Category: Homeownership

3 Jan 2011

Start off the New Year on the Right Foot

I have always preferred simple things. One of my favorite toys as a kid was the Etch-a-Sketch ®, simply because you could easily clear the screen and start over.  The New Year reminds me of this. I get excited about the possibilities of a fresh start and a blank slate.

Whether to be more in shape, more charitable, more organized, more optimistic, or to read more … We make promises to ourselves that we will be better. For some of us that inspiration may only last a few days but for others it may last weeks and even months. I won’t bore you with the resolutions I have committed myself to for this coming year, but as one who finds it somewhat thrilling to organize things, I will offer a few tips to those who would like their home to be more organized in the New Year.

6 Dec 2010

Prevent Energy Loss During the Winter

We recently had a “green” builder do a presentation in our office and what I thought would be a dull topic actually ended up being incredibly informative.  With winter upon us, energy loss found in traditionally built homes became the focus.

It was amazing to learn how much energy actually seeps out of our homes. The estimates we were shown indicated that energy loss occurs through walls (35%), the roof (25%), doors (15%), floors (15%), and through windows (10 %).

While proper insulation is critical, one of the most cost effective things we can do as homeowners is weatherize by caulking around the outside of windows.  It was also suggested that homeowners check under bathroom and kitchen sinks for gaps where the pipe or vents go through the wall and floors. Again, caulk was suggested to seal up small gaps. Also, we were told that locking your windows will make them tighter and draft resistant.

21 Oct 2010

Picking the Right Paint For Your Home

I am a decision maker. My theory is that if something is wrong it can be fixed. Oddly though, the bigger the decision, the easier it is for me. Picking out paint colors is seemingly easy right? Not for me and my decision-making self! I can honestly say I have an easier time picking out a car than I do a color of paint. This fact was made clear to me the last time I had to pick out paint colors, I was so frazzled that no one in my family was talking to me by the time it was all said and done…

Lucky for everyone, this will not happen next time around. With the help of the internet, I solved all of my decorating dilemmas.  With great tools, like virtual paint tools, you can upload a picture of the room and change the color simply with a click of your mouse!

Not sure how much paint you need?  Make painting even easier by buying the right amount by using a paint estimator. For those that choose wallpaper over painting, there is also a calculator for that as well.

9 Aug 2010

Mythbusters: The Secret to Remodeling

The other day, I received my IRA statement in the mail. I won’t lie, I considered weeping. But instead I started to think about the returns on my investments. I realized that none have been as good to me as the returns I have received from homes I have sold.

Real estate is one of the best, if not the very best, investment you can make.

Even with less risk, you can still gain a big return on your investment.  Generally speaking, there are several factors that impact whether (and how much) a home will appreciate in value.  The economy and the region of the country you live in are just two of these factors, ones we have no control over. What we can control, however, are things like:

  • How long to own the property and when is the best time to sell
  • The money we decide to put into our home
    • How much and what improvements we decide to make can determine whether or not there is a gain in our investment
14 Jul 2010

A Checklist for Your Homeowners Insurance Physical!

Earlier this week, our own Pat Riley posted an insightful blog about the importance of getting an “insurance physical” each year. As Pat mentioned, the best time to review and update is a couple of months prior to the date that you purchased your home.

If you’re like me, you like lists.  So, here’s our list of helpful questions to think about and discuss with your trusted insurance advisor during your check up:

9 Jul 2010

Home Additions that Won’t Break the Bank

outdoor-living-spaceI am Italian so naturally, I come from a large family where entertaining is as essential as breathing. Living in an older home that was less than 1000 square feet made that challenging. With a living room that measured 11X16, only four people could comfortably be in the house at one time, which was a fact I was just unwilling to accept.

One cost effective way to add living space to your home is to create an outdoor living space. While some higher end spaces may have kitchens and fireplaces, creating a simple comfortable sitting area can add the space and value you need at very little cost.

22 Jun 2010

Let Your Home Take the Stage

I was taught very early on in my real estate career that what buyers look for when they first enter a home is light and space.  This is what your real estate agent or staging professional is aiming to achieve when they “stage” your home. Making a home appear more spacious can only benefit the homeowner, whether the house is on the market or not.

Not sure where to begin? I’m here to help!

A great place to start is by cleaning up the clutter. We get so used to the things in our home that we tend not to see them.  For example, you may not notice that your refrigerator is filled with pictures and papers, but others well. Remove them. It is important that buyers see your appliances, counters, etc, because it is important to them. Less clutter creates a more welcome, friendly and stress-free environment.

9 Jun 2010

Curb Appeal Will Make A World of Difference

The 80’s taught us many things. But it was the Head and Shoulders commercials from that era that taught me, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Curb appealin real estate terms, is the first impression your home makes.

My first home was a rental for eight years before I purchased it.  Based on the way the color drained from my mother’s face when I first took her to see the property, it is not an exaggeration to say that the yard needed work. A lot of work.  Nevertheless, the price of the house and the investment potential I saw pushed me to move forward with my purchase (despite my mother’s many pleadings to do otherwise!).  In essence, what I purchased was a .25 acre jungle with a 1000 square foot house on it. Only after closing on the property did I realize the magnitude of the project I had purchased.

3 Jun 2010

Take the Time to Maintain

You know those thoughts you get while getting yourself and the kids ready to go and out the door.  Those thoughts about “is it time to change the filter” because realistically, when do we look at our filters much less remember to change them.

There is an old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  This is so true.  Who wants to deal with the kids in the house with no air during the hottest day of the summer because your system is not working just because it was not maintained? There are simple things you can do to maintain the major systems in your home that are not too time consuming and are gentle on the pocket book.


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