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Fall Home Maintenance Check List and Recommendations

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

Michigan Fall Home Maintenance Check List:


- Check caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows. Even the tiniest cracks in these areas can allow enough water in to do some serious damage and also potential mold issues.  In addition, check exterior paint as well and touch up as needed.


- Check your roof for exposed nails, nail pops, and missing shingle(s). These are very important maintenance repairs before winter, as freezing water expands as it becomes ice, which can damage any area where water exists.


- Clean gutters - keeping your gutter systems clean and maintained is one of the most important ways to keep water away from your home's foundation.  Keep water flowing AWAY from you home!


- Cover your exterior air conditioning compressor unit. Most manufacturers recommend not running your AC below 65 degrees, as it can damage the unit (check your owner's manual). Covering the exterior unit when you are finished using it for the season will keep debris and additional moisture out of the unit.   Help keep it clean


- Trim dead limbs on trees and bushes - trimming dead tree branches before winter can prevent them from falling with the weight of snow and ice, which can cause damage to anything below. In addition, trimming dead limbs can make spring clean up much easier. Rake leaves to keep from killing your grass.


- Flowers - trim perennials and remove annuals. Trimming perennials before winter sends energy to the roots for next season.  Annuals will need to be removed anyway, and spring removal can be messier as the ground is typically more wet in the spring than in the fall.


- Mulch young plants - give newer trees and shrubs a fresh 2-4" layer of fresh organic mulch to keep the plantings warm and control water runoff and soil erosion as we head into colder temperatures


- Blow out sprinkler systems.  Hire this task out if you don't own an air compressor or need help with this task. Do not try this yourself without proper research or you may damage your sprinkler system.


- Repair and seal driveway cracks. Water entering cracks and expanding during freezing can damage driveways and walkways.

- Drain hoses and shut off outdoor water valves. Disconnect hose from the faucet to allow frost free hose bibs to work properly.

- Clean and seal wood decks.



- Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. The NFPA recommends smoke detectors be tested once a month. In addition, make sure you have a fire extinguisher accessible with instructions attached and everyone in your home knows where it is located.  For more information on smoke alarm safety,

- Replace furnace filter.   In addition, change your humidity setting on your furnace humidifier to a comfortable setting.  Fall is also a great time to have your furnace inspected, as it most likely hasn't been used for months.  Remember you humidifier filter as well. Make sure to schedule an inspection well in advance as this is a busy season for HVAC professionals.


- Check dryer exhaust tube and vent for lint and debris.  One of the more common causes of home fires is clogged dryer vents, as lint is highly combustible. Typical recommendations are to clean these once per year or more often if you have more than 2 people in the home.


- Sweep chimneys.  It is important to keep your chimney clean for proper airflow and ventilation. Chimneys used for exhaust ventilation, including gas appliances like furnaces and hot water heaters, need to be properly maintained to avoid health and safety issues.


- Ceiling fans.  Clean  your ceiling fans and reverse your fans if needed.  Ceiling fans should be pushing warm air down in the fall and winter for proper air circulation.

- Check  sump pumps.  If you have a sump pump, make sure it is working properly.  There are several types of systems.  Check your owner's manual for testing and maintenance schedules.


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Maintaining or Replacing your Home Water Heater

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team


Water Heating Systems


Given that as much as 25% of household energy costs are for water heating, it makes sense t 
evaluate various types of water heating systems with an eye toward saving both energy an money on their operating and maintenance. Here we take a look at some of the water heater options currently available for homeowners to consider.

Storage (Tank) Water Heaters – These are by far the most common type of residential water heater, In these systems, cold water flows into a tank where it is heated by gas or electric power. Once the water in the tank reaches the desired temperature, the heater will cycle on and off to maintain the temperature of the water. As the hot water gets used, more cold water will enter the tank to be heated. Most of us know the phenomenon of running out of hot water after family members take one shower after another; this will occur if the tank's storage capacity is insufficient to meet the demand. At other times of the day when relatively little or even no hot water is being used, the heater must still fire on and off to keep the contents of the tank hot. Unfortunately, it is quite inefficient to keep a tank of water hot all day, especially when the water isn't needed. Adding an insulating wrap to an existing water heater can boost efficiency and energy savings – these are inexpensive and can be installed by the homeowner. New U.S. standards introduced in 2015 include a requirement that manufacturers use an increased level of insulation in their storage water heaters.

