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Date Archives: May 2021

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Accepting an Offer

The Benefits of Selling Your Home with a REALTOR®

What Happens When the Offers Roll in...

Your REALTOR® has researched the market, determined your home's value, listed your property on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database, and begun marketing your home to their contacts and other agents, literally throughout the world...

If they've done their job well, you should receive an offer for your home. Actually, in today's market, you'll most likely be receiving multiple offers. It can be a pretty long road between receiving an offer and scheduling a closing. This is where your REALTOR'S® expertise really shines! 

Your REALTOR® is there to help you sort through and understand any offers and help you to make an informed decision about which is the right one to accept. The Offer/Contract process can be tricky. It's the right time to have a REALTOR® on your team to negotiate the right deal.

In this selling your home post, we're going to explore the process and steps your REALTOR® will take from the moment an offer (or offers) is made until the day a Contract to Purchase is signed!

Selling Your Home: When You Receive an Offer...

Once you've received an offer for your home, there are several steps your REALTOR® will take that will keep the process of selling your home on track. An offer is the first step toward a signed Contract to Purchase. The buyer may have contingencies like home inspections, and your REALTOR® will take steps to verify that the buyer is pre-qualified.

During this part of the process, there is a lot of paperwork, deposits must be properly handled, and the buyer may need additional information that your REALTOR® should have in the Property File. Here are the steps and tasks your REALTOR® will manage from receiving an initial offer, culminating in a signed Purchase and Sale Agreement:

  • They will review all Offer to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers or their agents.
  • Based on their experience, they will evaluate the offer(s) and prepare a "net sheet" on each offer for you for comparison purposes.
  • Your REALTOR® will counsel you on the best offer, explaining the merits and weaknesses of each component of each offer.
  • They will contact the buyer's agent to review the buyer's qualifications and discuss the offer.
  • They will then fax/deliver the Seller's Disclosure form to the buyer's agent or directly to the buyer upon request. Before the offer, if possible.
  • Your REALTOR® will confirm the buyer is pre-qualified by calling the Loan Officer and obtain a copy of the buyer's pre-qualification letter.
  • Your REALTOR® will negotiate all offers on your behalf, setting time limits for inspections, loan approvals, and closing dates
  • They will also prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptance, or amendments to the buyer or agent.
  • They will then fax copies of contracts and all addendums to the closing attorney or title company.

This process should culminate in a signed Offer to Purchase. When the Offer to Purchase Contract is accepted and signed by you, your REALTOR® will deliver the signed contract to the buyer's agent. They will then record and promptly deposit the buyer's earnest money into an escrow account, disseminate "Under-Contract Showing Restrictions," and deliver copies of the fully signed Offer to Purchase contract to you.

Your Realtor will also deliver copies of the Offer to Purchase to the selling agent and the lender. They will add copies of the contract to the office file and advise the seller in handling any additional offers to purchase submitted between the contract and the closing. At this point, the process of selling your home will enter into the final stages. This includes:

  • Changing the status in the MLS to "Sale Pending."
  • Updating the transaction management program to show "Sale Pending." 
  • Your REALTOR® will then review the buyer's credit report results with you and advise you of the best and worst-case scenarios. If you are financing the property, they will provide you with a copy of the buyer's credit report.
  • They will assist the buyer with obtaining financing if applicable and will follow up as necessary.
  • Your agent will coordinate with the lender on Discount Points being locked in with dates. 
  • They will next deliver unrecorded property information to the buyer.

If your home has a septic system and/or a well...

  • Your REALTOR® will order a septic system inspection.
  • Receive and review the septic system report and assess any possible impact on the sale.
  • Deliver a copy of the septic system inspection report to the lender and the buyer.
  • Conduct and deliver a Well Flow Test and deliver copies of the report to the lender, buyer, and Property Listing file.
  • Verify that a termite inspection has been ordered.
  • Verify that a mold inspection has been ordered (if required).

Tracking the Loan Process 

Your REALTOR® may also work with the buyer to assist them in securing a loan. Loan approval is a major element of a successful sale and as such, your REALTOR® will spend time tracking the process. They will:

  • Confirm that the Verification of Deposit & Buyer's Employment has been returned.
  • Follow the loan processing through to the underwriter.
  • Add the lender and any other vendors to the transaction management program so agents, buyers, and sellers can track the progress of the sale.
  • They will contact the lender weekly to ensure that processing is on track.
  • When the buyer is approved, they will relay the final approval to the seller.

