Posts tagged ‘homeowner tips’

December 11, 2013

Helpful Holiday Tips

The Clock is ticking, time to get your home ready for the holidays. Getting it ready means more than simply decorating, especially if you are hosting a holiday party. Before you deck the halls, take time to get organized. Be the host everyone will be talking about, for all the right reasons!

Holiday Checklist

—— provides real estate advise and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. is part of the Prudential Homesale Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Prudential Homesale has more than 25 offices with over 1,000 REALTORS®. Prudential Homesale’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium.  Pennsylvania real estate offices include York, LancasterWyomissing, Chambersburg, Gettysburg, Harrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

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

September 23, 2013

National Preparedness Month

What would you do if there was an emergency? Would you be ready?
September will be your opportunity to find out. Throughout the month there will be numerous activities across the country to promote emergency preparedness.

Sept 2013 IOV - Ecard

September 13, 2013

Home Sellers: Check your Home for Storm Damage

housefloodedThe relentless rainfall and flooding in Colorado can be used as reminder that it’s been another crazy year of weather with many big rain and wind storms damaging houses throughout the country. With fall upon us and winter around the corner, home sellers should take a close look at their property for storm damage and make repairs.

If you experienced a powerful storm, it’s a smart idea to check your roof for any damage and ensure there are no missing shingles or cracks around any skylights the home may have. Climb into your attic and look for discoloration of the decking or plywood surfaces.

Also look for light penetrating from around plumbing vents or the chimney, indicating that your roof’s flashing needs repair.

Next, inspect your rain gutters for damage and clear them of leaves and debris. Look for holes, cracks or sags; all three can be easily fixed by a homeowner. (To fix a small hole, first use an abrasive pad to clean the area, then cut a piece of gutter material slightly larger than the hole. Using a stiff brush, spread gutter-repair compound around the hole and place your patch over the top. Cover the patch with another layer of compound to ensure a good seal. To repair minor sags, simply add a new hanging bracket to the sagging area or replace the compromised existing bracket.)

Pay particular attention to areas of your home near trees and shrubs. Limbs can play havoc with your roof, siding and stucco in heavy winds, and can come crashing down under the weight of snow. Prune your trees and shrubs to ensure their health and to safeguard your home.

Finally, be sure to inspect your windows, fencing, decking, which also take a beating in storms. Seal and repair any damage. Sometimes storm damage is unavoidable. But making quick repairs can help ensure your home is safe, sound and ready for sale.

Selling your home? Find more tips for Home Sellers here


According to the industry publication REAL Trends, Prudential Homesale is the 13th most successful Realtor nationwide in the combined delivery of home services: real estate sales, mortgage closings, title closings, insurance sales, and home warranty sales. Prudential Homesale is ranked the 4th most successful Prudential Real Estate franchise in the country in sales.

August 19, 2013

Personalize Your Home

A few simple improvements can help define your personal style
and will make your space feel more like home!


»        Swap your knobs – Add a little pizzazz.  Pick a pattern and finish that will accentuate your kitchen’s style and décor.

»        Hang pendant light – Install one over your kitchen sink to create an elegant focal point and to make sure you can see as you scrub pots and pans!

photo1»        Create an island – Paint a beloved bureau, desk, or sideboard to match your cabinets and top with butcher block for extra work space.  Extend 12” past one long side to create an instant breakfast bar.

»        Open plate rack – Install one for a touch of cottage charm.  It also makes storing everyday dishes a breeze and leaves your countertops clutter-free!


photo2»        Dress up walls – Wainscot or simple strips of lumber can form a board-and-batten treatment that protects drywall and provides an anchor for installing hooks and towel rods.

»        Wall Sconces – Install on each side of the mirror at eye level (66” from floor) for flattering lighting that won’t cast shadows on your face.

»        Storage cubby – Carve a space between the wall studs in a space-challenged bathroom.  Line it with beadboard and wrap the opening with trim or simply install a prefab wall niche, available in many shapes, sizes and designs!


Living Space

photo3»        Wall Rack – Perfect for a closet-less entry.  Install a rack with hooks and baskets for storage of coats, keys, and more.  Customize it with paint for any look you would like.

