Open Houses this Weekend: January 21st & 22nd

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Homeowner Tips / Our Open Houses / Real Estate

So, it’s January (almost February). What now? It’s the beginning of a fresh and exciting year, but we all want to start off productive right? A new year for new goals to make and accomplishments to achieve. The big question is: where do you start?

Well, the answer is vast. We are all so different, with different goals, quirks, and ideas of where we want to be a year from now, going into 2017. So, down below, in the spirit of including everyone, I have included a few different categories and some Winter-early-Spring tips!

Home Maintenance:

  • If you have a monthly, seasonal, or quarterly maintenance calendar, check it out! if you don’t have one, consider creating one for your household.
  • Consider updating your insurance. If you have made any big purchases, upgrades, or additions this last year, consider talking with your home-insurance agent to see if there are options for covering your new toys!
  • Check for storm damage, and consider fixes! Especially with the roller-coaster of a season we’ve been having, taking a walk around the outside of your home and property can’t be a bad thing! Who knows, maybe you’ll find something before it becomes and issue!
  • Clean out your rain gutters! I don’t know about you, but my home is surrounded by trees – meaning they always get filled with debris after a big storm! That’s why I clean out my gutters (at least) four times per year. Now, that may seem a bit overboard, but it may extend the life of the gutters, and reduce risks to both my house and the Underground French Drain system.

Spring-into-Spring Cleaning!

  • Handling holiday cleanup can be messy and time consuming. But when it’s done, you’ll feel a whole lot better! Taking a day, or eve a few hours a week, to clean up and put your home back together can make a world of refreshing difference.
  • Create a list of things you want to clean out this Spring (for Spring cleaning). My list includes making numerous trips to Goodwill, tearing apart my extra closets (where accumulated stuff has been hanging out), and
  • Do a deep-clean declutter! For cleaning-bugs, this one will be a real treat! Take a peek, or a walk, around your home and look for things you either don’t use anymore, have never used, or don’t plan on using in the future. You could sell it on trading or resale websites, or just donate it a cause. Donating helps both you (get rid of it with minimal effort) and helps the other party who may be needing that exact item!

Remember, if you don’t want to do any of this – you don’t have too! Calling in a pro may cost more, but it frees up time for you to do the other things you love!

January Gardening Tips:

  • Recycle an old holiday tree into mulch for your garden! You can also use them as a DIY bird-feeding station.
  • Start sprouting! Sprouting now is a great way to jump-start your harvest season!
  • If you haven’t already, prune your rose and fruit bushes, and consider trimming trees and hedges.
  • Organize your seeds and create a list of seeds you would like to order, or purchase.
  • Consider servicing your tools, such as your lawnmower, weed-wacker, and tree trimmer; and clean your everyday gardening tools, like your shovel, rakes, and held tools.
  • On the warmer days, venture out and pull weeds out of you garden. You may consider spraying for moss, tidying borders, and take steps to ensure healthy and nutritious soil.

So, there you have it! Some tips for staying busy in the new year! While these are great places to start, creating your own list will help you cater to what your home needs. What would you like to accomplish in the upcoming year?

Windermere Mercer Island agents will be having a busy weekend hosting open houses! Check out these awesome homes!


$1,188,000 ♦ 1065335 ♦ 6222 139th Place Southeast, Bellevue ♦ Video Tour ♦ Cherrie Lee ♦ Saturday, January 21st 1pm-4pm (Hosted by Tom Fine); Sunday, January 22nd 12pm-3pm

Mercer Island

$2,275,000 ♦ 1068295 ♦ 6825 Southeast 32nd Street, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ R2 (Rachel Schindler & Robyn Kimura-Hsu) ♦ Saturday, January 21st 12pm-3pm (Hosted by Anni Zilz); Sunday, January 22nd 12pm-4pm (Hosted by Jane Malone)

$2,315,000 ♦ 1068307 ♦ 6829 Southeast 32nd Street, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ R2 (Rachel Schindler & Robyn Kimura-Hsu) ♦ Saturday, January 21st 12pm-3pm (Hosted by Anni Zilz); Sunday, January 22nd 12pm-4pm (Hosted by Jane Malone)