The Appraisal

The lender will require an appraisal to approve the loan. Your REALTOR® will schedule the appraisal and provide the comparable sales used in market pricing to the appraiser. After the appraiser has left the property, your REALTOR® will follow up with them and enter the completion of the appraisal into the transaction management program. If you have any questions about the appraisal report, for example, if it seems too low, your REALTOR® will assist you in questioning the report.

Home Inspection

Home Inspection

Your buyer and their lender will require a home inspection before approving a loan. Along with the appraisal, this is an important element. Your REALTOR® will work with you to coordinate the buyer's professional home inspection. They will then receive and review a copy of the inspector's report and enter its completion into the transaction management tracking software.

They will sit down with you and explain your responsibilities concerning loan limits and interpret any clauses in the contract. They will also ensure your compliance with any Home Inspection Clause requirements.

If issues arise, your REALTOR® will assist you with identifying and negotiating with qualified contractors to perform any repairs required by the seller or their loan underwriter. They will also negotiate payment and oversee the completion of all required repairs on your behalf if needed.

Once you've received an offer for your home, the process can move quickly, and there are many moving parts to selling your home before closing. Your REALTOR® has the experience, expertise, and contacts to assist you and make the process as smooth as possible. Should a problem arise, they are there to help you resolve it, whether it's hiring a contractor for needed repairs or explaining the appraisal or home inspector's report. 

In our next blog post, we're going to take a look at the final steps of the process when selling your home – the closing, and how your REALTOR will continue to work for you, even after you've given the keys to the new owner!


New England Memorial Day

The beginning, middle, and end of summer are marked by holidays that honor our country's greatest values and liberties. Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veteran's Day are steeped in traditions of honoring and remembering all those who served in the military.  For many of us, it also means an extra day off to celebrate with family and friends.

With the promise of summer stretching out ahead, Memorial Day has a special significance. Our real estate agents share their favorite New England Memorial Day traditions. 

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Listing and Marketing Your Home 

Until this point, your REALTOR® has been researching, preparing, and compiling information and documentation to ensure that selling your home is a successful project that delivers a maximum return. Now it's time to take the process of selling your home further and actually place your home on the market and list it on the Multiple Listing Service.

This is where working with a REALTOR® really pays off. Your REALTOR® Even before your home is listed on the MLS, your REALTOR® and their team have already performed dozens of actions to prepare your listing to this point. These actions reflect the level of skill, knowledge, and attention to detail required for successfully selling your home and underscore the importance of having help and guidance from someone who completely understands the entire process.

In this selling your home post, we will take a look at the specific steps required for selling your home. From entering your home in the MLS Database to how your realtor will design a marketing strategy to build interest in your property, drive traffic to your online presence, and generate serious offers for your home.

Selling Your Home: Listing on the MLS Database

Once your REALTOR® has taken care of all the previous steps and tasks and gathered the proper documentation for the property file and property listing file, they will review everything with you. This includes their Curb Appeal Assessment and Interior Decor Assessment. They will provide you with their recommendations for selling your home, including preparing and staging your house. They will then list your home in the Multiple Listing Service Database. This process includes:

  • Preparing the MLS Profile Sheet – your Agent is responsible for "quality control" and the accuracy of the listing data.
  • They will then enter the property data from the Profile Sheet into the MLS database and proofread the listing for accuracy, including ensuring your property is properly placed in the mapping function.
  • They will arrange to take any additional photos for upload into the MLS, or to use in flyers and other marketing materials. They will use this opportunity to discuss the efficacy of panoramic photography and video listings.
  • Finally, they will add your property to the company's Active Listings and provide you with signed copies of the Listing Agreement and MLS Profile Sheet Data Form within 48 hours of listing your home.

Selling Your Home: Marketing Your Property 

Once your home is listed on the MLS database, this is when the real work begins. Your REALTOR® is a marketing expert when it comes to selling property. A well-planned and executed marketing strategy is the key to attracting attention and interest for your listing. A poorly executed marketing plan can result in your home languishing on the market with little interest, little traffic, and no offers. 

