7 Easy Ways to Dress up an Entryway

The entryway or foyer of your home conveys an important first impression to your guests. For homeowners bent on making it a great first impression, designers at ElleDecor.com suggest seven easy ways to make an entryway look larger, brighter, and more welcoming.

shutterstock_41064196

Use the power of mirrors – A well placed mirror can instantly open up a space and add a luxurious feel. Splurge on a good one.

Keep fresh flowers on hand – Nothing freshens up a room quite like a vase full of fresh flowers. They are aesthetically pleasing and will keep your entryway smelling wonderful. Using long-lasting silk flowers will hold down monthly costs, but think about replacing them with fresh flowers before a dinner party or other events.

Play with patterns and colors – Your entryway should reflect your personal style. Add a jolt of color, especially in a light, bright foyer, or bring in an unexpected wallpaper pattern to turn the space into something special.

Rethink the lighting fixtures – Swap out the lighting fixtures that came with the house for something you really love. The right overhead chandelier or well-detailed wall scones can add drama and grace to any entry.

Add a statement piece – It may be a patterned rug, tufted bench, a console table or a pair of smaller tables. There should be some element in your entryway that serves as a centerpiece and set the tone for the rest of your home.

Do use some artwork – Art bring a level of elegance to a room. A well placed piece of art, or a gallery wall of small pieces, can be the perfect finishing touch for an entryway that reflects your taste and style.

Don’t overcrowd the space – If you have an entryway big enough for several pieces of furniture, by all means go for it. But if the area is on the small side, skip the console table because the area will look better with just a few small pieces. A plant stand and a mirror may be all that is needed to dress up a small entry.

 

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

 

7 Easy Ways to Dress up an Entryway

10 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Back-to-School Shopping

For busy families, back-to-school season is not without its share of stress. Ease the back-to-school burden on your household with these shopping tips designed to simplify the year ahead.

shutterstock_143909077
1. Take stock of your inventory.
School lists often carry over each school year, so make sure you aren’t buying multiples of things you already own. Some supplies are more exciting when refreshed every year, but buying the same ruler year after year is simply a waste of money.

2. Make a list with your children.
Put everything you need on that list, and be clear that once the list is done, it’s done. Having everyone on the same page with a complete list helps ensure nothing vital is forgotten, and the list can serve as a handy tool to keep your budget in check.

3. Begin shopping as early as possible.
Hunt bargains before the traditional back-to-school season to get the best deals. Not only will you save some cash, you will have a wider selection to choose from. Spreading the shopping over several weeks also allows you to distribute the expense across several pay periods, lessening the chance of blowing your monthly budget.

4. Shop online.
Sign up for email alerts from your go-to retailers so you’ll be in the know when the best deals hit. Many stores now offer online-only specials, so watch ads closely to know when you’re better served making purchases in-store or online. Keep an eye out for free or reduced shipping for extra savings. You might also rely on social media to follow back-to-school offers and hashtags.

5. Put quality ahead of price.
While it’s tempting to go for cheap when your list is long, remember that sometimes quality buys actually save more in the long run. You can buy a ton of cheap pens that skip, or simply stop working, for example, when you’ll be better served buying ones of higher quality.

6. Make your children shopping buddies.
Involve your kids in the back-to-school shopping process by giving them a budget. Help them allocate money for all the expenses, including clothing, school supplies, shoes and more. Use the opportunity to talk about how shopping smart for the necessities can leave room for some fun buys, too.

7. Reduce and reuse.
Save plastic and money by encouraging kids to embrace reusable items, such as lunch bags in place of paper sacks and plastic containers instead of sandwich bags. If water bottles are allowed at school, look for a durable, refillable option that can be used again and again.

8. Make the old new again.
Turn barely used items into something new. Keep leftover supplies on hand to revive your child’s enthusiasm with fresh designs at the end of the quarter or semester.

9. Swap with other parents.
Make back-to-school time more fun by hosting a swap event with other parents for clothing, backpacks, shoes, etc.

10. Create a back-up bin at home.
You may find your kids consistently run out of certain items midyear. Devote a special area of your home to keep extras in stock, and take advantage of sales during back-to-school season or buy in bulk to get a better price.

