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Date Archives: April 2022

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April
27

You just bought your home, and you are excited to move in and start your new life. It was a major investment, perhaps the largest one you will ever make! As a homeowner, caring for your home is a big responsibility and one that can add value to your investment!

While maintaining your home is a significant responsibility, having the right repair tools and making an annual home maintenance to-do list can make the job easier! In this post, we will look at the steps to take to create a home maintenance to-do list and include some tips for sticking to your plan!

The Importance of Home Maintenance

Most of us visit our doctor for regular health check-ups to help prevent serious illnesses. A home maintenance schedule is much the same thing. Continuing to check on your home systems including the exterior, appliances, heating and cooling, plumbing, security, and electrical system can help you prevent breakdowns, save money, and keep your home's curb appeal up!

Creating a home maintenance checklist can help you schedule seasonal updates, cleaning, and repairs. Revisit your to-do list monthly and at the beginning of each season to keep your home in perfect working condition.

If any jobs or repairs are above your skill level or might lead to more extensive repairs, consider hiring a professional to help. Some jobs require an experienced professional, for example, HVAC, plumbing, or electrical work beyond simple maintenance or repairs.

A good practice is to create a maintenance schedule that consists of a monthly list and a more extensive seasonal list of projects.

Steps For Creating Your To-Do List

No matter what type of property you own, creating your maintenance plan consists of first creating a master list of tasks. While many maintenance tasks are universal, and you can find plenty of info on the web, every home is unique and requires specific maintenance depending on several factors. These include your home's building materials, the age of your property, and features like pools, skylights, or your unfinished basement.

You will also want to customize a home maintenance plan based on your region and weather. For example, homeowners living in New Hampshire might need to think about winterizing their pipes, while those living in the south might want to incorporate hurricane preparations into their maintenance plan.

STEP 1:

Start with a walkthrough of your home. Look at every living space, the bedrooms, floors, and all of the nooks and crannies. This can help you to remember easy-to-forget maintenance items. Carry a notebook or use your phone to take notes to prepare. Here are some tasks to consider:

  • Bleed your radiators
  • Check the crawlspace for mold or vermin
  • Test your well annually for contaminants
  • Sweep the patio
  • Test the sump pump
  • Make sure your gutter downspouts are directed away from the house
  • Inspect your chimney

STEP 2

Now that you have your list, it might seem a bit daunting! The next step is to break out Excel and set up a spreadsheet with all of the items on your list in one place. Organize your list by frequency – weekly, monthly, seasonally, and annually. The frequency of your tasks is the key. For example, checking and replacing batteries in your home's smoke and carbon monoxide detectors annually can save your life. Failure to do so can be a disaster!

STEP 3

To get organized, putting your tasks into a spreadsheet app like Excel is a good option. However, there are plenty of apps and planners specific to home maintenance. A few options include:

Centriq – for appliance maintenance. Just input all of the info for your appliances. The app has a database of user manuals, how-to videos, and other options specific to your appliances.

Wunderlist – is essentially a massive to-do list you can create with deadlines and reminders. You can also share your list with others and delegate tasks to get the family involved.

The Black and Decker Home Planner Logbook – an analog option, the B&D logbook provides space for all of your records and maintenance tasks and features extensive information on home features and the importance of regular maintenance.

Sticking With Your Plan!

You know the saying... the best-laid plans. No matter how thoughtful and thorough your home maintenance checklist is, forgetting or failing to do a task is not an option! The solution? Set reminders!

Many app-based options allow you to set push notifications that will pop up on your smartphone to remind you to do a task on your list. When working with an Excel spreadsheet consider adding important maintenance dates to your Google calendar. Schedule reminders a couple of weeks before your deadline. That way, if you need to hire a professional, you'll have some time to do it, so you won't be calling at the last minute.

Store Your Home Maintenance Records!

This is important for both you, and should you ever sell, for potential buyers. Keep meticulous records of the work you've done on your house, when the work was done, and how much it cost. Hang on to:

  • Home improvement receipts
  • Contractor invoices and receipts
  • Warranties
  • Manuals
  • Any estimates for pending work to be done

These records are important when you sell. It's easy to do. Once you've completed and checked off an item on your list, store the paperwork in a file. Whether it's an analog file or digital is up to you but do it immediately upon completion. Don't check off a task until it's completed.

You'll be glad you did when it's time to sell. Following a comprehensive maintenance plan and keeping your home repaired and updated will eliminate the hassle of repair requests and extra costs when negotiating a sale. Depending on the work done, you might even be able to get more money than you expected. Plus, you'll be able to show any potential buyers just how much you cared for your home!

