October 20, 2014

Shut the Front Door

 

What is the first thing a visitor sees when they visit and the last thing they see when they leave? Your front door and entryway of course! First impressions count. Therefore if you are hosting a dinner, having family over for the holidays, etc, you should take some time to spruce up your entryway. Here are a few quick, cheap and super simple tips to achieve instant results!

 

DIY_Paint_Front_Door_1

 

 

1.) Wash it down

It is surprising how much grime and dirt builds up on your front door. You will want to grab a sponge and wipe it down with warm and soapy water. If you have a door with older paint, make sure you use a soft sponge and wipe it clean carefully to make sure you don’t accidentally take some of the paint off.

 

 

 

Paint-your-Front-Door2.) Roll on the paint

After you have washed your front door, you may be left unsatisfied. If it seems something is missing and washing the door hasn’t done the trick, it is time roll up your sleeves and go to the paint store. Take your significant other, family member or friend to the paint store and pick out a nice new color or polish for your front door. Since this is a DIY project make sure you give yourself enough time to do it properly. This project could be timely; sanding, primer and two coats of paint.

 

 

 

funny-doormat-2

 

3.) “Welcome”

Perhaps your home is not as welcoming as it could be. If you have an old front door mat that is worn by both age and more shoes than you remember then it is time to find yourself a new one. A new mat can make all the difference in the world.

 

 

 

pretty-fall-porch-decor-ideas-49

 

 

 

4.) Character

Add some color and pzazz to your front door. Transform your doorway into a bright welcoming entryway. This can be done with seasonal decorations, plants, or anything you see fit. You could even choose something hearty that looks good throughout the year and doesn’t require much maintenance.

 

 

 

 

 

5.) Knock, knock

Who’s there? Go to your local hardware store and pick yourself out a door knocker. It is a nice alternative to a doorbell and when someone knocks you will actually be able to hear it. Adding a door knocker will create a design-savvy point of interest which you are more than welcome to take all the credit for.

doorknocker

 

 

 

October 16, 2014

To Move or Improve?

 

remodeling

 

 

 

Are you considering renovating your existing home or starting completely over by moving? If you ask around, you’ll receive mixed opinions, but the ultimate decision is up to you (and perhaps your significant other). But how will you come to a decision? What criteria should you use to make a rational decision on whether to stay and renovate or pack up and move on?

 

 

Here’s some criteria to help you decide:

 

1.) How do you feel about your neighborhood?paper home

  • Is it a place you enjoy?
  • How well do you get along with your neighbors?
  • Would you miss your neighborhood community
  • Are you and your children happy with the local school district?
  • Is your neighborhood a good fit for you (and your family)?
  • You can always fix a house, but you can’t fix your neighborhood

 

 

2.) Is there an intangible quality to your house?

  • While not every house has significance beyond simply providing shelter, many do. Whether it is the age, design or historical quality, a home that has significance shouldn’t be subjected to the wrecking ball. Expanding, renovating and adapting homes of such value are sure ways to keep the significance alive for years to come.

 

 

 

3.) Does renovating make sense financially?moeny

  • There are a handful of factors to consider when it comes to the question of ‘How much will renovating cost?’. If you are renovating, there are going to be other costs. For example an associated cost could be temporary living quarters while your house is under construction.
  • However it can also cost money is you stay and you are in the way. Some contractors may charge more where clients stay because there will have to be additional cleanup on a daily basis, a rush for certain mechanical work (i.e. plumbing, electric), and even something as simple as socializing with the onsite homeowners (wasting time on the clock).
  • If you are planning on moving, there will be associated costs with purchasing your new home as well. Costs will include: realtor fees, decorating the new home, moving truck costs…..etc.
  • Determining whether to stay or move requires you to evaluate all the costs on both spectrums before making a decision.
  • This decision is best to determine with a contractor. If you have never been to a house that is under-going a remodel, you should so you can understand how much of your home/life will be affected by what you have planned.

 

 

4.) Does your existing house have a sturdy foundation?

