Patricia Paul Properties

Patricia Paul Properties

Commentary on Tucson Area Real Estate, Home Ownership, Rental Homes, and Life around the Tucson Community
Tag » Home Ownership and Maintenance
Oct 23, 2010
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Just like that, "Poof!", the long hot summer ended.  Already the nights are cool and crisp and the days are no longer sweltering.  The change in seasons allows us to put away the shorts and warm-weather clothes and bring out the heavier fabrics.   Who says you can't see the change of seasons here in the desert? 
There are a few home maintenance items you should consider doing sometime soon:

  *  If you have an evaporative cooler, you should winterize it.  
  *  If you have a built-up reflective roof, check to see if it will require a recoating.                  
  *  You should change the furnace filter, so you're ready when it's time to turn on the heat.   
  *  Now that the monsoons are over, you might want to spray for weed pre-emergence.  
  *  If you have citrus trees now is a good time to fertilize them.
  *  If you use automatic drip irrigation you might want to cut back a bit on the timer.
  *  Check the perimeter of your house low to the ground for termite tube evidence.
  *  You might want to plant wildflowers or flower bulbs now for next spring's blooms.
  *  Now that it's cooler, clean up the yard and do any needed outdoor  work. 
 Enjoy this gorgeous weather!  We're headed into the best time of the year.  

Patricia Paul, GRI *** *** (520) 548-2078

Sep 25, 2010
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You might be interested in knowing how much home you can afford.  The general rule of thumb is:  Your payment should not exceed 30% of your gross monthly income. 
So, for example: 
If your gross monthly income is   $2,000, your payment should not exceed    $600.
If your gross monthly income is   $3,000, your payment should not exceed    $900.
If your gross monthly income is   $4,000, your payment should not exceed  $1,200.
If your gross monthly income is   $5,000, your payment should not exceed  $1,500.
Your payment should include Principle, Interest, Taxes & Insurance (PITI).  Remember, you need to leave enough for other expenses.  There's utilities, groceries, savings, homeowners' fees, automobile expense, gas, doctors' bills, clothing, entertainment, home maintenance expense, and more.   
Knowing what payment you can afford will tell you the price of the home you should be able to afford.  This is critical information to know before you start looking for a home.
If you'd like to speak with a quality lender, I'd be happy to present you with some contacts.  Remember, interest rates are at an all-time low!

Patricia Paul, GRI  **  **  (520) 548-2078

Aug 13, 2010
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As a property manager, this time of year I get a number of calls about air conditioners not working.   There are a number of items you should check before you call for service.  Some are quite basic and can save you some money for an unnecessary service call.
First, check the air filter.  Usually located in the air handler, it is either a disposable one with a cardboard-type frame, or a washable, reusable metal mesh variety.  Your filter should be either replaced or cleaned monthly.   If it's extremely dirty it can block the flow of air to the system, and can cause it to shut down.  If you have pets this is even more critical, because pet hair and dirt can cause this to happen quicker.

Make sure the power is on to the unit.  Maybe a circuit breaker has tripped due to an electrical overload or a short.  Check the breakers in the main electrical panel.  The circuit for the A/C unit should be identified, and is usually towards the top of the panel.   If the outside A/C unit is located on the ground, go outside and listen to hear if the compressor is working. 

Check the thermostat to make sure it's on the "On" or "Cool" position.
Make sure the cold air returns are not blocked by furniture.
Look for any standing water near the condensate pan.  When the condensate line is clogged the system can back up and stop functioning properly.
After checking these items if the system still does not operate, you may need to call for service on the system.
Patricia Paul, GRI ** ** (520) 548-2078 

Jul 10, 2010
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Each season brings a list of home maintenance you should be performing.  Here are some of the items you might want to check or do this summer:

Check self-latching gates around pool areas.  

Perform seasonal maintenance on the HVAC (Heating ventilation, and air conditioning) system.

Make sure gutters are clear and leaf-free.

Make sure that water drains away from your home.

Check for evidence of termites.
Treat yard for weed pre-emergence.

Check roof for loose shingles, tiles, or ponding areas.
Trim unruly growth on trees and bushes.

Clean out the garage. 
Check clothes dryer vent to prevent or eliminate lint build-up.
Test all smoke/carbon dioxide detectors for proper operation.
Can you think of others I haven't mentioned? 
Patricia Paul, GRI ** ** (520) 548-2078

May 12, 2010
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As a REALTOR I'm into a lot of homes. Time and time again I see people making mistakes in hanging pictures. I've decided some of you could use some help! Not to say there is only one correct way, but there are certain tips you should consider:

1. Don't Hang 'Em High. The most common mistake I see is people hang their pictures too high on the walls. They should be hung at eye level. (An average person's eye level; not yours if you're 6'4").
* If you hang a picture over a sofa, the bottom of the picture should be no more than 6" over the back of the sofa.

