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Real Estate Blog

De-cluttering your Home

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

De-clutter Your Home Fast

                Whether you are planning to sell your home or just would like to be more relaxed and enjoy spending time there, here are some quick ways to start the de-cluttering process – and keep it clutter free:

  • Use the three-box method.  In the room you’re de-cluttering (try to focus on one at a time), set up 3 boxes and a trash bag for trash.  Label the boxes “Put Away,” “Give Away,” and “Keep” and go through every item in the room to decide which of the 4 spots the item is placed in.

  • Try the closet hanger experiment.  Put everything in your closet in with the hangers facing backward.  When you wear an item and return it to the closet, face the hanger the right direction.  After 6 months or a year, get rid of everything still facing backward.

  • Give away one item every day.  You don’t have to throw out everything at the same time.  Find one thing each day to donate, and make it fun by thinking about which charity or friend could most benefit from the item.

Mobile Device Fixes

Saturday, April 25, 2015

DIY Mobile Device Fixes

 

            The smaller and slimmer laptops and cell phones become, the more easily they can be damaged.  Before you spend too much on repair for your cracked screen or the key on your keyboard that doesn’t work anymore, it could be worth taking a crack at it yourself.  

Drop your phone in a puddle? – Quick, stick it in a jar of rice!  No, really!  You may be able to absorb the moisture before it does damage.  First, power the phone off.  If you can, remove the battery and towel it and the phone dry.  Fill a jar with regular dry, uncooked rice and leave it for up to 2 days to pull the moisture from the electronic parts.

Cracked screen? – If you’ve ever dropped a device and picked it up only to see the cobwebs of cracks, you know this can be a very pricey repair.  Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy a new phone.  Depending on the model of the device you have, it might be something you can do yourself. Visit www.ifixit.com/Device/Phone to see if there is a guide for your model and to see what replacement screen parts cost.

Does your laptop battery no longer hold a charge? – Rather than take your computer to a repair shop, see if you can find a replacement online.  Most laptop batteries can be replaced easily.  Remove the battery from your laptop and find the manufacturer and model number, then purchase a replacement from the original manufacturer to make sure the battery is compatible and high-quality.

Flickering laptop display?If your screen is giving you a headache because it’s flickering rapidly, you may have a loose wire.  If closing and opening the screen partway makes the flicker better or worse, that’s likely the problem.  First determine how to open your laptop (search Youtube.com for “open laptop + your computer model”).  Most laptops have a wire that runs through the hinge and plugs into the display.  The other end connects to the circuitry: try disconnecting and reconnecting to see if that fixes the issue.

Arthritis or Joint Pain

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

            Do you have an ache in your wrists, knees, or ankles that makes it difficult to do simple things like type or walk up stairs?  Everyone experiences some type of joint pain in their lives, but is it arthritis?  Though you may associate arthritis with older people, it can affect anyone at any time in life – even children.  The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, will affect 1 in 6 people in their lifetimes. 

If you are experiencing joint pain, here are ways to manage the symptoms and live a normal life:

  • Exercise and move around the right way.  Though you may believe otherwise, inactivity can actually make the pain and loss of movement experienced with joint pain or arthritis worse.  Low-impact activity, stretching, and exercise like yoga or walking keeps your joints loose and improves blood flow to damaged tissue.
  • Avoid repetitive motion.  High-impact activities like running, or repetitive motions like swinging a tennis racket can make pain worse.  Instead, do gradual strength-building exercises to build muscle around the joints.
  • Try massage and hot/cold therapy.  Massage can help relieve symptoms and lift your mood, so a monthly session can be beneficial.  Try a heating pad or hot bath or shower to help ease pain as well.  Ice packs can help with swelling after exercise.

If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis, there are ways to ease pain:

  • Pain medications that also reduce inflammation (NSAIDs) can help.  Check with your doctor for other available options. 
  • Reduce pressure on painful joints.  Buying a better mattress, losing a few pounds, and being careful to do the right exercises to reduce the strain on your joints can all help. 
  • Keep your body healthy with a diet including fish (twice a week), nuts (about a handful and a half daily) and olive oil (2-3 Tbsp./day) which all contain omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation.

Foreclosure/Short Sales Sellers can NOW BUY

Friday, April 17, 2015

There is a new set of buyers coming into the marketplace.   They are called Boomarang Buyers.   You are asking yourself, “What are Boomarang Buyers?”  They are buyers who have faced hardship throughout the last 7-8 years, had to sell their home in a foreclosure or short sale and now would like to buy again.  These buyers are in luck….yes they can buy again.   There will be specific guidelines to follow, but the process will be the same.   If you or anyone you may know falls in this situation, please reach out to me, 410.591.1800.

Spring Cleaning

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Five Tips For Spring Cleaning

By: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Blog
Spring is here and for those selling their home or getting ready to put their house on the market, there's nothing quite as beneficial as doing a great "spring cleaning" job to not only make your home look great, but to get rid of some of that clutter that could distract someone coming to see your home.

Here are five spring cleaning tips that will help you sell your home.