Your REALTOR® understands the market and has proven marketing strategies and processes that they will customize for your home. They will have already performed a detailed market analysis to determine the proper price for your home, and they will now prepare marketing materials to get the word out. Your marketing plan will include both digital and traditional components, and your REALTOR® will take the following steps:

  • They will create print and Internet ads with your input.
  • Prepare a property marketing brochure for your review.
  • Prepare mailing and contact lists 
  • Prepare flyers and feedback faxes
  • Generate mail-merge letters to the contact list.
  • Mail out a "Just Listed" notice to all neighborhood residents.
  • Arrange for printing or copying a supply of marketing brochures or flyers and delivering them directly to agent mailboxes.
  • Reprint / Supply brochures promptly as needed.

Once they have prepared your home's marketing materials, they will next begin to distribute them through their company's networks, social media platforms, and company website and notify other agents. Your REALTOR® will take steps that include:

  • Your REALTOR® will upload your listing to the company and agent's Internet site, if applicable
  • Advise Network Referral Program of the listing.
  • Submit Ads to the company's participating Internet Real Estate sites.
  • Provide "Special-Feature" cards for marketing. 
  • They will provide marketing data to buyers coming through international relocation networks.
  • They will also provide marketing data to buyers coming from referral networks.

Along with preparing and distributing materials, your REALTOR will place ads and maintain your home's Internet marketing strategy. As your property generates interest, they will continuously manage the marketing plan and monitor the results. Managing your campaign includes:

  • Coordinating showings with owners, tenants, and other REALTORS®. They will return all calls and emails – weekends included.
  • They will install an electronic lockbox with your approval and program it with agreed-upon showing times.
  • They will regularly monitor and review comparable MLS listings to ensure your property remains competitive in price, terms, conditions, and availability.
  • Your agent will convey price changes to all Internet groups and promptly enter any price adjustments into the MLS database. 
  • Review and update loan information in the MLS as required.
  • Your team will also review the weekly Market Study to stay abreast of any broader market changes.
  • They will maintain contact with buyer's agents sending feedback emails/faxes to them after showings.

Your REALTOR will keep you abreast of any and all developments. They will place regular weekly calls to you to discuss marketing and pricing. They will discuss feedback from showing agents to determine if changes will accelerate the process of selling your home.

Ultimately, your home's marketing plan will drive traffic, increase showings and spark interest in your property. All of this effort will generally lead to an offer, or in this current market, multiple offers which your REALTOR® will present to you.

In our next selling your home blog post, we're going to look at the steps your REALTOR® will take when offers are submitted and your home is placed under contract.


Staging Your Home

In a seller's market, such as we have today, sellers might feel like they can skip some steps before listing their home. After all, sellers are getting their asking prices, aren't they? But is that the only thing to consider? Our real estate agents know staging your home is important in any real estate market. Here's why. 

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Selling your Home

Your REALTOR® Works Hard to Win Your Business, and your Trust

If you're considering selling your home, you will want to find a professional to represent your interests. Properly selling your home is a complicated process, from the initial market research to signing the papers at closing. Your REALTOR® works hard from before you choose to list your property with them until well after the new owners take possession. 

To properly and legally sell your home is not an easy task. For the typical sale, there are nearly 200 actions taken when selling your home. These include research steps, processes, and review stages in a successful residential real estate transaction that your REALTOR® and their team will undertake in return for their commission. Some take minutes, some may take days, and some may not be needed, but each is critical to a successful outcome. 

In this selling your home post, we're going to take a closer look at the elements of a sale that your REALTOR® and their team will undertake before they've even signed you to a contract and listed your home.

REALTOR® Pre-Listing Activities When Selling Your Home: Research and Preparation

  • Your REALTOR® will begin the process of selling your house by scheduling an appointment with you for a listing presentation.
  • They will follow up with a written or email confirmation of the appointment and will call to confirm.
  • Your REALTOR® and their team will review pre-appointment questions.
  • Research begins. Your team will research all comparable currently listed properties.
  • Research sales activity for the past 18 months from both MLS and public record databases.
  • Research "Average Days on Market" for properties of this type, price range, and location.

The second level of research begins. This includes the legal side of researching for your property, for codes, ownership, and more.