  • Not every house is an ideal candidate for a renovation. While there might be a good reason to renovate an old historic barn that is full of family memories, a 20 year old house with a collapsing foundation or other significant defects would not be a good candidate. Therefore make sure you asses (either yourself or professionally), the bones of your house to see if the base of your home is structurally solid.

 

zoning5.) Are the new zoning restrictions going to affect your renovation plans?

  • Depending on the age of your house, the zoning restrictions may have been different during the time it was built.
  • While the house you currently reside in may fit you perfectly (due to the previous lenient restrictions), a new house in its place might not.
  • You should evaluate height/distance to property lines, yard dimensions…..etc., to see if saving the existing structure of the house is worth your while.

 

 

 

6.) Are you willing to have patience and fun with a renovation project…..even when it is not going well?

moneypit

  • Whether you are remolding or even building a custom home, you will have to make numerous decisions. Some of the major decisions include: size, budget and time frame. While some of the other decisions come down to minor details but are extremely important to the whole aesthetic and feel.
  • Make sure you keep your sense of humor. If you are considering renovating, you should watch The Money Pit. The dialogue is filled with classic lines, such as “two weeks” as the stock answer to the question about when the project will be finished. Just remember that renovations may not go as smoothly as planned, but that it’ll be all right in the end. So do your homework, trust in the professionals you’ve hired and enjoy the ride.

 

 

October 13, 2014

PA Festivals in October

Here are a few fun fall events going on this upcoming weekend to embrace the autumn spirit!

pumpkinsSource: Tumblr halloween+harvest

 

 

 

apple fest

Apple Fest in Chambersburg

  • When: Saturday October 18th 9am – 4pm
  • Where: Main Street and Lincoln Way, Chambersburg, PA (Franklin County)
  • This is an annual event held the third Saturday of October. A family free event  that celebrates the main crop of South Central PA, with over 100 art, craft and food vendors along Main Street. It creates an excellent venue for holiday shopping and good food. Live entertainment at the Courthouse Plaza adds to the festive atmosphere. Apple related products, services and contests are featured for this family-friendly fall festival.

 

 

 

 

Fall Fun Fest 

  • When: Saturday October 18th 10am – 5pm
  • Where: York, PA
  • Set aside this day to enjoy a trip to the pumpkin patch and orchard to gather your pumpkins, apples and smiles! With a large selection of fall decorations, crafts fresh food and bakery sweets you and your family will be sure to have a wonderful day. The event includes; pick-your-own-pumpkin patch; corn maze; pumpkin painting; wagon rides; straw bale jungle gym; corn boxes; antique apple cider press demonstrations; face painting and much more.

 

 

howard

 

Howard Fire Company Fall Punpkin’ Chunkin’

  • When: Saturday October 18th 10am – 5pm
  • Where: Howard, PA
  • On the one side this festival is like many others, with a wide variety of delicious foods, fun activities , homemade crafts, there is a little bit of something for everyone. On the other hand, medieval weaponry fires ballistic pumpkins hundreds of yards into a lake. At the Punpkin’ Chunkin’ Festival it should be obvious what the big draw is. Large chunkin’ trebuchets are designed and brought in specifically to hurl pumpkins with great force and greater accuracy. Those teams who excel in the best feats of endurance and power take home the prize. Despite being the namesake of the festival, punkin’ chunkin’ isn’t the only thing to do at the festival….for more information click here.

 

 

 

Stonehedge Gardens Fall Festival

  • When: October 19th 12-6pm
  • Where: Tamaqua, PA Schuylkill County
  • Art, Music, Workshops and Celebrations
  • A fall festival stuffed with unique and exciting events. There will be traditional fall activities like garden tours, pumpkin decorating and a scarecrow display. Vendors will be selling their homemade products and there will be drumming circles and fire-performers. Bring the whole family and have a great experience.

