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Home Inspections in Oakland County MI & Surrounding areas

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September 2017 News

Welcome to the September 2017 issue of Sterling Home Services’ newsletter. This month’s issue gives you three tips to uncovering a neighborhood’s secrets before you buy , a prevention guide for rodents, plus your September home and yard care recommendations.
It’s a beautiful time of year. We hope everything is running smoothly in your household!




What About the Neighborhood?

It’s a concern for many people when they buy the house. Everything looks nice but what’s it really like to live here? Here are a few ways to uncover some of the neighborhood’s secrets.

Checking out the neighborhood at different times of day can give you an idea on traffic patterns, people movements, and the social habits of people who live there. Drive your morning commute in the morning. Is there a lot of traffic. Are there a lot of busses or kids walking around? Check the neighborhood on a Saturday. Who’s walking around? Are there kids playing outside? Is there a loud party at the end of the street. Driving through the neighborhood at different times of day and different days of the week can help you get a feel for what kind of activity happens.

When you go to see the house try talking to neighbors. Even park nearby and walk the neighborhood and try to start up a conversation with neighbors. Ask things that affect your lifestyle: Are there a lot of kids in the neighborhood, families? Babysitters? Does the neighborhood do anything special during the holidays? Where are the parades? Is it a dog/pet friendly place? Think about your questions ahead of time and make sure to ask positive questions not accusing ones. For example if you’re concerned about dogs barking and running over your property ask: “Is this a dog friendly neighborhood? Do many people have dogs and what are the leash laws for this area?” instead of “Do you think the neighbors will be good about keeping their dogs quiet and off my property?” You can also strike up conversations with waitstaff, postmen, or law enforcement to get some inside scoops.

What kinds of businesses and landmarks are nearby? Is there a school, park, or factory? Take note on how these places affect auto and pedestrian patterns. What kinds of people are drawn to these places? If there’s time check out the neighborhood during the holidays. Do the neighbors have a lot of Christmas spirit? Too much? Is there a big Independence Day street picnic? Obviously you won’t be able to check every holiday all year long but seeing the state of the homes during any holiday season can give some revealing clues to the personality of the community in general.

You realtor can also give you some insight to the character and personality of the area. 


The mouse

Everywhere in the world rodents are a potential problem. While their tenacity and ability to survive are impressive, those traits make them a challenge to control. There are some steps you can take to mouse proof your home and the place to start is in the yard - BEFORE they make it into the house!

Start outside
Mice will be drawn by shelter and food. So keep the temptation of your house to a minimum by taking these steps:

  • Seal all your garbage in metal, securely closed trash cans
  • Remove anything that offers shelter or protection to small critters like clutter or debris
  • Keep ground cover landscaping to a minimum
  • Keep your sheds and garages as clear and clean as possible
  • Add a decoy predator to your yard - consider one that moves in the wind such as an owl or other raptor, or try a holographic strip of ribbon that when it floats in the breeze fools the pests to thinking it is the sheen of a snake or the steely glint of a raptor’s eye

In the home.
Remember a mouse can fit through crack the size of a dime. Take these steps around your home to keep them out:
  • Fill the cracks, check for gaps and holes around pipes
  • Fill the gaps with aluminum window screen or hardware cloth, or copper wool (because mice will chew through anything else!)
  • Try a sonic/ultrasonic repellant device, these devices emit a high frequency sound that humans can’t hear and which rodents don’t like
  • Never leave food out overnight, including dog or cat food.

Once the pests invade your home it is important to get rid of them as soon as possible. Mice can carry and spread disease, and cause a lot of damage. If you see evidence of mice in your home you can try to catch or kill them yourself or to be sure they’re removed quickly and efficiently, call a reputable pest control company.

September Home Maintenance

We’ve had some nice mild and warm weather recently but don’t forget - colder weather is coming! The mild weather is a perfect time to prepare!
Check for drafts:
  • Close al your doors and windows and turn off the heating/cooling system then turn ON any exhaust fans like the range hood and bathroom fans. This creates an artificial draft in your house.
  • Light an incense stick and slowly pass it around the edges of your doors and window.
  • Watch the smoke for indications of a draft around any edges and mark the spots with a little masking tape.
  • Next examine the weatherstripping around the windows where you found drafts and adjust, repair or replace any that is old, bent, or damaged.
  • Seal around the doors where drafts were found.
Fall is the time to get a heater maintenance check.  Check our list of preferred service providers.
  • Clean your air ducts and replace your air filters in your heater, too. To stay healthy it's important to breath clean airs indoors!
  • Get your chimney swept - if you have a wood burning fireplace now is the time to have it cleaned.
  • Flush your water heater and check for rust or lime buildup.


Last winter came early and took many people by surprise. This year get ahead of the game and make the process easier by doing a little bit at a time. Here are a few suggestions for getting started on the outside.

  • Fertilize - time for that last treatment of fertilizer, it will ensure your grass comes up thick and green in the spring.
  • Clear the garden - except of course for those root vegetables and cabbage and such that continue producing through the cold wet fall weather. Other plants can be pulled out or trimmed down, remove weeds, clear away any fallen or rotting fruit or vegetable to prevent rogue growers in the spring!
  • Patio Putaway! - clean and store all your patio furniture. Remove any hanging lights or patio decorations and pack them safely away.
  • Store Summer Tools - Pick up and put away any tools that have been left out. Put the summer tools in storage and bring the winter tools out.
  • Plant new bulbs! Do you forget every year, too?
  • Rake - It's tough to keep up with the leaves but especially make sure to remove leaves from sidewalks, driveways and patios so the tannins in the leaves don't leave stains.


FUN In September

  • Labor Day
  • National Hispanic Heritage Month (started in 1968)
  • Back to School
  • Autumnal Equinox - there are 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night all around the world.
  • International Day of Peace on September 21

September is also the month of:

  • Classical Music
  • Fall Hats
  • International Square Dancing
  • Blueberry Popsicles
  • Pianos
  • Chickens
  • Baby Safety
  • Little League
  • Honey
  • Self Improvement
  • Better Breakfast
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