Thursday, October 27, 2016

9 Things To Do When You Change Your Clocks



Ahh! With Fall comes cooler nights and shorter days as we prepare for Winter.Here are some useful tips that I found from our friends at GH.
1. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors. (and Carbon Monoxide Detectors)
You've likely heard this one before, but it's worth repeating. Take the time to make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order and have fresh batteries. Flames can consume a home in as little as five minutes, and the risk of dying in a fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.
2. Flip your mattress. (Or rotate as many do not need to be flipped anymore)
To make sure your mattress wears evenly, you should flip it every six months. Got a pillowtop? Just rotate it instead of turning it over.
3. Wash your pillows.
Oils from your face, dead skin, and dust mites accumulate in your pillow over time, so they need a good cleaning twice a year. Owned a pillow for more than two years? Replace it.
4. Take stock of your medicine cabinet and pantry.
Now is a great time to declutter your stash of food and medical supplies. Toss anything that has expired.
5. Clean your fridge's coils.
To keep your unit running efficiently, use your vacuum's wand to suck away layers of dirt and dust.
6. Vacuum out your dryer's vent and ducts.
Lint lodged in the vent pipes, the space behind the dryer, and ducts outside your home is often the cause of dryer fires. Your vacuum's crevice tool can help you get the job done.
7. Replace or clean filters around your house.
You should inspect the filters in your heating and air-conditioning units to make your systems are still running well, but also check the water filter in your fridge and HEPA filter in your vacuum.
8. Clean the oven.
In preparation for holiday parties, make sure your kitchen is in tip-top shape by running your oven's self-cleaning function — or getting on your hands and knees and doing some old-fashioned scrubbing.
9. Check your emergency kit.
If you've depleted your supply of flashlight batteries, bandage, and other just-in-case items over the past six months, use this time to restock.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

How Long Are Homes Staying On the Market in Your Area

Properties are selling faster. Nationwide, properties were on the market for an average of 39 days in April.
Short sales were on the market for the longest amount of time, at 120 days. Foreclosed properties stayed on the market for just 51 days, while nondistressed properties had the fastest sales at 37 days, according to the April 2016 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey Report.
About 45 percent of properties across the country were on the market for less than a month when sold. Only 13 percent were on the market for longer than six months.
Read More Here

Source: realtormag.realtor.org

Friday, June 10, 2016

Design: Bringing the Outdoors In

How Screened Porches Bring the Outdoors In

Growing concerns about bug-borne illnesses and overexposure to harmful rays have boosted the appeal of the screened porch, which offers a protected, front-row seat to nature.
Before air conditioning became widespread, the screened porch was considered a necessity in many areas as a respite from intense heat, especially as a safe, cool place to rest at night. Then, as different notions of “outdoor rooms” for all sorts of uses caught on, its popularity waned.
Now the screened porch is re-emerging with gusto on different styles of homes, in a wide range of prices, and all over the country, from warm climates to cold. In northern Minnesota, just below the Canadian border, builder Matt Balmer’s Lands End Development company builds mostly vacation homes. “We’re finding that consumers want them in their new houses without exception, [and] are also adding them on to existing homes,” he says. In much warmer San Antonio, many of Lake Flato Architects’ projects, mostly new homes, include at least one and sometimes two screened porches. “We love how they expand clients’ living space to enjoy morning coffee or watch a sunset with a cocktail,” says Rebecca Bruce, an architect and associate with the firm. Continue Reading
Source: Barbara Ballinger realtormag.realtor.org

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sellers: Pricing Strategies to Sell Your Home

Looking to sell your home?? The biggest discussion with most home sellers is how to price the home. Mayny sellers want to add in room to "negotiate". Some sellers are too emotionally tied to the home, which makes sense because the "house" has been made into their "home". I get it. You need to distance yourself emotionally from your home when selling it if you want to get the most for your home.
Right now is an interesting time in real estate. In Boston, for example, the condo market is on fire with many going for well over asking price.  There is little to no inventory so it's your classic case of supply and demand. If your home is not selling quickly in the Boston market then you need to know the why? Is it the price? Location, etc.? Or does your home need more than cosmetic updates and now your price is cost prohibitive? These are all factors you need to consider.
Read more here on pricing strategies.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Home Sweet Home-Saying Good Bye

Moving? Sweet Ways to Say Good Bye to Your Home
Alas, one day you will very likely have to leave a house you’ve lived in for years. And when the moving truck pulls away, it will be time to say so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, and goodbye forever to a place that was so much more than four walls and a roof. This was your home, where hundreds of memories were made, and simply driving off into the sunset may not suffice.
Luckily for you, we gathered stories on how other homeowners cleverly honored their abodes when they had to bid them adieu.