  1. Curb appeal becomes as important as ever when the weather turns nicer and buyers are more likely to spend time outside looking at the exterior of the house and the property. Make sure to have a well-maintained lawn with all the leaves gone, the grass mowed and the hedges trimmed. Spruce things up by buying some inexpensive, yet colorful flowers and spread fresh mulch in flowerbeds. Fill in any bare spots on your lawn with sod or seed. Make sure to also clean your gutters, wash your welcome mat and put away any rakes or winter shovels that clutter the yard.
  2. The phrase "I don't do windows" should never apply when selling a home. While a REALTOR® may tell you that homes show better with the blinds or curtains up, this will not be true if the windows are dirty. A clean window brings more light into a room and allows buyers the chance to see what the view will be when they look out of their potential new home. It's important to clean both the inside and outside of all windows until they are streak free and spotless. This includes all sliding glass doors, garage windows and outside doors.
  3. Pay close attention to the "little" things that might draw the eye of a prospective homebuyer. Go around your home with a pad and pencil and inspect each room for things such as small holes in the wall where a painting used to hang, outlets that are missing a cover or doorknobs that are loose and squeaky. Also, be sure to check all of the caulking around sinks, faucets and tubs, as well as any grout in tile counters or bathtubs. As you take the time and the small amount of money to fix these items you reduce the reasons for someone not liking your home.
  4. Power wash your driveway, walkway, siding and deck. You don't need to invest in the money of buying a new power washer as they are easy to rent from stores such as Lowe's. Power washing removes layers and years of dirt and grime from stone and cement, including mildew stains from the winter. Power washing the porch, a fence or deck clears away all the dirt and debris and makes the home instantly seem cleaner. If the outside of your home looks dingy, you may be setting the impression that you didn't keep up the home itself well, so make sure to have everything looking top notch.
  5. One of the first pieces of advice you will get from your real estate agent is to reduce clutter in your home. Spring cleaning is the perfect excuse to get rid of things you don't really need. Go through all your closets and bag up all the clothes that don't fit, are out of style or you simply don't wear anymore and donate them to a charity. Take your old books, the kids' toys they no longer play with and those kitchen knickknacks and hold a garage sale. A de-cluttered home is always more attractive to the homebuyer.


Whew!! Now it's time to take a break and let your real estate professional market that freshly cleaned home!

Arbor Day 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Why plant a tree On Arbor Day

By: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Blog

You'd be hard pressed to think of the ideal American home and not imagine a pastoral oak in the front yard with a tire swing clinging to its branch or a sprawling sycamore in the backyard. However, adding a tree to your property can do a lot more than just make it look nice (although that's an added bonus). Planting a tree can help increase the value of your home and save you some serious money on your energy bill.

The history

Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday of April. This holiday was first conceived in Spain in 1805. A priest from the village of Villanueva de la Sierra encouraged the locals to begin planting trees as a way to bond as a community.

It was first celebrated in the United States on April 10th, 1872 in Nebraska. In 1906, conservationist Israel McCreight encouraged President Theodore Roosevelt to adopt the practice. By the 1920s it was adopted as a holiday and has since become a worldwide celebration.

What trees can do for you and your home

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, planting a tree on your property home can significantly improve your home. The shade cast by medium sized trees can have a cooling effect on your home, drastically deceasing the amount you'll spend on energy you'll spend during the warmer months.

The Arbor Day Foundation states that 83% of Realtors® agree that having a tree on your property impacts the demand of a home. It was also estimated that a mature tree could be appraised from between $1,000 to $10,000 when estimating the value of a home.

Great trees for first-timers

Low Maintenance trees

  • Crape Myrtle: This tree blooms in summer. It is very dependable in dry weather and requires very minimal pruning.
  • Sugar Maple: This species can grow in a variety of soils and is very durable to the elements. It is also less susceptible to diseases than other trees.
  • Magnolia: These trees can grow in a range of different temperatures.


Fast-growing trees

  • Red Maple: This tree can grow up to 3 to 5 feet per year.

American Sycamore: This tree can grow up to 6 feet per year.

  • Willow: This tree can grow from 3 to 8 feet per year.
  • Empress Tree: This tree can grow 10 to 15 feet in a year.


This Arbor Day, consider planting a tree. Doing so is not only a time-honored tradition, it can help boost your property in the near future and help save you money on energy and keep your home cooler in the warmer months

Real Estate Corner....Mortgage Rates

Friday, April 03, 2015

Real Estate Corner…

 

Q.  How can I secure a low mortgage interest rate?

A.  Securing a low mortgage interest rate helps make your monthly payment more affordable and saves money over the life of your loan.  Besides using a larger down payment, here are three things to do to secure a low mortgage interest rate:

  1. Compare multiple lenders and meet with your top three.  Review the application process and your credit report to start working on any issues you may have.  The higher your credit score, the better borrower you will become.  Lenders will review the various loan programs with you.

 

  1. Your debt-to-income ratio should be below 36 percent before you apply for a mortgage.  The lower it is, the greater your eligibility for a higher loan amount.

  1. Don’t make any drastic changes such as changing jobs or making large purchases on credit cards.  You want lenders to see you have a stable job history and ability to make the payments.

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