»        Stair Runner – Install for a splash of color and cushiony comfort.  Woven cotton runners are affordable and easy to work with.  Vacuum regularly to keep shipshape.

»        Use Wallpaper – In small doses….it can be used to boost any room’s personality.  Use to cover a door, add to stair risers, or line the back of a bookcase for a hint of color and pattern.  Have fun exploring the wide array of colors and textures available.  Be creative!



»           Boost curb appeal – With container plants.  This is an easy way to experiment with different plant varieties.  You can even move them around until you find the perfect spot for their growth!

»           Dress up your porch – Treat it like any other room in your house.  Add homey touches like a painted floor, ceiling fan and comfy furnishings.  Encourage guest to kick back and relax!

photo4»           Front Entry focal point – A handsome door painted in a vibrant hue will set your house apart from the neighbors and will cheerfully greet your guests.  Complete the look with elegant hardware, furnishings, and plants.

»           Doorbell – Install one that compliments your home’s style and other hardware.

If you liked these tips check out some other articles we have posted for homeowners  

How to Paint Like a Pro  |  Dress-up Your Homes Decor  |  Decorate Your Homes Kitchen  |  Dress Up Your Backyard

This article was provided by Prudential Homesale;

According to REAL Trends, Prudential Homesale is the 13th most successful Realtor nationwide, among the top 50, in the combined delivery of home servicesreal estate sales, mortgage closings, title closings, insurance sales, and home warranty sales.  Prudential Homesale is ranked the 3rd most successful Prudential Real Estate franchise in the country in closed transactions.

Prudential Homesale’s 28 offices serve 11 contiguous south central Pennsylvania counties plus Maryland’s Baltimore and Carroll counties.  Prudential Homesale offers consumers a menu of services including realty, mortgage, settlement, insurance, warranty, relocation, builder/developer services, career services, and a complete customer care center. Information about the company can be found at Prudential Homesale is the #1 homeseller in south central Pennsylvania.

August 1, 2013

DIY Projects to cool your home!!

staycoolblogSummer is a great time for some of our favorite activities, like hiking, swimming, relaxing at the beach, or just enjoying the outdoors.  But at times the heat of summer can become a bit uncomfortable…..especially in your home.

Tackle these simple projects to make your home more comfortable for those times you are ready to take a break from the outdoor heat!

A/C Filter – Avoid costly air conditioning repairs by performing some basic maintenance……replacing the air filter.  This should only cost a few dollars and will help ensure that your a/c continues to run smoothly and efficiently.

Install Shades – A door or window shade can help block out a great deal of the sun’s heat.  They are simple to install and can be fairly inexpensive.  Be sure to measure carefully!  Keeping the blinds closed on extremely warm days can greatly reduce your cooling costs!

Shade Trees – Planting trees to shade your home is a great idea if you are planning to stay there for a while.  It seems like an ideal solution to have their canopy for shade, but we know trees do not grow overnight.  However, there are certain types that will grow faster than others!

Drafts – No matter what time of year, drafts can torment every homeowner!  In the summer, drafts can allow the stifling heat into your home, while allowing the cool air to escape!  You can detect leaks by guiding a candle around the frame of doors and windows, watching the flame for signs of a draft.  Once located, simply remove any old/worn caulk and replace it with new, waterproof filler!

Check A/C Ducts – If you have been using your a/c for a few years, chances are some of your duct work may have come loose.  Loose duct fittings can cause a 20% drop in your air conditioner’s efficiency.  Take the time to inspect the ductwork and repair any areas that show “wear”.

Bedding – This might seem like a very minor task to consider, but the difference you will feel with light-weight fabrics is quite noticeable!  Heavier fabrics trap heat making it harder to sleep if you are too warm!  Natural fibers like Egyptian cotton, will allow better circulation and a much more comfortable night’s rest!

Take care of these few DIY projects this weekend………so next weekend you can enjoy yourself whether you are out OR in!!

April 18, 2013

Plant a Tree (Earth Day)

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

earth-dayEarth Day is right around the corner (April 22) and planting a tree is a great way to show your support.  Finding the perfect tree is not as simple as it sounds.  Here are some suggestions on those you should consider planting in your yard and the trees you may want to avoid.