 

 

Yorktoberfest ytf_logo_new

  • When: October 25th-26th 12pm – 5pm
  • Where: York Fairgrounds in York, PA
  • Hosted by the Sons of the American Legion, Yorktoberfest has been growing insanely in terms of size and fan base since it began in 2011. With a large selection of brews, wines and vendors the appeal is at once immediate and obvious. Yorktoberfest is a good-time festival . Nearly fifty craft brews are represented, all from state and regional breweries. Everyone from PA’s Troegs to Dogfishhead to the local favorites, Liquid Hero Brewery, are represented at the festival. There will also be nearly a dozen wineries from across the area showcased with a wide selection of red, whites and seasonals. Make sure you come hungry because there will be plenty of food vendors, fifty to be exact. Attendance for this event is severely limited and totally worth it. Be sure to get tickets (to consume alcohol) asap. All proceeds go to charity programs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 9, 2014

Maryland Ranks on Top 100 Best Places to Live

 

Livability.com recently came out with their second annual ranking for the Top 100 Best Places to Live 2015; small to mid-sized cities in the United States.  Some new places made list, some moved up or down and some continue to score well. Over 2,000 cities were ranked, so every city on the list is in the top 5% of livable communities in the United States. The criteria for ranking was based on 8 categories; amenities, demographics, economy, education, health care, housing, social & civic capital, and transportation. Of the 100 cities, 5 are located in Maryland; #19  Rockville, MD; #32 Frederick, MD; #42  Towson, MD;  #64 North Bethesda, MD; #72 Silver Spring, MD.


#19 City of Rockville, Maryland

map_of_rockville_md
-Rockville is located in Montgomery County, MD. Rockville has a population of 60,960, and a median home price is $481,700.

-There are 34 elementary schools in Rockville which are primarily served by Montgomery County Public School District. Parents who are looking for an alternative to public schools have the option of choosing from 44 private schools.

-Since Rockville is a great place to live, it also means it is a great place to work. The economy in Rockville is led by the Corporate, Subsidiary, and Regional Managing Offices industry. This city is also a great entrepreneurship community.

-Rockville residents are part of Montgomery County, which ranks 1st for health outcomes and 2nd for health factors out of the 24 counties within the State of Maryland.

 

 

#32 City of Frederick, Maryland
frederick- Frederick is located in Frederick County, MD. Frederick has a population of 65,171, and a median home price of $255,600.

- There are 40 elementary schools in Frederick which are primarily served by Frederick County Public School District. Parents who are
looking for an alternative have the choice of 26 private schools to choose from.

- The economy in Frederick is led by the Commercial Banking industry. This city is also a great entrepreneurship community.

- Frederick residents are part of Frederick County, which ranks 3rd for health outcomes and 3rd for health factors out of the 24 counties within the state of Maryland.

 

 

#42 City of Towson, Marylandmap_of_towson_md
-Towson is located in Baltimore County, Maryland. Frederick has a population of 55,811, and a median home price of $339,400.

- There are 31 elementary schools in Towson, which is primarily served by Baltimore County Public School District. Parents who are looking for an alternative to public schools have the option of choosing from 52 private schools. After high school, the University of Towson is a great choice for college.

- Towson residents have access to 69 acute care hospitals within 60 miles. Towson residents rank 14th for health outcomes and 12th for health factors out of the 24 counties within the state of Maryland.

 


#64 City of North Bethesda, Maryland

-North Bethesda is located in Montgomery County, MD. North Bethesda has a population of 42,894, and a median home price of $494,200.

- There are 28 elementary schools in North Bethesda. Parents who are looking for an alternative to public school have the choice of 54 private schools to choose from as well.

-The economy of North Bethesda is led by the Corporate, Subsidiary and Regional Managing Offices Industry. There are 116,634 business establishments in North Bethesda with fewer than 10 employees, which is a good indicator of the entrepreneurship community.

- North Bethesda residents are part of Montgomery County, which ranks 1st for health outcomes and 2nd for health factors out of 24 counties within the State of Maryland.

 


#72 Silver Spring, Maryland
silver spring
-Silver Spring, Maryland is located in Montgomery County. Silver Spring has a population of 74, 476, and a median home price of $453,900.

-There are 35 elementary schools in Silver Spring and 49 private schools.

