Thursday, December 14, 2017

Don't forget the little things!

The words of two industry experts shouted loudly at me recently about winterizing my house.

  1. Clean your gutters! This lack of drainage could cause serious ice dams.
  2. Remove your hoses from the hose bib, and cover the faucet with an insulated cover. This is the #1 cause of frozen and broken pipes.
  3. Close any foundation air vents. This prevents the real cold air from going under the house and freezing your pipes.
  4. During wet and freezing weather, watch out for moisture under your garage door. This moisture can freeze the rubber seal and tear when it freezes. To prevent this, lightly sprinkle some ice melt where the garage door closes.
All of these things have the potential of keeping you free of major headaches during our winter season.

Be prepared...

By: Gary Salisbury, Sr. Sales Consultant at the Kit Fitzgerald Team, Equity Northwest Real Estate.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

Homeowner Tips: Preventative Maintenance by Houselogic

The 7 Worst Habits Homeowners Need to Break Now

Guilty of buying cheap stuff? Pack-ratting? Here’s how to change your ways.

A date with a glass of wine and your favorite curry dish while watching the latest season of “Orange Is the New Black” may seem like the perfect way to spend your evening — until you hear something alive in that leaning tower of plates you’ve been ignoring all week.

Why, oh why, do you keep procrastinating dish cleanup night after night?!

Don’t beat yourself up too much. Bad habits are just way easier to maintain than good ones. They’re “the opposite of what makes you happy. They’re what make you miserable,” says M.J. Ryan, author of “Habit Changers: 81 Game-Changing Mantras to Mindfully Realize Your Goals.” Especially when they cost you money.

Here are 7 bad habits to break now for a happier you and a fatter bank account:

1. Showering Without Precautions

Spending 20 minutes in the steam may be good for your pores, but it’s also great for mold and mildew. Run the exhaust fan while you’re singing in the shower, squeegee the walls afterward, and scrub that grout every few months.

“Once you let the grout go, it gets worse and worse, and harder and harder to maintain,” says Mylène Merlo, a REALTOR® in San Diego. Grungy grout is a big turnoff for buyers. And redoing it is a pain and expensive to hire out.

2. Keeping Out the Sun

Shutting your shades on winter days might seem smart. More insulation from the chilly weather, right? Your energy bill disagrees. A sunny window can warm your home and lower your heating costs. And as a bonus, you could see a decrease in seasonal depression.

But your original idea wasn’t totally wrong. Closing those blinds at night can keep your home toasty.

3. Compulsively Buying Bargains

Finding a deal feels so good, but cheaper isn’t always better. In fact, budget buys might cost you more in the long run. For instance, dollar paintbrushes will leave annoying streaks, requiring a costly re-do.

And when it comes to appliances, permit a little splurge — especially if selling your home is on the horizon.

“I always err with going for high-quality appliances,” Merlo says. “There is a noticeable difference between the cheapest and next-cheapest models. And buyers want to see stainless steel.”

4. Running a Half-Full Dishwasher

You get a gold star for always remembering to start your dishwasher before bed, right? Clean dishes every morning! Go you! Yeah, about that: Your dishwasher wastes water unless it’s completely full.

Dishwashers do save more water than washing by hand (just try telling that to your mom), but most machines use the same amount of water regardless of how many plates you’ve stuffed inside, making a half-empty cycle significantly less efficient. For a household of one or two, once a day can be overkill.

5. Mega-Mulching

A “tree volcano” might sound like a grand ol’ time, but it’s actually damaging your foliage. Too much mulch suffocates your tree, causing root rot and welcoming invasive insects. REALTOR® TipYour precious trees really are precious. Each one can add $2,000 or more to your home's value while saving on energy costs.Read More InPlant Trees to Save Energy and Grow ValueProtect your precious trees by packing mulch loosely, letting water filter properly toward the trunk.

6. Going on a Remodeling Rampage

Don’t break out the sledgehammer for a demo three weeks after moving in unless your home needs serious, obvious work. Give yourself time to understand the home’s quirks before renovating.

“You don’t know what your needs are when you first move into a home,” says Merlo. “You should live there for at least six months to figure out the space you need. If you do too much too soon, you’ll regret it.”

For instance, you could dump $15,000 into a kitchen remodel — only to realize the original layout would have worked better for holiday parties. Or you paint a room your favorite color, Wild Plum, only to realize the natural light in the room makes it look more like Rotten Plum. Whoops.

7. Packratting

You know clutter is bad, but you just… can’t… help it. You had to put that unused exercise bike in the spare room instead of by the road as a freebie because what if?Plus, there’s so much in there already, and decluttering seems like such an insurmountable goal — even though every jam-packed square foot is space you can’t enjoy.

