Posts tagged ‘homes in pa’

December 5, 2013

Affordable Home Heating

homeheatingApproximately 1/3 of our nation’s energy consumption comes from the residential sector and about 70% of this usage is from homes that are more than 30 years old.

Whether you are heating one of these older homes or a home built more recently; saving money AND energy is important to all of us.  Here are some strategies you can employ to save on winter heating costs, help the environment, and stay warm!

  • Power of Knowledge – An energy audit of your home is a great place to start.  Some utility companies will perform them for free!  This will show you exactly where most of the warm air is escaping and cold air is entering.  They can also provide detailed plans on ways to warm up your home.  A DIY method is to hold a stick of incense near windows, doors, and any other place there might be a gap; then watch for the smoke to blow inwards.  Leaks can be fixed by using caulk, insulation, or by replacing worn weather-stripping.
  • Programmable Thermostat – If your home in not equipped with one, this is a great investment.  Different heating schedules for different days of the week can be easily created.  You can make sure your home is warm when occupied and saves you money when it’s empty.  Reduced heating costs can also be accomplished by keeping the temperature at a consistent level, avoiding spikes up or down.
  • Insulation – Lack of proper insulation may be more of an issue in older homes, but there are ways to remedy it with relative ease. Trained installers can inject a nonflammable foam resin into existing walls.  The foam is filled with tiny air bubbles that increase its heating and cooling properties.  Older homes were built to “breathe”; make sure the professional you hire knows how to determine the correct amount of insulation for your particular home.
  • Room Isolation – Don’t waste heat on empty spaces; shut the door of any room that is not being used.  Smaller rooms and bedrooms can often be heated by an electric space heater (at a much lower cost) instead of using your home’s central heating system.  Don’t heat the entire house at night when all you really need is a warm bedroom.  (Use extra care and follow all manufacturers’ instructions for space heaters)
  • Fireplace/Indoor stove – When properly used and maintained, they can be efficient sources of heat for multiple rooms and/or your entire home.  Some indoor stoves can generate more heat than common home furnaces.
  • Dress warmly – Wool socks, warm sweaters, slippers, and blankets can all help keep you warm, while allowing you to reduce your home’s indoor temperature.  This can also apply to your windows.  “Dressing” them with heavier drapes during this time of year can help retain heat in your home when they are closed at night.

 

There are many easy, economical ways to improve your home’s heat efficiency, try a few of these to see what a difference they can make!  Keep your home warm and comfy for less!

Askhomesale.com offers a whole range of real estate topics from tips for homeowners, home buyers, and home sellers alike.

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!

Kitchen

»        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!

Bath

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!

 

Exterior

»           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 www.PrudentialHomesale.com. Prudential Homesale is the #1 homeseller in south central Pennsylvania.

July 25, 2013

Home Ownership Matters

July 2013_Ecard

Home ownership does matter. It has a significant impact on net worth, educational achievement, civic participation, health, and overall quality of life. Plus, it helps create jobs, lots of them, right in your community. Did you know that for every two homes sold in the U.S., one job is created?

A few more perks of home ownership:

Increased Equity
As you pay down your mortgage, you own more of an increasingly valuable property. Sometimes you can borrow against this equity for home improvements or other investments.

Appreciating Investment
The real estate market does fluctuate, but over time the value of your property could appreciate.

Tax Benefits
Interest and closing costs are big expenses. However, when you file your taxes, you may be entitled to deductions based on points and interest paid during the year. This can be a very significant benefit especially in the early years of ownership when you are paying more interest.

Successful Children
Studies show that children of homeowners are more likely to graduate from high school and college, have better overall grades, and fewer behavior problems. They are likely to someday become homeowners as well.

Stronger Communities
Homeowners are more likely to maintain their homes, become involved in solving local problems, be part of community groups, are more likely to vote, and will remain in their homes 4 times longer if they own it.

Stronger Families
Homeowners are more likely to attend church, belong to parent-teacher groups, read local newspapers, and have less alcohol and substance abuse problems.

Stability, freedom, privacy
Owning a home has a significant impact on overall quality of life, including health, happiness, and security. Homeowners tend to have a greater sense of control over their lives.