Go room by room

“As a military family, we’ve moved many, many times around the country,” says Rachel Tenpenny Crawford, a grief recovery specialist. Since each home saw special milestones in their lives, Crawford developed a ritual before leaving.
Crawford’s family goes “into every room of the house and talks about our favorite memories in that space—like when my son drew all over a hallway wall in our home in North Carolina and I had to repaint it. We’ll also talk about something we wish we would have done in that room, such as put glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling. Then we each say, ‘Goodbye, room,’ and move on to the next.”
Source: realtor.com

Monday, May 30, 2016

Do You Have A Drainage Problem? 7 Telling Signs


Sign #1: Gushing gutters
A mini Niagara over the edge of your gutter means dead leaves and debris are blocking the flow. But you don’t need a live gusher to tell you you’ve got problems: Vertical streaks of dirt on the outside of gutters, mud spattered on siding, or paint peeling off the house in vertical strips are other sure signs. If you don’t take action, overflowing gutters can rot siding, ruin paint jobs, and cause structural damage.

Best case: Leaves are clogging the downspout, and you just need to clear them out or hire a pro to do it (about $75).

Worst case: Gutters are undersized or improperly pitched and need to be replaced or reinstalled. That could run a few thousand dollars, but it’s still cheaper than new siding.
Sign #2: Downspouts that dump
Each inch of rain that falls on 1,000 square feet of a roof produces more than 600 gallons of runoff—enough to fill 10 bathtubs to the brim. Dumping that much water too close to the foundation can send it right into the basement, where it can ruin furnishings, flooring, and all the stuff you swore you’d put on shelves one day.

Best case: You can add gutter extensions (about $10 for a 10-foot length) to carry the water at least 5 feet away from the house.

Worst case: Too-short downspouts continually dump buckets of water around your foundation. The water seeps deep into the soil and puts pressure on your foundation walls, eventually cracking them. A foundation contractor comes out and gives you an estimate of $30,000 to excavate around your foundation and fix everything. You begin to cry, dumping buckets of water into the soil around your foundation.
Sign #3: Water stains in the basement
Depending on where a stain shows up, you can tell if the problem is caused by surface water, which can be easy to deal with, or water traveling underground, a potentially bigger headache.

Best case: You see stains high on your foundation wall, meaning that water is coming from an overflowing gutter, or that surface runoff backed up against your house because the soil around your foundation doesn’t slope adequately (6 inches for every 10 horizontal feet is best).

Worst case: The stain extends in a line around the basement. If that’s the case, you may be looking at a high-water mark caused by a fluctuating water table. Or, your basement floor lies below the level of municipal storm drains that back up during heavy rains. In either case, an interior drain system and sump pump (around $3,000) will pump any seepage out of our basement, keeping your old bowling trophies dry.
Sign #4: Cracks in the foundation
Foundations often have small cracks that appear as houses settle over time. Most are harmless, but bigger cracks bear watching. Keep an eagle eye on cracks larger than 1/8-inch wide by marking the ends with an erasable pencil line. Measure the width and jot it down. If you notice the cracks are growing, you’ve got potential problems.

Best case: A crack appears where the builders finished installing one load of concrete and began pouring the next. Such cracks usually don’t penetrate all the way through. And even if they do, as long as they’re stable you can patch them with hydraulic cement or polyurethane caulk for less than $20.

Worst case: Cracks are continuing to widen, indicating that a drainage problem may be ruining the foundation. Call a structural engineer (not a contractor or waterproofing expert) to diagnose the problem, assess the risk, and suggest a repair. Expect to shell out $300 for a structural engineer’s diagnosis.
Sign #5: Flaking and deposits on walls
If you see areas of white or gray crust on the basement walls, that’s efflorescence—mineral deposits left behind by evaporating water. Or the wall may be flaking off in big patches, a condition called spalling.

Best case: The efflorescence points to a place where moisture is condensing. It doesn’t cause structural problems, but you may want to check out your gutters, downspouts, and the grading of the soils around your foundation. Scrape off the crust if it looks ugly.

