Real Estate Tips: Winterizing Your Plumbing

frozen pipe 2015
November is a great month to get started on winterizing your plumbing systems. We all know that water expands as it freezes, which can cause strain on your plumbing system. Below are a few tips/precautions you can take to help save you down the road.

1) Make sure your crawl space vents are closed up tight and add extra insulation over all openings you find.

2) If your bathroom pipes run along the exterior wall, open up the door on the vanity to allow warm air inside.

3) Remove, drain and store your garden hoses.

4) Leave your kitchen sink and/or bathroom sink at a slow drip overnight when temperatures drop below 32 degrees.

5) Leave a cabinet door open under all sinks to allow heat inside.

6) NEVER thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame! Use a hair dryer, heat lamp or space heater.

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Real Estate Tips: Preparing Your Yard for Winter

Autumn-Leaves-Blowing 2015 The weather is turning colder and the days are getting shorter which means winter is on the way. So you can pack up those gardening tools until next spring, right?…Wrong! You can save yourself some time in the yard next spring if you do a few maintenance tips now.

1) Stay on top of the falling leaves. Leaves can smother your grass and to keep your lawn looking nice either rake leaves regularly or mow. If you decide to mow, make sure you use a bag to collect the clippings & shredded leaves which you can use for your garden or landscape beds.

2) Prune rose canes back to knee height, mound the base with fresh compost (about 12 inches) and cover the rosebush with shredded leaves. This will help protect the bush & roots during the colder months.

3) Mulch landscaping beds with chopped leaves or pine needles. Again, this is extra protection and helps reduce the effects of extreme temperature changes.

4) Plant spring bulbs now and your yard will come alive next spring. Examples of spring bulbs to plant are tulips, daffodils, crocus, and hyacinth to name a few.

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Real Estate Tips: Preparing You & Your Home for School

owl-calendar
August is usually the month for going back-to-school and you and your home can suddenly spin out of control. Below is a list of some hopeful tips to help you stay organized during this crazy time. 

1) Establish a routine. Start homework as soon as the kids get home from school. This is a great way to cut down the stress before bedtime. Also, Preparing food for lunches, laying out clothes, signing all homework, etc… can be done the night before and will save you time in the mornings.  

2) Get a calendar. Having a calendar on a wall near the kitchen can help you keep track of daily, weekly or monthly activities at a glance. You should include family event, test dates & other important information. Try adding a inspirational quote to the top every month. 

3) Make a designated area for school backpacks. A mudroom is an excellent place to keep backpacks. This way, they are out of sight to your guest yet your family knows exactly where to look for them the next day.   

4) Prep lunches. Its a good idea to have designated areas for school lunches in the refrigerator and pantry. This way you can grab the items you need to make a quick lunch. 
    Refrigerator: Make designated area for juice boxes (school drinks) in the door.

    Pantry: Designate a shelf or drawer for school lunches & store single serve                        snack items in different baskets or containers.

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Real Estate Tips: Did You Know It’s National Water Quality Month?

drinking-water-
Well it is!…August is national water quality month which makes it the perfect time to provide you with some smart water quality tips.

Below is a little list of the small things we can do to ensure a happy, healthy home.


1) If you have a well, have it tested once a year for bacteria. Since August is National Water Quality Month, now is a great time to start.

2) Help conserve water by installing a water saving showerhead and toilet.

3) Install a backflow preventer to prevent garden hose water from flowing backwards into your drinking water.

These are a few things to you can do to help keep your drinking water safe. If you additional tips you would like to share, just leave us a comment and we will add to the list.





Real Estate Tips: Have Yourself an Energy Efficient Summer

summer

Summer is here which means the energy bill goes up, right? It doesn’t have to! Below is a small list of things you can do to help cut some of your cost. 

1) Say no to cracks – Do you have air leaks in your home? A good way to check is to walk around your home with a lit candle or incense stick. Walk up to doors, windows & electrical outlets. If the candle flame moves or the incense smoke moves, you have a leak. Sealing the leaks is the best way to fix the problem and will help you in the Summer & Winter.

2) Conserve Water – Cut back on watering your lawn in the Summer or let it go dormant. This would help you reduce your water bill and conserve water at the same time. Think about using a natural resource – rainwater. Try setting out containers to collect rainwater to help water a flower garden or planting new trees. 

3) Get Unplugged – Did you know that your TV’s, computers, printers and other electronic devices still use power even when turned off? Well they do and the Summer time is perfect time for outdoor activities. So unplug your electronic devices and head outdoors. 

4) Your Grill – Did you know your grill uses less energy than your oven? It does and it could help reduce your energy bill too. How you ask? When you use your oven it creates heat inside your home which may trigger your AC to turn on. When you use your grill, you are outside in the fresh air and you are keeping the extra heat out. It is a win win situation! 




Real Estate Tips: Unwanted Party Guest?

