Many of us have been there. You may either receive an abnormally HIGH water bill or a notice from your water company about a suspected leak. The main reason a water supplier may alert you is because your measured numbers were abnormally high (per the meter) and/or the timing/duration of use is abnormal - all of which means they are suspect a leak is on your side of the meter. You may want to simply call a plumber or irrigation service now which is perfectly fine, but if you're the investigative type, here are some tips on how to proceed with possibly discovering the leak source prior to calling a service company. Fixing it may still require calling someone, but this may help determine who to call. Your situation may vary if you have multiple water meters (1 for irrigation and 1 for your home, or one for a pool set-up) but this will apply to most set-ups. NOTE: Traditionally, if a leak is on the supply/street side of a meter, it's the responsibility of the water supply company/municipality to resolve. If a leak is on the property owner's side of the meter, it's their responsibility to resolve. It should also be noted that some water suppliers will work with property owners on adjustments to a high bill if an affidavit is supplied stating a leak was discovered and repaired.
Let's take a few steps to see if you can discover the source of your leak. Keep in mind that a leak will only "run" when it has water supplied to it, so if a valve of any sort turns water on and off to the leak location, it could only leak when the valve is on, so if anything is on timers or inside appliances the leak may vary with timing making it more difficult to find. We'll attempt to find it regardless.
Now, let's see if we can separate your home from your irrigation system (this is assuming you're running everything through 1 water meter).
If the meter numbers kept moving after you shut off the home's valve and you've concluded that the leak is OUTSIDE of your home, then here are some things to consider for leak sources:
If the meter's numbers stopped moving when you shut off the home and you've concluded that the leak is INSIDE of your home, then here are some things to consider.
Some of the home leaks can be fixed by an ambitious DYIer. Toilet tank seals and valves are easily resolved with a trip to the home improvement store. Some seals are even available in a higher grade than what originally ships, so that may be something to investigate to provide longevity.
Multiple Water Meters
This is going to be more the exception than the rule. If you by chance have multiple water meters, then a similar approach will be used for each meter to isolate the area of the leak. You' want to isolate each area while checking the meter's gauge for movement. Why multiple meters? In some areas, property owners are billed for water in and sewage out. Sewage out is partially calculated on the water in. They figure if water came into your home, then it went back out for processing too, so they charge accordingly and that may be about 50% of your bill. As we all know, not all water goes back out the sewer line. We water lawns, wash cars, kids may play in the sprinklers, but the water company cannot account for all of that for every single property owner, so their system simply assumes water in is sewer out, but they often offer an alternative. That is to install a second water meter for purposes where the water is NOT going back out the sewer line such as in irrigation system. When you run an irrigation system through a second dedicated meter, you are not billed for those gallons as sewer out. It's not free though. You'll pay a substantial connection fee (often a few thousand dollars) for the ability to connect. Once done though, and if you're at that property for the long haul, the expense can wash out and result in a long term savings.
No mater which set-up you have, isolation of areas is the key to finding a leak's location. By properly utilizing valves, you can narrow the location of your leak and better know which service person to contact for a repair. As mentioned, be sure to ask your water supplier about options for adjustments to high water bills. It should also be noted that if a home is new, the irrigation was set up by the installer, and a homeowner is new to using irrigation that homeowner may be initially surprised at their water bill... even if it is actually correct (leading them to believe they have a leak). It's astonishing how much a properly watered lawn consumes, so irrigation systems are often dialed back to stay on budget. Having a point of reference (like previous years' use) is a great way to determine if consumption is off the norm and if you possibly have a leak... which is what the water company is doing if they send you a notice.
All the luck with resolving any water issues.
It's that time of year again where you're starting to talk about where you'll watch fireworks for July 4th. If you've never been to the display that Nashville puts on downtown at the waterfront, then you're missing one of the great visual displays (of anything) that you'll ever witness. It is simply unbelievable, and that's the popular opinion... not just mine. I recall decades ago when the fireworks display was "okay" for a town the size of Nashville, but then a turn of events occurred and the plan was reworked (and I believe privately funded), and the entire situation changed. Nashville rocketed upward to one of the of the top displays in the country. Since then, it's often claimed to be THE #1 display, but that's of course going to be subjective. Despite any rankings, it is something not to be missed at least once in your lifetime.
If going downtown isn't on the plan for this year (but hopefully another), then there are some additional great displays in the areas surrounding Nashville that will fill your heart with the spirit of July 4th. Here's a guide where you can find some great displays this year in Middle Tennessee:
The warmer seasons are here and OPEN HOUSE signs are popping up all over the place on the weekends. Reports for the weekend's open houses are being pulled by buyers all across the country using their favorite app or site. They're mapping out the locations, driving out to them, but.... maybe not actually going in. Hmmm....
Now, this may seem humorous, but my first tip is to actually go into the home. Yes, I know... it sounds crazy and funny, but you would be amazed at how many people take their time to map out all the open houses, drive to them, but don't go in. Sometimes, they'll even stop, open the car door, grab a flyer from the box, but still not go in. You would be AMAZED at how often the home that a buyer eventually decides on is one they judged by the inside.... not the outside. For that reason, I always encourage home buyers to definitely go inside even if you're not sure about the outside.
One reason that home buyers may be reluctant to go inside is that they feel they'll be pressured, over-sold to, and the agent will come on too strongly. My suggestion would be to simply express to the hosting agent your preference on how you like to view homes. Some people like to self-tour while others like to be given a tour. The host wants you to be comfortable, so feel free to communicate to them your preference. The host will always be on hand to provide additional information about the home that you will not get by simply viewing it, so take advantage of that by asking questions throughout your visit.