You should first consider what you are looking for in a tree; amount of shade, the size, shape, blossom production, and the attraction of birds or wildlife.  Then do a little research to find out which trees thrive best in the area where you live.

A few top choices…

  • Red Maple –     Most common tree in Eastern U.S., it is adaptable to a wide variety of conditions.  Often used for shade and medium to high quality lumber.
  • Yellow Poplar –     Also called the Tulip tree because of the beautiful yellow blooms that reach from top to bottom.  It is a tall, fast growing tree, without the common problem of weak wood strength.
  • Red Oak –     Not usually very tall, but great for shade.  Leaves in the spring are a delicate silvery, pink and change to a yellow, green before finally turning red in the fall.
  • Dogwood –     A beautiful, blooming tree in the spring that attracts small birds.  Historically popular for wood strength, it was also used in inks and dyes and for the treatment of dogs with mange, which may be how it got its name.
  • Sycamore –     The sycamore is able to endure a big city environment and has been extensively planted as a shade tree.  It bears transplanting well and grows rapidly.
  • American Holly –    It will grow in both dry and swampy soil, but grows slowly.  Holly is also a cold-tolerant plant, playing an important role as a survival food for birds, who will eat the berries after other food sources are exhausted.
  • Redbud –     They are characterized by simple, rounded to heart-shaped leaves and pinkish-red flowers borne in the early spring on bare leafless shoots, on both branches and the trunk.
  • Conifers –    Conifers are of immense, ecological importance. They are the dominant plants over huge areas of land.  They are also of great economic value; primarily used for timber and paper production.

Skip these…

  • Silver Maple –     Great shade tree, but the speed at which it grows makes for weak, brittle wood that may break during severe storms.  The shallow roots invade sewer pipes and drain fields and are notorious for cracking driveways and walkways.
  • Ash –     Threatened by the emerald ash borer beetle that is on track to wipe out this tree species.  If you want something long term, look elsewhere.
  • Quaking Aspen –     Root system sends up suckers that try to turn into new trees.  Once established it just takes over.
  • Willow –     Beautiful on the outside, yes, but the willow has an aggressive, water-hungry root system that terrorizes drain fields, sewer lines, and irrigation pipes. The wood is weak and prone to cracking, and the tree is relatively short-lived, lasting only about 30 years.
  • Eucalyptus —     This tree has a bad reputation for suddenly and unexpectedly dropping big, heavy, resin-filled branches.  The showy bark peels off annually and adds to seasonal maintenance chores.
  • Mountain Cedar –     This bushy tree releases massive amounts of pollen during the cooler months, causing severe allergic reactions in many people. Even if you don’t have allergies, planting one in your yard may affect neighbors.
  • Mulberry –     Big surface roots, lots of pollen, messy fruit, and shade so dense that grass refuses to grow underneath…and silkworms love it!!  The mulberry is the silkworm’s only source of food.

Our planet is in desperate need of more trees to replace the billions lost in development.  Planting a tree every year will add beauty to your yard, increase your home’s value, and help to make our planet a better place to live!

April 1, 2013

Clean like a Pro

Clean-like-a-pro…or at least make your home look professionally cleaned! Can’t afford a cleaning service, you’re not alone. Here are some of the best tips from the pros. Follow these and your home won’t just look clean, it will look polished!!

Get streak free glass
No special, expensive cleaners needed. Spray regular glass cleaner on your windows and wipe off with a newspaper. Newspaper is lint free and leaves nothing behind.

Use the right cloth
Look for microfiber or terry cloth that feels comfortable in your hand. Fold into fourths, using a clean area as you move through your tasks. When laundering, avoid fabric softeners that reduce the effectiveness and absorbency of microfiber.

Don’t just mop the floor
Mopping isn’t enough, mop your floors and then wipe them dry with a microfiber towel. A wet floor can dry with streaks and attract dust from the air. It takes a little longer, but the floor will look better and stay cleaner about a week longer.

Invest in a good feather duster
An ostrich-feather duster is a fast, effective way to remove dust (unless you have allergies). They are great for knick-knacks, vents, and light fixtures. Some even have handles that can extend your reach to get to shelves, fans, etc. A good one can last for years.