Source: ZebraPen.com

 

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

 

 

10 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Back-to-School Shopping

Surviving the Hot Summer Heat at Home

Intense heat and humidity can make it impossible to sit comfortably, let alone sleep throughout the night. A quick and obvious solution is an air conditioner. However, even small window units use up tons of energy and increase monthly electric bills. So what would be an environmentally-responsible solution? Check out the the DIY tips below to keep cool throughout the day and night.
Aug IOV Ecard

 

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Surviving the Hot Summer Heat at Home

4 Ways to Erase the Most Common Household Messes

No matter how neat you keep your home, odors and stains are inevitable. These can be especially challenging to remove in areas prone to spills and smells. Check out these tips on how you can freshen even the most stubborn spots in your household.

girl

1. Wall Stains – Have your kids made artwork on your walls, or has a leaky roof caused a water damaged mess? Tough wall stains like these can be hard to get rid of, but are easily sealed by applying a high-quality stain-blocking primer.

Before covering the problem area with primer, clean the wall thoroughly with a grease-cutting solution and lightly sand the area to be painted.

2. Refrigerator Odors – Refrigerators are subject to a variety of spills and odors. To clean your fridge, begin by emptying its contents and throwing out, recycling or composting any food that is expired or beginning to smell.

Next, pull out any removable drawers or shelving and place them in the sink. Using a damp soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge, wipe down these pieces, the interior of your fridge and the door with a multi-purpose cleaner. Or, mix two tablespoons of baking soda with one quart of hot water for a natural soap alternative. Don’t forget the seams of the shelves and rubber door seal.

If your fridge requires an extra-deep cleaning, unplug it while you work to avoid wasting energy. Before putting all of your food back in the fridge, wipe down the exterior of each jar or container with a damp cloth.

3. Grout Lines – Tile surfaces are prone to dirt and debris, especially in bathrooms or high traffic-areas. To keep tile looking fresh and new, grab an old toothbrush or electric toothbrush for a deeper scrub. Before you start, wash the surface with water then mix two parts baking soda with one part water. Scrub the resulting paste into the cracks and crevices, then douse with water again. If the grout lines are stained, spray a mixture of equal parts vinegar and warm water onto the area and brush. After a final rinse, the grime will be gone.

4. Washing Machine Mold – If you own a front-loading washing machine, you’ve probably noticed the unpleasant smell that can linger after completing a load of laundry. Despite being more energy-efficient, these machines have a tendency to hold odors and harbor mold. To clean and prevent grimy buildup, try this: instead of detergent, cycle two cups of vinegar and a quarter-cup of baking soda on a hot setting. When it’s done, use a clean sponge to scrub down the inside. Finally, rinse with a plain-water cycle, and you’ll see (and smell) the results!

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

4 Ways to Erase the Most Common Household Messes

12 Tips to Protect Your Home and Car From Vacation Burglary

Americans report two million burglaries each year, and about two cars are stolen every minute in the U.S., according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. There are a number of ways burglars find their next target, but your property becomes particularly vulnerable when your family leaves for vacation. Fortunately, some simple changes to your pre-vacation routine may dramatically decrease your chances of falling victim to thieves. Avoid becoming a target by planning ahead and keeping the following tips in mind.

KeysLock

Keep it out of sight –

Many home burglaries and car break-ins are not committed by professional thieves, but by people who stumble upon a tempting or easy opportunity. Hide your valuables to avoid luring a robber into violating your property.

1. Remove any valuable items from your car. If possible, keep your car parked in a garage while you’re on vacation.
2. Plant shrubbery near ground floor windows to make it harder for potential thieves to see inside.
3. Keep an inventory and photos of the more expensive valuables in your home – like pricey jewelry or electronics.

Be neighborly – 

Among the advantages of building relationships with your neighbors is having someone you trust close by to keep an eye on your house when you’re away.

4. Give your trusted neighbor a spare house key instead of hiding it outside where it can be easily found.
5. Temporarily stop your mail or ask your neighbor to collect it. An over-flowing mailbox is a telltale sign that no one is home.
6. Ask your neighbor to drive or walk by your house once a day to check for any suspicious activity.

Leave the light on – 

Almost 66 percent of all reported burglaries are residential in nature. If it’s obvious that no one is home, burglars have much more incentive to attempt a break-in. Here are some steps you can take to make it look like someone is home.

7. Use a timer to turn lights, or even a radio, on and off in your house periodically to mimic activity.
8. Invest in motion-activated lights around the exterior of your house, especially in the backyard.
9. Keep your curtains in their normal positions. Closing them will make it obvious that no one is home, and police or neighbors may need to see inside. However, make sure that no valuables are within plain sight.

Lock up – 

About 30 percent of all burglaries occur because of an unlocked window or door. The most basic way to keep your car and home safe is to make sure entrances are shut and securely locked. It never hurts to double check!

10. When moving into a new place, change the locks as soon as possible.
11. Make sure a deadbolt is installed on all exterior doors.
12. Invest in a home security system. Homes with a secured alarm system are significantly less likely to be broken into. If a break-in does occur, police will be notified quickly.