If you already have a signed buyer's agent agreement with a Realtor, go ahead and share that info with the hosting agent during the introduction. It's most helpful for everyone to know that in the beginning to make communications more efficient should you want to move forward on the home. Some agents supply their clients with cards to hand out should the buyer go exploring homes on their own. This is great because it instantly supplies the host agent all the contact info of the buyer's agent.
So, as you embark on your home searching adventure, be sure to include open houses into the plan, and as funny as it may sound... yes... actually go in even if you may not be initially confident with the exterior. If you have any questions about visiting open houses, and if you would like me to join you (assuming you're not working with another agent), I would be thrilled to show you some homes. Contact me and we'll get you rolling.
As part of the home searching and buying process, people tend to focus on the main living areas of the home - often, the kitchen, family room, and master suite. Buyers also try to envision their furniture within each living space of the homes being considered, so the concentration of home consideration process occurs within the finished living space. It's easy to forget that each of us usually has a collection of stuff that doesn't go in the living space, but rather needs to be stored. Things like holiday decorations, childhood toys, or other decor items that are rotated in and out of the living space throughout the year. Well, these things will also need space in your new home and that is usually some unfinished space or attic... preferably with easy access (aka walk-through door).
What I have found is that fabulous storage is frequently on the wish list, but can easily be overshadowed by a super-nice finished living space. So much so that it's easy for a buyer to forget about checking for storage space while shopping homes and being dazzled by all the nice interiors. Reminder: check the homes for storage and see if it matches your needs for space and accessibility.
What's ironic is that when we discover that awesome dreamed-about storage space, the thought that many of us immediately think is: "We could finish this out!" Well... yes, you probably can, BUT... if that can be done it may be more in-depth than you think. Most likely that home's HVAC system has not been sized to include that additional space, so you're probably looking at an upgrade or additional unit for that space. Also, if you DO finish it... guess what? You just got rid of the storage space you fell in love with and searched for, so now you may be short on space for the items intended for that area.
Another thought that almost immediately comes to mind with many buyers is: "Why didn't they go ahead and finish this space when the home was built?" Well... the short answer is "They've got to stop somewhere", and where they stopped finishing was their optimum combination for living space, storage space, and price. Why price? Well, if a builder was to keep finishing all the unfinished spaces those square feet would increase the home's price by the per sq.ft. price times the number of additional sq.ft. being finished thereby adding many thousands of dollars to the home which may put it out of range for the community's target price range. For example, if a home had 150 sq.ft. unfinished space and someone wonders why it wasn't finished out, that space at $150/sq.ft. would have added $22,500 to the price of the home. At $200/sq.ft., $30,000. Even if it wasn't at full per sq.ft. price, it would still be a substantial increase in price on the home, so there's a target balance of living space, storage space, and price of the home.
Another aspect of storage space in a home is how usable it is. Is it one big room, or allocated into many different areas? Storage space in a home is often a byproduct of a home's roof design and may not actually be something that was "purposefully designed". If you have a home design with a lot of different roof angles, the home's storage space may be divided among many different areas (you usually see a lot of small access doors). Another thing to consider is how easily are the storage areas accessed, and what size objects do you need to store. Is access a full size door, a small door, or attic drop-down stair set? All of those will come into play while comparing a home's storage spaces with your belongings intended for storage.
All of this may help provide some helpful awareness for when you go home shopping. If you have additional questions about homes, selling, or purchasing, please contact me any time and I'll be happy to help.
Let me set the stage for this with the following. You walk into a store and see... let's say... a couple shirts for sale. You look at one, kind of like it, but move on to looking at the next one. While you're doing that, someone else starts looking at the first shirt. They pick it up, and it's the last one of that type. All of a sudden... you find yourself wanting that shirt to the point you're secretly hoping they'll put it back down on the rack. They don't. They take it. Now, all the other shirts you look at pale in comparison to the first one, but they ALL would have been just fine had you not been comparing them to the first one you saw and lost out on. Okay... keep all that in mind as we move forward.
As offers are written on homes for sale, there can often be special requests for things to remain with the home. In our area, our purchase agreement includes a substantial paragraph specifying a group of items that are to remain with the home. Most of the items could already be assumed to be considered part of the home, but as disputes arise, the document increases in size to clarify. Listed are items such as lighting, window treatments, pool equipment, built-in appliances, etc. If left unedited, all those items are to be left with the home by the seller. Exclusions and changes can be part of the negotiation.
Frequently though, there may be some items that a seller wants to take with them and those items may be included in the pre-printed list of items that are to remain with the home. It may be for sentimental reasons, or perhaps the item cannot be replaced and it is the sellers favorite item. All of those reasons are perfectly fine... but the removal of those items needs to be handled correctly which can include these approaches:
There are also of course the cases where sellers wish to take items and it really doesn't matter to the buyer, so they easily come to an agreement. As a seller, you won't know your scenario until you're in it, so make this part of your pre-listing planning. If there are any items that are not going to be sold with the home, remove them. If they are logical components that one would expect to be included such as lighting, replace your favorite one with an alternate model so the home is complete when sold.
As a home seller, you're not putting your home on the market to sit. You want it to sell in an efficient manner which means in a reasonable amount of time AND while bringing you a great sales price. Creating demand for your home is what will help make that happen, so it's time to put yourself in the driver's seat of being a buyer and thinking objectively how you would see your home. Okay... it's almost impossible for a seller to objectively look at their own home, but you'll have to try and probably take some hard advice from a professional who is trying to help you conquer your goal of prepping and selling. To help get you in the mindset, here are a few (but there are many more) tips to get your home ready to make a great impression.
Although the spring and summer seasons usually drive more traffic to our local parks, there are days in all the seasons where a dash out to the park can brighten your day with a run, walk, play, or simply witnessing the wonderful nature we have in Middle Tennessee. To help you venture out, here is a guide to the local Brentwood parks.