Once you make the leap into homeownership there are no landlords or building superintendents to rely on for help. While we wish homeownership came with an instruction manual, it’s likely you will have to learn through hands on experience. We can’t possibly know how to do everything when it comes to home maintenance skills, but it’s helpful to know how to do minor repairs around your home. Here are a few basic home maintenance skills every homeowner should master.
Changing Your HVAC Filter
It’s important to schedule a maintenance checkup for your HVAC system every spring and fall. But in the meantime, filters need to be checked once a month. When they’re dirty, change them. Dirty filters shorten the lifespan of your system. Fortunately, it’s easy to do. First, check your owner’s manual for the right part number in order to buy a new filter. Then turn off your HVAC system while you work, remove the old filter, and slide the new one in place.
Resetting the Circuit Breaker
If your house was built after 1960, your electrical panel is likely filled with circuit breakers, which supply power to appliances and lighting in every room. When a circuit becomes overloaded, the designated breaker trips, shutting off juice to that area. When this happens, you’ll need to reset the breaker. Just open the panel cover and look for the breaker that’s sitting in the off position; then push it to on. If you can’t find the errant breaker, you’ll have to turn each breaker off, then on again.
No wall stays perfect forever. Nails pop, and furniture or broom handles cause dents, making your once-flawless walls look all banged up. Learning how to repair drywall can save a homeowner time and potentially a fair amount of money. Luckily, it’s easy to repair drywall yourself; all you need is some putty and a spackling knife!
Cleaning the Gutters
When gutters get clogged, water can be trapped on the board behind the gutter and even be forced under your roof shingles, causing damage. So clean them twice a year in spring and fall. Start near a downspout by removing large debris, and then use a hose to flush a stream of water through the downspout to clear out fine grit. If your downspout is blocked, it may need to be removed and cleaned out; if it leads to an underground pipe that’s blocked, that pipe can usually be cleaned out with a handheld snake.
Turning Off the Water Supply
If you ever come home to a flooded floor, you need to be able to shut off the water to the whole house ASAP, especially if the source of the water leak is unclear. That’s why every homeowner should know where their main shutoff valve is. Look near the perimeter of the house at ground level nearest your water meter. The shutoff valve might be in a basement, crawlspace, closet or garage. In an emergency, you can also shut off your water from the outside water meter, but the valve might require special tools to turn.
Dealing with a Flooded Basement
If you come home to standing water in your basement, time is of the essence. You have 48 hours to get the water out and get it dry. After two days, mold will start to grow, and once that starts you have to rip everything out. Call your insurance agent right away and take pictures; then get to work pumping out the water and removing all furniture to be dried off. Important: make sure the power is off if there’s standing water! As long as the water is below boot level, you can safely shut off the power from a basement panel if you wear rubber boots and gloves and use a wooden stick or hammer handle to trip the main power switch.
Unclogging a Drain
Harsh, pricey chemicals shouldn’t be your first option when a sink drain gets clogged — better to keep a small plunger and a drain snake on hand to work out the problem mechanically. After you’ve removed the primary clog, clean out smelly gunk by putting a cup of baking soda in the drain followed by four cups of boiling water; then end with a cup of vinegar. The vigorous chemical reaction will jar any remaining debris loose and leave the drain smelling fresh.
FAUN G. HAUPTMAN
Broker Associate with Kentwood Cherry Creek
Faun grew up in the Denver area and has an undergraduate degree in Public Relations from the University of Southern California (USC) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance from the University of Denver (DU). Faun has extensive experience in public relations. She started her career with Hill and Knowlton in Los Angeles and worked with some of the nation’s most visible luxury goods accounts including Patek Philippe, Stolichnaya Vodka, Haagen Dazs, and the Bermuda Department of Tourism. After leaving the public relations field and receiving her Masters Degree in Finance, Faun worked in investor relations. Through that experience she developed a keen set of skills working with professionals on Wall Street and publications such as the Wall Street Journal. Faun is a product of the outstanding Cherry Creek School District and has many years of first-hand knowledge of some of Denver’s most elite residential property. She is one of the top producing Realtors focusing on Distinctive Properties in Denver, West Denver and the Foothills.
"Faun gets the job done! We met her while we were in the process of relocating from out of state during the most difficult real estate market in history. Our transaction was complicated,, but she did not give up. She kept her sense of humor and managed to find us a beautiful home. Faun is creative,, tenacious and not afraid of challenge."
"Faun spoiled me! She helped us sell our house on a very tight schedule. Faun totally exceeded our expectations with her professionalism. After working with Faun it has been very difficult working with any other realtor. Throughout our interactions Faun exhibited the following qualities: true professionalism,, knowledge,, resourcefulness,, competence,, reliability,, ethics,, honesty,, along with graceful demeanor no matter what the situation. Faun is a joy to work with."
"Faun's impressive resume and qualifications led us to select her as our selling agent and we are happy to report that she exceeded our expectations by successfully negotiating the sale of our home. The house was a very extensively modified historic structure with very non-standard layout and features making it a unique selling challenge. Faun accepted the challenge enthusiastically and made practical suggestions to enhance the attractiveness of the home to a targeted market. We followed her suggestions and realized a better return on our investment than we thought possible. The buyer's agent created some difficult situations and challenges that were well beyond our expertise and Faun guided us through them with a tenacity,, flexibility and dedication that only a person of her unique talents and abilities could provide. We highly recommend her thoughtful,, targeted approach to selling,, On a more personal note,, Faun took the time to get to know us and fully understand our situation and expectations and worked very hard to help us achieve our goal. In the process,, she made two loyal friends. If you are looking to sell or buy a home -- hire this woman! You won't regret it."
