Posts tagged ‘tips for homeowners’

January 10, 2014

Being a Good Neighbor

Ask yourself, ”Am I a good neighbor”?

finalpostGood neighbors are important.  Living in a neighborhood where you feel safe and connected can impact your level of happiness and even reduce stress.  You may not be able to change your neighborhood, but you can certainly change the experience you have in your neighborhood by getting out and getting involved.

Here are a few qualities of a good neighbor:

Good neighbors are respectful
Always be conscientious about noises that may disturb your neighbors, such as music, loud talking, barking dogs.  End parties at a reasonable hour, while you are at it, invite your neighbors.  Always return anything you borrow in the same condition, in a timely manner, and express your gratitude when you do so.  Make time to smile and say hello.  Never forget, while neighbors may live close, they are also respectful of each other’s privacy.

Good neighbors are proud
Be considerate of those around you.  Take pride in maintaining your home so that it is neat and attractive.  Mow your lawn regularly and keep your landscape trimmed and neat.  Coming home to a beautiful house and neighborhood is rewarding.

Good neighbors are helpful
Offer to collect mail, water plants, or watch pets while a neighbor is away on a trip.  When snow falls, help elderly neighbors by shoveling their driveway or sidewalks.  Prepare a meal when a neighbor is under the weather or run errands while their car is in the repair shop.  You never know when you will need one of them to return the favor for you.

Good neighbors are supportive
Organizing neighborhood parties, yard sales, or other functions is a good way to get to know each other better and a great way to build a stronger community.  Neighbors who know each other personally are more likely to look out for and help each other.  Neighborhood Watch groups are another way to help and support your neighbors.  They deter crime and violence, making your neighborhood a safer, happier place to live.

Good neighbors are social
Get to know your neighbors.  Welcome new neighbors with a note or a friendly chat.  Invite neighbors over for coffee to visit and share good news.  Learn from your neighbors who have different cultural backgrounds than you.  Everyone gets busy; it only takes a little bit of time to organize an annual holiday party and socialize with all your neighbors.

Getting to know the people around you takes only mere moments out of your day, but can provide a lifetime of pride in your home and the neighborhood.  It is nice knowing you can depend on those around you and they can depend on you.

“When strangers start acting like neighbors…communities are reinvigorated.” – Ralph Nader

Click here for some tips on meeting your neighbors.

Looking for a new home? Prudential Homesale’s new real estate search can help you find what you are looking for.

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

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AskHomesale.com provides real estate advise and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com 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

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.

October 28, 2013

Appliances – What is the Life Expectancy?

Not ready to face the expense of replacing your stove, dishwasher, or even your vacuum??  Read on to discover some preventative measures you can take to keep many of your household appliances from reaching an early demise.  Also, discover when it might be to consider finding a replacement…

appliances

Appliance

How to care for it

When to replace it

Stand Mixer Never overload the mixer, causing it to work harder and put extra strain on the motor.  When cleaning, make sure ALL parts are cleaned including the attachment socket! If the mixer won’t turn on at all, you probably have a dead motor.
Microwave Always use proper microwave-safe plates and bowls.  Keep the interior clean and the turntable rotating smoothly. Takes too long to heat food or it won’t turn on.  Beyond replacing a fuse, the cost to repair could exceed the cost to replace.
Drip Coffeemaker Rinse pot and grind basket after each use.  Once monthly, run 1 part vinegar/2 parts water solution through it to clean, followed by 2 brew cycles of plain water to rinse. If your coffee isn’t really hot after brewing.  The heating element has probably died.
Vacuum Cleaner After every few uses, clean the filters, the opening to bag or canister, hoses, etc.  Keep all air flow and parts moving properly. If the motor dies.  The cost to repair typically costs as much as a replacement.
Hair Dryer Clean lint and dust from the rear filter regularly. Replace if blowing cold air or has a burning smell!
Range Wipe up spills and messes right away, keeping burners clean and preventing fires.  The same applies to spills in the oven which can smoke or ignite! Time to replace when the buttons or knobs no longer work the burners, gas burners won’t light, or the oven doesn’t heat up.
Dishwasher Check the filter located in the bottom of the machine for clogs and debris.  Use a cleaner made for dishwashers regularly. If the machine is cracked, rusted, leaking from the bottom, and if the motor or pump stop working.
Washing Machine Keep machine level, never use more detergent than instructed, and always remove objects from pockets to avoid damage to the machine. If the washer sounds like a freight train during the spin cycle!  This indicates a bad support bearing and a very pricey repair!
Clothes Dryer Clean lint screen after each cycle.  Hire a professional to clean vent duct and interior of dryer once a year. Time to replace if you need to repair more than one part at a time, like a motor and timer.
Refrigerator Once a year, use a vacuum to clean the coils located in the bottom or rear of the fridge.  Also test the doors seals periodically to keep cold air from escaping. Replace if it no longer keeps food cold or frozen.  Almost every other part is repairable or replaceable except for the cooling system.