- The economy of Silver Spring is led by the Corporate, Subsidiary and Regional Managing Offices Industry. There are 116,634 business establishments in Silver Spring with fewer than 10 employees, which is a good indicator of the entrepreneurship community.

- Silver Spring residents are part of Montgomery County, which ranks 1st for health outcomes and 2nd for health factors out of 24 counties within the State of Maryland. Residents have access to 61 acute care hospitals within 60 miles of Silver Spring.

 

 

 

Maryland is a great state to live in. Whether you are looking to relocate from another state or simply move to another town/city, our Real Estate Professionals at Homesale Realty are here to assist you every step of the way.

 

 

 

October 6, 2014

Energy; Use less to save more this season

EnergyEfficiency

 

You can save big money by changing your energy habits. Today, most things we use are run by electricity, but have we become over-dependent? What are the alternatives? If you haven’t already, conduct an energy assessment to find out where you can save the most, and consider making a larger investment for long-term energy savings.

Here are a handful of tips to revise your energy habits that can pay big dividends, month after month.

 

 

 


Source: phillippebuilders.com


Electronics and Appliances
Did you know that 75% of the power used by home electronics is consumed while they are off?

  • Plug electronics into a power strip, and remember to turn the strip off when not in use to save energy costs.
  • Avoid energy vampires. Even when appliances/electronics are turned off (those that are plugged in), they are in “standby” mode, which still uses energy to power features such as clock displays.
  • Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified TVs. They are up to 30% more efficient than noncertified models.
  • Unplug battery chargers when batteries are fully charged or aren’t in use.

 

Old Appliances
Older appliances may still do the job, but were not designed with today’s energy efficiency. At an unexpected, intoasterovenconvenient time, a refrigerator or other appliance may need costly repair or replacement.

  • Use microwaves and toaster ovens to cook or warm leftovers, less energy is used in comparison to a conventional oven.
  • If you have a second fridge located in the garage or utility room, it is time to pull the plug. There are numerous places you can call to pick it up for a small recycling fee.
  • Keep you refrigerator temperature between 30-42°F. If you have a power-save switch, turn it on.
  • If your refrigerator is from the 90’s, you may want to consider purchasing a new energy efficient model to lower operating costs.
  • Dust your fridge. Check the coils behind the refrigerator and use coil vacuums or dusters to clean it off and keep costs down.
  • Keep your freezer full – it uses les energy than an empty one. For maximum savings, consider filling your freezer with gallon containers of water.
  • Set your dishwasher on economy mode, to use less water and electricity.

 

Cover Drafty Windows

  • Use a heavy duty, clear plastic sheet or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
  • Install tight-fitting insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
  • Or you could install storm windows for those brutal winter months. These windows can help reduce heat loss by 25-50%

 

Find and Seal Leaks

  • Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes (“plumbing penetrations”), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
  • Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.

 


Lightingcflbulb

  • Replace standard bulbs with CFLs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are more energy-efficient than regular bulbs, and give off the same amount of light.
  • Choose outdoor CFLs for outdoor lighting; they last up to 10 times longer than standard light bulbs.
  • Replace halogen light bulbs. They can get extremely hot and become a fire hazard.
  • Use motion-detector lights for all your outdoor lighting; they are convenient and efficient.
  • Select light-colored or opaque lamp shades and place lamps in corners so they reflect light from two walls.

 

Heatingheating

  • Schedule service for your heating system.
  • Furnaces: Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed
  • Cover all bare floors; carpeting or rugs add heat retention, especially if there is little or no floor insulation.
  • Raise the temperature slowly to keep your bill lower. Quickly raising your heat pump’s temperature activates the heat strip, which uses a large amount of energy.
  • Your thermostat should be set to 68-70 degrees during the day in the winter months, and 65-68 degrees at night to keep your home comfortable and save on heating costs.
  • Limit your use of portable heaters. Even though they are useful for “spot” heating, running a 1,500-watt heater all day can be pricey.
  • Although the warm months are coming to an end, you can still utilize the sun. Leave window shades/blinds up during the day.