If you come home from vacation and suspect that your home has been broken into, do not enter the house. Call the police immediately and wait for them to secure the area.

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

12 Tips to Protect Your Home and Car From Vacation Burglary

Paying Off Your Mortgage

If you are looking to pay off your mortgage earlier than you initially planned, there are multiple ways to get this done. Before you begin, check with your bank to make sure there are no hidden fees or charges for paying early.

shutterstock_3405204

Refinance your Mortgage

A good way to put a dent into paying off a 30-year mortgage is to refinance it into a 20-or-15-year loan. 15-year mortgages are the most popular, as there is considerably less mortgage interest in the long run. Be sure before making the change that you are financially able to do so, as changing to a 15-year loan commits you to higher monthly payments. If you are unsure about your financial ability to change to a 15-year, try staying on your 30-year loan and make payments as though you are on the 15-year one. This decreases the amount of time on your mortgage without adding the risk of a late payment.

 

Add a Little Extra

One of the best ways to pay your mortgage off early is to pay a little bit more where you can afford it. You can either do this by adding a set amount every month, or even just by rounding up every month. Even adding an extra 6 dollars to your monthly payments on a 200,000 dollar 30-year loan will save you 4 payments in the end. Make sure before doing this that you check your contract for any prepayment penalties.

 

Unexpected Money

Adding a little bit extra every month is great, but another option to keep in mind is adding any unexpected or extra cash flow to your payment. This can include anything from tax refunds or work bonuses to inheritances and investment earnings. This way it doesn’t feel like you are paying as much as long as you do not rely on that money.

 

Bi-weekly Payments

In Australia, people make bi-weekly half-payments on their mortgages. Why does this make any difference? Well, there are 12 months in a year, so most people will be paying 12 months worth of their loan. Someone who is paying half of their loan every other week, however, will be paying 13 months of their mortgage since there are 52 weeks in a year. This allows you to pay more of your loan off without feeling like you are paying more than you were before.

 

Other Options

These are great ways to cut down on the amount of time you have a mortgage, but there are many other ways as well. These include doubling up on your monthly payment 4 times a year and a money merge account. Money merge accounts should only be used by people who really understand cash management. If using any of the above options, it’s a good idea to get statements from your bank showing how much is still owed and also to make sure that any extra payments are going towards your principal and not being saved until the following year.

 

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Paying Off Your Mortgage

Summer vacation? Is your home ready?

shutterstock_193898702
As you get ready to travel to you favorite summer vacation spot, take a few minutes to run through this checklist and prep your home before you leave; it could make your return just a little bit sweeter!

Light it Up-
The kitchen (usually in the rear of the home) is a favorite break-in spot.  Move a lamp into the kitchen and arm it with a timer that you can set to come on at random times.  Also illuminate the main exterior entrances of your home with outdoor timers as well.

Don’t Socially Announce –
Don’t post pictures on Facebook until you are home and don’t change voicemail greetings to say that you are out of town.

Keep Cool –
Don’t turn off your homes AC, mold and mildew can grow in a few days with warm temps.  Instead set the thermostat to 82 Fahrenheit and your home will stay cool enough to prevent both.

Unplug –
A power surge can damage small appliances or cause fires.  Unplug all items that are not plugged into a surge protector, such as a toaster and coffeemaker; and turn all surge protectors to off.

Don’t Forget to Flush –
Flush the toilets and leave the lid up (just this once) so you won’t come home to icky, stagnant water.

Tidy the Kitchen –
Run the dishwasher to clean all dirty dishes.  Remove them and leave the door open.  This will allow the interior to dry completely and it won’t smell musty when you return.

Trim –
Prune tree branches that extend over your house, especially if they are dying or are dead.  Doing this will help prevent expensive damage if a storm hits while you are away.

Stop your Mail –
Have your mail held while you are gone and suspend your newspaper deliveries. Or you could ask a trust worthy neighbor/friend to bring your mail inside while you are away.

Lock All Entryways –
Most burglars will use force to gain entry, but they often look first for open windows and doors.  Double check that all are locked (even on the 2nd story), replace any broken window panes, and bring in any hidden keys.

Set the Alarm –
Notify your security company that you will be away.  Give a relative or friend the security code, the company name, your itinerary, and your contact numbers just in case.  Also test your smoke alarms before you depart to make sure they work.

Get help –
Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your home every other day if possible and to bring in any unexpected deliveries like a phone book or circulars.  Make sure you give them a key.

Taking time to prepare your home can help give you greater peace of mind while you travel.

Go on, relax and have fun!

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium. Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Summer vacation? Is your home ready?