April 17, 2013

April To-Do List

April 2013 IOV - Ecard

——-

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”
- William Shakespeare

Spring is in full-swing….let it inspire you to make the most of this month! It’s a terrific time to get out into the fresh air and to let the fresh air in as well! Here are a few ideas to get you started…

  • Inspect window screens for tears/bent frames, clean with a mild soap and soft bristle brush; allow to dry thoroughly before installing.
  • Cleaning the carpets is another way to bring a fresh feel to your home. Rent a carpet steamer or call in a professional.
  • Get out into the garden. Clean up leftover leaves and debris, turn the soil allowing it to breathe, and get prepared for planting.
  • Check garden hoses for leaks; repair or replace damaged hoses. Do not leave hoses connected to an outdoor spigot until the danger of frost is completely over!
  • Pre-plant your herbs. Start them in smaller, indoor pots and transplant to larger outdoor pots or beds when the time is right.
  • Inspect outdoor structures for deterioration – especially signs of rot. Check fences, railings, window sills. Plan to repair or replace any damage you discover once the weather turns fair.
  • Prepare for the outdoor cooking season! Inspect your grill; replace any worn or damaged parts. Remove and clean cooking grates with soapy water and a brass bristle brush. Remove grease from lava rocks or briquettes by turning them over, igniting the burners, and allowing the heat to “clean” them for 10 minutes. Check propane levels to ensure your grill is ready when you are!
  • For a real seasonal shift…change over cushions, sheets, and throws to lighter or brighter colors. Pick colors that will compliment what is already there.
  • Inspect the washing machine. Turn off the water, remove the supply hoses and examine them and the washers. Replace worn or damaged parts.
  • Last but not least….Get your bikes out of the shed, dust them off, and have them tuned-up by a pro!

Tackle these items early in the month so you can get out, get active, and make the most of the warm weather before it is gone again!

March 28, 2013

Dress up your Décor

dress-up-you-decorNeutrals are safe, easy to decorate around, and lend themselves to any design theme.  Preferring a simple, neutral décor does not mean you are boring or dull!  You can show off your personality and sense of style by “dressing up” up a neutral room!

A neutral is any color that stays in the background and doesn’t take over a room.  Popular choices are beige, grey, ecru, cream, and brown.  So when you can’t decide on a color for a room or furniture; keep it neutral and flexible.  It will provide the perfect backdrop for easy, seasonal, and personal-style changes.

  • Start with the walls – A neutral wall color keeps the room warm and white, contrasting trim will make the walls “pop”.  A perfect combination!
  • Carpet – Install a neutral color, trying for a shade or two darker than your walls.  You can buy a less expensive carpet, because using area rugs in various colors or prints is a popular trend for adding color to a room.  (plush padding can be installed for better carpet wear and to make it feel more expensive)
  • Hardwood – If this is your preference in flooring, any wood tone will be fine.
  • Furniture – Stick with neutral colors, but explore the great variety of textures and patterns that are available to break up the monotony.  Rattan or wicker, and leather are considered neutrals and can add a bit of rich elegance to a room.  If you are trying to save money, slipcovers and second-hand finds can also work great.
  • Recycle – Paint end tables, coffee tables, nightstands, in the same color with an enamel finish.  Matching your tables to the walls will give the room a larger, less-cluttered look.

Once you have your neutral palette complete, it’s time to have some fun!!

Accent color – This is used to bring some emphasis to your color scheme.  Accents are expected to be a bit “bold”.  You have the flexibility to add as much or as little as you want!  Start with a key piece of wall art or an area rug to “anchor” your space.  Look for colorful accessories to compliment the base color and these “anchor” pieces.  Here are some suggestions…

• Lamps         • Candles
• Artwork      • Throw Pillows
• Vases           • Throw Blanket

Texture – Not sure about adding color, then add texture.  It will add dimension and depth to your décor.  Wicker containers will add a roughness, while mirrors and glass will add sleek, smoothness.  Soft plush bedding or pillows will add comfort and warmth.  An area rug will bring coarseness and help define the space.

Greenery – Add life and movement to any room with plants.  Potted plants, colorful flowers, hanging ferns, garland, and swags are a great way to add a splash of color.  Place in the corner of a room, atop cabinetry, on tables or a decorative plant stand.

Follow these simple suggestions to show off your personality and style.  
Change it up seasonally or whenever you have the urge.  
You don’t have to break the bank to re-decorate or rejuvenate a room in your home…go ahead, have some fun!

March 19, 2013

March Home Tasks

The official start of spring is just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to prepare your home; time to get ready for that fresh, new beginning that spring will always bring.

March Home Tips

Get these simple chores done now, so when spring does finally arrive, you are ready to sit back, relax and enjoy it!

February 4, 2013

Repair or Replace?

faucetFrustrated by a leaky bathroom faucet?

