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10 Spring Cleaning Projects to Tackle This Weekend 

Welcome warmer weather with a spotless home (in just one weekend).

Spring cleaning is all about getting our homes ready for a new season of sunshine, warmth and time outdoors — and indoors, too — especially if that’s where you’re spending a lot of time right now. Get ready to wipe off the grime, clear out the cobwebs and refresh your living spaces.

Add these project to your spring-cleaning checklist, and you’ll be rewarded with a home that feels brighter, cleaner and more functional.

Best of all, you can knock out most of these jobs in a weekend.

Wash windows, inside and out

Some say clean windows make your whole home look better, and we think it’s true.

For a DIY cleaning job that yields professional results, use a solution of water, ammonia and white vinegar. Apply the solution to your windows with a large sponge, and remove it with a professional-grade squeegee.

Clean refrigerator and air conditioner coils

These appliances create a cooling effect by circulating air through the coils. Over time, dust builds up on the coils and decreases their efficiency, making your refrigerator or air conditioner work a lot harder.

Unplug the appliance, then vacuum out the coils with your vacuum’s crevice tool. You can also use a special refrigerator-coil cleaning brush, available at most hardware stores.

Check ceiling fans

Clean your ceiling-fan blades to remove winter dust build up.

And if you reversed your ceiling fan’s direction to clockwise for the winter, turn it back to counterclockwise for the warmer months. This sends the air straight down, creating a cooling effect.

Clean dryer vent

Cleaning a dryer vent is easier than you might imagine. First, unplug the dryer from the power source. Next, clean out the vent with a special dryer-vent cleaning brush or a vacuum.

Deep-clean carpets

Even if you vacuum regularly, a thorough carpet cleaning once a year will reach deep down into the fibers to clean out debris, dust, and food particles.

If you don’t own a carpet cleaner, you may be able to rent one from a home improvement store or even your local grocery chain store.

Inspect roof, gutters and chimneys

Spring is the perfect time to check your roof for damage that may have occurred over the winter. If you can’t use a ladder to get up on the roof, try inspecting it with binoculars.

Check decks and patios

If the finish on your wooden deck still looks good, that’s great! You might just need to clean the deck to get it ready for summer.

If the finish appears to be worn, then you’ll want to consider both cleaning and resealing the deck. For decks made of composite material, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and preserving the deck.

Prep lawn equipment

Get those lawn mowers, weed whackersnand pressure washers out of storage, turn them on, and make sure they are running properly. Sometimes a little lubricant or cleaning is all you need to get your tools back in shape.

Clean outside furniture

Use Murphy Oil Soap for wood furniture. For most other types of outdoor furniture, a solution of dishwashing liquid and water should do the trick.

Freshen up your front entrance

Sweep and/or wash the front porch and steps. Shake out your welcome mat, or replace it if it’s starting to fray or fall apart. Add a pot or two of brightly colored annuals, and your home will feel renewed!

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Can I Back Out of a Real Estate Contract Due to COVID?

Goldman is referring to the tangled web of factual and legal issues that are popping up pertaining to real estate and the coronavirus. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation involving real estate, financing, and professional liability.

Q&A With a Real Estate Attorney

Q: What type of legal issues are you seeing due to the coronavirus?

A: Right now, we’re mainly seeing a lot of landlord/tenant issues, because with rent due, often at the first of the month, that is something pressing that is happening right now. Our commercial tenants started contacting me in large numbers in mid-March, asking what kind of contractual provisions and governmental requirements might relate to mandatory business shutdowns and how they might relate to paying rent or a mortgage.

Q: There’s uncertainty as well in residential real estate, with homebuyers and investors wondering whether they’ll be able to close on deals in progress, especially with all the delays. Are contracts being extended?

A: True, there are a lot of delays. For instance, shelter-in-place orders have prevented property inspectors and appraisers from doing their jobs. So, buyers can’t complete their due diligence in the time allotted, and lenders may not have what they need to approve financing.

It puts closings at a standstill. Not to mention getting documents recorded. We are in unchartered waters right now and kind of at a standstill with extensions of contracts.

Q: What about buyers who want to get out of contracts? Especially since their financial situation might have changed with the coronavirus. Plus, the market has changed and buyers who signed a contract for a certain price a few months ago may now feel like they are overpaying.

A: Even though we are in unprecedented times, in general, you cannot just walk away from a contract because your situation has changed—even if it was because of an event beyond your control. Unless some sort of provision was written in the contract allowing a cancellation for this type of unforeseen event, you may still be legally obligated—for now.

It’s hard to say what will be allowed when this is over, because no one knows how long this pandemic will last or how any new laws and ordinances will affect everyone’s rights. And since we’ve never had what is close to a nationwide shutdown of the economy, there is no legal precedent for this situation.

Q: Can’t a “Force Majeure” provision get you out of a contract since such a clause provides for when there are “major forces” beyond your control?

A: It depends. Many “Force Majeure” provisions are merely designed to protect one or both parties from being liable for damages as a result of not being able to perform. But there are other legal theories that one party or the other might be able to rely on in not performing or delaying performance.

For instance, say the coronavirus has prevented a builder from receiving shipping materials on time from China, so he or she won’t be able to finish the project on time. The builder might not be entitled to scrap the project, but they might be entitled to extend the time it takes to complete it.

Q: When we had the H1N1 “swine flu” pandemic 10 years ago, didn’t people learn from that unforeseen event to write in more substantial provisions that address such situations?

A: Some leasing contracts and insurance policies were re-written with provisions that prevent liability due to pandemics. But the economic fallout from that crisis wasn’t nearly as severe as what we have now, so such provisions don’t necessarily cover the current situation.

Q: So what can those who want to buy and maybe pick up some deals right now do to protect themselves?

A: Honestly, right now, I wouldn’t advise buying! If you absolutely want to put yourself out there, I would say you have to write in good loan contingencies if you need financing and as long of a due diligence and closing period as you can get.

Q: Do you think this pandemic will affect the way future contracts are written?

A: Yes. Anyone preparing a contact is going to have to consider the circumstances we have now and who bears the risk. I suspect insurance policies will also be revised to make it clear what is covered or not covered related to a similar outbreak. There’s probably a way for a rider to cover it, but it’s got to be addressed. Leases and purchase agreements may also include provisions to address pandemic-related issues.

Q: Are you seeing a lot of lawsuits filed over these contractual issues?

A: Not yet. They will no doubt come, but now there’s too much uncertainty. Also, the courthouses are generally closed except for true emergencies. The only filings we’re doing are for existing cases. For right now we have to see how this all plays out. It’s pretty much wait and see.

Were you under contract when coronavirus hit? How are you handling the situation?

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