$2,581,000 ♦ 1063566 ♦ 19 Evergreen Lane, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ Bonnie Sanborn ♦ Sunday, January 22nd 1pm-4pm

$4,350,000 ♦ 975062 ♦ 4060 East Mercer Way, Mercer Island ♦ Video Tour ♦ Larry Williams ♦ Sunday, January 22nd 1pm-3pm (Hosted by Anni Zillz)

Seattle (Capitol Hill)

$598,000 ♦ 1068390 ♦ 103 Bellevue Avenue East #603, Seattle ♦ Video Tour ♦ Lisa Dong ♦ Friday, January 20th 12pm-3pm; Saturday, January 21st 1pm-4pm


$739,900 ♦ 1067760 ♦ 14101 165th Avenue Northeast, Woodinville ♦ Video Tour ♦ Codi Nelson ♦ Saturday, January 21st 1pm-4pm; Sunday, January 12pm-3pm


There are 14 homes open on Mercer Island this weekend that are available for tour. Check out the full list below for all of the details!



First Time Buyers, Millennials, and What to Expect in 2017

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Real Estate

Sold By Windermere
Originally posted on Windermere Blog, author Matthew Gardner

I believe that the big story for the coming year will be first-time home buyers. Since they don’t need to sell before purchasing, their reemergence into the market ensures that sales will continue to increase, even while inventory is limited. Thirty-one percent of buyers currently in the real estate market are first-time buyers, but it would be more ideal if that figure was closer to 40 percent.

Why don’t we have enough first-time buyers in the market? With Baby Boomers working and living longer, we aren’t making much room for Millennials to start their careers. Plus, the major debt that the younger generation owes on student loans ($1.3 trillion today) hugely impacts the housing market. But the bigger issue is lack of down payments. Before the recession, many Millennials could look to their parents for help with down payments; however, these days that is not as much the case.

I would also contend that the notion of Millennials being a “renter generation” is nonsense. In a National Association of Realtors survey, 75 percent of them said that buying a home would be the most astute financial decision they’d ever make; however, 80 percent said they don’t think they could qualify for a mortgage. I do believe that Millennials will eventually buy, but they’re delaying their purchasing decisions by about three years when compared to previous generations, which is about the same amount of time they’re waiting to start families as well.

Mortgage rates have risen rapidly since the election, and unfortunately, I do not see a turnaround in this trend. That said, they will remain cheap when compared to historic averages.  Expect to see the yield on 30-year mortgages rise to around 4.7% by the end of 2017. For those who have grown accustomed to interest rates being at historic lows, this might seem high, but it’s all relative.

If I were to gaze all the way into 2018, my crystal ball takes me to the dreaded “R” word. Like taxes and death, recessions are another one of those unwanted realities that inevitably comes to visit every so often. Irrespective of who was voted into the White House, my view remains the same: prepare to see a business cycle recession by the end of 2018, but, rest assured, it will not be driven by real estate, nor will it resemble the Great Recession in any way.

content_Headshot_-_Matthew_Gardner  Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist at Windermere Real Estate.

2017 Windermere Real Estate Eastside Kick-off: We’re Ready For What This Year Will Bring!

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Real Estate / Windermere Eastside


If you follow Windermere Mercer Island on social media, a week ago Friday you saw our brokers attended the 2017 Eastside Windermere Real Estate Kick-off event. And what an event! Over 500 brokers from of the Eastside offices, and the Chelan area, gathered together to get energized for the New Year.

The event, held at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Hotel, opened with a lovely continental breakfast and the opportunity to network.  The opening emcee was Matt Deasy, owner of Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc. Mr. Deasy discussed how Windermere brokers provide value to their clients in 3 different ways: opportunity, synergy, and endurance. Windermere brokers are distinctively primed to take advantage of the strong local economy and educate clients regarding the hot Seattle area housing market.

eastsidekickoff-161The Top Producer Broker Panel featured 5 amazing brokers from Windermere offices around the region. Mike Connolly, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Central, Inc., moderated this panel that included Nicole Mangina (Bellevue Commons), Ruth Harle (Bellevue-South), Jay Agoado (Mercer Island), Clive Egdes (Kirkland – Central), and Tony Butz (Bellevue-South). Each of the stories shared by this group were unique, but their success in real estate all contained common characteristics: determination, hard work, establishing real connections with people in their communities, not being afraid of technology, and offering concierge level customer service. The panel interaction, delivered in an Inman Connect Interview format, was fast-paced and engaging. A key take-away was the importance of adding value for clients who are already data savvy regarding real estate, and to own that professional value proposition.

