Got Freezing Pipes?

frozen water pipesIt’s been a brisk month here in Raleigh, North Carolina with temperatures dipping into the 20’s and teens late into the evening.

Experienced homeowners know there are some key factors to consider in pipe preparation, and duties to perform before going to bed on a cold night.  How do experienced homeowners know what to do?  Unfortunately it’s often because we’ve suffered the consequences… and have vowed never to make those same mistakes twice.

Waking up after a frigid night with no hot water (or water at all) is an inconvenience at best, and is often costly.

So, let’s start with emergency situations…

Frozen Pipes

How do I know if my home water pipes are frozen?

If temperatures are below 32° F and your faucets are turned to open… but you’re only getting a trickle of water (or nothing), there is a good chance you have a frozen pipe.  If only one or the other of hot/cold flows this is another indication.  Frozen pipes often occur in crawl spaces, against exterior walls, and where water connects through the foundation.

What should I do if I have frozen water pipes?

If your residential water pipes are frozen – keep your faucets open.  As ice begins to melt, any flowing water that can get through will help to melt ice within the pipe.

Warm your pipes with an electric hair dryer in the areas most susceptible to freezing (crawlspaces, exterior walls, and around the foundation).  The American Red Cross offers additional ideas on how to warm pipes.  Applying heat to the right locations will help thaw the pipe to restore full water pressure.

Look out for cracks and burst pipes!  Water pipes tend to crack down the long side of a pipe.  If your pipes are still frozen you may not be aware yet that your pipe has a crack.  As the ice in a burst or cracked pipe thaws and flow is restored, water will find the point of least resistance and you could have a real mess on your hands.

What should I do if I have a crack or break in my water pipe?

If you see or suspect a cracked pipe:

  • 1st:  Go to the main shut-off valve and turn off the water.
  • 2nd:  Leave the faucets on to relieve pressure.
  • 3rd:  Call a licensed plumber.

How do I keep my water pipes from freezing?

We have our fingers crossed that you’re just researching preventative information and are not in an emergency situation.  If this is the case – congratulations!  We hope you’ll never have to experience cracked pipes.

Experts recommend avoiding frozen pipes by:Prevent water pipes from freezing

  • Insulating exposed pipes by wrapping or by using insulation sleeves.
  • Caulking any cracks and holes near your water pipes around the foundation and outside walls.
  • Allow water to flow from each valve at a slow trickle through faucets, bathtubs and showers that have pipes connected through an unheated space.
  • Keeping under sink cabinet doors open (kitchens, bathrooms and possibly the laundry room or bar area).  This allows warm air to circulate around the pipes.

* If you’re going on vacation and your home will be vacant during a cold period, consider draining the water system to avoid water damage caused by cracked pipes.

I need an expert, who should I call?

If you’re in the Triangle area of North Carolina, we work with and recommend licensed plumbers with Cary Plumbing.  We’ve experienced exceptional customer service and quality work with them.  We hope this helps.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in or around Wake County we’d love an opportunity to talk with you.  It is our goal to be our clients #1 resource for all things home buying and selling in the Triangle.

Stay warm out there!

Buying or Selling a Home in the Triangle? Time to Declutter!


Spring Cleaning Can Feel SOOOOO Good!


Thinking about buying or selling a home in the Triangle… or really anywhere for that matter?  Now is a great time to start spring cleaning and decluttering your home.

Time to Declutter!

Getting a jump on spring cleaning hardly seems exciting,

but the results will produce a cleaner home…

and often even a fresh perspective.

For many of us, springtime brings out the bug (or should I say the obligation) to get organized. Tie that bug in with a real NEED to declutter,  especially when selling or buying a new home, and it’s safe to say it’s time to get started!   Just remember to tackle a little at a time ~ don’t try to do it all in one day.  Throw on some lively music in the background and what would ordinarily seem like a duty, can be made a fun (or at least an OK) event.

Selling your Triangle Home, or moving into your new home will likely sneak up on you fast.  Here’s a tip on how to make that move a tad less hectic;  start by making a few trips to your local donation center or having a garage sale.  By giving away some of that stuff  (you know that “stuff” we all collect that we know we’ll never use or need)  your moving experience (and home staging process) can be a much less hassled experience.

