What are you doing to advance your business?

The Emyth RevisitedIn the book, The E-Myth Revisited, the author, Michael Gerber, states that all business owners have 3 parts to our makeup:  the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician. Some of us have strengths in each of these categories. The entrepreneur dreams big and has a lot of creativity, the manager develops organized systems to facilitate the best way to run the business, and the technician work in the business, doing the labor involved with building market share, etc.

Too much emphasis on one will hurt the others, and avoiding one will adversely affect the necessary but painful parts of successfully growing a business. I am primarily a manager/technician, and would rather work in my comfort zone of inspecting homes and doing things in an organized way. Meeting new people, expanding boundaries, starting new programs, and launching systematized follow up programs are all crucial to growing a business, but do not cater to my strengths or desires.

Networking with co-workers, gleaning information from success coaches, and leaning on employees that complement your strengths and weaknesses are all ways to help balance what may be a dominant trait in your personality that hinders your business growth.

What are you proactively doing to energize your business? What steps have you taken to force your real estate adventure into a business that works for you and doesn’t consume your life? Are you satisfied with the results and if not, what can you do to take it to the next level? Let us know what type of effort you are making to exist outside of your comfort zone and propel your business to heights you previously thought impossible to obtain.

Christmas tips for a safer holiday!

The DIY network has a great video reminder on how to make sure you keep safety in mind while decorating for Christmas this year.  Check it out!

(http://www.diynetwork.com/videos/safe-holiday-decorating/37809.html)

1. Use an artificial tree that is fire resistant.

2. If using a real tree, cut a few inches off the bottom of the trunk of the tree and water daily.

3. Make sure the real tree is secured in a steady stand and not placed near a heat source or heating register that would dry it out.

4. Use lights that have the UL mark:  red = outdoor and green= indoor

5. When hanging outside lights, use a sturdy and secure ladder to hang the lights with clips that will make it easier.

6. Do not overload outlets with plugs from lights and other Christmas electric decorations.

7. Make sure you turn lights and electrical items off when you go to bed.

Winter Tips

Whether you’re a young homeowner or a senior retired in your own home, preparing your largest investment for the winter months is important and a good cost-effective preventative measure.  Gold Key Home Inspection’s, Inc. is committed to helping homeowners stay educated on the care of their home with quick tips and money saving advice. This winter, make sure your home is ready for the long cold days to come.

1. Check your Heating System: Have a professional do a routine check before winter sets in. Vacuum vents and other heating components. Replace your furnace filter—depending on your furnace model, you may need to change the filter every 30-60 days. Program your thermostat between 68-72 degrees while at home and 60-65 degrees when away. This is one way to be more economic during the winter months and keep a little extra $ in your pocket. Check your thermostat batteries if you have a battery-powered one…they may need to be changed as well. If you have a propane or oil tank, make sure you have enough to keep everyone warm this winter. If you have a boiler, never cover it or block its air vents and ensure the outside flues aren’t blocked either.

2. Check your doors and windows: Seal or prevent air leaks. Check locks on all windows in the house and do not forget to check the basement windows too. In older homes, install storm windows to add another layer of protection from the cold temperatures. Add or replace worn weather-stripping around doors and windows. Caulk gaps where necessary. Replace worn door sweeps at the bottom of doors. Use caulking and weather-stripping around entry points for all pipes and ducts that travel through exterior walls.

3. Check your fireplace: If you have not used your chimney in a long time, it may be a good idea to have a Chimney Sweep Specialist come and take a look at it if you want to use it this winter. When not in use, keep the damper airtight to keep warm air from escaping your home.

4. Check your roof and gutters: It is always a good idea to take a peek at the condition of your roof during the fall and winter seasons. Replace loose shingles. Make sure the flashing around the chimney or vent pipes is watertight. Check the bricks and mortar for signs of deterioration. Make sure the gutters are still clear of debris and the downspouts are faced away from the house with extensions to move water away from the foundation. Trim tree limbs and bushes so that the house remains free from any moisture caused by foliage. It will also lessen the chance of severe damage caused by limbs due to heavy icing.

5. Check the outdoor care areas: Drain water from outdoor spigots and sprinklers. Bring pumps indoors. Unhook hoses from water faucets. Roll up hoses and store them inside. Give decks an additional coat of sealer (in colder climates, this will need to be done in October or early November. Check foundation and siding for cracks or gaps and repair as necessary. Window AC units should have special attention given to their care. If you take the appliance out of the window, be careful not to bend or damage the cooling fins on the back. Do not store the A/C unit on the garage floor where it might come into contact with corrosive de-icing salts left behind by vehicle tires.

6. Check your insulation levels: The largest amount of heat that escapes from your home leaves through the attic. It is estimated at almost 45% loss. Experts agree that an R-30 rated insulation is the minimum requirement for insulation. Newer homes usually have this standard, but older home may need more.

7. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: It is a good idea to replace batteries on all your smoke detectors in your house. Test them. Because homes in the winter time are closed up, it is also a good idea to have a working carbon monoxide detector.

8. Senior checklist: For further warmth and comfort during the winter months, place several throw blankets on the couches and chairs in your home where you spend the most time. The soft, easy to use throws help a person to stay warm when the heater shuts down and the room begins to cool. It prevents the constant movement of standing, walking, and constant adjustment of the heat in order to keep the body warm as it ages. In climates where snow is more prolific, make sure you keep a bag of salt and a shovel in an accessible spot for clearing sidewalks, steps and drives, or have a contact person/company available to complete this task for you. It is also a good idea to have a family member or neighbor regularly check up on you during the winter months in case of an emergency or accidental fall.

We hope you find these tips helpful. Have a warm and cozy winter season!

Fall Maintenance Tips for your Home

Change is in the air and the Fall season is in full swing.  Temperatures have mellowed and dropped from the hot days of Summer and Winter is just around the corner.  With the holidays approaching and a few days off to get stuff done around the house, you may want to consider some “Fall Maintenance” to keep your home functioning and cutting down on the wear-n-tear on your home.  Here are ten tips to help you save money and take care of your largest investment:

1. Clean your Gutters

The gutter system to a home is important in keeping your home in good working order.  Clogged gutters can lead to roof damage or even basement moisture or flooding.  When your gutters are functioning properly, water will drain away from the house rather than next to the foundation.  Heavier rains could lead to more significant problems with your basement if your gutters are clogged.  As the temperature plummets and Winter is in full swing, freezing water poses a new frustration  and you end up with heavy ice dams on your roof due to a clogged gutter system.  The weight and leaking water can also cause significant roof damage.

2. Repair Driveway and Sidewalk Cracks.

Living in an area where the temperature tends to fluctuate below freezing frequently in the Winter, you should look to repair cracks in cement or asphalt of your sidewalks and driveways to prevent further cracking.  When water gets into these cracks and feezes, it expands and can only make the crack worse as well as produce more cracks.  Your local hardware store can advise you on various sealers to apply to the cracks and it is usually a quick and cheap fix.

3. Inspect your Chimney.

If you have a wood stove or fireplace, it is a good idea to inspect it or have it inspected by a professional before using it this Winter.  A clogged or dirty chimney or flue can be a dangerous situation.  Hazardous gases can fill up your house and may have the potential of starting a fire.

4. Remove Hoses and clutter from your Yard.

Less time outside is the norm during the colder months of the year.  Make sure your yard doesn’t have any surprises that will show themselves with the first hard freeze.  Check all your outside faucets to make sure they are completely off and disconnect your hoses.This will ensure that you will not have to purchase a new hose or deal with a busted pipe due to freezing.  Also, check the yard for fallen debris and retrieve any tools that may have been left outside accidentally.

5. Test Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors.

This is a cheap but essential way you can keep your family safe while you are couped up during these colder months.  Basic detectors are as little as $20 and worth the investment.

6. Clean out the dryer vent.

It is estimated that dirty dryer vents are responsible for at least 15000-16000 home fires each year, according to the US Fire Administration.  Making sure the vent in the dryer as well as the venting system to the outside is free of debris, is another way you can ensure your family’s safety this season.  While you are checking, make a note of  the seal on the vented area that exits the house to see if there are any large gaps that need to be addressed…heat loss in these areas can be significantly reduced, thus making a difference in your heating bill.

7. Check and replace your furnace filters.

Regular inspections of your furnace filters will prolong the life of your furnace.  Air flows less freely through dirty furnace filters, thus the efficacy of your furnace is compromised when the filters are not checked regularly.  Take note of the kind of filter you have in your furnace.  Some filters need to be changed monthly, some seasonally, and still others biannually.  Seek a professional heating and cooling expert if you have any questions about your system.

8. Inspect and or Flush the Hot Water Heater.

Sediment collects in your water heater over time.  This sediment forces your wter heater to work even harder and hinder its efficiency and lifespan.  It is a good idea to drain it every so often.

9. Check the house for Energy Leaks.

When was the last time you peeked into your attic?  Check the amount of insulation.  Check the R-value and see if it is sufficient for your needs.  Heat-loss through the roof of your home is the number one source of heat-loss and can be remedied easily.  Check out www.energy.gov for the R-values most effective in your climate (http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11220).  You may also want to inspect for air leaks around all doors and windows.  Over time, weatherstripping can wear down and create gaps creating drafts.

10.  Consider a Programmable Thermostat

Check out http://www.energysavers.gov/tips/thermostats.cfm for valuable information on how these thermostats can help save you money.