  • Your REALTOR® will download property tax role information.
  • Prepare "Comparable Market Analysis" (CMA) to establish a fair market value.
  • Obtain a copy of the subdivision plat/complex layout and research the property's ownership and deed type.
  • They will also research the property's public record information for lot size & dimensions and research and verify legal description, land use coding, and any deed restrictions.
  • They will research the property's current use and zoning, verify legal names of owner(s) in the county's public property records

Finally, your realtor and their team will prepare a listing presentation package with all of the above materials included. As a part of the presentation package, your team will perform an exterior "Curb Appeal Assessment" of your property and compile and assemble a formal file. As part of the report, they will confirm current public schools, explain the impact of schools on your property's market value, and review the listing appointment checklist with their team to ensure that all of the necessary steps and actions have been completed.

Selling Your Home: Your Listing Appointment Presentation

Once your REALTOR® and their team have completed their research, they will meet with you to give you a formal presentation. There will cover some general information about the market and some specific information they have compiled about your home. In this meeting, your REALTOR® will:

  • Give you an overview of current local market conditions and projections.Market Analysis
  • Review your agent's and company's credentials and accomplishments within the market.
  • Present you with a company profile and its position or "niche" in the market.
  • Present CMA results to you, including Comparables, Sold, Current Listings & Expired.
  • Offer you a well-researched pricing strategy based on their professional judgment, experience, and interpretation of current market conditions.
  • Discuss your goals in order to market your home effectively. 
  • Explain marketing options, including the power and benefits of the Multiple Listing Service, the market power of web marketing, IDX, and
  • Your REALTOR® will then explain the work your agent and brokerage do "behind the scenes" and the agent's role in taking calls to screen for qualified buyers, protecting you from curiosity seekers, and provide you with availability on the weekends.
  • They will present you with and discuss a customized strategic master marketing plan for your home.
  • Your REALTOR® will explain the different agency relationships and determine your preference.
  • Finally, they will review and explain all of the clauses in your Listing Contract and Addendum, and of course, they will obtain your signature on the listing contract.

As you can see, once you decide to list your home for sale, your REALTOR® begins working on your behalf to research, strategize, and organize your property listing to make sure that your home is positioned and priced appropriately for your local market. They will present you with a well-thought-out marketing plan, a well-researched and appropriate price for your home, and will review and organize property records to include in your formal file to prepare for the next steps in the process.

In our next blog post, we're going to take an in-depth look at the next steps your REALTOR® will take when selling your home once you've signed a formal listing agreement.


New Hampshire vs Maine Lake Living

New England is justifiably proud of its spectacular Atlantic Ocean shoreline that makes the region a top tourist destination year after year. But residents know that the scenic lakes in New Hampshire and Maine offer an unbeatable sense of serenity as well.

Both states offer relaxing lake living activities such as boating, canoeing, swimming, fishing, etc. But when you look closer, you'll see what makes these areas truly one of a kind. 

Our real estate agents share some of the things that make Maine and New Hampshire unique for lakeside living.

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The Next Steps Your REALTOR® Takes Once You've Signed A Listing Agreement.

Once you've settled on terms, defined the agency relationship, reached an agreement, and signed your listing contract, your REALTOR will take the next steps. They will begin working in earnest preparing your home's MLS listing and begin organizing much of the legal paperwork and information needed when selling your home. 

Simultaneously, they will prepare your listing, take photographs, prepare a profile, organize and prepare your Property File and Property Listing File before moving on to the next step; entering your property in the MLS and developing a marketing strategy to maximize exposure for your property in the market. 

In this selling your home post, we're going to examine all of the steps your REALTOR® will take from the time you signed a listing agreement until it's time to list your home on the MLS and begin marketing your home.

Selling Your Home: Once Your Property is Under A Listing Agreement

Your REALTOR® will have done a lot of preliminary work even before you've signed a listing agreement. They will have conducted a significant amount of research to determine the status of your local market, pull together preliminary documents, determine legal statuses like ownership and zoning, and developed a preliminary marketing strategy. 

Now the work begins. Selling your home means pulling together the detailed information, data, and legal paperwork needed to prepare your MLS listing and compile your property listing file.