Getting rid of STUFF = Less Packing + Less Boxes + a Clean Start

Create Your Outdoor Home Getaway


Create Your Own Outdoor Getaway At Home!

Outdoor Getaway

With today’s gas prices, consider holding off on that vacation across the USA and create your own private outdoor oasis!


Are you making plans to spend your well deserved vacation time and money driving or flying somewhere exotic this summer? Consider investing an equivalent amount creating your own private year-round retreat!

Well planned outdoor living spaces can promote relaxation everyday of the year without having to leave your home!  Weigh the benefits of coming home from work and relaxing on your outdoor patio surrounded by your own hand-picked foliage versus a quick trip. Not to mention the effect on resale value and appeal when it comes time to sell!


If you have any questions at all or would like a recommendation for a local Triangle Area company to design and install your new outdoor oasis, give us a call.


Where do I start to get my home ready to sell? Remodeling projects that pay off – cost vs value trends

perhaps new counter tops would do the trick


This week I’ve received a couple phone calls from past clients that are getting ready to make a move.  With interest rates as low as they are and the tax credit for 1st time home buyers having been extended and expanded they feel it’s a good time to get their home ready for the Raleigh real estate market.  Their reasons for selling are varied BUT the question I hear is the same.  What do we need to do to get our home ready for the market here in the Raleigh-Cary NC area.

Of course standard maintenance items are always at the top of my recommendations.  Replacing a blown off shingle, having the HVAC serviced, or replacing wood rot should be on everyone’s list that is looking to get their homes ready to sell.  As is a good scrubbing and fresh coat of paint if needed.  But the folks I’ve been talking with have been good about keeping their yearly routine maintenance items up to date and they have started freshening up their interiors.  What they are looking for is answers to what remodeling projects should I do that will bring me the most bang for my buck…

Thanks to NAR and Remodeling Magazine there are some very specific remodeling projects that could help return goodin with the new dollar value.   As with everything concerning real estate do use common sense AND keep in mind that there are many factors that will determine the sale price of your home.  You’ll want to do your due diligence and not over improve for your market.  And do seek the advice of an outsider.  A good start is your Raleigh REALTOR®.   It’s just way too hard to look at our own home objectively as to what needs what.

However there are projects that you can do that will not only return 60-80% of your cost, but they may also include tax credits too.  Things like replacing tired roofs and windows will not only help your homes appearance but it will also bring with it  a little energy pay back as well. Be sure to read the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act to find out if you qualify for any of the energy tax credit.

The AVERAGE overall cost vs. value trend across all regions in the US is down from it’s high in 2005.  Back then the average recapture on your cost was running as high as about 86%.  This years report states that amount is down to just under 64%.  But remember that’s the average for all repairs.  There are still some that could potentially return much more.

In the US the top remodeling return on investment projects (8 out of the top 10) were projects that buyers could see from the road.  Makes sense right?  If the street presence is top notch more prospective buyers will actually schedule a showing to see the inside!   So once inside concentrate on improvement projects that will meet those prospective buyers expectations.  Does your competition have granite counter tops?  Are you missing a bath to compete with other homes in your market price?  Well you get the picture…  Those are the projects that need your attention.

top remodeling projects 2009-10

So what remodeling projects will potentially bring you more bang for your buck?  Here’s what this years report shows us for the Raleigh NC area (left side of chart) compared to other South Atlantic areas. 

 NOTE: midrange & upscale data refers to the project – NOT the price of the homes

South Atlantic cost vs. value for Raleigh NC

Raleigh cost vs. value projects

Interesting to point out that here in the Raleigh area basements are not as plentiful as say unfinished walk up attics.   Which might account for the higher return on your dollar…  Also since we are an area that weighs heavily on square footage when pricing a home any additional livable square footage you add to your home is certainly going to increase it’s value.

Don’t take this data at face value – remember there are many factors that go into pricing your home today.  And that old expression rings true – you can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig…  be sensable with your home improvements.  Instead use it as a starting point for what your home needs to meet your prospective buyers expectations. Again, be sure to sit down with your REALTOR® before starting any projects prior to selling.