New Column ! Homes With Heart By Heather Coombs-Perez

Halloween can be scary, especially when you notice the peeling paint around your windowsills as you’re hanging decorations, or the dust-bunnies in the furnace when you want to take the chill out of the room during those first few cold, fall evenings. But have no fear—a Fall spruce-up can shake the skeletons out of the closet, and brighten up even the dingiest of dark corners.

One of the most important things about home ownership is setting aside a little time and money for regular maintenance. Here are some Fall tips to get you started.

• Furnace- Keep the area around the furnace free of obstructions and vacuum it often. Check the pilot light and burners, and have the furnace serviced by a professional. Change the filter at the start of the season and then every 2-3 months after that.. For more tips and information, go to

• Gutters – Get out that ladder and start climbing! Make sure to remove any dead branches, leaves or debris that may have become lodged in the gutters over the lazy days of summer. Check that the holes to downspouts are clear, and run water from the hose through the gutter to make sure there are no blockages.

• Paint – Just like the inside of your home, one of the fastest and most economical ways to improve your house’s curb appeal is by applying a fresh coat of paint to the trim. Keeping the trim in good repair will protect your window casings from rotting, alleviating the need for costly fixes down the road. Use good quality exterior paint, and make sure you sand and clean away existing dirt and debris before you start.

• Plants – Although it doesn’t get too cold in Southern California during the winter, make sure to “put to bed” plants that are temperature sensitive. Cut dead flowers and branches to prepare plants for their sleepy season. Consider planting fall-blooms to refresh a tired summer garden.

Investing in regular maintenance to keep your house looking fresh and attractive can also increase your home’s value. For more Real Estate tips, or to inquire about buying, selling or refinancing your home, visit

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