Posts tagged ‘tips for homeowners’

November 20, 2014

9 Ways to Make an Old Home Feel New

 

Whether you are planning on selling your home, looking to buy an older house or are looking for a few ways to give new life to your home, here are 9 easy tips on how to give your house fresh facelift.

 

 

1. Clean or Replace Carpetsvaccuum
Transform the room by making the space feel fresh. Deep cleaning vacuums can help remove odors and make your carpet feel almost new. If you want to take on a DIY project, you could try replacing your carpet with new carpet or even hardwood flooring.

 

 

2. Make it Cohesive
As the years go by, it is easy to lose focus or forget about making a room/entire house flow nicely together. An update here and an update there can leave the home in a state of mis-matched chaos. You should determine whether you want rooms to be the same throughout or to each have their own uniqueness.

 

outlet

 

3. Update Outlets, Light Switches & Plates
Small changes such as updating outlets, light switches and plates make a significant difference. Some may have yellowed, been painted over, various shapes & styles through the years. Updating plates can be simple but updating outlets and light switches can be tricky. Therefore, if you are not experienced hire a licensed electrician or find online tutorials to guide you through the process. While you are at it, you should also update old alarms, thermostats and smoke detectors.

 

4. Repair Walls
If your house has numerous holes in the walls due to hanging up pictures/mirrors, etc.., and/or have apparent DIY patching, you should consider getting your walls professionally repaired. You could even have your painters fix blemishes and fill the nail holes. Repairing your walls will make them look brand new!

how-to-add-light-to-a-room

 

 

5. Add Light
There are numerous ways to add light to your home beyond light fixtures. You could replace old blinds. Rethink the idea of curtains by making a curtain rod extend past the width of the window, making the window appear larger and not blocking any light. You should also consider adding or replacing light fixtures. Change out light bulbs to newer bulbs that give off a higher wattage and offer a different effect; soft or white.

 

6. Paint
Even though this is an obvious answer, changing the color or even adding a fresh coat of the same color can make a major difference. A current and cohesive paint palette brings the home into the present.

 

7. Remove Dated Fixtures
Updating lights and hardware are easy ways to freshen up your home.

 

8. New Doors/Door Frames
Replace your older doors with newer models. Sometimes older doors no longer fit in the door frame and may not lock correctly. Also adding a new front door will help with curb appeal and can even brighten up your foyer.

hardwood floors

 

 

9. Refinish Hardwood
If your hardwood floors are scratched up and have lost their shine you should consider refinishing your hardwood floors. Choose an appropriate stain and give your floors a makeover. This can either be a DIY project or you can hire a professional.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are considering selling, purchasing or even staying put in your current house and want to take on a new project such as updating an older home contact your local Homesale Agent today.

November 17, 2014

Empty Nesters; Tips for Downsizing

 

According to AARP, for the next 18 years, baby boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 a day. This means that a large portion of American homeowners will be reaching retirement age and will have to start thinking about the next phase in their life. Part of this next phase may include packing up their large family homes in favor of spendinEmptyNestg their ‘empty nest’ years enjoying a newfound freedom. When you think about the combination of approaching retirement and your children are off on their own, it may not be necessary to keep so much space. Many couples may have a disproportionate amount of their wealth stored in home equity. Downsizing can be a useful way to convert some of this wealth into liquid financial assets to be used for other expenses. Downsizing can also provide the opportunity to sort through belongings and get rid of things that are no longer needed. Are you ready to make the move? Here are 9 downsizing tips to consider.

 

Have a plan -
Think about what kind of lifestyle you want. Do you prefer an urban setting? Or do you need a yard? Do you want to be part of a community that offers lots of activities and amenities such as golf courses and swimming pools? Or are you a more independent type who seeks out opportunities on your own? You should investigate your options and not limit exciting new possibilities. If you’ve raised your family in the suburbs and don’t want to leave, you could start looking at newer condominium buildings that are close to shops and restaurants. Living in such an area can provide a similar lifestyle to the city while still remaining in the suburbs.

 

Consider a short distance move -
Not everyone wants to move to a warm-weather destination, such as Florida. Many downsizing Boomers would rather stay in their current location. Remaining in the same vicinity would be ideal if you want to stay close to your children and their families. This would make visiting your family easy and holiday gatherings less stressful without the hectic holiday traffic.

 

Age restricted – 
Before moving, you should decide if this next move will be your last move. You should consider whether or not you want to live in a neighborhood with younger families or people who are closer in your age bracket. Whether you want to move into a neighborhood with people your own age who share similar interests or a neighborhood with an eclectic community of people, the decision is up to you and your personal preference.

 

Look for universal design – 
A house should be accessible to those of any age or ability, with features such as wide doorways and flat thresholds. This may not seem important to vigorous Boomers, but it could be an issue in the years ahead. Will you still be able to live in the home as an 80-year-old? Advanced planning in this regard can help ease the transition for health and physical changes in later life. A single-story house may be ideal. Other important features to consider: slip resistant floors, lever door handles, and reinforced bathroom walls that can support grab bars. Another consideration is indoor air quality. Clothes dryers, bathrooms, stoves and fireplaces should vent outdoors.

 

Income – 
The downsizing phase of life usually means you won’t be earning as much money as you did when you were younger. What are your sources of cash? How long will you work? How much can you expect from social security payments, or a pension? Will investments generate enough income to cover expenses? Many Boomers think they’ll sell an expensive house and buy a cheaper in hopes of saving money.

 

Consider a mortgage -
The American Dream may be to live mortgage free, but it often makes sense to have a mortgage, even a small one. Assuming you make a profit when you sell your current home, the proceeds can be invested and used for future living expenses. If you sink all the proceeds from the sale of your house into a new house, you may not be able to generate enough cash to cover expenses. Renting could make sense, too, if rents are less than the cost of owning.