Vacuum Cleaner
A good vacuum cleaner is essential. Frequent, thorough vacuuming will help extend your carpet life and control allergens. A nimble, lightweight vacuum with a high-efficiency filter and good airflow is the best. You’re more likely to vacuum, if it is easy to operate and move around. Onboard tools are great, if they stay on board. Make sure they fit snugly and are in the right spot when you need them. Good cord length is one that allows you to clean the largest room in your home from one central outlet.

Cleaning Products
You don’t need to have every type of product that you find in the grocery store. A few good ones will do just fine. For routine cleaning you should have a glass or all-purpose cleaner, soap scum remover, floor cleaner, furniture polish and a gentle scouring powder.

Don’t forget the Fixtures
Many of us are guilty of cleaning only what we see. A good rule-of-thumb…clean from the top to the bottom. Use a long handled duster to reach the ceiling, light fixtures, and other high spots. Continue cleaning your way down, until finally reaching the floor. Cleaning above your sight line makes a room look much cleaner.

Simple, essential tools and a little bit of knowledge will get the best results in the shortest amount of time. Save yourself time and money by following these terrific suggestions.

Are you selling your home and want more advise on how to prepare your home for sale? Check out some of these other great real estate articles;

Smells that make your house sell | De-cluttering your home | Fixing up your garage

Tips for Sellers

March 7, 2013

Time to “spring” ahead…

daylight-savings-timeIt is almost that time of year to “spring ahead” and to enjoy an extra hour of daylight each day!  Mark your calendar and get set to change your clocks this Sunday, March 10, 2013.  Daylight Saving Time (DST) officially begins at 2:01 a.m. on Sunday.  DST is observed in most of the United States (except AZ, HI, PR, and a few other US territories) as a way to conserve energy.  In order to avoid confusion or possibly forgetting, it is recommended that you set your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed on Saturday night.

DST is a great time to get into the habit of taking care of some very important items around your home. 

Here are a few great suggestions:

• Change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.

• Replace your smoke detector if it is more than 10 years old
• Replace your carbon monoxide alarm if it is more than 5 years old

• Check around your home for any hazardous materials that need to be discarded…make sure you handle their disposal properly.

• Check your medicine cabinet for out-of-date medications and discard them.  This applies to over-the-counter medications also!  Some can cause serious problems if you use them after the expiration date.

• Check the contents of your home emergency kit.  Replace any item that is outdated or needs to be replenished…don’t forget to replace old batteries.  If you don’t have a kit, this would be a great time to put one together.

• Check the contents of your car emergency kit too!

• Practice and review fire escape routes and family disaster plans.

• Reprogram your thermostat if applicable; check the filter on your furnace while you are thinking about it.

• Check all the lights and signals on your car and/or bike.

• Now is also a great time to think about those annual/semi-annual medical exams, vaccinations, dental visits, or other appointments you may have forgotten for you, your family, and pets.

Daylight Saving Time will end at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in November…begin making it a habit to run through these checks twice a year!  It will help make you and your family safer and more prepared!

Prudential Homesale has proudly partnered with Fox43 to be the exclusive real estate provider for Take a look at their real estate page today.

December 27, 2012

Keeping Cozy for Less

hot-cocoaWe’re almost through December and it’s the time of year when our heating bills make us cringe! Every time your door opens, a little bit of heat escapes your home. With some diligence and a few preventative measures, you can keep your home warm and not break the bank. In fact, you can even increase your heating system efficiency.

Proper insulation is essential to keeping warm and it’s at the top of our tip list. This home improvement may be a bit costly, but it will be worth the cost when you see the reduction of your next heating bill! Insulate your home, this can be done in two different ways:
you can have insulation blown into your walls by a professional or have insulation sheets placed in your, attic, roof, and floor to keep heat in your home. Other items such as curtains at your windows and rugs or carpet can also act as insulation.

Plug the leaks, finding and sealing leaks around the home is a great way to keep things warmer. Install draft blockers at the base of doorways and seal windows with rubber strips or caulk. Another easy window solution is a ready-to-use plastic window insulation kit bought at the hardware store. The fireplace damper is another leak source, keep it closed when you are not using it. Even light switches and outlets may let cold air into your home. Seal kits for can also be purchased for just a few dollars at the local hardware store.