With a little extra time and TLC you may be able to squeeze a few more days, months or years out of these frequently-used home appliances!

Homeowner Tips | Tips for Buyers | Tips for Sellers | Home Buyer Resources | Home Seller Resources

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

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.

August 12, 2013

Getting your College-Bound Teen Ready

collegeboundWithin the next month many parents will face the tough task of preparing their teen for dorm life for the very first time.  For the majority of students the concept of a home away from home can be overwhelming and a little bit frightening.

Here are some tips to help guide you and your teen through this exciting and trying period:

Emotional Impact…Your kid may appear confident and eager to leave home, but the truth is this can be a difficult transition for both of you.  Getting to know the school before classes begin is a great idea!  The more you know, the more you will feel a part of his/her life.  Plan a trip to see the campus if possible, an online virtual tour is a great alternative if you can’t visit.

On-campus housing can fill quickly; hopefully the room reservation was sent in as soon as your teen was accepted!!  Also encourage them to reach out to their new roommate ahead of time.  Facebook is a great way to connect and to get to know the person before moving day.  Get to know their likes/dislikes, hobbies, about their family, etc.  It’s also a way to organize who is bringing what supplies and furniture so they don’t end up with duplicates.

Small things can be done ahead of time to help kids adjust to their new state of independence.  Sit down and talk to your student about the expenses involved and help establish a budget that will work for everyone!  Sometimes pre-college programs are available and will provide them with a “small dose” of college life.  Talk about the great opportunities ahead and don’t dwell on challenges.  There will be good days and bad days!  The first semester is usually the hardest!  Communicate regularly, but not too much.   Be open to communication, but let them initiate it.  During these calls, pay attention to the names of classmates and professors, remember the course names and other information he/she shares with you.

Parents will also need to discover ways to handle their own separation anxieties!  This is a great time to find a new hobby or activity and develop new routines.  If Friday was always family night, find something else to do; get together with friends or enjoy a date night with your significant other.

A little preparation, good communication, and a little bit of confidence can make the college experience a memorable one for all of you!

Shopping List:

Laptop / Printer / Ink Clorox Wipes / Swiffer
Sheets/Blankets / Comforter Desk Lamp
Backpack / Messenger Bag Mirror
Laundry Detergent / Bag / Quarters Alarm Clock
Small Fridge / Microwave (if allowed) First Aid Kit / Other necessary medicines
Power Strip Storage bins
Shower Caddy A little piece of home (pics, etc.)
Flip Flops! A must for walking back & forth to the shower Car Accessories – gas credit card and AAA card are highly recommended!
Academic Supplies Room Freshener!!
Small Fan / Space Heater (if allowed) Snacks

Do you have a child heading into Kindergarten? Read our blog post on Avoiding Kindergarten Jitters.

August 6, 2013

Avoiding Kindergarten Jitters

kidergartenThe first day of kindergarten can bring a few tears, especially for parents.  It may be hard to believe your child is growing up so fast. Try to keep your emotions under wraps and make sure your child feels excited and ready to begin this year of learning and fun experiences.

Is your child is ready and what can you do to help them?  Here are a few top recommendations…

kidergarten-crayonsGet to know the school – Drive by it often during the summer and take a tour.  This will help your child be more comfortable with the building.  Bring up school in conversations at home and talk about how much fun it can be.  As a parent, attend open houses and meet-the-teacher events.  It’s a great way to meet other parents and stay informed.

kidergarten-crayonsIndependence – Work with your child over the summer on making good choices.  Encourage them to pick healthy foods for lunch.  Many children this age are used to Mom making choices; this new freedom can be overwhelming.  Also find ways to teach them simple problem solving skills.  Make sure your child can go to the bathroom alone, use buttons and zippers, and maybe even learn to tie their shoes, if you think they are ready.  These activities/accomplishments are great confidence boosters!!

kidergarten-crayonsSchool bedtime routine – Begin a new routine about a month ahead.  Parents can scale back gradually each night.  8:00pm is a great time, but you’ll know best how much rest your child needs.  Stick to the routine.

kidergarten-crayonsWork on skills – Have your child practice writing their name and lower case letters.  Incorporate counting into as many daily activities as you can.  Count steps to the mailbox, napkins on the table, pieces of fruit, etc.  Make daily errands learning experiences, but don’t overdo it!