Worst case: The wall is spalling because water is getting inside the masonry. Spalling can be just superficial, but if it’s deeper than ½-inch and widespread, it may be a sign of improper drainage that threatens the integrity of your foundation.
Sign #6: Mildew in the attic
Sure, the attic might be a strange place to look for drainage problems, but mildew on the underside of the roof can be a tipoff to serious trouble at the ground level.

Best case: Bathroom fans are spewing hot air directly into the attic, where it condenses on the cold back side of the roof and causes mildew. Venting the fan through an outside wall or the roof (about $200) solves the problem.

Worst case: Moisture from the basement or crawl space is rising through the house and condensing on the underside of the roof. In that case, you’ve got to find and stop the source of the dampness under the house. If you don’t act, you’ll end up replacing roof sheathing and shingles, a job that runs $6,000 to $9,000 for the typical house.
Sign #7: Migrating mulch


When soil doesn’t drain properly, rain runs off in sheets, carving gulleys in the landscape, dumping silt on pathways, and carrying piles of mulch or wood chips where they don’t belong.

Best case: For a few hundred dollars, you can hire a landscaper to create a simple berm (a soil mound) or swale (a wide, shallow ditch) to redirect the water flow away from the house.

Worst case: Your concrete patio cracks and paving stones start popping up because the gravel or sand base material has washed away. After redirecting the water, you’ll need to excavate the patio and start again.
Source: Houselogic.com and Jeanne Huber

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Great Time To Sell A Home and Buy!

Across the United States, home sellers are feeling good. Great, in fact. And why shouldn’t they? The residential real estate market is healthier now than it has been in over a decade. Across the board, we’re seeing strong demand turn into fast-moving inventory and higher prices.
If there’s been any problem with this picture, it’s that the supply of homes for sale in some markets has been tighter than tight, leaving many would-be buyers in the lurch. Thankfully, there are plenty of factors leading more and more existing homeowners to realize that now is a great time to sell a home—and buyers may see the benefit. 
Source: realtor.com

Friday, May 27, 2016

What Does an Alligator, Car and a Black Bear Have in Common?

So, what does an alligator, car and black bear have in common? Did I stump you?? They have all been found in people's pools! Can you imagine?? If I had a pool I can honestly say all three of these would be unwanted guests! Pools are a lot of maintenance but can you imagine needing to remove these from your pool?
Read more here about the strangest things people have found in their pools.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

How To Keep Your Home Cool

Block that sun! Follow these tips to stay cool while not turning on the AC!

Close the drapes, add awnings, install shutters, apply high-reflectivity window film, open those windows, fire up fans, power down appliances, plant trees and vines...read more here!

Source: Lisa Kaplan Gordon/Houselogic.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Stargazing: Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos Selling His $7M Southhampton Home

According to Realtor.com Actress Ali Wentworth may be “Happily Ali After,” but her Southampton home doesn’t go along for the ride. Along with husband George Stephanopoulos, the actress recently listed their five-bedroom estate for just under $7 million. Read more here on this stunning home.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Ahh! The Zesitmate


Ahh!...the "Zestimate", don't get me wrong this can be a great starting point and Zillow's CEO, Spencer Raskoff concurs. What you need to know is that nationwide there is a median error rate of about 8 percent. Many home buyers and sellers think the "zestimate" is 100% accurate. This simply is not the case and this is why you need an experienced agent to help guide you.
Read More Here on the "Zestimate"

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentine's Day Tip

Valentine's Day Tips

So you're about to enjoy your favorite day of the year, Valentine's Day ... until that candle gets knocked over and wax goes all over the carpet.   Believe it or not this is a common problem we face every year in February.   Here are a few steps to remove the wax from your carpet or area rugs.
 
1.  First take a spatula or a knife to remove the excess wax by scraping it off gently making sure not to cut or abrade the carpet. 
2.   Get an iron and set it in on the lowest setting.  Cover the wax with a piece of plain paper, either brown paper bag or white with no lines or ink.
3.   Using the iron go slowly back and forth and you will notice the wax melting into the paper.  Make sure you are checking the carpeting to make sure it is tolerating the low heat.
4.  Move the paper so that the wax can melt into a new area with each pass.  Do this for as long as you are removing wax.
5.  Once you are not seeing any wax transferring then you can blot the spot with mineral spirits.  Never pour product on your carpeting.   This should remove any remaining wax.  It is important that you do not set the iron too high as some carpet fibers will melt.