You have two easy options, either repair it or replace it. Both options are simple enough to do yourself; follow the steps below and stop that annoying drip once and for all!

To Repair: (slightly easier than replacing)

  • First, you need to determine the source of your leak; is it coming from the tap or the handle?
  • A leak from the tap means you need a new Washer, a leak from the handle means you need a new O-ring.
  • Next, turn off the water using the valves located under your sink and then drain the faucet by turning it on and allowing any remaining water to drain out.
  • Place a towel in your sink to avoid any damage or scratches to the bowl while you make the repair.
  • Now remove the decorative handles and the screw underneath; then remove the lug nut using a wrench, turning it counterclockwise.
  • Take out the “stem” and replace the Washer or O-ring with an exact match purchased at your local hardware store.
  • Put all parts back in the way they came out.

To Replace:

  • If you are not replacing the entire vanity top, be sure to select a new fixture that is the same configuration as your current faucet; either a single-hole, all-in-one fixture or a center-set faucet with decorative handles set the standard 4” apart. If your wash bowl sits on top of the vanity, faucets that attach to the wall are an option or even a goose-neck style will work (will be more difficult to replace).
  • Turn off the water supply at the valves under the sink. Loosen the supply tubes at the hot and cold valves. Use a basin wrench to loosen and remove the nut at the faucet stem. Remove the nut holding the faucet to the sink, and remove the faucet.
  • Remove the nut above the P-trap (curved piece of pipe under your sink), and loosen the nut attached to the P-trap. Remove the P-trap. Remove the pop-up lever from the drain. Loosen the lock nut holding the drain to the sink. Unscrew the drain and the drain flange (usually metal, visible in the bottom of the sink bowl).
  • Place paste or plumber’s tape on the faucet stems. If your faucet has a rubber gasket, install it on the base of the faucet before inserting the faucet stems in the appropriate holes in the sink. If your faucet doesn’t include a gasket, run a line of caulk under the faucet before installing it to prevent leaks.
  • Secure the nuts holding the faucet to the sink. Tighten the nuts by hand then give them another quarter-turn with a wrench. Connect the water supply tubes to the faucet stems. Apply more paste to the shutoff valve threads, and tighten the coupling nuts to the faucet-supply stems. Do not over tighten.
  • Apply caulk or paste to the underside of the drain flange and press it into the drain hole. Place the lock nut on the drain housing, followed by the metal washer and the gasket. Screw the drain housing tightly to the flange.
  • Drop the pop-up drain into place, keeping the hole for the control pin toward the rear of the sink. Place the bail lever in the side hole of the drain assembly so the control pin fits through the appropriate hole in the pop-up drain.
  • Set the drain rod into the hole in the faucet, and attach the connecting link to the faucet rod by tightening the attached screw. Make sure the pop-up is up and the drain rod is down, then attach the bail lever to the connection link, using the V-clip. The pop-up should go down when the lever is pulled up.
  • Replace the p-trap and turn water supply valves back on. Clean the supply tubes by removing the aerator from the faucet and turning on the water. While the water is running, check for leaks. Shut the water off after you’re certain there are no leaks and replace the aerator.

You can do this project in about 2 hours and save yourself the expense of
hiring a professional plumber, it’s that easy! Good luck!

January 31, 2013

Buying vs. Building

 

buyingvsbuildingNumerous decisions are involved in the purchase of a home.  The most important decision, which will impact the rest of the process, is whether to build your own home or buy an existing home.  Each strategy has its own advantages as well as disadvantages.  Owning a home is a great experience, but can be a stressful event; be prepared for what lies ahead of you.

Buying

vs.

Building

Pros

  • If your reasonable offer is accepted, you could live there within 30-45 days.

 

  • Tremendous sentimental value and personal pride in making it “your home”.
  • Usually not part of a Homeowner’s Association, giving you more personal freedom and more choices.

 

  • Personalize everything from the floor plan, to carpets, to fixtures, to appliances, paint colors, etc.
  • Already in an established area – It’s easier to consider the character of the home and the area it is located in.
  • Energy Efficient – Better, current building standards, better materials, and the most efficient appliances and systems; very important with the continually rising energy costs!

 

  • Better value – Usually able to negotiate a better price on the home.  Appliances and fixtures typically included, desired upgrades can be negotiated into the purchase.
  • Deferred maintenance – You know moving in that you will not need to replace the roof or any larger systems for many years.  Unforeseen issues should be covered by a warranty.

 

  • Less stress – Much less to consider during the buying process, less decisions to be made and/or negotiated.  Don’t forget to consider home inspections!
  • Many new communities offer other incentives such as recreational facilities, community maintenance, and locations closer to new stores, etc.