April
25

Vermont Covered Bridges

Covered bridges had their heyday back in the 19th century, but they remain a cherished symbol of Americana. With more than 100 still standing, Vermont has the highest density of covered bridges in the United States. Our real estate agents recommend including these spectacular covered bridges on your sightseeing bucket list. 

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April
20

By now, most of us have heard about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and other cryptocurrencies have entered the mainstream. Financial institutions like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are trading cryptocurrencies and creating investment vehicles for customers.

With the mainstreaming of Bitcoin and Ethereum and their adoption globally, blockchain real estate applications have transitioned from theory to reality! Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize numerous industries, including real estate. By using an advanced network of computers and algorithms, blockchain real estate applications are already beginning to disrupt the housing sector in meaningful ways.

In this post, we will explore and define cryptocurrency, NFTs, and how blockchain technology impacts residential real estate and the real estate industry.

Cryptocurrency, NFTs, and Blockchain Defined

If you are not familiar with this new technology, we will start by offering quick definitions of three major components.

Cryptocurrency – Cryptocurrency is a digital, virtual currency secured by cryptography. This makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. As a decentralized currency, it can circulate without a central monetary authority like a bank. Bitcoin was the first and is the most popular cryptocurrency. Today, there are over 4000 different cryptocurrencies.

NFTs – Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are examples of fungible tokens. Fungible means that there are many tokens, and all are exactly the same. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, and it is basically a one-of-a-kind digital asset that belongs to a single investor or small group of owners. Today, the most popular NFTs are artwork and music, but real estate can also be tokenized.

A Blockchain - A blockchain is a digitally distributed, decentralized, public ledger that exists across a network of computers and nodes. It is made up of blocks that contain many transactions. Every time a new transaction occurs, a record of it is added to every ledger. A blockchain is a series of connected data blocks. Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult to change, hack or cheat the system.

What is a Real Estate Blockchain

Today, blockchain technology has become synonymous with popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, litecoin, and ethereum. However, the blockchain in real estate is not relegated solely to crypto assets. Cryptocurrencies take advantage of a blockchain's ability to act as an anonymous ledger across a vast computer network and its ability to track transactions and records. This technology can be used by cryptocurrencies and almost every industry, including real estate.

In its most basic form, a real estate blockchain uses a network of computers and nodes to act as a more secure and advanced escrow company. Instead of trading closing documents for s check, a real estate blockchain can extend to almost every facet of a deal. A real estate blockchain may help participants exchange currency, records, legal documents, and other types of information over a secure, safe, encrypted network.

Let's take a step by step look at a blockchain real estate exchange:

  1. A seller accepts an offer and requests the money sent over a blockchain.
  2. The seller's request is facilitated by a decentralized network of computers known as nodes.
  3. For the exchange to take place, the nodes must verify the request.
  4. Verifications are determined by each party involved in the exchange
  5. The transaction takes place just once and can be verified – much like an escrow company.
  6. When verified, the blockchain ledger is updated with a new block of data, forming an additional link in the chain of data (hence – blockchain)
  7. Once the newly created block of data is added to the blockchain, it can no longer be altered in any way.

The Tokenization of Real Estate

Earlier, we defined NFTs or non-fungible tokens. These are unique individualized crypto assets that can make the concept of shared ownership easier. The real estate blockchain concept can be easier to understand if you view it through the lens of tokenization.

Tokenization is the process of turning equitable interest in a property (or another asset like art, music debt, or cash flow) into a token. Like any store of value, a token becomes a digital representation of equitable interest.

For example, let's say two investors form a partnership to buy a commercial property. If they tokenize their equitable interest in the asset on a real estate blockchain, they will receive digital tokens equal to their ownership in the property. If they are equal partners, each gets the same amount of tokens. However, if their interest differs, for example, if one partner invested more, the tokens will reflect the difference. When added together, all of the tokens equal the asset's total value. Separately each investor's tokens represent their share of ownership. The tokens are used to document, store, and verify ownership of the asset.

Once a real estate asset is tokenized, it can be easily traded, sold, or liquidated via a real estate blockchain. The process isn't very different than a traditional transaction where assets are exchanged for fiat currency.

Homeowners are tokenizing their properties and, as a result, can gift a portion of their homes to family members using cryptocurrency and blockchain. Tokenizing real estate and utilizing the blockchain is already happening. Tokenization facilitates quicker transactions more securely and eliminates the need for an expensive third-party escrow company.

The Impact of Blockchain

Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and NFTs have entered the mainstream, are changing the financial landscape, and can potentially change the foundation of the real estate industry. Blockchain and decentralization can democratize the industry and make it available to anyone!