Tech Tools to Make You Look Like a Rock Star

eastsidekickoff-211Shawn Prutsman, Vice President of Technology with Windermere Services, was introduced by Julie Barrows, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. She moderated this segment by asking Mr. Prutsman about the impressive new tools that will be available to Windermere brokers during 2017, and what technology updates to expect. An exciting topic was the updated listing photo gallery, and all of its amazing features, that debuted at the end of 2016. All the tools and updates scheduled for 2017 will provide further assistance to Windermere brokers– helping them effectively and beautifully market homes, assist buyer clients in our fast-paced local market, and stay cutting-edge in a region where technology is what helps drive our economy.

Amy Adams, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Bellevue Commons, presented a wonderful introduction of the man everyone in the room was eagerly waiting to hear speak – Matthew Gardner. As chief economist of Windermere Real Estate, Mr. Gardner prepares an annual forecast addressing his predictions for our economic and real estate climates. First, he covered our local economy – which is experiencing remarkable growth. The economies of the large cities in western states have been generally robust, and Washington metro areas have been at the top of the list. He sees this trend continuing into 2017, along with low unemployment. In fact, we should see more people relocating to our area during 2017 to fill jobs in the tech sector, and escape higher priced real estate in the Bay area. Two sectors he noted as slower growing are manufacturing and construction. We’re seeing that trend play out in lower numbers of single family residential permits being issued. Less new construction places pressure on our resale market, which will contribute to our housing market’s continued low inventory this year. House prices will see more increases in Western Washington. Housing affordability is an issue that needs to be addressed. King County homes are not affordable for many first time home buyers, which we’re seeing translated into people opting to purchase outside of Seattle metro.


NW Home Design Trends to Watch

eastsidekickoff-277Peter Hickey, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Northeast, Inc., moderated a panel of architecture and design specialists who detailed current home design trends that are especially popular in the Pacific Northwest.  Sheri Olson of Sheri Olson Architecture, Susan Marinello of Susan Marinello Interiors, Inc., and Brenda Gage with JayMarc Homes shared their favorite trends along with what they are seeing out in the field. New materials, exploring the color black as a neutral, and simplicity are all sought after in the interior design environment.  Modern, yet informal gathering places – both inside and out – are desired by homeowners in our region. Aging in place is also a hot topic in home design — with main floor masters, or dual masters on upper and main floors, an increasingly requested home feature.

The Right Mindset for 2017

eastsidekickoff-288Dan Givens, of Windermere Professional Development, closed out this year’s Kick-off event with a short presentation on having the right mindset to succeed at both work and home. He shared three simple, but impactful, mindsets that can redirect your outlook in a positive direction.

  1. Decide you are going to have fun.
  2. Set out to meet nice people each day.
  3. Help someone solve a problem.

Mr. Givens stressed during his presentation that affirmations don’t just happen by accident. If you consciously set out to change your outlook to meet your desired affirmation, that’s when the real change begins! His message offered simple ways to stay positive, and be effective in changing a habit or adding a new activity to your day.

eastsidekickoff-303What a great way to start of the year! The information shared during the event is so useful, and gave each broker who was in attendance tools that can help them improve their businesses, and deliver to their clients even better customer service during 2017. A round of applause is due for the owners and managers of the Eastside offices for offering such a terrific annual event to your brokers. And a special thank you to Julie Barrows, owner of the Mercer Island office, who organized this year’s Eastside Kick-off.

Photo credit: Frances Gaul

Jumpstart Your Healthy Resolutions With New Seasons Market Mercer Island

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Mercer Island News / Spirit of Mercer Island

Did you make any health-related resolutions at the New Year? New Seasons Market on Mercer Island is all set to help you establish healthy eating habits and pump up your nutrition knowledge!