Backyard Birthday Party  
Summer time is a great time to invite friends over for backyard parties. However, many of us have unwanted guest that regularly attend these parties…mosquitoes. Below is a list of some things to help keep the guest away. 

mosquito warning

1) Prevention – Mosquitoes begin their lives in water. Walk around your home and look for standing water. All it takes is a bottle cap full of water to welcome mosquitoes to your home. 

2) Lemongrass – A mature Lemongrass plant can help keep these unwanted guests away. You must trim the top and plant it in a clear container of water. 
lemongrass likes sun so place it in a windowsill that gets plenty of sun. Once the roots have been developed, you can transplant the plant outdoors. 

3) Citronella & a Wine Bottle – Mosquitoes do not like the smell of citronella. Here is a way to use old wine bottles & citronella to keep them away.
– 1 empty and clean wine bottle
– 1 Tiki torch wick refill (thick)
– 3/8″ diameter metal washer (or adjust for size of openings)

     Feed the wick through the openings of the washer. Try leaving about 1/4″ of     the wick sticking out of the top for a snug fit. Make sure there aren’t any gaps between the washer and the wick. This may cause the bottle to fill up with smoke.

     Pour the oil into the bottle to cover half of the wick. Feed the longer side of the wick into the bottle. Light the top wick and enjoy the smell. 

4) Maintenance spray – Many local business have a mosquito sprays. The company comes out once a month for 4-5 months and sprays bushes and small trees around your home. From experience, this treatment does help. 


Real Estate Tips: Kid Friendly Spring Cleaning

kids cleaning house
It’s time for spring cleaning! Make it a family affair and get the family involved. Here are a few cleaning tips for different age groups.

2-4 years old 
  • Dust- windowsills
  • Dust- baseboards
  • Help feed pets
  • Sweep (with supervision)
  • Clean up toys
  • Check under tables, beds and furniture for items that don’t belong

5-8 year old
  • Everything listed under 2-4 years old
  • Load and unload the dishwasher
  • Dust- table tops & furniture
  • Clean the windows
  • Help with groceries 
  • Set the table
  • Clear the table
  • Make beds
  • Hang up clothes
9-12 years old
  • Everything listed from 8 & under
  • Clean bathroom
  • Help with laundry- run washer & dryer
  • Fold clothes
  • Wash dishes
  • Take out the trash
  • Rake leaves 
  • Walk pets
13-17 years old
  • Everything listed for 12 & under
  • Vacuum and/or mop floors
  • Help prepare meals
  • Change bed linens



Real Estate Tips: Take Your Window Screens for a Swim

cleaning-window-screensApril is the month to start talking about spring which also means spring cleaning. One of the hardest things to clean is window screens. Here is a tip to help get the job done. Children can help you with this as well. 

To get started, you will need the following items…
  • Kiddie pool
  • Water & water hose
  • Dish soap
  • Soft bristle broom
First, fill the kiddie pool with water and a few squirts of dish soap. Grab the broom and swish the water around to create a foam on the water.

Place all screens in the pool and let them soak for a few minutes (5 minutes max). 

Once the screens are finished soaking, swish them back and fourth. You can use the broom to assist you in this. Repeat for both sides.

Now that both sides are cleaned, take the screen out and rinse with a hose to remove all soap. Then, lay screens out to dry before putting back in windows. 


*If you would like to clean your screens on a weekly basis, use your vacuum cleaner by running the hose up and down the screen very lightly. Don’t push too hard or it could cause stretching.

Real Estate Tips: Home Grown

basic-vegetable-garden-design
March is the ideal month to get your garden started. Whether you dream of a lush herb garden or vegetable garden, now is the time. Below is a list of some vegetables and herbs to get your garden started. 

First you must get the soil ready. For most, you can simply start by mixing in compost. However, if you are planning for a large garden, getting your soil tested is the best way to start. 

These veggies can be planted in March and can withstand the last frost days.
Beets
Cabbage
Cucumbers
Onions
Peppers
Spinach

Grow these veggies/herbs indoors first, before transplanting outdoors.
Tomatoes
Peppers
Herbs: basil, oregano, thyme and sage

Real Estate Tips: Out With The Mold…

carpet…And in with the new! February can be know as a wet month, whether due to rain or snow, and this means it’s the perfect time for mold. Below is a list of some things you can do around the house to keep the mold at bay.

  • Have your carpets professionally cleaned and vacuum regularly. This helps you remove sources that are likely to come in contact with moisture. 
  • Get some fresh air. Open the windows. By doing this, you help give mold an exit and reduce the trapped moisture that can attract mold in the future.
  • Turn up the heat. Condensation is bad for your home. So if you notice that it is forming, bring those rooms to a warmer temperature so the the water vapor in the air doesn’t change to the liquid state.
  • Change your shower curtain. This will help eliminate unhealthy mold and mildew that contribute to mold problems in the shower and tub. Try to air out the shower and/or wipe down the walls before leaving the bathroom.