 

Lower Your Water Heating Costs

  • Water heating can account for 14% to 25% of the energy consumed in your home.
  • Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). It will save you money while keeping water hot enough for showers and cleaning dishes.
  • Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes.
  • Check your hot water pipes for leaks, which can drain energy savings.
  • Take shorter showers to cut down on hot water costs.
  • If you have an older water heater, get an insulation wrap to help your old water heater heat more effectively.

 

Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplacefire

  • Keep warm air in your house and cold air out with proper chimney maintainance.
  • Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter, it allows warms air to go right up the chimney.
  • When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly, approximately 1 inch, and close doors leading into the room.
  • Lower the thermostat setting somewhere in between 50°-55°F.
  • If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
  • If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.
  • Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
  • Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
  • Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.

 

We hope that these tips are helpful. If you have your own energy saving tips, please feel free to share your knowledge. Stay warm, save money and conserve energy.

October 2, 2014

Home Safety

break-inSource: thisoldhouse.com

 

In lieu of the recent residential break-ins and burglaries, homeowners are on high alert. Most of the time, electronics and other material items can be replaced. What can’t be as easily replaced is the sense of security and peace of mind before a break-in. Therefore, you want to be take action now in securing your family and your home.

 

Where Break-Ins Happen

 

front door

 

 

Front door

-Most break-ins occur at your front door. Invest in a solid, pick resistant deadbolt lock (and don’t forget to lock it!). As an added measure: keep your outdoor entry light on so it illuminates the entrance to your house at night.

 

 

 

 

windows

 

First and second floor windows

-You will want to have sash locks on your windows. Easy to reach windows and second floor windows that are accessible from the roof should have double protection. So if you want to take it one step beyond the traditional lock, a wireless alarm system is beneficial.

 

 

Side Entry

-If you have sliding glass doors, install a solid metal jammer that folds up when not in use to keep them from being lifted off their tracks

 

garage

 

 

Garage

-Garages can easily be opened, especially if someone gets ahold of your electronic garage door opener. Even though a side mounted indoor lock may be inconvenient, it will offer extra security.

 

 

 

 

Basement

- Outside entry ways into basements are sometimes left unlocked by accident. It will be beneficial for your home and safety to (first remember to lock the door), install motion-activated security lights near the basement entrance and grade-level windows to give prowlers nowhere to hide.

 

 

Below are a few tips to help prevent a break-in from happening in your home and decrease the likelihood that you will have to replace items that could burn a major hole in your wallet:

 

1. Invest in a security system…. dog

  • Dogs are often the most effective alarm system you can get. Sophisticated thieves often know how to work around electronic systems, and “average” thieves have no issues with breaking windows if there’s no system at all. But dogs are unpredictable – they may bite, they may not. More often than not, thieves will pick a house that’s dog-free rather than take the risk.
  • However, dogs are a lot of responsibility and they can be expensive. With that said, there are numerous security systems that are reliable and effective in warning you of an intrusion (without the barking and biting).


2. Lock Your Doors and Windows (refer to information above)

  • This seems like an obvious tip, but many people forget to do this at times. I know I’ve forgotten to do it countless times myself.
  • Make sure your doors and windows are always locked. Experts say 23% of break-ins occur through first-floor windows. So securing these should be a top priority.


3. Hide Valuables

  • If your neighbors from across the street can see your large screen TV , computer, and/or stereo system, you will want to conceal them. Make sure your valuables are hidden from passer-bys. Use privacy curtains (sheer curtains that let in light but block the view) so people can’t see in while you’re away at work or sleeping.


4. Be Prepared

  • Back up your computers and laptops in the event those items are stolen. Keep wallets, purses and money out of site. Know the model numbers and purchase prices of your most expensive items. The insurance company will want this information if it’s stolen.

 

 

References:
Rodriguez, Natalie. “How to Stop Break-Ins.” This Old House. Time Inc. Network, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2014.
Levin, Heather. “How to Prevent Home Burglary – 8 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Someone Breaking Into Your House.” Money Crashers. Money Crashers, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2014.
 
