Getting Your Home Ready for the Holidays

There are plenty of projects you can take on that will help improve the overall look and feel of your home prior to the upcoming holidays. Whether you are hosting a Christmas party or having guests over for several days during Thanksgiving, you will want your home to look its best before you guests arrive. Here are a few projects that you will want to consider taking on before the busy holiday season kicks off.

Apply a Fresh Coat of Exterior Paint

Fall offers plenty of days that are warm enough to work with exterior paint, and a touch-up can help prolong the life of your siding and trim. A fresh coat of paint or sealer on any surface that potentially will be covered with snow, such as wood floors or stairs, also is a wise idea. Sooner is better to contact a local painter, as many paints aren’t recommended for application on days when the temperature dips below 45-50 degrees F.

Finish Up Your Incomplete Basement

Whether your region brings ice and snow or clouds and rain during winter, chances are your outdoor living space will spend a good portion of the season out of commission. If your time indoors leaves you feeling a little crowded, look to your basement for room to roam. Finishing a basement is a great way to extend your living space and also gives a higher return on investment than many other home projects. Whether you’re planning on selling your home come springtime or you just need more space to live, consider finishing your basement.

Fix All Major Home Appliances

From turkey dinners to Christmas cookies, the holiday season is a busy time for most kitchens. Clothes washers and dryers often pull an extra shift or two during the holidays as well. If your appliances aren’t working — or aren’t working as well as they should — call an appliance-repair professional before the holidays arrive. A trained professional can diagnose and repair a problem in a major appliance for far less than the cost of replacement.

Make Sure Your Lawn Looks Its Best

To ensure your lawn’s health and beauty come spring, complete several important yardwork projects in the fall. Raking leaves and aerating will prevent your lawn and garden beds from suffocating, while fertilizing and winterizing grass, trees, and shrubs will allow your greenery to enter its winter slumber comfortably and properly nourished. Professional lawn-care services make quick work of these projects, freeing up your time for family, friends, and football.

Make a Plan for Holiday Lights

Holiday lights begin to appear on homes across America every year almost immediately following (and sometimes even before) Thanksgiving. If you plan to decorate your home yourself, develop a plan and start looking for deals on lights and other outdoor holiday paraphernalia early. If you’re planning to hire assistance, make sure you contact a professional for quotes as soon as possible. Either way, allow time to make arrangements and install lights as early as you can to maximize the number of days you’ll have to enjoy them.

Keep Your Home Warm by Sealing Gaps and Adding Insulation

Nothing makes a home more uncomfortable during the winter than a nagging, chilly draft. Consider a home energy audit that includes a review of your home’s caulking and weather stripping. An energy auditor also will likely look inside your attic. If the insulation is at or below the level of the joists, you might be able to keep your home warmer by adding more insulation. A depth of 10-14 inches is generally considered optimal, and you can supplement with a variety of types of insulation to achieve that depth.

Power Wash the Side of your House

Having your home’s exterior and windows power washed won’t just make your home look sharp, it also will prevent the growth of mold and mildew that feed on grime. If you’re not comfortable deciding whether your home’s exterior can handle the pressure exerted by the various pressure-washing nozzles available, hire a professional to do the work.

Repair Your Fireplace

Proper inspection of a fireplace is vital to ensuring its safe operation — even if it is rarely used. An experienced chimney sweep will check wood fireplaces for flammable buildup (known as creosote) and chimney blockages such as bird nests. A chimney or fireplace professional also should check for these red flags: improperly functioning dampers, damaged brickwork and masonry, and missing or damaged flue caps (the screen covering the top of the chimney).

Install a Home Security System

If you’re looking for peace of mind this holiday season, consider enlisting the help of a home security company. A home security system will help protect against intruders, and many systems can monitor for signs of fire. Security companies will often install basic systems free of charge, provided you sign a monitoring contract.