Spring Home Maintenance

Every spring, daylight savings time gives us an extra hour of light in the evening. Here are some home maintenance tips that you can use while enjoying that extra spring sunshine.

Repair the Ravages of Winter

Prune your trees and shrubs.

Head to the shed and do a “tool inventory” to make sure you have all the items you’ll need in the months ahead. Inspect the tools you already have. For example, test your hoses for leaks.

Spring is a good time to paint fences and the exterior of your home, especially wood surfaces. This way, they will be protected from summer heat and sun. Wood decks should also be sealed once a year.

Since roofing shingles are brittle in winter, they may break if you handle or walk on them. This makes spring a good time to do an inspection. Look for loose or curling shingles.

Now that the heating season is over, have a chimney sweep clean any fireplaces and flues.

Inspect door and window screens for tears. You can often repair small tears using a kit from your local hardware store. This will prevent insects from getting into your home, and keep you comfortable on the screened porch.

Clean your gutters.

Beautify the Outside of Your Home

Before you buy seedlings, make notes about where you would like to plant flowers and how much shade and sun these areas receive. This will help you determine which flowers are appropriate for which areas.

After any planting, be sure to water and mulch properly.

Consider planting flowers in hanging baskets if your garden space is limited.

If you have bare patches in your lawn, prepare these areas for seed or sod. To care for your new and existing grass, be sure to water properly.


Before cleaning gutters or climbing onto your roof, make sure your ladder is in good shape.

Reacquaint yourself with lawnmower safety tips and inspect all electrical lawn and garden tools.

If you haven’t used your circular power saw since last summer, review the operations manual and safety tips before you begin cutting.

Source: Federal Citizen Information Center of the U.S. General Services Administration.

Real Estate Q & A

I’m new to the DC area. Is it better for me to rent or to buy a home?

Historically, homeownership has been a major impetus to wealth building.  Due to record setting interest rates and the array of financial packages currently available, buying a home can be a wise investment strategy.  Homeownership also provides a level of comfort and a sense of well being.  That kind of security is priceless for individuals in general and for families in particular.

In your opinion, why is this an exciting time to buy a home in the DC metropolitan area?

Every year for the past three decades, thousands of newcomers have relocated to the metro area, making DC one of the nation’s most transient communities. As a political, commercial, and transportation center, the metro area boasts an array of cultural and employment opportunities for people of all ages, professions and income levels.  That being so, the future of the region is brighter than ever, making this a great place to buy a home.

Why is it beneficial for me to sell my home in the DC area?

Again, favorable interest rates and attractive financial packages are enabling homeowners to maximize the value of their investment in real estate like no other time in recent history.  So this an ideal time to sell property in the metro area.

What are the most important considerations in buying a home?

Whenever a family is searching for their dream home, there needs to be a great deal of consideration for their financial situation, as well as dialogue about the desired size of the home, its location, and the family’s educational needs. Consequently, prior to showing a client a single home I conduct a thorough analysis of the potential buyer’s living needs. By identifying such concerns as the family’s desired location, the home’s proximity to excellent schools, as well as a reasonable range for the commute to work, I am able to determine which considerations each client deems the most important to their home purchase. Only then do I encourage my clients to consider things such as amenities and I tailor their home search accordingly.

What are the most important things to be done to bring your home to market at the greatest value?


Why is Gold Service the premier real estate solution for today’s home seller or home buyer?hen selling a property, it is imperative that you look at the home through the eyes of a potential buyer to ensure that the home is made ready to market.  Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression! I walk each of my clients through a proven checklist prior to putting their property on the market.

The aim of the Gold Service program is to ensure the total satisfaction of as many potential customers as possible.  The program’s superior service was one of the things that most attracted me to Weichert.  People have so many different financial situations, and through the Gold Service program I have an opportunity to help many different people meet their housing needs.


Do you have questions about buying or leasing property?
Are you considering selling your own home?
Contact Milton Ryan today for a no obligations analysis of your unique housing needs.

Real Estate Glossary

Real Estate has a language all its own. As you prepare to purchase your home, become familiar with these frequently used terms.

Adjustable Mortgage Loans: Mortgage loans under which the interest rate is periodically adjusted to more closely coincide with current rates. The amounts and times of adjustment are agreed to at the inception of the loan. Also called: Adjustable Rate Loans, Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs), Flexible Rate Loans, Variable Rate Loans.

Amortization: Payment of a debt in equal installments of principal and interest, rather than interest-only payments.

Annual Percentage Rate (A.P.R.): The yearly interest percentage of a loan, as expressed by the total finance charge actually paid (interest, loan fees, points).  The A.P.R. is disclosed as a requirement of federal truth in lending statutes.