  • Review your home's current title information.
  • Measure overall heated square footage and interior room sizes.
  • Confirm the lot size via the owner's certified survey, if available. Note any unrecorded property lines, agreements, and easements.
  • Obtain and review house plans if applicable and available; make a copy.
  • Order plat map for retention in property's listing file.
  • Prepare showing instructions for buyer's agents and agree on a showing time window with the seller.

Once they have gathered the documents needed for the property listing file, your REALTOR® will gather your current financing information that includes:

  • Obtaining the current mortgage loan information including companies, and loan account numbers.
  • They will then verify the current information with the lender(s). 
  • Check if the loan is assumable, and note any special requirements.
  • Discuss possible buyer financing alternatives and options with you your home's current appraisal if available.

Selling Your Home: Dealing with a Homeowner's Association 

If your home is in a neighborhood with a Homeowner's Association, it may be necessary to adjust your sales plan to meet the HOA bylaws. Your REALTOR® will research and contact the HOA to verify fees and bylaws.

  • They will identify the HOA manager if applicable.
  • Verify HOA fees with the manager, including the mandatory or optional and current annual fees.
  • Your REALTOR® will then order a copy of the Homeowner Association bylaws if applicable.

Preparing A Cost Analysis for Your Property: Calculating Utilities

The next step is to gather and analyze all utility information to include in the MLS listing and property listing folder. This is an important element of preparing a cost analysis for any potential buyers so they can understand your home's operating cost. This step includes the following tasks:

Research electricity availability, including the supplier's name and phone number.Utilities

  • Research and verify city sewer / septic tank system.
  • Research natural gas, verify the availability and supplier's name and phone number.
  • They will then take this information and calculate average utility usage from the last 12 months of bills.
  • Research your home's water system – if it's on city water, they will calculate usage and average water fees or rates from the last 12 months of bills. If your home has a well, they will confirm the well's status, depth, and output from the most recent well report.
  • If you have a security system, your REALTOR® will verify the current term of service and whether it's owned or leased.
  • They will also verify if you have a transferable Termite Bond and ascertain the need for a lead paint disclosure.
  • To complete this series of tasks, your REALTOR® will prepare a detailed list of property amenities and assess the market impact. They will also prepare a detailed list of the property's "Inclusions and Conveyances with Sale" and compile a list of repairs and maintenance items.

If Your Property Includes A Rental Component

If your home has a rental component, your REALTOR® will complete this next series of tasks to prepare the information a buyer will need to assess the rental potential of your property. If there is no rental component, they may not need to take all of these steps. These tasks include:

  • Your REALTOR® will send you a "Vacancy Checklist" if the property is vacant and will also explain the sales benefits of including a Home Owner Warranty in the sale.
  • They will assist you with the completion and submission of the Home Owner Warranty Application.
  • When the Warranty is received, they will place it into the property file for conveyance to the new owner at the time of sale.
  • Your REALTOR® will verify if the property has rental units involved and if so, make copies of all leases for retention in the listing file.
  • They will also verify all rents and deposits.
  • A member of your real estate team will inform the tenants of the listing and discuss how showings will be handled.

The Final Steps Before Listing on the MLS

At this point, your REALTOR will take the final steps necessary for selling your home, including the preparation and staging of your home before it's officially listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) databases. This includes:

  • Making an extra key for the lockbox
  • Arrange for the installation of the yard sign.
  • Assist you with the completion of the Seller's Disclosure form.
  • Complete their internal "New Listing Checklist."
  • Review the final results of the Curb Appeal Assessment with you and provide suggestions to improve salability.
  • Review the Interior Decor Assessment results with you and suggest changes to shorten "time on market."
  • Load the listing into the transaction management software program.

Up to this point, you have a signed Listing Agreement, and your REALTOR® will have taken all of the necessary steps to gather the needed information to prepare your home's MLS listing properly. They will have all of the legal information necessary in the Property File and Property Listing File, which will include verified square footages, operating costs, utility information, and any additional information needed, for example, rental and lease data.

In the next selling your home blog post, we'll look at the next steps in the process of marketing and selling your home, which includes entering the property in the MLS Database and creating a marketing strategy for your property to build interest, drive traffic, and generate offers for your home.


Sustainable Kitchen Products

Sustainable kitchen products are those that use eco-friendly materials, last longer, and are more easily recycled than traditional items. Buying these products has become more popular in recent years as more consumers consider the impact on the environment when they're making purchases.