2. Fit the pictures to the size of the wall. Don't hang a tiny picture on a huge wall, or vice versa.

3. Groupings can be interesting. Groups can be three, four, or more pictures. Try to look for a comfortable balance in their arrangement. Just don't overdo it with way too many pictures.
4. Artwork can share themes, frames, or more. You can hang pictures that are similar or related, for example: With a botanical theme, you might have several different kinds of plants. Or, you can have pictures of things that are mostly unrelated, but all share a similar frame. You get the idea.

5. Test a picture arrangement with samples. Cut samples from brown paper grocery bags and place on the wall with a temporary adhesive to see how you like the arrangement before you start pounding nails. Stand back and look at the composition. Satisfied with it?

6. Level, level, level. Use one!

7. Alternative picture displaying. Other ways to display smaller pictures can be: using a various sized easel, or placed on a shelf in a bookcase, or on a free-floating display shelf.

So now you know! Go out there and have fun hanging some artwork where you live. It can add interest, relax, soothe, or comfort you. Happy hanging!

Patricia Paul, GRI ** ** (520) 548-2078

Nov 27, 2009
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Our homes suffer months of baking in 100+ temperatures every summer, but then eventually the heat subsides, and we jump into the fall.   We all appreciate the cooler weather when it arrives, and that is a good time to take a look around your home.  Look for any areas on the exterior that are damaged or need touch-up.  Check for holes or defects that might be unwanted havens for bees or other insects.  Look around the base of your home for any evidence of termites.  You might see a mud-like trail coming up from the ground.  If so, have a professional come out and treat and consider placing your home under a termite warranty.

If your home has a pitched roof and gutters, check to see they are clean and obstruction-free.   Carefully take a look at the roof if you are able.  Are tiles or shingles missing?   On a built-up reflective roof,  look for areas where the coating is deteriorating or determine when to schedule the next recoating.   If you have and use a fireplace, you might consider having it inspected or the chimney swept.

Make sure you cover and protect your exterior hose bibs and piping to prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting.  You might consider wrapping them in a sleeve or foam covering.   Yes, even Tucson has nights of hard freeze!  Check the weather stripping around the house and garage doors, and replace if necessary.

Inside your home, you might want to make sure your home is properly insulated.   Take a look in the attic or crawlspace of your home if you have access.   Are there areas that have insulation missing?  You should also check the windows, checking for gaps or drafts around the window frames.  Back in the midwest, homes had storm windows.  Here in Tucson it's rare to see them, but a lot of homes have dual-pane windows.  They help insulate, too.  If you see condensation inside the windows, the gas seal between the panes of the glass may be broken.  This is also a good time to replace the batteries in any smoke detectors and alarms.

Have your furnace serviced.  Having a professional keep an eye on your heating/cooling system can prevent troubles down the road.  One of the best things you can do is be faithful about replacing or cleaning (washing off) your filters, whichever your system calls for.  This helps the system run more effiiciently and saves you money in the long run.  Check the furnace vents and how they are aimed.  Are there rooms or areas you never use that you are heating unnecessarily?

These simple steps should get you through the colder months and help keep your home in tip-top shape.

Patricia Paul, GRI  *** *** (520) 548-2078



Oct 25, 2009
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With the change of seasons, now would be a good time to change the air filter in your air conditioner/furnace.  During our long, hot summers, the heating/cooling system takes a lot of abuse.  Soon we'll be ready to turn our heaters on.   The whole system runs a lot more efficiently when the filters are changed regularly.  It is usually recommended that you replace them monthly.   Some systems use a washable metal filter instead of cardboard disposable ones.  You simply take it out, hose it off, then replace it.  Mark it on your calendar to help you remember to perform this necessary bit of maintenance.  You could start next week on November 1st.

What happens when you don't change them?  I see it frequently:  the filter gets clogged with dust and dirt, the system struggles to run, the condensate line clogs and freezes up, the system backs up and overflows, leaving you with no A/C and a big pool of water, usually in the hottest of times.   People who live with pets in the house have their filters get dirtier and clogged quicker than those who don't.

Keeping up with your air filter can make the heating/cooling system run more efficiently, and save you money in operating costs. 

Patricia Paul, GRI ** ** (520) 548-2078

Oct 08, 2009
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Calling all first-time home buyers and those who haven't owned a home for at least three years.  Time has almost run out for you to qualify for this great program.   If you buy a home and qualify, you must close on the sale no later than November 30, 2009.  Keep in mind that it takes time to shop and select the home you want to purchase, takes more time to get the loan accomplished, and takes time for the home to close escrow.    Most escrows take a minimum of 30 days to close.  

 If you have any hopes of taking advantage of the $8,000 credit you should start shopping right now! 

 Of course, if you'd like to shop for a home, I'd love to help you!  I enjoy working with first-time home buyers, and have the time and patience to thoroughly explain the process and make it fun and exciting.

 Please call me!

Patricia Paul, GRI ** ** (520) 548-2078


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