"I worked with Faun in selling and buying a home. We had very tight deadlines and with her expertise she was able to meet every one. In selling my home she advised on staging (even helped me pick up items needed) and got top dollar for it. She negotiated extremely aggressively on both the sale and purchase of the homes. I wouldn't hesitate to contact Faun in the future. She's helping other family members with the purchase of their next home. Highly recommend her."
"An educated agent is a must! Faun proved this assertion to us in April 2013 when she sold our house at a very agreeable price with fewer concessions to the buyers than we were expecting. I can't express how pleased we were to list our house on a Tuesday night and have a full price offer in hand by Sunday (and we thought we were priced aggressively,, I might add). Here's the key: do what she tells you to do with the property! If Faun wants you to take down a painting,, take it down. We put some elbow grease into the house before we listed and we staged it to her specifications. You can't argue with a full price offer inside a week and a 30 day clean close. She'd be our real estate professional for life if she'd just get her North Carolina license!"Read More
"Faun and I participated in a very complicated Real Estate Transaction. She was always professional, very dependable and easy to work with. I can't recommend her highly enough."
- Venator Properties Llc
"Faun was wonderful to work with. She was in constant communication with us throughout a very long and difficult process to purchase a residence that was a short sale with multiple liens on it. There were multiple situations where her exemplary problem solving skills were put to the test,, and she always got it done."
"Faun did an incredible job of marketing my mother's home as we worked to settle her estate. This was a difficulty time for the family and Faun handled it with sesitivity and made it a lot easier that it otherwise might have been. Of course,, it didn't hurt that her expert advice concerning preparation and marketing resulted in an immediate sale. The only reason she only gets five stars is because they don't offer six as an option."
"Sadly, the circumstances under which I met Faun were due to a possible foreclosure. However,, because of Faun's experience with short sales and her tenacity, we were able to do a short sale and get some money out of the home sale. Faun calls herself the queen of short sales for a reason. She has enough of them under her belt so that she understands the system and how to proceed in a timely manner. That being said,, Faun didn't help us for the handsome commission that she would attain. She helped us because she felt really bad that good people go through bad times and can lose everything. Her compassion for our situation will never be forgotten. Definitely make the decision to use Faun as your real estate broker!!! You will be in great hands!"
"Faun spent many hours with me and my girlfriend touring houses in the Denver area. We probably saw at least 50 different properties,, and she was very patient and professional throughout that process. She not only followed my stated wishes on price range,, type of house and location,, but she also was able to anticipate houses I might like. When we found the house I wanted to buy,, she worked very hard negotiating a good price with a very difficult seller. I selected her after interviewing several other recommended brokers. She brings the whole package of experience,, knowledge and professionalism."
"Faun is exactly the type of Realtor you want on your side. I'm going to be blunt here, and I hope Faun takes what I'm about to say the right way. When we went to seek a Realtor to sell our townhouse,, we interviewed two Realtors. We thought the gentleman we met with was very nice. We met Faun and she was all business - she made no bones about telling us what we needed to change in our house to help it sell, told us what we should expect to receive in a sale,, etc. She definitely was not there to be our friend. After much discussion, we opted for Faun because we believed when it came down to negotiations and getting through all the pitfalls that can and will happen in a real estate transaction, nice was nice but we wanted someone who was a pit bull. Faun put a lot of time, energy and expense into selling our townhouse,, and when she sold it, it was during the bottom of the housing recession in Denver. We couldn't have picked a worse time to put our home up for sale. Faun put the best face possible on our property. She brought in a film crew to take both still photos and create a movie presentation. The brochures were slick and high-quality. When our brochure holder was empty,, Faun made sure it was filled back up. The webpage she set up for us was top-notch. While it did take almost eight months to sell our property (which,, considering the market and all the foreclosures/short sales in our neighborhood that were harming us), Faun did about as great a job as possible. She stood by us the whole time and provided great advice, including recommending that we pass on the first offer, proving she was more interested in doing what was right by her customer than making an easy commission. If you've read this far and you think I've suggested Faun is not nice, you'd be mistaken. She just doesn't do business from the standpoint of wanting to be your buddy and tell you what you want to hear. She does it as a serious businesswoman, she tells you what you need to hear. I'd absolutely hire her again if we found ourselves back in Denver looking to buy or sell a home."
5 STAR PROFESSIONAL
7 Years in a Row
Five Star Professional conducts market research to define and promote professional excellence in the professions we serve. The Five Star designation assists consumers in selecting a service professional based on an objective research methodology tailored to the specific profession. Five Star Professional joins forces with local and national media partners to publish our research to consumers and promote Five Star-designated professionals in more than 45 markets across the United States.
Recognized as the mark of accomplishment in luxury markets around the world, the Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist TM (CLHMS) designation assures affluent buyers and sellers that the agents who have earned it have the knowledge, experience, competence, and confidence they require. Those who have earned the CLHMS designation and work in the million dollar and above market, can also earn Million Dollar Guild® recognition.