Benefits of Choosing Sustainable Products

Our real estate agents know that there are many reasons why homeowners opt for sustainable kitchen products. Some of the top benefits include:

  • Can be reused
  • Can be recycled more easily
  • Decomposes more quickly
  • Longer-lasting
  • Lower costs over time
  • Lowers exposure to toxic substances

Sustainable Kitchen Products for Your Kitchen

Thinking of how to make your kitchen more eco-friendly? Opt for some of these products in your home.

  • Metal Straws
    Plastic straws aren't recyclable, and paper straws – in addition to often disintegrating as you're trying to sip your beverage – are still a single-use item. Metal straws are environmentally friendly as well as being easier to drink through. Buy several different sizes along with a tiny brush for cleaning to stash in your kitchen and in your purse.
  • Cloth Paper Towels 
    Instead of going through seemingly endless rolls of paper towels, buy a roll of durable, washable cloth towels. They come in an easy-to-use roll of perforated sheets just like paper towels, but they're lint-free and tear-resistant. You'll be able to make a roll of 75 sheets last for about 4 to 6 months.
  • Reusable Produce Bags
    Plastic produce bags are made from fossil fuels, are only used once, and may never fully decompose. Make a sustainable choice by purchasing a set of mesh produce bags, taking them to the grocery store with you, and washing them when needed.
  • Reusable Sandwich Wraps
    Skip buying single-use plastic and snack bags as you pack your lunch for work or your kids' school lunches. Buy natural beeswax wraps, which are more versatile since can be folded into various sizes of packets or baggies and reused.
  • Stainless Steel or Cast Iron Pans
    Teflon pans are popular because of their non-stick properties, but they can easily become damaged and need to be replaced. They also release toxic chemicals when they become scratched. Skip the Teflon and instead choose long-lasting, healthier alternatives such as pots and pans made of heavy-duty stainless steel or cast iron.
  • Soda and Seltzer Machine
    Instead of buying soda or sparkling water in cans or plastic bottles, invest in a soda and seltzer machine to satisfy your love of carbonation. This eliminates your need for single-use plastic bottles and aluminum cans since you reuse the carbonating bottle over and over again.
  • Reusable Dish Brush  
    Skip buying disposable sponges, which don't last long and often come packaged in single-use plastic. Substitute a reusable dish brush, which lasts much longer and works just as well. Some have biodegradable heads that you can replace when they're worn out, so you won't have to buy a whole new brush.
  • Glass Storage Containers 
    Chances are good that you have a variety of plastic containers in your kitchen cabinets. When it comes time to buy new ones, choose glass containers with bamboo lids. They're more durable, environmentally friendly, and won't get stained when you heat up spaghetti sauce or similar foods.

  • Wooden Cutting Board
    Plastic cutting boards scratch easily, harboring bacteria within the cuts. Depending on how much you use your plastic cutting board, you could end up replacing it every few months. Maple or beech wood boards made out of a single block of wood are a much better choice. They can be easily cleaned with warm, soapy water and sanitized with a product like Simple Green. If your wooden board develops cuts over time, sand it down with fine-grit sandpaper before washing and drying it. Finally, rub it down with a bit of mineral oil, and you'll have a cutting board that looks like new.
  • Reusable Oil Spray Bottle
    If you buy your cooking oil in an aerosol sprayer, switch to a reusable oil spray and mister bottle. You can use it with oils, vinegars, or similar substances, and since it's refillable, you won't be buying cans that will end up in landfills. In addition, since they're non-aerosol sprayers, these reusable bottles don't use chemical propellants.
  • Wooden Cooking Utensils
    Swap your plastic cooking utensils like spatulas, spoons, and ladles for ones made of bamboo, wood, or stainless steel. You may wonder if you can put bamboo or wood utensils in the dishwasher, and the answer is yes, for many versions.
  • Natural Air Fresheners
    Your kitchen can sometimes have lingering odors from cooking or trash. Instead of using chemical air fresheners, make your kitchen smell nice in a healthier, more sustainable way by simmering spices or aromatic plant oils on the stove. Grinding up a slice of lemon in your garbage disposal can also help keep your disposal and kitchen smelling fresh and clean.  

Looking for a brand new kitchen to enjoy for years to come? Contact us today if you're interested in buying or selling a home in New England.

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