Every Saturday this month, you can jumpstart your January by attending a free talk given by NSM nutritionist Tran Hoang. Registration is required, but other than that be ready to support your healthy resolutions with helpful information. Below is a schedule of the January Jumpstart topics, with links to the event registration pages.

You can also stop by New Seasons Market for Talk N’ Taste Thursdays. Swing by the Mercer Island store’s Solutions counter between 1-5pm on Thursdays to discuss with Ms. Hoang your nutrition questions, and sample some healthy foods that are tasty as well!

new-seasons_lets-go-shoppingIn addition to these two AWESOME opportunities to make headway on eating healthier, you can schedule a Talk N ‘ Shop appointment with Ms. Hoang throughout the month . The calendar is accessible here on the News Seasons Market website. Toggle to Mercer Island on the location drop-down menu, and pick an available date and time from the calendar. Then fill out the form to submit your booking request. This service is also free (how cool is that?!).

Here’s the January calendar of events for New Seasons. They have a bunch of other fabulous events sprinkled throughout the month. World Tour Wednesday sounds a lot of fun, and it would be easy to stop by on your way home from work! Click on the photo to access the pdf of the calendar, or view it online here.

Tackle Wine & Coffee Spills On Your Holiday Tablecloth With Products In Your Pantry

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Green / Homeowner Tips

When attending parties and family gatherings in holiday attire, there’s a decent chance of splashing a bit of wine or coffee on your clothes, or a tablecloth, as we mingle. It seems like whenever my family gets together, there is at least one major spill per event!

Don’t worry if a spill does occur. There are products in your pantry to treat these tough stains. And even better, you can tackle them after the party! Check out Nifty’s video for guidance on treating 4 common stains, and then read the detailed instructions over on Buzzfeed.

It’s prudent to test a small area on the article being cleaned, before applying the whole treatment, to make sure it won’t discolor delicate fabrics.

Make Your Home Safe for the Holidays

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Homeowner Tips


Originally appeared in Windermere Blog, author Tara Sharp

With all the cheer and celebration at this time of year, it’s hard to believe anything bad could happen. However, statistics show there’s a significant increase in home-related accidents, fires, and burglaries around the holidays. To protect your family, friends and property, heed these six suggestions:

  1. Keep walkways, driveways and decks free of slippery ice or moss.
  2. Have your fireplace professionally cleaned, and only use one artificial log at a time.
  3. Check the batteries in all smoke detectors and make sure a working fire extinguisher is located on every floor, as well as the kitchen and garage.
  4. Snuff out any candles before leaving the room (even for a short while), and make sure to always keep them in short holders with wide bases so they don’t fall over.
  5. For holiday lights: Only use outdoor lights / extension cords in the outdoors, and plug them into GFCI protected outlets; make sure all lights are UL-approved; know that the smaller bulbs are safer; never leave them on when you’re not home.
  6. Plug a few lamps and the TV or stereo into timers to make it appear someone is home while you’re away. Also, ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway, pick up any mail and keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.

Making the extra effort to keep your home safe will always be the best gift you could give family, friends and other visitors.

Photo credit: ralfor | Pixabay

5 Awesome Tips for Northwest Winter Season!

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Our Open Houses / Real Estate


While not the first “snow” of the season, it is the first snow that stuck to the ground. The Seattle region hasn’t seen snow in while, so we’ve compiled a short list of resources to read up on for snow tips, tricks, and good-to-knows. The City of Mercer Island has a Snow and Ice Response Plan that has great information for getting around the island during the upcoming snowy season. A link off the City of Mercer Island website, brings us to the Take Winter by Storm site, which provides excellent information about all things “bad weather”. Take a peak here for tips! Seattle’s little-r winter wonderland. Staying bundled inside sounds good right now.

Here are some quick tips for people experiencing the snow:

  • Ensure proper home maintenance throughout the year.
  • Insulate outside water nozzles to keep the pipes from freezing up.
  • Get out extra warm blankets and flashlights (and batteries) and place them in spots around the house.
  • Get things like snow shovels, ice scrapers, de-icing materials, and snow brushes prepared for the winter season.
  • Consider making your vehicle “winter ready” by putting an extra blanket, snow chains, keeping a full tank of gas, and getting your car maintenance done.