Blockchain technology and tokenization are already changing the industry for the better. As the platform develops, blockchain technology will improve the industry by:

  • Creating trading platforms and online marketplaces for residential, commercial, and industrial properties
  • Eliminating the need for intermediaries
  • Blockchain will allow real estate to become a more liquid asset
  • Blockchain also allows for fractional ownership of properties
  • Blockchain will also cut costs and digitize documents

Blockchain is here and already changing the real estate industry. As this technology and decentralized finance go mainstream, many sectors, including the real estate industry, will change for the better.

April
18

laundry room tips

If you're a home décor enthusiast, you may be wondering how to handle decorating your laundry room. How can you make such a functional space look its best without making it difficult to use?  

Our real estate agents have seen some gorgeous laundry rooms over the years. In that time, they've observed several trends in how homeowners choose to dress up this space. Take inspiration from these 7 tips to transform your laundry room from basic to beautiful.  

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April
13

The home of the future is a concept that has been popular since the early 20th century. In 1957, at Disneyland, the Monsanto House of the Future opened to much fanfare. It featured stylish plastic furniture, the then-revolutionary microwave, and a giant (non-operational) wall-mounted television screen. In 1964, the World's Fair was held in Flushing Queens. The theme was Visions of the Future, and visitors at the IBM Pavilion got to see one of the first computers.

Fast forward to today, and the home of the future is available to most homeowners! Technology that was just a dream in the mid-20th century is affordable and readily available to homeowners today.

Smart technologies work together to automate processes throughout your home. You can control them via a smartphone app or voice commands. From smart thermostats to lighting, it is possible to update your home using devices that integrate together, lower your energy costs, and save you money.

Smart Technology and Home Automation Explained

Smart technology is used to automate various elements throughout your home. You can control the comfort and efficiency of your home using your smartphone and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The first smart device was the programmable thermostat and has since developed into one of the biggest and fastest-growing markets in technology today. Smart technology use is growing. It encompasses home security, controlling appliances, monitoring energy use, and can even be used for looking after elderly or disabled family members.

When it comes to smart technology, you have a couple of options.

  • Central Control – is one home automation system that controls everything in your home. You can control lighting, your thermostat, sprinklers, the washer, and dryer, and more. Central Control systems are run through a wall-mounted terminal, much like a home security system. They are accessed via a remote control, smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  • App-Based – app-based technology uses your wireless network to communicate with the Cloud. Cloud computing is a component of the Internet of Things and has recently grown popular. These systems work by connecting your smart devices to your home network via Wi-Fi. Devices connect to a server which you then access and control through apps installed on your smartphone.

Affordable Smart Technology for Your Home

Today, many smart devices are designed to make your life easier, automate household processes, and allow you to control them via a phone app or with your voice. Smart technology covers three general areas: safety, comfort, and the efficiency of your home.

Many of these devices not only add to your safety and comfort but can also help you save money by monitoring and controlling home energy use and protecting your home's infrastructure from unexpected disasters.

Here are some examples of smart technology that can save money.

Smart Thermostats

This is the biggest money-saving device for your home. Devices like the Nest Learning Thermostat can learn how you heat and cool your home then take control to save you money.

Smart Sprinkler and Irrigation Systems

These devices save money by only using the water your lawn and garden need when they need it. Smart irrigation systems know what type of soil is in each zone and what plants grow there. The system also monitors the weather forecast to reduce watering when raining.

Leak Detectors and Water Shut-off Systems

A smart water leak detector alerts you to a potentially damaging flood. Simple systems sit on the floor and alert you when they get wet. More complex systems monitor water flow alerting you to any changes in pressure and letting you remotely shut off the supply if a leak is detected.

The Smart Refrigerator

A smart refrigerator can be used to prevent food waste, lowering your grocery bills. The refrigerator includes a camera allowing you to see what's inside via your smartphone - so that when you are shopping, you can avoid buying something already in the fridge.

Smart Lighting

Smart lighting has become a cornerstone of the smart home. Smart lighting is made by several different manufacturers, and all use LED bulbs. They are more efficient than traditional bulbs, use far less energy and produce much less heat. Smart lighting is flexible and can be set to any color, temperature, brightness. Timers, motion detectors, and geofencing help lights lower your electric bill by switching themselves off when you forget.

Smart Plugs

Smart plugs are a good point of entry to smart home technology, and they can help you save money too! They can be used to switch off devices on a timer or manually via a smartphone app, so you can make sure things are switched off when you're away. For example, make sure lamps and plug-in heaters don't stay on all night, or stop leaving devices on standby when they can be switched off to save energy... and money!

The Smart Home is Here!

Smart technology can help keep your family safe, your home comfortable, lower your energy usage, and put money in your pocket!

If you're still on the fence, consider some affordable, easy-to-install devices like smart plugs, or try replacing your existing light bulbs with smart versions. Add devices like smart speakers or a video doorbell as you become more comfortable with the concept. The truth is, once you've turned the lights off without leaving the couch, you'll be sold!