October 2, 2014

Marketing and Technology Report Q4 2014

In this Marketing & Technology Report Q4 2014, Homesale reveals the latest information and results of our efforts from the past quarter. Homesale continues to make the home buying process simple by providing buyers with the right tools and resources. Our Pinterest page features everything from kids rooms to man caves. Feel free to follow us and re-pin our photos. Be sure to look inside to find out the benefits of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Market Activity report for your market area.

 

q4

October 1, 2014

How to Prepare for Relocation

Are you relocating? Perhaps you are looking for a change of scenery or are taking on a new job. Either way, you want to be prepared when you make the big move. Here are a few tips to consider, and don’t forget your Homesale real estate professional will also be well equipped with knowledge if you have questions or concerns.

 

Oct 14 IOV - Ecard

September 29, 2014

Cleaning Projects

Cleaning ProjectsView in Piktochart

http://goo.gl/0bs627

September 25, 2014

Neighborhood Spotlight- Annapolis, MD

Main Street, Formerly Church Street, Annapolis, Maryland, USASource: http://www.expedia.com

Thinking about moving to Maryland? Anne Arundel County is known as “the land of pleasant living”, and has a diverse selection of neighborhoods and locations to choose from. The Chesapeake Bay area’s quality of life and rich history, makes Anne Arundel County a great place to live and work.

Situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, only a few miles away from Baltimore and Washington D.C., is Annapolis. There are three distinct regions of Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay. Annapolis City, the State Capital of Maryland, is world-renowned as America’s Sailing Capital. The Annapolis Countryside, offers hundreds of miles of Chesapeake Bay Shoreline and a wide array of American history. Annapolis-Baltimore is home to Arundel Mills Mall, Maryland Casino and BWI Thurgood Marshall.

If you are considering moving, you should take a few days to explore your potential new town. Whether you are solo, moving with friends, a significant other or your family, here are a few ideas to get you acquainted with the new area.

 

 

Take a Day to Relax

Are you in the mood for little R&R? Have a spa day and get away from it all at the highly rated Robert Andrew The Salon and Spa. Take advantage of all their exclusive offerings and be sure to check out their “Zents-ability” services, which will leave you feeling calm and at peace.

 

121208-N-OA833-001

Have Fun with the Children

When it comes to family-friendly activities, there are a handful to choose from. A great idea is to check out the action with the various sports Annapolis has to offer. Get ready to start cheering on the Chesapeake Bayhawks Major League Lacrosse, Baltimore Ravens and U.S. Navy sports teams. Since it is football season, plan a trip to watch a U.S. Navy game, while also exploring what else Annapolis has to offer.

 

 

Source: http://navylive.dodlive.mil/

Go for a Walk 

If you thought Annapolis was all inner harbors and boats, you are dearly mistaken. The Annapolis Countryside region will open your eyes to numerous acres of historical land. Experience history, archaeology and horticulture on the Historic London Town & Gardens. The 23 acre park features reconstruction of colonial buildings, tours of national landmarks, an 8-acre woodland garden and 2 historic gardens.

 

Shop until you Drop

Even if you come to Annapolis to enjoy the water, take in the history or simply appreciate the surrounding beauty, is it easy to make shopping part of the experience…..or the entire experience. Annapolis is filled with boutique shopping, convenient malls and town centers, and the largest outlet mall in Maryland, Arundel Mills Mall.

 

 

blackwallhitch

 

Wine & Dine

Stop by one of the town’s newest restaurants in Eastport, called Blackwall Hitch. It gives off an “urban chic” ambiance. Inside includes an oyster bar, two large dining areas, several private dining rooms, rooftop dining space, and a private VIP room, called “The Living Room”. The restaurant serves modernized American cuisine, while accommodating plates for seafood lovers as well.

 

 

 

Real Estate Overview

With a desirable combination of highly rated school, low crime, and historic locations, Annapolis fits the features that families look for when choosing a good community to raise children. If you’re interested in buying a home in Annapolis, please contact one of our local real estate professionals.

 

 

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