Who knew that this was such a common problem. This tip is passed along from The Clean Team.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What Size Rug For My Living Room?



What size rug should I get for my room? This is something I get asked all the time. It is particularly important when staging your home for sale. So I thought why not share now as some of you prepare your home for sale. I really like this video because it shows you in a simple format for all of us design challenged people (this would be me!). Hope you enjoy and find this helpful!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Nothing Is For Free...Ways to Conserve Energy


Nothing is for free...do you realize this? There is always a cost to pay! Several years ago my brother hooked me up with a 2nd refrigerator for my garage. It's a suburban thing, having a 2nd fridge in the garage. This refrigerator was perfect or so I thought. It reminded me of my childhood as it was avocado green...what a throwback but being nostalgic I kind of liked it. What I did not realize at the time was how much energy this would use to run it. Annually, I think it was costing me over $400 a year to run this...I had this refrigerator for about 8 years...so you can do the math. If you are a client of mine then I have already bored you with this story many times but I like people to learn from my mistakes. Anyway, MassSave came out and this is how I found out the true cost of my free refrigerator!!

So, why today? Why am I sharing this today because I love learning and knowing about how to be more energy efficient. I guess I am kind of a geek that way and also slightly horrified at how much I need to improve!! But please, do yourself a favor and have MassSave out for an energy audit! It is worth the 2 to 2.5 hours. They will educate you about heat loss and show you the savings! Best of all...they come out with goodies for you! For example, they will offer you CFL and LED lightbulbs, programmable thermostats and energy efficient shower heads! What more could a girl ask for??

While we are on the topic of being more energy efficient, I will share another great site that I found. It is HomeWaterWorks  I love this site. It is one of those interactive sites where you can calculate your water usage and then it lets you see where you stack up against more efficient homes. It also gives you ideas on how to save water usage and do-it-yourself tips as well. Let's just say I was not getting an A from them either...but I am working on it.
I hope you find these little tidbits of information helpful! What are your ideas about saving energy?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Avoid These 9 Homeowners Mistakes on Your Taxes


I came across this article from HouseLogic and thought it's timing is perfect as we all get ready to file our taxes!

1. Deducting the wrong year for property taxes

You take a tax deduction for property taxes in the year you (or the holder of your escrow account) actually paid them. Some taxing authorities work a year behind — that is, you’re not billed for 2013 property taxes until 2014. But that’s irrelevant to the feds.

2. Confusing escrow amount for actual taxes paid

If your lender escrows funds to pay your property taxes, don’t just deduct the amount escrowed. The regular amount you pay into your escrow account each month to cover property taxes is probably a little more or a little less than your property tax bill. Your lender will adjust the amount every year or so to realign the two.

3. Deducting points paid to refinance

Deduct points you paid your lender to secure your mortgage in full for the year you bought your home. However, when you refinance, you must deduct points over the life of your new loan.
For example, if you paid $2,000 in points to refinance into a 15-year mortgage, your tax deduction is $2,000 divided by 15 years, or $133 per year.

4. Misjudging the home office tax deduction

The deduction is complicated, often doesn’t amount to much of a deduction, has to be recaptured if you turn a profit when you sell your home, and can pique the IRS’s interest in your return.
But there’s good news. There’s a new simplified home office deduction option if you don’t want to claim actual costs. If you’re eligible, you can deduct $5 per square foot up to 300 feet of office space, or up to $1,500 per year.

5. Failing to repay the first-time homebuyer tax credit

If you used the original homebuyer tax credit in 2008, you must repay 1/15th of the credit over 15 years.
If you used the tax credit in 2009 or 2010 and then within 36 months you sold your house or stopped using it as your primary residence, you also have to pay back the credit.
The IRS has a tool you can use to help figure out what you owe.

6. Failing to track home-related expenses

File or scan and store home office and home improvement expense receipts and other home-related documents as you go.

7. Forgetting to keep track of capital gains

If you sold your main home last year, don’t forget to pay capital gains taxes on any profit. You can typically exclude $250,000 of any profits from taxes (or $500,000 if you’re married filing jointly).
So if your cost basis for your home is $100,000 (what you paid for it plus any improvements) and you sold it for $400,000, your capital gains are $300,000. If you’re single, you owe taxes on $50,000 of gains.
However, there are minimum time limits for holding property to take advantage of the exclusions, and other details. Consult IRS Publication 523. And high-income earners could get hit with an additional tax.