We hope that the season is both fun and safe for you and your family! We here at the Mercer Island Windermere haven’t seen a ton of snow, but Portland, the mountains, Everett, and Spokane sure are!

Need A Hostess Gift, Stat? Mercer Island Businesses To The Rescue!

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community / Mercer Island Spotlight

Are you in need of a hostess gift for a holiday gathering but are short on time? Don’t sweat it, because there are several businesses located right here on Mercer Island that are poised to help you out! This week, I was able to stop New Seasons, Terra Bella, and Island Books to preview their gift selections. They all have sweet gifts available that will make your hostess smile.

New Seasons not only has a well-stocked gift section at the front of the store between the floral department (and have you seen the floral arrangements they make a New Seasons?! Lovely!) and the cash registers, but they have baubles and gift-y items sprinkled around the store.  And don’t miss their fabulous wine section!

Terra Bella is in their new location in Islandia Center, near Homegrown and Island Books.  It’s a generously sized store, and they have the Holiday Shop in the front right now. When I stopped by, the place was hopping! There are so many beautiful knickknacks and holiday décor items in their shop. If you’d like to pick up a local gourmet food item, those goods are located right at the tail end of the holiday shop area.

If you are in search of a cheeky, fun gift that will make your hostess laugh out loud, Island Books is the place to check out. Owner Laurie Raisys and her knowledgeable staff welcome questions and are quick to offer helpful suggestions. Bonus – you can get your hostess gift beautifully wrapped for free!!

Other island businesses that have fabulous hostess gifts available:

  • Au Courant – so many cute items, you will buy one for your friend and one for yourself too! This is one of the island locations selling Island Treats yummy goodies.
  • Oh! Chocolate – I swear their truffles are what dreams are made of!
  • Anthophiles – pick up a sweet bouquet to gift to your hostess. Oo la la!

Is there an island business I missed that’s your go-to place when you need a gift in a hurry? Please share in the comment section!

Windermere Living Magazine: Winter 2016

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Windermere Living

What an exciting issue of Windermere Living! W Collection homes debut in this issue, following the Faces and Places section on page 6. The W Collection homes are featured on pages 8 through 15. Other amazing content included in this issue: luxurious tips for relaxation and fab Western U.S. spots we love right now.

Speaking of Faces and Places – members of the Windermere Mercer Island team are pictured in the Beverly Hills section, top left photo (left to right, Daniel Marinello, Julie Wilson, Cynthia Schoonmaker, Kelly Weisfield, Julie Barrows, Marianne Parks, Andrew Jackson). They attended Luxury Connect in Beverly Hills during October!

Other spots where WindermereMI brokers are featured in the Winter 2016 Windermere Living Magazine:

Winterizing Your Home

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Homeowner Tips / HouseLogic

Originally posted on Windermere Mercer Island’s website.

1. Not Buying a $2 Protector for Your Outdoor Faucet

What It’ll Cost You: Up to $15,000 and a whole lot of grief

It’s amazing what a little frozen water can do damage-wise. An inch of water in your basement can cost up to $15,000 to pump out and dry out. And, yet, it’s so easy to prevent, especially with outdoor faucets, which are the most susceptible to freezing temps.

The simplest thing to do is to remove your garden hose from your outdoor faucet and drain it. Then add a faucet protector to keep cold air from getting into your pipes. They’re really cheap (some are under $2; the more expensive ones are still less than $10). “Get these now,” says Danny Lipford, home improvement expert and host of the “Today’s Homeowner” television and radio shows. “When the weatherman says we’ve got cold coming, they’ll sell out in minutes.”

While you’re at it, make sure any exposed pipes in an unheated basement or garage are insulated, too, or you’ll face the same pricey problem.

Wrap pipes with foam plumbing insulation — before the weather drops. It’s cheap, too, just like the faucet cover (only $1 for six feet of polyethylene insulation). And it’s an easy DIY project, as long as you can reach the pipes.