Reducing the temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees can help you save 10-20% on your heating bill. A programmable thermostat is a great, fairly inexpensive solution. You can pre-program lower temperatures for the times when no one is home or when everyone will be snuggled in their beds. Here are some suggested times and temperatures to help you reduce your heat costs:

6am to 9am = 68 degrees
9am to 5:30pm = 60 degrees
5:30pm to 11pm = 68 degrees
11pm to 6am = 60 degrees

As much as you might enjoy a very warm shower this time of year, another great idea is to reduce the temperature setting on your hot water heater. Most are factory set to 140 degrees; you could reduce it to 120 degrees and not feel any difference in your shower. Taking a shower versus a bath will also use about 15 gallons less of that warm water!

Routine maintenance can also be an important factor in your heating efficiency. All filters should be cleaned/replaced at least monthly during the winter season and a professional system check-up before winter begins is highly recommended.

Other small changes that can make a notable difference:
• Open curtains during the day to let sunlight in and close them at night to prevent heat loss
• Switch ceiling fans to a clockwise direction to push warm air down (keep on lowest speed)
• Add a few extra layers to yourself and family with warm sweaters, socks and slippers
• Move furniture away from heat vents, registers, and radiators to keep air flowing.

For more guidance on saving energy you can visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s website for tons of easy, practical ideas!

Grab a blanket, a book, and your favorite hot beverage.
Your home will be comfy, cozy, and not break your budget!!

December 13, 2012

Holiday Decorating – Hazardous to your Health?

xmasYes, actually it can be, to you, your children, and your furry family members!

Every year during the holidays more than 14,000 people are treated in emergency rooms due to holiday decorating related injuries, and other holiday decoration “issues”. Millions of dollars in property damage and additional personal injuries are caused by Christmas tree and candle related fires! So here are some tips to keep your family and your home safe this holiday season:

The Tree

  • Artificial – Look for it to say Fire Resistant on the label
  • Fresh cut – Look for freshness; green needles that do not fall off easily. Keep your tree fresh by watering it regularly. Keep the tree away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, radiators, and heat vents.
  • Avoid sharp, breakable, ornaments or trimmings that are small or have removable parts if you have small children in your home. Best to avoid decorations that look like food or candy too!
  • Place your special keepsake ornaments near the top, out of the reach of children and pets.


  • Only use sets that have been tested for safety by a nationally-recognized lab, such as UL.
  • Check for frayed/bare wires and loose connections. Throw away damaged sets.
  • Do not use electric lights on a metallic tree!
  • Make sure your outdoor lights are approved for this specific use.
  • Use extension cords that are rated for the intended use.
  • Unplug all lights before going to bed or leaving your home.
  • Keep all cords inaccessible to your pet so they will not be tempted to chew on them.


  • Keep all candles within your sight and extinguish them before going to bed or leaving your home. (unplug them if using the electric version)
  • Keep lit candles away from items such as curtains, decorations, furniture, and your tree or other evergreens that could ignite quickly. Keep away from high-traffic areas to avoid being knocked over.
  • Electric candles – check all wires, sockets, etc. for fraying or damage and replace if necessary.


  • Do not burn wrapping paper, tree branches or other items inside that could ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
  • Be careful with “fire salts”, used to produce colored flames. They can cause internal irritation and illness if swallowed…keep away from children and animals.


  • Keep alcohol and baking extracts out of reach.
  • Keep candy canes, potpourri, and scented candles away from pets. Even if not toxic, you may still end up with a mess to clean up if they decide to taste them.
  • Mistletoe berries, holly berries, and poinsettias can be poisonous if ingested. If you are using them to decorate, make sure kids and pets cannot reach them.
  • Round up ribbons, bows and other shiny goodies. These are an open invite to your pets for fun and could end up in their tummies!

The holidays are a time to be with family and friends, not visiting the emergency room. Keep these tips in mind while you decorate. Not only can your decorations be dangerous, but hanging them can also be a danger; be cautious. Once all of your trimmings are up, keep a close eye on them.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!


Check out some more holiday decorating tips here.


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