8. Filing incorrectly for energy tax credits

If you made any eligible improvements in 2014, such as installing energy-efficient windows and doors, you may be able to take a 10% tax credit (up to $500; with some systems your cap is even lower than $500). But keep in mind, it’s a lifetime credit. If you claimed the credit in any recent years, you’re done.
Installing a solar electric, solar water heater, geothermal, or small wind energy system can also make you eligible to take the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit.
To claim the deduction, you have to use the complicated Form 5695, which can mean cross-checking with half a dozen other IRS forms. Read the instructions carefully.

9. Claiming too much for the mortgage interest tax deduction

Taxpayers are allowed to deduct mortgage interest on home acquisition debt up to $1 million, plus they can also deduct up to $100,000 in home equity debt.

This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/taxes-incentives/common-tax-mistakes/#ixzz3SaaohzaG 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

What Millennials Want In A Home

What millennials want in a home and why does this matter to you? Because they are buyers! According to a survey from Redfin, 92% who don't own a home want to own a home in the future and potentially that means 80 million home buyers in the United States alone! Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of Realtor.com estimates that there 87 million millennials in the United States compared to 75 million boomers!

Millennials will be shaping the housing and mortgage industries with their needs and wants in a home. Where do they live now and why does this matter? It's important to understand where they are coming from and what influences them. They like to be in the thick of things, where the action is. They love their amenities and want to be close to everything they need. They want to be near work, transportation, their favorite coffee shops, restaurants and bars. Most of them live in the city and are paying high rents and also indulging in all the city offers them. What does this mean to you? This means that because of this that they will not have large down payments and yes you can buy a home today with as little as 3% down.

According to survey by the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), millennials are looking for the following in a home:
55% want a separate laundry room
Storage: linen closets, garage storage, walk-in pantry
Energy efficiency, said they are willing to pay 2-3% more for energy efficiency as long as they see a return on the power bills
The survey also found that they are not willing to sacrifice on less expensive materials in their home but they would sacrifice a longer way to work and extra finished space. Other surveys found that they are not fans of a separate living or dining room. They prefer turn the existing dining room into a home office and the living room into a home theater. They want to "live" in their rooms as opposed to using them for that special occasion. Millennials are also interested in good wireless service, hardwood floors and color! Gone are the days of off white and white!

Good news here is that millennials believe in home ownership! They may go about it differently than their parents, meaning they will search online first. This means they will map it out and know how close they are to the T or to Starbucks. They also know what they will and will not sacrifice on in their choice of home and it's location.

So, if you are a seller in today's market and looking to appeal to these buyers, then you should know your competition because these buyers know what they want. So, if your neighbor has an updated kitchen and baths and yours are not this will affect your sales price as well as your pool of buyers. Also, be aware that these buyer may not be coming in with big down payments but if they are working with a reputable lender or bank and they have a pre-approval in hand then they are good qualified buyers that can afford your home.