April
11

2021 Maine

Did you know that more people chose to move to Maine from out of state than any other state in the country in 2021? According to a study highlighted by REALTOR® Magazine, Maine was the top state for inbound moves last year. New residents are flocking to Maine for its family-friendly nature, diverse real estate options, endless outdoor attractions, great communities, and so much more. Our real estate agents have all of the details on what makes Maine such a popular choice for inbound moves and why you'll love living here, too.

Click Here to Read More...

April
4

Lake Living

For many of us, owning lakefront property is a dream. Who wouldn't want to wake up to the sounds of loons on the water, watch the sunrise through a big bay window, and sip a cup of coffee on their own private dock?

Despite being thought of as a fantasy by many, lakefront living is a lot more accessible than you might think. Our real estate agents have helped countless families find their dream homes on the banks of New Hampshire's beautiful lakes, and we're here to share some tips on how to find your perfect lake house.

What to Look for in a Waterfront Property

Waterfront properties are as varied as the bodies of water they overlook. You might prefer a cozy cabin, a spacious family home, or a modern condo. The first step to finding the right home for you is determining your needs. 

  • Amenities - Like any home, a waterfront property can be as rustic or as modern as you want it to be. Make a list of your must-have amenities, and keep in mind that while some lake houses might be right in the center of a populated area, many are in remote rural locales where internet and cell service might be spotty. 

  • Lake Activities - A lakefront home is an investment that allows you to pursue some of your favorite pastimes. If you're into fishing, kayaking, swimming, or water sports, look for a lake and property that are well-suited to your interests. 

  • Drive Time - Be sure to factor in how much time you'll have to spend in the car going to and from your new home. Whether you're commuting to work or simply making trips to the store, some lake houses are more far-flung than others. You might also need to consider distances to the nearest hospital and other services. 

  • Year-Round Habitability - Do you plan to live in your lakefront property year-round or use it more as a seasonal retreat or vacation home. Some seasonal lake houses, especially in northern New England, are referred to as "camps" because they're ideal for the warmer months but lack the insulation and amenities to be lived in during winter. 

  • Property Features - Look beyond the house itself. How close is the structure to the water, and is the landscape flat enough to build on if you so choose? What kind of lake access do you have? Is there a beach? Do you have sufficient privacy from your neighbors?

Lake Living in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is blessed with some of New England's most beautiful lakes. Some are wild and undeveloped, but most feature homes along at least part of their shorelines. These New Hampshire lakes include: 

  • Lake Winnipesaukee - New Hampshire's largest body of water, Lake Winnipesaukee spans 71 square miles at the foot of the White Mountains. The lake is dotted with islands, and its 240-mile shoreline is a meandering series of coves, points, and inlets. Although some of Lake Winnipesaukee is undeveloped, many lakefront homes are available in several towns and villages along the lakeshore, including Meredith, Wolfeboro, and Glendale. Even some of the lake's islands have houses on them! 

  • Ossipee Lake - A popular vacation lake, Ossipee Lake's shoreline includes numerous camps, cottages, and resorts. It also features several housing developments with year-round residences, and the nearby communities of Freedom and Ossipee offer classic New England charm. The lake itself spans 3,257 acres and is great for fishing and boating. Anglers frequently catch bass, pickerel, and trout. 

  • Squam Lake - Although Squam Lake is just a short drive from Lake Winnipesaukee, it feels like a world apart. It has the ambiance of a wilderness retreat and is one of New Hampshire's best destinations for kayaking and canoeing. There's great fishing in Squam Lake too. Hundreds of private residences are located around the lake, but most are hidden from view by trees, giving paddlers the impression that the shoreline is virtually untouched. Nearby communities include Sandwich and Holderness. 

  • Newfound Lake - A glacial lake spanning 4,106 acres, Newfound Lake is known for its deep, crystal-clear waters that are among some of the cleanest in New Hampshire. It also has a reputation as one of the most beautiful lakes in the state, with homes available in nearby Bristol, Bridgewater, and Hebron. The lake's water is fed by 8 natural springs, and parts of the shoreline are protected within Wellington State Park and Grey Rocks Conservation Area. 

  • Lake Sunapee - 4,155-acre lake Sunapee is a picturesque lake in Western New Hampshire and a great place for swimming, boating, and sightseeing. Homes are located along most of the shoreline in the towns of Sunapee and Newbury, but the lakeshore is also densely wooded, helping it maintain its wild character. This is also an excellent lake for residents who like to be close to civilization; the cities of Claremont and Lebanon are both just a short drive away. 

Contact us today to learn more about finding the perfect waterfront property in New Hampshire. Our real estate agents are here to help. 

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