2. Instagramming Your Icicles Instead of Preventing Them

What It’ll Cost You: $500 — if you’re lucky; a lot more if you’re not

Those icicles make your home look so picturesque, you just gotta take a few pics. But you better make them quick. Those icicles can literally be a dam problem. (Yes, dam— not the curse word that sounds the same.)

Icicles are a clear sign that you’ve got an ice dam, which is exactly what it sounds like: a buildup of ice on your gutter or roof that prevents melting snow and ice from flowing through your gutters. That’s really bad news because these icy blocks can lead to expensive roofing repairs.

Depending on where you live, expect to pay at least $500 for each ice dam to be steamed off. Leave the ice and you risk long-term damage, which could ultimately cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your roof, depending on what type of shingles you have and the size of the damaged area.

How to prevent them? Insulation. “Ice dams, icicles, and ice buildup on the gutters is a symptom of not enough insulation in the attic,” says Chris Johnson, owner of Navarre True Value and several other stores in the Twin Cities area.

And “you need to have at least 14 inches of insulation in your attic, no matter where you live,” says Lipford. If you live in a colder climate, you’ll need more.

If you don’t have the cash to insulate, heated gutter cables, which run between $50 and $150 each, can be a less expensive alternative when temporarily affixed to areas prone to ice damming, Johnson suggests.

3. Going Lazy on Your Gutters

What It’ll Cost You: You really don’t want to be in a position to find out

It can be so tempting to skip gutter cleanups as winter nears. It seems like as soon as you clear your gutters, they clog right back up again. So what’s the point?

Well, if it looks like you’re living inside a waterfall when it rains, water is missing your gutter system completely. It’s being directed to your foundation instead. And awater-damaged foundation is never, ever cheap to fix.

A contractor can plug foundation cracks for $1,500 to $3,000, says David Verbofsky, director of training for exterior home products manufacturer Ply Gem. But a worse problem, one that requires a foundation excavation or rebuild, can set you back (gulp) $30,000 or more.

Suddenly, cleaning your gutters a few times each fall doesn’t seem so bad. A pro can do the work for anywhere between $70 and $250, depending on the size of your gutter system.

4. Giving Cold Air a Chance to Sneak In

What It’ll Cost You: Nights where you never feel warm, despite sky-high heating bills

“If it were possible to take every crack on the outside of a typical home and drag them together, you’d have the equivalent of a three-by-three window open all the time,” says Lipford. Yikes.

Yet cracks can be easily and inexpensively sealed with a simple tube of caulk, and it’s available in hundreds of colors to match your window panes, outside siding, and even brick. Not sure where to caulk? Look for visible cracks around:

  • Window sills
  • Baseboards
  • Fireplace or dryer vents
  • Anywhere something inside pokes a hole to the outside

5. Not Getting Personal with Your Thermostat

What It’ll Cost You: Money you could spend on something else besides heating

We all know we should, but we seem to have some mental block when it comes to programming our thermostats to align with our schedules. It’s not that hard, and sometimes all it takes is buying a new one that suits you. (Like maybe a Wi-Fi one that’ll give you a little money-saving thrill each time you swipe your app.)

“From a cost-savings perspective, a programmable thermostat is a great investment,” Lipford says — as much as 10% off your energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

6. Skipping Furnace Tune-Ups

What It’ll Cost You: A furnace that’ll die years before it should — and higher energy bills

“Forget to service your furnace and you could easily cut five years off the life of your system,” says Lipford, who added that five years is a full third of the typical unit’s life span. New units can cost around $4,000 installed, making the $125 annual maintenance charge a no-brainer.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to replace the furnace filter, which cleans the air in your home, and also keeps your furnace coils cleaner, which can shave up to 15% off your energy bill. Johnson suggests at least every three months, but possibly as often as monthly if you have allergies, pets, or smoke cigarettes at home.

7. Foregoing a Fireplace Inspection

What It’ll Cost You: Possibly your life — and your home

“A cozy fire is great, but if you don’t maintain your chimney, a fire can cost you thousands of dollars,” says Johnson, not to mention the risk to you and your family.

Schedule your maintenance appointment as early as you can.”If you wait until the busy season, you’ll have a hard time getting them out there, you’ll pay more, and you’ll get a lower quality job,” says Lipford.