sources: realtor.magmarketwatch.com, forbes.com

Friday, January 30, 2015

5 Ways to Raise the Value of Your Home Before You List It!

5 Ways to Raise the Value of Your Listing



A seller may be able to boost the value of their home by an additional 12 percent, with just a few smart pre-listing repairs, according to a new survey of 300 residential real estate professionals by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. On a median, single-family home priced at $205,000, that could be a potential gain of $24,600.
Best time to sell: The best single month to sell a home is from April through June, with the best selling month identified as April, according to the Consumer Reports survey of real estate professionals. 
“You don’t have to spend a ton of money to increase the value of your home," says Dan DiClerico, senior editor for Consumer Reports. “Some simple, inexpensive fixes throughout the house can make it more appealing to potential buyers.”
Here are some of the fixes that the Consumer Reports survey of real estate professionals uncovered as being the most important:
Higher Returns
1. Declutter
Cost range: $0 (do-it-yourself) to $2,500 (pro)
Potential return: 3% to 5%
Clear away any clutter and depersonalize the space as much as possible.
2. Makeover the kitchen
Cost range: $300 to $5,000
Potential return: 3% to 7%
The kitchen was rated as the most important room to have in top shape before selling, according to the survey. Real estate professionals recommend focusing on minor repairs that center on the function of the kitchen first, such as repairing leaky faucets, loose light fixtures, or blemishes on the countertop. Then, they recommend small enhancements, such as painting the walls, updating the cabinet hardware, adding new curtains, or light fixtures.
3. Freshen up the bathroom
Cost range: $300 to $1,000
Potential return: 2% to 3%
Make simple improvements, such as caulking the tub or re-grouting the floor or adding new bathroom fixtures to brighten up the space. Updating the mirror and lighting also can have a big impact, the real estate professionals surveyed said.  
4. Paint
Cost range: $100 (do-it-yourself) to $1,000 (pro)
Potential return: 1% to 3%
Sixteen percent of the real estate professionals surveyed said that interior painting is an important part in bringing about a sale of a home. But the seller likely doesn’t need the entire house repainted, but maybe just a redo of one or two rooms to curb costs. The two prime candidates for being repainted: Kitchens and bathrooms. Paint in whites and off-whites and a neutral palette – such as grays and beiges -- help buyers focus on the home’s features more than be distracted by bright colors, agents note.
5. Exterior touch ups
Cost range: $150 to $7,500
Potential return: 2% to 5%
Agents recommend that their clients concentrate on basic maintenance first, such as to mowing the lawn, trimming overgrown shrubs, and applying a fresh layer of mulch to the garden beds. They also recommend making any minor repairs, such as replacing cracked siding boards or repointing brick walls. The real estate professionals also recommended taking careful note of any repairs needed with the roof: 31 percent of agents surveyed said the roof is one of the most important parts of the home to have in good shape.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

5 Safety Tips For Decorating the Exterior of Your Home This Holiday Season

It’s that time of year where home owners are busy decorating their exteriors with holiday lights and making them for festival for the holidays. Many landscape and lawn care companies support their clients year-round by providing snow removal and holiday lighting in the winter. There are many safety concerns that home owners should take into consideration when putting up their own holiday lights, such as:
1. Inspect the lights and wires.
Inspect all lights, decorations and extension cords before using. Wires can become brittle.Throw lights away if there is exposed copper or broken sockets.
2. Don’t overload circuits and watch for electrical concerns.
Avoid connecting five or more strands end to end, otherwise the circuit can be overloaded. However, for many LEDs you can add more than five strands. Also, do not pull the strands too tight so they can reach an outlet. Other electrical concerns to watch for:
  • Tears in the wiring surface could result in electrocution.
  • When creating a lighting configuration on a lawn, make sure to keep connections out of depressions that could collect ground water.
  • Be sure to tape down extension cords if they cross walkways.
3. Read the labels carefully for outdoor use.
LED lights re more energy efficient and require less wattage than incandescent bulbs. But make sure the lights and extension cords are rated for indoor and outdoor use or specifically for outdoor use. Outdoor lights should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs.). Also, don’t replace light bulbs without unplugging the light strand or decoration.
4. Take caution on rooftops or elevated areas.
Ladders should be inspected – look for lose or missing screws, hinges, bolts and nuts before using and be sure they are stable and in good condition. Be sure to ground the ladder on a solid, even surface with no risk of sliding.
Don’t overreach when on ladders. When stringing lights, climb down and move the ladder often. Also, keep ladders as far as possible from electrical lines. 
Finally, if the roof is too steep or too high, don’t risk scaling it and endangering yourself. Hire a trained landscape professional that has the training to offer unique installation methods and premium quality products with the latest trends in decoration and technology.
5. Remove lights at the end of the holiday season.
Over a period of time, lights exposed to the weather can have damage to the wires, lights, and sockets. Watch for any weather damage before you tow the lights away for next year.
Click here to read more:

5 Safety Tips When Decorating the Exterior for the Holidays
Nikos Phelps, president, Utopian Landscape, a member of The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) for REALTOR(R) Magazine

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Trends Driving New-Home Designs

What is luring home buyers to new homes? Technology, the outdoors, and “super kitchens” are among what Nick Lehnert, executive director at KTGY, and Mollie Carmichael, principal at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, recently shared withBUILDER Online on some of the design drivers in the new-home market.