Buydown: A payment to the lender from the seller, buyer, or third party, or some combination of these, that causes the lender to reduce the interest rate during the early years of the loan.

Cap: In adjustable rate mortgages, the limit on how much the interest rate or monthly payment can change.

Closing: The final procedure in which documents are executed and/or recorded, and the sale (or loan) is completed.

Closing Statement: The statement which lists the financial settlement between buyer and seller, and also the costs each must pay.

CMA: CMA, or Competitive Market Analysis, is a comparison of homes similar to a seller’s home in terms of size, style, features, and location that have sold recently or are on the market.  A CMA is prepared by a real estate agent to help set a home’s listing price.

Contingency: Commonly, a stated event which must occur before a contract is binding. For example, a home sale may be contingent upon the buyer obtaining financing.

Deposit: A portion of the down payment given by the buyer to the seller or escrow agent with a written offer to purchase. Paying a deposit shows good faith on the part of the potential buyer.

Down payment: Cash portion of the purchase price paid by a buyer from his own funds as opposed to that portion which is financed.

Escrow: A procedure in which a third (neutral) party holds all funds, documents, etc. necessary to the sale, with instructions from both buyer and seller as to their use and disposition.

FHA Loan: A loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. FHA insurance enables lenders to loan a very high percentage of the sale price.

Graduated Payment Mortgage: A mortgage initially offering low monthly payments that increase at fixed intervals and at a predetermined rate.

Hazard Insurance: Otherwise known as homeowners’ insurance. This is a usual requirement of a mortgage lender and an advisable safeguard for any homeowner to protect against loss.

Index or Rate Index: A measure of interest rate changes used to adjust the interest rate of an Adjustable Mortgage Loan. Example: the change in U.S. Treasury securities (T-bills) with a 1-year maturity, based upon their weekly average yield.

Lien: A legal claim or charge on property as security for payment of a debt or for the discharge of an obligation.

Loan-to-Value Ratio: The ratio – expressed as a percentage – of the amount of a mortgage loan to the appraised value or selling price of the property.

Lock box:  A key storage system placed on a home entrance that is accessible only by active, licensed real estate agents who must abide by a strict set of guidelines when showing a seller’s home.

Margin: In Adjustable Mortgage Loans, the number of percentage points the lender adds to the index rate to determine the new interest rate at each adjustment.

MLS:  MLS stands for multiple listing service, by which member brokers cooperate in the sale of each other’s listings. Sellers may choose not to allow their property into multiple listing, if they wish.

PITI  (Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance): Used to indicate the four major items included in a monthly mortgage payment.

Points:  A fee charged by a lender as a service charge or as an amount needed to make the yield on a mortgage competitive with other types of investments. Each point represents 1% of the loan amount.

Price Trend Analysis:  A tool developed and used exclusively by Weichert, Realtors to help set a home’s listing price by projecting local trends. Used in conjunction with a CMA, or Competitive Market Analysis. Because home values appreciate over time, a Price Trend Analysis maximizes listing prices.

Principal: Amount of debt, not including interest; the face value of a loan.

Private Mortgage Insurance: Insurance issued by a private company against a loss by a lender in the event of default. Private mortgage insurance is generally required for conventional financing whenever less than 20% is put down.

Second Mortgage: A mortgage which ranks after the first mortgage lien in priority.

Settlement: Same definition as closing.

Title Insurance: Insurance against loss resulting from defects of title of public record.

VA Loans: Loans partially guaranteed by the Veteran’s Administration, enabling veterans to buy a home with little or no down payment.

Do you still have questions? Please do not hesitate to contact Milton Ryan. Milton will help you to understand the factors that impact your real estate decisions.

Seller’s Checklist

Here’s a quick list of some easy ways to make your home more attractive to buyers. Milton Ryan can provide you with a full evaluation to help you get maximum value for your greatest asset.

Curb Appeal Brings Them In. Your lawn should be trimmed and edged. Shrubs should be shaped.

The Front Door Greets the Prospect. It should be clean and have a welcoming decoration.

Let the Sun Shine In. Open draperies and curtains to make your home cheerful.

Fix that Faucet. Dripping water discolors sinks and suggests faulty plumbing.

Repairs Can Make a Big Difference. Loose knobs, sticking doors and windows, or other minor flaws detract from the value of your home. Have them fixed prior to placing your home on the market.

Market Your Home from Top to Bottom. Display the value of your attic and basement.

Eliminate Clutter. Remove all unnecessary articles.

Safety First! Keep stairways clear. Avoid possible injuries and litigation.

Make Closets Look Bigger! Neat, well ordered closets show that space is ample.

Turn on all lights.

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