Tankless (Demand) Water Heaters – Tank less or demand water heaters are exactly what their name implies. Rather than being stored in a tank, the water is rapidly heated by gas or electricity
once the faucet is turned on. For many homes, a tank less heater can be located close to the sink or shower to heat water on the spot. Because it reaches the desired temperature so quickly, much less water is wasted while waiting for hot water to flow through the faucet, however the results are not truly instantaneous. Tank less heaters powered by gas are usually much more efficient than electric heaters – in fact, electricity costs can sometimes negate much of the savings a tank less system might otherwise provide. Most tank less heaters will already meet the new 2015 energy efficiency requirements implemented in the U. S. Tank less systems normally cost more upfront than a conventional storage water heater, so homeowners should take that into account along with what type, size, and location makes the most sense for them.  I have an on demand system heated by a boiler that also heats our solid surface floors for instance.  There are hybrid systems with smaller tanks that provide a buffer for the on demand systems as well.  

Solar Water Heating – The basic concept of solar water heating is that the sun's energy is used t 
pre-heat water for the Home. The pre-heated water then flows into a solar tank that monitors temperature. Then it is piped into the regular hot water system, usually a storage water heater. If no water is turned on within a brief period of time, the water circulates through the system again, making it unnecessary to keep a large tank of water constantly hot. The pre-heating is done by one or two solar panels, usually installed on the roof. Solar water heating is becoming more and more popular as costs for the systems continue to decrease. By some accounts, including the California Energy Commission, a typical solar water heating system can pay for itself in as little as four to seven years.

No matter what type of water heating homeowners choose, it pays to do some research first to discover the ins and outs of various types for their specific situation. With efficiency and decreased energy use as a goal, the best choice of water heater depends on what pencils out in any given home.  Let us know if you need any recommendations or have questions.  We are always here to help both before and after the sale.  Take care.



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Help Wanted - Now Hiring - Brokers Real Estate Assistant

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team
Map to Real Estate One Location in Ann Arbor



REAL ESTATE SALES ASSISTANT to work as a Customer Care Representative in our Ann Arbor Location.  Click the image here for map location and directions. Telecommuting optional. 

Available: One permanent position
Wage: $10-18 per hour plus bonus
Hours: Flexible - 40 per week
Duties: See overview below;

Click Here for more Information


1) 'Respond to Listing inquiries via phone and the web and enter and maintain broker client contact management system software.  Schedule our buyer agent showing appointments with other brokers and print up and provide MLS feature sheets to include in client welcome packages. 

2) Create sales brochures or highlight sheets using standard WORD or PUBLISHER tweaking data/info on existing templates that have already been developed.

3) Take video and/or digital photos of Listings to be used in print and electronic media, color balance and upload to websites, etc.
4) Rarely Host/Hostess at open houses or new construction communities and or show properties if you are licensed (will receive commission or compensation bonus on sales).
5) Use REALTOR web accounts to access MLS data for real estate inquiry reports on current or past listings.
6) Process, schedule and remove various agreement contingencies related to property inspections, finance and title work reviews for client files to remain on schedule.
7) Schedule and track closings, showings and other appointment requests from another cooperating REALTORS and provide or solicit client feedback.
8) Post Listing copy and photos on our websites, occasionally distribute and design advertising materials and copy to sales sites and published media. Update Brokers Websites with new listing information and changes.  


Good Typing, phone, people, internet and Computer Skills. Have Smartphone.
Have Valid Driver's License and Car preferred though not required

How to Apply

First you should download an application.  The Word Version here is easier to complete digitally if you have Word or there is also a PDF Version  Please complete application and submit with resume, letters of recommendation, cover letter or anything else you may wish to include. Please DO NOT submit without a completed application. We are looking for digital submissions and communications only please. 

Submit Your Application

Please submit our application form, resume if available etc. via email to Tom Stachler direct at or via courier to the front desk.  We do not accept faxes. This is the preferred method of submission and applicants that do so will be given first consideration.  DO NOT call us at the office.  If you have questions, please send them to Tom Stachler directly by clicking this link.  

Please Note:  Position acceptance requires you sign a limited real estate industry "do not compete" agreement along with a sub-contractor employment and non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement.  

Thank you for your interest!  

REO Front Lobby


 We look forward to hearing from  you.

These are some photos of our office space in Ann Arbor.    Real Estate One is the largest real estate company in Michigan and 9th largest overall in the country. 





google map






REO Cafe





Our Offices are located at State Street and I-94 at the entrance to the Briarwood Mall.  




Relax in our REO employee and guest Cafe. 





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Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3