There aren’t many bargains on home-related stuff in October. If you’re looking for deals on major appliances or TVs, wait until the end of November.
DEAR MR. MYERS: We really like your advice about the best home-related items to buy each month. What are the best deals we can find for our home in October?
ANSWER: Thanks for the compliment. Alas, professional shoppers say that October rarely brings great deals on household goods, in part because retailers are gearing up for the super-deep discounts that they’ll begin offering on the infamous “Black Friday.”
This year, Black Friday will land on Nov. 27. Many stores, though, already have announced that they’ll extend their sales into the first week of December or beyond.
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Still, there are a few bargains out there now. The last of patio furniture and barbeques, which were deeply discounted as summer wound to a close in September, can now be purchased for as little as 20 percent of their original price as retailers clear floor space for their autumn and holiday-related goods.
If you’re the sort who likes to decorate your home for Halloween, your best bet would be to wait until a few days after Oct. 31 and store it away until next year. That’s when stores slash prices to move their unsold inventory instead of spending money to warehouse it. But if you need such decorations for this year’s event, consider delaying your purchases until Oct. 25 or so: That’s when stores start cutting prices on slow-moving items that you might like.
My son and I are both lifetime Eagle Scouts, and we still spend lots of nights “housed” under the moon and stars. If you need a tent, portable stove or other camping equipment, now’s the time to buy them. Retailers know that such items won’t sell when the cold weather soon arrives.
Ditto for many types of outdoor gardening tools.
Hold off on purchasing most “big ticket” items for your home until next month’s Black Friday or the Internet’s “Cyber Monday,” the latter of which occurs just three days later. Those are the days when you’ll find some of the best deals of the year on major appliances for the kitchen and laundry room, as well as televisions, computers and other electronic gadgets.
REAL ESTATE TRIVIA: “Black Friday” is a phrase originally created by law-enforcement officials, because it often results in massive traffic jams, long lines at cashier stands and sometimes even arson fires or other acts of violence.
DEAR MR. MYERS: The rain gutters that run along our roof and then down to the ground started sagging badly a few days ago. I went up on the roof and found that the gutters were full of water, apparently that was backed up by leaves, an errant baseball and even a big beehive. Can I file a claim under my homeowners insurance policy to have the gutters repaired or replaced?
ANSWER: You can file a claim, but it will likely be denied. Though a typical homeowners policy will cover damage to rain gutters caused by high winds or a rainstorm, it won’t cover the cost of repairing or replacing them if the problem can be traced back to the policyholder’s negligence, which includes failing to keep the gutters clear of dead leaves or other debris.
Nonetheless, it wouldn’t hurt to call your insurance company or broker for more information. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll get reimbursed.
Your question is a good reminder that every homeowner needs to check their home’s rain-gutters now that fall has arrived. There is a lot of junk that can build up in the happy days of spring and summer, but is quickly forgotten when autumn comes around.
It might seem early, but this a good time to prepare for winter. Clearing your rain gutters now will reduce the chance that you’ll have water damage in the Southwest (where record rainfall is predicted) or in the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard (both of which are areas some weather forecasters say may be facing another brutal winter).
While you or (preferably) a licensed a contractor is cleaning the gutters, make sure the roof is checked for any missing or loose shingles or tiles. “Ice, rain, snow and wind combined with rapidly changing temperatures and humidity wreaks havoc on roofs,” Jay Butch, a director at Pennsylvania-based CertainTeed Roofing, said in a recent interview.
“Your roof is your first defense in protecting your home,” Butch continued. “Without it functioning properly, water damage can occur. This causes deterioration to insulation, wood and drywall, making electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems vulnerable. It’s better to proactively deal with repairs in the fall than to discover a leaky roof during a snowstorm.”
DEAR MR. MYERS: If I form the type of money-saving living trust that you recommend so my kids could inherit my home quickly after I die, would I first have to register the trust with the county recorder or county assessor?
ANSWER: No. You might have to notify the county that your home had been transferred from your individual name and into the trust, but details of the rest of the trust would remain private.
Because your home and other assets in the trust wouldn’t have to go through the costly and lengthy probate proceedings that a common will demands, it wouldn’t be part of the “public record,” meaning nosy neighbors and creditors can’t find out how much you left behind, or how you decided to split the inheritance among your heirs. That can discourage a bunch of lawsuits, from creditors to heirs who feel that they didn’t get their fair share.
David W. Myers’ column is distributed by Cowles Syndicate Inc.