kidergarten-crayonsSchool Shopping – Make this a fun experience!  Most schools can provide a list of what is needed and what’s allowed.  Encourage your child to make choices about colors, types, etc.

kidergarten-crayonsVisit a library – Visit your local library and get a free library card.  Visit the library each week to borrow a new book.  Talk about the books you read.

kidergarten-crayonsStudy Spot – Find a quiet spot at home and stock it with crayons, paper, scissors, and other “tools”.  Set aside time daily to have your child “work” in their spot.  When school starts, this can be their place for doing homework.

kidergarten-crayonsSocial Skills – Schedule play dates for your child with their friends.  Expose them to various personalities and encourage sharing and cooperation.  Great classroom skills!

kidergarten-crayonsDo your homework – Make sure you have completed all necessary paperwork and that your child has the required immunizations, tests, etc. to start school.

Kindergarten readiness does not have to dominate the rest of your summer, but taking some time to prepare will certainly go a long way to guaranteeing a smoother transition!

These tips were provided by Prudential Homesale
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 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!!

May 30, 2013

Homeowner Survival Skills

Sooner or later, little things around your home will start to go wrong. 

Use this information to help you correct these common mishaps.

Fix a leaky faucet

Usually due to a bad washer or cartridge in the handle.  Turn off the water supply (under the sink), and cover the drain so no small parts go down it.  Pop the cover on the handles, remove the screw, and the handle.  Disassemble the stem next, using a wrench and lining up the parts in order so you will know how to put it back together.  Remove and replace the damaged or cracked parts and reassemble the stem and handles.

  keylockOpen a seized dead bolt

Spray some WD-40 into the keyhole to lubricate the mechanism. Prevent it from seizing by spraying once a year with Teflon spray.

Stop an overflowing toilet

The float inside the tank drops when the toilet is flushed and water from the tanks moves into the bowl.  It then rises as the bowl and tank are re-filled.  To prevent more spillage when the bowl is brimming over, lift the lid on the tank, grab the float and lift it to close the valve.  While holding the float, turn off the toilet’s water supply.  Now it’s clean up time!

  Pick an interior lock

Toddler locked in her bedroom?  Look for a small hole on the knob or the plate around it.  Take a slim piece of metal (screwdriver for eyeglasses, ice pick, metal skewer) and slip it into the hole to compress the spring inside.  In some cases, you will need the flathead screwdriver to insert into a slot on the spring and turn it.  Either way, you’ll disengage the lock and set your little one free!

fireUse a fire extinguisher (remember PASS)

P – Pull the Pin

A – Aim nozzle at the base of flames

S – Squeeze the trigger

S – Sweep the spray from side to side

Work calmly but quickly!! (most extinguishers have 8 seconds of life)  Call 911 and let the pros confirm that the fire is really out.

  hedgePrune a sick hedge

Trimming a shrub from the top only will make it too bushy and will prevent the sun from reaching interior branches and roots.  Pruning from the interior out will help bring it back to health.  Pull back outer branches so you can reach the interior to clip away dead branches.  Cut back tall shoots where they join the branch rather than snipping the end.  Use this method to prune about 1/3 of the bush for 3 years and your bush will thrive!

Unclog a sink

Skip the liquid drain cleaner and remove manually.  Remove the stopper and block off any overflow holes.  With water in the sink, use a flat-faced plunger to plunge the drain and remove clog.  If it doesn’t move, use a wrench to remove the U-shaped trap under the sink and look for the clog there.  If the clog is deeper, rent a hand-snake to reach it.  Slowly feed the coil into the drain, when you get to the clog carefully, twist, pull and push the coil to dislodge the clog.

  Unstick a door

Excess humidity in summer can cause a wooden door to swell and stick.  A gap of 1/8” to 3/16” between the door and jamb is recommended to accommodate seasonal changes.  Note where the door sticks and use a bench plane to shave off the high spots.  Round over any sharp edges with sandpaper and paint the exposed wood.  Allow to dry completely before closing the door.

Bypass garage door opener if your power  is out

Pull the red cord that dangles from the ceiling-mounted operator to disengage the electric chain drive.  Then you can slide the door open manually.  Be careful, a full-size garage door can be very heavy!

  Remove the base of a broken lightbulb

Unplug the lamp or turn off the fixture.  Cut a potato (russets are best) in half and gently press it onto the jagged glass.  Turn slowly to remove the base.

 

 

Did you like this article? Then you may like our article on “Repair or Replace

Have a real estate question? Contact a Prudential Homesale real estate experts today to find out more about the home buying and selling process.

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