 

  • Usually have complete and mature landscaping. 
  • Latest technology built-in, from wiring to high speed internet, to the latest architectural trends, etc.

Buying

vs.

Building

Cons

  • Older floor plans do not have the same good traffic flow and open feeling that most new homes possess.
  • Usually takes 6-7 months to build, but you may want to count on another 1-2 months for unforeseen issues that may arise; bad weather, material defects, builder’s schedule.

 

  • Most likely will not have everything you want.  You will have to be willing to make some compromises on your list of wants/needs.
  • New construction typically has higher costs and most initial estimates are not accurate.  A lot can change during the building process.
  • Immediate maintenance or renovations may be necessary to personalize the home or even make it livable.
  • Might have to live with the noise and construction vehicle traffic if you are located in a new community; it could go on for months.
  • Less energy efficient!  Might also need updates on wiring and other major systems depending on the age of the home.

There is no wrong or right choice; only your personal preference.  The best things you can do are to plan ahead; review the pros and cons of each choice thoroughly; determine your budget and stick to it; consider job security and long-term plans for being in the area; and last, but not least, don’t forget about maintaining your own sanity!

 

Let us help you follow the path that best suits you!

January 28, 2013

Thinking about your next home project?

winterDoing any type of work on your home can be a thrilling adventure. Conventional thinking has been to tackle home improvement and remodeling projects during the spring and summer months. Well, it is time to change the way you think! One of the best-kept remodeling secrets is to do your remodeling work during the winter months.

  • The Price is Right-Contractors may provide incentives during the winter if their work is slow. You can also beat the typical price increases that occur in the spring for items like lumber, windows, cabinets, etc.
  • Beat the rush-Don’t try to schedule your projects when everyone else is! Right now many contractors have less to do and can schedule and perform your renovations a lot quicker. This is the best time for those interior projects like painting, replacing flooring, updating lights, or replacing cabinets.
  • What about the mess? Don’t be concerned about dust and fumes. With the products and technology available today, contractors are able to contain the mess to their work area. Items such as plastic zip doors, fans with negative pressure, and filters to seal off heat ducts are available to insure that your family won’t be inhaling anything they shouldn’t be!
  • Less Interruption-Many folks plan vacations to escape the long, cold months of winter. That is a great time to have work done at your home. You won’t have to deal with the inconvenience and havoc that remodeling can sometimes cause in your daily life. So go on, relax, enjoy a break. When you return you’ll find only a beautifully, completed home renovation project; no mess and no hassle for you.
  • Outside Project? Yes, if the weather cooperates, you might even be able to cross one of these projects off your to-do list. Outdoor painting may not be such a good idea, but building a deck, porch, or other addition might just be a possibility.

It’s time to “think outside the box”. Get your contractor working during the off-season. You may be able to save yourself money and get your projects done a lot sooner than you thought! Your contractor may even thank you for keeping them working during these slow winter months.

It’s a win-win situation for all!

January 21, 2013

Property Information at Your Finger Tips

While looking at properties, call or text our Home Info 24/7 phone number and get property details before you even leave the curb.

ADAMS & YORK: (717) 801-1845
BERKS: (610) 228-4346
CHAMBERSBURG: (717) 496-0826
CUMBERLAND, DAUPHIN & PERRY: (717) 798-3858
LANCASTER & LEBANON: (717) 715-1835
MARYLAND: (433) 268-0780
SCHUYLKILL: (570) 385-1488

You’re on the go – grocery shopping, taking care of the kids, your morning commute, or just cruising through a neighborhood where you might like to live. Every time you see a home you like, the yard sign has a different phone number to find out more. Try calling that number during the evening or on the weekend, and you may find that the office is closed or the agent is unavailable. At Prudential Homesale, we think it should be easy for you to find out more about any home for sale when it’s convenient for you.

Prudential Homesale’s Home Info 24/7 is your curbside connection. Listen to current information about ANY HOME for sale with ANY COMPANY by using ONE phone number.  Hear estimated monthly mortgage payments, and have the option to connect to your Prudential Homesale real estate agent.

This voice technology is simple enough for even the most basic telephone. But, it also has robust features such as text confirmation and photos for iPhones, Droids and other smart phones. Find out everything you want to know about a property… while you are sitting right in front of it… even without getting out of your car.

Get the info you want…before you drive away. For more information contact your Prudential Homesale agent or activate your phone online at http://www.AllHomesAllPhones.com today!

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