds to have it professionally done, go around the outside of your house and patch up faded areas with a nice coat of paint.

Tackle Your Lawn
Now is the perfect time to get the grass and flowers growing again. Start off by giving the grass a good cut and then head to your local home improvement store and pick up some fertilizer and other lawn care products. Getting your lawn to look beautiful is no easy feat, but if you’ve already invested time into cleaning the exterior of your home, the last thing you want is for your lawn to look dead and patchy. And don’t forget to add some flowers or small plants while you’re at it, as this will get you in the mood for spring.

Clean the Windows
The finishing touch to every spring cleaning project should be your windows. Simply grab some window cleaner and make those windows sparkle. If your windows show signs of condensation, it might be time to install new ones. Installing new windows can be one of the most satisfying home improvement projects.

As you can see, there’s quite a bit of work that goes along with spring cleaning. With great determination, and maybe a buddy to help, your house will return to its former glory in no time. If you have any interior home projects, now is a great time to tackle those, as well. Just be sure to take your safety seriously—and don’t do anything you feel uncomfortable doing. If anything, hire a professional and sit back and enjoy your spring.

Haley Kieser is a freelance writer from Arizona. She loves writing and sharing information with others. In her spare time, you can find her exploring the outdoors or tackling a DIY project. She covers the real estate industry for Houzz and Shack Shine

For more real estate information, including a FREE Home Market Analysis, please contact us at info@pilmerrealestate.com or call our office at 630-897-3211.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2018. All rights reserved.

How to Get Approval on Home Loans

Buying a home is a momentous occasion, however, have you thought about how to get approval on home loans?  There are six main steps you will go through when procuring a loan to make you a homeowner.

Step 1: Get pre-approved for the loan – You must do three things: complete the loan application through the chosen lender, order your credit report, and provide income and bank/asset documentation. All of this documentation will determine if you are eligible to receive a loan in the amount that you need. You should have a budgeted price on how much you are willing to spend. This will keep you honest and halt you from overspending.

Step 2: Locate a property worth buying – You should contact a real estate agent, whether it is one you know or found on websites like http://pilmerrealestate.com/. Once you find your agent you can start looking for the house of your dreams, and then lastly make an offer!

Step 3: Get the purchase agreement accepted – Typical tasks includes setting a closing date by which all documentation is signed off. Confirming the approval contingencies are set, so if by chance you can’t secure financing then you are not bound to buy the house. You will have to set up dates for inspectors to come and make sure that the home does not have any pre-existing problems. You also have to have your earnest money deposited, which means that you have to have some sort of a down payment ready to place on the house.

Step 4: Review the Home Loan – The appraisal must be ordered along with the title report and the income and assets must be verified (usually 12-16 days). This is typically the longest step if all of the other steps go smoothly and are expedited quickly. Once this step is completed, you will be in the home stretch to receiving your loan!

Step 5: Attaining Final Approval –  All that is being done is you are having an underwriter check to make sure that you have signed everything you need to sign, everything that is going on is legal, and that the home is ready for transfer to you.

Step 6: Send Loan Documentation to Title Company –  Once all required documentation has been sent in and signed off, you will be contacted for your appointment to sign your John Hancock (usually 1-3 days).

After you get your keys, you are ready to move into your new home and start living your new life in your new home.This is the best part of the whole process, and quite frankly, it’s the easiest!

How can I save Money and Conserve Energy in My Home?

This gallery contains 5 photos.

There are many ways to save money and to conserve energy and the fact is most people don’t know how much energy they are using in their households.

Today, I am going to focus on home appliances, home heating and cooling, and traveling.

There are a number of ways one can save energy when it comes to home appliances, such as setting your clothes washer to the cold water setting. When done washing dishes, let them air dry instead of putting them in the dishwasher. Same thing goes for drying your clothes. One can also turn down the water heater thermostat.

During the winter, one can set the thermostat to 68 degrees in daytime, and 55 degree at night. In the summer, keep it at 78. Lowering your thermostat just two degrees during winter saves 6% of heating-related CO2 emissions.

I think it’s an agreeable statement that getting from point a to point b is much easier when you have a vehicle. However, when trying to save money one can walk, bike, carpool, or use mass transit. Every gallon of gasoline you save avoids 22 pounds of CO2 emissions. When the moment comes when you are going to purchase a new car, choose one that has good mileage.  If your new car gets 40 miles per gallon instead of 25, and you drive 10,000 miles per year, you’ll reduce your annual CO2 emissions by 3,300 pounds and save over $350 in gas use!

Any of these methods will not only help you save energy, but money as well!

Learn of even more ways to save money conserve energy here.

Where is Best to Live While I’m in College?

All college students, for the most part, fall into three categories on where they want to live while going through school. Picking that perfect spot to live is not always easy. Some may want to live on campus, others may want to live on their own in an apartment, and then there are some who want to stay at home and save as much money as they can. There are benefits to wherever you choose, but there are also probably some downfalls.

Living On Campus:


  • You will have all your meals made for you which saves you time and hassle. You are also close to all your classes and can sleep in longer before having to get prepared for them. The school will most likely have staff hired to clean up your hall (except in your room of course).


  • Some issues that people who live on campus is that they have to share a bathroom with everyone else on their floor. Another downfall to living in the dorms is that you have small living quarters and no kitchen which makes living a little more difficult.

Living Off Campus:


  • Having more freedom is a huge thing that makes students excited to go off to college. There are more opportunities for freedom when living off campus because you will have to cook for yourself and do your own laundry.


  • A con to living off campus is that you have to commute everyday to school. Another con is that you have to clean up after yourself won’t have anyone there to make sure you get your work done.

Living At Home:


  • Home cooked meals are glorified when you’re a college student, so that can be seen as a great reason to stay at home. Another might be that you can still have your parents take care of your laundry.


  • Living at home however has it downside. For instance you still have less freedoms and are probably not getting the “full” college experience. Also, you still have to commute to school on a regular basis.


What living place best suits your wants and needs? Need a new place?