 

Watch the taxes – 
Many Boomers consider moving out of state to places like Florida that have no income tax, in order to lower their overall tax bill. But don’t forget other hidden costs, such as travel back and forth to visit family. Also, you may be eligible for a tax free gain on the sale of a house. Any gain, up to $500,000 for a couple, is tax free. “It is one of the most generous provisions in the tax code,” says Bob Meighan, vice president at Turbo Tax, a software tax preparation company in San Diego, Calif.

 

Make a smart move – 
Before the move, focus on how you want to live. Think through your new lifestyle and which items will make that possible. If you’re moving to a community that provides outdoor maintenance, you won’t need the shovels and lawn mower. Think about using the extra room in the new place for the hobby you’ve always wanted to start, instead of saving it for guests who rarely visit. Look forward, not back.

 

Downsize thoughtfully – 
If you’re selling a house, you’ll probably spend time de-cluttering the place so it looks good for prospective buyers. But don’t stop there. You can sell unwanted items on craigslist or eBay, have a garage sale or even give items away on the website Freecycle.org. Remember to save family treasures that can’t be replaced. If you don’t have room for all the treasures, give them to family or friends who can appreciate them.

 

In the end, choose what matters to you at this stage of life by knowing more about who you are and who you are not. If you are not ready to move again, then walk that direction. Talk with yourself and your partner about what roles you will play in making a downsize happen. Pull up those resources you need to enjoy the life you are heading towards. If you have decided that it is time to move, contact your local real estate agent at Homesale Realty. Cheers to embracing the idea of changing the scenery and designing a new stage set for your future!

 

 

References: 
Chicago Tribune
Wall Street Journal
Trulia
November 13, 2014

5 Holiday Hosting Disasters and How to Avoid Them

Whether you have just moved into your new home or have been a homeowner for a while, hosting a holiday party is stressful. You want to impress your guests and the last thing you need is a problem you can’t fix. Imagine you’re preparing to host your holiday party, and you’re past the point of no return. The veggies and meats have been bought. Guests are already braving busy airports and crowded highways to get to your home—and then your oven won’t turn on. Your home-cooked meal has quickly turned from a 5-star dinner to take-out.

That’s just one of many hosting nightmares that can end your holiday gathering before it even begins. Thankfully, some of the most damaging mishaps easily can be avoided. We collected five of the most prevalent issues and give you preventative tips to steer clear of a disaster.

 

Problem: The oven

oven

Source: http://www.coloribus.com/

For any holiday occasion, the oven is the most important appliance in your house. If it fails to work, the centerpiece of your meal could go from roast beef, ham, duck, or Tofurky to Peking Duck from the local Chinese takeout joint.

  • There are any number of reasons a stove can break, but one common cause of disaster is easy to prevent. Don’t self-clean your oven until AFTER the holidays. You risk blowing a fuse or a thermostat, and tracking down an oven technician around the holidays can be tough.

 


Problem: The kitchen sink clogs

sink

Source: http://www.gettyimages.com

The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for plumbers. The prime cause of this clog-a-thon is the mistreatment of drains when cooking holiday feasts. We hope your Thanksgiving went well, and that you avoid clog-a-thons for the rest of the holidays.

  • Fats and cooking oils can solidify in your pipes, so never dispose of them in your kitchen sink.
  • If you have a garbage disposal, make sure it’s running before anything goes in it, and never feed it any stringy, fibrous, or starchy foods like poultry skins or potato peels.
  • To fix, don’t rely on chemical drain-clearing products that can harm your pipes. Use a snake instead, available for $15 at your local hardware store. Best to keep one on hand.

 

Problem: The heat goes outdog

 

As the party’s host, you’re supposed to hang guests’ coats—not apologize to them for having to keep them on. A lack of heat can stop a holiday party dead in its tracks.

  • The key to avoiding freezing your party to a standstill is regular maintenance of your HVAC. Every 90 days, a new one-inch pleated furnace filter should be installed. If you haven’t done it in a while, now’s a good time to replace it.
  • Also inspect insulation on refrigerant lines that are leading into your house. Replace them if they’re missing or damaged.

 

 

 

toilet

 

Problem: The toilet stops up

Toilets have a way of clogging up at the worst times, such as during parties and when you have overnight guests. This is especially true if you have a low-flow toilet from the early 1990s.

  • Don’t flush anything other than sewage and toilet paper down the toilet. And there’s nothing wrong with putting up a polite note to remind your guests to do the same.

 

 

Source: http://www.mwra.com/03sewer/html/toiletnottrashcan.html

Problem: The fridge doesn’t coolevil puppet

Without a properly functioning refrigerator, your meat could get contaminated, your dairy-based treats could go sour, and you may not be able to save your leftovers. To avoid discovering a warm fridge after it’s too late, take these simple precautions.

  • Get a thermometer for your refrigerator to make sure each shelf stays below 40 degrees and you can be aware of any temperature changes.
  • Also make sure the condenser coils located on the back of the unit or beneath it are free to breathe. Coils blocked from circulating air by cereal boxes atop the fridge, or dirtied by dust or pet hair can prevent a fridge from keeping cool.

Source: http://www.furrypuppet.com
 
November 5, 2014

Preparing for Winter

Winter weather is on its way! Whether you are preparing to sell or purchase a home, it is important to keep your house warm throughout the winter months (especially if you have showings). However, keeping your home warm can be costly. Here are a few tips on how to winterize your home without breaking the bank.

 

Nov 14 IOV - Ecard (1)

 

 

September 29, 2014

Cleaning Projects

Cleaning ProjectsView in Piktochart

http://goo.gl/0bs627

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

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