Here are some of the trends they point to:
1. Super kitchens: The kitchen is not just a hub for cooking but has become a center of the home for entertainment and conversations. Builders have been opening the kitchen to other rooms and the kitchen island is becoming key to separating the spaces. The island adds more seating along with extra prep space. As kitchens become more open, pantries are getting bigger to accommodate the need for storage.
2. Outdoor/indoors merged: The interiors are feeling stretched by carving out spaces that seamlessly allow home owners to walk into outdoor retreats. But buyers want those outdoor spaces to be private, a stray from the once traditionally “public” backyard. As such, more builders are taking note and carefully positioning the architecture of the home to make sure the outdoor space offers more privacy.
Click Here To Read More

6 Trends Driving New-Home Designs

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How to Save Energy This Winter

Fall/Winter Energy Saving Tips

The following tips will save you energy and help your budget as the weather cools down.
  • Set your thermostat no higher than 68 degrees when you are home and lower the temperature when you go to bed or when you are not at home. This will ensure optimal home heating and save energy.
  • For every degree you lower your thermostat you save about 2 percent off your heating bill.
  • Cut annual heating bills by as much as 10 percent a year by turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 percent for eight hours a day.
  • Weatherize your home by caulking and weather-stripping all doors and windows. Also use locks on your windows to make them tighter and draft resistant.
  • Insulate or increase the amount of insulation in your attic, basement and outside walls. Also cover through-the-wall air conditioners to prevent cold air from leaking into your home.
  • Reducing air leaks could cut 10 percent from an average household's monthly energy bill. The most common places where air escapes homes are: floors, walls, ceilings, ducts, fireplaces, plumbing penetrations, doors, windows, fans, vents and electrical outlets.
  • Keep shades and curtains open during the day on the south side of your home to allow solar heating. Close them at night to retain heat.
  • Don't block your radiators or heating vents with furniture or draperies. Keep your radiators, registers and baseboard heaters dirt and dust free. Close vents and doors in unused rooms.
  • Have your heating system serviced once a year and regularly replace furnace filters. During the heating season, change or clean furnace filters once a month.
  • Close the fireplace damper when not in use.
  • Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to save money on your energy bill. If you have children in the house, this is also a safety measure
  • Install water-flow restrictors in showerheads and faucets.
  • Place a sheet of aluminum foil between the radiator and the wall to reflect heat back into the room.
Source: Nstar

Thursday, October 2, 2014

So Little Time and So Much To Do!! Upcoming Events in & Around Marshfield!



Free Kids' Activity this week (October 3rd) is "Halloween Hands",sponsored by the Marshfield Cub Scouts, to get everybody in the October mood! 

Music, Artisans and homemade goodies and lots of greens and veggies!

Always Free Admission and Parking!
 @Marshfield Fairgrounds




Trick-or Treat Marshfield Center
October 25th, 2014 11:30-5pm
Free sponsored by Marshfield businesses! Storytime, cup cake decorating, costume parade and so much more!! Always lots of fun!
Full schedule of events here!





Marshfield Chamber of Commerce will be holding it's 7th annual Oktoberfest, October 4, 2014, 12-5 at Marshfield Fair Grounds
Children's activities, amusement rides, live music, beer and restaurant samplings! Something for everyone!
More information here!











3rd Annual Fall For Scituate, Sunday October 5th, 10-4, North Scituate Village

Lots of great activities, ice cream eating contest! Chowder and Chilfest!!

Click here for more information.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Remodeling? 5 Projects That Don't Add Up At Resale

5 Remodeling Projects with the Lowest Paybacks at Resale


If you want to get the biggest bang for your remodeling buck, replace the entry door to steel, according to the2014 Cost vs. Value Report, produced by Remodeling Magazine in conjunction with REALTOR® Magazine. The entry door may cost about $1,162 but home owners could potentially recoup 96.6 percent of that at resale, according to the report.
However, not all remodeling projects offer big paybacks at resale. Remodeling Magazine evaluated 35 of the most popular remodeling projects and the potential payback throughout 101 U.S. cities. Check out our prior blog post to view the projects that topped the list: 5 Mid-Range Remodeling Projects That Offer the Biggest Returns. But how about the projects that came in at the bottom of that list of 35 remodeling projects?
While all of these remodeling projects may be nice to have, home owners may not want to expect as big as of returns from their remodeling dollars with the following:
1. Home office remodel
Estimated job cost: $28,000
Estimated cost recouped at resale: 48.9%
2. Sunroom addition
Estimated job cost: $73,546
Estimated cost recouped at resale: 51.7%
3. Bathroom addition
Estimated job cost: $38,186
Estimated cost recouped at resale: 60.1%
4. Backup power generator
Estimated job cost: $11,742
Estimated cost recouped at resale: 67.5%
5. Master suite addition
Estimated job cost: $103,844
Estimated cost recouped at resale: 67.5%
Source: Realtor.org