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June
27

plant tips

It's no secret that today's world is full of chemicals and other toxins. Luckily, these pollutants don't have to put you and your family at risk. There are beautiful houseplants that act as natural filters for many of the most common airborne toxins in today's homes. The diverse list of plants below will brighten up your space and improve your indoor air quality at the same time. 

Click Here to Read More...

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!

July
12

Pet Fire Safety Day

Pets are a part of the family in many Northern New England homes!

And July 15th is National Pet Fire Safety Day, a great reminder to fine-tune your family's fire safety plan so that all your family members are protected.

Our real estate agents also recommend making a few changes around your home so that your furry family members don't inadvertently start a fire. Here are some valuable tips to help keep your pet safe in case of an emergency. 

Click Here to Read More...

May
3

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.

March
1

Pets New Home

Are you adding a new pet to your household? Pets have a special way of making any house feel homier! While adopting a new pet is fun and exciting, it can also be stressful while they adjust.

Each pet is an individual, so just be aware, what works for one may not work for another. Let's have a look at what's considered the mainstream wisdom for introducing a new dog or cat.

Before you leave to pick up your new pet, make sure you've prepared your home. For a cat, acquire a litter box and litter and put breakable things away. For a puppy, remove things you don't want chewed up.

Click Here to Read More...

January
4

Ways to Cut Energy Costs

January 10th is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, so be sure to add energy efficiency to your New Year's resolutions. When it comes to cutting energy costs, a few small changes can really make a big difference. More importantly, making our homes eco-friendly can have a major impact on our community and Earth. Our real estate agents love discussing ways to improve your home's energy efficiency, and they have compiled this list of tips to help you reduce your utility bills in 2021:

Click Here to Read More...

October
19

Displaying Wall Art

Whether you're using photographs, paintings, or tapestries, wall art offers many great options for adding visual interest to your home, but selecting the pieces is just half the job. Our real estate agents share top tips on hanging wall art for optimum effect.

Click Here to Read More...

August
10

Tricks to Make Your Home More Spacious

If you find yourself spending more at home this year, your living space may be starting to feel a little cramped and claustrophobic. A comfortable living space is important, and studies have suggested small spaces can negatively impact your overall mood and mental health. Not only does more space equal more happiness, but it can also increase your home's overall value.

Luckily, when it comes to interior design there are simple ways to make your home appear more spacious. Our real estate agents have several tips for making your home appear more spacious. Whether you're looking to put your home on the market this year or simply looking to make things more comfortable, consider these design suggestions that can actually trick the eye into seeing more space:

Click Here to Read More...

July
27

Home Maintenance Issues To AddressAs a homeowner, protecting your largest financial asset should be a top priority, but many of us are guilty of turning the occasional blind eye when it comes to certain problems around the house. However, failing to take care of some seemingly small repairs can result in compounding problems and expensive repair bills down the line. Below are six home maintenance issues that you should never wait to address:

  1. A Damp Basement 
    Water in the basement is not a problem to ignore. Not only can it lead to property damage and foundation deterioration, but it also creates a breeding ground for dangerous mold and mildew that can have a hazardous impact on air quality. The longer the problem is ignored, the more time the mold and mildew has to grow. The first step to resolving the issue is to figure out how the water is getting in. A damp basement could be a sign that water is pooling near the foundation of your home. If this is the case, you may want to reevaluate your landscaping and check your gutters and downspouts. Worst case, you may need to install a drain tile.
  2. Click Here to Read More...

May
26

Indoor Air Quality

Did you know that air pollution isn't just an outdoor issue? There are many factors in your home that can negatively impact your indoor air quality. 

Luckily, there are relatively easy things you can do to improve the air quality of your home. 

Our real estate agents have a few tricks up their sleeves. Use these tips and tricks to improve your indoor air quality!

  1. Eliminate Pollutants
    One of the most important steps to improving indoor air quality is to eliminate pollutants at their source. This includes using non-toxic, fragrance-free household cleaners and detergents, replacing chemical-based air fresheners with essential oil diffusers, and utilizing non-toxic extermination methods to get rid of pests. Be sure to also check for and eliminate mold in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and any other moisture-prone areas. 
  2. Click Here to Read More...

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