If the task seems impossible, Ryan recommends starting small.

“Do one small thing,” she says. “Clean out a drawer or reorganize your counter, and then you feel the satisfaction of having done it. It becomes easier to do the next small thing.”

Just remember: Breaking habits takes time and a lot of slip-ups. “It’s important to be kind to ourselves when we blow it,” Ryan says. “When we create new habits, we’re building new wiring, but it’s not like the old wiring disappears. Don’t turn goof-ups into give-ups.”

Article by Houselogic.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Going Back to School

The smell of #2 Pencils, the bright whites and bold colors of new clothes, the sounds of super clean, squeaky shoes and the nervous, but exciting energy that fills the room of a house, make the first day of school one of the most memorable each year. Even as an adult, there is a sense of hope about adventures on the horizon, a little envy as we reminisce the days gone by and joy to see our little ones hold themselves up just a bit taller than the year before as they get ready to enter that new grade.

With the excitement comes a bit of apprehension of the unknown, but the thrill of seeing friends again, showing off the new gear and sharing the stories of summer makes it all worth the fluttering of butterflies.

Here in the Boise, Idaho area, with so many families prepping for the famous first day of school, we want to give a shout out to all of the kids in those squeaky new shoes, to treasure your days, make loads of fabulous memories, and embrace these magical years as they will fly by faster than you can imagine. And to the teachers of the Treasure Valley, thank you for all that you do in helping shape young minds and provide the guidance that our young people need. We are so incredibly lucky in this valley to have such wonderful schools for our children to attend.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Save More on Back-To-School Shopping!

Shopping for school supplies, electronics and clothing can be a chore — and an expensive one at that.

Families with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average of $687.72 on back-to-school shopping, about $14 more than last year’s average of $673.57, according to the National Retail Federation. College students and their families plan to spend an average of $969.88, or about $82 more than last year’s $887.71 average.

Incentives such as discounts and free shipping make online shopping an attractive option.

“Retailers are trying to cater to everything that will make the consumer happy,” says Ana Serafin Smith, senior director of media relations at the NRF.

Here’s a lesson on saving when back-to-school shopping online.

Go bargain hunting

You wouldn’t want to buy a pack of notebooks only to spot the same item elsewhere for half the cost. Fend off buyer’s remorse by shopping around before you click the “order” button. Google Shopping can help you compare the costs of items on your list between retailers, or find coupons with a browser extension like Honey. Remember to factor shipping costs into the comparison.

Ask for a price match

If you find separate retailers selling an identical item at different prices, or if there’s a discrepancy between the same retailer’s prices in store and online, ask the site with the higher price for a reduction.

Retailers with price-matching policies — including Target, Best Buy and Newegg — will honor a competitor’s lower advertised price or reimburse you the difference on eligible items if you can provide proof of the amount within a specific time frame. At Staples, you’ll get the lower price plus 10% of the difference. Call the retailer’s customer service number for help price matching your online order.

Pursue student discounts

Students — and sometimes parents, faculty and staff — can save or score freebies by shopping on sites with student discounts or promotions. For example, Apple is discounting select Macs by up to $300 and the iPad Pro by up to $20, plus throwing in wireless Beats headphones for free with eligible purchases through Sept. 25. Check other retailers or student discount networks like Unidays for deals on electronics, supplies, clothing and more.

Buy online, pick up in store

If you order back-to-school supplies online and pick them up in store, many retailers will give you free shipping or order discounts, or will send you a coupon for a future purchase. On Walmart’s website, look for items marked “free pick up and discount”: At the time of this writing, we spotted an Acer touchscreen laptop for $251.65 with a $67.93 pickup discount, lowering the price to $183.72.

Rent materials or buy used

Newer isn’t necessarily better, at least not for your wallet. You can save on textbooks, calculators, clothing and other back-to-school staples by renting or buying them used. Explore options and pricing on sites such as Chegg, Amazon and Poshmark.

Bypass sales tax

This year, more than a dozen states are waiving sales tax on eligible back-to-school items — such as clothing, books and laptops under a certain amount — during sales tax holidays. Some areas waive local sales tax, too. These events typically last for a few days in late July or early August, both in stores and online. For example, Ohio and Virginia both offer tax-free weekends Aug. 4-6. If you live in a participating state, consider timing your back-to-school purchases around the holiday, and check the list of tax-exempt items and cost limits first.

You can still strategically time back-to-school purchases if your state doesn’t take part or you miss the window. The shopping season’s peak savings usually last through August into September, closer to the start of the school year.

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